The diplomatic corps of Iceland has used much of its time during the third quarter of the 20. century to convince other nations that Icelanders should control and utilise the resources of the waters within 12, then 50 and finally 200 nautical miles around the island. Icelandic politicians have used much of their time and effort during the fourth quarter of the 20. century to debate how to organise the utilisation of the resource and in what way one should distribute the rents from its harvesting. In the paper give a short account of the development of the regulatory reforms in four types of Icelandic fisheries. No one of the reformatory processes can be said to be a replica of the any of the other processes. It seems evident at the face of things that each reformatory process is unique and distinct from the other except for the final outcome, the rule of the ITQs. But that may seem to be to short sighted conclusion. It should be evident from the earliest history of regulatory reforms that the ITQ system was not the intentional outcome. It came to be, eventually. There is a common pattern for all the fisheries, however. First of all: The serious attempts to reform the management practise starts first when the fishery has collapsed or is close to a collapse. Secondly, the first thing that stake holders seem to get done is to close the club that has access to the given fishery. Thirdly, a variety of rules was used to allocate participation rights when the club of participants had been closed. Fourthly, prices were used to manage fisheries in Iceland prior to the invention of the ITQ system. Lastly, management of fisheries by ITQs rather than some form of taxes or fees may have historical rather than logical roots.
Matthiasson, T. Changing Rules for Regulation of Icelandic Fisheries. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults: Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA. Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.