Socio-economic effects of fisheries-induced evolution
About the project
There is a pressing need to advance evolutionarily enlightened fisheries management because ignorance of harvest-induced adaptive change could have large, negative, and practically irreversible effects on ecology, economy, and society. Marine ecosystems are increasingly dominated by human intervention, which confronts management with new challenges and calls for new solutions. It is increasingly clear that these solutions can only be achieved through inter-disciplinary approaches. Resource economy and fisheries biology are intertwined disciplines with common methodologies and shared responsibilities towards society. Important feedbacks emerge from the interplay between economics, harvest strategies, and the resource base. An integrative approach encompassing both the biological and economic spheres is therefore required. This proposal bridges strong research teams within resource economy, bioeconomy, evolutionary fisheries biology, and population ecology. The aim is to tackle a question of major economic, political, and ethical importance: How should we harvest our renewable fish resources to achieve the highest possible benefit for present and future generations? The primary aim of this project is to understand how the long-term societal costs and benefits of fishing are affected by and affect fisheries-induced evolution. This project will quantify costs and benefits when evolutionary effects are accounted for, and expose resulting conflicts of interest between stakeholder groups. The main methodological challenge is to develop and couple biological population dynamics models including evolutionary effects of fisheries, with economic models of fleet costs, economic incentives, and management regulations. This will address our core question of great fundamental and practical importance: How should management of our common renewable resources respond to the challenges posed by fisheries-induced evolution to maximize the utility that fish stocks provide to society?
This project funded by the Research Council of Norway through the University of Bergen.
Start: 1.7.2008. End: 31.12.2011.