ISER’s Matt Reimer is co-author of a new paper on fisheries management released by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

While ecosystem-based fisheries management incorporates ecological linkages between fisheries, the spillover economic impact of ecosystem-based management is less well-known. “If fishers consider multiple fisheries when deciding where, when, and how much to fish, there is a potential for management decisions in one fishery to generate spillover impacts in other fisheries,” according to Reimer and his co-authors, including researchers from Resources for the Future (RFF).

Catch shares are a management tool used worldwide in high-value commercial fisheries, including several dozen in the United States. Using network analysis and data from the Alaska region, the new paper offers empirical evidence that fishing behavior can change outside the targeted catch-share fishery.

Reimer pointed out that, “models of fisher behavior that include participation in multiple fisheries are difficult to develop.” He added that “the findings of this paper suggest we need to develop just these sorts of models though, and this is something the team is currently working on.”

RFF Fellow Kailin Kroetz and co-author, said that the results “suggest that managers should consider economic linkages between fisheries and potential spillovers when designing and evaluating management policies such as catch shares.”

On the broader implications of this work,  RFF University Fellow and University of California Professor Jim Sanchirico stated: “This paper is part of a shifting paradigm in how we think about fisheries economics and management, which began with ecologists focusing on the ecological connectivity of species within regional ecosystems and the advancement of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management as a framework, and is now beginning to include consideration of economic connectivity as well.”

The authors of the paper, in addition to ISER’s Reimer, RFF Fellow Kroetz, and RFF University Fellow Sanchirico, are Daniel K. Lew (NOAA Fisheries – Alaska Fisheries Science Center), and RFF Research Assistant Justine Huetteman. Their paper: Defining the Scope for Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management.