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Final Regulatory Impact Review for Proposed Regulatory Amendment to Address the Potential for a Shortage of Nontrawl Lead Level 2 Observers
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  • Description:
    This Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) examines the benefits and costs of alternatives to address the potential for a shortage of lead level 2 endorsed (LL2) observers for deployment on freezer longline vessels in the groundfish fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) and Gulf of Alaska and pot catcher/processors participating in the Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) program. Freezer longline vessels subject to monitoring requirements defined at 50 CFR 679.100 and operating under the scales option are required to have one LL2 endorsed observer on board at all times when the Pacific cod fishery is open in the BSAI. Pot catcher/processors are required to have one LL2 observer when groundfish CDQ fishing. Vessel owners and observer coverage providers have reported ongoing shortages of LL2 observers that delay fishing trips and increase the costs of providing observers the opportunity to gain experience needed to qualify as an LL2 observer. This RIR analyzes alternatives that would allow regulatory exceptions, create additional opportunities for observers to gain the necessary experience, or create alternate observer coverage requirements that would allow a vessel to conduct fishing activity without an LL2 observer on board. In addition to the primary action, the RIR also analyzes the impact of additional regulatory changes to observer coverage and reporting requirements for motherships and catcher/processors when participating in CDQ program fisheries.

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