2009/762 Assessing the costs and benefits of changing shot rotation practices in the Southern Rocklobster fishery
View Image

2009/762 Assessing the costs and benefits of changing shot rotation practices in the Southern Rocklobster fishery


By Tim Emery 




The specific aim of this thesis was to assess the effectiveness of individual transferable quota (ITQ) systems of management in meeting economic, ecological and social objective(s) through quantitatively analysing changing fishing practices and behaviour of fishers in the Tasmanian Southern Rocklobster (TSRL) fishery to inform management decision-making. Understanding how fishers behave and make decisions is critical in determining how best to manage fisheries. If the response of fishers to management measures can be predicted, unexpected and undesirable outcomes can be avoided. ITQmanagement has been introduced in many international fisheries, with the purpose of accounting for human behaviour, as it theoretically generates behavioural incentives that are aligned with management objectives (e.g. reducing fishing costs). The ability of ITQ systems to meet continuing economic, ecological and social objectives therefore is centred on ensuring fisher behavioural incentives remain aligned with those objectives.


It is critical that an ITQ system is able to manage interactions with all ecosystem components (e.g. non-target species) as required under ecosystem based fisheries management (EBFM) principles. The TSRL fishery to some extent, was more successful than other fisheries in accounting for these interactions, due to the selective and benign nature of potting. Following analysis of the physical risk tolerance of both quota owners and lease quota fishers in the TSRL fishery, it was evident that their behavioural drivers were divergent. Lease quota fishers were more responsive to changes in expected revenue than quota owners, leading in some areas to significantly higher risk tolerance levels. In other words lease quota fishers were more prepared to take greater risks at sea than quota owners when expected revenue was high.


This thesis emphasised the importance of: (i) carefully considering economic, ecological and social objectives of ITQ management prior to implementation, to ensure appropriate contemplation of trade-offs; (ii) quantitatively analysing whether ITQ systems do indeed achieve objectives through greater consideration of fisher behaviour and; (iii) understanding the divergence in the incentives of lease quota fishers and quota owners in many ITQ fisheries caused by the free transferability of quota units and whether this affects the ability of ITQ systems to achieve objectives.