Fishery Management Plan and Amendments: FMP: Amendment 20

Trawl Rationalization, Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQs), and Co-ops

Trailing Amendments and Actions on Trawl Rationalization (Catch Shares)

When the Council took final action on the trawl rationalization program (Amendment 20), it recognized that there would be a number of other plan and regulatory amendments (trailing amendments/trailing actions) that it would want to consider. See the “Trawl Rationalization (Amendment 20) and Intersector Allocation (Amendment 21) Trailing Actions” webpage for information on these amendments.


Finalization and Implementation of Amendment 20

Trawl rationalization involved two closely related and interlinked decisions. The first was the specification of the management system that is being used to rationalize the trawl fishery (Amendment 20 to the Groundfish FMP, described here). Amendment 20 involved the consideration of harvest control tools such as IFQs and harvester co-ops. The second decision involved a long-term determining the proportion of the available catch that will be allocated to the trawl fishery for most, but not all quota species. This decision was addressed as Amendment 21 to the Groundfish FMP.

At its November 2008 meeting, the Council recommended trawl rationalization through an IFQ program for the shoreside fishery and co-ops for the whiting mothership and catcher-processor sectors.   Following the November 2008 meeting, the Council worked on critical trailing actions needed to complete Amendment 20. These actions covered topics such as eligibility to own IFQs, accumulation limits, a set-aside for adaptive management, and miscellaneous clarifications. The Council completed the critical trailing actions at its June 2009 meeting and adopted the related FMP amendment language. The initial allocation of canary quota shares was modified at the November 2009 Council meeting.  The Council’s final recommendations on Amendments 20 and 21 were submitted to the Secretary of Commerce for approval on May 7, 2010.  On August 9, 2010, NMFS issued a letter approving the bulk of both Amendments 20 and 21. The final regulations to initiate implementation of Amendments 20 and 21 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 published on August 31, 2010.   The components rule was finalized December 2010 and implemented January 11, 2011. Since implementation, the Council has recommended a number of adjustments to the trawl catch share program (see Trailing Amendments and Actions on Trawl Rationalization [Catch Shares]).


Amendment 20 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)

Download Entire Amendment 20

Download Amendment 20 by Chapter

Download Amendment 20 Appendices

  • Appendix A: Analysis of Components, Elements, and Options for the IFQ Alternative
  • Appendix B: Analysis of Components, Elements, and Options for the Pacific Whiting Cooperative Alternative
  • Appendix C: Description and Results of Analytical Tools
  • Appendix D: Comprehensive Description of the Council-Preferred Alternative
  • Appendix E: Supplemental Analysis of Impact of QS Allocation on Long-Term Distribution
  • Appendix F: Economic and Policy Analysis of a Fixed term Auction-Based Individual Fishing Quotas Proposal for the West Coast Limited Entry Groundfish Trawl Fishery
  • Appendix G: Proposed Amendment to the Groundfish FMP
  • Appendix H: Regulatory Impact Review and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
  • Attachment 1 to Appendix H: Update to the Tracking and Monitoring Costs of the Program Tracking and Monitoring Program

This FEIS was prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act to assess the environmental impacts associated with NMFS proceeding with a program to rationalize the trawl limited entry groundfish fishery off the West Coast (Washington, Oregon, and California).  The trawl rationalization program, Amendment 20 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, is a limited access privilege program (LAPP) under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), 16 U.S.C. §§1851-1891d, as reauthorized in 2007.  It consists of:  (1) an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for the shore-based trawl fleet (vessesl delivering shoreside); and, (2) cooperative (co-op) programs for the at-sea trawl fleet (vessels delivering for at sea processing).  The trawl rationalization program is intended to increase net economic benefits, create individual economic stability, provide full utilization of the trawl sector allocation, consider environmental impacts, and achieve individual accountability of catch and bycatch. A full listing of the goals and objectives is provided in Chapter 1 of the FEIS.


Five-Year Catch Share Review (2017)

At its November 2017 meeting, the Council completed a review of the trawl catch share program. The review of the catch share program was conducted in tandem with the Amendment 21 intersector allocations (see the Council’s “Five-Year Review” webpage for more information).

Download the final catch share review document:

  • Main Text:  West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program Five-year Review December 2017
  • Appendices:  West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program Five-year Review – Appendices December 2017


History of Trawl Rationalization Discussions in the Pacific Coast Region

The Council considered alternatives that would rationalize the trawl fishery either through an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for all trawl sectors, or co-ops for the whiting sectors and IFQ for the non-whiting sector. Consideration was given to other types of individual quota systems, such as individual processing quotas (IPQs), but was halted when Congress imposed a restriction on IPQs. The Council also considered, but rejected, extending to beyond two months the duration of the two-month cumulative limits used to manage the fishery prior to 2011 and allowing permit stacking so that vessels could land multiple limits. Initially, the program was called the “Trawl Individual Quota (TIQ) Program.” When a co-op alternative was added, it was renamed the “Trawl Rationalization Program.” Now, the popular term for this type of program is “catch shares.”

