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End-of-Year Reminders for Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program Participants in the Gulf of Mexico

December 08, 2023

FB23-089: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin. For more information, contact: Catch Share Customer Support, (866) 425-7627 (Select option 2, from 8 am – 4:30 pm Eastern Standard Time [EST]), nmfs.ser.catchshare@noaa.gov

Key Messages:

  • NOAA Fisheries is sending this reminder to ensure IFQ participants are informed about end-of-year maintenance and restrictions and 2024 start-of-year information.
  • This bulletin contains information on the 2024 IFQ quotas.
  • This bulletin provides additional information on the IFQ system functions and requirements to ensure participants clearly understand how to participate in the program.


IFQ End-of-Year Maintenance Period and the 2024 Quotas:

What do I need to know about the end-of-year maintenance period? 

  • NOAA Fisheries will shut down the Catch Shares online system for maintenance on December 31, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. EST.  Dealers and IFQ fishermen are reminded that all electronic transactions for the 2023 fishing year must be completed before this time
  • Online IFQ functions will resume on January 1, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. EST
  • You may still submit an advanced notice of landing during the 20-hour maintenance window by using your vessel monitoring system or by calling the 24/7 Call Service at (866) 425-7627 and selecting option 1.  However, only landing transactions completed prior to 6:00 p.m. EST, December 31, 2023, will count toward your 2023 allocation
  • Please ensure any share transfers are completed before the online system maintenance outage (December 31, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. EST through January 1, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. EST).  Any transfers initiated by the transferor but not accepted by the transferee will be canceled and the shares will remain in the transferor’s account.


What happens to the unused allocation left in my account?

  • Any allocation remaining in your shareholder or vessel accounts on December 31, 2023, at 6:00 p.m., EST, expires.  The system removes expired allocations from the shareholder and vessel accounts.


What else do I need to know about my 2024 allocation and allocation transfers?

  • On January 1, 2024, the 2024 allocation will be issued to the shareholder accounts.  To use this allocation to harvest IFQ species, you must transfer sufficient allocation to your vessel account prior to completing a landing transaction.  To transfer allocation to your vessel account, log in to your shareholder account.  On the menu bar, select Allocation, then select Transfer Allocation and follow the instructions.
  • When transferring allocation to another shareholder’s vessel account, use the vessel’s Coast Guard documentation or state registration number in the search box.  Many vessels have similar names and this will ensure the correct vessel receives the allocation.


What are the 2024 quotas for each IFQ share category?

IFQ Share Category

Quota (lbs gutted weight)

Deep Water Grouper


Gag Grouper


Other Shallow Water Grouper


Red Grouper


Red Snapper





Why is a gag grouper quota reduction occurring?

  • A 2021 stock assessment of Gulf of Mexico gag (SEDAR 72) indicated there were too few fish (overfished) and that too many fish were being caught (overfishing taking place).  Amendment 56 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico was developed to address overfishing and rebuild the Gulf of Mexico gag stock.
  • An Interim Action was implemented in 2023 to reduce overfishing until Amendment 56 could be implemented.  NOAA Fisheries has published a proposed rule for Amendment 56; however, if Amendment 56 is approved, the final rule to implement Amendment 56 would not publish until sometime in 2024. 
  • Since the publication of the final rule for Amendment 56 is expected to be after the initial IFQ allocation is distributed to shareholders, NOAA Fisheries issued a temporary rule on November 28, 2023, to withhold distribution of gag IFQ commercial allocation on January 1, 2024, in the amount necessary to meet the gag commercial annual catch limit and annual catch target proposed in Amendment 56.
  • Amendment 56 would also set the red grouper multi-use allocation to zero, as required if gag is in a rebuilding plan.  
  • All gag quota will be distributed as gag multi-use based on the formula used to calculate gag multi-use.
  • If NOAA Fisheries does not publish a final rule for Amendment 56 that is effective by June 1, 2024, then the withheld allocation will be distributed back to the current shareholders, as determined on the date the withheld IFQ allocation is distributed.


Additional Information on IFQ requirements:

Do I need to make a declaration every time I move my boat?

  • Prior to departing for any fishing trip (including commercial, for-hire, and private angler), you must report to NOAA Fisheries any fishery the vessel will participate in on that trip and the specific type(s) of fishing gear, that will be on board the vessel (from 50 CFR 622.28(e)).  This information may be reported to NOAA Fisheries using VMS terminal or the toll-free number: 888–219–9228.  


What are Cost Recovery Fees and when do I pay them?

  • The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, under section 304(d)(2), requires the collection of cost recovery fees for any limited access privilege program.  The Cost Recovery fees are meant to recover the costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of the program.  Cost recovery fees come directly back to the program each year.
  • Cost recovery feeds cannot exceed 3% of the ex-vessel value of fish harvested under the program.
  • Cost recovery fees must be collected at the time of landing, filing of a landing report, sale of fish, or in the last quarter of the calendar year.
  • The Gulf of Mexico IFQ programs authorize the dealers to collect the fee on behalf of NOAA Fisheries at the time of filing the landing report.  Dealers submit the cost recovery fees to NOAA Fisheries at the end of each quarter of the calendar year through pay.gov.  The dealer has 30 days from the end of the quarter to submit the cost recovery feeIf the fee is not paid by the end of the 30 days, the dealer account will be suspended until the fee is paid.  The payment schedule is listed below so that dealers may mark their calendars as a reminder.
  • For the Gulf of Mexico IFQ programs, additional regulations require the reporting of actual ex-vessel price.  Actual ex-vessel price is the total monetary sale amount a fisherman received per pound of fish for IFQ landings before any deductions are made for transferred (leased) allocation and goods and services (e.g. bait, ice, fuel, repairs, machinery replacement, etc.).


Cost Recovery Fee Payable

Cost Recovery Fee due on or before


April 1

May 1


July 1

July 31


October 1

October 31


January 1

January 31



NOAA's Text Message Alert Program allows you to receive important fishery-related alerts via text message (SMS).  Standard message & data rates may apply.  You may opt out at any time.


Text alerts you may receive include:

  • Immediate fishery openings and closures.
  • Any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly.


Sign up for one or more of the following groups:

  • Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries-Related Alerts
    • Text GULFRECFISH to 888777
  • Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries-Related Alerts
    • Text GULFCOMMFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries-Related Alerts
    • Text SATLRECFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries-Related Alerts
    • Text SATLCOMMFISH to 888777
  • Caribbean Fisheries-Related Alerts
    • Text CARIBFISH to 888777


Join us every other Friday on NOAA Fish Instagram for Rec Fish Friday!


Other contacts:

Media:  Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750


Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on December 08, 2023