REVISED NMFS Announces Implementation of the First Stage of the Fishing Capacity Reduction Program for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Crab Fisheries

December 29, 2000 - 3:10 p.m.

Notice of a fishery management action.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will implement the first stage of the Fishing Capacity Reduction Program for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Crab, according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS. The Program is required by P.L. 106-554, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001, which took effect on December 21, 2000.

The first stage of the program limits vessel participation in the BSAI crab fisheries by requiring that vessels meet historic harvest qualifications. The Norton Sound king crab fisheries are exempt from this statute.

Effective immediately, license limitation program (LLP) licenses can only be used to harvest BSAI crab on qualified vessels. To qualify, a vessel must:

qualify under the LLP criteria, and;

vessels 60 feet and over in length overall must have made at least one landing of BSAI crab in 1996, 1997, or before February 7, 1998.

For a more detailed description of the LLP criteria, please refer to the Federal regulations implementing the crab LLP in section 50 CFR part 679.4(k).

To implement this new requirement, the NMFS Restricted Access Management Program (RAM) identified all vessels that qualify and prepared a Certificate of Eligibility for each qualifying vessel. NMFS will send Certificates to the vessel's owner of record.

For LLP license holders that NMFS does not identify as the owner of a qualified vessel, NMFS has prepared an Interim Certificate, which expires on August 31, 2001. The Interim Certificate allows the license holder to name the vessel upon which the Certificate may be used. License holders with Interim Certificates have until April 30, 2001 to present evidence that they own a vessel that qualifies under the Capacity Reduction program. If RAM determines that the evidence is insufficient, a formal opinion (Initial Administrative Determination - IAD) will be prepared; the IAD may be appealed to the NMFS Office of Administrative Appeals.

The vessel certification requirement is effective immediately. Participants in the 2001 snow crab (C. Opilio) fishery are advised that they may not use their LLP license on a vessel without a Certificate of Eligibility or an Interim Certificate.

Persons with questions regarding the vessel certification program should contact the RAM Program Administrator, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802. The RAM offices may be reached by a toll-free number, 1-800-304-4846. Information is also posted on the NMFS Alaska Region web site.

This information bulletin provides notice of implementation of a change in the statutory requirements for participating in the BSAI crab fisheries. Do not rely on it to guide you in complying with the statutory change.

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on February 11, 2019