Amendment 43 to the FMP for the Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NOAA Fisheries issues a final rule to implement Amendment 43 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Groundfish Fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area, Amendment 43 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, and a regulatory amendment to the halibut individual fishing quota regulations. This action is necessary to increase the consolidation ("sweep-up'') levels for small quota share blocks for Pacific halibut and sablefish managed under the Individual Fishing Quota program. The objectives of the Individual Fishing Quota program are to prevent excessive consolidation of quota share, maintain diversity of the fishing fleet, and allow new entrants into the fishery. This action is intended to maintain consistency with these objectives while increasing the program's flexibility by allowing a moderately greater amount of quota share to be "swept-up'' into larger amounts that can be fished more economically.