Skip to main content
Unpublished Paper
Gaming the System: Bio-Economics, Game Theory, & Fisheries Management
  • Richard A Grisel

This paper argues that game theory provides powerful, effective new tools to analyze externalities that occur in the context of strategic, multi-party, interactive decision-making. I will attempt to treat this as a non-technical paper and avoid the complex mathematics better left to economists and mathematicians. Instead, a more achievable goal is to illustrate how high-seas open-access fishing is virtually identical to a game situation, treat the fundamentals of game theory, and demonstrate that game theoretic analyses are well-suited and fruitful for designing effective policy responses to fisheries management, particularly with respect to the straddling stocks problem. Indeed, one seminal fisheries scholar has been so bold as to claim that “[e]conomists cannot analyze the economics of the management of such fisheries, with the hope of providing useful insights to policy makers, other than through the lens of game theory.”

Section II reviews some key features of the fisheries resource to ground the discussion. Section III provide a brief overview of game theory. Section IV argues that management of trans-jurisdictional straddling stocks is very much like a standard game theoretic situation and applies a game theoretic analysis to fisheries. Section V briefly touches on some possible challenges the current high seas fisheries legal regime presents for reaching optimal collaboration between parties. In Section VI, this paper discusses the policy implications of a game theoretic treatment of international fisheries management: what insights do we glean from game theory, and what policies does game theory recommend?

  • bioeconomics,
  • game theory,
  • fisheries,
  • natural resources,
  • environmental
Publication Date
Fall December 11, 2012
Citation Information
Richard A Grisel. "Gaming the System: Bio-Economics, Game Theory, & Fisheries Management" (2012)
Available at: