In the context of US fisheries, the term “catch shares” refers to a system in which the government grants fishing rights (quotas) to individuals or companies on a de facto permanent basis and establishes a market for buying, leasing or selling those rights. In other parts of the world, this same approach is referred to as Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs), or Transferable Fishing Concessions (TFCs).
Fisheries managers and policy makers have traditionally focused on measuring the health of fish stocks and managing for their sustainability. While understanding how healthy fish stocks is important, a recent paper by Jim Anderson and colleagues offer a new suite of measurements that also consider the social and economic benefits that fisheries deliver. Including these dimensions in assessments of fishery performance will be key to making the most of our fisheries.