Management Strategies for Mixed-Species Commercial, Recreational, and Subsistence Fisheries

Management Strategies for Mixed-Species Commercial, Recreational, and Subsistence Fisheries

Steven X. Cadrin

Management Strategies for Mixed-Species Commercial, Recreational, and Subsistence FisheriesThis is part of Assessing and Managing Data-Limited Fish Stocks
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Description

Many forms of best management practices for fisheries were developed for managing large-scale, data-rich, commercial fisheries of target species. However, the typical output controls that form the basis of such management strategies are not well suited for many mixed-species, small-scale, recreational or subsistence fisheries. For example, the Annual Catch Limit System mandated in the United States is expected to avoid overfishing and eventually rebuild stocks, provided the catch can be accurately projected, monitored, and reported in-season. Accountability measures in the US Annual Catch Limit System impose incentives to avoid overfishing, with the additional provision that fishermen or fishing organizations are accountable. When fishery monitoring data and catch forecasts are uncertain, output controls often fail to meet management objectives, as demonstrated by case studies of selected US fisheries. When catch allocations do not match the mix of species available on the fishing grounds, mixed-stock fisheries are often constrained by the most limiting species allocation, and accountability measures only increase the mismatch or decrease efficiency with few incentives for recreational fisheries. Input controls (i.e., regulating fishing effort, gear, and behavior) achieve more “balanced fishing” (fisheries removing the resources available to them), which may be more effective for achieving optimum yield in many fisheries. More holistic fishery ecosystem plans and international guidelines for managing sustainable small-scale fisheries (e.g., fish size limits or spawning closures) offer effective alternatives to output controls. Such alternative management strategies are not loopholes to avoid regulations. On the contrary, they are better suited for achieving sustainability of fisheries that do not conform to output controls.

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