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14 Changes in Harvest and Delivery Patterns

This chapter examines harvest and delivery patterns in the halibut fishery, both before and since the IFQ program was implemented. There are tables that show time series data which compare deliveries that occurred over the seven fishing seasons from 1990 through 1996. There are also data on harvest patterns which show the number of persons who recorded landings, comparing the seasons before and after implementation of the IFQ program. Other tables show quarterly harvest data, the harvest by state of residence of the QS holder, and finally, a table comparing harvest by QS owners with harvests by hired skippers.

Table 14-1 provides time-series data on halibut commercially harvested in Alaska from 1990 through 1996. The data in 1995 and 1996 include the commercial catch in the IFQ fishery only. Halibut caught in the CDQ fishery are excluded.

The harvest data are broken out by place of delivery: Alaska, Washington, or other states. Total annual harvests depend primarily upon the total allowable catch (TAC) which is set annually by the IPHC. Total harvests over the 1990 to 1996 period decreased substantially. The total commercial harvest in the 1996 IFQ fishery was 32.8% below the 1990 commercial harvest level, which was the highest year in the series.

When one examines delivery patterns expressed as a percentage of total harvest, there have been small variations over the time period. The percentage of total harvest that was delivered in Alaska was lowest in 1994 when 87.2% of the catch was brought to Alaska ports. The highest percentage was in 1992 at 92.6%. Washington state has received between 4.9% and 9.1% of the harvest over the period, and other states have received 2.2% to 3.7%.

Table 14-2 examines more closely the delivery patterns for halibut catch that was delivered to Alaska ports during the 1990-1996 period. Alaska deliveries are broken out by census areas, showing the total pounds that were delivered to ports in each census area as well as the percent of the total annual harvest that these deliveries represent. Note that some census areas have been aggregated to protect confidential fishing data.

Table 14-2 indicates that delivery patterns varied slightly from year to year in each census area since 1990. The Kenai Peninsula/Anchorage aggregated area and the Kodiak census area consistently received the largest number of pounds delivered. Some areas have shown changes after 1994, and these changes may or may not have been a result of the IFQ program. For example, the percent of total harvest that was delivered to ports in the Wrangell/Petersburg and Sitka census areas rose slightly after 1994, whereas deliveries to the Valdez-Cordova census area and the Aleutians/Alaska Peninsula/Bering Sea aggregated area appear to have decreased after 1994.

Table 14-3 indicates the number of persons with landings and the average pounds landed for each IFQ management area. It compares the average number of persons with landings and the average catches over the 1990 to 1994 period with the number of persons who made landings and the average catches in 1995 and 1996. It also shows how many persons received initial QS allocations in each area.

In many areas, the number of persons with landings in 1995 and 1996 is roughly equivalent to the average number who made landings over the 1990-1994 period; however, there were fairly large percentage decreases in persons with landings in Areas 2C, 3A, and 4C. The table indicates no persons with landings in Area 4E because the entire TAC for that area was allocated to CDQs.

The number of persons who received initial allocations is higher than the 1990-1994 average annual number of persons with landings because persons were eligible to apply for QS if they owned or leased a vessel that made landings in the halibut fishery in any of the 1988, 1989, or 1990 fishing seasons. Therefore, the sum of the initial QS recipients is considerably more than the 1990-1994 average annual number with landings. Also, persons who received CDQ compensation QS in Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, and 4A will increase the number of persons who receive initial allocations. Many CDQ compensation QS recipients did not make landings in Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, or 4A over the 1990-1994 period.

Average catches during 1995 and 1996 declined in most areas from the 1990-1994 average. This is mainly a function of lower TACs for the IFQ fishery in 1995 and 1996. The one exception occurs in 1996 in Area 2C where the average harvest exceeded the 1990- 1994 average.

Quarterly halibut harvests are examined in Table 14-4. The number of pounds landed, number of persons with landings, and average pounds landed are given for each area and quarter for 1995 and 1996. No harvest data are listed for Area 4E because the entire TAC for that area was allocated to CDQs.

Table 14-4 indicates most landings occur in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of each year. Note that these periods, April through June and July through September, contain the best weather months. Also note that the Alaska halibut season opened on March 15 and closed on November 15, which shortened the available time to make landings in the 1st and 4th quarters.

Table 14-5 provides data on the 1995-1996 halibut harvests by area, year, and state of residence for IFQ permit holders. Again, no harvest data are given for Area 4E because the entire TAC in this area was used as CDQ.

Note that an IFQ permit holder in this table is the owner of the QS. In some cases, a permit holder/owner will hire a skipper to fish their IFQ for them. The harvest data in Table 14-5 is based only upon the residence of the permit holder/owner and not hired skippers.

