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111th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     111-250
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 520

  LONGLINE CATCHER PROCESSOR SUBSECTOR SINGLE FISHERY COOPERATIVE ACT

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                S. 1609



                                     

                 August 5, 2010.--Ordered to be printed

       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                     one hundred eleventh congress
                             second session

            JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West Virginia, Chairman
DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii             KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts         OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota        JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada
BARBARA BOXER, California            JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
BILL NELSON, Florida                 JOHN THUNE, South Dakota
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington           ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG, New Jersey      GEORGE S. LeMIEUX, Florida
MARK PRYOR, Arkansas                 JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri           DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota             SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas
TOM UDALL, New Mexico                MIKE JOHANNS, Nebraska
MARK WARNER, Virginia
MARK BEGICH, Alaska
                     Ellen Doneski, Staff Director
                   James Reid, Deputy Staff Director
                     Bruce Andrews, General Counsel
                 Ann Begeman, Republican Staff Director
              Brian Hendricks, Republican General Counsel
                Todd Bertoson, Republican Senior Counsel


                                                       Calendar No. 520
111th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     111-250

======================================================================



 
  LONGLINE CATCHER PROCESSOR SUBSECTOR SINGLE FISHERY COOPERATIVE ACT

                                _______
                                

                 August 5, 2010.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

     Mr. Rockefeller, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                                 REPORT

                         [To accompany S. 1609]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 1609) to authorize a single 
fisheries cooperative for the Bering Sea Aleutian Islands 
longline catcher processor subsector, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The Longline Catcher Processor Subsector Single Fishery 
Cooperative Act, S. 1609, would authorize a single fishery 
cooperative for the longline catcher processor subsector 
operating in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management 
Area of Alaska.

