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IFQs should be nontransferable

Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 2005

No matter where you are on the issue of IFQs for sport halibut fishing, it's apparent that it will be the future of the industry in Alaska. Limiting the catch is a good idea, but, as usual, some want more than they are entitled, namely transferable quotas.

This practice has time and time again created a situation where, the government has to buy out quotas when they need to be stricter, or the fishery crashes altogether. That costs us all.

Additionally, because those who have them are allowed to sell them on the open market, in time most end up in the hands of big business. The simple solution is nontransferable IFQs.

Nontransferable IFQs would level the playing field. Use them or lose them, if you don't use them, they return to the state and the next person on a waiting list gets them. Why should some individuals profit from an artificial market created by the government anyway? It's the only fair way to implement a quota program, and will give small businesses a chance.

Of course, this won't happen for two reasons: the greed of individuals who now qualify for them and lobbying by big business. They know that if the quotas hold a value, in the end, they will have them all.

Brett Spellman, Ninilchik



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