The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is revising the 2015 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for pollock and Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), effective 12 noon, Alaska local time, January 1, 2015, according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS.
NMFS is increasing the pollock TAC from 193,809 metric tons (mt) to 199,151 mt and increasing the Pacific cod TAC from 61,519 mt to 75,202 mt in the GOA. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined that the current 2015 pollock and Pacific cod TACs for the GOA are incorrectly specified. The TACs currently specified for 2015 are different than the associated TACs derived from the latest stock assessment information.
The 2015 TACs are scheduled to be updated in late February 2015, based on the latest stock assessments. However, the pollock and Pacific cod fisheries are likely to harvest the entire A season apportionments before the updated harvest specifications are effective. NMFS must therefore increase the pollock and Pacific cod TACs, as well as associated seasonal apportionments for both species, prior to the updated harvest specifications. The Steller sea lion protection measures at 50 CFR 679.20 require the seasonal apportionment of the annual TAC to reduce the potential for competition for prey species between Steller sea lions and the pollock and Pacific cod fisheries. The seasonal apportionment is necessary to prevent the likelihood of the groundfish fisheries causing jeopardy of extinction or adverse modification of critical habitat for Steller sea lions.
This information bulletin only provides notice of a fishery management action. For the purposes of complying with any requirements of this action, you are advised to see the actual text of the action in the Federal Register.