Modelling the sequential geographical exploitation and potential collapse of marine fisheries through economic globalization, climate change and management alternatives
Keywords:fisheries modelling, sequential exploitation, economic globalization, climate change, fisheries management
Global marine fisheries production has reached a maximum and may even be declining. Underlying this trend is a well-understood sequence of development, overexploitation, depletion and in some instances collapse of individual fish stocks, a pattern that can sequentially link geographically distant populations. Ineffective governance, economic considerations and climate impacts are often responsible for this sequence, although the relative contribution of each factor is contentious. In this paper we use a global bioeconomic model to explore the synergistic effects of climate variability, economic pressures and management measures in causing or avoiding this sequence. The model shows how a combination of climate-induced variability in the underlying fish population production, particular patterns of demand for fish products and inadequate management is capable of driving the world’s fisheries into development, overexploitation, collapse and recovery phases consistent with observations. Furthermore, it demonstrates how a sequential pattern of overexploitation can emerge as an endogenous property of the interaction between regional environmental fluctuations and a globalized trade system. This situation is avoidable through adaptive management measures that ensure the sustainability of regional production systems in the face of increasing global environmental change and markets. It is concluded that global management measures are needed to ensure that global food supply from marine products is optimized while protecting long-term ecosystem services across the world’s oceans.
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