Performance Indicators

Evaluating the Social and Economic Performance of Northeast Fisheries

To measure the performance of US Northeast Region fisheries, the SSB initiated a process in 2009 to identify and define socio-economic performance measures. Previous monitoring occurred on an ad hoc basis, limiting opportunities for cross fishery comparisons. To identify relevant regional socio-economic performance measures, we reviewed legal requirements, management objectives, academic literature and reports from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on management impacts for overall commonalities. A draft set of indicators was developed and vetted by all SSB staff. Input was sought from industry leaders, the Mid Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils, staff at the NMFS Northeast Regional Office (NERO), academics and other regional NMFS social scientists. In order to integrate input from fishermen and permit holders, a number of outreach meetings were held in the field. Importantly, because crew members are typically under represented at public meetings, a contract was initiated with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to conduct extensive field interviews to integrate crew perspectives into the final set of performance measures and indicators.

The SSB performance measure initiative was motivated by a need to evaluate catch share programs, particularly the implementation of sector management in the groundfish fishery, but will be used to evaluate vessel, fleet and household earnings, along with crew well-being in all fisheries. Thus far, we have identified five areas for further inquiry, and provided a few questions to give a sense of the type of research we will be conducting.

  • Financial Viability

    • How are crew earnings changing?
    • How have household earnings changed?
    • Are vessel profits changing?
    • Have ex-vessel prices changed?
    • Are dealer and processors profits changing?
    • What is the value of quota, or days-at-sea?
  • Distributional Outcomes

    • Access to the resource through quota, or other management measures.
    • Concentration of vessel or quota ownership - by state, region, community, other subset.
    • Employment opportunities.
    • What happens to individuals that leave a fishery?
  • Well-Being

    • Are fishermen/crew/processing employees more or less satisfied with their jobs?
    • Has fishing become safer?
    • Are communities in general doing better or worse? In what ways? Has fishing infrastructure changed?
    • Has the way fishermen relate to each other changed?
    • How might new ownership structures/patterns modify the relationship among permit holders and crew?
  • Stewardship of Marine Resources

    • Has the incentive to race for fish changed?
    • Are people complying with the rules?
    • Is there a greater sense of stewardship?
    • Have they changed the relationship between resource users and the resource?
    • Are discard rates increasing? Decreasing?
  • Governance

    • Is participation in decision making/management changed?
    • Has management become more adaptive?
    • Are regulations becoming easier to understand or harder?
    • What is the cost to the government associated with management, and how has it changed through time?
    • What are the management costs for permit holders, and how have they changed through time?
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(File Modified Apr. 06 2016)