Tag Archives: Catch Shares

Gold Coast prawn prices ‘highest in 35 years’ ahead of Christmas according to seafood shops

Seafood lovers have been told to brace for an expensive festive season with Gold Coast prawn prices already at a 35-year high at some retailers. The price of large king prawns, at $40 a kilogram, are already at Christmas peak levels.“I’ve never seen prices this high at this time of year,” said Tasman Star Seafoods co-owner Peter Duncombe. The price hike has been blamed on major reforms in the NSW commercial fishing industry have resulted in fewer prawn boats out on the water, a “fizzer” start to the season for trawlers, and a fallout from the devastating white spot disease which shut down Gold Coast prawn farms this year. click here to read the story 15:45

‘Lazy’ NSW fishing reforms breach ‘hierarchy of wealth’ test, fishing consultant says

Daryl Sykes now manages the NZ Rock Lobster Industry Council, but has been involved with reforms in Queensland, Victoria and in Commonwealth waters as a member of the Australian Fish Management Authority. He said the reform model in NSW “didn’t look at the individual fishing businesses” and had ignored the “hierarchy of wealth” principles underpinning other reforms. He also said it was not based on science, was lazy in its approach, and had ignored widespread concern in the industry about the devastating impact it had on family fishing businesses. click here to read the story 19:03

Catch Shares – New Zealand’s fisheries quota management system: on an undeserved pedestal

In popular imagination, New Zealand’s fisheries management system is a globally recognised story of sustainability, reflecting a “clean and green” environmental ethos. Indeed, New Zealand’s fisheries have been ranked among the best managed in the world – an accolade based on the early and wholehearted adoption of a Quota Management System (QMS). This perception is echoed in a recently published article, but we take issue with the methodology and its conclusions. Claims that New Zealand’s QMS is an unmitigated success simply do not match the facts. click here to read the story 18:32

The Pie Analogy – Fleet consolidation and loss of fishing jobs a hot topic at MSA hearing

Senator Dan Sullivan brought his Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard to Soldotna on Wednesday for a hearing on the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. One theme was addressed by many of the dozen invited experts who testified. Fleet consolidation is a predictable outcome of limited access privilege fisheries, or LAPs in the acronym-filled parlance of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or MSA. A limited access fishery is one that has been privatized in some way. For example, in the Bering Sea, the crab fishery was rationalized more than 10 years ago, resulting in a fleet today that is just a fraction the size it was before privatization.,,, In his testimony, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten asked that Congress not take any action that would further consolidation. click here to read the story 08:32

Fish pie – Everyone wants a piece

Representatives of the haves and have-nots of American ocean fisheries gathered in a packed college classroom here on Wednesday to offer Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, their ideas on what he could do with the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. The now 40-year-old federal fisheries legislation is the legacy of the late and revered Alaska Sen.Ted Stevens.,,, And there is no doubt the MSA has problems when it comes to dealing with recreational fishing. Anglers, charter-boat operators, commercial fishermen and environmental groups are at the moment all in a Gulf of Mexico scrum fighting over red snapper. It is in many ways a tussle that almost makes the long-running fish war in Cook Inlet look tame. click here to read the story 08:25

With plenty of fish in the sea, will there be anyone to catch them?

In 2003, Cohasset author Susan Playfair’s book, Vanishing Species, Saving the Fish, Sacrificing the Fishermen was one of the first pieces to raise the question of the viability of an under recognized species; New England fishermen. She outlined the harsh life that a fisherman endures by the very nature of their job; the most hazardous non-military occupation in the U.S. Playfair also pointed out that regulations where killing the fishermen more than any other factor. Unfortunately, the regulatory environment for fishermen is still a major challenge.,,,  It makes one wonder why anyone would want to become a fisherman. click here to read he op-ed 16:56

Brad Gentner: It’s time to rethink ‘catch shares’

Catch shares in marine fisheries is a concept unfamiliar to most people, and it is probably completely alien to most hunters and anglers in this country. It is a system of wildlife management that bestows some percentage of a public marine resource, like red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, to private businesses for free, to use and sell for their own profit. It was thought that by giving away ownership rights to individuals, the fishery would consolidate and ultimately become easier to manage. While the same number of fish would be caught, the benefits of funneling access to the resource through fewer entities was thought to remove some of the uncertainty in the industry and thus would be worth the price of privatizing a public resource for free. While catch shares are still the darling of some fisheries economists, there is a growing backlash against this management tool worldwide for a variety of reasons. At the heart of these complaints is fleet and wealth consolidation, extraction of public wealth for private profit, and failure to capitalize share-cost into production costs. click here to read the op-ed 21:46

