Amendment 109 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska
NOAA Fisheries is correcting a final rule that published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2020, implementing Amendment 109 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP) and a regulatory amendment to the regulations governing pollock fishing in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). The final rule's intent as to Pacific cod was to change the seasonal apportionments of Pacific cod for the trawl catcherStart Printed Page 79140vessel (CV) sector. However, in changing the seasonal apportionments, the final rule's regulatory text inadvertently affected the jig sector such that it became unclear if the new, overall seasonal apportionments apply to the jig sector. This correction is necessary to clarify seasonal apportionments of Pacific cod for the jig sector.
Amendment 109 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP) would reduce operational and management inefficiencies in the Central Gulf of Alaska and Western Gulf of Alaska trawl catcher vessel Pacific cod fisheries by changing seasonal Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod apportionments to allow greater harvest opportunities earlier in the year. Amendment 109 is necessary to provide participants in the fisheries an opportunity to more fully harvest the total allowable catch of Pacific cod, increase management flexibility, and potentially decrease prohibited species catch while not redistributing fishing opportunities between management areas or harvesting sectors.