Talk:Catch share

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Maintaining focus within sections: Theory[edit]

Hi all, It looks like some internal debate has developed within sections of this page.

I have spent some time modifying the "Theory" section to improve the focus on theory itself. This was of particular concern with the paragraph on transferability, which began to dive deep into criticisms. The section originally read:

Catch share programs often allow for voluntary trading, both temporary and permanent, a process that allows operators with higher returns from fishing to purchase shares from those with lower returns.[10] This often results in consolidation of fishing rights, especially during times of low total landings value for the fishery. Transfers ensure that operators have the opportunity to increase harvests, but that in doing so the fishery wide sustainable harvest level is not exceeded. Transfers are considered an important component of catch shares because they promote the most efficient use of the resource for those who are able to remain in the industry.[11] However, transfers also lead to the most controversial aspect of catch shares, which is the consolidation and aggregation of fishing rights, often by non-fishers who then lease the rights back to fishers for a percentage of the landings value, typically between 35-80% of gross revenue.[12]


I have modified the paragraph to improve the focus on theory alone:

Many, but not all catch share programs allow for voluntary trading, a process that allows operators to purchase shares either temporarily or permanently from those willing to sell shares.[16] Transfers are considered an important component of catch shares because they can promote the most economically efficient use of the resource.[17] Transfers are often allowed in fisheries that wish to address pre-existing overcapacity, and create a mechanism that allows fishermen to increase or decrease the number of shares they hold while ensuring the fleet-wide sustainable catch limit is not exceeded.[16]


Criticisms related to consolidation are later appropriately addressed within the "Criticisms" section

Rongtzong (talk) 19:18, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Maintaining focus: Removing off-topic debates to improve article quality[edit]

Hi all,

The following paragraph was removed as it presents a significant deviation from the focus of the article. Criticisms about the work of an environmental group do not belong on this page.

In the United States, these fears are evidenced by the influence that the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has had over fisheries legislation. For example, the Jones Amendment, a bill to end funding the expansion of catch share programs that received bipartisan support from congress was dropped by the Senate[36] after intense lobbying by EDF.[37] This same organization produced the head of NOAA, the federal agency in charge of fisheries management, and has been accused[38] of creating and dissemenating literature[39] of questionable scientific and economic analysis. Meanwhile, EDF has promoted investment in catch shares to private investors, claiming substantial profits along with the organization's ability to influence legislation.[40] At one such meeting, the EDF west coast vice president, David Festa, claimed that catch shares provided an average of 400% profits, and stated that it didn't matter who owned the shares.




Rongtzong (talk) 21:20, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

Improved readability in Outcomes[edit]

Hi all,

I worked a bit to improve the readability in the Outcomes section. Previously, there was a significant amount of repetition in the presentation of impacts and arguments. I did my best to organize the points made and reduce any repetition.

First: Empirical research in the past two decades has shown that catch share management of fisheries has a variety of ecological, economic and social benefits and shortcomings when compared traditional management of fishery inputs. When compared to other modern management methods that place limits on fishing outputs, i.e. setting scientifically determined harvest limits, catch shares exhibit no long term ecological gains.[13][14] Studies examining the ecological impacts of catch shares show that they can reduce the likelihood of fishery depletion when compared to the average fishery management system,[6] increase participants’ compliance with catch limits,[15] and stabilize landings and catch limits.[16] Additional research has also shown reduced discards in catch share fisheries.[15][16] Yet, recent studies have indicated that catch share programs do not result in healthier fisheries,[17] and that the stabilization of landings is likely due to the slowing of the fishing rate. A study of all catch share programs in the US found that the health of a fishery goes unchanged after the implementation of catch shares and that the mean levels of most ecological indicators are unaffected.[18] There is significant repetition here - the two paragraphs basically mirror each other. I have consolidated the ideas into one paragraph.

