Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bluefin Tuna Catch Limits

The Federal Register from last Monday provides an example of a catch limit for a specific fishery.

The ruling starts at the end of the first page, at the bottom of the third column under "Department of Commerce".

Notice that we have a daily catch limit (commercial and recreational) and a minimum and maximum size restriction (slot limit).

How and why did NMFS change the regulation from last year? What do you think the effect will be?


Kendyll Goeman said...

The Environmental Assessment, Regulatory Impact Review, Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, and Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan support the final catch quota regulations. After many years of drafting, the final quota allows one large school and one small school of fish caught per day. There are also size restrictions for the catch.

The NMFS was implored to change regulations to ensure that these strict quotas can be obtained. Contracting parties predict negative stock impacts due the quotas. Those that oppose the quota are pressing for harpoon restriction eliminations as well as leniency of the fish regulation size. I believe that the quota restrictions are necessary to solve the “open access” problem mentioned in the Tragedy of the Commons. However, agreeing to any of the opposition’s demands will set this remarkable progress in reverse. I do not believe that the opposition will quietly accept these catch restrictions. A previous blog “EU- fisheries over capitalized; system broken” stated that French fishermen “blockaded three English Channel ports in protest that the quotas are too strict.” I think that the effect of the new regulation will be promising in the future, but heavily protested in the present.

Brandon Green said...

This past summer I had the opportunity to work on a survey with Jim Herstine from Parks and Recreation, where we studied the economics of charter boat fishing along the atlantic intercoastal waterway. Over the past summer, I spent over hundreds of hours on the docks of Carolina beach, Wrightsville beach, Southport, Sunset island, and Calabash. Often, a subject of conversation with the boat hands and captains was on the strictness of the catch limits. Every year, harsher and harsher laws are implemented, driving more and more captains out of business. On several occasions, I saw local law enforcement come and measure king mackerel, to make sure that a. they were not female and b. to make sure they were 18 inches long. This is an industry that has been hard hit by increased gas prices ( some boats only get 1 m/gal!) as well as a significant decrease in supply.

Abby Werling said...

I was kind of shocked to learn that the limitations were 3 large blue fin tuna per vessel per day.I would have thought that the specifications would be on the number of individuals in the vessel. Is there a reason that they set restrictions on the vessel per day rather that the number of people in the boat?
These restrictions are helpful in addressing the open access problem but I wonder how strongly this is being enforced.

James Marshall said...

I believe at first, just like any other law there is going to alot of out cry. It is interesting to think about a "too big to fail" mentality on this issue. For example, to protect the fish just make the restrictions so harsh that the only boats that can survive are the really dominate ones, thus putting small fishermen out of business.