New Guidance for Fishing Communities
Fishing has a long and rich history of contributing to the culture and well-being of our country, and fishing communities have become iconic elements of our coastal landscape. In 2011, NOAA held a workshop on commercial fishing communities and catch shares to explore how to help sustain local fishing communities under changing management conditions. A need was expressed for additional guidance on ways for fishermen to organize to sustain their local fishing communities.
To meet the need for accessible information about strategies fishermen and fishing communities can and are using to adapt to new management conditions, NOAA Fisheries has developed non-prescriptive guidance that lays out a general framework for instituting Fishing Community and Regional Fishery Association entities under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
This new NOAA Fisheries Technical Memorandum aims to increase the accessibility of these entities to residents who conduct commercial or recreational fishing, processing, or fishery-dependent support businesses within a Council's management area. The goal is to make it easier for Councils and stakeholders alike to assess the appropriateness of these organizational entities during the design and development of new or modification of existing limited access privilege programs.
About the workshop
The workshop participants included members and staff of the Regional Fishery Management Councils, NMFS staff, NOAA General Counsel, fishermen, and community and fishery-based association experts with experience in organizing and managing fishermen. During the workshop, the participants discussed nine core topics covering a range of social, economic, technical, and environmental issues. These discussions led to a set of themes and several requests for further guidance from NOAA. The outcomes of the workshop do not capture every perspective across or within fishing communities and do not represent official positions or represent a consensus. They do provide a valuable starting point for thinking about ways to support communities as they adjust to current and future catch share programs to ensure sustainable fisheries.
Major Topics Discussed
The following nine topics were addressed during breakout sessions:
- MSA: Communities in Fisheries Management.
- MSA 303A Limited Access Privilege Programs & Communities.
- Non-303A Community Pathways for Councils- CFAs, Sectors.
- Sustainability and Regional Fishery Association plans.
- Monitoring and Evaluating Community Objectives/Outcomes.
- Communities Getting and Holding Quota: (Initial Allocation, Transferability,
Accumulation Limits, Permit Banks, Fisheries Loan Fund, Catch Accounting).
- Facilitating Community Organization Efforts.
- Current FMP Goals and Objectives Affecting Communities; Threats and Opportunities; Future Vision Relative to Communities.
- Transferring Knowledge – Future Communication and Engagement Strategies with Communities.