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Adapting to Catch Shares: Perspectives of West Coast Groundfish Trawl Participants

Russell, Suzanne M., Oostenburg, Max Van, Vizek, Ashley
Coastal management 2018 v.46 no.6 pp. 603-620
coastal zone management, coasts, demersal fish, fisheries, fisheries management, harvesting, infrastructure, leasing, social change
Catch share programs are used in fisheries management to meet goals such as species recovery, overcapacity reduction, and economic efficiency. Anticipated impacts include fleet consolidation, infrastructure reduction, and social disruption within communities. The Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Social Study (PCGFSS) aims to understand social changes related to the recently implemented West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program. In this article, we use a subset of PCGFSS data to explore the ways remaining fishery participants have thus far adapted to catch shares. While some vessels have left the fishery, we found that many participants are adapting to this catch shares program despite challenges. Quota leasing strategies, fishery diversification, gear innovation, and community quota funds are some of the tools participants are using to continue operating under the catch shares program. These early challenges and adaptations to the catch share program are worthy of continued tracking, as researchers, managers, and fishing communities, would benefit by considering first-hand perspectives of the on-the-ground realities of harvesting groundfish in the rationalized fishery.