Replacing trip limits with individual transferable quotas: implications for discarding
In the British Columbia groundfish fishery (BC fishery), full observer coverage and the accounting of discard mortality of marketable fish in landing limits resulted in low discard fractions. When individual transferable quotas (ITQs) were additionally introduced, total discard fractions declined for most species, and marketable discard fractions declined from 0.20% to 0.10%, after an adjustment period. In contrast, the US West Coast groundfish fishery, which is regulated by 2-monthly landing limits, has higher discard fractions (31-43% vs. 14-19% for BC). The BC experience suggests that full observer coverage, ITQs, and mortality accounting would reduce West Coast discarding fractions, but severe catch restrictions on overfished West Coast species may limit such reductions.
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