The fishery system

Fisheries are systems that involve biological, economic and social/ behavioral components (Figure 6.1). Each of these provides a distinctive perspective on the fishery, its goals, purpose and outputs. Biology and economics combine to produce outputs of the fishery, which are then compared with our expectations of the outputs. When the expectations and output do not match, we use the process of regulation, which may act on any of the biology, economics or sociology. Regulatory decisions constitute policy. Tony Charles (Charles 1992) answers the question "what is the fishery about?'' with framework of three paradigms (Figure 6.2). Each of the paradigms shown in Figure 6.2 is a view of the fishery system, but according to different stakeholder groups.

Figure 6.1. The fishery system consists of biological, economic and social/behavioral components; this description is due to my colleague Mike Healey (University of British Columbia). Biology and economics interact to produce outputs of the system, which can then be modified by regulation acting on any of the components. Quantitative methods can help us predict the response of the components to regulation.

Figure 6.1. The fishery system consists of biological, economic and social/behavioral components; this description is due to my colleague Mike Healey (University of British Columbia). Biology and economics interact to produce outputs of the system, which can then be modified by regulation acting on any of the components. Quantitative methods can help us predict the response of the components to regulation.

ConservationPreser vation (its about the fish)

ConservationPreser vation (its about the fish)

Economic Efficiency (its about generation of wealth) Equity

(its about distr ibution of wealth)

SocialComm unity (its about the people)

Figure 6.2. Tony Charles's view of "what the fishery is about'' encompasses paradigms of conservation, economics and social/community. In the conservation perspective, the fishery is about preserving fish in the ocean and regulation should act to protect those fish. In the economic perspective, the fishery is about the generation of wealth (economic efficiency) and the distribution of that wealth (economic equity). In the social perspective, the fishery is about the people who fish and the community in which they live.

Indeed, a large part of the problem of fishery management is that these views often conflict.

It should be clear from these figures that the study of fisheries is inherently interdisciplinary, a word which regrettably suffers from terminological inexactitude (Jenkins 2001). My definition of interdisciplinary is this: one masters the core skills in all of the relevant disciplines (here, biology, economics, behavior, and quantitative methods). In this chapter, we will focus on biology and economics (and quantitative methods, of course) in large part because I said most of what I want to say about behavior in the chapter on human behavioral ecology in Clark and Mangel (2000); also see Connections.

The outputs of the fishery are affected by environmental uncertainty in the biological and operational processes (process uncertainty) and observational uncertainty since we never perfectly observe the system. In such a case, a natural approach is that of risk assessment (Anand 2002) in which we combine a probabilistic description of the states of nature with that of the consequences of possible actions and figure out a way to manage the appropriate risks. We will close this chapter with a discussion of risk assessment.

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