Exempted Fishing Permits in Alaska - Federal Register Rules and Notices
Notice of Application:
This notice announces receipt of an exempted fishing permit (EFP) application from United Catcher Boats for pollock catcher vessels (CVs) using pelagic trawl gear in the eastern Bering Sea (BS) and Gulf of Alaska (GOA) to evaluate the efficacy of electronic monitoring (EM) systems in lieu of observers for at-sea monitoring of vessels for compliance with fishery management regulations. If granted, this EFP would allow approximately 49 pollock CVs and nine tender vessels to participate in the proposed EFP to evaluate whether the use of EM systems is a cost and operationally effective means for monitoring vessel compliance with catch and discard requirements. If issued, the EFP would be in effect during 2020 and 2021 for the pollock fishing seasons (both A and B seasons in the BS and A/B and C/D seasons in the GOA). Results from this proposed EFP are intended to inform future North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) analyses in consideration of a regulatory program to implement EM systems aboard pollock CVs using pelagic trawl gear in the BS and GOA as a compliance monitoring tool in these fisheries.
NOAA Fisheries manages the domestic groundfish fisheries in the BSAI and GOA management areas under the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Groundfish of the BSAI and the FMP for Groundfish of the GOA, which the North Pacific Fishery Management Council prepared under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries appear at 50 CFR parts 600 and 679. The FMPs and the implementing regulations at § 600.745(b) and § 679.6 allow the NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator to authorize, for limited experimental purposes, fishing that would otherwise be prohibited. These permits are issued for limited experimental purposes to support projects that could benefit the groundfish fisheries and the environment.