Amendment 22 to the FMP for the Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NOAA Fisheries proposes regulations that would establish two trawl test areas in the Gulf of Alaska and one trawl test area in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands area where pelagic and bottom trawl fishermen could test their trawl fishing gear when the GOA or BSAI would otherwise be closed to trawling. Establishment of these test areas would allow vessel operators the opportunity to test their trawl gear before a season opens so that they could begin fishing efficiently at the beginning of a season. This would reduce lost fishing time from gear problems, and would promote the goals and objectives of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council with respect to groundfish management off Alaska.
Authority to establish test areas is contained in Amendment 27 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the GOA and in Amendment 22 to the FMP for the Groundfish Fishery of the BSAI Area. These amendments were submitted to the Secretary of Commerce by the Council and are pending the Secretary's review and approval.