Reducing Fishing Capacity

Best Practices for Decommissioning Schemes

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Too many fishing vessels chasing too few fish is a persistent problem in many countries. To address this, governments often turn to vessel decommissioning schemes as a means of adjusting fishing capacity to match available fish resources. This report presents a set of best practice guidelines on the design and implementation of decommissioning schemes. By drawing on case studies of decommissioning schemes from OECD and non-OECD countries, it provides policy makers and fisheries managers with detailed analysis of the economic issues surrounding decommissioning schemes.

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Economic Issues in Decommissioning Programmes

The economics of decommissioning schemes has been the focus of many studies in recent years. From this literature, it is clear that the design and implementation of decommissioning schemes (which are broadly defined – see Box 1.1) varies significantly both between and within countries. For example, some countries require that decommissioning payments be tied to the physical scrapping of vessels while others allow vessels to be shifted to another fishery (in which case the payment is for the removal of excess capacity from a particular fishery rather than reducing the overall capacity in the country). Some schemes are intended to remove latent capacity or effort instead of capacity or effort that is currently engaged in fishing so reducing potential rather than actual pressure on particular fisheries. Both auctions and flat rate payments are used across countries, each with advantages and disadvantages and various degrees of success.

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