West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program
The Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery's Trawl Catch Share Program consists of an Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program for the shorebased trawl fleet and cooperative programs for the at-sea mothership and catcher/processor trawl fleets.
In 2011, NOAA Fisheries implemented a catch share program for the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Fishery. The Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery's Trawl Catch Share Program (Trawl Catch Share Program), also called the Trawl Rationalization Program, consists of an Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program for the shorebased trawl fleet and cooperative programs for the at-sea mothership and catcher/processor trawl fleets.
The catch share program divides the amount of catch allocated to the trawl fishery into shares controlled by individual fishermen or groups of fishermen (cooperatives). Under this program, fishermen have more flexibility for harvesting their catch than under the previous management structure.
Trawl Regulations and Compliance Guides
Amendments 20 and 21 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and related rulemakings, which implement regulations, established the framework for the Trawl Catch Share Program. Amendment 20 established the Trawl Catch Share Program components, such as the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program for the shorebased trawl fleet and cooperative (coop) programs for the at-sea mothership (MS) and catcher/processor (C/P) trawl fleets. Amendment 21 established fixed allocations for limited entry trawl participants.
- Federal Groundfish Fishing Regulations (50 CFR Part 660)
- Current Trip Limits (see Groundfish Commercial Fishing page)
- Federal Register Rules and Notices
- Public Notices
- Compliance Guides
- Analytical Documents and Reports
Quota Share Permits and Accounts
A quota share permit authorizes a person or group to own quota share. A quota share (QS) account is an account that contains QS allocations registered to the QS permit for Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) and Individual Bycatch Quota (IBQ) species.
At the beginning of each calendar year, we issue quota pounds (QPs) to each QS account based on the sector allocation. For quota pounds to cover catch (landings and discards) by a vessel in the Shorebased IFQ program, the QS permit owner must transfer QPs from the quota share account to a vessel account. All QPs must be transferred to a vessel account by September 1 each year. Once QPs are transferred out of QS accounts, they cannot be transferred back into QS accounts.
We initially issued 138 quota share permits (and associated QS accounts) based on historical groundfish catch in the trawl fishery. Only these 138 QS owners currently can own quota share permits and quota share percentages. However, in the future, new applicants may apply for a QS permit/account and purchase quota share percentages from existing QS owners.
A public view of QS permit/account owners and balances is available on the IFQ account login page (click on the "Quota Share Account Balance" tab). QS owners must renew QS permits/accounts annually through the online QS account system during the renewal period of October 1 through November 30.
- IFQ Species and Area Designations
- IFQ Important Dates Calendar
- IFQ Allocation/Credit Types
- IFQ Accumulation Limits
- Control Limit for Aggregate Nonwhiting Quota Share Holdings - Explanation
- Control Limit for Aggregate Nonwhiting Quota Share Holdings - Individual Calculator (MS Excel)
- List of Current QS Permits/Accounts
Any owner of a vessel wanting to fish in the Trawl Catch Share Program must register for a vessel account with NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region. 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.
Learn more about vessel accounts, setting up a vessel account, managing an existing account, or login to your IFQ account
IFQ First Receivers and Catch Monitors
A first receiver is a person or company who receives, purchases, or takes custody, control, or possession of catch onshore from a vessel that harvested fish under the Shorebased IFQ Program. All buyers must hold a first receiver site license for each physical landing site. Site licenses are effective for one year from the date of issuance. For those first receivers currently holding a site license, you must register prior to the ending date to continue to receive landings from the IFQ program. New first receivers must contact the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (at 503.595.3100) to install the e-fish ticket software.
Each first receiver taking delivery of IFQ species is required to have a certified catch monitor present for the entire duration of the landing. A catch monitor is someone who is land-based at first receiver facilities and confirms that total landings are accurately sorted, weighed, and recorded on fish tickets. Once verified, catch monitors independently report catch data to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and NOAA Fisheries catch accounting databases. Catch monitors are available from approved observer providers. Please contact the West Coast Observer Program for a list of current providers.
Trawl Catch Share Observer Program
The Trawl Catch Share Program requires vessels participating in the Shorebased IFQ program to have observer coverage at all times the vessel is at sea. Observers participating in this program are employed by private third-party companies. Please contact the observer program for a list of current providers. The Northwest Fisheries Science Center oversees the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program and trains, certifies, and equips catch share observers; ensures data quality; and stores, maintains, and analyzes data collected by observers. The Northwest Fisheries Science Center oversees the observer program. For additional information please visit the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program website or contact the Observer Program office at 206.302.1777.
- Overview of Observer and Catch Monitor Programs
- Proposed Electronic Monitoring Program
- Public Notices
- Federal Register Rules and Notices
- Observer/Catch Monitor Provider Permit Application Form and Instructions
- Publications (e.g., Compliance Guides, Reports)
Beginning January 10, 2014, NOAA Fisheries implemented a Cost Recovery Program for the Trawl Catch Share Program, as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Chris Biegel, Cost Recovery Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, (503) 231-6291
Payments required by the Cost Recovery Program can be made via the Pay.gov website, at www.pay.gov. Fish buyers in the Mothership (MS) Coop Program must submit an MS annual report to NOAA Fisheries each year by March 31 each year. NOAA Fisheries completes an annual report on fee percentage calculation, program costs, ex-vessel value by sector, and total fees collected by NMFS from the previous year.