NOAA Fisheries News Alert
November 3, 2009
Sheela McLean, Public Affairs
Arctic Fishery Management Plan goes into effect December 3
Regulations implementing the Fishery Management Plan for Fish Resources of the Arctic Management Area published in the Federal Register November 3 go into effect December 3, 2009.
The regulations close the Arctic Management Area to commercial fishing. The Arctic Fishery Management Plan establishes a process for considering requests to develop future fisheries based upon the best available science.
In 2006, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council began considering options for fishery management in the Arctic. The council talked extensively with communities on Alaska’s North Slope and other stakeholders. Ultimately, the Council decided to take a precautionary approach, voting to prohibit commercial fisheries until sufficient information on the Arctic marine environment is available to sustainably manage commercial fishing.
The Arctic Fishery Management Plan governs commercial fishing for all stocks of finfish and shellfish in federal waters, except Pacific salmon and Pacific halibut, which are managed under other authorities. It does not affect fisheries for salmon, whitefish and shellfish in Alaskan waters near the Arctic shore. The plan identifies Arctic cod, saffron cod, and snow crab as likely initial target species for fishermen.
The plan does not affect Arctic subsistence fishing or hunting.