New fisheries

New fisheries

Some fisheries in the United States are poised to undergo major changes in the regulations used to protect fish stocks, and Iowa State University researchers have estimated that the new system will be an economic boon to the fishing industry. Quinn Weninger and Rajesh Singh, both associate professors in economics, estimated harvesting costs under the old system and compared that to the newly proposed fishing regulations that lift many restrictions that cause inefficiency while still limiting amounts to be harvested.

Their analysis focused on the Pacific Groundfish fishery, which manages fishing in waters off the Northwest coast of the United States, and found the Groundfish fleet could save between $18 million and $22 million annually under the new regulatory system.

Pacific Groundfish fishery is one of several fisheries around the country that monitors fish harvest by location and types of fish. Similar economic conclusions would apply to other areas and other fish types, according to Weninger.

“What we’ve tried to do is come up with the cost savings that would be involved when we change from the old to the new system,” he said.

The new system controls catch amounts through a system of tradable fishing permits and allocates a certain amount of fish to be harvested by each fisherman each year, said Weninger. The amount of each fisherman’s total harvest is determined by the total number of permits he holds.

Fisheries managers, who are National Marine Fisheries Service employees, monitor fish stocks and calculate the total harvest that will allow fish numbers to remain at sustainable levels while letting fishermen survive economically.

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