Oceans and Estuaries: Managing the Commons

  • Carl Walters
  • Robert Ahrens


Most of Earth (71%) is covered by oceans, whose fisheries provide an important protein source for people, both locally and globally. Fisheries also contribute economically to the well-being of coastal communities and other sectors of society. The demand for marine fish continues to increase because of human population growth, migration to coastal zones, increased income and health concerns that strengthen a luxury-seafood market, and growth of fishmeal-based aquaculture, and livestock production. About 20% of the most food-deficient countries export fish to provide foreign exchange and to service their national debt—a further motivation to increase fish harvests (Pauly et al. 2005). Fishing capacity has increased substantially to meet this demand, primarily through development of large industrial-scale fleets that can harvest fish that were once too remote, deep, or dispersed for efficient commercial harvest. As a result, the annual global fish catch has more than tripled in the last 50 years. Since about 1985, however, global landings appear to have declined, despite continued increase in fishing capacity, suggesting that past harvest levels are not sustainable.


Adaptive Management Fishing Effort Fishing Pressure Pacific Salmon Stock Size 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Additional Readings

  1. Bellwood, D., T.P. Hughes, C. Folke, and M. Nyström. 2004. Confronting the coral reef crisis. Nature 429:827–833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Clark, C.W. 2005. Mathematical Bioeconomics: The Optimal Management of Renewable Resources. 2nd Edition. Wiley-Interscience, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Clark, C.W. 2007. The Worldwide Crisis in Fisheries: Economic Models and Human Behavior. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  4. Hilborn, R., and C.J. Walters. 1992. Quantitative Fisheries Stock Assessment and Management. Chapman-Hall, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Jackson, J.B.C., M.X. Kirby, W.H. Berger, K.A. Bjorndal, L.V. Botsford, et al. 2001. Historical overfishing and the recent collapse of coastal ecosystems. Science 293:629–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Pinkerton, E.W., and M. Weinstein. 1995. Fisheries that Work: Sustainability Through Community-Based Management. The David Suzuki Foundation, Vancouver.Google Scholar
  7. Walters, C.J. 1986. Adaptive Management of Renewable Resources. McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Walters, C.J., and S.J.D. Martell. 2004. Fisheries Ecology and Management. Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl Walters
    • 1
  • Robert Ahrens
    • 1
  1. 1.Fisheries Centre, University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations