Chapter 3: Getting Fishery Policy Objectives Right
3. Getting ﬁshery policy objectives right1 The general policy objectives of most ﬁsheries may be summarized as, ﬁrst, to ensure the biological sustainability of ﬁsh stocks and, second, to maximize economic returns from the ﬁshery. While the ﬁrst of these may be relatively easy to deﬁne, evidence from ﬁsheries worldwide suggests that it is very difﬁcult to achieve in practice. For example, the FAO (2002) estimate that 25 per cent of the world’s major marine fish stocks or species groups for which information is available are under-exploited or moderately exploited, approximately 47 per cent of the main stocks or species groups are fully exploited (catches have reached, or are very close to, the maximum sustainable yield), and 28 per cent of stocks or species groups are reported as overexploited, signiﬁcantly depleted, or recovering from depletion. The last of these groups is the fastest growing of the three groups, at the expense of the ﬁrst group. The second of these general policies, to maximize economic returns from a ﬁshery, may come in a number of different forms; for example, to maximize economic returns to the state, or to private ﬁshers. 39 40 Institutional economics and ﬁsheries management It is difﬁcult to be prescriptive regarding what is an appropriate extractive policy for a ﬁshery; the policy will differ depending on the individual characteristics of the ﬁshery, the ﬁshers and the objectives of the property right holder (for example, whether a government is pursuing efﬁciency or equity in...
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