The Northern Cod Moratorium of 1992 and the Tragedy of the Commons

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The Northern Cod Moratorium of 1992 and the Tragedy of the Commons As defined by Garrett Hardin using the example of herdsmen who are all dependent on one open, common pasture, the tragedy of the commons refers to the phenomenon where there is a depletion of a shared resource, caused by individuals acting towards their own self-interests rather than thinking of the long term interests of the group (1968). This phenomenon can also relate to another theory known as the prisoner’s dilemma. First framed by Merrill Flood and Melvin Dresher, the prisoner’s dilemma is a situation in which two individuals, who have been accused of a crime, are taken in for questioning by the police (Dixit & Nalebuff, 1991). Furthermore, both individuals each have two options, either to accuse the other person or not to cooperate with the police. In most cases, the individuals choose a self-serving option in order to save themselves. However, this theory does not only have to apply to prisoners but can also apply in economics in regards to firms and their competition and how cooperation between companies can often lead to a greater good (Dixit & Nalebuff, 1991). These two theories occur often in day-to-day life and seem to reveal how humans are predisposed to think of themselves first before thinking about the good of others. This paper will examine the extent of these theories related to the overfishing of Northern Cod on the eastern cost of Canada and how these phenomena have affected the physical, population and economic geographies of the area. According to Torsten Berhardt, the Atlantic/maritime region of Canada includes the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island (2002). Berhardt goes on to explain that these provinces all include a mix of rocky uninhabitable highlands and much more…...

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