- actions might adversely affect the marine resource or environment. However, the Magnuson-Stevens Act should be clear that the IFQ privilege does not authorize actions by quota holders against government agencies for decisions designed to protect marine resources and the environment through TAC reductions, area closures, or other restrictions that could affect the amount of fish available for capture. Actions should be available to councils to discourage behavior that degrades the productivity of resources and to reward exemplary behavior without disrupting the security of the harvesting privilege.
- Authorize regional councils to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to limit the duration of IFQ programs through the inclusion of sunset provisions.
What Should the Secretary of Commerce and National Marine Fisheries Service Do?
The committee encourages NMFS to implement the central registry system for limited access system permits (as required by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996) as soon as possible to increase the confidence of lenders in the security of loans for purchase of IFQs and provide opportunities for individuals to obtain financing to enter or increase their stake in IFQ-managed fisheries. NMFS should establish adequate monitoring and enforcement programs once limited entry systems are in place.
Limited entry is becoming more standard in marine fisheries management and NMFS and the regional councils seem ill-prepared to meet the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act for limited entry programs. Funds should be made available through NMFS to strengthen research on the design and impacts of IFQ programs and limited entry systems of all types. NMFS should review its priorities and practices to give greater weight to the social and economic data collection and studies mentioned earlier.
The Secretary of Commerce should consider the following issues in reviewing proposed IFQ programs before implementation:
- Delegated management authority—In considering the range of potential management options, regional councils should not be precluded from considering proposals to delegate management authority to other entities within a region that would operate within the framework of the Magnuson-Stevens Act's national standards and NMFS regulatory guidelines.
- Long-term, routine data collection—The regional councils and the Secretary of Commerce should ensure that data collection and studies are undertaken as part of long-term, routine activities separate from the consideration of specific management alternatives for a fishery. It is significant that the committee was unable to analyze the full set of costs and benefits of any U.S. IFQ program because of the unavailability of the necessary information (see Appendix H).