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The following appeared as part of an article in a local newspaper.
ďOver the past three years the tartfish industry has changed markedly: fishing
technology has improved significantly, and the demand for tartfish has grown in
both domestic and foreign markets. As this trend continues, the tartfish industry on
Shrimp Island can expect to experience the same over-fishing problems that are
already occurring with mainland fishing industries: without restrictions on fishing,
fishers see no reason to limit their individual catches. As the catches get bigger, the
tartfish population will be dangerously depleted while the surplus of tartfish will
devalue the catch for fishers. Government regulation is the only answer: tartfishfishing
should be allowed only during the three-month summer season, when
tartfish reproduce and thus are most numerous, rather than throughout the year.Ē
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.
In this argument the author concludes that government regulation of the tartfish industry is the only way to prevent the problems
associated with over-fishing that plague other fishing industries. The authorís line of reasoning is that without restrictions fishers see no
reason to limit their catches and that this will deplete the tartfish population as well as devalue the catch. This line of reasoning is
problematic for several reasons.
Argument Page numbers
First, while government regulation may be one way to address the problem, it is by no means the only way. Many industries recognize
that it is in their self-interest to carefully manage the natural resources on which the industry depends. For example, the oil industry
routinely limits production of oil-related products in order to prevent surpluses and lower prices. No evidence has been presented to
establish that the tartfish industry is incapable of addressing and solving the problem of over-fishing without government intervention.
Second, the authorís line of reasoning defies common sense. The authorís underling assumption is that fishers are motivated only by
greed and that they will increase their catches to maximize their profits without regard to the effects over-fishing will have on their
livelihood and lifestyle in the future. This assumption is not supported in the argument. Moreover, as a generalization, on its face it
appears to be false. While some fishers may be driven only by immediate economic gratification and consequently see no reason to limit
their catches, no doubt others will see the threat over-fishing presents to their way of life and will voluntarily limit their catches.
Finally, the author offers no evidence that limiting the season for catching tartfish to three months in the summer will solve the overfishing
problem. Moreover, this proposal is highly questionable since this period coincides with the reproductive period of the tartfish.
In conclusion, the author has not made a convincing case for government regulation of the tartfish industry. To strengthen the conclusion
the author must provide evidence for the assertion that government regulation is the only way to solve the problem. Furthermore, the
author must provide evidence to support the assumption that immediate economic gratification is the only motive that fishers have in
pursuing their livelihood.