New England Council approves Draft EIS for AMD 18 to Groundfish FMP

MYSTIC, CT – Four years after its initiation, the New England Fishery Management Council (NEMFC) has approved the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies (Groundfish) Fishery Management Plan.

The action, taken during the council’s April meeting here, was not without controversy.  See Guest Column, page 6.

The council also selected preferred alternatives for the DEIS, and forwarded it to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for publication and public comment.

The amendment’s goals are to promote fleet diversity, enhance sector management to achieve management goals, promote resilience and stability of fishing businesses, and prevent any entity from controlling excessive shares of fishery access.

The DEIS for AMD 18 analyzed impacts from a wide array of alternatives in multiple scenarios attempting to meet those objectives.

During a three-and-a-half hour long meeting, the council selected preferred alternatives that would limit collective holdings of potential sector contribution (PSC) for all stocks at 15.5% and limit the holding of permits to 5%.

PSC is the proportion of total landings associated with a permit during landings history qualification years.  An annual catch entitlement (ACE) is allocated to sectors based on the total PSC of sector members for a stock.

The preferred alternative would not require divestiture of either PSC or permit holdings in order to get compliance, as all holdings are below the preferred limits. Instead, PSC overage would be redistributed annually…


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