Assessing Prohibited Species Bycatch Avoidance Behaviors and Outcomes in the Amendment 80 Fisheries of the North Pacific

Project: Research project

Description

Under the recently implemented Amendment 80 to the BSAI Fishery management plan (FMP), qualifying participants in the directed fisheries for flatfish, Atka mackerel and Pacific ocean perch (i.e., the non-AFA catcher-processor fleet) now possess rights through their participation in cooperatives to a share of their primary target species - ending the previous common property allocation system. In addition, the amendment establishes exclusive rights within the cooperative to prohibited species catch (PSC) species such as halibut and red king crab. In the past, the total allowable catch (TAC) for these bycatch species was parsed across various target species but was a common property resource to the fleet, much like the target species. Studies of the pre-rationalization period indicate that fishermen often engaged in a "race for fish" due to the costs of bycatch avoidance and the small likelihood of any individual vessel receiving significant benefit from its avoidance efforts (Abbott, forthcoming). The result, in a typical season, was that quota for PSC species, not target species, limited the extent of the fishery (Haynie et aI., in review). As the post-Amendment 80 fishery enters its second year of fishing, there is already substantial evidence of significant changes in behavior with respect to the avoidance of red king crab and halibut bycatch as well as substantial improvements in utilization of the allowable quotas for target species relative to those for bycatch. Behavioral changes that have been suggested include increased spatial avoidance of bycatch "hotspots", variations in targeted species, reductions in night fishing (which may result in higher bycatch rates) and the increased use of by catch-mitigating gears. We propose to document and quantify these changes using microeconometric models estimated on observer data from before and after the change in regulation.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/1/096/9/11

Funding

  • DOC-NOAA: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS): $24,476.00

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bycatch
fishery
common property resource
crab
fishing
flatfish
rationalization
fishery management
vessel