Tragedy of the not so common

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Overfishing and the depletion of our oceans is often described as a case of the tragedy of the commons. Brandon Keim explains why bluefish tuna “is headed for oblivion”. Don’t blame the fishing industry, he argues. It’s simply responding to supply and demand. The real culprits are consumers eager to show that they can afford to order a mouthful of really expensive rare fish :

“And this is the brutal truth: bluefin, which beyond their intrinsic value as living creatures happen to be one of the universe’s more majestic species, a Platonic ideal of oceanic speed and grace, aren’t being extinguished by our greed. They’re being sacrificed to our vanity, pretension, and ostentation — the most pathetic of our vices.”

Conor Friedersdorf comments on the article and states that “a global ban on bottom trawling, one of the most destructive kinds of commercial fishing, is a no brainer.” Nice idea, but who would enforce it?