How Desperation, Ipads, and Real-time Data Revived a Fishery

Megan Molteni, reporting for Conservation Magazine:


When The Nature Conservancy, the nation’s largest environmental group, came into Morro Bay, California, in 2006 and bought out all the fishing rights—effectively closing millions of acres of marine habitat to fishing almost overnight—it was every fisherman’s worst nightmare. But then something interesting happened. TNC began leasing fishing rights back to fishermen, provided they followed more sustainable practices. Then iPads were doled out, and boats began sharing information with the environmental group and each other. Fishermen started thinking beyond pounds landed. And, realizing there were customers willing to pay more for a more environmentally sound product, they discovered an economic incentive for the changes. They started thinking less like takers and more like stewards.

This paradigm change may work elsewhere, and I advocated such an approach some time ago.