Time to End Commercial-Fishing Bias in Fishery Management Councils

Let’s be consistent: Economics dictating the makeup of council membership should apply to all councils, not just to some.

by Jeff Angers, Center for Sportfishing Policy

Within the U.S. marine fisheries management system, no two regions are more different than the Gulf of Mexico and the North Pacific. There are obvious differences like climate and geography, but one of the starkest distinctions is our fisheries – not only what we catch, but how we catch … and how we manage.

While commercial fishing is clearly the more dominant of the two sectors in Alaska, recreational fishing is undoubtedly the economic powerhouse in the Gulf of Mexico. So, why do we see such disparate treatment in the way each sector is represented on the Gulf and North Pacific fishery management councils?

First, let’s make sure we are comparing apples to apples. When you look at NOAA Fisheries’ report Fisheries Economics of the United States 2016 and compare the economic impacts of recreational and commercial fishing across shared fisheries and remove imports, you get a true picture.

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