Economics of harvesting age-structured fish populations
A generic age-structured model is developed to derive analytical results on optimal harvesting. Given two age classes, knife-edge selectivity, and no stock-dependent harvesting cost, the steady state is a unique saddle point. Adding harvesting cost does not alter the uniqueness, given that the utility is linear. Under specific conditions such as nonselective gear, optimal harvesting is proved to be a stationary cycle that represents pulse fishing. Optimal steady states are different if age-structured information is ignored and optimization is based on traditional biomass variables. This implies that the existence of optimal sustainable harvesting depends on age-structured information. Given a specific set of conditions such as low interest rate and knife-edge selectivity, optimal harvesting converges toward a unique saddle point independently of the number of age classes.
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