Table 14-5 indicates that Alaskans made up the majority of IFQ permit holders with landings in Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, and 4C. Alaskans were also responsible for the majority of the pounds harvested in Areas 2C, 3A, and 4C in both 1995 and 1996. In Areas 4B and 4D, the majority of permit holders with landings were from Washington. Residents of states other than Alaska or Washington took relatively small amounts of the harvest in each area.

Permit holders from Washington and other states often harvested a disproportionately larger share of the total catch. For example, in Area 3A in 1995, permit holders from Washington made up 15.6% of the total permit holders with landings, yet landed 22.8% of the harvest. Exceptions to this occur in 1996 in Area 2C with Washington permit holders (12.0% of the permit holders with 11.7% of the harvest), and in 1995 and 1996 in Area 4B with permit holders from other states (14.8% and 11.7% of the respective permit holders with 8.2% and 6.1% of the respective harvest).

Table 14-6 provides data on harvests by QS owners and hired skippers. Under the IFQ program rules, persons who hold catcher vessel QS must be on board the vessel during all fishing operations; however, exceptions to this are allowed. In all management areas except Area 2C, an individual who received an initial QS allocation in the catcher vessel categories B, C, or D does not have to be on board the vessel and sign IFQ landing reports if that individual owns the vessel on which the halibut or sablefish IFQ are harvested, and the individual is represented on the vessel by a hired skipper. Because this exemption is confined to initial QS recipients only, the number of fishing operations where hired skippers are allowed should decrease over time as initial QS recipients transfer their QS holdings.1

Note that persons who hold freezer vessel QS may use hired skippers to operate the vessels and sign IFQ landing reports in any management area, and they do not have to own the vessel that is used in the fishing operation.

Corporations or partnerships that received an initial catcher vessel QS allocation may use their IFQ if they own the vessel on which the IFQ is fished and they are represented on the vessel by a "master", or skipper, who is an employee of the corporation or partnership. In Area 2C, the corporation or partnership can use a hired skipper to fish only those QS that were received as an initial allocation.2

In this sense, all corporations or partnerships with landings should show hired skippers on the NMFS-RAM database. However, this is not always the case. In some instances, landings records on the NMFS-RAM database show the IFQ identifier for the corporation or partnership, rather than the employed "master," or skipper who ran the fishing operation and made the landing. Although it is not possible for a non-human corporate entity to actually skipper a vessel, this anomaly makes counting hired skippers on the NMFS data difficult. Therefore, the actual number of hired skippers is probably underestimated in Table 14-6.

A hired skipper is defined in this analysis as a person who makes a landing and signs an IFQ report for the harvest of someone else's IFQ. It is a common practice in the halibut fishery for two or more IFQ holders to fish together and harvest each person's IFQ from a single vessel, which is usually owned by one of the partners. If each partner records their delivery using their own IFQ permit card then this does not constitute a "hired skipper" in this analysis.

The data indicate a substantial amount of the halibut harvest was taken by hired skippers, especially in the westward management areas. The percentage of harvest by operations with hired skippers were higher in 1996 than in 1995 in all management areas.

Note that more restrictive rules in Area 2C likely kept the number of operations with hired skippers much lower than other areas. In some management areas there was a considerable change between 1995 and 1996 in the amount of harvest taken by hired skippers. For example, in Area 4B in 1995, hired skippers were credited with taking 18.1% of the catch, but in 1996 they took 45.9%.

Other areas also show increases in the harvest taken by hired skippers, but the increase is much smaller and the rate of use of hired skippers is much lower. For example, in Area 3A, 14.3% and 19.9% of the respective 1995 and 1996 harvests were taken by hired skippers. In 1995, there were 1,457 operations in Area 3A where the QS owner was responsible for delivering the landings, and 115 operations where deliveries involved hired skippers. In 1996 the number of operations that delivered halibut with hired skippers rose to 151, and the number where QS owners made deliveries dropped to 1,456.

Table 14-7 illustrates the same information as Table 14-6, except it is broken out by vessel category. The table shows that the rate of use of hired skippers and the percent of harvest taken by operations with hired skippers increased from 1995 to 1996 in most vessel categories. Larger catcher vessel categories tend to have higher instances of use of hired skippers than smaller vessel categories. Freezer vessels have high rates of use of hired skippers, which is likely related to the more liberal program rules for hired skippers aboard freezer vessels.

Table 14-1. Alaska Halibut Harvest (Pounds) by State of Delivery: 1990-1996

Table 14-2. Halibut Deliveries by Alaska Census Area: 1990-1996

Table 14-3. Comparison of Persons With Landings and Average Landings in the Halibut Fishery From 1990 to 1996.

Table 14-4. Halibut Harvest (pounds) by Area, Year, and Quarter: 1995-1996

Table 14-5. Halibut Harvest (pounds), by Area, Year, and State of IFQ 1995-1996

Table 14-6. Halibut Harvest by QS Owners and Hired Skippers, 1995-1996

Table 14-7. Halibut Harvests by QS Owners and Hired Skippers, 1995 and 1996 by Vessel Category