What makes Cape Cod so special? It’s the Cod!

Without our independent commercial fishermen and historic fishing industry, we would live on just another sand bar. Gone would be the firing of diesel engines before the sun cracks the eastern horizon. Gone too, the rugged individuals that make up our fleet. And lost would be the freshest day-boat seafood around. We can’t afford to take our commercial fishing heritage for granted and must seek solutions that provide safe passage through perilous times.

The Cape Cod Fisheries Trust does the hard work to keep fresh filets on our plates and boats in our harbors. I am proud to work side by side with fishermen who are passionate about their jobs and the ocean.

The Cape Cod Fisheries Trust is an economic development initiative that stands for a strong and resilient Cape Cod fishing economy, profitable and diversified local fishing businesses, and sustainable fishing practices that protect fishing resources for future generations.

The Trust leases quota and provides business development services to local fishermen. In 2010, we leased nearly 700,000 quota pounds at below-market rates to Cape Cod fishermen, enabling 112 captains and crew working aboard 36 fishing vessels to catch seafood worth $2.1 million. In 2011, leasing grew to over one million pounds, enabling 124 fishermen on 33 vessels to catch $3.6 million worth of seafood.

We take pride that what we learned in 2010 we used to improve the Trust’s support for local fishermen in 2011. We heard plenty of feedback from fishermen on what worked and what didn’t. We wrestled to define and describe our evolving vision, purpose and goals. We designed an evaluation framework to guide our decision-making and help us understand our impact – grappling with what’s meaningful, what’s measurable and what’s realistic.

Through it all we’ve enjoyed close and productive working relationships with our core collaborators, the Community Development Partnership, the Fixed Gear Sector and Amplifier Strategies. We learned that working with likeminded groups expanded our capacity in important ways and helped us do more with less.

We are taking a leadership role in promoting community quota ownership and management as a best bet for sustainable fisheries and communities. This includes partnering with fishing communities on the East and West Coasts to create technology tools to collectively manage quota and improve business planning for local fishing businesses. And it includes sharing our story as widely and transparently as possible.

The Trust couldn’t do what it does without the contributions of our donors, the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association board, our partners and especially the fishermen of Cape Cod. We look forward to continuing this work together in 2012 and beyond.

Paul Parker
Executive Director, Cape Cod Fisheries Trust

Bringing people together to solve tough problems is what excites me. And it’s working with a great bunch of fishermen to improve fishery management that challenges us. The Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association believes that more effective fishery management will be rooted in our community and rely on an expanded role for the private sector. Our vision includes better data, more timely population assessments and a greater reliance on the expertise of fishing professionals.

CCCHFA is the leading voice for commercial fishermen on Cape Cod. We began in 1991 as a group of hook fishermen, and now we work with over 120 independent fishing businesses and more than 300 local fishing families that use all fishing gear types to harvest day-boat seafood.

Last season we brought to market more than 7 million pounds of fresh catch, including 2.2 million pounds of groundfish such as cod, haddock, and flounder, 2.5 million pounds of skate, 1.2 million pounds of dogfish, 500,000 pounds of monkfish, 400,000 pounds of sea scallops and over 227,000 pounds of lobsters. It takes more than hooks to build that kind of resume. Our fleet uses pots, hooks, gillnets and dredges.

Today’s fishermen face tough environmental, economic and regulatory pressures in addition to the age-old risks that they encounter on the water. CCCHFA is a place where fishermen can come together and build creative solutions to modern challenges.

One such innovation is the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust, which buys fishing quota to make sure that our local fleet can stay active on the water. Allowing fishermen to lease fish quota at reduced rates keeps fish, dollars and jobs on Cape Cod. All of this is critical to Cape Cod’s economic future and sense of place.

CCCHFA has spent 15 years building this type of capacity within our local fishing community, and we are moving to expand this strategy to additional fleets and communities on Cape Cod.

John Pappalardo
CEO, Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association

The Community Development Partnership is pleased to be part of the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust team and to present this annual report of the Trust’s impact and value in our community.

