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Order in the Lake: Managing the Sustainability of the Lake Constance Fisheries, 1350-1900

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Around 1350 the authorities of the Lake Constance region began to regulate the local fisheries by issuing fishermen's ordinances and signing fisheries treaties with other principalities with the stated interest of protecting the fish stocks, which were considered a commons. The fishermen and their guilds were heavily involved in this process, since some of their practices - like the destruction of spawn and the catching of young fish - could have devastating consequences. The fishermen and their authorites decided regularly for more than four centuries to prioritise the long-term preservation of the fish stocks and not short-term profits to be made on the local fish markets. Thus, they avoided the disastrous outcome of a 'Tragedy of the Commons'.
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Keywords: Lake Constance; commons; fisheries; guilds; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2015

More about this publication?
  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2018) of 0.800. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.918.
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