Amendment 21-4 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan
NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service NMFS is seeking public comment on the Proposed Rule to implement Amendment 21-4 the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan.
NOAA Fisheries implemented the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program in January 2011. The Catch Share Program established an individual fishing quota system for vessels catching groundfish with trawl gear. In 2017, the Pacific Fishery Management Council completed the Catch Share Program 5-Year Review (see below for link). The results of the review, along with industry and community input, highlighted the need to complete outstanding elements of the program, remove outdated regulations, and streamline certain management measures to improve program performance. Following the review, the Council recommended a range of alternatives in Amendment 21-4 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plans. The final range measures proposed in this action would:
- Convert bycatch allocations of canary and widow rockfish to set-asides in the at-sea whiting fishery, remove fixed formulas used to determine bycatch amounts of Pacific Ocean Perch, darkblotched rockfish and widow rockfish in the at-sea whiting sectors, and allow the Council to determine bycatch amounts for these stocks through the biennial harvest specification process;
- Increase opportunities to trade individual fishing quota;
- Set accumulation limits for catcher-processor permits; and
- Expand the set of economic data collections information program participants must submit to the Catch Share Program Economic Data Collection program.