NMFS takes public comment on crab buyback proposal

Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The National Marine Fisheries Service will take public comment until Jan. 27 on a proposed $100 million buyback program in the crab fishery.

The buyback would affect 335 federal permit holders who fish commercially for king and Tanner crab in the Bering Sea and around the Aleutian Islands.

Under the proposal, fishermen would be paid for withdrawing their vessels from the fishery and surrendering their fishing licenses. Fishery managers say the move would bring the number of fishermen more in line with the allowable harvest of crab.

The buyback would be financed by a loan to be repaid over 30 years from fees assessed on crab fishermen who continue to fish.

Under the program, the fishery service would solicit buyback bids from the fishermen. The bids would be stated as a percentage of the fishermen's production. The agency would accept the lowest percentage bids until it reached $100 million.

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