Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Obama officials push for catch-share plan

New England fisheries are on the verge of transitioning to a cap-and-trade regulatory system. (Photo: Stock File/FIS)  

The administration of President Barack Obama has asked for USD 18.6 million in fiscal 2010 budget money for new cap-and-trade regulatory fisheries programmes. The catch-share programme initiative would signify major changes in fishery management and an effort to preserve and recover wild fish stocks.

The amount requested is triple the National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS) bid for catch shares in its 2009 budget and about nine times over the USD 2 million it granted to catch shares last year, reports The New York Times. The NMFS received a budget proposal of USD 921 million - the proposal would amount to 2 per cent of this.

The proposal signals officials government backing for the management system, which is still in the minority but spreading ever since a federal moratorium expired five years ago.

At present, 12 catch-share programmes are in operation when two years ago there had been seven. Four more are in the implementation or development phase, NMFS said.

The scheme's supporters say it puts an end to the "race for fish," that is, when fishers race to harvest as much as they can before the fishery's total allowable catch limit is reached.

In the cap-and-trade programme, the shares of a total catch are distributed to commercial fishers, based on either their historical catch or an auction. Fishers can buy and sell their shares. …

Obama officials push for catch-share plan

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