ICES Science Fund

Insights from Behavioural Economics to improve Fisheries Management

  • ​​​​Lead Scientist: Sarah B. M. Kraak, Thuenen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries, Germany
  • Co-scientist: Ciaran J. Kelly​, Fisheries Ecosystem Advisory Services (FEAS), Marine Institute, Ireland​​

Project objectives:

Fisheries management operates under the inherent tension between the interests of the individual fishing business, e.g. making immediate profits, and the interests of society, e.g. limiting fishing to sustainable levels. Conventionally, fisheries management aims to modify the behaviour of fishers with laws and regulations. As with all other human beings acting under top-down control, fishers will naturally find loopholes in the regulations to promote their interests even if these jeopardize societal aims. 

Behavioural economics has uncovered a plethora of instances where human behaviour or preferences are systematically modified by different framing of the situation. Humans are 'predictably irrational' and perceive their interests differently, e.g. they become more inclined to sacrifice their immediate self-interest, under varied experimentally manipulated conditions. This knowledge is currently under-utilized in fisheries management. 

The objective of this project is to catalogue those findings from behavioural economics that can be applied in fisheries management settings and that may increase alignment of individual behaviour with societal aims. Fisheries scientists working in positions where they provide advice to fisheries managers may thus have an inventory of pragmatic, operational, and perhaps small institutional changes that may help to successfully align fisher behaviour with the demands of achieving sustainable resource exploitation.​

This project has an additional sponsoring from the Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI).

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Insights from Behavioural Economics to improve Fisheries Management

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