Categorical Exclusion for a Proposed Rule to Revise Pollock Trip Limit Regulations in the Gulf of Alaska
NAO 216-6, Environmental Review Procedures, requires all proposed agency actions to be reviewed with respect to potential impacts on the human environment. This memorandum summarizes the determination that this Proposed Rule to revise pollock trip limit regulations in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) qualifies to be categorically excluded from further National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review.
Description of the Action
Groundfish trip limits at 50 CFR 679 regulate the amount of a species that a vessel is allowed to catch or retain during a fishing trip. The trip limit for pollock in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) prohibits a catcher vessel in the directed GOA pollock fishery from retaining more than 300,000 lb (136 mt) of unprocessed pollock at anytime during a fishing trip.
When originally implemented as part of the emergency Steller sea lion mitigation measures adopted in 1999 (64 FR 3437, January 22, 1999), the trip limit for pollock was intended to spatially and temporally disperse catches of pollock, a prey species for Steller sea lions. Additional rulemaking permanently implemented the current pollock trip limits at § 679.7(b)(2) (67 FR 956, January 8, 2002, and 68 FR 204, January 2, 2003).