Control date: Harvest qualifications for trawl re-allocation and permit stacking

Date: April 9, 1998

Federal Register summary: “The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) is considering whether there is a   need to impose additional management measures to further limit harvest capacity or to allocate between or within the limited entry commercial and the recreational groundfish fisheries in the U.S. exclusive economic zone off the States of Washington, Oregon, and California. If the Council determines that additional management measures are needed, the Council will recommend a rulemaking to implement those measures. Possible measures include allocating harvest of particular groundfish species (rockfish and  lingcod) between limited entry gear groups and between commercial and recreational fisheries and further limiting access to certain species within the Pacific Coast groundfish complex. The Council may proceed with some or all of these measures. In order to discourage fishers from intensifying their fishing efforts for the purpose of amassing  catch history for any allocation or additional limited access program developed by the Council, the Council announced on April 9, 1998, that any program proposed would not include consideration of catch landed after that date. At present, the Council is planning to consider catch history through the 1997 fishing season. Persons interested in the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery should contact the Council to stay up to date on the management of the fishery.”  63 FR 53636, October 6, 1998

Who affected: Limited entry commercial and recreational groundfish fisheries

Why: Amendment 6 to the Groundfish Fishery Management Plan established a license limitation program for the commercial groundfish fishery based on gear-specific Federal limited entry permits. It also divided the commercial groundfish fishery into the limited entry fishery and the open access fishery. In 1998, the Council realized that it might be addressing several allocation issues over the coming year, and that announcing the end of the time frame for considering catch history for groundfish allocation (or further access limitation) might prevent speculative fishing while these issues were resolved. Groundfish harvest after the control date may not be used as a basis for allocation or participation if a management program is developed using catch history as all or part of the basis for allocation or participation.  

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 in Council managed fisheries