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Allocation of Fishery Harvests Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act – Principles and Practice

January 23, 2018

Mark L. Plummer, Wendy Morrison, and Erin Steiner

Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, a fishery management plan may restrict harvest below the level that would occur in the absence of active management. In such a case, the allocation or the distribution of fishing privileges among identifiable, discrete user groups or individuals becomes an important consideration in the development of the plan. Allocation is at the heart of recent management actions such as the creation of catch shares, the imposition of restrictions on certain types of gear, and the consideration of how harvest should be distributed between different sectors of a fishery. In particular, allocation is an active policy issue when limited harvests must be divided between commercial and recreational fishing sectors. This technical memorandum focuses on the latter case, although the general descriptions of how allocation can be analyzed systematically apply to any of the cases mentioned. 

Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on 01/23/2018