Governing the Fisheries: Insights from Elinor Ostrom's Work

Institutions and Policies, ed. by R. Wellings, London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 2017.

Institute of Economic Affairs Monographs, 2017

22 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2017

See all articles by Paul Dragos Aligica

Paul Dragos Aligica

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Ion Sterpan

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 6, 2017

Abstract

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

Aligica, Paul Dragos and Sterpan, Ion, Governing the Fisheries: Insights from Elinor Ostrom's Work (March 6, 2017). Institutions and Policies, ed. by R. Wellings, London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 2017. ; Institute of Economic Affairs Monographs, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2928439

Paul Dragos Aligica

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Ion Sterpan (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ionsterpan.com

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