Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for a Regulatory Amendment for Full Retention of Demersal Shelf Rockfish in Longline Fisheries in the Southeast Outside District
This document analyzes the effects of a regulatory amendment to require full retention of Demersal Shelf Rockfish (DSR) in the longline fisheries of the Southeast Outside District of the Gulf of Alaska.
The action is needed to improve the gathering of information on the bycatch of DSR, to avoid either increasing incentives to target on DSR or increasing incentives to discard bycatch in excess of the amount that can legally be sold, to minimize waste to the extent practicable, and to achieve consistency between State and Federal regulations. Four alternatives were analyzed including status quo, the full retention of rockfish with alternative sales provisions, and an increased observer program requirement for catcher vessels. The preferred alternative requires the full retention of rockfish, and allows the sale of DSR up to 10 percent in weight of the total weight of target groundfish species harvested. The remaining DSR may be kept for any use, as long as it does not enter commerce. No significant impacts were identified for the preferred alternative.