Empirical research in the past two decades has shown that catch share management of fisheries has a variety of ecological, economic and social outcomes when compared with traditional management of fishery inputs. Studies examining the ecological impacts of catch share management show that they reduce the likelihood of fishery depletion when compared to the average fishery management system,[6] increase participants’ compliance with catch limits,[18] and stabilize landings and catch limits.[19] Additional research has also shown reduced discards in catch share fisheries.[18][19] However, recent studies have been unable to demonstrate with certainty that catch share programs necessarily result in larger fish populations compared to fisheries managed under conventional catch limits.[19]

Please note that I rephrased the statement about fishery health that cited Essington's work. We need to be clear about two things here from the source: 1. That that the lack of a biomass response is in relation to conventional catch limits

  • What do you mean here? They examined biomass and expliotation rates in relation to convential catch limits, but also prior to implementation of catch shares concluded that these programs do not alter biomass levels or change exploitation rates.

2. That there is uncertainty and that his results are suggestive rather than conclusive.

  • How so? They performed the most thorough data analysis of these programs to date and concluded that there is no evidence to suggest increased biomass, lower exploitation rates, or overall healthier fisheries as result of catch shares. The conclusion is that catch limits, which are a non-unique aspect of catch shares, are sufficient to to sustain a fish population from substantial depletion due to over-harvesting. You have not accurately summarized these findings.

I hope that I have captured his findings more accurately and provided a clearer presentation for the reader. Rongtzong (talk) 23:42, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

  • You seem to be doing a good job. Well done! --Epipelagic (talk) 23:45, 21 August 2013 (UTC)


In the next paragraph, I have integrated the following statement into the Criticisms section as it is one that presents an argument.

However, it is argued that this economic gain is due to the consolidation of the industry and the movement towards a monopoly and comes at the cost of reduced employment, fewer business opportunities, and a concentration of wealth derived from the industry.[20]

The argument is now captured within the following two statements under Criticsms:

In specific programs, critiques largely focus on tradeoffs which commonly involve changes in fleet capacity, employment, and aggregation of shares in the fishery.[25][26][27] [28]

As a result, it is argued that the tradeoffs associated with certain catch share programs include increased unemployment, economic contraction of coastal communities, and economic losses to businesses and communities that rely on the fishing fleet. [31] [32][33]


My hope is that this change allows improved readability and preserves, with integrity, the presentation of the specific argument. Rongtzong (talk) 00:41, 22 August 2013 (UTC)


Next, I made a small modification in:

Many fisheries transitioning to catch share programs have the goal of reducing overcapitalization, often resulting in a reduction in the number of vessels and a transition from many temporary fishing jobs to fewer, stable, lower paying, full-time jobs.

I had to remove "lower paying", as this statement can be misleading. This is not the case in every program, and in his analysis McCay mainly discusses the transformation in employment structure from part-time work to full-time positions, formerly paid in shares and typically paid in wages after catch shares. McCay does not specify which form actually "pays more", and this will vary based on fishery and which metric is used to measure income.

Rongtzong (talk) 16:56, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Next,

However, catch share fisheries typically result in greater capitalization of the fishing fleet when accounting for capital required to purchase shares,[22]

This is pretty technical for the average reader. I tried to rephrase the statement as

Catch share fisheries typically result in greater capitalization in investments with positive returns—like quota—rather than excess fishing capacity that is linked to over fishing and high costs.[22]

This is not a rephrasing, it's a different statement. It should be mentioned that substantially more capital is required to participate in a catch share fishery, despite the fact that one of the intentions of the programs are to reduce the capitalization in the industry. This was one of the original oversights in the development of the theory of catch shares. It was thought that fishermen would no longer have to over-invest boat capacity as a result of these programs and could fish more profitably, however, no one accounted for the increased cost of share acquisition as well as lease fees, both of which are far more financially burdensome than original issue of capacity stuffing. In the end, most measures of profitability, such as return on assets, decline substantially in catch share fisheries. Additionally, the increased risk inherent in share ownership makes the capital costs far to great and risky for most fishermen, who could otherwise profitably fish. Please make the appropriate changes to account for this.

Hi Alaskaa- same user as Rongtzong, just had to create a new username because I forgot my password and previously didn't register with an email. Anyway, I agree with your suggestion and have reverted the sentence to its original form, but have placed the sentence in the Criticisms section for flow. I changed the word "typically" to "can", and remove the word "however" as this is now another argument highlighting criticisms.

