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IB 22-03: NMFS Reminds Operators of Catcher Vessels (CVs) Using Hook-and-line, Pot, or Jig Gear of the Rockfish Retention Requirements

January 04, 2022 - 3:30pm

Notice of a fishery management action.

NMFS Reminds Operators of Catcher Vessels (CVs) Using Hook-and-line, Pot, or Jig Gear of the Rockfish Retention Requirements.

The regulations (at 50 CFR 679.20(j) and 50 CFR 679.7(a)(5)) have been effective since March 23, 2020.

Those regulations: 1) require full retention and landing of rockfish by CVs using hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) or the Gulf of Alaska (GOA); and 2) limit the amount of rockfish that can enter commerce.

The first provision mandates operators of a CV required to have a federal fisheries permit using hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear to retain and land all rockfish that are caught while fishing for groundfish or halibut in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the BSAI or GOA, even if the species of rockfish is closed to directed fishing or in prohibited species status.

The second provision implements a maximum commerce allowance (MCA) for rockfish to limit potential rockfish catch. The MCA limits the amount of rockfish allowed to enter commerce through barter, sale, or trade. Rockfish retained in excess of these limits must not be sold, but may be kept for personal use, donated, processed into fishmeal, or discarded by processing plant personnel.

The MCA for rockfish is 15 percent, of which 5 percent can be yelloweye rockfish in all areas, except the Southeast Outside District of the GOA (SEO). Full retention requirements for demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) in the SEO remain unchanged. To aid the reader in understanding how the MCA works, here is an example:

A CV operator retains all rockfish during an IFQ halibut trip in the Central GOA and delivers 1,000 pounds of halibut and 200 pounds of various rockfish species, of which 50 pounds is yelloweye rockfish. The MCA for rockfish is 150 pounds (1,000 * 0.15). The MCA for yelloweye rockfish is 50 pounds (1,000 * 0.05). The CV operator could sell all yelloweye rockfish and 100 pounds of other rockfish species. Fifty pounds of rockfish could not enter commerce but could be kept for personal use, donated, processed into fishmeal, or discarded by processing plant personnel.

* This bulletin does not resolve ongoing Office of Law Enforcement investigations.

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on January 04, 2022