Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 7, 2011 - AFS Seattle. Dr. Brian Rothchild outlines recommendations for fisheries management and catch shares

Dr. Brian Rothchild of the University of Massachussetts at Dartmouth made some interesting points and suggestions during his talk yesterday during the Catch Shares Symposium. First, he suggested that for catch share systems to be effective, they need an efficient support institution that provides a cost effective information system. The information systems available today in many fisheries are not capable of keeping up with the rigorous reporting demands of catch share system. This creates alot of problems for fishermen, dealers, and fish managers. He also suggests that catch share systems should incorporate structures that limit the number of "slipper skippers" or fishermen who lease their quota each year, making money without ever taking their boats out on the water. He also emphasized that implementing a catch share system requires a great deal of time and patience, something that was not afforded to the Northeast groundfish sector management system that was implemented after a brief, one-year planning period despite the protests of fishermen and the Northeast Fisheries Management Council. Dr. Rothchild also emphasized the importance of communicating the philosophy behind the catch share system to industry representatives and listening to the groups that will be most effected by the system.

He also floated the idea of developing a dedicated National Institute that we develop new strategies for using ocean weather and climate information to forecast stock variability. He feels that this type of institute would be able to capitalize on our improving understanding of the role that climate plays in fish population dynamics to improve management. An interesting idea to say the least!

-Erik Chapman

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