Biological Opinion - Authorization of Alaska Groundfish Fisheries
Authorization of groundfish fisheries under the fishery management plans for groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska management areas.
This Biological Opinion, prepared in compliance with section 7 of the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), documents the consultation on the effects of the authorization of groundfish fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands region (BSAI) under the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, and on the authorization of groundfish fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) under the FMP for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. This includes the prosecution of parallel groundfish fisheries in Alaska state waters. This Biological Opinion is comprehensive in scope and considers the fisheries and the overall management framework established by the respective FMPs to determine whether that framework contains necessary measures to ensure the protection of listed species and critical habitat.
On August 2, 2010, NOAA Fisheries released a draft of this Biological Opinion. Public comment on the draft analysis was accepted through September 3, 2010. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council and its Scientific and Statistical Committee and Advisory Panel convened a special meeting in August 2010 to review the draft Biological Opinion and the Reasonable Prudent Alternatives contained therein. During the comment period, NOAA Fisheries received over 10,000 comments. These comments included many extensive scientific reviews of the document and the scientific underpinnings of its conclusions. NOAA Fisheries also requested an internal Agency review of the scientific information contained in the Biological Opinion by NOAA Fisheries scientists familiar with Steller sea lions, the North Pacific Ocean ecosystem, and the commercial fisheries prosecuted in the region. NOAA Fisheries considered these comments and the review and made several revisions to the Biological Opinion as a result of comments and review received on the draft.
Action Agency: NOAA Fisheries
NMFS Consultation Number: AKR-2006-7616