Science, Tech & Environment

A bright spot in depleted fisheries

(What gives you any hope?) A management system called hatch shares can reverse the global trend of fishery failures. This system provides incentives to individual fishermen to take long term stewardship into account. (Walk us through this.) Traditionally fisheries are managed by a season's length with a free for all over that season. This creates a race to fish among fishermen and a progressive shortening of the fishing season. Now a catch system provides a guaranteed right to harvest a fixed share of the catches. (What is the overall result?) The result is that in catch fisheries, the rate of collapse is slashed in half. (Why is that?) the idea is that you have an incentive to grow the fishery because as the fishery grows, so does your share of it. (How many fisheries did you look at?) We looked at a total of over 11,000 fisheries worldwide and just about 150 had implemented these catch share fisheries primarily in Australia, New Zealand and Iceland. The U.S. and Canada have 5-8 each. We tracked them from 1950-2003 and as these have been adopted more widely, we should expect growth in fisheries.

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