matching harvesting and processing capacities to the resource, slowing the race for fish, providing consumers with a better product, and reducing wasteful and dangerous fishing has been demonstrated repeatedly.
If the regional councils choose to consider IFQs, they must recognize and respect the interests of all those involved in the fishery—crew members, skippers, their families onshore, prospective fishermen, and all related entities. Fairness and efficiency are mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
In allocating harvest privileges to a national resource, managers must recognize that fisheries are held in trust for the nation and that the nation's stewardship as trustee cannot be abrogated. The allocation of permits to harvest a portion of the TAC is a management tool with high potential for efficiency and stewardship in a given fishery. At the same time, it cannot substitute for the federal government's responsibility to exercise stewardship in the national interest.
Finally, it must be recognized that a system that confers harvest privileges in a fishery can be difficult to reverse once expectations have been created. The committee is by no means suggesting that IFQs be considered compensable rights. Rather, the committee recognizes the political and economic forces that are resistant to regulatory change once investments have been made. Care must be exercised balancing between the certainty needed by recipients of these privileges and the trust responsibility on behalf of the people for whom a fishery is managed.