Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review for Establishing the Halibut Provisions of the Prohibited Species Donation Program
This final regulatory amendment will permanently extend the existing regulations that establish and govern the voluntary Pacific halibut donation program.
Halibut are taken incidental to the Alaska groundfish fisheries. A portion of the trawl bycatch is landed dead at shoreside processing facilities. NOAA Fisheries considered alternatives regarding extension of the existing voluntary program that allows these halibut to be donated. The halibut are currently donated by participating processors and distributed by an authorized organization to economically disadvantaged individuals through December 31, 2000. This program has operated successfully over the last two years. In 1998, enough halibut were donated through this program to provide an estimated 65,000 meals to needy individuals in .the Puget Sound area. In this document, NOAA Fisheries considered the potential environmental and economic impacts of the halibut donation program, which are not considered to be adverse. Extending this program would not have any adverse impacts on target or non-target species, nor would it have adverse impacts on protected species. Because this is a limited, voluntary program, it is not expected to have any significant economic or social impacts.