Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Final Regulatory Flexability Analaysis of Amendments 1 and 2 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Scallop Fishery off Alaska
The scallop fishery in the Exclusive Economic Zone (3 to 200 nautical miles offshore) and in Alaskan state waters has been managed by the State of Alaska since a fishery began in 1968. A Federal Fishery Management Plan was adopted by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in April 1995 and approved by NOAA Fisheries on July 26, 1995.
In June 1995, the Council adopted Amendment 1 to the FMP which would establish a Federal management regime to replace the interim closure of Federal waters to fishing for scallops. The Council's preferred alternative for Amendment 1 was to federalize the State's management regime and implement a vessel moratorium, based on criteria adopted in April 1994, and reaffirmed in January 1995. Eighteen vessels would qualify under the moratorium. This Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/RIR/FRFA) examines both Amendments 1 and 2 to the FMP. In April 1996, the Council separated the scallop vessel moratorium from the other management measures contained in Amendment 1 and recommended instead that the moratorium proceed as Amendment 2 to the FMP. The Council took this action so that the development of a vessel moratorium would not delay the reopening of the fishery. Amendment 1 was subsequently approved by NMFS on July 8, 1996, and the final rule implementing Amendment 1 was published on July 23, 1996 (61 FR 38099).
This document is being made available to the public during consideration of Amendment 2 (see EA/RIR/FRFA for Amendment 1) to the FMP with minor revisions to reflect statutory changes made during reauthorization of the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson Act) (P.L. 104-297, Oct. 11, 1996) which has been renamed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Note that this document was prepared prior to the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Consequently, much of the analysis refers to the Magnuson Act. Changes to the Magnuson Act that are of relevance to the discussion in this document are identified in footnotes. It should be noted that the "Status Quo" option discussed throughout much of this document refers to the status quo at the time that Amendment 1 was under consideration: The closure of Federal waters to fishing for scallops until August 29, 1996. Because Amendments 1 and 2 were separated, and Amendment 1 has subsequently been approved and implemented, Amendment 1 is now the "Status Quo" option for the purpose of analyzing Amendment 2. However, none of the management measures implemented under Amendment 1 affect access to the scallop fishery off Alaska, or have changed the fishery in any manner that would change the analysis of Amendment 2 contained in this document. In sections of this document where the "Status Quo" option is discussed with respect to Amendment 1, footnotes have been added to remind the reader that Amendment 1 has been approved and implemented and represents the new status quo for the purposes of Amendment 2.