The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is revising the 2015 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries, effective 12 noon, Alaska local time, January 1, 2015, according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS.
NMFS is increasing the 2015 BSAI pollock TAC from 1,277,075 metric tons (mt) to 1,310,000 mt, increasing the 2015 Atka mackerel TAC from 32,491 mt to 54,500 mt, decreasing the 2015 Bering Sea Pacific cod TAC from 251,712 mt to 240,000 mt, and increasing the 2015 Aleutian Islands Pacific cod TAC from 6,487 mt to 9,422 mt. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined that the current 2015 BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs 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 BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, 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 2015 BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, 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, Atka mackerel, 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.