The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is revising the 2017 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for pollock and Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), effective 12 noon, Alaska local time, January 1, 2017, according to James W. Balsiger, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS.
NMFS is decreasing the pollock TAC from 254,200 metric tons (mt) to 208,595 mt and increasing the Pacific cod TAC from 62,150 mt to 64,442 mt in the GOA. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined that the current 2017 pollock and Pacific cod TACs for the GOA are incorrectly specified. The TACs currently specified for 2017 are different than the associated TACs derived from the latest stock assessment information.
The 2017 TACs are scheduled to be updated in late February 2017, based on the latest stock assessments. However, the pollock and Pacific cod fisheries are likely to harvest the entire A season apportionments before the updated harvest specifications are effective. NMFS must therefore decrease the pollock and increase the 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 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.