Project number: 1997-144
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $125,877.00
Principal Investigator: Gerry Geen
Organisation: Fisheries Economics Research and Management Specialists (FERM)
Project start/end date: 30 Dec 1997 - 31 Mar 2000


Significant problems have emerged in the design and implementation of ITQ systems both in Australia and worldwide. For example, although ITQs were introduced more than five years ago in the South East Fishery (SEF) there is continuing dissatisfaction with the scheme. A recent review by the South East Fishery Adjustment Working Group (1996) pointed out that 'the implementation process from boat units to Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) was appallingly handled ...'; and that 'since 1992 there have been at least eight internal or public reviews into various aspects of the SEF, as well as several litigation and AAT decisions'.

Similar difficulties with the implementation of ITQs have been experienced in state managed fisheries. A current example is the proposed introduction of ITQs in the Tasmanian crayfish fishery. This proposal has met with significant industry resistance which has resulted in the announcement of a review by the Tasmanian Legislative Council Select Committee. Overseas fisheries have suffered similar problems. For example, the ITQ system introduced into the Canadian halibut fishery has been sucessfully challenged in court with respect to the approach taken to allocation.

A number of the problems experienced to date, such as ineffective and costly monitoring, discarding and dissatisfaction with allocations can be related to the improper design and implementation of ITQ systems as opposed to difficulties intrinsic to ITQs.

Despite the above mentioned difficulties in implementing and operating ITQ systems, there is a strong and growing focus on the use of these management instruments. If implementation mistakes of the past are not to be repeated, a compilation of the practical experiences of ITQs and analysis of the operational difficulties experienced would be useful. What is needed is a non-theoretical, easily understood, operational guide to ITQs.


South East Fishery Adjustment Working Group (1996), 'Report to the Minister of Resources and Energy of the South East Fishery Adjustment Working Group', Canberra.


1. Compilation of operational ITQ experiences in Australia and selected other countries
2. Analysis of the practical difficulties faced in the implementation and operation of ITQs
3. Develop guidelines to assist fishery managers and industry in the implementation of ITQ systems

Final report

Authors: Barry Kaufmann Gerry Geen and Sevaly Sen
Final Report • 2000-01-10 • 278.88 KB
1997-144 - Project file final report.pdf


Dissatisfaction with the results of input control based management has led to an increasing worldwide interest in the use of output controls, such as individual transferable quotas (FTQs). Individual transferable quotas involve setting a total allowable catch (TAC) for a given fish stock and allocating a share of the TAC to each of the various participants within the fishery. However, significant problems have emerged in the design and implementation of ITQ systems.

Given the strong and growing focus on ITQs as an alternative to effort controls, prevention of the FTQ implementation mistakes of the past is therefore extremely important. This project was designed to address this need by reviewing the practical experiences of FTQs, analysing the operational difficulties encountered when implementing ITQs and compiling a non-theoretical, easily understood operational guide to ITQs targeted at those directly involved in implementing ITQ regimes: fishery managers and the fishing industry.

The methods used to carry out the research included a review of Australian and international literature on ITQ implementation, semi-stmctured interviews with fishery managers in AFMA and state fisheries management agencies, discussions with industry on their experiences with ITQs, active participation in the process of introducing ITQs and information gathering from fisheries managers and economists working in Canada, Iceland, Norway, New Zealand and the United States.

Final Report • 2000-01-10 • 802.35 KB
1997_144 Fish Futures.pdf


This book is aimed at providing reference material for persons interested in exploring how an ITQ system might work in practice. The target audience is fishery managers, industry and others involved in day-to-day fisheries management. The main purpose is to describe ITQ implementation options and provide, where possible, examples of how effective these options have been in various fisheries jurisdictions. The aim is not to identify and prescribe the most effective approaches to quota allocation, compliance or other operational matters, but rather to identify the ways that these issues have been tackled by various fisheries management agencies. Numerous references are provided in order to allow the interested reader to follow up on various topics.

In attempting to deal with a subject as broad as ITQ implementation, it is inevitable that certain topics are covered less thoroughly than others, and some barely at all. The choices of where to focus our attention have been largely driven by our experience of which issues cause problems to fishery managers and industry when designing and implementing ITQ systems. In highly technical areas, such as the chapters on Property Rights, Quota Allocation and TAC Setting, we have drawn on the knowledge of experts in the respective fields of law (Jane Knowler, Associate Lecturer in Law at Flinders University) and stock assessment (Andre Punt, Senior Resource Modeller in the CSIRO Division of Marine Research) to help us. However, we have attempted to keep the discussion fairly user-friendly so that anyone interested in the subject areas should be able to understand and digest the information.

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