Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 9018
Title: Benefits and risks of diversication for individual fishers
Author: Sean C. Anderson, E. J. Ward, Andrew O. Shelton, Milo Adkison, Anne H. Beaudreau, Rich Brenner, Alan C. Haynie, Jennifer C. Shriver, Jordan Watson, Benjamin Williams
Publication Year: 2017
Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science

Individuals relying on natural resource extraction for their livelihood

face high income variability driven by a mix of environmental, bio-
logical, management, and economic factors. Key to managing these

industries is identifying how regulatory actions and individual be-
haviour affect income variability, financial risk, and, by extension,

the economic stability and the sustainable use of natural resources.
In commercial fisheries, communities and vessels fishing a greater
diversity of species have less revenue variability than those fishing
fewer species. However, it is unclear if these benefits extend to the
actions of individual fishers and how year-to-year changes in diversi-
fication affect revenue and revenue variability. Here, we evaluate two
axes by which fishers in Alaska can diversify fishing activities. We
show that, despite increasing specialization over the last 30 years,

fishing a set of permits with higher species diversity reduces indi-
vidual revenue variability and fishing an additional permit is asso-
ciated with higher revenue and lower variability. However, increas-
ing species diversity within the constraints of existing permits has

a fishery-dependent effect on revenue and is usually (87% probabil-
ity) associated with increased revenue uncertainty the following year.

Our results demonstrate that the most effective option for individu-
als to decrease revenue variability is to participate in additional or

more diverse fisheries. However, this option is expensive, often lim-
ited by regulations such as catch share programs, and consequently

unavailable to many individuals. With increasing climatic variabil-
ity it will be particularly important that individuals relying on natural

resources for their livelihood have effective strategies to reduce fi-
nancial risk.

Theme: Recovery and rebuilding of marine and coastal species
Foci: Describe the relationships between human activities and species recovery, rebuilding and sustainability.
Develop methods to use physiological, biological and behavioral information to predict population-level processes.