Amendment 31 to the FMP for the Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NOAA Fisheries issues a proposed rule to implement Amendment 31 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Groundfish Fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area, Amendment 35 to the FMP for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, and a regulatory amendment affecting the fishery for Pacific halibut in and off the State of Alaska. This action is being proposed to implement the Modified Block Proposal, to clarify the transfer process for the Individual Fishing Quota program, and to prevent excessive consolidation of the Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries off Alaska.
If approved, these FMP and regulatory amendments would require the issuance of quota share blocks for QS resulting in less than 20,000 lb (9 mt) of IFQ for halibut or sablefish, based on the 1994 total allowable catch for fixed gear in those fisheries, allow the combination of QS blocks that are less than 1,000 lb (0.5 mt) of IFQ for halibut and less than 3,000 lb (1.4 mt) of IFQ for sablefish, restrict the number of blocks that may be held by a person in any IFQ regulatory area, and clarify the transfer process for QS and IFQ. It is intended to ensure that small part-time operators and diversified operations can continue to participate profitably in the IFQ fisheries.