Control date: Highly Migratory Species

Date: March 9, 2000

Federal Register summary: “The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) is developing a Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Highly Migratory Species (HMS) off the Pacific Coast that would place HMS species such as tuna, billfish, and sharks under Federal management. This document announces a control date of March 9, 2000, after which vessels participating in the commercial (troll, long line, drift gillnet, harpoon, purse seine), and charter boat fisheries for HMS may not be qualified if the Council determines that a program to limit entry to the fisheries is appropriate. The intended effect of this announcement is to discourage speculative entry into the Pacific Coast HMS fisheries while the Council determines whether, it will limit participation in the fisheries in the future. If the Council decides to limit future participation, it will decide on criteria at that time.”  65 FR 34635, May 31, 2000

Who affected: Highly migratory species (HMS) fishery and those interested in participating in the HMS fishery

Why: When considering the development of the HMS FMP, the Council was urged to establish a control date so there would not be a rush to enter the fishery during the plan development process.

There was concern that tight restrictions in the groundfish fishery and continued restrictions in the ocean salmon fishery might encourage entry to the HMS fisheries. The Council agreed that March 9, 2000, should be established as a control date for the commercial and charter boat sectors of the HMS fisheries.

As of May 2000, the Council had not determined that limited entry in one or more fishery   sectors was necessary or appropriate. However, the Council was aware that there is often a rush to enter any fishery for which a new FMP is being developed, in anticipation that a limited entry program could be proposed that would use historic and recent participation as criteria for eligibility for limited entry permits.

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