NMFS Provides Relief to Certain Small Vessels Fishing in Some Steller Sea Lion Protection Areas

March 23, 2001 - 4:00 p.m.

Notice of a fishery management action.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is providing relief to jig vessels and vessels under 60 feet length overall (LOA) from certain fishing restrictions in Steller sea lion protection areas in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) and the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), effective March 23, 2001 until July 17, 2001, according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS.

Steller sea lion protection areas around haulouts include a 3 nautical miles (nm) no fishing zone for all federally permitted groundfish fishing vessels. These no fishing zones are listed in Table 21 to 50 CFR part 679. NMFS is allowing jig vessels in the BSAI and GOA to fish for groundfish within 3 nm of these haulouts. NMFS is also allowing vessels under 60 feet LOA using pot or hook-and-line gear to fish within the 3nm no fishing areas around haulouts in the BSAI only. The Pacific cod seasons in the BSAI is eliminated for vessels using jig gear and for vessels less than 60 LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear.

Because of the minimal percentage of groundfish taken by BSAI and GOA jig vessels and BSAI vessels less than 60 feet LOA using pot and hook-and-line gear, these revisions are expected to have no significant impact on the western population of Steller sea lions. Additional revisions to Steller sea lion protection measures are currently under consideration by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council for including with the extension of the emergency interim rule through the end of 2001.

This information bulletin only provides notice of a regulatory change. For the purposes of complying with the regulatory change, you are advised to see the actual text in the Code of Federal Regulations. Regulatory text, including Table 21, may be accessed through the Alaska Region NMFS home page.

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on February 11, 2019