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Behavioural economics in fisheries: A systematic review protocol

Background: The field of behavioural economics holds several opportunities for integrated fisheries management and conservation and can help researchers and managers alike understand fisher behaviour and decision-making. As the study of the cognitive biases that influence decisionmaking processes, behavioural economics differentiates itself from the classical field of economics in that it does not assume strictly rational behaviour of its agents, but rather looks for all mechanisms that influence behaviour. This field offers potential applications for fisheries management, for example in relation to behavioural change, but such applications require evidence of these mechanisms applied in a fisheries context. Thus, we have developed a systematic literature review protocol focusing on the primary question: “Which behavioural economics mechanisms influence fisher behaviour?” The aim is to provide a comprehensive overview of these different mechanisms and how they have been applied in the study of fisher behaviour. Methods and expected outputs: The review protocol was developed in close collaboration with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Working Group on Maritime Systems (WGMARS). WGMARS members were therefore considered the key stakeholders for this study, and were consulted to develop a suitable systematic review question and methodology. Three academic databases will be searched using a customized Boolean keyword search string. Research articles deemed eligible for inclusion in the systematic review are those that studied the influence of behavioural-economics mechanisms on the behaviour of marine fishers in any location, and at any scale. Insights from this literature will be collated in order to provide an overview of the relevant behavioural-economics mechanisms and actions, how effective these mechanisms are and at what scale, geographic region and in which fisheries sector they have been applied. Any fisheries management implications identified by the studies under review will also be outlined. Finally, it will be recorded whether or not ethical considerations were made in the reviewed literature, so that in the discussion it will be possible to reflect on the ethics of conducting behavioural-economics research and policy actions in a fisheries context.



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