August 3, 2009

Will privatizing fishing rights help stocks rebound?

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A push to privatize fishing quotas is designed to help end overfishing and is supported by some scientific research, Matthew Preusch of The Oregonian writes. The so-called “individual fishing quotas” are also designed to make fishing safer by ending the “derby-on-the-sea” mentality. Some fisheries scientists say that fishermen who own a share of the catch will be more careful to avoid overfishing that could hurt their future income. Preusch notes that some groups are urging the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to go slow because “divvying up the total allowable catch can’t restore fisheries if the total allowable catch is more than the fish stocks can bear.” NOAA plans to finalize the plan next summer and put it into effect in 2011.

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