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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Adjustment of Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; inseason adjustment.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is adjusting the Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) amount in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the Pacific cod acceptable biological catch (ABC) in the BSAI and is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the BSAI (FMP).

DATES:

Effective March 14, 2006, through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), December 31, 2007.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Josh Keaton, 907-586-7228.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI according to the FMP prepared by Start Printed Page 13778the 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.

The 2006 and 2007 final harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (71 FR 10894, March 3, 2006) establish the 2006 and 2007 Pacific cod ABCs as 194,000 metric tons (mt) and 148,000 mt, respectively. The TACs are set equal to the ABCs for Pacific cod in the BSAI.

On March 1, 2006, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced by emergency regulation, a Pacific cod guideline harvest level (GHL), west of 170 degrees west longitude in the Aleutian Islands subarea, equal to 3% of the Pacific cod ABC in the BSAI established in the final harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (71 FR 10984, March 3, 2006).

As of March 1, 2006, the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, (Regional Administrator) has determined that the current TACs are incorrectly specified and an adjustment is necessary to prevent exceeding the ABC. The best available scientific information for the Pacific cod fisheries in the BSAI indicates that the addition of a state waters GHL in the Aleutian Islands subarea would result in overall harvest amounts that exceed the 2006 and 2007 Pacific cod ABCs in the BSAI. The Council, its Advisory Panel, and its Scientific and Statistical Committee have determined that the acceptable harvest level for the combined State and Federal Pacific cod fisheries should not exceed the ABC since this could result in an unacceptable change in the biological stock status of Pacific cod in the BSAI. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.25(a)(1)(iii) and (2)(iv), the Regional Administrator adjusts the 2006 and 2007 Pacific cod TACs in the BSAI.

Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(7), Tables 1, 2, 5, 12, and 14 of the 2006 and 2007 final harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (71 FR 10894, March 3, 2006) are revised for the 2006 and 2007 Pacific cod TACs consistent with this adjustment.

Table 1.—2006 and 2007 Overfishing Level (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC), Total Allowable Catch (TAC), Initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ Reserve Allocation of Groundfish in the BSAI 1

[Amounts are in metric tons]

SpeciesArea20062007
OFLABCTACITAC 2CDQ 3OFLABCTACITAC 2CDQ 3
Pollock 4BS 22,090,0001,930,0001,485,0001,336,500148,5001,930,0001,790,0001,500,0001,350,000150,000
AI 239,10029,40019,00017,1001,90039,10029,40019,00017,1001,900
Bogoslof50,6005,5001010n/a50,6005,5001010n/a
Pacific codBSAI230,000194,000188,180159,95314,114176,000148,000143,560122,02610,767
Sablefish 5BS3,6803,0602,8202,3273883,2602,7002,7001,148101
AI3,7403,1003,0002,4384993,3002,7402,74058251
Atka mackerelBSAI130,000110,00063,00053,5504,725107,00091,00063,00053,5504,725
EAI/BSn/a21,7807,5006,375563n/a18,0207,5006,375563
CAIn/a46,86040,00034,0003,000n/a38,76038,00032,3002,850
WAIn/a41,36015,50013,1751,163n/a34,22017,50014,8751,313
Yellowfin soleBSAI144,000121,00095,70181,3467,178137,000116,000107,64191,4958,073
Rock soleBSAI150,000126,00041,50035,2753,113145,000122,00044,00037,4003,300
Greenland turbotBSAI14,2002,7402,7402,32920613,4002,6302,6302,236197
BSn/a1,8901,8901,607142n/a1,8151,8151,543136
AIn/a85085072364n/a81581569361
Arrowtooth flounderBSAI166,000136,00013,00011,050975174,000142,00018,00015,3001,350
Flathead soleBSAI71,80059,80019,50016,5751,46367,90056,60022,00018,7001,650
Other flatfish 6BSAI24,20018,1003,5002,97526324,20018,1005,0004,250375
Alaska plaiceBSAI237,000188,0008,0006,800600231,000183,00015,00012,7501,125
Pacific ocean perchBSAI17,60014,80012,60010,71094517,60014,80014,80012,5801,110
BSn/a2,9601,4001,190105n/a2,9602,9602,516222
EAIn/a3,2563,0802,618231n/a3,2563,2562,768244
CAIn/a3,2123,0352,580228n/a3,2123,2122,730241
WAIn/a5,3725,0854,322381n/a5,3755,3724,566403
Northern rockfishBSAI10,1008,5304,5003,8253389,8908,3205,0004,250375
Shortraker rockfishBSAI7745805804934477458058049344
Rougheye rockfishBSAI2992242241901729922422419017
Other rockfish 7BSAI1,8701,4001,050893791,8701,4001,4001,190105
BSn/a81046039135n/a81081068961
AIn/a59059050244n/a59059050244
SquidBSAI2,6201,9701,2751,084n/a2,6201,9701,2751,084n/a
Other species 8BSAI89,40458,88229,00024,6502,17589,40462,95027,00022,9502,025
Total3,476,9873,013,0861,994,1801,770,073187,5223,224,2172,799,9141,995,5601,769,284187,290
1 These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District.
2 Except for pollock and the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, 15 percent of each TAC is put into a reserve. The ITAC for each species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves.
3 Except for pollock, squid and the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of sablefish, one half of the amount of the TACs placed in reserve, or 7.5 percent of the TACs, is designated as a CDQ reserve for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(iii) and 679.31).
4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), the annual Bering Sea pollock TAC after subtraction for the CDQ directed fishing allowance−10 percent and the ICA−3.35 percent, is further allocated by sector for a directed pollock fishery as follows: Inshore−50 percent; catcher/processor−40 percent; and motherships−10 percent. 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 for the ICA−1,800 mt, is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery.
5 Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear and 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(iii)).
6 “Other flatfish” includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder and Alaska plaice.
7 “Other rockfish” includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern, shortraker, and rougheye rockfish.
8 “Other species” includes sculpins, sharks, skates and octopus. Forage fish, as defined at § 679.2, are not included in the “other species” category.
Start Printed Page 13779

