Tag Archives: Catch Shares

Fishing inquiry calls for more money for adjustment and an urgent assessment of fishing stocks

An inquiry into commercial fishing in New South Wales has recommended the Government find more money to help fishermen adjust to reforms. $16 million dollars has been put aside to help fishermen buy extra shares to stay in the industry, but many have claimed that won’t be enough. Chair of the inquiry Robert Brown said about $20 million might be required. “No fisher, none of these small businesses should be left hanging,” he said. The reforms were aimed at removing a large number of “latent” licences from the industry but Mr Brown said those licences should have been handled differently from active licences held by working fishermen. continue reading the story here 20:21

A look back at the evolution of Catch Shares

In 2010 CSF board member Nils Stolpe conducted some exhaustive research into catch shares as a management tool and given what has transpired since it is worth looking over his findings today. Here, for example is a prophetic quote from the NEFMC’S June 2010 Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Amendment 15 to the Council’s Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan :  “…consolidation measures like ITQs, but also more generally leasing and stacking, tend to have their negative impacts on those less powerful segments of the fishing industry, namely the crew, or the small business owners without a fleet of vessels or vertically integrated business. Those who are better able to take advantage of measures like leasing or stacking are then increasingly able to exert control in various markets, such as leasing quota, hiring crew, or even affecting prices that fishermen receive for their product. These kinds of changes, in turn, affect the structure of communities—through changing relations between people and shifts in dominant values—and affect the viability of fishing communities as some are disproportionally impacted by geographic shifts in fishing businesses.” That was about the scallop fleet but the impact is now decimating single boat owners in our New England groundfishery. The complete report (three papers) is included here 14:28

How sustainable seafood can harm coastal communities

Kai Ryssdal: Tell me the story of how this book came to be. Lee van der Voo: Sure. Actually, I had just written a story about seafood and was in a bar with a bunch of writers loudly complaining about how I was never going to do it again. Somebody heard me and bet me, on the spot, one beer that they could get me to do it. And they started telling me about a new policy push to make seafood more sustainable in America and how it was starting to have some really significant downstream consequences for coastal communities and people who fish. Ryssdal: Long story short, you lost the beer. Van der Voo: Yeah, I lost that bet. It was worth it. Ryssdal: Do me favor and define a term for me, because it’s kind of at the root of this whole book, this idea of “catch share.   Audio report, read the rest here 09:08

Council for Sustainable Fishing – First came ‘sea lords’ and now ‘snapper barons.’

About a year ago AL.com did an investigative report on the Gulf of Mexico commercial red snapper catch share program in which it called the top share holders ‘sea lords’ and those fishermen who had to pay them for the right to catch red snapper ‘serfs.’ Last week, WVUE-TV in New Orleans did a series of investigative reports on this same catch share program, one of which was entitled “’Snapper barons’ raking in riches from public resource.” These reports highlight what catch shares are all about — creating economic winners and losers, not fishery sustainability, with most fishermen and fishing communities on the losing end. A 2013 report by the Center for Investigative Reporting provides estimates that as many as 18,000 fishing jobs were lost and 3,700 vessels were no longer fishing in areas that had catch share programs. Read the press release here 11:18

Zurik: ‘Snapper barons’ raking in riches from public resource

On the tip of Louisiana’s coast, Dean Blanchard built his seafood business from nothing. “It’s what made America great, is hard-working, good people,” Blanchard says. But, he tells us, a few miles away from Grand Isle – on waters owned by taxpayers – a multi-million-dollar government handout functions like the opposite of the capitalism that helps put food on his table. “When Russia and China just let certain people do certain things, what do we call them? We call them communists. I mean, I don’t see no difference.” Blanchard is criticizing a federal program, unknown to most taxpayers, that allows a handful of businesses and fishermen to make millions off a government resource – creating what some fishermen call “Lords of the Sea.” But there’s more. Many of the shareholders don’t even fish. We spoke with Galveston’s Buddy Guindon, third on the list, who can make $1.4 million. “It’s a great asset,”,, You won’t read this stuff in a NOAA report!  Click here to watch the video and read the story along with interactive Top 15 IFQ Shareholder info graphs. 20:54

HOOKED UP: Red snapper catch share allotment a “retirement plan” for many shareholders

The most controversial part of the Red Snapper IFQ program may be the part that allows shareholders to sell their yearly allocation.  It essentially turns some fishermen into businessmen. Our research has revealed about 120 shareholders – 37 percent of the whole – sell their entire allocation each year.  It allows the shareholders to make tens, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Galveston commercial fisherman Buddy Guindon defends these fishermen ”It’s his retirement,” he tells us. Slidell commercial fisherman Tommy Williams thinks some of the program needs to be tweaked, but he thinks these shares provide security for retirement fishermen “They worked for the shares,” Williams says. “They were out here, getting their hands cut, cut by fish, bit by fish, baiting hooks.  That is their retirement because most fishermen don’t have a 401(k). This is their 401(k).” FOX 8 News sent letters to the fishermen who appeared to be selling their yearly allocations.  We heard back from many of them. Read the story here 09:20

Catch Share Program Review for the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Individual Transferrable Quota Fisheries

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) is accepting proposals to conduct a Catch Share Program Review of the present and past social and economic conditions in the Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog (SCOQ) fisheries which are managed using individual transferrable quotas (ITQs). Section 303A(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) includes requirements for the regular monitoring and review of the operations of catch share programs by the Council and the Secretary of Commerce. In 1977, the Council developed a fishery management plan for the Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries in federal waters. These fisheries were initially managed using a combination of limited entry restrictions, fishing quotas, and time limits to constrain landings and distribute fishing effort throughout the fishing year. In 1990, the Council developed an ITQ program that was implemented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries. The fisheries have been operating under this program since then. Read the Request for Proposals (RFP) – Closing Date: March 31, 2017  12:21

