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technological progress, because new and better vessel designs would not be compatible with the licensed design.
Controlling the fleet capacity by licenses does not encourage economic efficiency to the same extent as controlling fleet capacity indirectly by IFQs. When IFQs would be difficult to monitor or enforce, however, license limitation could be a viable alternative. Nevertheless, license limitation alone is, at best, a short-term approach with short-term benefits. In the long run, the performance of a license limitation program depends on its use in combination with other management measures.
Individual Effort Quotas
Individual effort quotas limit the number of units of effort that a given vessel, license holder, or fisherman can use. In such systems, each participant is allocated a certain number of effort units, such as the number of traps (see Appendix G for a description of the Florida spiny lobster trap certificate program) or days at sea. In the United States, effort quotas have their broadest application in pot fisheries for crustaceans, although they are also used for Atlantic groundfish and scallops through fleet-wide “days-at-sea" limitations (OECD, 1997).
The initial allocation of individual effort quotas can be determined by a variety of mechanisms, including historic catch levels or vessel size. Effort control measures are frequently combined with gear restrictions, license limitations, and vessel configuration limits. The conservation effects of individual effort quotas require limits on entry and are strengthened when combined with a TAC (OECD, 1997). Tradable effort quotas are similar to IFQs, except that as input controls they are only indirectly associated with output. As indirect controls on output, they will be effective in controlling total catch only if there are no other inputs (time, space, gear, behavior) that can reasonably be substituted for the restricted input and if the link between inputs and catch is predictable and relatively stable.
In some fisheries, effort units may be traded among license holders or vessels. If effort quotas are transferable, some efficiencies will be realized as quota shares are fished by fewer vessels. However, effort quotas will not eliminate the incentive to invest in gear innovations to increase catch rates in the race for fish. Evidence collected in OECD member countries supports the expectation of capital stuffing with individual effort quotas and associated increases in operating costs. In addition, individual effort quotas are in many cases difficult and costly to enforce, particularly when strong incentives for compliance are absent (ICES, 1996, 1997; OECD, 1997).
Time limits are one form of effort quota. Time limits seek to reduce the harvest of a given species, or group of species, in an area by reducing the amount of time available for harvesting or by controlling the particular time period over which the species can be caught. The total amount of fishing time allowed at a