Amendment 16 to the FMP for the Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska Management Area
NOAA Fisheries issues a proposed rule to implement Amendment 16 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska and Amendment 11a to the FMP for the Groundfish. Fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area.
Proposed regulatory changes would, if approved, 1) require, catcher/processor and mothership processor vessels operating in the Gulf of Alaska and in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands area to maintain aboard a transfer log and to report information weekly about groundfish production and transfers and off-loading of groundfish products; 2) respecify prohibited species for domestic and foreign fisheries of the Gulf of Alaska and three other categories of species in the Gulf of Alaska foreign fisheries; 3) remove the reserve category for some species of groundfish in the Gulf of Alaska; 4) rename target quotas as total allowable catches for groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska; 5) change the starting date of the public comment period for proposed annual specifications for the Gulf of Alaska; and 6) expressly authorize in-season reapportionments of domestic annual processing to joint venture processing for the Gulf of Alaska.
The regulations implementing these amendments are intended to promote full accounting of groundfish catches in both management areas and to make clear the species in the Gulf of Alaska that are considered to be prohibited species. These regulatory changes are necessary to adjust to the changing nature of the Alaska groundfish fisheries that are being increasingly dominated by U.S. fishermen.