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  • Analysis and Reporting on Pacific Groundfish IFQ Quota Market


Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Conservation Biology CB - Ecosystem Science


Quota Market Analysis
Analysis and Reporting on Pacific Groundfish IFQ Quota Market
The transfer of quota pounds and quota shares between participants in the Pacific Groundfish IFQ plays a critical role in facilitating fuller and more efficient utilization of groundfish resources, a primary goal of the IFQ program. This project provides ongoing analysis of quota market activity and will produce annual reports with information on market activity, market structure, prices and price dispersion, and an evaluation of market performance and potential failings. This is intended to support NMFS and PFMC policy and technical actions that might be considered to improve market performance. The analysis and annual reports produced will also provide stakeholders with information about market activity and quota values.

Research Themes

Sustainable, safe and secure seafood for healthy populations and vibrant communities
Effective fisheries management provides economic opportunities and ensures the long-term sustainability of fisheries and the habitats on which they depend. The NWFSC seeks to improve the quality and quantity of data used in stock assessments, the methods for assessing stocks and ecosystem sustainability within the context of human modification of the environment. The NWFSC also provides state-of-the-art science and technology to support aquaculture while protecting and maintaining ecosystem health. Further, pathogens, toxins from harmful algal blooms (HABs), chemical contaminants and other stressors of marine ecosystems pose significant risks to health of both seafood resources and to humans. The NWFSC focuses on research to improve understanding of those risks, how to forecast them, and identify means to mitigate their impacts.

Research Foci

Support effective catch share management and evaluation
Catch share programs use allocations of target and by-caught species to individuals, with the goal of improving the safety and profitability of the fishery while reducing environmental impacts, particularly with respect to bycatch. This type of Individual Transferable Quota program was implemented for the West Coast Groundfish fishery in 2011. While the catch share program itself is a management construct, evaluating its effects and providing key information about immediate harvest and bycatch status are science issues. Research to support this catch share program falls within four areas. First, identifying cost-effective monitoring systems is imperative. Currently, the West Coast groundfish fishery requires 100% observer coverage. Determining whether an electronic monitoring program that meets scientific, management, enforcement and fishery information needs and is cost-effective is a key priority. In collaboration with industry, states and fishers, NWFSC scientists are currently designing monitoring systems, evaluating their effectiveness and assessing trade-offs in information quality and costs for these programs. Second, catch share programs are designed to provide individual accountability and flexibility and increase the overall profitability of the fishery. Determining to what degree these goals are achieved, how changes are made and their impacts on fishing communities is a key element of improving management in the long-term. Third, NWFSC scientists are evaluating the biological, ecological and social impacts of the catch share program. As a result of increased flexibility, catch shares programs are also anticipated to alter human interactions with the ecosystem, in the timing of fishing activities, fishing intensity on at least some species, and potentially on the location of fishing activities. Any of these changes are likely to have cascading effects on the status of stocks and the systems upon which they depend. The NWFSC is actively working with NOAA and academic scientists to evaluate these effects. And last, it is important to improve data delivery systems for management. To provide the flexibility and accountability that a catch shares program promises, data must be available to fishers and managers in near-real-time. NWFSC scientists are working to improve existing database systems and add novel components allowing greater accessibility to data.


Catch Shares,
Quota Market
Quota Pounds
Quota Shares


None associated


None assigned


Dan Holland
Principal Investigator