EA/RIR/FRFA for Amendment 86 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the GOA Management Area to Add Pacific Cod Endorsements to Western and Central GOA Fixed Gear License Limitation Program Licenses
Analysis of a proposed amendment to limit future participation in the Pacific cod fishery to fixed gear licenses that have actively participated in recent years and, thus, qualify for a Pacific cod endorsement.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council proposed Amendment 86 to the Gulf of Alaska Fishery Management Plan (GOA FMP). The preferred alternative for the proposed action would add gear-specific Pacific cod endorsements to Western and Central GOA fixed gear licenses. In addition to the appropriate area endorsement, licenses would be required to carry a Pacific cod endorsement to permit participation in the directed Pacific cod fisheries in Federal waters in the Western and Central GOA.
Competition among fixed gear participants in the Western and Central GOA Pacific cod fisheries has intensified in recent years, and long-term participants are concerned about the potential for latent fixed gear licenses to re-enter the fisheries. The proposed amendment would address this concern by limiting future participation in the Pacific cod fishery to fixed gear licenses that have actively participated in recent years and, thus, qualify for a Pacific cod endorsement. This action may enhance stability in the GOA Pacific cod fisheries, reduce competition among fixed gear participants, and sustain the historic division of catch among recent participants. In the absence of this action, future entry of latent effort into the Western and Central GOA Pacific cod fisheries could further intensify competition among fixed gear participants and erode catches of long-term active participants.