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.