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Environmental Assessment/ Regulatory Impact Review/ Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for an Amendment to the Regulations Implementing the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands - Enforcement Interval Change for Pollock Maximum Retainable Amounts (MRA)
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  • Description:
    The action analyzed is the modification of the enforcement period for the MRA for pollock harvested by non-AFA vessels in the BSAI. The preferred alternative (Alternative 2, offload to offload option) changes the enforcement period of the pollack MRA to an offload-to-offload basis, allowing non-AFA vessels that have otherwise been forced to discard pollock, the option to retain additional pollock as long as they are under the MRA for pollack at the end of their fishing trip. Under Alternative 1, the no action alternative, the MRA for pollock continues to be enforced on an instantaneous basis and it is unlawful for a vessel to retain pollock in an amount that exceeds the MRA at any time during a fishing trip. Alternative 2 is the preferred alternative because it may increase the amount of pollack retained without increasing the overall amount of pollock harvested. Vessels are able to choose to retain pollock in excess of the MRA as long as the amount retained at the time of offload is at or below the current MRA percentage with respect to basis species or species groups retained. By allowing vessels to manage their MRA percentage for pollock on an offload-to-offload basis, additional pollock may be retained over the course of a fishing trip and regulatory discards could be reduced.
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