Catch Shares

Catch share programs set a biologically based annual catch limit for fish stock and allocate a specific portion of that catch limit to entities, such as commercial fishermen, cooperatives or communities. With a secure share, commercial fishermen can be more selective about how and when they catch their allotment. If designed correctly, catch share programs help eliminate the race to fish, reduce overcapacity and bycatch, and improve economic efficiency.

Unfortunately, in fisheries where there is a large and growing recreational sector, exclusive fishing rights proposals maximize benefits to the commercial fishing industry while ignoring the participation and beneficial economic impacts of recreational fishing.
"Catch shares are obviously a major focus for this Administration, and we are concerned not only about the impact they have on recreational fisheries, but also at the pace with which they are being pushed into the management system. Catch shares are on a fast track and we don’t feel we have the luxury to ‘just say no’ – we’ve never chosen that option in any fisheries management crisis. We didn’t do that during the debate over marine protected areas or open-loop LNG terminals and we are not going to do it now. Catch shares are a real threat to the future of a number of recreational fisheries and they are not going to just go away anytime soon. We are going to stay very active on this issue to make sure recreational anglers are not left out of the debate…and out of the fishery."
Chester Brewer, Chairman
CCA National Government Relations Committee

Articles about Catch Shares

Gulf Scandal Looms for South Atlantic

The chaos characterizing Gulf of Mexico fisheries laws is poised to infect South Atlantic waters without executive-level intervention.
Posted on February 23, 2017

CCA continues fight against sector separation

Controversial sector separation ruling goes to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Posted on March 23, 2016

Court ruling clears way for charter/for-hire privatization scheme

Gulf of Mexico red snapper anglers out of options under federal management
Posted on January 05, 2016

The truth comes out

Catch shares for charter/for-hire industry on the way
Posted on June 18, 2015

Anglers speak out against red snapper privatization scheme

More than 1,000 comments opposing Amendment 40 flood Gulf Council
Posted on October 17, 2014

Recreational anglers across the Gulf Coast are letting it be known that they are not happy with the direction of red snapper management in the Gulf of Mexico, as a monumental vote on the future of the fishery looms next week at a federal fishery management meeting in Mobile, Alabama. In this latest round of comments, more than 1,000 anglers have sent messages to members of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in just the last three days asking them to focus on ensuring fair management of Gulf red snapper for everyone and not just select individuals.

Comments on Alabama charter/for-hire exempted fishing permit application

Posted on July 17, 2014

Since catch share programs are expressly designed to reduce capacity, we are opposed to such programs in the recreational sector since they reduce access to red snapper.  In addition, it is very possible that for-hire operators who feel compelled by current circumstances to favor this course of action today could find themselves out of the fishery entirely within just a few years.

A Brave New World

Posted on July 14, 2014

Not one part of catch share program passes the smell test

Posted on May 23, 2014

The Road Once Taken

Posted on April 28, 2014

Imagine how different duck hunting would look today if 100 years ago the federal government had taken a page out of the current NOAA Fisheries playbook and decided to embrace and enhance the market hunters.

Protein for America?

Posted on October 10, 2013

Early in October, news came that more than 130 chefs, restaurant owners, fishermen and seafood industry leaders had partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund to launch a new propaganda campaign called "Share the Gulf.” The goal of this benignly labeled effort is to maintain 51 percent of the red snapper harvest for commercial fishermen and 49 percent to recreational fishermen – an allocation that was set using harvest data from the mid-1980s.

CCA moves to intervene in red snapper lawsuit

CCA National Executive Board approves legal action
Posted on July 30, 2013

Catch share proponents attack recreational angling

Lawsuit seeks to restrict Gulf recreational red snapper anglers
Posted on July 11, 2013

Red snapper crisis spawns new fish grab

Posted on April 12, 2013

States Vs. Feds – Not a Moment Too Soon

Posted on April 04, 2013

Senator Rubio Asks for Review of Stock Assessments to Protect Fisheries and Fishing Communities in Gulf

Posted on February 28, 2013

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and senators from Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and North Carolina today sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office requesting a review of how the Department of Commerce conducts stock assessments in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. The stock assessments conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service are critical in maintaining the vitality of the fisheries, the fishing communities, and related industries in Florida and the region.

