[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 220 (Wednesday, November 14, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 67973-68041]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27338]



[[Page 67973]]

Vol. 77

Wednesday,

No. 220

November 14, 2012

Part III





Department of Commerce





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 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration





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50 CFR Part 660





Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2013-2014 Biennial Specifications and 
Management Measures; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 220 / Wednesday, November 14, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 67974]]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 120814338-2338-01]
RIN 0648-BC35


Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2013-2014 Biennial Specifications and 
Management Measures

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This proposed rule would establish the 2013-2014 harvest 
specifications and management measures for groundfish taken in the U.S. 
exclusive economic zone off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and 
California consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (MSA) and the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery 
Management Plan (PCGFMP). This proposed rule would also revise the 
collection of management measures in the groundfish fishery regulations 
that are intended to keep the total catch of each groundfish species or 
species complex within the harvest specifications.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than December 5, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2012-0202, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal www.regulations.gov. To 
submit comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the ``submit a 
comment'' icon, then enter NOAA-NMFS-2012-0202 in the keyword search. 
Locate the document you wish to comment on from the resulting list and 
click on the ``Submit a Comment'' icon on the right of that line.
     Mail: Submit written comments to William Stele, 
Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., 
Seattle, WA 98115-0070, Attn: Sarah Williams.
     Fax: 206-526-6736, Attn: Sarah Williams.
    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 
methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and 
considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public 
record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.) submitted voluntarily by the 
sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will 
accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you 
wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be 
accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file 
formats only.
    Information relevant to this proposed rule, which includes a draft 
environmental impact statement (EIS), a regulatory impact review (RIR), 
and an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) are available for 
public review during business hours at the office of the Pacific 
Fishery Management Council (Council), at 7700 NE. Ambassador Place, 
Portland, OR 97220, phone: 503-820-2280. Copies of additional reports 
referred to in this document may also be obtained from the Council.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah Williams, phone: 206-526-4646, 
fax: 206-526-6736, or email: sarah.williams@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

    This rule is accessible via the Internet at the Office of the 
Federal Register Web site at https://www.federalregister.gov. 
Background information and documents are available at the NMFS 
Northwest Region Web site at http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/Groundfish-Halibut/Groundfish-Fishery-Management/index.cfm and at the Council's 
Web site at http://www.pcouncil.org.

Executive Summary

I. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

    This proposed rule is needed to implement the 2013-2014 harvest 
specifications and management measures for groundfish species taken in 
the U.S. exclusive economic zone off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, 
and California. The purpose of the proposed action is to conserve and 
manage Pacific Coast groundfish fishery resources to prevent 
overfishing, to rebuild overfished stocks, to ensure conservation, to 
facilitate long-term protection of essential fish habitats (EFH), and 
to realize the full potential of the Nation's fishery resources. The 
need for this proposed action is to set catch limit specifications and 
management measures for 2013-2014 that are consistent with existing or 
revised overfished species target rebuilding years and harvest control 
rules for all stocks. These harvest specifications are set consistent 
with the optimum yield (OY) harvest management framework described in 
Chapter 4 of the PCGFMP. This rule is authorized by 16 U.S.C. 1854-55 
and by the PCGFMP.

II. Major Provisions

    This proposed rule contains two types of major provisions. The 
first are the harvest specifications (overfishing limits (OFLs), 
acceptable biological catches (ABCs), and annual catch limits (ACLs)), 
and the second are management measures designed to keep fishing 
mortality within the ACLs. The harvest specifications (OFLs, ABCs, and 
ACLs) in this rule have been developed through a rigorous scientific 
review and decision-making process, which is described in detail later 
in this proposed rule.
    In summary, the OFL is the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) harvest 
level and is an estimate of the catch level above which overfishing is 
occurring. OFLs are based on recommendations by the Council's 
Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) as the best scientific 
information available. The ABC is an annual catch specification that is 
the stock or stock complex's OFL reduced by an amount associated with 
scientific uncertainty. The SSC-recommended method for incorporating 
scientific uncertainty is referred to as the P star-sigma approach and 
is discussed in more detail below and in the proposed and final rules 
for the 2011-2012 biennial specifications and management measures (75 
FR 67810, November 3, 2010 and 76 FR 27508, May 11, 2011). The ACL is a 
harvest specification set equal to or below the ABC. The ACLs are 
decided in a manner to achieve OY from the fishery, which is the amount 
of fish that will provide the greatest overall benefit to the Nation, 
particularly with respect to food production and recreational 
opportunities and taking into account the protection of marine 
ecosystems. The ACLs are based on consideration of conservation 
objectives, socio-economic concerns, management uncertainty, and other 
factors. All known sources of fishing and research catch are counted 
against the ACL.
    This proposed rule includes ACLs for the seven overfished species 
managed

