There is a better way to manage the fishery, both economically and environmentally.
Although no fisheries management system is perfect, in a growing number of fisheries, rights-based management, including individual transferrable quotas (ITQs), is proving highly successful in eliminating two major problems plaguing ocean fisheries: overcapitalization and overfishing.
In “Fencing the Fishery: A Primer on Ending the Race for Fish (Canadian edition), author Donald R. Leal examines rights-based fisheries management systems.
Originally published by the Property and Environment Research Centre (PERC) in the US, the paper is adapted for Canada by Peter Fenwick and Laura Jones. Their conclusions include two clear messages for Canada: stop issuing new commercial fishing licences and stop using the fishery as a make-work program.
Dozens of coastal fisheries in Canada are dying from overexploitation and the destructive “race for fish”. Sophisticated vessels and high-tech equipment combat one another to grab the ever-dwindling number of fish.
It’s a formula for disaster.
Fenwick and Jones show how rights-based fishing policies, including individual transferable quotas (ITQs), territorial rights and private harvesting agreements can reduce the costly and destructive race for fish. The paper analyses each policy and reviews practices in other countries. It shows that while no fisheries management system is perfect, rights based management is proving highly successful in eliminating two major problems plaguing ocean fisheries: overcapitalization and overfishing.
Fenwick and Jones conclude that a number of steps need to be taken to increase the effectiveness of rights based management in Canada:
1. Fisheries still managed by effort controls should change to ITQ management.
2. Restrictions on trading individual quotas within and between fisheries should be minimized.
3. The Department of Fisheries and Ocean should stop issuing new licences and quotas.
4. Monitoring and enforcement should be a priority in ITQ fisheries.
5. Maximizing employment as an objective of fisheries management must be abandoned.
They conclude that such steps will take us closer to reducing the overexploitation and depletion of ocean resources.
To read the complete paper, please click here.