Industry-funded fishing license reduction good for both profits and conservation


Ussif Rashid Sumaila, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T1Z4, Canada
Tel.: 604 822 0224
Fax: 604 822 8934


For many commercial fisheries, reductions in fishing effort would likely result in higher long-term catches and improved incomes per fisherman. But fishing licenses are perceived as though they were property rights, which can imply relatively high costs for publicly funded buyback programmes to reduce fishing effort. Instead of the public buying out fishing licenses, it can make good business sense for license holders to expect the public to pay for protection against new licenses, and to proceed under this protection to finance buybacks of licenses themselves. The short-run costs of such an investment are outweighed by long-term gains in annual incomes and the transfer value of licenses at the time of individual retirement, especially in fisheries that are severely overfished.