Perry Urges Gulf Council to abandon efforts to privatize fisheries

Posted on August 18, 2012

Congress weighs in on Gulf Council’s sector separation scheme

Sportsmen’s Caucus urges Council to step back from unpopular catch shares, sector separation
Posted on July 27, 2012

In another sign of discontent over federal management of the nation’s marine fisheries, co-chairmen of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) have sent a letter to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council expressing the concerns of its membership over the concepts of catch share programs and sector separation. The bipartisan CSC is one of the largest and most effective caucuses in the US Congress with more than 300 members representing almost all 50 states.

Statement of Coastal Conservation Association on the Gulf Exempted Fishing Permit

Posted on April 25, 2012

Coastal Conservation Association rejects the validity of the EFP and questions the propriety of NOAA Fisheries allowing the proposal to be presented to the Council for consideration. By promoting the EFP, NOAA Fisheries has made a farce of every requirement contained in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act for the implementation of catch share programs.

Catch shares schemes rise from the dead in South Atlantic

Outlandish catch share proposal draws heated opposition from anglers
Posted on March 09, 2012

A request by a commercial fishing group for a “voluntary” catch share program in the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery raised hackles at the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting this week. Aside from concerns about the legality of the concept and outrage over the details of the proposal, recreational anglers are questioning why the Council continues to explore catch share programs a year after it voted to terminate all work related to catch share development. 

Legislators act to protect Gulf from catch share schemes

Officials move to eliminate NOAA funding for unpopular fishery management program
Posted on November 09, 2011

Elected officials from the Gulf Coast and beyond are promoting a move to restrict funds for the development of new catch share programs for any fishery under the jurisdiction of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. In a letter to the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee this week, U.S. Representative Steve Southerland II (R-Fla.) and 24 co-signers are calling on Congress to continue to protect the Gulf of Mexico from “job-destroying” catch share programs.

CCA rejects Gulf Council advisory panel recommendations

Panel continues to push recreational-based catch share agenda
Posted on October 27, 2011

In a letter to the chairman of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, Coastal Conservation Association is asking the Council to reject the recommendations of the Limited Access Privilege Program Advisory Panel (LAPP AP) and abandon consideration of sector separation and catch share experiments in Gulf reef fish fisheries.

CCA Testimony on Sector Separation to Gulf Council

Posted on August 18, 2011

The primary concern that CCA has with sector separation is that taking fish from private boat anglers does not seem to provide any benefit for recreational anglers, the states, or for state budgets. I'd like to stress that we have no quarrel with the charter/for-hire sector - we see them as our partners and allies in recreational angling. We are concerned about pitting one group of anglers against another. We don't want to stand here and fight the charter/for-hire guys for days on the water down the road.

Sector Separation--It's OK to Throw Bad Ideas Away

Posted on July 21, 2011

Linus Pauling was an American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author and educator. He was one of the most influential chemists in history and one of only four individuals to have won more than one Nobel Prize.

Latest scam by 'The Feds' does an end-around to law

Posted on June 04, 2011

I received a paper from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, penned by their talented scribe, Bob Wattendorf. He began it this way: "For my 32 years with the FWC, I have been one of those folks dealing with the stigma of 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you.'"

Federal insistence on catch shares for headboats outrages anglers

NOAA ignores overwhelming opposition, proceeds with controversial program
Posted on May 23, 2011

In spite of opposition from governors, Congress and the vast majority of recreational anglers, NOAA Fisheries has unveiled a proposal for the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to take red snapper from the private boat angling sector and give them away in a catch share program. This latest affront to anglers is outlined as an item on the Gulf Council’s June agenda calling for a closed-door session to appoint an advisory panel to make recommendations on a new headboat Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) program.

