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In times of uncertainty, experienced fishing boat captains may fare better

When making choices, people tend to go with what they know, or try something new. We make these trade-offs every day. Does one strategy have an advantage over another? Scientists decided to research this question by looking at fishing boat captains, who face this choice again and again when deciding where to fish. To find out which strategy leads to greater success, National Science Foundation-funded scientists looked at 540,000 fishing vessel position records from nearly 2,500 commercial fishing trips in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, along with their revenues. The study found that some vessels consistently explore new territory and invest more time and resources into sampling new places to fish. In times of stability, exploratory vessels performed no better or worse on average than vessels that stuck with consistency.

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