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An Approach to Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management


  • Sanchirico, James N.

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Smith, Martin D.
  • Lipton, Douglas W.


Marine scientists and policymakers are encouraging ecosystem-based fishery management (EBFM), but there is limited guidance on how to operationalize the concept. We adapt financial portfolio theory as a method for EBFM that accounts for species interdependencies, uncertainty, and sustainability constraints. Illustrating our method with routinely collected data available from the Chesapeake Bay, we demonstrate the gains from taking into account species variances and covariances in setting species total allowable catches. We find over the period from 1962–2003 that managers could have increased the revenues from fishing and reduced the variance by employing ecosystem frontiers in setting catch levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Sanchirico, James N. & Smith, Martin D. & Lipton, Douglas W., 2006. "An Approach to Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management," Discussion Papers dp-06-40, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-06-40

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Baldursson, Fridrik Mar & Magnusson, Gudmundar, 1997. " Portfolio Fishing," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(3), pages 389-403, September.
    2. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
    3. Edwards, Steven F. & Link, Jason S. & Rountree, Barbara P., 2004. "Portfolio management of wild fish stocks," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 317-329, July.
    4. Sanchirico, James N. & Smith, Martin D., 2003. "Trophic Portfolios In Marine Fisheries: A Step Towards Ecosystem Management," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22191, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    5. Bollerslev, Tim, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 307-327, April.
    6. Engle, Robert & Granger, Clive, 2015. "Co-integration and error correction: Representation, estimation, and testing," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 39(3), pages 106-135.
    7. Reed, William J., 1979. "Optimal escapement levels in stochastic and deterministic harvesting models," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 350-363, December.
    8. Hannesson, Rognvaldur, 1983. "Optimal harvesting of ecologically interdependent fish species," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 329-345, December.
    9. Clark, Colin W. & Munro, Gordon R., 1975. "The economics of fishing and modern capital theory: A simplified approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 92-106, December.
    10. Ragozin, David L. & Brown, Gardner Jr., 1985. "Harvest policies and nonmarket valuation in a predator -- prey system," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 155-168, June.
    11. Finnoff, David & Tschirhart, John, 2003. "Harvesting in an eight-species ecosystem," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 589-611, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Finnoff, David & Gong, Min & Tschirhart, John, 2012. "Perspectives on Ecosystem Based Management for Delivering Ecosystem Services with an Example from an Eighteen-Species Marine Model," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 6(1), pages 79-118, January.

    More about this item


    ecosystem-based fishery management; portfolio; trophic modeling; precaution;

    JEL classification:

    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q22 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Fishery
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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