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Casting the net: A more efficient approach to US fisheries management

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The fishing industry contributes about $90 billion annually to the U.S. economy, through commercial fishing, charter boat companies, manufacturers of fishing equipment, and more. This translates into over one and a half million jobs for American workers. In many cases, however, current management practices lead to inefficient fishing practices that threaten both the ecological and economic sustainability of U.S. fisheries.

On September 10th, The Hamilton Project hosted a forum to discuss new opportunities for improving the economic prosperity and long-term sustainability of the U.S. fishing industry. The forum opened with remarks by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin.

The Project released an economic overview of the U.S. fishing industry, and a new paper by economist Christopher Costello of UC Santa Barbara proposing amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requiring that fisheries meeting certain criteria be required to undertake a comparison of the economic, social, and ecological trade-offs between status quo management and alternative management structures, including catch shares.

In a roundtable around the new proposal, Costello was joined by Lee Crockett, Director of U.S. Oceans at the Pew Charitable Trusts; John Mimikakis, Associate Vice President of Oceans at the Environmental Defense Fund; John Pappalardo, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance; and Captain Steve Tomeny of Steve Tomeny Charters. Melissa Kearney, Director of The Hamilton Project, moderated the roundtable. Following the discussion, the panelists took audience questions.


2:00 p.m. Welcome and Introductions

Robert E. Rubin
Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary

2:10–3:30 p.m. Roundtable: An Economic Approach Toward More Sustainable Fisheries

Author: Christopher Costello
Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California Santa Barbara

Discussant: Lee Crockett
Director, U.S. Oceans, Pew Charitable Trusts

Discussant: John Mimikakis
Associate Vice President, Oceans, Environmental Defense Fund

Discussant: John Pappalardo
Executive Director, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance

Discussant: Steve Tomeny
Captain, Steve Tomeny Charters

Moderator: Melissa Kearney
Director, The Hamilton Project