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Abstract

It has become clear that exploitation of natural resources may result in evolutionary selection pressure resulting in morphological changes of a species over time. This potentially adverse effect should be taken into account when regulating the use of such resources. In this paper we present a bioeconomic model where we analyse the effect of selective harvesting on genetic frequency for one specific gene in terms of the socially optimal long-term management of the resource. It is assumed that the individuals carrying the gene have a lower natural mortality rate but are also more valuable to catch. Results indicate that the relationship between the natural rate of selection against less valuable individuals and the interest rate is crucial in determining whether the valuable gene should be preserved or allowed to become extinct. To our knowledge this is the first economic model of resource harvesting when harvesting directly affects the rate of selection in a genetic model.

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