| Environmental Assessment : For Proposed Amendment 38 (Annual Catch Limits) and Amendment 39 (Snow crab rebuilding plan) to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs - :18179 | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
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Environmental Assessment : For Proposed Amendment 38 (Annual Catch Limits) and Amendment 39 (Snow crab rebuilding plan) to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs
  • Published Date:
    2011
Filetype[PDF-7.98 MB]


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Environmental Assessment : For Proposed Amendment 38 (Annual Catch Limits) and Amendment 39 (Snow crab rebuilding plan) to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs
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  • Description:
    This environmental assessment analyzes two actions to amend the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (FMP). Action 1 would amend the FMP to specify the method by which the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will establish annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs). ACLs and AMs are required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). ACLs would be established based upon an acceptable biological catch (ABC) control rule set forth in the FMP to account for the uncertainty in the overfishing limit (OFL) and any other scientific uncertainty. Three alternative methods to establish the ABC control rule are considered: (1) a constant buffer approach where the ABC for each stock would be set by application of a constant pre-specified buffer value below the OFL; (2) a variable buffer approach where the ABC would be annually calculated from a prespecified percentile of the distribution for the OFL (noted as P*) and using a probability distribution for the OFL that accounts for scientific uncertainty in the estimate of OFL and any other specified scientific uncertainty; and (3) a blended approach that uses a variable buffer for stocks in Tiers 1 through 4 and a constant buffer for stocks in Tier 5. A range of constant buffers and probabilities are considered under each alternative approach. For Action 1, the Council recommended the blended approach with a P* of 0.49 and a process for appropriately quantifying and accounting for scientific uncertainty for stocks in Tiers 1 through 4 and a constant buffer of 10% below the OFL for stocks in Tier 5. Action 2 would amend the FMP to rebuild the snow crab stock in compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act. A range of alternative time frames are considered for rebuilding the stock. For Action 2, the Council recommended maintaining the existing rebuilding plan but defined rebuilt as the first year that the stock reaches the biomass level estimated to produce maximum sustainable yield. This document addresses the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act by analyzing the impacts of the alternatives considered under both actions upon crab resources, fishery participants, habitat, marine mammals, and other groundfish resources.

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