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Set-asides for the at-sea whiting co-ops

Action status

  • Implemented
  • Undergoing NMFS Review
  • Approved by Council
  • Under development by the Council

In September 2016, the Council took action to change management of the at-sea whiting sector allocations of darkblotched rockfish and Pacific ocean perch to set-asides, while maintaining the allocation formulas in the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for these two stocks to determine the set-aside amounts. This change required an Amendment to the FMP (Amendment 21-3). The action allows National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to close one or both of the Pacific whiting at-sea sectors through automatic action if the species-specific set-aside amounts, plus the available reserve for unforeseen catch events (the buffer), are likely to be exceeded. 

The final rule was published on January 8, 2018.  As part of the 2019-2020 harvest specifications and management measures, the Council considered modifications to the automatic action authority established in the final rule. As part of its follow-on actions, the Council is considering additional changes related to determining the annual set-aside amounts of these species and allocation and management of canary and widow.

In 2018, the Council recommended an exempted fishing permit (EFP) that includes these provisions, as well as a number of other provisions that were included in the Council’s gear rule recommendations. The 2018 EFP would also include provisions to allow more extensive use of midwater trawl gear and recommended that NMFS revise the definition of continuous transit in the groundfish regulations. The proposed rule from this package has been delayed due to other NMFS workload priorities.