The opportunity cost of information: An economic framework for understanding the balance between assessment and control in sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) management

Eli P. Fenichel, Gretchen J.A. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fisheries managers must make trade-offs between competing management actions; however, the inherent tradeoffs associated with information gathering are seldom explicitly considered. Incorporating economics into management decisions at the outset can aid managers in explicitly considering the trade-off between collecting more information to guide management and taking management actions. We use control of the invasive sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in the Laurentian Great Lakes to illustrate how budget constraints shape this trade-off. Economic theory is used to frame previous empirical work showing that reducing the allocation of resources to conducting assessment, and thereby freeing resources for treatment, would result in a greater reduction of sea lamprey populations - the overarching management objective. The optimal allocation of resources between assessment and control depends on the total budget, the relative cost of each management activity, the marginal reduction in uncertainty associated with increased assessment, and the marginal effectiveness of increased treatment. Formal incorporation of prior information can change the optimal allocation of resources. The approach presented here is generally applicable to a wide range of fishery management and research questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume67
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

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