Environmental Assessment for Amendment 6 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Salmon Fisheries off the Coast of Alaska to Revise Definitions of Overfishing
This Environmental Assessment addresses alternatives for meeting the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act provisions for national standard 1 (§301 (a)(1)) and Section 303(a)(10).
National standard 1 states that conservation and management measures shall prevent overfishing while achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from each fishery for the United Language from the Magnuson-Stevens Act 1996. The Act did not change the standard, but did change the definition of optimum National Standard.
Several alternatives were considered including establishment of minimum spawning escapement goals, optimum spawning escapement goals, a maximum exploitation rate, and analyzing existing management policies. Of these alternatives, only analyzing existing management policies was deemed to be a reasonable alternative for mixed stock salmon fisheries. Hence, the alternative examined were as follows:
Alternative 1: Status Quo. Do not revise the FMP with new definitions for overfishing. Alternative 2 : (preferred) Update FMP with new Magnuson-Stevens Act language and State of Alaska (State) management policies regarding overfishing.
For Alternative 2, the overfishing definitions were created following overfishing policies of the State and the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) and following the framework provided by the national standard guidelines. The overfishing definition specifies objective and measurable criteria for identifying when the fishery is overfished or when overfishing is occurring. This analysis is provided in section 1.3.2.