The Council considered a NMFS analysis of three proposed options to modify IFQ Program temporary transfer provisions. The first two options would have altered the application of the existing medical transfer provision. The third option – selected by the Council – is a recommendation for an emergency action to allow the temporary transfer of IFQ for all quota share holders for the remainder of the 2020 fishing season. The recommended action would not modify other aspects of the IFQ Program such as area designation, vessel size designation, use (ownership) caps, and vessel caps.
The Council recognized that travel restrictions, health mandates, and other logistical and operational challenges posed by the ongoing public health emergency present management problems for the IFQ fisheries. The Council concluded that increased flexibility to temporarily transfer IFQ pounds would reduce the amount of anticipated forgone harvest and would accommodate the wide variety of operational plans that IFQ owners and vessel operators use to harvest halibut and sablefish. The Council further noted that existing hired master provisions and medical transfer provisions leave out a portion of IFQ holders who might be affected by the challenges of actively prosecuting the 2020 fishery. The Council’s recommendation also considers potential risks to individuals who are involved in the fishery but are not quota share holders. As a result, the Council chose the broadest temporary transfer provision in order to mitigate economic, social, and public health concerns. The broad temporary transfer option was also the least administratively burdensome for NMFS to implement as an emergency rule.
Staff contact is Sam Cunningham.