Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Halibut Abundance-Based Management
The Council is examining abundance-based approaches to set the halibut Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) limit for the Amendment 80 trawl sector in the BSAI.
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) is considering a program that provides incentives for the Amendment 80 fleet to minimize mortality of Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) at all times, that could promote conservation of the Pacific halibut stock, and may provide additional opportunities for the directed halibut fishery.
Currently halibut PSC limits for groundfish fishery sectors are set in the BSAI Groundfish Fishery Management Plan at a fixed amount of halibut mortality in metric tons. When halibut abundance declines, halibut PSC becomes a larger proportion of total halibut removals and can result in lower catch limits for directed halibut fisheries. This action would be limited to the Amendment 80 sector, because that sector is responsible for the majority of halibut mortality in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. In light of the continued decline in the halibut stock, both the Council and the International Pacific Halibut Commission have expressed concern about impacts on directed halibut fisheries under the status quo and identified abundance-based halibut PSC limits as a potential management approach to address these concerns.
The Council took Final Action on this item during its December 2021 meeting.
FMP Amendment and Rulemaking
Notice of availability of proposed Amendment 123 to the BSAI Fishery Management Plan. End of comment period is 1/09/23.
Accompanying Documents and Public Comment Period
- Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Halibut Abundance-Based Management (ABM) of Amendment 80 Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) Limit
- The Final Environmental Impact Statement for this proposed action is estimated to be published on or about 12/09/2022, prior to publication of the proposed rule.
- Bycatch and Prohibited Species Catch in Groundfish and Shellfish Fisheries in Alaska
- Catch, Landings, and Prohibited Species Catch Reports
- North Pacific Fishery Management Council Halibut Bycatch Information
- Amendment 80 Groundfish Trawl Fishery
- IFQ Halibut
- Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program
- Sport Halibut
- Subsistence Halibut
- Guided Angler Fish (GAF) Program
- Stock Assessments