Boaters’ Help Sought

FIND also looking for lost manatee signs.
Posted on May 16, 2011

Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne pushed around everything that wasn’t securely anchored, including the bottom of the Intracoastal Waterway. 

Feds eye dropping all dockside fishing boat monitoring

Posted on May 11, 2011

The National Marine Fisheries Service announced today it was considering ending all dockside monitoring and using the money to help offset the operating costs for sectors, the fishing cooperatives into which nearly all New England groundfishing boats have organized under the catch share management system.

Sector Separation a Growing Threat to Recreational Red Snapper Season

Posted on April 13, 2011

More light is being shed on the negative impacts of separating the recreational angling sector into "private boat angler" and "charter/for-hire" segments during the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting  this week in Alabama. Coastal Conservation Association has long opposed "sector separation" because it makes recreational anglers compete against each other at a time when there seem to be fewer and fewer opportunities for anglers to pursue fish offshore. 

Despite CCA opposition, advisory panel takes step toward catch shares

Posted on April 07, 2011

“The days-at-sea program is being sold as a benefit for conservation, data collection and management, but all of those things can be achieved by means other than catch shares and sector separation,” said Bird. “Additionally, the Council could help the entire recreational sector and not just the charter and headboat operators by reallocating the red snapper fishery properly in the first place...”

Anglers Share Some Good News on Catch Shares

Posted on March 11, 2011

The road to this point has not been simple. Coastal Conservation Association is among the many groups that have been opposed to catch shares, and we have invested a great deal of time and resources on many fronts to lessen the potential for negative impacts of such programs on the recreational angling community.

South Atlantic Council Votes Down Catch Shares

Anglers applaud decision to terminate catch share development in Amendment 21
Posted on March 11, 2011

Recreational anglers are applauding the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s decision today to “terminate all work relative to catch share development in Amendment 21,” the Comprehensive Catch Share Amendment. In a motion by Council member George Geiger of Florida, the Snapper Grouper Committee yesterday voted to remove catch shares from Amendment 21, setting up today’s action by the full Council. 

Giacalone takes catch share fight to Congress

Posted on March 08, 2011

A leader of New England's commercial fishing industry is expected to urge a congressional committee today to junk the Magnuson-Stevens Act's mandatory rebuilding timelines for overfished stocks.

Local Fishing Industry Reps Feel Their Trip To D.C. Was Successful

Local seafood industry representatives are back from a lobbying trip to Washington D.C. They’re biggest concerns have been the “catch-share” program and the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which establishes catch limits for fish.
Posted on March 03, 2011

Bay County - Charter Boat Captain Bob Zales II was back on the water Thursday, after spending the previous three days in Washington D.C.

Another Foolish Move By Congress

Posted on March 01, 2011

A new Government Accountability Office details billions in potential cuts Congress can make to the budget just by streamlining the federal government.

It's Still About Recreation...Isn't It?

Posted on February 24, 2011

The catch share issue is generating a lot of attention, and it is certainly warranted. Any concept that proposes to privatize a public resource should get a strong reaction from the public and every attempt should be made to beat it back.

House amendment would cut NOAA spending on new catch share programs

Posted on February 20, 2011

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment early Saturday that would prevent NOAA from spending money to promote and institute new limited-access fishing programs such as catch shares on the East Coast, a development that commercial fishing advocates have labeled as "very significant."

Caught up in Catch Shares

Posted on February 16, 2011

Much has been made about the catch share issue in recent months. Catch shares are a poorly understood issue that has been made more complicated by an absolute avalanche of mistruths, half-truths, and outright lies swirling about it in fishing chatrooms and blogs across the country.

Fisheries catch share program questioned

Posted on February 16, 2011

The search for balance between economic and environmental concerns intensified this week over catch limits from those in both commercial and recreational fishing industries.

Gulf Council Focuses on Sector Separation

Posted on February 09, 2011

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is meeting in Mississippi this week and the issue of sector separation is again in the spotlight as the Sustainable Fisheries/Ecosystems Committee voted to remove it from the Annual Catch Limit/Accountability Measure Amendment and re-frame it either as a stand-alone issue or attached to another amendment.

