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:
Modeling location choice of the groundfish trawl fleet: We are estimating location choice models for groundfish trawl fleets. These models use observations of the past location choices of fishermen to quantify the factors that determine where they fish. While expected revenue is a primary determinant we are particularly focused on the role of bycatch avoidance in determining location choices. The models should reveal the implicit cost of bycatch avoidance and may be useful in predicting how changes in regulations or total allowable catches will affect future distributions of effort and catch.
Risk Pools: The ITQ system includes transferable quotas for a number of overfished rockfish species with very low total allowable catches (TACs). Catch of some of these species is highly variable and many individuals were allocated very small quotas, insufficient in some cases to cover incidental catch from one unlucky "disaster" tow. Concern that it might be impossible or very costly to purchase additional quota in the event of exceeding one's own allocation led many fishermen to pool their quota pounds for these species and agree to a cooperative approach to minimize bycatch. This project includes ongoing theoretical, experimental, and empirical analyses designed to determine how risk pools can be designed to ensure catch does not exceed the pool's quota but allows individual fishermen flexibility in the way they fish. Some theoretical work (Holland 2010) and some empirical work (Holland and Jannot 2012) has already been completed.
Quota Markets: The individual quota systems implemented in 2011 allows fishermen to buy and sell the quota pounds they are allocated each year. This quota market allows fishermen to balance their intended and their unexpected catch with quota. This project is broadly focused on understanding the dynamics of the quota market: how quota prices are determined, how and why quota is redistributed by the market, and whether and why the market is effective and efficient at redistributing quota to those who value it most. This understanding will improve our ability to predict what will happen to the fishery over time and may enable us to implement policy measures that improve the functioning of the quota market.
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.