Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date


Working Paper Number



We present a dynamic game of search and learning by fishermen who seek the true location of a partially observable fish stock. Bayesian Nash equilibrium search patterns for non-cooperating fishermen and members of an information sharing cooperative are compared with first-best outcomes. Independent fishermen do not internalize the full value of information and do not replicate first-best search. A fishing cooperative faces a free-riding problem as each member prefers another undertake costly search for information. Contractual agreements among coop members may mitigate, but not likely eliminate free-riding. Our results explain why information sharing is rare in fisheries and offer guidance for improving fishery management.

Publication Status

This working paper is published in Environmental and Resource Economics 58 (2014): 353–372, doi:10.1007/s10640-013-9701-8.

JEL Classification

D8, Q22

File Format



21 pages