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Community-Run Fisheries: Avoiding the 'Tragedy of the Commons'

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Leal, Donald
Date: 1996
Agency: Property & Environment Research Center (PERC), Bozeman, MT
Series: PERC Policy Series
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8296
Sector: Fisheries
Region: North America
Subject(s): community participation
resource management
tragedy of the commons
Abstract: "Along the coastal waters of eastern Canada and the United States--in the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, for example, and in Georges Bank off New England--severe overfishing is leading to economic ruin. In spite of years of governmental restrictions on gear, catch, and seasons, fishers are overexploiting the once-productive resource their livelihoods depend on. Is there a way to avoid this outcome? The answer is yes. Although their stories are largely unpublicized, a number of fishing communities have avoided self-destructive overexploitation for decades. And they do it with minimal, if any, governmental regulation. This paper will explore these examples to see what lessons they hold for protecting and restoring fish stocks around the world. To understand why these lessons are so important, however, we must begin with the 'tragedy of the commons.'"

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