Wednesday, January 13, 2016

BS Pollock Bycatch Comment Deadline Nears

A March 8 deadline is now set for comments to the National Marine Fisheries Service on proposed changes to federal management of the salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery.

The proposed changes were published by NMFS on Jan. 8 in the Federal Register, along with complete directions on how to submit comments.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council approved in April 2015 Amendment 110 to the Fishery management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, in an effort to create a comprehensive salmon bycatch avoidance program.

The council said that the proposed action is necessary to minimize the incidental catch of Chinook and chum salmon in the Bering Sea pollock fishery to the extent practicable while maintaining the potential for the full catch within specified prohibited species catch limits. Amendment 110 is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the fishery management plan and other applicable laws, the council said.

Amendment 110 would apply to owners and operators of catcher vessels, catcher/processors, motherships, inshore processors and the six Western Alaska Community Development Quota Program groups participating in the pollock fishery in the Bering Sea subareas of the BSAI.

The pollock fishery is the largest single species fishery, by volume, in the United States. In 2013, the most recent year of complete data on wholesale value, the value of the fishery was more than $1.3 billion. In 2015, the pollock total allowable catch was 1.3 million metric tons.

Comments on the proposed plan by be submitted electronically or by mail

All electronic submissions should be submitted via the Federal e Rulemaking Portal at!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0081

Click on the “comment now” icon, complete the required fields and enter or attach comments.
Submit comments by mail to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian., at P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668

For further information contact Gretchen Harrington at 1-907-586-7228.

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