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THE NEXT STEP IN MODELING: Despite improved knowledge and stricter regulations, fish stocks remain overharvested. This is partly because models and assessments that are supposed to help policy-makers develop guidelines are not realistic in describing the behaviour of fishers .
In a new study published in Fish and Fisheries, centre researchers Nanda Wijermans, Kirill Orach and Maja Schlüter together with colleagues from Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences present a more sophisticated model by reflecting on the diversity and complexity within fishing behaviour.
We envision a next generation of fisheries models that account for the importance of human behavioural dynamics by including relevant insights from both the social and natural sciences.
Nanda Wijermans, lead author
There are two main reasons why considerations around human behaviour is usually absent from established models:
Key to improve on this is to incorporate insights from social sciences and how to use them in models. Current models tend to focus on fishers’ desire to maximise gratification and avoid punishment. That is often a poor representation of reality, the authors warn.
The model developed by Wijermans and her colleagues is the first to use studies on fishing styles to reflect on behavioural diversity among the fishers. It considers how fishers may differ in motivation, ability, livelihoods and their social networks.
Based on their experience with this model, the authors highlight three things future developers of fishery models should consider:
Concludes Wijermans; “We hope that our synthesis of social science insights on behavioural diversity and our model will help others find and build on insights with more ease. "
The researchers used literature reviews and modelling for three reasons:
The use of agent-based modelling (ABM) was considered particularly suitable because it allowed the researchers to represent and study the underlying processes of behavioural diversity that the social sciences consider key. This enables the understanding of why patterns arise the way they do, and allow for exploration of possible or extreme scenarios. It also facilitated thought experiments to enable researchers and policy designers to think in terms of a complex system, where human behaviour is heterogenous and to place their work into that context. This complements the typical use of models that focuses on the ‘right’ answers (e.g. a prediction of policy response), ‘what-if’ answers (scenario thinking) with “why” answers (how do things work).
Wijermans, N., Boonstra, W.J., Orach, K., Hentati-Sundberg, J., Schlüter, M. 2020. Behavioural diversity in fishing—Towards a next generation of fishery models. Fish and Fisheries, Volume21, Issue5, September 2020, Pages 872-890, https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12466
For more information, contact lead author Nanda Wijermans:
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