National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Notification of standard ex-vessel prices.
NMFS publishes standard ex-vessel prices for groundfish and halibut for the calculation of the observer fee under the North Pacific Observer Program (Observer Program). This notice is intended to provide information to vessel owners, processors, registered buyers, and other participants about the standard ex-vessel prices that will be used to Start Printed Page 60705calculate the observer fee for landings of groundfish and halibut made in 2018. NMFS will send invoices to processors and registered buyers subject to the fee by January 15, 2019. Fees are due to NMFS on or before February 15, 2019.
The standard prices are valid on January 1, 2018.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
For general questions about the observer fee and standard ex-vessel prices, contact Alicia M. Miller at (907)586-7471. For questions about the fee billing process, contact Carl Greene at (907)586-7003. Additional information about the Observer Program is available on NMFS Alaska Region's website at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/observer-program.
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Start Supplemental Information
Regulations at 50 CFR 679 subpart E, governing the Observer Program, require the deployment of NMFS-certified observers (observers) to collect information necessary for the conservation and management of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) and Gulf of Alaska (GOA) groundfish and halibut fisheries. Fishery managers use information collected by observers to monitor quotas, manage groundfish and prohibited species catch, and document and reduce fishery interactions with protected resources. Scientists use observer-collected information for stock assessments and marine ecosystem research.
The Observer Program includes two observer coverage categories—the partial coverage category and the full coverage category. All groundfish and halibut vessels and processors subject to observer coverage are included in one of these two categories. Defined at 50 CFR 679.51, the partial coverage category includes vessels and processors that are not required to have an observer at all times and the full coverage category includes vessels and processors required to have all of their fishing and processing activity observed. Vessels and processors in the full coverage category arrange and pay for observer services from a permitted observer provider. Observer coverage for the partial coverage category is funded through a system of fees based on the ex-vessel value of groundfish and halibut. Throughout this notice, the term “processor” refers to shoreside processors, stationary floating processors, and small catcher/processors in the partial coverage category. On August 8, 2017, NMFS published a final rule to integrate electronic monitoring (EM) into the Observer Program (82 FR 36991). Beginning in 2019, NMFS will use a portion of the fees collected under section 313 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) to deploy EM systems on vessels in the EM selection pool of the partial coverage category.
Landings Subject to Observer Coverage Fee
Pursuant to section 313 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS is authorized to assess a fee on all landings accruing against a Federal total allowable catch (TAC) for groundfish or a commercial halibut quota made by vessels that are subject to Federal regulations and not included in the full coverage category. A fee is only assessed on landings of groundfish from vessels designated on a Federal Fisheries Permit or from vessels landing individual fishing quota (IFQ) or community development quota (CDQ) halibut or IFQ sablefish. Within the subset of vessels subject to the observer fee, only landings accruing against an IFQ allocation or a Federal TAC for groundfish are included in the fee assessment. A table with additional information about which landings are and are not subject to the observer fee is at § 679.55(c) and is on page 2 of an informational bulletin titled “Observer Fee Collection” on the NMFS Alaska Region website at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/observerfees.pdf.
A fee equal to 1.25 percent of the ex-vessel value is assessed on the landings of groundfish and halibut subject to the fee. Ex-vessel value is determined by multiplying the standard price for groundfish by the round weight equivalent for each species, gear, and port combination, and the standard price for halibut by the headed and gutted weight equivalent. NMFS reviews each landing report and determines whether the reported landing is subject to the observer fee and, if so, which groundfish species in the landing are subject to the observer fee. All IFQ or CDQ halibut in a landing subject to the observer fee will be included in the observer fee calculation. For any landed groundfish or halibut subject to the observer fee, NMFS will apply the appropriate standard ex-vessel prices for the species, gear type, and port, and calculate the observer fee associated with the landing.
Processors and registered buyers access the landing-specific, observer fee information through NMFS Web Application (https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/webapps/efish/login) or eLandings (https://elandings.alaska.gov/). Observer fee information is either available immediately or within 24 hours after a landing report is submitted electronically. A time lag occurs for some landings because NMFS must process each landing report through the catch accounting system computer programs to determine which groundfish in a landing accrues against a Federal TAC and are subject to the observer fee.
Under the fee system, catcher vessel owners split the fee with the registered buyers or owners of shoreside or stationary floating processors. While the owners of catcher vessels and processors in the partial coverage category are each responsible for paying their portion of the fee, the owners of shoreside or stationary floating processors and registered buyers are responsible for collecting the fees from catcher vessels, and remitting the full fee to NMFS. Owners of small catcher/processors in the partial coverage category are responsible for remitting the full fee to NMFS.
