This article examines the role of risk aversion on the sustainable management of mixed fisheries. We consider a bio-economic model of multiple species harvested by a single fleet with uncertain costs of effort. We assume that the regulatory agency aims at reaching MMEY (Multispecies Maximum Economic Yield) by maximizing the expected utility of total profits, where the utility function captures risk aversion. We show analytically that such a risk-averse MMEY mitigates the risk of biological and economic overexploitation of the different species and thus of biodiversity loss. However excessively high risk aversion also may also lessen food production at MMEY. Thus, risk aversion implies a trade-off between different bio-economic goals. These findings are illustrated with the case study of the Australian South East Fishery, where intermediate risk aversion levels allow for balanced bio-economic management objectives, therefore fostering sustainability.
Risk averse policies foster bio-economic sustainability in mixed fisheries
19 January 2023