The Ocean is a Common Resource

Common resources are rivalrous, so they commonly suffer from overuse and unsustainable exploitation. The ocean is an example of a common resource for many reasons including pollution, overfishing, etc. This article from The Economist focuses on overfishing and the issues that come along with trying to regulate it. The ocean belongs to no one so it is very difficult to control through individual governments because of the fear that if you don’t go above the sustainable amount, someone else will and you will make less revenue. So even if one government did the right thing and started to regulate overfishing more, there would be little to no change overall. Most nations have signed a “law of the sea” but there is little enforcement of this law and people have high incentives to cheat.

Leave a Comment