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Establishing Individual Fishing Quota Systems
The Bush Administration, in its 2004 proposal to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, included the authority to establish individual fishing quota (IFQ) systems. An IFQ is a management program that provides a quantity of fish (generally a percent share of a harvest quota) exclusively to an individual fisherman. In such a program, each participating fisherman can use his share of the quota at any time during the fishing season. The Administration's proposal on IFQs seeks to strike a balance between flexibility in developing IFQ programs and the need to observe certain constraints or protections for the common good. Encouraging market-based incentives to adjust harvest capacity in a fishery will have the effects of ending the race for fish; improving product quality, and enhancing safety at sea, while providing for greater efficiency in fishing operations and ultimately improving the livelihood of the fishermen who depend on them.
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