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Economic impacts of changes in fish population dynamics: the role of the fishermen’s harvesting strategies


  • P. Michael Link
  • Uwe A. Schneider
  • Richard S.J. Tol

    () (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)


Using a bioeconomic model of the cod (Gadus morhua) and capelin (Mallotus villosus) fisheries of the Barents Sea, this study assesses the role of the fishermen’s behavior in reducing or intensifying the effects on the stocks caused by altered population dynamics. The analysis focuses on the economic development of the fisheries employing a profit-maximizing harvesting strategy over a given number of fishing periods. The scenarios assessed cover a time period of 100 years with sudden changes of the productivity of both species occurring at the midpoint of each simulation. Stock sizes and landings of fish are determined for each fishing period, and the net present values of profits over periods of interest prior to and following the change in population dynamics are calculated. Results show that if the profit-maximizing harvesting strategy is based on a short optimization period, the fleets with the higher efficiency are generally favored. If the strategy is based on an optimization over two or more fishing periods, fishing activities may be deferred to allow for stock regrowth. In such cases, smaller and less cost-intensive vessels are preferred. A reduction of either the productivity or the carrying capacities of the two species has little impact on the fisheries if the change is fairly small. A substantial reduction of either quantity has a lasting negative economic impact which mainly manifests itself in a severely reduced profitability of mainly the cod fishery.

Suggested Citation

  • P. Michael Link & Uwe A. Schneider & Richard S.J. Tol, 2004. "Economic impacts of changes in fish population dynamics: the role of the fishermen’s harvesting strategies," Working Papers FNU-50, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Nov 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:sgc:wpaper:50

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robinson, C. & Pascoe, S., 1997. "Fisher behaviour: exploring the validity of the profit maximising assumption," Discussion Papers 110., Centre for the Economics and Management of Aquatic Resources.
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    1. repec:kap:enreec:v:67:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10640-015-9983-0 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    bioeconomic modeling; Barents Sea; cod; capelin; population dynamics; harvesting strategy;

    JEL classification:

    • Q22 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Fishery


    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Socio-economics of Fisheries and Aquaculture


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