[[Page 67975]]

under the PCGFMP. For the 2013-2014 biennium two species, canary 
rockfish and Pacific ocean perch (POP), require rebuilding plan 
changes. These changes are necessary because the rebuilding analyses 
prepared showed that even in the absence of fishing, these two species 
were unlikely to rebuild by the current target rebuilding year 
(TTARGET) in their rebuilding plans. The EIS prepared for 
this action analyzed a range of POP and canary rockfish ACLs arrayed in 
different configurations along with the ACLs for other stocks and the 
management measures needed to prevent ACLs from being exceeded. These 
``integrated alternatives'' are designed to help demonstrate how 
changes in POP and canary rockfish ACLs affect access to target stocks 
or influence projected mortalities of overfished species, among other 
factors. This integrated approach is also described in the proposed 
rule for the 2011-2012 harvest specifications and management measures 
(75 FR 67810, November 3, 2010). However, unlike the integrated 
alternatives from the last biennium, for 2013-2014 the integrated 
alternatives varied mainly with respect to the ACLs for canary rockfish 
and POP, as those were the only species for which new scientific 
information required changes to rebuilding plans. Because of the 
multispecies nature of the groundfish fishery (the ACL of one species 
can influence the ACL and/or access to another species), the choice of 
canary rockfish and POP harvest rates, and the resulting ACLs and 
TTARGETS, were carefully considered by the Council. In their 
final recommendation, the Council weighed many factors including 
rebuilding progress, biology of the stock, economic impacts, 
allocations, and the need for new or more restrictive management 
measures. Ultimately, the Council recommended maintaining the harvest 
rate in the existing rebuilding plans for POP and canary rockfish and 
establishing revised TTARGETS.
    In order to keep mortality of the species managed under the PCGFMP 
within the ACLs the Council also recommended management measures. 
Generally speaking, management measures are intended to rebuild 
overfished species, prevent ACLs from being exceeded, and allow for the 
harvest of healthy stocks. Management measures include time and area 
restrictions, gear restrictions, trip or bag limits, size limits, and 
other management tools. Management measures may vary by fishing sector 
because different fishing sectors require different types of management 
to control catch. The groundfish fishery is also managed with a variety 
of other regulatory requirements, many of which are not proposed to be 
changed through this rulemaking. Most of the management measures the 
Council recommended for 2013-2014 were slight variations to existing 
management measures and do not represent a change from current 
management practices. These types of changes include changes to trip 
limits, bag limits, closed areas, etc. However, several new management 
measures were recommended by the Council including: Changes to latitude 
and longitude coordinates that define the boundaries of the Rockfish 
Conservation Areas (RCA)s; the ability to routinely modify deductions 
from the ACL to assign fish to different sectors that would otherwise 
go unharvested while still preventing ACLs from being exceeded; a 
requirement that all fish from a landing be offloaded before a new trip 
begins to improve catch accounting; a new sorting requirement for 
blackgill rockfish so mortality can be accounted against the new 
species-specific blackgill rockfish harvest guideline (HG); the ability 
for NMFS to modify the percentage of surplus carryover in the 
Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program, as an inseason 
action based on a Council recommendation; and a clarification to the 
threshold at which participants in the limited entry fixed gear 
sablefish primary fishery would transition from fishing their tier 
limits and begin fishing against trip limits.

