Discussion Paper

Fishing Quota Markets

Aug 1, 2002 | Richard G. Newell, James N. Sanchirico, Suzi Kerr


Fisheries worldwide continue to suffer from the negative consequences of open access. In 1986, New Zealand responded by establishing an individual transferable quota (ITQ) system that by 1998 included 33 species and more than 150 markets for fishing quotas. We assess these markets in terms of trends in market activity, price dispersion, and the fundamentals determining quota prices. We find that market activity is sufficiently high to support a competitive market and that price dispersion has decreased over time. Using a 15-year panel dataset, we also find evidence of economically rational behavior through the relationship between quota lease and sale prices and fishing output and input prices, ecological variability, and market interest rates. Controlling for these factors, our results show an increase in quota prices, consistent with increased profitability. Overall, the results suggest these markets are operating reasonably well, implying that ITQs can be effective instruments for efficient fisheries management.