Skip to Content

Rule

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

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amounts of the Aleut Corporation's pollock directed fishing allowance from the Aleutian Islands subarea to the Bering Sea subarea directed fisheries. This action is necessary to provide opportunity for harvest of the 2015 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.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), August 27, 2015, until 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2015.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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 2015 pollock total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to the Aleut Corporation's directed fishing allowance (DFA) is 12,146 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015), and through reallocation (80 FR 15695, March 25, 2015).

As of August 19, 2015, the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, (Regional Administrator) has determined that 10,000 metric tons (mt) of Aleut Corporation's DFA will not be harvested. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(4), NMFS reallocates 10,000 mt of Aleut Corporation's DFA from the Aleutian Islands subarea to the 2015 Bering Sea subarea allocations. The 10,000 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 2015 Bering Sea pollock incidental catch allowance remains at 47,160 mt. As a result, the harvest specifications for pollock in the Aleutian Islands subarea included in the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015), and revised (80 FR 15695, March 25, 2015), are further revised as follows: 2,146 mt to Aleut Corporation's DFA. Furthermore, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5), Table 4 of the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015), and revised (80 FR 15695, March 25, 2015), is further revised as follows to make 2015 pollock allocations consistent with this reallocation. This reallocation results in an adjustment to the 2015 Aleut Corporation allocation established at § 679.20(a)(5).Start Printed Page 51962

Table 4—Final 2015 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 sector2015 Allocations2015 A season 12015 B season 1
A season DFASCA harvest limit 2B season DFA
Bering Sea subarea TAC 11,324,454n/an/an/a
CDQ DFA132,90053,16037,21279,740
ICA 147,160n/an/an/a
AFA Inshore572,197228,879160,215343,318
AFA Catcher/Processors 3457,758183,103128,172274,655
Catch by C/Ps418,848167,539n/a251,309
Catch by CVs 338,90915,564n/a23,346
Unlisted C/P Limit 42,289916n/a1,373
AFA Motherships114,43945,77632,04368,664
Excessive Harvesting Limit 5200,269n/an/an/a
Excessive Processing Limit 6343,318n/an/an/a
Total Bering Sea DFA1,144,394457,758320,430686,636
Aleutian Islands subarea ABC29,659n/an/an/a
Aleutian Islands subarea TAC 14,546n/an/an/a
CDQ DFA00n/a0
ICA2,4001,200n/a1,200
Aleut Corporation2,1462,146n/a0
Area harvest limit
5418,898n/an/an/a
5424,449n/an/an/a
5431,483n/an/an/a
Bogoslof District ICA 7100n/an/an/a
1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the BS subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4.0 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 (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed 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 pollock directed fishery.
2 In the BS subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before 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 non-CDQ 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 non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC.
8 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.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

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 AI 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 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 August 19, 2015.

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.

Start Authority

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

End Authority Start Signature

Dated: August 21, 2015.

Alan D. Risenhoover,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2015-21144 Filed 8-26-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-P