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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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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Temporary rule; reallocation.

SUMMARY:

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 2020 total allowable catch (TAC) of yellowfin sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area to be harvested.

DATES:

Effective September 17, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

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 2020 flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole CDQ reserves specified in the BSAI are 2,087 metric tons (mt), 5,040 mt, and 16,125 mt as established by the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 9, 2020). The 2020 flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole CDQ ABC reserves are 5,204 mt, 11,363 mt, and 11,793 mt as established by the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 9, 2020).

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 Start Printed Page 59205§ 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 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 9, 2020) are further revised as follows:

Table 11—Final 2020 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
TAC10,6138,09410,00019,37546,925151,000
CDQ1,1368661,0701,9624,86516,425
ICA10060103,0006,0004,000
BSAI trawl limited access93871717817,172
Amendment 808,4406,4518,74214,41436,060113,403
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Table 13—Final 2020 and 2021 ABC Surplus, ABC Reserves, 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]

Sector2020 Flathead sole2020 Rock sole2020 Yellowfin sole2021 1 Flathead sole2021 1 Rock sole2021 1 Yellowfin sole
ABC68,134153,300260,91871,079230,700261,497
TAC19,37546,925151,00024,00049,000168,900
ABC surplus48,759106,375109,91847,079181,70092,597
ABC reserve48,759106,375109,91847,079181,70092,597
CDQ ABC reserve5,32911,53811,4935,03719,4429,908
Amendment 80 ABC reserve43,43094,83798,42542,042162,25882,689
1 The 2021 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, 2020.

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 flatfish exchange by the Coastal Villages Regional Fund in the BSAI. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of September 4, 2020.

Start Authority

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

End Authority Start Signature

Dated: September 15, 2020.

Jennifer M. Wallace,

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

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2020-20654 Filed 9-17-20; 4:15 pm]

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