[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 50 (Wednesday, March 14, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 15193-15226]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-6057]



[[Page 15193]]

Vol. 77

Wednesday,

No. 50

March 14, 2012

Part II





Department of Commerce





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





50 CFR 679





Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; 
Final 2012 and 2013 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77 , No. 50 / Wednesday, March 14, 2012 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 15194]]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 111207737-2141-02]
RIN 0648-XA711


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of 
Alaska; Final 2012 and 2013 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish

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

ACTION: Final rule; closures.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: NMFS announces final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications, 
apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for 
the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is 
necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2012 
and 2013 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of 
the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the GOA. The intended 
effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish 
resources in the GOA in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act.

DATES: Effective at 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 14, 
2012, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Final Alaska Groundfish Harvest 
Specifications Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of Decision 
(ROD), Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS, and the Final 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) prepared for this action are 
available from http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The final 2011 Stock 
Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish 
resources of the GOA, dated November 2011, is available from the North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, 
Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99510-2252, phone 907-271-2809, or from the 
Council's Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Pearson, 907-481-1780, or Obren 
Davis, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the GOA groundfish fisheries in 
the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the GOA under the Fishery 
Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). The Council 
prepared the FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1801 
et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the FMP 
appear at 50 CFR parts 600, 679, and 680.
    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after 
consultation with the Council, to specify the total allowable catch 
(TAC) for each target species, the sum of which must be within the 
optimum yield (OY) range of 116,000 to 800,000 metric tons (mt). 
Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires NMFS to publish and solicit 
public comment on proposed annual TACs, halibut prohibited species 
catch (PSC) amounts, and seasonal allowances of pollock and Pacific 
cod. Upon consideration of public comment received under Sec.  
679.20(c)(1), NMFS must publish notice of final harvest specifications 
for up to two fishing years as annual target TAC, per Sec.  
679.20(c)(3)(ii). The final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 
1 through 31 of this document reflect the outcome of this process, as 
required at Sec.  679.20(c).
    The proposed 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications for groundfish of 
the GOA and Pacific halibut PSC allowances were published in the 
Federal Register on December 22, 2011 (76 FR 79620). Comments were 
invited and accepted through January 23, 2012. NMFS received one 
response, containing two general categories of comments, on the 
proposed harvest specifications. A summary of the comments and NMFS' 
responses is found in the Response to Comment section of this rule. In 
December 2011, NMFS consulted with the Council regarding the 2012 and 
2013 harvest specifications. After considering public testimony, as 
well as biological and economic data that were available at the 
Council's December 2011 meeting, NMFS is implementing the final 2012 
and 2013 harvest specifications, as recommended by the Council. For 
2012, the sum of the TAC amounts is 438,159 mt. For 2013, the sum of 
the TAC amounts is 447,752 mt.

Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Specifications

    In December 2011, the Council, its Advisory Panel (AP), and its 
Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), reviewed current biological 
and harvest information about the condition of groundfish stocks in the 
GOA. This information was compiled by the Council's GOA Plan Team and 
was presented in the draft 2011 SAFE report for the GOA groundfish 
fisheries, dated November 2011 (see ADDRESSES). The SAFE report 
contains a review of the latest scientific analyses and estimates of 
each species' biomass and other biological parameters, as well as 
summaries of the available information on the GOA ecosystem and the 
economic condition of the groundfish fisheries off Alaska. From these 
data and analyses, the Plan Team estimates an overfishing level (OFL) 
and ABC for each species or species group. The 2011 SAFE report was 
made available for public review during the public comment period for 
the proposed harvest specifications.
    In previous years, the largest changes from the proposed to the 
final harvest specifications have been based on recent NMFS stock 
surveys, which provide updated estimates of stock biomass and spatial 
distribution, and changes to the models used for making stock 
assessments. In October 2011, the Council also reviewed the proposed 
TACs recommended for several flatfish and other rockfish species, 
adjusting them downward from ABCs. At the November 2011 Plan Team 
meeting, NMFS scientists presented updated and new survey results, 
changes to assessment models, and accompanying stock estimates for all 
groundfish species and species groups that are included in the final 
2011 SAFE report. The SSC reviewed this information at the December 
2011 Council meeting. Changes from the proposed to the final harvest 
specifications in 2012 and 2013 for newly assessed groundfish stocks 
are discussed below.
    The final 2012 and 2013 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are based on the best 
available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected 
biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, 
and revised methods used to calculate stock biomass. The FMP specifies 
the formulas, or tiers, to be used to compute ABCs and OFLs. The 
formulas applicable to a particular stock or stock complex are 
determined by the level of reliable information available to fisheries 
scientists. This information is categorized into a successive series of 
six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts, with tier 1 representing the 
highest level of information quality available and tier 6 representing 
the lowest level of information quality available.
    The SSC adopted the final 2012 and 2013 OFLs and ABCs recommended 
by the Plan Team for all groundfish species, with the exception of the 
ABCs for ``other rockfish'' in the Central and Western GOA. The Plan 
Team's

[[Page 15195]]

recommendation was that in 2012 and 2013 the 44 mt ABC for ``other 
rockfish'' in the Western GOA be combined with the 606 mt ABC for 
``other rockfish'' in the Central GOA for a combined Central and 
Western GOA ABC of 650 mt. This recommendation was intended to 
spatially apportion ``other rockfish'' so that target fisheries are not 
restricted based on limited and relatively uncertain estimates of 
recent survey spatial distributions of ``other rockfish.'' The SSC 
however, decided to retain the area apportionments of ABC for ``other 
rockfish'' between the Central and Western GOA. The apportionment of 44 
mt to the Western GOA ABC was based on the continued low abundance of 
harlequin rockfish in the 2011 NMFS bottom trawl survey. The SSC noted 
that ``other rockfish'' are on bycatch status all year, are taken as 
incidental catch in other directed fisheries, and are discarded at a 
high rate. Therefore, the SSC determined that regulatory discards would 
not decrease by combining the Western and Central regulatory area ABCs 
and did not recommend a change to the previously approved method for 
apportioning the ABC.
    The Council adopted the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations and the 
AP's TAC recommendations. The final TAC recommendations were based on 
the ABCs as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic 
considerations, including maintaining the sum of all TACs within the 
required OY range of 116,000 to 800,000 mt.
    The Council recommended TACs for 2012 and 2013 that are equal to 
ABCs for pollock, sablefish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, Pacific 
ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, pelagic shelf 
rockfish, rougheye rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, thornyhead 
rockfish, ``other rockfish'' in the Central and Western GOA, big 
skates, longnose skate, other skates, squids, sharks, octopuses, and 
sculpins. The Council recommended TACs for 2012 and 2013 that are less 
than the ABCs for Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, arrowtooth 
flounder, flathead sole, ``other rockfish'' in the Eastern GOA, and 
Atka mackerel. The Pacific cod TACs are set to accommodate the State of 
Alaska's (State's) guideline harvest levels (GHLs) for Pacific cod so 
that the ABC is not exceeded. The shallow-water flatfish, arrowtooth 
flounder, and flathead sole TACs are set to allow for increased harvest 
opportunities for these targets while conserving the halibut PSC limit 
for use in other, more fully utilized, fisheries. The ``other 
rockfish'' TAC in the Eastern GOA is set to reduce the amount of 
discards in the Southeast Outside (SEO) District. The Atka mackerel TAC 
is set to accommodate incidental catch amounts in other fisheries.
    The final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications approved by the 
Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) are unchanged from those recommended 
by the Council and are consistent with the preferred harvest strategy 
alternative in the EIS (see ADDRESSES). NMFS finds that the Council's 
recommended OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the biological 
condition of the groundfish stocks as described in the final 2011 SAFE 
report. NMFS also finds that the Council's recommendations for OFLs, 
ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the biological condition of 
groundfish stocks as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic 
considerations, including maintaining the total TAC within the OY 
range. NMFS reviewed the Council's recommended TAC specifications and 
apportionments, and approves these harvest specifications under 50 CFR 
679.20(c)(3)(ii). The apportionment of TAC amounts among gear types and 
sectors, processing sectors, and seasons is discussed below.
    Tables 1 and 2 list the final 2012 and 2013 OFLs, ABCs, TACs, and 
area apportionments of groundfish in the GOA. The sums of the 2012 and 
2013 ABCs are 606,048 mt and 612,506 mt, respectively, which are higher 
in 2012 and 2013 than the 2011 ABC sum of 590,121 mt (76 FR 11111, 
March 1, 2011).

Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts

    The ABC for the pollock stock in the combined Western, Central, and 
West Yakutat Regulatory Areas (W/C/WYK) has been adjusted to reflect 
the GHL established by the State for the Prince William Sound (PWS) 
pollock fishery. Based upon genetic studies, fisheries scientists 
believe that the pollock in PWS is not a separate stock from the 
combined W/C/WYK population. Accordingly, the Council recommended 
decreasing the W/C/WYK pollock ABC to account for the State's PWS GHL. 
For 2012 and 2013, the PWS GHL for pollock is 2,770 mt, an increase 
from 1,650 mt in 2011.
    The apportionment of annual pollock TAC among the Western and 
Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA reflects the seasonal biomass 
distribution and is discussed in greater detail below. The annual 
pollock TAC in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA is 
apportioned among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, as well as 
equally among each of the following four seasons: the A season (January 
20 through March 10), the B season (March 10 through May 31), the C 
season (August 25 through October 1), and the D season (October 1 
through November 1) (Sec.  679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), and Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A) through (B)). Tables 3 and 4 list the final 2012 
and 2013 distribution of pollock in the Central and Western Regulatory 
Areas of the GOA, and area and seasonal allowances of annual TAC.
    The AP, SSC, and Council recommended apportionment of the ABC for 
Pacific cod in the GOA among regulatory areas based on the three most 
recent NMFS summer trawl surveys. The 2012 and 2013 Pacific cod TACs 
are affected by the State's fishery for Pacific cod in State waters in 
the Central and Western Regulatory Areas, as well as in PWS. The Plan 
Team, SSC, AP, and Council recommended that the sum of all State and 
Federal water Pacific cod removals from the GOA not exceed ABC 
recommendations. Accordingly, the Council reduced the 2012 and 2013 
Pacific cod TACs in the Eastern, Central, and Western Regulatory Areas 
to account for State GHLs. Therefore, the 2012 Pacific cod TACs are 
less than the ABCs by the following amounts: (1) Eastern GOA, 657 mt; 
(2) Central GOA, 14,235 mt; and (3) Western GOA, 7,008 mt. The 2013 
Pacific cod TACs are less than the ABCs by the following amounts: (1) 
Eastern GOA, 684 mt; (2) Central GOA, 14,788 mt; and (3) Western GOA, 
7,280 mt. These amounts reflect the sum of the State's 2012 and 2013 
GHLs in these areas, which are 25 percent of the Eastern, Central, and 
Western GOA ABCs, respectively.
    NMFS establishes seasonal apportionments of the annual Pacific cod 
TAC in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. Sixty percent of the 
annual TAC is apportioned to the A season for hook-and-line, pot, and 
jig gear from January 1 through June 10, and for trawl gear from 
January 20 through June 10. Forty percent of the annual TAC is 
apportioned to the B season for hook-and-line, pot, and jig gear from 
September 1 through December 31, and for trawl gear from September 1 
through November 1 (Sec. Sec.  679.23(d)(3) and 679.20(a)(12)).
    NMFS published a final rule to implement Amendment 83 to the FMP on 
December 1, 2011 (76 FR 74670), effective January 1, 2012. Amendment 83 
allocates the Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs among various 
gear and operational sectors, and eliminates inshore and offshore 
allocations in these two regulatory areas. Sector allocations limit the 
amount of Western and Central GOA Pacific cod that each sector is 
authorized to harvest. Amendment 83

[[Page 15196]]

did not change the existing annual Pacific cod TAC allocation between 
the inshore and offshore processing components in the Eastern GOA. The 
Pacific cod sector apportionments are discussed in detail in a 
subsequent section of this preamble.
    For sablefish, the SSC and Council recommended that the method of 
apportioning the sablefish ABC among management areas in 2012 and 2013 
include commercial fishery and survey data. NMFS stock assessment 
scientists believe the use of unbiased commercial fishery data 
reflecting catch-per-unit-effort provides rational input for stock 
distribution assessments. NMFS evaluates annually the use of commercial 
fishery data to ensure unbiased information is included in stock 
distribution models. The Council's recommendation for sablefish area 
apportionments also takes into account the prohibition on the use of 
trawl gear in the SEO District of the Eastern Regulatory Area and makes 
available five percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area ABCs to 
trawl gear for use as incidental catch in other groundfish fisheries in 
the WYK District (Sec.  679.20(a)(4)(i)). Tables 7 and 8 list the final 
2012 and 2013 allocations of sablefish TAC to hook-and-line and trawl 
gear in the GOA.
    At the October 2011 Council meeting the SCC, AP, and Council 
recommended-- and NMFS--proposed the move of widow and yellowtail 
rockfish from the pelagic shelf rockfish (PSR) species group to the 
``other rockfish'' species group in the GOA. The preamble to the 
proposed 2012 and 2013 groundfish harvest specifications for the GOA 
(76 FR 79620, December 22, 2011) discusses the rationale for the 
action. These final 2012 and 2013 groundfish harvest specifications for 
the GOA make this recommendation effective. Final 2012 and 2013 amounts 
for the PSR and ``other rockfish'' species groups are listed in Tables 
1 and 2. NMFS intends to prepare an FMP and regulatory amendment to 
remove the description of the PSR species group and fishery, add a 
description of the dusky rockfish fishery, and revise the description 
of the ``other rockfish'' fishery in the FMP and in associated 
regulations. The management measures associated with PSR would remain 
the same for dusky rockfish. All references to PSR in this rule refer 
to dusky rockfish.

Central GOA Rockfish Program

    The Central GOA Rockfish Pilot Program expired December 31, 2011. 
For that reason, NMFS did not include 2012 allocations to the Rockfish 
Pilot Program in the final 2011 and 2012 harvest specifications for 
groundfish (76 FR 11111, March 1, 2011). A final rule to implement 
Amendment 88 to the GOA FMP, the Central GOA Rockfish Program (Rockfish 
Program), was published on December 27, 2011 (76 FR 81248), and is 
effective December 27, 2011, through December 31, 2021. The Rockfish 
Program allocates exclusive harvest privileges to a select group of 
License Limitation Program (LLP) license holders who used trawl gear to 
target Pacific ocean perch, pelagic shelf rockfish, and northern 
rockfish during specific qualifying years. This final rule includes 
allocations and apportionments of Rockfish Program species, as 
discussed in the proposed 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications (76 FR 
79620, December 22, 2011).

Other Actions Affecting Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) in the GOA

Amendment 93 to Limit Bycatch of Chinook Salmon in the Western and 
Central GOA Pollock Fisheries

    NMFS has submitted Amendment 93 to the FMP for review by the 
Secretary. NMFS published a proposed rule to implement Amendment 93 on 
December 14, 2011 (76 FR 77757), with comments on the proposed rule 
invited through January 30, 2012. If approved, Amendment 93 would 
establish an annual PSC limit of 25,000 Chinook salmon for the pollock 
fisheries in the Central and Western GOA, increase observer coverage 
requirements for vessels under 60 feet length overall until superseded 
by pending changes to the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program, 
and require full retention of all salmon taken in the Central and 
Western GOA pollock fisheries until they can be counted and sampled. 
The annual 25,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit would be apportioned between 
the Western GOA (6,684 fish) and the Central GOA (18,316 fish). If 
Amendment 93 is approved and implemented in 2012 prior to the start of 
the pollock C season on August 25, 2012, NMFS would establish a Chinook 
salmon PSC limit in the C and D pollock seasons of 5,598 fish in the 
Western GOA and 8,929 fish in the Central GOA in 2012. If the annual 
Chinook salmon PSC limits are reached in either reporting area, 
directed fishing for pollock in the applicable reporting area would be 
closed for the remainder of the fishing year.

Halibut Prohibited Species Catch Limits Revisions

    At its October 2011 meeting, the Council decided to pursue possible 
revisions to the GOA halibut PSC limits through an FMP amendment and an 
associated regulatory amendment. The alternatives being analyzed 
include no change, and reductions of 5, 10, or 15 percent of the 
current halibut PSC limits apportioned between trawl gear and hook-and-
line gear. Apportionment of trawl PSC limits between the deep-water and 
shallow-water complexes, limits for non-exempt American Fisheries Act 
(AFA) CVs (CVs) using trawl gear, Rockfish Program halibut PSC limits 
for the catcher/processor (C/P) and CV sectors, and halibut PSC limits 
for Amendment 80 Program vessels could be affected. The Council intends 
to schedule initial review and final action for the proposed amendment 
during 2012 for implementation, pending approval by the Secretary, in 
2013.

