Navigation Links
Catching up with catch shares
Date:3/7/2013

Ralph Brown runs a 75-foot trawler, Little Joe, out of Brookings, Oregon. He fishes for pink shrimp, Dungeness crab, and groundfish, moving between the Oregon and Alaskan coastlines at different times of year. In 2011, the West Coast groundish fishery, which typically accounts for more than half of Brown's gross, converted to a catch shares system of management. As a result, for both Ralph Brown's business and for the groundfish he depends on, things are looking up.

Flexibility Is Up

Before the change, fishing for groundfish on the West Coast took place in two-month bouts. During each mini-season, fishermen would race to catch their limit before time ran out. This led to unsafe conditions on the water and to periodic gluts as boats all brought their catch to market at once.

Today, each fisherman or company is allocated a percentage of the year's total allowable catch for a species. That share of the catchthe catch sharetranslates into the fisherman's individual quota for the year, and they can fish it whenever they like.

"The main thing is, it allows us to plan better," Ralph Brown said. "We're spreading out the supply with the other boats, so the processor gets an even flow, while we can go out shrimping or crabbing in between. Plus we do bigger trips, fewer of them, and more pounds."

Brent Paine, executive director of the United Catcher Boats Association, said his members benefit from the flexibility. "If the fishing's really bad and we're burning up a lot of fuel," he said, "we can hold off for a while until the fishing's better. In the old system, you would fish until your quota was over, no matter what."

The West Coast Groundfish Fishery includes Pacific whiting, Pacific cod, sablefish, and many species of flatfish and rockfish. In 2011, the first year of the catch share program, revenues came in at $54 million, up from a previous-five-year annual average of $38 million.

Bycatch Is Down

In the old system, fishermen were racing against the clock, so they didn't have the time to target fish carefully. As a result, they took on a lot of bycatch, which are fish that are caught unintentionally. To avoid fines at the dock, fishermen often discarded the bycatch, already dead, at sea.

Bycatch is a particularly tricky problem for groundfish trawlers because so many different species mingle on the bottom. There are more than 90 species in this fishery, and a fisherman never really knows what's in his net until it comes out of the water.

In the new system, fishermen are given an individual quota for all species. That includes both the ones they're targeting and the ones, because of low population numbers, that they need to avoid. But for those species, they get a very low quotain some cases, so low that a single unlucky tow can put them over.

Today, they cannot toss those fish overboard. Instead, the fisherman must lease unused quota from someone else to cover the difference, or pay it back out of the next year's allotment. Until they do, they're locked out of the fishery. This gives fishermen a strong incentive to avoid certain species of fish. It also insures that, even when an individual fisherman exceeds his targetwhich is bound to happen sometimes in a complex groundfish fisherythe total catch for the fleet stays within the limit.

This system is effective because every boat now has an observer on board. The observer identifies and weighs everything that comes up in the net, and makes sure that every pound is accounted for.

According to Paine, all members of the United Catcher Boats Association get together to strategize before the season starts. "If one area is really hot for canary rockfish," Paine says, naming a rare species with a very low catch limit, "we'll draw lines around that hotspot and agree not to fish there. So we have closure zones that are generated by the boat captains themselves."

Also, fishermen have an incentive to innovate. If they manage to avoid species with very low catch limits, they can lease their unused quota pounds to someone else. "People have been experimenting with different net styles in order to become more selective in their catch, because we know that individually we can benefit" Ralph Brown says.

Since the catch share system was put in place in 2011, the whiting fleet has reduced bycatch of canary rockfish by 79 percent. Overall discards for the entire groundfish fishery in 2011 were a very low 4.8 percent. Because of this, overfished populations are getting a chance to rebuild.

Looking Forward

Catch shares provides a combination of flexibility and accountability that leads to a more efficient and sustainable fishery. The West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program is proving to be a model system of management. The program was created through a collaboration of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the West Coast states, and NOAA Fisheries.

These partners will continue to fine-tune the program. But already, things are looking up. "From my perspective, it's been pretty successful," Ralph Brown said. "It's way better than what we had before."


'/>"/>

Contact: Rich Press
rich.press@noaa.gov
301-427-8530
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Forensic tools for catching poachers
2. Biobatteries catch breath
3. Analysis of stickleback genome sequence catches evolution in action
4. Gray seals consume as much fish as the fishing industry catches
5. Study finds circle hooks lower catch rate for offshore anglers
6. Chemical pollution in Europes seas: The monitoring must catch up with the science
7. UCSB researchers to examine the effects of year-old NOAA West Coast Catch Shares program
8. The effect of catch-up growth by various diets and resveratrol intervention on bone status
9. University spin-out company shares in £7.9 million marine energy funding boost
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Catching up with catch shares
(Date:2/21/2017)... , February 21, 2017 Der ... US-Dollar wachsen. Nach einem Gespräch mit mehr als 50 Vertretern ... Hindernisse zu überwinden gilt, um diese Prognose zu realisieren. ... ... die Mobilisierung der finanziellen Mittel für die Biobank, die ...
(Date:2/10/2017)... 10, 2017 Research and Markets ... "Personalized Medicine - Scientific and Commercial Aspects" to their ... ... is integrated with therapy for selection of treatment as well ... and prevention of disease in modern medicine. Biochip/microarray technologies and ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... The biometrics market has reached a ... organizations, desires to better authenticate or identify users ... challenge questions), biometrics is quickly working its way ... is driven by use cases, though there traditionally ... uses cases, with consumer-facing use cases encompassing authentication, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... -- Financial Highlights ... unaudited)Three Months Ended December 31,Twelve Months Ended December 31,20162015% ... $           300$   ... Product Revenue 3539(10)%9498(4)%Kuvan Net Product ... 756025%297303(2)%Vimizim Net Product Revenue ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... 2017  MIODx announced today that it has ... technologies from the University of California, San Francisco ... monitor a patient for response to immune checkpoint ... second license extends the technology with a method ... have an immune-related adverse event (IRAE) from their ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... 2017  Imanis Life Sciences announced today the ... vaccinia viruses for virotherapy research. These viruses are ... proprietary, vaccinia virus-based technology platform for research use. ... a partnership with Genelux to offer researchers, for ... use in research," said Dr. Kah Whye ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... David Nolte, PhD accepted Purdue University’s 2016 ... Research Park of West Lafayette, Indiana. , The top commercialization award is ... success with, commercializing discoveries from Purdue research. “This award is truly an honor. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: