Amendment 102 to the FMP for the Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska Management Area
NOAA Fisheries issues this final rule to implement Amendments 102/112 to revise regulations and modify the criteria for NOAA Fisheries to place certain small catcher/processors in the partial observer coverage category under the North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer Program. These regulations implement Amendment 112 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area and Amendment 102 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.
Under this final rule, the owner of a non-trawl catcher/processor can choose to be in the partial observer coverage category, on an annual basis, if the vessel processed less than 79,000 lb (35.8 mt) of groundfish on an average weekly basis in a particular prior year, as specified in this final rule. This final rule provides a relatively limited exception to the general requirement that all catcher/processors are in the full observer coverage category, and maintains the full observer coverage requirement for all trawl catcher/processors and catcher/processors participating in a catch share program that requires full observer coverage. This final rule promotes the goals of the BSAI and GOA FMPs, and the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) and other applicable laws.