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Reflections on a Career in Fisheries and Marine Science

March 19, 2015


Brian J. Rothschild has an intriguing article in the ICES Journal of Marine Science in which he reflects on a long and successful career in fisheries and marine research. I think the concluding paragraphs are worth a read by anyone entering into the marine science field, if not academic research more broadly. It speaks to the difficulty of predicting what ideas will “gain currency” and potential flaws in how ideas are spread. Read more…

Corruption in Fisheries Management

March 18, 2015


There’s a great new article out from Aksel Sundrström at Global Environmental Change. It’s particularly interesting as it provides theoretical development to Ostrom’s commonpool resource work (specifically how CPRs can be managed in corrupt environments) and, amazingly, a strong empirical look at fisheries corruption in South Africa. Below are a few choice excerpts. Read more…

Presidential Task Force releases action plan to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud

March 18, 2015

IUU-Fraud Task Force Action Plan-FINAL_Page_01_300

The final action plan from the Presidential Task Force on IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud has now been release. More on that over at NOAA.  You can also find the report here.

All in all, I think it represents a strong step forward for the U.S., especially in the realm of traceability. I would have liked to have seen more specifics on international capacity building, but the process they lay out makes a lot of sense. So time will tell (specifically the next year) if the U.S. might push some of the recommendations my colleagues and I made in the last round of comments.


Problem-Oriented Policing in Fisheries (RBC part IV)

March 16, 2015

SARA (for scanning, analysis, response, and assessment) is a common tool used to implement problem-oriented policing in mainstream law enforcement.

This is part 4 of an on-going series on Risk-based Compliance (RBC) programs for fisheries, with Australia serving as the prime example.

In the last post, I explored how the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) conducts its biennial compliance risk assessments. In this post, I look at how AFMA “treats”, or responds to, the risks that come out as priorities through the assessment process, and what I find is a rare and terrific example of what’s known in the field of criminology as Problem-oriented Policing. (Or, as I put in the post that initiated this series, RBC suggests that “treatments of compliance risks should be targeted, experimental, and risk-based.”) Read more…

Considering the Role of Police in Reducing Conservation Crime

March 13, 2015

Spokane Police Department Officer Ben Green

I recently read the 2014 Special Issue of Justice Quarterly which sought to bring together the latest research to explain New York’s crime drop over the last two decades or so. Nicely, the issue gave me an opportunity to consider what the field of criminology knows, or doesn’t know, about the impact of policing on crime.

The big takeaway is that while you certainly need police, more policing is often not the most important factor in reducing street crime. I find this is quite important for us environmentalists to consider, particularly as conservation NGOs are now exploring ways we might improve compliance with fisheries and wildlife management rules.

So what might we need to consider from mainstream law enforcement? Read more…

The High Seas in Numbers

February 24, 2015

Global Ocean Map

It’s a curious fact that while there’s plenty of information out there on the management of the high seas (or international waters), you rarely see the high seas in numbers. For instance, check out the pages over at the FAO or wikipedia. You get a decent amount of information on the legal institutions governing the high seas, but not much else.

Frankly, while I support every bit of advocacy for better high seas management, I sometimes wonder if this lack of specificity doesn’t lead us fisheries conservationists to over-emphasize the importance of the high seas to global ecosystem health, perhaps at a loss to other areas, like inland waters and their freshwater fisheries. There would be a lot to unpack if we were to properly debate this, so instead, I thought I’d just add my grain of sand with a post providing easy to access numbers and graphics.

So here are the basic numbers on the high seas, as provided by The Sea Around Us Project. Read more…

Ostrom’s Institutional Design Principles and Fisheries Management

February 10, 2015


This past weekend I attended a colloquium called “Markets, the Environment, and the Developing World” in Key Largo, Florida, which was funded by the Liberty Fund and hosted by PERC. The event lasted two and a half days brought together about a dozen professionals from across the world and environmental community to talk about such things as the design of management institutions, contracts, and the challenges specific to Africa, China, and Latin America.

It was during the first session on institutions that I revisited Eleanor Ostrom’s eight principles of design for common pool resource institutions. Read more…