Environmental Assessment and Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Categories (Class C & D)
Analysis of increasing the flexibility of halibut and sablefish quota share use on category B, C, and D catcher vessels, while maintaining the goals of the IFQ program.
Amendment 42 to the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Groundfish FMP and Amendment 42 to the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Groundfish FMP addresses the need for increased flexibility of halibut and sablefish QS use on category B, C, and D catcher vessels, while maintaining the goals of the IFQ program and modified block amendment to limit consolidation, allow new entrants into the fishery, and protect coastal communities. Small boat fishermen have reported the scarcity of medium to large size blocks ($5,000 lb) in some areas. They have requested that the Council enable them to rationalize their operations by purchasing shares from QS holders in larger vessel size categories. Large vessel (category B) operators have reported difficulties in utilizing or marketing small category B blocks. They have requested the opportunity to downsize their operations or sell QS to owners of smaller vessels. This amendment responds to these requests by enhancing flexibility while maintaining consistency with the basic tenets of the IFQ program.
The preferred alternative would allow the use of larger vessel category QS on smaller vessels for both halibut and sablefish in all regulatory areas, except for category B unblocked QS and blocked QS/IFQ $5,000 lb (based on 1996 TACs) only in halibut Area 2C and sablefish Southeast area. Allowing the “buydown” to occur only for small category B blocks in those two areas would still benefit crewmen and small vessel owners who would be able to use small category B blocks on smaller vessels without affecting the market price of category B medium and large blocks and unblocked QS.