|Abstract or Summary
- Commercial fisheries rationalization has promoted economic benefits and accountability to annual catch limits, but most recreational fisheries are managed under regulated open access with relatively poor catch accounting, short and unpredictable seasons, and persistent overharvests. For many mixed-used fish species, recreational fishing represents over half of total fishing mortality. Yet innovation in recreational management reform is lagging, in part because regulators' attention is diverted to contentious policy issues such as sector allocations. In this atmosphere, fishing seasons are at all-time lows, welfare is squandered for recreational fishing businesses and anglers, and conflict is intensifying among fishery regulators and stakeholders. This talk reviews policy challenges in mixed-use fisheries, such as sector and sub-sector allocation disputes, the state of for-hire and private recreational fisheries management, and prospects for rights-based management reform. We focus on Gulf of Mexico red snapper and other reef fish, but the management challenges are more general. We also introduce the Gulf Headboat Collaborative, an affiliation of nineteen headboat operators who recently completed a two-year test of rights-based management in Gulf of Mexico recreational fisheries through an experimental fishing permit (EFP). This two-year pilot program represents cooperation between industry, government, academia, and the NGO community, providing a unique opportunity for empirical evaluation and a model for adaptive fisheries management. In this talk, we will describe key features of this experiment, give an overview of its performance, and discuss prospects for scaling this model to rights based recreational fisheries management more broadly.