Privatization of fisheries: a tool for conservation

Themes: Capacity Development | Economic Growth | Environmental Sustainability | Private Sector Development | Social Development

Our team of natural resource policy, fisheries policy, commercial, legal and indigenous peoples’ experts undertook an analysis of policy options, impacts on fish stock management, value chain issues, indigenous rights and environmental issues with using tradable property rights to protect and revitalize endangered saltwater clams (scallops) by allowing the farming of scallops and the farmer’s to be granted a tradable property right over that fishery.

In the late 1970s, catches in the New Zealand twenty-year old Southern Scallop fishery collapsed as a result of overfishing. The government initiated an enhancement program and controlled entry to the commercial fishery which was eventually devolved to the commercial fishery organizations when the government granted tradable property rights, including a range of other management functions from the setting of harvest rules, providing for recreational fishery access and maintenance of water quality. The Challenger Scallop Enhancement Company was established by the quota owners as a vehicle for collective exercise of management and enhancement activities in the scallop fishery.

Guinness Gallagher undertook a review of the Challenger Scallop Enhancement model to assess its success, including the impacts on scallop stock management, value chain issues, indigenous rights and environmental issues, on behalf of the Ministry of Fisheries Policy group.

The review concluded that a formerly endangered and depleted resource was able to be brought back to a long term sustainable basis through the allocation of tradable property rights and devolution of management responsibility and that the conservation and preservation of the scarce resource was best served by such an approach. It also concluded that a portion of new tradable property rights needed to be allocated to the indigenous people, as the initial process of allocating property rights to the then commercial fishing operators had not taken into account the indigenous people rights in the resource.

The program became a successful and replicable model in terms of fishery management.

The themes and sectors covered by this project were as follows: -

Theme Sub-Theme
Capacity Development - Institutional development
  - Organizational development
Economic Growth - Knowledge, science and technological capacities
  - Promoting economic efficiency and enabling business environment
Environmental Sustainability - Eco-efficiency
  - Environmental policy and legislation
  - Natural resource conservation
Private Sector Development - Policy reforms
  - Private sector investment
  - Privatization
  - Public Private Partnership
Public Sector Management - Decentralization
  - Public administration
Social Development - Human development
  - Indigenous people
Sector Sub-Sector
Agriculture, natural resources, rural development - Fishery
  - Water-based natural resource management
Finance - Infrastructure finance and investment funds
Industry and Trade - Industry and trade sector development
  - Small and medium enterprise development
Public Sector Management - Public Sector Management