The Council took final action to approve a regulatory amendment that would allow CDQ groups the opportunity to lease Area 4B, 4C, and 4D halibut IFQ in years where the catch limits are below certain thresholds. In Area 4B, this option would become available to the groups if the catch limit was 1 million pounds or lower. This option would be available for Area 4C and 4D when the catch limit in Area 4CDE was at or below 1.5 million pounds. Leased IFQ would be available to vessels less than or equal to 51 feet length overall, subject to the groups’ internal management. This action would not convert IFQ to CDQ.
Vessels harvesting leased halibut IFQ would follow all halibut IFQ regulations (e.g. vessel use caps) with one exception. Area 4D IFQ that is leased by a CDQ group (catcher vessel IFQ as well as class A IFQ), would be permitted to be fished in Area 4E.
The Council also added some restrictive provisions into this amendment in order to mitigate adverse impacts on other IFQ stakeholders and the QS market. Specifically, the Council adopted an option intended to prevent individuals from buying QS with the sole intention of leasing it. This provision would not allow an individual to lease IFQ within the first three years after they have acquired it. Also, in an effort to discourage the reliance on the leasing of Area 4 QS, a QS holder may not lease halibut IFQ on a consecutive basis for more than two years. Finally, eligibility to lease Area 4B IFQ is limited to QS holder that hold less than 7,500 pounds (in 2016 pounds).
The Council intends that IFQ would be leased by non-residents of CDQ communities for use by residents. Thus, in any year that CDQ groups use this additional opportunity, the groups would be required to submit a report specifying the criteria used to select IFQ holders leasing to a CDQ group, the criteria used to determine who can receive leased IFQ, and the amount and type of IFQ leased. In this way, the groups will be able to demonstrate how the benefits from this flexibility are reaching the residents of CDQ communities as intended. Council staff is Sarah Marrinan.