When we were first approached in 2008 by the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association to become involved in this project, we immediately understood the importance of protecting a portion of private assets in community trust. While we didn’t have deep knowledge and capacity in the fishing industry at that time, we had served as a steward of community assets in the areas of housing and finance for almost 20 years. We were experts in developing processes and procedures to ensure the fair and transparent allocation of community resources. We also understood the importance of retaining fishing rights in community trust in order to stabilize the current generation of fishermen and ensure the long-term viability of the industry on Cape Cod.

This program has become a key strategy for fulfilling our mission to nurture a vibrant Lower Cape region by promoting environmental and economic sustainability, expanding opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents, and preserving our unique cultural and historic character. During the last few years, we’ve spent many hours learning from fishermen during conversations in the office and on the water so we could experience – up close – the day-to-day challenges facing fishermen. These conversations and lessons learned have manifested in the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust program design and in the quality of the relationships between the staff and the fishermen we are here to support. As we look ahead to the future, we envision that support deepening with robust business planning tools designed exclusively for fishermen that will help sharpen their financial management skills and be better prepared to access capital and resources needed to grow. We are also excited to be able to share our story with other communities across New England and beyond.

Elizabeth Bridgewater
Executive Director, Community Development Partnership

The Trust’s core organizational strategy is to collaborate with partners who are specialists in key areas.
Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association (CCCHFA)

CCCHFA is the Trust’s home base – the organization that launched the Trust to mitigate negative economic and social impacts of catch shares and quota management in local fisheries. Established in 1991by Cape Cod fishermen concerned about the future of their industry, CCCHFA is a nonprofit organization that brings fishermen together to develop and implement creative solutions to marine resource challenges in Cape Cod’s traditional fishing communities.

The Trust leverages the relationships that the CCCHFA has established with local fishermen, its unique leadership position in the New England fisheries management arena, its strong policy background, and its expertise in fisheries science and regulation, fishing businesses and quota valuation. As a CCCHFA program, the Trust uses the Association’s resources and infrastructure to manage its operations, reducing some financial and administrative burdens.


Community Development Partnership (CDP)

CDP manages, underwrites and services the Trust’s scallop leasing program and advises on groundfish processes. With CCCHFA, CDP develops lease approval and allocation policies, procedures and criteria. It educates fishermen about the program, provides them with technical assistance through the application process, and offers support services to fishing businesses to become more efficient and profitable, with a special focus on business process improvement and retaining local crew. CDP also collects data for the Trust’s monitoring and evaluation efforts.

CDP has a 20-year history of successful strategic partnerships to manage community owned assets such as affordable housing rehab loans, microloans and more recently fishing quota. It is a results-driven organization that has developed a number of award-winning and nationally recognized sustainable projects within the Lower Cape region of Cape Cod. CDP brings to the Trust expertise in community economic development, nurturing small businesses, and community-backed financing. The organization has played a major role in evolving the Trust’s vision and programming.


Amplifier Strategies

From an initial engagement in 2009 to create a financial model for the Trust, Amplifier’s role has grown to encompass evaluation, business strategy and management consulting, and most recently technology and communications.

Amplifier Strategies is a consultancy dedicated to increasing triple bottom line impact in communities. Its expertise includes program impact assessment, public/private partnerships and large-scale program strategy. Amplifier works closely with organizations and their stakeholders to define success, develop strategic priorities, and create implementation plans and the necessary innovations in finance, communication and technology to make it happen.

Amplifier’s sister company, AmplifierCatalyst, is a product design and technology firm specializing in custom technology solutions for collaborations. The company manages all aspects of software development from conducting user needs assessments, to developing a design plan for how the technology will deliver direct value to users, through managing the development process from requirements gathering to final release.


The Georges Bank Fixed Gear Sector (Sector)

An independent 501(c)5, the Georges Bank Fixed Gear Sector was established in 2010 from the merger of two CCCHFA-sponsored sectors. The Sector allows local fishermen to work collectively to harvest a combined quota of fish, increasing flexibility and profit for fishing businesses and making it easier for fishermen to stay within annual limits.

The Trust’s groundfish leasing program leverages the Sector’s organizational framework for coordinating, monitoring and educating local fisherman. The Sector is also a key groundfish data partner, providing catch data and business information (on a consent basis) as well as an avenue to government data sources such as the National Marine Fisheries Services. The Sector manager is a valuable ear-to-the-ground advisor on groundfish program policies and processes.