So it now reads: "Catch share fisheries can result in greater capitalization of the fishing fleet when accounting for capital required to purchase shares.[22]

Rongtzong5 (talk) 19:26, 25 September 2013 (UTC)


And the next statement

and though fishing jobs are longer due to the lengthening of the fishing season, the percent of landings value paid to employees typically decreases substantially.[23]

This statement does not provide much substance and may be misleading. Citing Abbott (2009), this statement draws from the BSAI crab fishery, where the employment structure shifted after catch share implementation from shares to wages. Abbott mentions that landings and value both increase - and because fishermen are paid in fixed wages instead of shares, what they are paid may actually be a smaller proportion of landings value due to the growth in landings. However, this does not mean that their take-home pay has actually decreased, which the statement may suggest. Pay is just a smaller proportion of landings value as landings have increased and as their pay is no longer directly tied to landings value, it is fixed.

  • It is not true that BSAI crab fishery payment structure shifted from shares to wages. The difference that the crewshares are now tied to the amount of quota that the boat fishes, and so the there is less uncertainty in their pay, but they they are still paid a percentage of the catch after subtracting various costs. The decline in payment as a proportion of the landings values is due to universal practice of charging crew for lease fees, which for Bering Sea crab is around 80%. As a result, a crewmember is now expected to harvest 5 times the volume of crab to make the same wages that he would otherwise receive for the same volume prior to implementation of catch shares. Additionally, the lengthening of the season means that he is expected to work for a longer time. By virtually all measures of compensation, this is a substantial reduction in payment and a common complaint about these programs. This should not be excluded from the wikipedia page. Here are some quotes from the Abbot paper, and a more recent document, "Leasing practices in North Pacific fisheries Bering Sea and Aleutian Island crab fisheries," on.
"It is immediately clear from these graphs that, while seasonal compensation rose in the wake of IFQ rationalization, landings of vessels rose more rapidly so that the overall share of real output devoted to crew share fell by half overall. This broad trend is reflected in compensation per crew member as well so that the reduction in crew members by some vessels did not substantially offset the effects of increases in output on vessels.26 From a “piece-rate” perspective, the compensation of crew members has fallen substantially since the advent of IFQs." - Abbot
While some changes may be viewed as benefiting crew, many crew have lost positions in the fisheries; others have seen their incomes affected by deduction of lease payments from the vessel revenues prior to computation of crew shares.
This is a serious issue with these programs, and it is inappropriate to gloss over the reduction in crew compensation in catch share fisheries by calling the jobs "full time" and "stable" while failing to mention that the percent of revenue devoted to wages in these fisheries universally declines. Before making the changes myself, I suggest that the author give honest consideration to this issue in the presentation and make the appropriate edits.
Hi Alaskaa,
I have included the statement under the Criticism section as the shift in employment and payment structures are discussed there.
The statement now reads:
"Although fishing jobs are longer due to the lengthening of the fishing season, the percent of total landings value paid to employees in the BSAI crab fisheries has decreased substantially."
Thanks Rongtzong5 (talk) 21:10, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

Rongtzong (talk) 16:56, 22 August 2013 (UTC)


Finally, I moved the following statement into the Criticsms section as it presents a perspective about how an outcome has unfolded. The statement is actually an excellent starting point for opening up discussion about Criticisms.

These changes often improve the economics of the remaining participants in the fishery, but are sometimes considered undesirable from a community or welfare economics perspective.

Hoping these edits help the section read better, more accurately, and allow for a smooth transition into the next section on Criticsms.

Rongtzong (talk) 16:56, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

More on moves to Criticism section[edit]

Hi all,

I was able to move some of the arguments contained in the Outcomes section to the Criticisms section to help the article read more smoothly.

I relocated the following sentences from Outcomes to Criticisms. It feeds in much more smoothly in that section, keeps information clear, and reduces unnecessary repetition.

