Comment By Dec. 28 on Halibut Bycatch Reduction Rule

NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment through Dec, 28 on
Amendment 111, a proposed rule that would reduce prohibited species catch
limits for Pacific halibut in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands groundfish
Overall, the proposed rule would reduce halibut prohibits
species catch in the BSAI groundfish fisheries from 4,426 metric tons to 3,515
metric tons, or 21 percent.
The would include a 25 percent reduction for the Amendment
80 sector of non-pollock trawl catcher/processors to 1,745 metric tons, and a
15 percent reduction, down to 745 metric tons, for the BSAI trawl limited
access sector of all non-Amendment 80 trawl fishery participants.
Amendment 111 would also reduce the BSAI non-trawl sector,
made up primarily of hook-and-line catcher/processors, by 15 percent, down to
710 metric tons, and the community development quota program by 20 percent, to
315 metric tons.
NOAA noted that in recent years commercial halibut fishery
catch limits have declined due to declining halibut exploitable biomass. To
that end the North Pacific Fishery Management Council recommended in June
reducing the halibut bycatch limits in the BSAI groundfish fisheries.
This action is expected to provide additional harvest
opportunity and revenue for the commercial halibut fishery in Area 4, which
corresponds to the BSAI management area. it could also benefit the commercial ,
personal use, sport and subsistence fisheries there and elsewhere in Alaska,
British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest as halibut migrate southward, NOAA
officials said.
Comments should be addressed to Glenn Merrill, assistant
regional administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS,
Attn: Ellen Sebastian, and identified by FDMS Docket Number

Submit comments electronically via the Federal e-Rulemaking
Portal at or mail them to P.O.
Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668.