RIR/IRFA of an Exemption to West Region Landing Requirement in the Western Aleutian Islands Golden King Crab Fishery for a Proposed Regulatory Amendment to Implement Amendment 37 to the FMP for Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs
Analysis of an exemption to West Region Landing Requirement in the Western Aleutian Islands Golden King Crab Fishery for a Proposed Regulatory Amendment to Implement Amendment 37 to the FMP for the BSAI King and Tanner Crabs.
Since the second year of fishing under the Bering Sea and Aleutian Island crab rationalization program, participants in the Western Aleutian Island golden king crab fishery have voiced concerns with processing capacity in the West region of that fishery. Specifically, the program requires that 50 percent of the catcher vessel Class A individual fishing quota (IFQ) (or approximately 24 percent of the non-community development quota program (CDQ) total allowable catch (TAC)) be landed in the area west of 174º West longitude (the West region). Under the program to date, shore-based crab processing in this region has occurred only in a single plant, in a single community, Adak. In the first four years of the program, deliveries to the Adak plant were complicated, as the operator of that plant holds few of the processor quota shares in the fishery. Despite this mismatch, holders of processor shares have largely relied on the plant in Adak for West region processing. Until this year, this reliance on a single plant may have contributed to leaving a portion of the TAC unharvested, as a limit on use of processor shares prevented the entire West region allocation being processed at a single plant. To overcome this obstacle, the Council adopted an amendment to the program, exempting custom processing in the West region from the processor share use caps, which NOAA Fisheries implemented in 2010.