Changes From the Proposed 2012 and 2013 Harvest Specifications in the 
GOA

    In October 2011, the Council's recommendations for the proposed 
2012 and 2013 harvest specifications (76 FR 79620, December 22, 2011) 
were based largely upon information contained in the final 2010 SAFE 
report for the GOA groundfish fisheries, dated November 2010 (see 
ADDRESSES). The Council proposed that the final OFLs, ABCs, and TACs 
established for the 2012 groundfish fisheries (76 FR 11111, March 1, 
2011) be used for the proposed 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications, 
pending completion and review of the 2011 SAFE report at its December 
2011 meeting.
    As described previously, the SSC adopted the final 2012 and 2013 
OFLs and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team, with the exception of the 
combined ABC for ``other rockfish'' in the Central and Western GOA. The 
Council adopted the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations and the AP's TAC 
recommendations for 2012 and 2013. The final 2012 ABCs are higher than 
the 2012 ABCs published in the proposed 2012 and 2013 harvest 
specifications (76 FR 79620, December 22, 2011) for Pacific cod, 
sablefish, rex sole, arrowtooth flounder, Pacific ocean perch, northern 
rockfish, shortraker rockfish, ``other rockfish,'' pelagic shelf 
rockfish, big skate, octopuses, and sculpins. The final 2012 ABCs are 
lower than the proposed 2012 ABCs for pollock, shallow-water flatfish, 
deep-water flatfish, flathead sole, rougheye rockfish, demersal shelf 
rockfish, thornyhead rockfish, longnose skate, ``other skates,'' and 
sharks. The final 2013 ABCs are higher than the proposed 2013 ABCs for 
pollock, Pacific cod, sablefish, rex sole, arrowtooth flounder,

[[Page 15197]]

Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, ``other 
rockfish,'' pelagic shelf rockfish, big skate, octopuses, and sculpins. 
The final 2013 ABCs are lower than the proposed 2013 ABCs for shallow-
water flatfish, deep-water flatfish, flathead sole, rougheye rockfish, 
demersal shelf rockfish, thornyhead rockfish, longnose skate, ``other 
skates,'' and sharks. For the remaining target species, Atka mackerel 
and squids, the Council recommended, and the Secretary approved, final 
2012 and 2013 ABCs that are the same as the proposed 2012 and 2013 
ABCs.
    Additional information explaining the changes between the proposed 
and final ABCs is included in the final 2011 SAFE report, which was not 
available when the Council made its proposed ABC and TAC 
recommendations in October 2011. At that time, the most recent stock 
assessment information was contained in the final 2010 SAFE report. The 
final 2011 SAFE report contains the best and most recent scientific 
information on the condition of the groundfish stocks, as previously 
discussed in this preamble, and is available for review (see 
ADDRESSES). The Council considered the final 2011 SAFE report in 
December 2011 when it made recommendations for the final 2012 and 2013 
harvest specifications. The Council's final 2012 and 2013 TAC 
recommendations increase fishing opportunities for species for which 
the Council had sufficient information to raise TACs. Conversely, the 
Council reduced TACs to limit directed fishing for some species. In the 
GOA, the total final 2012 TAC amount is 438,159 mt, a decrease of 25 
percent from the total proposed 2012 TAC amount of 584,440 mt. The 
total final 2013 TAC amount is 447,752 mt, a decrease of 23 percent 
from the total proposed 2013 TAC amount of 584,440 mt.
    Based on changes to the assessment method used by the stock 
assessment scientists, the greatest TAC increases are for Pacific cod 
and northern rockfish. Based on changes in the estimates of overall 
biomass, the greatest TAC increases were for sablefish, shortraker 
rockfish, pelagic shelf rockfish, big skates, and octopuses. Based upon 
Council recommended changes in setting the TACs at amounts below ABCs 
the greatest decreases in TACs were for shallow-water flatfish, 
arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, and ``other rockfish.'' The Council 
believed, and NMFS concurs, that setting TACs for these species equal 
to ABCs would not reflect anticipated harvest levels accurately, as the 
Council and NMFS expect halibut PSC limits to constrain these fisheries 
in both 2012 and 2013. However, the final TACs for these species are 
increased significantly from the final 2011 amounts to provide for 
greater harvest opportunities.
    Based upon changes in the estimates of biomass by stock assessment 
scientists, the greatest decreases in TACs are for deep-water flatfish, 
thornyhead rockfish, and longnose skates. For all other species and 
species groups, changes from the proposed to the final TACs are within 
plus or minus five percent of the proposed TACs. These TAC changes 
corresponded to associated changes in the ABCs and TACs, as recommended 
by the SSC, AP, and Council.
    Detailed information providing the basis for the changes described 
above is contained in the final 2011 SAFE report. The final TACs are 
based on the best scientific information available. These TACs are 
specified in compliance with the harvest strategy described in both the 
proposed and final rules for the 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications. 
The changes in TACs between the proposed and this final rule are 
compared in the following table.

                                                         Comparison of Proposed and Final 2012 and 2013 GOA Total Allowable Catch Limits
                                                                  [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentage]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                               Difference                                      Difference
                                             2012 and  2013    2012  Final    between 2012     Percentage                     between 2013     Percentage
                  Species                      proposed TAC        TAC        proposed and     difference    2013 Final TAC   proposed and     difference      Principle reason for difference
                                                                                  final                                           final
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock....................................         121,649         116,444          -5,205              -4         125,334           3,685              +3  Biomass.\1\
Pacific cod................................          58,650          65,700           7,050             +12          68,250           9,600             +16  Model.\2\
Sablefish..................................          10,345          12,960           2,615             +25          12,794           2,449             +24  Biomass.
Shallow-water flatfish.....................          56,242          37,029         -19,213             -34          36,550         -19,692             -35  TAC adjustment.\3\
Deep-water flatfish........................           6,486           5,126          -1,360             -21           5,126          -1,360             -21  Biomass.
Rex sole...................................           9,396           9,612             216              +2           9,432              36               0  Biomass.
Arrowtooth flounder........................         211,027         103,300        -107,727             -51         103,300        -107,727             -51  TAC adjustment.
Flathead sole..............................          50,591          30,319         -20,272             -40          30,408         -20,183             -40  TAC adjustment.
Pacific ocean perch........................          16,187          16,918             731              +5          16,500             313              +2  Biomass.
Northern rockfish..........................           4,614           5,507             893             +19           5,153             539             +12  Model.
Shortraker rockfish........................             914           1,081             167             +18           1,081             167             +18  Biomass.
Other rockfish.............................           3,842           1,080          -2,762             -72           1,080          -2,762             -72  TAC adjustment.
Pelagic shelf rockfish.....................           4,347           5,118             771             +18           4,762             415             +10  Biomass.
Rougheye rockfish..........................           1,312           1,223             -89              -7           1,240             -72              -5  Biomass.
Demersal shelf rockfish....................             300             293              -7              -2             293              -7              -2  Biomass.
Thornyhead rockfish........................           1,770           1,665            -105              -6           1,665            -105              -6  Biomass.
Atka mackerel..............................           4,700           2,000          -2,700             -57           2,000          -2,700             -57  TAC adjustment.
Big skate..................................           3,328           3,767             439             +13           3,767             439             +13  Biomass.
Longnose skates............................           2,852           2,625            -227              -8           2,625            -227              -8  Biomass.
Other skates...............................           2,093           2,030             -63              -3           2,030             -63              -3  Biomass.
Squids.....................................           1,148           1,148               0               0           1,148               0               0  n/a.
Sharks.....................................           6,197           6,028            -169              -3           6,028            -169              -3  Biomass.
Octopuses..................................             954           1,455             501             +53           1,455             501             +53  Biomass.
Sculpins...................................           5,496           5,731             235              +4           5,731             235              +4  Biomass.
                                            ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total..................................         584,440         438,159        -146,281             -25         447,752        -136,688             -23  ...................................
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Biomass--Change in estimate of biomass.
\2\ Model--Change in assessment methodology.
\3\ TAC adjustment--Change in TAC to less than the ABC amount.

    The final 2012 and 2013 TAC recommendations for the GOA are within 
the OY range established for the GOA and do not exceed the ABC for any 
species or species group. Tables 1 and 2 list final the OFL, ABC, and 
TAC

[[Page 15198]]

amounts for GOA groundfish for 2012 and 2013, respectively.

 Table 1--Final 2012 ABCs, TACs, and OFLs of Groundfish for the Western/Central/West Yakutat, Western, Central,
   Eastern Regulatory Areas, and in the West Yakutat, Southeast Outside, and Gulfwide Districts of the Gulf of
                                                     Alaska
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Species                         Area \1\                OFL             ABC             TAC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \2\...........................  Shumagin (610)..........             n/a          30,270          30,270
                                        Chirikof (620)..........             n/a          45,808          45,808
                                        Kodiak (630)............             n/a          26,348          26,348
                                        WYK (640)...............             n/a           3,244           3,244
                                        W/C/WYK (subtotal)......         143,716         105,670         105,670
                                        SEO (650)...............          14,366          10,774          10,774
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................         158,082         116,444         116,444
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod \3\.......................  W.......................             n/a          28,032          21,024
                                        C.......................             n/a          56,940          42,705
                                        E.......................             n/a           2,628           1,971
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................         104,000          87,600          65,700
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish \4\.........................  W.......................             n/a           1,780           1,780
                                        C.......................             n/a           5,760           5,760
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           2,247           2,247
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           3,173           3,173
                                        E (WYK and SEO)                      n/a           5,420           5,420
                                         (subtotal).
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          15,330          12,960          12,960
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shallow-water flatfish \6\............  W.......................             n/a          21,994          13,250
                                        C.......................             n/a          22,910          18,000
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           4,307           4,307
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,472           1,472
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          61,681          50,683          37,029
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deep-water flatfish \5\...............  W.......................             n/a             176             176
                                        C.......................             n/a           2,308           2,308
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           1,581           1,581
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,061           1,061
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           6,834           5,126           5,126
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rex sole..............................  W.......................             n/a           1,307           1,307
                                        C.......................             n/a           6,412           6,412
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             836             836
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,057           1,057
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          12,561           9,612           9,612
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arrowtooth flounder...................  W.......................             n/a          27,495          14,500
                                        C.......................             n/a         143,162          75,000
                                        WYK.....................             n/a          21,159           6,900
                                        SEO.....................             n/a          21,066           6,900
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................         250,100         212,882         103,300
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flathead sole.........................  W.......................             n/a          15,300           8,650
                                        C.......................             n/a          25,838          15,400
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           4,558           4,558
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,711           1,711
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          59,380          47,407          30,319
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch \7\...............  W.......................           2,423           2,102           2,102
                                        C.......................          12,980          11,263          11,263
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           1,692           1,692
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,861           1,861
                                        E (WYK and SEO)                    4,095             n/a             n/a
                                         (subtotal).
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          19,498          16,918          16,918
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 15199]]

 
Northern rockfish 8 9                   W.......................             n/a           2,156           2,156
                                        C.......................             n/a           3,351           3,351
                                        E.......................             n/a               0               0
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           6,574           5,507           5,507
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shortraker rockfish \11\..............  W.......................             n/a             104             104
                                        C.......................             n/a             452             452
                                        E.......................             n/a             525             525
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           1,441           1,081           1,081
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other rockfish 9 12...................  W.......................             n/a              44              44
                                        C.......................             n/a             606             606
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             230             230
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           3,165             200
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           5,305           4,045           1,080
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pelagic shelf rockfish \13\...........  W.......................             n/a             409             409
                                        C.......................             n/a           3,849           3,849
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             542             542
                                        SEO.....................             n/a             318             318
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           6,257           5,118           5,118
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rougheye and Blackspotted rockfish      W.......................             n/a              80              80
 \10\.
                                        C.......................             n/a             850             850
                                        E.......................             n/a             293             293
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           1,472           1,223           1,223
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Demersal shelf rockfish \14\..........  SEO.....................             467             293             293
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thornyhead rockfish...................  W.......................             n/a             150             150
                                        C.......................             n/a             766             766
                                        E.......................             n/a             749             749
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           2,220           1,665           1,665
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atka mackerel.........................  GW......................           6,200           4,700           2,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Big skate \15\........................  W.......................             n/a             469             469
                                        C.......................             n/a           1,793           1,793
                                        E.......................             n/a           1,505           1,505
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           5,023           3,767           3,767
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Longnose skate \16\...................  W.......................             n/a              70              70
                                        C.......................             n/a           1,879           1,879
                                        E.......................             n/a             676             676
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           3,500           2,625           2,625
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other skates \17\.....................  GW......................           2,706           2,030           2,030
Squids................................  GW......................           1,530           1,148           1,148
Sharks................................  GW......................           8,037           6,028           6,028
Octopus...............................  GW......................           1,941           1,455           1,455
Sculpins..............................  GW......................           7,641           5,731           5,731
                                       -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.............................  ........................         747,780         606,048         438,159
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   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).
\2\ Pollock is apportioned in the Western/Central Regulatory Areas among three statistical areas. During the A
  season, the apportionment is based on an adjusted estimate of the relative distribution of pollock biomass of
  approximately 23 percent, 55 percent, and 22 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively.
  During the B season, the apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass at 23 percent,
  67 percent, and 10 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. During the C and D seasons,
  the apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass at 37 percent, 28 percent, and 35
  percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. Table 3 lists the final 2012 seasonal
  apportionments. In the West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, pollock is
  not divided into seasonal allowances.

[[Page 15200]]

 
\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 in the Eastern Regulatory Area is allocated 90
  percent for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent for processing by the offshore component. Table
  5 lists the final 2012 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments.
\4\ Sablefish is allocated to trawl and hook-and-line gear in 2012. Table 7 lists the final 2012 allocations of
  sablefish TACs.
\5\ ``Deep-water flatfish'' means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deepsea sole.
\6\ ``Shallow-water flatfish'' means flatfish not including ``deep-water flatfish,'' flathead sole, rex sole, or
  arrowtooth flounder.
\7\ ``Pacific ocean perch'' means Sebastes alutus.
\8\ ``Northern rockfish'' means Sebastes polyspinous. For management purposes the 2 mt apportionment of ABC to
  the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the slope rockfish species group.
\9\ ``Slope 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, slope rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinous.
\10\ ``Rougheye rockfish'' means Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted).
\11\ ``Shortraker rockfish'' means Sebastes borealis.
\12\ ``Other rockfish'' in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means slope
  rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. The ``other rockfish'' species group in the SEO District means slope
  rockfish.
\13\ ``Pelagic shelf rockfish'' means Sebastes variabilis (dusky).
\14\ ``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).
\15\ ``Big skate'' means Raja binoculata.
\16\ ``Longnose skate'' means Raja rhina.
\17\ ``Other skates'' means Bathyraja spp.


 Table 2--Final 2013 ABCs, TACs, and OFLs of Groundfish for the Western/Central/West Yakutat, Western, Central,
   Eastern Regulatory Areas, and in the West Yakutat, Southeast Outside, and Gulfwide Districts of the Gulf of
                                                     Alaska
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Species                          Area\1\                OFL             ABC             TAC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \2\...........................  Shumagin (610)..........             n/a          32,816          32,816
                                        Chirikof (620)..........             n/a          49,662          49,662
                                        Kodiak (630)............             n/a          28,565          28,565
                                        WYK (640)...............             n/a           3,517           3,517
                                        W/C/WYK (subtotal)......         155,402         114,560         114,560
                                        SEO (650)...............          14,366          10,774          10,774
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................         169,768         125,334         125,334
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod \3\.......................  W.......................             n/a          29,120          21,840
                                        C.......................             n/a          59,150          44,363
                                        E.......................             n/a           2,730           2,047
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................         108,000          91,000          68,250
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish \4\.........................  W.......................             n/a           1,757           1,757
                                        C.......................             n/a           5,686           5,686
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           2,219           2,219
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           3,132           3,132
                                        E (WYK and SEO)                      n/a           5,351           5,351
                                         (subtotal).
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          15,129          12,794          12,794
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shallow-water flatfish \6\............  W.......................             n/a          20,171          13,250
                                        C.......................             n/a          21,012          18,000
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           3,950           3,950
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,350           1,350
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          56,781          46,483          36,550
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deep-water flatfish \5\...............  W.......................             n/a             176             176
                                        C.......................             n/a           2,308           2,308
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           1,581           1,581
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,061           1,061
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           6,834           5,126           5,126
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rex sole..............................  W.......................             n/a           1,283           1,283
                                        C.......................             n/a           6,291           6,291
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             821             821
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,037           1,037
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          12,326           9,432           9,432
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arrowtooth flounder...................  W.......................             n/a          27,386          14,500
                                        C.......................             n/a         142,591          75,000
                                        WYK.....................             n/a          21,074           6,900

[[Page 15201]]

 
                                        SEO.....................             n/a          20,982           6,900
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................         249,066         212,033         103,300
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flathead sole.........................  W.......................             n/a          15,518           8,650
                                        C.......................             n/a          26,205          15,400
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           4,623           4,623
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,735           1,735
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          60,219          48,081          30,408
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch \7\...............  W.......................           2,364           2,050           2,050
                                        C.......................          12,662          10,985          10,985
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           1,650           1,650
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,815           1,815
                                        E (WYK and SEO)                    3,995             n/a             n/a
                                         (subtotal).
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          19,021          16,500          16,500
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Northern rockfish 8 9.................  W.......................             n/a           2,017           2,017
                                        C.......................             n/a           3,136           3,136
                                        E.......................             n/a               0               0
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           6,152           5,153           5,153
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shortraker rockfish \11\..............  W.......................             n/a             104             104
                                        C.......................             n/a             452             452
                                        E.......................             n/a             525             525
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           1,441           1,081           1,081
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other rockfish 9 12...................  W.......................             n/a              44              44
                                        C.......................             n/a             606             606
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             230             230
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           3,165             200
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           5,305           4,045           1,080
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pelagic shelf rockfish) \13\..........  W.......................             n/a             381             381
                                        C.......................             n/a           3,581           3,581
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             504             504
                                        SEO.....................             n/a             296             296
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           5,822           4,762           4,762
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rougheye and Blackspotted rockfish      W.......................             n/a              82              82
 \10\.
                                        C.......................             n/a             861             861
                                        E.......................             n/a             297             297
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           1,492           1,240           1,240
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Demersal shelf rockfish \14\..........  SEO.....................             467             293             293
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thornyhead rockfish...................  W.......................             n/a             150             150
                                        C.......................             n/a             766             766
                                        E.......................             n/a             749             749
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           2,220           1,665           1,665
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atka mackerel.........................  GW......................           6,200           4,700           2,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Big skate \15\........................  W.......................             n/a             469             469
                                        C.......................             n/a           1,793           1,793
                                        E.......................             n/a           1,505           1,505
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           5,023           3,767           3,767
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Longnose skate \16\...................  W.......................             n/a              70              70
                                        C.......................             n/a           1,879           1,879

[[Page 15202]]

 
                                        E.......................             n/a             676             676
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           3,500           2,625           2,625
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other skates \17\.....................  GW......................           2,706           2,030           2,030
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Squids................................  GW......................           1,530           1,148           1,148
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sharks................................  GW......................           8,037           6,028           6,028
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Octopus...............................  GW......................           1,941           1,455           1,455
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sculpins..............................  GW......................           7,641           5,731           5,731
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.............................  ........................         756,621         612,506         447,752
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   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).
\2\ Pollock is apportioned in the Western/Central Regulatory Areas among three statistical areas. During the A
  season, the apportionment is based on an adjusted estimate of the relative distribution of pollock biomass of
  approximately 23 percent, 55 percent, and 22 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively.
  During the B season, the apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass at 23 percent,
  67 percent, and 10 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. During the C and D seasons,
  the apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass at 37 percent, 28 percent, and 35
  percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. Table 4 lists the final 2013 seasonal
  apportionments. In the West Yakutat and Southeast Outside 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 in the Eastern Regulatory Area is allocated 90
  percent for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent for processing by the offshore component. Table
  6 lists the final 2013 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments.
\4\ Sablefish is only allocated to trawl gear for 2013. Table 8 lists the final 2013 allocation of sablefish
  TACs to trawl gear.
\5\ ``Deep-water flatfish'' means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deep sea sole.
\6\ ``Shallow-water flatfish'' means flatfish not including ``deep-water flatfish,'' flathead sole, rex sole, or
  arrowtooth flounder.
\7\ ``Pacific ocean perch'' means Sebastes alutus.
\8\ ``Northern rockfish'' means Sebastes polyspinous. For management purposes the 2 mt apportionment of ABC to
  the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the slope rockfish species group.
\9\ ``Slope 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, slope rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinous.
\10\ ``Rougheye rockfish'' means Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted).
\11\ ``Shortraker rockfish'' means Sebastes borealis.
\12\ ``Other rockfish'' in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means slope
  rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. The ``other rockfish'' species group in the SEO District means slope
  rockfish.
\13\ ``Pelagic shelf rockfish'' means Sebastes variabilis (dusky).
\14\ ``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).
\15\ ``Big skate'' means Raja binoculata.
\16\ ``Longnose skate'' means Raja rhina.
\17\ ``Other skates'' means Bathyraja spp.

