Amendment 97 to the FMP for the Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NOAA Fisheries publishes regulations to implement Amendment 97 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. Amendment 97 allows the owner of a trawl catcher/processor vessel authorized to participate in the Amendment 80 catch share program to replace that vessel with a vessel that meets certain requirements. This action establishes the regulatory process for replacement of vessels in the Amendment 80 fleet and the requirements for Amendment 80 replacement vessels, such as a limit on the overall length of a replacement vessel, a prohibition on the use of an AFA vessel as a replacement vessel, measures to prevent a replaced vessel from participating in Federal groundfish fisheries off Alaska that are not Amendment 80 fisheries, and measures that extend specific catch limits to a replacement vessel.
This action is necessary to promote safety-at-sea by allowing Amendment 80 vessel owners to replace their vessels for any reason at any time and by requiring replacement vessels to meet certain U.S. Coast Guard vessel safety standards, and to improve the retention and utilization of groundfish catch by these vessels by facilitating an increase in the processing capabilities of the fleet. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws.