Optimal fishery harvesting rules under uncertainty
This paper derives the optimal fishery harvest policy in a real-option model with a stochastic logistic growth process, harvest-sensitive output price, and both fixed and variable harvesting costs. The policy specifies the harvest trigger and harvest size, while outputs from the model include the value of the fishery and the risk of extinction. The optimal policy is illustrated with data from the Pacific Halibut Fishery. For this particular case, the optimal policy recommends harvesting when the fish stock rises to about three-quarters the environmental carrying capacity, and the amount harvested should be approximately a quarter of the prevailing stock. This harvesting policy maximizes the value of the fishery, and importantly, the resulting risk of extinction is negligible. We also carry out some sensitivity analysis to see how the optimal policy (and the resulting fishery value and risk of extinction) change when the input parameters are varied, particularly the ecological parameters intrinsic growth rate and volatility of the stock, and also the economic parameters that have been ignored in previous papers (price sensitivity and fixed cost). If the optimal policy is followed, the risk of extinction will be negligible, except for very low growth rate and high volatility.
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