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Title: West Coast Groundfish Trawl Rationalization Catch Share Program
Short Name: IFQ Catch Shares
Status: In Work

On January 11, 2011 NOAA Fisheries implemented the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Rationalization Catch Share Program. Under this Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program, the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Fishery is now managed under a new, innovative approach known as a catch share program. On August 10, 2010, NOAA Fisheries approved a catch share program for the West Coast Trawl Groundfish Fishery to achieve long-term ecological and economic sustainability of the fishery resources and fishing communities.

Under a catch share program, the total overall allowable catch or quota in the shorebased trawl-fishery is divided into shares controlled by fisherman. The amount of fish an individual fisherman can catch is limited by the amount of quota they hold, thereby allowing them the flexibility to better plan their season, reduce bycatch of overfished species, and fish during safer weather.

Each quota share holder, based on their quota share percentages and the fleet-wide quota, receives an annual allocation of quota pounds by species/species group. To be fished, these quota pounds need to be transferred into a vessel account that is associated with a specific vessel. In order to manage the transfer of quota pounds from quota share owners to fishing vessels, the Scientific Data Management (SDM) team at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) developed the IFQ website (, a transaction based, secure Internet application and supporting data management system. This system allows quota share owners and participating fishermen, to log into their account and to transfer quota pounds between accounts, see their existing quota pound balance and transaction history. Fishermen can also see their catch and bycatch discard reports on a per landing basis.

In order to report landing data, observer discards, fishing declaration, groundfish fisheries permits, and economic data survey information, the IFQ database system maintains a connection to various data sources.

In order to participate in the west-coast groundfish fishery as a Quota Share owner, fishing vessel, or fish processor, a valid permit from the NMFS Northwest Regional Office Permits Office is required. The IFQ database system maintains a direct connection to the Permits Office database to report up to date permit ownership.

Before a fishing trip can start, the fisherman must report to the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) that they intend to fish under the catch share program. In order for the IFQ system to track this "declaration", a direct link has been established to the OLE Declarations Database. When a landing report is submitted to the IFQ system, the vessel's declaration is dynamically pulled from the OLE database.

All fishing trips landed under the IFQ Program must have a certified observer from the West Coast Observer Program on board to track all bycatch. This data is entered into the Observer database that is managed at the NWFSC and processed weekly into the IFQ database.

All landed fish must be reported to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) by a licensed catch monitor and licensed fish processor (first receiver). In order to process this data into the IFQ database, a webservice has been provided by the PSMFC. On a nightly basis the IFQ system, pulls daily landing reports from catch monitors and fish processors from this webservice. The data is then processed by the IFQ system to debit quota pounds from the fisherman's account. If the account does not have enough quota pounds for each species to cover the landing, the account goes into deficit and the fisherman has 30 days to transfer quota pounds into his account to cover the deficit.

As part of the annual IFQ vessel account renewal process, participating IFQ fishermen must complete an economic data survey that is distributed by the Economics Program at the NWFSC. This data is managed in the EDC database at the NWFSC and during the renewal period is available directly to the IFQ database, to report completeness of the EDC survey.

While quota pound transfers and individual landing reports are limited to IFQ participants, several data reports are available to the public and can be downloaded as comma separated value formatted text files. These reports include total catch to date and remaining available catch by species; quota share distribution by percent and total quota pounds, and quota pound balances for individual quota share owners; and quota pound balance and remaining quota pounds that can be distributed to each vessel by species.

In order to make landing data more readily available to vessel owners, a secure webservice has been provided that allows a vessel owner to download their landing data for a specified date range.


The purpose of the IFQ system is provide a user friendly, secure, web based tool to allow quota share owners and IFQ vessels to manage and track quota pound transactions between quota share accounts and vessel account, and to track and report fish landings reported to the PSMFC and the West Coast Observer Program.


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None Catch Share
None IFQ
None West Coast

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None California
None Oregon
None Washington

Physical Location

Organization: ZZ Historical Northwest Regional Office
City: Seattle
State/Province: WA
Country: USA
Location Description:


Project Information

Project Type: Data System
Is Mandated?: Yes
Mandated By: Northwest Regional Office
Collection Authority: Federal
Collection Method: Electronic

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 43602
Date Effective From: 2011-01-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Freese, Steve
Address: 600 Sand Point Way, NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:
Phone: 206-526-6113
Fax: 206-526-6736

Point of Contact

CC ID: 43603
Date Effective From: 2011-01-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Ford, Kevin
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way, NE
Seattle, WA 98115-6349
Email Address:
Phone: 206-526-6115
Fax: 206-526-4461


Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 43604

West coast shore-based trawl fishing limits as determined by NOAA Fisheries, including offshore areas of Washington, Oregon, and California.

Access Information

Security Class: Restricted
Data Access Policy:

Individual account information and data is available only to the owner of the account and others that have been granted access by the owner.

Data Access Procedure:

Data is available to authorized system users only. They must login via secure socket layer with user name and password.



CC ID: 43606

Background information about the Catch share program


CC ID: 43611

IFQ application page

Technical Environment


The web application user interface is provided through the Adobe Flash environment. The backend database is built on Oracle 10G and accessed by the user interface through a Java middle tier using IBATIS.


IFQ Individual Fishing Quota
PSMFC Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
SDM Scientific Data Management team

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 11090
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:11090
Metadata Record Created By: Jeffrey W Cowen
Metadata Record Created: 2011-06-17 12:16+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2022-08-09 17:10+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2016-02-28
Owner Org: NWFSC
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2016-02-28
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2017-02-28