PropertyProf Blog

Editor: Stephen Clowney
Univ. of Kentucky College of Law

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Fishing Tragedy

Cod

According to the New York Times, a classic tragedy of the commons story looks set to wipe out the cod fishing industry in Massachusetts. Recently released data show that the fish is "so severely overfished that even if all fishing on it ended immediately, it would not rebound by 2014 to levels required under federal law." 

In response to these numbers, the fisheries arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposed cutting the cod take by 82 percent cut.  A reduction of this size would destroy much of the industry, so the fisherman have lobbied for less drastic measures.  The NOAA has now signaled that it will adopt a one-year emergency measure and only mandate a 22 percent cut.  That's great for the fishermen and their families, but doesn't do much for the long term health of America's fisheries.  Enjoy your New England cod this year -- it doesn't look like we have the political will to save them. Also, someone should probably start brainstorming a new name for Cape Cod.  Maybe Cape "Garrett Hardin Was Right"?

Steve Clowney

(photo: from flickr user Chris Blanar)

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