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Landmark Study Shows Clear Pathway to Restoring Imperiled Fish Populations
Report Shows Bycatch Reduced by Nearly Half; Per-Boat Revenues Increased by
80 Percent; Safety Doubled in Fisheries with Catch Share Systems
WASHINGTON, March 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Environmental Defense
today released the results of a landmark study that provides a clear
roadmap for rebuilding fishing stocks and restoring fishing communities.
Entitled "Sustaining America's Fisheries and Fishing Communities," this
research details how Limited Access Privilege Programs (LAPPs), or "catch
shares," save fishing stocks and help restore fishing communities by
offering clear environmental, economic and social benefits. The report also
describes a tool to help design effective systems.
A team of over 30 scientists, economists, fishery specialists and other
experts collected data on nearly 100 fisheries and analyzed over 150 peer-
reviewed studies. Funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, this is
largest such study since the U.S. Congress lifted the moratorium on catch
shares five years ago.
"Catch shares are the missing piece in the puzzle to restore our
fisheries and fishing communities," said Fred Krupp, President of
Environmental Defense. "For the first time, this comprehensive study
provides the hard data that shows how catch shares can improve the
performance of fisheries at lower cost to fishermen and greater benefit to
the overall ecosystem."
"This comprehensive analysis shows that LAPPs can be a pivotal tool in
preserving fishing stocks," said Barry Gold, the Marine Conservation
Initiative Lead at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. "When designed
with local objectives in mind, these systems not only help create
sustainable fishing practices, they can also help restore fishing
Environmental, Economic and Social Benefits
Catch shares work by allocating a dedicated percentage share of a
fishery's total catch to individual fishermen, communities or associations.
If a fishery is well managed, the value of these shares increases as the
stock expands. When participants have a secure portion of the catch, they
gain the flexibility to make business decisions that improve safety,
increase profits and promote healthy fishing stocks.
An in-depth analysis of ten fisheries in the U.S. and Canada before and
after the implementation of catch shares showed:
-- Bycatch was reduced by more than 40%, which, together with the benefits
of complying with catch limits, each year saves the equivalent of the
annual seafood consumption of 16 million Americans.
-- Revenues per boat increased by 80% due to higher yields per boat and
higher dockside prices.
-- Safety more than doubled, based on an index of vessels lost, lives
lost, search and rescue missions and recorded safety violations.
"The biggest thing catch shares do is end the race for fish," said
David Krebs, a Gulf red snapper fisherman. "We used to go out in dangerous
conditions, regardless of the cost of fuel or what price we'd get for our
fish. Now our jobs are safer and we can deliver a higher quality product."
"The combination of catch limits, protected areas and controls on
bycatch provide a foundation for healthy fisheries," said David Festa,
Oceans Program Director at Environmental Defense. "Catch shares multiply
the benefits of these practices and create powerful incentives for
improvements in fisheries throughout the country."
An estimated 90% of large predatory fish are gone from our world's
oceans. Of 230 assessed U.S. fisheries, 54 stocks are classified as
over-fished, 45 stocks are experiencing overfishing and just over half of
the nation's stocks are in uncertain status.
"Fisheries have continued to decline despite decades of trying to
manage these resources," said Steve Gaines, Director of the Marine Science
Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "As these data
show, this doesn't have to be the reality."
America's fishing communities are also suffering. The collapse of the
iconic cod fishery in New England in the early 1990s cost an estimated
20,000 jobs. An estimated 72,000 jobs have been lost due to decreasing
salmon stocks in the Pacific Northwest. The typical fisherman now makes
nearly 30% less than the average American worker and faces an occupational
fatality rate that is 35 times higher than other industries.
"This report clearly shows that catch share programs help end the
dangerous race for fish and contribute to a vibrant, safe future for our
coastal communities," said Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). "These findings
confirm actual experiences with successful catch share programs in the
North Pacific. These programs have increased the value of fisheries while
contributing to conservation."
President Bush recently set a practical goal of doubling U.S. catch
share programs by 2010. Congress also promoted these systems and
established guidelines for their use as part of the reauthorized
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which passed
Congress unanimously in December 2006. This new report provides the hard
data to properly evaluate and design these systems.
"Faced with reduced landings and fragile waterfront economies,
California's fishing families and their communities are going through
profound change," said Congresswoman Lois Capps, a member of the House
Natural Resources Committee. "To preserve the economy and heritage of
special places like Morro Bay, we should give fishermen tools that enhance
their economic vitality, advance sustainable fishing practices and protect
fish populations for future generations."
"The task at hand today is prompt and well designed implementation of
catch shares," said Krupp. "We call on both President Bush and Congress to
prioritize funding over the next five years for these innovative approaches
to rebuild our fisheries and fishing communities." To download a copy of
the report and learn more about catch shares, please visit
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, established in 2000, seeks to
advance environmental conservation and cutting-edge scientific research
around the world and improve the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay
Area. The goal of the Marine Conservation Initiative is to achieve progress
towards resilient and productive marine ecosystems in British Columbia, the
California Current, and New England by implementing area-based management
and reforming fisheries management. moore.org
Environmental Defense, a leading national nonprofit organization,
represents more than 500,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense has
linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships
to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental
Redstone Strategy Group, LLC is a trusted advisor to businesses,
philanthropies and NGOs around the world. Redstone helps its clients
address pressing business and social policy issues through collaboration,
tough-minded analysis, practical insights and tangible results. Redstone
provided the analysis of catch share systems including the detailed
performance evaluation of the 10 U.S. and British Columbia fisheries
included in the report. redstonestrategy.com