Biological Opinion on the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area Groundfish Fishery and an Acoustic Survey Exempted Fishing Permit
Biological opinion on the potential effects of an exempted fishing permit for acoustic surveys of pollock in the Aleutian Islands on the western population of Steller sea lion. NMFS Consultation Number: AKR-2006-1059
On January 7, 2006, the National Marine Fisheries Service Protected Resources Division received a written request for ESA section 7 formal consultation from the NMFS Sustainable Fisheries Division. The SFD proposes to issue an exempted fishing permit to support a feasibility study using commercial fishing vessels for acoustic surveys of pollock in the Aleutian Islands subarea. SFD is proposing this action according to its authority under 50 CFR 600.745 and 679.6. Formal consultation was initiated on January 17, 2006. The project involves the harvest of pollock inside designated critical habitat. This harvest is necessary to verify acoustic data collected during acoustic surveys using a fishing vessel under an experimental fishing permit. The SFD has determined that the project “may affect, and is likely to adversely affect” the western distinct population segment (population) of Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) and its designated critical habitat. The January 2006 environmental assessment (NMFS 2006) for the proposed action is hereby incorporated by reference into this Opinion as it provides a substantial review of the proposed action.
Action Agency: NOAA Fisheries