National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Temporary rule; reallocation.
NMFS is exchanging unused flathead sole and rock sole Community Development Quota (CDQ) for yellowfin sole CDQ acceptable biological catch (ABC) reserves in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. This action is necessary to allow the 2017 total allowable catch of yellowfin sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area to be harvested.
Effective October 18, 2017 through December 31, 2017.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.
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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 Start Printed Page 48461Act. 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 2017 flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole CDQ reserves specified in the BSAI are 1,463 metric tons (mt), 5,490 mt, and 16,117 mt as established by the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (82 FR 11826, February 27, 2017) and revised by flatfish exchange (82 FR 46422, October 5, 2017). The 2017 flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole CDQ ABC reserves are 5,843 mt, 11,106 mt and 11,789 mt as established by the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (82 FR 11826, February 27, 2017) and revised by flatfish exchange (82 FR 46422, October 5, 2017).
The Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation has requested that NMFS exchange 175 mt of flathead sole CDQ reserves and 180 mt of rock sole CDQ reserves for 355 mt of yellowfin sole CDQ ABC reserves under § 679.31(d). Therefore, in accordance with § 679.31(d), NMFS exchanges 175 mt of flathead sole CDQ reserves and 180 mt of rock sole CDQ reserves for 355 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 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (82 FR 11826, February 27, 2017), and revised by flatfish exchange (82 FR 46422, October 5, 2017), are further revised as follows:
Table 11—Final 2017 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]
|Sector||Pacific ocean perch||Flathead sole||Rock sole||Yellowfin sole|
|BSAI trawl limited access||695||619||161||0||0||18,151|
|Alaska Groundfish Cooperative||3,319||2,954||4,171||918||9,168||45,638|
|Alaska Seafood Cooperative||2,940||2,617||3,695||8,031||27,893||69,233|
|Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.|
Table 13—Final 2017 and 2018 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]
|Sector||2017 Flathead sole||2017 Rock sole||2017 Yellowfin sole||2018 Flathead sole||2018 Rock sole||2018 Yellowfin sole|
|CDQ ABC reserve||6,018||11,286||11,434||5,528||10,272||10,358|
|Amendment 80 ABC reserve||48,024||96,444||95,372||46,136||85,728||86,442|
|Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for 2017 1||4,926||23,857||37,891||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Alaska Seafood Cooperative for 2017 1||43,098||72,587||57,481||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|1 The 2018 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, 2017.|
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 Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation 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 October 10, 2017.
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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Dated: October 13, 2017.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-22612 Filed 10-17-17; 8:45 am]
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