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New system could help avert collapse of fisheries

Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters
Guaranteeing individual fishermen a share of the catch could help avert a global collapse of fisheries, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

Such programs, known as catch-shares, eliminate the frantic race to get the biggest share of the catch as in traditional open-access fishing, a system that promotes overfishing and habitat destruction, putting a key global food supply at risk.

“Under open access, you have a free-for-all race to fish, which ultimately leads to collapse,” said Christopher Costello of the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose study appears in the journal Science.

“But when you allocate shares of the catch, then there is an incentive to protect the stock, which reduces collapse. We saw this across the globe,” he said in a statement.

Costello said the study offered hope that fisheries can resist the widespread collapse projected two years ago by Canadian Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax.
(18 September 2008)
Leanana, the news editor at The Oil Drum, has this comment:
So far, the most interesting article I’ve come across today is the one about fisheries.

It ties into something Jared Diamond said in Collapse. The key to avoiding collapse is making sure everyone in the society has a stake. This works in small societies, where the entire group feels ownership of the environment. Our water, our trees, our beach, etc. But it fails in larger societies. People

lose their sense of ownership, and it becomes, “I better cut this tree down before someone else does.” Or they pillage their neighbors’ resources in a way they wouldn’t dream of doing to their own.

But…maybe it’s possible for large societies to give everyone a stake, somehow.

I find ideas like this far more promising than electric cars or nanosolar. Electric cars don’t solve the basic issue of sustainability, they just push it further into the future.

Peak climate
Double header. Dr. Peter Ward on past extinctions & violent climate change.
Julian Darley, founder of the Post Carbon Institute, on how to live past the energy crisis.
(September 2008)

Isle of plenty

Robin McKie, The Guardian
Jorgen Tranberg looks a farmer to his roots: grubby blue overalls, crumpled T-shirt and crinkled, weather-beaten features. His laconic manner, blond hair and black clogs also reveal his Scandinavian origins. Jorgen farms at Norreskifte on Samso, a Danish island famed for its rich, sweet strawberries and delicately flavoured early potatoes. This place is steeped in history – the Vikings built ships and constructed canals here – while modern residents of Copenhagen own dozens of the island’s finer houses.

But Samso has recently undergone a remarkable transformation, one that has given it an unexpected global importance and international technological standing. Although members of a tightly knit, deeply conservative community, Samsingers – with Jorgen in the vanguard – have launched a renewable-energy revolution on this windswept scrap of Scandinavia. Solar, biomass, wind and wood-chip power generators have sprouted up across the island, while traditional fossil-fuel plants have been closed and dismantled. Nor was it hard to bring about these changes. ‘For me, it has been a piece of cake,’ says Jorgen. Nevertheless, the consequences have been dramatic.

Ten years ago, islanders drew nearly all their energy from oil and petrol brought in by tankers and from coal-powered electricity transmitted to the island through a mainland cable link. Today that traffic in energy has been reversed. Samsingers now export millions of kilowatt hours of electricity from renewable energy sources to the rest of Denmark. In doing so, islanders have cut their carbon footprint by a staggering 140 per cent. And what Samso can do today, the rest of the world can achieve in the near future, it is claimed.
(21 September 2008)