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Abstract

Ecologists warn that the rapid evolution occurring as a result of high-intensity commercial fishing could have significant economic and ecological effects. So far, fishery managers do not take this rapid evolution (called fisheries-induced evolution or FIE) into consideration when determining fishery policy. I model the interactions between the genetics, population structure, and economics of the fishery in order to determine how beneficial altering the fishery managers decision framework to include fisheries induced evolution would be to fishery profit and yield. My model is based on North-East Arctic Cod, which are long lived and for which an abundance of information exists, including proof of FIE. I compare the steady state reached by a `myopic' fishery manager who sets effort and mesh size policy while ignoring evolution, to the steady state reached by a fishery manager who dynamically optimizes his strategy with the knowledge of how evolution will respond. This paper shows that accounting for evolution can increase steady state profits by 29-34%, however this benefit decreases and is eventually eliminated as the discount rate increases from zero. An important auxiliary benefit to accounting for evolution is the effect optimal management has on fishery biomass, maturation rates, and yield.

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