The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is revising the 2014 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, January 2, 2014, according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS.
NMFS is increasing the 2014 BSAI pollock TAC from 1,266,100 metric tons (mt) to 1,286,075 mt, increasing the 2014 Atka mackerel TAC from 25,379 mt to 32,322 mt, and decreasing the 2014 Pacific cod TAC from 260,880 mt to 253.894 mt. In 2014, the TAC for Pacific cod also is split by a Bering Sea TAC of 246,897 and an Aleutian Island TAC of 6,997 mt. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined that the current 2014 BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs are incorrectly specified. The TACs currently specified for 2014 are different than the associated TACs derived from the latest stock assessment information.
See the Federal Register notice.
The 2014 TACs are scheduled to be updated in late February 2014, 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 2014 BSAI pollock and Atka mackerel TACs, and decrease the Pacific cod TAC, 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.