Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program in Alaska Federal Register Rules and Notices 2004–Present
NOAA Fisheries issues this final rule to revise regulations for the commercial individual fishing quota (IFQ) Pacific halibut (halibut) fisheries for 2023 through 2027. This rule removes limits on the maximum amount of halibut IFQ that may be harvested by a vessel, commonly known as vessel use caps, in IFQ Regulatory Areas 4A (Eastern Aleutian Islands), 4B (Central and Western Aleutian Islands), 4C (Central Bering Sea), and 4D (Eastern Bering Sea). This action provides additional flexibility and stability to IFQ participants in Areas 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D while a longer term modification of vessel use caps is considered. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the IFQ Program, the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut Act), and other applicable laws.
This proposed rule would implement regulations to temporarily remove vessel use caps in Areas 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D for 2023 through 2027. Vessel use caps were recommended by the Council and implemented by NMFS as part of the IFQ Program (58 FR 59375, November 9, 1993) as regulations that were in addition to, and not in conflict with, those adopted by the IPHC, consistent with the Halibut Act (16 U.S.C. 773c(c)). The following sections describe the IFQ Program; halibut IFQ vessel use caps; the rationale and effects of temporarily removing vessel use caps in Areas 4A, 4B, 4C, and 4D; and the regulations that would be implemented under this proposed rule.
Historical IFQ Federal Register notices and rules are posted on the IFQ Federal Register Rules and Notices 2003-1986 page. IFQ related Fishery Management Plan amendments are posted within each management plan.