Amendment 31 to the FMP for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs
NOAA Fisheries issues regulations to implement Amendment 31 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs. These regulations revise the rules governing the acquisition, use, and retention of quota share established for captains and crew, known as crew quota share or C shares, under the Crab Rationalization Program.
Regulations implementing Amendment 31 temporarily expand the eligibility requirements for individuals wishing to acquire C share Quota Share by transfer; establish minimum participation requirements for C share QS holders to be eligible to receive an annual allocation of Individual Fishing Quota; establish minimum participation requirements for C share QS holders to be eligible to retain their C share QS and an administrative process for revocation of an individual's C share QS if he or she fails to satisfy the minimum participation requirements; establish a regulatory mechanism to ensure that three percent of the total allowable catch for each CR Program crab fishery is allocated as IFQ to holders of C share QS; and remove the prohibition on leasing C share IFQ.
In addition, this final rule implements a regulatory amendment to the CR Program that:
- establishes an earlier deadline for filing annual IFQ, individual processing quota, and crab harvesting cooperative IFQ applications, which increases the amount of time during which NOAA Fisheries will suspend the processing of IFQ and IPQ transfer applications
- shortens the amount of time in which to appeal an initial administrative determination to withhold issuance of IFQ or IPQ
- provides that an applicant's proof of timely filing for IFQ, IPQ, or cooperative IFQ creates a presumption of timely filing
Finally, this final rule revises the reporting period and due date for CR Program registered crab receiver Ex-vessel Volume and Value Reports. This final rule is necessary to ensure that individuals who hold C shares are active in the CR Program fisheries. It also ensures that application deadlines provide adequate time to resolve disputes. This final rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws.