Saving Fisheries with Free Markets

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Miliken Institute Review
February 2006



By Donald R. Leal

At long last, Mark Lundsten, captain of the fishing boat Masonic, could relax a little. He had spent hours navigating his vessel through heavy seas to get to the halibut grounds in time for their opening, then pushed himself and his crew hard in an all-out effort to catch as many halibut as possible in the government-allotted 24-hour window. Thankfully, the Masonic suffered no casualties. But in years past, numerous boats had capsized in the mad dash to reap the time-limited riches in the frigid waters of the Bering Sea.

Lunsten was looking forward to the following year, 1995, when the Alaska halibut fishery would come under a revolutionary approach to fishery quotas -- a move he would later argue made the fishery "sensibly sustainable."



This article written by Don Leal, director of research at PERC, was published in the Milken Institute Review. The Milken Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan economic think tank whose scholars publish research papers and conduct conferences on global and regional economies, human capital, demographics, and capital markets.

The Milken Institute was founded in 1991 with a mandate to step outside the box and find new ways to create jobs and generate capital for entrepreneurs both locally and globally.

Miliken researchers work in diverse but related economic fields with one common goal: to improve the lives and economic conditions of diverse populations in the U.S. and around the world by helping business and public policy leaders identify and put into practice innovative ideas for creating broad-based prosperity.

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Leal's research on natural resources and environmental issues spans nearly 20 years. His current focus is on preventing over-harvesting of marine resources and restoring ocean fisheries.Leal is working to build support for individual fishing quotas (IFQs) and fishing cooperatives as more effective alternatives to the current regulatory approach...
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