On June 19, 2014 at 06:49PM, Tom at Watery Foundation published the following article:
Maybe you don’t like the wacky idea of a “water efficiency ratchet” in my last post. Another even wackier idea (and I am not even sure I like), would be “water use catch shares” like those in fishery regulation. A catch share program divides the available sustainable fishery by allocating to fish harvesters a particular area or a share of a fishery’s total catch. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, this system has had some marked successes:
Overall, annual harvest limits were rarely exceeded, with overages only occurring twice in the long history of the Mid-Atlantic Surfclam Individual Transferable Quota Program (ITQ) and in the first year of the recently implemented Mid-Atlantic Golden Tilefish IFQ Program. This suggests that catch share programs, which generally include increased monitoring to improve accountability, have coincided with users’ compliance with the quota.
Fees collected for the cost recovery programs can be a maximum of 3% of the ex-vessel value of landings. In the most recent year that data are available for each program, fees have ranged from $21,000 (Mid-Atlantic Golden Tilefish IFQ Program) to $6.7 million (Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program….
Catch share programs do not directly affect decisions about harvest quota levels, but indirectly affect these determinations because catch share programs are typically implemented coincident with enhanced catch accounting and monitoring requirements, which can reduce management uncertainty and scientific uncertainty. As such, nine of the programs were implemented coincident with reductions – some quite substantial – in total allowable catch…
Could innovative fishery regulation ideas be turned into good water management ideas? Designed in the wrong way, water “catch shares” could swing far over toward rigid and harmful property rights in water. Nonetheless, more analysis and a controlled watershed experiment might be worth a try.