We've created a program framework to communicate our purpose and guide our decisions.

Program Outcome

The Cape Cod fishing industry is vibrant, sustainable and
a model for other fishing communities.

Evaluation is critical to the Trust. It allows us to to assess whether
we are on track and having our intended impact.


The Trust uses information to drive strategic decisions and demonstrate our ability to benefit local fishermen, communities and the environment.

Using a stakeholder-driven approach, CCCHFA has articulated four key goals for the Trust. (We refer to them in shorthand as our economic, conservation, community and organizational sustainability goals.) These goals describe conditions that we think are necessary for a vibrant, sustainable fishery and fishing industry on Cape Cod that is productive and profitable for multiple generations. We hope our approach can be a model for other communities as well.

Setting indicators is never easy. We've learned that single data points often are not useful because we seek progress on multiple fronts. We also learned that gathering good data is a long-term process. After developing our goals and indicators, we looked to see what data we could feasibly collect from 2010, what additional data we could begin collecting for 2011, and where we still needed new capacity, program support or increased monitoring for data collection to happen in the future. The first test of our methodology was to collect 2010 baseline data, when available, for our scallop and groundfish programs.






The Trust leases out fishing quota at reduced rates to stimulate the Cape Cod fishing economy and ensure profitability of the local fleet.

Three guiding principles govern our leasing activities: 1) to support future generations of Cape Cod fishermen, 2) to encourage diversification and 3) to support strong business operations. We stay true to our values by implementing clear leasing eligibility criteria for owner operators that include:

  • Cape Cod residency
  • crew share
  • strong business operations
  • compliance with tax, safety and environmental regulations
  • participation in CCCHFA and monthly meetings
  • use fishing practices that minimize environmental harm and waste

We make a special effort to reach out to fishermen who did not receive initial quota allocation, have recently launched a fishing business or diversified into a second fishery, or will use a rate reduction to increase local crew pay or to fish more sustainably.

In 2011, most of the full-time scallop and groundfish fishing businesses on Cape Cod were positively impacted by the Trust. In fact, approximately 50% of scallop revenues and 40% of groundfish revenues resulted from Trust leasing and activities. Trust participants saved over $500,000 off fair market leases in 2011 when the leasing program served 11 scallop vessels and 22 groundfish vessels, leasing 200,000 pounds and 825,000 pounds respectively at 50% of market rates.

The leasing program matured fully in the 2011 season. The Trust and leasing partner CDP put in place a more rigorous application process, along with more communications and assistance to support applicants. We began collecting baseline data from the previous year and initiated fishermen workshops to engage participants directly in the vision and design of the leasing program.

Cape Cod fishermen are highly experienced professionals who are now having to navigate a dynamic regulatory and business environment.

Our role is to help alleviate that burden by providing access to the latest tools, approaches and experts to increase their efficiency, bankability and profitability. We provide education not on how to do what they already do best, but on how to get the most out of the resources available to them.

The Trust deploys CDP’s expertise to help fishermen improve their business planning and processes. In 2011, CDP used the program application process to work one-on-one with fishermen to prepare business plans that lay out their business goals, assets, annual harvest plan, risks and opportunities, sales and marketing strategies, and business and vessel operations. These plans are the blueprint for CDP to provide technical assistance and business supports to participants throughout the fishing season, and a benchmark for fishermen to assess the stabilization and growth of their businesses over time.

The education has never been one way. Our application workshops proved a lively forum for fishermen to learn from each other – and certainly for us to learn from them. We are now moving more consciously towards increasing fishermen’s input on the program design. In our next annual report we look forward to sharing how we are using one-on-one meetings, monthly meetings and focus groups to implement new policies, procedures and program management responsibilities for fishermen.

Fishermen who work with the Trust want to own their own quota and become less reliant on support from the Trust leasing program.

They want to use affordable leases as a means to an end: to improve their business practices, become bankable and buy their own quota.

CCFT seeks to catalyze the availability of lending capacity for small fishing businesses looking to buy quota to grow. In 2012, improving access to capital for Cape Cod fishermen will be pursued using new ideas and models for community economic development and lending such as the use of revolving loan funds, loan loss reserves, loan guarantees or loan buydowns.

