Friday, January 6, 2012

AEB Fishermen Meet with NOAA Officials to Discuss Pcod Sector Split Changes

Aleutians East Borough (AEB) fishermen from King Cove, False Pass and Sand Point recently (12/28/11) met telephonically with NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Brent Pristas and Ken Hansen to discuss changes in the Pacific cod (Pcod) fishery with the implementation of the sector split beginning January 1, 2012. Also on the line were Nick Sagalkin and Mark Stichert from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The rules regarding the Federal Fisheries Permit (FFP) and License Limitation Program (LLP) are complex.

FFPs are is issued on a 3-year cycle, which started Jan. 1, 2012. Fishermen who surrender their FFP will not get it back for 3 years. They may amend the FFP as many times as needed. For example, some FFP holders may wish to amend the FFP by removing the Pcod endorsement, thereby allowing the vessel operator to turn off the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS). Pollock and Pcod are VMS fisheries, and pollock and Pcod endorsements on the FFP require the VMS to be on during those fishery openings.

To amend the FFP, the permit owner should download the form from the website and fax the completed 3-page form to the Restricted Access Management (RAM) division in Juneau. RAM will mail the permit back within 1 - 2 days.

Both the FFP and the LLP can have Pcod endorsements. Fishermen who hold an FFP, and fish in the parallel fishery (inside 3 miles) must also hold an LLP with a Pcod endorsement applicable to the adjacent federal water fishery. The reason for this rule is to limit the fishing effort and to prevent other FFP holders from moving inside 3 miles and into the local parallel fishery. Fishermen who don't hold an FFP do not need the LLP to fish in the parallel fishery. Those who hold an LLP with a Pcod endorsement do not need an FFP to fish in the parallel fishery. In fact, fishermen who wold an LLP don't need an FFP unless they are fishing for halibut or groundfish in federal waters.

Halibut and Sablefish IFQ fishermen are required to retain bycatch of Pcod less than 20%. An FFP is required in federal waters, however, a Pcod endorsement is not required for halibut and sablefish.

Jig fishermen using 5 jig machines, one line per machine, and a maximum of 30 hooks per line, do not need an FFP to fish in the parallel fishery. Fishermen who have an FFP and jig with 5 or fewer machines (as described above) in the parallel fishery, do not need an LLP. Jig vessels need an FFP to fish in waters outside of 3 miles, and vessels that carry 6 or more machines must have an LLP with a jig endorsement.

Detailed information regarding FFPs and LLPs can be found in Federal Fisheries Regulations: 50 CFR 679.4 and at 50 CFR 679.7(b).

The above information is not intended to supplement or substitute fishery regulations, but is merely an attempt by AEB staff to describe the explanations by NOAA Enforcement to AEB fishermen.

The following information regarding Western Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod and Pollock 2012 allocations is from NOAA Sustainable Fisheries in Kodiak:

Western Gulf of Alaska (WGOA) Pollock 2012 seasonal allocations:

A season 5797 tons
B season 5797 tons
C season 9338 tons
D season 9338 tons
Total: 32,070 tons

Western Gulf of Alaska (WGOA) Pacific cod 2012 sector allocations by season: Jig gear sector receives 1.5% of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) in WGOA

Jig A season: 189 tons B season: 126 tons Total: 315 tons
Hook and Line Catcher Vessel(HAL CV) A season: 145 tons B season: 145 tons Total: 290 tons
Hook and Line Catcher Processor A season: 2257 tons B season: 1843 tons Total: 4100 tons
Trawl CV A season: 5736 tons B season: 2216 tons Total: 7952 tons
Trawl CP A season: 186 tons B season: 311 tons Total: 497 tons
Pot CV / CP A season: 4100 tons B season: 3769 tons Total: 7869 tons
Total WGOA Pcod TAC 21,023 tons

Fisheries management will determine rollovers between sectors, usually in mid-November.

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