Participants in a catch share program may fish for their shares of the fishery at their discretion until their quotas are filled. This management method is often contrasted with a "race-for-fish" management option, where fishermen compete with others in the fishery during a set time frame.
The increase in predictability found to accompany catch share programs may result from greater incentives for fishermen to comply with rules and regulations. The study's findings also suggest that catch share fisheries may have lower rates of discarded fish.
Essington studied 15 catch share programs in the United States and Canada and looked at a range of measurements for each fishery, including population status, catch landings and fishing rate. He compared fisheries with catch shares to fisheries without them and also evaluated fisheries before and after the implementation of a catch share program. The research analyzed both the average value and the year-to-year variability of the measurements.
Essington cited a need to assess a larger number of fisheries globally.
"We have sufficient data to quantitatively evaluate many pros and cons of catch share programs, but as of now we still don't know how much they help to end overfishing," said Essington. "Analysis of a larger set of catch share programs could also help identify fishery and program-design characteristics that make these programs more effective in achieving better ecological outcomes."
|Contact: Jo Knight|
Pew Environment Group