IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Economics of Territorial Use Rights Fisheries, or TURFs


  • James E. Wilen
  • José Cancino
  • Hirotsugu Uchida


The most recent stage in the evolution of fisheries management institutions has been the adoption of so-called rights-based management schemes that grant secure rights of access to users so they are not forced to compete wastefully under open access conditions. The most common rights-based system is the individual transferable quota that grants fishermen rights to a share of a biologically determined total harvest. Another rights-based system is the harvester cooperative that grants access rights to a group. Unlike these species-based rights systems, territorial use rights fisheries, known as TURFs, are place-based, allocating some or all resources within a designated coastal zone to one or more agents. This article discusses the deficiencies of species-based systems and the advantages of place-based systems and reviews experience with TURFs in Japan and Chile. We argue that the success of TURFs depends not only on their physical design and placement, but also on the governing institutions that make internal resource use decisions. In most applications, TURFs are governed by harvester cooperatives that generate value by mitigating common property incentives and resolving internal coordination problems not otherwise addressed by species-based instruments. (JEL: Q2, Q22, Q28) Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • James E. Wilen & José Cancino & Hirotsugu Uchida, 2012. "The Economics of Territorial Use Rights Fisheries, or TURFs," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(2), pages 237-257, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:renvpo:v:6:y:2012:i:2:p:237-257

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. 309 – Why do fishers in Chile put up with poachers?
      by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2017-10-30 20:00:27


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Davis, Katrina & Pannell, David J. & Kragt, Marit & Gelcich, Stefan & Schilizzi, Steven, 2014. "Accounting for enforcement is essential to improve the spatial allocation of marine restricted-use zoning systems," Working Papers 195718, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    2. Christopher Costello & Nicolas Querou & Agnès Tomini, 2014. "Spatial concessions with limited tenure," Post-Print hal-01123392, HAL.
    3. Chávez, Carlos A. & Murphy, James J. & Stranlund, John K., 2018. "Managing and defending the commons: Experimental evidence from TURFs in Chile," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 229-246.
    4. Gallier, Carlo & Langbein, Jörg & Vance, Colin, 2016. "That's my turf: An experimental analysis of territorial use rights for fisheries in Indonesia," Ruhr Economic Papers 651, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Cárdenas, Juan-Camilo & Gómez, Santiago & Mantilla, César, 2019. "Between-group competition enhances cooperation in resource appropriation games," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 17-26.
    6. Oscar Santis & Carlos Chávez, 2014. "Extraction of natural resources in contexts of abundance and scarcity: An experimental analysis on non-compliance with quotas in management and exploitation areas of benthic resources in central-south," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 41(1 Year 20), pages 89-123, June.
    7. Carlos A. Chávez & James J. Murphy & John K. Stranlund, 2019. "Co-enforcement of Common Pool Resources: Experimental Evidence from TURFs in Chile," Working Papers 2019-01, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.
    8. Liu, Jing & Qin, Tianbao, 2018. "A Comparative Analysis of Fishing Rights From a Transaction Cost Perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 89-99.
    9. Santis, Oscar & Chávez, Carlos, 2015. "Quota compliance in TURFs: An experimental analysis on complementarities of formal and informal enforcement with changes in abundance," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 440-450.
    10. Alló, Maria & Loureiro, Maria L., 2018. "The impact of illegal harvesting on time preferences and willingness to participate in shellfish resource management," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 226-236.
    11. De Geest, Lawrence R. & Stranlund, John K. & Spraggon, John M., 2017. "Deterring poaching of a common pool resource," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 254-276.
    12. Gallier, Carlo & Langbein, Jörg & Vance, Colin, 2018. "Non-binding Restrictions, Cooperation, and Coral Reef Protection: Experimental Evidence from Indonesian Fishing Communities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 62-71.
    13. Zhou, Rong & Segerson, Kathleen, 2014. "Individual vs. Collective Quotas in Fisheries Management: Efficiency and Distributional Impacts," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170601, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    14. Bennett, Abigail & Basurto, Xavier, 2018. "Local Institutional Responses to Global Market Pressures: The Sea Cucumber Trade in Yucatán, Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 57-70.
    15. Aburto-Oropeza,Octavio & Leslie,Heather M. & Mack-Crane,Austen & Nagavarapu,Sriniketh Suryasesha & Reddy,Sheila M.W. & Sievanen,Leila, 2016. "Property rights for fishing cooperatives : how (and how well) do they work ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7662, The World Bank.
    16. Pienaar, Elizabeth F. & Jarvis, Lovell S. & Larson, Douglas M., 2014. "Using a choice experiment framework to value conservation-contingent development programs: An application to Botswana," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 39-48.
    17. Christopher Costello & Daniel Kaffine, 2018. "Natural Resource Federalism: Preferences Versus Connectivity for Patchy Resources," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 71(1), pages 99-126, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q22 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Fishery
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:renvpo:v:6:y:2012:i:2:p:237-257. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.