Rights Based Management and Small Scale Fisheries in the EU
A LIFE Position Paper on ITQs
Individual Transferrable Quotas (ITQs) have caused no end of controversy in the small-scale and coastal fisheries (SSCF) sector worldwide. The most recent reform of the CFP stirred up such controversy but rejected the imposition of obligatory Transferable Fishing Concessions (TFCs) – ITQs by another name. However, TFCs remain an integral part of the reformed CFP and Sweden is now set to establish an ITQ system for demersal fisheries in Baltic and North Seas in January 2017. This may well encourage others to follow suit.
There is no doubt that clearly defined rights in fisheries, both individual and collective, which are fairly, objectively and transparently established, and revocable by the State, are beneficial to all. However, where rights regimes have been imposed, with access rights allocated to a privileged segment of the fleet, and then effectively privatized through ITQs, this has led to concentration of rights in the hands of a few, increased inequality in the fisheries sector, and negatively impacted small scale fisheries.
In this paper, LIFE reviews Rights Based Management (RBM), and calls for rights to be allocated in ways that are fair, which privilege those who fish in the most responsible manner, and with adequate safeguards in place to protect vulnerable small scale fisheries and their communities.
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