South Atlantic Catch Share plan will eliminate over 60 percent of the commercial snapper-grouper fishermen

Just a quick reminder that we need your help today to stop the “pilot” commercial snapper-grouper catch share program being proposed by two South Atlantic Fishery Management Council members: Vice Chair Charlie Phillips and Chris Conklin, both commercial snapper-grouper fleet owners and dealers. Incredibly, Chris, in a recent email about this pilot program that was publicly posted on a fishing forum, effectively said he wants to get rid of over 60 percent of commercial snapper-grouper fishermen, who he calls “part timers,” so the big snapper-grouper players will benefit. Most full time career commercial and for-hire fishermen in the South Atlantic make a living by participating in multiple fisheries, so they could be considered part timers in many fisheries. But they are full time career fishermen, of which snapper-grouper is just one vital income source. Read the article here 11:50

Wow! Council cracks up over catch shares

Everyone in the Gulf of Alaska agrees on one thing: it was the other side’s fault. Depending on who you ask, catch shares are evil incarnate or an angel of good management. Depending on who you ask, they’ll either save Kodiak or kill it. Depending on who you ask, it’s either the State of Alaska’s fault or its credit for not allowing catch shares in the Gulf of Alaska’s groundfish fishery. And depending on who you ask, they’ll either come up again or get sliced up into a handful of other little nibbles at the Gulf of Alaska bycatch problems. Either sighs of relief or defeat leaked from every mouth in the room on this past Dec. 12 when the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which oversees all federal fisheries from three to 200 miles off the Alaska coast, indefinitely tabled a complex range of options for the Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries. Read the story here! 21:17

Catch Shares – ‘I have no fingernails’: Paul’s distress as livelihood slips away

Those are the words of Illawarra commercial fisherman Paul Heron – spoken amid a heartfelt plea against planned NSW government changes that will likely see him without a job. Those reforms – part of the government’s Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program, announced last year – include the introduction of minimum shareholding from July 2017.  That means fishers must hold a certain number of shares to be endorsed to fish. “It is basically going to make a small fisher like me, with a young family and a mortgage – I am two years into my mortgage – we are basically going to lose our house,” he told the inquiry. Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair told the hearing he had listened to fishers up and down the NSW coast. “The change is difficult, the change is hard, but it is necessary to have an industry going into the future,” Mr Blair said. A man in a suit. Video, read the rest here, including Paul Heron’s submission to the Senate inquiry into commercial fishing in NSW. 14:42

Catch Shares: NSW fishermen allege “share barons” used insider trading to aggregate licences

Donald Mowbray, a former bank manager who is chairman of the Clarence River Fishermen’s Cooperative, said in his submission to the inquiry that he had grave concerns about “share barons” who he described as “individuals who are part of the industry’s decision makers who hold considerable conflicts of interest.” He said the Government’s own share register showed a number of people with direct links to the reforms and to the department had accumulated huge numbers of shares. He claimed important commercial information was “withheld” from others outside the advisory groups. He said he raised his concerns with the minister and the department years ago, but said the trades were dismissed as “speculation” and not “insider trading”. Fishermen are worried about the emergence of big corporate players and fear it could result in the demise of their fourth and fifth generation family businesses and many of the cooperatives that rely on them. The Government, with some support from industry (the share barons), maintains that aggregation and corporatisation in the sector is an important step to economic viability and better environmental management. Read the story here, and listen to this audio report here 09:20

Fishermen panic buy shares at inflated prices as government confirms reform agenda

Fishermen in New South Wales are reported to be panic buying shares at massively increased prices to ensure they can continue working next year. That is despite a state government trading scheme starting in early 2017 designed to ensure an orderly transition to a share-based fishery, backed by $16 million in compensation to ease the cost to fishermen. Ticia Limon from Narooma on the state’s south coast said share prices in the Line West fishery had risen more than 300 per cent in the last few months. She bought them to ensure she and her husband could meet new minimum share holding requirements set by the government to continue fishing. NSW Minister for Primary Industry, Niall Blair, has ruled out stopping the reform process in the commercial fishing industry. Key fishing groups including the Professional Fishermen’s Association, the Wild Caught Fishers Coalition and most of the cooperatives have opposed the reforms. Read the story here 08:59

No Catch Shares! Gulf rationalization dies a quiet death

Gulf of Alaska groundfish will remain an open access fishery indefinitely after the North Pacific Fishery Management Council tabled a policy package that has enraged fishermen of all stripes over the last year. Depending on who is asked, the council acted at either its best or its worst with the decision. “The council process didn’t work. They didn’t solve the problem,” said Julie Bonney, executive director of the Groundfish Forum, an industry group of trawlers and processors. “They just took the political part first and ignored the management. I have to keep reminding myself, this isn’t about management. It’s about politics.” Others said the council did exactly what it should have done in the face of so many contentious decisions on which so many people expressed opinions. “I think this is actually the best illustration of council process, rather than the worst,” said Duncan Fields, a Kodiak attorney and former council member who was among the most vocal on this subject. “It shows that one gear group with a particular ideology and particular economic interest with very good advocates can’t just jam something through the council,” he said. “The council allows other participants, small boat fishermen, community, stakeholders to also have a voice, and that voice has said a catch share program is not the best public policy. You don’t always get the result you want.” Read the rest here 20:39

Commercial fishermen fear for future under NSW Government industry (catch share) reforms

