WASHINGTON—Recreational fishermen often face a limit on the number and size of fish they can catch on a trip. In some fisheries where commercial fishermen face a limit on their yearly catch, these restrictions could be relaxed if commercial fishermen were able to sell a portion of the commercial catch allocation to recreational fishermen. In a paper posted today by Resources for the Future (RFF), an evaluation is presented of the first two years of the Guided Angler Fish (GAF) transfer provision of the Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) of the Alaskan Halibut fishery—the first significant federal catch share program implemented in the United States that includes recreational fishermen.
The new study emphasizes: “Examining the early outcomes of the GAF provision is critical given recent efforts to implement catch shares in other recreational fisheries.” The provision has been in effect since 2014 and is unique in that it allows for recreational users to buy commercial catch allocation to relax recreational harvest restrictions.
Transfers from the commercial to recreational sector can impact commercial fishermen that sell their allocation to the recreational fishermen as well as their fishing communities. Researchers considered the impact of the program on the commercial sector.
The new study is, “Recreational Leasing of Alaska Commercial Halibut Quota: The First Two Years of the Guided Angler Fish Provision.” Coauthors are RFF Fellow Kailin Kroetz; Daniel K. Lew of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of California, Davis; and RFF University Fellow James N. Sanchirico of the University of California, Davis.
The authors find that the impacts are complex and heterogeneous. Specifically, smaller-scale commercial fishermen are the most likely to sell their allocation to the recreational sector.