Governing the Fisheries: Insights from Elinor Ostrom's Work
Institutions and Policies, ed. by R. Wellings, London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 2017.
22 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 6, 2017
The conventional approach to overfishing is for government to impose a top-down management system on the industry. This may involve a state agency setting overall catch quotas and then allocating shares to fishing enterprises, or creating some form of market framework that allows catch shares to be traded. The research of Elinor Ostrom questioned this perspective. It found that many local communities around the world have developed their own approaches to managing fisheries without the need for government intervention. They set their own rules on who has access to the resource, how it can be fished and what sanctions will be imposed if violations occur. In marked contrast to the failure so often observed under state regulation of the sector, communal management is highly effective at conserving stocks and maintaining yields. We illustrate the case with a comparison between the Nova Scotian inshore fisheries and the Maine lobster fisheries.
Keywords: commons, governance, fisheries, conservation, Ostrom
JEL Classification: B15, B52, O17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation