Categorical Exclusion (CE) for a Proposed Rule to Remove Regulations Implementing Closures to Groundfish Fishing in Waters off Cape Sari chef and in the Chiniak Gully Research Area
This proposed action is an amendment to 50 CFR 6 79.22 regarding closures to groundfish fishing in waters off Cape Sari chef and in the Chiniak Gully Research Area. This proposed regulatory change would open the Cape SarichefResearch Restriction Arca in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSA!) to directed fishing for groundfish using trawl, pot, or hook-and-line gear from March 15, 2006, through March 31, 2006. Opening this area would allow vessels participating in ground fish fisheries to harvest their total allowable catch amounts without the operational constraints imposed by the closure. This proposed rule also would remove the regulations for the Cape Sari chef Research Restriction Area, as well as regulations for the Chiniak Gully Research Area because both research projects have ended.
This action is within the scope analyzed in the "Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis For a Regulatory Amendment to Provide a Two-Week Trawl Closure Near Unimak Pass to Facilitate an Experiment Investigating the Effects of Commercial Fishing on Local Abundance of Pacific Cod," dated November 2002. This action also is within the scope provided in the "Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis For Regulatory Amendment to Permit an Investigation of the Effect of Commercial Fishing on Walleye Pollock Distribution and Abundance in Localized Areas off the East Side of Kodiak Island," dated June 2002. Based on the EAs, NMFS found no significant impacts on the human environment.