These include the development and use of permit banks, community license banks and Community Fishing Associations. Program design features, including concentration caps, owner-on-board regulations, and trading restrictions, can be used to help alleviate potential unwanted social outcomes. However, (it is argued) these measures have only served to mitigate, but not prevent the undesirable social and economic outcomes that accompany catch share programs.[24] [25]

It is now contained within the last paragraph of Criticsm, supporting the other arguments that are made.

Note that in the last sentence, I have also inserted the statement "it is argued" to improve NPOV.

Rongtzong (talk) 20:09, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Preserving arguments and improving integrity[edit]

Hi all,

To improve the quality of the article we need to make sure that we do not present generalized statements as fact, and when we do present an argument, that is is backed by sources.

For example

Independent fishermen are usually unable to acquire catch shares due to financial limitations, and often cannot financially survive within these systems. The result is that many people who would prefer to work in the industry, and could otherwise operate a profitable and sustainable commercial fishing business, are prevented from participating in the industry or must lease shares in order to fish and end up sacrificing the majority of their profits to the shareholder.

I have temporarily removed the sentences as there are currently no adequate sources supporting the arguments. The second sentence is a generalized statement that could be much improved in its presentation as an argument.

If adequate sources are found, I recommend rephrasing the argument as:

In some cases, independent fishermen may be unable to acquire shares due to financial limitations, and often cannot financially survive within these systems due to a lack of access to capital (cite programs in which this is happening). It is then argued that many people who would prefer to work in the industry, and could otherwise operate a profitable and sustainable commercial fishing business, are prevented from participating in the industry or must lease shares in order to fish and end up sacrificing the majority of their profits to the shareholder (cite literature making these arguments).

I would like to note that only because a similar argument is presented in the following sentences, was I comfortable in making this edit.

Although a number of catch share programs do include financing options for small businesses and new entrants, some fishing communities, academics, journalists, and non-profit organizations have claimed that catch shares serve as a mechanism for the consolidation of fishing rights, often by corporations with better financing capacity than independent fishermen.[22] [32] [23] [33] [31] [34]


The argument appears to be preserved, while improving the integrity of the article as a whole.

Rongtzong (talk) 20:34, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Well done on the readability, but you have also substantially changed the content of the outcomes as well. I request that you not ommit or gloss over the negative outcomes of the programs while focusing primarily on the positive results. I am making some suggestions below, but I propose that we work together to improve the neutrality on this page. The truth is that catch shares are highly contentious and have caused substantial harm to fishing communities in almost all cases while providing very few (if any) measurable ecological benefits. It would be more appropriate for the Wikipedia article to include and give an honest assessment of the common negative outcomes, as they are incredibly important in the development of catch share programs. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alaskaa (talkcontribs) 16:30, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for the feedback. My intention was not to gloss over any properly presented and sourced arguments, but rather to partition them into the proper sections to improve readability. Previously there appeared to be a high degree of internal debate within sections. Based on your suggestions, I have gone through and made some edits to my revisions to ensure that findings are presented correctly - I thank you for your suggestions as they were quite helpful.

Rongtzong5 (talk) 21:16, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

Improving argument quality and neutrality[edit]

I do not believe that the recent edits accomplish the stated goals of preserving the arguments and improving integrity. Here are some examples:

1 - "Catch share fisheries typically result in greater capitalization in investments with positive returns—like quota—" This statement is unsupported and patently false. Catch shares themselves are highly risky assets the argument that they provide positive returns as a contrast to investments in tangible assets such boat improvements are generally not true. In fact, the article cited to support this statement describes how catch shares have resulted in decreased profitability for B.C. halibut fishermen, who are heavily burdened with lease fees.

