Catch Share Management in New England: Groundfish Sectors

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The management of domestic fisheries by the use of catch shares has become a topic of increased attention in recent years. The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) recently voted to adopt a catch share program for their Northeast Multispecies Fishery, proposing the addition of 17 new sectors which will manage a collective quota for the multispecies complex. This paper discusses the specifics of the Fishery Management Plan amendment as it pertains to the sector program and highlights three potential concerns that have been raised with regard to the implementation of sectors: insufficient monitoring, excessive consolidation, and impacts on communities. An exploration of actions taken by other regional Fishery Management Councils to address these concerns provides insight into potential management options that the New England Fishery Management Council may wish to consider as they move forward. These options are evaluated in the context of New England’s groundfish fishery, culminating in recommended actions that would enhance the ability of the management program to achieve its desired goals. Evaluation of the monitoring program in the British Columbia Groundfish Fishery reveals the potential benefits of full monitoring coverage for the Northeast Multispecies Sector program. Considering accumulation limits set in 10 domestic catch share programs to address consolidation reveals the need for the NEFMC to establish accumulation limits at a level commensurate with the management plan’s total objectives. Lastly, drawing from experiences in several Alaska fisheries and the new Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery IFQ program, utilizing an adaptive management approach would provide the NEFMC with tools to mitigate undesired impacts on fishing communities. The above recommendations have the potential to strengthen the New England multispecies sector program and increase the likelihood of achieving the full suite of management objectives.





Gordon, Kimberly (2010). Catch Share Management in New England: Groundfish Sectors. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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