Groundfish FMP Amendment 20: Trawl rationalization (IFQs and co-ops)

Trawl rationalization

Trawl rationalization involved two closely related decisions: the creating the management system used to rationalize the trawl fishery (Amendment 20) and determining the proportion of the available catch that would be allocated to the trawl fishery for most, but not all quota species (Amendment 21). Amendment 20, discussed here, implemented individual fishing quotas for the shoreside trawl fishery, and harvester co-ops for the at-sea whiting sectors.

The Council submitted its final recommendations on Amendments 20 and 21 to the Secretary of Commerce on May 7, 2010. NMFS subsequently approved the bulk of Amendments 20 and 21. The final regulations were published in the Federal Register on October 1, 2010 (the initial allocation rule). A proposed rule for a separate set of regulations required for implementation (the components rule) was finalized inn December 2010 and implemented on January 11, 2011. Since then, the Council has made several adjustments to the trawl catch share program.

Five-year review of the trawl catch share program (2017)

As required by law, the Council reviewed the trawl catch share program and intersector allocations five years after their implementation.

Trailing actions

In 2010, the Council began a series of “trailing actions” for the trawl rationalization program and intersector allocation amendments which have continued up through the present. These actions finalize parts of the program that were incomplete in 2011, respond to problems that were identified after the program was put in place, and modify old regulations that were made obsolete by the trawl rationalization program. The five-year catch share review (completed in November 2017) identified more actions that needed to be taken.

The Council prioritizes all of its potential groundfish action items, including the trawl catch share program trailing actions, as part of its “omnibus” groundfish prioritization process. Many of these actions are part of this omnibus process.

Trailing actions in process

Completed trailing actions

The actions below have been completed. Others may be taken up as part of the groundfish biennial specifications or “omnibus” workload prioritization process (see below).

Rejected trailing actions

Issues for the future

The following items may be taken up by the Council after items on the current workload list are addressed, or through exempted fishing permits. Prioritization of these items will occur through the biennial groundfish omnibus prioritization process.

Size endorsements. Consider eliminating limited entry permit size endorsements.

Trawl IFQ carryover when management units change. Consider adding provisions to cover how carryover should be handled when there is a reallocation as a result of changes in management areas (area subdivision, combination, or line movement) or subdivision of a species group. This issue was identified with the recent geographic subdivision of lingcod.

Develop criteria for distributing adaptive management program quota pounds. Consider a formula for the distribution of quota pounds issued for quota shares held for the adaptive management program. Under the Amendment 20 trawl rationalization program, the shoreside IFQ program includes a set‑aside of 10 percent of the non-whiting quota shares (including halibut individual bycatch quota) for the adaptive management program. The quota pounds are to be distributed to address needs related to community stability, processor stability, conservation, unintended/unforeseen consequences of IFQ management, and facilitating new entrants. However, to date, the quota pounds associated with this program have been passed through to quota share holders on a pro rata basis in proportion to their holdings. 

Eliminate the prohibition on whiting at-sea processing south of 42o N. Lat. This issue arose in the context of the need to avoid bycatch. The issue might be explored through an EFP or through regulatory action.

Allow between-sector trading of quota. Consider a wayt to allow between-trawl-sector transfers of quota allocated under the catch share program in order to ensure that trawl sectors have a way to relieve constraining species issues by acquiring quota from another trawl sector. This issue was initially scoped in September 2016, but has since been placed on the omnibus workload list.

Year-round non-whiting fishery for midwater target species. Consider whether to allow year-round, coastwide, midwater targeting of non-whiting species. Under current regulations, the only way a midwater trawler can target pelagic rockfish north of 40o 10’ N. latitude (inside and outside the Rockfish Conservation Areas, or RCAs) is during the whiting season, and midwater trawling within the RCAs is never allowed south of 40o 10’ N. latitude. The National Marine Fisheries Service has suggested that the best route for consideration of this issue would be first as an EFP to collect information that could support an analysis of a possible regulatory change.