Shorebased IFQ Sector Balances Update

2011 Species Quota Pounds, Catch-to-Date and Quota Pounds Remaining can be found at this page. Note: This data-set is not up-to-date for halibut, and discards have not yet been uploaded.

NOAA/NMFS Information and Resources

If you have questions for NMFS about the implementation of catch shares, call 206-526-4353.

For web-based information, here are links to pertinent areas within the NMFS website:

Main Website: Groundfish Trawl Rationalization Catch Share Program

Catch share program informational documents page

Click on the informational documents link to obtain fact sheets that cover:

  • Important dates for permits, endorsements and licenses
  • Trawl Catch Share Program Mandatory Economic Data Collection FAQs
  • Observer Program FAQs
  • Individual Fishing Quota First Receivers
  • Catch Monitor Providers for First Receivers

Additions to Quota Share Accounts and Vessel Accounts: Pacific Whiting Top-Up; Correction to 2014 Shorebased Trawl Allocations; and Surplus Carryover


Public Notice from NMFS:


Quota pounds (QP) for the actions listed in this Public Notice will be issued to the accounts of each affected permit owner or vessel owner on or before May 30, 2014. To view each NMFS transfer, participants may log into their quota share (QS) or vessel account and click on the 'Transfer Summary' tab.


Pacific Whiting Top-Up

In January 2014, NMFS issued interim allocations to the Shorebased IFQ Program and to QS permit owners through their QS accounts. The interim value for Pacific whiting was a conservative allocation to remain in place until the final harvest specifications for the whiting fishery were implemented. NMFS will credit QS accounts with additional Pacific whiting QP (i.e., "topped-up") based on the final harvest specifications.


Correction to 2014 Shorebased Trawl Allocations for Certain Groundfish Species

A rule published in the Federal Register May 16, 2014 that corrects inadvertently misreported 2014 shorebased trawl allocations for certain groundfish species in the harvest specifications originally published in the Federal Register on January 3, 2013. These species include English sole, lingcod, minor slope rockfish north of 40°10 N. latitude, Other Flatfish, Pacific cod, shortspine thornyhead N. of 34°27 N. latitude, and yellowtail rockfish north of 40º10' N latitude. The correcting rule results in a very minor increase in QP for these species. The correcting rule can be found online at:  http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/frn/2014/79fr28455.pdf.


The corrected shorebased trawl allocation table at § 660.140 (d)(1)(ii)(D) reads as follows:


IFQ Species

Management Area

2013 Shorebased Trawl Allocation (mt)

2014 Shorebased Trawl Allocation (mt)

Arrowtooth flounder





South of 40°10' N. lat.








South of 40°10' N. lat.




South of 40°10' N. lat.







Dover sole




English sole





North of 40°10' N. lat.




South of 40°10' N. lat.



Longspine thornyhead

North of 34°27' N. lat.



Minor shelf rockfish complex

North of 40°10' N. lat.



Minor shelf rockfish complex

South of 40°10' N. lat.



Minor slope rockfish complex

North of 40°10' N. lat.



Minor slope rockfish complex

South of 40°10' N. lat.



Other flatfish complex




Pacific cod





North of 40°10' N. lat.



Pacific Whiting









North of 36° N. lat.




South of 36° N. lat.



Shortspine thornyhead

North of 34°27' N. lat.



Shortspine thornyhead

South of 34°27' N. lat.



Splitnose rockfish

South of 40°10' N. lat.



Starry flounder




Widow rockfish








Yellowtail rockfish

North of 40°10' N. lat.









Surplus Carryover - Vessel Accounts

In the Shorebased IFQ Program, NMFS will issue surplus carryover for 19 IFQ species that have 2014 Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) established at a level lower than their corresponding 2014 Acceptable Biological Catches (ABCs). NMFS will not issue surplus carryover for the remaining IFQ species that have 2014 ACLs established equal to their 2014 ABCs. This decision is the result of a recent court decision discussed below.  


