The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issues a final rule to amend certain administrative requirements for the Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program, including streamlining the quota transfer process and modifying eligible vessel requirements, effective April 25, 2005, according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS.
The general revisions implemented by this action include:
- allowing CDQ groups to transfer groundfish CDQ, halibut CDQ, and prohibited species quota by submitting a transfer request directly to NMFS without intermediate review by the State of Alaska;
- adding several requirements associated with CDQ eligible vessels, including requiring CDQ groups to request vessel eligibility approval directly from NMFS;
- allowing CDQ groups to submit alternative fishing plans directly to NMFS;
- removing the requirement that fishing plan forms be included in CDQ groups' community development plans;
- removing the requirement that CDQ groups obtain prior approval for each processor that may take deliveries of groundfish CDQ;
- removing requirements that CDQ groups ensure their respective fishing and processing partners' compliance with regulations in 50 CFR part 679; and,
- implementing other revisions to regulations to update and clarify definitions and cross-references.
Most of these regulatory revisions are applicable only to CDQ groups, including a requirement to provide a copy of an approved eligible vessel form to each vessel groundfish CDQ fishing on their behalf. However, vessel operators participating in CDQ fisheries will now have an additional recordkeeping requirement. Operators of all vessels that are groundfish CDQ fishing, and operators of vessels equal to or greater than 60 feet length overall that are halibut CDQ fishing, will be required to maintain a copy of a NMFS-approved eligible vessel form (and alternative fishing plan, if applicable) onboard.
This information bulletin provides notice of a regulatory change. For the purposes of complying with this regulatory change, you are advised to see the actual text in the Code of Federal Regulations.