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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Summary

In 1976, Congress passed the Fishery Conservation and Management Act. That Act, now known as the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (referred to in this report as “the MSA”), establishes a system for regulating fisheries in U.S. federal waters while fostering their long-term biological and economic sustainability. Though the MSA gives the ultimate authority for managing federally regulated fisheries to the Secretary of Commerce and its subordinate agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the bulk of the responsibility falls to the eight Regional Fishery Management Councils (the Councils). Bluefin tuna and other highly migratory species are also managed through the NMFS but, ultimately, through the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, to which the United States is a signatory.

In accordance with the MSA, the Councils are composed of officials from state, federal, and tribal governments and knowledgeable people with a stake in fisheries management. Their primary duties are the preparation, monitoring, and revision of Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) for fisheries within their respective geographic jurisdictions. The law gives the Councils flexibility to tailor rules that fit individual fisheries, but also mandates that FMPs and other management measures be consistent with 10 “national standards.” While these standards generally require that rules are fair to fishers,1 promote fisher safety and efficiency, and ensure the long-term sustainability of fish populations and fishing communities, the first National Standard is specific and quantitative, commanding that policy makers “shall prevent overfishing while achieving … the optimum yield” (the MSA, Pub. L. No. 94-265 § 3(7)(A)).

The first two decades of management under the MSA produced successes in ending overfishing and rebuilding some stocks. They also resulted in some failures. For example, by the early 1990s, a significant percentage of fish populations could be characterized as “overfished”—reduced to levels

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1There is considerable debate on whether to use “fishermen” or “fishers” to indicate people who catch fish—for a living, for pleasure, or for subsistence. The term “fisher” is not universally accepted, particularly by women and men in North American fishing industries. However, in academic journals and many government documents, usage of “fishers” has increased in recent decades as a more gender-neutral term, even though in most usages, “fishermen” refers unambiguously to people of any gender who fish. Aware of this controversy, the committee opted to use “fishers” in this report.

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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incapable of producing as high a yield as possible—and a number of fisheries could be considered severely overcapitalized such that the capital invested by fishers far exceeded the amount needed to catch the fish and maximize profits. From a societal perspective, these outcomes represent wasted resources and make fishing less sustainable and profitable than it otherwise could be.

In response to these and other issues, Congress and the administration made major revisions to the MSA in 1996 and 2006. In 1996, the reauthorized MSA required overfishing to be ended and stocks rebuilt within a decade, if possible. It also imposed a moratorium on the use of individual fishing quotas (IFQs) in fisheries management and commissioned a study of them, which led to a 1999 National Research Council report, Sharing the Fish: Toward a National Policy on Individual Fishing Quotas. In 2006, Congress added a section on Limited Access Privilege Programs (LAPPs) to the MSA that incorporated some of the recommendations of that report. Under a LAPP, individuals, corporations, and other entities receive exclusive use of a defined portion of the total allowable catch (TAC) for a particular fish stock. The addition of this section, which followed the lifting of the moratorium in 2002, represented the first time that Congress had directly authorized the use of IFQs. As discussed more fully throughout this report, LAPPs can alter the incentive structure of a fishery in pursuit of better conservation and greater efficiency if appropriately designed and accompanied by effective monitoring and accountability measures. However, the question of how this restructuring impacts the overall fishery, including fishing sectors that are not part of a LAPP but target the same species, remains. Specifically, what are the impacts of LAPPs in “mixed-use fisheries,” where the same species or stocks are targeted by commercial and recreational fishers, or the recreational, for-hire, and commercial sectors?

An ad hoc committee was convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to consider the use of LAPPs in the following mixed-use fisheries: red snapper, grouper and tilefish, managed by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; wreckfish, managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council; golden tilefish, managed by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council; and bluefin tuna, a highly migratory species managed by the Secretary of Commerce. The committee’s tasks for this report were to:

  1. Assess the progress in meeting the goals of each relevant LAPP and the goals of the MSA;
  2. Assess the social, economic, and ecological effects of each relevant LAPP, considering each sector of the relevant fishery and related businesses, coastal fishing communities, and the environment;
  3. Assess any impacts to stakeholders in the relevant mixed-use fishery caused by the LAPP;
  4. Recommend policies to address any negative impacts identified in task 3;
  5. Identify and recommend the different factors and information that the NMFS and the Councils should consider when designing, establishing, or maintaining a LAPP in a mixed-use fishery to mitigate impacts to stakeholders to the extent practicable; and
  6. Review best practices and challenges faced in the design and implementation of LAPPs in all Council regions.

This study was congressionally mandated in the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018 and funded by NOAA. The legislation specifically excludes examination of LAPPs under the jurisdiction of the Pacific and North Pacific Fishery Management Councils, except for the purpose of reviewing best practices and challenges in design and implementation of LAPPs.

For each of the LAPPs in mixed-use fisheries specified in the Statement of Task, the committee examined available data and analyses on the fisheries and collected testimony from fishery participants, relevant Councils, and NMFS regional experts through a series of public meetings. To provide context for the information provided, the committee conducted literature reviews, looking

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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for peer-reviewed studies that have attempted to scientifically examine or predict IFQ or LAPP impacts in mixed-use fisheries.

Throughout the development of this report, the committee was alerted to the difficulty of establishing causation when evaluating the impacts of LAPPs in mixed-use fisheries. They recognize the scarcity of seminal data and studies that would enable a clearer picture of how the commercial, for-hire, and recreational fisheries for particular species, or species complexes, interact. The implementation of LAPPs in mixed-use fisheries has often coincided with stricter controls on overfishing, stock rebuilding programs, intensified monitoring, and other fishery management measures. In addition, conditions before and after implementation can be affected by other significant events, such as a major oil spill or natural disaster, trends in seafood markets, or general economic conditions. Accordingly, to assess the impacts of a LAPP on a particular fishery (stock or stock assemblage), it is not sufficient simply to point to changes in fisheries before and after the LAPP went into effect as instructed in the LAPP review guidelines. Instead, these changes can be compared to one or more plausible scenarios for what would have likely happened in the absence of the LAPP. Although not always possible given the data available, this was a methodological objective throughout this study.

Another methodological objective throughout this study was taking an interdisciplinary approach to addressing the causal questions about LAPPs in mixed-use fisheries wherever possible. These are questions that engage biological, ecological, economic, legal and administrative, anthropological, political, and other disciplines. Successful interdisciplinarity, a much sought goal for integrated fisheries and marine research and policy, sometimes requires shared knowledge of and respect for divergent epistemologies and consideration of different standards of evidence. It also benefits from cooperation in data analysis and interpretation where possible, and transparency in reporting the results. Interdisciplinarity is a critical tool to better understand and manage for the economic efficiency, social justice, and ecological resilience essential to the continued success of the nation’s mixed-use fisheries.

