Fisheries Management:
The New Zealand Experience with Rights-Based Management

John Annala - Chief Scientist, Ministry of Fisheries, New Zealand

Seminar Abstract:

The theory and practical application of Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs), also called IFQs by some, has generated much controversy and heat in fisheries circles. Most people involved in fisheries management hold a strong view, either for or against, the use of ITQs. However, ITQs are just one of the “tools” available to fisheries managers in the “fisheries management toolbox”. Unfortunately the controversy over the use of ITQs has moved the focus away from addressing the wider, and more real, issues of fisheries management.

These issues of fisheries management include:

-    Establishing the frameworks (structures, processes, relationships, etc,) that support good                  fisheries management
-    Clarifying and specifying the rights of all fisheries stakeholders
-    Creating and applying the correct suite of incentives (and corresponding responsibilities) within        the established frameworks that encourage good fisheries management
-    Creating an open and transparent fisheries management system that engages all stakeholders
-    Ensuring that the “fisheries managers’ toolbox” contains all the appropriate tools
-    Setting (and meeting) environmental targets and bottom lines that ensure the sustainability of            fisheries resources and the ecosystems that support them
-    Explicitly incorporating social, economic and cultural goals into the fisheries management                  system

ITQs were introduced into New Zealand’s commercial fisheries in 1986. Before 1986 New Zealand fisheries were mainly managed using input controls with few restrictions on total removals. ITQs filled a large management void, and they quickly became the dominant focus of New Zealand’s fisheries management system. Because of this dominant focus, New Zealand’s fisheries management system has evolved over the last 15 years with ITQs as its cornerstone. In this lecture I describe how the fisheries management issues listed above have been addressed in New Zealand’s rights based system.

Speaker Bio:

John Annala has served as Chief Scientist for New Zealand’s Ministry of Fisheries since 1995.
John has over 25 years experience working on marine fisheries research, stock assessment and management in New Zealand and overseas.  He has served on and currently serves on both national and international fisheries commissions, including roles as co-leader of the New Zealand delegation to the FAO Conference on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem and as a member of the United States National Research Council for review of the application of Individual Transferable Quotas in the US fishery management systems.  His experience in international fisheries research and management also includes work establishing a fisheries research center for ICLARM in Egypt, chair of the stock assessment group of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna, and member of the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority review panel to assess impacts of fishing on the Great Barrier Reef.


Burke, D.L. 2000 . Management infrastructure for rights-based fishing. In: Use of Property Rights in     Fisheries Management, FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 404/1, pp. 58-65. FAO, Rome.

Edwards, M. 2000 . The administration of fisheries management by property rights. In: Use of                 Property Rights in Fisheries Management, FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 404/1, pp. 75-88.             FAO, Rome.

Hart, P.J.B. and T.J. Pitcher. 1998 . Conflict, consent and cooperation: an evolutionary perspective       on individual human behaviour in fisheries management. In; Reinventing Fisheries Management.       Edited by Tony J. Pitcher, Paul J.B. Hart, and Daniel Pauly. Kluwer Academic Publishers,                   London.

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