NOAA 2004-R110
Contact: Sheela McLean

NOAA News Releases 2004
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NOAA Fisheries will release the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Fisheries on Friday, March 19, 2004. The document, which reveals environmental impacts for the proposed crab rationalization plan in Bering Sea and Aleutian Island crab fisheries, will have a 45-day public comment period ending May 3, 2004.

The DEIS will help managers decide the best future management system for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands king and Tanner crab fisheries. The DEIS also serves as the current primary environmental review document supporting the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs. It summarizes and analyzes the best available scientific information about crab resources and the benthic environment in the Bering Sea and Aleutians Islands areas and assesses the environmental impacts resulting from fishery management actions.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council plans to institute a program that will remove excess capacity in the fishery and diminish the race for crab, stabilizing the industry and increasing safety. The proposed action is to rationalize the crab fisheries by allocating the crab resources to participants.

The DEIS evaluates the environmental and economic consequences of four alternatives: (1) status quo; (2) three-pie voluntary cooperative; (3) an Individual Fishing Quota program; and (4) a cooperative program. The alternative programs under consideration are a complex set of elements that are designed to balance the interests of several identifiable groups that depend on these fisheries. These groups include harvesters, processors, communities and captains.

In June 2002, the council recommended the three-pie voluntary cooperative program as the preferred alternative for rationalizing the crab fisheries. In January 2004, Congress amended the Magnuson-Stevens Act to establish this three-pie voluntary cooperative program for crab fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

Printed or CD copies of the DEIS may be ordered from the NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region Web site: Additionally, the DEIS will be posted on this Web site on March 19, 2004.

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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