INDIVIDUAL QUOTA SYSTEMS AND LAPPs

LAPPs are fisheries management programs where shares of an overall quota, or allowable catch, are assigned to individuals or other entities for their exclusive use (see Figure S.1). Designated in the MSA, they are types of catch shares, and they are most often known as individual fishing quotas. IFQs were conceived of as a tool to address problems associated with wild fisheries and other common pool resources, where the combination of relative open access to participants and government regulations to protect the resource leads to inefficiencies, management complications, and possibly exacerbates threats to fisher safety (i.e., through the “race to fish,” also known as “derby fishing”). In marine fisheries, this “open access problem” is often expressed in costly processes whereby fishers seek to harvest as much as possible before quota limits are reached and the fishery is closed. IFQs provide fishery participants with individual shares of an overall quota, or a total allowable catch (TAC), which gives them flexibility in timing the harvest. When the shares are transferable, the IFQs can help promote, through trading, a better alignment of fishing effort with the status of the resource, and thus increase profitability. The term individual transferable quota (ITQ) is a way to distinguish this type of IFQ; the cases in this study are all ITQs, but in the United States they are most often called IFQs. The committee uses the terms IFQ and catch share for the cases of this study, reserving the term individual bluefin quota (IBQ) for the bluefin tuna bycatch LAPP.

The initial allocation of shares and subsequent trading of IFQs can also lead to restructuring of ownership and participation. While this and other changes may enhance economic efficiency, they may also have disruptive social and economic effects on some sectors, such as Indigenous fisheries, small-scale fisheries, and fishery-dependent communities as documented in the United States, New Zealand, Iceland, and other places with experience in this form of management. For these and

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Image
FIGURE S.1 (A) Venn diagram representing the relationships among common approaches to fishery management, with regions of greater overlap indicating additional restrictions. Beginning from unregulated open access, the diagram represents three pathways: (1) limiting catch, beginning with limited access and adding restrictions on total allowable catch, allocating harvest rights through catch shares, individual allocation through individual fishing quota (IFQ) and individual transferable quota (ITQ); (2) limiting effort through establishing non-binding harvest guidelines, imposing input restrictions and then transferable input rights; and (3) controlling spatial access by establishing regulated-take or closed no-take areas, with the range of effort or catch controls applying within regions where fishing is permitted.
SOURCE: Anderson et al., 2019. (B) Venn diagram representing the relationship among LAPP permits and other commonly used allocation strategies. The LAPP forms of “community quotas” are LAPPs assigned to fishing communities or to regional fishery associations, as defined and under conditions outlined in the legislation 16 U.S. Code § 1853a(c)(3), (4).
Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
×

other reasons, Congress placed a moratorium on the adoption of new IFQs in U.S. fisheries that lasted from 1996 to 2002.

The LAPP provisions in Section 1853a of the 2006 reauthorization of the MSA represent Congress’s attempt to design an IFQ program that maintains the economic advantages of IFQs while recognizing the need for equity and fairness in allocation of individual privileges, the importance of including social and cultural frameworks in their design and implementation, and the need to address questions regarding transferability and new entrants into fisheries. Briefly, the provisions clarified that LAPP permits are not “property” but rather “privileges” in the sense that the Councils or the NMFS may modify their terms, or even eliminate them, without having to compensate the owner. They can have property-like features, such as transferability; the Councils can make them transferable in order to facilitate trades that can result in greater efficiency. However, the Councils must establish caps, or maximum proportional shares, that a privilege holder can have and do whatever else is “necessary to prevent an inequitable concentration of limited access privilege.”

The initial allocation criteria are left up to the Councils as policy decisions. According to the MSA, the procedures for determining those criteria should, however, ensure that they are fair and equitable, and consider current and historic production; employment; investments in, and dependence on, the fishery; and the participation of fishing communities. To help mitigate impacts on fishery participants who might not qualify for LAPP allocations, there is a requirement “to consider the basic cultural and social framework of the fishery,” with attention to the needs of smaller owner-operated fishing vessels and fishery-dependent fishing communities. The MSA has provisions meant to facilitate participation in LAPPs by entry-level and small vessel owner-operators, captains, crews, and fishing communities. There is also a provision for an appeals process regarding initial allocation. Once implemented, the MSA requires permit holders to pay for costs related to the program up to 3% of the value of landings. Finally, the MSA requires periodic reviews and evaluations of LAPPs to assess progress toward addressing the goal(s) of the program. As the goals of each LAPP can differ, each review will necessarily differ.

Mixed-Use Fisheries

Mixed-use fisheries, as defined in the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018, are those where recreational, charter (i.e., for-hire), and commercial fishing sectors target the same species or stocks. The management systems in mixed-use fisheries usually differ. This is especially true between commercial and recreational fishing where the former is more tightly restricted to meet biological targets on fish mortality, including possible limits on access and on catches, and the latter is mainly open access with restrictions such as bag limits, size limits, and seasons only loosely linked to biological goals.

This study focuses on the effects of LAPPs on each sector that fishes in federal waters, even though they might also fish in state waters. The Councils provide mechanisms for interaction and coordination with state management through state representation on the Councils and through interactions with regional interstate marine fisheries commissions (MFCs; Gulf States MFC, Atlantic States MFC). While state-federal management is a major issue in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the recent shift of some federal waters recreational fisheries management and monitoring of red snapper to the states, it was not seen by the committee as within its purview, except in relation to possible innovations in recreational fisheries management. Neither of the Atlantic coast fisheries in this study (golden tilefish and wreckfish) are handled through the regional MFC, as these stocks are rarely found and fished in state waters.

The mixed-use fisheries of this study vary greatly in catch volume, degree of quota allocations by sector, geographic range, and nature of mixed-use. As can be seen in Table S.1, the two Atlantic coast fisheries, golden tilefish and wreckfish, have low recreational participation and the

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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commercial participants are very small in numbers. In contrast, the Gulf of Mexico reef fish fisheries, including the LAPPs for red snapper and the grouper-tilefish complex, are very large and have major recreational sectors with high recreational percentages of the allocation of total allowable catches, especially for red snapper and the shallow-water groupers. The bluefin tuna fishery, managed by the Highly Migratory Species Division of the NMFS, is the most complex in terms of the variety and number of sectors, although the pelagic longline sector, which is managed through a LAPP for bycatch, is relatively small. It is one of the two cases in which there are multiple commercial fishing sectors besides the LAPP sector: for bluefin tuna, the pelagic longline IBQ sector plus purse seine, trap, harpoon, and general category (hook and line) sectors; for golden tilefish in the Mid-Atlantic, the ITQ vessels, primarily longliners, plus vessels with open access golden tilefish permits that are allowed a limited bycatch of the species.

PROGRESS IN MEETING GOALS OF LAPPs AND MAGNUSON-STEVENS ACT AS DETERMINED BY PROGRAM REVIEWS

A major task of the committee was to assess progress in meeting the goals of each relevant LAPP consistent with the goals of the MSA. Pursuant to the MSA, the Councils must periodically review LAPPs established after January 12, 2007. Although the Fishery Management Council responsible for managing the program conducts and writes the LAPP reviews, the responsible NMFS Regional Office and Regional Science Center also provide significant input. The LAPP reviews highlight the goals and objectives of the program, and evaluate whether and how they are being met. The MSA does not require that LAPP reviews address the impacts of LAPPs within mixed-use fisheries. Therefore, the reviews concentrate on the commercial sectors, and for the most part have little information about how LAPPs affect other sectors or the fisheries as a whole. Accordingly, the report provides background information on how LAPPs function in the commercial sectors in addition to information and analysis not ordinarily included in LAPP reviews.

