Region Focus

Third Quarter 2011

The Fish Market: What happened when Virginia brought tradable quotas to the commons?

Resources without ownership — commons — are easily exploited, even wiped out. Individual fishermen have little incentive to conserve as long as others are busy catching. Evidence from a Virginia program suggests that if fishermen can buy and sell shares of the fishing quota, the fish and the fishermen may be better off.

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Related Links

Arnason, Ragnar. "The Icelandic Individual Transferable Quota System: A Descriptive Account," Marine Resource Economics, Fall 1993, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 201-218.

Brandt, Sylvia. "A Tale of Two Clams." Regulation, Spring 2005, pp. 18-21.

Catch Share Design Center, Environmental Defense Guide to mapping out a program

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Sustainable Fisheries: details about fisheries managed by a variety of catch-share arrangements.

Costello, Christopher, John Lynham, Sarah Lester, and Steven Gaines. "Economic Incentives and Global Fisheries Sustainability." Annual Review of Resource Economics, October 2010, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 299-318.

"Managing Virginia's Marine Fisheries." A primer on fisheries management in Virginia funded by NOAA Office of Sea Grant, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Virginia Sea Grant College Program, June 2003. 

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