Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review for Proposed Amendment 14 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Salmon Fisheries in the EEZ Off Alaska
Analysis of Amendment 14 that would manage the Cook Inlet EEZ Subarea by applying the prohibition on commercial salmon fishing that is currently established in the West Area to the newly added Cook Inlet EEZ Subarea.
This Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review analyzes proposed management measures to address management of commercial salmon fishing in the Cook Inlet EEZ. The Fishery Management Plan for the Salmon Fisheries in the EEZ off Alaska (FMP) manages the salmon fisheries in the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ; 3 nautical miles to 200 nautical miles offshore) off Alaska. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council developed this FMP under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). In 2012, the Council comprehensively revised the FMP to comply with the recent Magnuson-Stevens Act requirements, such as annual catch limits and accountability measures, and to more clearly reflect the Council’s policy with regard to State of Alaska management authority for commercial and sport salmon fisheries in the EEZ. Now, in response to a United States Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit ruling, the Council is considering how to revise the FMP to manage the commercial salmon fishery that occurs in the EEZ waters of Cook Inlet that had been removed from Federal management with the 2012 revisions to the FMP. The Council is considering new management measures that comply with Magnuson-Stevens Act requirements for the Cook Inlet commercial salmon fishery in the EEZ, such as status determination criteria, annual catch limits, and accountability measures. This Environmental Assessment is being prepared using the 1978 CEQ NEPA Regulations. NEPA reviews initiated prior to the effective date of the 2020 CEQ regulations may be conducted using the 1978 version of the regulations. The effective date of the 2020 CEQ NEPA Regulations was September 14, 2020. This review began on or before September 9, 2020 and the agency has decided to proceed under the 1978 regulations.