Keywords: global marine fisheries, governance, institutions, sustainability, economic incentives, rights-based management, Law of the Sea Convention, conservation objectives
Global marine fisheries resources: status and prospects
This paper discusses the current status of the world's fisheries and their prospects for the future, from the perspective of the economics discipline. We focus on governance institutions within which fisheries are conducted, discussing their evolution during the post WW II period with particular emphasis on the jurisdiction extension codified by the Law of the Sea Convention in 1982. We discuss the stages through which governance institutions in fisheries seem to be moving, culminating with a discussion of recent experiences with rights-based systems. Of particular importance is the manner in which behavioural incentives are framed by governance institutions. We discuss evidence about how rights-based systems fundamentally alter incentives in comparison with systems that retain vestiges of open access incentives. Promoting sustainable use of the world's fisheries is critically dependent upon the alignment of economic incentives with conservation objectives, a prospect that appears possible only when rights-based management is adopted.