Most current fishing practices are neither economically nor biologically sustainable. Every year, the world spends $80 billion buying fish that cost $105 billion to catch, even as heavy fishing places growing pressure on stocks that are already struggling with warmer, more acidic oceans. How have we developed an industry that is so wasteful, and why has it been so difficult to alter the trajectory toward species extinction?
In this transnational, interdisciplinary history, Carmel Finley answers these questions and more as she explores how government subsidies propelled the expansion of fishing from a coastal, in-shore activity into a global industry. While nation states struggling for ocean supremacy have long used fishing as an imperial strategy, the Cold War brought a new emphasis: fishing became a means for nations to make distinct territorial claims. A network of trade policies and tariffs allowed cod from Iceland and tuna canned in Japan into the American market, destabilizing fisheries in New England and Southern California. With the subsequent establishment of tuna canneries in American Samoa and Puerto Rico, Japanese and American tuna boats moved from the Pacific into the Atlantic and Indian Oceans after bluefin. At the same time, government subsidies in nations such as Spain and the Soviet Union fueled fishery expansion on an industrial scale, with the Soviet fleet utterly depleting the stock of rosefish (or Pacific ocean perch) and other groundfish from British Columbia to California. This massive global explosion in fishing power led nations to expand their territorial limits in the 1970s, forever changing the seas.
Looking across politics, economics, and biology, All the Boats on the Ocean casts a wide net to reveal how the subsidy-driven expansion of fisheries in the Pacific during the Cold War led to the growth of fisheries science and the creation of international fisheries management. Nevertheless, the seas are far from calm: in a world where this technologically advanced industry has enabled nations to colonize the oceans, fish literally have no place left to hide, and the future of the seas and their fish stocks is uncertain.
Between 1949 and 1955, the State Department pushed for an international fisheries policy grounded in maximum sustainable yield (MSY). The concept is based on a confidence that scientists can predict, theoretically, the largest catch that can be taken from a species’ stock over an indefinite period. And while it was modified in 1996 with passage of the Sustained Fisheries Act, MSY is still at the heart of modern American fisheries management. As fish populations continue to crash, however, it is clear that MSY is itself not sustainable. Indeed, the concept has been widely criticized by scientists for ignoring several key factors in fisheries management and has led to the devastating collapse of many fisheries.
Carmel Finley reveals that the fallibility of MSY lies at its very inception—as a tool of government rather than science. The foundational doctrine of MSY emerged at a time when the US government was using science to promote and transfer Western knowledge and technology, and to ensure that American ships and planes would have free passage through the world’s seas and skies. Finley charts the history of US fisheries science using MSY as her focus, and in particular its application to halibut, tuna, and salmon fisheries. Fish populations the world over are threatened, and All the Fish in the Sea helps to sound warnings of the effect of any management policies divested from science itself.
These eleven original essays by leading wildlife management and public policy scholars deal with policy issues, management perspectives, and the public attitudes about wildlife that shape the world of the wildlife manager.
Part 1 contains William R. Mangun’s introductory essay "Fish and Wildlife Policy Issues" and Daniel J. Decker et al.’s "Toward a Comprehensive Paradigm of Wildlife."
Ann H. Harvey’s "Interagency Conflict and Coordination in Wildlife Management," Philip S. Cook and Ted T. Cable’s "Developing Policy for Public Access to Private Land," and Debra A. Rose’s "Implementing Endangered Species Policy" make up part 2.
Part 3 consists of Cliff Hamilton’s "Pursuing a New Paradigm in Funding State Fish and Wildlife Programs" and Trellis G. Green’s "Use of Economics in Federal and State Fishery Allocation Decisions."
The fourth part includes James J. Kennedy and Jack Ward Thomas’s "Exit, Voice, and Loyalty of Wildlife Biologists in Public Natural Resource/Environmental Agencies"; Jean C. Mangun et al.’s "Nonconsumptive Wildlife-Associated Recreation in the United States"; and Barbara A. Knuth’s "Natural Resource Hazards: Managing to Protect People from the Resource."