NMFS sends invoices to processors and registered buyers by January 15 of each calendar year. The total fee amount is determined by the sum of the fees reported for each landing at that processor or registered buyer in the prior calendar year. Processors and registered buyers must pay the fees to NMFS using NMFS Web Application by February 15 each year. Processors and registered buyers have access to this system through a User ID and password issued by NMFS. Instructions for electronic payment will be provided on the NMFS Alaska Region website at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov and on the observer fee invoice to be mailed to each processor and registered buyer.
This notice provides the standard ex-vessel prices for groundfish and halibut species subject to the observer fee in 2018. Data sources for ex-vessel prices are
- For groundfish other than sablefish IFQ and sablefish accruing against the fixed gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the State of Alaska's Commercial Fishery Entry Commission's (CFEC) gross revenue data, which are based on the Commercial Operator Annual Report (COAR) and Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) fish tickets; and
- For halibut IFQ, halibut CDQ, sablefish IFQ, and sablefish accruing against the fixed gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the IFQ Buyer Report that is Start Printed Page 60706submitted to NMFS annually by each registered buyer that operates as a shoreside processor and receives and purchases IFQ landings of sablefish and halibut or CDQ landings of halibut under § 679.5(l)(7)(i).
The standard prices in this notice were calculated using the following procedures for protecting confidentiality of data submitted to or collected by NMFS. NMFS does not publish any price information that would permit the identification of an individual or business. For NMFS to publish a standard price for a particular species-gear-port combination, the price data used to calculate the standard price must represent landings from at least four different vessels to at least three different processors in a port or port group. Price data that is confidential because fewer than four vessels or three processors contributed data to a particular species-gear-port combination has been aggregated to protect confidential data.
Groundfish Standard Ex-Vessel Prices
Table 1 shows the groundfish species standard ex-vessel prices for 2018. These prices are based on the CFEC gross revenue data, which are based on landings data from ADF&G fish tickets and information from the COAR. The COAR contains statewide buying and production information, and is considered the most complete routinely collected information to determine the ex-vessel value of groundfish harvested from waters off Alaska.
The standard ex-vessel prices for groundfish were calculated by adding ex-vessel value from the CFEC gross revenue files for 2014, 2015, and 2016 by species, port, and gear category, and adding the volume (round weight equivalent) from the CFEC gross revenue files for 2014, 2015, and 2016 by species, port, and gear category, and then dividing total ex-vessel value over the three-year period in each category by total volume over the 3-year period in each category. This calculation results in an average ex-vessel price per pound by species, port, and gear category for the 3-year period. Three gear categories were used for the standard ex-vessel prices: (1) Non-trawl gear, including hook-and-line, pot, jig, troll, and others (Non-Trawl); (2) non-pelagic trawl gear (NPT); and (3) pelagic trawl gear (PTR).
CFEC ex-vessel value and volume data are available in the fall of the year following the year the fishing occurred. Thus, it is not possible to base ex-vessel fee liabilities on standard prices that are less than two years old. For the 2018 standard ex-vessel prices, the most recent ex-vessel value and volume data available is from 2016.
If a particular groundfish species is not listed in Table 1, the standard ex-vessel price for a species group, if it exists in the management area, will be used. If price data for a particular species remained confidential once aggregated to the ALL level, data is aggregated by species group (Flathead Sole; GOA Deep-water Flatfish; GOA Shallow-water Flatfish; GOA Skate, Other; and Other Rockfish). Standard prices for the groundfish species groups are shown in Table 2.
If a port-level price does not meet the confidentiality requirements, the data are aggregated by port group. Port-group data for Southeast Alaska (SEAK) and the Eastern GOA excluding Southeast Alaska (EGOAxSE) also are presented separately when price data are available. Port-group data is then aggregated by regulatory area in the GOA (Eastern GOA, Central GOA, and Western GOA) and by subarea in the BSAI (BS subarea and AI subarea). If confidentiality requirements are still not met by aggregating prices across ports at these levels, the prices are aggregated at the level of BSAI or GOA, then statewide (AK) and ports outside of Alaska (OTAK), and finally all ports, including those outside of Alaska (ALL).
Standard prices are presented separately for non-pelagic trawl and pelagic trawl when non-confidential data is available. NMFS also calculated prices for a “Pelagic Trawl/Non-pelagic Trawl Combined” (PTR/NPT) category that can be used when combining trawl price data for landings of a species in a particular port or port group will not violate confidentiality requirements. Creating this standard price category allows NMFS to assess a fee on 2018 landings of some of the species with pelagic trawl gear based on a combined trawl gear price for the port or port group.
