Fishing's Own "Tragedy of the Commons"

The perfect manager, say economists, will manage a resource to maximize its total value over time. But when a resource is available to everyone, a few competitors benefit, while the public in general shares the cost of destruction of the resource. (This concept is explained with much more clarity on Wikipedia.) In The New York Times, Aaron E. Hirsh uses the example of the indigenous Seri fishermen of Mexico’s Infiernillo Channel to illustrate how “artisanal” fisheries management provides a model for sustainable use of the ocean’s resources.
“Around the globe, the same dynamic has unfolded in one fishery after another. Since 1950, the harvests from about a third of the world’s fisheries have collapsed to less than 10 percent of their historical highs. A 2008 United Nations report estimates that global fisheries, currently worth about 80 billion dollars per year, could be worth more like 140 billion — if only they were managed properly.”
(Thanks to reader Jim Phillips for this link.)

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