Final Draft EA/RIR for 2018 Pacific halibut catch limits and associated management measures in IPHC Regulatory Areas: Area 2C (Southeast Alaska), Area 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska), Area 3B (Western Gulf of Alaska), and Aleutian Islands of Western Alaska)

March 15, 2018

Final Draft Environmental Assessment/ Regulatory Impact Review (EA/RIR) for 2018 Pacific halibut catch limits and associated management measures in International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Regulatory Areas: Area 2C (Southeast Alaska), Area 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska), Area 3B (Western Gulf of Alaska), and Area 4 (subdivided into 5 areas, 4A through 4E, in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands of Western Alaska)

This Environmental Assessment (EA)/Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) - collectively, Analysis - examines alternative methods for establishing Pacific halibut catch limits in 2018 for the following International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Regulatory Areas: Area 2C (Southeast Alaska), Area 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska), Area 3B (Western Gulf of Alaska), and Area 4 (subdivided into five areas, 4A through 4E, in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands of Western Alaska). This action is necessary to ensure that halibut catch limits, charter halibut fishery management measures, and catch sharing plan (CSP) allocations are in place at the start of the commercial individual fishing quota (IFQ) and Western Alaska Community Devleopment Quota Program (CDQ) halibut fishery on March 24, 2018 that better protect the declining Pacific halibut resource. This action is intended to enhance the conservation of Pacific halibut and is within the authority of the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to establish additional regulations governing the taking of halibut which are more restrictive than those adopted by the IPHC.


This Analysis examines three alternative catch limits and their impacts: Alternative 1 – maintain catch levels equal to those adopted by the IPHC in 2017; Alternative 2 – reduce catch limits as suggested by, but not adopted by, the U.S Commissioners; and Alternative 3 – reduce catch limits consistent with the IPHC’s interim management procedure. This Analysis examines the potential impacts of these alternatives on commercial harvests, guided sport (charter) allocations in Area 2C and Area 3A, management of applicable management measures to the charter halibut fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A, and a CSP for the commercial IFQ and CDQ halibut fisheries in Areas 4C, 4D, and 4E.

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on 04/17/2019

Alaska Halibut Sport Fishing Catch Shares Alaska IFQ - Halibut and Sablefish Alaska Community Development Quota