In August, Denmark published an evaluation of the impact of the reforms it has introduced in fisheries following ITQs.
History to ITQs in Denmark
ITQs were introduced in Denmark in January 2003 to mackerel and other industrial fisheries. This was later extended to the demersal fleet in January 2007.
The quotas were granted on a grandfathering basis on recent historic catch basis.
Has ITQs Reduced The Fleet Size?
It has led to a reduction in the size of the fleet by 32% (2000-2010).
Total tonnage has dropped by 41%.
The average age of the fleet has been more or less consistent from 27 years to 30 years.
Landings Down , Catch Value Up
And, whilst the volume of landings has decreased from 1.5 million tonnes to 0.8 million tonnes, the value has dropped from only 437 million to 390 million.
Profits Mainly Up
Profitability for most of the fleet has improved, whilst profitability for the less than 12 metre fleet has declined. And, the quota ownership between the coastal and non-coastal fleet has remained more or less the same.
Fishermen, Fish and Tax Payers Win
And, this has all been achieved with very little taxpayers aid. Similar fleet reductions have cost 100s of millions of taxpayers cash, and delivered very little benefits.
A Model for Europe
I think that the Danish model is an example that all of the EU could follow. I have thought so for several years now. The Danish Government, in cross-party agreement, decided to force the industry to enter the 21st century. The industry opposed for a while, then looked outside to the real economic world, and saw that making a profit, without being funded and supported by friends in government, was really normal. Indeed, seeing your natural resource – fish – grow made economic sense.
Perhaps, it is time for the rest of Europe to follow those innovative danes.