Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Menhaden Restrictions Again Considered

Nice story in the Sun over the weekend on some restrictions being suggested for menhaden. Everyone who has studied the subject is in favor of restricting catches, except for basically one group: industry. Shocker, I know. Actually, Omega Protein continues to surprise me. That one firm harvests 80% of the menhaden catch, and they don't have any competitors, so you'd think that they would be interested in maximizing their long-term return by getting the population to a level that would allow them to have a large, sustained catch. Instead, they seem determined to drive themselves out of business by sucking up all the fish as quickly as possible. The only way this approach makes sense is if they're strategically competing against someone else- say, environmentalists- and they sense that their true best outcome will be achieved in a balance when they are inevitably forced to compromise. If they can pull that off, then they get the best of both worlds! I just don't know why they have to get to their optimal outcome that way- why not just accept reality (i.e. the work of these scientists) and go to that best place sooner?

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