Which design elements of individual quota fisheries help to achieve management objectives?

  • Published source details Melnychuk M.C., Essington T.E., Branch T.A., Heppell S.S., Jensen O.P., Link J.S., Martell S.J.D., Parma A.M. & Smith A.D.M. (2016) Which design elements of individual quota fisheries help to achieve management objectives?. Fish and Fisheries, 17, 126-142.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Introduce catch shares

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Introduce catch shares

    A systematic review in 2000–2004 of seven marine regions worldwide (Melnychuk et al. 2016, same data sources as Melnychuk et al. 2012) found that fisheries managed under catch shares (individual catch quotas) typically met biomass sustainability targets and had rates of exploitation below or the same as target levels. Overall, 63% of stocks with catch shares had biomass levels above or within 10% of management sustainability targets. Fisheries that transferred excess catch or under-catch into the following year’s catch limit had higher ratios of stock biomass to target levels, while fisheries that did not had lower biomass ratios. In addition, 68% of stocks had exploitation rates below or within 10% of targets. Catch share systems in place >15 y had exploitation rates lower than target levels (data reported as statistical model results). Data for 2000–2004 were extracted from a fisheries stock assessment database (‘RAM Legacy’ - see original paper for details) and from other sources including stock assessment documents and fishery management plans. The study used meta-analysis to investigate the effects of catch shares (individual quota systems) on sustainability targets for biomass and rates of exploitation of 167 fish stocks in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Argentina, South Africa and USA.

    (Summarised by: Natasha Taylor)

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