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How to Improve the Management of Renewable Resources: The Case of Canada's Northern Cod Fishery


  • R. Quentin Grafton
  • Leif K. Sandal
  • Stein Ivar Steinshamn


The paper examines howan easy-to-apply optimal feedback rule can be used to solve for optimal levels of exploitation of a renewable resource. Using data from Canada's northern cod fishery, the optimal feedback rule is used to derive optimal levels of exploitation for the years 1962–91 under different discount rates, alternative model specifications, and parameter assumptions. The optimal feedback rule indicates that over much of the period the fishery was economically overexploited and, given the stock development that actually took place, a harvesting moratorium should have been instituted three years earlier than when it was introduced. The results show how the use of a simple and flexible optimal rule by managers of renewable resources can generate substantial gains. Copyright 2000, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • R. Quentin Grafton & Leif K. Sandal & Stein Ivar Steinshamn, 2000. "How to Improve the Management of Renewable Resources: The Case of Canada's Northern Cod Fishery," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(3), pages 570-580.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:82:y:2000:i:3:p:570-580

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    Cited by:

    1. R. Quentin Grafton & Ragnar Arnason & Trond Bjorndal & David Campbell & Harry F. Campbell & Colin W. Clark & Robin Connor & Diane P. Dupont & Rognvaldur Hannesson & Ray Hilborn & James E. Kirkley & To, 2005. "Incentive-based approaches to sustainable fisheries (now replaced by EEN0508)," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 0501, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
    2. R. Quentin Grafton & Pham Van Ha & Tom Kompas, 2004. "Saving the Seas: The Economic Justification for Marine Reserves," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 0402, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
    3. Sandal, Leif K. & Steinshamn, Stein Ivar & Grafton, R. Quentin, 2003. ""More is less": the tax effects of ignoring flow externalities," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 239-254, August.
    4. Sandal, Leif K. & Berge, Gerhard, 2004. "A method for numerical and analytical solutions to a class of nonlinear optimal control problems," Discussion Papers 2004/2, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    5. Ussif, Al-Amin M. & Sumaila, Ussif R., 2005. "Modeling the dynamics of regulated resource systems: a fishery example," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 469-479, March.
    6. Petersen, Elizabeth H., 2002. "Economic Policy, Institutions And Fisheries Development In The Pacific," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19606, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    7. R. Quentin Grafton & Tom Kompas & Pham Van Ha, 2006. "The Economic Payoffs from Marine Reserves: Resource Rents in a Stochastic Environment," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(259), pages 469-480, December.
    8. Sturla Furunes Kvamsdal & Diwakar Poudel & Leif Kristoffer Sandal, 2016. "Harvesting in a Fishery with Stochastic Growth and a Mean-Reverting Price," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 63(3), pages 643-663, March.
    9. Trond Bjørndal & Ana Brasão, 2004. "The Northern Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries: Management and Policy Implications," Working Papers 2004.69, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    10. Jules Selles, 2018. "Fisheries management: what uncertainties matter?," Working Papers hal-01824238, HAL.
    11. Maroto, Jose M. & Moran, Manuel, 2014. "Detecting the presence of depensation in collapsed fisheries: The case of the Northern cod stock," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 101-109.
    12. R. Quentin Grafton & Tom Kompas & Pham Van Ha, 2009. "Cod Today and None Tomorrow: The Economic Value of a Marine Reserve," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 85(3), pages 454-469.
    13. R. Quentin Grafton & Tom Kompas, 2014. "Three Pillars of Fisheries Policy," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(3), pages 609-614, September.
    14. LK Sandal & SI Steinshamn, 2001. "A Bio-Economic Model For Namibian Pilchard," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 69(2), pages 299-318, June.
    15. Doole, Graeme J. & Alexander, Robert R., 2005. "Importance of user cost to the optimal management of multiplecohort fish populations," 2005 Conference (49th), February 9-11, 2005, Coff's Harbour, Australia 137839, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    16. Krysiak, Frank C. & Krysiak, Daniela, 2002. "Aggregation of Dynamic Systems and the Existence of a Regeneration Function," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 517-539, November.
    17. Diwakar Poudel & Leif K. Sandal & Sturla F. Kvamsdal, 2015. "Stochastically Induced Critical Depensation and Risk of Stock Collapse," Marine Resource Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(3), pages 297-313.
    18. Sarkar, Sudipto, 2009. "Optimal fishery harvesting rules under uncertainty," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 272-286, November.
    19. Poudel, Diwakar & Sandal, Leif K. & Steinshamn, Stein I. & Kvamsdal, Sturla F., 2012. "Do Species Interactions and Stochasticity Matter to Optimal Management of Multispecies Fisheries?," Discussion Papers 2012/1, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.

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