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Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; Final 2019 and 2020 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish; Correction

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule; correction.

SUMMARY:

The National Marine Fisheries Service is correcting a final rule that published on March 14, 2019, implementing the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska. One table in the document contains errors associated with flathead sole. These corrections are necessary to provide the correction information about the amount of flathead sole available for commercial harvest in 2019, thus allowing commercial fishermen to maximize their economic opportunities in this fishery. This correction also is necessary to comport with the requirements of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.

DATES:

Effective April 12, 2019.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Need for Correction

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications in the Federal Register on March 14, 2019 (84 FR 9416). The harvest specifications were effective March 14, 2019. A table (Table 1) providing information about the 2019 overfishing levels, acceptable biological catch (ABC), and total allowable catch (TAC) for groundfish of the GOA contains errors associated with the flathead sole ABC for the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA, as well as the flathead sole ABCs and TACs in the West Yakutat (WYK) and Southeast Outside (SEO) Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA. In Table 1 on page 9420 of the harvest specifications published in the Federal Register, NMFS inadvertently used incorrect values for the flathead sole Start Printed Page 14888ABCs and TACs for these management areas. The correct 2019 flathead sole ABC for the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA is 21,109 metric tons (mt). The correct 2019 flathead sole ABCs for the WYK and SEO Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA are 2,016 mt and 423 mt, respectively. The correct 2019 flathead sole TACs for the WYK and SEO Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA are 2,016 mt and 423 mt, respectively. These corrections also require the corresponding grand total of the 2019 flathead sole ABCs and TACs to be revised to 36,782 mt and 26,489 mt, respectively.

Classification

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 unnecessary and contrary to the public interest. This correcting amendment makes changes to correct mis-specified 2019 flathead sole ABCs and TACs in Table 1, as described above, and does not change operating practices in the fisheries. This correcting action is consistent with the harvest specifications recommended by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in December 2018, and ensures that the flathead sole TACs that the fishing industry expected to be available in 2019 are correct. If this correction is delayed to allow for notice and comment, it would result in confusion for participants in the fisheries, given that the final rule implementing the 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications already is effective. Therefore, in order to avoid any negative consequences that could result from this correction, the AA finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment. The correct 2019 flathead sole TACs for the WYK and SEO Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA are slightly more than the incorrectly specified TACs for these two management areas. Without this correction, commercial fishermen may believe that there is less flathead sole available for harvest in 2019 then is actually available, to their economic detriment.

For the reasons above, the AA also finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay in effective date and make this rule effective immediately upon publication.

Correction

In the final rule, published on March 14, 2019 (84 FR 9416), the following corrections are made to Table 1:

On page 9420, in Table 1, columns 4 and 5 are corrected to incorporate the correct amounts for the 2019 flathead sole ABCs and TACs.

Table 1 is corrected and reprinted in its entirety to read as follows:

Table 1—Final 2019 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs of Groundfish for the Western/Central/West Yakutat, Western, Central, Eastern Regulatory Areas, the West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, and Gulfwide Districts of the Gulf of Alaska

[Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]

