San Diego International Law Journal

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



The problem of the common anadromous stocks of the North Pacific is currently addressed through a legal regime operating within the framework established by the UNCLOS. This legal regime operates on two distinct fronts, but the externalities and incentives that define a problem of the commons continue to exist on both fronts. On the high seas, inadequate enforcement enables vessels and nations to violate the ban against high seas salmon harvests and to externalize the costs of doing so. Within EEZs, ineffectual bi-national treaties enable nations to which salmon stocks migrate to over exploit salmon stocks that originate in other nations, and to externalize the costs of doing so. It may be possible to eliminate these problems within the current legal regime. However, a well-implemented system of ITQs could provide a more cohesive, comprehensive, and efficient mechanism for resolving the externalities and incentives that continue to plague the salmon stocks of the North Pacific.