Indented line

Took this statement out and reverted back to original, but now under criticisms Rongtzong5 (talk) 19:37, 25 September 2013 (UTC)


2 - "However, recent studies have been unable to demonstrate with certainty that catch share programs necessarily result in larger fish populations compared to fisheries managed under conventional catch limits." This statement should definitely be changed, as it implies that these programs do result larger fish populations. The actual conclusions from these studies are as follows:

"I tested the hypothesis that catch share systems lead to improved ecological stewardship and status of exploited populations. Impacts of catch share programs were measured through comparisons of fisheries with catch shares to fisheries without catch shares or by comparing fisheries before and after catch shares were implemented. The average levels of most indicators were unaffected by catch share implementation: only discard rate, which declined significantly in catch share fisheries, showed a significant response."
"Contrary to the expectation,

the fitted response did not show a strong relationship to precatch share conditions (here, averaged over the 5 years prior to catch share implementation, though similar results were obtained by using the entire precatch share period; Figure 2). This result was particularly striking for population biomass, where the majority of stocks had B:BMSY <1, yet many populations exhibited declines in biomass after catch share implementation."

"The prediction that rights-based approaches might foster

ecological stewardship stems from the idea that rights better align participants economic incentives with ecological goals (Grafton et al. 2006). We had therefore expected that catch shares would result in reductions in exploitation rate and increases in population biomass when these population metrics were too high (exploitation rate) or too low (population biomass) before the new management strategy was introduced, relative to levels that would maximize catch. This expectation was not borne out—there was little to no relationship between catch share effects and the ratios F:FMSY or B:BMSY. Although harvest rates tended to decrease after implementing catch shares, the response was generally too weak to eliminate overfishing. This finding is consistent with that of Melnychuk et al. (2012) who found that mean ratios of F:FMSY and B:BMSY did not differ between catch share and competitive quota-managed fisheries."


Thanks Alaskaa. I have changed the sentence to: "However, when compared to fisheries managed under conventional catch limits, recent studies have been unable to demonstrate that catch share programs result in larger fish populations.[19][20]"

Hope this is clearer now. Rongtzong5 (talk) 20:08, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

Rongtzong, I suggest the following edit: "However, when compared to fisheries managed under conventional catch limits, recent studies have demonstrated that catch share programs do not result in larger fish populations. [19][20]"

3 - "For example, with quota-based catch shares, the value of the share is directly tied to the landings value of the fishery, which may increase as the health of the fishery improves.[6]"

This statement lacks a relevant citation and is in direct and literal contradiction to most recent research. The cited article only demonstrates a correlation between catch share management and fishery collapse and provides no demonstration of causation, nor an appropriate investigation of other relevant factors such as the use of population assessments, regional factors such as cultural, technological, and political differences, and changes in management tactics over time. Additionally, the definition of fishery collapse used in the paper was the same as in Worm et al, which was highly objected to in peers reviews of the that paper, which I believe was ultimately retracted by the authors. I suggest just considering the title of the summary article for citations 18, 19, and 20: "CATCH SHARES IMPROVE CONSISTENCY, NOT HEALTH, OF FISHERIES."

Thanks for pointing this out - this was an incorrect reference. I had intended to reference: Newell, R. G., Sanchirico, J. N. and Kerr, S.(2002). Fishing Quota Markets. Discussion Paper 2-20. Resources for the Future. Washington, D.C.
I have corrected the citation.
Best, Rongtzong5 (talk) 21:32, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
♦Rongtzong, I suggest the following edit: "For example, with quota-based catch shares, the value of the share is directly tied to the landings value of the fishery, which may increase if the health of the fishery improves.[6]"
I changed the as to if, since the original statement implies that the health of the fishery will improve, which typically isn't the case. Please let me know what you think.


Hi Alaskaa,

Thank you for the helpful feedback. The entry is far from complete, and I greatly value your suggestions on how we can continue to improve argument presentation and neutrality. There will likely be some back and forth in getting this page to where it needs to be, but as a result of this important process, the entry will be stronger in quality. I will make a first attempt at addressing your suggested revisions this weekend and let's continue to keep the communication flowing through this talk page.