Table 2.—2006 and 2007 Apportionment of Reserves to ITAC Categories

[Amounts are in metric tons]

Species—area or subarea2006 reserve amount2006 final ITAC2007 reserve amount2007 final ITAC
Atka mackerel—Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea5636,9385636,938
Atka mackerel—Central Aleutian District3,00037,0002,85035,150
Atka mackerel—Western Aleutian District1,16314,3381,31316,188
Pacific ocean perch—Eastern Aleutian District2312,8492443,012
Pacific ocean perch—Central Aleutian District2282,8082412,971
Pacific ocean perch—Western Aleutian District3814,7034034,969
Pacific cod—BSAI14,113174,06610,767132,793
Shortraker rockfish—BSAI4453744537
Rougheye rockfish—BSAI1720717207
Northern rockfish—BSAI3384,1633754,625
Other rockfish—Bering Sea subarea3542661750
Total20,113248,03516,878208,140

Table 5.—2006 and 2007 Gear Shares and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI Pacific Cod ITAC

[Amounts are in metric tons]

Gear sectorPercent2006 share of gear sector total2006 subtotal percentages for gear sectors2006 share of gear sector total2006 seasonal apportionment 12007 share of gear sector total2007 subtotal percentages for gear sectors2007 share of gear sector total2007 seasonal apportionment 1
DateAmountDateAmount
Total hook-and-line/pot gear5188,774n/an/an/an/a67,724n/an/an/an/a
Hook-and-line/pot ICAn/an/an/a500n/an/an/an/a500n/an/a
Hook-and-line/pot subtotaln/a88,274n/an/an/an/a67,224n/an/an/an/a
Hook-and-line C/Pn/an/a8070,619Jan 1-Jun 1042,372n/a8053,780Jan 1-Jun 1032,268
June 10-Dec 3128,248Jun 10-Dec 3121,512
Hook-and-line CVn/an/a0.3265Jan 1-Jun 10159n/a0.3202Jan 1-Jun 10121
June 10-Dec 31106Jun 10-Dec 3181
Pot C/Pn/an/a3.32,913Jan 1-Jun 101,749n/a3.32,218Jan 1-Jun101,331
Sept 1-Dec 311,165Sept 1-Dec 31887
Pot CVn/an/a1513,241Jan 1-Jun 107,945n/a1510,084Jan 1-Jun 106,050
Sept 1-Dec 315,296Sept 1-Dec 314,033
CV < 60 feet LOA using Hook-and-line or Pot gearn/an/a1.41,236n/an/an/a1.4941n/an/a
Total Trawl Gear4781,811n/an/an/an/a62,413n/an/an/an/a
Trawl CV5040,906Jan 20-Apr 128,6345031,206Jan 20-Apr 121,844
n/aApr 1-Jun 104,091n/aApr 1-Jun 103,121
n/aJun 10-Nov 18,181n/aJun 10-Nov 16,241
Trawl CP5040,906Jan 20-Apr 120,4535031,206Jan 20-Apr 115,603
n/aApr 1-Jun 1012,272n/aApr 1-Jun 109,362
n/aJun 10-Nov 18,181n/aJun 10-Nov 16,241
Jig23,481n/an/aJan 1-Apr 301,3932,656n/an/aJan 1-Apr 301,062
n/an/aApr 30-Aug 31696n/an/aApr 30-Aug 31531
n/an/aAug 31-Dec 311,392n/an/aAug 31-Dec 311,062
Total100174,066n/an/an/an/a132,793n/an/an/an/a
1 For most non-trawl gear the first season is allocated 60 percent of the ITAC and the second season is allocated 40 percent of the ITAC. For jig gear, the first season and third seasons are each allocated 40 percent of the ITAC and the second season is allocated 20 percent of the ITAC. No seasonal harvest constraints are imposed for the Pacific cod fishery by catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. For trawl gear, the first season is allocated 60 percent of the ITAC and the second