One of my papers from my PhD was recently published in Fisheries Research. My PhD largely focuses on the management of the invasive yet valuable Red King Crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) in the Barents Sea.

Studies in the invasive species economic literature have typically sought to identify optimal management strategies in terms of control and prevention as well as design mechanisms and policy instruments to achieve optimal stock levels. Although the optimal allocation of resources to prevention versus to control of invasions is not new in the literature, there has been scant coverage of information costs of research that account for pre- and post-invasion stages. What makes the Red King Crab (RKC) an excellent example to address this question is the fact that its management is threefold, with research in Norway focused on identifying: a) the Maximum Economic Yield for the development of a commercial fishery b) the ecosystem losses for providing information on the cost of the ongoing invasion externalities c) the baseline ecosystem assets which are at risk from expansion of the invasion.

Research decisions at the frontier and in the invaded area are interconnected and share limited funding. The valuable fishery in the East can perhaps be made more valuable by research in support of the commercial fishery, while the more uncertainly valued benthic habitat in the West can have increased clarification of value and how to preserve it by baseline research ahead of the invasion frontier.

In this paper, my co-author Brooks Kaiser and I discuss the different types of research and the challenges that accompany the allocation of resources among those types. We contextualize this basic framework of distinct research types in the RKC invasion case for delineating the allocation dilemma under the existence of uncertainties and spatial heterogeneity. We develop a simple stylized model that illustrates the need to prioritize allocation of research resources following the probability of “success” of ex-ante (frontier) and ex-post (invaded area) research types in revealing the marginal external benefits from harvesting. The results illustrate how the economic rationale behind the allocation of research resources for acquiring the different types of information needed to address the interplay of ecology and economic behavior may advise increases in research resource allocation to seemingly more risky research endeavors. Using data from 2004 to 2018 on the actual allocation of resources from the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, we identify patterns in the management of the species across time in Norway. We further discuss the role of economies of scope among different research types as well as the way in which those types interact with each other for the case of the RKC. The paper concludes on the importance of the prioritizing criterion in research resource allocation for invasive species with a commercial value, as a means of identifying the underlying bioeconomic trade-offs.

You can read more and access the paper here: