Learning How to Fish: Catch Shares and the Future of Fishery Conservation


Fisheries the world over are poorly managed and under stress. Yet, proper fishery management can both conserve fisheries and maintain their value as a resource for human consumption. One approach long recommended by economists has been the allocation or recognition of property rights in fisheries. The ability of such methods to enhance economic efficiency is no longer a matter of academic speculation or economic theory. There is ample empirical evidence that such institutional reforms encourage more efficient fishery exploitation. There is also growing empirical evidence that such reforms produce social and ecological benefits as well, increasing safety for fishery participants and encouraging greater resource stewardship. The use of property-based management aligns fisher incentives with the underlying health of the resource, and appears to reduce the adverse environmental effects of commercial fishing.


fisheries, catch shares, property rights, fish conservation, rights-based fishery management, individual transferable quota, fishery regulation

Publication Date


Document Type


Place of Original Publication

UCLA Journal of Environmental Law and Policy

Publication Information

31 UCLA Journal of Environmental Law and Policy 150 (2013)

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COinS Jonathan H. Adler Faculty Bio