Thursday, 12 January 2017

ITQs: A Road of No Return

Rights Based Management and Small Scale Fisheries in the EU: 

Human Rights Versus Property Rights

This paper sets out the LIFE position on Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs). The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) leaves open the possibility for EU Member States (MS) to establish systems of transferable fishing rights, and implementing the discard ban has rekindled the debate about introducing such rights. ITQs have caused no end of controversy in the EU small-scale and coastal fisheries (SSCF) sector and it is essential that we confront and examine this approach to allocating fishing rights1 , given the risk that they may make a comeback in the EU. ITQs are often put in place with the stated purpose of reducing overcapacity and improving economic efficiency, but the failure to consider equity along with other human rights aspects (civil and political, social, economic and cultural) of fishing communities has meant that ITQs have disadvantaged SSCF and prejudiced their ability to enjoy their human rights.

In this context, and given the extensive locally significant economic, cultural, social and environmental benefits delivered by the SSCF, it is vital to critically analyse any EU or Member State proposal for introducing ITQs against both intended and unintended harmful consequences that may result regarding SSCF, and to ensure that provisions that mitigate against such harmful consequences are included in any initiative.