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December 26, 2012
by Teri Frady
survey
New data collection efforts are either underway or set to begin in 2013 that will gather information needed to better understand how the groundfish fishery is changing and what the social and economic effects of those changes are, particularly for crew members, about whom very few such data exist.  This new work includes surveys of vessels owners and crew members to gather information about business costs associated with commercial fishing, income, and employment trends. Photo credit: Anne O'Brien, NEFSC/NOAA
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Northeast Groundfish Vessel Landings Up, Revenues Top $330 Million in Fishing Year 2011

Landings, gross revenues, and net revenues per vessel reached three-year highs for Northeast groundfish vessels during the fishing year that ended in April 2012.

These results suggest that economic conditions generally improved for the groundfish fleet between 2009 and 2011 for those vessels remaining active in the fishery.  In fishing year 2011, about 800 groundfish vessels earned $330.9 million in gross revenues from all species landed, an increase of $36.4 million over the 2010 fishing year. Revenues from groundfish species alone increased to $90.1 million, about $7 million more than in 2010. The fishing year begins on May 1 and ends April 30 of the following year.

Continued small populations of cod and some flounders will require low catch limits for these species in the 2013 fishing year (May 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014) and may reverse the gains in economic stability evident in this year’s report.

The findings were released today by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, in its annual report on the economic performance of the groundfish industry. The report compares fishing years 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Some trends of concern reported in last year’s groundfish performance report have leveled off.  For example, after falling in 2010 from 2009, groundfish landings, revenues, trips, and days absent on trips increased in 2011 from 2010, although not to their 2009 levels.  After increasingly concentrating among top-earning vessels and owners from 2009-2010, revenues were no more concentrated in 2011 than in 2010.

Some trends evident since 2009 continued.  These included increases in nongroundfish and total nominal revenues, and increases in groundfish prices. The number of active vessels and active vessel affiliations also declined, with the resulting consolidation of revenues on fewer vessels. The groundfish fleet improved its overall economic performance, with increases in owners’ share of net revenue at the fleet level, and in average owners’ share per vessel.

Employment trends for vessel crew were mixed.  After declines in all measures for crew employment from 2009 to 2010, some measures have shown increases in 2011, though generally not returning to their 2009 levels.

As a whole in 2011, the fishery landed more fish than at any other period between 2009-2011, with both groundfish and non-groundfish revenues at their highest points in 2011 in both nominal and real terms. 

A sector’s quota for groundfish species is based on the combined fishing history of its members. Both sectors and individuals within a sector can lease or trade their allocations.

The 2011 market for sector groundfish quota was more active than in 2010, with just under 31 million pounds traded, valued at about $15 million. Prices for trades ranged from $0 to $1.25, with some species fetching higher prices than others. The market was most active within Massachusetts and for vessels in the 30-to-less-than-50-feet size class. About 40 percent of leasing occurred among networks of vessels connected through common owners.

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NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.

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The Northeast Fisheries Science Center conducts ecosystem-based science supporting stewardship of living marine resources under changing climatic conditions. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public. Join NOAA Fisheries on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and our other social media channels.

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