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Fishery Simulation

In 2014 Icosystem, funded by a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation, created a software model of the Mindoro Philippines tuna fishery value chain from fish stock to consumer. This model was used to derive insights into, and improve our understanding of the long term effect of potential interventions governments and organizations could make in this fishery to achieve sustainability of the fish stock and improve the financial well being of traditional tuna fishers at the same time.

This repo contains the source code for that model as well as the web site that showcases how the model works and insights gained by looking at the model. This readme gives a quick overview of the high points of the model both conceptually and in the code base. It also touches on some basic architecture and what tools and libraries we used to develop the web site.

For instructions on setting up a development environment for this project, check new-developer-setup.txt

Model Basics

The model is an agent based model that simulates the conditions in a fish supply chain over time. It considers (at a high level) everything from the amount of fish in the ocean, how many are caught by local fishermen all the way to tonnage of fish purchased by the end consumer. The Model is a "state updating tick based" model. That means agents keep track of the state they care about (quantity of fish they have, price they sold fish at last time etc). Time is considered to have a smallest possible unit (aka the "tick"). The simulation proceeds by asking each agent what it wants to do in the next tick. The agent takes some action based on its internal state some logic and potentially the current state of other agents. After the simulation has figured out the "next state" of all the agents it takes a second pass through the agents and updates their current state to be the newly computed one. This proceeds until the the desired length of the simulation has been reached.

Briefly the simulation pseudo code looks something like this:

  1. Initialization
    • Agents are given initial state
  2. Tick Loop
    1. Compute Next State (aka tick)
      • Loop over every agent and compute its next state based on agent logic and current states
    2. Update State
      • Loop over every agent and update it so it's current state is the corresponding state compute in the previous process
  3. Until desired number of steps go back to step 2

This main loop can be see in code in the simulation.FisherySimulation object.


The model is organized around a fish supply chain. Each step in the chain is given its own agent which interacts with other agents (usual the "next" and "previous" agents in the supply chain). The following is a list of the major agents in order of the supply chain and their basic actions:

  1. Fish
    • Get Fished
    • Replenish themselves
  2. Municipal Fisher
    • Fish
    • Sell Fish to Local Market
  3. Middleman Market
    • Supplied by Municipal Fisher
    • Takes Demand from Middlemen
    • Sets price based on supply and demand
  4. Middlemen
    • Buys from Middleman Market
    • Sells to Wholesale Market
  5. Wholesale Market
    • Supplied by Middlemen
    • Takes Demand from Exporters
    • Sets price based on supply and demand
  6. Exporter
    • Buys from Wholesale Market
    • Sells to Consumer Market
  7. Consumer Market
    • Supplied by Exporter
    • Takes Demand from Consumer
    • Sets price based on supply and demand
  8. Consumer
    • Has Demand based on population
    • Population increases

Each of these agents extends the simulation.agent.Agent abstract class and has it's own class in the simulation.agent package. It should be noted that every agent also has on it a current state object of the corresponding type. For example MunicipalFisher has a currentState field of type MunicipalFisherState. These are the states updated at the end of the tick loop.


Markets are essentially a coding artifact in order figure out what happens when supply meets demand. They determine when X supply of fish meets Y demand of fish how much gets sold and at what price.

All the markets use the same code/logic which is located at simulation.agent.Market.

Commercial Fishers

While municipal fisher are the primary focus of the system Commercial fishers exist in the system. The are modeled simply as something that puts additional pressure on the fish population. It is assumed that sell their fish external to the current model.

The code for Commercial Fishers located at simulation.agent.CommercialFisher.


The model is highly configurable. In addition to their starting values all the agents (and several of the interactions between agents) have tuning parameters that can be varied. For example if one believes that the population of consumers is going to increase dramatically there is a "growthRate" setting in the Consumer agent that can be increased to match the expected values.

model.ModelCofig is the primary configuration object and contains, as fields, the other configuration objects.


While the setup and modeling of the supply chain "as is" is obviously important, the goal of the simulation is to see what effect various interventions would have on the system. To that end an "Intervention Agent" exists in the simulation. Unlike the other agents it does not perform any actions by default. But rather based on how it is configured modifies the actions other agents take. For example if one wanted to find out what would happen to the fishery if fishermen were trained by an external organization, rather then setting a value on the fisherman one would configure the "interventionNumberOfPeopleTrained" setting on the Intervention Agent.

Since the project was sponsored by Rockefeller the intervention agent code is in simulation.agent.Rockefeller.

Running the Simulation (Configuration and Results)

The simulation itself is implemented as a scala function. It takes in a ModelConfig and produces SimulationResults. The
ModelConfig is a series of nested case classes which define some general things like length of simulation, but are primarily made up of initial values for the agents state and their parameter values. These are largely pass through values that are simply copied into the corresponding agent. i.e. ModelConfig has a ModelConfigFish on it which contains the values "biomass" "carryingCapacity" and "growthRate". Biomass is the initial value of the biomass of the Fish agent and carryingCapacity and growthRate are model parameters on the Fish agent.