At its September 2003 meeting, the Council decided to consider formal development of a trawl rationalization program. At that time, it appointed the Ad Hoc Trawl IQ Committee (TIQC). The TIQC included representation of whiting and nonwhiting sectors, shoreside and at-sea processors, communities and environmentalists. The TIQC presented its first report at the November 2003 Council meeting (download the November 2003 report). After reviewing the report, the Council began formal consideration by adopting a control date of November 6, 2003 for groundfish trawl individual quotas. This control date applied to any person potentially eligible for individual quota shares. The control date put those persons on notice that the Council may decide to not count activities occurring after the control date toward determining a person’s qualification for an initial allocation or determining the amount of initial allocation of quota shares. This control date was also a topic published in a May 24, 2005 and June 28, 2004 Federal Register notice.  The Council may continue to rely on this control date in the future; for example, if it decides there is a need to allocate Quota Shares for species that were initially excluded from the IFQ program, such as dog shark or longnose skate.

At its June 2005 meeting, the Council culminated a year-and-a-half initial public scoping process with the unanimous adoption of seven trawl rationalization alternatives for analysis in an environmental impact statement (EIS). At that time, the alternatives included only TIQ programs and permit stacking.  At the same meeting, the Council also tasked its Analytical Team and SSC with drafting options for community involvement in a TIQ program and reporting back to the Council in November 2005, and directed staff to announce the Council’s intent to prepare an EIS on intersector allocation as soon as possible. Such allocations would be necessary to support a TIQ program as well as support the biennial management process and implement recent Council policy decisions on bycatch control.

The Analytical Team reported back to the Council on community involvement options at its November 2005 meeting. Results of that meeting are summarized in the Fall 2005 Council newsletter and in the January 2006 status report. A public workshop on the analytical approach and impacts to be covered in the EIS was held April 18-20, 2006 in Portland, Oregon. At its June 2006 meeting, the Council reviewed the first stage of development of the analysis (including EIS) for the TIQ program and permit stacking alternatives. It took a number of actions modifying certain aspects of the alternatives (Summary of June 2006 actions). In September 2006, the Council added co-op alternatives for the whiting fishery to the suite of alternatives it had under consideration. Shortly thereafter, Amendment 20 was renamed “trawl rationalization.”

In December 2006, Congress completed work on a reauthorized MSA. The reauthorization contained substantial changes to the language pertaining to individual quota programs. The MSA term “limited access privilege programs” (LAPPs) encompasses both individual quota and cooperative management. Earlier versions of the reauthorizing legislation had included provisions exempting the Pacific Council’s groundfish trawl IFQ program. However, this exemption was not contained in the final version. The Council’s Groundfish Allocation Committee (GAC) reviewed all relevant provisions and found that, in general, the new act did not appear to require substantial deviation from the alternatives that the Council had thus far developed. The reauthorized MSA did, however, require that this Council submit a fully analyzed proposal for a rationalization program for the trawl groundfish and whiting fisheries, including the shorebased sector of the whiting fishery, within 24 months of the enactment of the reauthorization (the report was submitted to Congress January 12, 2009).

In March 2007, after reviewing reports from the GAC and other advisory bodies, the Council eliminated the permit stacking alternative and reorganized the IFQ and co-op alternatives. See the “March 2007 Council Action Summary.” The Council made further modifications in June (see the “June 2007 Council Action Summary”). At its November 2007 meeting, the Council finalized the alternatives that will be the subject of a draft preliminary EIS (see “November 2007 Council Action Summary”). Elements of the tracking and monitoring provisions were refined at the Council’s March 2008 meeting. At its June 2008 meeting, the Council selected a preliminary preferred alternative. The draft amendment package and draft preliminary EIS were released October 3, and public hearings were held October 27, 28, and 29, 2008. The Council made its final recommendation at its November 2008 meeting. See “Final Council Decisions and Recent Documents”. On January 12, 2009, the Council sent a letter to Congress informing them of the Council’s progress on trawl rationalization and providing a full description of the Council’s November 2008 actions. These recommendations were further refined through trailing actions completed at the June 2009 Council meeting, and a revision was made to the formula for initial allocation of cnary quota shares at the Council’s November 2009 meeting.

The final Amendment 20 recommendations were submitted to NMFS for approval on May 7, 2010, and approved by NMFS on August 9, 2010. Development and finalization of the regulations required to implement the amendment is under way.  Starting January 11, 2011, trawl permitted vessels are required to have IFQ to make shoreside landings, and vessels participating in at-sea sectors are required to have permits endorsed for these sectors and will have the option of participating in co-ops. For a history of the finalization and implementation of the program, visit the trawl rationalization implementation process archive webpage.  For ongoing Council deliberations on the trawl rationalization program, see the “Trawl Rationalization (Amendment 20) and Intersector Allocation (Amendment 21) Trailing Actions” webpage.


Documents Archives


Individual Quota Outreach Materials


Contact Information

Contact the staff officer for trawl rationalization: