Understanding Fisher Behavior: The Case of Snapper Fishers in Indonesia

Jens Koed Madsen, Rani Ekawaty, Aarthi Ananthanarayanan, Richard Bailey, Ernesto Carrella, Chris Dorsett, Michael Drexler, Peter Mous, Umi Muawanah, Steven Saul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is important to incorporate fisher motivations and behavior into fisheries management models. Incorrect be-havioral assumptions may yield ineffective incentives or interventions or even produce unintended conse-quences. To understand fisher behavior in a developing country, we surveyed 93 Indonesian snapper fishers. Results suggest they consider competing aspects such as income, personal reputation, and sociocultural norms when deciding where and what to fish; they update beliefs about location, bountifulness, and catchability of target fish stocks through direct observations, inferences over geographical similarities, and social interactions with other fishers, and they evaluate satisfaction economically as well as socially. Information sharing and social knowledge are likely port-specific, representing local sociocultural norms rather than being related to vessel size, target catch, or other demographics. The prevalence of information sharing and imitation patterns sug-gests that fisher decision-making in Indonesian snapper fisheries has a significant sociocultural component. We discuss implications for fisheries management models and for policy decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-100
Number of pages16
JournalMarine Resource Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Choice preferences
  • decision-making
  • economic factors
  • field study
  • fisher behavior
  • Indonesia
  • semi-structured interviews
  • sociocultural factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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