Overfishing is commonly explained by the tragedy of the commons, which is the tendency of a shared, limited resource to become depleted because people act from self-interest for short-term gain. Fish are not confined to a certain region, such as within national borders, and thus do not belong to any one individual or country. Even if one country limits its catch, others are likely to make up the difference.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is a major global authority on overfishing. Its main goal in the overfishing problem is to collect, analyze, and disperse data to all countries and encourage intensive cooperation among them. “The focus in modern fisheries management is mainly on economic control through the control of fishing capacity, fishing effort, and the allocation of catch quotas and […] access to resources.” While the FAO cannot declare laws and reinforce compliance with them, it is a legitimate source of data and it provides trends and analyses for other organizations and NGOs to use to inform the mass public and to push for legislation to protect fisheries. It diminished uncertainty so fisheries know when their stock is at dangerously low levels.
Similarly, the Save Our Seas Foundation, located in Switzerland, supplies generous contributions of both financial, practical and scientific support to facilitate marine research and conservation projects around the world. One of the biggest obstacles to limiting overfishing has been the number of unknown factors of the oceans. It is difficult to tell how robust a certain year’s fish stock will be and how beneficial or harmful some fisheries are. By providing scientific support, the task of managing overfishing will be much easier.
In this day and age, branding is extremely important to a business. Many people pay a little more for fair-trade chocolate because it makes them feel better to know that workers who made the chocolate were treated fairly. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a social enterprise, also utilizes this branding technique. It places the 100% Federal At-Sea Monitoring label on boats and fisheries that comply with the fishing quota allowed. By using this method that makes it easier for consumers to purchase fish without contributing to the overfishing problem, the EDF has created a new way to help save the environment.