24 Nov 2016

For whom are fisheries managed?

A fisherman writes [edited for anonymity]:
I want a license to fish X. I made an application, but they said I would have to buy out an existing fisher. The cost of which would be approximately one million dollars even if anyone would sell.

The X fishery was developed approximately 25 years ago out of experimental licenses that were given to those that took part in the experimental fishery. Those fishers have formed a group, but they have never fully caught their quota for X in all those years.

I proposed that I be allowed to fish only the average of the past five years uncaught quota by fishing where the "group" did not chose to fish. Ultimately this was rejected.

I am asking for some advice on attacking this situation. From your perspective is there a reasonable argument that I could put forward?
In reply, I wrote:
It seems that the regulator is defending the property rights of the existing folks as a means of (1) protecting their (cartel) profits that would fall if you brought X to market and (2) potentially protects the X fishery from pressures on other places that may serve as nurseries for the commercial catch.

The purpose of cap and trade is to keep the fishery sustainable and profitable -- not to allow entry by those who may like to make money. The only angle I'd predict you could get would be to introduce some innovation that promises enough profits that you could buy out an incumbent. But, as you said, that's a lot of money.

My only suggestion is that you work for a permit owner who wants to retire, perhaps on a partnership that transfers quota to you over 10 years... like an apprentice.
Bottom line: New fishermen do not have the right to start fishing in sustainable fisheries.