Comprehensive incentives for reducing Chinook salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea walleye Pollock fishery: Individual tradable encounter credits


After record salmon bycatch in 2007 by the Eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands fishery for walleye Pollock, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) concluded that additional management strategies were necessary to further control salmon bycatch. The Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) was selected in April 2009 and implemented in January 2011 as Amendment 91. In this paper, we present the original comprehensive bycatch credits allocation and trading plan as designed by the first author as commissioned by the Alaskan Pollock Fleet for Chinook salmon, the Comprehensive Incentive Plan (CIP). The CIP, which uses individual (vessel-level) tradable encounter credits (ITEC), included incentives that make up the backbone of Amendment 91/PPA. While salmon bycatch has been reduced since the implementation of the PPA, the current amendment does not have individual vessel incentives that vary with the vulnerability of salmon populations. The CIP approach presented here provides robust vessel-level incentives to reduce Chinook salmon bycatch under all levels of salmon abundance, but particularly when salmon populations are at their lowest levels and are most vulnerable. The specific financial incentive structure in the full plan, with trading of by-catch liabilities among vessels, can be applied well in other fisheries where bycatch threatens both sustainability and profitability.

In Regional Studies in Marine Science