The LAPP reviews indicate that where major objectives of the LAPPs were to reduce capacity and derby conditions, such reductions occurred, although it was not always possible to know whether the LAPP itself was the primary or sole cause of this change. Changes in fishery rebuilding and conservation, and the welfare of stakeholders and communities, can rarely be attributed to the LAPPs alone. LAPPs constitute just one component of larger fishery management programs. Their effectiveness and impacts are significantly dependent on other elements, including biologically appropriate total allowable catch limits and improvements in monitoring and enforcement within the management system, as well as external conditions and events.

The red snapper and grouper-tilefish ITQ programs sought to reduce overcapacity and to mitigate derby fishing conditions. The 5-year reviews concluded that the programs were moderately to highly successful in achieving those goals. Following the implementation of the IBQ program, bluefin tuna catch and discards declined as desired due to the bycatch focus of this LAPP, but the goal of maintaining the profitability of the longline fleet was not achieved (likely due to global market reasons unrelated to the bycatch program). The review of the golden tilefish ITQ found that, since program implementation, overcapacity was reduced, derby-style fishing subsided, and ex-vessel (i.e., wholesale) prices improved. The 2019 wreckfish review, the second for that ITQ program, found relative success in achieving its objectives; however, given the very small numbers of vessels and people involved, NMFS’s rules on confidentiality limited the data available to assess economic and social objectives.

Regularly scheduled program reviews are vital to assessing program performance and thus building effective public policy. The systematic LAPP reviews provide important information about LAPPs and have resulted in programmatic changes and improvements. They also provide

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
×

TABLE S.1 Characteristics of Limited Access Privilege Programs (LAPPs) in Five Mixed-Use Fisheries

Distribution of TAC
First Year Management Agency Species Type LAPPs Recreation Other Number of Initial Shareholders Number of Active Fishing Vessels
1991 South Atlantic Wreckfish ITQ 95% 5%a 6 8 permits (2018)
2007 Gulf of Mexico Red snapper ITQ 51% 49%b 554 362 (2011)c
2009 Mid-Atlantic Golden tilefish ITQ 95% 0% 5%d 13 14 (2009-2013)
2010 Gulf of Mexico Grouper-tilefish (G-T) see belowe 766 731 (2011-2015)f
G-T Shallow-water grouper (SWG) ITQ 77% 23%
SWG: Red grouper 76% 24%
SWG: Gag 39% 61%
G-T Deepwater grouper ITQ 96.5% 3.5%
G-T Tilefish ITQ 99.7% 0.3%
2015 NOAA/HMS Bluefin tuna IBQ 8.1%g 19.7%h 72.9%i 136 76 (2018)

NOTES: IBQ = individual bluefin quota (to manage bycatch); ITQ = individual transferable quota; TAC = total allowable catch. Allocations are percentages of the total allowable catch allocated to each sector: LAPP (commercial), recreational (usually includes for hire), and other. Shareholder refers to number of either individual entities or accounts, in most instances at time of initial allocation (exception is wreckfish, 2017). Estimates of active fishing vessels come from various sources and dates and are used as an indicator of relative differences in scale of the fisheries.

a Although wreckfish has a recreational fishing allocation there are few reported recreational catches. SOURCE: Wreckfish LAPP review.

b Red snapper recreational allocation is divided: 57.2% private angler, 42.3% for hire (charter). SOURCE: Jessica Stephen, NMFS, personal communication, 2021.

c Red snapper and grouper-tilefish fishing vessels have significant overlap. SOURCE: Red snapper LAPP review.

d Golden tilefish allocation for incidental catches from permitted commercial vessels. There is no allocation for recreational fishing, which is managed through bag limits at present. SOURCE: Golden tilefish LAPP review.

e In some cases, there is no explicit recreational allocation; it comes from what remains after a commercial allocation is set. Fishing vessels in the grouper-tilefish ITQ program combined with those in the red snapper program (grouper-tilefish review). SOURCE: Mike Travis and Jessica Stephen, NMFS, personal communication, 2021.

f Fishing vessels in the grouper-tilefish ITQ program combined with those in the red snapper program. SOURCE: Grouper-tilefish LAPP review.

g The IBQ program is only for pelagic longliners. Their allocation is often increased by transfer from the Purse Seine sector or a Reserve category. There are limited entry permits for other categories.

h Angling (recreational handgear); private anglers and for-hire vessels may also use the commercial General category in some conditions.

i 57% General (commercial handgear); 18.6% Purse Seine (not active in recent years); 4% Harpoon & Trap; 2.5% Reserve. SOURCE: Bluefin tuna LAPP review.

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
×

an opportunity to learn from a collection of LAPP reviews, especially with a focus on spillover2 effects because the fisheries under consideration are quite diverse and any common themes will prove useful. However, in studying the five LAPP reviews, the committee found need for additional information and analysis that would help not only in future reviews of existing LAPPs but also in designing future LAPPs. In most cases the program reviews contained little empirical evidence that would enable evaluating social, cultural, and community aspects of the programs, reflecting the underdevelopment of data collection and analysis for social impact analysis. In addition, the committee concurred with the LAPP review guidelines that some LAPPs lacked key components including quantitative targets for specific major objectives, clear definitions of objectives such as “viability” or “overcapitalization,” and appropriate metrics and/or data for identifying progress toward achieving objectives. Building on the committee’s concern about evidence for causation, the program reviews could benefit from more explicit information on counterfactual scenarios in the absence of the LAPP and the impacts of concurrent and confounding events on outcomes. Finally, the reviews’ sole focus on LAPPs in commercial fisheries limits their value in assessing LAPPs in relation to other sectors in mixed-use fisheries.

ECOLOGICAL IMPACTS OF LAPPs IN MIXED-USE FISHERIES

The Councils primarily use LAPPs to meet economic or social objectives, but there are several ways LAPPs can alter the conservation status of a fishery and provide ecological benefits. Among the purported conservation benefits of a LAPP are that it may provide a stewardship incentive that is lacking in open- or limited-access fisheries. In theory, when individuals hold access rights that are secure, durable, and exclusive, they will have an incentive to support conservation actions that will provide future benefits to the fishery. Pursuant to the MSA, however, LAPP permits are not property in the sense that the Councils and the NMFS can modify or eliminate them without compensating the permit holder.3 LAPPs can, however, have property-like features. For example, they are exclusive to the privilege holder and can be transferable. These features may be sufficient to create the requisite incentives. A second pathway to ecological benefits is that LAPPs appear to increase the likelihood of keeping the catches close to the quota, enhanced by the fact that individual shareholders are liable for overages. A third pathway is that LAPPs tend to end or reduce the race to fish, and thereby reduce or eliminate the adverse ecological consequences that the race to fish can generate. For example, under restrictive trip limits there is an incentive to fish close to port with resultant local depletion as opposed to spreading fishing effort more broadly. A fourth pathway whereby LAPPs can exert ecological impacts is that the changes to the fishery monitoring, accountability, and quota-setting process itself that accompany a LAPP allow for increased control thereby reducing the probability of exceeding overfishing targets and thresholds. In effect, LAPPs convey fishing privileges in exchange for a higher standard of monitoring, data collection, and enforcement relative to the status quo.

