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16 Consolidation of Permit Holders on Fishing Operations

The sablefish IFQ program was expected to result in a reduction in the number of fishing operations. Reducing the number of fishing operations can result in more fishing time and greater harvests for the remaining operations. A reduction in the number of fishing operations reduces total harvesting costs and increases the net economic value that can be generated by the fishery.

The consolidation of QS holdings is one way that the number of fishing operations is reduced under the IFQ program. This topic was examined in previous chapters.

Reductions can also occur on a seasonal basis when IFQ holders combine to fish their IFQ holdings from a single vessel. This chapter examines participation by multiple permit holders upon a single vessel.

Table 16-1 examines harvest and participation over the 1991 to 1996 time period for catcher vessels only. Catcher vessels were chosen because data on CFEC permit holders with landings over the 1991 to 1994 time period were only consistently available for catcher vessels. A "catcher vessel only" subset of observations provided a means to compare average permit holders per vessel prior to the IFQ program with average permit holders per vessel under the IFQ program.

Since 1990, ADF&G fish tickets did not capture data on all of the sablefish catch. Some Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) catch on catcher/processors was only recorded on NMFS's Weekly Production Reports (WPRs). However, WPRs did not collect information on the CFEC permit holders involved in the landings.

Sablefish catcher/processor activity from 1991 to 1994 was identified on WPRs, and any corresponding activity on these vessels that had been recorded on ADF&G fish tickets was identified and eliminated to create a file of catcher vessels only. Counts of persons with landings from this file are counts of unique CFEC permit holders with landings.

NMFS-RAM catch data were used for 1995 and 1996. These data were made consistent with 1991 to 1994 data by identifying catcher/processor harvest data and eliminating those from the NMFS-RAM catch file. Catcher/processors were identified using a combination of the NMFS-RAM Registered Buyer file, the ADF&G Intent to Operate file, and ADF&G fish tickets.1 The remaining vessels were used as the catcher vessels in Table 16-1. As a result of this methodology, the 1995 and 1996 harvest by catcher vessels in Table 16-1 will differ somewhat from the 1995 and 1996 data on catcher vessels presented in Table 16-2.2

In 1995 and 1996, the counts of persons with landings represent IFQ permit holders with landings as identified on the NMFS-RAM catch data. The reader should be aware that these counts may not be strictly comparable to counts of persons with landings over the 1991 to 1994 time period based upon CFEC permit holders.

The harvest in Table 16-1 includes commercial harvests only in the fixed gear sablefish fisheries. During the IFQ years, there were 308,328 pounds of non-commercial sablefish harvest excluded in 1995 and 52,674 pounds excluded in 1996. CDQ harvests during 1995 and 1996 also have been excluded.

Table 16-1 indicates that in all areas the ratio of the number of unique persons with landings to the number of unique vessels with landings rose in 1995 over the 1990-1994 average, which provides some evidence that the practice of multiple persons recording landings off a single vessel has increased since inception of the program. The ratio of persons to vessels continued to increase from 1995 to 1996 in three of the six areas.

Table 16-2 examines 1995 and 1996 sablefish commercial harvests by area and vessel category. Table 16-2 assigns harvest to a vessel category using the QS/IFQ type used to make landings. The table includes freezer-processors, and as noted above, the catcher vessel data will differ somewhat from Table 16-1 due to the different methodologies. Again, CDQ harvests have been excluded.

Table 16-2 shows total and mean harvests, as well as the number of persons who recorded landings. The percent of the total area harvest attributed to each vessel category is given and the percent of total persons with landings in each vessel category is also shown.

Also note that some persons have landings in more than one vessel category in an area; therefore, the sum of persons with landings in each vessel category is greater than the overall unique number of persons with landings shown in Table 16-1.

Table 16-1. Summary of 1990-1996 Sablefish Harvest and Participation for All Vessels Other Than Catcher/Processors

Table 16-2. Summary of 1995-1996 Sablefish Harvest and Participation by Vessel Category. The Totals Include Catches by Catcher/Processors.