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Tracy Dobson, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Michigan State University 13 Natural Resource Building East Lansing, MI 48824USA,
Henry A. Regier, Institute of Environmental Studies University of Toronto; Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Michigan State University 10 Ernst Street Elmira, ON, N3B 1K5 Canada
Fishing is a human right for the many, not for the few.
We begin with a background discussion highlighting the global fisheries crisis that implies need for expanded application of ethical consideration to fisheries. A general discussion of ethics follows to provide some context for particular applications to fisheries governance. We outline principles in law and policy that may reverse the present fisheries downward spiral. Discussed are the role of science and risk assessment, the precautionary principle, the public trust doctrine, an effective female work model, effective commons management, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (FAO 1995). Some recommendations are based on proven results; others rest on speculation, as one might expect within a regime of adaptive management. In each instance, we endorse changes in management behavior on the part of all participants that should result in sustainable and equitably shared fisheries.
Modern technology, that sometimes useful, sometimes dreadful set of human inventions, has facilitated the emergence of environmental crises around the globe. Among all species, we are the one that has found the most effective ways to escape natural constraints, for a period of time, by employing technology to satisfy our myriad, insatiable needs and desires. We know that early humans using simple techniques such as spears extinguished species in North America and Australia. But now we have positioned ourselves to extinguish not just a species here and there, but thousands of species and vast ecosystems in a very short time-frame.
Henry A. Regier, Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1, Canada,
John L. Goodier, Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1, Canada
Michael H. Glantz, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado
The irruption of the sea lamprey into the upper Great Lakes – Huron, Michigan, and Superior (see Fig. 9.1) – occurred at a time when both cultural and natural aspects of the Basin ecosystem were under increasing stress by factors other than the invading sea lamprey. At the time there was intense disagreement among some experts about the causes of particular fishery effects in the Great Lakes. Thus, J. Van Oosten inferred that overfishing was mostly to blame for decreases in catches of preferred species; R. Hile argued that the sea lamprey was the main culprit, at least in the three upper lakes; and T.H. Langlois invoked pollution, based on his experiences in Lake Erie (Egerton, 1985). About four decades later we note that not all the disagreements have been resolved, but that all the strong protagonists for only one of the possible explanations have passed on. With hindsight we opine that each of these “one-cause experts” had strong evidence for his views from some locales within the Basin, but insufficient evidence to generalize that inference far beyond those locales.
The 1971 Symposium on Salmonid Communities in Oligotrophic Lakes (Loftus & Regier, 1972) was an attempt to transcend the polarizations and biases generated by “one-stress experts.” This SCOL Symposium sought to build on the more ecosystemic initiatives of F.E.J. Fry, R.A. Vollenweider and others.