Amendment 80 Explained: A Basic Guide


If your commercial fishing business operates in or around Alaska then you’ve already heard of Amendment 80. And, more likely than not, you understand that your fishing operations need to comply with it. What some commercial fishers might not know is what Amendment 80 actually is, why it’s important to both the industry and the ecosystem, and how it can affect their business. When simplified, the amendment has given the processor sector of the commercial fishing industry-exclusive rights to fish for certain species.

What Amendment 80 Is

The Amendment 80 sector is a fleet that’s made up of trawl catcher-processors. These processors target a list of specific species of fish in the Bering Sea and around the Aleutian Islands (sometimes shortened to BSAI). There are other species on the list covered by Amendment 80 which are found in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) as well. Some of the species of fish that are covered under Amendment 80 are certified sustainable such as the Pacific Cod, Yellowfin Sole, and Flathead.

Seafood is Alaska’s biggest export so the fish that these processors catch have global destinations, but the impacts are felt locally. Alaska’s seafood industry also has more employees than any other non-government industry sector in the state. Amendment 80 has led to job creation in areas like shipping, ship repair and maintenance, longshore/stevedore, and cold shipping. Local economies thrive which leads to a financially healthy state.


What Amendment 80 Does

So how does this affect you, someone who works in the commercial fishing industry but not as a processor? This is where Amendment 80 can become a little more confusing. That’s partly due to the fact that the amendment allows for the creation of cooperatives. Qualified vessels are able to enter partnerships with these processors after submitting the proper applications. 

There are exceptions to these cooperatives, however, and it’s important for commercial fishing industry workers to keep track of them. Some species have sideboard limits, and some vessels are prohibited from participating in any fishing of GOA flatfish. 

There are also exemptions based on the vessel’s experience on the water. Vessels that have less than ten weeks of experience with GOA flatfish fisheries are not allowed to participate in cooperatives established under Amendment 80 that participate in GOA flatfish fishery.  

Why Amendment 80 Matters

Amendment 80 covers a very large list of marine life, which makes it an extremely important topic that anyone working in the commercial fishing sector should be aware of. Not complying with it could lead to legal complications with your business. There are many rules, lists, policies, and special exceptions to keep track of. The things that you are or aren’t allowed to do vary by the type of vessel that you use in your commercial fishing operation, as well as the vessel’s experience engaging in certain types of commercial fishing. 

There are also different types of Amendment 80 permits, based on the type of fishing cooperative that you want to participate in. This can make it harder for you to submit the application for an Amendment 80 permit, or needs that you have as a vessel owner.

Where We Come In

At the Commercial Fishing Permits Center, we provide commercial fishers just like you with the right tools and information to complete your application. Better yet – we also submit and manage your documents for you. You don’t need to worry about dealing with a complicated submission process, simply complete the application on our website and we’ll take care of the rest. We also offer auto-renewals up to five years in advance. You won’t ever have to worry about being caught off guard and scrambling to complete the paperwork last minute.

We also understand that this paperwork can be confusing, much like the rules and regulations established under Amendment 80. Despite the benefits it brings to the local economies of Alaska, it can bring you a headache. Not only do we manage your applications for permits such as an Amendment 80 permit, but our team is also available to answer any questions that you have about the forms. If you find yourself stuck on a question or not sure how to interpret the legal jargon, our team is more than happy to assist you. Just give us a call at (866) 292-4204 and we’ll bring you one step closer to getting your vessel out onto the open waters.

Not in front of a computer screen? Not a problem! Our website is fully optimized for mobile usage as well as desktop computers, so you can work on your applications whenever and wherever is most convenient for you.

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