U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Published in Fish and Fisheries (2010) 11, 366-387; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-2979.2010.00365.x


Buybacks of fishing vessels, licences, access and other rights, and gear, sometimes called decommissioning schemes, have traditionally been a key policy tool to address overcapacity, overexploitation of fish stocks, and distributional issues in fisheries. Two more issues can be added, sustainable use of ecosystems and conservation of biodiversity (i.e. ecological public goods and services) and providing a transition to a more rationalized fishery. This study discusses reasons for buybacks; examines consequences; considers asymmetric information, design of buyback auctions and other design issues; buybacks as a transition to a rationalized industry with strong property rights and governance, financing and transnational fisheries; draws out key lessons from the international experience; and provides an overall evaluation.