At the December meeting, the Council reviewed a discussion paper that included a status report on Amendment 113 litigation and potential regulatory approaches that could be used to provide opportunities for trawl catcher vessels harvesting Pacific cod in the AI and delivering the Pacific cod to AI shoreplants. After review and public testimony, the Council highlighted its strong commitment for conservation of AI Pacific cod and the sustained participation of AI fishing communities, and considered the different approaches available meet these management objectives. Ultimately, the Council decided these objectives would best be met through the expeditious development the BSAI Pacific cod trawl CV cooperative style LAPP. The intent of this approach is to provide a comprehensive, long-term solution for the BSAI Pacific cod trawl CV fishery, of which an AI set-aside is one of several important elements.
The Council chose not to start a new action focused exclusively on an AI set-aside, along the lines of revising Amendment 113, because of concern about its ability to implement a similar action outside of a limited access privilege program, given the opinion provided by the U.S. District Court (Court) with respect to Amendment 113’s consistency with National Standard 8. The Council recognized that the fundamental objectives and structure for focused analysis would be the same as previously incurred legal challenge, in terms of promoting sustained participation in the Pacific cod fishery for shoreside processors in the AI where there continues to be one active shoreside processor. While the Court’s judgement is under appeal, the Council decided that the current uncertainty, as to whether Amendment 113 is available as a management tool, was sufficient for the Council to focus staff resources on the larger BSAI trawl CV cooperative style LAPP which utilizes the LAPP authority in section 303A of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to promote participation in the Pacific cod fishery for shoreside processors located in two fishing communities in the AI.
Staff contact is Jon McCracken.