Allan Reed left school at The Entrance at the age of 16, he has overcome many snags in a 37-year career as a commercial fisherman on the Central Coast. But now the 53-year-old and his 79-year-old father, Allan Sr, along with dozens of other commercial fishers in the region, face the “soul-destroying” prospect of it all coming to an abrupt end. Mr Reed and his father will have to pay $370,000 to keep their prawning, mud-crab and meshing business operating in local waters under the State Government’s reforms to the $90 million industry. “We’ll have to buy all these extra shares to keep operating just as we are now. How does that make sense?” In a week when an upper house inquiry into commercial fishing in NSW is hearing submissions from various stakeholders, Mr Reed said the industry overhaul was “all about benefiting a handful of people and driving out the rest of us”. NSW Wild Caught Fishers Coalition president Dane Van Der Neut estimates half of the 100 commercial fishers on the Coast, from Tuggerah Lake to the Hawkesbury, will be “squeezed out” when the reforms kick in from July next year. Read the story here 15:34

Catch Shares – Fishing Family Devastated by NSW Government Fishery Reforms

nsw-catch-share-reformsTears come to Donna Cook’s eyes as she describes the sale of her and her husband’s family fishing business; forced, they say, by the impact of the NSW Government’s fishing reforms. After five generations spanning more than 100 years of working the Macleay, the Cook family sold their Stuarts Point fishing business earlier this year to an investor. “We’ve always been a successful fishing family, we’ve bought a home and raised five kids,” Donna told the Argus. “But we lost 60 per cent of our income from the reforms. “We just couldn’t go on.”  The State Government reasons that the reform will ensure economic viability and environmental sustainability for the sector. But Donna said the changes have crippled fishers from around the State, with many forced to sell out to wealthy investors and large scale fishing operations. Catch Shares! Read the story here 09:42

Don’t bite on risky lure of ‘catch shares’

wolf-in-sheeps-clothing-scaled500-e1371562470325I can’t think of a more appropriate saying to use than “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” to describe the reality of what the Seafood Harvesters of America want to do with our offshore fisheries. The Post and Courier recently published an article and editorial that bought into the sheep’s clothing side. Year-round fishing and better fisheries data are touted. Who could be against that? But there’s a wolf: privatization of our fisheries through a scheme called “catch shares,” where fishermen and corporations are actually given ownership of our fisheries with shares that can be bought or sold like stock on Wall Street.  That’s the real reason for the Seafood Harvesters of America’s existence. They’re working hard to ensure commercial fishermen own our fisheries, and in this case it’s our snapper and grouper, starting with a pilot program that could be considered by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries next year. Read the op-ed here 08:02

Catch Shares: NSW fishermen face difficult decisions as deadline looms for reform package

8078946-3x2-940x627Friday is a big day for New South Wales fishermen. Those that want to leave the industry and take advantage of a government buyback have to decide by that date. Those that want to keep fishing are anxiously waiting to find out if they can buy-up the other’s shares and they are wondering what it will cost them. Peter Ragno fishes out of Wallace Lake near Tuncurry on the Mid North Coast. His family have been fishermen since 1891, catching prawns and mud crabs, mullet, brim and whiting among other species. The government has reduced the quote linked to his shares so just to maintain his business he will need to buy licences worth close to a quarter of a million dollars, money he cannot afford to borrow. Read the rest here 11:54

How the privatization of our oceans is sinking fishermen

fish-market-bookThe town of St. George, off the Bering Sea near Alaska, was long home to some of the most robust pollock fishing in the country. But due to a fishing rights management scheme called “catch shares,” the town has no rights to fish its own waters and regularly watches their former industry literally pass them by. “Every year, the industry takes about $2 billion in gains out of this fish resource on the Bering Sea,” St. George Mayor Pat Pletnikoff tells Lee van der Voo in “The Fish Market.” “Not one plug nickel sticks to St. George.” Catch shares work by dividing our oceans just like any other physical property, creating theoretical property lines. Then the rights to fish different species in various sections are awarded to applicants — which could be individuals or companies — based on how much fish they catch over a certain period of time. While catch shares are credited with greater species management — the US government found in 2007 that of 230 species of fish, 92 were going quickly extinct due to overfishing — the catch-shares program has virtually privatized our oceans, destroying the livelihoods of many lifelong fishermen and other small businesses in the process. Read the rest here 08:14

The Race to Spread the EDF IFQ Recreational Fishery Propaganda.

robert-e-jonesjpg-0f7b26b6c7446ecaGulf fisheries were in dire condition before the Environmental Defense Fund teamed with local fishermen across the Gulf, from Florida to Texas, to help turn things around. In those days, fishermen were stuck under failing management that perpetuated overfishing and reduced the population of Gulf red snapper to just 4 percent of its historic level. Due to misguided and ineffective rules, the commercial fleet was in a derby system — a race to catch fish that was dangerous and destructive to both fish and fishermen’s businesses. The catch limits that were put in place to solve the problem were not working. Seeing their livelihoods collapsing under failing management, commercial fishermen voted twice, in supermajorities, to implement a system known as catch shares or individual fishing quotas, which went on the water in 2007. EDF is proud to have worked with our fishing partners on this system. Read the story here 10:22

Is Environmental Defense Fund Controlling Louisiana’s Department Of Wildlife And Fisheries?

