Effects of Limited Access Management on Substitutable Resources: A Case Study of the Surf Clam and Ocean Quahog Fishery

Sylvia J. Brandt

DOI: 10.2190/NJL3-LG1E-5GF1-WT30


The tragedy of the commons and joint markets for natural resources present researchers with intriguing questions: What policies efficiently protect both primary and substitute resources? Why do some management policies produce counter-intuitive results? Fishery management is one example of regulating complex economic and ecological systems and provides case studies of policies used to correct the inefficiencies inherent in common property resources. Using the Mid-Atlantic surf clam and ocean quahog fishery as an example, this article models the effects of limited access policies on substitutable natural resources. The history of the surf clam and ocean quahog fishery illustrates the difficulties of managing common property and substitutable resources. The fishery is a complex system in which economic, ecological, and regulatory factors affect harvesting decisions for two substitutable resources. I model the profit-maximizing decisions made by individual vessel owners and illustrate how biological and economic parameters affect these closely linked clam populations. Using this model I simulate harvest patterns and populations of the two species under limited access management.

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