Amendment 85 to the FMP for the Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NOAA Fisheries issues a final rule to implement Amendment 85 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area as partially approved by NMFS, and to implement recent changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. This final rule:
- modifies the current allocations of Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI) Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) among various harvest sectors and seasonal apportionments thereof
- establishes a hierarchy for reallocating projected unharvested amounts of Pacific cod from certain sectors to other sectors
- revises catcher/processor (CP) sector definitions
- modifies the management of Pacific cod incidental catch that occurs in other groundfish fisheries
- eliminates the Pacific cod nonspecified reserve
- subdivides the annual prohibited species catch limits currently apportioned to the Pacific cod hook-and-line gear fisheries between the catcher vessel and CP sectors
- modifies the sideboard restrictions for American Fisheries Act CP vessels.
In addition, this final rule increases the percentage of the BSAI Pacific cod TAC apportioned to the Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program.
This final rule is necessary to implement Amendment 85 and reduce uncertainty about the availability of yearly harvests within sectors caused by reallocations and maintain stability among sectors in the BSAI Pacific cod fishery. This final rule also is necessary to partially implement recent changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Act that require a total allocation of 10.7 percent of the TAC of each directed fishery to the CDQ Program starting January 1, 2008. This final rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws.