The Earth's oceans are overfished, despite more than fifty years of cooperation among the world's fishing nations. There are too many boats chasing too few fish. In Saving Global Fisheries, J. Samuel Barkin and Elizabeth DeSombre analyze the problem of overfishing and offer a provocative proposal for a global regulatory and policy approach.
Existing patterns of international fisheries management try to limit the number of fish that can be caught while governments simultaneously subsidize increased fishing capacity, focusing on fisheries as an industry to be developed rather than on fish as a resource to be conserved. Regionally based international management means that protection in one area simply shifts fishing efforts to other species or regions. Barkin and DeSombre argue that global rather than regional regulation is necessary for successful fisheries management and emphasize the need to reduce subsidies. They propose an international system of individual transferable quotas that would give holders of permits an interest in the long-term health of fish stocks and help create a sustainable level of fishing capacity globally.