In part 5, Joseph F. Coates looks to the future in "Public Policy Actors and Futures."
One of the most pressing concerns of environmentalists and policy makers is the overexploitation of natural resources. Efforts to regulate such resources are too often undermined by the people whose livelihoods depend on their use. One of the great challenges for wildlife managers in the twenty-first century is learning to create the conditions under which people will erect effective and workable rules to conserve those resources. James M. Acheson, author of the best-selling Lobster Gangs of Maine (the seminal work on the culture and economics of lobster fishing), here turns his attention to the management of the lobster industry. In this illuminating new book, he shows that resource degradation is not inevitable. Indeed, the Maine lobster fishery is one of the most successful fisheries in the world. Catches have been stable since World War II, and record highs have been achieved since the late 1980s. According to Acheson, these high catches are due, in part, to the institutions generated by the lobster-fishing industry to control fishing practices. These rules are effective. Rational choice theory frames Acheson’s down-to-earth study. Rational choice theorists believe that the overexploitation of marine resources stems from their common-pool nature, which results in collective action problems. In fisheries, what is rational for the individual fishermen can lead to disaster for the society. The progressive Maine lobster industry, lobster fishermen, and local groups have solved a series of such problems by creating three different sets of regulations: informal territorial rules; rules to control the number of traps; and formal conservation legislation. In recent years, the industry has successfully influenced new regulations at the federal level and has developed a strong co-management system with the Maine government. The process of developing these rules has been quite acrimonious; factions of fishermen have disagreed over lobster rules designed to give commercial advantage to one group or another. Although fishermen and scientists have come to share a conservation ethic, they often disagree over how to best conserve the lobster and even the quality of science. The importance of Capturing the Commons is twofold: it provides a case study of the management of one highly successful fishery, which can serve as a management model for policy makers, politicians, and local communities; and it adds to the body of theory concerning the conditions under which people will and will not devise institutions to manage natural resources.
Peru’s fisheries are in crisis as overfishing and ecological changes produce dramatic fluctuations in fish stocks. To address this crisis, government officials have claimed that fishers need to become responsible producers who create economic advantages by taking better care of the ocean ecologies they exploit.
In Coastal Lives, Maximilian Viatori and Héctor Bombiella argue that this has not made Peru’s fisheries more sustainable. Through a fine-grained ethnographic and historical account of Lima’s fisheries, the authors reveal that new government regimes of entrepreneurial agency have placed overwhelming burdens on the city’s impoverished artisanal fishers to demonstrate that they are responsible producers and have created failures that can be used to justify closing these fishers’ traditional use areas and to deny their historically sanctioned rights. The result is a critical examination of how neoliberalized visions of nature and individual responsibility work to normalize the dispossessions that have enabled ongoing capital accumulation at the cost of growing social dislocations and ecological degradation.
The authors’ innovative approach to the politics of constructing and degrading coastal lives will interest a wide range of scholars in cultural anthropology, environmental humanities, and Latin American studies, as well as policymakers and anyone concerned with inequality, global food systems, and multispecies ecologies.
One billion people around the world rely upon fish as their primary—and in many cases, their only—source of protein. At the same time, increasing demand from wealthier populations in the U.S. and Europe encourages dangerous overfishing practices along coastal waters. Fish for Life addresses the problem of overfishing at local, national, and global levels as part of a comprehensive governance approach—one that acknowledges the critical intersection of food security, environmental protection, and international law in fishing practices throughout the world.
Fishing the Great Lakes is a sweeping history of the destruction of the once-abundant fisheries of the great "inland seas" that lie between the United States and Canada. Though lake trout, whitefish, freshwater herring, and sturgeon were still teeming as late as 1850, Margaret Bogue documents here how overfishing, pollution, political squabbling, poor public policies, and commercial exploitation combined to damage the fish populations even before the voracious sea lamprey invaded the lakes and decimated the lake trout population in the 1940s.
