NPFMC Examines Bering Sea Cod Vessels

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) has initiated an analysis prompted by concerns over the number of catcher vessels delivering Pacific cod to motherships and a decrease in P-cod deliveries to shoreside processing facilities in the Bering Sea.

The motion by Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten noted the council’s concern over potential for future growth in offshore deliveries of P-cod to Amendment 80 vessels or other vessels operating as motherships, and the potential impacts those increases could have on shoreside processors, communities and participating catcher vessels.

The action came during the council’s December meeting in Anchorage, Alaska.

The council motion noted that despite a high level of latency, the pace of the fishery has increased shortening the season resulting in decreased ability to maximize the value of the fishery and negatively impacting fishery participants. The concern is that more entrants could exacerbate this situation, threatening the viability of the fishery.

The council will consider limiting entry of vessels that have no participated, or have not participated recently.

The Pacific Seafood Processors Association (PSPA) urged the council to establish a control date to use as a reference point to limit access into the trawl catcher vessel and Amendment 80 mothership sectors of the directed non-Community Development Quota Bering Sea trawl cod fishery.

PSPA’s Nicole Kimball explained in her testimony that processing plants and communities dependent on the inshore cod fishery include Dutch Harbor King Cove Akutan, some in Sand Point, Adak and the Aleutians East Borough. While the Amendment 80 sector pays a resource landing tax of three percent to the state, the shoreside processors pay both the three percent fisheries business tax and local fish taxes, which range from one and a half percent to two percent, and community dependence on fisheries landing taxes is significant, she noted.