Sablefish Permit Stacking Program

The sablefish permit stacking program is a type of individual fishing quota program for select limited entry fixed gear fishermen. Limited entry permit owners with sablefish endorsements are eligible to participate in the primary sablefish fishery between April 1 and October 31. Each sablefish-endorsed limited entry permit is assigned to one of three tiers. The tiers determine the amount of sablefish that may be harvested with each permit in a particular year's primary sablefish fishery. A vessel owner may register up to 3 sablefish-endorsed permits for use with their vessel to harvest the cumulative limits associated with each of those permits (i.e., stacking permits). In addition, the program includes provisions intended to limit control of the resource and to maintain the small, owner-operator character of the fleet.

See the Pacific Fishery Management Council's Groundfish Fishery Management Plan at Section 11.2.6 for background information on the sablefish endorsement program. Amendment 9 to the fishery management plan introduced the sablefish endorsement program. For background information on the sablefish tier program, see Amendment 14 to the fishery management plan.

Several forms must be completed to participate in the sablefish permit stacking program. The Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Sablefish Permit Stacking Program (290kb) describes the requirements and the requisite forms and applications.

The annual tier limits are designated at 50 CFR 660.231:   In 2019, the following annual limits are in effect: Tier 1 at 47,637 lbs (21,608 kg), Tier 2 at 21,653 lbs (9,822 kg), and Tier 3 at 12,373 lbs (5,612 kg). In 2020 and beyond, the following annual limits are in effect: Tier 1 at 48,642 lbs (22,064 kg), Tier 2 at 22,110 lbs (10,029 kg), and Tier 3 at 12,634 lbs (5,731 kg).