In 2004, the Council recommended and NMFS implemented regulations to minimize interactions between seabirds and longline vessels greater than 55 ft LOA. These regulations and additional information on seabirds and commercial fisheries is available on the NMFS AK Region web site.
The Council has encouraged research on integrated weight groundline gear and trawl “third wire” interaction with seabirds. A Council discussion paper on trawl third wire gear was prepared in April 2004. At its June 2004 meeting, the Council approved an Exempted Fishing Permit for IWG research.
The Council encourages research on fishery interactions with the endangered short-tailed albatross. Alaskan groundfish fisheries may interact with short-tailed albatross and the possibility of incidental take is reviewed in a programmatic Biological Opinion and a TAC-setting Biological Opinion, both BiOps were prepared by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Additional information, including a short-tailed albatross Recovery Plan is available from the USFWS.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has designated the Kittlitz’s murrelet as a candidate species for possible listing under the Endangered Species Act. Abundance of this species has declined considerably in the past 10-15 years. It is unknown the extent to which this small seabird interacts with offshore fisheries. The Council will receive periodic reports on this seabird. Additional information is available from the USFWS.