Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program in Alaska Federal Register Rules and Notices 2004–Present
Proposed rule to revise regulations for the commercial individual fishing quota (IFQ) Pacific halibut (halibut) fisheries for the 2021 IFQ fishing year. This proposed rule would remove 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 is needed to provide additional flexibility to IFQ participants in 2021 to ensure allocations of halibut IFQ can be harvested by the limited number of vessels operating in these areas.
Temporary rule (referred to herein as “emergency rule”) to modify the temporary transfer provision of the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program for the fixed-gear commercial Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries for the 2021 IFQ fishing year. This emergency rule is intended to provide flexibility to quota share (QS) holders in 2021, while preserving the Program’s long-standing objective of maintaining an owner-operated IFQ fishery in future years. This emergency rule will not modify other provisions of the IFQ Program.
The commercial halibut and sablefish fisheries in the GOA and the BSAI management areas are managed under the IFQ Program that was implemented in 1995 (58 FR 59375, November 9, 1993). The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and NOAA Fisheries developed the IFQ Program to resolve the conservation and management problems commonly associated with open access fisheries. The preamble to the proposed rule published on December 3, 1992 (57 FR 57130), describes the background issues leading to the Council's initial action recommending the adoption of the IFQ Program.