By now our readers are surely familiar with the very strange behavior of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries secretary Charlie Melancon with respect to his opposition to a bill brought by most of Louisiana’s congressional delegation that would put individual Gulf states, rather than the federal government, in control of the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re not up to speed on Melancon’s antics and escalating feud with a key member of the delegation, Baton Rouge congressman Garret Graves, we offered a primer here. Most of the speculation you may have seen involves the idea that several of the larger commercial fishing concerns along the Gulf coast, who benefit from a crony-capitalist scheme wherein shares of the red snapper market have been allocated based on incumbency – the owners of those concerns have been given the moniker “Sea Lords” since the red snapper catch largely resembles a feudal system of sorts – have essentially bought Melancon and his opposition to the bill Graves is proposing is a product of that purchase. Graves’ idea to put the state in charge of the red snapper fishery would break up the current allocation scheme and put the Sea Lords out of commission in Louisiana, or at least make their incumbency a matter which would be up for grabs. Read the story here 08:10

Fishing Catch Share restructure a ‘shambles’ in New South Wales!

i-can-t-keep-calm-cuz-i-m-going-insaneAttempts to prepare fishers for the share trading program of the NSW fishing industry restructure are a shambles says a local industry representative. Clarence River Fishermen’s Cooperative general manager Danielle Adams, attended a mock or pre-trading share program session in Maclean on Tuesday, where she said it was obvious the NSW Department of Primary Industries was clueless about the direction it was taking the industry. “Most attendees including myself left the session disappointed, angrier, dismayed, some distraught, and with many more questions than when we came,” Ms Adams said. The sessions were part of border-to-border training for fishers to prepare them for the opening of share trading. “The trainer was not from DPI/Fisheries, an obvious ploy to avoid having to answer pertinent questions,” she said. She said the inclusion of mental health line numbers in the DPI’s literature showed the department was aware of impacts it could have. “On seeking further clarification individuals were told to call Beyond Blue or a mental health line,” she said.  “Imagine calling the DPI line to gain clarification on your financial future and being told they don’t have the answers but being given a mental health number to call instead – they are aware of the toll this process is taking. Read the story here 20:09

New South Wales catch shares – Talk of revolt as fishers drown in bureaucracy

b88311122z1_20160907160353_000g2la8ld03-0-qmsd3bys9qq5rkeoum2_fct1641x1219x359x68_ct620x465NORTH Coast fishers say imported muck will be the only seafood on the menu once statewide commercial fishing reforms reduce the state’s already pathetic domestic fish intake. Wild Caught Fishers Coalition released a statement saying less than 1000 active fishers remain in New South Wales, with that number threatening to take a sharp dive. Already 85% of seafood eaten in NSW is imported. With the NSW Government holding a “preview” share trading (catch shares) period after failing to tell fishers how to buy back their jobs and what it would cost, the industry is starting to talk of mutiny. “Mentally the majority of commercial fishers and their families are now demoralised,” the WCFC statement said. “Now they are asked to participate in a mock auction as government tries to learn how fishers will vie to regain their present stolen history. “Academics teaching fisheries economics indicate this would create a revolt in other countries.” Read the story here 22:18

Thirteen year old girl’s heartfelt plea in front of NSW Parliament House to save NSW fishing industry

A thirteen year old girl has fronted a packed room in NSW Parliament House to urge the government to rethink commercial fishing reforms which she said were destroying her family’s livelihood. Maddison Blanch spoke before a meeting of fishing professionals, industry leaders and politicians on Wednesday, although no one from the Liberal or National parties attended. She told the crowd her third-generation fisher father, Phillip Blanch, had been hit hard by a scheme forcing him to buy back his right to work. “My father, like the majority of fishers in NSW, goes to work rain, hail or shine,” she said. “My dad goes to work and provides Australia with fresh Aussie seafood and brings an income home for his family just like every other Aussie dad. “My dad loves what he does but, because of reforms, my dad needs to buy more shares to continue to work as he does now, for 2017. “So basically he needs to buy back his job, like most fishers.” Ms Blanch said her father could not buy shares because no one was selling them, and he should not have to take out a loan to be able to afford to do his own job. Read the story here 09:01

Catch Shares: Commercial fishers on Far South Coast want action on restructure

aust catch shares 2The restructure of the NSW commercial fishing industry is reaching an important milestone with companies and individuals having until tomorrow to decide on whether they take a $20,000 buy-out to exit the industry. NSW Labor called on the State Primary Industries Minister to suspend the restructure process until more information is on the table to assist fishers in making the right decision for themselves, their families, and for the sustainability of the industry in general. But Bermagui Fishermen’s Cooperative managing director Rocky Lagana was of the opposite view and said the three-year restructure process needed to reach a conclusion to afford those who wanted to remain some certainty. Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Mick Veitch however called it policy-on-the-run and said a hastily cobbled together Ministerial  press release the day after Labor’s call for a suspension made a few concessions without addressing the real concerns – which are the need for more information, more time and the need to hit the pause button. Read the story here 10:26

The NSW Musical Chair Catch Share game – Clarence River fishers have rejected it unanimously

f06496c07730c1f1674eee328577202bClarence River fishers have rejected the latest State Government attempt to restructure their industry. After mulling over Department of Primary Industry restructure information packages sent out a few weeks ago, a meeting including 50 fishers voted unanimously to reject the proposals. The vote occurred at an information/update meeting on the NSW Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program (BAP) for Clarence River and Region 2 Commercial Fishermen on Tuesday at the Harwood Hall. The fishermen, Clarence River Fishermen’s Cooperative directors and management, the Professional Fishermen’s Association and the Wild Caught Fishers Association met to put the contents of the DPI information packages under the microscope. Read the story here 16:55 Watch this video.

