Endangered Species Act (ESA) mitigation measures for salmon

Action status

  • Implemented
  • Undergoing NMFS Review
  • Approved by Council
  • Under development by the Council

On December 12, 2017, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published a biological opinion (BiOp) on Reinitiation of Section 7 Consultation Regarding the Pacific Fisheries Management Council’s Groundfish Fishery Management Plan. This BiOp addresses the requirement in Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act to ensure that any Federal agency action “is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of habitat of such species.” The BiOp includes mitigation measures (“reasonable and prudent measures and associated terms and conditions”) in its Incidental Take Statement. Terms and conditions are nondiscretionary, meaning the Council is obligated to implement them.

Some of these terms and conditions were addressed as part of the 2019-2020 groundfish biennial management process. These include reviewing the groundfish FMP and regulations to determine if existing regulations were sufficient to avoid or reduce salmon bycatch inseason; and developing automatic closure mechanisms if sectors exceed their bycatch guideline and/or a reserve amount of salmon. The Council planned to address other measures outside the biennial process.

The Council began scoping this action in November 2018 and took final action by selecting its preferred alternative in November 2019. The November Council meeting decision document summarizes elements of the preferred alternative. For a more detailed description see the analytical document.

A proposed rule for this action published on October 20, 2020, with a public comment deadline of November 19, 2020. A final rule was published February 23, 2021, with an effective date of March 25, 2021.