Social and Economic Effects of ITQs on the West Coast Groundfish Fishery: Solving the Weak Stock/Bycatch Problem

Award Period: 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 to Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Award Amount: 

$126 077

Agency Name: 

Washington Sea Grant

Award Number: 


PI First Name: 


PI last name: 



Steven Gaines
Robert Deacon

MSI Person: 

Area/s of Research: 


The objectives of the proposed work dovetail with several key WSG priorities:

(1) Maintain the vitality of coastal communities, particularly balancing economic growth with sustainable use of fishery resources: Our modeling analysis will examine social, economic and ecological outcomes of different management approaches to identify options that meet this important triple bottom line for fishing communities along the West Coast.

(2) Identify social and economic impacts and benefits of fishing: Our empirical analyses will identify the short-term social and economic impacts and benefits of a transition to IFQ management in the West Coast Groundfish fishery, while our modeling work will suggest likely longer term impacts and benefits of this and other key management changes (consolidation caps, spatial closures, etc.).

(3) Understand ecosystem effects of fishing: Bycatch of weak stocks compromises the health of marine ecosystems and our modeling results will demonstrate the range of circumstances under which risk pools or other shifts in fleet behavior can overcome this challenge. Both our empirical and modeling work will inform effective internal rules for risk pools. This will result in a novel contribution to the scientific literature and a practical and cost-effective approach to protecting ecosystem integrity.

(4) Evaluate alternative management approaches for fisheries: Our simulation modeling of “policy experiments” will inform near-term management changes for the West Coast Groundfish fishery, while also providing a framework for other US fisheries that may similarly benefit from reform.

We will communicate the results of this project through numerous scientific publications and presentations to fishery managers, fishermen, and regulators. This project will also provide training in cutting-edge science at the interface of bioeconomic modeling, empirical analysis and fishery management to two graduate students.