The Council made an initial review of a regulatory amendment package that would allow CDQ groups to lease halibut IFQ in Areas 4B, 4C and 4D in years of low halibut catch limits in IPHC regulatory Areas 4B and 4CDE. In effect, this proposal would allow CDQ groups to lease halibut IFQ for use by residents on vessels less than or equal to 51 ft LOA, subject to IFQ use regulations and the groups’ internal management.
The Council has established this action alternative as their preliminary preferred alternative (PPA), setting a threshold of a 1 million pound catch limit for Area 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 be fished in Area 4E. The Council added in the consideration of whether this harvest flexibility would also apply to A Class QS in years where the catch limit is set lower than the threshold.
While the action alternative would allow leasing of Area 4B, 4C, and 4D IFQ under specific circumstances, three options are included in the Council’s PPA which limit leasing eligibility among QS holders, and mitigate a QS holder’s reliance on leasing as a viable business opportunity. Specifically, one option in the Council’s PPA would establish a “cooling off” period of five years, during which newly acquired QS could not be leased to a CDQ group. Another option under the Council’s PPA would prohibit any QS holder from leasing IFQ to a CDQ group for more than two consecutive years. A third option under the Council’s PPA would require that IFQ leasing in Area 4B be restricted to those QS holders that hold less than 7,500 pounds.
This action is intended to bring additional halibut harvesting opportunities into the CDQ communities in times of low halibut catch limits, with the intended beneficiaries being resident of the communities that traditionally rely on halibut CDQ for employment and income. Therefore, the Council added the consideration of a reporting requirement in which CDQ group using this flexibility would specify the criteria used to select IFQ holders leasing to a CDQ group as well as the criteria used to determine who can receive leased IFQ.
Final action on the analysis is scheduled for June. Staff contact is Sarah Marrinan.