Common pathways in fisheries management

Managing fisheries usually follows one of three pathways: limiting catches, limiting fishing effort, or limiting where fishing can take place. In a new review, each of these pathways is explored to examine their biological, social and economic implications. Limiting catches includes guideline harvests, strict limits on the total catch, allocations to groups, division of the total catch among individual participants, and fully transferable individual rights to catch a portion of the total allowable catch. Strict limits on catch support sustainability, but profits are low if fishermen must compete with each other for catch. When fishing effort is limited, either by reducing boats, size of boats, amount of fishing gear, or the length of the fishing season, this leads fishers to undermine sustainability by expanding fishing on unregulated dimensions, and to profit-reducing capital stuffing where money is spent to gain a small advantage over others. Spatial access involves designating a regulated fishing area, or a closed area around which fishing is allowed on fish that “spillover” from the closed area. If a closed area produces spillover, economic and social outcomes are based on the catch and effort limitations in place where fishing is allowed. The new review published in Fish and Fisheries, was led by SAFS professor Chris Anderson, together with SAFS graduate students Melissa Krigbaum, Martin Arostegui, Megan Feddern, Jachary Koehn, Peter Kuriyama, Christina Morrisett, Caitlin Allen Akselrud, Melanie Davis, Courtney Fiamengo, Ava Fuller, Qi Lee, Katherine McElroy, Maite Pons, and Jessica Sanders.

Overlapping types of fisheries management, showing three pathways to management: restricting catch, restricting effort, and spatial restrictions.
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