Preference for Landings’ Smoothing and Risk of Collapse in Optimal Fishery Policies: The Ibero-Atlantic Sardine Fishery

Abstract

Several world fish stocks are being explored at unsustainable levels and require management plans to rebuild stock abundance. Defining a management plan is, however, a complex task that entails multidisciplinary work. In fact, while it requires solid scientific knowledge of fish stocks, the inclusion of economic and social objectives is crucial to a successful management implementation. In this paper we develop an age-structured bioeconomic model where the objective function is modified to accommodate preferences from different stakeholders. In particular, we consider important characteristics that a management plan should take into account: profit maximization, fishermen’s preference for reducing landings’ fluctuations and risk of fishery collapse. Modeling preferences for reducing landings’ fluctuations is accomplished by defining a utility function with aversion to intertemporal income fluctuations. Building upon biology literature, we model precautionary concerns by incorporating a probability of collapse that depends on current spawning biomass. We illustrate how this framework is able to assist in the analysis and design of harvest control rules applying it to the Ibero-Atlantic sardine stock.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Based on recruitment series for the sardine stock, ICES (2013b) proposes a separation of the stock in two productivity regimes, before and after 1993. It is argued that the mean productivity (recruits per spawner) of the period after 1993 is a good indicator of future stock productivity.

  2. 2.

    The Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) is the entity responsible for publishing information on the structure and economic performance of EU Member States fishing fleets. There was only one data point available for Spanish purse-seiners costs. Thus we assumed Portuguese purse-seiners to be representative of the entire fleet.

  3. 3.

    For small pelagic species like sardines the component where this issue is more relevant is in recruitment and, in particular, in the existence of spawning stock biomass levels impairing it, thus causing low species abundance and risk of stock collapse (Katara 2014).

  4. 4.

    Another distribution could be used. We assume the normal distribution for ease of exposition.

  5. 5.

    Chen et al. 2002 define an extinction probability function of the stock for a single brood line in one generation. We introduce here a stronger assumption by defining an extinction probability for the entire stock. While it would be possible to model a collapse in recruitment, our simplified approach is able to offer an analysis of the main implications resulting from the introduction of an expected profit that explicitly takes into account the current status of the species’ stock.

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. This research work was developed in the context of the project entitled “The Economic Valuation and Governance of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Services (MCES)”. CENSE is financed through Strategic Project Pest-OE/AMB/UI4085/2013 from the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, I.P., Portugal. This work was funded by National Funds funds through FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia under the project Ref. UID/ECO/00124/2013 and by POR Lisboa under the project LISBOA-01-0145-FEDER-007722. We acknowledge the support of FCT via scholarship SFRH/BPD/81880/2011 (Rui Mota). Finally, we acknowledge also EU/DGMARE Fisheries Data Collection Framework (DCF) for funding A. Silva.

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Correspondence to Renato Rosa.

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Rosa, R., Vaz, J., Mota, R. et al. Preference for Landings’ Smoothing and Risk of Collapse in Optimal Fishery Policies: The Ibero-Atlantic Sardine Fishery. Environ Resource Econ 71, 875–895 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10640-017-0187-7

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Keywords

  • Fishery management
  • Optimal harvesting
  • Age-structured model
  • Stock collapse
  • Harvest control rules
  • Bioeconomic model
  • Multiple objectives