Optimal Age- and Gear-specific Harvesting Policies for North-East Arctic Cod
We examine optimal harvest policies in a multi-cohort, multi-gear bioeconomic model of North-East Arctic cod (Gadus morhua) which includes cannibalism and contains broader ecosystem effects. By controlling the selectivity of the different Fishing equipment, we can partially target different age cohorts. We show that cur- rent gear selectivity implies that the wrong Fish are targeted. Optimization shifts the exploitation pattern towards older and heavier Fish. This increases the harvested biomass while reducing the number of Fish removed from the ocean. The result is a much more robust and abundant cod stock with an age/size distribution closer to the stocks natural state. We optimize the Net Present Value (NPV) generated by the Fishery by letting effort and selectivity be the control variables and and that NPV may be more than doubled, even when only gear selectivity or harvest effort is allowed to vary.
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