BCI's Martin Named to Center for Coastal Conservation Board of Directors

Posted on January 11, 2011

Columbia, SC - The Center for Coastal Conservation has elected Jim Martin, Director of the Berkley Conservation Institute, to its board of directors.

NOAA chief: System not causing job loss

Posted on December 16, 2010

NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco Thursday issued a ringing defense of her and now the nation's catch share system, telling one of her and her policy's fiercest critics that catch shares are "merely a tool," not an outcome, and are thus "not the cause" of lost fishing industry jobs.

Suit cites NOAA sham in catch share scheme

Posted on November 28, 2010

Gloucester's and others' legal challenge to the Obama administration's management system for the New England groundfishery — a challenge to the government's interpretation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act — has come into sharper focus through a flurry of filings in U.S. District Court in Boston.

Recreational sector stands united against sector separation

Overwhelming opposition to management scheme at Gulf Council workshop
Posted on November 10, 2010

If the public comment period at the Sector Separation Workshop hosted by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is any indication, recreational anglers are united against any proposal to separate the recreational sector into for-hire/charter and private boat angler categories. The three-day workshop was put on by the Gulf Council this week ostensibly to help managers and stakeholders gain a better understanding of sector separation as a proposed management tool for recreational fisheries.

Anglers Evaluate NOAA Catch Share Policy

Posted on November 04, 2010

After months of intense debate, today’s official release of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations’ (NOAA) Catch Share Policy provides recreational anglers with two key elements: a framework to redistribute the benefits of harvesting the nation’s marine resources; and a commitment that catch shares have no place as a management tool for private recreational anglers. Coordinated input from the angling community significantly altered aspects of the draft policy, particularly the process of allocating fisheries between sectors.

Editorial: NOAA's fish allocation cut cries out anew for drastic reforms

Posted on September 02, 2010

The abrupt and seemingly arbitrary move by NOAA's regional fisheries administrator Patricia Kurkul to cut allocations in half for Gloucester's and New England's so-called "common pool" fishermen can be filed under the heading of "inevitable."

NOAA cuts 'common pool' limits in half

Posted on September 01, 2010

The federal government has abruptly cut by 50 percent the fishing opportunities for the small number of groundfishing permitholders who are not part of the new "catch share" system, and are fishing out of the so-called common pool.

NOAA backtracks; Gloucester landings up

Data corrected for first months of catch share system
Posted on August 20, 2010

Commercial landings data for the first three months of the fishing season from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was somewhat confused, leading to the widespread, incorrect conclusion that landings in Portland, Maine, were booming while landings in Gloucester were falling.

Fishermen fearing new US regulations

Posted on May 02, 2010

New fishing regulations designed to revive New England’s once plentiful cod and flounder populations went into effect yesterday, but many fishermen greeted the extensive overhaul with a mixture of skepticism and resignation, saying it will essentially force them and related shore-line industries out of business

Don't delay new fishing rules

Posted on April 25, 2010

TRADITIONAL NEW England groundfish like cod, pollock, and flounder could get a new lease on life as the region’s fishermen switch to an innovative way of divvying up the catch on Saturday. 

Testimony before the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife Oversight Hearing, Committee on Natural Resources, United States House of Representatives

Posted on April 22, 2010

Today, Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation delivered testimony on behalf of the Center for Coastal Conservation,  American Sportfishing Association, Coastal Conservation Association, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association and The Billfish Foundation.


Collaborative Letter on Reallocation in the Catch Share Policy

Posted on April 09, 2010

The final catch share policy should provide for reallocations and inter-sector trading that would, consistent with the requirements of the MSA, promote conservation and accountability. As proposed, the draft catch share policy was silent as to whether the Councils should consider out-of-date underlying allocations between sectors during the development phase of a new catch share plan.

