boat.jpgThroughout human history, fishing is an alternative food-producing activity to farming. In villages near coasts, lakes or rivers with rich aquatic ecologies, a substantial part of society's food needs could be met by "farming" the oceans and lakes. Whereas fisheries were thought for ages to be an interminable resource, the twentieth century showed otherwise. As the human population grew exponentially and fishing technologies improved, the fish catches extracted from the ocean grew markedly. Unfortunately, many fisheries could not support the rate of extraction and fish populations began to decline drastically, and in the case of some well-known fisheries such as the North Atlantic cod, suffered complete collapse.

In the MV Sim, the amount fished on a given turn depends on the family's productivity, effort (hours dedicated to fishing), whether the family has a boat or a dragnet (both increase fishing yield significantly), and the amount of fish in the fishery at that point in time. However, if there is a family quota in place, the family cannot pull more fish out of the lake than what the quota allows them.

If left untouched, the fishery grows along a logistic curve until reaching the lake's carrying capacity. If, however, the villagers drive the fishery stock too low by overfishing for many years, the ability of the fishery to regenerate itself may be compromised.

To read more on fisheries:

International Food Policy Research Institute, Fish to 2020, Washington, 2003