                          Background and Needs

  Pacific cod are found around the rim of the North Pacific, 
from the Yellow Sea to the Bering Strait, along the Aleutian 
Islands, and south to roughly Los Angeles, California (although 
the species is somewhat rare in the southernmost part of its 
range).\1\ The Pacific cod fisheries in the Bering Sea/Aleutian 
Islands (BSAI) and Gulf of Alaska (GOA) regions are the oldest 
Alaskan groundfish fisheries. Fishing activity began in the 
fisheries around 1865 and peaked during the period from 1916 to 
1920.\2\ The fisheries then steadily declined until 1950, after 
which time they began to support substantial foreign commercial 
fishing activity--primarily by Japan and the Soviet Union.\3\ 
This foreign fishing activity continued into the 1970s, and it 
was not until 1991 that the region was completely controlled 
and dominated by domestic commercial fishing interests.\4\ 
Currently, the Alaskan Pacific cod fisheries provide two-thirds 
of the world Pacific cod supply and are the second largest 
groundfish fisheries off the coast of Alaska (pollock being the 
largest). In 2009, the BSAI Pacific cod fisheries accounted for 
173,663 tons,\5\ or 11.6 percent, of the total Alaska 
groundfish catch.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Daniel M. Cohen, et al., Gadiform Fishes of the World (Order 
Gadiformes). An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Cods, Hakes, 
Grenadiers and other Gadiform Fishes Known to Date. FAO Fisheries 
Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 10. Food and Agriculture Organization of the 
United Nations, Rome (1990), 42.
    \2\Gordon H. Kruse, et al., Overview of State-Managed Marine 
Fisheries in the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, 
and Southeastern Bering Sea, with Reference to Steller Sea Lions. 
Regional Information Report 5J00-10. Alaska Department of Fish and 
Game, Division of Commercial Fisheries (2000), 133.
    \3\Id.
    \4\Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Report for the 
Groundfish Resources of the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Region, North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (2004), 187.
    \5\Bering Sea Aleutian Islands Catch Report, Alaska Region, 
National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (2009), 3.
    \6\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
  The worldwide shortage of Atlantic cod and the increasing 
acceptance of Pacific cod as an alternative good in European 
markets indicate a likelihood of continued growth of commercial 
fishing for Pacific cod.\7\ Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-
certified Pacific cod caught by bottom longline, trap, or hook-
and-line methods are likely to be especially fast-growing. In 
2006, MSC-certified Pacific cod products sold at a 3 percent 
premium.\8\ This includes Pacific cod caught by the 36 
Washington-based and Alaska-based freezer longline fishing 
vessels operating in the BSAI.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\Seafood Marketing Bulletin: Pacific Cod, Alaska Seafood 
Marketing Institute, January 2006, 1.
    \8\Stock Assessment and Fishery -Evaluation Report for the 
Groundfish Resources of the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Region, North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (2008), 162 (citing Torunn Halhjem, 
Genuine Alaska Pollock, Pacific Whiting, and Pacific Cod, presented at 
the 15th Annual Global Groundfish Forum, Lisbon, Portugal (2006)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Alaskan Pacific cod fisheries are managed jointly at the 
State and Federal levels. The fishery management plans (FMPs) 
governing Pacific cod control fishing activity through a 
variety of means, including permits and limited entry, catch 
quotas, gear restrictions, closed waters, seasons, bycatch 
limits and rates, and other measures.\9\ Although this system 
is not entirely ineffective, it is problematic because it 
fosters a ``race to fish'' in which participants in the fishery 
compete to land the largest catch in the shortest amount of 
time in pursuit of economic security.\10\ On July 9, 2008, the 
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation's 
Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard 
held a hearing entitled ``Fishing Safety: Policy Implications 
of Cooperatives and Vessel Improvements.'' At that hearing, 
several witnesses testified to the benefits of rationalization 
as a fishery management tool. Specifically, the creation of 
fisheries cooperatives was cited as a management strategy that 
will ``promote safer operations, minimize loss of life and 
vessel casualties and improve efficiencies.''\11\ Many 
fisheries scientists and economists have echoed these 
sentiments regarding the effectiveness of cooperatives.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\See generally Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Proposed Amendment 85 to 
the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea/Aleutian 
Islands Management Area: Allocation of Pacific Cod Among Sectors and 
Apportionment of Sector Allocations between Bering Sea and Aleutian 
Islands Subareas, North Pacific Fishery Management Council, March 12, 
2006 (discussing various fishery management methods used for Pacific 
cod in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area).
    \10\See generally Raymond Hilborn et al., State of the World's 
Fisheries, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, November 2003, 
359-399.
    \11\Fishing Safety: The Policy Implications of Cooperatives and 
Vessel Improvements, before the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, 
Fisheries, and Coast Guard of the Senate Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation, 110th Cong. (2008) (statement of Leslie J. 
Hughes, Executive Director, North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owner's 
Association Vessel Safety Program).
    \12\See, e.g., Christopher Costello et al., Can Catch Shares 
Prevent Fisheries Collapse? Science, Sep. 18, 2008, 1678-1681; David R. 
Griffith, The Ecological Implications of Individual Fishing Quotas and 
Harvest Cooperatives, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, May 
2008, 191-198; and Raymond Hilborn, Defining Success in Fisheries and 
Conflicts in Objectives, Marine Policy, March 2007, 153-158.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
  In 2005, freezer longline companies, vessel owners, and 
related businesses participating in the BSAI Pacific cod 
fisheries joined to form the Freezer Longline Coalition (FLC). 
The FLC was formed for the purpose of establishing a 
cooperative to improve the safety, conservation and management, 
and social and economic benefits associated with the harvest of 
Pacific cod by catcher-processors in the fisheries. Although 
all but one company within the freezer longline catcher 
processor sector--or 34 out of the 36 vessels in the fleet--and 
all six Alaska Community Development Quota groups are 
supportive of the cooperative, as a practical matter, the 
support of the entire fleet is needed for the North Pacific 
Regional Fishery Management Council to rationalize the catcher-
processor subsector. Furthermore, while the Council has laid 
much of the necessary groundwork for the cooperative by 
providing the freezer longline sector with an allocation of 
Pacific cod in Amendment 85 to the BSAI Groundfish FMP, 
formation of a cooperative through the Council's process is 
likely to take three to five years to complete. For these 
reasons, the FLC is seeking legislation to help it complete the 
process.

