Ocean Zoning and Spatial Access Privileges: Rewriting the Tragedy of the Regulated Ocean
Breaking the Logjam: Environmental Reform for the New Congress and Administration Paper
23 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2009
For the past thirty years, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act has served as the primary legislative mechanism for conserving fish populations in United States marine waters. Although amended in 1996, the Act is still far from achieving Congress's goal of sustainable fisheries, as the social costs of fishing continue to outweigh the benefits. In this article, the authors describe the ways in which comprehensive ocean zoning could help remove the logjam that currently plagues ocean management. Under ocean zoning, the government would divide all or some of the ocean under its jurisdiction into a number of different zones or areas and then prescribe what uses of the ocean could be made in each zone. The authors argue that this would create a framework for both the re-alignment of industry incentives as well as the attainment of the broader goal of healthier ocean ecosystems by leading the interests assigned to those areas to develop a sense of group property rights that will improve inter-group relations.
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