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Crew in the West Coast Groundfish Catch Share Program: Changes in Compensation and Job Satisfaction

Steiner, Erin, Russell, Suzanne, Vizek, Ashley, Warlick, Amanda
Coastal management 2018 v.46 no.6 pp. 656-676
coastal zone management, coasts, data collection, demersal fish, fisheries, income, job satisfaction, surveys
Catch share programs can have far-reaching effects on coastal communities and the people that rely on fishing income, including crew members. Analysis of management actions affecting crew wages and well-being is often limited due to a dearth of available data. We examine crew-related outcomes during the first six years of the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program using two unique datasets – a mandatory economic survey and a voluntary social science study. We find that impacts on crew compensation differ from other catch share programs due to prior conditions of the fishery and also vary by the target species within the program. The median number of crew positions per vessel increased slightly, annual crew days decreased, and crew wage as a percentage of revenue was nearly unchanged, even with the introduction of new costs. Median daily crew compensation increased from $514 per day to $776 after implementation of catch shares and annual compensation increased from $33 thousand to $39 thousand. Many crew members expressed a lack of support for the program and job satisfaction did not rise with increased wages and fewer days at sea, indicating that job satisfaction is likely influenced by more than compensation and effort.