Amendment 123 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands
NOAA Fisheries proposes regulations to implement Amendment 123 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI). If approved, the proposed rule would amend regulations governing limits on Pacific halibut ( Hippoglossus stenolepis) (halibut) prohibited species catch (PSC), or bycatch, in the BSAI. Namely, the proposed amendment would link the halibut PSC limit to halibut abundance for the Amendment 80 commercial groundfish trawl fleet in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. This action responds to the obligation in section 303(a)(11) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable, and is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act national standards. This action: minimizes halibut PSC to the extent practicable under National Standard 9; ensures that the FMP will continue to achieve optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries on a continuing basis under National Standard 1; is based upon the best scientific information available under National Standard 2; to the extent it involves an allocation of fishing privileges, is fair and equitable, reasonably promotes conservation by reducing incidental halibut mortality caused by the Amendment 80 trawl fleet, and does not result in any excessive shares of fishing privileges under National Standard 4; and takes into account the importance of fishery resources to fishing communities under National Standard 8. The action is expected to provide incentives for the Amendment 80 fleet to minimize halibut mortality at all times and conserve and improve bycatch management of the halibut resource, and it may result in additional harvest opportunities in the commercial halibut fishery. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, other applicable laws, and Amendment 123 to the BSAI FMP.
You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2022-0088, either electronically (see link at left) or mail to:
Josh Keaton, Acting Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Records Office. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668