The Secretary of Commerce has approved a fishery management plan amendment to reduce halibut bycatch in four sectors of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands groundfish fisheries.
Amendment 111 reduces the overall Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limit by 21% to 3,515 metric tons (mt).
In recent years, the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) has determined that the exploitable biomass of halibut has declined, particularly in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. This decline has resulted in reductions to the catch limits for the directed commercial halibut fishery in Area 4, in particular Area 4 CDE in the eastern and northern Bering Sea.
In response to declining commercial catch limits for the directed commercial halibut fishery, in June 2015, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) recommended reducing halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limits for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands groundfish fisheries.
NOAA Fisheries will publish a final rule for the measure this spring, which will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.
For more information, visit NOAA Fisheries Alaska Regional website (www.afsc.noaa.gov).