Halibut/Sablefish IFQ Amendment – Inactive IFQ to be Revoked

In 2006, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council recommended an amendment to the halibut and sablefish IFQ regulations to revoke quota shares (QS) that have been inactive since they were originally issued in 1995. Inactive QS are those held by persons that have never harvested their IFQ and have never transferred QS or IFQ into or out of their IFQ accounts. The action provides halibut and sablefish fishermen who hold active QS with an opportunity to fish for currently unavailable QS and more fully harvest TACs for these species. In the time since Council recommended this action, the amount of inactive QS and the number of inactive QS holders has reduced dramatically, as those inactive QS were transferred voluntarily to active fishery participants. There are a total of 199 distinct inactive QS holders.

The final rule to remove inactive quota shares from the Halibut and Sablefish Individual Fishing Quota Program is effective on Monday, June 18, 2012. NMFS will not revoke the inactive QS of any person who responds in writing to NMFS within 60 days after NMFS issues a Notice of Determination of Quota Share Inactivity, requesting that the inactive QS not be revoked. NMFS will allow transfers and fishing during the 60-day Notice period which would result in “activation” of the QS. These transfers could include gifting the QS to someone eligible to receive QS and IFQ by transfer. Even without payment, gifting would keep QS active and benefit communities as well as recipients.

The inactive QS and holder list is posted on the NMFS (Restricted Access Management) RAM web page (in Excel). A signed notice with an enclosed form to be returned to RAM will be mailed to all inactive permit holders on or about June 18; fishing, transferring QS or IFQ, or returning the form to RAM within the 60 day response period is the only way for those QS not to be revoked. Contact the RAM Program Division for more information: (800) 304-4846 #2, or(907) 586-7202 #2.

77 FR 29556, May 18, 2012: Final rule to modify the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program for the Fixed-Gear Commercial Fisheries for Pacific Halibut and Sablefish in waters in and off Alaska by revoking quota share that have been inactive since they were originally issued in 1995. Effective June 18, 2012.

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