Pew Urges Thoughtful Approach to Catch Shares in Light of New Report on West Coast Trawl Fishery Proposal

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The Pew Environment Group's Lee Crockett, director of Federal Fisheries Policy, and Peter Baker, manager for New England Fisheries Campaigns, today commented on a new study by Ecotrust that found design concerns in the proposed West Coast trawl fishery catch share program. Support for this report was provided by the Pew Environment Group.

Lee Crockett, director of Federal Fisheries Policy, the Pew Environment Group:

“The Ecotrust study reinforces Pew's position that design matters when creating catch shares programs. It is critical that fisheries managers design these systems to both strengthen conservation efforts and protect those fishermen and fishing communities that support sustainable fishing practices.”

While the Ecotrust report underscores that catch shares are not a one-size-fits-all solution for fisheries management, Pew believes that the sector allocation system implemented in New England's groundfish fishery, which is based on a method pioneered and proven to work by a group of local fishermen in the region, is thoughtfully considered and well designed.

Peter Baker, manager for New England Fisheries Campaigns, the Pew Environment Group:

“New England's sectors were initiated by fishermen as voluntary, cooperative and community-based, and were designed to protect fleet diversity and coastal communities. They give a collective of fishermen incentives to fish their allocations more efficiently. Those who develop more innovative fishing gear can target more of the healthy fish populations and avoid those populations that are struggling. This will help rebuild stocks while reaping the benefits of market demand. New England's sector program has just begun, and it deserves time to work.”

To read the Ecotrust study, go to http://www.ecotrust.org/workingpapers/WPS6_Fair_Catch.pdf

Additional resources include Pew's white paper on catch shares, Design Matters and One Last Chance: The Economic Case for a New Approach to Fisheries Management in New England (PDFs), a report written by resource economists Dr. Robert J. Johnston from Clark University and Dr. Jon G. Sutinen from University of Rhode Island.

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