Catch Shares: After 10-year crab review, NPFMC seeks social impact information. Are they blind?

red-king-crab-2432px-608x400The North Pacific Fishery Management Council approved a 10-year review of rationalization on June 10, the program that ended derby-style crab fisheries in 2005 and gave quota shares to vessel owners, captains and processors. The aim was to reduce overcapitalization and create a safer fishery by allowing crew to fish slower with a guaranteed quota allocation compared to the previous free-for-all. The study – The 10-year review charted a continuation of trends found in the five-year review.  Vessel consolidation continued along with quota consolidation, but both somewhat stabilized in the last five years. Fewer people hold quota than before. Each individual quota holder, naturally, holds more quota now than in 2004; 53 fewer people hold Bristol Bay red king crab crew shares now than in 2005. In the two years following rationalization, the crab fleet shrank from 256 vessels in 2004 to 91 in 2006. Read the rest here 12:49

Catch Shares New South Wales Style – Half the Small Boat Fishermen will disappear

f0f9f27c3eccac1a79ca860253f82a91MORE than half of the Coast’s 100 commercial fishers are expected to be cut adrift after the state government released its industry reforms last week. Dane Van Der Neut, president of the NSW Wild Caught Fishers Coalition, said the worst fears of local commercial fishers were realised in the Baird Government’s bid to overhaul the $90 million industry. “We’ll now lose over half our fleet, from Tuggerah Lake to the Hawkesbury, because the government wants to corporatise the industry, make all shares equal, and price out the smaller operators,” Patonga-based Mr Van Der Neut said. Terrigal state Liberal MP Adam Crouch hailed the changes as a “new era” for commercial fishing. Read the rest here 08:16

Groundswell – Opposing Catch Share Embezzlements for the Gulf of Alaska

1-5cafb4e98eGulf of Alaska groundfish trawl bycatch amendments for analysis top this week’s North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Kodiak.  First up is the 10-year review of the Crab privatization quota system.  It put roughly 1,350 fishermen out of work and shifted roughly $800 million of labor’s surplus to some sealords — embezzled from captains and crew. Into today’s capital flight torrent enters 40 groundfish trawlers, also wanting a mixed economy of brutish capitalism combined with another socialistic program of government giveaways.  That’s Alternative 2 in the analysis outline, an IFQ proposal.  It will result in more capital fleeing Alaska, robbing our communities of the labor surplus that drives rounds of respending that stimulate coastal economies. Greed and lazy are common economic bedfellows. They’ll embezzle 70% off the top, too.  IFQs are euphemistically called “catch shares,” while those who do fish get less of a share than before. Since they saw trawl IFQs as inevitable politically, a splinter group of weak feeling local fishermen came up with a nonsensical idea to at least get one piece of the giveaway trawl pie, in something misnamed a Community Fishing Association. Read the op-ed here 20:51

North Pacific Fishery Management Council convenes in Kodiak with Gulf catch shares in focus

The trawl industry already loathes a recent alternative to a North Pacific Fishery Management Council plan. Now the council could add another. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet in Kodiak from June 6-14 to hear a discussion paper that has enraged the trawl industry since late 2015. A new proposal for “innovative policy,” as referred to in the paper, would give the first catch share allocations to Community Fishing Associations to prevent harmful impacts such as the job losses and high cost of entry that have occurred under previous such programs in halibut and crab. This is an official state position, and the North Pacific council holds a six-member majority of the 11-member body that governs federal Alaska waters. Gov. Bill Walker’s administration prioritizes coastal communities’ economic prospects during the state’s oil-driven financial calamity. Part of that stance concerns keeping the fishing industry, the state’s largest private employer, in Alaskan fishermen’s hands. Read the rest here 08:39

Ten-Year Review for Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands Crab Ratz Management Program

1-5cafb4e98eNorth Pacific Fishery Management Council June 2016 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   This document is a 10 year review of the Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Crab Rationalization (CR) Program. Implemented in 2005, the CR Program is a “voluntary three pie cooperative” program which allocates BSAI crab resources among harvesters, processors, and coastal communities. The CR Program was designed to address conservation and management issues associated with the previous over-capitalized derby fishery, reduce bycatch and associated discard mortality, and increase the safety of crab fishermen by ending the race for fish. The program issued harvest quota shares to vessel owners (License Limitation Program license holders) and captains, as well as processor quota shares to processors based on historic participation to protect investment in and reliance on the program fisheries. Program components include quota share allocation, processor quota share allocation, individual fishing quota and individual processing quota issuance, quota transfers, use caps, crab harvesting cooperatives, protections for Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries, an arbitration system, monitoring, economic data collection, and cost recovery fee collection. Read it here 18:32

Catch Shares – Proven to be A Bad Idea

CSF board member Dick GrachekThe following is an opinion piece written by CSF board member Dick Grachek some time ago but time has not altered his view: The problem with catch shares is not in their “design”.  The problem with catch shares is in their existence. Except for a few “winners” perhaps, it’s a problem for all concerned that this flawed and destructive privatization scheme was even considered, no less established as a management approach. Catch Shares have done nothing to help the fish. Catch Shares have done nothing to help the fishermen and the fishing communities. Catch Shares have done nothing to help the fish consuming public. Catch shares were not put to the referendum vote as statutorily mandated by the MSA. Catch Share Sectors were not “voluntarily” joined by the majority of the fishermen—the common pool was not a viable “option”.  Read the rest here 15:21

The “Catch Shares Fishing Experience.” Texas charter captains use loophole to get around federal red snapper limits

