Final action on individual fishing quota omnibus amendments and the recreational quota entity collection program are on the agenda for when the North Pacific Fishery Management Council holds its spring meeting, scheduled for April 6-11 in Anchorage, in-person and virtually.
The Council is expected to review an analysis on several revisions to the IFQ program regulations and will also receive the Enforcement Committee Report. This analysis evaluates five elements relevant to pot gear used to fish IFQ, including gear specifications and configuration requirements, pot limits and gear retrieval requirements, and one element to authorize jig gear as a legal gear type for the harvest of sablefish IFQ.
The Council’s motion also included an alternative to temporarily remove the Adak community quota entity (CQE) residency requirement for five years, in response to public comment. This is analyzed as a separate alternative in this document.
Council staff said that the intent of these proposed actions is to increase operational efficiency in the IFQ fisheries and provide more opportunities for the Adak CQE to fully harvest its IFQ allocation. The analysis highlights the possible environmental and socio-economic impacts of these actions and provides a discussion of management and enforcement considerations relevant to these potential revisions to IFQ regulations.
The Council is also considering final action for options to establish a federal fee collection program for charter vessel operators to fund the Recreational Quota Entity.
Council staff noted that the council’s preliminary preferred alternative is to establish a Charter Halibut Stamp program. Under the PPA, federal regulations would require charter operators to purchase a Charter Halibut Stamp for each guided angler, for each day that the charter angler is on a charter vessel that intends to harvest halibut operating in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C and 3A. Federal regulations would require this fee be paid by charter halibut operators; therefore, NMFS would oversee and/or administer whatever type of fee program that would be developed.
The council meeting and the council’s advisory panel sessions will be broadcast on Zoom, via https://zoom.us/j/9072712812.
The meeting ID is 9072712812 and the passcode is NPFMC
Meeting details are online at https://meetings.npfmc.org/Meeting/Details/2854