Even if the moratorium on the approval and implementation of IFQ programs were lifted, there are other procedures that the Secretary of Commerce must follow in order to approve any proposed IFQ program. The Secretary may disapprove or partially approve a council-developed IFQ program for inconsistency with the national standards (Sec. 304[a]), other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or other applicable law, but the Secretary cannot rewrite a proposed IFQ program to change, for example, the criteria for the initial allocation (Sec. 304[a]). The Secretary may not adopt a provision establishing an IFQ program unless such a system is first approved by a majority of the voting members of the council (Sec. 304[c]). The act gives the Secretary the power to reject an IFQ program when he or she deems the initial allocation to be skewed in favor of sectors that have more weight on the councils, under National Standard 4, which requires any allocation of fishing privileges to be fair and equitable to all fishermen, to be reasonably calculated to promote conservation, and to give no particular individual, corporation, or other entity an excessive share (Sec. 301[a]).
Both the design and the implementation of IFQ programs can be delegated to other units. Examples of such co-managed or delegated authority regimes are found in the Canadian mobile gear groundfishery of Nova Scotia (see Appendix G; McCay et al., 1995, 1998) and the IFQ fishery of The Netherlands.