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14PACIFICFISHERIESREVIEWspecialsupplementtoJuLY2012Fishermenx19snewsLEGISLATIONLegalRoadblockstoImprovedVesselSax12etyandEx12fciencyByStephenB.JohnsonlegAlrestriCtionsimposedmanyyearsagotocontrolvesselcatchingcapacityintheBeringSeagroundx4shx4sheriesnolongerserveanyuseulpurposeandareimpedingtheabilityovesselownerstomovetosaermoreex1cientvessels.Teserestrictionswereimposedtocontrolvesselcapacityintheeraoderby-stylex1cOlympicx1dx4sheries.AllotheBeringSeagroundx4shx4sheriesarenowex5ectivelyquota-controlledlimitedentryx4sheriessotheseoldrestrictionsnolongerserveanyuseulpurpose.Whatisworsetheyarenowroadblockstoupgradingtosaermoreex1cientvessels.PositivestepshavebeentakentoeliminatetheseroadblocksortheBeringSeapollockandAmendment80mixedspeciestrawlx2eets.Howeverinanotherexampleofx1cparalysisbyanalysisx1dtheNorthPacicFisheryManagementCouncilandtheNationalMarineFisheriesServicex1cNMFSx1dareexpectedtotaketwoorthreeyearstox4nishcleaningthisuportheBeringSeareezerlonglinex2eet.wentyyearsagoconcernsaboutover-capacityintheBeringSeagroundx4shsheriesledtheNorthPacicFisheryManagementCounciltoadopttheLicenseLimitationProgramx1cLLPx1dasetofregulationsthatlimitedparticipationintheBer-ingSeagroundx4shx4sheriestovesselownerswhoseprioroperationsmetcertaincatchhistorycriteria.TeLLPlicenseprogramlimitedthenumberofvesselsoperatingintheBeringSeagroundx4shx4sheries.AnewentrantcouldparticipateonlybyacquiringanexistingLLPlicense.Becauseover-capacityinaderby-stylex4sherycouldbeax5ectedbothbythenum-berofvesselsengagedinthesheryandbythecapacityofeachindividualvesselLLPlicensesrestrictedthex4shingcapacityovesselspermittedtooperateunderthelicensebasedonthelengthoftheoriginalqualifyingvessel.OntopoftheLLPvesselsizerestrictionsCongressimposedadditionalsizelimitsonx4shingvesselsnation-wideintheAmericanFisheriesActsubjecttowaiverbytheindividualRegionalFisheryMan-agementCouncilsorx4sherieswithintheirrespectivejurisdictions.Tesevesselsizelimitsmadesenseorderby-stylex4sheriesbutmakenosenseorthequota-controlledlimitedentryx4sheriesotheBeringSea.Whocareswhetheravesselownerwantstobuildamega-vesseltox4shitsquotaTevesselownerx19squotalimitswhatthevesselcancatchregardlessoitssize.Sincethevesselownerx19squotalimitsitscatchthereisnoneedorthegovernmenttoregulatethesizeotheplatormusedtocatchandprocessthatquota.Vesselownerscansaelybelettodecideorthemselveswhatsizevesselwilloptimizetheiroperations.TevessellengthrestrictionsimposedintheLLPlicensesandtheAFAhaveblockedrebuildingorreplacementoBeringSeagroundx4shvesselswithlargersaermoreex1cientvessels.WhydoesthismatterManyvesselsintheBeringSeagroundsh0eetswerenotoriginallybuiltasx4shingvesselsmuchlessdesignedortherigorsoBeringSeaoperations.Manycompromisesweremadeinconvertingthosevesselsfortheground-x4shx4sheries.Someothosecompromisesax5ectedsaety.Inrecentyearssomeothesecompromiseshaveledtolossolie.ManyBeringSeavesselsareoldx13manyareveryold.Teaverageageothereezerlonglinex2eetis40years.One-thirdothereezerlonglinex2eetismorethan65yearsoldNomatterhowwellthesevesselshavebeenmaintainedthereisonlysomuchliethatcanbeextractedfromtheirsteel.Manyofthesevesselsareapproachingtheendsotheiruseullives.Finallyinquota-controlledx4sheriesthereisapremiumorex1ciency.Vesseloperatorshavehugeeconomicincentivestoproducemaximumvalueromeachpoundox4shcaughtx13atthelowestpos-siblecost.Temoreothecatchthatcanbemadeintosaleableproductsandthelowerthecostperpoundogettingthoseproductstomarketthebetterthebottomline.Manyvesselsthatwerebuiltorcon-vertedorderbyx4sheriessimplydonothavetheroomormealplantsorvalueaddedprocessinglinesthatcouldmakethemmoreproductive.ManyhavesuchlimitedholdcapacitiesthattheymustspendaninordinateamountotimeanduelrunningbackandorthtoDutchHarborortheirofoads.Vesselssizeddesignedandbuiltorquota-controlledBeringSealimitedentryx4sheriescouldbevastlymoreproductive.Congressshowedthewaytoreorm-ingtheseoutdatedrestrictionsin2010byeliminatingallvesselsizerestrictionsonBeringSeapollockvessels.TeNorthPacix4cCouncilhasox5eredsimilarrelietotheAmendment