Amendment 61 to the FMP for the Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska Management Area
NOAA Fisheries issues final regulations to implement the following American Fisheries Act-related amendments: Amendment 61 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Groundfish Fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area, Amendment 61 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, Amendment 13 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab, and Amendment 8 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Scallop Fishery off Alaska.
These four amendments incorporate the provisions of the AFA into the fishery management plans and their implementing regulations. The management measures include: measures that allocate the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area pollock among the sectors of the pollock processing industry and restrict who may fish for and process pollock within each industry sector; measures that govern the formation and operation of fishery cooperatives in the BSAI pollock fishery; harvesting and processing limits known as sideboards to protect the participants in other fisheries from spillover effects resulting from the rationalization of the BSAI pollock fishery; measures that establish catch weighing and monitoring requirements for vessels and processors that participate in the BSAI pollock fishery; and extension of the inshore/offshore regime for pollock and Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska through December 31, 2004.
These amendments and management measures are necessary to implement the AFA and are intended to do so in a manner consistent with the environmental and socio-economic objectives of AFA, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), and other applicable laws.
On February 10, 2004, NOAA Fisheries issued a final rule to remove the expiration date of regulations published in the Federal Register on December 30, 2002, implementing the AFA. The AFA final rule inadvertently specified a period of effectiveness that will expire December 31, 2007. This rule made the amendments to the AFA rule permanent, as originally intended.