Chinook and Chum Salmon Bycatch Reduction in Alaska Fisheries - Federal Register Rules and Notices
This emergency rule establishes a 1,600 Chinook salmon prohibited species catch (PSC) limit for the Western and Central Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Non-Rockfish Program trawl catcher vessel sector (Non-Rockfish Program CV Sector) that is immediately available for use by the sector until the limit is reached or December 31, 2015. On January 1, 2015, an annual Chinook salmon PSC limit of 2,700 Chinook salmon became available for use by the Non-Rockfish Program CV Sector implementing Amendment 97 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the GOA (FMP). On May 3, 2015, and considerably earlier than had been expected, NMFS prohibited directed fishing for groundfish by the Non-Rockfish Program CV Sector after determining that the sector had exceeded its annual PSC limit of 2,700 Chinook salmon. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council and NMFS recently discovered that the use of Chinook salmon PSC by the Non-Rockfish Program CV Sector in the first few months of 2015 was exorbitantly greater than the historical use, which was relied on in developing the Chinook salmon PSC limit for this sector, and that this discrepancy in use was not foreseen when the PSC limit of 2,700 Chinook salmon for the Non-Rockfish Program CV Sector was implemented under Amendment 97. Due to the directed fishing closure, significant amounts of non-pollock groundfish remain unharvested by the Non-Rockfish Program CV Sector, and fishermen, shoreside processors, and communities that participate in the Non-Rockfish Program CV Sector have limited alternatives to mitigate the resulting significant, negative economic effects. This emergency rule is necessary to relieve a restriction that is preventing non-pollock groundfish harvest by the Non-Rockfish Program CV Sector while continuing to limit the amount of Chinook salmon PSC used by this sector.