Get Email Updates

2017 Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Cost Recovery Cage Tag Fees

Sustainable  Fisheries Division
(978) 281 –9315
May 10, 2017

We are announcing the 2017 cost recovery fee for cage tags used under the Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog individual transferable quota (ITQ) program. These fees are used to recover costs associated with the operation of the 2016 ITQ program. These fees apply to ITQ permit holders that receive an initial allocation of cage tags each year (i.e., quota share). The initial quota shareholder who first received the allocation of cage tags will be responsible for the fee even for tags that are leased, sold, or otherwise used by someone else. Cost recovery bills will be sent in March of 2018 for cage tags used in the 2017 fishing year; shareholders will have 30 days to pay their bill.

We have calculated the fee for each cage tag based on the number of ITQ cage tags that were used to land surfclams or ocean quahogs during the 2016 fishing year, and the costs associated with operating the program in 2016. These fees are separate from, and in addition to, the price ITQ permit holders currently pay to the tag vendor to obtain cage tags each year.

2017 Cost Recovery Cage Tag Fees:
Atlantic Surfclam: $0.32 per tag
Ocean Quahog: $0.20 per tag

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you doing this now?
The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires us to collect the “actual costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement” of any limited access privilege program, such as the surfclam and ocean quahog ITQ.

Don’t we already pay a fee per cage tag?
The current charge is to purchase the physical tags from the tag vendor. That cost is separate and will not be affected by this cost recovery fee.

How did you calculate these fees?
We divided the total recoverable cost of managing the fishery in 2016 by the total number of tags used in 2016. For Atlantic surfclams this was $23,410 and 73,085 cage tags, and for ocean quahogs this was $18,837 and 94,885 cage tags.

What if I have ITQ quota share for both surfclam and ocean quahog?
We treat the surfclam and ocean quahog ITQ fisheries separately for cost recovery. Each fishery has a different per-tag fee, and separate bills will be sent for each fishery.

What if you collect more or less money than you expected?
Depending on the number of cage tags that are used to land surfclams and ocean quahogs in 2017, we may collect more or less than the actual 2017 recoverable costs. In that case, the difference (positive or negative) will be attributed to the recoverable costs in the following year.

What if I sell my quota share?
If you are allocated surfclam or ocean quahog cage tags at the start of the fishing year, you will be responsible for any cost recovery fee that results if those tags are used to land clams at any time during the year. This applies even if you lease the tags or permanently transfer your quota share allocation to someone else.

How do I pay my bill?
Instructions for payment will be included in the bill. All payments will be made through our Fish Online website using either a credit card or the account number and routing number from a bank account.

What if I forget to pay a bill?
The regulations provide details about payment compliance, including how we will notify you if you fail to pay, and how you may appeal the bill amount. If the bill continues to go unpaid, you may be subject to late fees, interest charges, and may be prevented from transferring cage tags and quota share or renewing you ITQ permit. Ultimately, an overdue bill would be sent to the Department of Treasury for collection.

Who can I speak with if I have questions?
For questions, please contact our Sustainable Fisheries Division at 978-281-9315.


For small entity compliance guides, this bulletin complies with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act of 1996.  This notice is authorized by the Regional Administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Greater Atlantic Region.