The ecological consequences that might have resulted from the implementation of a LAPP in a mixed-use fishery are not fully addressed because only the LAPP component of the fishery has sufficient information to assess. Hence, the committee did not consider the ecological consequences that might result from individuals leaving one fishery and entering another or how the formation of a LAPP altered behavior in other non-LAPP fisheries targeting the same stocks.

Having a LAPP in the commercial sector of a mixed-use fishery may create leverage for improved conservation in other sectors. Overall, the committee found that sectoral discards in

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2The various direct and indirect ways that actions in one sector of a fishery affect conditions and activities in another sector of a fishery.

3Although Congress classified LAPP privileges as permits so that the Councils and the NMFS would have regulatory flexibility, LAPPs may be treated as property in other contexts, such as state court divorce proceedings.

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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the mixed-use fisheries studied have generally declined. Attributing those declines to the roles of LAPPs in modifying the behavior of fishers is generally not possible given the data available. Additional conservation measures that may be attributed to LAPPs include the improved conservation of bycatch species, which is also an outcome from some LAPPs but highly dependent on the circumstances of coincident fisheries. Further exploring this idea of “serial conservation” in mixed-use fisheries, which may include social and legal pressure for more accountability in other fisheries or sectors following strong performance of a LAPP, could improve overall understanding of these dynamics. Similarly, quota balancing in mixed-species fisheries may create a strong incentive to meet but not exceed fishery targets for complexes of stocks. Thus, while usually not the determining factor in the implementation of LAPPs for segments of mixed-use fisheries, LAPPs can have important ecological consequences for species, communities, and ecosystems.

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC EFFECTS FOR COMMERCIAL PARTICIPANTS IN RELEVANT MIXED-USE FISHERIES

The committee evaluated the LAPPs included in this study in relation to expected or commonly observed economic and social impacts. The committee found no reason to expect that hypothesized mechanisms for the effects of LAPPs on the commercial fisheries would differ when used within mixed-use fisheries although it is possible that activity by sectors outside the LAPP, the for-hire and recreational sectors, could amplify problems that LAPPs are meant to address such as the race to fish. Empirical studies of LAPP fisheries have typically not distinguished between mixed-use and single-use fisheries.

The Race to Fish

A key objective of LAPPs, particularly those where trading is allowed—as is the case in all of the LAPPs covered in this study—is to create a system where fleet size, or other indicators of capital investment and fishing effort, can be adjusted to better fit the state of the resource through the decisions and market transactions of permit holders, albeit within the framework of administrative and government measures. As noted above, more traditional approaches to fishery management such as limited seasons or trip-by-trip quotas can result in a “race to fish” where fishers try to harvest as much as possible before a season has ended or a total allowable catch is reached. Racing behavior was a major source of overcapitalization in three of the five LAPPs in this study. According to the program reviews, all of the LAPPs coincided with significant declines in measures of overcapitalization (e.g., number of vessels), although some aspects of the declining numbers of vessels may be attributed to other causes.

To avoid possible misunderstanding, it should be acknowledged that there are regulatory and natural safeguards that will normally prevent the race to fish from damaging a fish stock. In the cases mentioned above where the race to fish is caused by incentives to get the fish before the season has ended or the TAC is taken, those limits are set with biological limits in mind. So while there may be a rapid increase in fishing effort, the effect of that increase will be limited. Even more important, one goal of fishing is to make a profit and the increase in effort will decrease the overall or localized stock size, which will reduce profits and slow down the race to fish.

The committee found strong evidence for a reduced race to fish in the red snapper LAPP—as assessed by the quality of evidence and rigor of experimental design or counterfactual, and supported in surveys of participants. Evidence is also strong in the related grouper-tilefish IFQ program, despite differences among the many species involved, that the race to fish was reduced. Evidence is weak for wreckfish, but strong for golden tilefish (in the Mid-Atlantic). The race to fish

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
×

was not identified as a problem in the longline sector of the bluefin tuna fishery, where the LAPP applies only to bluefin tuna bycatch.

Safety at Sea

The conceptual argument for improved safety at sea as a consequence of LAPPs flows directly from mediating the race to fish. Because LAPPs allow fishers to decide when to catch fish rather than forcing them into competitive and often short seasons, they can avoid bad weather and other potential safety hazards. Some evidence from risk-exposure and before-and-after comparisons show positive changes in fisher safety (i.e., reduction in the number of accidents) in the LAPP fisheries considered in this study. Inference and surveys of participants, where they exist, generally show perceptions of improved safety at sea as well.

Prices and Profitability

A number of studies indicate that LAPPs can increase prices by allowing fishers to time their catches with market demand and avoid market gluts, improving product quality by not racing to fish and fetching a premium by landing more fresh fish that otherwise would have to be frozen under derby conditions. Of the LAPPs that hoped to increase fish prices (i.e., red snapper, grouper-tilefish, and golden tilefish), all three had evidence for price increases. The IBQ for bluefin tuna was not designed to increase prices. The evidence for wreckfish was not publicly available due to confidentiality restrictions.

Avoiding market gluts by allowing landings to be more evenly dispersed throughout the year can also provide more stability in ex-vessel prices. In all four of the traditional LAPP ITQ programs examined in this study (exclusive of the bycatch-based bluefin tuna IBQ), ex-vessel fish prices were considered to have become more stable as a result of implementing the ITQ program. While none of the reviews provided quantitative evidence to support this conclusion, several referred to external studies including those that obtained information from stakeholder surveys.

Another indicator of overall profitability is an increase in quota or share price—the price to acquire a unit of quota in perpetuity or as a rental, respectively. As an indicator of the discounted future stream of expected profits, quota price is a measure of cost and revenue expectations from an operational perspective as well as anticipated stock health, regulation, and fleet structure. There was modest to strong evidence for profitability increases through share prices in three of the five study fisheries (i.e., red snapper, grouper-tilefish, and golden tilefish). Because of a very small number of participants in the wreckfish fishery, share prices are not consistently available due to the NMFS’s policy on confidentiality. The configuration of the bluefin tuna LAPP is different from the others; share prices do not signal profitability.

An increase in average or median prices and reduced price volatility at the market level are both encouraging outcomes. However, there is potential for improvement in these markets from having transaction information released as soon as possible and in fostering the literacy of potential buyers and sellers on the factors that should be considered in their own decision making. Quota and allocation assets are unique, as are the decentralized markets in which they are traded. Without the conditions for a perfectly competitive transfer market, inefficiencies will remain and limit the full potential of transferability.

