EA/RIR/FRFA for Final Rule to Implement a Regulatory Amendment to Revise Maximum Retainable Bycatch Percentages for Shortraker/Rougheye and Thornyhead Rockfish in the Gulf of Alaska
Reducing maximum retainable bycatch percentages for shortraker/rougheye and thomyhead rockfish in the Gulf of Alaska
At its October 1998 meeting, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) requested that NOAA Fisheries explore options for reducing maximum retainable bycatch (MRB) percentages for shortraker/rougheye (SR/RE) and thomyhead rockfish in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This was in response to a number of factors: ( 1) high rates of SR/RE and thorny head incidental catch in· other groundfish fisheries, (2) concerns that the existing MRB percentages are higher than intrinsic incidental catch levels, which has allowed for undesirable levels of "topping off', and (3) in 3 out of the last 4 years total removals of SR/RE rockfish have exceeded the ABC amount. As a result, the following alternatives were developed for analysis.