EDF raises stakes in catch share lawsuit

Environmental Defense Fund intervenes to thwart CCA catch share lawsuit
Posted on April 09, 2010

Seeking to defend a controversial catch share program for Gulf grouper, the Environmental Defense Fund has been allowed to intervene in a lawsuit filed by Coastal Conservation Association in federal district court that challenges the adoption and implementation of Amendment 29 to the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Management Plan.

Fed reps target faulty science on catch limits

Lawmakers say bureaucracy, bad science, behind problems with catch-share system
Posted on April 05, 2010

The emergency economic opportunity program for New England commercial fishing industry sent to the Obama administration by seven members of Congress asks for common sense executive action to break through bureaucratic knots and dubious science that are causing what was described as unnecessary job loss within the fishing industry.

Fish allocations seen opening door to lawsuit

Posted on April 01, 2010

The Obama administration has rejected a challenge to the legality and fairness of the 2009 New England Fishery Management Council votes that created an unlevel playing field in the allocation of fishermen's catch shares.

Congressional panel wades into 'catch share' debate

Posted on March 11, 2010

A congressional subcommittee has called for the first public airing before federal lawmakers of the Obama administration's nationwide push for the kind of "catch share" fisheries management that's due for a May 1 launch in New England.

Scientist calls for catch share moratorium

'System may not be economically viable,' leading research biologist tells industry officials
Posted on February 18, 2010

Brian Rothschild, a nationally influential research biologist revered in most New England's ports, has proposed a one-year moratorium in the regional imposition of catch shares, a re-engineering of the fishing industry that is to start May 1 when cooperatives will begin working off allocations.

Sending out an SOS — New movement divides fishermen

Posted on February 03, 2010

Out of frustration, some area captains signed on as supporters of a Save Our Sector plan. Now they are having second thoughts.

Some fishermen decry sectors as management tool

Posted on December 22, 2009

CAPE COD—Like Captain Kirk and his Star Trek crew, Cape Cod fishermen are going, as of May 1, where no man has gone before – into the murky waters of sectors as a fishing management tool.

NOAA to reform commercial fishing with 'catch shares'

DRAFT POLICY: Feds giving public four months to comment.
Posted on December 12, 2009

The federal government will push to expand a concept that gives commercial fishermen a guaranteed share of the overall catch as a tool for restoring depleted stocks in U.S. fisheries.

NOAA to reform commercial fishing with 'catch shares'

DRAFT POLICY: Feds giving public four months to comment.
Posted on December 12, 2009

The federal government will push to expand a concept that gives commercial fishermen a guaranteed share of the overall catch as a tool for restoring depleted stocks in U.S. fisheries.

Feds hope strategy boosts Gulf fishing

‘Catch shares’ meant to help commercial fishermen net a profit safely while also restoring depleted species
Posted on December 11, 2009

The federal government will push for the expansion of a controversial concept that gives commercial fishermen a guaranteed share of the overall catch as a tool for restoring depleted stocks in the Gulf of Mexico and other fisheries.

NOAA Proposal Aims to Spur Cap-And-Trade Management of Fisheries

Posted on December 10, 2009

The Obama administration proposed a national fisheries policy today that promotes the use of new cap-and-trade management schemes for federal fisheries.

NOAA Proposal Aims to Spur Cap-And-Trade Management of Fisheries

Posted on December 10, 2009

The Obama administration proposed a national fisheries policy today that promotes the use of new cap-and-trade management schemes for federal fisheries.

Draft Catch Share Policy

Posted on December 10, 2009

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration releases its Draft Catch Share Policy.

Public comment period ended on April 10, 2010.

Catch share debate heats up nationally

Posted on December 02, 2009

The fully national debate over fishermen's catch shares is about to begin in earnest.

