A property rights approach is needed to conserve fish stocks

Letter in the Daily Telegraph

Sir - Fish stocks may be running out (report, November 3), but the last thing we need is more regulation. The EU regulates its fishermen quite enough, with disastrous results.

Property rights are the best way to conserve anything — land, buildings and all renewable natural resources. Property rights give a stake in the long-term value of a resource. Iceland provides a good example of how property rights in national fishing grounds can be created and enforced to the long-term benefit of fish stocks.

The logistics of such an approach may be more difficult on the high seas, but with determination and imagination politicians could help create the legal institutions that would give owners of fishing rights a stake in the long-term future of fish.

Professor Philip Booth, Editorial and Programme Director

Dr Richard Wellings, Deputy Editorial Director

Institute of Economic Affairs, London SW1

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