Wednesday, February 15, 2017

NPFMC Considers Halibut IFQ Leases in Areas 4 BCD

Final action is scheduled in June on a regulatory amendment package that would allow community development quota groups to lease halibut individual quota shares in Areas 4 BCD in years of low halibut catch limits in those regulatory areas.

In effect this proposal before the North Pacific Fishery Management Council would allow CDQ groups to lease halibut IFQ for use by residents on vessels less than or equal to 51 feet length overall, subject to IFQ use regulations and the groups’ internal management.

The council established this action alternative as their preliminary preferred alternative, setting a threshold of a one million pound catch limit for Are 4B and a 1.5 million pound catch limit for Area 4CDE under which this flexibility would be available to the groups. The preliminary preferred alternative would also allow Area 4D IFQ that is leased to CDQ groups to be fished in Area 4E. The council added in the consideration of whether this harvest flexibility would also apply to A Class quota share in years where the catch limit is set lower than the threshold.

The action is intended to provide additional halibut harvesting opportunities for the CDQ communities in times of low halibut catch limits, with the intended beneficiaries being residents of communities that traditionally rely on halibut CDQ for employment and income. The council also added consideration of a reporting requirement in which CDQ groups using this flexibility would specify the criteria used to select IFQ holders leasing to a CDQ groups as well as the criteria used to determine who can receive leased IFQ.

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