Converting to catch shares

Converting to catch shares in fisheries could reduce the federal deficit by $165 in net present value.

Fishermen are more profitable

If fishermen are more profitable, they contribute increased income tax payments.

Is catch shares management of commercial fisheries a good investment for the US federal government? We estimate the federal budget effects of switching US commercial fisheries from traditional management to catch shares, and describe the resulting impact on the federal deficit in net present value (NPV) terms.

We examine two existing catch shares fisheries and two traditional management fisheries, and estimate that converting to catch shares in these fisheries could reduce the federal deficit by approximately $165M in NPV. Catch shares reduce the federal deficit for two primary reasons. First, fishermen are more profitable, and therefore contribute increased income tax payments. Second, catch shares programs are mandated to recover some costs of management from participants, as per federal law. An additional analysis suggests that the federal deficit could be decreased by an estimated $890M to $1.24B in NPV if 36 of the 44 federal US fisheries adopted catch shares.

Also published in the Journal of Sustainable Development.