[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 215 (Tuesday, November 6, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 66577]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27070]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

RIN 0648-XC165


Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish 
Fishery; Trawl Rationalization Program; Notice of Non-Whiting At-Sea 
Processing Prohibition Exemption

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

ACTION: Notice of availability of exemptions to the non-whiting at-sea 
processing prohibition.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces the receipt of applications for, and the 
issuance of, exemptions to the prohibition of at-sea processing for 
non-whiting groundfish caught in the Shorebased Individual Fishing 
Quota (IFQ) Program, a prohibition implemented as part of the trawl 
rationalization program.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jamie Goen, phone: 206-526-4656, fax: 
206-526-6736, and email jamie.goen@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

    This proposed rule is accessible via the Internet at the Office of 
the Federal Register's Web site at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html. Background information and documents are available at the 
Pacific Fishery Management Council's Web site at http://www.pcouncil.org/.

Background

    In January 2011, NMFS implemented a trawl rationalization program, 
a catch share program, for the Pacific coast groundfish fishery's trawl 
fleet. The trawl rationalization program consists of an IFQ program for 
the shorebased trawl fleet (including whiting and non-whiting 
fisheries); and cooperative (coop) programs for the at-sea mothership 
and catcher/processor trawl fleets (whiting only).
    The Shorebased IFQ Program includes a prohibition on processing 
non-whiting groundfish at sea, as specified in the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 660.112(b)(1)(xii) and implemented through 
a final rule published in the Federal Register on December 15, 2010 (75 
FR 78344). The prohibition was implemented to ensure that shoreside 
processing plants would continue to have access to groundfish landed in 
the Shorebased IFQ Program. The preamble to the proposed rule dated 
August 31, 2010 (75 FR 53380) further described the prohibition on 
processing at sea in the Shorebased IFQ Program.
    Over 2011, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) 
responded to public testimony and decided it had not intended to 
negatively impact any at-sea non-whiting processing operations that 
existed prior to announcement of the prohibition on processing at sea 
in the Shorebased IFQ Program. Therefore, the Council recommended and 
NMFS implemented an exemption from the prohibition on processing non-
whiting groundfish at sea in the Shorebased IFQ Program through a final 
rule published on December 1, 2011 (76 FR 774725). For more background 
on the exemption, see the preamble to the proposed rule published on 
September 2, 2011 (76 FR 54888).
    With the December 1, 2011 final rule (also called the trawl 
rationalization program improvement and enhancement (PIE) rule), NMFS 
implemented regulations providing a one-time opportunity for vessels to 
apply for an exemption from the prohibition on processing non-whiting 
groundfish at-sea in the Shorebased IFQ Program. Between January and 
March of 2012, NMFS completed the application and review process for an 
exemption from the prohibition, as provided for in Federal regulations 
at Sec.  660.25(b)(6)(ii). Effective March 16, 2012, two vessels 
qualified for the exemption: F/V LAST STRAW and F/V MISS LEONA. The 
non-whiting at-sea processing exemption is associated with those 
specific vessels, not with the vessel owner's limited entry permit, and 
may not be transferred to any other vessel, vessel owner, or permit 
owner for any reason.

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

    Dated: November 1, 2012.
Lindsay Fullenkamp,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-27070 Filed 11-5-12; 8:45 am]
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