Fish Radio
September 12, 2013                    IFQ market slower than ever

                                                                                                                                                                Halibut IFQ map

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – The market for quota shares is slower than ever. More after this —  

 Northrim Bank has money to loan and experts to help. Contact Zac Hays and visit  Northrim Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Opportunity Lender

 Find out who’s catching all that seafood and their favorite recipes at a new micro site from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute – find it at


 Alaska’s record salmon season has permit brokers hopping, especially for seine cards. But it’s a very different story for the quota share market. 

 In a word it’s ‘negative.’  2

 Doug Bowen is with Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer. He says it’s the slowest time for halibut and sablefish IFQ sales in the 17 years he’s been in business. Catch limits for halibut have been trending down for six years in all regions, except in Southeast Alaska, where the poundage has ticked slightly upwards. Prices for Southeast quota have reached $45 a pound for halibut and over $30 a pound for sablefish.

 But that’s the only area, that is the exception. In Area 3A, the Central Gulf, and all of the Westward areas, demand is way down – prices are way down. We sold some Area 3B quota recently for $11 a pound. It’s hard to find anybody interested in buying any quota in the Westward areas. Demand is just about non-existent. 4

 Of course, Bowen says it’s the declining catch limits that are stalling sales. 

 Buyers are understandably reluctant to purchase quota that they believe will be cut next year and the sellers are faced with the difficult decision to either hold out for their price, or hold onto their quota and perhaps have less to sell next year. That’s pretty much taken all the wind out of the sails of the IFQ market. 6

 Dock prices also have plummeted for halibut and black cod –

 In 2011 it was crazy how high the ex vessel prices were for black cod $9.50/lb for 7 ups and a lot of halibut went for $7 – $7.50/lb – and now on the halibut side we’re lucky to get $5-$6 on halibut and black cod is down by a couple of bucks on all sizes. And that has certainly had an effect on the quota market as well. 8

 Bowens is confident the IFQ market will rebound, as it has in Southeast.

 When it hit bottom and turned around, the optimism came back that they were actually going to have more pounds next year and not have another cut, that’s when we saw those prices take off.  So I would imagine we would see the same scenario in these other areas when the cuts bottom out. 11

 Preliminary halibut catch limits will be revealed at a meeting of the International Pacific Halibut Commission   December  4-5 in Seattle.   

Note:  Dock Street Brokers is the go-to place for Bering Sea crab IFQ. Only one item is listed:  16,500 pounds of snow crab offered at $16/lb.

  Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.