Most often, we buy quotas from retiring fishermen, then make them available for lease locally—at reasonable prices. We also provide financing along with business planning and technical assistance to fishermen who want to buy quota to help them build more successful businesses.
There is growing evidence that the Trust's strategy is working. We're seeing success in keeping quotas local and in diversifying the species fishermen target. We're seeing growth in the numbers of active fishing vessels harbored here, in our numbers of working fishermen and in fishermen's earnings.
- CCFT started buying quota in 2008, and now owns more than six million pounds of scallop, groundfish and surf clam quotas—enough diversity of access to keep our Cape Cod fleet working at healthy levels.
- Our quota portfolio has been a good investment for our community, appreciating in value since its purchase and in turn stabilizing the cost of access to fishing rights for local fishermen.
- The portfolio supports good fishing jobs: in 2012, our leasing program helped 106 captains and crew working aboard 29 fishing vessels to catch 623,000 pounds of fresh seafood worth $2.9M on Cape Cod—and studies show that "fishing dollars" stay local on Cape Cod and have a vitally important multiplier effect on our overall economy.
- Cape Cod fishermen are participating actively in keeping quotas local. In 2012, no quotas were sold by our local fleet to larger off-Cape companies.
- Local scallop quota ownership increased by 26% from 2009 to 2011—more local fishermen buying their own scallop quota is a good sign for our fleet.
- Scallop and groundfish captains are using Trust support to help diversify their businesses. Fishermen are finding good catches in dogfish, monkfish, skate, tuna, lobster, conch and striped bass as a way to avoid becoming overly specialized and reliant on a single fishery.
- The Trust has become an inspiration and model for others who are working to create sustainable fisheries and economies. Harvard Law graduate, Erica Boyce, has been awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship to work with Fisheries Trust through 2015 to document our legal framework make it available to other communities around the nation. Her project will be sponsored by ALM.