The impact of improved financial performance could also lead to modernization of vessels, processing equipment, and infrastructure (e.g., docks) as well as to investments in new markets and expanded product forms and in maintaining a highly skilled workforce. While the committee heard anecdotal evidence of this in some of the fisheries examined in this study, the reports available to the committee did not address these outcomes.

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Effort Reduction and Consolidation

LAPPs are expected to reduce total fishing effort and change industry structure. Consolidation refers to changes in industry structure where catch, boat ownership, and/or quota holdings become more concentrated among fewer vessels, individual owners, and/or fishing firms. In an overcapitalized fleet, LAPPs can impact fishery structure through consolidation of ownership of quota shares and/or fishing vessels through at least two mechanisms: (1) transferability of catch shares, usually from less efficient to more efficient operations whereby less efficient ones exit the fishery or are bought out and consolidated with the more efficient ones, and (2) possible economies of scale that attend larger business ventures. While increased concentration is expected in an overcapitalized fishery following the introduction of a LAPP, and in such cases consolidation is an indicator of program success, measures to prevent excessive consolidation are required by MSA Section 303a(c) (5)(D). Share caps and lease accumulation caps prevent excessive consolidation where they exist (e.g., red snapper and grouper-tilefish). It is also possible that fisheries were more consolidated prior to the LAPP or would have been more consolidated today in the absence of the LAPP.

There was some evidence of consolidation in each of the four IFQ fisheries in this study. Consolidation was not considered an issue for the IBQ system. In most instances, evaluations lack statistical control of counterfactuals, and in some it is difficult to accurately identify the entities that participate in owning, leasing, and using quota shares. This is a perceived problem in the red snapper and grouper-tilefish ITQ programs in the Gulf of Mexico. The committee concluded that, even though there is a great deal of concern expressed by some participants, as revealed in ethnographic studies and in the mandated reviews about the restructuring of ownership and access to quota shares, there is only modest evidence for consolidation in the grouper-tilefish ITQ program. For red snapper, the evidence shows moderate concentration but the causal effect of the LAPP on consolidation is weak. In neither fishery has consolidation been deemed to have resulted in subsequent market power. The wreckfish ITQ fishery and the Mid-Atlantic golden tilefish ITQ fishery have become highly and moderately concentrated, respectively, but in the latter case this is a continuation of the pre-LAPP trend.

Labor and Employment

If the LAPP creates conditions for reduction in the numbers of boats and/or trips and other changes linked to greater efficiency, one can expect effects on the number and character of jobs at sea and on land, the nature of work, and conditions of employment. Studies have shown both positive and negative outcomes for crew members from fewer vessels participating over longer seasons and with possible increases in the unit value of catch, affecting wages and employment. However, these effects can be difficult to assess due to data deficiencies regarding individual identities and histories of participation.

No information was available on labor and employment shifts due to LAPPs for the wreckfish, golden tilefish, and Atlantic bluefin tuna programs. Data confidentiality may be a factor for the wreckfish and golden tilefish cases, given the very small number of vessels involved. A more general problem is the lack of records on hired captains and crews. However, special efforts were made for the two Gulf of Mexico LAPPs to survey shareholders, captains, and crew members and to use ethnographic methods in selected fishing communities. There was evidence of some decline in crew sizes and the proportion of trip revenue afforded to crew members in the traditional “lay” or share system of payment, but mixed data on income and job satisfaction. Ethnographic studies and social surveys found mainly a sense of unfairness in many aspects of the programs, particularly from those who did not benefit from initial allocations or were unable to afford leasing allocations. The committee recognized the importance of the findings but noted that these studies were constrained by

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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lack of baseline data; underrepresentation of those who no longer participated in the LAPP fisheries; possible biases in participant selection that led to underrepresentation of the regional, ethnic, age, and racial diversity of the fisheries; and a lack of efforts to examine counterfactuals.

New Roles, Distributional Effects, and Barriers to Entry

The fairness or equity issues raised about employment are related to concern about the distribution effects of the LAPPs and the emergence of new roles as well as barriers to new entry. The initial allocation sets up the conditions and structure that may lead to realignment of social and economic positions within a fishery and within communities. In the existing IFQ and ITQ systems, the initial allocation is set up to guarantee entry for historical participants who meet qualification criteria (i.e., landings thresholds), and those criteria tend to reflect the status quo at the time decisions are made. The processes that follow (e.g., sales, lease exchanges, etc.) often result in a continuation or intensification of existing differences in capital, access, and status among participants.

The studies available to the committee frequently reflect the sentiment that shareholders should be active fishers rather than people profiting from the work and risks taken by fishers. The 5-year review of the red snapper program identified an increase in quota owners that were not fishing as a significant social impact. The red snapper IFQ had begun with a requirement that shareholders also hold limited access reef fish permits, but this was scheduled to last only 5 years. After that, pursuant to the MSA, U.S. citizens, permanent resident aliens, and corporations, partnerships, or other entities established under the laws of the United States or any state, are allowed to purchase and use quota shares in LAPPs. That is the practice in all of the LAPPs in this study. Some shareholders and others have become brokers, buying and selling allocation, as might be expected given the transferability of the shares and annual allocations and their possible value as market clearinghouses. In the Gulf of Mexico, these issues were identified in the first review, and the Council has sought to address them through the amendment process since 2014. The alternatives have been discussed in terms of probable effects on different categories of participants based on share ownership, leasing behavior, and fishing behavior to highlight the effect that markets for shares and allocation have on whether a particular amendment will benefit each sector.

ITQ systems can lead to the consolidation of political power. The committee observed that the creation of the new class of shareholders, whether or not they actively continue to fish, has led to the creation of organizations representing shareholders that become active in Council matters and in the courts. As seen in the Gulf of Mexico IFQ programs and the Mid-Atlantic golden tilefish IFQ program, shareholders have formed associations to represent their interests, potentially changing the political dynamic of fisheries management. In some respects, the rise of formal associations representing commercial fishing shareholders is seen as a counterweight to large nongovernmental organizations representing environmental or recreational fishing interests, especially at the Council level. This may have important implications in mixed-use fisheries, affecting decisions about allocation among sectors (and particularly between commercial and recreational users) and it may be the strongest single way that LAPPs have affected the recreational sector in the mixed-use fisheries of this study.

Studies of IFQ programs in other regions show a clear pattern of loss of the ability to enter as owners in LAPP fisheries on the part of young, small-scale, low-income, Indigenous, minority, and rural fishers. These populations can disproportionately be excluded from LAPPs at initial allocation or fare poorly under the trading that follows. The committee was unable to find information that allows assessment of what the actual impacts are on fishers across all of the cases the committee considered. The lack of basic demographic information for fishery participants was a serious barrier to assessing social impacts. Similarly, data were not available to the committee concerning social

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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and cultural diversity dimensions of the fisheries assessed, beyond ethnographic appraisals of the grouper-tilefish IFQ program and the NOAA community studies.

