Action: Set commercial catch quotas and habitat credits systems
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- We found no studies that evaluated the effects of setting commercial catch quotas and habitat credits systems on subtidal benthic invertebrate populations.
‘We found no studies’ means that we have not yet found any studies that have directly evaluated this intervention during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore, we have no evidence to indicate whether or not the intervention has any desirable or harmful effects.
Many populations of marine subtidal benthic invertebrate species have declined or been depleted due to the multiple threats they are exposed to, including overharvesting (Hobday et al. 2000) and unintentional physical damage or catching during other fishing operations (Collie et al. 2000). Commercial fishing and harvest quotas (such as Total Allowable Catch) are a means by which many governments and local regulatory bodies regulate biological resources (species stocks). Habitat credits systems are fisheries management tools aimed to balance economic and environmental values associated with fisheries. In the case of fisheries, the aim is to address specific conservation goals while having minimal effects for the fisheries. A set number of habitat credits (or “individual habitat quotas”) are allocated to fishers. Habitat impacts credits are then assigned to specific fishing areas based on their sensitivity to fishing practices; the more sensitive the area, the more habitat credits it will require from the fisher to go and fish there.
Setting habitat credits systems for specific exploited areas, can potentially incentivise responsible fishing practices by constraining fishers to a set number of credits or shares of the habitat, while allowing them to change their behaviour (where, when, and how much they fish) (Bastleer et al. 2017). Setting catch quotas in conjunction with habitat credits systems for specific fisheries and areas (for instance cod in the English Channel, Bastleer et al. 2017), can potentially reduce the pressure on particularly sensitive areas and their associated species. Direct evidence is limited, but indirect evidence using modelling approaches have shown that using catch quotas in conjunction with habitat credit systems could reduce benthic impacts (Bastleer et al. 2017).
Evidence for the use of habitat credits system not in conjunction with catch quotas is summarised under “Threat: Biological resource use – Set habitat credits systems”, while evidence for the use of catch quotas alone is summarised under “Threat: Biological resource use – Set catch quotas”.
Collie J.S., Hall S.J., Kaiser M.J. & Poiner I.R. (2000) A quantitative analysis of fishing impacts on shelf‐sea benthos. Journal of Animal Ecology, 69, 785–798.
Hobday A.J., Tegner M.J. & Haaker P.L. (2000) Over-exploitation of a broadcast spawning marine invertebrate: decline of the white abalone. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 10, 493–514.