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Control dates3 should be set early in the development of an IFQ program and be strictly adhered to throughout the development of the program, with a minimum amount of time between the control dates and the initial allocation of quota.
Councils should demonstrate that a wide range of initial allocation criteria and allocation mechanisms has been considered in the design of IFQ programs. Councils could avoid some of the allocation controversies encountered in the past by giving more consideration to (1) who should receive initial allocation, including crew members, skippers, communities, and other stakeholders; (2) how much they should receive; and (3) how much the potential recipients should be required to pay for the initial receipt of quota (e.g., auctions, windfall taxes).
Councils should avoid taking for granted the "gifting" of quota shares to the present participants in a fishery, just as they should avoid taking for granted that vessel owners should be the only recipients of quota and historical participation should be the only measure for determining initial allocations.
When designing IFQ programs, councils should be allowed to allocate quota shares to communities or other groups, as distinct from vessel owners or fishermen. For existing IFQ programs, councils should be permitted to authorize the purchase, holding, management, and sale of IFQs by communities. Such quota shares could be used for community development purposes, treated as a resource allowing local fishermen to fish, or reallocated to member fishermen by a variety of means, including loans.
Leasing of quota shares should generally be permitted but, if necessary, with restrictions to avoid creation of an absentee owner class. Making shares freely transferable is generally desirable to accomplish the economic goals of an IFQ program. However, if it is desired to promote an owner-operated fishery or to preserve geographic or other structural features of the industry, it may be necessary to restrict long-term transfers of quota shares to bona fide fishermen or to prohibit transfers away from certain regions or among different vessel categories.
Issues such as shifting distributions of quota share holdings among firms or communities can be addressed through setting upper limits on accumulation of quota shares. If important objectives include maintaining owner-operated fisheries and fishery-dependent coastal communities, greater attention may have to be
The date established for defining the pool of potential participants in a given management program. For example, in preparing to establish a limited entry program, a council might decide to establish a date that would serve as a cutoff for eligibility. With such a control date established, the council could proceed to assess alternative limited entry systems and other program design characteristics without the fear of stimulating speculative entry into the fishery. Unfortunately, because councils may be influenced by industry or required by NMFS to change the control date, there is often some speculative entry even when the control date is widely publicized. In the case of the Alaskan halibut and sablefish IFQ programs, delays in program implementation led to speculative entry by a sizable group that actively participated in the fishery between 1990 and 1994 but was left out of the initial allocation of quota shares.