Turfs and Itqs: Collective vs. Individual Decision Making (Report)

Introduction Since the earliest experiments in Iceland and New Zealand with rights-based fisheries policies, most of the literature and policy attention has been devoted to Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs). At the same time, there has been resistance to wholesale adoption of ITQs in many countries, for reasons that are both spurious and substantive. ITQs have been subject to a fairly constant din of criticism by skeptics since they were first proposed as a scheme for rationalizing fisheries in the 1970s. Early skeptics acknowledged that ITQs had promise to reduce common property waste, but doubted that the transactions costs of enforcing and administering such a radical change could ever be overcome. But even as enforcement and administrative infrastructures were being successfully developed and implemented in Iceland and New Zealand, new doubts were expressed over the breadth of settings within which they might successfully operate. The highly cited Copes’ critique offered many reasons why we might expect ITQs to fail in practice, including data fouling, black market off-loading, and high-grading, among others (Copes 1986).

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