The Marine Environment: Fencing the Last Frontier
Posted: 14 Feb 2003
Fisheries resources contribute a valuable source of protein to the world's food supply. While there is much promise for continued production gains from aquaculture and terrestrial sources, the marine fisheries sector faces a number of critical current policy junctures. Since extension of jurisdiction to 200 miles in 1976, there have been dramatic changes in the opportunity for coastal nations to rationally manage formerly open access marine resources. While more spatially encompassing management has brought physical yield close to full biological potential, much of the potential economic yield from fisheries is still squandered. An important issue is whether the future potential of marine resources will be guided by an expansion of private property rights or by an expansion of bureaucratic regulatory structures. New monitoring, information, and enforcement technology is making it increasingly possible to zone the ocean and implement measures that mimic terrestrial property systems. At the same time, there is opposition to privatizing marine resources by groups who view them as public resources. The outcome of the tussle between the forces supporting and opposing property rights creation will largely determine the extent and kinds of values that will be generated from marine resources around the world in the next decade.
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