Home > fisheries, property rights, RealClimate > Libertarians to lefty-enviros: without community-based property rights, sustainable fisheries are impossible

Libertarians to lefty-enviros: without community-based property rights, sustainable fisheries are impossible

Readers from RealClimate, thanks for your visit.

Here`s my comment with embedded links:

#188 / 245: Neal & Jim, thanks for the references to the successful experiments in Iceland, NZ and the Alaskan pollock fishery to replace the tragedy of the government commons with property rights approaches that gives the fishermen a stake in protecting the resources they harvest, instead of simply an incentive to invest in a mad race to catch fish before others do in a continually shrinking fishery with shorter and shorter seasons.

Don Leal and other free market environmentalists (particularly at PERC in Bozeman) have long been leaders in this field, and interest is finally growing, as the serial collapse of important fisheries continues.

Elinor Ostrom has also been a leader in documenting the ways that a community of users (NOT the dread and sloppily misused “soc-ial-ism”) may effectively manage a shared resource.

Readers might be interested in the World Bank`s Oct 2008 report, “The Sunken Billions; The Economic Justification for Fisheries Reform”.

With support from the World Bank, PERC is in the middle of hosting a conference on approaches to sustainable fisheries (and on ending the massive overharvesting and wasted subsidies and malinvestment under current regulatory approaches).

I also urge readers to look at what the organization Defying Ocean’s End (cofounded by Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Ocean Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, The World Conservation Union, and World Wildlife Fundhas to say about protecting fish:

“Most of the solutions that have been implemented or proposed to fix the world’s fisheries center on command-and-control measures: regulators or courts telling fishermen how to fish through the imposition of controls on effort (e.g., fishing vessel length, engine horsepower, gear restrictions, etc.). Prescriptions like these work against strong economic incentives for maximizing catch, which are not addressed by such measures, and are of course usually resisted by fishermen. Often, prescriptions create incentives for “work-arounds” and set up a cat-and-mouse game between fishermen and regulators – for example, if regulators impose a restriction on vessel size, fishermen may purchase two vessels to maintain high catch levels.

“As in most natural resource problems, more effective solutions will address the fundamental drivers of unsustainable fisheries. In this case, the key necessary reform will be to designate secure catch privileges. It is important to understand that such privileges can be allocated to different kinds of entities in different ways, and indeed, they should be tailored to specific fisheries and communities to fit with local customs, traditions, values, and social structure.”

I`ve linked a number of my other posts on fisheries here

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