The economic consequences of fish habitat conservation and management

Harold Frank Upton, University of Rhode Island


Economic considerations can play a critical role in decisions regarding habitat alteration and protection. Yet the Essential Fish Habitat provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act are silent on the role of economic analysis in efforts to identify and protect marine fish habitat. On the federal level, actions taken to amend Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) or implement other regulations governing these fisheries must meet the requirements of Federal Laws and regulations, many of which address economic concerns. Perhaps of greater importance is the consideration of changes in social welfare associated with habitat management alternatives. Economic analysis can provide decision makers with information regarding the expected consequences for affected groups and regions. ^ A major focus of this research is the development of conceptual models that explicitly include habitat as well as the resource stock. There is nearly universal recognition among natural scientists that management must consider the environment in which populations live. Development of models that consider these linkages and the interdisciplinary character of resource management are required to assess these interactions. ^ The dissertation is composed of four manuscripts that examine conceptual models of bioeconomic systems, and apply economics to habitat management. The first two manuscripts investigate the use of conceptual models to analyze fisheries systems that include habitat, stock and the associated fishing fleet. The first manuscript uses a static bioeconomic model to explore the utility of marine protected areas (MPAs) as a habitat management tool. The second manuscript utilizes an optimal control framework to illustrate the need to consider the tradeoff between habitat degradation and its future value to stock growth. The third manuscript introduces the use of decision analysis and its potential use in the context of habitat conservation and management. The final manuscript incorporates conceptual considerations developed in the previous manuscripts to examine the consequences of management alternatives that were proposed by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) to protect essential fish habitat (EFH). Break-even analysis is used to provide a benchmark from which potential management measures can be evaluated. Five appendices that provide specific details related to background information and modeling efforts used in the manuscripts follow. ^

Subject Area

Economics, Agricultural|Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Recommended Citation

Harold Frank Upton, "The economic consequences of fish habitat conservation and management" (2004). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3135922.