Environmental Assessment for an Extension of an Emergency Rule to Implement Reasonable and Prudent Steller Sea Lion Protection Measures in the Pollock Fisheries of the BSAI and the Groundfish Fishery of the GOA
This emergency rule would implement three types of management measures for the pollock fisheries of the BSAI and GOA: (1) Measures to temporally disperse fishing effort, (2) measures to spatially disperse fishing effort, and (3) pollock trawl exclusion zones around important Steller sea lion rookeries and haulouts.
In a Biological Opinion dated December 3, 1998, NOAA Fisheries determined that the Alaska pollock fisheries, as proposed for the years 1999 to 2002, were likely to (I) jeopardize the continued existence of the endangered western population of Steller sea lions, and (2) adversely modify its critical habitat. In response to this jeopardy determination, NMFS published an emergency interim rule effective January 20, 1999 through July 19, 1999 that modified the Alaska pollack fisheries according to principles for reasonable and prudent alternatives set out in the Biological Opinion. This analysis examines the extension of this emergency interim rule for the second half of 1999. A subsequent revision of this analysis will be prepared lo analyze the permanent rule for the year 2000 and beyond.