Thank you, Governors, from the members of CCA

Posted on November 12, 2009

Recently, CCA asked the Gulf state governors to voice their concerns over a rapidly expanding federal program for managing fisheries called a catch-share program, and Gov. Perry of Texas, Gov. Jindal of Louisiana, Gov. Barbour of Mississippi and Gov. Riley of Alabama responded by signing a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. The letter signed by the governors was a powerful gesture on behalf of recreational anglers, and recreational anglers have responded with an outpouring of appreciation for the leadership shown by the Gulf governors.

Pew: Go slow on catch shares

Stand shows split between enviro groups
Posted on November 04, 2009

The Pew Environment Group yesterday urged the Obama administration to "go slow" on fishermen's catch shares, the economic system of fisheries management pushed by the Environmental Defense Fund and Jane Lubchenco, its former vice chairman, now the national administrator for fisheries.

Catch Share Caveats

Posted on November 01, 2009

Read full editoral here

Gulf Governors Stand Up for Recreational Angling

States unite to request feds better protect citizens' access to public resources
Posted on October 22, 2009

“We have already seen the negative impacts from the Gulf red snapper catch share system and are concerned about negative impacts from the pending program for Gulf grouper,” the governors’ letter stated. “Creating an exclusive harvesting right for a small group of commercial fishermen inherently marginalizes other users who do not have the same access privileges..."

Conservationists Encouraged by Fisheries Amendments

Angler concerns over catch shares, aquaculture gaining traction
Posted on October 13, 2009

The pace and breadth of federal oceans and fisheries policies have caused apprehension in the angling community in recent months, but a pair of amendments to a Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill filed by Sen. David Vitter (R-La) last week signals that some elected officials are concerned as well. The amendments, proposed as part of spending bill HR 2847, would force the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration to do new analyses of offshore fish farming and catch-share programs in federal fisheries.

CCA Files Lawsuit to Stop Gulf Grouper Giveaway

"Fundamentally flawed" catch share program a threat to angling
Posted on September 28, 2009

"In more than 30 years of practice in fisheries law, I have not seen a more arbitrary action than this one,” said Robert G. Hayes, CCA general counsel. CCA has asked for an expedited hearing and expects the government to answer the lawsuit within the next 60 days. “We are going to proceed as quickly as the court will allow to prevent the implementation of this egregious decision.”

Gulf stewardship

Posted on September 15, 2009

Catch share programs that privatize public resources for the benefit of a handful of commercial fishermen are not examples of good stewardship, and they are hardly a model that should be employed in any other fishery. Maximizing public access to public marine resources and managing them in a way that both conserves the resource and delivers the greatest economic benefits to the nation is the proper way to steward our marine resources.

NOAA Abandons Recreational Anglers

Approval of grouper giveaway pushes recreational anglers to the brink
Posted on August 31, 2009

Approval of grouper giveaway pushes recreational anglers to the brink

NOAA catch-share program threatens recreational angling

CCA questions federal program of resource giveaways
Posted on August 12, 2009

CCA questions federal program of resource giveaways.

CCA Discussion Document Ends in Success

Controversial paper accomplished goals by shining light on red snapper management failures
Posted on August 12, 2009

Controversial paper accomplished goal by shining light on red snapper management failures.

CCA Letter to Monica Medina, Head of the NOAA Catch Shares Task Force

Posted on August 06, 2009

"Simply put, CCA is opposed to the application of catch shares in purely recreational fisheries, agrees that there may some value in their use in purely commercial fisheries and has a number of grave concerns about their application in mixed-use fisheries."

CCA Comments on Amendment 29 to the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Plan

Posted on June 08, 2009

Adoption of any amendment must be supported by the record. Even initial decisions, like who can participate in the plan, have to be supported by an analysis of the existing data and the impacts of the decision. 

Gulf Council mandates 74% bycatch reduction for shrimp fleet

CCA lawsuit forces reform, sets snapper on road to recovery
Posted on June 07, 2007

NEW ORLEANS – The most significant bycatch reduction measures ever imposed on the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fleet were announced today, paving the way for a steady recovery of Gulf red snapper stocks. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council voted to put limitations on the shrimp industry despite its persistent position denying any responsibility for the current status of the red snapper fishery.