Can Catch Shares Reduce the US Federal Deficit?

  •  Dietmar Grimm    
  •  Judd Boomhower    
  •  Jason Blau    


Is catch shares management of commercial fisheries a good investment for the US federal government? We estimate the federal budget effects of switching US commercial fisheries from traditional management to catch shares, and describe the resulting impact on the federal deficit in net present value (NPV) terms.

We examine two existing catch shares fisheries and two traditional management fisheries and estimate that converting to catch shares in theses fisheries could reduce the federal deficit by approximately $165M in NPV. Most deficit reduction comes from income taxes on increased fishermen profits under catch shares, and from mandated cost recovery per the Magnuson-Stevens Act. An additional analysis suggests that the federal deficit could be decreased by an estimated $890M to $1.24B in NPV if 36 of the 44 federal US fisheries adopted catch shares.

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