Selected tags: Pacific Groundfish

A new dawn for Pacific whiting fishery

photo credit: willapalens via photopin cc

photo credit: willapalens via photopin cc

Yesterday, a federal court in California upheld the parameters that govern what fishing history is used to set allocations in the Pacific whiting fishery, one sector of the West Coast Groundfish IFQ Program

The decision in the Pacific Dawn litigation on pacific whiting quota share allocation is a win for the fishery and fishermen alike, and protects the integrity of management changes designed to provide for the long-term health of the fishery.

Control dates are established by NOAA to alert fishermen that fishing activity after the control date may not be taken into account when quota allocation decisions are made. As EDF legal staff argued at the hearing in early November, control dates are used to determine historic participation in the fishery, and help fishery managers allocate quota fairly amongst fishermen with a stake in the fishery.  If fishery participants believe that the control dates will not be adhered to, they have an incentive to fish harder and more often as a catch share plan is considered, exacerbating overcapitalization just as managers are moving to reduce it.

Overturning the control dates would have destabilized the fishery at the same time the new management system is producing tremendous benefits.

In 2011, the first year of the Pacific Groundfish catch share program  West Coast whiting fishermen landed 40% more fish than in 2010 and earned more than twice their average profit in the past (2011 NOAA Report). Already a low-bycatch fishery, in 2011 the whiting fleet bycatch of rebuilding groundfish decreased by almost 100% in some species. Although the 2012 whiting quota was lower than 2011 (which had been a banner year), the whiting fishery continued its trend toward extremely low bycatch (2012 NOAA Report).

The court’s decision keeps the fishery on the path to environmental and economic success and protects control dates as an important tool to prevent further overcapitalization as catch shares are developed.  The court’s decision also aligned with the opinion of many groundfish fishermen and processors who have testified in support of the catch share program and would have suffered if the control date had been struck down. Read the full decision here.

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

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

California Fisheries Fund Closes New Loan

The California Fisheries Fund closed a new loan last month that will help a family fishing business pass the torch to the next generation.

 Steve Fitz, captain of the F/V Mr. Morgan, will continue his family tradition operating the only commercial fishing operation in the United States that uses Scottish Seine gear, a selective and eco-friendly way to catch groundfish. Steve’s loan from the CFF helped him buy the Mr. Morgan from his uncle and start up Mr. Morgan Fisheries, a fishing business based in Half Moon Bay, specializing in sustainably harvested groundfish and Dungeness crab.

Mr. Morgan Fisheries is known for its sand dabs, Petrale sole and chilipepper rockfish—all species sustainably-managed under a catch share program. Like all other participants in this catch share program, the Mr. Morgan receives an individual fishing quota for several groundfish species that may be harvested throughout the year, with requirements for full accountability of every pound of fish harvested, and a human observer on every fishing trip. These new fishing practices guarantee there is no overfishing and Steve can use that message to market his fish with the 100% Federal At-Sea Monitoring No Overfishing Guaranteed label.

Steve Fitz grew up fishing with his father in New England before moving west and graduating from University of Denver with a degree in business. About eighteen years ago, he moved out to Half Moon Bay, California, to fish with his uncle, eventually becoming the captain of the F/V Mr. Morgan in 2000. Read More »

Posted in EDF Oceans General, Fishermen Voices, Pacific, Seafood | Also tagged , , , , | Comments closed

SeafoodNews.com Highlights Cooperation Among Industry Groups Preparing for the Switch to Catch Shares in Pacific Trawl Fishery

Tom Lalley, EDF Oceans Marketing & Communications Director

Tom Lalley, EDF Oceans Marketing & Communications Director

An article on SeafoodNews.com highlights cooperation among industry groups to prepare for a switch to catch shares in the West Coast trawl fishery next year.  Fishermen, federal government officials, environmentalists, fishery management experts and on-board observer companies – among others – are collaborating to make the transition a success.

Fishing organizations and EDF recently facilitated a workshop in Santa Rosa, CA to share information and tips on a number of topics, like financing and trading quota, fishery mapping and "hotspot management," cooperative risk pools, increasing revenues, and reducing bycatch. Videos from that event are now available at www.westcoasttrawlers.net. The West Coast Trawlers' Network is an informal association comprised of the Fisherman's Marketing Association, Midwater Trawler's Cooperative, Oregon Trawl Commission, Pacific Whiting Conservation Cooperative and United Catcher Boats.

Full article from SeafoodNews.com posted with permission from John Sackton.

West Coast commercial fishing groups make concerted effort to get ahead of catch share transition

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS by John Sackton – Oct 25, 2010 – IFQ's are coming to the West Coast groundfishery in 2011, and a coalition of industry associations have been working together to prepare for the upcoming changes.

The West Coast trawlers network consists of the Coos Bay Trawlers Association, the Fishermen's Marketing Association, the Midwater Trawling Cooperative, the Oregon Trawl Commission, the Pacific Whiting Conservation Cooperative, and United Catcher Boats.

Several of these organizations members have had extensive experience with IFQ programs in Alaska, including how these programs allowed vessels to better manage fleet bycatch, and minimize shutdowns.

Recently the group sponsored a major workshop that was attended by representatives of about half the trawl fleet.

According to Scott Coughlin, a coordinator of the workshop, the group has now posted a series of videos and powerpoints from the workshop on their web site http://www.westcoasttrawlers.net/.

The presentations range from gear and bycatch experts to a representative from Dock street brokers, and cover a range of operational questions involving IFQ programs.

'The videos present an unusual opportunity to hear from a broad range of experts addressing catch share management of the trawl fishery – a timely topic that affects nearly every West Coast fishing community,' said Coughlin.

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