Did economic and social effects on local communities change?
Indicators: Landings and Revenue by State and Port Group
- During the baseline period, non-whiting groundfish landings and revenue in some ports and port groups declined due to the vessel and permit buyback program, management measures that restricted landings, and consolidation of West Coast processing groups.
- Pacific whiting provided increased revenue to Oregon and Washington ports as the shorebased fishery for that species developed through the 1990s and 2000s.
- During the first five years of the Shorebased IFQ program, Morro Bay experienced an increase in non-whiting groundfish landings due primarily to participation by vessels with limited entry trawl permits using fixed gear to target IFQ sablefish.
- The volume of non-whiting groundfish landings declined substantially in some ports after catch share program implementation, including Coos Bay, Oregon, and northern Washington ports.
- With the consolidation that occurred in the shorebased Pacific whiting fleet following implementation of the catch share program, together with the shift of the Pacific whiting fishery away from northern California, landings of Pacific whiting in Eureka and Crescent City effectively ended.
- Newport and Astoria, Oregon and south-central Washington ports saw increases in the overall value of groundfish landings after catch share program implementation as a result of the higher Pacific whiting landings that accompanied increases in the shorebased Pacific whiting allocation.
Interactive Chart Story
This indicator measures changes in groundfish landings and revenue at the state and port level. Port groups represent combinations of individual communities based on geographic proximity.
In Their Own Words
Although some of the quantitative data analyzed for this indicator exhibited clear trends, it was challenging to discuss the relationships between observed data trends and implementation of the respective catch share programs. The Measuring the Effects of Catch Shares project team believed that those stakeholders most involved in the fishery, either as active participants or as representatives of an involved coalition of participants (e.g., sector managers in the Northeast), would be able to provide insight and help to explain trends seen in the existing quantitative data. The following quotes were selected to illustrate some of those perspectives and highlight trends such as effects on small vessels, the effect of avoiding “choke stocks,” fleet diversification, and product quality. The individual quotes do not represent findings or conclusions for this indicator, nor do they represent a consensus across any category of participants.
Interview methodology and crosscutting themes
“And so gradually it’s less and less and less money for the smaller boats. And so what’s happening is they’re retiring. They’re selling their quotas. It’s just basically put the small dragger out of business.”
“When you talk about big companies that use quota as a line on their ledger, whether it’s accessing more money from the bank or making the company worth more, you get a little bit different tune. It’s all about setting the quotas as high as you can set them and getting the most out of the resource, which is different than the Ma and Pop operations. And it’s part of the struggles I have been butting my head against.”
“I just looked at some numbers the other day. In 2006, Coos Bay landed 9 million lbs. of whiting. And then it went down to about 4 million. This year, they’re down to about 100,000 lbs. They wound up losing their whole whiting fishery because of the IFQ system.”
“There have probably been some geographic shifts, like folks will say, “Well, there’s no whiting landed in California anymore,” and there used to be big production in Eureka. But that’s not a function of the ITQ program. That’s a function of where the fish are.”
Baseline: Before Catch Share Program
Pre-catch share program patterns of groundfish landings and revenues between states varied over time. California dominated the groundfish trawl fishery in the early to mid-1980s (1982 revenue: over $61 million in $2016), but earnings began to drop precipitously by the late 1980s. Oregon became the focal point for groundfish trawl fishery revenue in the 1990s (1995 revenue: nearly $62 million) and has since remained dominant. During the project baseline period, Washington usually had the lowest revenue from the groundfish trawl fishery (between nearly $8 million and just over $11 million), although by the early 2000s, California groundfish revenue had dropped to a similar level.
The changes in groundfish trawl fishery landings and revenue across states can be attributed in part to changes in the landings of different groundfish species. Relatively high-value species such as boccacio, chilipepper rockfish, and thornyheads were the source of a large amount of fishing revenue to California ports in the early 1980s. However, the decline in abundance of those species, together with a decrease in the size of California’s non-whiting groundfish trawl fleet due to the vessel and permit buyback program in 2003 and increasingly restrictive management measures aimed at rebuilding overfished stocks (Management Framework), caused the substantial drop in groundfish landings and revenue in California ports.