The issue of the high barriers to access for new entrants and small-scale fishers is one that Congress recognized when delimiting LAPPs. The Councils are encouraged to develop measures to enable the participation of both new entrants to the fisheries and maintain access by existing small-scale fishers. In 2021 the Southeast Regional Office of the NMFS made loans through the federal Fisheries Finance Program available for purchase or refinancing of existing debt for ITQs in the Gulf of Mexico LAPPs. No information is yet available on the extent to which this has helped new entrants and small-scale fishers.

Other barriers to entry are the high costs of finding and negotiating with sellers, especially in fisheries with a broad geographic range. As LAPPs create a new structure, participants not only need to finance the transactions; they also need the skills that allow them to be able to determine an appropriate valuation of the asset and have the resources and capabilities to find trading partners. This is because there is usually no centralized market for shares or quotas. Information that is helpful to determining the appropriate asset valuation includes annual reports and peer-reviewed literature on prices and markets. However, for the transfer markets to realize their full potential, transaction information would both have to be accurate and publicly available in real time. However, none of the LAPPs in these studies provide such information. Other information that affects asset valuation includes, but is not limited to, changes in the TAC and an individual’s cost to fish, risk preferences, access to local information sharing networks (such as through dealers), and implied discount rates.

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF LAPPs FOR RECREATIONAL FISHERY STAKEHOLDERS IN MIXED-USE FISHERIES

The effects of LAPPs on recreational participants in mixed-use fisheries are most likely to arise as spillovers between the changing terms of fishery access on the commercial side of the LAPP and the availability, access, or quality of recreational experience available to recreational anglers. Spillovers and conflicts between recreational and commercial fishing sectors are longstanding and well known, although not always fully documented.

To assess the impacts of a LAPP on a particular fishery, one must establish how these changes differ from what would have likely happened in the absence of the LAPP (i.e., the “no-LAPP” counterfactual scenario). Unfortunately, the information required to evaluate these counterfactual scenarios is lacking, in large part due to very sparse longitudinal social and economic data of any kind on the recreational component of the fisheries in question. Given these deficiencies, the committee draws on theory and the empirical literature on recreational and commercial spillovers to establish plausible causal pathways and mechanisms for commercially focused LAPPs to create spillovers to the recreational sector (and vice versa).

Pathways of Impact

A potential source of conflict between recreational and commercial fishers is overlap of recreational and commercial fishing effort in space and time. Conflict over allocations is also common in mixed-use fisheries, regardless of the presence of LAPPs. Nevertheless, the creation of a LAPP in the commercial component has the potential to alter the terms of this conflict: LAPPs create an additional class of stakeholders (i.e., shareholders) who are incentivized to organize. This structural change in stakeholder representation potentially alters the political economy of decision making in ways that may be consequential to allocation outcomes as well as the contentiousness of the policy process. The present study distinguishes between within-season impacts (those that play out

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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through mechanisms occurring within a fishing season) and between-season impacts (those requiring multiple seasons to show their full impact). Many of the spillovers between commercial fishing and recreational anglers are transmitted by variables that are relatively slow to change. As a result, the effects of LAPPs may take some time to unfold.

The overall evidence for policy-relevant spatial and temporal spillovers between commercial LAPPs and the recreational sector in existing U.S. mixed-use fisheries is weak. The committee found no evidence that LAPPs had an impact on the recreational sector in terms of within-season impacts, such as competitive exclusion of fishing grounds by one sector or the other. Regarding between-season impacts, it is conceivable that if the commercial LAPPs facilitated the rebuilding of target stocks or prevented overharvest of commercial allocations, more harvest could be available to recreational and for-hire sectors. In the case of golden tilefish in the Mid-Atlantic, the Council predicted that rebuilding the biomass of tilefish might encourage more recreational activity, and therefore included new restrictions for the recreational sector in a 2017 amendment to the Fishery Management Plan, going into effect in 2021. These restrictions are aimed at better understanding the magnitude of recreational effort and catch. Based on available data to date, it appears unlikely that the golden tilefish IFQ program has affected the level of activity in the recreational fishery.

One pathway of impact could be the conservation effect of LAPPs on the entire stock of fish, and hence the recreational and for-hire sectors’ fisheries. In the Gulf of Mexico cases, the rebuilding of red snapper is noteworthy; the individual accountability and extra monitoring provisions of the LAPPs have kept harvests below the allocation to the commercial sector, but the commercial harvest did not systematically exceed its allocation in the years immediately prior to the LAPPs, suggesting that the incremental effects of the LAPPs (which account for 51% of the red snapper allocation) on stock status are minor.

A second pathway of impact between LAPPs and other sectors is allocation. In the case of the IBQ program for Atlantic bluefin tuna, the scope for impacts to the private and charter sectors is very narrow. There is some potential that the IBQ creates conditions whereby recreational anglers could enjoy a larger total quota in the future, because incentives in the IBQ program may have contributed to the ability of the pelagic longline fleet to remain well under its overall IBQ allocation. This in turn has reduced the need to cover this fleet’s overages from other underused quota categories (e.g., purse seiners) and created the possibility for reallocating that to other sectors, including private anglers and charter operations. This reallocation is currently under consideration.

Indirect spillovers through sectoral allocations are most evident with the Gulf of Mexico reef fish LAPPs. Because LAPPs enabled an essentially year-round commercial season for red snapper, while anglers continued to see the lengths of the federal recreational fishing seasons and bag limits reduced, the recreational sector pressured the Council for a greater allocation. The Council attempted to reallocate red snapper harvest to the recreational sector, but the presence of the LAPP and the commercial sector’s greater accountability for staying within the quota strengthened the legal argument that led to a federal court decision to vacate the attempted reallocation. The committee also examined effort spillovers from the commercial to the recreational sector for the Gulf LAPPs and found that entry into the for-hire sector is blocked by limited licensing for charter and headboat vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. However, a limited spillover has occurred due to a small handful of vessels catering to recreational anglers on trips with commercial licenses.

In summary, the committee found minimal spillovers between commercial LAPPs and participants in the recreational sector, negative or positive. To the extent that there has been any negative effect on the recreational sector, it has occurred indirectly through enhancement of the legal validity and influence of the commercial sector’s claim to its allocation as a consequence of the IFQ. Such allocation pathways of impact between LAPPs and other sectors are ambiguous and highly contingent on the political and legal context.

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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BROADER COMMUNITY SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC EFFECTS

Community concerns were important in the development of LAPP provisions by Congress. The NOAA social indicators database, as well as the National Ocean Economics Program database, indicate that in most of the coastal communities within which the fisheries of study are located, fishing is a small part of the local economy and society compared with tourism, retirement and second homes, and other sectors. This is true even for places with relatively high degrees of engagement in, and dependence on, fishing locations and well known to be important centers for commercial and/or recreational fishing.

