chapter  8
Economics of the fi shery
Pages 11

An open access fi shery illustrates “the tragedy of the commons”, with in many cases fi sh stocks being depleted 90 percent or more. Table 8.1 shows this for US New England commercial fi sh landings, comparing the years 1960 (a year quite early in the industrialization of the oceans), the peak year, and the most recent year, 2011. In most cases landings increased dramatically to the peak year, which were typically thirty or more than forty years ago. Following the peak year, landings then crashed by an astonishing 90 percent or more. 1

It is also a tragedy that effective management of these fi sheries would have allowed more fi sh to be sustainably caught than at today’s depleted levels, at lower costs and with larger economic rents.