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Morgan, G.R.

Individual quota management in fisheries: methodologies for determining catch quotas and initial quota allocation.

FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 371. Rome, FAO. 1997. 41p.


The management of fisheries by catch quotas has a long history in a number of areas and has been probably the most common method of controlling exploitation of fish stocks. However, in recent years, the technique of managing by global Total Allowable Catches (TACs) has not been able to address the rapid improvements in technology of harvesting and has therefore not generally been successful in limiting fleet capacity. This, combined with practical difficulties of monitoring and enforcing TACs, has resulted in a poor record in achieving fish stock sustainability and in optimizing the economic performance of fisheries.

However, recent advances in and adoption of the techniques of managing by Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs), which provide greater incentives for sustaining and optimising economic performance of fisheries, have re-focused attention on quota management. The increasing interest in ITQ management has, however, not been matched by the availability of a theoretical framework for quota management which considers the various biological, economic and financial influences as part of an integrated management system.

This paper is the first of a projected series which examines not only this theoretical basis of quota (particularly ITQ) management as an integrated system but also draws on practical experiences in various parts of the world to provide guidance for agencies examining the issue of quota management in fisheries.

The present paper covers the biological, economic and financial issues which need to be considered in setting the Total Allowable Catch and in allocating that TAC both between participants in the fishery and between those participants and the regulatory agency. Later papers will address the issues of administration of the quota management system, compliance and surveillance issues and secondary markets for quotas.

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