At the June 2018 meeting, the Council completed an initial review of the draft Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) that would require full retention of all rockfish species for fixed gear catcher vessels (CVs) in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) and Gulf of Alaska (GOA). After reviewing the RIR, the Council released the document for public review. Requiring full retention of rockfish by fixed gear CVs would improve identification of species catch composition when CVs are subject to electronic monitoring; improve data collection by providing more accurate estimates of total catch; reduce incentives to discard rockfish; may reduce waste; reduce overall enforcement burden; and provide more consistency in regulations.
The Council, at this meeting, also selected a preliminary preferred alternative. The alternative selected would require full retention of rockfish species by all fixed gear CVs (hook-and-line, pot, and jig) in the BSAI and GOA. The preliminary preferred alternative also includes two options. The first option would require full retention of rockfish even if the rockfish species is on prohibited species status, but would prohibit these retained rockfish from entering commerce. The second option would establish a maximum commerce allowance (MCA) of 10% or 15%. The purpose of the MCA is to constrain vessels from increasing rockfish incidental catch under a full retention regulation, while allowing vessel operators to sell most of the rockfish catch that is truly incidental. Staff contact is Jon McCracken.