CCFT will work with CDP to complete a business plan for the Cape Cod Fisheries Loan Fund to help fishermen finance quota purchase and increase community equity. Conceptually, CDP and CCFT believe that a $3-5M fund would dramatically improve local fishermen’s access to capital and opportunity to buy quota. As more fishermen invest in quota, it will further stabilize the Cape Cod fishing community in a way that leads to access for new entrants, improved business stability and profit.

In established and mature quota fisheries such as Alaskan halibut IFQs, there are financing programs that provide capital access for new entrants and other buyers. CCFT will study these programs and other cases to inform business plan development.

We are in the start-up phase of designing sustainable fishing strategies and activities for how our fleet can best protect Cape Cod fishing resources.

In 2011 we focused efforts in three areas: 1) using reduced rate leases to promote environmentally beneficial fishing practices; 2) determining ways to measure and describe fishing “best” practices and sustainable fishing; and 3) developing strategies for fishermen to participate in activities like cooperative research, enhanced data collection and analysis, and other innovations to help fishermen reduce their environmental impact.

In 2012 we will see the expansion of a partnership with the Fixed Gear Sector and the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab of Duke University to use fishermen’s data to create spatio-temporal analyses that will help fishermen manage their quotas. By using credible data to show how changes in fishing practice can reduce bycatch, improve efficiency and improve business profitability, this project will help us develop a reality-based incentive program to promote co-management and sustainable fishing activities and behaviors.

Participation in advocacy and policy issues

In 2010, CCCHFA and Trust staff and participating fishermen worked on developing policies to help New England permit banks and other community-based fishing associations succeed within the catch-share management system for New England groundfish and Atlantic sea scallop. Our activities included testimony to the New England Fishery Management Council Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan amendment process, and ongoing efforts to educate state and federal politicians to secure their support for community quota ownership.

The Trust is committed to evidence-based decision-making and to demonstrating our impact on local fishermen, the community and the environment.

One of our biggest challenges has been data acquisition, management and sharing. Our plan for collecting 2010 impact data relied on a number of internal and external sources. When the rubber hit the road, we found that data was more time-consuming to access and of more variable quality than we had anticipated.

Our “data frustration” was the impetus to develop a new data management strategy called the Fish Hub. The Fish Hub is a technology platform that will compile and use private-industry, community-owned data to simplify fishermen’s compliance burden and improve their business planning. The Hub also will facilitate managing leases, collective planning and fishing arrangements, and will enable partners to visualize and share results. Working with AmplifierCatalyst, the Nature Conservancy California and stakeholders on the East and West Coasts, we expect to have a first release of the Fish Hub for Cape Cod fishermen to test in mid-2012.

The Trust continued to share our approach – and our opinions – in a number of highly leveraged regional and national venues in 2011. These included the Community Dimensions of Catch Shares National Blue Ribbon Panel and New England regional permit bank workshops. We rarely said no to a conversation from communities seeking our insights and regularly sought out discussions with community leaders and industry about the challenges facing smaller ports and the potential for fishery trusts to address these issues.



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          THE CAPE

Tye Vecchione, scallop fisherman, Chatham, Mass.

The Cape Cod Fisheries Trust helps me build a more profitable business. I lease 20 percent of the scallops I catch from the Trust. It offers me affordable rates that are about half of what I would pay on the open market... if I could find any scallops for lease on the open market. Knowing I have support from the Trust helps me plan ahead.

While access to quota is huge, don’t get me wrong, what the Trust offers in big picture thinking is even more important. We wouldn’t even be able to get quota unless the Trust helped us wade through the regulations and keep on top of things.

To run a business successfully you need to know what new rules might be coming your way a year ahead of time so you can speak out about what is best for you in the management arena. Without this assistance, no one would be fishing or accessing quota.

The fact that my business is doing well means a better bottom line for my share-based crew. This is the way it used to be – and the way it should be. The Trust is good for our local fishermen and good for our economy.

Eric Brazer, Manager, Georges Bank Fixed Gear Sector

Each morning I check who went fishing and who landed fresh day-boat cod, haddock and other groundfish last night. I manage a community co-op of small-scale commercial fishermen, and it’s my job to keep them compliant with regulations.

