Icelandic ITQ System Experience Negative
In Iceland, the individual transferable quota (ITQ) system has failed to “build up” the demersal fish stocks. Catch of cod is now only one-third of what it was prior to the system.
Here 10 percent of the fishing companies hold more than 50 percent of the fishing rights.
The small scale sector is badly hurt. The gillnet fleet, medium-sized vessels targeting spawning cod, has almost vanished. Previously, this fleet landed 30 percent of the total catch.
Fishing rights have been bought from fishing villages and accumulated elsewhere. House prices fall, people move away if they can sell their properties. Discards are high.
The total debt of the fishing companies amounts to some $5 billion, partly in loans from foreign banks, so it is possible that Iceland will lose some of its fishing rights to foreigners.
Recently, one of the banks offered a large fishing company for sale as they could not pay back their loans.
Independent Fisheries Scientist