A Public Pacific?

The coastal environment of Peru is full of marine life because of its location on the Pacific Ocean. A micro environment is created by the Humboldt Current which provides the Peruvian Cities with valuable resources, but this environment is delicate. Just as the Chesapeake is susceptible to negative human interference, the Peruvian coastal environment has become threatened because of the easily accessible resources of the Humboldt Current.

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The people of Peru have over one thousand miles of waterfront that provides almost unlimited access to the resources of the Pacific. As long as some one has access to basic equipment, the area of extraction of resources is endless. By nature, a body of water is more difficult to regulate. One can not claim acres and acres of ocean and fence it off as you could with farmland. Regulations can be put in place in the form of liscencing and catch limits, but it seems that the enforcement is a little lackadaisical. Because access to this resource hub is easy, and extensive enforcement is not in place, the marine environment of Peru seems to follow in the Chesapeake’s footsteps.

The early Chesapeake Bay resource extraction is very comparable to the extraction from thePeruvian coast. The resource is not privately owned and it is very easy to illegally extract. Access to the Chesapeake and the Pacific is never fully restricted. There are no locked doors or twenty four hour security guards to keep a fisherman from harvesting a resource, so what is the solution? The Chesapeake has tried many techniques in the past, but have now begun to privatize the bay. Individuals have bought access to a specific area which gives them the incentive to monitor and enforce that area on their own.

The differences in environments of the Chesapeake and the Peruvian coastline make this solution more complex than just divvying up sections of the Pacific Ocean, but privatization of resources can still be put in place and may help decrease illegal harvests. Restricting access is a realistic approach to monitoring resource extraction and Peru may benefit from the lessons learned in the Chesapeake.

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