If no standard ex-vessel price is listed for a species or species group and gear category combination in Table 1, Table 2, or Table 3, no fee will be assessed on that landing. Volume and value data for that species will be added to the standard ex-vessel prices in future years, if that data becomes available and display of a standard ex-vessel price meets confidentiality requirements.
Table 1—Standard Ex-Vessel Prices for Groundfish Species for 2018 Observer Coverage Fee
[Based on volume and value from 2014, 2015, and 2016]
|Species 1 2||Port/Area 3 4||Non-Trawl||NPT||PTR||PTR/NPT|
|Alaska Plaice Flounder (133)||Kodiak||—||$0.09||—||$0.09|
|Arrowtooth Flounder (121)||Kodiak||—||0.07||$0.07||—|
|Atka Mackerel (193)||Kodiak||—||0.24||—||0.24|
|Black Rockfish (142)||AK||0.54||0.18||—||0.18|
|Bocaccio Rockfish (137)||Sitka||0.55||—||—||—|
|Start Printed Page 60707|
|Butter Sole (126)||Kodiak||—||0.16||0.15||—|
|Canary Rockfish (146)||Ketchikan||0.38||—||—||—|
|China Rockfish (149)||Sitka||1.18||—||—||—|
|Copper Rockfish (138)||Sitka||1.10||—||—||—|
|Darkblotched Rockfish (159)||SEAK||0.60||—||—||—|
|Dover Sole (124)||Kodiak||—||0.09||0.09||—|
|Dusky Rockfish (172)||Sitka||0.55||—||—||—|
|English Sole (128)||Kodiak||—||0.14||0.12||—|
|Flathead Sole (122)||Kodiak||—||0.16||0.15||—|
|Northern Rockfish (136)||Kodiak||0.13||0.16||0.16||—|
|Start Printed Page 60708|
| ||Dutch Harbor||0.30||—||—||—|
|Pacific Cod (110)||Juneau||0.58||—||—||—|
| ||King Cove||0.26||—||—||—|
| ||Dutch Harbor||0.28||0.26||—||0.26|
| ||Stationary Floating Processor||0.28||0.26||—||0.26|
|Pacific Ocean Perch (141)||Kodiak||—||0.18||0.19||—|
| ||Dutch Harbor||0.10||0.16||—||0.15|
| ||Stationary Floating Processor||—||0.14||—||0.14|
|Quillback Rockfish (147)||Craig||1.20||—||—||—|
|Redbanded Rockfish (153)||Juneau||0.31||—||—||—|
|Start Printed Page 60709|
|Redstripe Rockfish (158)||Sitka||0.48||—||—||—|
|Rex Sole (125)||Kodiak||—||0.34||0.34||—|
|Rock Sole (123)||Kodiak||—||0.22||0.21||—|
|Rosethorn Rockfish (150)||SEAK||0.32||—||—||—|
|Rougheye Rockfish (151)||Juneau||0.30||—||—||—|
|Sablefish (blackcod) (710)||Kodiak||5 n/a||2.77||2.72||—|
| ||CGOA||5 n/a||2.77||2.72||—|
| ||GOA||5 n/a||2.77||2.72||—|
| ||AK||5 n/a||2.77||2.72||—|
| ||ALL||5 n/a||2.77||2.72||—|
|Shortraker Rockfish (152)||Juneau||0.33||—||—||—|
|Silvergray Rockfish (157)||Juneau||0.36||—||—||—|
|Start Printed Page 60710|
|Skate, Alaska (703)||CGOA||0.45||—||—||—|
|Skate, Big (702)||EGOA||0.41||—||—||—|
|Skate, Longnose (701)||Petersburg||0.40||—||—||—|
|Skate, Other (700)||SEAK||0.41||—||—||—|
|Starry Flounder (129)||Kodiak||—||0.11||—||0.11|
|Thornyhead Rockfish (Idiots) (143)||Juneau||1.00||—||—||—|
|Tiger Rockfish (148)||SEAK||0.49||—||—||—|
|Vermilion Rockfish (184)||Sitka||1.22||—||—||—|
|Widow Rockfish (156)||GOA||1.15||—||—||—|
|Yelloweye Rockfish (145)||Craig||1.06||—||—||—|
|Start Printed Page 60711|
|Yellowtail Rockfish (155)||Sitka||0.70||—||—||—|
|— = no landings in last 3 years or the data is confidential.|
|1 If species is not listed, use price for the species group in Table 2 if it exists in the management area. If no price is available for the species or species group in Table 1, Table 2, or Table 3, no fee will be assessed on that landing. That species will come into standard ex-vessel prices in future years.|
|2 For species codes, see Table 2a to 50 CFR part 679.|
|3 Regulatory areas are defined at § 679.2. (AK = Alaska; ALL = all ports including those outside Alaska; BS = Bering Sea subarea; BSAI = Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands; CGOA = Central Gulf of Alaska; EGOA = Eastern Gulf of Alaska; EGOAxSE = Eastern Gulf of Alaska except Southeast Alaska; GOA = Gulf of Alaska; SEAK = Southeast Alaska; WGOA = Western Gulf of Alaska).|
|4 If a price is listed for the species, port, and gear type combination, that price will be applied to the round weight equivalent for groundfish landings. If no price is listed for the port and gear type combination, use port group and gear type, or see Table 2 or Table 3.|
|5 n/a = ex-vessel prices for sablefish landed with hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear are listed in Table 3 with the prices for IFQ and CDQ landings.|
Table 2—Standard Ex-Vessel Prices for Groundfish Species Groups for 2018 Observer Coverage Fee
