Scales of justice

Privatize the seas? If only solving overfishing were so easy

School of hard knocksIn this month’s Atlantic, Gregg Easterbrook writes that privatizing the seas through use of individualized transferrable quotas (ITQs) is the solution to the grave problem of overfishing. Recently, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco came out strongly (PDF) in favor of ITQs (which the agency is calling “catch shares”), and has committed her agency to “transitioning to catch shares” as a solution to overfishing. Would that the solution to overfishing were so easy! Today, fisheries managers set a “total allowable catch” (TAC) for open-access fisheries. A fishery is open until that TAC is reached. Not surprisingly, there is often …

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