Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) and Individual Transferable Effort (ITE) systems have been introduced to a wide range of Australian fisheries (FRDC 2017-159). Since 1985, forty-six ITQs have been introduced to a range of fisheries and can be found across all jurisdictions in Australia; six ITEs have also been introduced, mainly in prawn trawl fisheries. Such systems allocate shares or portions of a total allowable catch (TAC), or total allowable effort (TAE), between fishers, vessels, communities, or others with an interest in the fishery.
Experience shows that ITQs as generally designed and implemented have not always fully delivered promised outcomes, have had outcomes that were unintended and unwanted, and in some instances have resulted in outcomes that make it difficult for fisheries managers to deliver against other, in many cases non-economic, objectives of fisheries management. In some instances, these unintended and unwanted consequences may also have been inappropriately attributed to the ITQs/ITEs and may more be down to other drivers such as globalisation or changes in stock abundance.
Building on industry and management’s growing interest in improving ITQ-fishery outcomes (SRL Corporatisation Workshop, Melbourne Airport, October 2019) and on the findings of 2017-159, this work will aim to provide evidence-based advice to managers and industry on options to address any performance gaps or unintended and unwanted consequences, and the potential effects of any proposed interventions on the economic, social and environmental outcomes of ITQs as generally implemented in Australian fisheries. The scope of options will include industry-led private sector initiatives, as well as Government-led changes to management.