Set catch shares by species
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Catch share is a fishery management system that allocates harvest rights to individuals or communities. There are two main types: quota- and area-based catch shares. Quota-based systems set a species or fishery-wide catch limit (also referred to as the total allowable catch or TAC), a portion of which is assigned to individuals or groups for harvest, with the participants being directly accountable for staying within the limits. Such systems are typically called ‘Individual Fishing Quotas’ (IFQs) but variations may also be referred to as ‘Limited Access Privileges’ or LAPs (Anon. 2021). In some regions such as Australia, quota can be based on fishing effort entitling a fisher to use a certain amount of fishing gear (length of net, number of hooks etc.). Fishers can only use the amount of fishing gear for which they have quota. When the catch shares are transferable (between stakeholders) they are known as ‘Individual Transferable Quota’ (ITQs) and if entities want to fish more than their individual quota they have to buy quota from other fishers. Introducing catch share systems in the form of quotas by species or fishery may limit fishing effort and mortality and help ensure sustainability by reducing effects of overfishing.
Evidence for related interventions is summarized under ‘Set an overall catch limit (quota cap or total allowable catch) by fishery or fleet’, ‘Introduce catch shares’ and Set catch shares by area‘.
Anon. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2021). The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A before-and-after study in 1962–2006 of bottom fishing grounds in the northwest Pacific Ocean off British Columbia, Canada (Edinger & Baek 2015) found that in the 10 years after implementing an individual vessel quota system for unwanted catch (Individual Vessel Bycatch Quota) in a multispecies groundfish fishery, the unwanted catch of Pacific halibut Hippoglossus stenolepis (a prohibited species) was reduced, but a previous quota system limiting the amount of all species in the catch by vessel (Individual Transferrable Quotas) increased halibut catch. In the period 1996–2006 following the introduction of a “bycatch” quota system for individual vessels in 1996, halibut catches fell by 219% (data reported as statistical model results). Conversely, when individual transferrable catch quotas had been implemented in 1990, it resulted in a 40% increase in unwanted halibut catches (data reported as statistical model results). Authors noted that this increase was due to individual transferrable quotas tending to only consider the conservation of a single species rather than multiple species caught at the same time. Fisheries data from the British Columbia groundfish fishery for the period 1962–2006 were analysed, provided by The International Pacific Halibut Commission and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The British Columbia Groundfish fishery implemented an individual vessel bycatch quota system in 1996 whereby trawl license holders received a quota representing a percentage of the species-specific total allowable catch.Study and other actions tested