Conversely, Pacific whiting provided increased revenue to Oregon and Washington ports as the shorebased fishery for that species developed through the 1990s and 2000s. Approximately 58 percent of the landings of shorebased Pacific whiting during the 2002-2010 period occurred in Oregon ports, with Washington ports accounting for 37 percent during that period, and California ports accounting for about 5 percent. Only a small portion of the annual Pacific whiting harvest was taken in California, as the stock has a limited window of availability off the northern California coast due to its northward migration in late spring.
The relative importance of individual ports in the groundfish trawl fishery was also affected by the consolidation of West Coast processing groups that followed an earlier expansion in the processing industry (Seafood Dealers and Processors). Groundfish landings and revenue shifted toward those ports with expanding processing plants and highly-developed shoreside support services. By 2010, for example, Astoria and Newport together accounted for around 35 percent of total non-whiting groundfish revenue and 60 percent of total Pacific whiting revenue.
During Catch Share Program
California continued its decades-long trend of declining groundfish landings during the first five years of the Shorebased IFQ Program. In particular, landings of Pacific whiting in Eureka and Crescent City effectively ended after implementation of the catch share program due to the consolidation that occurred in the shorebased Pacific whiting fleet following catch share program implementation and the shift of the Pacific whiting fishery away from northern California (Number of Active Vessels). However, some California ports experienced an increase in non-whiting groundfish revenue. In particular, a boost in the landings of sablefish and thornyheads led to a substantial increase in non-whiting groundfish revenue in Morro Bay, especially in 2011 and 2012 when sablefish prices were high. The increase was due in part to fishermen engaging in gear switching and making sablefish landings using fixed gear (Financial Viability of the Fishery: Landings).
After implementation of the Shorebased IFQ Program Oregon saw increases in the overall value of groundfish landings as a result of the higher Pacific whiting landings that accompanied increases in the shorebased Pacific whiting allocation (Financial Viability of the Fishery: Landings). Newport and Astoria had become the dominant port areas for Pacific whiting processing during the baseline period, and their dominance increased during the first five years of the catch share program. After program implementation, average annual landings and revenue of non-whiting groundfish also increased in Astoria (21 and 14 percent increase, respectively, relative to the project baseline period), while non-whiting groundfish landings and revenue in Newport fluctuated. The volume of non-whiting groundfish landings declined in Coos Bay. Both Newport and Coos Bay experienced a reduction in the number of vessels delivering non-whiting groundfish during the first five years of the Shorebased IFQ Program (Vessel Activity by State and Port Group). A number of complex, often interrelated, factors have contributed to declines in vessel activity and attendant landings and revenue in the non-whiting groundfish fishery since the catch share program began (Financial Viability of the Fishery: Landings).
The increases in the Pacific whiting allocation also led to upturns in groundfish landings and revenue in south-central Washington ports that are processing centers for Pacific whiting in that state. However, northern Washington ports that had historically been delivery sites for at least low volumes of non-whiting groundfish did not receive landings of those species during the first years of the catch share program.
California Department of Fish and Game. 2013. Status of the Fisheries Report 2011. Groundfish Highlight: Update on the New Federal Individual Fishery Quota Program. Monterey, CA.
National Marine Fisheries Service. 2017. West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program Five-year Review – Draft. Pacific Fishery Management Council. Portland, OR.
Pacific Fishery Management Council and National Marine Fisheries Service. 2010. Rationalization of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Limited Entry Trawl Fishery; Final Environmental Impact Statement Including Regulatory Impact Review and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis. Portland, OR.
Pacific States Marine Fishery Commission. 2006. Review of the West Coast Commercial Fishing Industry in 2004. Pacific States Marine Fishery Commission. Portland, OR.
Pomeroy, C. et al. 2010. California’s North Coast Fishing Communities Historical Perspective and Recent Trends. Prepared for California State Coastal Conservancy. Oakland, CA.
Radtke, H. and S. Davis. 2000. Description of the U.S. West Coast Commercial Fishing Fleet and Seafood Processors. Pacific States Marine Fishery Commission. Portland, OR.
Updated: May 2018
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