Apportionment of Reserves

    Section 679.20(b)(2) requires NMFS to set aside 20 percent of each 
TAC for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, squids, sharks, octopuses, and 
sculpins in reserves for possible apportionment at a later date during 
the fishing year. For 2012 and 2013, NMFS proposed reapportionment of 
all the reserves in the proposed 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications 
published in the Federal Register on December 22, 2011 (76 FR 79620). 
NMFS did not receive any public comments on the proposed 
reapportionments. For the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications, 
NMFS reapportioned, as proposed, all the reserves for pollock, Pacific 
cod, flatfish, squids, sharks, octopuses, and sculpins. The TAC amounts 
shown in Tables 1 and 2 reflect reapportionment of reserve amounts for 
these species and species groups.

Apportionments of Pollock TAC Among Seasons and Regulatory Areas, and 
Allocations for Processing by Inshore and Offshore Components

    In the GOA, pollock is apportioned by season and area, and is 
further allocated for processing by inshore and offshore components. 
Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B), the annual pollock TAC specified 
for the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA is apportioned 
into four equal seasonal allowances of 25 percent. As established by 
Sec.  679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season 
allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to May 
31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively.
    Pollock TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA 
are apportioned among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, pursuant to 
Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A). In the A and B seasons, the apportionments 
are in proportion to the distribution of pollock biomass based on the 
four most recent NMFS winter surveys. In the C and D seasons, the 
apportionments are in proportion to the distribution of pollock biomass 
based on the four most recent NMFS summer surveys. However, for

[[Page 15203]]

2012 and 2013, the Council recommends, and NMFS approves, averaging the 
winter and summer distribution of pollock in the Central Regulatory 
Area for the A season and not the distribution based on the winter 
surveys. The average is intended to reflect the migration patterns and 
distribution of pollock, and the performance of the fishery, in that 
area during the A season for the 2012 and 2013 fishing years. During 
the A season, the apportionment is based on an adjusted estimate of the 
relative distribution of pollock biomass of approximately 23 percent, 
55 percent, and 22 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, 
respectively. During the B season, the apportionment is based on the 
relative distribution of pollock biomass at 23 percent, 67 percent, and 
10 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. During 
the C and D seasons, the apportionment is based on the relative 
distribution of pollock biomass at 37 percent, 28 percent, and 35 
percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively.
    Within any fishing year, the amount by which a seasonal allowance 
is underharvested or overharvested may be added to, or subtracted from, 
subsequent seasonal allowances in a manner to be determined by the 
Regional Administrator (Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The rollover amount 
is limited to 20 percent of the unharvested seasonal apportionment for 
the statistical area. Any unharvested pollock above the 20 percent 
limit could be further distributed to the other statistical areas, in 
proportion to the estimated biomass in the subsequent season in those 
statistical areas (Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The pollock TACs in the 
WYK and SEO District of 3,244 mt and 10,774 mt, respectively, in 2012, 
and 3,517 mt and 10,774 mt, respectively, in 2013, are not allocated by 
season.
    Section 679.20(a)(6)(i) requires the allocation of 100 percent of 
the pollock TAC in all regulatory areas and all seasonal allowances to 
vessels catching pollock for processing by the inshore component after 
subtraction of amounts projected by the Regional Administrator to be 
caught by, or delivered to, the offshore component incidental to 
directed fishing for other groundfish species. Thus, the amount of 
pollock available for harvest by vessels harvesting pollock for 
processing by the offshore component is that amount that will be taken 
as incidental catch during directed fishing for groundfish species 
other than pollock, up to the maximum retainable amounts allowed by 
Sec.  679.20(e) and (f). At this time, these incidental catch amounts 
of pollock are unknown and will be determined during the fishing year 
during the course of fishing activities by the offshore component.
    Tables 3 and 4 list the final 2012 and 2013 seasonal biomass 
distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, 
area apportionments, and seasonal allowances. The amounts of pollock 
for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown.

 Table 3--Final 2012 Distribution of Pollock in the Central and Western Regulatory Areas of the GOA; Seasonal Biomass Distribution, Area Apportionments;
                                                          and Seasonal Allowances of Annual TAC
                             [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages are rounded to the nearest 0.01]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Season\1\                               Shumagin (Area 610)
                                                                  Chirikof (Area 620)
                                                                   Kodiak (Area 630)      Total \2\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A (Jan 20-Mar 10)............................................        5,797     (22.64%)       14,023     (54.76%)        5,787     (22.60%)       25,607
B (Mar 10-May 31)............................................        5,797     (22.64%)       17,221     (67.25%)        2,589     (10.11%)       25,607
C (Aug 25-Oct 1).............................................        9,338     (36.47%)        7,282     (28.44%)        8,986     (35.10%)       25,606
D (Oct 1-Nov 1)..............................................        9,338     (36.47%)        7,282     (28.44%)        8,986     (35.10%)       25,606
                                                              ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Annual Total.............................................       32,070  ...........       45,808  ...........       26,348  ...........      102,426
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ As established by Sec.   679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to
  May 31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore
  components are not shown in this table.
\2\ The WYK and SEO District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table.


 Table 4--Final 2013 Distribution of Pollock in the Central and Western Regulatory Areas of the GOA; Seasonal Biomass Distribution, Area Apportionments;
                                                          and Seasonal Allowances of Annual TAC
                             [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages are rounded to the nearest 0.01]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Season\1\                               Shumagin (Area 610)
                                                                  Chirikof (Area 620)
                                                                   Kodiak (Area 630)      Total \2\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A (Jan 20-Mar 10)............................................        6,285     (22.64%)       15,202     (54.76%)        6,274     (22.60%)       27,761
B (Mar 10-May 31)............................................        6,285     (22.64%)       18,668     (67.25%)        2,806     (10.11%)       27,760
C (Aug 25-Oct 1).............................................       10,123     (36.47%)        7,896     (28.44%)        9,743     (35.10%)       27,761
D (Oct 1-Nov 1)..............................................       10,123     (36.47%)        7,896     (28.44%)        9,743     (35.10%)       27,761
                                                              ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Annual Total.............................................       32,816  ...........       49,662  ...........       28,565  ...........      111,043
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ As established by Sec.   679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to
  May 31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore
  components are not shown in this table.
\2\ The WYK and SEO District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table.

Annual and Seasonal Apportionments of Pacific Cod TAC

    NMFS published a final rule to implement Amendment 83 to the FMP on 
December 1, 2011 (76 FR 74670), effective January 1, 2012. Amendment 83 
allocates the Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs among gear and 
operational sectors, based on each sector's catch history. Amendment 83 
also limits access to the Federal Pacific cod TAC fisheries prosecuted 
in State waters, known as parallel fisheries, adjacent to the Western 
and Central GOA. Based on the restructuring of the GOA Pacific cod 
fisheries under Amendment 83, NMFS makes final

[[Page 15204]]

allocations of the annual Pacific cod TAC seasonally between the 
inshore and offshore components in the Eastern GOA, among vessels using 
jig gear, CVs less than 50 feet (15.2 m) in length overall using hook-
and-line gear, CVs equal to or greater than 50 feet (15.2 m) in length 
overall using hook-and-line gear, C/Ps using hook-and-line gear, CVs 
using trawl gear, C/Ps using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear in 
the Central GOA, and among vessels using jig gear, CVs using hook-and-
line gear, C/Ps using hook-and-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, C/Ps 
using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear in the Western GOA.
    NMFS may also apply any overage or underage of Pacific cod harvest 
by each sector from the A season to the B season. Under Sec.  
679.20(a)(12)(ii), any overage or underage of the Pacific cod allowance 
from the A season will be subtracted from, or added to, the subsequent 
B season allowance. In addition, any portion of the hook-and-line, 
trawl, pot, or jig sector allocations that are determined by NMFS as 
likely to go unharvested by a sector may be reapportioned to other 
sectors for harvest during the remainder of the fishery year.
    NMFS calculated the final 2012 and 2013 Pacific cod TAC allocations 
as follows. First, the jig sector receives 1.5 percent of the annual 
Pacific cod TAC in the Western GOA and 1.0 percent of the annual 
Pacific cod TAC in the Central GOA, as required by Sec.  679.20(c)(7). 
The jig sector annual allocation is further apportioned between the A 
(60 percent) and B (40 percent) seasons as required by Sec.  
679.20(a)(12)(i). Should the jig sector harvest 90 percent or more of 
its allocation in an area during a fishing year, then this allocation 
would increase by 1 percent in the subsequent fishing year, up to 6 
percent of the annual TAC. NMFS allocates the remainder of the annual 
Pacific cod TAC based on gear type, operation type, and vessel length 
overall in the Western and Central GOA seasonally as required by Sec.  
679.20(a)(12)(A) and (B). Tables 5 and 6 list the seasonal 
apportionments and allocations of the final 2012 and 2013 Pacific cod 
TACs.

 Table 5--Final 2012 Seasonal Apportionments and Allocation of Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts in the
GOA; Allocations for the Western GOA and Central GOA Sectors and the Eastern GOA Inshore and Offshore Processing
                                                   Components
 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages to the nearest 0.01. Seasonal allowances may not
                                  total precisely to annual allocation amount]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             A Season                        B Season
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Annual          Sector                          Sector
   Regulatory area and sector       allocation     percentage of     Seasonal      percentage of     Seasonal
                                       (mt)       annual non-jig    allowances    annual non-jig    allowances
                                                        TAC            (mt)             TAC            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western GOA
Jig (1.5% of TAC)...............             315             N/A             189             N/A             126
Hook-and-line CV................             290            0.70             145            0.70             145
Hook-and-line C/P...............           4,100           10.90           2,257            8.90           1,843
Trawl CV........................           7,952           27.70           5,736           10.70           2,216
Trawl C/P.......................             497            0.90             186            1.50             311
All Pot CV and Pot C/P..........           7,869           19.80           4,100           18.20           3,769
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................          21,024           60.00          12,614           40.00           8,410
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Central GOA
Jig (1.0% of TAC)...............             427             N/A             256             N/A             171
Hook-and-line <50 CV............           6,174            9.32           3,938            5.29           2,235
Hook-and-line >=50 CV...........           2,835            5.61           2,372            1.10             464
Hook-and-line C/P...............           2,158            4.11           1,736            1.00             422
Trawl CV........................          17,581           21.14           8,936           20.45           8,645
Trawl C/P.......................           1,775            2.00             847            2.19             928
All Pot CV and Pot C/P..........          11,755           17.83           7,538            9.97           4,217
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................          42,705           60.00          25,623           40.00          17,082
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eastern GOA.....................  ..............    Inshore (90% of Annual TAC)
                                   Offshore (10% of Annual TAC)
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           1,971  ..............           1,774  ..............             197
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 15205]]


 Table 6--Final 2013 Seasonal Apportionments and Allocation of Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts in the
GOA; Allocations for the Western GOA and Central GOA Sectors and the Eastern GOA Inshore and Offshore Processing
                                                   Components
 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages to the nearest 0.01. Seasonal allowances may not
                                  total precisely to annual allocation amount]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             A Season                        B Season
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Annual          Sector                          Sector
   Regulatory area and sector       allocation     percentage of     Seasonal      percentage of     Seasonal
                                       (mt)       annual non-jig    allowances    annual non-jig    allowances
                                                        TAC            (mt)             TAC            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western GOA
Jig (1.5% of TAC)...............             328             N/A             197             N/A             131
Hook-and-line CV................             301            0.70             151            0.70             151
Hook-and-line C/P...............           4,259           10.90           2,345            8.90           1,915
Trawl CV........................           8,261           27.70           5,959           10.70           2,302
Trawl C/P.......................             516            0.90             194            1.50             323
All Pot CV and Pot C/P..........           8,175           19.80           4,259           18.20           3,915
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................          21,840           60.00          13,104           40.00           8,736
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Central GOA
Jig (1.0% of TAC)...............             444             N/A             266             N/A             177
Hook-and-line <50 CV............           6,413            9.32           4,091            5.29           2,322
Hook-and-line >=50 CV...........           2,946            5.61           2,464            1.10             482
Hook-and-line C/P...............           2,242            4.11           1,804            1.00             438
Trawl CV........................          18,263           21.14           9,282           20.45           8,981
Trawl C/P.......................           1,844            2.00             880            2.19             964
All Pot CV and Pot C/P..........          12,212           17.83           7,831            9.97           4,381
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................          44,363           60.00          26,618           40.00          17,745
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eastern GOA.....................  ..............    Inshore (90% of Annual TAC)
                                   Offshore (10% of Annual TAC)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           2,047  ..............           1,842  ..............             205
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Allocations of the Sablefish TACs

    Section 679.20(a)(4)(i) and (ii) require allocations of sablefish 
TACs for each of the regulatory areas and districts to hook-and-line 
and trawl gear. In the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, 80 percent 
of each TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear, and 20 percent of each 
TAC is allocated to trawl gear. In the Eastern Regulatory Area, 95 
percent of the TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear, and 5 percent is 
allocated to trawl gear. The trawl gear allocation in the Eastern 
Regulatory Area may only be used to support incidental catch of 
sablefish in directed fisheries for other target species (Sec.  
679.20(a)(4)(i)).
    In recognition of the prohibition against trawling in the SEO 
District of the Eastern Regulatory Area, the Council recommended 
allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area sablefish 
TAC to trawl gear in the WYK District and making the remainder of the 
WYK sablefish TAC available to vessels using hook-and-line gear. NMFS 
concurs with the Council's recommendation, and, as a result, allocates 
100 percent of the sablefish TAC in the SEO District to vessels using 
hook-and-line gear. This recommendation results in a 2012 allocation of 
271 mt to trawl gear and 1,976 mt to hook-and-line gear in the WYK 
District, a 2012 allocation of 3,173 mt to hook-and-line gear in the 
SEO District, and a 2013 allocation of 268 mt to trawl gear in the WYK 
District. Table 7 lists the allocations of the 2012 sablefish TACs to 
hook-and-line and trawl gear. Table 8 lists the allocations of the 2013 
sablefish TACs to trawl gear.
    The Council recommended that the hook-and-line sablefish TAC be 
established annually to ensure that this Individual Fishery Quota (IFQ) 
fishery is conducted concurrent with the halibut IFQ fishery and is 
based on recent sablefish survey information. The Council also 
recommended that only a trawl sablefish TAC be established for two 
years so that retention of incidental catch of sablefish by trawl gear 
could commence in January in the second year of the groundfish harvest 
specifications. However, since there is an annual assessment for 
sablefish and the final harvest specifications are expected to be 
published before the IFQ season begins (typically, early March), the 
Council recommended that the hook-and-line sablefish TAC be set on an 
annual basis, rather than for two years, so that the best scientific 
information available could be considered in establishing the sablefish 
ABCs and TACs. Also, because sablefish is closed for directed fishing 
for trawl gear during the entire fishing year (except for vessels with 
Rockfish Program cooperative allocations) and fishing for groundfish is 
prohibited prior to January 20, it is not likely that the trawl 
allocation of sablefish established by the final 2011 and 2012 harvest 
specifications would be reached before the effective date of the final 
2012 and 2013 harvest specifications.

