Third Lecture

The history of fisheries management

The control of fisheries and fish production has been exercised in many places around the world for hundreds of years.

For example, the Māori people, residents of New Zealand for about the last 900 years, had strict rules in their traditional fishing activities about not taking more than could be eaten and about throwing back the first fish caught (as an offering to Tangaroa, god of the sea).

Another longstanding example is the North Norwegian fishery off the Lofoten islands, where a law has existed for more than 200 years to control fishing activity, in this case primarily motivated by problems occurring during periods of high density of fishers and fishing gear. To avoid gear collisions, gillnetters and longliners are separated and not allowed to fish in the same grounds south of Lofoten.

Governmental resource protection-based fisheries management is a relatively new idea, first developed for the North European fisheries after the first Overfishing Conference held in London in 1936. In 1957 the British fisheries researchers Ray Beverton and Sidney HoltNorth Sea commercial species fisheries dynamics. The work was later (in the 1960s) used as a theoretical platform for the new management schemes set up in North European countries.

After some years away from the field of fisheries management, Ray Beverton reassessed his earlier work and in a paper given at the first World Fisheries Congress in Athens in 1992, he criticised some of the concepts that he had earlier laid out in "The Dynamics of Exploited Fish Populations" and expressed concern at the way his and Sydney Holt's work has been misinterpreted and misused by so many fishery biologists and managers during the previous 30 years. Nevertheless, the institutional foundation for modern fishery management had been laid.

(From the Wikipedia article on Fisheries Management)


 To do list:

  • Investigate the history of fisheries management in your home country. What initiated management and how was it implemented?

Why managing fish stock resources?

  • User conflicts
  • Nature conservation
  • Resource rent collection (correct for market failures)
  • Sustain fisheries

What is fisheries management?

  • Governance
  • Taxation
  • Infrastructure
  • Extension
  • Direct control of fishing activities
  • Co-management

Management measures

  • Indicative control
  • Indirect control
  • Direct control


"Beverton and Holt's Yield per Recruit Model" from the Wolfram Demonstrations Project
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