The emergence of state-landed property in the oceans
How, then, to combat these two rent-depleting factors? Though the size, scale and structure of ﬁsheries systems are highly diverse, the World Bank uniformly ties its problem deﬁnition and solution to the state. On the former, ﬁsh stock depletion constitutes a loss of the nation’s ‘natural capital’, and thus a loss of national wealth. On the latter, recovering and capturing lost rents is also a project of the state. According to the report:
The Bank identiﬁes the state as responsible for strengthening property rights in order to restore an economic logic to the ﬁshing sector (World Bank 2009, xxi). This is because ‘the “tragedy of the commons” suggests that where forms of open access persist (which is the case in many of the world’s ﬁsheries), proﬁts will be dissipated’ (World Bank 2009, 38). Accordingly, the Bank estimates that billions in lost ‘economic rent’ will be recovered globally if states deﬁne, strengthen and manage property rights so that ‘biomass (the ﬁsh stock) and the capital stock (ﬂeet) are in equilibrium’ (World Bank 2009, 40).