Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Proposed Changes to Management of the Aleutian Islands Pollock Fishery and Proposed Exemption of Pacific Cod Vessels Using Pot Gear from Haulout Protection Areas
Proposed Exemption of Pacific Cod Vessels Using Pot Gear from Steller Sea Lion Haulout Protection Areas
This EA/RIR/IRFA assesses the likely impacts of changing existing restrictions on the Aleutian Islands pollock fishery and modification of the Steller sea lion (SSL) protection measures around Caton Island and Cape Barnabas in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) to mirror changes by the Alaska State Board of Fisheries (BOF). The Aleutian Islands pollock fishery is authorized outside critical habitat with a 40/60 seasonal apportionment of total allowable catch (TAC). The Council will be provided additional analysis of the Aleutian Islands pollock fishery with the Programmatic Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Alaska Groundfish Fisheries that is currently being prepared and the subsequent Section 7 biological opinion. For the Pacific cod pot gear fishery around Cape Barnabas and Caton Island, the Council recommended in October 2002 to open these areas to fishing to mirror the BOF action. Council response to the BOF action is important because federal and State regulations concerning Steller sea lion protection areas currently are in conflict and a potential unnecessary burden on pot gear vessels can be avoided.