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Who owns the right to catch fish?

Who owns the right to catch fish was the title of a Guardian article today. Having caught a few perch from the (very well managed) lake yesterday, each one a decent meal, I thought it was about hobby fishing but the article concerned commercial fishing quotas, which it seems were quietly disposed of by the Labour government in the 1990s and are now being traded.

It is strange how the government and the people who advise it know so little about the fundamental principles of economics or morality. Fish in the sea are “land” in economics. This is a resource that belongs to all and cannot be privatised. If the supply is limited, the right to catch fish should be by licence, probably by annual auction. The funds raised could be used to pay for fishery protection, conservation of stocks, and marine research.
It is the same principle that applies to owership of the surface of the earth. In reality it cannot be “owned”, but since we have a system of land titles, the next best thing is to make sure that holders of land titles pay for their privilege through a system of land value taxation.