The SimulationResults are essentially a collection of all states of the agent at every tick, as well as some additional computed data. For example the SimulationResult object has a fish object that has an array with one entry per tick containing the FishState object that corresponds to that tick. Additionally the fish object has a sustainable yields array that contains one entry per tick with a double that is the computed sustainable yield.

The model configuration is at model.ModelCofig The Simulation itself is simulation.FisherySimulation And the results are at simulation.SimulationResults

The Web Site

The Web site is built on the play framework written in scala. We primarily use the eclipse IDE for development with the Play Plugin. For information on Setting up eclipse with play check here.

On the client side we are using less to generate our css. Play has built in support for it and you can find the documentation here. For layout and some widgets we're using bootstrap. For dynamic elements we're using angularjs.


The site makes use of three services to run the model and retrieve results on the client side. These three services are all initiated via javascript ajax calls, they all take some information about a simulation to run and return some json result.

A few quick things to note. Play has helpers for converting scala objects to JSON and vice versa which we make heavy use of. In particular we created a ModelConfigUI class that is designed to be serialized to and from JSON. It is located at controllers.ModelConfigUI and has a helper object that has JSON formatter which handles the de/serialization.

This object can be converted to a ModelConfig object via the "baseline" or "intervention" methods. The baseline method produces a ModelConfig instance where the interventions have not been applied and interventions, obviously, includes them. The reason both methods exist is that it is common to want to compare what happened with the interventions to what would have happened without them. In other words being able to asses were the interventions meaningful.

Calls to these services are often initiated by watching a angularjs model that corresponds to the model settings (i.e. whenever the user changes a model configuration it triggers a run/data request). In order to not overload the server these calls are debounced (restricted to one call every x seconds) via this library.

The following format will be used to described the services

View: The play template that uses the service Route: The play route associated with the service Watch file: The file that defines the watch that calls the service code: The line of code that establishes the watch Code file: The file that contains the client side call to the service code: The line of code that makes the call Description:

A general service and what it's used for.


View: views.modelLanding.scala.html Route: POST /model/run controllers.Application.runModel Watch file: assetes.javascripts.controllers.js code: "$scope.$watch('config', ..." Code file: code: "that.rerunSimulation = $.debounce(200, that.rerunSimulationRaw);" Description:

This service is use by the "full mode page". It is passed the entire model configuration (serialized as JSON) and returns JSON results both for the baseline and intervention version of the model run. This data is used to populate the charts on the page. It is debounced.


View: views.disseminationMain.scala.html Route: POST /model/run2 controllers.Application.runModel2 Watch file: views.disseminationMain.scala.html code: "$scope.$watch('model.inputs', ..." Code file: assetes.javascripts.general-services.js code: "it.getJsonPlusDebounced = function(delay) {..." Description:

This service initiates a model run based on the configuration (serialized as JSON) it gets but it returns only a model id which can be used later to retrieve results later (see below). It is debounced.


View: views.charts.lineChart.scala.html Route: POST /results/:runid/:dataid String, dataid: String) Watch file: views.charts.lineChart.scala.html code: "scope.$watch('@resultsIdPath', ..." Code file: assetes.javascripts.util.js code: "REMOTE.requestResultTable = function(resultsId, tableId, successCb, errorCb) {..." Description:

This service is uses in conjunction with run2. Basically run2 is used to initiate a simulation run for a config. That call will return a result ID that is set on an angularjs model. That value is watched and when it changes the result ID is used to retrieve data. Since the calls to run2 are debounced the calls to data do not need to be.


This project is licensed under AGPL license

Third Party and Open Source Software Licensing Information

Software includes third party software that is distributed and licensed under “Open Source” or other third party licenses, the

terms and conditions of which may be applicable to and enforceable. In such case, the terms and conditions of the applicable

Open Source or third party licenses governs the use of such software. Prior to using the software, it is licensee’s responsibility

to review and agree to such licensing, copyright and warranty terms. Links to the applicable licenses are provided below:

Libraries and Links

Third Party License and Link Applicable Software Libraries
Apache V2, 01/2004 Akka and Play Framework guava
GNU LGPL v3 findbugs
BSD Simple Build Tool (sbt)
MIT Bootstrap jQuery angularjs
Copyright (c) 2010 "Cowboy" Ben Alman Dual licensed under the MIT and GPL. jQuery throttle / debounce - v1.1 - 3/7/2010
Copyright (c) 2008 Filament Group, Inc Dual licensed under the MIT and GPL licenses jQuery-Plugin - selectToUISlider - creates a UI slider component from a select element(s) by Scott Jehl,
Scala License Scala and the Scala IDE for Eclipse


A model of the Mindoro Philippines tuna fishery and supply chain.




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