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The paradox of fairness: The impact of escalating complexity on fishery management


  • Healey, MC
  • Hennessey, T


In the US and Canada, a commitment to fairness leads to overly complex management regimes that contribute to overexploitation. We illustrate the pattern of increasing complexity in the Scotia/Fundy groundfish fishery in Atlantic Canada, the New England groundfish fishery and the Fraser River salmon fishery in British Columbia, all of which have collapsed or declined in recent years. Increasing complexity proceeds inexorably in publicly managed fisheries. However, the alternatives of transferring ownership to individual fishers or fishing communities appear not to be viable solutions. Rather, we suggest a co-management approach which may be unfair to some fishers but will greatly reduce the pressure to overfish.

Suggested Citation

  • Healey, MC & Hennessey, T, 1998. "The paradox of fairness: The impact of escalating complexity on fishery management," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 109-118, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:marpol:v:22:y:1998:i:2:p:109-118

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    Cited by:

    1. Walker, Tony R. & Bernier, Meagan & Blotnicky, Brenden & Golden, Peter G. & Hoffman, Emma & Janes, Jeffrey & Kader, Allison & Kovacs-Da Costa, Rachel & Pettipas, Shauna & Vermeulen, Sarah, 2015. "Harbour divestiture in Canada: Implications of changing governance," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1-8.
    2. Nicolas Sanz & Bassirou Diop & Fabian Blanchard & Luis Lampert, 2017. "On the influence of environmental factors on harvest: the French Guiana shrimp fishery paradox," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 19(2), pages 233-247, April.
    3. H. Stouten & A. Heene & X. Gellynck & H. Polet, 2008. "The effect of restrictive policy instruments on Belgian fishing fleet dynamics," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 08/540, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.


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