[[Page 15206]]



   Table 7--Final 2012 Sablefish TAC Specifications in the GOA and Allocations to Hook-and-Line and Trawl Gear
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              Hook-and-line
                     Area/district                              TAC             allocation      Trawl allocation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western................................................              1,780              1,424                356
Central................................................              5,760              4,608              1,152
West Yakutat \1\.......................................              2,247              1,976                271
Southeast Outside......................................              3,173              3,173                  0
                                                        --------------------------------------------------------
    Total..............................................             12,960             11,181              1,779
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The trawl allocation is based on allocating five percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West
  Yakutat and Southeast Outside combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District.


          Table 8--Final 2013 Sablefish TAC Specifications in the GOA and Allocation to Trawl Gear \1\
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              Hook-and-line
                     Area/district                              TAC             allocation      Trawl allocation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western................................................              1,757                n/a                351
Central................................................              5,686                n/a              1,137
West Yakutat \2\.......................................              2,219                n/a                268
Southeast Outside......................................              3,132                n/a                  0
                                                        --------------------------------------------------------
    Total..............................................             12,794                n/a              1,756
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Council recommended that harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear sablefish Individual Fishing
  Quota fisheries be limited to one year.
\2\ The trawl allocation is based on allocating five percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West
  Yakutat and Southeast Outside combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District.

Demersal Shelf Rockfish (DSR)

    The recommended 2012 and 2013 DSR TAC is 293 mt. Management of DSR 
is delegated to the State. In 2006, the Alaska Board of Fish allocated 
future SEO District DSR TACs between the commercial fishery (84 
percent) and the sport fishery (16 percent) after deductions were made 
for anticipated subsistence harvests (8 mt). This results in 2012 and 
2013 allocations of 239 mt to the commercial fishery and 46 mt to the 
sport fishery. The State deducts estimates of incidental catch of DSR 
in the commercial halibut fishery and test fishery mortality from the 
DSR commercial fishery allocation. In 2011, this resulted in 89 mt 
being available for the directed commercial DSR fishery apportioned 
between four outer coast areas. Only one of these areas, the South 
Southeast Outside area, was open to directed commercial fishery with a 
GHL of 25 mt and a harvest of 22 mt. DSR harvest in the halibut fishery 
is linked to the annual halibut catch limits; therefore the State 
cannot estimate potential DSR incidental catch in that fishery until 
those quotas are established. Federally-permitted CVs using hook-and-
line or jig gear fishing for groundfish and Pacific halibut in the SEO 
District of the GOA are required to retain all DSR (Sec.  679.20(j)). 
The State will announce the opening of directed fishing for DSR in 2012 
in January following the International Pacific Halibut Commission's 
(IPHC) January 2012 annual meeting.

Apportionments to the Central GOA Rockfish Program

    Amendment 88 to the GOA FMP establishes the Central GOA Rockfish 
Program (Rockfish Program). NMFS published a final rule to implement 
Amendment 88 on December 27, 2011 (76 FR 81248). These final 2012 and 
2013 groundfish harvest specifications for the GOA includes the various 
fishery cooperative allocations and sideboard limitations established 
by the Central GOA Rockfish Program. Under the Rockfish Program, the 
primary rockfish species (Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, and 
pelagic shelf rockfish) are allocated to participants after deducting 
for incidental catch needs in other directed groundfish fisheries. 
Potential participants in the Rockfish Program include vessels in CV 
cooperatives, C/P cooperatives, and vessels in the entry level longline 
category.
    The Rockfish Program assigns quota share and cooperative quota to 
participants for primary and secondary species, allows a participant 
holding an LLP license with rockfish quota share to form a rockfish 
cooperative with other persons, and allows holders of C/P LLP licenses 
to opt-out of the fishery. The Rockfish Program also has an entry level 
fishery for rockfish primary species for vessels using longline gear. 
Additionally, the Rockfish Program continues to establish sideboard 
limits to limit the ability of harvesters operating under the Rockfish 
Program from increasing their participation in other, non-Rockfish 
Program fisheries.
    Additionally, the Rockfish Program allocates a portion of the 
halibut PSC limit from the third season deep-water species fishery 
allowance for the GOA trawl fisheries to Rockfish Program participants 
(Sec.  679.81(d)). This includes 117 mt to the CV sector and 74 mt to 
the C/P sector. It also would permanently retire 27 mt (values are 
rounded to the nearest metric ton) of the halibut PSC limit from being 
allocated to any fishery.
    NMFS initially allocates 5 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 5 mt of 
northern rockfish, and 30 mt of PSR to the entry level longline fishery 
in 2012 and 2013. The remainder of the TACs for the primary rockfish 
species are allocated to the CV and C/P cooperatives. The allocation 
for the entry level longline fishery would increase incrementally each 
year if the sector harvests 90 percent or more of the allocation of a 
species. The incremental increase would continue each year until it 
reaches the cap set for the maximum percent of the entry level 
allocation for

[[Page 15207]]

that species in accordance with Table 28e to part 679. Table 9 lists 
the initial 2012 and 2013 allocations for each rockfish primary species 
to the entry level longline fishery, the incremental increase for 
future years, and the cap for the entry level longline fishery.

 Table 9--Initial 2012 and 2013 Allocations of Rockfish to the Entry Level Longline Fishery in the Central Gulf
                                                    of Alaska
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Incremental increase per
        Rockfish primary species         2012 and 2013 allocations      season if >=90% of      Up to maximum  %
                                                                     allocation is harvested         of TAC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch....................  5 metric tons............  5 metric tons............                  1
Northern rockfish......................  5 metric tons............  5 metric tons............                  2
Pelagic shelf rockfish.................  30 metric tons...........  20 metric tons...........                  5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Rockfish Program allocates primary rockfish species among 
various components of the Rockfish Program. Tables 10 and 11 list the 
final 2012 and 2013 allocations of rockfish in the Central GOA to 
longline gear in the entry level rockfish fishery and other 
participants in the Rockfish Program, which include CV and C/P 
cooperatives. NMFS is also setting aside incidental catch amounts 
(ICAs) of 900 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 125 mt of northern rockfish, 
and 125 mt of pelagic shelf rockfish for other directed fisheries in 
the Central GOA. These amounts are based on recent average incidental 
catches in the Central GOA by other groundfish fisheries. Allocations 
between vessels belonging to CV or C/P cooperatives are not included in 
these final harvest specifications. Rockfish Program applications for 
CV cooperatives, C/P cooperatives, and C/Ps electing to opt-out of the 
program are not due to NMFS until March 1 of each calendar year. 
Therefore, NMFS cannot calculate the 2012 and 2013 allocations in 
conjunction with these final harvest specifications. NMFS will post 
these allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/goarat/default.htm) when 
they become available in March.

  Table 10--Final 2012 Allocations of Rockfish in the Central Gulf of Alaska to the Entry Level Longline Fishery and Other Participants in the Rockfish
                                                                         Program
                                                     [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                          Allocation to
                                                                                                                        Allocation to         other
                            Species                                    TAC        Incidental catch    TAC minus ICA    the entry level   participants in
                                                                                      allowance                         longline \1\      the Rockfish
                                                                                                                           fishery         Program \2\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch...........................................            11,263               900            10,363                 5            10,358
Northern rockfish.............................................             3,351               125             3,226                 5             3,221
Pelagic shelf rockfish........................................             3,849               125             3,724                30             3,694
                                                               -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.....................................................            18,463             1,000            17,463                40            17,423
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear.
\2\ Other participants in the Rockfish Program include vessels in CV and C/P cooperatives.


  Table 11--Final 2013 Allocations of Rockfish in the Central Gulf of Alaska to the Entry Level Longline Fishery and Other Participants in the Rockfish
                                                                         Program
                                                     [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                          Allocation to
                                                                                                                        Allocation to         other
                            Species                                    TAC        Incidental catch    TAC minus ICA    the entry level   participants in
                                                                                      allowance                         longline \1\      the Rockfish
                                                                                                                           fishery         Program \2\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch...........................................            10,985               900            10,235                 5            10,230
Northern rockfish.............................................             3,136               125             3,011                 5             3,006
Pelagic shelf rockfish........................................             3,581               125             3,456                30             3,426
                                                               -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.....................................................            17,702             1,000            16,702                40            16,662
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear.
\2\ Other participants in the Rockfish Program include vessels in CV and C/P cooperatives.

    Under Amendment 88, NMFS also allocates secondary species to 
cooperatives in the Rockfish Program (Sec.  679.81(c)). These species 
include sablefish from the trawl gear allocation, thornyhead rockfish, 
Pacific cod for the CV cooperatives, and rougheye and shortraker 
rockfish for the C/P cooperatives. Tables 12 and 13 list the final 2012 
and 2013 apportionments of rockfish secondary species in the Central 
GOA to CV and C/P cooperatives.

[[Page 15208]]



        Table 12--Final 2012 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA to Catcher Vessel and Catcher/Processor Cooperatives
                                                     [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                      Catcher vessel cooperatives       Catcher/Processor cooperatives
                                                                 Annual central  -----------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Species                                  GOA TAC        Percentage of     Apportionment     Percentage of     Apportionment
                                                                                         TAC              (mt)               TAC              (mt)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod...................................................            42,705              3.81             1,627               N/A               N/A
Sablefish.....................................................             5,760              6.78               391              3.51               202
Shortraker rockfish...........................................               452               N/A               N/A             40.00               181
Rougheye rockfish.............................................               850               N/A               N/A             58.87               500
Thornyhead rockfish...........................................               766              7.84                60             26.50               203
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


        Table 13--Final 2013 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA to Catcher Vessel and Catcher/Processor Cooperatives
                                                     [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                      Catcher vessel cooperatives       Catcher/processor cooperatives
                                                                 Annual central  -----------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Species                                  GOA TAC        Percentage of     Apportionment     Percentage of     Apportionment
                                                                                         TAC              (mt)               TAC              (mt)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod...................................................            44,363              3.81             1,690               N/A               N/A
Sablefish.....................................................             5,686              6.78               386              3.51               200
Shortraker rockfish...........................................               452               N/A               N/A             40.00               181
Rougheye rockfish.............................................               861               N/A               N/A             58.87               507
Thornyhead rockfish...........................................               766              7.84                60             26.50               203
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Halibut PSC Limits

    Section 679.21(d) establishes the annual halibut PSC limit 
apportionments to trawl and hook-and-line gear and authorizes the 
establishment of apportionments for pot gear. In December 2011, the 
Council recommended that NMFS maintain the 2012 halibut PSC limits of 
2,000 mt for the trawl fisheries and 300 mt for the hook-and-line 
fisheries for the 2012 and 2013 groundfish fisheries. Ten mt of the 
hook-and-line limit is further allocated to the DSR fishery in the SEO 
District. The DSR fishery is defined at Sec.  679.21(d)(4)(iii)(A). 
This fishery has been apportioned 10 mt in recognition of its small-
scale harvests. Most vessels in the DSR fishery are less than 60 ft 
(18.3 m) length overall and are exempt from observer coverage. 
Therefore, observer data are not available to verify actual bycatch 
amounts. NMFS estimates low halibut bycatch in the DSR fishery because 
(1) the duration of the DSR fisheries and the gear soak times are 
short; (2) the DSR fishery occurs in the winter when less overlap 
occurs in the distribution of DSR and halibut; and (3) the directed 
commercial DSR fishery has a low DSR TAC. Of the 300 mt TAC for DSR in 
2011, 89 mt was available for the commercial fishery, of which 22 mt 
were harvested.
    The FMP authorizes the Council to exempt specific gear from the 
halibut PSC limits. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, exempts 
pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery 
from the non-trawl halibut limit for 2012 and 2013. The Council 
recommended, and NMFS approves, these exemptions because (1) the pot 
gear fisheries have low annual halibut bycatch mortality (averaging 22 
mt annually from 2002 through 2011); (2) IFQ program regulations 
prohibit discard of halibut if any halibut IFQ permit holder on board a 
catcher vessel holds unused halibut IFQ (Sec.  679.7(f)(11)); (3) 
sablefish IFQ fishermen typically hold halibut IFQ permits and are 
therefore required to retain the halibut they catch while fishing 
sablefish IFQ; and (4) NMFS estimates negligible halibut mortality for 
the jig gear fisheries. NMFS estimates that halibut mortality is 
negligible in the jig gear fisheries given the small amount of 
groundfish harvested by jig gear (averaging 297 mt annually from 2003 
through 2011), the selective nature of jig gear, and the high survival 
rates of halibut caught (and subsequently released) with jig gear.
    Section 679.21(d)(5) authorizes NMFS to seasonally apportion the 
halibut PSC limits after consultation with the Council. The FMP and 
regulations require the Council and NMFS to consider the following 
information in seasonally apportioning halibut PSC limits: (1) Seasonal 
distribution of halibut, (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish 
species relative to halibut distribution, (3) expected halibut bycatch 
needs on a seasonal basis relative to changes in halibut biomass and 
expected catch of target groundfish species, (4) expected bycatch rates 
on a seasonal basis, (5) expected changes in directed groundfish 
fishing seasons, (6) expected actual start of fishing effort, and (7) 
economic effects of establishing seasonal halibut allocations on 
segments of the target groundfish industry. The Council obtained the 
information it considered when setting the halibut PSC limits from the 
2011 SAFE report, NMFS catch data, State of Alaska catch data, IPHC 
stock assessment and mortality data, and public testimony.
    NMFS concurs in the Council's recommendations listed in Table 14, 
which shows the final 2012 and 2013 Pacific halibut PSC limits, 
allowances, and apportionments. Sections 679.21(d)(5)(iii) and (iv) 
specify that any underages or overages of a seasonal apportionment of a 
PSC limit will be deducted from or added to the next respective 
seasonal apportionment within the fishing year.

[[Page 15209]]



                                Table 14--Final 2012 and 2013 Pacific Halibut PSC Limits, Allowances, and Apportionments
                                                               [Values are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                           Trawl gear                                                             Hook-and-line gear \1\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  Other than DSR                                    DSR
                 Season                     Percent     Amount  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                           Season             Percent     Amount             Season              Amount
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 20-April 1......................        27.5        550  January 1-June 10.........         86        250  January 1-December 31.....         10
April 1-July 1..........................        20          400  June 10-September 1.......          2          5
July 1-September 1......................        30          600  September 1-December 31...         12         35
September 1-October 1...................         7.5        150
October 1-December 31...................        15          300
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................  ..........      2,000  ..........................  .........        290  ..........................         10
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific halibut PSC limit for hook-and-line gear is allocated to the demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) fishery and fisheries other than DSR. The
  hook-and-line sablefish fishery is exempt from halibut PSC limits, as are pot and jig gear for all groundfish fisheries.

    Section 679.21(d)(3)(ii) authorizes further apportionment of the 
trawl halibut PSC limit to trawl fishery categories. The annual 
apportionments are based on each category's proportional share of the 
anticipated halibut bycatch mortality during the fishing year and 
optimization of the total amount of groundfish harvest under the 
halibut PSC limit. The fishery categories for the trawl halibut PSC 
limits are (1) a deep-water species fishery, composed of sablefish, 
rockfish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, and arrowtooth flounder; and 
(2) a shallow-water species fishery, composed of pollock, Pacific cod, 
shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Atka mackerel, skates, and 
``other species'' (Sec.  679.21(d)(3)(iii)). Table 15 lists the final 
2012 and 2013 apportionments of Pacific halibut PSC trawl limits 
between the trawl gear deep-water and the shallow-water species 
fisheries.

  Table 15--Final 2012 and 2013 Apportionment of Pacific Halibut PSC Trawl Limits Between the Trawl Gear Deep-
                           Water Species Fishery and the Shallow-Water Species Fishery
                                           [Values are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         Season                            Shallow-water      Deep-water \1\         Total
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 20-April 1.....................................                450                100                550
April 1-July 1.........................................                100                300                400
July 1-September 1.....................................                200                400                600
September 1-October 1..................................                150    Any remainder                  150
Subtotal January 20-October 1..........................                900                800              1,700
October 1-December 31 \2\..............................  .................  .................                300
                                                        --------------------------------------------------------
    Total..............................................  .................  .................              2,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Vessels participating in cooperatives in the Central GOA Rockfish Program will receive a portion of the
  third season (July 1 through September 1) deep-water species fishery halibut PSC apportionment. This amount is
  not currently known, but will be posted later on the Alaska Region web site (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov)
  when it becomes available in March.
\2\ There is no apportionment between shallow-water and deep-water trawl species fisheries during the fifth
  season (October 1 through December 31).

    Under Amendment 83 to the GOA FMP, which established Pacific cod 
sector splits, the ``other than DSR'' halibut PSC apportionment to 
vessels using hook-and-line gear must be apportioned between CVs and C/
Ps (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011). NMFS must calculate the halibut PSC 
limit apportionments for the entire GOA to hook-and-line CVs and C/Ps 
in accordance with (Sec.  679.21(d)(4)(iii)(B)(1) and (2) in 
conjunction with these harvest specifications.
    A comprehensive description and example of the calculations 
necessary to apportion the ``other than DSR'' hook-and-line halibut PSC 
limit between the hook-and-line CV and C/P sectors were included in the 
proposed rule to implement Amendment 83 (76 FR 44700, July 26, 2011) 
and is not repeated here. For 2012 and 2013, NMFS is apportioning 
halibut PSC limits of 173 mt and 117 mt to the hook-and-line CV and 
hook-and-line C/P sectors, respectively. In addition, these annual 
limits are divided into three seasonal apportionments, using seasonal 
percentages of 86 percent, 2 percent, and 12 percent. Table 16 lists 
the 2012 and 2013 annual and seasonal halibut PSC apportionments 
between the hook-and-line sectors in the GOA.
    No later than November 1, NMFS will determine whether either of the 
hook-and-line sectors will have an unused amount of halibut PSC. If so, 
projected unused amount of halibut PSC will be made available to the 
other hook-and-line sector for the remainder of that fishing year if 
NMFS determines that an additional amount of halibut PSC is necessary 
for that sector to continue its directed fishing operations (Sec.  
679.9(d)(4)(iii)(B)(3)).

