The Council reviewed an expanded discussion paper on an IFQ Access pool of halibut and sablefish quota share that would facilitate entry level opportunities for crew and owner-operators, and took no further action. The discussion paper outlined an access pool that would target entry level fishermen, defined as those owning less than 5,000 pounds of combined QS in 2019 values (QS:IFQ ratio). Participation in the access pool would be temporary, access pool QS units could not be sold, and fishing of the annual IFQ would be subject to observer and cost recovery fees. The QS in the access pool would be sourced from either: (1) newly created QS units equal to 1% of 2019 QS for halibut and sablefish in all IFQ areas, or (2) a deduction of 0.5% or 1% on all QS transfers. An entity such as a Regional Fishery Association or other existing or newly formed regional association would receive and distribute the access pool allocation based on criteria established by the entity and approved by the Council.
The Council recognized that barriers to entry and access in the IFQ program are difficult issues that were identified in the program review and have been challenging for the Council to address. However, the Council was concerned that the approach in the discussion paper would reallocate quota share from second generation participants who have worked hard to invest in the IFQ program under the current regulatory structure, and would provide no guarantee of a viable path to ownership for access pool recipients. Given the number of uncertain variables and outstanding issues at this stage, the Council determined it would require considerable staff resources to develop an access pool into a workable program. The Council encouraged stakeholders to work to refine a proposal that would have more broad-based support in the industry, focusing on alternative funding mechanisms, a feasibility study to assess potential paths to ownership, and to define eligibility criteria examples that would more specifically identify the targeted recipients.
Staff Contact: Anna Henry