[based on volume and value from 2014, 2015, and 2016]
|Species Group 1||Port/Area 2 3||Non-Trawl||NPT||PTR||PTR/NPT|
|Flathead Sole (FSOL)||Kodiak||—||$0.16||$0.15||—|
|GOA Deep-Water 4 Flatfish (DFL4)||Kodiak||—||0.09||0.09||—|
|GOA Shallow-Water 5 Flatfish (SFL1)||Kodiak||—||0.21||0.20||—|
|GOA Skate, Other (USKT)||SEAK||$0.41||—||—||—|
|Other Rockfish 6 7 (ROCK)||Juneau||0.44||—||—||—|
|— = no landings in last 3 years or the data is confidentialStart Printed Page 60712|
|1 If groundfish species is not listed in Table 1, use price for the species group if it exists in the management area. If no price is available for the species or species group in Table 1, Table 2, or Table 3, no fee will be assessed on that landing. That species will come into standard ex-vessel prices in future years.|
|2 Regulatory areas are defined at § 679.2. (AK = Alaska; BS = Bering Sea subarea; BSAI = Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands; CGOA = Central Gulf of Alaska; EGOA = Eastern Gulf of Alaska; EGOAxSE = Eastern Gulf of Alaska except Southeast Alaska; GOA = Gulf of Alaska; SEAK = Southeast Alaska; WGOA = Western Gulf of Alaska)|
|3 If a price is listed for the species, port, and gear type combination, that price will be applied to the round weight equivalent for groundfish landings. If no price is listed for the port and gear type combination, use port group and gear type combination.|
|4 “Deep-water flatfish” in the GOA means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deepsea sole.|
|5 “Shallow-water flatfish” in the GOA means flatfish not including “deep-water flatfish,” flathead sole, rex sole, or arrowtooth flounder.|
|6 In the GOA:|
|“Other rockfish” means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S. paucispinis (bocaccio), S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S. variegatus (harlequin), S. wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus (sharpchin), S. jordani (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergray), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola (stripetail), S. miniatus (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA only, other rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinis.|
|“Other rockfish” in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means other rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. The “other rockfish” species group in the SEO District only includes other rockfish.|
|“Demersal shelf rockfish” means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper), S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye).|
|7 “Other rockfish” in the BSAI includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern, shortraker, and rougheye rockfish.|
Halibut and Sablefish IFQ and CDQ Standard Ex-vessel Prices
Table 3 shows the observer fee standard ex-vessel prices for halibut and sablefish. These standard prices are calculated as a single annual average price, by species and port or port group. Volume and ex-vessel value data collected on the 2017 IFQ Buyer Report for landings made from October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017, were used to calculate the standard ex-vessel prices for the 2018 observer fee for halibut IFQ, halibut CDQ, sablefish IFQ, and sablefish landings that accrue against the fixed gear sablefish CDQ reserve.
Table 3—Standard Ex-Vessel Prices for Halibut IFQ, Halibut CDQ, Sablefish IFQ, and Sablefish Accruing Against the Fixed Gear Sablefish CDQ Reserve for the 2018 Observer Fee
[based on 2017 IFQ Buyer Report]
|Species||Port/Area 1||Price 2|
|1 Regulatory areas are defined at § 679.2. (AK = Alaska; ALL = all ports including those outside Alaska; AI = Aleutian Islands subarea; BS = Bering Sea subarea; CGOA = Central Gulf of Alaska; EGOAxSE = Eastern Gulf of Alaska except Southeast Alaska; SEAK = Southeast Alaska; WGOA = Western Gulf of Alaska)|
|2 If a price is listed for the species and port combination, that price will be applied to the round weight equivalent for sablefish landings and the headed and gutted weight equivalent for halibut landings. If no price is listed for the port, use port group.|
End Supplemental Information
Dated: December 18, 2017.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-27552 Filed 12-21-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P