by councils can exacerbate speculative entry and capital stuffing. They can also generate a basis for claims of inequity and unfairness.
If the initial allocation of IFQs is based primarily on catch history, modification of the original control date will reward speculative entrants to the disadvantage of earlier participants. The committee heard testimony that this has been a widespread problem affecting the halibut and sablefish IFQ programs, the proposed Pacific sablefish program, and the surf clam/ocean quahog program. Failing to adhere to strict control dates can encourage capital stuffing and the buildup of excess harvesting capacity, one of the primary problems that IFQ programs are designed to mitigate. Testimony indicated that delays and changes in control dates appear to be due not only to the desirable (and required) public involvement process but also to the unnecessary administrative inertia of NMFS.
Recommendations: To minimize the potential for speculative investments, the regional councils and the Secretary of Commerce should ensure that data collection and studies be undertaken as part of long-term, routine activities, separate from the consideration of specific management alternatives for a fishery. Data collected on a regular basis will facilitate evaluation of the social, economic, and biologic impacts of various allocation actions, including IFQs.
Finding: Early adoption of and adherence to control dates and moratoria on new entry, licenses, and effort will greatly reduce the incentive for speculative entry. If the IFQ program is not implemented, the moratorium can be lifted if new entrants to the fishery are deemed desirable.
Recommendation: Control dates should be set early in the development of an IFQ program and be strictly adhered to throughout the development of the program. The public involvement process prior to implementing IFQs should be speeded up as much as possible without compromising its purpose; administrative delay in implementation should be minimized.
Findings: If one of the goals of an IFQ program is to engender stewardship behaviors in the fishing sector, it is desirable to create a long-term stake in the fishery that can be defended against other private actions that threaten the health of the resource. The Magnuson-Stevens Act currently states that the IFQ should not be construed as creating any right, title, or interest to any fish before the fish is harvested (Sec. 303[d]). This language properly reflects the fact that the public trust nature of quotas precludes takings claims for their revo-