Leading marine biologists have joined a call to partly privatize the oceans' beleaguered biology, in the interests of effective conservation. The kill-or-cure message comes from a "blue-ribbon panel" set up by the World Bank's Global Partnership for Oceans, which aims to come up with effective ways of financing ocean protection.Property type rights have worked wonders in places where they have been implemented in the past, like Maine's lobster fishery. People protect what they own, and tend to waste that which is held in common.
"We've got 10 years to set the oceans on a course that is sustainable, or they will be in a terminal state of decline," says the chair of the panel, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a coral reef biologist from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
"We want to link custodians of marine resources to the customers for those resources," says Hoegh-Guldberg. "Often the seafood trade is not producing benefits for coastal people. That has to change if those resources are going to be protected."Shockingly, the Marxists in academia beg to differ.
This means giving coastal communities more control of marine resources, so they can do deals with the private sector, says panel member David Obura, director of Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean, a non-governmental research organization based in Kenya.
But not all agree. The report comes just a week after a devastating analysis of the state of the oceans from scientists at the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO).
"We should be extremely cautious about giving sole rights to wealthy individuals or industry to exploit ocean resources," says IPSO's chief author, Alex Rogers at the University of Oxford.