On April 4, 2014, the D.C. District Court issued its decision in Conservation Law Foundation's (CLF's) challenge to Framework 50 to the New England Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), Conservation Law Foundation v. Pritzker, No. 13-00821 (D.D.C. Apr. 4, 2014).  The court held that carryover is inconsistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act if it results in a total potential catch level that exceeds the ABCs recommended by the SSC. In light of the court's holding, NMFS West Coast Region has decided that 2014 ACLs, including carryover from 2013, should not exceed the ABCs recommended by the SSC. Thus we will not be issuing carryover for any IFQ species where adding 2013 carryover onto the 2014 ACL would result in exceeding an IFQ species' ABC.


There are 19 IFQ species for which the ACL is smaller than the corresponding ABC and NMFS will issue surplus carryover in 2014 for all of them: Bocaccio rockfish south of 40°10' N., Canary rockfish, Cowcod south of 40°10' N., Darkblotched rockfish, Dover sole, Longspine thornyheads north of 34°27' N., Minor shelf rockfish north of 40°10' N., Minor shelf rockfish south of 40°10' N., Minor slope rockfish north of 40°10' N., Other flatfish, Pacific cod, Pacific halibut (IBQ) north of 40°10' N., Pacific ocean perch north of 40°10' N., Sablefish north of 36° N., Sablefish south of 36° N., Shortspine thornyheads north of 34°27' N., Shortspine thornyheads south of 34°27' N., Widow rockfish, and Yelloweye rockfish.


Consistent with the PFMC March 2013 recommendation, NMFS will not issue surplus carryover for Pacific whiting to adhere to the international whiting treaty agreement, where a method for addressing the fact that carryover of unused Pacific whiting already exists. Since the Pacific halibut Total Constant Exploitation Yield for area 2A (Washington, Oregon and California) is set by international agreement, and there is no ACL, the court's holding is not applicable to this species, and NMFS will continue with its past practice.


NMFS will issue surplus carryover to be consistent with daily or annual vessel limits and any surplus carryover above vessel limits will be permanently expired.  NMFS has also posted surplus carryover frequently asked questions to the West Coast Region website vessel account page, under "Manage an Existing Vessel Account". Note that these surplus carryover pounds are issued as "Other QP" and need to be transferred separately from "Current Year QP" in vessel accounts.




Pacific Whiting Treaty Joint Management Committee Meeting

The Pacific Whiting Treaty Joint Management Committee will meet on May 12 - 13 at the Embassy Suites in Lynwood, Washington. Agenda items currently include discussion of the Pacific Whiting Treaty process and objectives, and goals for use in the management strategy evaluation of Pacific whiting.


Meeting Time

Monday, May 12: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Tuesday, May 13: 8:00 am - 3:00 pm 


Meeting Location

Embassy Suites

20610 44 Ave W.

Lynwood, WA 98036


Embassy Suites

20610 44 Ave W.

Lynwood, WA 98036


Information about the Pacific Whiting Treaty can be found at:


Electronic Monitoring Update from Vancouver Council Meeting

At their April meeting in Vancouver, WA, the Pacific Fishery Management Council advanced a number of initiatives that may enable fishermen to bench-test electronic monitoring technologies through the use of “exempted fishing permits” (EFPs).

In the context of the West Coast groundfish fishery, electronic monitoring (EM) refers to on-board camera and software-enabled systems to track discards of non-target or undersize fish from fishing vessels. EM systems supplement logbook records maintained by skippers, and the data they generate can be used for both scientific and enforcement purposes. Here on the West Coast they are seen as a tool for lowering overall cost burdens on fishermen, including the escalating costs of human observers now required on groundfish trips.

Exempted fishing permits can be issued by fishery management councils in order to accomplish important fisheries research activities outside of the strictures of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. After several hours of deliberation and public testimony, the Council voted in Vancouver to continue consideration at their June meeting of three EFP applications to test EM on whiting vessels, groundfish trawl vessels and fixed gear sablefish vessels. 

