"One of the big challenges in catch shares is how you allocate the shares," Gaines explains. "But this is not a scientific question; it's a value judgment on the part of local communities and their governments."
Overall, the current study scientifically affirms what some fishermen and fisheries managers have long suspected based on anecdotal evidence and firsthand observation.
"Up until now, it's been an article of faith. It's pleasing to see that the data really does show these trends," says Jeremy Prince, a fisheries scientist and former fisherman from Australia who is a leader in transitioning fisheries to catch shares.
"This study gives us a solution to work with in fighting the global fishery crisis," says Boris Worm, who was not involved in the research. "There are fisheries which are doing well because of rights-based management. It's the silver lining that we have been looking for. Now we need to implement these solutions more widely."
Catch shares are not a one-size-fits-all solution. However the current study demonstrates that ownership can be a powerful ally in the effort to reverse fisheries decline, especially when deployed with complementary management strategies. With proper design, careful monitoring, and real-time adaptation to changing environmental conditions, catch shares can help ensure that the world will enjoy plentiful seafood for years to come.
|Contact: Liz Neeley|