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Matthew Inglis

It might be beneficial to talk about bioeconomic equilibrium and the shift of the locus of biological equilibria from Kahn Chapter 11.

Amanda Wahlers

One topic that I found particularly interesting was the discussion of how fishery habitats are damaged as a result of certain techniques (like the use of cyanide). There seem to be a lot of damages associated with the practices that make them very wasteful and probably unsustainable in the long run and it made me wonder whether there are viable alternative techniques. I was also very intrigued by the wetlands the book mentioned at the bottom of page 531 that were created to treat sewage and support an oyster aquaculture operation- it seemed like a really neat win-win solution to a small facet of the water-quality problems discussed in the chapter.

I agree with Matt that the most challenging section of these chapters was the part on bioeconomic equilibrium.

Elizabeth Wolf

Question: In terms of the relationship between carrying capacity and the idea of preservation, how frequently does it occur (either by environmental realities or human behavior) that the ecosystem can be efficiently managed by selective harvesting? In other words how common is it to have the environment benefit from being appropriately used by humans? How often do the needs of the ecosystem align with localized human needs? Is there success when this occurs? Success for whom? Specific examples or successful tactics?

Spencer Payne

I found Kahn’s discussion of aquaculture interesting. For while he says that increasing aquaculture may decrease the amount of natural fishing, he argues that policy should not necessarily encourage the creation of fish farms because they are associated with negative environmental externalities (e.g. a forest may need to be cleared to create space for aquaculture). That may be so, but I would ask Kahn if empirical evidence suggests that the drawbacks associated with fish farms are greater than those associated with excessive natural fishing because, at least to me, it seems like encouraging aquaculture would harm the environment less than allowing exorbitant natural fishing to continue.

Shlomo Honig

I found the Gordon model to be fairly important to the discussion connecting fishing habits, ecology/population dynamics, and economic sense. I also thought some of the open-access regulations were intriguing. In particular, I was curious as to how governing bodies (local, state, or national) are able to enforce some of the measures like the number/volume of fish or the technology used to find those fish. It seems like restricting advanced technology in order to conserve fish species is inherently counterintuitive for commercial fishers since capturing more fish is why that technology was developed – and ultimately purchased – in the first place. Most fishers are likely able to realize the importance of the restrictions that are put in place, although these efforts create a commons that some fishers are inevitably able to exploit, harming both the fishers and the fisheries in the end.

Morgan Trimas

Interestingly, one of the articles discussed in my biology class was on the topic of fishery collapse (link attached below). It numerically modeled an example of how to balance the optimal harvest yield with an ecologically sustainable catch. Specifically, it found that we should harvest at a level of no more than 3/4 the carrying capacity, K, and modeled the population as a parabolic figure. I think the discussion of how to maximize yield and determine an optimal harvest is important, but should also be considered in the context of long-term sustainability, ecosystem services, and ecologic maximization (many of the graphs in the text left out the portion on ecosystem services). This will ultimately prevent a "tragedy of the commons" type occurrence, support the integrity of the fish species, and maintain a stable local economy.

Morgan Trimas

Link to article:

Mackenzie Dalton

Chapter 15: In light of the Flint water crisis currently going on, who should be responsible for cleaning up and paying for the damage done to Flint water? Is this a market failure because the government didn't regulate testing of water quality properly? How will this effect price/availability of water for Flint?

Benjamin Bayles

I had a spring term presentation on the effectiveness of aquaculture and have been a huge believer in it ever since. This article does mention it, but I feel it has so much potential it deserves a larger focus. It has been 4 years since my research but aquaculture was growing exponentially last I checked. I think it would be interesting to discuss any progress in the industry and if it is conceivable for farmed fish to one day be our exclusive (if not nearly exclusive) source of seafood. (As is the case with beef, pork, chicken, etc..)

Katherine Pranka

If fisheries are continuously depleted, how can they fish be naturally reinstated to the environment without affecting the rest of the adapted wildlife?

