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Hardcover | $34.00 Short | £27.95 | 286 pp. | 6 x 9 in | January 2013 | ISBN: 9780262018647
eBook | $24.00 Short | January 2013 | ISBN: 9780262312752
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Saving Global Fisheries

Reducing Fishing Capacity to Promote Sustainability


The Earth’s oceans are overfished, despite more than fifty years of cooperation among the world’s fishing nations. There are too many boats chasing too few fish. In Saving Global Fisheries, J. Samuel Barkin and Elizabeth DeSombre analyze the problem of overfishing and offer a provocative proposal for a global regulatory and policy approach.

Existing patterns of international fisheries management try to limit the number of fish that can be caught while governments simultaneously subsidize increased fishing capacity, focusing on fisheries as an industry to be developed rather than on fish as a resource to be conserved. Regionally based international management means that protection in one area simply shifts fishing efforts to other species or regions. Barkin and DeSombre argue that global rather than regional regulation is necessary for successful fisheries management and emphasize the need to reduce subsidies. They propose an international system of individual transferable quotas that would give holders of permits an interest in the long-term health of fish stocks and help create a sustainable level of fishing capacity globally.

About the Authors

J. Samuel Barkin is Associate Professor in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance in the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is the author of Realist Constructivism: Rethinking International Relations Theory and other books.

Elizabeth R. DeSombre is Camilla Chandler Frost Professor of Environmental Studies and Director of the Environmental Studies Program at Wellesley College. She is the author of Flagging Standards: Globalization and Environmental, Safety, and Labor Regulations at Sea (MIT Press, 2006) and other books.


“Barkin and DeSombre's book is clearly argued, concisely written, and widely accessible; and their focus on concrete policy proposals is laudable.”—Environment and Planning C


“Samuel Barkin and Elizabeth DeSombre have written the essential book on international fisheries management. They provide a cogent and accessible summary of the current situation and explain why moving from today's system of management by limiting catches to a new system of management by limiting fishing effort is essential to securing sustainable ocean fisheries.”
MJ Peterson, Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst
“Samuel Barkin and Elizabeth DeSombre propose bold solutions to some big problems in global fisheries. Anyone who’s interested in making international fisheries management more sustainable should read this book.”
DG Webster, Environmental Studies Program, Dartmouth College
“Samuel Barkin and Elizabeth DeSombre have crafted a fine contribution to the fisheries management literature with Saving Global Fisheries. The authors deploy a variety of concepts and themes to illuminate the economic, political and cultural drivers of chronic fisheries mismanagement. They go well beyond diagnosing the problem, however, devoting a considerable portion of their book to a proposed solution that’s sure to generate constructive discussions in policy circles as well as classrooms around the world.”
Frank Alcock, Associate Professor of Political Science at New College of Florida; former Director, Marine Policy Institute at Mote Marine Laboratory