The value of El Niño forecasts in the management of salmon: A stochastic dynamic assessment

Christopher J. Costello, Richard M. Adams, Stephen Polasky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Scopus citations


The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the largest source of interannual variability in global climate. Variability in climate has been linked to variability in fisheries, specifically salmon stocks of the Pacific Northwest. The ability to forecast El Niño events already exists and is likely to improve in coming years. An accurate prediction may have value because it allows for better management decisions. In this article, we develop a bioeconomic model of the coho salmon fishery and derive the value of information from improved El Niño forecasting ability. We find that a perfect El Niño forecast results in an annual welfare gain of approximately $1 million, while imperfect forecasts lead to smaller gains. Results also suggest that optimal management in the face of uncertainty involves a "conservative" management strategy, resulting in lower harvest, higher wild fish escapement, and lower hatchery releases than management in the absence of such uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-777
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1998


  • Coho salmon
  • Economic analysis
  • El Niño
  • Value of information

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