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Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum

Debate in the U.S.A. over privatising marine fisheries

Posted By: Patricio Bernal and Peter Wiese - responding to M. Sommer
Date: Friday, 29 September 2000, at 3:08 p.m.

In response to: "The battle for the last fish in the South Atlantic" (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=271) (M. Sommer)


MODERATOR'S NOTE: We have received two responses to the recent posting by Mr. M. Sommer relating to "The Battle for the last fish in the South Atlantic' (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=271), both of which relate to similar issues in the North Atlantic.


By 30th September, 2000, the U.S. Congress will decide whether marine fisheries will be privatised as a move to protect dwindling fish stocks. The idea is to parcel out shares to a limited number of private enterprises through 'Individual Fishing Quota' (IFQ) programmes which will give shareholders exclusive rights to catch a certain percentage of the total allowable catch of a species of fish or shellfish in a specific area within a designated time frame. This would give fishermen the incentive to conserve fish resources. However, environmental groups claim that this concept will fail if not linked to strict conservation standards and a regular review process. Fisher associations fear that family fishers well be squeezed out of business by big operators. The Marine Fish Conservation Network is pressuring Congress to postpone the decision until proper legislation containing national standards is adopted. For more information visit http://conservefish.org/media/ifqpressreleasesept.13.html, or http://www.enn.com/news/enn-stories/2000/09/09162000/ifq_31532.asp

Mr Patricio Bernal,
Executive Secretary,
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO


The article by Mr. Sommer (http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=271) indicates that the same fate awaits this fishing industry as the one that finished off the cod fishing industry on the New England banks off the U.S.A. Not only are the fishermen out of work, their boats idle, but the cod has been depleted to the point that there are insufficient survivors to repopulate. The same may be happening with certain species of billfish.....

Mr Peter Wiese,
Retired exploration geologist


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