and third seasons are each allocated 20 percent of the ITAC. The trawl catcher vessels' allocation is further allocated as 70 percent in the first season, 10 percent in the second season and 20 percent in the third season. The trawl catcher/processors' allocation is allocated 50 percent in the first season, 30 percent in the second season and 20 percent in the third season. Any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance will be reapportioned to the next seasonal allowance.

Table 12.—2006 and 2007 Listed BSAI American Fisheries Act Catcher/Processor Groundfish Sideboard Limits

[Amounts are in metric tons]

Target speciesArea1995-19972006 ITAC available to trawl C/Ps2006 C/P sideboard limit2007 ITAC available to trawl C/Ps2007 C/P sideboard limit
Retained catchTotal catchRatio of retained catch to total catch
Pacific cod trawlBSAI12,42448,1770.25840,90610,55431,2068,051
Sablefish trawlBS84970.0161,199191,14818
AI01450.00063805820
Atka mackerelCentral AIn/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
A season 1n/an/a0.11518,5002,12817,5752,021
HLA limit 2n/an/an/a11,1001,27710,5451,213
B season 1n/an/a0.11518,5002,12817,5752,021
Start Printed Page 13780
HLA limit 2n/an/an/a11,1001,27710,5451,213
Western AIn/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
A season 1n/an/a0.2007,1691,4348,0941,619
HLA limit 2n/an/an/a4,3018604,856971
B season 1n/an/a0.2007,1691,4348,0941,619
HLA limit 2n/an/an/a4,3018604,856971
Yellowfin soleBSAI100,192435,7880.23081,34618,71091,49521,044
Rock soleBSAI6,317169,3620.03735,2751,30537,4001,384
Greenland turbotBS12117,3050.0071,607111,54311
AI234,9870.00572346933
Arrowtooth flounderBSAI7633,9870.00211,0502215,30031
Flathead soleBSAI1,92552,7550.03616,57559718,700673
Alaska plaiceBSAI149,4380.0016,800712,75013
Other flatfishBSAI3,05852,2980.0582,9751734,250247
Pacific ocean perchBS124,8790.0021,19022,5165
Eastern AI1256,1790.0202,849573,01260
Central AI35,6980.0012,80832,9713
Western AI5413,5980.0044,703194,96920
Northern rockfishBSAI9113,0400.0074,163294,62532
Shortraker rockfishBSAI502,8110.0185371053710
Rougheye rockfishBSAI502,8110.01820742074
Other rockfishBS186210.0294261275022
AI228060.0275021450214
SquidBSAI733,3280.0221,084241,08424
Other speciesBSAI55368,6720.00824,65019722,950184
1 The seasonal apportionment of Atka mackerel in the open access fishery is 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. Listed AFA catcher/processors are limited to harvesting no more than zero in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea, 20 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Western Aleutian District, and 11.5 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Central Aleutian District.
2 Harvest Limit Area (HLA) limit refers to the amount of each seasonal allowance that is available for fishing inside the HLA (see § 679.2). In 2006 and 2007, 60 percent of each seasonal allowance is available for fishing inside the HLA in the Western and Central Aleutian Districts.

