It’s no surprise that the economics of commercial fishing is an obvious example of the Tragedy of the Commons. But people can also choose to cooperate in protecting a shared resource. That’s a reason why the Environmental Defense Fund reports that overfishing in the United States dropped significantly in 2015, with more than 100 species showing signs of recovery.
Success in cooperation is owed in part to the Environmental Defense Fund, which introduced a system to manage fishing rights. It’s called “Catch Shares,” and it gives those who fish for their livelihood an economic stake in the health of fisheries. Fishing businesses adhere to strict limits in exchange for a guaranteed percent of the fishery. As fish populations rebuild, that percentage represents an increase in business. And that ownership stake of the fishery can be sold or passed to relatives.
After showing signs of success in the U.S., EDF seeks to bring the plan to 12 nations key in the global catch of ocean fish. That would cover 70 percent of the world’s seafood stock. With enough participation, our great grandchildren may be able to enjoy fish for dinner, too!
To learn more about how Catch Shares can insure fish and chips forever, find the Environmental Defense Fund online.