Two advantages of Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) systems are that they provide fishers with flexibility about when to catch fish and more security to invest in equipment that allows more valuable products. If fishers take advantage of these opportunities it should show in their catch behavior. As international prices for certain species and products change over time, catch patterns should also adjust.
The New Zealand system offers an excellent opportunity for empirical work; we have more than 15 years of experience in what by 1998/99 was 257 simultaneous markets involving 42 species. Newell et al. (2002) have assessed these markets empirically finding evidence of an efficient quota market and economically rational behaviour of participants. We build on their work by studying the responsiveness of fishers’ harvest patterns to export price shocks.