Methods for Increasing the Likelihood of Restoring and Maintaining Productive Fisheries
Years of scientific inquiry have developed sophisticated methods for setting fishing quotas. Unfortunately, these methods tend to be information intensive and can lead to population crashes if information is wrong. Previous work has illustrated that highly responsive quota systems, which curb fishing decisively when stocks drop below target abundance levels, promote optimum average yields in varying environments and when parameters are uncertain. These policies have generally been rejected, though, because they make fishing yields uncertain and create the potential for temporary closures. They have also been criticized because the managed population can crash if abundance is overestimated. We performed analyses to reexamine the performance of highly responsive management systems. Our analyses show that these systems outperform less-responsive alternatives at maintaining healthy stocks and productive fish catches when managers misestimate parameters. Although these systems can cause populations to crash under the circumstances previously identified, we were able to show that they are less prone to do so under all circumstances than less-responsive constant-fishing-mortality systems. We discuss the implications of this work for fisheries management and highlight methods for achieving highly responsive management systems that are both precautionary and ecosystem-oriented.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 2002
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