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Groundfish Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off the Coast of Alaska; Recordkeeping and Reporting

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

NMFS issues this final rule amending Table 2 to 50 CFR part 679. Table 2 is the source for species codes used in data collection, analysis, and Start Printed Page 75081monitoring of the Federal groundfish fisheries. This action is necessary to standardize collection of species information with the State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), increase effectiveness of rockfish management, reflect current fisheries management interest in skates, and promote better enforcement of rockfish regulations. This final rule is intended to meet the conservation and management requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) with respect to groundfish and to further the goals and objectives of the Alaska groundfish fishery management plans.

DATES:

Effective January 18, 2006.

ADDRESSES:

Copies of the Categorical Exclusion and the Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) prepared for this action may be obtained by mail from the Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802 1668, Attn: Lori Durall, or from the NMFS Alaska Region website at www.fakr.noaa.gov. Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule may be submitted to NMFS Alaska Region and by e-mail to David_Rostker@omb.eop.gov, or fax to (202) 395-7285.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Patsy A. Bearden, (907) 586 7008 or patsy.bearden@noaa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

NMFS manages the groundfish fisheries in the EEZ off the coast of Alaska according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska and the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. These fishery management plans (FMPs) were prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and approved by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. The FMPs are implemented by regulations at 50 CFR part 679. General provisions governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMPs appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600.

Background and Need for Action

The management background and explanation of the need for this action were described in the preamble to the proposed rule published in the Federal Register on September 1, 2005 (70 FR 52060). Table 2 to Part 679 provides a list of FMP species and non-FMP species on which ADF&G and NMFS Alaska Region have agreed for use on ADF&G fish tickets as well as NMFS logbooks and forms. The FMP species are those which are managed under the FMPs and which must be recorded and reported in logbooks and forms. The non-FMP species are species that are frequently caught in association with FMP species, but that are not actively managed under the FMPs. These non-FMP species may be recorded and reported in logbooks and forms.

This action may require a few participants to learn to identify individual species of rockfish. An identification guide for rockfish of the Northeastern Pacific Ocean is available from NMFS, Alaska Region (see ADDRESSES) or at: http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/​race/​media/​publications/​archives/​pubs2000/​techmemo117.pdf.

The proposed rule to implement these changes was published in the Federal Register on September 1, 2005, for a 30-day comment period that ended October 3, 2005 (70 FR 52060). No written comments were received.

Elements of the Final Rule

Table 2 to Part 679

1. The table is reformatted from one table into four separate tables (Tables 2a, 2b, 2c, and 2d).

2. The following rockfish group codes are removed from Table 2 to part 679: 144, slope rockfish; 168, demersal shelf rockfish; 169, pelagic shelf rockfish; and 171, shortraker/rougheye rockfish. Removal of these group codes does not alter the use of the terms, ''slope rockfish,'' ''demersal shelf rockfish,'' ''pelagic shelf rockfish,'' or ''shortraker/rougheye rockfish'' in Tables 10 and 11 to 50 CFR part 679. These terms are still valid for calculation of maximum retainable percentages for basis species.

3. In § 679.2, the definition for ''Groundfish product or fish product'' is revised by removing “Tables 1 and 2 to this part, excluding the prohibited species listed in Table 2 to this part” and adding in its place ''Tables 1, 2a, 2c, and 2d to this part.''

4. In § 679.5, paragraph (m)(3)(v) is revised by removing reference to group codes 144, 168, 169, and 171.

Table 2a to Part 679

1. The table is entitled ''Species Codes: FMP Groundfish Species.'' This table contains the names and species codes of groundfish that are managed under the FMPs and that must be recorded and reported in NMFS logbooks and forms.

2. A species code, 702, is added to Table 2a to describe the species “big skates.” NMFS has implemented separate management and harvest specifications for the species “big skates” that require a new species code (69 FR 26313, May 12, 2004). An identification guide of big skates and longnose skates is available from NMFS, Alaska Region (see ADDRESSES) or at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/​infobulletins/​2003/​Rajalposter.jpg.

3. The description ''skates general,'' code 700 in Table 2a, is revised to read ''Other (if longnose or big skates - use specific species code).''

4. The description ''sharks general,'' code 689 in Table 2a, is revised to read ''Other (if salmon, spiny dogfish or Pacific sleeper shark - use specific species code).''

5. The description ''miscellaneous flatfish,'' code 120, is removed from the group codes and added to the FMP species in Table 2a as ''Flatfish, miscellaneous (flatfish species without separate codes).''

6. The Latin name for all individual rockfish species is added to Table 2a.

7. In § 679.2, paragraph (1) of the definition for ''Groundfish'' is revised by removing ''Table 2'' and adding in its place ''Table 2a.''

Table 2b to Part 679

1. The table is entitled ''Species Codes: FMP Prohibited Species.'' This table contains the names and species codes of species that are identified as prohibited species in the FMPs and that must be recorded and reported in NMFS logbooks and forms.

2. The species name for prohibited species code 932 in Table 2b, is changed from ''Opilio tanner crab'' to read ''Tanner, snow (C. opilio).''

