Catch Share Management (regional)

Social and economic impact assessment of catch share management in the Northeast multispecies fishery

Christopher Glass and Rachel Feeney, University of New Hampshire

To evaluate whether the multispecies (groundfish) catch share fishery system (i.e. sectors) in the Northeast U.S. is achieving theorized benefits, there must be evaluations of biological, social and economic impacts. This research is testing theories generated about catch shares, examining their validity and limits relative to sector management in New England commercial multispecies fisheries. The New Hampshire commercial fishery is the focus of this case study. The primary research question is: Has the advent of commercial multispecies sectors in New England impacted fishing practices, social capital and bycatch in the New Hampshire fishery? Northeast Fishery Sectors XI and XII, comprised of multispecies fishermen in New Hampshire, are the particular focus of research, but broader applications of conclusions are considered. Quantitative and qualitative information is being gathered primarily by one-on-one interviews with individuals from New Hampshire, including current New Hampshire sector fishing permit owners, non-sector fishermen, former fishermen, and fish dealers. It is hypothesized that fishing under the control rules governing sectors has resulted in reduced bycatch in the fishery; more flexibility for fishermen to decide where, when, and how to fish; and greater collaboration among fishermen in the conduct of business and bycatch reduction. The applicability of the N.H.-based results to the broader region will be determined, as well as causes of variation.