CATCH SHARES – NOT A VIABLE OPTION FOR THE NORTHEAST

Theoretical constructs that might hold together logically and appear sound often quickly disintegrate in the atmosphere outside their esoteric bubble. This was certainly the case for catch shares or transferable quota management in the New England groundfishery. Catch shares in New England disintegrated almost upon entry. What are catch shares and where did they come from? Catch shares or the commoditization of the fish poundage to be caught, or the ownership of the “right” to harvest a certain portion of the government managers’ scientifically sanctioned total yearly catch, is a construct of “free market environmentalism” theory. The “enviropreneurs” or “enviro-capitalists” claim that ownership equals good stewardship, equals profitability. This privatization push is actually an idea of economics, claiming production “efficiency”, and not one of fishery conservation—although the sales pitch promotes this scheme as the answer to “overfishing”, and just in the nick of time. Click here to read the article 14:58

At U.N. Ocean Conference – Brett Tolley Touts Small-scale Fisheries

Fisheries activist Brett Tolley of Chatham has told many people about the plight of small-scale fishermen like his father, who left the industry because he couldn’t compete with big corporate interests. Last week, he told that story to world leaders in a special forum at the United Nations in New York.,, “We can’t buy our way out of this problem,” he said. The government rules that regulate commercial fishing tend to empower large corporations, and Tolley said that needs to change. Fisheries management that’s based on the allocation of shares (catch shares) or quotas of a particular catch tend to privatize the oceans, rather than treating them as shared public resources, he argued. Those policies tend to concentrate access to fisheries to a few big players. click here to read the story 13:47

Stop efforts to limit the number of charter and head boats — the first step toward for-hire catch shares!

This Wednesday, June 13th, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will again consider snapper-grouper for-hire limited entry at its meeting in Ponte Vedra, Florida, so it’s important to tell the SAFMC that you oppose limited entry as soon as possible. Please click here today to submit a comment — just a sentence or two will do. Limited entry will set up a “stock market” for permits, setting the stage for charter and head boat catch shares — privatizing access to the fishery –- something that will destroy jobs and hurt fishing communities.  click here to read the notice   click here to make E-public comment by noon, 6/15/2017 07:32

Did catch shares enable the Codfather’s fishing fraud?

Carlos Rafael’s guilty plea late last month of falsifying fish quotas, conspiracy and tax evasion has prompted renewed criticism of one of the most contentious parts of the New England groundfish fishery’s management system: catch shares.Rafael, who dubbed himself “The Codfather,” owned one of the largest commercial fishing fleets in the United States, and for some community fishermen in New England, his case represents consolidation run amok. Consolidating fishing permits, they say, also centralizes power, making fraud more likely. But for environmentalists who support catch shares as a way to reduce overfishing, consolidation isn’t inevitable. They say Rafael’s case highlights the need for better monitoring and fraud protections to prevent the sort of cheating that can plague any fishery management system. click here to read the rest 19:09

Loss of ‘Codfather’ permits could hurt New Bedford

By late morning just before Easter weekend, three fishing vessels lined up at the docks to unload their catch, and they all belonged to one man — the local mogul known as the “Codfather,” Carlos Rafael. “It’s a good haul,” a passing auction worker at the Whaling City Seafood Display Auction said under her breath, as crew members, some still in their orange waterproof bibs, unloaded the ice-packed fish. But now, Rafael’s recent conviction on federal charges that he cheated fishing regulations to boost his profits is putting his many vessels and permits up for grabs — potentially distributing them to ports along the New England coast. That would deliver an economic blow to New Bedford and the people who depend on the business created by Rafael’s fleet. If his permits are seized as expected, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the regulatory agency known as NOAA, could reissue the permits to fishermen elsewhere in the region. “There are a lot more innocent people who could get punished by this,” said Jim Kendall, a former fisherman who runs New Bedford Seafood Consulting. click here to read the story 09:00

A Brunswick County senator’s proposed resolution opposing catch-share fisheries management is drawing praise

In fisheries managed by catch shares, certain fishermen or companies are assigned individual limits for a given species during a season, a strategy the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says allows fishermen to make decisions based on market conditions and avoid hazardous weather conditions. Many North Carolina fishermen have expressed great concern about catch shares reaching their waters and are supporting Senate Bill 370. Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, introduced the bill, which would communicate to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, NOAA Fisheries and the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission that the Senate opposes catch share management off the N.C. coast. continue reading the story, click here 22:43

