Use RightsWhenever a fishery is managed byrestricting who can have access to thefishery, how much fishing activity (fishingeffort) individual participants are allowed,or how much catch each can take, thosewith such entitlements are said to hold userights. Such use rights are simply „the rightsto use‟, as recognised or assigned by therelevant management authority (whetherformal or informal).
Forms of Use Rights access rights, which permit the holder to take part in a fishery (limited entry) or to fish in a particular location (territorial use rights or „TURFs‟) withdrawal rights, which typically involve quantitative (numerical) limits on resource usage, either through input (effort) rights or output (harvest) rights.
Forms of use rights Territorial use rights Input(effort) rights including limited entry Output(harvest) rights
Territorial Use Rights in FishingTURFs may be defined as community held rights ofuse (or tenure) and exclusion over the fisheryresources within a specific area and for a periodof time.Community, territory and a set of rights (includinga “satisfactory” degree of exclusivity and tenure)and responsibilities are the essential (minimum)descriptive elements of TURFs.
The territory governed by a TURF can relate to the surface, the bottom, or to the entire water column within a specific area. The size of the territory will vary with the use, the resources being harvested and the geographical characteristics. It should be sufficient in size, however, so that use outside of the territory does not significantly diminish the value of use within.
A TURF is not so much resource specific as it is site specific. The territory should be readily defensible and protected by the laws and institutions of the country. The boundaries of the territory should, therefore, be clearly demarcated and identifiable.
Certain kinds of rights need to beexercised if TURFs are to be effective right of exclusion ; that is, the right to limit or control access to the territory right that needs to be exercised is that of determining the amount and kind of use within the territory right to extract benefits from the use of the resources within the territory
The extension of national jurisdiction generallyprovides individual countries with the right ofexclusion, the right to determine amounts andkinds of use, and the right to extract benefits.Localization of a TURF depends more uponthe size of the territory and the specificity ofthe ownership than upon the content of therights.
The owner of a TURF can bea private individual a private individual enterprise a group of individuals such as a cooperative, an association or a community a political subdivision such as a town or a province a national government a multinational agency
In addition, owners of individual TURFs can create aform of cooperative ownership in which individualrights are constrained by joint decisions.Generally, the effectiveness of a TURF will begreatest where the specificity of the ownership is thehighest. Individuals can usually make decisions moreeasily than groups of individuals.However, with regard to the objective of improvingthe welfare of small-scale fishing communities,ownership of use rights by private individuals couldwell be damaging. In these cases, some form ofcommunal ownership of a TURF will be desirable.
Advantages of localized TURFs More economically efficient use of the resources Improving welfare of small-scale fishing community The owner of the TURF can limit the input of capital labour at the point where the greatest net benefits are produced Opportunity and incentives to manage the resources within the territory
The major, and fundamental, problem is thatthe establishment of localized TURFs mayrequire re-distribution of wealth. The provisionof exclusive rights means that some presentusers of the territory are likely to be excluded.Although this may be socially andeconomically desirable it may also bepolitically difficult.
Traditional TURFs and problems of openaccess fisheryTerritorial Use Rights in fisheries, in the sense ofcommunity-held rights of use over resources within aterritory at the exclusion of others have been knownto exist for centuries. Examples of traditional TURFsare still found today, among other places, in Brazil,Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Oceania, IvoryCoast. Many of these customary rights are nowcrumbling under the pressures of population growth,technological change and commercialization ofsubsistence fisheries.
As it is widely accepted, unrestrainedcompetition in open-access fisheries leads toexpansion of effort (employment of capitaland labor) far beyond the level whichmaximizes either economic benefits orsustainable catch, to the point where costsbecome so high and catch so low that no neteconomic benefit is being derived. Thisamounts to a waste both in terms of theresource and in terms of capital and labour.
A reduction of effort and its control at the optimallevel might be attempted through a number ofmanagement tools or regulations such as catchquotas, gear restrictions, seasonal and area closures,fishing effort controls, taxes and licences.Apart frompossible ineffectiveness and induced inefficiencies,the introduction, monitoring and enforcement of theregulations involves considerable costs which undercertain circumstances are prohibitively high, in thesense that they exceed the expected benefits fromregulation.
Under these circumstances, alternativemanagement tools which hold a promise forlower implementation costs through self-management deserve serious consideration. Itis in this light that the potential of Territorial UseRights as a management tool is being studied.
Evaluation of TURFs as potentialmanagement tool can be done in terms of Eficiency Equity A TURF is an “efficient” management tool if it provides the means for generating or increasing the net benefits from a given fishery (or part of the fishery). A TURF is "equitable" if it provides the means for improving the distribution of benefits within the community from the exploitation of the fishery.
TURFs as a means for Increasing FisheryNet Benefits Exclusion of outsiders Control over labour and capital Dealing with externalities Investing to enhance future returns Flexibility to adjust
TURFS as a means for improving thedistribution of benefits Improving local employment opportunities Increasing local income, consumption and nutrition Preserving social organization and reducing conflicts Promoting social mobility and “learning by doing”
Improving benefits to society A TURF may operate in a way beneficial not only to its members but to the society at large as well, by conserving resources, preventing environmental degradation and possibly generating some government revenues. It is to the best interest of TURF members to prevent damaging alterations of the environment such as water pollution, felling of mangrove forests and destruction of coral reefs within their territory because such actions would have a pronounced negative effect on their livelihood.
Finally, TURFs, or at least the most successful ofthem, may produce revenues for the societyat large: (a) by saving on management andenforcement cost; (b) by reducing the needfor costly welfare/development assistance todepressed fishing communities; and (c) bygenerating substantial resource rents, part ofwhich may be creamed off by thegovernment through appropriate levies.
Examples of TURFs are widespread - some examplesinclude lagoon fisheries in the Ivory Coast, beachseine net fisheries along the West African coast,collection of shellfish and seaweed on a coastalvillage basis in South Korea and Japan, and controlsover outsiders by fishing communities in Sri Lanka.Two particularly well-known examples are the long-standing arrangement in coastal Japan, wheretraditional institutions are incorporated in modernresource management, and the lobster fisheries onthe north-eastern coast of North America, wherefishers have been able to maintain extra-legalcontrol on entry - exclusion rights. TURFs have aparticularly long history in traditional, small-scale/artisanal and indigenous fisheries.
Reference Territorial Use Rights: A Rights Based Approach to spatial Management, Keith R. Criddle Utah State University, Mark Herrmann, Joshua A. Greenberg Territorial Use Rights in Marine fisheries: definitions and Conditions by Francis T. Christy, FAO Fishing and Planning Division Territorial Use Rights In Fisheries by Theodore Panayotou,Faculty of Economics, Kasetsart University