FTT Due Nov 16 by 11:59pm

Let’s talk RATIONALIZATION

In a post of no less than 250 words, share you thoughts on rationalization, including what it is, why it was proposed as a necessary management step, and its consequences. You might find it useful to think of the pros and cons associated with rationalization in your response.

BY Nov 17 at 11:59pm comment on at least two posts by your peers.

38 thoughts on “FTT Due Nov 16 by 11:59pm”

  1. Rationalization in fisheries is the usage of a quota that is shared among participants. Each person in a fishery receives a share of the total allowable catch for the target species. Cooperators can keep their quota, pool their resources, or sell it entirely to another person. It can be helpful because it turns an annual harvest into less of a race to get the largest harvest and more of a cooperative where people can pool their quotas to minimize operational costs. However, there are also cons to catch quotas. For one, fishermen may feel shut out of their possible profits by harvesting as many fish as possible. For them, why should they not get to harvest as many as possible just because someone else can’t? If they have the capability and tools, they think they should be able to harvest more than someone with one small boat. Also, another downside is the allocation of catch quotas to people who were already involved in the industry, shutting out any new fishermen and discouraging investments in the sector. With catch quotas, there’s not much of a reason to keep expanding. And one thing that can be a pro or a con, depending on who you ask, catch quotas allow some fishermen to sell their quota and not fish at all. This reduces the number of vessels fishing and allows some fishermen to leave the fishing game for that species entirely while still making money.

    1. These are very good points. It really does matter what size of the coin you are on as to where you stand in regards to the quota system. With a larger boat, or a financial foundation that can endure the seasons you may not feel as badly effected. The seasonal, small operation will certainly feel the strain from the system. Great read.

  2. Rationalization in fisheries refers to the allowable catch per year, per vessel, in a given fishery based on criteria from the vessel and the estimated fish populations in a given year. The allowable harvest amount is divided amongst all that are registered vessels that registered to participate in a fishery in a given season. There are more than one way to catch a targeted species. Based on the fishing type and vessel size, and type of fishing performed, Will dictate how big a portion of the quota that vessel will receive. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this type of fishery management . Some of the pros involved with the quota system include; catch sharing, fishery management of population harvest, limiting the amount of by catch by restricting who, when, where and how a particular fishing vessel can operate. Cons regarding the quota system include monopolizing the industry with fleets and monetary power in one direction or the other. Severely limiting what any one vessel can harvest and capitalize on can limit growth and make profit hard if in the hole. While there are both ups and downs to the quota system, it is a way for scientists to promote a sustainable fishery for future generations. As the human population grows, so does the demand on the worlds fish populations. The health of the fish and their ecosystems can not be taken for granted. So though the quota limits the success a fishermen may see, the benefits of the program help protect the species as well as fishermen that may not have a chance otherwise to compete.

    1. It’s definitely a bummer that it prevents the fishery from expanding or modernizing but I think that’s a small price to pay for less exploitation of the target species and fewer boats on the water. Not everyone needs access to every single species commercially.

    2. Hey Joe,

      I also mentioned the fact on how the implementation of quotas limit the growth of fishermen as it makes it harder for them to make larger profits. Although this aspect does hurt fisherman, long term it does help ensure sustainability and provide jobs within the fishery for the future.

    3. Hi, Joe
      I find your argument on how this method/program could be negatively monopolized. I feel that’s a really interesting potential factor, and I haven’t seen that aspect been discussed as much! Overall, very solid response.

  3. Bailey describes rationalization in Billion Dollar Fish as a method for controlling the competitiveness of a fishery by divvying up the catch into quotas. Therefore, the economic efficiency of the fishery is maximized. Bailey does say that the rationalization is meant more for the fisherman than the fish, but as I read his book it did seem like a really good way to make sure that the maximum allowable catch was not exceeded, and it made sure there wasn’t so much capital floating in the bearing sea that fisherman would be dishonest to remain profitable. In the pollock fishery quotas were allotted on a catch history basis, meaning the fisherman who had historically had the greatest catches received the highest quotas. They could then fish these quotas themselves or sell them and turn a profit without ever putting their boat in the water. This is how the community development quotas have been very profitable. In the book Bailey explains how the rationalization of the pollock fishery satisfied the interests of NGO’s that were fighting for more stringent regulation of the fishery by making it easier for managers to monitor the fishery due to a reduction in competition to catch as much as possible as fast as possible. The big players in the pollock fishery, like Trident Seafoods, were satisfied because they were guaranteed to get a return on their initial investment in the fishery by being allotted quotas based off their catch histories. My thoughts on the rationalization of fisheries are that it makes it hard or impossible for small-scale working-class fisherman to partake in the fishery. My mind goes back to what a sustainable fishery looks like. I think rationalization lacks in the economic part of the definition due to the way the quotas are assigned. It does make it more economically efficient, but it reduces opportunity for small-scale fisherman. I also wonder what local communities could look like if they were full of small-scale operations that relied on local mechanics and businesses for support. All in all, I see rationalization as a solution to working towards sustainability, but I think there are better ways that would allow for more people to benefit from using the common property resource of fish. Rather than commodifying the fish and assigning ownership to those who invested early on.