Scientists set quotas every year for each species of groundfish to make sure we don’t take fish faster than they can reproduce. Individual fishermen get a portion of the quota to catch. I balance their quota books. There is a lot of trading – both inside our co-op and with other co-ops in the region – to keep our members within their limits.

Enter the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust. The Trust helps our fishermen get the quota they need to run their businesses by leasing it to them for half of what they’d pay on the open market. Without it, I think there would be a lot fewer fishermen around here and fishing expenses would be much higher.

I help:

     •  fishermen who didn’t get enough quota to make a living,
     •  the next generation of fishermen that seek to launch a business, and
     •  small businesses that couldn’t otherwise compete with bigger fish companies.

The Trust is vital to our fleet and community.

Pam Andersen, Business & Credit Programs Manager, Community Development Partnership

“Is this a fishing day?” is the first question I ask myself when I see an appointment with a fisherman on my planner. There is no such thing as 9-5 or Monday-Friday in fishing!

The unique collaboration between the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust and the Community Development Partnership helps new scallop fishermen like Andy and his wife Alane Keese succeed in today’s competitive business market and comply with the many regulations that govern our fisheries.

I help them:

     •  reconcile federal reporting paperwork,
     •  use QuickBooks accounting software, and
     •  see the value of good business practice.

Andy, who has worked on the water his whole life, was disadvantaged by new fishing regulations that gave him too few pounds of scallops to make a living. The Trust makes quota available to fishermen in its community at below market rates in exchange for compliance with best business practices, including hiring and paying fair wages to crew. This assures the profits are redistributed into the community and supports the long-term sustainability of the local fishing industry.

Fishermen can’t keep using old ways to run their business; they have to plan, adapt and project as any modern businessman would.

Greg Walinski, cod and haddock fisherman, Dennisport, Mass.

In 2005, Paul Parker of the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust asked to talk with me about an opportunity he was developing to get access to cod and haddock in the Gulf of Maine. He was looking for fishermen to collaborate with who would be willing to share information, which doesn’t always happen. He wondered if I could catch fish there. I said, “Yeah, I have experience up there and know I can do it!” I was really excited to get back up there to do some fishing and started immediately working with the Trust.

The cost of buying cod and haddock quota for the Gulf of Maine is too great for me at this point, so the Trust is a gigantic help and provides me with viable business opportunities. For example, I have been selling live fish to Chinatown markets, which has become a key income producer in my business plan.

The Trust makes enough quota available to me to keep my business sustainable through the winter months when there is nothing else I can fish for. If it weren’t for the Trust, I would be looking for land jobs in the winter.

To Community Owned Sustainable Fisheries
The Trust believes that community ownership and management of fishing quota is our best bet to create the conditions for healthy, sustainable and economically vibrant commercial fisheries. These conditions include:

Stakeholder-driven goals and priorities

The Trust works directly with local fishermen and community institutions to design and evolve our program framework. We learn from their experience and do not shy away from vigorous debate on the inevitable tradeoffs and constraints in our work. We believe that local ownership and local stewardship is the best way to manage and use natural resources for current and future generations.

Sustainable practices on the water

The Trust provides incentives and support for fishing businesses to reduce their environmental impact through switching to more sustainable gear, better planning the time and place of fishing target species, and more effectively avoiding bycatch of limited species. We believe this adds direct value to the quality of the product and we work hard to make sure our customers enjoy the benefits of fresh, safe and responsibly harvested seafood.

Cooperative management

The Trust and its partners are designing business models, technology, policies and financing vehicles that will allow fishermen to cooperatively manage their quota to maximize business profits, fully access quota limits, decrease and share costs, and improve harvest planning through collaborative data collection and analysis. Ultimately co-management should increase our profits and decrease our risk, creating incentives for sustainability and transparency.

Knowledge sharing

The Trust shares its model, processes and lessons with fishing communities throughout New England and the country. We are committed to bringing more fishermen’s voices to the fisheries management conversation at the Council and national levels. We want to share our knowledge and be transparent about our mistakes so that other communities can benefit as they plan similar efforts.