Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; American Fisheries Act; Amendment 106
NMFS issues a proposed rule to implement Amendment 106 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP). The proposed rule would allow the owner of an American Fisheries Act (AFA) vessel to rebuild or replace the vessel without limitation on the length, weight, or horsepower of the rebuilt or replacement vessel when the vessel is operating in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI). The proposed rule would also allow the owner of an AFA catcher vessel that is a member of an inshore cooperative to remove the vessel from the Bering Sea directed pollock fishery and assign the pollock catch history of the removed vessel to one or more vessels in the inshore cooperative to which the removed vessel belonged. This action is necessary to bring the regulations implementing the BSAI FMP into conformity with the AFA as amended by the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010. This action would also improve vessel safety and operational efficiency in the AFA fleet by allowing the rebuilding or replacement of AFA vessels with safer and more efficient vessels and by allowing the removal of inactive catcher vessels from the AFA fishery. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the AFA, the BSAI FMP, and other applicable laws.