The Council at this meeting selected a preferred alternative to revise the Central Gulf Alaska Rockfish Program after reviewing the public review draft, recommendations from the SSC and AP, and considering public testimony. The Council also requested staff address comments from the SSC in the Secretary of Commerce version to the extent practicable. The preferred alternative includes the following Alternative 2 options:
1) change the season start date from May 1 to April 1
2) eliminate the catcher vessel (CV) cooperative holding cap of 30 percent
3) increase the processing cap to 40 percent of the CV quota share pool for sablefish, Pacific cod, and primary rockfish, and
4) revise the vessel aggregated rockfish harvesting cap by capping only Pacific ocean perch (POP) at 8 percent of the CV quota share pool for this species.
The purpose of this action is to address changes in the fishery which would increase flexibility and efficiency, improve functionality, and better ensure the total allowable catch for the primary rockfish species is fully harvested and landed in Kodiak as intended. Unforeseen changes in the Central GOA rockfish fishery in recent years that include the continuing Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic conditions, impacts to the GOA flatfish market due to the continuing foreign trade tariffs, and the loss of several shorebased processing facilities in Kodiak have resulted in difficulties processing all the trawl CV rockfish quota, especially later in the season as processors approach their current processing caps or close for seasonal maintenance. In addition, dusky rockfish and northern rockfish CV quota are not fully harvested, so modifying the aggregate harvest cap for the primary rockfish species to apply only to POP could facilitate a greater percentage of dusky rockfish and northern rockfish quota being harvested.
Staff contact is Jon McCracken.