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Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; Amendment 105; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Flatfish Harvest Specifications Flexibility

Abstract: This action intends to provide additional harvest opportunities to participants in Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) flatfish fisheries while (1) maintaining catch below the annual catch limits for these species, and (2) ensuring that the maximum optimum yield for BSAI groundfish fisheries will not be exceeded. Specifically, Amendment 105 to the BSAI Fishery Management Plan would establish a process for Amendment 80 cooperatives and Western Alaska Community Development Quota groups to exchange harvest quota from one of the three flatfish species for an equivalent amount of quota of another species. In no case could the amount of fish exchanged exceed the annual catch limit, commonly known as the allowable biological catch, of that species. This action would modify the annual harvest specification process to allow the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) to establish the maximum amount of harvest quota that can be exchanged for each of the three flatfish species. This process would allow the Council to establish a buffer below the allowable biological catch to account for management or socioeconomic considerations. Each participant could only exchange harvest quota up to three times per year. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the BSAI Fishery Management Plan, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and other applicable laws.
RIN: 0648-BD23
Type: Rule Making
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