Examining the evolution of access to Alaska's halibut IFQ fishery
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Examining the evolution of access to Alaska's halibut IFQ fishery

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  • Journal Title:
    Ocean and Coastal Managemen
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  • Description:
    In fishing communities, livelihoods and well-being depend on sustaining access to key fisheries through changes in natural resource management. In Alaska, the rationalization of the commercial fishery for Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) in 1995 led to the consolidation of the halibut fleet. The high cost of halibut catch shares have since become a crucial barrier to prospective entrants, especially small-scale operations with few options for portfolio diversification. However, quantitative approaches to understanding that barrier face an information gap: datasets on harvest and catch share ownership in fisheries lack common identifiers for individuals. We match individuals across harvest and catch share ownership data from 1991 through 2019, enabling a detailed examination of entrants and non-entrants – those who acquire or do not acquire halibut catch shares over the time series. We compare fisheries portfolios in terms of participation and earnings through duration, dissimilarity, and network analyses. Differences over time and between entrants and non-entrants emerge across analyses. For both groups, cohorts of participants shrink and real individual earnings increase over the time series. However, entrants' cohorts have decreased further relative to historical participation, while entrants' real earnings and fisheries portfolio compositions have diverged from those of non-entrants. Our results reveal broad differences in Alaska fisheries participants' access to a critical fishery, underscoring the role of catch shares in shaping fishing communities’ opportunities and resilience in the face of social and environmental change.
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  • Source:
    Ocean and Coastal Management 242 (2023) 106706
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    Accepted Manuscript
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