Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Illegal Fishing Harming Present And Future New England Groundfish Fisheries

Date:
June 5, 2009
Source:
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Summary:
Weak enforcement combined with fishermen facing serious economic hardships are leading to widespread violations of fisheries regulations along the Northeastern United States coast. This pattern of noncompliance threatens the success of new fisheries management measures put in place to protect and restore fish stocks, according to a new study.

Weak enforcement combined with fishermen facing serious economic hardships are leading to widespread violations of fisheries regulations along the Northeastern United States coast. This pattern of noncompliance threatens the success of new fisheries management measures put in place to protect and restore fish stocks, according to a new study published online this week in the journal Marine Policy.

Among their findings, environmental economists Dr. Dennis King of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Dr. Jon Sutinen of the University of Rhode Island detail nearly a doubling of the percent of total harvest taken illegally over the last two decades in the Northeast multispecies groundfish fishery (NEGF). The study estimates the annual illegal harvest to be 12 to 24 percent, significantly higher than estimates of 6 to 14 percent in the 1980s.

The study, supported by the Lenfest Ocean Program, is based on the results of an extensive 2007 survey of fishermen, managers, scientists and enforcement officials involved in the Northeast multispecies groundfish fishery, and analysis of enforcement data from the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement and NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service.

"The one-two punch of weak enforcement and deteriorating economic conditions combined with declining faith in the competency and legitimacy of fisheries management is encouraging more and more fisherman to press their luck and fish illegally," said Dr. King. "To many fishermen, the current situation has reached an economic and moral tipping point where the potential economic gains from illegal fishing far outweigh the expected cost of getting caught."

In the article, the authors outline how the existing enforcement system in the NEGF fishery does not significantly deter illegal fishing because economic gains from violating fishing regulations are nearly five times the economic value of expected penalties. The study finds that only one-third of violators are caught, and only one-third of those are actually prosecuted.

"Normative factors, such as moral obligation and peer and community pressure, usually induce fishermen to be law-abiding despite potential illegal gains," said Dr. King. "However, normative factors favoring compliance in the NEGF fishery are weak because many fishermen believe recent fishery management decisions were not justified and that planned stock rebuilding targets and schedules are arbitrary and unfair. Until this situation changes, more enforcement and more certain and meaningful penalties for fishermen who intentionally don't comply with regulations are needed."

"It's unfortunate that biological and economic conditions in the fishery were allowed to reach a point where so many fishermen are facing serious economic hardships," added Dr. King. "Better enforcement policies are needed to create more economic opportunities for all fishermen."

To combat the problem, the authors recommend that a "smart compliance policy" be implemented in the NEGF fishery. The policy should employ different types of enforcement strategies and penalties for frequent, occasional and possibly accidental violators. Specific recommendations include aggressive targeting of frequent violators and criminal penalties and the forfeiture of all fishing privileges for certain types of violations. Additionally, funds should be redirected toward incentive programs to support collaborations between other fishermen and enforcement staff to increase the number of violations that are detected, reported and successfully prosecuted.

The NEGF includes 24 species, including cod, haddock, flounder and other important commercial stocks, and is targeted by a fishing fleet of nearly 3,400 vessels ranging from small hook-and-line vessels, operating in near-coast waters; to large offshore trawlers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. King et al. Rational noncompliance and the liquidation of Northeast groundfish resources. Marine Policy, 2009; DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2009.04.023

Cite This Page:

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. "Illegal Fishing Harming Present And Future New England Groundfish Fisheries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090604124810.htm>.
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. (2009, June 5). Illegal Fishing Harming Present And Future New England Groundfish Fisheries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090604124810.htm
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. "Illegal Fishing Harming Present And Future New England Groundfish Fisheries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090604124810.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins