Q: What information does this project provide?
A: The Measuring the Effects of Catch Shares project does not advocate for or against catch shares. It provides reliable, neutral information that people can use to answer their own questions and inform their own decisions about catch shares. We present the results of our data analysis as 14 indicators that can be used to help answer the question, “How do catch share programs affect fish stocks, fishermen, fishing businesses, and fishing communities?”

Q: What geographic areas and fisheries does the project focus on?
A: The project focuses two U.S. catch share programs: (1) the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program implemented in 2011 in the West Coast groundfish trawl fishery and (2) the Northeast Multispecies Sector Program implemented in 2010 in the Northeast groundfish fishery.

Q: Why is the project focusing on these two fisheries? Could the indicators apply more broadly?
A: Catch share programs in these two fisheries are among the most recent to be adopted and implemented, and they were developed in a similar time period. These two groundfish fisheries are historically and economically important in their respective regions, and each has had some stocks declared overfished under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). However, they differ in many aspects, including elements of their respective catch share programs. While this project, which is funded privately by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, is designed to examine these two fisheries, the framework of the indicators and metrics could be applied to measure effects in any catch share program.

Q: Where can I find historical context on these fisheries?
A: We believe that understanding the context in which these fisheries have been conducted and managed is essential to understand the catch share programs and the factors that affect the fisheries. We provide overviews of the history and management framework of the West Coast groundfish fishery and Shorebased IFQ Program and the Northeast groundfish fishery and the Multispecies Sector Program.

Q: When are results released?
A: In late 2013 and early 2014, we released the first set of results, including the baseline period and some indicators for the first one or two years of the catch share programs. On a rolling basis, we have released updated results as data became available and analyses were completed for each fishing year. At the conclusion of the project in late 2017, we will release a full report covering the baseline period and the initial several years of the catch share programs.

Q: What does this project add to ongoing, five-year performance reviews that NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is conducting on the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program, Northeast Multispecies Sector Program, and other catch share programs?
A: The interactive website at provides a dashboard of sorts for monitoring changes in the catch share fisheries over a baseline that extends back to 2002 and further in some cases. The results are presented as both technical descriptions of the findings and as interactive charts, which enable users to explore the data and to dig deeper into the results. Measuring the Effects of Catch Shares is the first web-based project to present comprehensive data on a catch share fishery in one place.

Q: Does the project have any connection to government reviews or the reports they publish?
A: The Measuring the Effects of Catch Shares team is made up of experts drawn from universities and private business. Many of them have worked for fishery management agencies. We gather and analyze data from fishery management agencies, university scientists, private researchers, and our own research. While government scientists and managers have participated in numerous workshops and technical reviews in the course of the project, including review of results, this is a private-sector project, and MRAG Americas, Inc., is entirely responsible for its content.

Q: Where are you getting the data for your indicators?
A: Data sources and links are provided with each of the indicator results. Although most of the data come from federal fishery management sources such as NMFS published reports, the project also draws on data from the U.S. census, municipal, county and state governments, business and industry, universities, and other non-government organizations.

Q: Do you collect any data that are not already available?
A: We have collected data for a few indicators for which the necessary data were not already available. In addition, we have devised indices and qualitative, descriptive results drawn from text analysis and interviews for indicators where no data were collected.

Q: Have the indicators, data, results, and analysis undergone any external review?
A: We selected the 14 indicators following consultation with more than a hundred stakeholders and scientific experts over a two-year period. The indicators are based on the best available data and extensive review of the catch share literature. They are designed to answer key questions about economic, social, ecological, and governance conditions and trends. Data sources and metrics were developed through collaboration with government, university, and private scientists. Results and analyses have undergone review by NMFS managers, NOAA Fisheries Science Centers, regional fishery management council staff, and council members.

Q: How can I contact the project for more information or to comment on your results?
A: Please email us at You may also sign up for news and updates by subscribing to our email list. Members of the team are available to meet with groups through a local host organization in person or by webinar to walk through results and use of the interactive sections of the website.

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