Responses to the West Coast Groundfish Disaster

Commercial fisheries on the West Coast continue to face considerable change. After expanding rapidly in the late 1970s and '80s, in the late '90s many sectors of the industry experienced resource scarcity and decline--especially groundfish. On January 26, 2000, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary William Daley declared the West Coast groundfish fishery an economic disaster. This publication summarizes responses from members of both the fishing community and the "resource community" (employees of governmental and nongovernmental organizations) who participated in a study investigating three main questions about the West Coast groundfish disaster (WCGD): What was the severity of the WCGD? What was the government's response to the WCGD and how well did it work? What were some lessons learned that could help decision makers and communities deal with future disasters?

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