Governing Through Markets: Societal Objectives, Private Property Rights and Small-Scale Fisheries in Denmark

  • Jeppe HøstEmail author
Part of the MARE Publication Series book series (MARE, volume 13)


This chapter explores the relationship between small-scale fisheries and market-based governance systems such as individual transferable quotas. The analysis is prompted by the wide-ranging introduction of private and transferable Vessel Quota Shares in the Danish demersal fisheries. The chapter documents both quantitative and qualitative changes in the fisheries due the introduction of market mechanisms. Among these changes has been a concentration of resource ownership, changes in the social organization favoring larger operations with better access to legal advisors and financial capital. Consequently, operators in small-scale fisheries are facing challenges, when acting on the quota market, and in general the small-scale sector is in serious and structural decline. The chapter discusses characteristics of the Danish fishing fleet in relation to instruments and actions available for a governing system governing through markets. The specific instruments put in place to protect and safeguard small-scale fisheries are analyzed and discussed. As part of this, the chapter asks how the introduction of market mechanisms changes and transforms the overall governability of the small-scale fisheries. The chapter argues that social objectives have been marginalized and that this development reduces the overall governability of the sector. Moreover, participation of operators in the distribution of fishing quotas has increased through joint quota companies, guilds and through the flexible and dynamic, but individual, every-day market transactions.


Privatization Social objectives Market governance ITQs Policy design 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ethnology, SAXO-InstituteUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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