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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation of Pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

Action

Temporary Rule.

Summary

NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amounts of the Aleut Corporation's and the Community Development Quota pollock directed fishing allowances from the Aleutian Islands subarea to the Bering Sea subarea directed fisheries. These actions are necessary to provide opportunity for harvest of the 2013 total allowable catch of pollock, consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

Tables Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 24, 2013, until the effective date of the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) groundfish, unless otherwise modified or superseded through publication of a notification in the Federal Register.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Steve Whitney, 907-586-7269.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

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 (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.

In the Aleutian Islands subarea, the portion of the 2013 pollock total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to the Aleut Corporation's directed fishing allowance (DFA) is 15,500 metric tons (mt) and the Community Development Quota (CDQ) DFA is 1,900 mt as established by the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (77 FR 10669, February 23, 2012), and as adjusted by an inseason adjustment (78 FR 270, January 3, 2013).

As of January 17, 2013, the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, (Regional Administrator) has determined that 10,500 mt of Aleut Corporation's DFA and 1,900 mt of pollock CDQ DFA in the Aleutian Islands subarea will not be harvested. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(4), NMFS reallocates 10,500 mt of Aleut Corporation's DFA and 1,900 mt of pollock CDQ DFA from the Aleutian Islands subarea to the 2013 Bering Sea subarea allocations. The 1,900 mt of pollock CDQ DFA is added to the 2013 Bering Sea CDQ DFA. The remaining 10,500 mt of pollock is apportioned to the AFA Inshore sector (50 percent), AFA catcher/processor sector (40 percent), and the AFA mothership sector (10 percent). The 2013 Bering Sea subarea pollock incidental catch allowance remains at 33,699 mt. As a result, the harvest specifications for pollock in the Aleutian Islands subarea included in the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (77 FR 10669, February 23, 2012) are revised as follows: 5,000 mt to Aleut Corporation's DFA and 0 mt to CDQ DFA. Furthermore, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5), Table 3 of the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (77 FR 10669, February 23, 2012), as adjusted by the inseason adjustment (78 FR 270, January 3, 2013), is revised to make 2013 pollock allocations consistent with this reallocation. This reallocation results in adjustments to the 2013 Aleut Corporation and CDQ pollock allocations established at § 679.20(a)(5).

Table 3—Final 2012 and 2013 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed Fishing Allowances (DFA)1 Back to Top
Area and sector 2012 Allocations 2012 A season1 2012 B season1 2013 Allocations 2013 A season1 2013 B season1
A season DFA SCA harvest limit2 B season DFA A season DFA SCA harvest limit2 B season DFA
[Amounts are in metric tons]
1Pursuant to § 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 § 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 (1,600 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.
2In 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.
3Pursuant to § 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.
4Pursuant to § 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.
5Pursuant to § 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.
6Pursuant to § 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.
7The 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.
Bering Sea subarea 1,212,400 n/a n/a n/a 1,259,400 n/a n/a n/a
CDQ DFA 121,900 48,760 34,132 73,140 126,600 50,640 35,448 75,960
ICA1 32,400 n/a n/a n/a 33,699 n/a n/a n/a
AFA Inshore 529,050 211,620 148,134 317,430 549,551 219,820 153,874 329,730
AFA Catcher/Processors3 423,240 169,296 118,507 253,944 439,640 175,856 123,099 263,784
Catch by C/Ps 387,265 154,906 n/a 232,359 402,271 160,908 n/a 241,363
Catch by CVs3 35,975 14,390 n/a 21,585 37,369 14,948 n/a 22,422
Unlisted C/P Limit4 2,116 846 n/a 1,270 2,198 879 n/a 1,319
AFA Motherships 105,810 42,324 29,627 63,486 109,910 43,964 30,775 65,946
Excessive Harvesting Limit5 185,168 n/a n/a n/a 192,343 n/a n/a n/a
Excessive Processing Limit6 317,430 n/a n/a n/a 329,730 n/a n/a n/a
Total Bering Sea DFA 1,058,100 423,240 296,268 634,860 1,099,101 439,640 307,748 659,461
Aleutian Islands subarea1 6,600 n/a n/a n/a 6,600 n/a n/a n/a
CDQ DFA 0 0 n/a 0 0 0 n/a 0
ICA 1,600 800 n/a 800 1,600 800 n/a 800
Aleut Corporation 5,000 5,000 n/a 0 5,000 5,000 n/a 0
Bogoslof District ICA7 150 n/a n/a n/a 150 n/a n/a n/a

Classification Back to Top

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 reallocation of AI pollock. Since the pollock fishery opens January 20, 2013, it is important to immediately inform the industry as to the final Bering Sea subarea pollock allocations. Immediate notification is necessary to allow for the orderly conduct and efficient operation of this fishery; allow the industry to plan for the fishing season and avoid potential disruption to the fishing fleet as well as processors; and provide opportunity to harvest increased seasonal pollock allocations while value is optimum. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of January 11, 2013.

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 § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

Authority: Back to Top

16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Dated: January 18, 2013.

James P. Burgess,

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

[FR Doc. 2013-01432 Filed 1-18-13; 4:15 pm]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-P

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