EA/RIR/IRFA for Regulatory Amendment to Provide Two-Week Trawl Closure Near Unimak Pass to Facilitate an Experiment Investigating the Effects of Commercial Fishing on Local Abundance of Pacific Cod Under the FMP for the Groundfish Fishery of the BSAI
This Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/RIR/IRFA) provides an analysis of a proposed regulatory amendment.
Approval of the regulatory amendment would impose a two-week ban on trawl fishing in the specified area near Unimak Pass in the eastern Bering Sea. This short-term closure would be in effect between March 15 and March 31 in the years 2003 - 2006. The changes in fishing regulations are needed to permit NOAA Fisheries to conduct unimpeded experiments on the effects of commercial trawling on local abundance of Pacific cod, as part of a comprehensive research program on sea lion/fishery interactions. The EA/RIR/IRFA provides an analysis of the expected impacts of proposed regulations on groundfish target species stock status, higher and lower trophic level species, and the physical and socioeconomic environment.