Individual transferable quota (ITQ) systems are becoming an increasingly adopted management in fisheries. The system relies on transactions of the user rights to fish within a capped fish stock between fishers. The limitation of access to fish through allocation of fishing privileges produces winners and losers. This paper addresses equity and distributional issues in catch share fisheries and discuss program design measures that can be adopted to help achieve desired equity outcomes. Equity outcomes examined in this paper include reduction of fishing effort, initial allocation of harvesting rights, distribution of harvesting rights over time, and challenges related to migratory, mixed-used, and multijurisdictional fisheries. ITQs could be a promising instrument for management of fisheries precisely because these systems can be designed to resolve important socio-economic equity conflicts. Unique panel data from the Swedish pelagic ITQ system is used as a case study to exemplify the issues discussed. Our findings indicate that quota prices should be reported and public, that the financial cost of capital is important for allocation in the long run and that permanent quotas signal that catch shares are collateral to facilitate financing for fishers without large assets. Moreover, a strategy for data collection should be part of the system design, concentration of quota holdings can be counteracted with limits on quota holdings, but with returns to scale it adds a social cost compared to efficiency optimum. The period when a catch shares program is decided is the time when policies should be designed with a long-term perspective.