Amendment 44 to the FMP for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs
NOAA Fisheries issues this final rule to implement Amendment 44 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs and a regulatory amendment that modifies regulations governing the Crab Rationalization Program. This rule revises regulations to reflect that a Right of First Refusal may continue with the current ROFR holder or a new ROFR holder when processor quota share is transferred and to require PQS holders to make specific certifications regarding ROFR contracts when annually applying for individual processor quota and when transferring PQS that are subject to a ROFR. In addition, this final rule revises the CR Program regulations to separate the annual individual fishing quota (IFQ)/IPQ application into two separate applications and to require that each crab harvesting cooperative lists the name of each member of the cooperative in its application for IFQ rather than provide NOAA Fisheries with copies of each member's IFQ application. This final rule is necessary to improve available information concerning transfer and use of PQS and IPQ subject to a ROFR, thereby enhancing the ability of eligible crab communities to retain their historical processing interests in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab fisheries, and to improve the administration of the CR Program. 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.