Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Gone Fishing

From my perspective, it seems that there is little that improves conservation more than permitting ownership, because people do not wantonly destroy that which they own. The problem arises with things that cannot be owned by individuals or companies, such as air. Fishing rights have also been seen similarly. Though the individual states have been used quotas and reserves, there is no incentive not to fill your quota as quickly as possible despite the consequences. There is no incentive to improve and protect.

We have, however, a model that we could use to allow ownership, and thus the improvement of ocean life, from, of all places, the oil industry. The oil industry avoids exploitation and destruction by allowing ownership and just regulating the behavior in border areas. We could cordon off areas of our Exclusive Economic Zone, and then auction off the right to the biomass in those areas, (auctioning for a percentage of profits, for example) and sell tracts of ocean. We would only need to regulate the exploitation of areas between two auctioned areas, and because they're privately owned, we would have a very interested watchdog (the owner of the adjoining lot) who would guarantee that the neighbor was not over-exploiting the border area. If the term of the auction was long enough, say thirty years, and renewable, the owners would have a strong incentive to control pollution, ban destructive kinds of fishing, and improve the health of the ocean.

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