                         Summary of Provisions

  S. 1609 would facilitate the formation of a single fishing 
cooperative by the BSAI Pacific cod longline catcher processor 
fleet. Rationalizing their fisheries in this manner would 
permit the fleet to allocate the total allowable catch in the 
fishery among their members based on their catch history. This, 
in turn, would enable them to better predict demands on their 
time and resources and facilitate cost effective operations, 
and to put an end to the dangerous ``race for fish'' that 
currently exists in so many fisheries. The cooperative would 
empower commercial fishermen with a framework and incentives to 
better manage their fishery without diminishing the important 
regulatory and oversight responsibilities of the North Pacific 
Fishery Management Council and the National Marine Fisheries 
Service.

                          Legislative History

  S. 1609 was introduced on August 6, 2009, by Senators 
Cantwell, Murray, Murkowski, and Begich. On July 9, 2008, the 
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation's 
Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard 
held a hearing entitled ``Fishing Safety: Policy Implications 
of Cooperatives and Vessel Improvements.'' On December 17, 
2009, the Committee met in executive session and, by voice 
vote, ordered S. 1609 reported without amendment.

                            Estimated Costs

  In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

                                                    March 11, 2010.
Hon. John D. Rockefeller IV,
Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1609, the Longline 
Catcher Processor Subsector Single Fishery Cooperative Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

S. 1609--Longline Catcher Processor Subsector Single Fishery 
        Cooperative Act

    S. 1609 would establish a process for certain fishermen to 
create a cooperative, authorized by the Secretary of Commerce, 
to allocate quotas of Pacific cod among its members. Based on 
information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, CBO estimates that implementing S. 1609 would 
have no significant impact on the federal budget. Enacting the 
legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply.
    Under current law, longline fishermen (those who fish with 
lines and hooks rather than nets or traps) operating in the 
Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Pacific cod fishery are 
subject to an annual quota. Under that system, individual 
license holders can catch an unlimited number of fish until the 
total of all fish caught within the fishery equals the quota. 
Under the bill, if fishermen holding at least 80 percent of all 
licenses granted to the longline subsector operating in the 
BSAI Pacific cod fishery choose to enter into a cooperative, 
the Secretary of Commerce would use the guidelines established 
in the bill to allocate an annual quota to the cooperative, 
which would then divide that quota among its members each year. 
Based on information from NOAA, CBO estimates that implementing 
the legislation would have no significant impact on the federal 
budget.
    S. 1609 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

    The reported legislation covers a freezer longline fleet 
that comprises 36 vessels and employs more than 1,200 persons.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

    The reported bill would facilitate the establishment of a 
single fishery cooperative which would enable participating 
fishing vessel owners to invest time and resources more 
effectively than they are currently able to do. A more 
efficient allocation of time and resources would reduce the 
cost of fishing in the fishery, improve safety by ending the 
``race to fish,'' and promote effective, sustainable fishing 
practices in the fishery.

                                PRIVACY

    The reported bill would not have any adverse impact on the 
personal privacy of individuals.

                               PAPERWORK

    The Committee does not anticipate that the reported bill 
would impose any new paperwork requirements on private 
citizens, businesses, or other entities that do not choose to 
participate in a single fishery cooperative for the Pacific cod 
longline catcher-processor subsector in the BSAI Management 
Area. Those who do choose to participate in the cooperative may 
be subject to some additional paperwork requirements.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
items contained in the bill, as reported, meet the definition 
of congressionally directed spending items under the rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    This section would provide that this legislation may be 
cited as the Longline Catcher Processor Subsector Single 
Fishery Cooperative Act.

Section 2. Authority to approve and implement a single fishery 
        cooperative for the longline catcher processor subsector in the 
        BSAI

    Subsection (a) of this section would authorize the 
Secretary of Commerce to create a single fishery cooperative 
for the longline catcher processor subsector of the BSAI 
Pacific cod fishery. In order to authorize this cooperative, 
the Secretary would need a request from eligible members 
holding at least 80 percent of the licenses in the fishery.
    Subsection (b) of this section would prohibit any 
cooperative member from harvesting more than 20 percent of the 
Pacific cod available to the subsector.
    Subsection (c) of this section would require that, no later 
than November 1 of each year, the subsector must submit a 
contract to the Secretary to implement the single fishery 
cooperative. Any modifications to this contract would be 
required to be submitted no later than 60 days prior to the 
commencement of fishing.
    Subsection (d) of this section would require members of the 
cooperative to undergo a Department of Justice business review, 
and would require that the results of this review be submitted 
to the Secretary of Commerce.
    Subsection (e) of this section would require that the 
Secretary implement a single fishery cooperative approved under 
this section no later than 2 years after receiving a request to 
form the cooperative.
    Subsection (f) of this section would provide that, if the 
longline catcher processor subsector does not submit a contract 
to the Secretary to form a cooperative, then the the subsector 
shall operate as a limited access fishery for the following 
year subject to the license limitation program in effect for 
the subsector on the date of enactment of this Act, or any 
subsequent modifications to that program made through the 
Council process.

