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 or a new Right of First Refusal holder when processor quota share is transferred. It also requires processor quota share holders to make specific certifications regarding Right of First Refusal contracts when annually applying for individual processor quota. Processor quota share holders are likewise required to make specific certifications regarding Right of First Refusal when transferring processor quota shares that are subject to a Right of First Refusal. In addition, this final rule revises the Crab Rationalization Program regulations to separate the annual individual fishing quota (IFQ)/IPQ application into two separate applications. Each crab harvesting cooperative is required to list 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 Right of First Refusal, thereby enhancing the ability of eligible crab communities to retain their historical processing interests in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab fisheries. It also improves the administration of the Crab Rationalization 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.