The Council reviewed a discussion paper and initiated an analysis for new access opportunities for smaller vessels (e.g., <57 ft) in the Bering Sea Aleutian Island (BSAI) Pacific Cod less than 60 ft hook-and-line (HAL) or pot sector by allowing smaller HAL/pot vessels to harvest Pacific cod from the BSAI Pacific cod jig sector allocation. Currently, the less than 60 ft HAL or pot sector has a 2% allocation, and the jig sector a 1.4% allocation, of BSAI Pacific cod under Amendment 85. After reviewing the discussion paper, the Council initiated an analysis and adopted the following alternatives:
Alternative 1: Status quo
Alternative 2: Redefine the current BSAI Pacific cod jig sector to include HAL/pot CVs less than or equal to:
Option 1: 55 feet LOA.
Option 2: 56 feet LOA.
Suboption: B-season fishery would remain jig gear only fishery.
By initiating this analysis, the Council recognized that increased participation from higher-capacity catcher vessels greater than 57 ft LOA in the BSAI Pacific cod less than 60 ft HAL/pot catcher vessel sector, which has negatively impacted smaller vessels in the sector through shortened seasons. These shortened seasons limit smaller vessels’ ability to compete within the sector as they are limited to fish in less productive waters near port due to their size. The jig sector allocation has not historically been fully utilized, particularly in the A and C seasons. Allowing smaller HAL/pot vessels to harvest Pacific cod from the jig sector allocation may provide additional opportunities for current fishery participants and potential new entrants with smaller catcher vessels without negatively impacting catcher vessels using jig gear. Staff contact for this issue is Kate Haapala: email@example.com.