The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is revising the 2013 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, December 31, 2012, according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS.
NMFS is increasing the BSAI pollock TAC from 1,220,900 metric tons (mt) to 1,266,100 mt, decreasing the BSAI Atka mackerel TAC from 42,083 mt to 25,920 mt, and decreasing the BSAI Pacific cod TAC from 262,900 mt to 260,000 mt. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined that the current 2013 BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs are incorrectly specified. The TACs currently specified for 2013 are different than the associated TACs derived from the latest stock assessment information.
The 2013 TACs are scheduled to be updated in late February 2013, 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 BS pollock TAC and decrease the BSAI 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.