Table 14.—2006 and 2007 BSAI American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Sideboard Limits

[Amounts are in metric tons]

SpeciesFishery by area/season/processor/gearRatio of 1995-1997 AFA CV catch to 1995-1997 TAC2006 initial TAC2006 catcher vessel sideboard limits2007 initial TAC2007 catcher vessel sideboard limits
Pacific codBSAIn/an/an/an/an/a
Jig gear0.00003,48102,6560
Hook-and-line CVn/an/an/an/an/a
Jan 1-Jun 100.000615901210
Jun 10-Dec 310.00061060810
Pot gear CVn/an/an/an/an/a
Jan 1-Jun 100.00067,94556,0504
Sept 1-Dec 310.00065,29634,0332
CV < 60 feet LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear0.00061,23619411
Trawl gear CVn/an/an/an/an/a
Jan 20-Apr 10.860928,63424,65121,84418,805
Apr 1-Jun 100.86094,0913,5223,1212,687
Jun 10-Nov 10.86098,1817,0436,2415,373
SablefishBS trawl gear0.09061,1991091,148104
AI trawl gear0.06456384158238
Atka mackerelEastern AI/BSn/an/an/an/an/a
Jig gear0.0031690690
Other gearn/an/an/an/an/a
Jan 1-Apr 150.00323,434113,43411
Sept 1-Nov 10.00323,434113,43411
Central AIn/an/an/an/an/a
Jan-Apr 150.000118,500217,5752
HLA limit0.000111,100110,5451
Sept 1-Nov 10.000118,500217,5752
HLA limit0.000111,100110,5451
Western AIn/an/an/an/an/a
Jan-Apr 150.00007,16908,0940
Start Printed Page 13781
HLA limitn/a4,30104,8560
Sept 1-Nov 10.00007,16908,0940
HLA limitn/a4,30104,8560
Yellowfin soleBSAI0.064781,3465,26391,4955,920
Rock soleBSAI0.034135,2751,20337,4001,275
Greenland TurbotBS0.06451,6071041,543100
AI0.02057231569314
Arrowtooth flounderBSAI0.069011,05076215,3001,056
Alaska plaiceBSAI0.04416,80030012,750562
Other flatfishBSAI0.04412,9751314,250187
Pacific ocean perchBS0.10001,1901192,516252
Eastern AI0.00772,849223,01223
Central AI0.00252,80872,9717
Western AI0.00004,70304,9690
Northern rockfishBSAI0.00844,163354,62539
Shortraker rockfishBSAI0.003753725372
Rougheye rockfishBSAI0.003720712071
Other rockfishBS0.004842627504
AI0.009550255025
SquidBSAI0.38271,0844151,084415
Other speciesBSAI0.054124,6501,33422,9501,242
Flathead SoleBS trawl gear0.050516,57583718,700944

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 adjustment of the 2006 and 2007 Pacific cod TACs to account for the state waters GHL in the Aleutian Islands subarea. On March 1, 2006, ADF&G announced the state waters GHL in the Aleutian Islands subarea. Since the 2006 fisheries are currently underway and the 2006 and 2007 TACs are jointly established, it is necessary to immediately adjust the TACs to avoid overharvesting gear shares and seasonal allowances of Pacific cod in the BSAI. Immediate adjustment is necessary to allow for the orderly conduct and efficient operation of this fishery, allow the industry to plan for the remainder of the 2006 and 2007 fishing seasons, and avoid potential disruption to the fishing fleet and processors.

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

Start Authority

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

End Authority Start Signature

Dated: March 14, 2006.

James P. Burgess,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 06-2616 Filed 3-14-06; 2:34 pm]

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