Brexit Allows Us To Solve This Haddock Conservation Problem By Leaving The CFP

It would be terribly wrong to compare the European Union to any of the mid-20th century unpleasantnesses in Europe like fascism and the rise of the Nazis but it is true that that peaceful economic arrangement has managed something that total war did not, the rationing of fish and chips in Britain. For it is actually true that said fish and chips never was rationed. Even when the Kreigsmarine was trying to sink everything larger than a canoe which issued from Britain’s ports we still had that haddock, cod and plaice. Give it 45 years of that ever closer European union and the bureaucratic management of the Common Fisheries Policy and we’re being told that we must indeed ration our consumption:,,, It’s all there in Garret Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons. Where there’s an open access, what Hardin calls Marxian, resource, then that is just fine. If the regeneration capacity is greater than the annual demand, then all who want can have simply by taking. (See where this is going?) continue reading the article here 14:50

Zurik: Snapper barons slam FOX 8 probe, but Trump admin. may think otherwise

An alliance of fishermen who make millions off a public resource wants us to retract all our stories from our “Hooked Up” series. The series showed how 50 fishermen can make $23 million a year from red snapper, and many never even drop a line in the water. The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance and its executive director, Buddy Guindon, sent us a 23-page letter, calling our stories sloppy and biased. Many of the complaints focus on statements made by subjects we interviewed for our stories. They include 20 separate citations of comments in our series by Congressman Garret Graves of Louisiana.,, Graves says he’s heard from congressmen from all over the country since our five-part series was broadcast. He thinks now is the time to change the system.,,,While the group of 50 fishermen have been unhappy with our reports, we’ve heard from dozens of others with positive comments, like a Florida commercial fisherman who wrote, “Your report hit home with all our concerns in regards to how unfair the small commercial fishermen are being treated and wrongly represented.”Read the story here 12:32

Independent Kodiak Fisherman Addresses his Concerns to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Jim Balsiger

Dear Jim & Secretary Ross, Thank you, once again, for a response to my letters (19 October, 2016) re Trawl violations in the Gulf of Alaska.  I appreciated the website reference(NOAA OLE Enforcement-Actions) that allowed review of the NOVA and/or NOPS cases concluded before June 30, 2016.  I await review of the February report, as well. Obviously, since my letters and your responses, the NPFMC December session indefinitely postponed or tabled the GOA Trawl Bycatch program drafting.  One can only hope this matter of privatizing the groundfish which causes an extremely negative effect on other species (and fish segments) —such as halibut, and crab recovery in the GOA— has seen its end.,, Had it not been for congressional end-runs of former Senator Ted Stevens, two key things would not have happened. Read the letter here  Ludger W. Dochtermann  16:52

Council for Sustainable Fishing – Catch share fishery management in the South Atlantic is dead

Press Release – Thanks to you and many others, catch share fishery management in the South Atlantic is dead – at least for now. Yesterday at the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council public hearing in Jekyll Island, GA it was announced that the pilot snapper-grouper catch share Exempted Fishing Permit application had been withdrawn. This back-door attempt to begin the privatization of our fishery resources by insiders, sitting SAFMC members Charlie Phillips and Chris Conklin and former SAFMC member Jack Cox, all commercial snapper-grouper fleet owners and dealers, met overwhelming opposition from fishermen all across the region. By the time of the well-attended public hearing, there were a total of 616 comments on the catch share EFP through the SAFMC’s online comment form: 600 comments or 97 percent against and just 16 comments or 3 percent for. continue reading the press release here 07:36

Controversy brewing over snapper-grouper Exempted Fishing Permit

A storm is brewing in the South Atlantic region, a storm of controversy over snapper-grouper fisheries access and allocation. A group of four commercial fishing businesses – the South Atlantic Commercial Fishing Collaborative – filed an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) application with the National Marine Fisheries Service on Feb. 6. If approved by NMFS, the EFP would allow a group of 25 snapper-grouper boats operated by the four businesses to harvest blueline tilefish, gag grouper, gray triggerfish, greater amberjack, vermilion snapper and species in the jacks complex for two years (2018-19) in a pilot program while being exempt from numerous fishing regulations. The generic name for such a fisheries management method is catch shares, which, according to NOAA Fisheries, is a program in which “a portion of the catch for a species is allocated to individual fishermen or groups. Each holder of a catch share must stop fishing when his/her specific share of the quota is reached.” But it is a concept the huge majority of saltwater fishermen – recreational fishermen and small commercial fishing operations – have proven to be vehemently opposed to. continue reading the story here 08:12

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