Effective July 18, 2001, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will extend an amended emergency rule establishing changes to the 2001 Alaska groundfish fisheries that are determined necessary by NMFS to protect endangered Steller sea lions. The amended emergency rule also corrects 2001 harvest specifications for the federally managed groundfish fisheries off Alaska and extends the effective date of the emergency rule through December 31, 2001, according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS.
The text of the amended emergency rule as filed with the Office of the Federal Register is available on the NMFS, Alaska Region website. The amended emergency rule includes:
1. Adjustments to Steller sea lion protection areas for the pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries. In addition to specified fishing restrictions in Steller sea lion forage areas described in 50 CFR 679.22, specific closure adjustments around rookeries and haulouts are listed in Tables 21, 22, 23, and 24 to 50 CFR 679.
2. Amendments to the start date for the second season in 2001 for different Pacific cod fisheries sectors as follows:
* Seasonal harvest constraints are not established for BSAI vessels using jig gear, BSAI vessels less than 60 feet LOA using pot or hook-and-line gear, or for vessels participating in the CDQ fisheries.
3. Exemptions for various gear sectors from Steller sea lion protection areas for socioeconomic and safety reasons are established in 50 CFR 679.22 (See also Tables 21 - 24 of 50 CFR 679).
4. Establishment of a new trawl closure of the Chiniak Gully area off the eastside of Kodiak Island from August 1 to a date no later than September 20, to facilitate NMFS research on the short term effects of fishing on pollock school distribution and dynamics (See 50 CFR 679.22(b)(6)).
5. Elimination of the Bering Sea Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA) pollock harvest limit.
6. Amendments to the 2001 harvest specifications that include (1) A technical correction for American Fisheries Act (AFA) sectoral allocations in the BSAI fisheries; (2) elimination of the SCA pollock harvest limits; (3) changes to Pacific cod seasons; (4) corrections to AFA inshore cooperative allocations; (5) corrections to the non-exempt AFA catcher vessel groundfish harvest specifications; (6) an increase in the contribution of arrowtooth flounder to the CDQ non-specific reserve; and (7) reallocation of GOA halibut PSC seasonal apportionments in the shallow water trawl fishery to account for the Pacific cod season changes.
|PACIFIC COD FISHERY SECTOR*||SECOND SEASON OPENING DATE OF DIRECTED FISHING FOR PACIFIC COD|
|June 10||August 15||September 1|
|Western and Central Gulf of Alaska (GOA) - All gear types||X|
|Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) - All trawl||X|
|Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pot vessels > or = 60 ft LOA||X|
|Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Vessels > or = 60 ft LOA using hook-and-line gear||X|
This information bulletin provides notice of a regulatory change. Do not rely upon it to guide you in complying with the regulatory change. For further information, please call the Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, 907-586-7228.