ITQs: Recreational vs. Commercial fishers!

Posted By on Dec 28, 2012 | 0 comments

by Adam Soliman

For some fisheries, such as the North Pacific halibut fishery, there is considerable contention about how the non-aboriginal share of the TAC should be allocated between the commercial and the recreational fishery. From the viewpoint of remote communities, the recreational fishery offers many economic benefits that the commercial fishery does not. Because the commercial fishery is focused on efficiency, and because the number of fishers is relatively small, commercial vessels generally take their catch directly to processors in major centres, and do not interact economically with remote communities. Recreational fishers, in contrast, are likely to use or build tourist facilities for their clients in remote communities, which generate trade and income for those communities.

This situation has led many critics to argue that the recreational share of the TAC (which is small relative to the commercial share) should be increased. Simply changing the percentage shares would cause a fairly important problem, however: It would amount to partial revocation of the ITQs held by commercial fishers. This is what happened recently when the DFO allotted the recreational sector a 3 % increase in their Halibut quotas.