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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2007 A and B Season Allowances of Pollock in Statistical Area 620 in the Gulf of Alaska

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; inseason adjustment; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is adjusting the A and B season allowances of pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary because the current A and B season allowances of pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the GOA are incorrectly specified and to ensure the A and B season catch of pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the GOA does not exceed the appropriate amount, based on the best available scientific information for pollock in the GOA. This action is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 16, 2007, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., April 15, 2007, unless otherwise modified or superceded through publication of a notification in the Federal Register.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 31, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Comments may be submitted by:

  • Mail to: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802;
  • Hand delivery to the Federal Building, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, Alaska;
  • FAX to 907-586-7557;
  • E-mail to 620PLCKADJUSTMENT@noaa.gov and include the subject line of the e-mail comment the document identifier: 620PLCKADJUSTMENT (E-mail comments, with or without attachments, are limited to 5 megabytes); or
  • Webform at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions at that site for submitting comments.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jennifer Hogan, 907-586-7228.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (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 2007 total allowable catch of pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the GOA is 24,275 metric tons (mt) as established by the 2006 and 2007 harvest specification for groundfish in the GOA (71 FR 10870, March 3, 2006). The A season allowance is 8,910 mt and the B season allowance is 10,663 mt for pollock in Statistical area 620 of the GOA as established by the 2006 and 2007 harvest specification for groundfish in the GOA (71 FR 10870, March 3, 2006).

In December 2006, the Council recommended 2007 A and B season allowances of pollock in Statistical Area 620 of 7,357 mt and 8,924 mt, respectively. This amount is less than the A and B season allowances currently established by the 2006 and 2007 harvest specification for groundfish in the GOA (71 FR 10870, March 3, 2006). The A and B season allowances as recommended by the Council are based on the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation report (SAFE), dated November 2006, which is the best available scientific information for this fishery.

In accordance with § 679.25(a)(2)(i)(B), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined, based on the November 2006 SAFE report for this fishery, that the current A and B season allowances of pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the GOA are incorrectly specified. Consequently, the Regional Administrator is adjusting the 2007 A and B season allowances of pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the GOA to 7,357 mt and 8,924 mt, respectively.

Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv), Tables 6, 13, and 16 of the 2006 and 2007 final harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA (71 FR 10870, March 3, 2006) are revised for the 2007 A and B season allowances of pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the GOA consistent with this adjustment.Start Printed Page 1672

Table 6 - Final 2007 Distribution of Pollock in the Central and Western Regulatory Areas of the Gulf of Alaska; Seasonal Biomass Distribution, Area Apportionments; and Seasonal Allowances of Annual TAC.

[Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]

Area Apportionments Resulting From Seasonal Distribution of Biomass
SeasonShumagin (Area 610)Chirikof (Area 620)Kodiak (Area 630)Total
A3,352 (21.63%)7,357 (52.76%)3,234 (20.87%)13,943 (100%)
B3,352 (21.63%)8,924 (64.87%)1,481 (9.56%)13,757 (100%)
C8,159 (52.65%)2,351 (15.17%)4,986 (32.18%)15,496 (100%)
D8,159 (52.65%)2,351 (15.17%)4,986 (32.18%)15,496 (100%)
Annual Total23,02220,98314,68758,692

Table 13 - Final 2007 GOA Non-Exempt American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel (CV) Groundfish Harvest Sideboard Limitations.

[Values are in metric tons]

SpeciesApportionments and allocations by area/season/processor/gearRatio of 1995-1997 non-exempt AFA CV catch to 1995-1997 TAC2007 TAC2007 non-exempt AFA catcher vessel sideboard
PollockA Season (W/C areas only) January 20 - February 25
Shumagin (610)0.61123,3522,049
Chirikof (620)0.14277,3571,050
Kodiak (630)0.24383,234788
B Season (W/C areas only) March 10 - May 31
Shumagin (610)0.61123,3522,049
Chirikof (620)0.14278,9241,274
Kodiak (630)0.24381,481361
C Season (W/C areas only) August 25 - September 15
Shumagin (610)0.61128,1594,987
Chirikof (620)0.14272,351335
Kodiak (630)0.24384,9861,216
D Season (W/C areas only) October 1 - November 1
Shumagin (610)0.61128,1594,987
Chirikof (620)0.14272,351335
Kodiak (630)0.24384,9861,216
Annual
WYK (640)0.34991,426499
SEO (650)0.34996,1572,154
Pacific codA Season1 January 1 - June 10
W inshore0.14237,8131,112
W offshore0.102686889
C inshore0.072211,019796
C offshore0.07211,22488
B Season2 September 1 - December 31
W inshore0.14235,209741
W offshore0.102657959
C inshore0.07227,346530
C offshore0.072181659
Annual
E inshore0.00792,40419
E offshore0.00782672
Flatfish deep-waterW0.0000421
C0.06704,145278
E0.01714,11170
Start Printed Page 1673
Rex soleW0.00101,0961
C0.04025,207209
E0.01532,39737
Flathead soleW0.00362,0007
C0.02615,000131
E0.00482,15310
Flatfish shallow-waterW0.01564,50070
C0.059813,000777
E0.01262,47231
Arrowtooth flounderW0.00218,00017
C0.030925,000773
E0.00205,00010
SablefishW trawl gear0.00004720
C trawl gear0.07201,12681
E trawl gear0.048825713
Pacific ocean perchW0.06234,290267
C0.08667,660663
E0.04662,776129
Shortraker rockfishW0.00001530
C0.02373538
E0.01243374
Rougheye rockfishW0.00001330
C0.023759614
E0.01242353
Other rockfishW0.00345772
C0.206538680
E0.00005170
Northern rockfishW0.00031,4830
C0.03363,608121
Pelagic shelf rockfishW0.00011,4630
C0.00003,3180
E0.00677495
Thornyhead rockfishW0.030851316
C0.030898930
E0.030870722
Big skatesW0.00906956
C0.00902,25020
E0.00905995
Longnose skatesW0.0090651
C0.00901,96918
E0.00908618
Other skatesGW0.00901,61715
Demersal shelf rockfishSEO0.00204101
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Atka mackerelGulfwide0.03091,50046
Other speciesGulfwide0.009012,229110
1 The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
2 The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