Background

    The Pacific Coast Groundfish fishery is managed under the PCGFMP. 
The PCGFMP was prepared by the Council, approved on July 30, 1984, and 
has been amended numerous times. Regulations at 50 CFR part 660, 
subparts C through G, implement the provisions of the PCGFMP.
    The PCGFMP requires the harvest specifications and management 
measures for groundfish to be set at least biennially. This proposed 
rule is based on the Council's final recommendations that were made at 
its June 2012 meeting.

Specification and Management Measure Development Process

    The process for setting the 2013 and 2014 biennial harvest 
specifications began in 2011 with the preparation of stock assessments. 
A stock assessment is the scientific and statistical process where the 
status of a fish population or subpopulation (stock) is assessed in 
terms of population size, reproductive status, fishing mortality, and 
sustainability. In the terms of the PCGFMP, stock assessments generally 
provide: (1) An estimate of the current biomass (reproductive 
potential); (2) an FMSY or proxy (a default harvest rate for 
the fishing mortality rate that is expected to achieve the maximum 
sustainable yield), translated into exploitation rate; (3) an estimate 
of the biomass that produces the maximum sustainable yield 
(BMSY); and, (4) a precision estimate (e.g., confidence 
interval) for current biomass. Each stock assessment is reviewed by the 
Council's stock assessment review panel (STAR panel). The STAR panel is 
designed to review the technical merits of stock assessments and is 
responsible for determining if a stock assessment document is 
sufficiently complete. Finally, the SSC reviews the stock assessment 
and STAR panel reports and makes recommendations to the Council. In 
addition to full stock assessments, stock assessment updates that run 
new data through existing models without changing the model are also 
prepared.
    When spawning stock biomass falls below the minimum stock size 
threshold (MSST), a stock is declared overfished and a rebuilding plan 
must be developed that determines the strategy for rebuilding the stock 
to BMSY in the shortest time possible while considering 
needs of fishing communities and other factors (16 U.S.C. 1854(e)). The 
current MSST reference point for assessed flatfish stocks is 12.5 
percent of initial biomass or B12.5%. For all other assessed 
groundfish stocks, the current MSST reference point is 25 percent of 
initial biomass or B25%. The following overfished groundfish 
stocks would be managed under rebuilding plans in 2013 and 2014: 
bocaccio south of 40[deg]10' N. lat.; canary rockfish; cowcod south of 
40[deg]10' N. lat.; darkblotched rockfish; Pacific Ocean Perch (POP); 
petrale sole; and yelloweye rockfish. NMFS declared widow rockfish 
rebuilt based on the most recent stocks assessment and therefore widow 
rockfish will not be managed under a rebuilding plan after 2012.
    For overfished stocks, in addition to any stock assessments or 
stock assessment updates, rebuilding analyses are also prepared. The 
rebuilding analysis is used to project the future status of the 
overfished resource under a variety of alternative harvest strategies 
and to determine the probability of recovering to BMSY or 
its proxy within a specified time-frame. The SSC establishes minimum 
requirements for rebuilding analyses and encourages analysts to explore 
alternative calculations and projections that may more accurately 
capture uncertainties in

