Fisheries Policy Reform

National Experiences

image of Fisheries Policy Reform

Much has been done over the years to improve fisheries management in OECD countries. Ongoing problems of over-fishing, overcapacity and the economic crisis intensify the need for reform. Although there is a general consensus on the importance of a successful fisheries management, the effort levels and effectiveness of policy reforms have differed among OECD countries. This study examines the factors that facilitate reform, as well as the difficulties countries face in the process of reform. It provides an overview of domestic reform experiences in Norway, Mexico, Iceland, New Zealand and Korea. 


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.


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