- The Magnuson Stevens Act (MSA) 2007 added Limited Access Privilege Programs (LAPP) in order to provide assistance to fishing communities and community-based associations in order to receive quota allocation. Community fishing associations (CFAs) are a type of program that falls under the LAPP. The MSA emphasizes several eligibility criteria to qualify for this type of program, including being a defined fishing community and having a historical presence in the various fisheries. Many fishing communities meet these criteria, however they have yet to be federally recognized as an organization that can receive a part of the quota allocation. The purpose of this research is to investigate the benefits and obstacles of CFA implementation, further address the question of how to define a fishing community, and to analyze the overall applicability of these types of programs (to ports, fisheries, etc.).
Ethnography and participant observation were used to obtain a variety of experiences and perceptions from members of CFAs and others who hold various roles in fishing communities and/or work with the fishing community, financial
sectors, and fisheries management agencies. Results indicate the benefits of a CFA include diversifying a portfolio, business training, and sustainability and conservation practices in the various fisheries. Yet they also indicate that CFAs are not applicable to all fisheries, and demonstrate that there are many fears and misunderstandings regarding the applicability. CFAs need a defined community in order to comply with MSA standards, and usually cannot offer enough incentives to make establishing a CFA worthwhile. Lack of funding, confusion in the language of what a CFA is and can offer, accountability, and agency involvement seem to be important factors that can add hesitance to a group of people considering establishing this type of LAPP. More research on, and defined guidelines about CFA creation, implementation, and quota allocation is needed.