NOAA Fisheries, in coordination with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, is announcing its intent to expand the scope of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a new bycatch management program for Gulf of Alaska trawl groundfish fisheries.
The new bycatch management program would provide participants with incentives to effectively manage and reduce Chinook salmon and Pacific halibut bycatch, and promote increased use of groundfish harvested in the Gulf of Alaska. In June 2016, the Council identified an overarching goal and objective for the proposed bycatch management program to minimize economic barriers for new participants and maintain opportunities for entry into the trawl groundfish fisheries by limiting the type and duration of exclusive harvest privileges that may be allocated under the proposed bycatch management program.
The program is intended to:
- Improve stock conservation by imposing accountability measures for using bycatch and target species;
- Create incentives to eliminate wasteful fishing practices;
- Provide mechanisms for participants to control and reduce bycatch in the trawl groundfish fisheries;
- Improve operational efficiencies;
- Improve safety at sea
NOAA Fisheries previously published a notice of intent to prepare an EIS for the new bycatch management program on July 14, 2015. In June 2016, the Council decided to reopen the comment period because the scope of the EIS has been expanded to include additional types of bycatch management programs that are intended to meet the Council’s goals and objectives.
Written comments generated during this scoping process will be provided to the Council and incorporated into the EIS for the proposed action. Comments will be accepted through September 26, 2016.
Please submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2014-0150, by any of the following methods:
- Electronic Submission: www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014-0150
Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division
Alaska Region NMFS
Attn: Ellen Sebastian
P.O. Box 21668
Juneau, AK 99802-1668
For more information, contact Rachel Baker, (907) 586-7228 or email email@example.com.