This report presents five case studies of fisheries policy reform experiences in OECD countries: Iceland, Korea, Mexico, Norway and New Zealand. The draft report was prepared as part of the Committee for Fisheries project on "Fisheries Policy Reform". The aim of the case studies is to review the reform experiences in selected OECD countries in order to identify the key features of the reform processes and elicit general lessons on reform in the fisheries sector.
The ingredients of successful fisheries management have been known for many years. Well-defined access and use rights, a sound scientific basis for decisions of catch and effort levels, effective enforcement, and stakeholder involvement in decision-making form the core attributes of effective fisheries management regimes. While much has been done to improve fisheries management performance across OECD countries, the scope, depth and timing of reform towards profitable and sustainable fisheries has varied considerably. There is broad consensus that further reform in the fishing sector is necessary to respond to the ongoing problems of over-fishing, overcapacity and poor economic performance that persist in many parts of the sector and in many OECD countries. However, there is less analysis and guidance on the process by which reforms can be undertaken and sustained.
Over the past decades, a broad consensus has developed on the key features that characterise sustainable and responsible fisheries in the OECD countries. Well-defined access and use rights, a sound scientific basis for decisions of catch and effort levels, effective enforcement, and stakeholder involvement in decision-making form the core attributes of effective fisheries management regimes. Manifestation of this consensus can be found in the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and associated technical guidelines, and the OECD’s reports on sustainable fisheries, the transition to responsible fisheries and the use of market mechanisms (FAO 1995, 1997; OECD 1997, 2000, 2006).
The political economy of fisheries reform
This chapter provides a basic overview of the key issues surrounding the political economy of fisheries reform. In broad terms, a political economy framework describes how citizens or stakeholder groups and government interact in a hypothetical political market (Box 2.1). Governments are likely to be motivated by a number of factors such as ideological objectives, social welfare, the pursuit of economic efficiency, and the desire to retain office, and government policy decisions will reflect these complex objectives. Citizens (or stakeholders groups) signal their policy demand or preferences through various channels such as lobbying or voting choices. Political, legal and economic institutions will determine the limits and effectiveness of each stakeholder in achieving its objectives.
Introducing market-based reforms to manage overcapacity in Norway
This case study reviews the process of introducing market-based reforms to manage over-capacity in the Norwegian fisheries sector. The fisheries sector is a politically important sector in Norway due in large part to the high regional concentration of the industry and the organised influence of the fishers’ organisations. These factors played a significant role when it was decided to introduce market-based management reforms into the sector to help address the problems of overcapacity, low profitability and depleted stocks. The process of reform, which essentially began in the 1990s, was strongly influenced by distributional considerations, a fear of privatisation of the commons through the use of ITQs, and the diverse views of the different fleet segments. The establishment of the vessel-based quota system was a reaction to this and issues surrounding the system’s design, allocation keys for the quota and the longevity of the system were strongly debated. The system continued to evolve with extensive discussion within the sector, and further refinements to the quota system (involving the Structural Quota System and the trial Quota Exchange System) were introduced in 2003, followed by later adjustments in 2005 and 2007.
Reforming Mexico's fisheries
Mexico’s fisheries sector has witnessed a number of significant institutional changes since 1990 which have deeply influenced both the state of fish resources as well as stakeholders’ incomes. This chapter reviews developments in Mexican fisheries management policy, focusing on institutional arrangements and fisheries policy formulation. The first part of the chapter reviews the evolution and present status of the institutional arrangements, while the second part provides an assessment of the key issues confronting the policy development process.
Fisheries policy reform in Korea
The Government of Korea has been reforming its fisheries policies over the past decade to achieve sustainable fisheries. The reform has been driven by depletion of commercially important stocks and poor economic performances of Korea’s fishing industry due to a continuous decline of inshore and offshore fisheries catches since the mid-1980s and, at the same time, an increase of operation costs.
Development of the individual transferable quota system in Iceland
Iceland is one of the leading countries to have adopted the Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) system and applied the system to fisheries management. Therefore, Icelandic experiences in the ITQ system development provide good insights for fisheries policy reforms at the national level. This chapter describes the evolution of quota system in the Icelandic fisheries sector, key features of the current ITQ system and outcomes of the system. Furthermore, this chapter aims at sharing information and lessons learned from the Icelandic experiences.
Introducing market-based reforms to ensure sustainability in New Zealand fisheries
This case study reviews the broad reform that has taken place in New Zealand’s fisheries management since the 1980s. Reform was initially undertaken as part of economy-wide liberalisation and also to address the need to provide for the sustainable utilisation of fish stocks. Prior to this, fisheries were managed under an open access system using traditional control methods such as restrictions on gear capacity and boat size. The industry was both subsidised by government and overcapitalised and fish stocks were overexploited. To address these problems, new management arrangements were introduced based on a total allowable catch (TAC) with fishing entitlements within that limit determined by individual transferable quotas (ITQs) (see Table 7.1 for a timeline showing the process of continuous reform that New Zealand underwent after the initial introduction of a Quota Management Scheme into both the inshore and offshore fisheries). The introduction of ITQs provided an opportunity to reduce the total catch and facilitated industry restructuring. Although the system has continued to evolve, tradable property rights and security of access remain the basis of the management system. This has also encouraged the development of stakeholder organisations and greater participation by fishers in management.
Insights for the process of policy reform in the fisheries sector
The case studies presented in this report provide a review of the process of reform in selected OECD countries. The case studies are not necessarily representative of the experiences of all OECD countries, but they do illustrate the variety of reform experiences that have occurred. The economic, environmental, social and political situations in the countries covered in this report vary widely. Yet each of the countries has undergone significant reforms in recent years. While the ambition, effectiveness and sustainability of the reforms differs from country to country, there are sufficient common insights that can be generalized to the process of policy reform in all OECD, and many non-OECD, countries. The purpose of this chapter is to draw out those common elements from the case studies and provide a number of policy lessons that may assist governments in their current and future reform efforts. The chapter focuses on four key stages of the reform process: identifying the need for reform; the processes driving reform; building support for reform; and sustaining reform.
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