Trawl Catch Share Trailing Actions – Future and Past

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Issues for Future Scoping

The following items may be taken up after items on the current list are addressed. Prioritization of these items will occur through the next biennial groundfish omnibus prioritization process, which begins at the September 2018 Council meeting.

  • Size Endorsements. Consider eliminating limited entry permit size endorsements.
  • Trawl IFQ Carryover When Management Units Change. Consider adding provisions to cover how carryover should be handled when there is a reallocation as a result of changes in management areas (area subdivision, combination, or line movement) or subdivision of a species group. This issue was identified with the recent geographic subdivision of lingcod and relates to 50 CFR 660.140(c)(3)(vii).
  • Develop Criteria for Distributing Adaptive Management Program Quota Pounds. Under the catch share program, the shoreside IFQ program includes a set‑aside of 10 percent of the non-whiting quota shares (including halibut individual bycatch quota) for the adaptive management program. These annually issued quota pounds are to be distributed to address community and processor stability, conservation, unintended/unforeseen consequences of IFQ management, and facilitating new entrants. To date, the quota pounds associated with this program have been passed through to quota share holders on a pro rata basis in proportion to their holdings. The Council is expected to extend the pass-through until an alternative distribution basis is developed.
  • Elimination of the Prohibition on Whiting at-sea Processing South of 42o Lat. This issue arose in the context of the need to avoid bycatch, and may be explored through an EFP or through regulatory action.
  • Allow Between-Sector Trading of Quota.   The Council may consider allowing between-trawl sector transfers of quota allocated under the catch share program in order to ensure that trawl sectors can acquire quota from another trawl sector in order to relieve constraining species issues. This was initially scoped inSeptember 2016 but has since been placed on the omnibus workload list for prioritization in the fall of 2018.
  • Year-Round Non-Whiting Fishery for Midwater Target Species. The Council may consider whether to allow year-round, coastwide, midwater targeting of non-whiting species. Currently, the only way a midwater trawler can target pelagic rockfish north of 40o10’ N. latitude (inside and outside the RCAs) is during the whiting season, and midwater trawling within the RCAs is never allowed south of 40o 10’ N. latitude. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has suggested that the best way to consider this issue would be first as an EFP (see item #12), which could be used to collect information regarding this possible change. The 2018 trawl EFP discussed above under the Gear Regulations section also includes provisions to allow participants to expand the times and areas in which they are able to use midwater trawl gear.

Completed Trailing Actions (with implementation dates)

At-Sea Set-Asides of Darkblotched Rockfish and Pacific Ocean Perch (January 2018).  In September 2016, the Council took action to change management of the at-sea whiting sector allocations of darkblotched rockfish and Pacific ocean perch (POP) to set-asides, while maintaining the allocation formulas in the groundfish fishery management plan for these two stocks to determine the set-aside amounts (Amendment 21-3 was included as part of this action). The proposed rule for these issues was published on October 20, 2017 and the public comment deadline was November 27, 2017.  NMFS determined that the action qualified for a NEPA categorical exclusion and so a NEPA analysis (environmental assessment or environmental impact statement) was not developed.  The final rule was published January 8, 2018 with an effective date of February 7, 2018.

Widow Rockfish Quota Share Reallocation and Divestiture Deadlines (November 2017).  Under Amendment 20, overfished species such as widow rockfish were allocated to permit holders based on the quota share allocation of the target species with which the overfished species are incidentally caught.

Amendment 20 states that quota share allocations for overfished species may be reconsidered when the species becomes rebuilt. Widow rockfish is now rebuilt, and in April 2015, the Council approved a reallocation of widow rockfish quota shares among those who initially received quota share. The allocation formula selected (a midpoint between Alternatives 2a and 2b in the draft environmental assessment) approximates the allocation formula used for species that were not overfished when the program began. It includes an equal allocation component, allocations based on 1994-2002 widow landing history for non-whiting trips, and allocations proportional to individual whiting quota share allocations.

A moratorium on the trading of widow quota share will remain in place until the reallocation is implemented (including the resolution of appeals). Once trading commences, any entity receiving widow quota share in excess of the widow quota share control limit will have approximately one year to divest themselves down to that limit. Additionally, if the widow quota share reallocation pushes an entity over the aggregate non-whiting control limit, it will have the same period to divest down to that limit.

