Democracy Center - Fishing control

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After Iceland gained full control over its fishing grounds in the 1970s, the government began to control fishing by restricting effort (i.e., the time that vessels were permitted to engage in fishing). Limits varied from one type of vessel to another, and also from one season to another. As the fishing fleet was thought to be far too large, the government also made funds available for the decommissioning of fishing vessels. In 1984 it started awarding catch entitlements (quotas) for fish as the main method of control, replacing effort restrictions. These quotas were awarded on the basis of their previous catch performance, and applied to individual vessels; thus, someone who wanted to catch more cod could only do so by buying a vessel with its quota. Later on, it was permitted to buy and sell quotas without buying or selling the vessels too. Similar arrangements have been introduced for more and more demersal fish species. ? Even though catch control was the main method, for a long time part of the fishing fleet was allowed to go on making catches subject to effort restrictions; this accounted for only a small proportion of the total catch. In addition, catches are subject to constant control by means of regulations on net mesh sizes and temporary closures of certain areas to all fishing.

Fishing off the Faroes was controlled by catch restrictions for some years, but in 1996 this system was abandoned and replaced by effort restrictions, with allocations of fishing days that can be transferred to other vessels. The vessels are divided into categories, each of which is allocated an area in which it may fish. Later amendments were made to the control.

Controversy surrounds both methods.

In Democracy with Sequential Choice and Fund Voting it is discussed how problems of this kind can be settled by fund voting (see article Natural resources management and article Control of commercial marine fishing).