The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has approved final regulations that establish Steller sea lion protection measures for the Atka mackerel fishery in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area according to Steven Pennoyer, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS.
The final rule will be filed with the Office of the Federal Register and effective by January 20, 1999. The measures contained in the final rule divide the Atka mackerel total allowable catch (TAC) specified for the Aleutian Islands Subarea (AI) into two seasonal allowances; reduce the percentage of Atka mackerel TAC harvested from Steller sea lion critical habitat (CH) over a 4-year period in the Western and Central Districts of the AI; and extend the seasonal 20 nm no-trawl zone around Seguam and Agligadak rookeries in the AI Eastern District into a year-round 20 nm no trawl closure. The 1999 interim groundfish specifications (64 FR 50, January 4, 1999) also are revised to reflect the new seasonal and temporal harvest limitations for the Atka mackerel fisheries as follows:
|Subarea & Component||Inside CH||Total|
|Western AI (543)||7,459||11,475|
|Central AI (542)||7,616||9,520|
|Eastern AI and Bering Sea Jig Gear||127|
|Eastern AI and Bering Sea Other Gear||6,269|
For further information contact the Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS, at 907-586-7228.