This dissertation consists of three substantive chapters. The first substantive chapter investigates the premature harvesting problem in fisheries. Traditionally, yield-per-recruit analysis has been used to both assess and address the premature harvesting of fish stocks. However, the fact that fish size often affects the unit price suggests that this approach may be inadequate. In this chapter, I first synthesize the conventional yield-per-recruit analysis, and then extend this conventional approach by incorporating a size-price function for a revenue-per-recruit analysis. An optimal control approach is then used to derive a general bioeconomic solution for the optimal harvesting of a short-lived single cohort. This approach prevents economically premature harvesting and provides an "optimal economic yield". By comparing the yield- and revenue-per-recruit management strategies with the bioeconomic management strategy, I am able to test the economic efficiency of the conventional yield-per-recruit approach. This is illustrated with a numerical study. It shows that a bioeconomic strategy can significantly improve economic welfare compared with the yield-per-recruit strategy, particularly in the face of high natural mortality. Nevertheless, I find that harvesting on a revenue-per-recruit basis improves management policy and can generate a rent that is close to that from bioeconomic analysis, in particular when the natural mortality is relatively low.
The second substantive chapter explores the conservation potential of a whale permit market under bounded economic uncertainty. Pro- and anti-whaling stakeholders are concerned about a recently proposed, "cap and trade" system for managing the global harvest of whales. Supporters argue that such an approach represents a novel solution to the current gridlock in international whale management. In addition to ethical objections, opponents worry that uncertainty about demand for whale-based products and the environmental benefits of conservation may make it difficult to predict the outcome of a whale share market. In this study, I use population and economic data for minke whales to examine the potential ecological consequences of the establishment of a whale permit market in Norway under bounded but significant economic uncertainty. A bioeconomic model is developed to evaluate the influence of economic uncertainties associated with pro- and anti- whaling demands on long-run steady state whale population size, harvest, and potential allocation. The results indicate that these economic uncertainties, in particular on the conservation demand side, play an important role in determining the steady state ecological outcome of a whale share market. A key finding is that while a whale share market has the potential to yield a wide range of allocations between conservation and whaling interests - outcomes in which conservationists effectively "buy out" the whaling industry seem most likely.
The third substantive chapter examines the sea lice externality between farmed fisheries and wild fisheries. A central issue in the debate over the effect of fish farming on the wild fisheries is the nature of sea lice population dynamics and the wild juvenile mortality rate induced by sea lice infection. This study develops a bioeconomic model that integrates sea lice population dynamics, fish population dynamics, aquaculture and wild capture salmon fisheries in an optimal control framework. It provides a tool to investigate sea lice control policy from the standpoint both of private aquaculture producers and wild fishery managers by considering the sea lice infection externality between farmed and wild fisheries. Numerical results suggest that the state trajectory paths may be quite different under different management regimes, but approach the same steady state. Although the difference in economic benefits is not significant in the particular case considered due to the low value of the wild fishery, I investigate the possibility of levying a tax on aquaculture production for correcting the sea lice externality generated by fish farms.