[[Page 15210]]



Table 16--Apportionments of the ``Other Hook-and-Line Fisheries'' Annual Halibut PSC Allowance Between the Hook-and-Line Gear Catcher Vessel and Catcher/
                                                                    Processor Sectors
                                                               [Values are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                              Sector
     ``Other than DSR'' allowance        Hook-and-line sector      Percent of     Sector annual           Season             Seasonal        seasonal
                                                                  annual amount      amount                                 percentage        amount
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
290..................................  Catcher Vessel..........            59.7             173  January 1-June 10......              86             149
                                                                 ..............  ..............  June 10-September 1....               2               3
                                                                 ..............  ..............  September 1-December 31              12              21
                                       Catcher/Processor.......            40.3             117  January 1-June 10......              86             101
                                                                 ..............  ..............  June 10-September 1....               2               2
                                                                 ..............  ..............  September 1-December 31              12              14
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Rockfish Program requires NMFS to allocate a fixed amount of 
the deep-water species fishery's halibut PSC third seasonal 
apportionment to participants in the Rockfish Program. This amount is 
based on 87.5 percent of the 2000 through 2006 average halibut 
mortality usage of 219 mt. Of this amount, 117.3 mt of the halibut PSC 
is allocated to the CV sector and 74.1 mt is allocated to the C/P 
sector. The remaining 12.5 percent, or 38 mt, would no longer be 
annually apportioned for use by fisheries using trawl gear in the GOA.
    Regulations implementing the Rockfish Program (76 FR 81248, 
December 27, 2011) limit the amount of the halibut PSC limit allocated 
to Rockfish Program participants that could be re-apportioned to the 
general GOA trawl fisheries (Sec.  679.21(d)(5)(iii)(B)). Halibut PSC 
limit reallocations to the non-Rockfish Program trawl fisheries from 
the Rockfish Program are limited to no more than 55 percent of the 
unused annual halibut PSC apportioned to Rockfish Program participants. 
The remainder of the unused Rockfish Program halibut PSC limit is 
unavailable for use by vessels directed fishing with trawl gear for the 
remainder of the fishing year.

Estimated Halibut Bycatch in Prior Years

    The best available information on estimated halibut bycatch was 
data collected by fisheries observers during 2011. The calculated 
halibut bycatch mortality by trawl, hook-and-line, and pot gear in 2011 
is 1,847 mt, 240 mt, and 45 mt, respectively, for a total halibut 
mortality of 2,132 mt.
    Halibut bycatch restrictions seasonally constrained trawl gear 
fisheries during the 2011 fishing year. Table 17 lists the closure 
dates for fisheries that resulted from the attainment of seasonal or 
annual halibut PSC limits.

                 Table 17--2011 Fishery Closures Due to Attainment of Pacific Halibut PSC Limits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Fishery category            Opening date      Closure date             Federal Register citation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Trawl Deep-water, season 2....  January 20, 2011.  April 22, 2011..  76 FR 23511, April 27, 2011.
Trawl Shallow-water,\1\ season  September 1, 2011  September 3,      76 FR 55276, September 7, 2011.
 4.                                                 2011.
Trawl Shallow-water,\1\ season  September 14,      September 16,     76 FR 57679, September 16, 2011.
 4.                              2011.              2011.
Trawl Shallow-water,\1\ season  September 20,      Remained open     ...........................................
 4.                              2011.              through
                                                    December 31,
                                                    2011.
Hook-and-line gear, all         January 1, 2011..  Remained open     ...........................................
 targets \2\.                                       through
                                                    December 31,
                                                    2011.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ With the exception of vessels participating in the Central GOA Rockfish Program and vessels fishing for
  pollock using pelagic trawl gear.
\2\ With the exception of the sablefish fishery which was open March 12, 2011, through November 18, 2011.

Current Estimates of Halibut Biomass and Stock Condition

    The IPHC annually assesses the abundance and potential yield of the 
Pacific halibut using all available data from the commercial and sport 
fisheries, other removals, and scientific surveys. Additional 
information on the Pacific halibut stock assessment may be found in the 
IPHC's 2011 Pacific halibut stock assessment (December 2011), available 
on the IPHC Web site at www.iphc.int. The IPHC considered the 2011 
Pacific halibut assessment for 2012 at its January 2012 annual meeting 
when it set the 2012 commercial halibut fishery catch limits.
    The halibut resource is fully utilized. Recent catches in the 
commercial halibut fisheries in Alaska over the last 18 years (1994 
through 2011) have averaged 31,535 mt round weight per year. In January 
2012, the IPHC recommended Alaska commercial catch limits totaling 
15,430 mt round weight for 2012, a 21.5 percent decrease from 19,662 mt 
in 2011. Through December 31, 2011, commercial hook-and-line harvests 
of halibut off Alaska totaled 19,140 mt round weight. The IPHC staff 
recommendations for commercial catch limits continue to be based on 
applying the Slow Up--Full Down policy of a 33 percent increase from 
the previous year's catch limits when stock yields are projected to 
increase, but uses a 100 percent decrease in recommended catch when 
stock yields are projected to decrease, as was done for the 2011 
fishery.
    The largest decreases in the 2012 catch limit recommendations for 
Alaska are for Area 3A, from 8,685 mt round weight in 2011 to 7,208 mt 
round weight in 2012; for Area 3B, from 4,542 mt in 2011 to 3,066 mt in 
2012; for Area 4A, from 1,458 mt in 2011 to 948 mt in 2012; for Area 
4B, from 1,318 mt in 2011 to 1,130 mt in 2012; and for combined Areas 
CDE, from 2,250 mt in 2011 to 1,491 mt in 2012. The only increase in 
catch limit recommendations in Alaska is for Area 2C, from 1,409 mt 
round weight in 2011 to 1,587 mt round weight in 2012.
    For more information, see the proposed 2012 and 2013 harvest 
specifications (76 FR 79620, December 22, 2011), which discusses the 
potential impacts of expected fishing for

[[Page 15211]]

groundfish on halibut stocks, as well as methods available for reducing 
halibut bycatch in the groundfish fisheries.

Halibut Discard Mortality Rates

    To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, 
the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut incidental catch 
rates, discard mortality rates (DMRs), and estimates of groundfish 
catch to project when a fishery's halibut bycatch mortality allowance 
or seasonal apportionment is reached. The DMRs are based on the best 
information available, including information contained in the annual 
SAFE report.
    NMFS is implementing the Council's recommendation that the halibut 
DMRs developed and recommended by the IPHC for the 2010 through 2012 
GOA groundfish fisheries be used for monitoring the final 2012 and 2013 
halibut bycatch mortality allowances (see Tables 14 through 16). The 
IPHC developed the DMRs for the 2010 through 2012 GOA groundfish 
fisheries using the 10-year mean DMRs for those fisheries. Long-term 
average DMRs were not available for some fisheries, so rates from the 
most recent years were used. For the squid, shark, sculpin, octopus, 
and skate fisheries, where insufficient mortality data are available, 
the mortality rate of halibut caught in the Pacific cod fishery for 
that gear type was recommended as a default rate. The IPHC will analyze 
observer data annually and recommend changes to the DMRs when a fishery 
DMR shows large variation from the mean. A discussion of the DMRs and 
their justification is presented in Appendix 2 to the 2009 SAFE report 
(see ADDRESSES). Table 18 lists the final 2012 and 2013 DMRs. These 
DMRs are unchanged from the proposed 2012 and 2013 harvest 
specifications (76 FR 79620, December 22, 2011). In 2012, the IPHC will 
update its DMR recommendations for the 2013 through 2015 groundfish 
fisheries.

    Table 18--Final 2012 and 2013 Halibut Discard Mortality Rates for
                  Vessels Fishing in the Gulf of Alaska
           [Values are percent of halibut assumed to be dead]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          Mortality rate
              Gear                    Target fishery            (%)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hook-and-line..................  Other fisheries \1\....              12
                                 Skates.................              12
                                 Pacific cod............              12
                                 Rockfish...............               9
Trawl..........................  Arrowtooth flounder....              72
                                 Deep-water flatfish....              48
                                 Flathead sole..........              65
                                 Non-pelagic pollock....              59
                                 Other fisheries........              62
                                 Pacific cod............              62
                                 Pelagic pollock........              76
                                 Rex sole...............              64
                                 Rockfish...............              67
                                 Sablefish..............              65
                                 Shallow-water flatfish.              71
Pot............................  Other fisheries........              17
                                 Pacific cod............              17
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Other fisheries includes all gear types for sculpin, shark, skate,
  squids, octopuses, and hook-and-line sablefish.

American Fisheries Act C/P and CV Groundfish Harvest and PSC Limits

    Section 679.64 establishes groundfish harvesting and processing 
sideboard limitations on AFA C/Ps and CVs in the GOA. These sideboard 
limits are necessary to protect the interests of fishermen and 
processors who do not directly benefit from the AFA from those 
fishermen and processors who receive exclusive harvesting and 
processing privileges under the AFA. Section 679.7(k)(1)(ii) prohibits 
listed AFA C/Ps from harvesting any species of groundfish in the GOA. 
Section 679.7(k)(1)(iv) prohibits listed AFA C/Ps from processing any 
pollock harvested in a directed pollock fishery in the GOA and any 
groundfish harvested in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA.
    AFA CVs that are less than 125 ft (38.1 meters) length overall, 
have annual landings of pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
less than 5,100 mt, and have made at least 40 groundfish landings from 
1995 through 1997 are exempt from GOA sideboard limits under Sec.  
679.64(b)(2)(ii). Sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA 
are based on their traditional harvest levels of TAC in groundfish 
fisheries covered by the FMP. Section 679.64(b)(3)(iii) establishes the 
groundfish sideboard limitations in the GOA based on the retained catch 
of non-exempt AFA CVs of each sideboard species from 1995 through 1997 
divided by the TAC for that species over the same period.
    As provided by Amendment 83 to the FMP (76 FR 74670, December 1, 
2011), NMFS has recalculated and establishes sideboards limitations for 
Pacific cod for the non-exempt AFA CVs in the Western and Central GOA 
that would supersede the inshore and offshore processing sideboards 
established under the AFA. The sideboard limits for other species would 
continue to be calculated as they have in the past, including the 
Eastern GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. Tables 19 and 20 list the 
final 2012 and 2013 groundfish sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs. 
NMFS will deduct all targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species 
made by non-exempt AFA CVs from the sideboard limits listed in Tables 
19 and 20.

[[Page 15212]]



   Table 19--Final 2012 GOA Non-Exempt American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel (CV) Groundfish Harvest Sideboard
                                                     Limits
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Ratio of 1995-
                                                                     1997 non-                    Final 2012 non-
           Species              Apportionments    Area/component   exempt AFA CV    Final 2012     exempt AFA CV
                                by season/gear                    catch to 1995-       TACs          sideboard
                                                                     1997 TAC                          limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock......................  A Season January  Shumagin (610).          0.6047           5,797           3,505
                                20--March 10.
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.1167          14,023           1,636
                                                 Kodiak (630)...          0.2028           5,787           1,174
                               B Season March    Shumagin (610).          0.6047           5,797           3,505
                                10-May 31.
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.1167          17,221           2,010
                                                 Kodiak (630)...          0.2028           2,589             525
                               C Season August   Shumagin (610).          0.6047           9,338           5,647
                                25-October 1.
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.1167           7,282             850
                                                 Kodiak (630)...          0.2028           8,986           1,822
                               D Season October  Shumagin (610).          0.6047           9,338           5,647
                                1-November 1.
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.1167           7,282             850
                                                 Kodiak (630)...          0.2028           8,986           1,822
                               Annual..........  WYK (640)......          0.3495           3,244           1,134
                                                 SEO (650)......          0.3495          10,774           3,766
Pacific cod..................  A Season \1\      W..............          0.1331          12,614           1,679
                                January 1-June
                                10.
                                                 C..............          0.0692          25,623           1,773
                               B Season \2\      W..............          0.1331           8,410           1,119
                                September 1-
                                December 31.
                                                 C..............          0.0692          17,082           1,182
                               Annual..........  E inshore......          0.0079           1,774              14
                                                 E offshore.....          0.0078             197               2
Sablefish....................  Annual, trawl     W..............          0.0000             356               0
                                gear.
                                                 C..............          0.0642           1,152              74
                                                 E..............          0.0433             271              12
Flatfish, Shallow-water......  Annual..........  W..............          0.0156          13,250             207
                                                 C..............          0.0587          18,000           1,057
                                                 E..............          0.0126           5,779              73
Flatfish, deep-water.........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0000             176               0
                                                 C..............          0.0647           2,308             149
                                                 E..............          0.0128           2,642              34
Rex sole.....................  Annual..........  W..............          0.0007           1,307               1
                                                 C..............          0.0384           6,412             246
                                                 E..............          0.0029           1,893               5
Arrowtooth flounder..........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0021          14,500              30
                                                 C..............          0.0280          75,000           2,100
                                                 E..............          0.0002          13,800               3
Flathead sole................  Annual..........  W..............          0.0036           8,650              31
                                                 C..............          0.0213          15,400             328
                                                 E..............          0.0009           6,269               6
Pacific ocean perch..........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0023           2,102               5
                                                 C..............          0.0748          11,263             842
                                                 E..............          0.0466           3,553             166
Northern rockfish............  Annual..........  W..............          0.0003           2,156               1
                                                 C..............          0.0277           3,351              93
Shortraker rockfish..........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0000             104               0
                                                 C..............          0.0218             452              10
                                                 E..............          0.0110             525               6
Other rockfish...............  Annual..........  W..............          0.0034              44               0
                                                 C..............          0.1699             606             103
                                                 E..............          0.0000             430               0
Pelagic shelf rockfish.......  Annual..........  W..............          0.0001             409               0
                                                 C..............          0.0000           3,849               0
                                                 E..............          0.0067             860               6
Rougheye rockfish............  Annual..........  W..............          0.0000              80               0
                                                 C..............          0.0237             850              20
                                                 E..............          0.0124             293               4
Demersal shelf rockfish......  Annual..........  SEO............          0.0020             293               1
Thornyhead rockfish..........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0280             150               4
                                                 C..............          0.0280             766              21
                                                 E..............          0.0280             749              21
Atka mackerel................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0309           2,000              62
Big skates...................  Annual..........  W..............          0.0063             469               3

[[Page 15213]]

 
                                                 C..............          0.0063           1,793              11
                                                 E..............          0.0063           1,505               9
Longnose skates..............  Annual..........  W..............          0.0063              70               0
                                                 C..............          0.0063           1,879              12
                                                 E..............          0.0063             676               4
Other skates.................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0063           2,030              13
Squids.......................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0063           1,148               7
Sharks.......................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0063           6,028              38
Octopuses....................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0063           1,455               9
Sculpins.....................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0063           5,731              36
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.


   Table 20--Final 2013 GOA Non-Exempt American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel (CV) Groundfish Harvest Sideboard
                                                     Limits
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Ratio of 1995-
                                                                     1997 non-                    Final 2013 non-
           Species              Apportionments    Area/component   exempt AFA CV    Final 2013     exempt AFA CV
                                by season/gear                    catch to 1995-       TACs          sideboard
                                                                     1997 TAC                          limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock......................  A Season January  Shumagin (610).          0.6047           6,285           3,801
                                20-March 10.
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.1167          15,202           1,774
                                                 Kodiak (630)...          0.2028           6,274           1,272
                               B Season March    Shumagin (610).          0.6047           6,285           3,801
                                10-May 31.
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.1167          18,668           2,179
                                                 Kodiak (630)...          0.2028           2,807             569
                               C Season August   Shumagin (610).          0.6047          10,123           6,121
                                25-October 1.
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.1167           7,896             821
                                                 Kodiak (630)...          0.2028           9,742           1,976
                               D Season October  Shumagin (610).          0.6047          10,123           6,121
                                1-November 1.
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.1167           7,896             921
                                                 Kodiak (630)...          0.2028           9,742           1,976
                               Annual..........  WYK (640)......          0.3495           3,517           1,229
                                                 SEO (650)......          0.3495          10,774           3,766
Pacific cod..................  A Season \1\      W..............          0.1331          13,104           1,744
                                January 1-June
                                10.
                                                 C..............          0.0692          26,618           1,842
                               B Season \2\      W..............          0.1331           8,736           1,163
                                September 1-
                                December 31.
                                                 C..............          0.0692          17,745           1,228
                               Annual..........  E inshore......          0.0079           1,842              15
                                                 E offshore.....          0.0078             205               2
Sablefish....................  Annual, trawl     W..............          0.0000             351               0
                                gear.
                                                 C..............          0.0642           1,137              73
                                                 E..............          0.0433             268              12
Flatfish, Shallow-water......  Annual..........  W..............          0.0156          13,250             207
                                                 C..............          0.0587          18,000           1,057
                                                 E..............          0.0126           5,300              67
Flatfish, deep-water.........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0000             176               0
                                                 C..............          0.0647           2,308             149
                                                 E..............          0.0128           2,642              34
Rex sole.....................  Annual..........  W..............          0.0007           1,283               1
                                                 C..............          0.0384           6,291             242
                                                 E..............          0.0029           1,858               5
Arrowtooth flounder..........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0021          14,500              30
                                                 C..............          0.0280          75,000           2,100
                                                 E..............          0.0002          13,800               3
Flathead sole................  Annual..........  W..............          0.0036           8,650              31
                                                 C..............          0.0213          14,500             309

[[Page 15214]]

 
                                                 E..............          0.0009           6,358               6
Pacific ocean perch..........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0023           2,050               5
                                                 C..............          0.0748          10,985             822
                                                 E..............          0.0466           3,465             161
Northern rockfish............  Annual..........  W..............          0.0003           2,017               1
                                                 C..............          0.0277           3,136              87
Shortraker rockfish..........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0000             104               0
                                                 C..............          0.0218             452              10
                                                 E..............          0.0110             525               6
Other rockfish...............  Annual..........  W..............          0.0034              44               0
                                                 C..............          0.1699             606             103
                                                 E..............          0.0000             430               0
Pelagic shelf rockfish.......  Annual..........  W..............          0.0001             381               0
                                                 C..............          0.0000           3,581               0
                                                 E..............          0.0067             800               5
Rougheye rockfish............  Annual..........  W..............          0.0000              82               0
                                                 C..............          0.0237             861              20
                                                 E..............          0.0124             297               4
Demersal shelf rockfish......  Annual..........  SEO............          0.0020             293               1
Thornyhead rockfish..........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0280             150               4
                                                 C..............          0.0280             766              21
                                                 E..............          0.0280             749              21
Atka mackerel................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0309           2,000              13
Big skates...................  Annual..........  W..............          0.0063             469               3
                                                 C..............          0.0063           1,793              11
                                                 E..............          0.0063           1,505               9
Longnose skates..............  Annual..........  W..............          0.0063              70               0
                                                 C..............          0.0063           1,879              12
                                                 E..............          0.0063             676               4
Other skates.................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0063           2,030              13
Squids.......................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0063           1,148               7
Sharks.......................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0063           6,028              38
Octopuses....................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0063           1,455               9
Sculpins.....................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0063           5,731              36
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

Non-Exempt AFA Catcher Vessel Halibut PSC Limits

    The halibut PSC sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA 
are based on the aggregate retained groundfish catch by non-exempt AFA 
CVs in each PSC target category from 1995 through 1997 divided by the 
retained catch of all vessels in that fishery from 1995 through 1997 
(Sec.  679.64(b)(4)). Table 21 lists the final 2012 and 2013 non-exempt 
AFA CV halibut PSC limits for vessels using trawl gear in the GOA. 
These halibut PSC limits are unchanged from the proposed 2012 and 2013 
harvest specifications.

