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Free Content A Model for the Preliminary Analysis of the Economic Feasibility of Atlantic Cod Enhancement in the Gulf of Maine (USA)

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The 116th Maine state legislature created the Groundfish Hatchery Study Commission in 1993 to investigate the economic feasibility of stock enhancement. The commission generated a model that balanced the costs of hatchery operations against the income realized from an augmented Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) fishery. Because the most problematic data were those on mortality after the fish were released into the ocean but before their recruitment into the fishery, the model results are expressed as a required survival rate for fish, from the time of release from the hatchery until their recruitment into the fishery, necessary for an economic break-even, i.e., neither profit nor loss. The model, which was constructed with the STELLA programming language, can be characterized as a dynamic net-present-value model consisting of two conceptual layers. The first is a simulation of hatchery operations, a wild population into which the fish are released, and a market in which fish are caught and sold. The second layer checks the economic results for each hatchery cohort of fish by comparing the value of the catch attributable to hatchery-raised fish with the cost of producing those fish. If profits differ from zero, the survival rate is adjusted, and the model is rerun until the break-even point is found. Because experience rearing Atlantic cod, selecting their location for release, and timing their release in the wild will alter the initial survival rate estimates, the intelligent use of the model is to use sensitivity analysis to produce a range of answers that depend on circumstances. This approach allows for the identification of economic or biological bottlenecks that might be addressed through research and/or policy development. To illustrate possible outcomes, we have generated a range of survival rates for the release of three different life-history stages. The lowest required rate of survival for example, of 0.19%, was for the release of fertilized eggs. In contrast, release of 36-wk-old juveniles would require a survival rate of at least 28% from their time of release until recruitment into the fishery.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1998-03-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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