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U.S. West Coast trawl groundfish: Have economic goals been met under catch shares? Public Deposited

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  • Implemented in 2011, the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program was designed to achieve multiple economic goals and objectives for a diverse multispecies fishery, including increasing net benefits, profitability, flexibility, and utilization of harvest allocations. Here, we leverage seven years of comprehensive cost and earnings data to evaluate progress towards these goals, with a focus on harvesters. Our assessment shows that five years post-implementation, net benefits to the nation have doubled, and indicators of productivity and profitability for the two primary fleets have increased. The fleet that targets Pacific whiting has seen the largest gains, due in part to increases in total allowable catch and the elimination of the race-to-fish, distributing landings across the season. However, increased revenues have not been realized to the degree that was expected for harvesters targeting non-whiting groundfish, likely due to lower than predicted consolidation and relatively low quota utilization. Economic outcomes indicate that trade-offs exist between certain objectives of the program, specifically between achieving full utilization and increasing flexibility for harvesters. Results are discussed in the context of the design and evaluation of catch share programs for multispecies fisheries.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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