NPFMC Advances BSAI Alternatives for Analysis

Bering Sea and Aleutian Island crab issues continue to move slowly forward through the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. At its December meeting the council advanced for analysis alternatives that would require persons acquiring quota shares to meet minimum requirements for active participation in the crab fisheries.

Under the proposed alternatives, active participation requirements could be satisfied by the quota shareholder either maintaining a minimum ownership interest in a vessel or a minimum participation as a crewmember.

Council members also asked staff to prepare a discussion paper examining the potential for cooperatives to develop provisions that would establish minimum crew compensation standards, maximum lease rates, maximum lease charges or deductions against crew compensation, and measures to promote quota share ownership by crew and active participants in those fisheries.

In related action, the council considered stakeholder comments concerning the performance of the binding arbitration system, which is used to settle price harvester/processor disputes for individual fishing quota landings that must be delivered to holders of individual processing quota. The council asked their chairman to appoint a work group to consider development of a process for the price formula for the golden king crab fishery, and letters of nomination are being accepted at the council office until Jan. 10.

The council also reviewed its pending action to modify community provisions, including rights of first refusal on processor quota shares. After testimony, the council made minor technical revisions to one alternative concerning the lapse of rights and added an action to require processor quota share holders to provide certain notices to right holders and NMFS to ensure the right holders and the right agency are informed concerning the status of rights and whether those rights have been triggered.