Best, Rongtzong (talk) 23:15, 18 September 2013 (UTC) 'Italic text'


Hello, Rongtzong, thank you for the improvements and the response. I have a few more issues I would like to address.
♦ I still would like to address the following statement: “Studies examining the ecological impacts of catch share management show that they reduce the likelihood of fishery depletion when compared to the average fishery management system,[6] increase participants’ compliance with catch limits,[19] and stabilize landings and catch limits.[20] Additional research has also shown reduced discards in catch share fisheries.”
The reference, [6], does not demonstrate a that catch share management reduces the likelihood of fishery depletion. As I mentioned earlier, not only does Costello employ and irrelevant definition of "collapse," but he also fails to incorporate any control factors, thus eliminating the possibility of drawing any causal conclusions about catch shares. In fact, the only research that does utilize control factors is [20], and they concluded that both biomass, and exploitation rates are typically unchanged after the implication of catch shares. The other "ecological impacts" that are claimed in the above statement really aren't ecologically significant, as they do not result in healthier fisheries (ie more fish). They may make the fishery somewhat more manageable, but they do not effect any mean ecological measures, as the exploitation rates remain the same between catch share fisheries, and those managed with catch limits. Could you please re-phrase the statement to account for these concerns?
♦ I think that the following line is misleading: “Empirical evidence has shown that fisheries become more profitable as costs of fishing are reduced and dockside prices for products increase.” As I mentioned before, for most participants except the few individuals who originally receive large share, the fishery is substantially less profitable, either due to individuals receiving shares that are too small to profitably fish, or due to the fact that all second generation participants must purchase or lease shares in order to participate. In fact, increases in dock prices result in the inflation of quota prices by a factor usually between 5-10 times the ex-vessel fish price. This means that the fishermen's return on assets is substantially lower in catch share fisheries, and this return is so low, in fact, that new entrants rarely, if ever, are able to purchase shares. The result, which is nearly universal, is that fishermen are forced by financial necessity to lease shares, which leaves them with very little profits. This is why entire fishing communities, such as King Cove, in Alaska, tend to disappear after catch share implementation. You could also reference [31], which details similar outcomes for Canadian fishing fleet.


♦ The statement about the “structure of employment” is still misleading, and generally false. Though seasons are extended, catch shares fisheries still do not create “full time jobs.” Yes, crews are expected to work a longer seasons, but they do not receive any additional compensation for the extra work. Also, as I mentioned before, substantially less of landings value of the fishery is devoted to wages in catch share fisheries. Many people have tried to whitewash these outcomes by claiming that fishing work becomes more "stable," but the truth is that fishermen are now expected to work more and for less pay. Total employment and compensation are decreased, and upward mobility is virtually eliminated in catch share fisheries. For example, the Alaskan King Crab fisheries are not year round or full time jobs, and quota is absolutely unattainable. Virtually all of the quota is leased at a rate of about 80%, meaning that fishermen are paid a fifth of what they would otherwise receive under a different fishery management program. You really need to address this in the article because it's a universal outcome and complaint. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alaskaa (talkcontribs) 16:01, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Edits to the Theory section[edit]

I changed the passage on alternative management options to more accurately reflect the development of fishery management from input to output controls. The statement that output controls still typically lead to overfishing was removed since it was generally false. Overfishing, as defined in Wikipedia as “the act whereby fish stocks are depleted to unacceptable levels.” It is now generally accepted amongst biologists and fisheries managers that setting a total allowable catch (TAC) is equally effective in sustaining fish stocks, however, it does not eliminate other deleterious “race to fish” behavior such as over-capitalization.

I also made a few changes to reduce redundancies, and maintain the focus in order to enhance the readability of the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alaskaa (talkcontribs) 19:22, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Edits to the Outcomes section[edit]

I edited this section to make it more concise and to more accurately reflect more recent research on the topic. I removed the claim about catch shares reducing the likelihood of fishery depletion since there has been no study (see earlier comments) to demonstrate this[1]. The statement concerning compliance with catch limits was removed since this is redundant information when combined with the stabilized landings claim. However, this should still be reworded to reflect that the outcome of catch shares is to typically stabilize landings near the target values. I will re-word this later when I get the chance. I also added a comment about localized biomass depletion, which has been the study of much recent research. Additionaly, the other paragraphs were streamlined to make the statements more concise, accurate and readable.

  1. ^ Gibbs, M.T; Thébaud (2012). "Beyond Individual Transferrable Quotas: methodologies for integrating ecosystem impacts of fishing into fisheries catch rights.". Fish and Fisheries 13.