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Reminders Regarding the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program in the Gulf of Mexico

June 01, 2018

FB18-037 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin; For More Information, Contact: Catch Share Customer Support, (866) 425-7627 (option 2, 8am – 4:30pm EST), nmfs.ser.catchshare@noaa.gov


  • NOAA Fisheries is sending these reminders to ensure IFQ participants are informed of the details for the IFQ program. We are also providing additional information on the IFQ system functions and requirements to ensure participants clearly understand how to participate in the program.
  • For further information, IFQ participants can contact Catch Share Support at (866) 425-7627 (option 2) between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., EST, excluding federal holidays.



  • Amendment 36A to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan
    1. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council took final action on Amendment 36A at their April 2017 meeting. The proposed rule published on March 21, 2018.
    2. The purpose of this action is to improve compliance and increase management flexibility in the IFQ program as well as increase the likelihood of achieving optimum yield for reef fish populations managed under the IFQ program.
    3. If implemented, this action would:
      • Require the owner or operator of a commercial reef fish permitted vessel landing commercially caught, federally managed reef fish from the Gulf, provide a landing notification at least 3 hours, but no more than 24 hours, in advance of landing; all trips with federal commercial reef fish species on board must land at approved landing locations.
      • Return permanently to NOAA Fisheries any shares contained in IFQ accounts that have never been activated since January 1, 2010.
      • Allow NOAA Fisheries to withhold on, January 1, each year, the distribution of IFQ allocation equal to the amount of an expected commercial quota reduction, for any IFQ quota, and redistribute the allocation back to fishermen should the expected quota reduction not be implemented by June 1, each year.
    4. Certified letters were sent to shareholders of IFQ accounts that have never been activated since January 1, 2010, notifying them of the status of the account and the potential that their non-activated shares will be returned to NOAA Fisheries.
  • The Grouper-Tilefish IFQ Five-Year Review
    1. The review has been presented to and accepted by the Ad Hoc Red Snapper/Grouper-Tilefish IFQ Advisory Panel, the Science and Statistical Committee, and the Gulf Council.



  • On April 18, 2018, NOAA Fisheries distributed the inaugural issue of “Catch Up on Catch Shares”.
  • This newsletter will be distributed on a quarterly basis and willhighlight system functions, upcoming actions related to the program, and preliminary price or landings data.  It will also provide insight to catch share programs in other regions, a community engagement section, and a resources section with dates and links. 
  • If you have any topics you would like to see covered in the newsletter, please contact Catch Share Support at 866-425-7627 (option 2) or ser.catchshare@noaa.gov.
  • You can sign up here to receive the newsletter directly to your email.



  • When using the 24/7 call service to report your pre-landing notification, please provide your vessel’s Coast Guard documentation or state registration number. This will ensure the pre-landing notification is given for the correct vessel instead of another vessel with a similar name.
  • If you make a pre-landing notification and any details change, including estimated pounds onboard, you must make a new, revised pre-landing notification.
    1. If the landing location changes or an earlier time than previously submitted is needed, then the new notification will need to be submitted at least 3 hours prior to landing.
    2. If the change is to the dealer, the weights, or an arrival time that is later than previously submitted, the new notification does not require the vessel to wait an additional 3 hours.
      • For vessels that make a pre-landing notification before a day trip, you must update the estimated pounds onboard before you land.
    3. Only one “change” to a landing notification can be made before the vessel is required to wait an additional 3 hours.
  • For more information about pre-landing notifications, including example scenarios, refer to Frequently Asked Questions on the catch share online system.



  • Please remember that a share transfer is a two-step process requiring the transferor to initiate the transaction and the transferee to complete the transaction.
  • The transferee completes the transaction by accepting the share transfer under the Receive Transferred Shares view.
  • A share transfer transaction that has not been accepted by the transferee (e.g., pending status) after 30 days from the date the transfer was initiated will be cancelled. If the share transfer is still desired, the transferor will have to restart the share transfer process.  
  • Transfer of shares and associated allocation are independent. If a package deal includes both shares and allocation, the transferor must make a separate allocation transfer for any allocation.  Allocation associated with the shares is only distributed by the system at the beginning of the fishing year or in the case of a mid-year quota increase.



  • Previously, some VMS IFQ pre-landing notification forms used a drop-down menu with a list of approved landing locations and dealers.  These lists were manually updated via a software update.  This caused significant delay (possibly more than six months) in the new approved landing locations and dealers being available for use on the various types of VMS units. 
  • Changes to the VMS units will make new approved landing locations and dealers available almost instantly for use by IFQ participants.  The drop-down menus are being replaced with numeric fields corresponding to the IFQ landing location and dealer VMS codes.   
  • Lists of VMS codes for landing locations and dealers can be found on the Catch Share Online System (https://portal.southeast.fisheries.noaa.gov/cs).
  • You can use the worksheet below to keep a record of your most commonly used VMS codes.


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Blank tables for VMS Codes



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


Other contacts:
Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707
           Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750 


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Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on March 21, 2019