EA/RIR/IRFA for Proposed Amendment 86 to the FMP for Groundfish of the BSAI, and Amendment 76 to the FMP for Groundfish of the GOA: Restructuring the Program for Observer Procurement and Deployment in the North Pacific
This document analyzes the alternatives considered for Amendment 86 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area and Amendment 76 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.
Amendments 86 and 76 restructure the funding and deployment system for observers in the North Pacific groundfish and halibut fisheries and include vessels less than 60 ft. in length and halibut vessels in the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program, in compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. This action addresses longstanding concerns about statistical bias of observer-collected data and cost inequality among fishery participants with the Observer Program's current funding and deployment structure. The analysis shows the proposed actions will not significantly impact the quality of the human environment. To the extent that better data to manage the groundfish and halibut fisheries will be available under the program, there could be a beneficial impact to the environment as a result of this action.