    1. It’s honestly difficult to improve the life of fisheries target species while also continuing to make the fisheries sector more advanced and growing. I’m not sure if we can ever perfectly balance the two. However, not everyone has to always fish one species, and there are so many unexploited future markets that anyone can also get into.

    2. Hey Bryce,

      I also agree that rationalization seems to be a good solution for working towards sustainability but not the best economically. It limits the smaller scale fishermen a lot and prevents making it up in that fishing industry if they are not able to save and invest in a larger vessel.

  4. Rationalization pertaining to fisheries is a limit in to what fisherman can spend towards their boat and equipment. If they don’t have the equipment how are they going to fish the large amounts they want. The things they need to do to become a fisherman is a lot so if they are really serious about the fisheries life.
    Sometimes they would need to think of how can they catch the biggest and big quantities. So they will need a whole lot of equipment.

  5. Rationalization establishes a quota or a limit on the amount of fish a individual or company is able to catch of a specific species per a day or per a season. It was proposed to limit the amount of fish being taken out of the water to limit the indent on population. Once your quota is reached, you have to stope targeting that species and can no longer keep anymore. Overall, I would say that quotas are good for the ecosystem to assist in managing fish stock. However, conflicts may arise with their presence. For example, fishermen may feel like they are being limited to how much capital they are able to make if they feel like they are able to catch more. Also, larger, more expensive boats receive larger quotas which allows them to make more money. However, the smaller less expensive boats receive smaller quotas and are not able to make as much. This is viewed as unfair since it is usually poorer fishermen with the smaller vessels and due to the smaller income, they are not able to save up as efficiently and are limited to the amount they can make.

    1. I agree that quotas are great for limiting the amount of fish being caught but there are definitely some bad parts to it as well. I feel like there would be arguments between fishermen & lots of jealousy.

    2. Hey Logan, I agree with you that conflicts could arise pretty easily with quotas. That’s something to keep in mind when creating them, and I think that it’s good that we have past fisheries to look back on and see how quotas did in those fisheries.

  6. The way I have come to understand it, rationalization means to divide the allowable catch into quotas, which are given to specific vessels based mainly on their size and previous history of fishing. Then, these vessels can just continue to fish their quota, or just sell it out to someone else and gain profit without even having to do anything else. I can see how these efforts could help with conservation, since at the end there’s a limit on how much the total number of boats can fish no matter whether they sell it or keep it, and so it could give a break for fish stocks once the quota is met. It could also reduce fishing efforts since every vessel would not be on a crazy race into no-mans-land to see who catches the most in the least amount of time, without any rest, lest the other guy does it first. However, it is also true that these rationalizations pretty much divide all the profit into a set number of investors and owners of the fishing boats, while the small time fishermen do not have any real opportunity to compete. It’s basically some sort of agreement between big corporations not to destroy everyone’s source of profit, and it happens to have positive aspects of conservation. I think there could be another way to divide these quotas to make sure that there is a conservation benefit, but without the profits being exclusive to those who already have resources and wealth.

    1. I agree that there are positives and negatives with rationalization. Its set there as a conservation effort but also its now becoming a socioeconomic divider, and allowing larger vessels to have larger quota’s and earn more that those with smaller vessels.

    2. Hi, Cesar
      I think your summary of what rationalization is was concise, accurate, and easy to follow. I rather enjoyed your use of the term “no-mans-land” as well! I agree that rationalization does pose the possibility of excluding smaller fishermen, who likely depend greatly on their profits.. Do you have any suggestions for a potential fix for this?

  7. Rationalization basically gave a set limit/quotas to fishing companies ” to manage the fishermen and not the resource.” Rationalization has its advantages, like reducing bycatch, but there are also quite a few disadvantages of this system. Rationalizations has some large socioeconomic impacts, and many local communities under this system loose access to fisheries. Also with this rationalization slowly turns a public recourse into a “private” one controlled by the lager corporate companies/industry’s; which puts smaller fishermen at a disadvantage of never moving up economically.

  8. If foreign countries own the processing plants did the 1978 “law of the sea” really expel them from our fisheries? Rationalization, in the context of fisheries, is the separation of quotas for small and big businesses. The bigger factory trawlers, which were mostly foreign-owned, were catching all the stock in a very short amount of time. By the time the smaller business, which are owned and manned by America’s and coastal Alaskans were not making enough of a living to be satisfied. As the factories were catching 90% of the pollack catch the Alaskan government decided to split up the quotas between the bigger trawlers and smaller ships, so that everyone has a chance to make a profit. The separation of the quotas was fought by the big trawling companies because it means that they would have to share the stock with others and not have all the profit for themselves.

