SCOQ experience, in turn, has led to greater attention to problems of excessive accumulation and concentration in industries under IFQs, a question that was taken up in earnest in the Alaska halibut and sablefish IFQ planning process. In addition, failures to take into account the claims of hired captains and crew to initial allocation in the Alaskan programs probably influenced the decision in the Gulf of Mexico red snapper IFQ plan (approved but not implemented) to provide for allocation to captains under specific forms of contract. The red snapper planning experience (like that of New Zealand), in turn, has highlighted the challenges of using IFQ tools in fisheries with large and growing recreational participation.

General Rationales and Issues for Implementing Individual Fishing Quotas

The reasons for using IFQs can vary widely. The most general reason is to counteract negative consequences of open or limited access management systems, particularly where TACs are used. A TAC without any limitation on fishing by the individual fisherman provides incentives for all participants in the fishery to harvest the TAC as quickly as possible before the fishery is closed. This typically leads to excessive fleet capacity and fishing effort and increasingly shorter fishing seasons (see Figure 1.1). A central objective of many fisheries managed by IFQs is to avoid the undesirable consequences of this race for fish.

Three more specific rationales that have been offered for implementing IFQs are (1) improving economic efficiency by providing incentives to reduce any excess harvesting and processing capacity; (2) improving conservation by creating incentives to reduce bycatch and lost gear and engaging in other activities that conserve the resource; and (3) improving safety by reducing incentives to fish in dangerous conditions. Although many of the benefits and costs derived from IFQ management might be based on economic principles, the potential social effects are also likely to be central concerns in the design of any IFQ program. A wide variety of motives may influence the development of any specific IFQ program. The following discussion of the three principal rationales for implementing IFQ management provides an overview of the potential benefits and costs of using this form of management.

Economic Efficiency

In terms of the national standards contained in the Magnuson-Stevens Act, IFQs could be used as part of a strategy to satisfy the requirement that "conservation and management measures shall, where practicable, consider efficiency in the utilization of fishery resources; except that no such measure shall have economic allocation as its sole purpose" (National Standard 5, Sec. 301 [a][5]). By dividing the TAC into shares that are allocated to individuals who can then

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement