Environmental Assessment/Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for the Total Allowable Catch Specifications for the Year 2003 Alaska Groundfish Fisheries
Analysis of the 2003 groundfish harvest specifications
This Environmental Assessment analyzes the impacts of establishing the 2003 harvest specifications for groundfish target species in the groundfish fisheries of the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, and Gulf of Alaska fishery management areas. The federal action consists of specifying groundfish total allowable catch limits for fishing year 2003 in the exclusive economic zones of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area and the Gulf of Alaska management area.
Three notices are published in the Federal Register to make this rulemaking: Proposed, Interim, and Final. Impacts are considered to target species stocks, higher and lower trophic level species, and the physical and socioeconomic environment for five alternative TAC specifications. The preferred alternative is to set harvest within the range recommended by the Plan Teams as modified by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.
Analysis predicts no significant impacts will accrue to marine resources from harvest of target species at levels being contemplated. Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement will not be required. Informal ESA consultation on the 2003 interim and final harvest specifications was concluded November 26, 2002.