Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Exchange of Flatfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

 
CONTENT

Federal Register, Volume 83 Issue 228 (Tuesday, November 27, 2018)

Federal Register Volume 83, Number 228 (Tuesday, November 27, 2018)

Rules and Regulations

Pages 60784-60785

From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov

FR Doc No: 2018-25765

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

Docket No. 170817779-8161-02

RIN 0648-XG648

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Exchange of Flatfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Temporary rule; reallocation.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is exchanging unused rock sole Community Development Quota (CDQ) for yellowfin sole CDQ acceptable biological catch (ABC) reserves in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is necessary to allow the 2018 total allowable catch of yellowfin sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area to be harvested.

DATES: Effective November 27, 2018 through December 31, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI) according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

The 2018 rock sole and yellowfin sole CDQ reserves specified in the BSAI are 4,540 metric tons (mt) and 17,023 mt as established by the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (83 FR 8365, February 27, 2018) and revised by flatfish exchange (83 FR 50036, October 4, 2018). The 2018 rock sole and yellowfin sole CDQ ABC reserves are 10,772 mt and 12,670 mt as established by the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (83 FR 8365, February 27, 2018) and revised by flatfish exchange (83 FR 50036, October 4, 2018).

The Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation has requested that NMFS exchange 400 mt of rock sole CDQ reserves for 400 mt of yellowfin sole CDQ ABC reserves under Sec. 679.31(d). Therefore, in accordance with Sec. 679.31(d), NMFS exchanges 400 mt of rock sole CDQ reserves for 400 mt of yellowfin sole CDQ ABC reserves in the BSAI. This action also decreases and increases the TACs and CDQ ABC reserves by the corresponding amounts. Tables 11 and 13 of the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (83 FR 8365, February 27, 2018) and revised by flatfish exchange (83 FR 50036, October 4, 2018), are further revised as follows:

Page 60785

Table 11--Final 2018 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment 80 Allocations of the Aleutian Islands

Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACS

Amounts are in metric tons

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Pacific ocean perch Flathead sole Rock sole Yellowfin sole

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Sector Eastern Central Western

Aleutian Aleutian Aleutian BSAI BSAI BSAI

District District District

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TAC..................................................... 9,000 7,500 9,000 17,105 42,550 155,945

CDQ..................................................... 963 803 963 1,507 4,140 17,423

ICA..................................................... 100 120 10 4,000 6,000 4,000

BSAI trawl limited access............................... 794 658 161 0 0 18,351

Amendment 80............................................ 7,143 5,920 7,866 11,599 32,410 116,171

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Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Table 13--Final 2018 and 2019 ABC Surplus, ABC Reserves, Community Development Quota (CDQ) ABC Reserves, and Amendment 80 ABC Reserves in the BSAI for

Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole

Amounts are in metric tons

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2018 Flathead 2018 Yellowfin 2019 \1\ 2019 \1\ Rock 2019 \1\

Sector sole 2018 Rock sole sole Flathead sole sole Yellowfin sole

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ABC..................................................... 66,773 143,100 277,500 65,227 132,000 267,500

TAC..................................................... 17,105 42,550 155,945 16,500 49,100 156,000

ABC surplus............................................. 49,668 100,550 121,555 48,727 82,900 111,500

ABC reserve............................................. 49,668 100,550 121,555 48,727 82,900 111,500

CDQ ABC reserve......................................... 5,638 11,172 12,270 5,214 8,870 11,931

Amendment 80 ABC reserve................................ 44,030 89,378 109,286 43,513 74,030 99,570

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\1\ The 2019 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until

eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2018.

Classification

This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the flatfish exchange by the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation in the BSAI. Since these fisheries are currently open, it is important to immediately inform the industry as to the revised allocations. Immediate notification is necessary to allow for the orderly conduct and efficient operation of this fishery, to allow the industry to plan for the fishing season, and to avoid potential disruption to the fishing fleet as well as processors. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of November 19, 2018.

The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.

This action is required by Sec. 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Dated: November 20, 2018.

Karen H. Abrams,

Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

FR Doc. 2018-25765 Filed 11-26-18; 8:45 am

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