IB 20-01: NOAA Fisheries Revises the 2020 Pollock and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts in the Gulf of Alaska

December 17, 2019 - 9:30 AM

Notice of a fishery management action revising the 2020 total allowable catch, or TAC, of Alaska pollock and Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA).

NOAA Fisheries is revising the 2020 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for pollock and Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), effective 12 noon, Alaska local time, January 1, 2020, according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, NOAA Fisheries.

NOAA Fisheries is increasing the pollock TAC from 114,943 metric tons (mt) to 115,930 mt. This action is necessary because NOAA Fisheries has determined that the current 2020 pollock TAC for the GOA is incorrectly specified. The TAC currently specified for 2020 is different than the associated TAC derived from the latest stock assessment information.

NOAA Fisheries is decreasing the Pacific cod TAC from 15,709 mt to 6,431 mt. This action is necessary because NOAA Fisheries has determined that the current 2020 pollock TAC for the GOA is incorrectly specified. The TAC currently specified for 2020 is different than the associated TAC derived from the latest stock assessment information.

The 2020 TAC is scheduled to be updated in late February 2020, based on the latest stock assessment. However, the pollock and Pacific cod fisheries are likely to harvest the entire A season apportionments before the updated harvest specifications are effective. NOAA Fisheries must therefore increase the pollock TAC and decrease the Pacific cod TAC, as well as associated seasonal apportionments, 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.