Control date: Catcher-processor accumulation limits

Date: June 13, 2017

Federal Register summary: “This advance notice of proposed rulemaking provides information on a request by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) to announce deliberations of potential accumulation limits for Catcher Processor Permit use or ownership in the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery. The Council may not count any acquisition and usage of Catcher Processor permits and/or usage of Catcher Processor allocation after the date of June 13, 2017, in any decision setting accumulation limits.” 82 FR 46209 November 4, 2017

Who affected: Participants in the catcher-processor sector of the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery

Why: The announcement is intended to inform the public that the Council may recommend limitations on the accumulation of catcher-processor permits and/or harvesting and processing activities, and that levels of accumulation occurring after June 13, 2017 might not be allowed to persist, depending on the Pacific Council’s final policy recommendations. It is also important to note that continuation of levels of accumulation that predate June 13, 2017 are not guaranteed.

What is a control date?

Control dates are published as an “advanced notice of proposed rulemaking” in the Federal Register.

When the Council begins considering a new limited entry program or the revision of an existing program, it often announces a control date. A control date tells the public that the Council may recommend that activities occurring after that date not count toward qualification for the limited entry program (or modification) being considered. Fishers are not guaranteed future participation, regardless of their date of activity or level of participation in the fishery. Interested parties are urged to contact the Pacific Council office to stay informed of the development of any planned regulations.

Announcement of a control date does not commit the Pacific Council to developing any particular management regime or to use any specific criteria for determining participation in a fishery. The Pacific Council may choose a different control date or a management program that does not make use of such a date. The Pacific Council may also choose to take no further action to modify or control entry or access to the fishery.

Any action by the Pacific Council will be taken pursuant to the requirement for FMP development established under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, may require amendment of the regulations implementing the related FMP, and possibly require amendment of the FMP itself. Such action will entail a proposal for an FMP regulatory amendment with public input and a supporting analysis, NMFS approval, and appropriate rulemaking procedures. These advance notices of proposed rulemakings have been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

Summary of control dates for Council managed fisheries