Quota availability and fish dumping in a quota management system
The last century has seen drastic increases in the exploitation of wild capture fisheries with many fish stocks being utilised at or above a sustainable level. As a result many countries have instituted 200-mile exclusive economic zones and fisheries management systems. Individual transferable quota (ITQ) systems, based on the allocation of fishing rights as property, are becoming increasingly popular internationally. New Zealand has one of the longest standing and the most comprehensive ITQ systems in the world, which now includes most commercially important species. Two of the major criticisms of ITQ systems are that they are too rigid for multiple species fisheries and their use in these fisheries results in substantial dumping and high grading of by-catch. This research focuses on the inherent pressures to dump by-catch associated with the management of mixed fisheries under a ITQ management system. It examines the relationship between quota availability and reporting behaviour in the South East flatfish fishery. The research identifies specific pressures created by the relationship between by-catch and the target species, together with the high cost of landing some species without quota. It uses linear regression analysis and statistical modelling to assess the relationship between by-catch quota availability and by-catch reporting behaviour for this inshore fishery. The results show that there is a positive relationship between by-catch annual catch entitlement (ACE) held near the outset of fishing and by-catch reported by fishers operating in the South East flatfish trawl fishery. This relationship was found to be significant for smaller scale fishers operating in this fishery for all by-catch species where pressure to dump was identified. Larger scale fishers by contrast showed no significant relationship for most by-catch species. Statistical modelling of elephantfish by-catch reporting supports the identified relationship between ACE holding and reporting. Statistical modelling also suggest that fishers with access to elephantfish ACE at a given threshold report seven times more elephantfish by-catch than fishers without ACE at that same threshold. The results suggest that by-catch dumping is problem in the South East flatfish target fishery and provide an indication of magnitude for one species. The results suggest that as much as 41 % of elephantfish taken as a by-catch of the flatfish fishery may be dumped and underreported. This quantity represents almost 10% of the current TACC for this species. Identifiable pressure to dump is highlighted in the example fishery for some by-catch species. The results suggest that these are the species where the relationship between quota availability and reporting is significant. Distribution of by-catch quota and the total quota available for some by-catch species may be drivers increasing pressure to dump. It seems likely that current difficulties in enforcing the antidumping law are allowing this pressure to dump to be expressed as by-catch dumping and underreporting. Marginal fishers may have the opportunity to persist in this fishery without suitable ACE holdings through dumping of by-catch. This research highlights a significant fisheries management and compliance issue in New Zealand's QMS and recommends the following action: 1. Further research to identify the extent and magnitude of by-catch dumping and underreporting under the New Zealand quota management system. 2. Increase compliance with anti-dumping laws to a high level through effective enforcement.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsbycatch species; New Zealand; fisheries management; Quota Management System (QMS); Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQ); Annual Catch Entitlement (ACE); statistical modelling; linear regression analysis; quota availability; fish dumping
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