3. The species name for prohibited species code 923 in Table 2b, is changed from ''Gold/brown king crab'' to read ''King, golden (brown).''

4. In § 679.2, the definition for ''Prohibited species'' is revised by adding a reference to ''Table 2b.''

5. In § 679.5, paragraph (n)(2)(iv)(D) is revised by removing ''Table 2'' and adding in its place ''Table 2b.''

6. In § 679.21, paragraph (b)(1) is revised by removing ''see § 679.2'' and adding in its place ''see § 679.2 and Table 2b to this part.''

Table 2c to Part 679

1. The table is entitled ''Species Codes: FMP Forage Fish Species.'' This table contains the names and species codes of species that are identified as forage fish in the FMPs and that must be recorded and reported in NMFS logbooks and forms.

2. In § 679.2, the definition for ''Forage fish'' is revised by removing Start Printed Page 75082''see Table 2 to this part'' and adding in its place ''see Table 2c to this part and § 679.20(i).''

3. In § 679.20, paragraph (i)(1) is revised by removing ''see § 679.2'' and adding in its place ''See Table 2c to this part.''

Table 2d to Part 679

1. The table is entitled ''Species Codes: Non-FMP Species.'' This table contains the names and species codes of species that may be recorded in NMFS logbooks and forms but which recording is not required by regulations at 50 CFR part 679.

2. A species code, 112, is added to Table 2d for the species, Pacific hake. Fishermen increasingly are reporting catch of Pacific hake in the EEZ off Alaska. This creates the need for a new species code to record the catch.

3. The species name for non-FMP species code 961 in Table 2d, is changed from ''Pink shrimp'' to read ''Northern (pink).''

4. The species name for non-FMP species code 951 in Table 2d, is amended by adding the Latin name “Paralomis multispina.''

5. The species name for non-FMP species code 953 in Table 2d, is amended by adding the Latin name “Paralomis verilli.”

Additional Changes

In § 679.5, the headings for paragraphs (a)(1)(ii)(A), (B), and (C) are revised by removing “groundfish and prohibited species” and by adding in its place ''groundfish, prohibited species, and forage fish.''

In § 679.5, paragraphs (a)(1)(ii)(A), (B), and (C) are revised by removing “all groundfish and prohibited species” and adding in its place “all groundfish (see Table 2a to this part), prohibited species (see Table 2b to this part), and forage fish (see Table 2c to this part).”

Classification

This rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. No comments were received regarding this certification or the economic impacts of the rule. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared.

This rule contains collection-of-information requirements that are subject to review and approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and which have been approved by OMB. The collections are listed below by OMB Control Number.

OMB Control Number 0648 0213

Total public reporting burden for this collection is 41,219 hours. Species codes are recorded and reported in this collection.

OMB Control Number 0648 0401

Total public reporting burden for this collection is 1,024 hours. Species codes are recorded and reported in this collection.

Send comments regarding this burden estimate, or any other aspect of this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to NMFS (see ADDRESSEES) and by e-mail to David_Rostker@omb.eop.gov, or fax to (202) 395 7285.

Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number.

This rule does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with other Federal regulations.

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List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679

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Dated: December 13, 2005.

James W. Balsiger,

Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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For reasons set out in the preamble,

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PART 679—FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA

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1. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1540(f); 1801 et seq.; 1851 note; 3631 et seq.

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2. In the table below, for each of the paragraphs shown in the “Location” column, remove the phrase indicated in the “Remove” column and replace it with the phrase indicated in the “Add” column for the number of times indicated in the “Frequency” column.

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LocationRemoveAddFrequency
§ 679.2 definition for “Forage fish”(see Table 2 to this part)(see Table 2c to this part and § 679.20(i))1
§ 679.2 definition for paragraph (1) “Groundfish”Table 2Table 2a1
§ 679.2 definition for “Groundfish product or fish product”Tables 1 and 2 to this part, excluding the prohibited species listed in Table 2 to this partTables 1, 2a, 2c, and 2d to this part1
§ 679.2 definition for “Prohibited species”Tanner crabTanner crab (see Table 2b to this part)1
§ 679.5(a)(1)(ii)(A), (B), and (C) paragraph headingGroundfish and prohibited speciesGroundfish, prohibited species, and forage fish1
§ 679.5(a)(1)(ii)(A), (B), and (C)all groundfish and prohibited speciesall groundfish (see Table 2a to this part), prohibited species (see Table 2b to this part), and forage fish (see Table 2c to this part)1
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§ 679.5(m)(3)(v)code for each species from Table 2 to this part, except species codes 120, 144, 168, 169, or 171;code for each species from Tables 2a though 2d to this part, except species code 1201
§ 679.5(n)(2)(iv)(D)Table 2Table 2b1
§ 679.20(i)(1)See § 679.2See Table 2c to this part1
§ 679.21(b)(1)See § 679.2See § 679.2 and Table 2b to this part1
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3. Table 2 to Part 679—Species Codes for FMP Species and non-FMP Species is removed, and Tables 2a, 2b, 2c, and 2d to Part 679 are added to read as follows:

