Control date: Large-mesh drift gillnet limited entry program

Date: June 23, 2014

Federal Register summary: “This advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) announces a control date of June 23, 2014, that may be used as a reference for allocation decisions when considering potential future management actions to limit the number of participants in the large-mesh drift gillnet (DGN) fishery that targets swordfish and thresher sharks. The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) selected the June 23, 2014, control date based on discussions at its June meeting. The Council requested this ANPR to discourage speculative fishing effort as they review the current state-managed DGN limited entry program and consider establishing a federally-managed limited entry program for this fishery. This ANPR is intended to promote public awareness of the Council’s interest and the potential for a future rulemaking.” 79 FR 64161, October 28, 2014

Who affected: Participants in the large-mesh DGN fishery

Why: This notification establishes June 23, 2014, as the new control date for potential use in determining historical or traditional participation in the large-mesh DGN fishery. The Council requested that NMFS publish this control date to discourage speculative fishing effort in the DGN fishery while alternative management regimes to control effort are discussed, possibly developed, and implemented. Interested participants should locate and preserve records that substantiate and verify their participation in the large-mesh DGN fishery.

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