Proposed rule would revise regs for Pacific halibut quota

The National Marine Fisheries Service has issued a proposed rule to revise regulations for the Individual fishing quota (IFQ) Pacific halibut fisheries for 2022, with a 14-day comment period ending on May 4.

This proposed rule would remove limits on the maximum of halibut IFQ that may be harvested by a vessel, commonly known as vessel use caps, in IFQ regulatory Areas 4A (Eastern Aleutian Islands), 4B (Central and Western Aleutian Islands), 4C (Central Bering Sea), and 4D (Eastern Bering Sea). This action is needed to provide additional flexibility to IFQ participants in 2022 to ensure allocations of halibut IFQ can be harvested by the limited number of vessels operating in these areas.

This action is within the authority of the Secretary of Commerce to establish additional regulations governing the taking of halibut that are in addition to, and not in conflict with, those adopted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).

NMFS noted that the proposed action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the IFQ Program, the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut Act), and other applicable laws.

Comments may be submitted electronically or by mail. Electronic submissions go to regulations.gov. Enter NOAA-NMFS-2022-0037 in the Search box. Click on the “Comment” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668.