Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


A bioeconomic simulation model of the middle Atlantic surf clam (Spisula solidissima) fishery has been developed from a survey of biological and econometric relationships. While identifying the biological input parameters available in the literature, the economic submodel of the fishery has been developed with price and landings time series data, and with data obtained through the use of survey questionnaires and interviews with surf clam fishermen and processors. Alternative management scenarios in the fishery have been evaluated from industry costs in both the harvesting and processing sectors and analysis of the demand for raw product confronting surf clam fishermen. Multiple regression analysis of time series data indicates that surf clam ex-vessel prices may be negatively related to surf clam landings whereas hard clam prices are positively related to ex-vessel ocean quahog prices and ex-vessel oyster prices. The strength of this relationship confirms the status of ocean quahogs as very close substitutes for surf clams. The results of case studies using the model suggest that the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council has followed a prudent course of action in managing the surf clam fishery. The model also projects that, (1) larger yield quotas may be possible in the immediate future without jeopardizing surf clam population stability, (2) overcapitalization in the fishery appears to remain a problem, and (3) the economic outlook for the operators of small vessels remains relatively bleak.



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