Considerations and Implications of Catch Share Design


In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, SFG is analyzing catch share programs across the globe. The objectives of this study are to gain a better understanding of how existing catch share programs have been designed, and examine the way in which different design characteristics may affect these systems, including their economic value. We are developing a user-friendly handbook that describes current systems and analyzes the tradeoffs associated with different design features. 


Catch share programs are quickly becoming one of the most ubiquitous fishery management institutions, particularly in industrial-scale fisheries--those that produce the majority of the food and profits provided by global marine fisheries. Over time it has become increasingly evident that this rights-based approach to management can produce significant benefits in fisheries that are not formally regulated, or in fisheries that are currently operating under other, less efficient management regimes. By illuminating the tradeoffs between different design options, our handbook will serve as a valuable resource for a variety of stakeholders who play a role in making decisions about any given fishery. 


In order to understand the current landscape of catch share program design characteristics, we developed a comprehensive catch share database with information on 67 existing programs. This database represents 20 countries and 312 fish stocks, and it includes information relevant to program design, as well as biological and economic data. Using this database and additional information, we are analyzing how different design characteristics may impact aspects of the program and fishery. For example, we ask: “How may the permeance of fishing rights impact the value of a quota share?” We are focusing our analysis on the following four design features: allocation method, permanence, transferability, and taxation, and the results will be synthesized in our user-friendly handbook. 


This project is a collaborative effort between SFG and The Nature Conservancy - Peru.