Professor Herrera named Senior Research Fellow
Professor Guillermo (Ta) Herrera, Assistant Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, who is currently on leave at the Marine Center of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, was recently given the prestigious title of Senior Research Fellow.
At Woods Hole, Herrera will continue his research in bioeconomics, including the work that he covered in his dissertation. Herrera said it encompassed "the economics of multi-species fisheries and efficient management over time," and focused on bycatch, which refers to unwanted or unintentional catching that occurs in areas that accommodate multiple species of fish.
Herrera plans to specifically explore the governance regimes of fisheries by looking at the approach of management on a higher level. This will include an exploration in the benefits of community control as opposed to supervision by the government.
"In particular, more localized governance by fishing communities seems to be working well in the lobster industry in Maine, and some of my work explores the extent to which this success has been due to the sedentary nature of the lobsters themselves, the technology used to harvest them, and the characteristics of the fishing communities," Herrera explained.
To carry out his research, Herrera constructs mathematical models of intricate systems and then evaluates them to see how they react in different situations such as the use of a new method of regulation or an alteration in the fish population in numbers and distribution.
"The analysis I do takes the form of solving equations that describe a system, or-if the math is too difficult to solve outright-simulation modeling, in which I write a computer program that provides a virtual reality which mimics the real system in certain interesting ways," explained Herrera.
Herrera notes that the research has to be carried out with caution, saying, "One has to be careful about interpreting the results of such a simplification too literally, because any model necessarily leaves some things out."
Herrera taught Natural Resource Economics and Policy last Spring at Bowdoin, which he describes as a "wider spectrum class" that doesn't deal only with fisheries. He has also taught Environmental and Resource Economics, a senior seminar. That course, "covers natural resource issues, pollution, and pollution regulation," he said.
After his time at Woods Hole, Herrera would like to get involved in the
Gulf of Maine class and sees team teaching as a possibility. In his absence,
economics and environmental studies students alike are eagerly awaiting