Selected tags: Discards

New management plan continues to yield conservation & economic benefits in Pacific groundfishery: NOAA report

fishery observer

WCGOP Observer
Photo Credit: NOAA Report, supplied by Sean Sullivan

On September 24, NOAA Fisheries released their report on the second year (2012) of the West Coast Groundfish Catch Shares Program, a program that EDF has been instrumental in helping to develop, implement and improve. The report notes the spirit of partnership that helped bring a catch share management system to the Pacific Coast, and praises the program's conservation and economic performance. Mostly, however, NOAA credits fishermen for using the flexibility afforded under catch shares to improve their long-term economic prospects and avoid overfished species.

 

 

Here are some highlights:

  • Conservation: The report notes “a significant reduction in the amount of bycatch,” of overfished species, and concludes that the program “is actively rebuilding several groundfish stocks.”
  • Catch: Harvest of target stocks continues to improve—up 5% from 2011.
  • Business Flexibility: Transfers of quota between fishermen increased dramatically in comparison with 2011, and were relatively constant throughout the year. This increase indicates better understanding among fishermen of how to leverage their allotment for efficient business planning.

NOAA’s report also reflects the strong and growing interest among West Coast fishery stakeholders in transitioning from 100% observer coverage on groundfish boats to lower cost alternatives, like cameras, that will still ensure 100% accountability for all catch.

The West Coast catch shares program is still a work in progress, but NOAA’s analysis is very encouraging.

“The report from the second year reinforces what we’re seeing. There are a lot of positive things happening that provide a solid foundation for building on,” said Shems Jud, Deputy Director of EDF’s Pacific Ocean team. “By working with fishermen now to help lower their operating costs and expand fishing opportunity, we think this program can be made durable for the long-term, and eventually turn into a real economic success story.”

Posted in Catch Shares, NOAA, Pacific | Also tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Pacific Catch Shares are Working to Reduce Discards and Improve Business


The November issue of Fishermen’s News includes in-depth look at the transformation of fishing for almost 100 species along the West Coast since catch shares were introduced last year.

The West Coast Groundfish Catch Share Program was first proposed by fishermen who realized that their fishery was on an unsustainable course. Design and development of the program took about seven years, and required a collaborative approach among diverse stakeholders: small-boat fishermen, large “mothership” trawlers, environmental groups, state officials, regional Council members and NOAA officials, just to name a few.

From the article by reporter Terry Dillman:

“Coos Bay-based trawler Rex Leach said he had ‘some pretty big reservations’ about catch shares, but after the first year, he’s ‘happy to say I was wrong.’ Discards are nearly non-existent and he can now plan groundfish landings when it’s convenient for his operation.”

Posted in Catch Shares, Pacific | Also tagged , | 1 Response, comments now closed

West Coast Fishermen Adapt to Catch Shares and End Wasteful "Regulatory Discards"

Almost one year ago, the West Coast's largest commercial fishery by volume transitioned to a catch share management system. The new system:

  • Enables fishermen operating in the multispecies groundfish trawl sector to fish when they want, rather than forcing them into a series of two-month "use it or lose it" fishing time-frames;
  • Enables them to lease or trade quota for specific species and adapt their fishing practices to both market and weather conditions; and
  • Ends the universally-despised "regulatory discards," which, under the previous management system, compelled fishermen to throw uncounted tons of perfectly good fish overboard, dead. Read More »

Posted in Catch Shares, Pacific | Also tagged , | 1 Response, comments now closed