[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 171 (Friday, September 2, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Page 54739]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-22585]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XA640


Pacific Halibut Fishery; Guideline Harvest Levels for the Guided 
Sport Fishery for Pacific Halibut in International Pacific Halibut 
Commission Regulatory Areas 2C and 3A

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

ACTION: Notice of guideline harvest level.

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SUMMARY: NMFS provides notice of the 2011 Pacific halibut guideline 
harvest levels (GHLs) for the guided sport fishery in International 
Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Regulatory Areas 2C (Southeast 
Alaska) and 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska). This notice is necessary to 
meet the regulatory requirement to publish notice announcing the GHLs 
and to inform the public about the 2011 GHLs for the guided sport 
fishery for halibut. The GHLs are benchmark harvest levels for 
participants in the guided sport fishery. The 2011 GHLs remain the same 
as the 2010 GHLs; the Area 2C GHL is 788,000 lbs (357.4 mt); and the 
Area 3A GHL is 3,650,000 lbs (1,655.6 mt).

DATES: The GHLs are effective February 1, 2011, through December 31, 
2011. This period is specified by IPHC as the sport fishing season in 
all waters in and off Alaska.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gabrielle Aberle, (907) 586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    In 2003, NMFS implemented a final rule (68 FR 47256, August 8, 
2003) to establish GHLs for Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) 
harvested by the guided sport fishery in IPHC Areas 2C and 3A. 
Regulations implementing the GHLs have been amended twice. In 2008, the 
GHL table was corrected at 50 CFR 300.65(c)(1) (73 FR 30504, May 28, 
2008). In 2009, regulatory provisions were amended for NMFS' annual 
publication of the GHL notice and to clarify NMFS' authority to take 
action at any time to limit the guided sport angler catch to the GHL 
(74 FR 21194, May 6, 2009).
    This notice is consistent with Sec.  300.65(c) and announces the 
2011 GHLs for the guided sport fishery for Pacific halibut in IPHC 
Areas 2C and 3A. Regulations at Sec.  300.65(c)(1) specify the GHLs 
based on the total constant exploitation yield (CEY) that is 
established annually by the IPHC. The total CEY for 2011 is 5,390,000 
lbs (2,444.9 mt) in Area 2C, and 23,520,000 lbs (10,668.5 mt) in Area 
3A. The corresponding GHLs are 788,000 lbs (357.4 mt) in Area 2C, and 
3,650,000 lbs (1,655.6 mt) in Area 3A. The GHLs in Areas 2C and 3A did 
not change from the 2010 level. NMFS may take action at any time to 
limit the guided sport halibut harvest to as close to the GHL as 
practicable (50 CFR 300.65(c)(3)).
    NMFS published a final rule implementing the charter halibut 
limited access program for the guided sport halibut fishery in Areas 2C 
and 3A on January 5, 2010 (75 FR 554). As of February 1, 2011, this 
program limits the number of charter vessels that may participate in 
the guided sport halibut fishery in these areas. On July 22, 2011, NMFS 
published proposed regulations that would implement a catch sharing 
plan to allocate an annual halibut catch limit, established by the 
IPHC, between the guided sport and commercial fisheries in Areas 2C and 
3A (76 FR 44156). If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, this new 
allocation program would not be effective before 2012.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.

    Dated: August 30, 2011.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-22585 Filed 9-1-11; 8:45 am]
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