Any owner of a vessel wanting to fish in the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program must register for a vessel account with us. A vessel account is registered to a specific vessel and a specific vessel owner in the IFQ fishery. It is an online accounting system that operates much like an online banking account. It allows vessel owners to view current balances of the quota pounds (QP) transferred in and out of the account and caught by the vessel. Vessel accounts must have QPs to cover all IFQ catch, and can receive QPs through transfers from quota share (QS) and/or other vessel accounts. Every IFQ landing will have an electronic fish ticket reflecting the species and amount (in whole pounds) of IFQ fish landed, as well as an independent electronic catch monitor report. A separate report made by the observer will account for discarded catch. The total catch (landings and discards) will be debited against the vessel account. All vessel accounts are held to daily and annual vessel limits.
If a vessel goes fishing and catches more QP than available in the vessel account, the account will go into deficit for species caught in excess. Any vessel with a deficit in its vessel account cannot fish until the deficit is cured, and the deficit must be covered within 30 days. To cure a deficit, the vessel owner must accept a transfer of QP from a QS account or other vessel account.
A public view of vessel account balances is available on the IFQ account login page by clicking on the "Vessel Account Balance" tab. Vessel owners must renew vessel accounts annually through the online vessel account during the renewal period of October 1 and November 30 to access the fishery on January 1 of the following year.
Establishing a Vessel Account
A vessel account may be established at any time during the year. In order to establish a vessel account, the vessel must be registered to a trawl-endorsed Pacific Coast groundfish limited entry permit, and the owner must submit a vessel account registration request and ownership interest form. The vessel owner must also have completed any required Economic Data Collection forms.
If approved, we will mail the user ID and password for the vessel account to the vessel owner. The vessel owner can then login to their online account through the IFQ account login page.
Software Requirements for Vessel Accounts
The vessel account is a web-based system. Participants must have access to a computer with internet access. The computer must have Adobe Flash Player software version 9.0 or greater.
Managing a Vessel Account
Once the vessel account is established and the vessel owners receive the user ID and password, owners can log in to their online account and manage their quota pounds. If for any reason the ownership of the vessel changes, a new vessel account must be created. Please call the West Coast Fisheries Permit Contact with any questions at 206.526.4353.
Managing Quota Pounds
To go fishing in the Shorebased IFQ Program, you cannot have a deficit of quota pounds (QP) in your vessel account. Vessel owners should check their account balance before every trip. Vessel accounts must have QP, including Individual Bycatch Quota pounds, to cover any IFQ catch. When established, all vessel accounts start with a balance of zero QP for all species. Once we create an account, quota share (QS) permit owners and other vessel account owners may transfer QPs to the new vessel account.
Vessel accounts may not have QP in excess of the daily and annual vessel limits. The annual limit includes both used and unused quota pounds, plus any pending outgoing transfers, and applies to all IFQ species. There is also an annual limit for “non-whiting groundfish species” which is the sum of all IFQ species except Pacific whiting and Pacific halibut. The daily limit pertains only to unused quota pounds, plus any pending outgoing transfers, and applies only to certain overfished species and Individual Bycatch Quota pounds for Pacific halibut.
Prior to Fishing
- Be sure that the vessel is currently registered to a trawl-endorsed limited entry permit, and that the current, original permit is on the vessel;
- Schedule an observer with an observer provider as early as possible. All IFQ trips must have 100% observer coverage;
- Login to the vessel account to get the vessel account number and acquire QP. The vessel operator must provide the catch monitor and IFQ first receiver with this vessel account number on every trip so that they can debit catch from the vessel account;
- Make sure that the vessel monitoring system (VMS) is active and the vessel is declared into the Shorebased IFQ Program by calling NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) at 888.585.5518;
- Schedule a delivery to an IFQ first receiver with a current first receiver site license;
- Check the vessel account for deficits for any species before every trip. A vessel account with a negative balance for any IFQ species cannot fish in the Shorebased IFQ Program until the deficit is cured.
Vessel Account Renewal
Vessel owners must renew vessel accounts annually through the online vessel account system during the renewal period of October 1 through November 30 in order to participate in the fishery on January 1 of the following year.