Individual transferable quotas, does one size fit all? Sustainability analysis of an alternative model for quota allocation in a small-scale coastal fishery

Grete E. Dinesen*, Iben Wiene Rathje, Mathilde Højrup, Francois Bastardie, Finn Larsen, Thomas Kirk Sørensen, Erik Hoffmann, Ole Ritzau Eigaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The introduction of vessel-based Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) in Danish demersal fisheries in 2007 caused significant structural changes in the fleet, towards fewer and larger vessels deploying otter trawls. Mainly smaller coastal vessels deploying Danish seines and gillnets reduced in numbers. The ecosystem effects of this structural change were investigated by comparing the sustainability of a local, small-scale, coastal fishery (Thorupstrand) using Danish seines and gillnets with that of demersal trawling by larger vessels using the same fishing grounds. The fisheries were compared using six ecological and socio-economic indicators: 1), discards (food web), 2), by-catch incidences (food web/biodiversity), 3), seabed impacts, 4), fuel use efficiency, 5),
quality of fish landed (food provision), and 6), social and cultural gains and drawbacks (social and cultural features). Except for by-catch of vulnerable species, the fisheries using Danish seines and gillnets scored better in all indicators when compared to otter trawls. Additional commercial and cultural benefits of establishing a local fishery guild with share-owned quotas and land-based facilities were investigated. The results and lessons learned are discussed in the context of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management and the current reform of the common fisheries policy of the European Union
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Policy
Pages (from-to)23-31
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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