Amendment 25 to the FMP for the Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska Management Area
NOAA issues a final rule to implement Amendment 20 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Groundfish Fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area and Amendment 25 to the FMP for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. The amendments authorize regulations to protect marine mammal populations. This final rule 1) prohibits trawling year-round within 10 nautical miles (nm) of 37 Steller sea lion rookeries in the GOA and BSAI; 2) expands the prohibited zone to 20 nm for five of these rookeries from January 1 through April 15 each year; 3) establishes new GOA pollock management districts, and 4) imposes a limit on the amount of an excess pollock seasonal harvest that may be taken in a quarter in each district. These actions are necessary to minimize potential adverse effects of groundfish fisheries on Steller sea lions. They are intended to further the goals and objectives contained in both FMPs that govern these fisheries.