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Individual Bluefin Quota (IBQ) Program and Electronic Monitoring Reminders

Posted October 15, 2015

Important IBQ Program Information

NMFS is reminding participants in the IBQ program of important aspects of the program and sharing recent information on quota leasing:

    ➢ Bluefin tuna quota you have in your IBQ shareholder or vessel account at the end of 2015 will not carry over to 2016.  Bluefin tuna quota debt associated with your Longline category permit will carry over.

    ➢ NMFS encourages vessel owners and shareholders to take steps to become active in the IBQ leasing program (as described below) to either lease quota from another vessel owner (to reduce quota debt) or lease IBQ to another vessel owner (if you do not anticipate needing to account for bluefin catch during the remainder of 2015).

    ➢ IBQ participants are already taking advantage of the benefits of the program. Quota is being leased by IBQ shareholders and vessel owners: 47 metric tons of quota has been leased between 27 different shareholders*.  

    ➢ A substantial amount of unused quota remains in the IBQ System:  150 mt of unused quota remains in the Longline category, and 44 mt in the Purse Seine category*.  We are providing this information to help you accurately assess the state of the IBQ market and to inform your leasing decisions.                                 

*Data as of 10/13/2015


1) Find another vessel owner or shareholder who may be interested in leasing IBQ


2) Contact the prospective LESSOR/LESSEE (vessel owner or shareholder), and agree upon the specifics of the lease (amount of quota (pounds); type of quota (Atlantic (ATL), or Gulf of Mexico (GOM); and price per pound).  

3) Complete the IBQ lease in the online system:  The vessel owner or shareholder who currently holds the IBQ will complete the online lease.  Specifically, the vessel owner (or shareholder) who currently holds the IBQ in their online shareholder account will lease quota from their shareholder account to the other party’s account.  Find instructions on using the online IBQ system here. See pages 17 to 24 about transferring IBQ from your vessel account to your shareholder account (which may need to be done in preparation for the lease), and transferring IBQ from your shareholder account to another account (the lease).

For questions regarding this process please call IBQ Customer Service at
(301) 427-8591.

    ➢ On September 28, NMFS distributed an additional 11 mt of quota to the vessel accounts of eligible permits (i.e., those permits that received shares) associated with a vessel.  The total amounts distributed were 292 lb., 146 lb., or 90 lb., for the high, medium, and low tier permits, respectively.  For those permits that qualified for IBQ shares and now are not associated with a vessel, additional IBQ will not be distributed to the permit holder until the permit is associated with a vessel.

    ➢ If you would like to pay back your bluefin tuna quota debt (using leased quota or one of the recent disbursements, for example) you must contact us in writing.  Please send an email to with your name, business name (if applicable), phone number, permit number, and amount of quota you would like applied against debt.

    ➢ Remember to renew your Atlantic Tunas Longline category permit if it will be expiring toward the end of 2015. A valid permit associated with a vessel is required to participate in the IBQ program.

Important Electronic Monitoring Information

NMFS is reminding vessels fishing with pelagic longline gear to take the following key steps to comply with the electronic monitoring regulations:

    ➢ Please check the camera lenses, and wipe them off if they are dirty.

    ➢ Vessel operators must remove and send the hard drive(s) to ERT (see address below) at the end of each trip.  The hard drives should not be used for multiple fishing trips.  As a reminder, the procedures for sending the EM system hard drives (at the end of each pelagic longline fishing trip), and then receiving the replacement hard drives, are as follows:

Earth Resources Technology, Inc. (ERT) - EM Video Operator
8380 Colesville Road, Suite 100A
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Tel: 240-393-4213

    ➢ ERT will send the vessel replacement hard drive(s) to the address you provide. Please call ERT at the above number if you have any questions about the process of mailing hard drives.

When you mail your hard drives to ERT, as required by the regulations, if you do not include vessel name and a pre-paid, self-addressed return mailing label in the package, the return of the hard drives to you may be delayed until you send a pre-paid return mailing label to ERT.

Ensure hard drives are shipped in the padded cardboard box to protect the drives.

This notice is a courtesy to HMS fishery participants to help keep you informed about the fishery. For further information, contact Thomas Warren or Brad McHale at 978-281-9260.


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