At the 23rd Annual International Submerged Lands Management Conference in Halifax, AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley was asked to present the arguments for a shift from traditional public ownership/trustee arrangements to a regime of mixed public and private property for the management of the seabed.
Drawing on his 2003 lecture at the New Zealand Parliament on Who Should Own the Sea, Crowley outlined how a greater role for private property in the seabed, as well as the water column and the foreshore, would unlock great wealth for society and improve the economic prospects of coastal communities.
He also pointed out that regimes based on public ownership are more prone to interminable political disputes and predation by rent-seeking groups, while private property in the aggregate encourages efficient husbanding of resources and shifts them relatively effortlessly to the highest value-added uses.
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