Allocation of fishing rights to support local fishermen in South Africa's Western Cape

Ron Janssen*, Alison R. Joubert, Theodor J. Stewart

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


    Fisheries resources are vulnerable to over-exploitation, in large part because of their open-access nature. For long-term ecological and socio-economic sustainability, fisheries therefore need to be regulated by limiting Total Allowable Catches (TAC) and/or Total Allowable Effort (TAE). It can be argued that to maximize the efficiency of the fisheries sector tradable fishing rights is the way to go. This is the solution implemented successfully in countries such as Iceland and New Zealand (Scott, 2000; Arnason, 2005). In many developing countries, however, protection of traditional fishing communities and their subsistence fisheries is added. Objectives of fishing rights allocation can then include poverty reduction and preservation of traditional culture. Fishing quota systems have been seen as a solution to the problem of over-

    capitalization, of ever-increasing effort, of the derby effect (where fishers rush to harvest as much as possible of the season’s quota where it is not individually allocated), and a way, thus, to reduce over-fishing. Along with deciding on the duration of the right, its divisibility and transferability, implementation of a quota approach for any fishery faces the questions of who should get the initial and possible subsequent quotas, how large the quotas should be and what they should cost (Scott, 2000). In most countries where quotas have been introduced the primary concern has been with reducing effort, over-capitalization and overfishing. South Africa has had company quotas since 1979 for hake (Merluccius spp.) and the early 1980s for west coast rock lobster (Jasus lalandii, H. MilneEdwards). From the late 1990s until now the South African government has been extending the quota system to most fisheries. A long-term sustainable yield from fish stocks is a necessary pre-condition for the

    survival of the artisanal fishing communities of the Western Cape. The fishing rights allocation system described in this study aims to secure the livelihoods of these communities by securing the important ecosystem services that sustainable fish stocks provide. Success of the allocation process is to a large extent dependent on its creating suitable conditions for commercial and artisanal fishermen alike to derive sustainable benefits from the ecosystem service ‘production of fish’. A regulatory approach is used to create these conditions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEconomic Incentives for Marine and Coastal Conservation
    Subtitle of host publicationProspects, challenges and policy implications
    EditorsE.Y. Mohammed
    Place of PublicationOxon
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Electronic)9780203728345
    ISBN (Print)9780415855976, 9780415855983
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


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