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IB 01-07: NMFS Extends the Incidental Take Limit Established for the Endangered Short-Tailed Albatross in the Alaska Hook-and-Line Groundfish Fishery

January 29, 2001 - 7:15 a.m.

Notice of an extension of incidental take limits.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently extended the period of coverage of the 1999-2000 Biological Opinion and its accompanying Incidental Take Statement (ITS) on the effects of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) and Gulf of Alaska (GOA) groundfish hook-and-line fisheries on the endangered short-tailed albatross, according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS. This extension was effective as of January 1, 2001 and will be effective until it is superseded by a subsequent Biological Opinion.

The short-tailed albatross is protected by the Endangered Species Act and under the law, an incidental take level of 4 short-tailed albatrosses was established during the 2-year period of 1999 and 2000 for the groundfish hook-and-line fisheries in the BSAI and GOA. The USFWS has extended the 1999-2000 Biological Opinion and the accompanying ITS in anticipation of new information on the effectiveness of seabird avoidance measures. The new information will be based on final research results from a Washington Sea Grant Program (WSGP) 2-year study evaluating the effectiveness of seabird avoidance measures. These results will assist in guiding USFWS as it completes a new Biological Opinion. Ed Melvin, the WSGP researcher conducting the study, is scheduled to present final results at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council's meeting in April 2001. He intends to recommend changes to the existing regulations based on the scientific findings of his research.

No short-tailed albatrosses were reported taken in 1999 and 2000. If the incidental take level of 4 is exceeded prior to the issuance of a subsequent Biological Opinion, NMFS must immediately reinitiate formal consultation with the USFWS and review the need for possible modifications of the reasonable and prudent measures designed to minimize the level of incidental take associated with project activities.

This information bulletin provides information about NMFS's requirements under the Endangered Species Act. Contact Kim Rivera, Protected Resources Division, NMFS, if you have any questions; 907-586-7424, or 907-586-7235.

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on November 30, 2021

Seabird Bycatch