Catch Share Guiding Principles
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) sets forth a number of criteria for consideration in the design and implementation of catch share programs. Regional fishery management councils (councils) and NOAA must follow these MSA requirements. In addition, NOAA recommends adopting the following guiding principles to ensure the best possible catch share design and program outcomes.
- Specific Management Goals: All fishery management programs, including catch shares, should identify specific measurable goals for management.
- Allocations: For all fishery management programs, including catch shares, the underlying harvest allocations to specific fishery sectors (e.g., commercial and recreational) should be revisited on a regular basis, and the basis for the allocation should include consideration of conservation, economic, and social criteria used in specifying optimum yield and in furtherance of the goals of the underlying fishery management plan (FMP).
- Transferability: Councils should thoroughly assess the net benefits of catch share transferability, including allowing inter-sector transfers to both promote future access opportunities and contribute to conservation and management goals.
- Distinctions Among Sectors: No fishery or sector (e.g., commercial, recreational or subsistence) is required by the policy to adopt catch shares. Councils should consider the appropriateness of catch share programs and decide which, if any, sectors may benefit from their use. NOAA will support the design and implementation of catch share programs for the commercial and recreational charter and head boat sectors as appropriate, but does not advocate the use of individual private angler catch shares. However, NOAA will support councils in the identification and application of innovative management measures that both promote recreational fishing access and foster sustainable fisheries.
- Duration: The duration of every catch share program should be explicitly defined.
- Fishing Community Sustainability: Councils should develop policies to engage with and promote the sustained participation of fishing communities and take advantage of the recently added community provisions in the MSA. NOAA will work in partnership with councils, other federal agencies and coastal states to promote sustainable fishing communities, resource access and co-management principles, including the use of Fishing Community and Regional Fishing Association provisions of the MSA, and build fishing community capacity to develop and utilize permit banks and other sustainability tools.
- Royalties: NOAA will assist councils if and when they determine that it is in the public interest to collect royalties for the initial or subsequent allocations in a limited access privilege program.
- Cost Recovery: Incremental government costs for management, data collection and analysis, and enforcement of limited access privilege programs shall be recovered from participants as required by the MSA.
- Review Process: Councils should periodically review all catch share and non-catch share programs to ensure that management goals are specified, measurable, tracked and used to gauge whether a program is meeting its goals and objectives.