An extended stochastic Allee model with harvesting and the risk of extinction of the herring population

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Journal of Theoretical Biology


Overexploitation of commercially beneficial fish is a serious ecological problem around the world. The growth profiles of most of the species are likely to follow density regulated theta-logistic model irrespective of any taxonomy group [Sibly et al., Science, 2005]. Rapid depletion of population size may cause reduced fitness, and the species is exposed to Allee phenomena. Here sustainability is addressed by modelling the herring population as a stochastic process and computing the probability of extinction and expected time to extinction. The models incorporate an Allee effect, crowding effect which reduce birth and death rates at large populations, and two possible choices of harvesting models viz. linear harvesting and nonlinear harvesting. A seminal attempt is made by Saha [Saha et al., Ecol. Model, 2013] for this economically beneficial fish, but ignored the vital phenomena of harvesting. Moreover, in this model, the demographic stochasticity is introduced through the white-noise term, which has certain limitations when harvesting is introduced into the system. White noise is appropriate for such a system where immigration and emigration are allowed, but a harvesting model is rational for a closed system. The demographic stochasticity is introduced by replacing an ordinary differential equation model with a stochastic differential equation model, where the instantaneous variance in the SDE is derived directly from the birth and death rates of a birth-death process. The modelling parameters are fit to data of the herring populations collected from Global Population Dynamics Database (GPDD), and the risk of extinction of each population is computed under different harvesting protocols. A threshold for handling times is computed beneath which the risk of extinction is high. This is proposed as a recommendation to management for sustainable harvesting.



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