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stock rebuilding and better represent stock-specific concerns. The SSC 
groundfish subcommittee reviews the rebuilding analyses and associated 
modeling issues, and makes recommendations relative to the best 
available information for management decisions. The SSC also encourages 
explicit consideration of uncertainty in projections of stock 
rebuilding for individual stocks, including comparisons of alternative 
states of nature using decision tables to quantify the impact of model 
uncertainty. Each rebuilding analysis includes: An estimation of 
B0 (the unfished biomass) and BMSY or its proxy; 
the selection of a method to generate future recruitment; the 
specification of the mean generation time; a calculation of the minimum 
possible rebuilding time (TMIN), which is the time to 
rebuild to BMSY with a 50 percent probability starting from 
the time when the rebuilding plan was first implemented assuming no 
fishing occurs; TF=0, which is the number of years needed to 
rebuild to BMSY with a 50 percent probability if all future 
fishing mortality was eliminated from the first year of the biennium, 
in this case 2013; and the identification and analysis of alternative 
harvest strategies and rebuilding times.
    The Council considered new stock assessments, stock assessment 
updates, rebuilding analyses, public comment, and advice from its 
advisory bodies over the course of six Council meetings during 
development of its recommendations for the 2013-2014 harvest 
specifications and management measures. At each Council meeting between 
September 2011 and June 2012, the Council made a series of decisions 
and recommendations that were in some cases refined after further 
analysis and discussion. Detailed information, including the supporting 
documentation the Council considered at each meeting is available at 
the Council's Web site, www.pcouncil.org.
    A draft EIS identifying the preliminary preferred alternative for 
each decision point was made available to the public, the Council, and 
the Council's advisory bodies prior to the June 2012 Council meeting. 
At that meeting, following public comment and Council consideration, 
the Council made its final recommendations on the 2013 and 2014 harvest 
specifications and management measures as well as Amendment 21-2 to the 
PCGFMP. Amendment 21-2 would reinstate previous catch accounting 
methodologies that were inadvertently removed through Amendment 21. 
This proposed rule does not contain regulations to implement Amendment 
21-2 to the PCGFMP. The amendment was analyzed in the EIS and was part 
of the Council's final action. However, in consultation with NMFS, the 
Council chose not to transmit the FMP amendment at this time because 
additional work on the implementing regulations was necessary. It is 
anticipated that the FMP amendment, and any necessary implementing 
regulations, will be transmitted at a later date.
    Additional information regarding the OFLs, ABCs, and ACLs being 
proposed for groundfish stocks and stock complexes in 2013-2014 is 
presented below, followed by a description of the proposed management 
measures for commercial and recreational groundfish fisheries.

Harvest Specifications

Proposed OFLs for 2013 and 2014
    The OFL is the MSY harvest level associated with the current stock 
abundance and is an estimate of the level of total catch of a stock or 
stock complex above which overfishing is occurring. The OFLs for 
groundfish species with stock assessments are derived by multiplying 
the FMSY harvest rate proxy by the current estimated 
biomass. Fx% harvest rates are the rates of fishing 
mortality that will reduce the female spawning biomass per recruit 
(SPR) to X percent of its unfished level. A rate of F40% is 
a more aggressive harvest rate than F45% or F50%.
    For 2013 and 2014, the Council maintained a policy of using a 
default harvest rate as a proxy for the fishing mortality rate that is 
expected to achieve the maximum sustainable yield (FMSY). A 
proxy is used because there is insufficient information for most 
Pacific Coast groundfish stocks to estimate species-specific 
FMSY values. Taxon-specific proxy fishing mortality rates 
are used due to perceived differences in the productivity among 
different taxa of groundfish. A lower value is used for stocks with 
relatively high resilience to fishing while higher values are used for 
less resilient stocks with low productivity. In 2013 and 2014, the 
following default harvest rate proxies, based on the SSC's 
recommendations, were used: F30% for flatfish, 
F50% for rockfish (including thornyheads), and 
F45% for other groundfish such as sablefish and lingcod.
    For the 2013 and 2014 biennial specification process, eight stock 
assessments and four stock assessment updates were prepared. Full stock 
assessments, those that consider the appropriateness of the assessment 
model and that revise the model as necessary, were prepared for the 
following stocks: POP, widow rockfish, petrale sole, Dover sole, 
blackgill rockfish, sablefish, spiny dogfish, and greenspotted 
rockfish. Stock assessment updates, those that run new data through an 
existing model, were prepared for bocaccio, canary rockfish, 
darkblotched rockfish, and yelloweye rockfish. Because the bocaccio and 
darkblotched assessment updates encountered data anomalies, some 
modifications to the models were required and these were therefore not 
strictly updates.
    Each new stock assessment includes a base model and two alternative 
models. The alternative models are developed from the base model by 
bracketing the dominant dimension of uncertainty (e.g., stock-
recruitment steepness, natural mortality rate, survey catchability, 
recent year-class strength, weights on conflicting catch per unit 
effort series, etc.) and are intended to be a means of expressing 
uncertainty within the model by showing the contrast in management 
implications. Once a base model has been bracketed on either side by 
alternative model scenarios, capturing the overall degree of 
uncertainty in the assessment, a two-way decision table analysis 
(states-of-nature versus management action) is used to present the 
repercussions of uncertainty to decision makers. As noted above, the 
SSC makes recommendations to the Council on the appropriateness of 
using the different stock assessments for management purposes, after 
which the Council considers adoption of the stock assessments, use of 
the stock assessment for the development of rebuilding analysis, and 
the OFLs resulting from the base model runs of the stock assessments.
    The following summaries pertain to the proposed 2013 and 2014 OFLs 
for stocks that were overfished in 2011.
Bocaccio (Sebastes paucispinis)
    A stock assessment update was prepared for the bocaccio stock 
between the U.S.-Mexico border and Cape Blanco, OR. The bocaccio OFLs 
of 884 mt for 2013 and 881 mt for 2014 are based on the FMSY 
harvest rate proxy of F50% as applied to the estimated 
exploitable biomass from the 2011 stock assessment update. For setting 
harvest specifications, six percent of the assessed biomass was 
estimated to occur north of 40[deg]10' N. lat. The projected OFLs from 
the assessment were adjusted accordingly.

