Fishing has played a vital role in human history and culture. But today this key resource faces a serious crisis as most species are being overfished or fished to their very limit. Governments have tried to tackle the problem with limited success. Many of their actions have been counterproductive or ineffective. What will happen to global fisheries, and the populations that depend on them, as we continue to catch more fish than the oceans can reproduce? Fish explores the causes of the current crisis in the world's fisheries, and what needs to be done to address the situation. It explains the structure of the fishing industry, the incentives that persuade individuals or companies to catch fish at unsustainable levels, and illuminates the problems created by governmental efforts to use fishing policy as a tool for economic development or to win votes in domestic elections.
It also looks at the role of aquaculture in either decreasing or increasing the pressure on wild fish stocks. The dire condition of fish stocks has led governments and consumer organizations to consider new approaches to protect the global supply of fish. DeSombre and Barkin conclude by showing how such methods, along with new forms of international regulation and informed decision-making by consumers, all have an important part to play in rewarding and thus encouraging sustainable fishing behaviour in the future.
"A great environmental case study. Once you've read this book, you'll be hooked."
- The Ecologist
"An ideal introduction to this subject that will appeal to a wide audience with an interest in the marine environment."
- Environment and Planning C
"A very readable and alarming account."
- Morning Star
"Any person interested in the history of commercial fisheries and their effects on marine stocks will be interested in Fish. The writing is very straightforward and the authors present a wide range of facts and information."
"A wonderful book and a valuable resource for anyone interested in ocean fisheries and their future."
- Áslaug Ásgeirsdóttir, author of Who Gets What? Domestic Influences on International Negotiations Allocating Shared Resources
"DeSombre and Barkin explain the complex reality of global fisheries in a clear and engaging manner. Their concise description of the problems caused by human exploitation of the oceans is tempered by a set of potential solutions that can be implemented by anyone – fishers, governments, consumers, and concerned people everywhere."
- D. G. Webster, Dartmouth College
"Packed with facts and information, this wide-ranging book tells the tale of global fisheries in an easily accessible and engaging way. I can think of no better introduction to the subject."
- Dale Squires, NOAA Fisheries Service
List of Abbreviations page vi
1 Introduction 1
2 Growth of the Global Fishing Industry 24
3 Structure of the Fishing Industry 50
4 Regulatory Efforts and Impacts 79
5 Aquaculture 114
6 Consumers and Catches 142
Selected Readings 174
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Elizabeth R. DeSombre is Frost Professor of Environmental Studies at Wellesley College. J. Samuel Barkin is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Florida.