Section 3. Harvest and prohibited species allocations to a single 
        fishery cooperative for the longline catcher processor 
        subsector in the BSAI

    This section would authorize the single fishery cooperative 
to harvest any portion of the Pacific cod subsector total 
allowable catch that is not otherwise allocated to the non-
cooperative portion of the fleet. This section would also 
authorize the cooperative to utilize the total amount of 
prohibited species not otherwise allocated to the non-
cooperative portion of the fleet. Additionally, it would 
authorize the cooperative to harvest any reallocation of 
Pacific cod that has been authorized by the Secretary.

Section 4. Longline catcher processor subsector non-cooperative limited 
        access fishery

    Subsection (a) of this section would preserve the right of 
any eligible member of the subsector that elects not to 
participate in the single fishery cooperative to continue to 
fish in a non-cooperative, limited access fishery subject to 
the license limitation program in effect for the subsector on 
the date of enactment of this Act, or any subsequent 
modifications to that program made through the Council process.
    Subsection (b) of this section would provide that a vessel 
electing to fish in the non-cooperative fishery would be 
allowed to harvest the combined average percentage of the 
overall total allowable catch harvested by that vessel for 
2006, 2007, and 2008, and to utilize a percentage of the BSAI 
Pacific cod prohibited species catch allocation in the fishery 
calculated in the same manner.

Section 5. Authority of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council

    Subsection (a) of this section would make clear that 
nothing in this Act supersedes the authority of the North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council in its management of Pacific 
cod fisheries in the BSAI or Gulf of Alaska.
    Subsection (b) of this section would provide that the 
Council may not alter the methodology used to calculate the 
allocation (including the allocation of prohibited species) to 
either the cooperative or non-cooperative portions of the 
fleet, as described in section 4. It would further provide that 
the Council may modify the 20 percent individual vessel 
limitation described in section 2(b) after 7 years, so long as 
no member of the subsector is negatively impacted.
    Subsection (c) of this section would provide discretionary 
authority for the imposition of certain protections for coastal 
communities and other participants in the Gulf of Alaska 
Pacific cod fishery, in the form of harvest limitations on 
Pacific cod by the longline catcher processor subsector.

Section 6. Relationship to the Magnuson-Stevens Act

    Subsection (a) of this section makes clear that a single 
fishery cooperative created pursuant to this Act is intended to 
enhance conservation and sustainable fishery management, reduce 
and minimize bycatch, promote social and economic benefits, and 
promote safety of human life at sea consistent with the 
national standards for fishery conservation and management set 
forth in section 301(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (16 U.S.C. 
1851(a)).
    Subsection (b) would deem the cooperative to meet the 
transition rule requirements of section 303A(i) of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act (16 U.S.C. 1853a(i)) unless the Secretary 
determines otherwise within 30 days after the date of enactment 
of this Act.
    Subsection (c) of this section would authorize the 
Secretary to recover reasonable costs related to the 
implementation and administration of a single fishery 
cooperative approved under this Act.

Section 7. Community Development Quota Program

    This section would provide that nothing in this Act shall 
affect the western Alaska Community Development Quota program 
established by section 305(i) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (16 
U.S.C. 1855(i)), including the allocation of fishery resources 
in the directed Pacific cod fishery.

Section 8. Definitions

    This section would define the following terms: ``BSAI,'' 
``BSAI Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch,'' ``BSAI Pacific Cod 
Prohibited Species Catch Allocation,'' ``Council,'' ``Eligible 
Member,'' ``Gulf of Alaska,'' ``Longline Catcher Processor 
Subsector,'' ``Magnuson-Stevens Act,'' and ``Secretary.''

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the 
bill as reported would make no change to existing law.