NOAA Fisheries Updates Efforts on Wild Fish Conservancy Remand

NOAA Fisheries Updates Efforts on Wild Fish Conservancy Remand
Image: NOAA Fisheries.

NOAA Fisheries officials say they are working to complete the analyses required by a district court under remand in the Wild Fish Conservancy litigation involving Chinook salmon.

The federal agency announced May 31 that it’s finalizing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on Expenditure of Funds to Increase Prey Availability for Southern Resident Killer Whales and an associated Endangered Species Act Biological Opinion, for a prey increase program that mitigates the impacts from the U.S. salmon fisheries managed under the 2019 Pacific Salmon Treaty.

NOAA is also finalizing an environmental impact statement for the issuance of an Incidental Take Statement Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for Salmon Fisheries in Southeast Alaska subject to the 2019 Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement and Funding to the state of Alaska and an associated ESA biological opinion on federal actions related to the Southeast Alaska salmon fisheries.

NOAA officials said they expect to issue these analyses in late summer or early fall.

If the final analyses support exempting take of threatened and endangered species, NOAA said it plans to include an incidental take statement to ensure that the Southeast Alaska salmon fisheries have a valid exemption from the ESA’s prohibition on take.

In June 2023, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the district court’s partial vacatur of the 2019 Southeast Alaska biological opinion Incidental Take Statement’s exemption for the commercial troll fishery in the summer and winter seasons, and the commercial troll fishery has proceeded under that stay, which currently remains in place.

NOAA officials said they anticipate that the Alaska Department of Fish & Game plans to open the summer troll fishery as scheduled, on or about July 1. The Ninth Circuit has scheduled a hearing on the appeal of the vacatur for July 18 and If there are any new developments following the hearing, NOAA said it would share that information as it becomes available.


Boat Lyfe