The European common fisheries policy (CFP) advocates measures to sustain small-scale fisheries; hence, in the European Commission's proposal for a reformed CFP, these are exempted from a mandatory system with tradable fishing concessions. This opens up for management actions designed for small-scale fisheries, but also implies new management issues. This article provides insights into the topic based on a Swedish small-scale herring fishery in the western Baltic Sea that was exempted from an ITQ-system. The fishery has been profitable since the system was introduced, and the increasing effort of both incumbent fishermen and new entrants implies a situation where fishermen compete for a limited quota. The migratory pattern of the herring implies high densities in the southern parts of the fishing areas during spring and in the northern parts during autumn. This forms the basis for two different fisheries in the area, as well as for the current management proposal to divide the quota into a spring and an autumn part. This and other management proposals are discussed in the paper. The main conclusion from the case study is that, when exempting a fishery from tradable fishing concessions, it is important to build other institutions dealing with the fundamental problem of access to the quota. Failure to do so might result in an over-capacity issue and threaten the long-run development of an otherwise successful small-scale fishery. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.