At the February 2019 meeting, the Council initiated an analysis to allow vessels participating in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Crab Rationalization (CR) Program to make partial deliveries of crab and then continue fishing before fully offloading all harvested crab. The action would be to remove Federal regulations that prohibit the continuation of a fishing trip subsequent to a partial offload of crab in the CR program.
The Council reviewed a discussion paper describing the proposal, which highlighted that flexibility afforded under this action would not be expected to be used often, due to the harvesters’ economic incentives of limiting crab deadloss and conducting efficient deliveries. The intent to provide operational flexibility to vessels to conduct their business in the safest and economically efficient manner and when emergencies or special circumstances arise. The discussion paper highlighted some of the ways partial deliveries of crab mid-trip could complicate monitoring and accounting.
The Council chose to move this action forward by identifying the purpose and need and one action alternative (removing this prohibition) for consideration in an Initial Review Analysis. Staff will also consider an option which would require any tank started for offload to be fully offloaded, as well as further investigating the expected ability of the fleet to keep catch from different partial rounds of fishing in separate tanks.
Staff contact is Sarah Marrinan.