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DOC/NOAA RIN: 0648-BJ49 Publication ID: Spring 2020 
Title: ●Amendment 121 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area and Amendment 110 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska 
Abstract:

This action proposes to implement the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Amendments to the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (Amendment 121) and Gulf of Alaska (Amendment 110) Groundfish Fishery Management Plans (FMPs). These Amendments would move sculpins into the Ecosystem Component of the FMPs, which is a category of non-target species that are not in need of conservation and management. Magnuson-Stevens Act National Standard guidelines include options to identify non-target species in FMPs (species caught incidentally during the pursuit of target stocks in a fishery) that do not require conservation and management as ecosystem component species. As an Ecosystem Component, this action proposes that catch specifications for sculpins (Overfishing Level, Acceptable Biological Catch, Total Allowable Catch) would no longer be required, but instead, regulations would prohibit directed fishing forsculpins, require recordkeeping and reporting to monitor and report catch of sculpins annually, and establish a sculpins maximum retainable amount when directed fishing for groundfish species at 20 percent to discourage retention while allowing flexibility to prosecute groundfish fisheries. This proposed action would free up approximately 5,000 metric tons (mt) of total allowable catch (TAC) under the 2 million mt optimum yield limit for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands management area. This TAC could be allocated to any groundfish target species during the annual harvest specifications process, thereby allowing for some flexibility with allocations.

 

 
Agency: Department of Commerce(DOC)  Priority: Substantive, Nonsignificant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Deregulatory 
CFR Citation: 50 CFR 679   
Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.   
Legal Deadline:  None
Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
Notice of Availability  03/23/2020  85 FR 13610   
NPRM  04/23/2020  85 FR 22703   
NPRM Comment Period End  05/23/2020 
Final Action  08/00/2020 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
James Balsiger
Regional Administrator, Alaska Region
Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
709 West Ninth Street,
Juneau, AK 99801
Phone:907 586-7221
Fax:907 586-7465
Email: jim.balsiger@noaa.gov