-fdbbe4a2846f729fThe future of recreational fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is for sale in Texas. While charter boats and private recreational anglers in the Gulf were only allowed to catch red snapper in federal waters on 10 days last year, two companies in Galveston, Texas have been taking recreational anglers red snapper fishing all year round. The Texas companies have been getting around the federal limits and seasons by selling the “Catch Shares Fishing Experience.” The Texas companies involved own “catch shares” of the commercial red snapper fishery that allow them to harvest a set number of pounds per year for commercial sale. Instead of catching those fish with a professional crew and selling them to a fish house, the captains are taking recreational anglers fishing and letting them buy the fish afterward. Read the article here 07:54

Use Property Rights to Save Fisheries Around the Globe, Says New Study – Who needs Science?!

bean_counterIf nothing is done to reform open-access fisheries around the world, fishing stocks could drop by as much as 77 percent below current levels by 2050, reports a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If, however, property rights were assigned to individual fishers or communities, the yield trajectory of most of the world’s fisheries would shift sharply upward and most would recover biologically in only 10 years. These conclusions were reached by a team of researchers led by University of California, Santa Barbara environmental scientist Christopher Costello in their study, “Global fishing prospects under contrasting management regimes.” The Bean Counters. Read the article, Click here 08:18

Rep. Bill Straus — Impact of the federal fisheries arrests in New Bedford

wstrausBy now the local reaction to the waterfront arrests in New Bedford of one of the port’s major figures has begun to shift to inevitable questions of the role of the federal government in the regulation of commercial fishing. Operating under federal law, the current groundfish system of control, the so-called “catch shares” plan, began with Amendment 16 in 2009 by vote of the New England Fishery Management Council. This intricate system of allocating by fish species what can be caught and landed by licensed federal permit holders has clearly changed the market economics for New England fishing; a rapid concentration of fish permit holders has led to what functions as a government-created near monopoly. Read the rest here 07:43

Should catch share management be indicted in the Carlos Seafood case? – David Goethel

dave goethelAccording to accusations from Federal investigators, the seafood business run by Carlos Rafael “laundered” fish to evade quotas, sold fish for cash to evade taxes, and cheated captains and crews by paying them for lower-valued fish than what they landed. These are serious criminal accusations, but they also raise a disturbing question: Is the system known as “catch shares” at least in part responsible for what occurred? Catch shares are a system of managing fish where fishermen are given fixed quota for each species, which they can either catch or lease. Read the rest here 07:25

Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance – Fisheries policy is breeding an industry beset by corruption

AR-160309730.jpg&MaxW=650As an organization led by commercial fishermen, we have long been concerned that the drive to consolidate the industry would lead to the kind of collusion and corruption alleged in the case of a local fishing mogul  Fisheries policy makers have claimed that programs such as catch shares would lead to fewer, more easily regulated fishing operations. Not surprisingly, fewer players, such as New Bedford-based , who was arrested in an IRS-led sting operation, now own and control more of the fishing industry, including permits, quotas, and shoreside facilities. Read the rest here 15:15

Catch Shares: West coast groundfish management is disaster, say participants

The Pacific Groundfish Quota Program Workshop Workshop brought together nearly 200 people who had been involved in creating, implementing, or making a living under the program, to look at successes and failures in the past five years. Most found the program had both, but criticism was harsh at the two-day workshop, held in Portland a few months before the Pacific Council begins the program’s first five-year review. The workshop was also known as Santa Rosa III, the third workshop of stakeholders looking at performance. The first in the series was held in Santa Rosa near the start of the IFQ program. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), who implemented the program in 2011, offered a scorecard of three successes and five “causes for concern” since the program began. Others were more blunt. Read the article here 13:52

Book Review – Rough Waters: Our North Pacific Small Fishermen’s Battle

Mendenhall-cover-sizedWhat it’s about: A commercial fisherman looks at the threats facing West Coast small-boat fishermen, including ecological changes, weak management, and pushback from industrial fishing. As a result, some fishing families and towns — and businesses that rely on them — struggle to stay afloat.  The book presents the issue in two parts. The first analyzes state-managed West Coast fisheries vs. federally managed fisheries. Mendenhall goes on to compare the industry in the United States with other parts of the world, examining the destruction she contends is wrought by the strategy of “catch-share” management. Read the story here 15:09

Groundswell – New England Fisherman Steve Welch takes on Catch Shares, Council & Government Regulation

Commercial fisherman, Steve Welch of Plymouth, Mass. speaks against essential fish habitat proposals, and strongly opposes  mentality of regional fish council that is ruining our industry. Groundswell notes that such anti-Catch Share feelings are common among many in Alaska,,, We need to bottle Steve Welch’s boldness and right feelings and get far more fishermen to go to council meetings and tell them and the Secretary of Commerce that enough is enough.  It is time to end the hubris of RFMCs and their political appointees. Listen, and read the rest at groundswellalaska.com 14:36

Cotten, council get a bycatch reduction plan earful from Gulf of Alaska trawlers

01middlecouncil-trawl-bycatchAn administrative push to keep fishing jobs in coastal communities is butting heads with the trawl industry claiming they provide the jobs in the first place. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will continue studying a bycatch reduction plan unpopular with Gulf of Alaska trawlers. The option, known as Alternative 3, would allocate individual bycatch caps to groundfish vessels in the Gulf of Alaska rather than the target species. The council is making changes at the fleet’s insistence. The council passed a series of chinook salmon bycatch limits and halibut bycatch reductions in 2011 and 2012, leading to bycatch-related shutdowns of the trawl fleet. Read the rest here  13:23