    1. One thing I didn’t really think about before was, maybe the rationalizing of the fishery made it safer for smaller fishermen (that did end up with some quota) to fish? I would think that it was more of a wild west out there on ocean with the bigger ships trying to push the smaller boats around to get at the fish.

    2. That the term rationalization comes between cutting short and cutting off what we have and just limiting what our fishermen have been bringing in the overall cost of people is quite interesting

  9. According to the definition given in Billion Dollar Fish, rationalization is defined as “the transition from a derby style of season, one with a catch quota for the whole fishery over the season leading to competition for the harvest, to a quota system whereby individual entities are assigned a percentage of the catch.” Basically, this is just the process of separating fish caught into quotas based on the ships size and track history. Rationalization is supposed to help manage the fishermen and not the actual fish population but this method favors bigger companies over smaller local ones. My thoughts on rationalization are that it’s not very fair. The bigger fishing companies get all the opportunity because of their size and how many ships they have; but smaller fishing companies then have no way to be able to get a leg up because of rationalization. It doesn’t necessarily support anyone but the more powerful people. Although rationalization could lead to a better path for sustainability, it does not support locals who actually need this business unlike the big companies that could survive without.

    1. Charli, I really appreciated your closing statement about how locals actually need the fishery business, whereas bigger companies could survive without them. It really makes me wonder about how we’re going to keep surviving in a world that is run on greed and cooperations fighting to make money.

  10. From what I understand about it, rationalization is a catch quota that was developed so that species were not overfished within their seasons. Because each fishery has a limited amount of organisms to catch, the quota has to be set to help reduce competition in fisheries–so that it’s not a resource being absolutely drained by overcomplete fishermen all trying to catch as much as they can. Based on fishermen catch history and other social factors, rationalization was put into place. There are pros and cons to this, with most of the cons being for the fish in the oceans and not all of the fishermen. Although a quota or limit is good for keeping the numbers being caught from being too high or constantly increasing, rationalization has many downfalls as well. One of the negatives is that who gets the bigger quota depends on some socioeconomic status and isn’t distributed evenly. People who get quotas are also allowed to sell them so that other people can increase their quota. I feel like it’s super unfair to let bigger vessels, bigger people, etc. get bigger quotas just because they’re deemed better in the eyes of the fisheries or because of their status. Creating some sort of quota is a good idea, but creating one where the people typically higher on the food chain get bigger quotas seems entirely unfair. Then again, I don’t think that I fully understand rationalization, so I could be messing up the definitions and examples entirely.

    1. I agree with you, there is a a large socioeconomic status gap with the quotas and who get what slice of the fisheries. I wonder what common ground we could find where everyone has an equal share?

  11. Rationalization of the pollock fishery was the division and distribution of the total allowable catch quota to a fixed number of participants. Dividing the catch quota for pollock into a fixed number of shares was proposed as a way of managing the resource, ensuring that fishermen are less likely to exceed the maximum allowable catch, while also increasing the economic efficiency of the fishery. Limiting the number of ships or quota holders results in individual fishermen regulating their catch rates more so that their small piece of the pie can last them throughout the year, and also allows more time to be focused on processing pollock to creating a higher quality product, increasing value. The rationalization of the pollock fishery effectively slowed the “race for fish” to a halt, the fishery today operating at a more leisurely pace. Pollock catch quotas were divided among current fishers/entities of the pollock fishery at the time it was put in place. Pollock quotas were given out based on the catch history, so ships with the greatest historical catches were allotted the biggest slices of the pie. This fact is partly what makes rationalization controversial. Because corporations/entities with the most money and lobbying power could buy up ships from bankrupt fishing companies in order to accumulate a large collection of quotas. From here, fishermen and quota-holding companies can choose to catch the fish using their vessels or to lease and sell their quotas to other fishermen while still earning a massive profit. One major criticism of the rationalization of the pollock fishery is that it has essentially privatized a public resource, barring the average fishermen from having their chance at catching pollock. Only wealthy fishermen would even have a chance of purchasing or leasing quotas from bigger entities.

    1. I appreciate that you also had an issue with the privatization of what should be a common property resource. Ironically, I am also in Natural Resources Economics this semester and it has paired well with this class. One of the concepts we learned was the assigning of property rights as a means of creating economic stability and efficiency. It seems that rationalization is the route our government has chosen to commodify fish and assign property rights. Thanks for the well written post and good thoughts!

    2. Hi, Felicia!
      I agree that, while there are some positive aspects to it, rationalization does effectively close the market to exclusively those who already have resources and a “big” name for themselves. Sort of like privatizing a resource and making a rich guy club out of it.

