Obama calls for stricter fishing regulations
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a task force to develop a national oceans’ policy and a unified federal approach to ocean issues.
His government’s comprehensive plan to tackle these issues will also cover the sustainable allocation of much sought resources like oil. Amongst other ventures aimed at ending overfishing in America’s coastal areas by 2011, he is currently promoting a market-based approach to sustainable fishing known as ‘catch-shares’. Led by Jane Lubchenco, a marine biologist who runs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ‘catch-shares’ will replace America’s current system of an annual catch limit. Currently, fishermen adopt a ‘days-at-sea’ approach which regulates the number of days they can fish, the quantity they can catch and the equipment used. However, rules are often flouted and limits disregarded.
The ‘catch-shares’ approach places the responsibility of sustainable yields in the hands of fishermen by giving groups or individuals fixed shares of the annual catch and allowing them to set the rules governing this. The system, also known as ‘dedicated access’ fisheries has flourished elsewhere in countries such as New Zealand and with one-fourth of the world’s fish species threatened by extinction, this move is a much-welcomed one.