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End of Year Reminders for Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program Participants in the Gulf of Mexico

December 22, 2021

FB21-091: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin. For more information, contact: Catch Share Customer Support, (866) 425-7627 (Select option 2, from 8 am – 4:30 pm Eastern Standard Time [EST]),

Key Messages:

  • NOAA Fisheries is sending this reminder to ensure IFQ participants are informed about end of year restrictions as well as subsequent start of year information. We are also providing additional information on the IFQ system functions and requirements to ensure participants clearly understand how to participate in the program.
  • IFQ staff are aware of connection issues between the new Permit system and IFQ, which may affect some IFQ participants.
  • Dedicated IFQ staff have been working diligently with Permits staff to resolve known errors.
  • If you are experiencing any errors relating to your IFQ account, permit status, or have any concerns about your data in January, please contact the IFQ Customer Support toll-free at 866-425-7627 and we will work with all parties towards a resolution.



Frequently Asked Questions:


What do I need to know if I plan to fish on December 31, 2021 and/or January 1, 2022?

NOAA Fisheries will shut down the Catch Shares online system for maintenance beginning at 6:00 p.m. EST on December 31, 2021.  Dealers and IFQ fishermen are reminded that all electronic transactions for the 2021 fishing year must be completed before this time

Online IFQ functions will resume at 2:00 p.m. EST on January 1, 2022.  You may still submit an advanced notice of landing during the 20-hour maintenance window by using your vessel monitoring system or by calling the 24/7 Call Service at (866) 425-7627 and selecting option 1.  However, only landing transactions completed prior to 6:00 p.m. EST, December 31, 2021, will count toward your 2021 allocation


What happens to the unused allocation left in my account?

  • Any remaining allocation in the account at 6:00 p.m., EST, December 31, 2021, expires and is removed from your account by the system.


What else do I need to know about my allocation and allocation transfers?

  • On January 1, your 2022 allocation will be issued to your shareholder account.  To use this allocation to harvest IFQ species, you must transfer sufficient allocation to your vessel account prior to completing a landing transaction.  To transfer allocation to your vessel account, log in to your shareholder account.  On the menu bar, select Allocation, then select Transfer Allocation and follow the instructions.
  • When transferring allocation to another shareholder’s vessel account, use the vessel’s Coast Guard documentation or state registration number in the search box.  Many vessels have similar names and this will ensure the correct vessel receives the allocation.


What do I need to know about share transfers?

  • Please remember that a share transfer is a two-step process: requiring the transferor to initiate the transaction and the transferee to complete the transaction. 
    1. Transferor initiates the transaction by transferring the shares to another shareholder account.
    2. The transferee completes the transaction by accepting the share transfer under the Receive Transferred Shares view. 
  • A share transfer transaction that has not been accepted by the transferee (e.g., pending status) after 30 days from the date the transfer was initiated will be cancelled.  If the share transfer is still desired, the transferor will have to restart the share transfer process. 
  • Please ensure any share transfers are completed before the online system maintenance outage (December 31, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. EST through January 1, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. EST).  Any transfers initiated by the transferor but not accepted by the transferee will be canceled and the shares will remain in the transferor’s account.


What are the 2022 quotas for each IFQ share category?

IFQ Share Category

Quota (lbs gutted weight)

Deep Water Grouper


Gag Grouper


Other Shallow Water Grouper


Red Grouper


Red Snapper





Changes to Red Grouper

  • NOAA Fisheries is currently reviewing Amendment 53 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Amendment 53) and developing rulemaking; however, these processes will not be complete until sometime in 2022, after the initial IFQ allocation is made to IFQ shareholders. 
  • NOAA Fisheries will withhold distribution of red grouper IFQ allocation on January 1, 2022, in the amount necessary to implement the proposed reductions in the red grouper commercial annual catch limit and annual catch target in Amendment 53.
  • The current red grouper commercial annual catch limit of 3.16 million pound gutted weight and annual catch target of 3.00 million pounds gutted weight is proposed to be reduced to 2.53 million pounds gutted weight and 2.40 million pounds gutted weight, respectively, through the final rule for Amendment 53.
  • The commercial annual catch target is 5% below the commercial annual catch limit to allow for red grouper and gag multi-use shares to be used in the IFQ program.
  • If NOAA Fisheries disapproves Amendment 53 or a final rule implementing the amendment is not effective by June 1, 2022, then the withheld allocation will be distributed back to the current shareholders, as determined on the date the withheld IFQ allocation is distributed. 


