Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review for Amendment 21a: Revised to the Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Fishery Management Plan
Analysis of an action to establish an area surrounding the Pribilof island area as a habitat conservation area to prohibit the use of trawl gear to control chinook salmon bycatch in the BSAI groundfish trawl fisheries
The objective of the alternatives considered in this analysis is to provide the Council with the means to control chinook salmon bycatch in the BSAI groundfish trawl fisheries. Chinook salmon bycatch control measures are needed for two reasons. First, many chinook salmon stocks are fully utilized, and uncontrolled bycatch constitutes an additional, unaccounted for allocation of the resource. Second, uncontrolled bycatch levels exceeding recent highs may lead to conservation problems for Alaskan and Canadian chinook salmon populations. During the past 10 years, several major river systems have experienced low levels o_f returns, particularly the Nushagak, Yukon, and Kuskokwim rivers.
At its December, 1993 meeting, the draft EA/RIR was reviewed by the council and sent to the interested public for review. The Council considered the testimony and recommendations of its Advisory Panel (AP), Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), fishing industry representatives and the general public on 2
alternative habitat protection zones and how these areas were to be defined, established and managed during the April 1994 meeting and took action·to establish an area surrounding the Pribilof island area as a habitat conservation area to prohibit the use of trawl gear. This EA/RIR, which was prepared by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), incorporated additional alternatives that were primarily based on the habitat and distribution of blue king crab. Alternative 8 of the EA/RIR was recommended by the Council during the April 1994 meeting. The following area, under Alternative 8 was recommended by the Council: Pribilof Islands Habitat Conservation Area: Trawling is prohibited at all times in the EEZ within the area bounded by a straight line connecting the following pairs of coordinates in the following order: (57 57.0', 168 30.0 1 ) (56 55.2', 168 30.0') (56 48.01, 169 2.41) (56 34.2', 169 2.4') (56 30.0, 169 25.2') (56 30.0, 169 44.1') (56 55.81, 170 21.61) (57 13.8', 171 0.0'} (57 57.0', 171 0.0 1 ) (57 57.0', 168 30.0 1 )