Throughout recent decades a stream of evidence has been produced that points to a continuing ‘tragedy of the commons’ across world's oceans. Such tragedy is especially evident in the Northern Atlantic, and the seas around the European Union. A recent study for Science Magazine has discovered that giving fisherman rights over the seas they fish, extends stock life and improves conservation.
In a piece entitled: “Privatization Prevents Collapse of Fish Stocks, Global Analysis Shows" [Sorry, subscription required], the results showed that when a fisherman has more rights concerning the quotas allocated to him, fishing stocks tended to remain healthy. Obviously for developed parts of the world, with established rules of law, the protection of fisherman's rights could easily be achieved. This, though, is only an extension of what those on the ‘right’ side of the argument have been continually arguing: that to protect fish stocks it is imperative to grant rights to those that fish and for those rights to be defended
A few days prior to this, the EU announced that it was to overhaul its fisheries policy. The investigation reviewed in Science is a weighty piece of research that the EU will most likely ignore and/or botch implementing. Ideally we would withdraw from the Common Fisharies Policy in its entirety and establish our own protected fishing grounds. This would save jobs, fish and decrease environmental damage. It's time for the waters to be privatized.