The current debate over West Coast salmon, focusing on who should catch how many fish, has obscured another threat to salmon: habitat destruction.
This paper, by Evadne Liuson, reviews the agencies and instruments regulating recreational, Aboriginal, and commercial fishing on the Canadian Great Lakes, with a focus on the Individual Transferable Quotas governing Ontario’s commercial fisheries. Continue reading
Part One of this paper by Martin Nantel reviews the ecological transformation that occurred in Lake Ontario after 1750 and the factors – including overfishing, habitat destruction, and the introduction of exotic species – that contributed to it. Part Two examines the institutions – including the open access regime and “progressive” fisheries management – responsible for the transformation. The paper concludes by arguing for new, locally appropriate institutional arrangements that will set Lake Ontario and its fisheries on an ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable course. Continue reading
Writing in the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, Philip Lee cites Elizabeth Brubaker’s work on the economic and ecological benefits of establishing property rights in fisheries. Continue reading
Presentation to Managing a Wasting Resource: Would Quotas Solve the Problems Facing the West Coast Salmon Fishery?, a conference held in Vancouver, BC, in May 1996.
It’s the Robin Hood story, a thousand years old, that’s unfolding these days on the Acadian Peninsula, says John Crosbie, the tart-tongued Newfoundlander who served in the early 1990s as federal minister of fisheries.
A chapter from Fish or Cut Bait! The Case for Individual Transferable Quotas in the Salmon Fishery of British Columbia, a collection of essays edited by Laura Jones and Michael Walker discussing tradeable fishing rights and their role in solving the West Coast salmon crisis. This chapter, by Elizabeth Brubaker, documents a century of mismanagement of the Pacific salmon fishery and analyses governments’ incentives to encourage the overfishing and pollution that threaten stocks. It examines alternative regimes that give fisheries owners both the reasons and the authority to conserve stocks and to protect the habitat on which they depend, and suggests that quotas are only the first step in the evolution of stronger property rights to protect and conserve fisheries.
Quebec’s bureaucrats don’t appreciate our findings. They complain that our recent study of sewage pollution in Quebec makes them look like they’re incompetent, or not doing their jobs. And no wonder. The study, by Environment Probe researcher Martin Nantel, points out that although Quebec has made considerable progress since the 1970s (when wastewater treatment facilities served less than two per cent of the population), 376 municipalities, representing 1.5 million people, still flush their sewage directly into lakes and rivers. When we released the study early this year, media interest created great consternation in government ranks. The Environment Minister is now demanding explanations from senior bureaucrats, who berate our uncompromising positions.
A chapter from Taking Ownership: Property Rights and Fishery Management on the Atlantic Coast, a collection of essays edited by Brian Lee Crowley explaining the theory behind rights-based fishing and reviewing practical experience with tradeable quota systems and community ownership in various jurisdictions. In this chapter, Elizabeth Brubaker examines the ways in which property rights provide individual and community fisheries owners with both the legal tools to fight pollution and the economic incentives to reduce fishing pressures, implement conservation measures, and enhance stocks and their habitats.
What do the Derwent anglers club in England, some New Brunswick riparians, a number of Quebec fishing clubs and many New Zealand fishermen have in common? They all have established property rights to the fish they catch.
In this final bid to shed light on the issue of privatizing fish resources, it is left for me to propose an alternative. After all, critics may interpret my opposition to private property rights in the fishery as inferring that I support the current system of heavy-handed federal control of the vast resource off our coast. Far from it.
I should feel honoured that my article on the environmental benefits of private and communal resource ownership inspired not just one but four columns from a prominent environmentalist. Unfortunately, Janice Harvey’s retorts, riddled with fallacies, do no honour to the environmental cause.
f the landlubbers in the reading audience will indulge me for another column, I will elaborate a bit further on conserving fish stocks through privatizing marine fish quotas. The primary mechanism for this is assigning individual transferable quotas (ITQs). We only have to look at Canadian experience with ITQs to know it will not work.
As I sit down to write this third column on the topic which I (but not the headline writers) call "The Myth of the Tragedy of the Commons," I am acutely aware of being steamrolled by the current daily run of articles advocating an opposite editorial point of view.
This excerpt from Property Rights in the Defence of Nature reprinted by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, describes the ways in which fisheries owners have used their property rights to protect fish and habitats.
Last week, this paper ran a full page commentary by Elizabeth Brubaker, executive director of a group called Environment Probe in Toronto. Like its parent Energy Probe, Environment Probe advocates market-based solutions, including private property rights, to critical problems facing our society. Sometimes they’re right, like in their analysis of nuclear power, which they oppose. On all counts, if the private sector were left to build nuclear plants, we wouldn’t have any.
Can you imagine a greater example of incompetence than the federal government’s stewardship of the east coast fishery, where the cod stocks have been recklessly depleted and entire communities are now on welfare, losing both their economic independence and their dignity? When the welfare runs out in several years, many of the communities will become ghost towns, emptied like the fisheries nearby.