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A Dean's Advisory Council Sponsored Lecture

"Could Closing the High Seas to Fishing Improve Fishery Outcomes?"

Chris Costello
Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Bren Hall 1414

"Come learn how and why closing the high seas would increase fisheries profit by over 100% while increasing stock conservation by over 150%!" — Jennifer Couture

Chris Costello

Many fish stocks around the world are in decline; this is particularly true in international waters known as the high seas. The race to fish is depleting stocks of tuna, billfish, and other high-value migratory species, resulting in a latter-day "tragedy of the commons" in which any nation can fish as much as it wants without regulation. To reverse this decline, Crow White and Chris Costello analyzed the consequences of a radical approach: Close the high seas to fishing.

While there is broad agreement that resources are valuable and need to be used wisely and sustainably, there is less agreement on the definitions of such terms as “wisely” and “sustainable,” meanings that evolve within the context of identifying society’s objectives and creating the mechanisms and policies to achieve them. Professor Costello works in this area, focusing on the economics of environmental regulation and natural-resource management under conditions of uncertainty (inaccurate, unavailable, or contradictory information), with a particular emphasis on the value and effect of information on management decisions. Correlate to this is his interest in adaptive-management programs that have a learning component intended to resolve uncertainty. He has applied this perspective to studies in biological diversity, introduced species, regulation of polluting industries, and marine policy.

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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