Although the Council’s actions do not immediately put EM on the water, they are a critical step in eventually doing so. Between now and the June meeting, EFP applicants will refine their plans, then Council and NOAA staff will advise the Council on how implementation and administration of the EFPs would be carried out.

April Council Meeting Information and Quick Reference Agenda

The Council and its advisory bodies will meet April 3-10, 2014 in Vancouver, Washington to address issues related to salmon, Pacific halibut, groundfish, coastal pelagic species, ecosystem-based management, and essential fish habitat matters.  The April meeting of the Council and its advisory entities will be held at the following location:

Hilton Vancouver Washington
301 W. Sixth Street
Vancouver, WA 98660 USA
Phone: 360-993-4500

Key agenda items for the April meeting include Council considerations to:

  • Adopt final 2014 ocean salmon fisheries regulations.
  • Adopt final 2014 incidental catch recommendations for Pacific halibut in salmon troll fisheries.
  • Consider action to further development of the groundfish fishery electronic monitoring program, including preliminary approval of experimental fishing permits.
  • Take final action on restructuring stock complexes for groundfish stocks.
  • Adopt preliminary preferred alternatives for management measures for groundfish fisheries in 2015-2016 and beyond.
  • Consider inseason adjustments to the current groundfish fishery.
  • Approve an experimental fishing permit in the 2014 coastal pelagic species fishery.
  • Adopt management measures for the 2014-15 sardine fishery.

Please refer to the April 2014 Quick Reference Agenda (see PDF below) for a complete list of issues to be addressed at the meeting.  A schedule of advisory group meetings is provided on the bottom of the graphic.  A detailed draft proposed agenda will be posted on the Council’s website at least two weeks prior to the meeting.

March Meeting Agenda

Key agenda items for the March meeting include Council considerations to:

  • Adopt a range of alternatives for the 2014 ocean salmon fisheries for public review.
  • Provide guidance for submitting comments on the Sacramento winter Chinook harvest control rule.
  • Adopt public review options for 2014 incidental catch recommendations for Pacific halibut in salmon troll and sablefish fisheries.
  • Consider biennial harvest specifications for 2015-2016 and beyond groundfish fisheries, including final remaining overfishing limits, and review the status of the fishery management plan amendment to improvement the groundfish management process.
  • Adopt inseason adjustments to the current groundfish fishery.
  • Approve bycatch mortality rates associated with barotrauma reduction devices in groundfish fisheries.
  • Consider recommendations on international management activities for North Pacific albacore tuna.
  • Provide guidance for implementation of vessel monitoring systems in highly migratory species fisheries.
  • Consider temperature parameter changes for Pacific sardine fishery level triggers.

Download the March Meeting Agenda (PDF) below.

Proposed Rule to Modify Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Regulations Pertaining to Certified Observers and Catch Monitors in the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery


The West Coast Region has published a proposed rule pertaining to permitting requirements for businesses that provide certified observers and catch monitors.  This rule would remove the existing regulations requiring vessels to obtain certified observers from permitted providers for the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program, and would establish provider permitting requirements specific to the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery.  In addition, regulations specifying certification procedures for catch monitor providers would be converted to permitting procedures.  Because some provider businesses in the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery provide both observers and catch monitors, a combined permitting process for observer and catch monitor providers would be implemented at 50 CFR § 660.18.  In addition, the proposed rule updates observer provider and vessel responsibilities relative to observer safety, and addresses numerous minor administrative changes.


This proposed rule can be found on the West Coast Region's website at: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/frn/groundfish_frns.html

2014 Trip Limit Tables for Limited Entry Fixed Gear and Open Access Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries is sending out a copy of the 2014 trip limits for groundfish in the limited entry fixed gear and open access fisheries. These trip limits published in the Federal Register on December 3, 2013, and the notice can be found here.

