Will I clear my feet? Perspectives on a Fishing Vessel Scrapping Scheme in Scotland

Hazel Clare Curtis, Edward Jones

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    This paper examines the factors which influence the decision to enter into a government scrapping scheme. In particular, the underlying motivations behind decisions are examined. Owners were participants in Scottish fisheries which were subject to stock recovery measures. Semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted with 39 vessel owners during and following a vessel buy-back scheme. The analysis identifies several key factors affecting the decision to keep or dispose of a vessel in the context of a scrapping scheme. These are grouped into factors relating to owner and vessel characteristics, industry and market factors and preferences and expectations of owners. Owners expecting profitable operation considered how to use government grants to enable fresh investment in the fishery. For vessels with poor expected performance, owners' principal concern in considering whether to dispose of a vessel was "will I clear my feet?" i.e. would the owner be clear of debt if he disposed of the vessel? Despite wanting to exit, if they could not get clear of debt by disposing of the vessel, owners suggested they might continue to operate unprofitable or low profit boats in anticipation of possible improved fishing opportunities arising from the next quota allocation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)94–105
    Number of pages12
    JournalMarine Policy
    Early online date26 May 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


    • investment decision-making
    • fisheries
    • scrapping schemes
    • vessel profit
    • exit


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