IFQs can be used to address a number of social, economic, and biologic issues in fisheries management. Alternative management approaches can achieve some, but not all, of the objectives that can be achieved with IFQs. There are no general threshold criteria for deciding when IFQs are appropriate; the use of IFQs should be considered on a fishery-by-fishery basis. IFQs can be used to remedy the effects of overcapitalization and overfishing or to prevent the development of these negative effects. As discussed in greater detail later, decisions to develop IFQs or to use alternative methods of fishery management should be the responsibility of the regional councils. The following recommendations are directed separately to Congress, the Secretary of Commerce and the National Marine Fisheries Service, the regional fishery management councils, and states and others. However, some of the following recommendations overlap because different institutions share responsibilities related to the specific issues of fisheries management.
IFQs should be allowed as an option in fisheries management if a regional council finds them to be warranted by conditions within a particular fishery and appropriate measures are imposed to avoid potential adverse effects. The issues of initial allocation, transferability, and accumulation of shares should be given careful consideration when IFQ programs are considered and developed by regional councils and reviewed by the Secretary of Commerce.
Because the committee believes that most decisions about IFQs are most appropriately made at the regional level, rather than the national level, the committee's recommendations to Congress relate primarily to changes that should be made to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to govern the use of IFQs by regional councils. Congress should recognize that the design of any limited entry system in relation to concentration limits, transferability, and distribution of shares will depend on the objectives of each specific fishery management plan. This underscores the importance of providing flexibility for regional councils in developing IFQ and other limited entry programs. Congress should do the following:
Lift the Moratorium. Congress should lift the moratorium on the development and implementation of IFQ programs established by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996.
Encourage Cost Recovery and Some Extraction of Profits. Congress should permit (1) assessment of fees on initial allocations of quota and first sale and