Biological assessment of the effects of the federal fisheries, state parallel groundfish fisheries and Pacific halibut fisheries on the southwest Alaska distinct population segment of the northern sea otter and its designated critical habitat
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Biological assessment of the effects of the federal fisheries, state parallel groundfish fisheries and Pacific halibut fisheries on the southwest Alaska distinct population segment of the northern sea otter and its designated critical habitat

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  • Alternative Title:
    Biological assessment of the effects of the federal fisheries, state parallel groundfish fisheries and Pacific halibut fisheries on the SWDPS of the northern sea otter and its designated critical habitat
  • Description:
    "Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed the southwest Alaska distinct population segment (SWDPS) of the northern sea otter as threatened in 2005. In 2006, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the USFWS consulted on the effects of the groundfish, crab, and scallop fisheries on the SWDPS of the northern sea otter. The consultation concluded with a determination that the fisheries were not likely to adversely affect the SWDPS. In 2009, the USFWS designated critical habitat of the SWDPS of the northern sea otter, and consequently, NMFS is requesting reinitiating consultation under section 7 of the ESA. The fisheries analyzed are: Alaska groundfish fisheries as authorized by the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, and the State of Alaska parallel groundfish fisheries in State of Alaska waters; Alaska king and Tanner crab fisheries as authorized by the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs; Alaska salmon fisheries as authorized by the Fishery Management Plan for the Salmon Fisheries in the EEZ off Alaska; Alaska scallop fisheries as authorized by the Fishery Management Plan for the Scallop Fishery off Alaska. In addition, this consultation pertains to the effect on SWDPS of northern sea otters and their critical habitat from Pacific halibut fisheries in U.S. Convention waters off Alaska within International Pacific Halibut Commission regulatory areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E. In this analysis, the potential direct and indirect impacts of federal fisheries and fisheries managed by the State of Alaska with federal coordination or oversight are evaluated in the context of the SWDPS of the northern sea otter and its designated critical habitat. The best available commercial information is used to describe the potential impacts of the fisheries on sea otters and on their designated critical habitat. Cumulative effects of non-federal actions also are examined. Effects of the fisheries on sea otters and their critical habitat can be either direct or indirect effects. Direct effects include the incidental take of sea otters in fishing gear and the disturbance of sea otters by fishing vessels. The potential for incidental takes of SWDPS of northern sea otters in the fisheries analyzed in this biological assessment is discountable. Potential indirect effect on the SWDPS of northern sea otters or on their critical habitat is due to impacts on prey resources. Prey species are varied and include urchins, crabs, and bivalves, which may be directly or indirectly harvested in one or more target fisheries. Primary Constituent Elements (PCEs) for critical habitat include food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or physiological requirements (73 FR 76457, December 16, 2008). Fishery indirect effects on prey would be primarily from the direct or incidental harvest of these species or effects on the habitat that support these prey resources. Fishery catch data within critical habitat, with particular attention to incidental catch of potential sea otter prey and fishery activities that may impact habitat supporting prey, are provided. This information is used to determine the potential impact of the fisheries on prey resources of the SWDPS of the northern sea otter and the potential impacts of the fisheries on the PCEs provided by designated critical habitat. The impacts of the fisheries are so small as to not have a measureable effect on the SWDPS of the northern sea otter, their prey, or designated critical habitat. The effects are therefore insignificant."--Executive summary.
  • Content Notes:
    prepared by NMFS Alaska Region Sustainable Fisheries Division.

    "June 2013."

    Includes bibliographical references (pages 63-67).

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    Public Domain
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    Library
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