Program Design


In addition to the 14 quantitative ecological and socioeconomic indicators, which provide information about measurable characteristics, we are developing a descriptive indicator of the design and implementation of the Northeast and West Coast catch share programs. This indicator will serve as a qualitative assessment of catch share program design and will be useful for the design of future programs.

Initially, the program design indicator will describe the policy and programmatic structure, goals, and implementation plan for each of the two programs. Because catch share programs, like any other tool in fishery management, will adapt to environmental, social, and policy change, and respond to successes and challenges, this indicator will attempt to track amendments and revisions to the programs over time to reveal whether and how managers and share holders employ that flexibility.

Based on Document Analysis and Interviews

Program design will be examined beginning at the point where catch shares or their precedents are documented in regional fishery management council deliberations. The descriptive history and text analysis will be drawn from documents related to the design of the program that the New England and Pacific Fishery Management Councils eventually approved. The design description will elicit the goals of the program from planning and decision documents, and compare them to external goals such as legislative standards and recommended approaches to catch share design such as the National Catch Share Policy. Text analysis and interviews will provide the data for the description of the program and the design process.

Reflecting the Dynamic Nature of Management

The programs under consideration are dynamic management regimes, have undergone numerous revisions, and will continue to be responsive to challenges in the groundfish fisheries of the two regions. Both were developed prior to publication of the National Catch Share Policy. In addition, although recommendations from the regional councils are constrained by scientific and legal requirements, the methods that councils choose to meet those requirements are devised in a political environment. Unlike the other indicators, which will show trends as measured in the ecosystem, economy, and local communities, this indicator will provide a recitation of policy deliberation, not a measurement as such.