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Globalization, Roving Bandits, and Marine Resources

                                                       Marine resource exploitation can deplete stocks
Globalization, Roving Bandits,                                        faster than regulatory agencies can respond.
                                                       Institutions with broad authority and a global
and Marine Resources                                             perspective are needed to create a system with
                                                       incentives for conservation.
F. Berkes,1* T. P. Hughes,2 R. S. Steneck,3 J. A. Wilson,4 D. R. Bellwood,2 B. Crona,5,6 C. Folke,5,6
L. H. Gunderson,7 H. M. Leslie,8 J. Norberg,6 M. Nyström,5,6 P. Olsson,5 H. Österblom,6
M. Scheffer,9 B. Worm10

      verfishing is increasingly

O     threatening the world’s ma-
      rine ecosystems (1, 2). The
search for the social causes of this
                         1992                                1980
crisis has often focused on inappro-                                1982
priate approaches to governance and                                                        1989
lack of incentives for conservation        1995                                             1987
                                               1960             1973
(3, 4). Little attention, however, has                            1967 1945
been paid to the critical impact of
sequential exploitation: the spatially                            1970
expanding depletion of harvested
species (5). The economist Mancur
Olson (6) argued that local gover-
nance creates a vested interest in the
maintenance of local resources,                                 1986
whereas the ability of mobile
agents—roving bandits in Olson’s
terminology—to move on to other,
unprotected resources severs local Sequential exploitation of a marine resource. Initiation year by location of major commercial fishery for sea urchins.
feedback and the incentive to build
conserving institutions. Distant water fleets and develop so rapidly that the speed of resource          There is a rich history of roving bandits tar-
mobile traders can operate like roving bandits (7), exploitation often overwhelms the ability of geting ecologically important large predators
because global markets often fail to generate the local institutions to respond.                such as the cod that historically dominated North
self-interest that arises from attachment to place.      Until recently, exploitation of marine resources Atlantic coastal ecosystems. By the middle of
   The effect of roving bandits can be explained was commonly constrained by the inaccessibil- the last century, fishing technology had devel-
by “tragedy of the commons,” whereby a freely ity of remote and offshore locations. Conse- oped to the point where cod spawning aggrega-
accessible (or open-access) resource is competi- quently, early examples of global markets in tions in the Gulf of Maine could be removed
tively depleted. Harvesters have no incentive to fisheries (e.g., Newfoundland Grand Banks in wholesale. Within two decades, local stocks had
conserve; whatever they do not take will be har- the 1500s) were characterized by slow growth been depleted, contributing to the rise of inverte-
vested by others. Developing the institutions to and relatively inefficient harvest technology. brate species such as lobsters, crabs, and sea
deal with commons issues is problematic and They were typically based on species that were urchins that had formerly been prey to cod and
slow (8). Roving banditry is different from most plentiful, readily caught, and easily transported other apex predators (10).
commons dilemmas in that a new dynamic has without refrigeration (e.g., dried, salted, or ren-           Highly altered ecosystems can often stimu-
arisen in the globalized world: New markets can dered for oil). Many of these constraints have late new fisheries, which typically target lower
                              evaporated with globalization. The trade-induced trophic levels (1). In Maine, the green sea urchin
                              increases in demand for fisheries resources (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) prolifer-
1Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba,

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada. 2Australian      have resulted in an increasingly serious ecolog- ated after the loss of its fish predators in the mid-
Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef   ical and management problem.             1980s (9), itself in turn becoming a fishery for
Studies, School of Marine Biology, James Cook University,
                                                        sushi markets. Spurred by demand from the
                    3School of Marine
Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia.
                              Ecological Implications               Japanese market, an unregulated harvest began
Sciences, University of Maine, Walpole, ME 04573, USA.
4 School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine,
                              Sequential depletions of species that are major in 1987. The state of Maine was unprepared to
               5Centre for Transdisciplinary
Orono, ME 04469, USA.                   conduits for the flow of energy and materials in deal with the explosive growth of the fishery, and
Environmental Research, 6Department of Systems Ecology,
                              marine food webs pose the greatest ecological stocks were rapidly depleted.
Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.
                              risks. For example, historic exploitation of sea    To put the Maine sea urchin fishery in histor-
7Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University,

Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. 8Department of Ecology and    otters for their pelts in Alaska’s remote Aleutian ical context, we show the spatial expansion of
Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ Islands had profound ecological consequences, harvests (see figure, this page) and the sequen-
08544, USA. 9Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality
                              because this keystone predator controls the tial depletion of stocks (see graph, page 1558) by
Management Group, Department of Environmental
                              abundance of sea urchins that graze on kelp. waves of exploitation around the globe.
Sciences, Wageningen University, 6700 DD Wageningen,
                              Depletion of sea otters caused massive defor- Commercial sea urchin harvest began largely for
The Netherlands. 10Biology Department, Dalhousie
University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4J1, Canada.     estation of kelp beds by plagues of sea urchins export to Japanese markets, after Japan’s own
                              for over a century, before active reintroductions resources declined. The Chilean fishery, for
*Author for correspondence. E-mail: berkes@cc.
                              of sea otters reversed this trend (9).        example, supplied relatively small domestic

                 SCIENCE    VOL 311   17 MARCH 2006
                                    Published by AAAS

    markets until 1975, when it rapidly expanded into     Marine Park, the largest MPA in the world (33%    and benefits to create incentives for local protec-
    an export fishery (11). Spatial expansion         of which is zoned as NTA) is too small to main-    tion and monitoring. Property rights approaches
    masked regional depletions, a common charac-       tain stocks of marine mammals, turtles, and      have proved to be particularly effective with
    teristic of sequential exploitation (2, 5). Global    sharks that migrate across its boundaries. In     stationary resources such as sea urchins and
    harvest peaked in about 1990 with the expansion      any case, areas outside NTAs and MPAs also      abalone (3, 4). For migratory marine resources,
    of the fishery to new regions, but declined after     need protection.                   however, the challenge is to establish governance
    that because there were no frontiers left to exploit.     At the international scale, CITES (U.N.      mechanisms that operate at national and interna-
      The resulting simplification of food webs       Convention on International Trade in En-       tional scales (18, 19). If major markets and tar-
    and loss of biodiversity are eroding the resil-      dangered Species) bans or controls trade only in   geted species are known, the next exploitation
    ience of marine ecosystems and increasing their      species placed on appendix I or II of CITES,     wave may be foreseeable from analyses such as
    vulnerability to environmental change (12, 13).      respectively. The meetings to vote on proposals    the one here and from patterns of depletion and
    For example, fishing pressure on many coral        to place species in the appendices take place     recovery of key species groups (20).
                                         every 2 years, a blunt and inef-     Crucially important here are multilevel
                                         fective instrument indeed to pro-   governance institutions operating at diverse
                                         tect stocks that may be scooped    levels, from local to international (21). No sin-
                                         up within months. Even identi-    gle approach can solve problems emerging
                                         fying species at risk is a gigantic  from globalization and sequential exploitation.
     Global harvest (104 t)