How is multi-use allocation determined?

  • The gag and red grouper multi-use allocation percentages may change each year based on the annual catch limits and quotas for red grouper and gag.  The percentages are calculated based on a formulaic process involving the annual catch limits and annual catch targets of both species. For 2022, red grouper multi-use allocation will be 11.5% of your total red grouper allocation, while gag multi-use allocation will be 13.8% of your total gag grouper allocation. 


What do I need to know about dealer landing transactions?

  • When dealers complete a landing transaction, step 4 specifies to select a notification confirmation to link the vessel’s pre-landing notification with the landing transaction.  However, for a variety of reasons, sometimes there are no notifications to select.  In this case, the dealer must select “No Notification Meets Criteria” to complete the landing transaction.
  • Supplying trip ticket number (step 5) is optional and helps NOAA Fisheries connect the different datasets (i.e., Coastal Logbooks, Trip Tickets, and IFQ).  Please remember to include this number during the landing transaction or afterwards using the Update Trip Ticket option under the Landings menu.


What are new functions to the Catch Share Online System?

  • Vessel Account PIN
    • Previously used to validate dealer initiated landing transactions.
    • Now only used to log into a vessel account.  Vessel accounts may view allocation in the vessel account, landing notifications, and landing transaction history.
    • Allows access to the Vessel account.  Vessel Account PINs expire after 180 days.
  • Vessel Signature PIN
    • This is a NEW component of the Catch Share Online System.
    • Existing users will initially have the Vessel Signature PIN match the Vessel Account PIN.
    • NOAA Fisheries recommends changing either the Vessel Account PIN or Vessel Signature PIN so that they are not the same.
    • Users will now input the Vessel Signature PIN to validate landing transactions instead of the Vessel Account PIN.
  • 10% Overage Warning
  • The 10% overage flexibility measure allows IFQ shareholders to land 10% over their remaining allocation on the ‘last’ fishing trip of the year in share categories in which they hold shares.  The overage cannot exceed the amount of allocation generated from the shares for that account.
  • The system automatically begins processing the 10% overage when an eligible vessel submits a landing transaction for more allocation than is available in the shareholder or associated vessel account (e.g., ‘last’ fishing year).  Previously, users had no warnings when a 10% overage was going to be utilized.
  • Now, a confirmation box appears notifying the user that a 10% overage will be used.  This warns the users that the 10% overage will be applied.  The user must input their Vessel Signature PIN again to confirm they wish to use the 10% overage.  This improvement is intended to notify shareholders about the 10% overage application.
  • NOAA Fisheries encourages shareholders to check their allocation balance before processing a landing transaction to ensure appropriate use of the 10% overage provision.
  • All overages are subtracted from the shareholder’s allocation at the start of the next fishing year, before the shareholder has access to their allocation.  Share transfers are prohibited if they would reduce the shareholders’ allocation from shares lower than the amount needed to pay back the overage.



What are Cost Recovery Fees and when do I pay them?

  • IFQ fishermen are charged a fee to recover a portion of the costs required to administer, manage, and enforce the IFQ programs.  The current cost recovery fee is 3% of the ex-vessel value of the landed fish before any deductions are made for transferred (leased) allocation and goods and services (e.g., bait, ice, fuel, repairs, machinery replacement, etc.).  The dealer collects this fee from the fisherman at the time of landing.  After the end of each calendar quarter, each dealer must submit the cost recovery fees to NOAA Fisheries via the online system.  The dealer has 30 days from the end of the quarter to submit the cost recovery feeIf the fee is not paid by the end of the 30 days, the dealer account will be suspended until the fee is paid.  The payment schedule is listed below so that dealers may mark their calendars as a reminder.



Cost Recovery Fee Payable

Cost Recovery Fee due on or before


April 1

May 1


July 1

July 31


October 1

October 31


January 1

January 31



NOAA's Text Message Alert Program allows you to receive important fishery related alerts via text message (SMS).  Standard message & data rates may apply.  You may opt-out at any time.


Text alerts you may receive include:

  • Immediate fishery openings and closures.
  • Any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly.


Sign up for one or more of the following groups:

  • Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFRECFISH to 888777
  • Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFCOMMFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLRECFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLCOMMFISH to 888777
  • Caribbean Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text CARIBFISH to 888777


Join us every other Friday on NOAA Fish Instagram for Rec Fish Friday!


Other contacts:

Media:  Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707

            Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750 

Last updated by on December 22, 2021