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Thursday, May 23, 2019

S4: Tenure and User Rights in Fisheries: Achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 Through Lessons Learned and Good Practices

Session Chairs: Chris Anderson, University of Washington; Adam Soliman, The Fisheries Law Centre;

10:00 – 10:15  |  3571232

Legal terminology for fisheries scholars

Adam Soliman1;
1The Fisheries Law Centre, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada;

Fisheries scholars often face legal terminologies in their work and find themselves having to interpret these terms. Some scholars point out that the use of such terms and their interpretation are sometimes inaccurate which maybe a result of the difference between the conventional use of terms, how fisheries scholars use such terms, and how the legal profession uses them. Such differences lead to confusion. Earlier literature included confusion over terms related to property rights such as ownership, privatization, private property rights, privileges, and common property rights. More recent literature include confusion over much more terms such as human rights, constitutional rights, customary rights, indigenous rights, user rights, and the right to fish among other terms. This confusion is apparent in small-scale fisheries literature as well, especially in the wake of the United Nations Food and Agricultures publication of the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines and concerns over the privatization of small-scale fisheries. To clear this confusion regarding legal terminology within the fisheries management literature, in particular, small-scale fisheries, this article explains the major legal systems in the world today, the nature of legal terminology, and it deciphers legal terms which most often appear in fisheries literature. The objective of this paper is threefold. First, it aims to clarify the nature, development, and meaning of legal terminology. Second, it aims to assist fisheries scholars in reading and interpreting legal texts. Third, it aims to assist those parties with a stake in developing small-scale fisheries management policy to formulate better policies.

10:15 – 10:30  |  3568866

Principles for the application of user rights for fisheries across socio-ecological contexts

Sarah L. Smith1; Merrick J. Burden2; Alexis N. Rife3;
1Environmental Defense Fund, Boston, MA, USA; 2Environmental Defense Fund, Seattle, WA, USA; 3Environmental Defense Fund, Portland, OR, USA;

Fisheries managers around the world have become increasingly interested in incorporating user rights, or rights-based management, as a strategy for sustainable fisheries management given the potential for improved triple-bottom line outcomes touted in the literature. User rights for fishing allocate a secure area or privilege to harvest a share of a fisherys total catch to an individual or group of users. The form that a rights-based fishery management system takes in practice will vary considerably depending on factors including the socio-ecological context, management goals, the system of governance, and the capacities of government and stakeholders. While there are numerous examples of industrial fisheries which have successfully implemented user rights, it is often unclear how these lessons can best be adopted by small-scale fisheries considering rights-based management. In North America, rights-based management has been applied across diverse contextsin both industrialized and small-scale fisheriesto address overfishing and stock depletion. This presentation will include three case studies of user rights in fisheries in North America, drawn from experiences in developed (Pacific Coast Groundfish Catch Share Program in the United States), emerging (Gulf of California curvina fishery in Mexico), and developing (national Managed Access program in Belize) economy contexts. We will compare the lessons learned from each fishery including drivers behind the development of rights-based management, the form fishing rights have taken, challenges and successes of each, and some biological, economic, and social outcomes. We will present a set of key principles for designing rights-based systems that account for a fisherys socioeconomic, ecological, and political context, and discuss best practices in implementing such systems.

10:30 – 10:45  |  3614841

The U.S. experience with rights-based management

Martin Smith1;
1Duke University, Durham, United States;

The U.S. has adopted various forms of rights-based management in many of its fisheries. In the last two decades, many federally managedfisheries have adopted catch shares, including individually transferable quotas to fishers (e.g. Pacific halibut), allocations of quota to cooperative or groups of fishers (e.g. sector management in New England), and two-pie systems with processor quota (e.g. red king crab). Forms of management before the adoption of catch shares are even more heterogeneous. These differences in forms of management before the adoption of a rights-based policy greatly complicate our modeling of what to expect as a result of the policy. At the same time, the many transitions to rights-based management in the U.S., as in many other parts of the world, have occurred in a period of increasing globalization and rapid climate change. These issues create further challenges in drawing causal inferences about policy performance.Here I offer reflections on the U.S. experience, what we have learned empirically, and what pressing work needs to be done.As the U.S. accumulates more experience with this suite of policy tools, non-economists have become increasingly critical and have accused economists of overly simplistic thinking and promoting catch shares as a panacea.While the diversity of rights-based systems in the U.S. suggests that policy makers have not swallowed a monolithic economic narrative about catch shares and how to configure them, this diversity also offers opportunities to develop rigorous quantitative tests of the most salient critiques of catch shares.

10:45 – 11:00  |  3645969

Allocating quota to fish processors in IFQ programs – Evidence from U.S. fisheries

Marie Guldin1;
1Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Seattle, WA, USA;

Individual fishing quota (IFQ) programs have become an increasingly common tool in fisheries management in the United States over the last twenty years. Design of IFQ programs has expanded to consider not only the economic impacts on harvesters but also impacts on downstream sectors like processors and fishing communities. One controversial policy is to allocate quota to processors to address potential adverse effects of a transition to IFQs. Debate between proponents and opponents of this policy has occurred amongst stakeholders, researchers, managers, and politicians. Arguments for this policy are mainly in regards to compensation for and/or prevention of adverse outcomes that may occur during transition from a derby to IFQ-regulated fishery, including stranded capital, shifts in bargaining power in the ex-vessel market, and consolidation. Arguments against this policy include concerns of reduced competition in the ex-vessel market, reduced incentives for processing innovation, and difficulty in measuring appropriate allocations. Despite contention, processors have been allocated quota in two U.S. fisheries via different methods. A dual quota system with both IFQ and individual processing quota (IPQ) was implemented in the Bering Sea Aleutian Islands crab fisheries in 2005, while a portion (20%) of IFQ was allocated to processors in the shoreside Pacific whiting fishery in 2011. While there is still much that is unknown about the potential implications of allocating quota to processors, experiences in these two fisheries provide some insight to consider for future programs regarding how processor quota might be utilized, the potential effects on market power in the ex-vessel market, and the initial allocation process.

11:00 – 11:15  |  3568507

The potential for tenure and user rights in the recreational fishing sector

Vishwanie Maharaj1;
1World Wildlife Fund - US, Washington, DC, United States;

Tenure and user rights systems have been adopted for the commercial sector of many fisheries in North America. However their use is almost nonexistent in the recreational fishing sector. While marine recreational fishing is carried out for sport and personal use, in the United States there are many cases where excess demand results in recreational fishers exceeding safe target levels and conflicts with other user groups. Typically, recreational fishing is managed through daily bag limits, size limits and seasonal closures. However, these measures are oftentimes not sufficient to prevent overfishing and under extreme conditions create angler discontent that results in loss of economic benefits for the charter and headboat sectors. A one-size fits all approach over large geographic areas is also problematic due to the widely varying preferences across recreational fishing populations and different environmental conditions, resulting in additional angler dissatisfaction and furtherloss of economic benefits. This presentation evaluates a number of tenure rights tools for recreational fisheries that have been proposed in the literature and presented to angler groups in North America. An early draft of best practices is presented based partly on attempts to introduce tenure and user rights programs in US recreational fisheries.

11:15 – 11:30  |  3579059

Tenure and rights-based management in Canada's marine commercial fisheries

Paul Macgillivray1;
1Independent Consultant, Nova Scotia, Canada;

Most commercial fisheries in Canada are managed using some form of tenure and rights-based management -- i.e., a regulatory program that provides exclusive entitlements to a person, company, or community, allowing them to access certain fishery resources in a prescribed manner.

This presentation describes the main features of the various tenure and user rights approaches used in Canadas marine commercial fisheries. Particular attention is paid to identifying the relationship between the objectives for a given fishery and the corresponding fisheries management tools employed. For example, objectives related to biological sustainability and economic viability are common in all Canadian commercial fisheries. However, explicit social objectives, such as maintaining an independent small-scale inshore fishing sector and ensuring that benefits of fishing licences flow to coastal communities, are not applied uniformly. As a result, fisheries management tools designed to achieve social objectives are applied only in some fisheries, primarily those on the Atlantic coast.

In addition to describing the nature of tenure and user rights approaches used in Canada, this presentation highlights lessons learned and good practices based on Canadas experience. Finally, advice is provided for the benefit of those responsible for developing or modifying fisheries tenure and user rights systems in other North American fisheries.

11:30 – 12:10


Group discussion will follow oral presentations.


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