Catch Shares in the Western Pacific

This project involves conducting socioeconomic studies and analyses to support NOAA Fisheries' consideration of catch share programs, particularly regarding the Hawaii-based longline fleet. Catch shares is the name for a group of methods that manage annual catch limits by allocating a percentage or share of the catch to fishermen, vessels, permit holders, communities, or other entities. NOAA Fisheries has encouraged fisheries managers to consider catch shares as a method for achieving a number of different fisheries objectives.

At two recent NOAA workshops, one held in La Jolla, CA in November 2009 and one held in Honolulu in March 2010, social and economic scientists discussed the results of implementing catch share programs in other regions and countries, and their applicability to the Western Pacific. While catch share programs have solved many problems in other fisheries, they have also raised a number of social issues. These include effects on communities, the ability of new fishermen to enter the fishery, consolidation of permits, treatment of captains and crews, and others. However, few specific analyses of the characteristics of the Hawaii-based longline fleet were available for these in-depth discussions.

That situation is being remedied in part by a PIRO/PIFSC collaborative effort to develop a data base of longline permit holders and their catch history over the past 5 years. Once this data base is available, it will allow testing of the effects of a number of management scenarios, including several catch share options.

This project has several facets: a report describing characteristics of the Hawaii-based longline fleet relevant to consideration of catch shares programs and assessment of social impacts (on this web site when available); a presentation at the March 2010 Catch Shares workshop in Honolulu on which the report was based; a similar presentation at the September 2010 NOAA Fisheries Socioeconomics workshop in Orlando, FL; and participation in the Pacific Islands working group developing the database of longline catch and permit history which could be used to allocate shares among Hawaii longline fishermen based on catch history.