The Council reviewed a discussion paper outlining domestic and international examples of programs that facilitate access opportunities for rural communities and new entrants within limited access fisheries and tasked staff to come back with an expanded paper. The Council requested this discussion paper at the June 2018 meeting in response to information from the IFQ 20-year program review, academic research, and public testimony regarding access challenges in the IFQ Program. The discussion paper provided a more detailed review of Norway’s Recruitment Quota, and highlighted access program design specifications, distributional impacts, and legal considerations that may be relevant to an application in the North Pacific for the Halibut and Sablefish IFQ Program.
The Council directed staff to develop an expanded discussion paper identifying considerations related to the creation of a quota Access Pool for halibut and sablefish QS that facilitates entry-level opportunities. The Access Pool would be targeted at crewmembers and vessel owner-operators whose QS holdings equate to less than 5,000 lbs. of IFQ in 2019. Participation in the Access Pool would be temporary, meaning that a qualifying individual could only fish this quota for a set number of years. Access Pool QS could not be sold. The quota for this pool would be limited to an amount equal to 1% of the 2019 halibut and QS pool and could be “funded” either by newly created QS units, by withholding 0.5% or 1.0% of QS that is transferred, or a combination of the two. The Access Pool would be structured such that a Regional Fishery Association (RFA) or another entity receives the allocation and determines the criteria for distribution to applicants; criteria would be reviewed by the Council and approved by NMFS. The discussion paper will highlight explicit Council decision points necessary for this approach, the amount of detail needed to develop criteria for allocation, effects on the QS market and existing QS holders, and MSA considerations regarding the ability to allocate QS to RFAs.
The Council noted that the details of the Access Pool may seem overly prescribed for an expanded discussion paper, and that its intent is not to endorse a specific program or threshold at this time but that the Council is interested in reviewing more information about this type of program from members of the public and Council staff. The Council also directed the IFQ Committee to review this expanded discussion paper.
Staff contact is Anna Henry