Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2014 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock, Atka Mackerel, and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts

 
CONTENT

Federal Register, Volume 79 Issue 4 (Tuesday, January 7, 2014)

Federal Register Volume 79, Number 4 (Tuesday, January 7, 2014)

Unknown Section

Pages 758-762

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

FR Doc No: 2014-00021

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

Docket No. 121018563-3148-02

RIN 0648-XD060

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2014 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock, Atka Mackerel, and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason adjustment; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is adjusting the 2014 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined these TACs are incorrectly specified, and will ensure the BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs are the appropriate amounts based on the best available scientific information. This action is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 2, 2014, until the effective date of the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for BSAI groundfish, unless otherwise modified or superseded through publication of a notification in the Federal Register.

Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., January 17, 2014.

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ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by FDMS Docket Number NOAA-NMFS-2012-0210 by any of the following methods:

Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0210, click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668.

Fax: Address written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Fax comments to 907-586-7557.

Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Furuness, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI exclusive economic zone 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 final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (78 FR 13813, March 1, 2013) set the 2014 BSAI pollock TAC at 1,266,100 metric tons (mt), the 2014 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC at 25,379 mt, and the 2014 BSAI Pacific cod TAC at 260,880 mt. In December 2013, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) recommended a 2014 BSAI pollock TAC of 1,286,075 mt, which is more than the 1,266,100 mt TAC established by the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. The Council also recommended a 2014 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC of 32,322 mt, which is more than the 25,379 mt TAC established by the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. Furthermore, the Council recommended a 2014 BSAI Pacific cod TAC of 253,894 mt, which is less than the 260,880 mt TAC established by the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. In 2014 the Council recommended that the TAC for Pacific cod be split by a Bering Sea TAC of 246,897 and an Aleutian Island TAC of 6,997 mt. The Council's recommended 2014 TACs, and the area and seasonal apportionments, are based on the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation report (SAFE), dated November 2013, which NMFS has determined is the best available scientific information for these fisheries.

Steller sea lions occur in the same location as the pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries and are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod are a principal prey species for Steller sea lions in the BSAI. The seasonal apportionment of pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod harvest is necessary to ensure the groundfish fisheries are not likely to cause jeopardy of extinction or adverse modification of critical habitat for Steller sea lions. The regulations at Sec. 679.20(a)(5) specify how the BS pollock TAC will be apportioned. The regulations at Sec. 679.20(a)(7) specify how the BSAI Pacific cod TAC will be apportioned. The regulations at Sec. 679.20(a)(8) specify how the BSAI Atka mackerel TAC will be apportioned.

In accordance with Sec. 679.25(a)(1)(iii), (a)(2)(i)(B), and (a)(2)(iv), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that, based on the November 2013 SAFE report for this fishery, the current BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs are incorrectly specified. Pursuant to Sec. 679.25(a)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator is adjusting the 2014 BSAI pollock TAC to 1,286,075 mt, the 2014 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC to 32,322 and the 2014 BSAI Pacific cod TAC to 253,894 mt. Therefore, Table 1 of the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (78 FR 13813, March 1, 2013) is revised consistent with this adjustment.

Pursuant to Sec. 679.20(a)(5)(i), Table 3 of the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (78 FR 13813, March 1, 2013) and reallocations (78 FR 14932, March 8, 2013 and 78 FR 49200, August 13, 2013) is revised for the 2014 BSAI allocations of pollock TAC to the directed pollock fisheries and to the Community Development Quota (CDQ) directed fishing allowances consistent with this adjustment.

