By means of exempted fishing permits (EFPs) National Marine Fisheries Service “may authorize, for limited testing, public display, data collection, exploratory fishing, compensation fishing, conservation engineering, health and safety surveys, environmental cleanup, and/or hazard removal purposes, the target or incidental harvest of species managed under an FMP or fishery regulations that would otherwise be prohibited” (50 CFR 600.745(b)).
The Council reviews applications for EFPs for highly migratory species and makes recommendations on their issuance based on the schedule described in Council Operating Procedure 20 (COP 20). According to COP 20 the Council accepts EFP applications each year at its June meeting for initial review and public comment. The Council may ask for revisions to the application or further clarification about the proposed activity. The Council then makes a final recommendation to NMFS on EFP issuance at its September meeting.
Due to meeting constraints stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Council did not schedule review of EFP applications at its June 2020 Council meeting. The Council will likely consider applications at its September 2020 meeting, in which case applications would have to be submitted in mid-August. (The specific deadline will be announced here once the Council sets the September meeting agenda.)
EFP applications must include the following information:
- Date of application
- Applicant’s names, mailing addresses, and telephone numbers
- A statement of the purpose and goals of the experiment for which an EFP is needed, including a general description of the arrangements for the disposition of all species harvested under the EFP
- Valid justification explaining why issuance of an EFP is warranted
- A statement of whether the proposed experimental fishing has broader significance than the applicant’s individual goals
- An expected total duration of the EFP (i.e., number of years proposed to conduct exempted fishing activities)
- Number of vessels covered under the EFP
- A description of the species (target and incidental) to be harvested under the EFP and the amount(s) of such harvest necessary to conduct the experiment, including harvest estimates of overfished species and protected species
- A description of a mechanism, such as at-sea fishery monitoring, to ensure that the harvest limits for targeted and incidental species are not exceeded and are accurately accounted for
- A description of the proposed data collection and analysis methodology
- A description of how vessels will be chosen to participate in the EFP
- For each vessel covered by the EFP, the approximate time(s) and place(s) fishing will take place, and the type, size, and amount of gear to be used
- The signature of the applicant(s)
EFP proposals must contain sufficient information for the Council to determine if there is adequate justification for an exemption to the regulations and the potential social and environmental impacts of the exempted activity.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with members of the Council’s Highly Migratory Management Team (HMSMT), Council staff, or National Marine Fishery Service staff when preparing an application. The HMSMT roster lists contact information for its members. Dr. Kit Dahl is the point of contact for Council staff; phone: (503) 820-2422 (toll-free 1-866-806-7204). Chris Fanning is the point of contact at the NMFS West Coast Region (phone: (562) 980-4198).
Submitting an Application
Applications may be submitted by mail, FedEx or other overnight service, fax, or electronically but must be received by the advanced briefing book public comment deadline for the June 2020 Council meeting.
Pacific Fishery Management Council
Attn: HMS EFP Application
7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101
Portland, OR 97220