The Public Notice describes the changes to sablefish trip limits for 2014, and illustrates 2014 trip limits for all groundfish species. The Public Notice is available here.

2013 Year-End and Gearing Up for 2014

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) reminds the fishing industry of several changes to the groundfish fishery’s trawl rationalization program, a catch share program, as we approach 2014.

The categories are:

1. Cost Recovery begins January 10, 2014;
2. Quota pound (QP) transfers allowed year
3. Quota share (QS) permit applications and
QS transfers; and
4. Fishing into the new year.

Regulations and compliance guides, along with other useful information, including applications and the 2014 interim IFQ allocations and vessel limits, are posted on the NMFS Trawl Program website.

Cost Recovery begins January 10, 2014

A cost recovery program was implemented for the Pacific coast groundfish trawl rationalization program effective January 10, 2014. The final rule implementing regulations for cost recovery published in the Federal Register on December 11, 2013 (78 FR 75268).

For 2014, the fee percentages by sector are 3.0 % for the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program, 2.4 % for the MS Coop Program, and 1.1 % for the Catcher/Processor (C/P) Coop Program.

A Compliance Guide for cost recovery is available at the bottom of this page, in PDF form.

NMFS will hold an online cost recovery workshop on January 7, 2014 from 9am to 12pm PST. Attendance is limited, and will be managed on a "first come, first served" basis. If there is sufficient demand, additional workshops will be scheduled. If you would like to attend the cost recovery workshop, please RSVP to Ariel Jacobs, (206) 526-4491, ariel.jacobs@noaa.gov.

QP transfers allowed year round

The second program improvement and enhancement rule (PIE 2) of the Pacific Coast groundfish trawl rationalization program made revisions that included removal of the end of year ban on QP transfers between vessel accounts (see 78 FR 68764). This revision was effective December 15, 2013; QP may be transferred between vessel accounts until December 31, 2013. For 2014 and beyond, QP may be transferred between vessel accounts year round.

QS permit applications and QS transfers

QS permit applications will be accepted starting January 1, 2014. Instructions for applying for a QS permit may be found in the PIE 2 Compliance Guide. All PIE 2 publications may be found here.

QS transfer will begin on January 1, 2014 for all species, except widow rockfish. Any transfer of QS is a transfer of % value of QS to another QS permit owner; QPs are transferred separately from a QS account to a vessel account and between vessel accounts. Any transfer of QS must be made through the online QS account. While QS transfers will be registered in the QS account in the current year, NMFS will not allocate QP based on the changed QS amounts until the start of the following year. At that time, QP will be allocated in a manner reflecting any changes to QS amounts. QS transfers will be tracked for compliance with accumulation limits, also called QS control limits.

The QS account system will prevent trades from occurring that would result in exceeding the QS ownership accumulation limits at the QS permit level. However, NMFS is still developing the software that will track the aggregate non-whiting QS ownership accumulation limit and prevent transfers that would result in exceeding that limit. NMFS expects it to be available in early 2014. In the interim, you must certify that you are not exceeding these or any QS control limits. As always, it is ultimately up to the QS owner to be responsible for not exceeding QS control limits either by the individual QS permit or by any ownership or control interest a person has among multiple QS permits.

NMFS has developed a QS calculator tool to help QS permit owners and other interested participants calculate the relative worth of QS in terms of QP, or QP in terms of QS, across years. The calculator is available on the public IFQ website, by clicking on the “Quota Share Calculator” tab.

As always, if you have any questions about the IFQ account system, including questions about QS accounts and QS trading, please contact the Fisheries Permit Office at 206-526-4353 or at kevin.ford@noaa.gov or sarah.towne@noaa.gov.

Fishing into the New Year

If you are planning to fish during the last days of December 2013 and wait to offload until the first days of 2014, the discards and landings will be debited against your 2014 vessel account, even if the discards and target species harvests actually occurred in 2013. The offload date as reported on the electronic fish ticket determines the year in which the vessel account is debited.

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