Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Geography

Major Professor

Kamal Alsharif, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Pratyusha Basu Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mark Hafen, Ph.D.

Keywords

fishery management, individual fishing quota, data envelopment analysis, fishing communities, bycatch

Abstract

In January 2007, the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery took a step toward sustainability and began management under an individual fishing quota (IFQ) system. The hope is that direct ownership stakes by fishers brings more direct involvement on behalf of the boat owners and fishermen as well as more responsible and sustainable fishing practices on depressed fish populations. The research was conducted in order to study the welfare of local fishing communities as well as the effects on the red snapper fishery itself. Traditional fisheries and economic data were analyzed. In addition a Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) of the Florida Gulf Coast communities involved in the red snapper fishery was performed to compare to the analysis of fishing communities prepared by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Finally, online and phone surveys of fishermen involved in the red snapper fishery were performed to gauge their responses to the change in management.

The study reveals a strong correlation between the DEA analysis of fishing communities affected and the analysis performed by NMFS, and reinforces DEA as a method of determining involvement in a fishery. Additionally, the thesis indicates the

red snapper IFQ has performed as expected in some areas by its supporters – an average gulf-wide ex-vessel price per pound increase of 10% in just three years; elimination of the rush to fish due to guaranteed quota; and a shift in fleet composition as the number of share owners owning less than 2.00% have dwindled, and the number of shareholders possessing greater than 2.00% of the quota has increased gulf-wide by 50%. However, in other areas such as effort reduction and bycatch rates, the IFQ appears to have mixed results. A reported decline in effort is likely attributable to a reduction in the overall gulf-wide red snapper quota between 2007 and 2008 rather than the IFQ, and even NMFS doubts the bycatch data that are being reported by fishermen. Most importantly, current IFQ shareholders were surveyed via phone and internet revealing not only an overall disapproval by most fishers of the IFQ design process, but also effects contrary to those publicized by IFQ supporters, and a general distrust in fisheries management.

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