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Permit Stacking as an Approach to Implementing Harvest Rights that can be Transferred and Accumulated


The current U.S. moratorium on implementation of new Individual Quota (IQ) programs has left fishery managers without an important tool in the quest for successful management systems. Meanwhile, many fisheries, such as the west coast groundfish fishery, are in desperate need of capacity reduction and more flexible management.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) has, since 1994, employed a license limitation program for most of its groundfish fishery. Management objectives identified for this fishery include the provision of year-round supplies of fresh fish to regional markets. To promote this objective the Council has adopted, over the past 15 years, an evolving web of individual-trip and cumulative-time-period landing limits, which slow the pace of the fishery. In recent years, downturns in the perceived health of several stocks, combined with more stringent rebuilding requirements, have resulted in dramatic reductions in the limits for many species. With little hope of implementing a permit buyback initiative, the PFMC is currently considering alternatives for voluntary and mandatory permit stacking to achieve fleet reduction and, in turn, higher limits for vessels on the water. Stacking may prove to be an effective intermediate step towards IQs for fisheries combining limited access with some form of effort/output controls. In relatively small fisheries, particularly those with existing permit programs and output/effort restrictions, permit stacking may represent a cost-effective means of facilitating fleet consolidation and individual accumulation of harvest rights. (Click here for paper)

Source: Hastie, J.D. 2000. “Permit stacking as an approach to implementing harvest rights that can be transferred and accumulated.” In: Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade: Macrobehavior and Macroresults, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon. Corvallis, OR: International Institute for Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET).

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