New Reports Detail Socioeconomic Aspects of MHI Bottomfish Fishing

Using results of the 2010 Hawaii Bottomfish Cost-Earnings Survey, PIFSC's Economist Justin Hospital and JIMAR researcher Courtney Beavers recently completed 2 reports detailing socioeconomic aspects of bottomfish fishing in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). The first report, "Economic and Social Aspects of Bottomfish Fishing in the Main Hawaiian Islands" was published as a PIFSC Administrative Report on May 1, 2012 (see the Publications section of this QRB). It provides a comprehensive profile of the current MHI bottomfish fleet and information on current levels of fishing activity, behavioral aspects of bottomfish fishing, market participation, average trip costs, fishing-related expenditures, levels of investment, and the social and cultural importance of bottomfish fishing. This is the first study to specifically address the MHI bottomfish fleet, and establishes important baselines for assessing the economic and social impacts of any future management actions. The results are stratified by county, avidity, and targeting behavior to provide added insights for fishery managers.

The second report, "Catch Shares and the Main Hawaiian Islands Bottomfish Fishery: Linking Fishery Conditions and Fisher Perceptions" was finalized and submitted to the peer-reviewed journal Marine Policy for potential inclusion in an upcoming special issue about catch shares in the western Pacific. The article explores fisher perceptions towards current MHI bottomfish fishery conditions and future management alternatives, specifically the potential application of catch share management in the fishery. Bottomfish fishermen participating in the survey expressed uncertainty about catch share programs and appeared to be reluctant concerning any movement towards catch share management. The research article describes many preexisting conditions in the fishery that suggest a catch share program may not be practical at this time.