The Seabrooke. Photo credit: Discovery Channel
Marine Resource Economics announced Joshua K. Abbott Brian Garber-Yonts, and James E. Wilen as recipients of the 2010 Dr. S.-Y. Hong Award for Outstanding Article. The peer-reviewed article, Employment and Remuneration Effects of IFQs in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Crab Fisheries found that the majority of working crews in the Bering Sea red king crab and snow crab fisheries benefited in the first three years of catch share implementation.
Abbott, an Assistant Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics in Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, wrote an EDFish blog post on the study in 2010. According to the study, crab fishing in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands became more productive following catch share implementation. Crab fishing also became more lucrative for crews – seasons lengthened, employment in crew hours and daily crew pay remained stable, and seasonal crew pay increased substantially. Read More
Can a Change in Management Solve the World’s Most Pressing Marine Conservation Challenge and Foster Vibrant Coastal Communities? A new study published in the journal Marine Policy finds that reforming how fisheries are managed can successfully restore and maintain healthy fish populations and benefit both fishermen and fishing-dependent communities. The study evaluated 15 fisheries in the U.S. and British Columbia before and after adopting "catch shares” — a type of fishery management increasingly common worldwide.
Catch shares, the study found, delivers “clear gains in environmental performance (and) major economic improvements” as well as dramatic improvements in safety for fishermen. The improvements were found across a range of fisheries in the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico and extended to fishermen from both small and large vessels, using a diversity of gears and targeting a variety of fish. In contrast, the study found that these same fisheries performed poorly under traditional fishery management in virtually all areas.
Overall, the study is a dose of good news at a time when most news we hear about oceans is bad. The results also come at a time when some in Congress are pushing to eliminate fishermen’s ability to pursue catch shares for their fisheries. The findings point to a clear choice about which strategy the nation should pursue to achieve abundant oceans that also allow fishermen and fishing-dependent communities to prosper. Read More
Community Dimensions of Fisheries Catch Share Programs
A national panel on “the Community Dimensions of Fisheries Catch Share Programs” released its recommendations today. The Panel, convened by Ecotrust, found that options for improving communities and fisheries explode under catch shares, but they don’t happen on their own and more work and energy are needed to fully exploit the benefits of catch shares.
Overall, the panel’s findings are good news for communities that have suffered under traditional fisheries management. Its findings highlight how well-designed catch shares benefit our fishing communities by enhancing economic development. Under catch shares, there is a menu of options that were never before available to fishing communities.
However, like our brains, we are only using a small percentage of catch shares’ potential. Fishermen and other stakeholders can and should learn from past experiences to better implement catch shares. There are myriad ways to design catch shares to maximize benefits for communities. Where these approaches are being used, such as the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust and a community fishing association in Central California, communities are benefiting. However, many more communities can benefit from these innovative approaches and in some cases, not all community-focused options have been used in the design of catch share programs.
Fishing communities, fishermen and other stakeholders have opportunities under catch shares that were never available under previous management. We encourage stakeholders to envision their future and design catch shares to achieve their specific goals. There are myriad options, including many of the recommendations highlighted in the Panel report and the Catch Share Design Manual.
Kate Bonzon, EDF Director of Design Advisory Services
A new study released this week in the journal Nature describes the effectiveness and promise of community-based fishery management. Among others, the study highlights a catch share in Chile that has 20,000 participants and covers more than 1,500 square miles “making it one of the most successful abalone* fisheries in the world.” The kind of catch share that covers this fishery is called a territorial use rights for fishing or TURF, an area-based management program that assigns a specific area to an individual, group or community.
*The Chilean system manages loco, a valuable sea snail, commonly called “false abalone” due to its appearance and taste.