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World Oceans Day 2015

In this video, fishing boat Captain Mark Lundsten explains how catch shares changed his life as a fisherman.

World Oceans Day brings more of the good news that “keeps rolling in about the performance of fisheries managed with secure fishing rights.”

Around the world, the introduction of property rights in marine fisheries has helped populations of overfished species recover from decades of heavy commercial take. Collectively known as “catch shares,” property rights in fisheries entitle each quota holder to catch a specified percentage of the total allowable catch (TAC) per season. Where they have been introduced, individual fishing quotas (IFQs) and individual transferable quotas (ITQs) generate higher incomes for fishermen, improve product quality, and restore the health of depleted fisheries.

Working with the Environmental Defense Fund and others, PERC has played an instrumental role in injecting rights-based solutions into ocean overfishing problems. As EDF’s Chief Oceans Scientist, Doug Rader, says, “the evidence is clear that secure fishing rights is a powerful tool to make fisheries sustainable for the long-term.” 

Kate Bonzon, a 2003 alum of PERC’s Enviropreneur Institute, wrote the book on designing catch-share systems. Her step-by-step manual is online at EDF’s Fishery Solutions Center. Following her lead, several other PERC-trained offshore enviropreneurs have devoted their careers “to fencing off living portions of the ocean.” 

From Alaska to Namibia, catch share systems continue to illustrate the importance of property rights in managing our natural resources.

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