Control date: Shorebased trawl catch share program gear switching

Date: September 15, 2017

Federal Register summary: “This advance notice provides information on a request by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) to establish a control date of September 15, 2017, for the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery. The Council may use the control date to limit the extent, location, or ability to use non-trawl gear types to harvest individual fishing quota (termed ‘gear switching’) in the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery. The Council may or may not provide credit for any gear switching related activities after the control date in any decision setting limits on gear switching. The control date would account for Pacific Coast groundfish fishery participants with historic investment to engage in gear switching should the Council set limits to future participants eligible to gear switch.” 83 FR 18259, April 26, 2018

Who affected: Participants in the shore based sector of the trawl catch share program.

Why: The announcement is intended to inform the public that the Pacific Council may recommend limitations on gear switching that occurs in the shore-based trawl catch share fishery, and that gear switching activities occurring after September 15, 2017, might not be included in criteria that limit or allocate the amount of gear switching that occurs, depending on the Pacific Council’s final policy recommendations. It is also important to note that continuation of gear switching that that predates September 15, 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