Final RIR/ Final EA/IRFA Amendment 97 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area - Amendment 80 Vessel Replacement
This action would amend the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area by establishing a process for the owners of Amendment 80 vessels to replace eligible trawl catcher/processor vessels.
The proposed action would modify the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) to clarify the conditions under which an Amendment 80 vessel may be replaced. Since the implementation of the Amendment 80 Program in 2008, some Amendment 80 sector participants have expressed concern that the lack of Amendment 80 vessel replacement provisions could impede the ability of relatively smaller Amendment 80 vessels from complying with the groundfish retention standard. Additionally, Amendment 80 vessel owners may wish to replace smaller vessels with larger vessels to improve safety, or to otherwise improve the economic efficiency of their vessels
The action is necessary to address the disagreement among the FMP, implementing regulations, and a recent Court Order (Arctic Sole Seafoods, Inc. v. Gutierrez, Case No. 07-1676MJP; May 19, 2008) that vacated the specific regulatory provisions precluding vessel replacement.