Monitoring Requirements for Pot Catcher/Processors Participating in Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Groundfish Fisheries
NOAA Fisheries proposes regulatory changes to revise the monitoring requirements for pot gear catcher/processors (CPs) participating in Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) groundfish fisheries. This action is needed to address management challenges created by observer data collection errors that have impacted catch estimates. This action would improve observer data collection by requiring participants to carry a Level 2 observer and comply with pre-cruise meeting notifications, and by requiring certification and testing standards for participants choosing any of the following voluntary monitoring options: providing observer sampling stations, installing motion-compensated platform and flow scales, and carrying additional observers on the vessel. Additionally, this action would change the location of existing monitoring regulations for longline CPs and halibut deck sorting by moving them under a single, new subpart within the regulations. This action promotes the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Groundfish of the BSAI Management Area, and other applicable laws.