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It is strange that modern agriculture employs crop rotation in order to increase yields but we do not do the same thing for harvesting food from the ocean. CBC's The Nature of Things recently had a series about the state of the oceans. During one of the episodes they showed the success of marine reserves in New Zealand. I am having trouble finding a good link but the turn around was amazing.

Currently less than 1% of the ocean is protected. Greenpeace has been campaigning to set aside a large amount of the ocean as a "marine reserve." http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/oceans/...




It is strange that modern agriculture employs crop rotation in order to increase yields but we do not do the same thing for harvesting food from the ocean.

Crops are grown on private property and the ocean is a shared resource. See tragedy of the commons[1].

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons


There are two problems with your response. The first is that not all of the ocean is a shared resource. Within national boundaries the ocean is anything but a shared resource. See Fisheries Management[1] and for a specific example see Stellwagons Bank[2].

The other problem is that just because something is a shared resource does not mean that it is automatically a lost cause. See tragedy of the commons[3]:

   Elinor Ostrom found  the tragedy of the commons  not as prevalent
   or  as  difficult  to  solve. She and  her  coworkers  looked  at
   how  real-world communities  manage communal  resources, such  as
   fisheries ... and  they identified a number  of factors conducive
   to successful resource management.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisheries_management

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellwagen_Bank_National_Marin...

[3]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons


There is one problem with your response ("The first is that not all of the ocean is a shared resource.), 99% of the ocean is a share resource and there are no fences between the shared and unshared portions, so fish and other wild life can cross the boundary (during migrations, etc).

If the shared portion of the ocean were to be destroyed (over-fished or polluted) then I dare say that the unshared portion would be, too.


You can dare to say whatever you like. The problem is that the experimental results dare to tell another story:

   Studies have  consistently shown that organisms  within marine
   reserves tend to grow larger  and live longer than individuals
   in  adjacent  unprotected  areas. Monitoring results  from  89
   no-take marine reserves  around the world have  shown that, on
   average,  fish  density,  biomass,  size,  and  diversity  all
   increased  within marine  reserves  (Halpern  2003, Lester  et
   al. 2009). This is very important because fish that are larger
   and older tend  to produce significantly more  eggs and larvae
   than smaller fish. Also, larvae  produced from older fish tend
   to have a higher survival rate (Francis et al. 2007) [^1]
The behavior of the commercial fisherman near the MPAs in New Zealand is extremely apropos:

   For  reasons  not  fully  understood, when  areas  are  closed
   to  fishing,  snapper  aggregate within  them,  forming  large
   resident  populations. Spiny rock  lobsters  (crayfish to  New
   Zealanders) do  the same. Their density inside  the reserve is
   about 15  times higher than  outside. Commercial crayfishermen
   have cashed  in on  the reserves  success because  the outward
   migration  of   crayfish—a  process  marine   biologists  call
   spillover—brings the crustaceans  to their pots, strategically
   placed just  outside the  boundary. These former  skeptics are
   now some  of the reserves staunchest  defenders. They refer to
   it  as our  reserve  and act  as  marine minutemen,  reporting
   poachers  and  boundary  cheats. ...  Reserves  where  fishing
   is  banned are  now  seen  as potential  stud  farms and  fish
   hatcheries, replenishing the surrounding seas. [^2]

[^1]: http://marineprotectedareas.noaa.gov/pdf/helpful-resources/d...

[^2]: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/04/new-zealand-coast/...


If only the oceans were privatized, then Greanpeace could buy up as big of a chunk as they could afford.


And even if they didn't want to own it, they could pay the owner to not overfish. A good example of that is the work of Hank Fischer and the Defenders of Wildlife, who on seeing ranchers endanger the wolves population (since they'd eat the livestock), raised money to pay the ranchers for the losses, on the condition they wouldn't kill the wolves.

http://perc.org/articles/who-pays-wolves




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