Berth rights: informal property rights in a Nova Scotia lobster fishery

MacPherson, Holli Christine (2013) Berth rights: informal property rights in a Nova Scotia lobster fishery. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This paper examines the system of informal property rights in the lobster fishery in eastern Nova Scotia. The lobster berth system is characterized by gentlemen's agreements which have been passed down through generations offish harvesters. The system was established by eighteenth century Scottish settlers with the division of land and was imposed on the marine environment when the fishing industry became prosperous. The system is founded on the principle of respect and regard for the rights of other harvesters in the system. This sense of obligation to others is what has let the system survive the decades. Many harvesters within the berth system believe the existence of such private property rights is what has enabled the lobster stocks in the area to continue to grow while other lobster stocks near-by have declined. This paper outlines the structure and division of the berth system while exploring its use as a successful conservation tool. This idea is discussed in the paper with relation to historical data on lobster landings in the surrounding areas and biological principles that influence stock productivity. The paper concludes with the argument that the system should be given more attention by Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a successful system of Fisheries Management.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 10956
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 44-47).
Department(s): Marine Institute
Date: 2013
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Lobster fisheries--Nova Scotia--Management; Right of property--Nova Scotia; Lobsters--Conservation--Nova Scotia.

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