 Table 21--Final 2012 and 2013 Non-Exempt AFA CV Halibut Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) Limits for Vessels Using
                                              Trawl Gear in the GOA
                                   [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Ratio of 1995-
                                                                     1997 non-
                                                                   exempt AFA CV   2012 and 2013   2012 and 2013
            Season               Season dates     Target fishery  retained catch     PSC limit    non-exempt AFA
                                                                     to total                      CV PSC limit
                                                                  retained catch
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1............................  January 20-April  shallow-water..           0.340             450             153
                                1.
                                                 deep-water.....           0.070             100               7
2............................  April 1-July 1..  shallow-water..           0.340             100              34
                                                 deep-water.....           0.070             300              21
3............................  July 1-September  shallow-water..           0.340             200              68
                                1.
                                                 deep-water.....           0.070             400              28
4............................  September 1-      shallow-water..           0.340             150              51
                                October 1.
                                                 deep-water.....           0.070               0               0

[[Page 15215]]

 
5............................  October 1-        all targets....           0.205             300              62
                                December 31.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Non-AFA Crab Vessel Groundfish Harvest Limitations

    Section 680.22 establishes groundfish catch limits for vessels with 
a history of participation in the Bering Sea snow crab fishery to 
prevent these vessels from using the increased flexibility provided by 
the Crab Rationalization Program to expand their level of participation 
in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Sideboard limits restrict these 
vessels' catch to their collective historical landings in each GOA 
groundfish fishery (except the fixed-gear sablefish fishery). Sideboard 
limits also apply to catch made using a LLP license derived from the 
history of a restricted vessel, even if that LLP license is used on 
another vessel.
    Vessels exempt from Pacific cod sideboards are those that landed 
less than 45,359 kilograms of Bering Sea snow crab and more than 500 mt 
of groundfish (in round weight equivalents) from the GOA between 
January 1, 1996, and December 31, 2000, and any vessel named on an LLP 
license that was based in whole or in part on the fishing history of a 
vessel meeting the criteria in Sec.  680.22(a)(3).
    Sideboard limits for non-AFA crab vessels in the GOA are based on 
their traditional harvest levels of TAC in groundfish fisheries covered 
by the FMP. Sections 680.22(d) and (e) establish the formulas used to 
calculate groundfish sideboard limitations in the GOA. These 
limitations are calculated by dividing the non-AFA crab vessels' 
retained catch for each sideboard species from 1996 through 2000 
divided by the total retained harvest of that species over the same 
period.
    NMFS issued a final rule on June 20, 2011 (76 FR 35772), to 
implement Amendment 34 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/
Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs. Amendment 34 amended the Bering 
Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program to exempt 
additional recipients of crab quota share from GOA pollock and Pacific 
cod sideboards. Such sideboards apply to some vessels and LLP licenses 
that are used to participate in these two fisheries. The sideboard 
ratios for pollock are unchanged. The sideboard ratios for Pacific cod 
in the Western GOA have been superseded by the Pacific cod sector 
splits implemented by Amendment 83, which includes dividing the Pacific 
cod sideboards among applicable industry sectors.
    Under Amendment 83 (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011), the non-AFA 
crab vessel sideboards for the inshore and offshore components in the 
Western and Central GOA were combined. These combined sideboards must 
then be divided per the sector allocations established under Amendment 
83. Thus, NMFS is specifying sideboard limitations in the Pacific cod 
fisheries for the non-AFA crab vessels in the Western and Central GOA 
that supersede the original inshore offshore and offshore processing 
sideboards established under the Crab Rationalization Program. Tables 
22 and 23 list the final 2012 and 2013 groundfish sideboard limitations 
for non-AFA crab vessels. All targeted or incidental catch of sideboard 
species made by non-AFA crab vessels or associated LLP licenses will be 
deducted from these sideboard limits.

       Table 22--Final 2012 GOA Non-American Fisheries Act Crab Vessel Groundfish Harvest Sideboard Limits
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Ratio of 1996-
                                                                   2000 non-AFA                   Final 2012 non-
                                                 Area/component/    crab vessel     Final 2012       AFA crab
           Species                Season/gear          gear       catch to 1996-       TACs           vessel
                                                                    2000 total                       sideboard
                                                                      harvest                          limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock......................  A Season January  Shumagin (610).          0.0098           5,797              57
                                20-March 10
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.0031          14,023              43
                                                 Kodiak (630)...          0.0002           5,787               1
                               B Season March    Shumagin (610).          0.0098           5,797              57
                                10-May 31
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.0031          17,221              53
                                                 Kodiak (630)...          0.0002           2,589               1
                               C Season August   Shumagin (610).          0.0098           9,338              92
                                25-October 1
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.0031           7,282              23
                                                 Kodiak (630)...          0.0002           8,986               2
                               D Season October  Shumagin (610).          0.0098           9,338              92
                                1-November 1
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.0031           7,282              23
                                                 Kodiak (630)...          0.0002           8,986               2
                               Annual            WYK (640)......          0.0000           3,244               0
                                                 SEO (650)......          0.0000          10,774               0

[[Page 15216]]

 
Pacific cod..................  A Season \1\      W Jig..........          0.0000          12,614               0
                                January 1-June
                                10
                                                 W Hook-and-line          0.0004          12,614               5
                                                  CV.
                                                 W Hook-and-line          0.0018          12,614
                                                  C/P.
                                                 W Pot CV.......          0.0997          12,614           1,258
                                                 W Pot C/P......          0.0078          12,614              98
                                                 W Trawl CV.....          0.0007          12,614               9
                                                 C Jig..........          0.0000          25,623               0
                                                 C Hook-and-line          0.0001          25,623               3
                                                  CV.
                                                 C Hook-and-line          0.0012          25,623              31
                                                  C/P.
                                                 C Pot CV.......          0.0474          25,623           1,215
                                                 C Pot C/P......          0.0136          25,623             348
                                                 C Trawl CV.....          0.0012          25,623              31
                               B Season \2\ Jig  W Jig..........          0.0000           8,410               0
                                Gear: June 10-
                                December 31.
                                All other
                                gears:
                                September 1-
                                December 31
                                                 W Hook-and-line          0.0004           8,410               3
                                                  CV.
                                                 W Hook-and-line          0.0001           8,410              15
                                                  C/P.
                                                 W Pot CV.......          0.0997           8,410             838
                                                 W Pot C/P......          0.0078           8,410              66
                                                 W Trawl CV.....          0.0007           8,410               6
                                                 C Jig..........          0.0000          17,082               0
                                                 C Hook-and-line          0.0001          17,082               2
                                                  CV.
                                                 C Hook-and-line          0.0012          17,082              20
                                                  C/P.
                                                 C Pot CV.......          0.0474          17,082             810
                                                 C Pot C/P......          0.0136          17,082             232
                                                 C Trawl CV.....          0.0012          17,082              20
                               Annual            E inshore......          0.0110           1,774              20
                                                 E offshore.....          0.0000             197               0
Sablefish....................  Annual, trawl     W..............          0.0000             356               0
                                gear
                                                 C..............          0.0000           1,152               0
                                                 E..............          0.0000             271               0
Flatfish, shallow-water......  Annual            W..............          0.0059          13,250              78
                                                 C..............          0.0001          18,000               2
                                                 E..............          0.0000           5,779               0
Flatfish, deep-water.........  Annual            W..............          0.0035             176               1
                                                 C..............          0.0000           2,308               0
                                                 E..............          0.0000           2,642               0
Rex sole.....................  Annual            W..............          0.0000           1,307               0
                                                 C..............          0.0000           6,412               0
                                                 E..............          0.0000           1,893               0
Arrowtooth flounder..........  Annual            W..............          0.0004          14,500               6
                                                 C..............          0.0001          75,000               8
                                                 E..............          0.0000          13,800               0
Flathead sole................  Annual            W..............          0.0002           8,650               2
                                                 C..............          0.0004          14,500               6
                                                 E..............          0.0000           6,269               0
Pacific ocean perch..........  Annual            W..............          0.0000           2,102               0
                                                 C..............          0.0000          11,263               0
                                                 E..............          0.0000           3,553               0
Northern rockfish............  Annual            W..............          0.0005           2,156               1
                                                 C..............          0.0000           3,351               0
Shortraker rockfish..........  Annual            W..............          0.0013             104               0
                                                 C..............          0.0012             452               1
                                                 E..............          0.0009             525               0
Other rockfish...............  Annual            W..............          0.0035              44               0
                                                 C..............          0.0033             606               2
                                                 E..............          0.0000             430               0
Pelagic shelf rockfish.......  Annual            W..............          0.0017             409               1
                                                 C..............          0.0000           3,849               0
                                                 E..............          0.0000             860               0
Rougheye rockfish............  Annual            W..............          0.0067              80               1
                                                 C..............          0.0047             850               4
                                                 E..............          0.0008             293               0

[[Page 15217]]

 
Demersal shelf rockfish......  Annual            SEO............          0.0000             293               0
Thornyhead rockfish..........  Annual            W..............          0.0047             150               1
                                                 C..............          0.0066             766               5
                                                 E..............          0.0045             749               3
Atka mackerel................  Annual            Gulfwide.......          0.0000           2,000               0
Big skate....................  Annual            W..............          0.0392             469              18
                                                 C..............          0.0159           1,793              29
                                                 E..............          0.0000           1,505               0
Longnose skate...............  Annual            W..............          0.0392              70               3
                                                 C..............          0.0159           1,879              30
                                                 E..............          0.0000             676               0
Other skates.................  Annual            Gulfwide.......          0.0176           2,030              36
Squids.......................  Annual            Gulfwide.......          0.0176           1,148              20
Sharks.......................  Annual            Gulfwide.......          0.0176           6,028             106
Octopuses....................  Annual            Gulfwide.......          0.0176           1,455              26
Sculpins.....................  Annual            Gulfwide.......          0.0176           5,731             101
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.


       Table 23--Final 2013 GOA Non-American Fisheries Act Crab Vessel Groundfish Harvest Sideboard Limits
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Ratio of 1996-
                                                                   2000 non-AFA                   Final 2013 non-
                                                 Area/component/    crab vessel     Final 2013       AFA crab
           Species                Season/gear          gear       catch to 1996-       TACs           vessel
                                                                    2000 total                       sideboard
                                                                      harvest                          limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock......................  A Season January  Shumagin (610).          0.0098           6,285              62
                                20-March 10.
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.0031          15,202              47
                                                 Kodiak (630)             0.0002           6,274               1
                               B Season March    Shumagin (610).          0.0098           6,285              62
                                10-May 31.
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.0031          18,668              58
                                                 Kodiak (630)             0.0002           2,806               1
                               C Season August   Shumagin (610).          0.0098          10,123              99
                                25-October 1.
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.0031           7,896              24
                                                 Kodiak (630)             0.0002           9,743               2
                               D Season October  Shumagin (610).          0.0098          10,123              99
                                1-November 1.
                                                 Chirikof (620).          0.0031           7,896              24
                                                 Kodiak (630)             0.0002           9,743               2
                               Annual..........  WYK (640)......          0.0000           3,517               0
                                                 SEO (650)                0.0000          10,774               0
Pacific cod..................  A Season \1\      W Jig..........          0.0000          13,104               0
                                January 1-June
                                10.
                                                 W Hook-and-line          0.0004          13,104               5
                                                  CV.
                                                 W Hook-and-line          0.0018          13,104              24
                                                  C/P
                                                 W Pot CV                 0.0997          13,104           1,306
                                                 W Pot C/P                0.0078          13,104             102
                                                 W Trawl CV               0.0007          13,104               9
                                                 C Jig                    0.0000          26,618               0
                                                 C Hook-and-line          0.0001          26,618               3
                                                  CV
                                                 C Hook-and-line          0.0012          26,618              32
                                                  C/P
                                                 C Pot CV                 0.0474          26,618            1262
                                                 C Pot C/P                0.0136          26,618             362
                                                 C Trawl CV               0.0012          26,618              32
                               B Season\2\ Jig   W Jig..........          0.0000           8,736               0
                                Gear: June 10-
                                December 31.
                                All other
                                gears:
                                September 1-
                                December 31.
                                                 W Hook-and-line          0.0004           8,736               3
                                                  CV.

[[Page 15218]]

 
                                                 W Hook-and-line          0.0018           8,736              16
                                                  C/P.
                                                 W Pot CV.......          0.0997           8,736             871
                                                 W Pot C/P......          0.0078           8,736              68
                                                 W Trawl CV               0.0012           8,736               6
                                                 C Jig                    0.0000          17,745               0
                                                 C Hook-and-line          0.0001          17,745               2
                                                  CV
                                                 C Hook-and-line          0.0012          17,745              21
                                                  C/P
                                                 C Pot CV                 0.0474          17,745             841
                                                 C Pot C/P                0.0136          17,745             241
                                                 C Trawl CV               0.0012          17,745              21
                               Annual..........  E inshore......          0.0110           1,842              20
                                                 E offshore               0.0000             205               0
Sablefish....................  Annual, trawl     W..............          0.0000             351               0
                                gear.
                                                 C                        0.0000           1,137               0
                                                 E                        0.0000             268               0
Flatfish, shallow-water......  Annual..........  W..............          0.0059          13,250              78
                                                 C                        0.0001          18,000               2
                                                 E                        0.0000           5,330               0
Flatfish, deep-water.........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0035             176               1
                                                 C                        0.0000           2,308               0
                                                 E                        0.0000           2,642               0
Rex sole.....................  Annual..........  W..............          0.0000           1,283               0
                                                 C                        0.0000           6,291               0
                                                 E                        0.0000           1,858               0
Arrowtooth flounder..........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0004          14,500               6
                                                 C                        0.0001          75,000               8
                                                 E                        0.0000          13,800               0
Flathead sole................  Annual..........  W..............          0.0002           8,650               2
                                                 C                        0.0004          14,500               6
                                                 E                        0.0000           6,358               0
Pacific ocean perch..........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0000           2,050               0
                                                 C                        0.0000          10,985               0
                                                 E                        0.0000           3,465               0
Northern rockfish............  Annual..........  W..............          0.0005           2,017               1
                                                 C                        0.0000           3,136               0
Shortraker rockfish..........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0013             104               0
                                                 C                        0.0012             452               1
                                                 E                        0.0009             525               0
Other rockfish...............  Annual..........  W..............          0.0035              44               0
                                                 C                        0.0033             606               2
                                                 E                        0.0000             430               0
Pelagic shelf rockfish.......  Annual..........  W..............          0.0017             381               1
                                                 C                        0.0000           3,581               0
                                                 E                        0.0000             800               0
Rougheye rockfish............  Annual..........  W..............          0.0067              82               1
                                                 C                        0.0047             861               4
                                                 E                        0.0008             297               0
Demersal shelf rockfish......  Annual..........  SEO............          0.0000             293               0
Thornyhead rockfish..........  Annual..........  W..............          0.0047             150               1
                                                 C                        0.0066             766               5
                                                 E                        0.0045             749               3
Atka mackerel................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0000           2,000               0
Big skate....................  Annual..........  W..............          0.0392             469              18
                                                 C                        0.0159           1,793              29
                                                 E                        0.0000           1,505               0
Longnose skate...............  Annual..........  W..............          0.0392              70               3
                                                 C                        0.0159           1,879              30
                                                 E                        0.0000             676               0
Other skates.................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0176           2,030              36
Squids.......................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0176           1,148              20
Sharks.......................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0176           6,028             106
Octopuses....................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0176           1,455              26
Sculpins.....................  Annual..........  Gulfwide.......          0.0176           5,731             101
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.

