Final Regulatory Impact Review/Final Environmental Assessment/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis to Remove the Groundfish Retention Standard for the Non-AFA Trawl Catcher/Processors, Amendment 80 Vessels, in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands
Groundfish Retention Standard for Non-AFA Trawl Catcher/Processors, Amendment 80 vessels, and Amendment 80 cooperatives participating in the BSAI groundfish fisheries
This action would modify the groundfish retention standard program by removing certain regulatory requirements mandating minimum levels of groundfish retention and adding requirements for annual reports on groundfish retention performance. The GRS program was implemented to increase the retention and utilization of groundfish caught by trawl catcher/processor vessels not listed in the American Fisheries Act, referred to as Amendment 80 vessels, and Amendment 80 cooperatives participating in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands groundfish fisheries.
NOAA Fisheries has discovered that the regulatory methodology used to calculate compliance with the GRS requires individual Amendment 80 vessels and Amendment 80 cooperatives to retain groundfish at minimum rates well above the minimum rates recommended by the Council or implemented by NOAA Fisheries. This action would relieve non-AFA trawl C/Ps and Amendment 80 cooperatives from undue compliance costs stemming from the mandatory GRS rates.