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Impact of catch shares on diversification of fishers’ income and risk
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    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Aug 29; 114(35): 9302-9307.
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  • Description:
    Many fishers diversify their income by participating in multiple fisheries, which has been shown to significantly reduce year-to-year variation in income. The ability of fishers to diversify has become increasingly constrained in the last few decades, and catch share programs could further reduce diversification as a result of consolidation. This could increase income variation and thus financial risk. However, catch shares can also offer fishers opportunities to enter or increase participation in catch share fisheries by purchasing or leasing quota. Thus, the net effect on diversification is uncertain. We tested whether diversification and variation in fishing revenues changed after implementation of catch shares for 6,782 vessels in 13 US fisheries that account for 20% of US landings revenue. For each of these fisheries, we tested whether diversification levels, trends, and variation in fishing revenues changed after implementation of catch shares, both for fishers that remained in the catch share fishery and for those that exited but remained active in other fisheries. We found that diversification for both groups was nearly always reduced. However, in most cases, we found no significant change in interannual variation of revenues, and, where changes were significant, variation decreased nearly as often as it increased.
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