Managing Fish: Ten Case Studies from Canada's Pacific Coast


136 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-88975-207-9
DDC 333.95'6'0971




Reviewed by Michael A. Fleming

Michael A. Fleming is a doctoral fellow, Coasts Under Stress, at the
Memorial University of Newfoundland.


Canada’s fisheries have sustained a way of life and provided a
livelihood for generations of fishing families in countless coastal
communities. Seemingly infinite pressure on a finite resource, however,
is taking its toll. Overfishing, spurred in large part by increasing
mechanization in the fishing industry and by increased pressures to meet
global market demand, is posing serious threats to the viability of the
Canadian fishing industry on both the east and west coasts. Fishers rush
to overcapitalize their vessels, and processing plants expand to
accommodate potentially larger catches.

Jones claims that the limits to growth are quickly approaching for the
West Coast fishery, and that if the social and economic upheaval
resulting from the collapse of the East Coast cod fishery is to be
avoided, the regulation of Canada’s West Coast fishery has to be
revitalized. Failure to act at this critical juncture, Jones asserts,
will result in countless West Coast fishers and their families
scrambling to eke out a living on the economic and geographic margins of
industrialized society.

Managing Fish proposes a solution for the problems of overfishing that
are plaguing the West Coast fishery: individual (transferable) quotas.
Individual quotas (IQs) appear to hold the potential to revitalize the
fishery by eliminating the “race to fish” commonplace in traditional
fisheries that has historically been incredibly damaging to the
resilience of fish stocks. In an IQ fishery, market forces are called on
to eliminate excess capacity within the industry, while ensuring that
fishing takes place only to a level that’s sustainable both
economically and ecologically. Jones argues that under an IQ system,
fishers learn to balance responsibility for the resilience of the
fisheries with their own economic well being, thus ensuring the
sustainability of the resource. Case studies from 10 marine species that
are commercially harvested on the West Coast are highlighted to make a
persuasive case for the implementation of an IQ system in Canada’s
West Coast fishery.


Jones, Laura, with Miriam Bixby., “Managing Fish: Ten Case Studies from Canada's Pacific Coast,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 22, 2024,