Economic and Ecological Opportunities of Bycatch in the New England Seafood Supply Chain
AbstractBycatch is the unwanted portion of catch on a fishing vessel typically discarded at sea. The practice of discarding bycatch is well documented in global fisheries for increasing mortality, and exacerbating fish stock decline. With discard rates as high as 60% in some fisheries, bycatch reduction is a significant priority for improving financial and environmental sustainability. Fishery managers are seeking solutions to reduce bycatch waste through improved capture selectivity and discard reduction strategies. Some global fisheries have adopted discard bans to address these concerns, but results vary.
This research assesses the ecological and economic impact of discards as applied to New England fisheries and connected restaurant supply chains. In this project, I analyze the effect discard reduction has on marketable species mix availability, and supply chain costs and revenues. Current costs and revenues are compared to discard reduction simulations to assess impacts from changes in landed species volume. Given static total catch weight and historical market values, The results will demonstrate low discard scenarios will move more low value species into the supply chain resulting in an overall decrease in industry revenue and profitability. Total mortality will decrease as discard rates decrease.
This model can be used to further analyze supply and demand impacts and may also be used to assess the need for market intervention to promote the demand for and support the pricing of low value and underutilized species.
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