Table 3--Final 2013 and 2014 Allocations of Pollock Tacs to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed Fishing Allowances (DFA) \1\

Amounts are in metric tons

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2013 A season \1\ 2013 B season 2014 A season \1\ 2014 B season

2013 -------------------------------- \1\ 2014 -------------------------------- \1\

Area and sector Allocations SCA harvest ---------------- Allocations SCA harvest ---------------

A season DFA limit \2\ B season DFA A season DFA limit \2\ B season DFA

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Bering Sea subarea.............................................. 1,261,900 n/a n/a n/a 1,267,000 n/a n/a n/a

CDQ DFA......................................................... 126,600 50,640 35,448 75,960 126,700 50,680 35,476 76,020

ICA \1\......................................................... 33,699 n/a n/a n/a 38,770 n/a n/a n/a

AFA Inshore..................................................... 550,801 220,320 154,224 330,480 550,765 220,306 154,214 330,459

AFA Catcher/Processors \3\...................................... 440,640 176,256 123,379 264,384 440,612 176,245 123,371 264,367

Catch by C/Ps................................................... 403,186 161,274 n/a 241,912 403,160 161,264 n/a 241,896

Catch by CVs \3\................................................ 37,454 14,982 n/a 22,473 37,452 14,981 n/a 22,471

Unlisted C/P Limit \4\.......................................... 2,203 881 n/a 1,322 2,203 881 n/a 1,322

AFA Motherships................................................. 110,160 44,064 30,845 66,096 110,153 44,061 30,843 66,092

Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\.................................. 192,780 n/a n/a n/a 192,768 n/a n/a n/a

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Excessive Processing Limit \6\.................................. 330,480 n/a n/a n/a 330,459 n/a n/a n/a

Total Bering Sea DFA............................................ 1,101,601 440,640 308,448 660,961 1,101,530 440,612 308,428 660,918

Aleutian Islands subarea \1\.................................... 6,600 n/a n/a n/a 19,000 n/a n/a n/a

CDQ DFA......................................................... 0 0 n/a 0 1,900 760 n/a 1,140

ICA............................................................. 1,600 800 n/a 800 2,000 1,000 n/a 1,000

Aleut Corporation............................................... 5,000 5,000 n/a 0 15,100 11,863 n/a 3,237

Bogoslof District ICA \7\....................................... 100 n/a n/a n/a 75 n/a n/a n/a

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\1\ Pursuant to Sec. 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the BS subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (3 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector--50

percent, catcher/processor sector (C/P)--40 percent, and mothership sector--10 percent. In the BS subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 60

percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10-November 1). Pursuant to Sec. 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ

directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,000 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is allocated 40

percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the directed pollock fishery.

\2\ In the BS subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1. The remaining 12 percent of the annual DFA allocated to the A season may be

taken outside of SCA before April 1 or inside the SCA after April 1. If less than 28 percent of the annual DFA is taken inside the SCA before April 1, the remainder will be available to be

taken inside the SCA after April 1.

\3\ Pursuant to Sec. 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels

delivering to listed catcher/processors.

\4\ Pursuant to Sec. 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processors sector's allocation of

pollock.

\5\ Pursuant to Sec. 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.

\6\ Pursuant to Sec. 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.

\7\ The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for ICA only and are not apportioned by season or sector.

Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Pursuant to Sec. 679.20(a)(8), Table 4 of the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (78 FR 13813, March 1, 2013) is revised for the 2014 seasonal and spatial allowances, gear shares, CDQ reserve, incidental catch allowance, and Amendment 80 allocation of the BSAI Atka mackerel TAC.

Table 4--Final 2013 and 2014 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch Allowance, and Amendment 80 Allocations of the

Bsai Atka Mackerel TAC

Amounts are in metric tons

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2013 allocation by area 2014 allocation by area

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Eastern Eastern

Sector \1\ Season 2 3 4 Aleutian Central \5\ Western Aleutian Central \5\ Western

District/ Aleutian Aleutian District/ Aleutian Aleutian

Bering Sea District District Bering Sea District District

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TAC............................... n/a................. 16,900 7,520 1,500 21,652 9,670 1,000

CDQ reserve....................... Total............... 1,808 805 161 2,317 1,035 107

