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Territorial user's rights in the Australian abalone fishery

Prince, J., Walters, C., Ruiz-Avila, R. and Sluczanowski, P. (1998) Territorial user's rights in the Australian abalone fishery. In: Jamieson, G.S. and Campbell, A., (eds.) Proceedings of the North Pacific Symposium on Invertebrate Stock Assessment and Management. Can. Spec. Publ. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 125. NRC Press, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, pp. 367-375.

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On the basis of the Australian experience with the research and management of abalone (Haliotis sp.) stocks and our wider experience of fisheries research and management, we argue that the spatial scale of an exploited species should be an important determinant in developing management strategies for any exploited species. The small spatial scale of functional units of abalone stock together with their high level of variability between populations and the "law of the commons" context of the Australian abalone fishery combine to undermine the effectiveness of modem broad-acre management tools such as size limits, closures, limited entry, and individual transferable quotas (ITQs). Despite the sophistication of current management regimes, component units of stock can still be sequentially overexploited because the spatial scale of functional units of stock within the fishery is smaller than the effective scale of management. The "tragedy of the commons" and a "tyranny of scale" renders the existing sophisticated system of management suboptimal for this valuable renewable resource. We suggest that management through territorial user rights would enable individual fishers or small communities of fishers to adjust the scale of management to the small scale appropriate to the species. The difficulty of changing management in this way is discussed.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: NRC Press
Copyright: © 1998 National Research Council of Canada
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