Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Palau’s Fishing Problem – Gang Aft Agley And All That

The world’s a complicated place and people are weird – that second being the great finding of both sociology and anthropology. This makes planning that world rather difficult because the sort of people who go into government aren’t able to deal with the complications. Must be something to do with noodle arms and pinheads among that governmentally inclined population.

Think about fishing for a bit. The oceans are indeed dreadfully overfished. We’d all do vastly better if we could solve that commons tragedy problem that leads to that overfishing. There’d be more fish out there, which is nice, but it would also make fisheries more profitable, which is truly great. One of those interesting findings of the past few decades being that the profitable number of fish in the sea is higher, more of them, than the sustainable level of them. That is, the natural balance of a correctly access limited fishery is a lot more fish than we’ve got now. Super.

It’s also true that if we declare no fishing zones then there’s somewhere for the fish to go fuck. Or, perhaps, where the result of that coitus get to grow up to be a size worth catching. So, let’s have marine reserves. And they do seem to work in at least some places.

But the world’s a complicated place:

Palau’s much-touted marine sanctuary has backfired, with the fishing ban leading to an increased consumption of the reef fish in the western Pacific country – such as grouper, snapper and parrotfish – that the marine sanctuary promised to protect.

The thing being that the locals used to eat the tuna that was commercially caught in the area. But with the reserve it’s not profitable to go catch the tuna therefore no one does and there’s none for the locals to eat. Thus they’re eating the reef fish which are considerably easier to go get.

My, ain’t the world a complicated place. And yet those who got pass degrees in grievance studies still think they can plan it all.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

If Palau’s tuna stocks are like the rest of the pillaged Pacific, the reserve would have little to do with it. The Japanese stiffed Oz in 1970s and 80s by promising to reduce catches to sustainable levels. Oz fishermen cut back in accord with magic tree carcass, the Japanese faked tree carcass marks and caught even more. Tuna are now rare. The rapacity of the European , Thai and Taiwanese plus others, probably South Amrerican, factory fleets are stripping the oceans of sustainable fish stocks in international waters. Tuna migrate throughout their life cycle, so overfishing in one ocean can… Read more »

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x