The committee’s main findings are that beyond these social indicator descriptions and limited ethnographic studies, the ability to assess the impacts of fishery management policies on communities in these mixed-use fisheries is underdeveloped because of the paucity of data and analytic tools for clearly linking policy changes to social variables. Hence it is not currently possible to fully examine these impacts. The effects of LAPPs on the commercial and recreational fisheries can ripple into larger communities. For example, any positive or negative effects of LAPPs on recreational and for-hire fisheries could affect ancillary businesses, such as marinas, bait shops, and fishing supply houses, as well as for-hire and boat-rental businesses. There could also be net effects from considering changes to the commercial sector. However, the committee found no data in this regard for the LAPPs and mixed-use fisheries of this study. With this in mind, the committee made an effort to use the NOAA social indicators database to see whether it could provide indicators of the effects of LAPPs on one dimension of community welfare, employment. The committee sees potential for the further refinement and use of the social indicators for such causal analysis.

ADDRESSING THE IMPACTS OF LAPPs IN MIXED-USE FISHERIES

Synopsis of Committee Findings

Overall, the outcomes of LAPPs in these mixed-use fisheries are similar to experiences in LAPPs that lack mixed-use components. In terms of economic impacts, the committee finds very strong evidence showing that LAPPs mediate the race to fish and strong evidence for increased profitability of the LAPP fisheries. The committee finds some evidence that the LAPPs have modestly reduced economically wasteful overcapacity, but for most LAPPs they find no evidence that associated consolidation has contributed to market power in the quota market; however, stakeholder concerns about fairness and access were central in several of the study fisheries. The committee finds strong evidence of ecological benefits of the tuna IBQ LAPP. Although they find only weak evidence of very modest ecological benefits of other LAPPs, the committee finds no evidence of ecological harms.

With respect to social impacts, the committee finds strong evidence that LAPPs have led to improvements in safety at sea. They find mixed and largely inconclusive effects of LAPPs on labor with indications that some participants are better off and others are worse off. The committee finds no direct evidence of negative or positive effects of the LAPPs in its study on communities; however, they note a significant lack of data to assess social and community impacts. Many of the potential negative effects of LAPPs on communities that they identify are rooted in studies of different geographies, regional economies, histories of coastal development, and cultures of fishing (e.g., Alaska, Iceland, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and Norway). The disruptiveness of LAPPs in these rural, resource-dependent, and sparsely populated areas could be quite different than in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico where complex coastal economies are often dominated by tourism and have substantial recreational fishing.

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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With respect to the mixed-use components of the fisheries in its study, the committee finds no evidence for direct effects of LAPPs on private recreational anglers or recreational for-hire providers. LAPPs plausibly increased the political power of the commercial sector in terms of its allocation claims. The greater accountability of the commercial sector, due to LAPPs, may be leading to pressures to attain greater accountability on the part of the recreational sector. While this is speculative, the greater political power of the commercial sector is a reasonable observation. However, given the particular history of power relations of the fisheries in this study, this change may result in greater parity in the political power of recreational versus commercial stakeholders in the Council process. The committee notes that studies of the political and power dimensions of fishery management systems, taking into account wide diversity within sectors, are necessary to properly assess these possible shifts. Taken as a whole, the evidence base in the committee’s study of mixed-use LAPPs affirms a number of positive outcomes cataloged elsewhere in the literature while failing to provide a clear picture of many of the associated negative outcomes. Nevertheless, substantial data shortages limit the committee’s ability to robustly exclude the potential for some negative social and community effects. The committee’s recommendations for the knowledge base and other matters are aimed at improving a management system that in many respects appears to be working well.

The committee makes a series of recommendations designed to address the economic, social, and ecological impacts for the LAPPs reviewed in this report, as well as for any future use of LAPPs in mixed-use fisheries. While the recommendations pertain specifically to LAPPs in mixed-use fisheries (e.g., by addressing intersectoral spillovers), many of the recommendations are also applicable to LAPPs in single-sector fisheries. In addition to specific policy recommendations pertaining to best practices, the committee also provides recommendations for how additional data, research, or syntheses of existing research could enhance the decision-making capacity of the NMFS and the Councils when designing, establishing, or maintaining a LAPP in a mixed-use fishery.

The objectives of LAPPs are diverse and potentially conflicting (e.g., reducing overcapitalization to increase economic efficiency versus maintaining historic patterns of participation). The ultimate outcomes of LAPPs and the larger program thus require, and depend on, trade-offs. The efforts of the Councils and the NMFS to make such trade-offs would be enhanced by major improvements in the information available to them about economic and social matters. Finding ways to integrate qualitative and quantitative data more effectively through interdisciplinary approaches could lead to new insights and inform fruitful hypotheses about causes and the socioeconomic and ecological consequences of different management approaches.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EXISTING AND FUTURE LAPPs

Impacts to Recreational Stakeholders

Conclusion: A major finding of this study is that there is little if any direct impact of LAPPs in the commercial sectors on the recreational sector of the mixed-use fisheries. However, LAPPs may be viewed as problematic to efforts to expand recreational access to the total allowable catch for a fishery because of shifts in the power structure of decision making with the creation of a class of IFQ shareholders. Moreover, apparent increases in the accountability of the commercial sector due to incentives for higher compliance associated with LAPPs may highlight accountability problems in the recreational sector and increase pressure for management improvements.

There is evidence that creation of a LAPP can trigger spillovers of fishing effort into other commercial fisheries, and the general explanation is that the LAPP frees up fishing capital for other uses. Whether such spillovers occur across commercial and recreational sectors is not known, but

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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the experience in commercial LAPPs suggests that additional tools are needed to improve accountability across all sectors. Along with the recommendation highlighted below, the committee made a related recommendation for devolved co-management institutions in the recreational sector, such as Angler Management Organizations, as an example of what might be done to improve angler accountability and facilitate the process of reallocation of harvest among sectors.

Recommendation: The Councils, or their state partners in the case of state-based management, should conduct reviews of their management of both private recreational and for-hire fisheries for species shared under LAPPs in mixed-use fisheries (or proposed LAPPs in mixed-use fisheries) and propose and implement reforms (including, but not limited to, IFQs or cooperatives for for-hire vessels and harvest tags or day passes for private anglers) that foster accountability while enhancing fishing experiences and opportunities to heterogeneous groups of anglers. To foster comparison between sectors, review guidelines like those that exist for the commercial sector should be established for each sector (e.g., including goals, objectives, and measurable outcomes).

Impacts to Commercial Participants

Conclusion: Once a LAPP is implemented, it becomes very difficult to make major changes. The program design features, such as initial allocation, have enduring effects. Therefore, in a series of committee recommendations, the Councils are advised to put more effort, via data collection, research, and deliberation, into the development and design of new LAPPs and reform of existing ones, building on known issues such programs have in achieving both efficiency and equity. Particular attention is given to the initial allocation, opportunities for hired captains and crews to more fully participate, the cost of new entry and effects on later generations, and the transparency and accessibility of markets for shares and allocations. One of those recommendations is on determining who is eligible in the initial allocation if such privileges are conferred without cost, which is critical to the subsequent performance of the LAPP fishery.