Benie Bolohan

It seems like current policies regarding natural resources are not effective in accomplishing the equilibrium we desire in the MAC and MDF model. One potential issue that stuck out to me is that US policies focus more on non-point source pollution rather than point source pollution. To me, this does not seem to make as much sense because point source pollution is more easily identified and, as a result, prevented--as is demonstrated in the low-hanging fruit principle. Essentially, I do not believe the current approach is as effective in finding a solution as it could be.
Also, I felt that chapter 15 re-brought up the issue of inefficiency. Because people are not accounting for the externalities that exist when they pollute (such as limited clean water supplies, the depletion of fisheries, the negative effects on recreational markets, and general biodiversity loss) the costs of polluting are not properly aligned with reality and, therefore, cannot lead to the true equilibrium. The solution presented in the chapter is to raise the cost of water. The effect of this would be two fold. Firstly, it would reduce consumption and lead to a more conservative mindset for the public. Secondly, the additional money could serve to counteract the negative impacts of pollution. Overall, this change could be a simple yet effective solution to the problem.

Matt Parker

I'd be interested in hearing more about policy makers and what is viewed as acceptable in the political sphere when it comes to fixing nonpoint and point sources of pollution. Is this something private industries might be more effective at then the public sector?

William Bannister

What interested me most within the readings was the talk on international water issues at the end of chapter 15. The segment on privatization of water in the third world was especially interesting. The problems with private water supply are clear, and one assumes that these problems either come about, or are worse in the underdeveloped regions that have issues with their political institutions i.e. corruption. There have been many cases that underdeveloped regions suffering from drought have been the subject of international aid that ships/flies in water to help the populace, but given the prevalence of political corruption in drought affected countries, this aid usually does not go to the right places, and is hence ineffective.
So, this is a statement rather than a question, but underdeveloped countries, that are suffering from water supply issues, need to be focusing on improving their political institutions first, before tackling the perhaps smaller, but still significant issues such as the water shortages and problems with privatizing water supply.

Owen Brannigan

I enjoyed the portion of chapter 15 that touched on the privatization of water in the third world. I would like to know how privatization is working in 2016. Have the problems been solved? Have new problems arisen? I also thought this section was interesting because it reveals one of the problems with economics. The problem of economic theory vs. real world application is evident in this situation.

Patrick McCarron

Will's post relates to the institutions class I took last term with professor Grajzl. In the same way that environmental econ must incorporate factors other than those presented in econ theory classes, econ of institutions does as well. It's interesting to see components of both of these classes come together: while the institution of corruption is considered a way of "getting things done" and expediting processes in certain countries, here it clashes with an environmental issue. How could we possibly create a model that incorporates all of these nuances?

Alison Peacock

While spending last spring term in Brazil, I saw firsthand how developing countries suffer from lack of clean water. During the time we spent on the Rio Negro, we would often see piles of trash floating by. The poor infrastructure and sewage facilities that causes high water contamination seem to be a relevant issue with the 2016 Summer Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro. Though some improvements have been made, it does not sound like the issue has been completely fixed. The Brazilian government claims that the water has passed water quality tests, but these tests only monitor bacterial infections and not viral. Do you think that improvements in infrastructure can be made in time before the Olympics begin? Is Brazil responsible for bearing the full cost of cleaning the water? Or should the Olympic Committee help out?

Murray Manley

In Chapter 15. Kahn discusses how some areas are working to develop wetlands to cleanse sewage water and runoff, specifically in California. I would be interested to find out how much sewage can these wetlands handle, and are they sustainable ecosystems even though they are man made. How expensive are these to construct, and what is the likelihood of this innovative alternative becoming a more widespread solution to sewage overflow?

Walker Abbott

I found Kahn's description of Water and Property Rights in Chapter 15 particularly interesting. I see how water use can be regulated by cost when on the city water system. How are private water sources like wells regulated? It is up to the owner (with the property rights) to drill and maintain the well and its water levels and quality, but in the future, if water becomes scarce, will it be the large landowners with greatest access to groundwater wells and property bordering freshwater waterways that will control that resource? I think many would argue that access to water is a basic human necessity and right, but will it become a precious commodity (like oil) in the future?

Cara Hayes

From chapter 11, I found the different methods of preserving recreational fishery resources to be interesting because the fish are consumed for recreational purposes, not for a true human need like food. Among the five policies to limit the participation, I am most familiar with catch and release. Catch and release is enforced through moral suasion and command and control, would there be a way to make a market to better enforce this policy?

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