System Dynamics Applications

Fish Banks


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The Fish Banks Ltd simulator was developed by Meadows, Fiddaman and Shannon (1993) to demonstrate to students of system dynamics just how fragile the ecology can be.  Factors militating against ecological sustainability need to be understood before management can be effective, and the simulator was designed to assist in developing the necessary understanding. 

The Fish Banks model, as described in the ‘Road Maps’ series of resources available through Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been built by many system dynamics students because it is a most valuable tool for teaching and learning.  Almost universal initial reaction to the behaviour of the model is disbelief, because after a long and profitable period of harvesting fish the population declines rapidly.  The reasons for the dramatic decline are not intuitively obvious.  The model reveals the reasons.

Reference: Meadows, D.L., Fiddaman, T. and Shannon, D., 1993, ‘Fish Banks, Ltd.  A Micro-computer Assisted Group Simulation That Teaches Principles of Sustainable Management of Renewable Natural Resources’, 3rd ed, Laboratory for Interactive Learning, University of New Hampshire, Durham.

The construction of the Fish Banks model as depicted in ‘Road Maps’ is described at .

A Powersim™ Studio representation of the Fish Banks model is at .