[[Page 15219]]

 
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and Halibut PSC Limitations

    Amendment 88 to the FMP implements the Central GOA Rockfish 
Program, as previously described in the preamble. The Rockfish Program 
amendment establishes three classes of sideboard provisions: CV 
groundfish sideboard restrictions, C/P rockfish sideboard restrictions, 
and C/P opt-out vessel sideboard restrictions. These sideboards are 
intended to limit the ability of rockfish harvesters to expand into 
other fisheries. A full description of the Rockfish Program sideboard 
provisions is contained in the proposed rule to implement Amendment 88 
(76 FR 52148, August 19, 2011).
    CVs participating in the Rockfish Program may not participate in 
directed fishing for northern rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and 
pelagic shelf rockfish in the West Yakutat district and Western GOA 
from July 1 through July 31. Furthermore, CVs may not participate in 
directed fishing for arrowtooth flounder, deep-water flatfish, and rex 
sole in the GOA from July 1 through July 31 (Sec.  679.82(d)).
    Amendment 88 also establishes rockfish and halibut PSC sideboard 
limitations for C/Ps participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives. 
These C/Ps are prohibited from directed fishing for northern rockfish, 
Pacific ocean perch, and pelagic shelf rockfish in the West Yakutat 
district and Western GOA from July 1 through July 31. Holders of C/P-
designated LLP licenses that opt-out of participating in a Rockfish 
Program cooperative will be able to access that portion of each 
sideboard limit that is not assigned to rockfish cooperatives. Tables 
24 and 25 list the final 2012 and 2013 Rockfish Program C/P sideboard 
limits in the West Yakutat district and the Western GOA. Due to 
confidentiality requirements associated with fisheries data, the 
sideboard limits for the West Yakutat district are not displayed.

        Table 24--Final 2012 Rockfish Program Harvest Limits by Sector for West Yakutat District and Western GOA by the Catcher/Processor Sector
                                                     [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Area                          Fishery                 C/P sector (% of TAC)         Final 2012 TACs         Final 2012 C/P limit
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
West Yakutat District................  Pelagic shelf rockfish.  Confidential \1\..................               542  Confidential \1\
                                       Pacific ocean perch....  Confidential \1\..................             1,692  Confidential \1\
Western GOA..........................  Pelagic shelf rockfish.  72.3..............................               409  296
                                       Pacific ocean perch....  50.6..............................             2,102  1,064
                                       Northern rockfish......  74.3..............................             2,156  1,602
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 \1\ Not released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data established by NMFS and the State of Alaska.


        Table 25--Final 2013 Rockfish Program Harvest Limits by Sector for West Yakutat District and Western GOA by the Catcher/Processor Sector
                                                     [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Area                          Fishery                 C/P sector (% of TAC)         Final 2013 TACs         Final 2013 C/P limit
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
West Yakutat District................  Pelagic shelf rockfish.  Confidential \1\..................               504  Confidential \1\
                                       Pacific ocean perch....  Confidential \1\..................             1,650  Confidential \1\
Western GOA..........................  Pelagic shelf rockfish.  72.3..............................               381  275
                                       Pacific ocean perch....  50.6..............................             2,050  1,037
                                       Northern rockfish......  74.3..............................             2,017  1,499
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 \1\ Not released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data established by NMFS and the State of Alaska.

    The C/P sector is subject to halibut PSC sideboard limits for the 
trawl deep-water and shallow-water species fisheries during the period 
July 1 through July 31. No halibut PSC sideboard limits apply to the CV 
sector. C/Ps that opt-out of the Rockfish Program would be able to 
access that portion of the deep-water and shallow-water halibut PSC 
sideboard limit not assigned to C/P rockfish cooperatives. The 
sideboard provisions for C/Ps that elect to opt-out of participating in 
a rockfish cooperative are described in the final rule implementing 
Amendment 88 (76 FR 81248, December 27, 2011). These ratios and amounts 
are not known at this time because vessels applications for C/Ps 
electing to opt-out are due to NMFS on March 1 of each calendar year, 
thereby preventing NMFS from calculating final 2012 and 2013 
allocations. NMFS will post these allocations on the Alaska Region Web 
site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/goarat/default.htm when they become available in March. Table 26 lists the 
final 2012 and 2013 Rockfish Program halibut PSC limits for the C/P 
sector.

[[Page 15220]]



    Table 26--Final 2012 and 2013 Rockfish Program Halibut Mortality Limits for the Catcher/Processor Sector
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Shallow-water    Deep-water
                                      complex         complex                     Annual shallow-  Annual deep-
                                    halibut PSC     halibut PSC   Annual halibut   water complex   water complex
             Sector                  sideboard       sideboard       mortality      halibut PSC     halibut PSC
                                       ratio           ratio        limit  (mt)      sideboard       sideboard
                                     (percent)       (percent)                      limit  (mt)     limit  (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catcher/processor...............            0.10            2.50           2,000               2              50
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Amendment 80 Program Groundfish and PSC Sideboard Limits

    Amendment 80 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (Amendment 80 Program) 
established a limited access privilege program for the non-AFA trawl C/
P sector. To limit the ability of participants eligible for the 
Amendment 80 Program to expand their harvest efforts in the GOA, the 
Amendment 80 Program established groundfish and halibut PSC catch 
limits for Amendment 80 Program participants.
    Section 679.92 establishes groundfish harvesting sideboard limits 
on all Amendment 80 program vessels, other than the F/V GOLDEN FLEECE, 
to amounts no greater than the limits shown in Table 37 to 50 CFR part 
679. Under regulations at Sec.  679.92(d), the F/V GOLDEN FLEECE is 
prohibited from directed fishing for pollock, Pacific cod, Pacific 
ocean perch, pelagic shelf rockfish, and northern rockfish in the GOA.
    Groundfish sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels 
operating in the GOA are based on their average aggregate harvests from 
1998 through 2004. Tables 27 and 28 list the final 2012 and 2013 
sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels. These limits are 
based on the final 2012 and 2013 TACs established by this action, and 
thus may differ proportionately from the sideboard limits in the 
proposed harvest specifications. NMFS will deduct all targeted or 
incidental catch of sideboard species made by Amendment 80 Program 
vessels from the sideboard limits in Tables 27 and 28.

              Table 27--Final 2012 GOA Groundfish Sideboard Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels
                                   [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Ratio of
                                Apportionments                     Amendment 80                   2012 Amendment
           Species              and allocations        Area       sector vessels  2012 TAC  (mt)     80 vessel
                                   by season                         1998-2004                      sideboards
                                                                   catch to TAC                        (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock......................  A Season January  Shumagin (610).           0.003           5,797              17
                                20-February 25.
                                                 Chirikof (620).           0.002          14,023              28
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002           5,787              12
                               B Season March    Shumagin (610).           0.003           5,797              17
                                10-May 31.
                                                 Chirikof (620).           0.002          17,221              34
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002           2,589               5
                               C Season August   Shumagin (610).           0.003           9,338              28
                                25-September 15.
                                                 Chirikof (620).           0.002           7,282              15
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002           8,986              18
                               D Season October  Shumagin (610).           0.003           9,338              28
                                1-November 1.
                                                 Chirikof (620).           0.002           7,282              15
                               October 1-        Kodiak (630)...           0.002           8,986              18
                                November 1.
                               Annual..........  WYK (640)......           0.002           3,244               6
Pacific cod..................  A Season \1\      W..............           0.020          12,614             252
                                January 1-June
                                10.
                                                 C..............           0.044          25,623           1,127
                               B Season \2\      W..............           0.020           8,410             168
                                September 1-
                                December 31.
                                                 C..............           0.044          17,082             752
                               Annual..........  WYK............           0.034           1,971              67
Pacific ocean perch..........  Annual..........  W..............           0.994           2,102           2,089
                                                 WYK............           0.961           1,692           1,626
Northern rockfish............  Annual..........  W..............           1.000           2,156           2,156
Pelagic shelf rockfish.......  Annual..........  W..............           0.764             409             312
                                                 WYK............           0.896             542             486
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.


[[Page 15221]]


              Table 28--Final 2013 GOA Groundfish Sideboard Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels
                                   [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Ratio of
                                                                   Amendment 80                   2013 Amendment
                                Apportionments                        sector                         80 vessel
           Species              and allocations        Area        vessels 1998-  2013 TAC  (mt)    sideboards
                                   by season                       2004 catch to                       (mt)
                                                                        TAC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock......................  A Season January  Shumagin (610).           0.003           6,285              19
                                20-February 25.
                                                 Chirikof (620).           0.002          15,202              30
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002           6,274              13
                               B Season March    Shumagin (610).           0.003           6,285              19
                                10-May 31.
                                                 Chirikof (620).           0.002          18,668              37
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002           2,806               6
                               C Season August   Shumagin (610).           0.003          10,123              30
                                25-September 15.
                                                 Chirikof (620).           0.002           7,896              16
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002           9,743              19
                               D Season October  Shumagin (610).           0.003          10,123              30
                                1-November 1.
                                                 Chirikof (620).           0.002           7,896              16
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002           9,743              19
                               Annual..........  WYK (640)......           0.002           3,517               7
Pacific cod..................  A Season \1\      W..............           0.020          13,104             262
                                January 1-June
                                10.
                                                 C..............           0.044          26,618           1,171
                               B Season \2\      W..............           0.020           8,736             175
                                September 1-
                                December 31.
                                                 C..............           0.044          17,745             781
                               Annual..........  WYK............           0.034           2,047              70
Pacific ocean perch..........  Annual..........  W..............           0.994           2,050           2,038
                                                 WYK............           0.961           1,650           1,586
Northern rockfish............  Annual..........  W..............           1.000           2,017           2,017
Pelagic shelf rockfish.......  Annual..........  W..............           0.764             381             291
                                                 WYK............           0.896             504             452
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

    The halibut PSC sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels 
in the GOA are based on the historic use of halibut PSC by Amendment 80 
Program vessels in each PSC target category from 1998 through 2004. 
These values are slightly lower than the average historic use to 
accommodate two factors: allocation of halibut PSC cooperative quota 
under the Central GOA Rockfish Program and the exemption of the F/V 
GOLDEN FLEECE from this restriction (Sec.  679.92(b)(2)). Table 29 
lists the final 2012 and 2013 halibut PSC limits for Amendment 80 
Program vessels, as contained in Table 38 to 50 CFR part 679. These 
halibut PSC limits are unchanged from those listed in the proposed 2012 
and 2013 harvest specifications.

          Table 29--Final 2012 and 2013 Halibut PSC Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels in the GOA
                                   [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Historic
                                                                   Amendment 80                    2012 and 2013
                                                                    use of the     2012 and 2013   Amendment 80
      Season             Season dates          Target fishery     annual halibut    annual PSC      vessel PSC
                                                                     PSC limit      limit  (mt)        limit
                                                                  catch  (ratio)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.................  January 20-April 1...  shallow-water........          0.0048           2,000              10
                                           deep-water...........          0.0115           2,000              23
2.................  April 1-July 1.......  shallow-water........          0.0189           2,000              38
                                           deep-water...........          0.1072           2,000             214
3.................  July 1-September 1...  shallow-water........          0.0146           2,000              29
                                           deep-water...........          0.0521           2,000             104
4.................  September 1-October 1  shallow-water........          0.0074           2,000              15
                                           deep-water...........          0.0014           2,000               3
5.................  October 1-December 31  shallow-water........          0.0227           2,000              45
                                           deep-water...........          0.0371           2,000              74
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 15222]]

Directed Fishing Closures

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), if the Regional Administrator 
determines (1) that any allocation or apportionment of a target species 
or species group allocated or apportioned to a fishery will be reached; 
or (2) with respect to pollock and Pacific cod, that an allocation or 
apportionment to an inshore or offshore component or sector allocation 
will be reached, the Regional Administrator may establish a directed 
fishing allowance (DFA) for that species or species group. If the 
Regional Administrator establishes a DFA and that allowance is or will 
be reached before the end of the fishing year, NMFS will prohibit 
directed fishing for that species or species group in the specified GOA 
regulatory area or district (Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii)).
    The Regional Administrator has determined that the TACs for the 
species listed in Table 30 are necessary to account for the incidental 
catch of these species in other anticipated groundfish fisheries for 
the 2012 and 2013 fishing years.

      Table 30--2012 and 2013 Directed Fishing Closures in the GOA
 [Amounts for incidental catch in other directed fisheries are in metric
                                  tons]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Incidental
              Target                 Area/component/gear   catch amount
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock...........................  all/offshore........             not
                                                           applicable\1\
Sablefish \2\.....................  all/trawl...........    1,779 (2012)
                                                            1,756 (2013)
Shortraker rockfish \2\...........  all.................           1,081
Other rockfish....................  all.................           1,080
Rougheye rockfish.................  all.................    1,223 (2012)
                                                            1,240 (2013)
Thornyhead rockfish...............  all.................           1,665
Atka mackerel.....................  all.................           2,000
Big skate.........................  all.................           3,767
Longnose skate....................  all.................           2,625
Other skates......................  all.................           2,030
Squids............................  all.................           1,148
Sharks............................  all.................           6,028
Octopuses.........................  all.................           1,455
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pollock is closed to directed fishing in the GOA by the offshore
  component under Sec.   679.20(a)(6)(i).
\2\ Closures not applicable to participants in cooperatives conducted
  under the Central GOA Rockfish Program.

    Consequently, in accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the 
Regional Administrator establishes the DFA for the species or species 
groups listed in Table 30 as zero mt. Therefore, in accordance with 
Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for those 
species, areas, gear types, and components in the GOA listed in Table 
30. These closures will remain in effect through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., 
December 31, 2013.
    Section 679.64(b)(5) provides for management of AFA CV groundfish 
harvest limits and PSC bycatch limits using directed fishing closures 
and PSC closures according to procedures set out at Sec. Sec.  
679.20(d)(1)(iv), 679.21(d)(8), and 679.21(e)(3)(v). The Regional 
Administrator has determined that, in addition to the closures listed 
above, many of the non-exempt AFA CV sideboard limits listed in Tables 
19 and 20 are necessary as incidental catch to support other 
anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2012 and 2013 fishing years. 
In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iv), the Regional Administrator 
sets the DFAs for the species and species groups in Table 31 at zero. 
Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is 
prohibiting directed fishing by non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA for the 
species and specified areas listed in Table 31. These closures will 
remain in effect through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2013.

   Table 31--2012 and 2013 Non-Exempt AFA CV Sideboard Directed Fishing Closures for All Gear Types in the GOA
                  [Amounts for incidental catch in other directed fisheries are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Species                   Regulatory area/district             Incidental catch amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod............................  Eastern...................  14 (inshore) and 2 (offshore) in 2012
                                                                     15 (inshore) and 2 (offshore) in 2013
Shallow-water flatfish.................  Eastern...................  73 in 2012
                                                                     67 in 2013
Deep-water flatfish....................  Western...................  0
Rex sole...............................  Eastern and Western.......  1 and 5
Arrowtooth flounder....................  Eastern and Western.......  3 and 30
Flathead sole..........................  Eastern and Western.......  6 and 31
Pacific ocean perch....................  Western...................  5
Northern rockfish......................  Western...................  1
Pelagic shelf rockfish.................  Entire GOA................  6 in 2012
                                                                     5 in 2013
Demersal shelf rockfish................  SEO District..............  1

[[Page 15223]]

 
Sculpins...............................  Entire GOA................  36
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 680.22 provides for the management of non-AFA crab vessel 
sideboards using directed fishing closures in accordance with Sec.  
680.22(e)(2) and (3). The Regional Administrator has determined that 
the non-AFA crab vessel sideboards listed in Tables 22 and 23 are 
insufficient to support a directed fishery and has set the sideboard 
DFA at zero, with the exception of Pacific cod pot CV sector 
apportionments in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. Therefore, 
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing by non-AFA crab vessels in the GOA 
for all species and species groups listed in Tables 22 and 23, with the 
exception of the Pacific cod pot CV sector apportionments in the 
Western and Central Regulatory Areas.
    Section 679.82 provides for the management of Rockfish Program 
sideboard limits using directed fishing closures in accordance with 
Sec.  679.82(d) and (e). The Regional Administrator has determined that 
the CV sideboards listed in Tables 24 and 25 are insufficient to 
support a directed fishery and has set the sideboard DFA at zero. 
Therefore, NMFS is closing directed fishing for Pacific ocean perch and 
pelagic shelf rockfish in the WYK district and the Western Regulatory 
Area, and for northern rockfish in the Western Regulatory Area by CVs 
participating in the Central GOA Rockfish Program during the month of 
July in 2012 and 2013. These closures will remain in effect through 
2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2013.
    Closures implemented under the 2011 and 2012 Gulf of Alaska harvest 
specifications for groundfish (76 FR 11111, March 1, 2011) remain 
effective under authority of these final 2012 and 2013 harvest 
specifications, and are posted at the following Web sites: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/index/infobulletins/infobulletins.asp?Yr=2011, 
and http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/2011/status.htm. While these 
closures are in effect, the maximum retainable amounts at Sec.  
679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a fishing trip. These 
closures to directed fishing are in addition to closures and 
prohibitions found in regulations at 50 CFR part 679. NMFS may 
implement other closures during the 2012 and 2013 fishing years as 
necessary for effective conservation and management.

