*Names in bold indicate Presenter
This project traces the theoretical evolution of innovation in the use of market-based mechanisms to more effectively reach policy objectives over time. The purpose of this research project is to examine both the process and outcome of learning in the design and use of catch share programs as a federal fisheries management policy instrument. The process analysis draws out the ways in which learning may be occurring, with an emphasis on drivers of the diffusion of knowledge and experience both to and from the central policymaking bodies in fisheries, the Regional Councils. The learning outcome analysis examines the design elements of catch share programs as variables for how catch share paradigms are adapted to specific problems or policy objectives. This work uses a comparative case study approach examining four distinct catch share programs that vary temporally from the first implementation to one of the most recent. The programs are: the Surf Clam & Ocean Quahog IFQ, the Halibut & Sablefish ITQ, Bering Sea King & Tanner Crab Rationalization, and New England Multispecies Sectors program. Case selection along a temporal range allows this research to document and examine the progression of catch share program application in federal fisheries.
The significance of this project includes the unique policy structure of fisheries management that has put the development and innovation of this tool in the hands of the Regional Councils that represent partnerships between resource managers, NGOs, academics, and industry participants. Additionally, this project is a comprehensive application of the theory of learning to fisheries management. Ultimately, this research aims to provide useful and relevant information on the role of learning in applying market-based mechanisms as a policy prescription in fisheries management and to determine potential improvements to the process to augment the national dialogue on using catch shares to achieve both national and fishery-specific objectives.