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Appears in:
Pages: 3968-3978
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain

AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EDUCATIONAL POTENTIAL OF A FISHERIES MANAGEMENT SIMULATION GAME FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES STUDENTS

M. Ruiz, J. A. González, F. Franco, M. A. Alberruche

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (SPAIN)
Management simulation game models have been widely used as a teaching tool, particularly in the Natural Sciences. However, the full educational potential of fisheries management games has been little explored. One of the most renowned education-oriented resources is Fish Banks, a role-playing interactive simulation game developed by Donella Meadows and her colleagues, supported by computer software that allows teams to manage fish stocks through competing fishing companies. Participants are requested to maximize their assets by exploiting this renewable natural resource under open access and free market competition. The two key decisions that each company has to make are changes in the size of their fleet and allocation of fishing vessels to different fisheries. Fish Banks has become a widely used educational resource generally aimed at high school and university curricula. The game has also been adapted to the management of other natural resources like forests, and it has even been used in specialized business administration courses.

We have been using the Fish Banks game for nine years at the Autonomous University of Madrid (Spain), as part of the practice sessions of a general undergraduate Natural Resources Management course for Environmental Sciences. We have introduced two variations in the standard game procedures that allow to compare the time horizon of actors involved in fisheries management (short versus long term) and the presence or absence of an institution to regulate fishing management decisions. The underlying hypotheses are that long term decisions influence the rate of extraction of the resource, and that the presence of a regulatory institution has a positive effect on equity and sustainability.

A total of 48 sessions of the game have been played during the nine years. Groups of 16-24 students were distributed in four competing fishing companies in a typical session. Twenty sessions were played using the standard Fish Banks protocol for a length of 10 years iteration, while 11 sessions were conducted under the standard protocol but extended to 15 years iteration, and 17 sessions were conducted for a length of 10 years but asking the students to organize a fisheries management institution.

Our results show that sessions run under an institutional setting had higher aggregated assets at the end of the game compared with those run for the same number of years without an institution. The fish stock at the end of the game was also higher for institution-run sessions. Sessions with institutions also had more evenly distributed assets among participating companies. The introduction of different models of fish population dynamics also allowed for an in-depth discussion of the role of environmental variables in natural resources management.

An assessment survey conducted among students has highlighted both the pedagogic and experimental value of the game. Over 90% of the respondents marked it as “good” or “very good” for developing their analytical and critical capacities, and for improving their skills to incorporate various economic, social and ecological factors into a single comprehensive framework. The fact that this could be done while they were having fun was also highly appreciated by 95% of the participants. Two thirds of the students also rated the Fish Banks practice as “better” or “much better” than the average practice sessions they had in other courses of the degree program.
@InProceedings{RUIZ2009ANA1,
author = {Ruiz, M. and Gonz{\'{a}}lez, J. A. and Franco, F. and Alberruche, M. A.},
title = {AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EDUCATIONAL POTENTIAL OF A FISHERIES MANAGEMENT SIMULATION GAME FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES STUDENTS},
series = {1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN09 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-9801-3},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona ,Spain},
month = {6-8 July, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {3968-3978}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Ruiz AU - J. A. González AU - F. Franco AU - M. A. Alberruche
TI - AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EDUCATIONAL POTENTIAL OF A FISHERIES MANAGEMENT SIMULATION GAME FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES STUDENTS
SN - 978-84-612-9801-3/2340-1117
PY - 2009
Y1 - 6-8 July, 2009
CI - Barcelona ,Spain
JO - 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN09 Proceedings
SP - 3968
EP - 3978
ER -
M. Ruiz, J. A. González, F. Franco, M. A. Alberruche (2009) AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EDUCATIONAL POTENTIAL OF A FISHERIES MANAGEMENT SIMULATION GAME FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES STUDENTS, EDULEARN09 Proceedings, pp. 3968-3978.
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