The Council took final action on proposed changes that limit certain Amendment 80 and American Fisheries Act (AFA) catcher/processors from acting as motherships when receiving Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) non-community development quota (CDQ) Pacific cod deliveries from trawl catcher vessels. Based on the alternatives selected, two trawl catcher/processors will be allowed to act as a mothership for directed BSAI Pacific cod harvests by trawl catcher vessels. One of the trawl catcher/processors is a member of the Amendment 80 sector and the other is a member of the AFA catcher/processor sector. All other trawl catcher/processors in those two sectors will continue to be allowed to accept deliveries of Pacific cod harvested incidentally in other BSAI trawl catcher vessel target fisheries as long as it does not exceed the 20% maximum retainable amount (MRA).
The Council determined that because only two catcher/processors were allowed to participate in the directed BSAI Pacific cod fishery as a mothership, imposing a limit on the amount of directed Pacific cod they could accept was not necessary at this time. Representatives of both firms indicated in public testimony that they currently operate those vessels at close to capacity for catcher vessel deliveries of cod and they had limited ability to accept increased capacity. Not imposing a sideboard limit also reduced the complexity of the action.
Also included in the final motion was a provision that would prevent replaced Amendment 80 vessels from acting as a mothership in the BSAI or Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod fisheries. This provision was included to close a potential loop-hole that would allow replaced vessels from reentering the Pacific cod fisheries and increasing offshore processing capacity. The provision does not apply to AFA replaced vessels because they are currently prohibited from reentering the fishery as a mothership under the AFA vessel replacement regulations.
Staff contact is Jon McCracken.