New Findings for 5 Economic Indicators and 1 Ecological Indicator for the Northeast

The Measuring the Effects of Catch Shares Project is pleased to announce the release of updated results for 5 economic indicators and 1 ecological indicator for the Northeast Multispecies Sector Program.


The economic indicators are designed to show effects of the catch share program on fishing businesses. This release updates the indicators with the most recent data available.

Financial Viability of the Fishery: Analysis and Interactive Charts

  • The average annual landings of groundfish during the first four years of the Northeast Multispecies Sector Program were about 75 percent of the 2001–2009 average.
  • Groundfish gross revenues were approximately 23 percent lower than the annual average for the previous nine-year period.
  • Under the sector program, fishermen continued to harvest only a fraction of the annual allowable catches of many healthy stocks.
  • The recent declines are part of a larger declining trend in gross revenues seen in the data stretching back to the early 1980s.

Number of Active Vessels: Analysis and Interactive Chart

  • The number of vessels participating in the groundfish fleet was in decline in the baseline period before the sector program, and this trend continued after the sector program was implemented.
  • Since 2010, the number of vessels landing groundfish has continued to contract.

Opportunities or Barriers to Entering the Fishery: Analysis and Interactive Chart

  • In the initial allocation of the catch share program, a majority of shares for several allocated stocks were concentrated among the top 25 quota holders.
  • Since 2011, the number and volume of between-sector transfers of Annual Catch Entitlement (ACE) have fluctuated but continue to exceed the 2010 values.

Fishery Diversification: Analysis and Interactive Chart

  • Since the Northeast Multispecies Sector Program began, non-groundfish have accounted for an increasingly larger proportion of the total landings and revenues of limited access groundfish vessels.
  • By 2013, non-groundfish accounted for 83 percent of the landings of limited access groundfish vessels, as compared to an average of 74 percent during the three years preceding the implementation of the catch share program.

Private Cost of Fishery Management: Analysis

  • To date, the costs of catch monitoring under the Northeast Multispecies Sector Program have been primarily funded by the National Marine Fisheries Service, as was the case prior to program implementation.
  • Limited access groundfish vessels that join a sector must cover the costs associated with the administration and management of the sector.


As one of several ecological indicators, the ratio of catch to quota shows the amount of fish caught compared to the total catch limit. With this update, the indicator covers through 2014.

Ratio of Catch to Quota: Analysis and Interactive Chart

  • Since the Northeast Multispecies Sector Program began in 2010, the average ratio of catch to total allowable catch (TAC) has ranged from 50 to 67 percent.
  • Quota overages have been infrequent and small. Catch underages have been common.
  • Compared to sector vessels, the common pool has had a lower catch-to-quota in each year of the catch share program.