EA/RIR of Amendment 25 to the FMP for the Groundfish Fishery of the BSAI - Elimination of the Primary Pacific Halibut Trawl Bycatch Limit and Regulatory Amendments to Prohibit the Discard of Salmon Until Counted by a NMFS-certified Observer
Analysis of BSAI Amendment 25's proposed elimination of the primary Pacific halibut trawl bycatch limit and regulatory amendments to prohibit the discard of salmon until counted by a NMFS-certified observer and to authorize the release of specified observer data on prohibited species bycatch
This Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review (EA/RIR) addresses a proposed amendment to the FMP for the Groundfish Fishery of the BSAI that would eliminate the primary Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) mortality limit that, when reached, closes Bycatch Limitation Zones 1 and 2H of the Bering Sea. The overall trawl halibut PSC mortality limit (3,775 metric tons) would remain unchanged. The analysis also addresses two proposed regulatory amendments that would (1) prohibit the discard of salmon taken as bycatch in the BSAI groundfish trawl fisheries until each salmon has been counted by a NMFS-certified observer, and (2) authorize the release of observer data on prohibited species bycatch experienced by individual vessels participating in the Alaska groundfish fisheries.