CFOOD: Ethical Issues in the Gulf Snapper Fishery

CFOODIn 2007 the Gulf snapper fishery moved to an individual fishing quota management system (IFQ). Under this system, each fisher was allocated a certain amount of fish for the year instead of having a fishing season and race to fish. Kingpins of the Gulf make millions off red snapper harvest without ever going fishing by Ben Raines, AL.com January 24th 2016 “AL.com has looked into the issue of leasing of red snapper quota, and found that prices for commercial leases have meant working fishermen often pay more to lease snapper quota from the quota holders than they earn from the catching the fish itself. They question why commercial snapper, unlike oil or forestry products, should not be put out to bid, but allocated to the historical fishermen.” Raines concluded that 77 percent of the annual red snapper catch is held by just 55 people. Bruce Turris, President of Pacific Fisheries Management Inc. responds. Read it here 21:12

Red-snapper limits help Louisiana’s restaurants and economy: Brett Veerhusen and Haley Bittermann

redsnapperLouisiana catches about 1 billion pounds of seafood every year for commercial sale, and with the demand for local seafood at an all-time high, we rely on our nation’s fishery management process to ensure sustainable fisheries. Louisiana restaurants rely on locally sourced, sustainably managed seafood. Close to 70 percent of seafood harvested off the Gulf Coast is landed in Louisiana. Chances are your delicious plate of red snapper is from one of our many locally run Gulf fisheries. Read the rest here 10:13

‘Big Fish, Texas’ Follows Buddy Guindon And His Commercial Fishing Empire

597952067695_597952067695_1080p_2398_BuddysBoys_DMShortBuddy Guindon is no stranger to hard work, having built up his company from only one boat to an entire fleet of boats and building Katie’s Seafood Market, which is named after Buddy’s wife. The entire Guindon family works together like a well-oiled machine in order to maintain and build upon what Buddy started. Buddy Guindon and his family are well known in Galveston, Texas, and he is a respected advocate of the Gulf fishery. Video, Read the article here 08:13

The Sea Lords – Kingpins of the Gulf make millions off red snapper harvest without ever going fishing

A little-known federal program has turned dozens of Gulf of Mexico fishermen into the lords of the sea — able to earn millions annually without even going fishing — and transformed dozens more into modern-day serfs who must pay the lords for the right to harvest red snapper. A four-month probe by AL.com has found that roughly $60 million has been earned since 2007 by this small number of fishermen whose boats never left port. That money was collected from the labor of fishermen who have no choice but to hand over more than half of the price that their catch brings at the dock. As it stands today, the right to catch 77 percent of the annual red snapper harvest is controlled by just 55 people, according to an AL.com analysis of hundreds of pages of federal documents, reports and websites. Read the article here 09:39

ITQ’s – You Thought We Canadians Controlled Our Fisheries? Think Again

Wild fisheries are humankind’s greatest single source of protein. They are fully renewable, we don’t have to till soil, plant seeds, apply fertilizer or pesticide, water them or feed them; we just have to manage the harvest. As global populations continue to grow, much is at stake as we determine who benefits from the greatest renewable food resource. At home who benefits from fish harvested in B.C.’s waters? You’d be logical in thinking the answer is mostly people who make the B.C. coast their home and who fish for a living. And you’d be wrong. Read the article here 11:02

The NOAA Oversight Project – Fisherman’s FOIA’s Squeeze NOAA

email3From Dutch Harbor to the Old Harbor Float in Petersburg, from Gloucester and all the way round to Corpus Christi, wherever Americans untied their boats to fish in the decades since the Magnuson Act passed, fishermen had to take on science, politics, and NOAA. Some of you spent your shore time up to your knees in fish politics dividing the stock or arguing with managers about areas or days at sea. Because you engaged in politics, new generations of kids setting and hauling gear can still catch fish. Sort of– Sit down, put a mug up, and read this expose. You will be shocked. Read the article here 16:28

Catch Shares versus Sharing Catch – Comment by Stephen J. Hall, David J. Mills & Neil L. Andrew

Lee van der Voo considers catch shares in the US to be, “one of the coolest vehicles environmental policy has seen in decades,” because they reduce fishing effort, diminish incentives to fish in dangerous weather, can boost the value of seafood, and most importantly, were designed to keep fishing rights with the fishermen and their communities. However this last attribute has not worked for most catch share programs,,, Van der Voo fears that over the long term catch shares will increase costs, fishermen will earn less because of higher rental payments owed to, “people in suits,” that own the fishing rights. Consumers would then pay more in this scenario while a handful of investors would become rich. Read the article here 08:22

FishNet USA/Update – So how’s that “catch shares” revolution working out for groundfish?

10172769-largeFrom Nils Stolpe – Alternating with original FishNet USA articles I will be going back to pieces I’ve written (for FishNet and other outlets) over the past 19 years – isn’t it amazing how fast time goes when you’re having fun? – to see how accurate I was in identifying industry trends and predicting what their impacts were going to be. Rather than redistributing the original articles I’ll link to them on the web and try to keep these updates to two pages or under. The original for this update from March, 2014 can be read here    Read the rest here. 13:31

Caught Up in Catch Shares – Economic, social and cultural effects of privatizing public fisheries resources

Since the 1980s, BC’s commercial fleet has shrunk by 60%. The number of fishermen is down by 70%. Licence and vessel ownership has shifted from individuals to companies; from rural to urban areas. “Armchair fishermen” pocket as much as 75% of fisheries’ landed value, money that should be going to the fishermen who earn it. Once-vibrant coastal communities are in steep declines, as hundreds of millions of dollars are drawn out from the coast by quota leasing. Read the rest here 10:26

Measuring the Effects of New England Catch Shares – Indicator: Crew Employment and Compensation