Divestiture down to quota share control limits for all other species and the aggregate non-whiting quota share control limit was required by the November 30, 2015 deadline already in regulation. The proposed rule was published on June 29, 2016.  A final environmental assessment was published on October 15, 2017.  The final rule was published on November 24, 2017, with a first effective date of December 26, 2017.

Allow Fixed Gear and Trawl Joint Registration (November 2016).  At its April 2012 meeting, the Council recommended allowing a fixed gear permit and a trawl permit to be registered to the same vessel at the same time.

At-sea Processing of Fixed Gear Sablefish (November 2016).  When the Council took action on fixed gear and trawl permit stacking (joint registration), they recommended that the opportunity for joint registration be specified in regulations such that the limited entry fixed gear exception for freezing sablefish would not allow the freezing of sablefish caught under the trawl rationalization program.

Update eTicket for Web-based Submissions (November 2016).  Regulations will be updated to reflect the new process for submitting eTickets through internet‑based platforms. The proposed rule for these issues was published on June 1, 2016 and the public comment deadline was July 1, 2016.  A final environmental assessment was published on November 23, 2016.  The final rule was published November 23. 2016 with an effective date of December 23, 2016, except for certain sections related to the electronic reporting of sablefish (for which the effective date was January 1, 0f 2017).

Whiting and Midwater Trawl Cleanup Rule (December 2015). Elements for a Whiting and Midwater Trawl Cleanup Rule were reviewed by the Council at its March and November 2014 meeting.  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 (FMPs).
  • Disposition procedures for protected species landed at IFQ first receivers on “maximized retention” trips, consistent with the 2012 biological opinions (BOs).
  • 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.

Additionally, accompanying changes applicable to all midwater trawling would include: changes in the declarations required for use of midwater trawl gear and explicit specification of currently implicit allowances for the use of midwater gear to target other groundfish within the trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) north of 40o 10’ N. latitude after the start date for the shorebased IFQ Pacific whiting fishery—consistent with the intent of Amendment 20. Needs for a number of other regulatory clarifications and consistencies are also identified and covered in the rule. 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.

Change the Shorebased Whiting Season Opening Date (April 2015). At its November 2012 meeting, the Council recommended moving the shorebased sector primary whiting season opening date to May 15 for the area north of 40o 30’ N. latitude. The proposed rule was published on February 17, 2015 and the public comment deadline was March 19, 2015. NMFS published a final environmental assessment for this action in March 2015, and a final rule on April 9, 2015, effective May 15, 2015.

Observer/Catch Monitoring Rule (April 2015). At its April 2012 meeting, the following additional NMFS-proposed trailing actions were approved for implementation:

  • Implementation of certification and decertification requirements for observer providers,
  • Numerous revisions to details of the observer program provisions, and
  • Revision to briefing periods in catch monitor certification requirements.

The proposed rule was published on February 19, 2014 and the public comment deadline was March 21, 2014. The NEPA analysis for the observer/catch monitoring rule was covered by the Amendment 20 EIS.  The final rule was published on April 21, 2015, with an effective date of May 21, 2015.

Chafing Gear (December, 2014).  At its April 2012 meeting, the Council recommended an alternative that would address industry concerns about the current restrictiveness of the chafing gear regulations for the midwater trawl fishery. The Council reconsidered and reaffirmed its decision at its November 2012 meeting. The proposed rule was published on March 19, 2014 and the public comment deadline was April 18, 2014.  On April 4, 2014, NMFS published a correction to the proposed chafing gear rule.   A final environmental assessment was published on November 4, 2014.  The final rule was published on December 2, 2014 with an effective date of January 1, 2015.

Continue Adaptive Management Program Pass-through (December, 2014). The current pass through of the quota pounds (quota pounds) allocated for the quota share (QS) set aside for the adaptive management program (AMP) (10% of the non-whiting QS) were set to expire at the end of 2014 (for further description of the AMP see “Develop Criteria for Distributing Adaptive Management Program quota pounds”). The Council recommended a rule to continue that pass through until after the trawl catch share program review, which has been scheduled to commence in June 2016. The proposed rule was published on October 10, 2014 and the public comment deadline was November 10, 2014.  A final environmental assessment was published on December 1, 2014.  The final rule published December 17, 2014 with an effective date of December 17, 2014.

Cost Recovery (January 2014). At its September 2011 meeting, the Council adopted a cost recovery program structure. Download the complete description of the Council’s recommendations on Cost Recovery. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published a proposed rule on February 1, 2013 and the public comment deadline was March 18, 2013.  The NEPA analysis for cost recovery was covered by the Amendment 20 EIS.   The final rule was published on December 11, 2013 with an effective date of January 10, 2014. The Council’s assigned responsibility for identifying efficiencies which might reduce costs and fees to its Cost Recovery Committee. On January 9, 2014, a suit was filed challenging the application of cost recovery to the catcher-processor sector of the whiting fishery (Glacier Fish Company LLC vs. Pritzker).

PIE Rule Actions

The following actions were implemented as part of the first Program Improvements and Enhancement Rule (PIE Rule).

Whiting Catch Share Reallocation (March 2013). In March 2012, the Council considered matters associated with the 2011 Judge Henderson decision in the Pacific Dawn case (see full reference materials). This order remanded “for further consideration” the regulations addressing the initial allocation of whiting for the shoreside IFQ and the at-sea mothership fishery. In response, in 2013 the Council reconsidered its original recommendations for whiting quota allocation. The Council also recommended several delays, including continuing the moratorium on quota share transferability through the end of 2013 for all quota shares of all species, except widow rockfish, for which trading was extended to 2014 or until consideration of widow QS reallocation was completed; delaying provisions to allow mothership catcher vessel endorsements and allocations to be separated from the permits until September 2013; extending the deadline for those receiving an initial quota share allocation in excess of the quota share control limits to November 30, 2015; and extending the deadline for those receiving mothership whiting catch history allocations in excess of the QS control limits to August 31, 2016.

On March 29, 2013, a second suit was filed challenging the whiting allocation (Pacific Dawn II).  The December 5, 2013, the court ruling, upheld the final whiting quota allocation recommended by the Council and implemented by NMFS. On February 3, 2014, the plaintiffs appealed this ruling they filed their opening brief on May 13, 2014.  A hearing on this appeal was held May 10, 2016.

Amendment 21-1 (January 1, 2012) clarified that the Amendment 21 allocation percentages supersede the Amendment 6 limited entry/open access allocations for certain groundfish species, and revised the amount of bycatch quota pounds that will be issued for the shoreside trawl fishery to cover Pacific halibut mortality to better match the objective specified in Amendment 21.

Trawl Rationalization Regulatory Amendments (January 1, 2012). The regulatory amendments pertaining to the Amendment 20 trawl rationalization program included, but were not limited to:

  • severability of the mothership/catcher vessel endorsement and associated whiting catch history assignments from the limited entry trawl permit,
  • continuation of the adaptive management program (AMP) quota pounds pass-through, through 2014 of the Shorebased IFQ Program or until an AMP process is established, whichever is earlier,
  • an exemption from the prohibition on processing at sea for qualified participants in the Shorebased IFQ Program,
  • revisions to the observer coverage requirement while a vessel is in port and before the offload is complete,
  • revisions to the electronic fish ticket reporting requirements,
  • revisions to the first receiver site license requirement,
  • further clarification on moving between limited entry and open access fisheries, and
  • a process for end-of-the-year vessel account reconciliation.

These actions and other initiatives included recommendations adopted by the Council in June 2011.

The proposed rule was published on September 2, 2011; the final environmental assessment was published October 2011; and the final rule was published on December 1, 2011, with an effective date of January 1, 2012.

Change of renewal dates from September 1 to September 15 (September 2012).   This rule corrects an error in the regulations to make them consistent with the groundfish FMP.  The date by which NMFS will mail notices for quota share permit and account renewal will be September 15 (consistent with the September 15, 2015 date for renewing groundfish limited entry permits, as specified in the groundfish FMP).  The final rule correcting amendment  was published on September 7, 2012 (there was no proposed rule or National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA] document for the correction).

Final Council Action Taken, Council Action Rescinded

Quota Share/Quota Pound Control Rules – Safe Harbors for Risk Pools.  In September 2011, the Council recommended providing risk pools as a safe harbor from quota share control rules. Risk pools can generally be described as groups of quota share owners who band together to pool their shares of overfished species.  In September 2013, the Council agreed that implementation of this recommendation could wait until after the five-year program review.  As the Council completed its five-year review, in November 2017 the NMFS report on the catch share review suggested addressing the needs of risk pools by allowing the establishment of quota pounds accounts not associated with a vessel or permit.  The Council declined adding this issue to its follow-on action list.