The Council took final action on the IFQ Omnibus Amendments analysis to modify IFQ and CDQ Program regulations. The analysis considered several elements intended to increase operational flexibility for vessels using pot gear and jig gear to harvest IFQ/CDQ as well as a separate alternative to temporarily remove the Adak CQE residency requirement to provide more opportunity for the Adak CQE to fully harvest its allocation. The Council also received the Enforcement Committee report which highlights enforcement-related considerations related to the current and proposed changes to regulations.
After receiving the staff presentation, the Committee report, and public testimony, the Council selected a preferred alternative. The preferred alternative included:
- A change to biodegradable panel requirements which could provide increased flexibility for innovation in gear designs for vessels fishing IFQ across the GOA and BSAI.
- Removal of flagpole, radar reflector, and buoy requirements for GOA sablefish longline pot gear.
- An element which would allow vessels targeting halibut IFQ in pot gear in the GOA to use a tunnel opening larger than 9 inches if they also have sablefish IFQ on board. This element will allow vessels with both sablefish and halibut IFQ to target halibut and larger sablefish more efficiently in longline pot gear.
- A change to pot limits in Western Yakutat which would allow vessels fishing IFQ to use 200 pots per vessel, and modifications to gear retrieval requirements in the Central GOA and Southeast Outside Area.
- An element which would authorize jig gear as a legal gear type to harvest sablefish IFQ/CDQ in the BSAI and GOA.
- A five-year exemption to Adak CQE residency requirements.
The Council’s motion aims to balance the need for flexibility and improved efficiency with the need to consider potential impacts of grounds preemption and gear conflicts, as well as how potential impacts may differ across management areas.
Staff contact is Sara Cleaver.