Sea Grant Programs Stay Ahead of Emerging Issue – Catch Shares

"Catch shares" is a type of fisheries management strategy, about which Sea Grant agents are learning. ©Janet Krenn/VASG
"Catch shares" is a type of fisheries management strategy, about which Sea Grant agents are learning. ©Janet Krenn/VASG

Depending on where you are in the U.S., catch shares are either known as an effective tool for managing fisheries or a dirty word.

As a management tool, catch shares are intended to hold fishermen accountable for meeting a conservation target, while providing greater flexibility to fish when weather and marketing conditions are best. Yet the success of catch shares may largely depend on implementation.

Knowing this, Sea Grant extension agents held a special workshop at the Energy Use in Fisheries Conference (Seattle, WA) last fall to share experiences and examples of catch shares in their areas. Through sharing experiences, extension agents began developing an understanding of the tool, as well as a start on reviewing what maybe thought of as best practices.

“We always want to be prepared so that we can provide the best information to our communities,” says Virginia Sea Grant Marine Extension Program Leader Tom Murray, who organized the meeting with his colleague Ken La Valley (NHSG). “Some extension agents in the Sea Grant network have had a lot of experience working with industry on catch shares. By sharing these experiences, we can all better anticipate what our local needs are, in the event that catch shares come to our area.”

Check out the Catch Shares Workshop Report and some of the presentations given during the workshop by clicking the links below.

Catch Shares Workshop Report by Thomas Murray (VA Sea Grant) and Ken La Valley (NH Sea Grant)
Potential Impacts of Catch Shares slides by Madeleine Hall-Arber (MIT Sea Grant)
Alaska Experience with Catch Shares slides by Glenn Haight and Sunny Rice (AK Sea Grant)
3rd Ed. Fishery Management and Limited Access Privilege Programs slides by Niki Pace (MS/AL Sea Grant)

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