A................... 904 402 80 1,158 517 54

Critical Habitat \5\ n/a 40 n/a n/a 52 n/a

B................... 904 402 80 1,158 517 54

Critical Habitat \5\ n/a 40 n/a n/a 52 n/a

ICA............................... Total............... 1,000 75 40 1,000 75 40

Jig \6\........................... Total............... 70 0 0 92 0 0

BSAI trawl limited access......... Total............... 1,402 664 0 1,824 856 0

A................... 701 332 0 912 428 0

B................... 701 332 0 912 428 0

Amendment 80 sectors.............. Total............... 12,619 5,976 1,300 16,419 7,704 853

A................... 6,310 2,988 650 8,210 3,852 427

B................... 6,310 2,988 650 8,210 3,852 427

Alaska Groundfish Cooperative \7\. Total \7\........... 7,271 3,563 783 9,482 4,596 500

A................... 3,636 1,782 392 4,741 2,298 250

Critical Habitat \5\ n/a 178 n/a n/a 230 n/a

B................... 3,636 1,782 392 4,741 2,298 250

Critical Habitat \5\ n/a 178 n/a n/a 230 n/a

Alaska Seafood Cooperative \7\.... Total \7\........... 5,348 2,414 517 6,937 3,108 353

A................... 2,674 1,207 259 3,469 1,554 177

Critical Habitat \5\ n/a 121 n/a n/a 155 n/a

B................... 2,674 1,207 259 3,469 1,554 177

Critical Habitat \5\ n/a 121 n/a n/a 155 n/a

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\1\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs to the Amendment 80 and

BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is

established in Table 33 to part 679 and Sec. 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see Sec. Sec.

679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31).

\2\ Regulations at Sec. Sec. 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery.

\3\ The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season.

\4\ Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10 and the B season

from June 10 to November 1.

\5\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C) requires the TAC in area 542 shall be no more than 47% of ABC, and Atka mackerel harvests for Amendment 80 cooperatives

and CDQ groups within waters 10 nm to 20 nm of Gramp Rock and Tag Island, as described Table 12 to part 679, in Area 542 are limited to no more than

10 percent of the Amendment 80 cooperative Atka mackerel allocation or 10 percent of the CDQ Atka mackerel allocation.

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\6\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after

subtracting the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season.

\7\ The 2014 allocations for Atka mackerel 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, 2013. NMFS will post 2014 Amendment 80 allocations when they become available in

December 2013.

Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Pursuant to Sec. 679.20(a)(7), Table 5 of the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (78 FR 13813, March 1, 2013) is revised as Table 5a for the 2014 gear shares and seasonal allowances of the BSAI Pacific cod TAC consistent with this adjustment.

Table 5a--Final 2014 Gear Shares and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI Pacific Cod TAC

Amounts are in metric tons

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2014 share of 2014 seasonal apportionment

Gear sector Percent gear sector 2014 share of ---------------------------------

total sector total Seasons Amount

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BS TAC........................ .............. 246,897 n/a n/a............. n/a

BS CDQ........................ .............. 26,418 n/a see Sec. n/a

679.20(a)(7)(i)

(B).

AI TAC........................ .............. 6,997 n/a n/a............. n/a

AI CDQ........................ .............. 749 n/a see Sec. n/a

679.20(a)(7)(i)

(B).

Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC \1\.... 100 226,727 n/a n/a............. n/a

Total hook-and-line/pot gear.. 60.8 137,850 n/a n/a............. n/a

Hook-and-line/pot ICA \2\..... n/a 500 n/a see Sec. n/a

679.20(a)(7)(ii

)(B).

Hook-and-line/pot sub-total... n/a 137,350 n/a n/a............. n/a

Hook-and-line catcher/ 48.7 n/a 110,016 Jan 1-Jun 10.... 56,108

processor.

Jun 10-Dec 31... 53,908

Hook-and-line catcher vessel 0.2 n/a 452 Jan 1-Jun 10.... 230

>=60 ft LOA.

Jun 10-Dec 31... 221

Pot catcher/processor......... 1.5 n/a 3,389 Jan 1-Jun 10.... 1,728

Sept 1-Dec 31... 1,660

Pot catcher vessel >=60 ft LOA 8.4 n/a 18,976 Jan 1-Jun 10.... 9,678

Sept 1-Dec 31... 9,298

Catcher vessel