Stylized agent-based fishery model

three fish

Some news from the Baltic Sea! Today’s focus is on management rules and their effect on fishery systems’ dynamics. What is the role of different types of regulations in keeping fisheries sustainable?

In order to understand the dynamics of a regulated fishery (taking both ecological and social systems’ dynamics into account), we developed a stylized agent-based model. The focus of the model is on types of regulations (quotas, gear regulations, protected areas) and their role in maintaining sustainable fish population dynamics through changing fishers’ behavior. The simulation is based on Fisheries and Management model (Kininmonth et al., 2012) with slight tweaks to simplified fishers’ behavior and introduction of catch limits and gear regulations. Apart from the existing protected area rule that prohibits fishing in certain areas, the new regulations let us limit the total catch, temporary close the fishery and prevent fishers from catching young fish. With the help of this toy model we can compare fishery system dynamics over a long term under different types of rules. So far the model is purely theoretical, without a focus on any particular case.

Nevertheless, human behavior is the key source of uncertainty in fisheries (Fulton et al., 2011). Management systems may come up with different types of regulations, aiming to address environmental variability, but receive unexpected outcomes due to surprising human response. That is why we plan to expand the model, introducing adaptive behavior of fishers, non-compliance to rules (cheating) and communication between the fishers. The new model will draw data from the Baltic Sea fishery case and recreate feedbacks that existed during the cod collapse in the 1980s. Exploring emergent dynamics through the expanded Baltic Sea fishery agent-based model and comparing its output with models of other fishery systems (for example Lake Victoria) would be a contribution to the Baltic Sea project, as well as to the project on SES Typology.

Stay tuned for updates!


Fulton, E.A., Smith, A.D.M., Smith, D.C., van Putten, I.E., 2011. Human behaviour: the key source of uncertainty in fisheries management. Fish and Fisheries 12, 2–17.

Kininmonth, S., Apetcho, E., Nurdjamman, S., Prowe, F. and Luzenczyk, A., 2012. Fisheries and Reserves Netlogo Model, Modelling Commons