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Rule

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

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; reallocation.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amounts of the Aleut Corporation's pollock directed fishing allowance (DFA) and the Aleutian Islands pollock incidental catch allowance (ICA) from the Aleutian Islands subarea to the Bering Sea subarea directed fisheries. These actions are necessary to provide opportunity for harvest of the 2006 total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock, consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP).

DATES:

Effective October 6, 2006, through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), December 31, 2006.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jennifer Hogan, 907-586-7228.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) according to the 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.

In the Aleutian Islands subarea, the portion of the 2006 pollock TAC allocated to the Aleut Corporation's DFA is 5,500 metric tons (mt) and the ICA is 1,800 mt as established by the 2006 and 2007 final harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (71 FR 10894, March 3, 2006) and the reallocation on March 3, 2006 (71 FR 11541, March 8, 2006) and on August 16, 2006 (71 FR 48483, August 21, 2006).

As of October 2, 2006, the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, (Regional Administrator) has determined that 4,603 mt of Aleut Corporation's DFA and 700 mt of ICA pollock in the Aleutian Islands subarea will not be harvested. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(4), NMFS proportionally reallocates 4,603 mt of Aleut Corporation's DFA and 700 mt of ICA pollock from the Aleutian Islands subarea to the 2006 Bering Sea subarea B season allocations.

As a result, the harvest specifications for pollock in the Aleutian Islands subarea included in the harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (71 FR 48483, August 21, 2006) are revised as follows: 897 mt to Aleut Corporation's DFA and 1,100 mt to ICA pollock. Furthermore, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5), Tables 3 and 10 of the 2006 and 2007 final harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (71 FR 48483, August 21, 2006) are revised for 2006 pollock allocations consistent with this reallocation. This reallocation results in proportional adjustments to the 2006 B season Aleut Corporation and ICA pollock allocations established at § 679.20(a)(5).Start Printed Page 59408

TABLE 3 - 2006 AND 2007 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA)1

[Amounts are in metric tons]

Area and sector2006 Allocations2006 A season12006 B season1
A season DFASCA harvest limit2B season DFA
Bering Sea subarea1,502,003n/an/an/a
CDQ DFA150,40060,16041,79390,240
ICA30,967n/an/an/a
AFA Inshore660,318261,148181,626399,170
AFA Catcher/Processors3528,254208,918145,301319,336
Catch by C/Ps483,353191,160n/a292,193
Catch by CVs344,90217,758n/a27,144
Unlisted C/P Limit42,6411,045n/a1,597
AFA Motherships132,06452,23036,32579,834
Excessive Harvesting Limit5231,111n/an/an/a
Excessive Processing Limit6396,191n/an/an/a
Total Bering Sea DFA1,471,636582,456405,045888,580
Aleutian Islands subarea11,997n/an/an/a
CDQ DFA0n/an/a0
ICA1,100400n/a600
Aleut Corporation897359n/a538
Bogoslof District ICA710n/an/an/a
1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the Bering Sea subarea pollock, after subtraction for the CDQ DFA - 10 percent and the ICA - 3.35 percent, is allocated as a DFA as follows: inshore component - 50 percent, catcher/processor component - 40 percent, and mothership component - 10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, the A season, January 20 - June 10, is allocated 40 percent of the DFA and the B season, June 10 - November 1, is allocated 60 percent of the DFA. 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 - 1,800 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 Bering Sea 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 28 percent of the annual DFA is not taken inside the SCA before April 1, the remainder is available to be taken inside the SCA after April 1.
3 Pursuant 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.
4 Pursuant 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.
5 Pursuant 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 pollock DFAs.
6 Pursuant 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 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.

TABLE 10 - 2006 AND 2007 BERING SEA SUBAREA INSHORE COOPERATIVE ALLOCATIONS

[Amounts are in metric tons]

Cooperative name and member vesselsSum of member vessel's official catch histories 1 (mt)Percentage of inshore sector allocation2006 Annual cooperative allocation (mt)2007 Annual cooperative allocation (mt)
Akutan Catcher Vessel Association31,14531.145205,656203,186
Arctic Enterprise Association1,1461.1467,5667,476
Northern Victor Fleet Cooperative8,4128.41255,54854,879
Peter Pan Fleet Cooperative2,8762.87618,99218,763
Unalaska Cooperative12,19112.19180,49779,533
UniSea Fleet Cooperative25,32425.324167,220165,211
Westward Fleet Cooperative18,90618.906124,838123,340
Open access AFA vessels0000
Total inshore allocation875,572100660,318652,388
1 According to regulations at § 679.62(e)(1), the individual catch history for each vessel is equal to the vessel's best 2 of 3 years inshore pollock landings from 1995 through 1997 and includes landings to catcher/processors for vessels that made 500 or more mt of landings to catcher/processors from 1995 through 1997.
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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 reallocation of BSAI pollock. Since the pollock fishery is currently open, 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 B season pollock allocations while value is optimum.

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.

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

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Dated: October 3, 2006.

James P. Burgess,

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

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[FR Doc. E6-16674 Filed 10-6-06; 8:45 am]

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