Multicriterion Decision Merging: Competitive Development of an Aboriginal Whaling Management Procedure

By Givens, Geof H. | Journal of the American Statistical Association, December 1999 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Multicriterion Decision Merging: Competitive Development of an Aboriginal Whaling Management Procedure


Givens, Geof H., Journal of the American Statistical Association


International Whaling Commission management of aboriginal subsistence whaling will eventually use an aboriginal whaling management procedure (AWMP) chosen from a collection of candidate procedures after grueling simulation testing. An AWMP is a fully automatic algorithm designed to operate on the results of an assessment (i.e., a statistical estimation problem relying on sparse series of whale abundance data) to produce a catch limit in each year of real or simulated management. An AWMP should, as much as possible, meet the conflicting objectives of low population risk, high satisfaction of needed catch, and high rate of population recovery. The choice of the best procedure falls naturally in the multicriterion decision making framework, because one of several candidates must be chosen on the basis of high-dimensional simulated performance summaries over a wide range of assumptions about whales and whaling. However, standard multicriterion decision making methods are impractical and unsatisfying for this prob lem. A method is developed to merge competing procedures into a new procedure that is an admissible Bayes rule. The approach is constructive rather than selective, meaning that it is not intended to produce an automatic winner, but rather a promising new candidate. This merging approach allows the best performance aspects of competing procedures to be combined. Ideally, and in examples shown, the newly constructed procedure outperforms all previous candidates. The approach also permits tuning of a single procedure to enhance performance or to more closely reflect design goals, without a simulation-intensive search over the tuning parameter space. These methods are generalizable to a larger class of decision problems.

KEY WORDS: Bayesian decision theory; Bayes rule; Wildlife population management.

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 The International Whaling Commission and Whaling Management

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is widely recognized as having the authority to establish policy regarding management of cetaceans through the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, 1946 (IWC 1995b). The IWC provides member nations with whale harvest quotas for two whaling regimes: commercial and aboriginal subsistence. In 1994 the IWC adopted its "Revised Management Procedure" for commercial whaling, a complex algorithm to establish commercial catch limits in certain areas under certain conditions, given available data on whale stock abundances (TWC 1995a). However, due to various political and implementation disagreements, the IWC has not yet put this procedure into practice; thus no commercial catches have since been allowed. This management procedure was the product of nearly a decade of scientific work, statistical analyses, and simulation evaluation. In the final years of this work, IWC scientists were faced with a decision to choose one of several competing algorithms on th e basis of vast simulation results, diverse and compet ing objectives, and considerable uncertainty about the status and dynamics of whale stocks. Although such a decision seems well suited for a formal statistical decision making approach, IWC scientists relied on less formal collective judgment.

Now the IWC has turned its focus to the development of a management procedure for aboriginal subsistence whaling. Unlike commercial whaling, aboriginal whaling is currently practiced under IWC direction by several aboriginal cultures including Alaskan Eskimos, whom the IWC has provided with an annual quota of about 56 bowhead whales caught (IWC 1998a) from a stock believed to number about 8,200 (Raftery and Zeh 1998). The sense of "aboriginal" here is determined on a case-by-case basis by the IWC, but generally such hunts are conducted by less modern communities of ethnically distinct people for whom whales are an important past or present source of food and whaling plays a major role in the communal sense of cultural identity.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Multicriterion Decision Merging: Competitive Development of an Aboriginal Whaling Management Procedure
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?