Simulation Models as Decision-Support Tools for Fisheries Conservation Planning

Unlike the “real world”, simulation models provide experimental systems where the outcomes of various assumptions can be examined to help inform management decisions. Given the multiple-objective nature of fisheries management, quantitative fish population and environmental simulations have become more commonly used to help cumulate the effects of multiple management actions and environmental stressors and provide comparisons between alternative management strategies. Recent technological advances in modeling have not only lead to greater computational power and ability to handle greater model complexity, but also provide greater model transparency and comprehension to allow for more effective communication between stakeholders. Simulation models have been applied for purposes as diverse as evaluating habitat restoration benefits, examining the impacts of hatchery supplementation, determining the effects of climate change, and identifying the most effective conservation measures. In addition to acting as decision-support tools, simulation models are also useful for organizing existing knowledge of focal species, thereby helping to identify knowledge gaps and guide future research efforts.
Paul Bergman
Paul Bergman
Joseph Merz
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