Ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) seeks to integrate the complexity of real-world marine ecosystems into the design of fisheries policies and regulations. EBFM is practiced currently with the help of complex ecosystem process models that track and simulate ecosystem function and outcomes under competing model formulations and management plans. To maintain tractability, the fishing sector component of process models maintain restrictive assumptions for multiple species harvesting technologies, fishing behavioral rules, and fishing sector responses to changing stock conditions. Predictions of fishing sector-ecosystem interaction obtained under these assumptions can grossly misinform EBFM policy design. An alternative rational fishing model is presented and applied to the Gulf of Mexico commercial reef fish fishery. The application highlights stark differences in ecological and externality validity of the two modeling approaches. While models of rational fishing are data and computationally demanding, results show that improved model validity warrants their use, and may be essential to further advance the EBFM paradigm.
Original Release date: May 4, 2019
Department of Economics, Iowa State University
Weninger, Quinn, "Rational ecosystem-based fisheries management: An application to the GOM commercial reef fish fishery" (2019). Economics Working Papers: Department of Economics, Iowa State University. 19008.