The Tragedy of the Salmon

Powerful Essays
The Tragedy of the Salmon
The United States Pacific Northwest has historically been a significant player in the global fishing industry. However, over the last half-century, the fish population in the area has been declining at an alarming rate. Popular species of fish such as cod and salmon have been particularly susceptible to these decreases. What once was a region flourishing with abundant fish populations, is now in danger of being exploited to the point of extinction of certain species. The majority of these population drops is attributed to increased industrialization and overfishing in the region. The ocean is a commons, as defined by Garrett Hardin in his “The Tragedy of the Commons”, and is being exploited as an open resource, resulting in a reduction of fish and industrial fisheries in the Pacific Northwest. Enforced government regulation is the only viable course of action to deter the declining fish populations. Fisheries have been exploiting the region, and limiting the amount of fish one can catch, particularly of specific species, may lead to more balanced levels of fish population.
In 1968, Garrett Hardin published his essay “The Tragedy of the Commons” in Science, in which he elaborated his theories for curtailing the overpopulation problem. The article is perhaps best known for Hardin’s definition of the “commons” as a shared, limited resource under limited (if any) regulation. In his essay, Hardin considered the right to breed as a commons and confronted the resulting problem of global overpopulation. Hardin believed in the inevitable exploitation of any commons, and therein lies the tragedy of commons: a commodity which is universally free and accessible will inexorably result in overutilization precisely beca...

... middle of paper ... suggests, mutual coercion must be applied. Enforced government regulation of the fisheries can achieve this, and extend the restoration of endangered species of fish.


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