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Of Fish and Fishermen: Shifting Societal Baselines to Reduce Environmental Harm in Fisheries

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Lam, Mimi E.
Journal: Ecology and Society
Volume: 17
Date: 2012
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8696
Sector: Fisheries
Subject(s): collaboration
marine resources
Abstract: "If reasonable fishery harvests and environmental harms are specified in new regulations, policies, and laws governing the exploitation of fish for food and livelihoods, then societal baselines can shift to achieve sustainable fisheries and marine conservation. Fisheries regulations can limit the environmental and social costs or harms caused by fishing by requiring the fishing industry to pay for the privilege to fish, via access fees for the opportunity to catch fish and extraction fees for fish caught; both fees can be combined with a progressive environmental tax to discourage overcapitalization and overfishing. Fisheries policies can be sustainable if predicated on an instrumental and ethical harm principle to reduce fishing harm. To protect the public trust in fisheries, environmental laws can identify the unsustainable depletion of fishery resources as ecological damage and a public nuisance to bind private fishing enterprises to a harm principle. Collaborative governance can foster sustainable fisheries if decision-making rights and responsibilities of marine stewardship are shared among government, the fishing industry, and civil society. As global food security and human welfare are threatened by accelerating human population growth and environmental impacts, decisions of how to use and protect the environment will involve collective choices in which all citizens have a stake--and a right."

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