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Combating the tyranny of scale for haliotids: Micro-management for microstocks

Prince, J. (2005) Combating the tyranny of scale for haliotids: Micro-management for microstocks. Bulletin of Marine Science, 76 (2). pp. 557-577.

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Global production of Haliotids (abalone) declined more than 60% since the 1960s and continues to decline, indicating a failure to manage these resources sustainably. This paper discusses facets of abalone biology which make sustainable management problematic. Abalone resources are comprised of many small (100s-1000s m) self-recruiting microstocks with highly variable sizes-at-maturity. This causes a mismatch between the scale of management and the scale of component units of stock. This "tyranny of scale" leaves component microstocks vulnerable to the "tragedy of the commons" and resources vulnerable to serial depletion despite apparently rigorous regional scale management. I postulate that beyond abalone, and across a range of spatial scales, unrecognized spatial complexity compromises monitoring, assessment, and management in many fisheries. I suggest that a major challenge for abalone fisheries and the field of fisheries more generally, is to adapt the scale of fisheries monitoring, assessment, and management to the actual scale of component units of stocks, and to mobilize the resources required to adequately address the global needs of a myriad of microstocks. An increased use of territorially based fishing rights and a new class of fisheries practitioners are proposed as part of the answer to this challenge.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
Copyright: © 2005 Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science of the University of Miami.
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