Beyond band-aids in fisheries management: fixing world fisheries
Abstract:Although existing fisheries management systems have largely failed, the public and most scientists believe this failure is due to overfishing and that the solution includes the precautionary approach, marine protected areas, and ecosystem management. We argue that the existing interpretations of ecosystem management have proved disastrous for the U.S. West Coast groundfish fishery; that no obvious social and economic goal is associated with these interpretations; that maximization of total ecosystem yield would probably perpetuate overfishing on some stocks; and that "weak-stock" management will lead to major losses in potential yields. Although smaller-scale spatial management could prevent overfishing on weak stocks while allowing fishing of healthy stocks, eco-system management and other biological remedies fail to recognize the real problem: overcapitalization and the race for fish; the "solutions" commonly identified actually treat a symptom rather than the problem. Solutions do exist and have the common characteristic of changing the incentives to make what is good for an individual or group good for society. Examples already in place include community ownership of fishing grounds, cooperative fisheries, and rights-based fishing (e.g., individual transferable quotas).
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 2004
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