Can the free market provide a solution to the ecological problem of overfishing? Well the answer is “yes,” according to the group PERC, which recently released a report touting the merits of what are called “individual fishing quotas,” or IFQ’s for short. An IFQ is simply a percentage of the total allowable catch for certain fish. So if a total allowable catch for South Atlantic wreckfish, for example, is 7,400,000 pounds, a fisherman may have a .1 percent quota share of 7,400 lbs. This quota can thus be bought and traded with other fisherman. With successful programs already underway in Alaska, New Zealand, Iceland and Canada, time will tell whether this free market approach will reel in positive benefits for fisherman everywhere.


  • Adam Houser

    Adam Houser coordinates student leaders as National Director of CFACT's collegians program and writes on issues of climate and energy.