No. 11/2011: When a Fish is a Fish: The Economic Impacts of Escaped Farmed Fish


The escape of cultured fish from a marine aquaculture facility is a type of biological invasion that may lead to a variety of potential ecological and economic effects on native fish. This paper develops a general invasive species impact model to capture explicitly both the ecological and economic effects of invasive species, especially escaped farmed fish, on native stocks and harvests. First, the possible effects of escaped farmed fish on the growth and stock size of a native fish are examined. Next, a bioeconomic model to analyze changes in yield, benefit distribution, and overall profitability is constructed. Different harvesting scenarios, such as commercial, recreational, and joint commercial and recreational fishing, are explored. The model is illustrated by a case study of the interaction between native and farmed Atlantic salmon in Norway. The results suggest that both the harvest and profitability of a native fish stock may decline after an invasion, but the total profits from the harvest of both native and farmed stocks may increase or decrease, depending on the strength of the ecological and economic parameters.