SpeciesArea 1OFLABCTAC
Pollock 2Shumagin (610)n/a24,87524,875
Chirikof (620)n/a67,38867,388
Kodiak (630)n/a34,44334,443
WYK (640)n/a5,7485,748
W/C/WYK (subtotal) 2194,230135,850132,454
SEO (650)11,6978,7738,773
Total205,927144,623141,227
Pacific cod 3Wn/a7,6335,343
Cn/a7,6675,750
En/a1,7001,275
Total23,66917,00012,368
Sablefish 4Wn/a1,5811,581
Cn/a5,1785,178
WYKn/a1,8281,828
SEOn/a2,9842,984
E (WYK and SEO) (subtotal)n/a4,8124,812
Total25,22711,57111,571
Shallow-water flatfish 5Wn/a25,62013,250
Cn/a25,73125,731
WYKn/a2,2792,279
SEOn/a1,9571,957
Total68,30955,58743,217
Deep-water flatfish 6Wn/a416416
Cn/a3,4433,443
WYKn/a3,2803,280
SEOn/a2,3622,362
Total11,4349,5019,501
Rex soleWn/a2,9512,951
Cn/a8,3578,357
WYKn/a1,6571,657
SEOn/a1,7271,727
Total17,88914,69214,692
Arrowtooth flounderWn/a35,99414,500
Start Printed Page 14889
Cn/a70,99570,995
WYKn/a15,9116,900
SEO22,9416,900
Total174,598145,84199,295
Flathead soleWn/a13,2348,650
Cn/a21,10915,400
WYKn/a2,0162,016
SEOn/a423423
Total44,86536,78226,489
Pacific ocean perch 7Wn/a3,2273,227
Cn/a19,64619,646
WYKn/a3,2963,296
W/C/WYK subtotal31,11326,16926,169
SEO2,8382,3862,386
Total33,95128,55528,555
Northern rockfish 8Wn/a1,1901,190
Cn/a3,3383,338
En/a1
Total5,4024,5294,528
Shortraker rockfish 9Wn/a4444
Cn/a305305
En/a514514
Total1,151863863
Dusky rockfish 10Wn/a781781
Cn/a2,7642,764
WYKn/a9595
SEOn/a6060
Total4,5213,7003,700
Rougheye and Blackspotted rockfish 11Wn/a174174
Cn/a550550
En/a704704
Total1,7151,4281,428
Demersal shelf rockfish 12SEO411261261
Thornyhead rockfishWn/a326326
Cn/a911911
En/a779779
Total2,6882,0162,016
Other rockfish 13 14W and Cn/a1,7371,737
WYKn/a368368
SEOn/a3,4893,489
Total7,3565,5945,594
Atka mackerelGW6,2004,7003,000
Big skate 15Wn/a504504
Cn/a1,7741,774
En/a570570
Total3,7972,8482,848
Longnose skate 16Wn/a149149
Cn/a2,8042,804
En/a619619
Total4,7633,5723,572
Other skates 17GW1,8451,3841,384
SculpinsGW6,9585,3015,301
SharksGW10,9138,1848,184
OctopusGW1,300975975
Total664,889509,507430,569
1 Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2. (W = Western Gulf of Alaska; C = Central Gulf of Alaska; E = Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK = West Yakutat District; SEO = Southeast Outside District; GW = Gulf-wide).Start Printed Page 14890
2 The total for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas pollock ABC is 135,850 mt. After deducting 2.5 percent (3,396 mt) of that ABC for the State's pollock GHL fishery, the remaining pollock ABC of 132,454 mt (for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas) is apportioned among four statistical areas (Areas 610, 620, 630, and 640). These apportionments are considered subarea ACLs, rather than ABCs, for specification and reapportionment purposes. The ACLs in Areas 610, 620, and 630 are further divided by season, as detailed in Table 3 (final 2019 seasonal biomass distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, area apportionments, and seasonal allowances). In the West Yakutat (Area 640) and Southeast Outside (Area 650) Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided into seasonal allowances.
3 The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned 60 percent to the A season and 40 percent to the B season in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA. Pacific cod TAC in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA is allocated 90 percent to vessels harvesting Pacific cod for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent to vessels harvesting Pacific cod for processing by the offshore component. Table 5 lists the final 2019 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments.
4 Sablefish is allocated to trawl and fixed gear in 2019 and trawl gear in 2020. Table 7 lists the final 2019 allocations of sablefish TACs.
5 “Shallow-water flatfish” means flatfish not including “deep-water flatfish,” flathead sole, rex sole, or arrowtooth flounder.
6 “Deep-water flatfish” means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deepsea sole.
7 “Pacific ocean perch” means Sebastes alutus.
8 “Northern rockfish” means Sebastes polyspinis. For management purposes, the 1 mt apportionment of ABC to the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the “other rockfish” species group.
9 “Shortraker rockfish” means Sebastes borealis.
10 “Dusky rockfish” means Sebastes variabilis.
11 “Rougheye and blackspotted rockfish” means Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted).
12 “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).
13 “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 (silvergrey), 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.
14 “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.
15 “Big skate” means Raja binoculata.
16 “Longnose skate” means Raja rhina.
17 “Other skates” means Bathyraja and Raja spp.
Start Authority

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540 (f), 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105-277; Pub. L. 106-31; Pub. L. 106-554; Pub. L. 108-199; Pub. L. 108-447; Pub. L. 109-241; Pub. L 109-479.

End Authority Start Signature

Dated: April 8, 2019.

Samuel D. Rauch III,

Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2019-07276 Filed 4-11-19; 8:45 am]

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