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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Exchange of Flatfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; reallocation.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is exchanging unused Community Development Quota (CDQ) for CDQ acceptable biological catch (ABC) reserves. This action is necessary to allow the 2015 total allowable catch of flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area to be harvested.

DATES:

Effective September 1, 2015.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Steve Whitney, 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 Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (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 2015 flathead sole, rock sole and yellowfin sole CDQ reserves specified in the BSAI are 2,545 metric tons (mt), Start Printed Page 526747,710 mt, and 15,693 mt as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015) and following revisions (80 FR 38017, July 2, 2015). The 2015 flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole CDQ ABC reserves are 4,531 mt, 11,732 mt, and 10,929 mt as established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015) and following revisions (80 FR 38017, July 2, 2015).

The Coastal Villages Regional Fund has requested that NMFS exchange 125 mt of flathead sole and 175 mt of rock sole CDQ reserves for 300 mt of yellowfin sole CDQ ABC reserves under § 679.31(d). Therefore, in accordance with § 679.31(d), NMFS exchanges 125 mt of flathead sole and 175 mt of rock sole CDQ reserves for 300 mt of yellowfin sole CDQ ABC reserves in the BSAI. This action also decreases and increases the TACs and CDQ ABC reserves by the corresponding amounts. Tables 11 and 13 of the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015) and following revisions (80 FR 38017, July 2, 2015) are further revised as follows:

Table 11—Final 2015 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment 80 Allocations of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACS

[Amounts are in metric tons]

SectorPacific ocean perchFlathead soleRock soleYellowfin sole
Eastern Aleutian districtCentral Aleutian districtWestern Aleutian districtBSAIBSAIBSAI
TAC8,0007,0009,00024,07569,375149,050
CDQ8567499632,4207,53515,993
ICA10075105,0008,0005,000
BSAI trawl limited access7046181610016,165
Amendment 806,3405,5587,86616,65553,840111,892
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative3,3622,9474,1711,70813,31844,455
Alaska Seafood Cooperative2,9782,6113,69514,94740,52267,437
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Table 13—Final 2015 and 2016 ABC Surplus, Community Development Quota (CDQ) ABC Reserves, and Amendment 80 ABC Reserves in the BSAI for Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole

[Amounts are in metric tons]

Sector2015 Flathead sole2015 Rock sole2015 Yellowfin sole2016 Flathead sole2016 Rock sole2016 Yellowfin sole
ABC66,130181,700248,80063,711164,800245,500
TAC24,07569,375149,05024,25069,250149,000
ABC surplus42,055112,32599,75039,46195,55096,500
ABC reserve42,055112,32599,75039,46195,55096,500
CDQ ABC reserve4,65611,90710,6294,22210,22410,326
Amendment 80 ABC reserve37,399100,41889,12135,23985,32686,175
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for 201513,83624,84035,408n/an/an/a
Alaska Seafood Cooperative for 2015133,56375,57853,713n/an/an/a
1 The 2016 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2015.

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 flatfish exchange by the Coastal Villages Regional Fund in the BSAI. Since these fisheries are currently open, it is important to immediately inform the industry as to the revised allocations. Immediate notification is necessary to allow for the orderly conduct and efficient operation of this fishery, to allow the industry to plan for the fishing season, and to avoid potential disruption to the fishing fleet as well as processors. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of August 21, 2015.

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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.

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Dated: August 26, 2015.

Emily H. Menashes,

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

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[FR Doc. 2015-21540 Filed 8-31-15; 8:45 am]

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