Impacts of Law Enforcement on Inland Fisheries Sustainability

Impacts of Law Enforcement on Inland Fisheries Sustainability

Molly J. Good, William W. Taylor, Edmund F. McGarrell, Kevin Ramsey, & Chris Goddard

Inland fish and fisheries are valuable resources. Ecologically, they maintain significant roles in the functioning of freshwater aquatic ecosystems. Socially, they provide human consumers with a valuable nutrient source and sustain commercial, recreational, and artisanal fisheries and allied industries. To ensure their sustainability, inland fisheries are often controlled by law enforcement of various regulatory constraints. Some of the common law enforcement constraints in fisheries include catch or harvest quotas, gear restrictions, and seasonal closures, which in many areas are enforced by on-the-ground patrolling and drones. However, management and regulatory agencies do not always practice law enforcement equally on the global scale. Management groups and agencies, especially in developing nations, may fail to possess the personnel, capacity, or financial stability to adequately enforce sustainable fishing and environmental behaviors. Additionally, enforcement personnel may function within ineffective governance systems. These issues, coupled with the high demand for inland fisheries resources, have likely contributed to their overexploitation and potential depletion throughout the world. Though the lack of proper enforcement is a problem facing many inland fisheries, the severity of the problem can differ greatly upon the location in question, its own fishing community, and the local governance structure. The purpose of this paper is to acknowledge the importance of effective law enforcement and regulatory policies in the long-term sustainability of inland fisheries resources. This will be done through a comparative analysis of two major, multi-jurisdictional inland waterbodies, the North American Great Lakes and the African Great Lakes Region.

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