Tag Archives: Catch Shares

Bering Sea Cod caught quickly – “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the shortest ever,”

The Bering Sea federal trawl cod fishery closed in what may be record time on Feb. 11, just 22 days after the Jan. 20 opener, according to National Marine Fisheries Service Biologist Krista Milani in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor.,,, The North Pacific Fishery Management Program is now considering a plan to restrict the number of boats eligible to fish for cod in the Bering Sea. The fish council floated ideas to limit catcher vessel participation in the Bering Sea cod fishery, including controversial catch shares or individual fishing quotas, during a December meeting in Anchorage. >click to read< 15:00 

Fishing reforms set to proceed after NSW fisherman loses battle in Supreme Court

Mud crab fisherman Dean Elliott has lost his case against the New South Wales Government in a David and Goliath battle over reforms in the fishing industry. Mr Elliott, a commercial fisherman on the state’s mid-north coast, claimed the reforms were “unreasonable” and “capricious” and had left him without an occupation, and facing a loss of up to half a million dollars.,,, critical changes came into effect last year that will force many of them out of the industry.,, But Justice Stephen Rothman dismissed the case in the NSW Supreme Court today,,, >click to read< 19:31

A Famed Fishing Port Staggers as Its ‘Codfather’ Goes to Jail

Carlos Rafael, whose initials are emblazoned on boats all over this port city, boasted that his fishing empire was worth even more than official records showed.,,Fishermen, ice houses and shoreside suppliers who once did business with Mr. Rafael are anxious, as their own businesses have slowed or stopped. As Mr. Rafael sits in prison, having pleaded guilty to lying about his catches and smuggling cash out of the country, nearly two dozen of his boats have been barred from fishing for species like cod and haddock, grinding part of the centuries-old maritime economy in the nation’s most lucrative fishing port to a halt. >click to read< 16:45 

‘Cod is Dead’ uses New Bedford to highlight hurdles affecting fishermen

One of the first scenes in “Rotten: Cod is Dead” opens at night in the Port of New Bedford. Spotlights atop the fishing vessels light the area. A few belong to Carlos Rafael, noted by their green color and “CR” logo.,,, The hour long show looks beyond Rafael and focuses on catch shares in the New England Fishery. >click here to read< 19:05

EDF says Rotten gets it wrong about New England and catch shares – >click here to read

The government is what created Carlos Rafael

Bill Straus saw the writing on the wall years ago. In 2009 -eight years before Carlos Rafael went to prison – the representative of Bristol’s 10th District spoke out during the establishment of the current catch-share system in the Northeast fishery. And even with Rafael behind bars, Straus says the threat of another Codfather emerging is ever present. “The risk is still there,” Straus said. “And that’s why what comes out of the different remedies is so important. >click here to read< 22:52

John Bullard: SectorIX board’s failure to act stopped its fishing

For New Englanders, Atlantic cod is not just another fish. The Sacred Cod that hangs in the Massachusetts State House is a testament to the cod’s place in our culture and history. For centuries, we fished for cod, as we watched the stock decline, we tried various ways to protect the resource this is considered as much a birthright as a commodity. In 2009, the New England Fishery Management Council under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, agreed to try a system called “catch shares” which worked well on the West Coast. click here to read the op-ed 20:52 

What’s fair in breaking up the empire of ‘the Codfather’?

Randy Cushman, a fourth generation fisherman in Maine, knows what the crimes of Carlos Rafael cost him.,,, Rafael, whose downfall came after he boasted of his scheme to undercover IRS agents posing as Russian mobsters, is now serving a 46-month sentence in federal prison.,,,  Senator Elizabeth Warren fired off a letter in August warning of “needless, immense damage” if permits leave New Bedford. Governor Charlie Baker asked that the permits at least stay in Massachusetts. click here to read the story 07:16

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