Does size matter? A bioeconomic perspective on optimal harvesting when price is size-dependent
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Body size is a key parameter influencing demographic characteristics of fish populations as well as market value of landed catch. Yet in bioeconomic modelling, body size is often an overlooked biological and economic parameter. Here we evaluate how size-dependent pricing influences optimal harvest strategies in a model parameterized for two pelagic fisheries, those targeting Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) and Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus), in Norway. In our model, positively size-dependent pricing clearly shifts optimal harvest strategies towards lower harvest rates and higher mean body size of caught fish. The results are relatively insensitive to biological (e.g., natural mortality) and economic details of the model (e.g., discount rate or demand function). These findings show that size-dependent pricing influences optimal harvest strategies aiming at maximum economic yield and, hence, requires more attention in resource economics and in fisheries management.