The Council completed an initial review of a proposed action evaluating management measures that limit certain Amendment 80 and American Fisheries Act (AFA) catcher/processors acting as motherships when receiving Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) non-community development quota (CDQ) Pacific cod deliveries from trawl catcher vessels. Also included in the initial review document was a vessel latency alternative that would prohibit the use of License Limitation Program (LLP) licenses in the BSAI trawl Pacific cod fishery that do not meet specific BSAI Pacific cod landings criteria, and consideration of allocating the BSAI non-CDQ Pacific cod trawl catcher vessel allocation among the AFA and non-AFA catcher vessels to facilitate the management of the fishery through cooperatives.
At this meeting, the Council bifurcated Alternatives 1, 2, 3, and 6 (the actions that constrain when a catcher/processor can act as a mothership) from Alternatives 4 and 5 (trawl CV management structure actions), and released the catcher/processor acting as mothership limitation portion for public review. The Council modified the purpose and need statement to reflect the bifurcation of the alternatives. They noted that bifurcating the catcher/processor action mothership limitations from the trawl CV management actions was necessary to control offshore processing activity to protect critical revenue streams and economic development in coastal Alaska communities, and trawl CV management alternatives do not capture the full scope of the issues currently faced by the BSAI cod participants. The Council also clarified that the control date identified in the initial review document continues to apply to the bifurcated analysis to limit catcher/processors acting as a mothership, and noted that staff should address the SSC comments to the extent practicable.
In a separate motion, the Council initiated an action to address the numerous concerns being encountered by the BSAI trawl catcher vessel Pacific cod fishery, which supersedes the previous trawl CV management actions (Alternatives 4 and 5) that were evaluated in the initial review document. The Council adopted a purpose and need statement, and requested staff prepare a scoping document that could be incorporated into a comprehensive BSAI Pacific cod trawl CV management program. The document should address:
- Allocation of BSAI Pacific cod quota share to BSAI LLP licenses.
- Establishing trawl catcher vessel cooperative(s) for Pacific cod.
- Recognition of historical AFA cooperative-based Pacific cod harvest arrangements since the implementation of pollock cooperatives under the AFA.
- Recognition of historical harvest of AFA Pacific cod sideboard exempt vessels.
- Recognition of historical harvest of non-AFA vessels.
- Protections for harvesters, processors, and communities.
- Use caps, transfer requirements, and other administrative requirements that apply to quota programs.
- Establishing sideboards to protect limited access GOA and BSAI fisheries.
- Consideration of management changes on catcher vessel crew.
- Implications for bycatch management, including halibut savings to benefit the health of the halibut resource.
The Council established a control date of February 7, 2019, that may be used as a reference date for any future management action to address trawl catcher vessel participation in the BSAI Pacific cod fishery.
Staff contact is Jon McCracken.