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Why Economists Reject Long-Term Fisheries Management Plans?

By José María Da Rocha and María José Gutiérrez Huerta

Abstract

Most fisheries agencies conduct biological and economic assessments independently. This independent conduct may lead to situations in which economists reject management plans proposed by biologists. The objective of this study is to show how to find optimal strategies that may satisfy biologists and economists' conditions. In particular we characterize optimal fishing trajectories that maximize the present value of a discounted economic indicator taking into account the age-structure of the population as in stock assessment methodologies. This approach is applied to the Northern Stock of Hake. Our main empirical findings are: i) Optimal policy may be far away from any of the classical scenarios proposed by biologists, ii) The more the future is discounted, the higher the likelihood of finding contradictions among scenarios proposed by biologists and conclusions from economic analysis, iii) Optimal management reduces the risk of the stock falling under precautionary levels, especially if the future is not discounted to much, and iv) Optimal stationary fishing rate may be very different depending on the economic indicator used as reference.fisheries management, age-structured models, discounting, Fmsy, Fmax, northern stock of hake

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