Monthly Archives: December 2012

New Study: Catch Shares Comply with Catch Limits

Published online November 16, 2012, in Ocean & Coastal Management

By Wesley S. Patrick & Lee R. Benaka

NOAA Fisheries, Office of Sustainable Fisheries

Fisheries operated under catch share management systems were more likely to stay within target catch limits and to stop overfishing than those operating under other management systems, according to a new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) entitled “Estimating the Economic Impacts of Bycatch in US Commercial Fisheries” which was published online last month in Ocean & Coastal Management.

The study analyzed the impact of “management uncertainty” upon fishery performance in 17 U.S. fisheries covering 12 different species. It compares fisheries under catch share management systems with those operating under other types of fishery management in which landings are managed “in-season” or “post-season.” This study is one of the first to look at the impact of “management uncertainty” upon a fishery’s performance. “Management uncertainty” refers to the inability of fishery managers to accurately predict how the management techniques they employ will affect their ability to achieve targets such as catch limits.

The study found that a fishery’s ability to stay within targeted catch limits varied considerably, but those under catch shares exceeded catch limits the least. Catch share fisheries exceeded catch limits just 2% of the time, compared to 37% of the time for those managed in-season or post-season. Knowing that catch share-run fisheries are unlikely to exceed catch limits reduces uncertainty and allows managers to set catch limits closer to “true” targets, allowing fishermen to catch more fish while still protecting fish populations for the future.

Posted in Science/Research / Tagged , , , , | Read 1 Response

Partnering with Maryland Watermen in Electronic Catch Accounting Pilot

While winter around the Chesapeake Bay is known for oysters and striped bass, summertime means blue crabs. If you enjoyed steamed crabs from Maryland this summer, you may have consumed crabs harvested by watermen involved in a ground-breaking test of technology to improve long-term blue crab management.

The Maryland Blue Crab Accountability Pilot program – a collaborative effort among commercial watermen called the Blue Crab Design Team, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and other partners – was designed to test electronic daily harvest reporting in order to gather more accurate and timely harvest information. From mid-July through the end of Maryland’s commercial crabbing season in mid-November, some 50 commercial crabbers, ranging in age from 25 – 75, tested the use of hand-held technologies like cell phones, smartphones and tablets, to report blue crab harvest daily.

Sustainable fisheries management requires sound science and accurate harvest and effort information. Current reporting relies on monthly paper reports and manual data entry that can take months to process. Daily electronic harvest reporting can improve the accuracy of harvest data, and result in real-time harvest information for in-season management decision-making. Read More »

Posted in Mid-Atlantic / Tagged , , , , | Comments are closed

New England Catch Shares Ruled Legitimate by 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals

1st Circuit Court of Appeals logoIn a long-awaited decision, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a 2011 lower court ruling confirming the legality of the NE sector program.

Ruling on a suit brought by the ports of New Bedford and Gloucester, as well as fishermen and fishing groups, the justices determined that the NE sector program form of catch share complies with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

The court found that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) had adequately considered the impact of the program and taken the proper steps to accomplish its goals, including environmental conservation, increasing economic benefits and holding fishermen accountable for staying within catch limits.

The three judge panel noted that, rather than destroying smaller business, many believe the new rules provide better protection. The judges also said federal regulators installed the law properly. “The Secretary (of Commerce’s) judgments here were derived from the record, rational, and not based on any error of law,” the court wrote. Read the full opinion here.

Posted in New England, Policy / Tagged , , , | Comments are closed