  12. Rationalization of the pollock fishery isn’t unique. Its been done in varying degrees to other fisheries. Rationalization is dividing up the allowed catch between shareholders in a way. An individual or company can have this allotted catch or quota. The quotas are interesting to look at in the pollock, black cod, and halibut fisheries. When the quota is filled with fish that the quota is dedicated for then that fish can’t be kept. This way of management is efficient for managing the fishery but it gives even more power and money to the big players and makes it harder for the small guy. The behind close doors agreements for quotas and the privatization of a public resource irritates me to no end. It seems like the public is not involved and is being told by actions is that if they want the fish, they will pay for it instead of catching it themselves.

    1. I appreciate that you brought up the deal to rationalize the pollock fishery was made behind closed doors. I find that very upsetting as well. Especially because the deal has no expiration date and will take an act of congress to change. I think I just carry with me a sense of duty to protect small scale operations and working-class families because of how I grew up. I already have mixed feelings about rationalization because of how it seems to protect the interests of big business, and then to top it off those deals were made in DC without very much public involvement swayed me to dislike the system even more. However, I do recognize that the management of the fishery is very complex and so far this method does seem to be working.

  13. Rationalization of a fishery means that the overall allowable catch is divided up amongst the fishermen, typically called the individual fishing quota (IFQ). There are other names for this, depending on the fishery. Pertaining to the pollock fishery, this gave each original fisherman a portion of the total allowable catch that they could continue to fish or choose to sell and still have an opportunity to make a profit of off. I know in Sitka, oftentimes the fisherman will sell all of their gear and boat along with their permit or IFQ to a prospective newbie. The price can vary any given year, but most times the price for this stuff is pretty steep and hard for just anyone to get ahold of.
    Rationalization does help management monitor a fishery and gives fishermen an incentive to stay within their quotas. I know that some fisheries charge a fine for any overages that might happen, really encouraging a fisherman to keep to quota. Rationalization could also help the fish in that they aren’t just free for anyone to harvest, and inevitably, overharvest. A downfall to rationalization is that it’s super hard for any regular joe to participate in the fishery. It’s easy for certain highliners and companies to monopolize these sorts of fisheries. Anyone who is interested in buying quota will probably need some “in” with one of the big wigs, or maybe they start out as a deckhand and buy their captain’s boat, gear, and IFQ. Anyways, I think rationalization is crucial from a management perspective, but makes it easier for larger companies to control the fishery.

    1. Hi, Payton!
      I think it’s funny how you refer to them as average Joe, I haven’t heard that in a while. But I completely agree that it makes it harder for them to enter the industry, while it’s certainly a hell of a lot easier if you have the money/contacts to get in. It furthers the class division when it comes to ownership and commodification of resources.

  14. In simple terms, “rationalization” refers to the practice of utilizing a system of issued ‘quotas’ within fishery / fishing spaces in order to both maximize value of fishing ventures, as well as keep things reasonably under control. Participants within fishery spaces are given a collective/shared allowance, or quota, for gear, vessels, and catch rates of fish species depending on the current health and climate of the fishes population numbers of that year.

    Rationalization, as a proposed step towards better fishery management, is found valuable for a plethora of reasons. For one, the fact that the information for a yearly “quota” is shared collectively with those who are involved in the fisheries scene changes the approach and overall atmosphere/”mood” of the practice. Because everyone adheres to the same limitations enforced with this program, fishing is less competitive or “survival of the fittest”, “first come first serve”, but a cooperative venture. Everyone is trying to reach a similar means to an end, and so, the urge to eliminate competition is diminished. Secondly, with this program in place, obviously, will likely come the numbers of species populations flourishing. Less strain from ceaseless waves of fishing and competitive /hostile markets being quelled calls for a bounce back in many species.

    It’s possible that the introduction of rationalization within the scope of fishing could greatly change the trajectory of the profession entirely, both positively and negatively. That inclusivity can potentially prove to be just as much of a con as it is a pro in this argument. Potentially with, ironically, causing the exclusion of certain fishermen groups, inaccessibility, and so on.

  15. IFQ’s , catch shares, and limited access privilege programs (LAPPs) can all be referred to as “rationalization programs” where fisheries resources are allocated to a limited group of users. The term “rationalization” came up often when fish harvesters were asked to list the main issues facing inshore fisheries today. In the context of Change Islanders, the term refers to a multifaceted movement aimed at eliminating small-scale fishing enterprises and replacing them with larger, corporate fishing ventures. It is not just individual livelihoods at stake, but also the traditions that accompany them, the cultural heritage that these traditions represent, and even the survival of coastal communities within the province. Based on an analysis of government documents and various statistical sources as well as our own field research carried out in the community, the policy brief presents our analysis of the issue of rationalization.

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