Considering catch share management for the Hawaii longline fishery

The Hawaii longline fleet is currently subject to catch quotas for bigeye tuna assigned by two regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs). One quota is assigned by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), for bigeye tuna caught in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), denoted as west of 150-degree W longitude. A second quota is assigned by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and applies to vessels greater than 24m in length for bigeye tuna caught in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO), denoted as east of 150-degree W longitude.

source: Pew Charitable Trusts

source: Pew Charitable Trusts

These quotas have been reached in recent years leading to periods of fishery closures (2009, 2010, and 2015) and localized socioeconomic impacts. Additionally, the quota in the WCPO is scheduled to decrease further in the future, creating uncertainty for fishery stakeholders.

PIFSC Socioeconomics Program researchers Kolter Kalberg and Thuy Tran – representing the University of Hawaii Joint Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR) and Lynker Technologies, respectively, will be in the field between September 2015 and January 2016 to talk to fishermen and fishery stakeholders to better understand: (a) current fishery conditions; (b) concerns for the fishery; (c) management priorities; (d) outlook for the future; (e) knowledge of catch share programs; and (f) interest in considering catch share management.

A catch shares program is a strategy of managing a fishery under a quota which allocates a portion of the total allowable catch to an individual, boat, permit, cooperative, or other entity within that fishery. When participants have caught their portion of fish, they must stop fishing, or acquire rights from another participant.

These management programs have become increasingly popular around the globe, and can be designed and adapted to creatively meet the needs of fishery participants. Quota allocations can be fixed, dynamic, transferable, or a mix of these types. In other applications, quota allocations have been determined by historical catch, even distribution, vessel size, auction-based allocation, or some mix of these methods.

The goal of this research is to start the conversation as to whether alternative management strategies could better meet the needs and priorities of the Hawaii longline fleet and fishery stakeholders. It may be that a catch share management system could provide benefits to fishery stakeholders relative to the current management system — maybe not.

Things to consider about catch shares for the Hawaii longline fleet

  • Allocation – How would allocation occur?
  • Transferability – Should rights be able to be traded or sold?
  • New Entrants – How would new entrants and people exiting the fleet be treated?
  • Crew – How would crew members be considered in this program?
  • Authority – Who would manage the operations of the program?
  • Consolidation Concerns – Should there be limits on the concentration of shares?
  • Equity – Who decides if it is fair?


Click here to download an informational brochure supporting this project (versions in first languages: Vietnamese, Korean)

Click here to watch a short informational video supporting this project.

For more information about this research feel free to contact us:

For more information about other research from the PIFSC Socioeconomics Program visit our website or browse recent blog posts.

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