The shift to sector management represented an enormous organizational challenge for the groundfish industry and introduced many operational challenges for individual fishermen. Until recently, federal funding has helped offset the new operational expenses that the sector system introduces to a fisherman’s business. With that funding coming to an end, we are working with sector managers and fishermen to evaluate the viability of sectors in an effort to provide them with the information and tools to maintain their long-term economic sustainability.
Together with the Social Sciences Branch of NOAA’s Northeast Fishery Science Center, our goal is to help sectors balance their fishing activity and administrative operations in a way that allows them to be completely self-sustaining. Our efforts will help sectors individually reevaluate their approaches and examine the potential benefits and consequences of modifying their revenue models, member fees, fishing activities, and operating costs.
Figure: Annual groundfish landings and landings values from groundfish trips by Northeast multispecies permit holders. A groundfish trip is defined as a trip where the vessel owner or operator declared, either through the vessel monitoring system or through the interactive voice response system, that the vessel was making a groundfish trip.
Sector Business Viability report (PDF)