Banking on cod: Exploring economic incentives for recovering Grand Banks and North Sea cod fisheries
Demand for wild (non-farmed) seafood is increasingly reliant upon a natural capital base that is rapidly diminishing. Despite this, studies show that changes in management could increase fisheries' profitability whilst also protecting fish stocks. This premise is approached by looking specifically at north Atlantic cod--a species that has collapsed in many regions but with evidence to suggest it has the biological potential to recover, despite concerns about altered ecological niches and changing oceanic conditions. The key issue is how the potential economic benefits of cod recovery can provide the fishing sector with incentives for change and how these can be translated into a case for investment, given the financially difficult transition period that currently inhibits fisheries reform. In examining this, the paper concludes that repayable financial investments and rights-based management, tailored to local situations, are required to create resilient and diverse ecosystems that underpin improved seafood economies. It is essential, however, that management and policy solutions adopt a holistic ecosystem-based management approach.
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