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Table 2a to Part 679—Species Codes: FMP Groundfish

Species DescriptionCode
Atka mackerel (greenling)193
Flatfish, miscellaneous (flatfish species without separate codes)120
FLOUNDER
 Alaska plaice133
 Arrowtooth and/or Kamchatka121
 Starry129
Octopus870
Pacific cod110
Pollock270
ROCKFISH
 Aurora (S. aurora)185
 Black (BSAI) (S. melanops)142
 Blackgill (S. melanostomus)177
 Blue (BSAI) (S. mystinus)167
 Bocaccio (S. paucispinis)137
 Canary (S. pinniger)146
 Chilipepper (S. goodei)178
 China (S. nebulosus)149
 Copper (S. caurinus)138
 Darkblotched (S. crameri)159
 Dusky (S. ciliatus)154
 Greenstriped (S. elongatus)135
 Harlequin (S. variegatus)176
 Northern (S. polyspinis)136
 Pacific ocean perch (S. alutus)141
 Pygmy (S. wilsoni)179
 Quillback (S. maliger)147
 Redbanded (S. babcocki)153
 Redstripe (S. proriger)158
 Rosethorn (S. helvomaculatus)150
 Rougheye (S. aleutianus)151
 Sharpchin (S. zacentrus)166
 Shortbelly (S. jordani)181
 Shortraker (S. borealis)152
 Silvergray (S. brevispinis)157
 Splitnose (S. diploproa)182
 Stripetail (S. saxicola)183
 Thornyhead (all Sebastolobus species)143
 Tiger (S. nigrocinctus)148
 Vermilion (S. miniatus)184
 Widow (S. entomelas)156
 Yelloweye (S. ruberrimus)145
 Yellowmouth (S. reedi)175
 Yellowtail (S. flavidus)155
Sablefish (blackcod)710
Sculpins160
SHARKS
 Other (if salmon, spiny dogfish or Pacific sleeper shark - use specific species code)689
 Pacific sleeper692
 Salmon690
 Spiny dogfish691
SKATES
 Big702
 Longnose701
 Other (if longnose or big skate - use specific species code)700
SOLE
 Butter126
 Dover124
 English128
 Flathead122
 Petrale131
 Rex125
 Rock123
 Sand132
 Yellowfin127
Squid875
Turbot, Greenland134

Table 2b to Part 679—Species Code: FMP Prohibited Species

Species DescriptionCode
CRAB
 King, blue922
 King, golden (brown)923
 King, red921
 King, scarlet924
 Tanner, Bairdi (C. bairdi)931
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 Tanner, grooved933
 Tanner, snow (C. opilio)932
 Tanner, triangle934
 Pacific halibut200
 Pacific herring (family Clupeidae)235
SALMON
 Chinook410
 Chum450
 Coho430
 Pink440
 Sockeye420
 Steelhead trout540

Table 2c to Part 679—Species Codes: FMP Forage Fish Species

(all species of the following families)

Species DescriptionCode
Bristlemouths, lightfishes, and anglemouths (family Gonostomatidae)209
Capelin smelt (family Osmeridae)516
Deep-sea smelts (family Bathylagidae)773
Eulachon smelt (family Osmeridae)511
Gunnels (family Pholidae)207
Krill (order Euphausiacea)800
Laternfishes (family Myctophidae)772
Pacific sandfish (family Trichodontidae)206
Pacific sand lance (family Ammodytidae)774
Pricklebacks, war-bonnets, eelblennys, cockscombs and shannys (family Stichaeidae)208
Surf smelt (family Osmeridae)515

Table 2d to Part 679—Species Codes—Non-FMP Species

Species DescriptionCode
Abalone860
Albacore720
Arctic char, anadromous521
CLAMS
 Butter810
 Cockle820
 Eastern softshell842
 Geoduck815
 Little-neck840
 Razor830
 Surf812
 Coral899
CRAB
 Box900
 Dungeness910
 Korean horsehair940
 Multispina (Paralomis multispina)951
 Verrilli (Paralomis verillii)953
Dolly varden, anadromous531
Eels or eel-like fish210
Giant grenadier214
GREENLING
 Kelp194
 Rock191
 Whitespot192
Grenadier (rattail)213
Jellyfish625
Lamprey, Pacific600
Lingcod130
Lumpsucker216
Mussel, blue855
Pacific flatnose260
Pacific hagfish212
Pacific hake112
Pacific saury220
Pacific tomcod250
Prowfish215
Rockfish, black (GOA)142
Rockfish, blue (GOA)167
Sardine, Pacific (pilchard)170
Scallop, weathervane850
Scallop, pink (or calico)851
Sea cucumber895
Sea urchin, green893
Sea urchin, red892
Shad180
SHRIMP
 Coonstripe964
 Humpy963
 Northern (pink)961
 Sidestripe962
 Spot965
Skilfish715
Smelt, surf515
Snails890
Sturgeon, general680
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[FR Doc. 05-24203 Filed 12-16-05; 8:45 am]

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