Proposed Rule Published to Modify Seabird Avoidance Measures

NOAA Fisheries Service has published a proposed rule that would revise the seabird avoidance measures for the Alaska hook and line groundfish and halibut fisheries.  This rule would strengthen gear standards for small vessels and eliminate certain seabird avoidance requirements that are not needed (written plan).  Based on recent research, seabird avoidance measures would be eliminated in all of Prince William sound, all state waters of Cook Inlet and in most waters of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska Regulatory Area Southeast Inside District.  Pelagic seabirds, particularly the ESA listed short-tailed albatross and other seabird species of concern are rarely observed in these waters.  At the same time specific deployment procedures for certain small vessels in the EEZ would be required. 

Comments on the proposed rule may be sent to 

0648-AV38-SeabirdPR@noaa.gov by October 19, 2007. 

Proposed Rule http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/pdf/E7-18489.pdf 

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