From the earliest records of fishing by native peoples, through the era of European exploration and settlement, to the growth and collapse of the commercial fishing industry, Fishing the Great Lakes traces the changing relationships between the fish resources and the people of the Great Lakes region. Bogue focuses in particular on the period from 1783, when Great Britain and the United States first politically severed the geographic unity of the Great Lakes, through 1933, when the commercial fishing industry had passed from its heyday in the late nineteenth century into very serious decline. She shows how fishermen, entrepreneurial fish dealers, the monopolistic A. Booth and Company (which distributed and marketed much of the Great Lakes catch), and policy makers at all levels of government played their parts in the debacle. So, too, did underfunded scientists and early conservationists unable to spark the interest of an indifferent public. Concern with the quality of lake habitat and the abundance of fish increasingly took a backseat to the interests of agriculture, lumbering, mining, commerce, manufacturing, and urban development in the Great Lakes region. Offering more than a regional history, Bogue also places the problems of Great Lakes fishing in the context of past and current worldwide fishery concerns.
The management of coastal and ocean fisheries is highly contentious. Industry interests focus on maximizing catches while conservationists and marine scientists have become increasingly concerned about dramatic declines in fish stocks and the health of ecosystems. Besides attempting to mediate among these interests, government agencies have pursued their own agendas, which have often lagged behind shifts in scientific understanding and public attitudes about the productivity of the oceans and uses of marine wildlife.
From Abundance to Scarcity examines the historical evolution of U.S. fisheries policy and institutions from the late 19th century to the present day, with an emphasis on changes since World War II. Based on archival research and interviews with dozens of key players in marine policymaking, it traces the thinking, legislation, mandates, and people that have shaped the various agencies governing fisheries in the United States. The book:
discusses the development of federal programs in marine biological sciences and the evolution of scientific understanding about marine wildlife populations
describes the work of federal fisheries programs in promoting the interests of the fishing industry
considers the response of agencies to factors such as dam-building and coastal development that have led to increased pollution and habitat loss
examines the shifts in understanding and values that underlie major legislation including the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and the Sustainable Fisheries Act
examines the evolving relationship between federal agencies, the fishing industry, communities, and nongovernmental conservation organizations, with an eye toward future management practice
From Abundance to Scarcity sheds light on the sets of interests that have shaped U.S. fisheries policy, lending historical depth to current debates and providing a fuller understanding of current laws and regulations, and administrative structures and mechanisms. It offers an insightful overview for professionals involved with fisheries management or the fishing industry, conservationists working on marine issues, and students and scholars of marine policy and affairs, environmental policy and law, or public policy and administration.
To maintain thriving, sustainable fisheries in the Laurentian Great Lakes, an understanding of the numerous and complex ecological, societal, economic, management, and policy issues surrounding them is critical. This incisive study provides a collaborative, interjurisdictional, and multi-use perspective that is shaped by the United states and Canada together as part of their shared governance of these waters. This book offers an informed look at the Great Lakes fisheries and their ecosystems, as the contributors examine both the threats they have faced and the valuable opportunities they provide for basin citizens and industries. Divided into four sections—the Great Lakes region, Great Lakes Fisheries, Fisheries case studies, and outlook for the Future—this is a valuable and up-to-date tool for students, researchers, policymakers, and managers alike.
Who Owns America's Fisheries?
Seth Macinko and Daniel W. Bromley Island Press, 2002 Library of Congress SH221.M23 2002 | Dewey Decimal 338.37270973
America's commercial fisheries are in jeopardy. With a significant percentage of the nation's fisheries depleted and fish populations declining in many regions, the health of the broader marine environment is also threatened. What should be done to reverse the decline and restore fish populations is a matter of much debate. However, most experts agree that our fisheries are not being managed in ways that will ensure the steady employment of fishermen and that will provide a dependable future supply of seafood to consumers.There are those who believe that privatizing our fisheries is the best means to address the present crisis. The potential that privatization has to resolve a number of the problems currently plaguing our fisheries is undeniably attractive. However, as pointed out by prominent economists Seth Macinko and Daniel W. Bromley in Who Owns America's Fisheries?, unless certain key provisions are incorporated into IFQ programs, the health and stability of our fisheries are not only unlikely to improve, the deterioration of them may actually be accelerated.