Environmental Modeling & Assessment

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 413–429 | Cite as

Economic Impacts of Changes in Fish Population Dynamics: The Role of the Fishermen’s Harvesting Strategies

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


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 coupled stock size–hydrography-based fishing strategy, which attempts to maximize returns from fishing over a given number of fishing periods. Results show that if the fishing strategy is based on a short optimization period of only two fishing periods, changes in population dynamics have a direct influence on the returns from fishing due to the strong pressure on the stocks applied by the fisheries. If the strategy is based on a longer optimization period, fishing activities may be deferred to allow for stock regrowth, which improves the economic performance of the fisheries. However, in that case, the relationship between population dynamics and fishing activities becomes less clear, as even a reduction of the carrying capacities of the two species allows for an increase in the amount of fish landed without causing a stock collapse due to an increased efficiency of fleet utilization. The simulations indicate that management considerations and the time horizon of the fishing strategy dominate the influence of altered population dynamics on the development of the stocks considered in the model.


Bioeconomic modeling Barents Sea Cod Capelin Population dynamics Fishing strategy 



This study is part of the research project INTEGRATION to assess the impacts of a possible shutdown of the thermohaline circulation which is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (project no. 01 LD 0016).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Michael Link
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Uwe A. Schneider
    • 2
    • 4
  • Richard S. J. Tol
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Research Group Climate Change and Security, KlimaCampus HamburgUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Research Unit Sustainability and Global Change, Center for Marine and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  3. 3.International Max Planck Research School on Earth System ModellingHamburgGermany
  4. 4.International Institute for Applied Systems AnalysisLaxenburgAustria
  5. 5.Institute for Environmental StudiesVrije UniversiteitAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Engineering and Public PolicyCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  7. 7.Economic and Social Research InstituteDublin 2Ireland

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