NOAA report finds communication key on fishing quotas

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NOAA Fisheries released its first compilation and discussion of fisheries allocation issues.

The Marine Fishery Allocation Issues report, a direct response to stakeholder concerns regarding allocation during the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Summit, summarizes the comments received from a broad spectrum of stakeholders.

The agency will host a webinar next Thursday for stakeholders interested in learning more about the 17-page report and its findings from author George Lapointe.

The report concludes that “fishery managers have a difficult time explaining the process, rationale and outcomes of allocation decisions because, at best, it’s very hard to explain to a group or individual why a decision was made in a way that they do not agree with.”

“In more difficult allocation discussions it is nearly impossible to achieve an outcome that is not perceived as very unfair by some stakeholders,” the report says.

Also evident from the project is that most managers and stakeholders favor a more efficient and understandable allocation process, the report concludes.

“Many suggestions were made about improvements to the management process to make allocation decisions more clearly understood, fairer and based more on quantitative factors and less on qualitative factors, which are often perceived as biased and arbitrary,” the report says.

“Clearly, there is difficult work to be done on allocation in the nation’s fishery management system,” the report goes on to say. “A logical conclusion from this type of perception is that fishery managers at the state, regional and national levels need to focus more time and resources to allocation discussions and decisions. This should begin in the initial stages of a fishery management action and should include clear, direct language about the allocation definitions and decisions to be made, who is responsible for the decisions and how stakeholders can engage in the process.”

The webinar will take place on Thursday from 3 to 4 p.m. EST.

Those interested in listening in can register here.

— Reagan Haynes

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