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Icelandic Fisheries Management: Fees versus Quotas

  • Gylfason, Thorvaldur
  • Weitzman, Martin

We discuss the quota system by which Iceland’s fisheries have been managed since 1984, and explore its implications for economic efficiency as well as fairness. We argue that the shortcomings of the Icelandic quota system are inherent in any type of quota system applied to high-seas fishing. Further, we find that regulating access to a limited, stochastic common-property natural resource such as Iceland’s fish by fee rather than by quota – i.e., by relying on price incentives rather than quantitative restrictions – would constitute a more equitable and more efficient solution to the fisheries management problem. Our argument applies to the management of all open-seas fisheries, including the Common Fisheries Policy of the European Union.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3849.

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Date of creation: Mar 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3849
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  1. Matthíasson, Thórólfur, 2001. "The Icelandic debate on the case for a fishing fee: a non-technical introduction," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 303-312, July.
  2. Martin Feldstein, 1999. "Tax Avoidance And The Deadweight Loss Of The Income Tax," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 674-680, November.
  3. Weitzman, Martin L., 2002. "Landing Fees vs Harvest Quotas with Uncertain Fish Stocks," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 325-338, March.
  4. Parzival Copes, 1986. "A Critical Review of the Individual Quota as a Device in Fisheries Management," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 62(3), pages 278-291.
  5. Weitzman, Martin L., 1974. "Free access vs private ownership as alternative systems for managing common property," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 225-234, June.
  6. Helgason, Thorkell & Olafsson, Snjolfur, 1988. "An Icelandic fisheries model," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 191-199, January.
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