Amendment 89 to the FMP for the Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska Management Area
NOAA Fisheries issues regulations to implement Amendment 89 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska and revise regulations governing the configuration of modified nonpelagic trawl gear. First, this rule establishes a protection area in Marmot Bay, northeast of Kodiak Island, and closes that area to fishing with trawl gear except for directed fishing for pollock with pelagic trawl gear. The closure will reduce bycatch of Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) in Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries.
Second, this rule requires that nonpelagic trawl gear used in the directed flatfish fisheries in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA be modified to raise portions of the gear off the sea floor. The modifications to nonpelagic trawl gear used in these fisheries will reduce the unobserved injury and mortality of Tanner crab, and will reduce the potential adverse impacts of nonpelagic trawl gear on bottom habitat.
Finally, this rule makes a minor technical revision to the modified nonpelagic trawl gear construction regulations to facilitate gear construction for those vessels required to use modified nonpelagic trawl gear in the GOA and Bering Sea groundfish fisheries. This rule is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the GOA groundfish FMP, and other applicable law.