The Council reviewed the minutes of the IFQ Committee which met on Monday, October 2. The committee reviewed staff papers on: NMFS’s cost recovery program, an action that would allow retention of halibut IFQ in BSAI pot gear, and a review of the first year of sablefish fishing with longline pot gear in the GOA. The committee and the Council requested supplementary information on the attribution of enforcement costs to the IFQ program be included NMFS’s annual cost recovery reports. The committee recommended that the halibut retention action be moved forward as an analysis of alternatives that includes options for retention of both incidental and intentionally caught halibut (that action is covered in greater detail under the D3 Halibut Retention agenda item). Regarding the first year of longline pots in the GOA, the committee noted that effective gear-end marking has been a challenge; the chairman reminded the committee that the Council has encouraged vessels using pot gear to communicate with one another about lost gear and effective new marking technologies.
The committee held an expansive discussion about ways in which the IFQ Program is or is not working for the benefit of certain stakeholders who work on the water, or desire access to that work. That conversation centered around the high cost of quota, hired master use, and rural access to the fishery. The Council encouraged committee members to work on proposals for program revisions that would further the original objectives of the IFQ Program, and to vet such proposals at the next committee meeting.
The committee recommended that the Council seat a CQE representative on the IFQ Committee. The Council is currently soliciting nominations for a CQE representative to join the committee before its next meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for February 5, 2018 in Seattle, WA, in conjunction with the February Council meeting.
Staff contact is Sam Cunningham.