Commercial Fisheries: Effectiveness of Fishing Buyback Programs Can Be Improved

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Fish populations in many commercial fisheries are declining, causing a growing imbalance between the number of vessels in fishing fleets and the number of fish available to catch. Federally funded fishery buyback programs are one tool available for managers to bring the number of vessels and the number of fish back into balance. Buyback programs need to be carefully designed if they are to sucessfully sustain fisheries. If buyback programs are not accompanied by other measures that reduce incentives to reenter a fishery, capacity reductions resulting from buybacks ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. May 10, 2001.

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Fish populations in many commercial fisheries are declining, causing a growing imbalance between the number of vessels in fishing fleets and the number of fish available to catch. Federally funded fishery buyback programs are one tool available for managers to bring the number of vessels and the number of fish back into balance. Buyback programs need to be carefully designed if they are to sucessfully sustain fisheries. If buyback programs are not accompanied by other measures that reduce incentives to reenter a fishery, capacity reductions resulting from buybacks will erode. Unless a buyback program prevents it, fishermen can use previously inactive vessels or permits and reenter the buyback fishery. By themselves, the buyback programs do not address a root cause of overfishing, which is called the "race to fish." In most fisheries, fishermen have an incentive to increase their fishing capacity to catch fish before someone else does or use their existing capacity more intensely. Plans for evaluating the results of buybacks should also be considered when these programs are being designed. Measuring and evaluating results can identify important lessons that can improve the effectiveness of future buybacks. The federal government has done little to evaluate whether recent buyback programs have achieved their intended benefits. This testimony summarizes two GAO reports (RCED-00-8R and RCED-00-120)."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 10, 2001

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  • June 10, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Commercial Fisheries: Effectiveness of Fishing Buyback Programs Can Be Improved, text, May 10, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc289659/: accessed June 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.