The total numbers of groundfish vessel crew positions and crew trips, by fishing year, for all home port states have decreased through the baseline period and into the initial years of the catch share program. The number of crew positions serves as an indicator of the available jobs, whereas the number of crew trips is the number of trips available for crew to work, or the total opportunities for crew to earn a share of the landings revenues. States with the highest involvement in the fishery (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine) experienced an overall decrease in crew trips and the number of crew positions per vessel remained relatively constant. Read the rest here   San Francisco – Catch shares leave fishermen reeling Read the rest here 19:12

Stop Wall Street Fisheries and Protect Main Street Fishermen – Please sign this Petition

My name is Ed Snell and I am a fisherman based in Portland, Maine. We have allowed a system that has monetized access to fish and paved the way for very few entities to ‘own’ the right to catch and sell fish stocks. This means that fishermen without much (or any) fish quota are forced to lease quota from other permits, often for prices that approach and sometimes exceed the market price for that fish. In other words, fishermen are fishing at a loss, because others control their legal ability to go fishing.  Please read the rest, and sign the petition. Thank you. 16:25

Of Sea Barons and Serfs – Selling off the sea: how our fish lost their freedom to market forces

Over the last two decades, there has been a silent, neoliberal revolution in our oceans. “We are, quite seriously, on the brink.” Jerry Percy, Executive Director of Low Impact Fishers of Europe, a group representing fishers around the continent, is worried about the future for the UK’s small-scale fleet. How did this situation come about? The answer lies in economics. Iceland was one of the first countries to implement this market-based policy in the Eighties.  “Many fishermen were dispossessed. It even led to a case before the UN Human Rights Committee. Read the rest here 15:45

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Affected fishermen frustrated with proposed regulations

fishermen safmc frustrationThe South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is collecting feedback from dozens of fishing areas from Florida up to North Carolina about the snapper-grouper fishery. “We want some controversial items that are opposed by nearly all fishermen removed, like catch shares, which is an effort to privatize the fishery, electronic monitoring of a vessel, and more closed fishing areas,” said Tom Swatzel, a council member with Sustainable Fishing.  “We just don’t need those at this time.” “How much consideration was put in about what we the fishermen Read the rest here 13:05

Plan to privatize snapper-grouper fishery ownership off southeastern states blasted by fishing advocacy group

csf logoTom Swatzel says the SAFMC has purposely not used the controversial phrase “catch shares” in the plan, but instead has used less understood terminology for catch shares such as “sector share management system,” “individual quota management system,” “individual quota programs,” “sector share programs/cooperatives,” “individual quotas,” and “allocations by permit.” “It’s very troubling the SAFMC would resort to using code-speak for catch shares instead of being up front with fishermen about the fact that catch share programs are indeed in the plan,” Swatzel said. Read the rest here 11:07

Help stop “catch shares” and more in the South Atlantic

council_fishing_headerLast year, the SAFMC promised that the Vision Project would be “stakeholder-driven” (click here, third paragraph) and conducted 26 “port meetings” that were supposed to seek stakeholder input into the project. These meetings produced overwhelming input from stakeholders, like you, that catch shares, vessel monitoring systems, and more closed areas like MPAs, are vehemently opposed, and should not be in the plan. Breaking its promise of a stakeholder-driven plan, the SAFMC has now included those overwhelmingly opposed measures in its Vision Project plan! Read the rest here 10:30

Northern Shrimp fishery could re-open on a limited basis

Members of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are taking comments from a series of public hearings and compiling them into recommendations. The shrimp fishery closed in 2013 and has yet to reopen because of concerns about shrimp population levels. Fishermen from harvested Maine shrimp prior to the collapse of the fishery.
Some of the guidelines being considered include establishing a system of state-by-state quotas and shortening the season to only 90 days. Video, Read the rest here 11:31

Five years after ‘catch shares’ and ‘sectors,’ groundfish industry is on the rocks

10172769-largeFive years have now gone by since the reshaping of the Northeast fishery, five years that the the Northeast groundfishing industry does the best it can under a new set of rules. Five years ago, few knew the definition of the word “sector” as Fisheries was suddenly using it. Basically they are what most people would call co-operatives.  “Catch shares” were a bit easier; it’s another word for quotas. And it’s the catch shares, not so much the sectors, that many believe are at the root of the problem. Read the rest here 09:00

A Fisherman’s Perspective: Catch Shares – Support HR 1335

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EDF’s campaign to implement catch shares in our nation’s fisheries is not only misguided, but it is a serious threat to the livelihoods of the majority of American fishermen. Fishermen beware: you are gazing directly into the friendly eyes of a lion in sheep’s clothing! This is one of those panacea, cure-all fixes for fisheries management which NGO’s love to promote because they are easy sells to the legions of non-fishing folks who are easily convinced that something needs to be saved because EDF tells them so and they don’t have enough other information to know any better. Read the rest here 13:22

A more efficient and effective future?

The paper discusses new opportunities for improving the economic prosperity and long-term sustainability of the US fishing industry. It challenges the industry to make changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, thus requiring that fisheries should meet certain criteria and to undertake a comparison of the economic, social and ecological trade-offs between status quo management and alternative management and alternative management structures, including catch shares. Read the rest here  10:21

Don’t waste NOAA funds on catch share boondoggle, Tom Swatzel

NOAA has spent about $160 million over the last six years pushing its national catch share policy in an effort to privatize fisheries by giving commercial fishermen “shares” in fisheries based on catch history, which can be bought and sold like shares on Wall Street. Catch share programs tend to benefit large corporate fleets that can buy up shares and hurt small fishermen who cannot. Studies have shown that catch share programs hurt fishing communities by destroying jobs, and don’t provide any biological benefit to fisheries. Read the rest here 07:53