Response to Comments

    This action was published as a proposed rule on December 22, 2011 
(76 FR 79620), and public comments about it were solicited until 
January 23, 2012. NMFS received one comment submission containing two 
general categories of comments. This comment was received from a 
company involved in the halibut sport fishery in Alaska. These comments 
are summarized and responded to below.
    Comment 1: Maintaining the current Pacific halibut PSC limits for 
trawl and hook-and-line gear is unacceptable. The halibut exploitable 
biomass had decreased significantly in recent years, which has 
adversely affected various user groups, including the commercial 
halibut IFQ fisheries, guided and unguided sport sectors, and 
subsistence users. The Council's ongoing effort to consider halibut PSC 
reductions for the commercial groundfish fisheries in the GOA is 
commendable. However, the Council has not yet taken final action on 
that issue, and even if it does in 2012, halibut PSC limit reductions 
in the GOA may not occur until 2013. Therefore, NMFS and the Council 
must consider interim PSC reductions, prior to the selection and 
implementation of any future GOA halibut PSC limit reductions.
    Response: The action to revise GOA halibut PSC limits is under 
development and consideration by the Council. Initially, this potential 
revision was under consideration for implementation through the 2012 
and 2013 harvest specifications. In October 2011, the Council initiated 
a new action to remove GOA halibut PSC limits from the annual harvest 
specifications process through an amendment to the GOA FMP. In 
addition, the action would establish the means to set GOA halibut PSC 
limits in federal regulations. The Council reviewed a draft 
Environmental Assessment (EA) and Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) at its 
February 2012 meeting and is scheduled to take final action on halibut 
PSC revisions later in 2012. As the effort to review and potentially 
revise these limits is under active review and consideration by the 
Council, NMFS does not believe it to be either necessary or appropriate 
to reduce either the trawl or hook-and-line gear halibut PSC limits as 
part of the final 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications.
    The GOA groundfish fisheries currently are subject to binding 
halibut PSC limits set by the Council for purposes of halibut 
conservation. Commercial groundfish fisheries are required to stop 
fishing when their halibut PSC limits are taken. Directed fisheries for 
some groundfish species may be closed due to the attainment of halibut 
PSC limits before the target species' TACs have been fully harvested. 
Participants in these fisheries incur significant costs to stay within 
their halibut catch limits. The pending action to revise halibut PSC 
limits is assessing the economic effects of changes to the current 
trawl and hook-and-line halibut PSC limits on various components of the 
GOA groundfish fisheries.
    Comment 2: The draft EA and RIR prepared for the pending halibut 
PSC revision under consideration by the Council are inadequate. The 
range of alternatives considered for the potential revisions should 
include higher PSC limit reductions than five, ten, or 15 percent. The 
EA should be augmented with additional studies pertaining to halibut 
bycatch effects on other halibut fishery sectors, additional 
information about the economic impacts of the alternatives, and a more 
detailed explanation of halibut bycatch estimation and any potential 
bias associated with estimating halibut bycatch. The RIR should be 
augmented to fully account for the costs and benefits to each resource 
user sector, rather than focusing on the commercial sector. Finally, 
the analysis does not sufficiently address National Standards 1, 8, and 
9 of the Magnuson-Steven Act.
    Response: NMFS notes the commenter's observations and concerns 
about the GOA halibut PSC revision EA and RIR. We also encourage the 
commenter to continue to follow the GOA halibut PSC revision action 
through the Council and rulemaking processes, and provide additional 
comments about the action and its

[[Page 15224]]

associated analytical documents to the Council and NMFS, as 
appropriate.

Classification

    NMFS has determined that these final harvest specifications are 
consistent with the FMP and with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other 
applicable laws.
    This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866 and 13563.
    NMFS prepared an EIS for this action (see ADDRESSES) and made it 
available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 
13, 2007, NMFS issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the EIS. In 
January 2012, NMFS prepared a Supplemental Information Report (SIR) for 
this action. Copies of the EIS, ROD, and SIR for this action are 
available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The EIS analyzes the environmental 
consequences of the groundfish harvest specifications and alternative 
harvest strategies on resources in the action area. The EIS found no 
significant environmental consequences of this action and its 
alternatives. The SIR evaluates the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS 
(SEIS) for the 2012 and 2013 groundfish harvest specifications.
    A SEIS should be prepared if (1) the agency makes substantial 
changes in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental 
concerns, or (2) significant new circumstances or information exist 
relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action 
or its impacts (40 CFR 1502.9(c)(1)). After reviewing the information 
contained in the SIR and SAFE reports, the Regional Administrator has 
determined that (1) approval of the 2012 and 2013 harvest 
specifications, which were set according to the preferred harvest 
strategy in the EIS, do not constitute a change in the action; and (2) 
there are no significant new circumstances or information relevant to 
environmental concerns and bearing on the action or its impacts. 
Additionally, the 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications will result in 
environmental impacts within the scope of those analyzed and disclosed 
in the EIS. Therefore, supplemental National Environmental Protection 
Act documentation is not necessary to implement the 2012 and 2013 
harvest specifications.
    Pursuant to section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 
601 et seq., a FRFA was prepared for this action. The FRFA incorporates 
the IRFA, and includes a summary of the significant issues raised by 
public comments in response to the IRFA, and NMFS' responses to those 
comments, and a summary of the analyses completed to support the 
action.
    A copy of the FRFA prepared for this final rule is available from 
NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A description of this action, its purpose, and 
its legal basis are contained at the beginning of the preamble to this 
final rule and are not repeated here.
    NMFS published the proposed rule on December 22, 2011. NMFS 
prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) to accompany 
this action, and included a summary in the proposed rule. The comment 
period closed on January 23, 2012. No comments were received on the 
IRFA. No changes were made from the proposed rule to the final rule 
based on comments received about the IRFA.
    The entities directly regulated by this action are those that 
receive allocations of groundfish in the EEZ of the GOA, and in 
parallel fisheries within State of Alaska waters, during the annual 
harvest specifications process. These directly regulated entities 
include the groundfish CVs and groundfish C/Ps active in these areas. 
Direct allocations of groundfish are also made to Central GOA Rockfish 
Program cooperatives. These entities are, therefore, also considered to 
be directly regulated.
    In 2009, there were 660 individual CVs with revenues less than or 
equal to $4 million. Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore 
pollock cooperatives, or of GOA rockfish cooperatives. Vessels that 
participate in these cooperatives are considered to be large entities 
within the meaning of the RFA. After accounting for membership in these 
cooperatives, there are an estimated 627 small CVs remaining in the 
GOA.
    In 2009, nine C/Ps grossed less than $4 million. Some of these 
vessels were affiliated through ownership by the same business firm. 
NMFS estimates that these vessels were owned by eight separate firms. 
Vessels in this group were also affiliated through membership in two 
cooperatives (the Amendment 80 Alaska Seafood Cooperative and the 
Freezer Longline Conservation Cooperative). After taking account of 
firm and cooperative affiliations, NMFS estimates that these nine 
vessels represent four small entities.
    The number of Rockfish Program cooperatives can change from year to 
year. In 2010, there were eight separate cooperatives (NMFS 2011). The 
Rockfish Program cooperatives are directly regulated, since they 
receive allocations of TAC through the harvest specifications process. 
The cooperatives are large entities, since they are affiliated with 
firms with a combined total gross revenue of over $4 million.
    This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting 
requirements.
    NMFS considered alternative harvest strategies when choosing the 
preferred harvest strategy in December 2006. These included the 
following:
     Alternative 1: Set TACs to produce fishing mortality 
rates, F, that are equal to maxFABC, unless the sum of the TACs is 
constrained by the OY established in the FMPs. This is equivalent to 
setting TACs to produce harvest levels equal to the maximum permissible 
ABCs, as constrained by OY. The term ``maxFABC'' refers to the maximum 
permissible value of FABC under Amendment 56 to the groundfish FMPs. 
Historically, the TAC has been set at or below the ABC, therefore, this 
alternative represents a likely upper limit for setting the TAC within 
the OY and ABC limits.
     Alternative 3: For species in Tiers 1, 2, and 3, set TAC 
to produce F equal to the most recent 5-year average actual F. For 
species in Tiers 4, 5, and 6, set TAC equal to the most recent 5-year 
average actual catch. For stocks with a high level of scientific 
information, TACs would be set to produce harvest levels equal to the 
most recent five year average actual fishing mortality rates. For 
stocks with insufficient scientific information, TACs would be set 
equal to the most recent five year average actual catch. This 
alternative recognizes that for some stocks, catches may fall well 
below ABCs, and recent average F may provide a better indicator of 
actual F than FABC does.
     Alternative 4: (1) Set TACs for rockfish species in Tier 3 
at F75%. Set TACs for rockfish species in Tier 5 at F=0.5M. Set 
spatially explicit TACs for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the 
GOA. (2) Taking the rockfish TACs as calculated above, reduce all other 
TACs by a proportion that does not vary across species, so that the sum 
of all TACs, including rockfish TACs, is equal to the lower bound of 
the area OY (116,000 mt in the GOA). This alternative sets conservative 
and spatially explicit TACs for rockfish species that are long-lived 
and late to mature and sets conservative TACs for the other groundfish 
species.
     Alternative 5: (No Action) Set TACs at zero.
    These alternatives do not both meet the objectives of this action 
although they have a smaller adverse economic impact on small entities 
than the preferred alternative. The Council rejected these alternatives 
as harvest

[[Page 15225]]

strategies in 2006, and the Secretary did so in 2007.
    Alternative 1 selected harvest rates that will allow fishermen to 
harvest stocks at the level of ABCs, unless total harvests are 
constrained by the upper bound of the GOA OY of 800,000 metric tons. 
The sums of ABCs in 2012 and 2013 are 606,048 mt and 612,506 mt, 
respectively. The sums of the TACs in 2012 and 2013 are 438,159 mt and 
447,752 mt, respectively. Thus, although the sum of ABCs in each year 
is less than 800,000 metric tons, the sums of the TACs in each year are 
less than the sums of the ABCs.
    In most cases, the Council has set TACs equal to ABCs. The 
divergence between aggregate TACs and aggregate ABCs reflects a variety 
of special species- and fishery-specific circumstances:
    Pacific cod TACs are set equal to 75 percent of the Pacific cod 
ABCs in each year to account for the guideline harvest levels set by 
the State of Alaska for Pacific cod in its fisheries that are equal to 
25 percent of the Council's ABCs. Thus, this difference does not 
actually reflect a Pacific cod harvest below the Pacific cod ABC.
    Shallow-water flatfish and flathead sole TACs are set below ABCs in 
the Western and Central GOA regulatory areas. Arrowtooth flounder TACs 
are set below ABC in all GOA regulatory areas. Catches of these 
flatfish species rarely, if ever, approach the proposed ABCs or TACs. 
Important trawl fisheries in the GOA take halibut PSC, and are 
constrained by limits on the allowable halibut PSC mortality. These 
limits routinely force the closure of trawl fisheries before they have 
harvested the available groundfish ABC. Thus, actual harvests of 
groundfish in the GOA routinely fall short of some ABCs and TACs. 
Markets can also constrain harvests below the TACs, as has been the 
case with arrowtooth flounder, in the past. These TACs are set to allow 
for increased harvest opportunities for these targets while conserving 
the halibut PSC limit for use in other, more fully utilized, fisheries.
    The other rockfish TAC is set below the ABC in the Southeast 
Outside district based on several factors. In addition to conservation 
concerns for the rockfish species in this group, there is a regulatory 
prohibition against using trawl gear east of 140[deg] W. longitude. 
Because most species of other rockfish are caught exclusively with 
trawl gear, the catch of such species with other gear types, such as 
hook-and-line, is low. The commercial catch of other rockfish in the 
Eastern regulatory area (which includes the West Yakutat and Southeast 
Outside districts) in the last decade has ranged from approximately 70 
mt to 248 mt per year.
    The GOA-wide Atka mackerel TAC is set below the ABC. The estimates 
of survey biomass continue to be unreliable in the GOA. Therefore, the 
Council recommended and NMFS agrees that the Atka mackerel TAC in the 
GOA be set at an amount to support incidental catch in other directed 
fisheries.
    Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent five 
years of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for the 
most recent five years of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). 
This alternative is inconsistent with the objectives of this action, 
because it does not take account of the most recent biological 
information for this fishery.
    Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all 
species to reduce TACs from the upper end of the OY range in the GOA to 
its lower end of 116,000 metric tons. Overall this would reduce 2012 
TACs by about 81 percent. This would lead to significant reductions in 
harvests of species harvested by small entities. While production 
declines in the GOA would undoubtedly be associated with price 
increases in the GOA, these increases would still be constrained by the 
availability of substitutes, and are very unlikely to offset revenue 
declines from smaller production. Thus, this action would have a 
detrimental economic impact on small entities.
    Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, may also 
address conservation issues, but would have a significant adverse 
economic impact on small entities.
    In the 2012 and 2013 harvest specifications, yellowtail and widow 
rockfish have been moved from the pelagic shelf rockfish (PSR) species 
group to the other rockfish species group. This has been done to leave 
dusky rockfish alone in the PSR category. Dusky rockfish dominate the 
PSR category and support a valuable fishery in the Western and Central 
GOA. Dusky rockfish have been assessed with an age-structured model and 
are a Tier 3a species, unlike yellowtail and widow rockfish, which are 
Tier 5 species. This separation allows managers to treat dusky rockfish 
like other rockfish species in Tier 3a with age-structured models and 
to have an OFL and ABC specific to this species. A discussion paper 
reviewing this action found that this management reorganization would 
have no adverse economic impact on commercial fishermen in the GOA. The 
discussion paper indicated that the PSR fishery rarely harvested the 
TAC. Therefore, a reduction in TACs associated with the shift in 
species would be inconsequential. The paper also concluded that it 
would not have an adverse impact on participants in the Central Gulf of 
Alaska Rockfish Program (GOA FMP Amendment 88). The action has the 
effect of increasing the OFL and ABC for other rockfish. Thus, this 
action is not expected to have an adverse impact on small entities.
    Impacts on marine mammals resulting from fishing activities 
conducted under this rule are discussed in the EIS (see ADDRESSES).
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Acting Assistant Administrator 
for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness for this rule, because delaying this rule is contrary to 
the public interest. The Plan Team review occurred in November 2011, 
and Council consideration and recommendations occurred in December 
2011. Accordingly, NMFS review could not begin until January 2012. For 
all fisheries not currently closed because the TACs established under 
the final 2011 and 2012 harvest specifications (76 FR 11111, March 1, 
2011) were not reached, it is possible that they would be closed prior 
to the expiration of a 30-day delayed effectiveness period, because 
their TACs could be reached within that time period. If implemented 
immediately, this rule would allow these fisheries to continue to fish 
because the new TACs implemented by this rule are higher than the ones 
under which they are currently fishing.
    Certain fisheries, such as those for pollock and Pacific cod are 
intensive, fast-paced fisheries. Other fisheries, such as those for 
sablefish, flatfish, rockfish, Atka mackerel, skates, squids, sharks, 
octopuses, and sculpins are critical as directed fisheries and as 
incidental catch in other fisheries. U.S. fishing vessels have 
demonstrated the capacity to catch the TAC allocations in many of these 
fisheries. If this rule allowed for a 30-day delay in effectiveness and 
if a TAC is reached, NMFS would close directed fishing or prohibit 
retention for the applicable species. Any delay in allocating the final 
TACs in these fisheries would cause confusion to the industry and 
potential economic harm through unnecessary discards. Waiving the 30-
day delay allows NMFS to prevent economic loss to fishermen that could 
otherwise occur should the 2012 TACs be reached. Determining which 
fisheries may close is impossible because these fisheries are affected 
by several factors that cannot be predicted in advance,

[[Page 15226]]

including fishing effort, weather, movement of fishery stocks, and 
market price. Furthermore, the closure of one fishery has a cascading 
effect on other fisheries by freeing-up fishing vessels, allowing them 
to move from closed fisheries to open ones, increasing the fishing 
capacity in those open fisheries, and causing them to close at an 
accelerated pace.
    In fisheries subject to declining sideboards, a failure to 
implement the updated sideboards before initial season's end could deny 
the intended economic protection to the non-sideboarded sectors. 
Conversely, in fisheries with increasing sideboards, economic benefit 
could be denied to the sideboarded sectors.
    If the final harvest specifications are not effective by March 17, 
2012, which is the start of the 2012 Pacific halibut season as 
specified by the IPHC, the hook-and-line sablefish fishery will not 
begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. This would 
result in confusion for the industry and economic harm from unnecessary 
discard of sablefish that are caught along with Pacific halibut, as 
both hook-and-line sablefish and Pacific halibut are managed under the 
same IFQ program. Immediate effectiveness of the final 2012 and 2013 
harvest specifications will allow the sablefish IFQ fishery to begin 
concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. Also, the immediate 
effectiveness of this action is required to provide consistent 
management and conservation of fishery resources based on the best 
available scientific information. This is particularly true for those 
species that have lower 2012 ABCs and TACs than those established in 
the 2011 and 2012 harvest specifications (76 FR 11111, March 1, 2011). 
Immediate effectiveness also would give the fishing industry the 
earliest possible opportunity to plan and conduct its fishing 
operations with respect to new information about TACs. Therefore, NMFS 
finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness under 5 
U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

Small Entity Compliance Guide

    The following information is a plain language guide to assist small 
entities in complying with this final rule as required by the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This final rule's 
primary purpose is to announce the final 2012 and 2013 harvest 
specifications and prohibited species bycatch allowances for the 
groundfish fisheries of the GOA. This action is necessary to establish 
harvest limits and associated management measures for groundfish during 
the 2012 and 2013 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and 
objectives of the FMP. This action affects all fishermen who 
participate in the GOA fisheries. The specific amounts of OFL, ABC, 
TAC, and PSC are provided in tables to assist the reader. NMFS will 
announce closures of directed fishing in the Federal Register and 
information bulletins released by the Alaska Region. Affected fishermen 
should keep themselves informed of such closures.

    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.

    Dated: March 7, 2012.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-6057 Filed 3-13-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P