Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Managing Fish: Ten Case Studies from Canada's Pacific Coast

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Managing Fish: Ten Case Studies from Canada's Pacific Coast

Article excerpt

Laura Jones with Miriam Bixby, Managing Fish: Ten Case Studies from Canada's Pacific Coast (Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 2003), x + 136pp. Paper. $19.95. ISBN 0-88975-207-9.

In recent decades fishing communities on the eastern and western coasts of Canada have been severely affected by the consequences of over-fishing. This book evaluates one particular mechanism for restricting fishing by investigating its use in ten fisheries on the Pacific coast. The mechanism involves calculation of a quantity of fish that could be sustainably harvested in a season and then allocating an individual quota to those involved in fishing, so that the people who fish have calculable 'property rights' over the fish. The case studies used to evaluate this quota system include fishing, by a variety of means, for abalone, clams, sablefish, halibut, sea urchins, sea cucumber and herring. Whatever the diversity of the fish or the means of harvesting (trawling, diving and so on) the mechanism is the same. Each case study begins with a brief description of the creature that is harvested (just in case you wondered, abalone is a type of marine snail and sea cucumber is a worm-like creature with spiny knobs on its surface). A history of the fishery, an account of the introduction of a quota system and an evaluation with reference to conservation, economic viability and working conditions concludes each case study. In a concluding chapter, the author argues that systems of individual quota management 'turned many of the fisheries on Canada's Pacific cast from disasters to successes' (p. …

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