Summary Information About the Potential IFQ Program
Note the range of issues that have to be settled before the program can begin.
The current management of Gulf commercial grouper and tilefish fisheries is based on a traditional command and control approach. This management approach has resulted in overcapitalization of the commercial grouper and tilefish fisheries which has caused increased derby fishing conditions and in some years has led to closures of these fisheries prior to the end of the fishing year. The purpose of implementing an IFQ program for the commercial grouper and tilefish fisheries is to rationalize effort and reduce overcapacity in the fleet. Actions in Amendment 29 include: Initial eligibility for participation in the IFQ program, initial apportionment of IFQ shares, IFQ share categories, multi-use allocation and trip allowances, transfer eligibility requirements, IFQ share ownership caps, IFQ allocation ownership caps, a procedure to accommodate adjustments to the commercial quota, establishment and structure of an appeals process, a ``use it or lose it'' policy for IFQ shares, a cost recovery plan, and approval of landing sites. The Council has selected its preferred alternatives for each of these actions through the normal Council process. If the referendum is approved, the Council, if it so decides, may continue with the submission of Amendment 29 to the Secretary for review and possible approval and implementation. More information on Amendment 29, including Frequently Asked Questions about the proposed IFQ program, may be found on NMFS' Southeast Regional Office's website at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/Amendment29.htm.