Alaska’s Community Quota Entities Program for Halibut and Sablefish: Between Governability Challenges and Opportunities

  • Adam Soliman
Part of the MARE Publication Series book series (MARE, volume 13)


Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) can have severe negative impacts on small-scale fisheries. Such market-based management naturally favors large-scale participants, and cannot support small fishing operations or traditional fisheries without modification. One such modification designed to support small-scale fishers exists within the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s ITQ market off the coast of the state of Alaska in the form of Community Quota Entities (CQEs). CQEs obtain quota from the market and lease the quota to community members. CQEs allow for flexibility, and locally-tailored programs can directly involve fishers and fishing communities in the governing system. Financial and logistical barriers, however, have resulted in very limited quota share purchases under the program. Old Harbor, represented by the CQE Barnabas, Inc., was the first community to purchase halibut shares under the program, and it remains only one of two communities to do so as of 2013. Nonetheless, the community supports the program and its potential to provide opportunity to access the fisheries. Additionally, the Old Harbor program, governed by a community-based board of directors, has included a number of structures in the design of its CQE system to promote sustainable harvesting, self-enforcement, and inclusion of new and younger fishers. Despite substantial hurdles, the CQE model contains features that enhance governability. In Old Harbor’s CQE system, the key governing interactions are focused on the core intent of CQEs to support small-scale, remote fisheries. These targeted governing interactions enhance governability by encouraging investment and engagement in local communities because they reflect the needs and concerns of those communities. Further development of affirmative action policies and supportive financing structures that reflect additional community needs could further enhance the governability of this system. Small-scale fisheries that face similar challenges under an ITQ or other market-based system—could benefit from similarly fine-tailored modifications to their existing governing systems.


CQE Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) Fisheries law 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Fisheries Law CentreVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of LawThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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