Bering Sea Aleutian Islands Crab Fisheries Final Environmental Impact Statement
The purpose of this Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is to provide an evaluation of the environmental, social, and economic effects of alternative management programs for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) crab fisheries.
It is intended that this EIS serve as the central environmental document for management measures developed by NOAA Fisheries and the Council to implement the provisions of the proposed program. NOAA Fisheries determined that this proposed action was a major federal action with potentially significant impacts on the human environment. Therefore, preparation of an EIS level analysis was considered appropriate.
The EIS contains three appendices: a regulatory impact review/initial regulatory flexibility analysis(RIR/IRFA), the Council's reports to Congress and the Congressional action, and a social impact assessment. The RIR/IRFA analyzes the economic impacts of the elements and options from which the EIS alternatives were developed. The RIR/IRFA includes a net benefit analysis of the preferred alternative. Although specific benefits cannot be quantified, net benefits should arise from implementation of the preferred alternative. These net benefits arise from gains in harvesting and processing efficiency, consumer benefits, and environmental benefits. The Council’s reports to Congress, the Congressional action (including the statutory language that amends the Magnuson-Stevens Act), and related documents provide the history of Congressional consideration of a rationalization program for the BSAI crab fisheries. The social impact assessment provides detailed analyses of the impact of the alternatives on communities and regions.
The Council has identified that the BSAI crab fisheries require a concerted effort to manage capacity. In an effort to alleviate the problems caused by excess capacity and the race for fish, the Council has determined that the institution of some form of rationalization program is needed to improve crab fisheries management in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The need for a rationalized crab management regime is explained in the Council’s BSAI Crab Rationalization Problem Statement