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IFQ Program Development Process and the Transition to IFQs
Consideration of some form of limited entry in the North Pacific halibut fishery began as early as 1977. However, implementation delays resulted from various interactions with the IPHC and NMFS. IFQs began to be seriously considered for both the halibut and the sablefish fisheries in 1988. In December 1991, the NPFMC approved an IFQ program for both sablefish and halibut. The final rule creating the IFQ program was published in 1993, for implementation in 1995.
The IFQ Program
IFQ Management Units. The halibut IFQ program applies to all commercial hook-and-line harvests in state and federal waters off Alaska. The sablefish program is limited to longline and pot gear fisheries in federal waters off Alaska. The IFQ is the individual's annual allocation and is determined by dividing each individual's quota share by the sum of all quota shares in an identified region, and multiplying the result by the annual fixed gear portion of the TAC for each species. In general, IFQ owners are required to be on board the vessel when the IFQ is being fished.
Initial Allocation of Quota Shares. Halibut quota shares were allocated to the 5,484 vessel owners and leaseholders that had verifiable commercial landings of halibut during the eligibility years of 1988, 1989, or 1990. Specific allocations were based on the best five years of landings for each individual during the qualifying years of 1984-1990. Area-specific shares were allocated based on the geographic distribution of landings during these years. Sablefish quota shares were allocated to the 1,094 vessel owners and leaseholders that had verifiable landings of sablefish during the same eligibility years of 1988, 1989, or 1990, but specific allocations were based on catches from 1985 to 1990. The allocation of quota shares included an adjustment for implementation of the Community Development Quota program in the western Bering Sea region. An extensive review and appeals function accompanied the initial allocation of quota share.
Accumulation and Transfer of Quota Shares. Rules on the accumulation and transfer of quota share are continually evolving. In general, there are limits on accumulation and transferability. No person may own more than 0.5% of the total halibut quota share in combined areas 2C, 3A, and 3B; more than 0.5% of the total halibut quota share in areas 4A-E; or more than 1% of the total quota share for area 2C. No person may control more than 1% of the total Bering Sea-Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska sablefish quota share or more than I % of the total sablefish quota share east of 140°W longitude. Individuals whose initial allocation exceeded the ownership limit were not required to sell quota share, but were prohibited from acquiring additional quota share. Transferability is re-