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Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for the Crab Rationalization Program for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs

February 01, 2005

This Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis evaluates the impacts of the Crab Rationalization Program for the King and Tanner fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands on small entities.

National  Oceanographic  and  Atmospheric  Administration’s  National  Marine  Fisheries  Service  (NMFS)  published  the proposed rule for the Program in the Federal Register on October 29, 2004 (69 FR 63200). An Initial  Regulatory  Flexibility  Analysis  (IRFA)  was  prepared  for  the  proposed  rule,  and  described  in  the  classification section of the preamble to the rule. The public comment period ended on December 13, 2004. NMFS received 49 letters of public comment on the proposed rule.  NMFS summarized these letters into 234 separate comments.  Of these, three comments were specifically directed to the IRFA and are presented in this FRFA.  Several comments directly or indirectly dealt with economic impacts to small entities resulting from the management measures presented in the proposed rule.  These comments and responses are included in the preamble to the final rule.  

The BSAI crab fisheries are currently managed under the LLP. Under current management, the fisheries are prosecuted  in  an  economically  inefficient  manner  with  significant  amounts  of  the  capital  idle  between  seasons.  The race to fish also creates incentives for participants to compromise safety to increase catch. The Council developed the Program which slows the race for fish, minimizes bycatch and associated mortalities, provides for conservation to increase the efficacy of crab rebuilding strategies, and addresses the social and economic concerns that have arisen under current management.  The U.S Congress mandated NMFS approve and  implement  the  Program  by  amending  section  313(j)  of  the  Magnuson-Stevens  Act  through  the  Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-199, section 801). 

Approximately 238 small entities own crab harvest vessels or crab catcher/processors.  They are directly regulated  by  the  final  rule.  Eight  small  entities  appear  to  qualify  for  processor  allocations.  Thirteen  communities,  which  are  considered  small  government  jurisdictions,  could  be  directly  impacted  by  the  community protection provisions under consideration.  The six non-profit CDQ groups are small entities directly regulated by the final rule. 

Implementation of the final rule will change the overall reporting structure and recordkeeping requirements of the participants in the BSAI crab fisheries. Under the final rule, all participants will be required to provide additional reporting. Each harvester will be required to track harvests to avoid exceeding his or her allocation. As in other North Pacific rationalized fisheries, processors will provide catch recording data to managers to monitor harvest of allocations. Processors will be required to record deliveries and processing activities to aid in Program administration.

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on 03/14/2019

Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab Analyses Alaska BSAI Crab Management