Has the public cost of fishery management changed?

Indicators: Appropriations, Grants and Expenditures | Pacific Shorebased ITQ Appropriations and Costs

Short Answer: Data provided by the National Marine Fisheries Service for fiscal years 2009 through 2014 give additional detail to understanding the public cost of implementing catch shares in the Shore-based Trawl ITQ Program.

Key Findings

  • An upfront investment to support the program’s requirement for 100 percent observer coverage was made in FY11.
    The declining trend in the monitoring and enforcement category from FY11 to FY14 reflects the transition of observer sea day costs to industry.
  • Even though a cost recovery program implemented in 2014 tracks considerable detail on the amount of federal expenditures for the fishery, the costs of managing the catch share program cannot entirely be separated from the total cost of managing the Pacific groundfish fishery.

Interactive Chart Story


Expenditures specific to the Shorebased Trawl ITQ Program for fiscal years 2007 through 2014, and details on the formula for cost recovery implemented in 2014.


During Catch Share Program

Funding information related directly to the Shorebased IFQ Program provided by the NOAA Office of Sustainable Fisheries, though an estimate, provides a more focused picture of public investment in the cost of development the program, as well as effects of cost recovery.

The chart provided illustrates amounts spent for management, data collection, monitoring and enforcement. Tracking the investments in the Pacific with national appropriations for the same PPAs shows that overall support and regional support both peaked in FY2011, after several years of increases in appropriations. In individual program areas, investments in the Pacific peaked in FY12 for management, in FY14 for data collection, and in FY11 for monitoring and enforcement. In contrast, overall federal support for those program areas was highest in FY11, FY13, and FY14 for management, data, and monitoring respectively. The industry began assuming costs for catch monitoring in 2011, through a phased-in program that reached full cost of monitoring in 2016. The costs related to catch monitoring, observer coverage and other cost recovery expenses are discussed in Private Cost of Management, Observer Coverage, and Litigation.

The development of the Shorebased IFQ program included a requirement for cost recovery as specified by the Limited Access Privilege Programs (LAPPs) measures in the law. NMFS must collect fees to recover incremental costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of the trawl rationalization program. The calculation of fees for the Shorebased IFQ is announced by December 31 of each year, and is based on a formula that is the lower of, or three percent of, direct program costs for the program, divided by total ex-vessel value, multiplied by 100. Adjustments have been made to fee percentages to account for past overpayments in the Mothership and Coop sectors, but the direct program costs for the Shorebased IFQ program remained above the 3 percent cap through 2016. The calculation for 2017 will not be complete until November, 2018, in order to address comments from industry (Direct Program Costs and Program Cost Recovery Fee Payments).


For this analysis only, the categories displayed as “national support” for the WC ITQ Program differ from those in Chart 2, Budget appropriations for NMFS Activities. The categories developed by NMFS in response to a data request cover three areas for the years 2007 through 2014. The West Coast Shorebased ITQ-specific data are:

  • Management subtotal (includes Fisheries Research and Management PPA and the National Catch Share PPA).
    The Data Collection subtotal includes the Economics and Social Science Programs PPA and the Fish Statistics PPA.
  • The Monitoring and Enforcement subtotal includes the Observers/Training PPA, as well as some funding from the National Catch Share Program PPA that supports monitoring, observing, and enforcement.
  • In order to make a comparison between trends in national support for catch share programs and what investments were made in the Northeast program, data were drawn from NOAA budget documents for the same PPAs combined in the Northeast Sector-specific data provided by NMFS.

Data Gaps and Limitations

The funding information provided is a best estimate of costs. NMFS points out that support of catch share programs is drawn from numerous PPAs as well as the “Limited Access Program” line item. For example, in many cases, small portions of larger PPAs, such as research and management, or enforcement, directly support catch share management activities. The three categories in which WC Shorebased ITQ Program specific expenditures are shown are: Management, Data Collection, and Monitoring and Enforcement. The cost recovery fee for 2017 will not be available until November 2018.

Information Sources

Personal communication. Memorandum from Kelly Denit, Division Chief, Sustainable Stocks & Ecosystems, NOAA Office of Sustainable Fisheries. October 26, 2016.

NOAA Fisheries. 2016. Decision Memorandum 2017 RIN 0648-XF120. Dec. 23, 2016.

NOAA Fisheries. 2014. News release. Six fisheries in U.S. to receive fishery disaster relief funds. Feb. 26, 2014. http://www.noaa.gov/six-fisheries-us-receive-fishery-disaster-relief-funds

NOAA Fisheries. 2016. 81 Fed. Reg. 95966 (Dec. 29, 2016). Trawl Rationalization Program, 2017 Cost Recovery.

NOAA Fisheries. 2017. 82 Fed. Reg. 61752 (Dec. 29, 2017). Trawl Rationalization Program, 2018 Cost Recovery. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-12-29/pdf/2017-28185.pdf

Pacific Fishery Management Council. 2018. Agenda Item F.4.a, Supplemental NMFS Report 2, April 2018. https://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/F4a_Supp_NMFS_Rpt2_cost_rcvry_mtgs_APR2018BB.pdf

Updated: June 2018

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