The Council reviewed a discussion paper on elements of the previously proposed framework for a new GOA trawl management structure, which was set forth in October 2014. The Council took action to add several options to the pre-existing Alternatives

(Alternative 2 and 3), and to add Alternative 4 to the range for analysis. The current range of Alternatives includes:

  • Alternative 1: No action;
  • Alternative 2: Voluntary Inshore and Catcher/Processor cooperatives with transferrable annual allocations of PSC, target, and secondary species, full observer coverage, community stability measures for Inshore cooperatives, and opportunities for gear conversion;
  • Alternative 3: Options to allocate between 5% and 15% of allocated fishing quota to either a Community Fisheries Association or an Adaptive Management program;
  • Alternative 4: Voluntary Inshore cooperatives with transferrable annual PSC allocations, and full observer coverage.

For Alternative 2, the Council expanded the range of potential reductions to the GOA trawl halibut PSC limits for analysis, and added suboptions that further define how the program might place a portion of each cooperative’s annual PSC allocation under the control of the processor member. Alternative 4 has many elements in common with Alternative 2. Under Alternative 4, allocations of PSC quota to cooperatives would be made on the basis of either (1) equal shares relative to the number of vessels in a cooperative, or (2) based on the capacity of the vessels in a given cooperative. The primary difference from Alternative 2 is that Alternative 4 would not allocate groundfish harvest privileges to the cooperatives. Elements that are specific to the CP sector or to the allocation of groundfish species are not included in Alternative 4. Similarly, elements of Alternative 2 that establish measures to protect communities from potential adverse impacts associated with groundfish allocation are not part of Alternative 4. However, Alternative 4 does contain elements that could restrict PSC quota transferability and limit fleet consolidation.

The Council tasked the drafting of a work plan that details how staff will develop an Environmental Impact Statement. That plan will be presented to the Council at the December 2015 meeting, and will include the identification of key personnel, information gaps, and the prioritization of analytical tasks that might receive interim review and public feedback.