Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 54, Issue 2–3, pp 263–273 | Cite as

Spatial pattern in catch rates: A test of economic theory

  • Ray Hilborn
  • Robert B. Kennedy


Gordon (1953,J. Fish. Res. Bd Can.10, 442–457) used economic theory to predict how catch rates, price and fishing costs should balance in a multi-area, open-access fishery. We use the data from the Tasmanian rock lobster fishery to test this theory. We find that, as prediced by theory, areas with higher monetary and non-monetary costs have consistently higher catch rates than areas with lower costs. We show that this theory also predicts that an increase in price would result in an overall increase in catch rate, and suggest that in fisheries with spatial variation in costs, catch rates may be determined as much by economic factors as biological ones.


Catch Rate Monetary Cost Interference Competition Ideal Free Distribution Rock Lobster 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abrahams, M. V. and M. C. Healey. 1990. Variation in the competitive abilities of fishermen and its influence on the spatial distribution of the British Columbia salmon troll fleet.Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 47, 1116–1121.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, L. G. 1982. The economics of multi-purpose fleet behavior. InEssays in the Economics of Renewable Resources, L. J. Mirman and D. F. Spulber (Eds), pp. 203–226. Amsterdam: North Holland.Google Scholar
  3. Booth, J. D., R. J. Street and P. J. Smith. 1990. Systematic status of the rock lobsterJasus edwardsii from New Zealand andJ. novaehollandiae from Australia.N.Z. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 24, 239–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Caddy, J. F. 1975. Spatial model for an exploited shellfish population, and its application to the Georges Bank scallop fishery.J. Fish. Res. Bd Can. 32, 1305–1328.Google Scholar
  5. Charnov, E. L. 1976. Optimal foraging: the marginal value theorem.Theor. Popul. Biol. 9, 129–136.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clark, C. W. 1982. Concentration profiles and the production and management of marine fisheries. InEconomic Theory of Natural Resoruces, W. Eichhorn (Ed.), pp. 97–112. Warzburg-Wein: Physica-Verlag.Google Scholar
  7. Clark, C. W. 1985.Bioeconomic Modelling and Fisheries Management. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 291 pp.Google Scholar
  8. Fretwell, S. D. 1972.Populations in a Seasonal Environment. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 217 pp.Google Scholar
  9. Fretwell, S. D. and H. L. Lucas. 1970. On territorial behaviour and other factors influencing habitat distribution in birds.Acta Biotheor. 19, 16–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gordon, H. S. 1953. An economic approach to the optimum utilization of fishery reources.J. Fish. Res. Bd Can. 10, 442–457.Google Scholar
  11. Hilborn, R. 1985. Fleet dynamics and individual variation: why some people catch more fish than others.Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 42, 2–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hilborn, R. and M. Ledbetter. 1979. Analysis of the British Columbia salmon purse seine fleet: dynamics of movement.J. Fish. Res. Bd Can. 36, 384–391.Google Scholar
  13. Hilborn, R. and C. J. Walters. 1987. A general model for simulation of stock and fleet dynamics in spatially heterogeneous fisheries.Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 44, 1366–1369.Google Scholar
  14. Hilborn, R. and C. J. Walters. 1991.Fisheries Stock Assessment and Management Choice, Dynamics and Uncertainty. New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall.Google Scholar
  15. Huppert, D. D. 1979. Implications of multipurpose fleets and mixed stocks for control policies.J. Fish. Res. Bd Can. 36, 845–854.Google Scholar
  16. McKelvey, r. 1983. The fishery in a fluctuating environment: coexistence of specialists and generalists fishing vessels in a multipurpose fleet.J. Environ. Econ. Mgmt 10, 287–309.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Millington, P. A. 1984. Movement patterns in the British Columbia salmon gill net fleet. M.Sc. thesis, Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia.Google Scholar
  18. Prince, J. D. 1989. The fisheries biology of the Tasmanian stocks of Haliotis rubra. Ph.D. thesis. Department of Zoology, University of Tasmania.Google Scholar
  19. Winstanley, R. H. 1973. Rock lobster fishing in Tasmania.Tas. Fish. Res. 7, 1–23.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Mathematical Biology 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ray Hilborn
    • 1
  • Robert B. Kennedy
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Fisheries WH-10University of WashingtonSeattleU.S.A.
  2. 2.Division of Sea Fisheries, Department of Primary IndustryResearch LaboratoryTaroonaAustralia

Personalised recommendations