• On the Eve of IFQs: Fishing for Alaska's Halibut and Sablefish

      Berman, Matthew; Leask, Linda (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 1994)
      This year, anyone with a boat, longline gear, and a $50 permit could try for halibut in Alaska’s commercial fisheries. But that open access will likely end in 1995, when the federal government introduces Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQs). Quotas—shares of the catch—will be issued just to those who owned or leased vessels that fished for halibut between 1988 and 1990. An IFQ system for sablefish (black cod) under federal management will start at the same time. The IFQ plan is not popular with the men and women who fish for halibut: 68 percent of captains (permit holders) believe IFQs will unfairly allocate halibut, even though 78 percent agree they will make fishing safer. But the IFQ system could also cause big changes in wealth, income, and jobs in Alaska’s coastal communities, which rely heavily on fishing. ISER is studying the potential effects of IFQs, especially on small coastal towns, under a Saltonstall-Kennedy grant. As a first step we surveyed captains (most of whom were also owners) of vessels with longline gear. This publication reports our survey findings.