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Rule

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; In Season Adjustment to the 2020 Gulf of Alaska Pollock Seasonal Apportionments

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; in season adjustment.

SUMMARY:

NMFS is adjusting the 2020 C seasonal apportionments of the total allowable catch (TAC) for pollock in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) by re-apportioning unharvested pollock TAC in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA. This action is necessary to provide opportunity for harvest of the 2020 pollock TAC, consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.

DATES:

Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), August 13, 2020, until 2400 hours A.l.t., December 31, 2020.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (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.

The annual pollock TACs in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630 of the GOA are apportioned among four seasons, in accordance with § 679.23(d)(2). Regulations at § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B) allow the underharvest of a seasonal apportionment to be added to subsequent seasonal apportionments, provided that any revised seasonal apportionment does not exceed 20 percent of the seasonal apportionment for a given statistical area. Therefore, NMFS is increasing the C season apportionment of pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA to reflect the underharvest of pollock in Statistical Area 630 during the B season. In addition, any underharvest remaining beyond 20 percent of the originally specified seasonal apportionment in a particular area may be further apportioned to other statistical areas. Therefore, NMFS also is increasing the C season apportionment of pollock to Statistical Areas 610 and 620 based on the underharvest of pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA. These adjustments are described below.

The C seasonal apportionment of the 2020 pollock TAC in Statistical Area 610 of the GOA is 9,070 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (85 FR 13802, March 10, 2020). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), hereby increases the C season apportionment for Statistical Area 610 by 287 mt to account for the underharvest of the TAC in Statistical Area 630 in the B season. This increase is in proportion to the estimated pollock biomass and is not greater than 20 percent of the C seasonal apportionment of the TAC in Statistical Area 610. Therefore, the revised C seasonal apportionment of the pollock TAC in Statistical Area 610 is 9,357mt (9,070 mt plus 287 mt).

The C seasonal apportionment of the 2020 pollock TAC in Statistical Area 620 of the GOA is 6,739 mt as established by the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (85 FR 13802, March 10, 2020). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B), the Regional Administrator hereby increases the C seasonal apportionment for Statistical Area 620 by 213 mt to account for the underharvest of the TAC in Statistical Area 630 in the B season. This increase is not greater than 20 percent of the C seasonal apportionment of the TAC in Statistical Area 620. Therefore, the revised C seasonal apportionment of the pollock TAC in Statistical Area 620 is 6,952 mt (6,739 mt plus 213 mt).

The C seasonal apportionment of the 2020 pollock TAC in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA is 9,248 mt as established by the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (85 FR 13802, March 10, 2020). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B), the Regional Administrator hereby increases the C seasonal apportionment for Statistical Area 630 by 1,850 mt to account for the underharvest of the TAC in Statistical Area 630 in the B season. This increase is in proportion to the estimated pollock biomass and is not greater than 20 percent of the C seasonal apportionment of the TAC in Statistical Area 630. Therefore, the revised C seasonal apportionment of pollock TAC in Statistical Area 630 is 11,098 mt (9,248 mt plus 1,850 mt).

Classification

NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This action is required by 50 CFR part 679, which was issued pursuant to section 304(b), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice and comment would be 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 reapportionment of pollock in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630 of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of August 10, 2020.

Start Authority

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

End Authority Start Signature

Dated: August 11, 2020.

Kelly Denit,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2020-17846 Filed 8-13-20; 8:45 am]

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