Individual transferable quotas in the Pacific halibut fishery : applications to the Magnuson Act Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/9w032748g

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  • The Pacific halibut has supported a major commercial fishery on the West coast of the United States for over 100 years. In the past, the halibut fishery was managed by a policy of open access which led to an overcapitalized fishery and raised concerns about overfishing, fishing safety, and deteriorating product quality. In order to address these problems, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council implemented an individual transferable quota program for the halibut fishery in the Spring of 1995. The new quota regulations will provide some benefit to the severely overcapitalized halibut fishery. However, the ITQ program may threaten resource sustainability by providing fishermen with an incentive to exceed their quota and high grade their catch. In addition, the quota consolidation, job loss, and costs that will result from the new system will raise several ethical concerns regarding the ideas of social equity, efficiency, and stewardship. Based on traditional conservation ethics as well as more modern ideas, the envirocentric ethical approach to quota management can be used to address some of these environmental and ethical problems. Fishing quotas have had an interesting political history which has been evolving for the past 20 years. The quota issue spurred intense debate in Congress during the reauthorization of the Magnuson Act in 1996 and divided the fishing industry while pitting environmental groups against each other. With the Magnuson Act being amended, environmental groups were able to lobby Congress to include in the rewrite a 4-year moratorium on new quota programs. The NPFMC did a commendable job with an overwhelming task by creating an ITQ plan which could be used as a prototype for future quota management. Although the halibut system adequately addresses several difficult issues, it will also produce its own problems, the full extent of which may not be realized for years to come. This research suggests that not only do ITQs provide some benefits, but also that much caution should be exhibited when allocating fishery resources in this manner.
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