                                         task. Other than CITES, there     But the various approaches used together can
                                         are no restraints on trade or even  slow down the roving bandit effects, and can
                                         effective reporting mechanisms.    replace destructive incentives with a resource
        6                                   Addressing the ecological     rights framework that mobilizes environmental
                                         impacts of globalization means    stewardship, i.e., one that builds the self-
                                         finding ways to match the growth   interested, conserving feedback that comes
        2                                 in demand for local marine prod-   from attachment to place.
                                         ucts, with the development of
                                         institutions to regulate harvest-     References and Notes
        1945    1955   1965    1975    1985   1995
                                                            1. J. B. C. Jackson et al., Science 293, 629 (2001).
                                         ing (15). Appropriate restraining
                      Year                                     2. R. A. Myers, B. Worm, Nature 423, 280 (2003).
                                         institutions must be in place     3. R. Hilborn, J. M. Orensanz, A. M. Parma, Philos. Trans. R.
    Global sea urchin harvests over time. Color coded by region, in before the resource is at risk.          Soc. London Ser. B 360, 47 (2005).
    chronological ascending order: Japan; Korea; Washington and Solutions depend ultimately on           4. J. C. Castilla, O. Defeo, Science 309, 1324 (2005).
                                                            5. M. Huitric, Ecol. Soc. 10(1), 21 (2005);
    Oregon; Baja, Mexico; California; Chile; NE Pacific (Alaska and British changed behavior at the local
    Columbia); Russia; NW Atlantic (Maine, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick). level, but the problem must be       6. M. Olson, Power and Prosperity (Basic Books, New York,
    All data are from (11).                         addressed at multiple scales.       2000).
                                         Global, regional, and national     7. Organization for Economic Cooperation and
                                                              Development (OECD), Fish Piracy: Combating Illegal,
    reefs has increased dramatically with the emer- bodies need to monitor trade and resource trends
                                                              Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (OECD Publications,
    gence of export markets for restaurant and and find ways to disseminate information that              Paris, 2004).
    aquarium trades, highly mobile boom-and-bust stimulates problem-solving consistent with local          8. T. Dietz, E. Ostrom, P. C. Stern, Science 302, 1907
    fisheries based on rapid air transport to growing practices. They need to enable local authorities to        (2003).
                                                            9. R. S. Steneck et al., Environ. Conserv. 29, 436 (2002).
    luxury markets. Depletion of herbivorous fishes learn from the experience of others around the
                                                            10. R. S. Steneck, E. Sala, in Large Carnivores and the
    has contributed to algal blooms on reefs, world. Most important, they have to encourage               Conservation of Biodiversity, J. Ray, K. Redford, R.
    because algae released from their consumers local governance and assist in the development of            Steneck, and J. Berger, Eds. (Island Press, Washington,
    out-compete corals for space. Consequently, resource rights that align individual self-interest           DC, 2005), pp. 110–137.
                                                            11. N. L. Andrew et al., Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Annu. Rev. 40,
    overfished reefs are less resilient to recurrent with the long-term health of the resource.
                                                              343 (2002).
    disturbances, such as hurricanes, and more vul-        Checks can be established through harvest-    12. T. P. Hughes et al., Trends. Ecol. Evol. 20, 380 (2005).
    nerable to coral bleaching and mortality caused ing permits, certification, and controls over          13. D. R. Bellwood, T. P. Hughes, C. Folke, M. Nystrom,
    by global warming (14).                  delivery of products to markets to dampen the       Nature 429, 827 (2004).
                                                            14. T. P. Hughes et al., Science 301, 929 (2003).
                                 rate of increase in demand. Technological
                                                            15. O. Young, The Institutional Dimensions of Environmental
    Management Implications                  changes make detection in global transport of a      Change (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2002).
    There have been few effective responses to this product possible. Monitoring of foreign direct         16. R. Costanza et al., Ecol. Econ. 31, 171 (1999).
    kind of exploitation, because the emergence of investments (7), increased transparency of vessel        17. D. C. Wilson, J. Raakjaer Nielsen, P. Degnbol, Eds., The
                                                              Fisheries Co-Management Experience (Kluwer, Dordrecht,
    specialized export markets for hitherto unex- flag history, and identification of vessel owners
                                                              Netherlands, 2003).
    ploited stocks is almost always a surprise to and roving buyers will improve the ability to           18. F. Berkes, in Indigenous Use and Management of Marine
    managers. In the case of small or highly local- track potential problems. Costs of regulation            Resources, N. Kishigami, J. M. Savelle, Eds. (National
    ized stocks, the resource may vanish even must be balanced against the costs of potential              Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, 2005), pp. 13–31.
                                                            19. J. Wilson, Ecol. Soc. 11(1), 9 (2006); (www.ecologyand
    before the problem is noted. In the case of more losses due to inaction (16). For example, Maine’s
    widely distributed, relatively abundant species, precautionary fisheries laws (adopted in            20. R. A. Myers, B. Worm, Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London Ser. B
    serial depletions of local stocks may be masked response to the urchin debacle) recognize the            360, 13 (2005).
    by spatial shifts in exploitation (see figure, need to deliberately seek to slow down the devel-        21. C. Folke et al. Annu. Rev. Environ. Resour. 30, 441
    p. 1557, and graph, this page).              opment of new marine products.
                                                            22. We thank James Cook University and the Beijer Inter-
      Existing marine protected areas (MPAs) and        Common property theory predicts that the       national Institute for Ecological Economics for co-hosting
    no-take areas (NTAs) are often too small and too establishment of property rights (8) and/or co-          workshops on Resilience of Marine Ecosystems in Sweden
    far apart to sustain processes within the broader management regimes (17) counters the tragedy           and Australia that led to this article.
    seascape, and monitoring and enforcement are of the commons. Individual or community prop-
    often inadequate. Even the Great Barrier Reef erty rights over resources can internalize costs                           10.1126/science.1122804

1558                       17 MARCH 2006      VOL 311    SCIENCE
                                         Published by AAAS
by admin last modified 30-08-2006 15:16

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