Recommendation: The Councils and the NMFS, in planning new LAPPs in mixed-use fisheries, should develop a broad range of options for the initial allocation of quota, including but going beyond the practice of limiting eligibility to existing vessel owners or permit holders with historic records (especially if overcapitalization is not a goal and shares are to be given for free). Where available, data on the contributions of hired captains and crews to the historic performance of vessels should be collected and used to assess the potential of awarding shares to them as well as vessel owners. If such data are not available, the Councils should consider delaying the creation of a LAPP for a limited time to conduct a rapid assessment of crew contributions that would inform initial allocations.

Impacts to Fishing Communities

Conclusion: There is evidence from Alaska and other regions that LAPPs can have discernable and sometimes negative effects on communities through changes such as increased social conflict, diminished employment, or loss of product for processing plants. However, there is a paucity of data on the community dimensions of the fisheries studied, whether recreational, for hire, or commercial. This gap presents a major challenge to evaluating the effects of LAPPs on the broader community engaged in the mixed-use fisheries. The committee developed a set of recommendations that underscore the importance of ethnography, social indicators, and human dimensions research in NOAA Fisheries.

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Recommendation: The NMFS and the Councils should develop explicit measures to associate LAPP fishing activity, as well as fishing activities of the for-hire and recreational sectors, with fishing communities represented in the NOAA Social Indicators data, both in the baseline (pre-LAPP) period and in subsequent periods. These measures should capture multiple community connections (e.g., residency, vessel homeport, landings, and support services for recreational and commercial fisheries).

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DATA COLLECTION AND FUTURE RESEARCH

Conclusion: Because the committee encountered major gaps in the kinds of information needed to address its tasks, a large set of recommendations focused on data needs, some of which overlap with the sector-specific recommendations above. For fisheries where LAPPs may be contemplated, given the likelihood of having to make significant trade-offs, there is a pressing need for additional economic and social data, including pre-implementation baselines and concurrent examination of the LAPP in relation to other sectors of the fisheries. Committee recommendations emphasized introducing demographic data collection, expanding captain and crew data collection; improving the utility of social indicator data; making quota share and allocation data more transparent, comprehensive, and widely available; and developing data collection programs for mixed-use fisheries that enable assessment of the human dimensions of recreational and for-hire fisheries as well as commercial fisheries. The committee also advised that future review of LAPPs examine their relationships to other sectors of the fisheries.

Recommendation: For fisheries where LAPPs may be contemplated, the Councils and the NMFS should establish longitudinal data collection protocols for additional economic and social information, including pre-implementation baselines. These protocols should collect ongoing, and where possible, retrospective data prior to LAPP implementation and continue thereafter, with minimal disruptions to the survey protocols. At a minimum these data collection efforts should focus on social and economic data at the vessel level (e.g., revenues, input use, costs, ownership, community affiliation) including detailed demographic and economic data on crews, captains, vessel owners, and shareholders. Additionally, all datasets should cross reference each other to facilitate linking by including the appropriate identifiers.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPACT ASSESSMENT

Central to the committee’s work has been the challenge of integrating qualitative and quantitative economic and social data that are based on distinct, discipline-driven methodologies and theories. Important examples are combining interview-based data with datasets like NOAA’s Social Indicators for Coastal Communities project, and finding ways to meaningfully relate stakeholder perceptions of the fisheries system to what economic and biological data and models reveal about the system.

Conclusion: Fisheries policy issues with major economic, social, and ecological dimensions require interdisciplinary conceptualizations and methods for research. Finding ways to integrate divergent disciplinary perspectives and qualitative and quantitative data more effectively could lead to new insights, fruitful hypotheses, and more informed and improved decision making.

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Recommendation: The NMFS and the Councils should encourage interdisciplinarity and better integrate qualitative and quantitative data to generate hypotheses and discern and test policy impacts. These activities and discussions can happen within the mulitdisciplinary Scientific and Statistical Committees of the regional councils as well as within the regional science centers of the NMFS.

This recommendation includes ways to assess the use of qualitative data on perceptions and values in social and economic impact analysis. Ideally, these assessments can be conducted in tandem with quantitative approaches like randomized sampling or taking a census of the population. To this end, the Councils and NOAA can expand the social and cultural methodologies used, including cultural models, cultural consensus analysis, and network analysis among other adjuncts to in-depth interviews, participant observation, social surveys, and social indicators work that are well known but not routinely applied to social and economic impact assessments within NOAA Fisheries.

OVERALL CONCLUSIONS

The use of LAPPs in the mixed-use cases reviewed has little discernible impact on recreational and for-hire stakeholders. However, fishers who are participants in the LAPP are held to higher monitoring, data collection, and enforcement standards relative to non-LAPP fishery counterparts and business-as-usual scenarios. To the extent that this eliminates overfishing and stocks are no longer overfished, it is possible that there will be more resiliency in the overall ecological system that benefits all fishery sectors. Moreover, the improved monitoring of the commercial sector with LAPPs may lead to pressure on other sectors to be more responsible, with the goal of staying within fishing mortality rate targets and reducing bycatch and discards. Thus, LAPPs may improve accountability, and hence conservation, in a mixed-use fishery in ways that deserve further scrutiny.

The committee’s appraisal of the influence of LAPPs in mixed-use fisheries is constrained by the scarcity of data and studies that would enable a clearer picture of how the commercial, for-hire, and recreational fisheries for particular species or species complexes interact. The existence of LAPPs in the mixed-use fisheries of the Gulf and the Atlantic coasts is fairly new. Their creation often is accompanied by other measures, such as quota reduction and stronger monitoring that may account for variable outcomes. Moreover, beyond LAPPs, research on mixed-use fisheries as such appears to be limited to analyses done for purposes of allocating allowable catches among the sectors, with little attention to other possible relationships. Recognizing how potentially transformative LAPPs can be and the challenges of managing mixed-use fisheries, the committee’s conclusions and recommendations are aimed at improving a management system that in many respects appears to be working well.

Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Page 18
Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Page 19
Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Page 20
Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Page 21
Suggested Citation:"Summary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26186.
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Page 22
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The Use of Limited Access Privilege Programs in Mixed-Use Fisheries Get This Book
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A central goal of U.S. fisheries management is to control the exploitation of fish populations so that fisheries remain biologically productive, economically valuable, and socially equitable. Although the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act led to many improvements, a number of fish populations remained overfished and some fisheries were considered economically inefficient. In response, Congress amended the Act in 2006 to allow additional management approaches, including Limited Access Privilege Programs (LAPPs) in which individuals receive a permit to harvest a defined portion of the total allowable catch for a particular fish stock.

This report examines the impacts of LAPPs on mixed-use fisheries, defined as fisheries where recreational, charter, and commercial fishing sectors target the same species or stocks. The report offers recommendations for NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Regional Fishery Management Councils (the Councils) who oversee and manage federally regulated fisheries. For each of the five mixed-use fisheries included in the report, the committee examined available fisheries data and analyses and collected testimony from fishery participants, relevant Councils, and NMFS regional experts through a series of public meetings.

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