Economic impacts of marine reserves: The importance of spatial behavior

Book Section

Marine biologists have shown virtually unqualified support for managing fisheries with marine reserves, signifying a new resource management paradigm that recognizes the importance of spatial processes in exploited systems. Most modeling of reserves employs simplifying assumptions about the behavior of fishermen in response to spatial closures. We show that a realistic depiction of fishermen behavior dramatically alters the conclusions about reserves. We develop, estimate, and calibrate an integrated bioeconomic model of the sea urchin fishery in northern California and use it to simulate reserve policies. Our behavioral model shows how economic incentives determine both participation and location choices of fishermen. We compare simulations with behavioral response to biological modeling that presumes that effort is spatially uniform and unresponsive to economic incentives. We demonstrate that optimistic conclusions about reserves may be an artifact of simplifying assumptions that ignore economic behavior.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Smith, MD; Wilen, JE

Published Date

  • January 22, 2019

Book Title

  • Spatial Aspects of Environmental Policy

Start / End Page

  • 51 - 76

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780815397175

Citation Source

  • Scopus