Table 16 - Final 2007 GOA Non American Fisheries Act Crab Vessel (CV) Groundfish Harvest Sideboard Limitations.

[Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]

SpeciesApportionments and allocations by area/season/processor/gearRatio of 1996-2000 non-AFA CV catch to 1996-2000 total harvest2007 TAC2007 non-AFA crab vessel sideboard
PollockA Season (W/C areas only) January 20 - March 10
Shumagin (610)0.00983,35233
Chirikof (620)0.00317,35723
Kodiak (630)0.00023,2341
B Season (W/C areas only) March 10 - May 31
Shumagin (610)0.00983,35233
Chirikof (620)0.00318,92428
Kodiak (630)0.00021,4810
C Season (W/C areas only) August 25 - October 1
Shumagin (610)0.00988,15980
Chirikof (620)0.00312,3517
Kodiak (630)0.00024,9861
D Season (W/C areas only) October 1 - November 1
Shumagin (610)0.00988,15980
Chirikof (620)0.00312,3517
Kodiak (630)0.00024,9861
Annual
WYK (640)0.00001,4260
SEO (650)0.00006,1570
Pacific codA Season1 January 1 - June 10
W inshore0.09027,813705
W offshore0.2046868178
C inshore0.038311,019422
C offshore0.20741,224254
B Season2 September 1 - December 31
W inshore0.09025,209470
W offshore0.2046579118
C inshore0.03837,346281
C offshore0.2074816169
Annual
E inshore0.01102,40426
E offshore0.00002670
Flatfish deep-waterW0.00354211
C0.00004,1450
E0.00004,1110
Rex soleW0.00001,0960
C0.00005,2070
Start Printed Page 1675
E0.00002,3970
Flathead soleW0.00022,0000
C0.00045,0002
E0.00002,1530
Flatfish shallow-waterW0.00594,50027
C0.000113,0001
E0.00002,4720
Arrowtooth flounderW0.00048,0003
C0.000125,0003
E0.00005,0000
SablefishW trawl gear0.00004720
C trawl gear0.00001,1260
E trawl gear0.00002570
Pacific ocean perchW0.00004,2900
C0.00007,6600
E0.00002,7760
Shortraker rockfishW0.00131530
C0.00123530
E0.00093370
Rougheye rockfishW0.00671331
C0.00475963
E0.00082350
Other rockfishW0.00355772
C0.00333861
E0.00005170
Northern rockfishW0.00051,4831
C0.00003,6080
Pelagic shelf rockfishW0.00171,4632
C0.00003,3180
E0.00007490
Thornyhead rockfishW0.00475132
C0.00669897
E0.00457073
Big skatesW0.039269527
C0.01592,25036
E0.00005990
Longnose skateW0.0392653
C0.01591,96936
E0.00008610
Other skatesGW0.01761,61728
Demersal shelf rockfishSEO0.00004100
Atka mackerelGulfwide0.00001,5000
Start Printed Page 1676
Other speciesGulfwide0.017612,229215
1 The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
2 The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

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) and 679.25(c)(2) 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 allow for harvests that exceed the appropriate A and B season allowances of pollock in Statistical Area 620 of the GOA based on the best scientific information available. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of December 19, 2006, and additional time for prior public comment would result in conservation concerns.

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.

Under § 679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action to the above address until January 31, 2007.

This action is required by § 679.22 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

Start Authority

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

End Authority Start Signature

Dated: January 8, 2007.

James P. Burgess,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 07-120 Filed 1-10-07; 12:43 pm]

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