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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Managing a harvestable resource : individual transferable harvest quotas in the Lake Huron commercial fishery Jaffray, Beverley Ann


Much has been written on the theoretical implications and postulated impacts of individual transferable harvest quotas (ITHQ), but there have been few empirical studies of the development and implementation process, the impacts of this process and the impacts of ITHQ in a Great Lakes fishery. In 1984, Ontario implemented ITHQ for selected commercial fish species. The objectives of this study are: (1) to identify and understand the impacts of ITHQ; (2) to detail the linkages between these impacts and the application of fisheries management interventions derived from the bioeconomic model (which is the theoretical origin of ITHQ); and (3) to further our understanding of the process of ITHQ development and implementation and the impacts of this process of development and implementation, by utilizing theoretical perspectives in the co management theory of resource management and in three policy process models. The study area was the Canadian portion of the Lake Huron commercial fishery. Data were obtained from annual harvest reports filed by commercial fishers over the 1980-1985 time period and through interviews with commercial fishers, fisheries managers and scientists. Data on 1986-1989 harvest amounts and values was also obtained from the provincial data base. In the two years following ITHQ implementation, there was little traceable impact on either the harvest amounts or values of the two principal commercial species, but there was a trend toward a reduction in capacity of the fishery. ITHQ’s most important effects appears to have been on the organization of labour and capital in the fishery. Commercial fishing activities have not generated major instabilities; it is the ecological phenomena that most affect harvest amounts, species and values. Other policy impacts, however, are complex and difficult to identify and analyze. Future administrative costs are not easy to estimate; the social impacts from changes in the structure of the industry are intricate; and some aspects of policy implementation may be too inflexible. Analysis of qualitative data suggests several conclusive linkages between the process of ITHQ development and implementation and its effectiveness. In this regard, adequacy of stock assessment information, effectiveness of consultation and level of attention to social context were found to be of importance. The co-management model was found to provide a strong basis for explanation and understanding of the impacts of the process of ITHQ development and implementation in the community of resource users because the relationships it incorporates overtly address decision-making processes related to the adaptation of new ideas, arbitration of power relationships, and the rate, timing and extent of change. The co-management model suggests that incorporation of resource users’ collective strengths and organization in an arrangement wherein regulatory interventions are developed and implemented cooperatively with resource users would lead to more efficient, effective and sustainable management regimes. Transaction costs, in particular, may be significantly reduced in a co-managed fishery where specified community characteristics exist. Development and implementation processes for ITHQ in Lake Huron were viewed as the interaction of rational, incremental and interest group decision-making processes. Findings suggest that social issues of autonomy, equity and a broad basis of understanding are as important as those of economic efficiency, and that if not dealt with, these issues can significantly impact the efficacy of management interventions. This study is significant because it addresses analysis of common property problems through utilizing the analytical powers derived from models dealing with biological, economic and political relationships to examine a regulatory policy application in a field situation (after Ostrom 1992).

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