Amendment 86 to the FMP for the Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NOAA Fisheries publishes regulations to implement Amendments 86 and 76 to restructure the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program by adding a funding and deployment system for observer coverage and amending existing observer coverage requirements for vessels and processing plants. These regulations implement Amendment 86 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the BSAI and Amendment 76 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the GOA. The new funding and deployment system allows NOAA Fisheries to determine when and where to deploy observers according to management and conservation needs. Funds are provided through a system of fees based on the ex-vessel value of groundfish and halibut in fisheries covered by the new system. This action is necessary to resolve data quality and cost equity concerns with the Observer Program's existing funding and deployment structure. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, the fishery management plans, and other applicable law.