Federal fisheries regulators have tightened catcher processor mothership restrictions for delivery of Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands.
In final action April 4 during the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s spring meeting in Anchorage the council approved alternatives saying that only Amendment 80 and non-Amendment 80 catcher/processors that acted as motherships in 2015, 2016 and 2017 may take directed fishery deliveries of P-cod from catcher vessels participating in these fisheries.
That essentially limited such deliveries of non-community development quota harvests to two motherships, which were not named by the council.
The motion specified that all Amendment 80 vessels not designated on Amendment 80 quota share permits and Amendment 80 LLP licenses or Amendment 80 LLP/quota share licenses are prohibited from receiving P-cod harvested in the P-cod directed fisheries of the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering sea/Aleutian Islands.
A regulatory impact review prepared by the federal council analyzed management measures that would limit Amendment 80 catcher/processors and non-Amendment 80 catcher/processors when acting as a mothership receiving P-cod deliveries from trawl catcher vessel in the gulf and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands, with the intent of limiting activity of certain catcher/processors acting as motherships.
The issue arose because the offshore fishery has been increasing delivery of its P-cod harvest to catcher processors acting as motherships, which decreased delivery to onshore plants, impacting local economies.
Amendment 80, implemented by the NPFMC in 2008, allocates Bering Sea/Aleutian Island yellowfin sole, flathead sole, rock sole, Atka mackerel and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch to the head and gut trawl catcher processor sector, and allows qualified vessels to form cooperatives.
The program also establishes GOA groundfish sideboard limits for pollock, Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, and pelagic shelf rockfish, as well as GOA halibut PSC. GOA sideboard restrictions are based on historic participation during 1998-2004. In addition, participation in the GOA flatfish fishery is prohibited for vessels with less than 10 weeks of history in the GOA flatfish fisheries.