Catch shares reduce risky fishing

February 24, 2016
catch share study

A new NOAA Fisheries study shows that “catch shares”-- where fishermen are allocated a certain share of fish they can catch at any time in the fishing season -- reduces the risky “rush-to-fish” during a time limited season. Rush-to-fish makes fishing one of the most dangerous lines of work. Traditional fishing rules promote risky behavior by allowing vessels to catch as much as possible in a limited season, no matter the weather or sea conditions. According to authors of the study, which focused on West Coast fixed-gear sablefish fishermen, a decline in rough-weather fishing can represent "a revolution in risk-taking behavior by fishermen.”

Catch shares are one type of strategy that NOAA and Fishery Management Councils use for sustainable management. Read more on how catch shares fishery management reduces risk-taking.