Although failures and successes in fisheries management are related to decision making processes, these are rarely analyzed in detail and even less often following quantitative or semi-quantitative approaches. Herein, we study the decision making process for Chile's most important fisheries using a binary decision model. This model evaluates the probability that an annual total allowable catch (TAC) will or will not be modified by the National Fisheries Council (NFC) based on biological, economic, and social factors. We also analyze some aspects of individual voting, particularly whether the members vote against or abstain from voting on the proposed TAC and if they prioritize resource conservation objectives. Our results indicate that the risk of over exploitation for many important stocks in Chile is aggravated by failures at the decision making level: the scientifically recommended TACs for those fisheries that generate higher levels of employment and have greater economic value are normally increased. This analysis shows that the NFC has clearly prioritized short-term economic and social objectives over resource conservation goals. We discuss the need to adjust the composition and functioning of the NFC in order to ensure long-term sustainability of the fisheries.
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