Journal of Bioeconomics

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 213–219 | Cite as

Removing biases in forecasts of fishery status

  • Christopher CostelloEmail author
  • Olivier Deschênes
  • Ashley Larsen
  • Steven Gaines


A recent highly cited paper from this journal develops a model predicting maximum sustainable yield (\(MSY\)) of a fishery using the historical maximum catch (\(MaxCatch\)). The model is parameterized with a small sample of fisheries from the United States, and is subsequently applied globally to estimate the benefits of fishery recovery. That empirical relationship has been adopted for many subsequent high-profile analyses. Unfortunately, the analysis suffers from two important oversights: (1) because the model is non-linear, it suffers from “retransformation bias” and therefore the results significantly understate \(MSY\) and (2) the analysis is parameterized from of a very limited data set and so generalizability of the fitted empirical relationship between \(MSY\) and \(MaxCatch\) to global fisheries is questionable. Here, we rectify both oversights and provide an updated estimate of the relationship between \(MSY\) and \(MaxCatch\).


Retransformation bias Fisheries Maximum sustainable yield 

JEL Classification

Q22 D57 F01 



We thank Dan Ovando for assisting with data collection and Jameal Samhouri for helpful suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Costello
    • 2
    • 1
    Email author
  • Olivier Deschênes
    • 3
  • Ashley Larsen
    • 4
  • Steven Gaines
    • 1
  1. 1.Bren School of Environmental Science and ManagementUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.LametaMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  4. 4.Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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