Whiting and midwater trawl cleanup rule

Action status

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

Elements for a whiting and midwater trawl cleanup rule were reviewed by the Council in March and November, 2014. The proposed rule included the following with respect to vessels on Pacific whiting individual fish quota (IFQ) trips:

  • An allowance for prohibited and protected species to be retained until landing on “maximized retention” trips.
  • Disposition procedures for prohibited species landed at IFQ first receivers on “maximized retention” trips consistent with the groundfish and salmon fishery management plans.
  • Disposition procedures for protected species landed at IFQ first receivers on “maximized retention” trips, consistent with the 2012 biological opinions.
  • A requirement that in order for a landing to be considered a whiting landing it must be composed of 50% or more Pacific whiting by weight.

This action included changes in the declarations required for use of all midwater trawl gear, as well as specification of allowances for the use of midwater gear to target other groundfish within the trawl Rockfish Conservation Area north of 40o 10’ N. latitude after the start date for the shorebased IFQ Pacific whiting fishery, consistent with the intent of Amendment 20. The rule described the need for other regulatory clarifications and consistencies. The proposed rule was published on August 27, 2015 and the public comment deadline was September 28, 2015. A final environmental assessment was published on April 30, 2015.  The final rule was published on December 14, 2015, with an effective date of January 13, 2016.