IFQ Program Summary Sheet No. 1
NORTH PACIFIC HALIBUT AND SABLEFISH
Program Adopted in 1995
Summary of IFQ Experience
Latest Year of
Number of Vessel Owners
- Derby situation- In 1975 the season length for
the halibut fishery was around 125 days.
In 1980 it was roughly 25 days, and by 1994 it had dropped to 2-3
days in some areas. This extreme
“race to fish” greatly reduced product quality and vessel safety. Today the season length for halibut and
sablefish is 245 days.
- CDQ program- One objective of the halibut ITQ
program was to help develop rural coastal communities. A portion of several regional TACs was
awarded to rural communities as Community Development Quota (CDQ) to keep
the benefits of the fishery in the local area.
- Social engineering – The IFQ program for North
Pacific Sablefish and Halibut incorporates many elements that are intended
to avoid disruptive changes in the composition of the fishing fleet and to
maintain a broad distribution of quota shares among people who are
actively involved in the fishery.
A description of the program can be found at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc/Reports/ifqpaper.htm
Statements of Individuals Involved in the IFQ Program
Fishery Participant: Linda Behnken, commercial fisherman
have been commercial fishing since 1982 and did not receive an initial
allocation of IFQs, but have purchased both sablefish and halibut shares. Personally, IFQs have worked well for me,
but other deckhands or vessel owners have not been so lucky. IFQs have had some significant conservation
benefits, they have improved safety, and allowed more product to be marked
fresh. My biggest concern with IFQ
programs is long term; will measures written into programs initially designed
to protect small boat fishermen be eliminated over time. I would like to see Congress require all
future IFQ programs live up to conservation and socioeconomic standards as
assessed through periodic performance reviews.
Fishery Participant: Dan Flavey, commercial fisherman
can get mixed results from ITQs, but life in the halibut fishery is better
under this system. For those that have
remained in the fishery it has been a real benefit; it is almost as if fishing
is back to the way it was when I first started fishing. Some elements of our program could have been
better. The most important thing is to
have a rigid program; you can always make the rules more liberal later. The halibut ITQ program is probably the most
restrictive ITQ program in the world, and it works. By having more restrictions like requiring quota owners to be
onboard, more power has remained with the fishermen, and stewardship benefits
for the resource and the vessels are happening. Considering the impacts on the crew is a very important element
our program could have spent more time on.
Some crew shares have been cut to cover the costs of quota shares, but
the good crewmembers have more stable, full-time jobs. Probably the most ironic outcome of our
program in the South East region is that since ITQs have been implemented, the
total allowable catch (TAC) has dropped by 40%, and fishermen are the ones that
pushed for this cut in quota. Most
fishermen will now support cuts in quota because they feel guaranteed that in
the future, when the stocks recover, they (the fishermen) would be the ones to
Fishery Researcher: Gunnar Knapp, Professor of Economics,
University of Alaska
IFQ program has dramatically changed the Alaska halibut fishery. For most of the decade prior to 1995,
thousands of boats caught the entire Alaska halibut quota in two or three
24-hour openings. With IFQ management,
the halibut season is now open from March until November. Average crew sizes have declined. With a longer season, the share of Alaska
halibut sold fresh has more than doubled, and ex-vessel and wholesale prices
have increased. Coast Guard Search and
Rescue cases and fatalities associated with the halibut fishery have declined
Short Biography for Individuals that Gave Comments
been commercial fishing since 1982 deckhanding on longliners, and bought her
own boat in 1992. She has been the
director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association since 1991 and was a
member of the Alaska Fishery Management Council from 1992-2001.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
a small boat in SE Alaska and has been fishing halibut and sablefish for
seventeen years. He was very involved
in the Council process that developed and designed the Halibut and Sablefish
Email address: email@example.com
Knapp is a
professor of economics with the Institute of Social and Economic Research at
the University of Alaska at Anchorage.
He has conducted a variety of surveys concerning different aspects of
the Alaska halibut IFQ program.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
L. 2001. Testimony before Congress on the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the
future implementation of IFQ programs.
Eugene H. 1995. “Individual Transferable Quotas in Fishery Management,” A
Report for Congress by the Congressional Research Service. Available at:
- Iudicello, S et al. 1999. Fish, Markets, and
Fishermen: The Economics of Overfishing. Island Press.
- Knapp, Gunnar. 1997.
“Initial Effects of the Alaska Halibut IFQ Program: Survey Comments
of Alaska Fishermen.” Marine
Resource Economics, Volume 12 Number 3, Fall 1997.
- Dinneford, E., K. Iverson, B. Muse, and K. Schelle.
1999. “Changes Under Alaska’s
Halibut IFQ Program, 1995-1998.” A
Report Published by the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.
- National Research Council, 1999. Sharing the Fish,
Toward a National Policy on IFQs. National Academy of Sciences, USA.
Annual Commercial Landings Statistics Website, http://www.st.nmfs.gov/st1/commercial/landings/annual_landings.html
- Pautzke, Clarence G. & Chris W. Oliver. “Development of the Individual Fishing
Quota Program for Sablefish and Halibut Longline Fisheries off Alaska.”
Available on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council web site at: