Expert Report

Sharing the Fish: Toward a National Policy on Individual Fishing Quotas (1999)

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Most U.S. fish stocks are fully or over-exploited, and harvesting in many fisheries far exceeds sustainable levels. The individual fishing quota (IFQ) is a relatively new instrument under which harvesting privileges are allocated to individual fishermen--innovative yet controversial for its feared effect on fishing communities and individual fishermen. Based on testimony from fishermen, regulators, environmentalists, and others, this report explores how IFQs might address the serious social, economic, and biologic issues raised by depleted fish stocks. It also provides definitions and examples, reviews legislation and regulations, and includes lessons learned from fisheries on the U.S. East Coast and in Alaska, and in Iceland, New Zealand, and other nations.