(a) Standard 8. Conservation and management measures shall, consistent with the conservation requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (including the prevention of overfishing and rebuilding of overfished stocks), take into account the importance of fishery resources to fishing communities by utilizing economic and social data that are based upon the best scientific information available in order to:
(1) Provide for the sustained participation of such communities; and
(2) To the extent practicable, minimize adverse economic impacts on such communities.
(1) This standard requires that an FMP take into account the importance of fishery resources to fishing communities. This consideration, however, is within the context of the conservation requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Deliberations regarding the importance of fishery resources to affected fishing communities, therefore, must not compromise the achievement of conservation requirements and goals of the FMP. Where the preferred alternative negatively affects the sustained participation of fishing communities, the FMP should discuss the rationale for selecting this alternative over another with a lesser impact on fishing communities. All other things being equal, where two alternatives achieve similar conservation goals, the alternative that provides the greater potential for sustained participation of such communities and minimizes the adverse economic impacts on such communities would be the preferred alternative.
(2) This standard does not constitute a basis for allocating resources to a specific fishing community nor for providing preferential treatment based on residence in a fishing community.
(3) The term “fishing community” means a community that is substantially dependent on or substantially engaged in the harvest or processing of fishery resources to meet social and economic needs, and includes fishing vessel owners, operators, and crew, and fish processors that are based in such communities. A fishing community is a social or economic group whose members reside in a specific location and share a common dependency on commercial, recreational, or subsistence fishing or on directly related fisheries-dependent services and industries (for example, boatyards, ice suppliers, tackle shops).
(4) The term “sustained participation” means continued access to the fishery within the constraints of the condition of the resource.
(1) FMPs must examine the social and economic importance of fisheries to communities potentially affected by management measures. For example, severe reductions of harvests for conservation purposes may decrease employment opportunities for fishermen and processing plant workers, thereby adversely affecting their families and communities. Similarly, a management measure that results in the allocation of fishery resources among competing sectors of a fishery may benefit some communities at the expense of others.
(2) An appropriate vehicle for the analyses under this standard is the fishery impact statement required by section 303(a)(9) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Qualitative and quantitative data may be used, including information provided by fishermen, dealers, processors, and fisheries organizations and associations. In cases where data are severely limited, effort should be directed to identifying and gathering needed data.
(3) To address the sustained participation of fishing communities that will be affected by management measures, the analysis should first identify affected fishing communities and then assess their differing levels of dependence on and engagement in the fishery being regulated. The analysis should also specify how that assessment was made. The best available data on the history, extent, and type of participation of these fishing communities in the fishery should be incorporated into the social and economic information presented in the FMP. The analysis does not have to contain an exhaustive listing of all communities that might fit the definition; a judgment can be made as to which are primarily affected. The analysis should discuss each alternative's likely effect on the sustained participation of these fishing communities in the fishery.
(4) The analysis should assess the likely positive and negative social and economic impacts of the alternative management measures, over both the short and the long term, on fishing communities. Any particular management measure may economically benefit some communities while adversely affecting others. Economic impacts should be considered both for individual communities and for the group of all affected communities identified in the FMP. Impacts of both consumptive and non-consumptive uses of fishery resources should be considered.
(5) A discussion of social and economic impacts should identify those alternatives that would minimize adverse impacts on these fishing communities within the constraints of conservation and management goals of the FMP, other national standards, and other applicable law.