Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Catch shares

Information about catch share programs in fisheries here from EDF.

Good article here from Science Daily.

and another good article here from RFF and here from The Economist.

PERC's Daniel Benjamin has a clearly written piece here (I love the quote in the by-line).

Here's a critique of catch share programs from ESPN's Robert Montgomery. Some good points are made, but the article also has some misleading information and some statements that are downright false. For example, in the second paragraph:

"Some also charge that, at its worst, Catch Shares is a variation of a much discredited cap-and-trade energy policy, in which government limits access and gives away a public resource for commercial profit by a few. "

Catch shares are indeed a variation of cap-and-trade, but cap-and-trade has in no way been discredited (at least not by anyone who knows what they're talking about). Government does indeed limit access, but does not need to "give away" a public resource. Shares can be auctioned or sold in an open market. Besides, the public nature of the resource is the root of the problem to begin with. Montgomery misses that and also seems to completely miss the idea that catch share programs have proven to enhance stocks, which of course will improve recreational opportunities, not diminish them.

No doubt catch shares/ITQs have their problems. All regulations do. And there's no doubt that much more work is needed in perfecting how to implement these systems in ways that balance efficiency, equity and sustainability. But until we come up with something else (?), these systems seem the only way to achieve sustainable harvest.


Filorux said...

That is a great quote, from the Benjamin article. I recently wrote to an old friend back home, explaining that I was studying econ, and why. I said, "The ultimate decision came when I learned econ is called 'The Dismal Science.' Grey has always been one of my favorite colors."

I read a lot of articles in the morning, but given limited time and coffee, I have to make decisions quickly about whether I will finish an article, or bail on it and move on. For this reason, I love articles like Mr. Montgomery's. In less than three full paragraphs you find phrases such as the one you quoted, and in the second para, "big-government intrusion". Now the only decision I have to make is if I feel like shooting fish in a barrel or not.

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