Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Understanding behavior in the Pacific groundfish trawl fishery

In 2011 the Pacific Groundfish Trawl Rationalization Program implemented a system of individual fishing quotas (IFQs) for shore-based groundfish trawlers and a cooperative-based catch share system for the offshore whiting fleets. The new system creates both new opportunities and threats for the industry by relaxing some management constraints but tightening others. Perhaps the most fundamental change is the requirement for individuals and the industry to strictly limit their catch and match it with quota pounds (the annual catch privilege denominated in pounds for quota species category), whether the catch is retained or discarded. Many fishermen may need to change when, where, or how they fish to match their catch to their quota pounds, and some redistribution of quota may also be needed to enable the fishing industry to maximize the value derived from the fishery.

This project is focused on understanding how behavior of fishermen, individually and in aggregate, changes or will change in response to rationalization and how the management system can be adapted to improve outcomes. The project has several components that related to this goal:


Holland, D.S.2010. Markets, Pooling and Insurance for Managing Bycatch in Fisheries. Ecological Economics. 70(1):121-133.

Holland, D.S. and J.E. Jannot 2012. Bycatch Risk Pools for the US West Coast Groundfish Fishery. Ecological Economics 78:132-47.