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Lobstering and Common Pool Resource Management in Maine

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Coombs, Monique
Journal: Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) Newsletter
Volume: 2
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7528
Sector: Fisheries
Region: North America
Subject(s): fisheries
common pool resources
resource management
Abstract: "Maine is the top lobster-producing state in the United States. Its lobstering industry brings almost $300 million into the state each year. Record-breaking numbers over the past couple of years are indicative of its sustainable lobster fishing practices. The industry -- comprised of 5,400 small businesses (lobstermen and their boats are considered small businesses) and creating over 35,000 jobs on the working waterfront, from bait dealers to truck drivers - is one of the best examples of how Elinor Ostrom's collective action theories work in practice. The way the industry operates is a study in the way people with a common interest and the government work together to protect a resource through creating boundaries, working together to provide leadership and creating incentives that reward the practitioners with a bounty that defines and sustains a community. First, I describe how lobstering in Maine works and what it means to the people there. Second, in the following section I show how Elinor Ostrom's work can be used to understand the industry's very complex grassroots structure."

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