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Property rights in fishing: from state property towards private property?: A case study of three EU countries

W. P. Davidse, L. V. McEwan and Niels Vestergaard ()

Marine Policy, 1999, vol. 23, issue 6, 537-547

Abstract: Fishing limitations to protect fish stocks can develop to different types of property rights. A move towards full private rights is promoted by some authors. The article questions whether such a move is desirable and it also investigates whether private rights are indeed becoming more important in EU fisheries. A study on property rights in the Danish, Dutch and UK fishery (WP Davidse, ed., Property Rights in Fishing, LEI-DLO, The Hague, 1997, OV159) sector forms the background of this approach. Bromley's definition of property rights (D W Bromley, Environment and Economy: Property Rights & Public Policy, Blackwell, Oxford, 1991), including 'a right to a benefit stream', has been used to identify rights in these three EU fishing sectors. These property rights regimes vary from a domination of state property, the Danish one, to a complete system of individual rights, the Dutch case. The UK position is between these extremes, showing characteristics of common property, apart from kinds of state- and individual property of fishing rights. The article ends with a consideration of the review of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in 2002 from the viewpoint of property rights. Negotiations in the run up to 2002 will demonstrate conflicts between views on state property and on private property rights. This regards the tension between the principle of relative stability of quota allocations and the EU principle of free movement of capital, goods and services. Finally, two possibilities are suggested to combine both these principles.

Keywords: Property; rights; Fishing; policy; ITQs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1999
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