[[Page 67977]]

Canary Rockfish (Sebastes pinniger)
    A stock assessment update was prepared for the coastwide canary 
rockfish stock. The canary rockfish OFLs of 592 mt for 2013 and 741 mt 
for 2014 are based on the FMSY harvest rate proxy of 
F50% as applied to the estimated exploitable biomass from 
the 2011 stock assessment update.
Darkblotched Rockfish (Sebastes crameri)
    A stock assessment update was prepared for darkblotched rockfish in 
the U.S. Vancouver, Columbia, Eureka, and Monterey areas. The 
darkblotched rockfish OFLs of 541 mt for 2013 and 553 mt for 2014 are 
based on the FMSY harvest rate proxy of F50% as 
applied to the estimated exploitable biomass from the 2011 stock 
assessment update.
Petrale Sole (Eopsetta jordani)
    A new coastwide stock assessment was prepared for petrale sole. The 
assessment treats the U.S. petrale sole resource from the Mexican 
border to the Canadian border as a single coastwide stock. The petrale 
sole OFLs of 2,711 mt for 2013 and 2,774 mt for 2014 are based on the 
FMSY harvest rate proxy of F30% as applied to the 
estimated exploitable biomass from the 2011 stock assessment.
POP (Sebastes alutus)
    A new stock assessment was prepared for POP north of 40[deg]10' 
north latitude. This is the first full assessment of POP since 2003. 
The POP OFLs of 844 mt for 2013 and 838 mt for 2014 are based on the 
FMSY harvest rate proxy of F50% as applied to the 
estimated exploitable biomass from the 2011 stock assessment.
Widow Rockfish (Sebastes entomelas)
    A new coastwide stock assessment was prepared for widow rockfish in 
the U.S. Vancouver, Columbia, Eureka, Monterey, and Conception areas. 
The widow rockfish OFLs of 4,841 mt for 2013 and 4,435 mt for 2014 are 
based on the FMSY harvest rate proxy of F50% as 
applied to the estimated exploitable biomass from the 2011 stock 
assessment.
Yelloweye Rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus)
    A coastwide stock assessment update was prepared for yelloweye 
rockfish. The yelloweye rockfish OFLs of 51 mt for 2013 and 2014 are 
based on the FMSY harvest rate proxy of F50% as 
applied to the estimated exploitable biomass from the 2011 stock 
assessment update.
    The following summaries pertain to the proposed OFLs for 
individually managed non-overfished stocks with new stock assessments 
or stock assessment updates in 2011.
Dover Sole (Microstomus pacificus)
    A new coastwide stock assessment was prepared for Dover sole. The 
Dover sole OFLs of 92,955 mt in 2013 and 77,774 mt in 2014 are based on 
the FMSY harvest rate proxy of F30% as applied to 
the estimated exploitable biomass from the 2011 stock assessment.
Sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria)
    A new coastwide stock assessment was prepared for sablefish. The 
sablefish OFLs of 6,621 mt in 2013 and 7,158 mt in 2014 are based on 
the FMSY harvest rate proxy of F45% as applied to 
the estimated exploitable biomass from the 2011 stock assessment.
    For individually managed species that did not have new stock 
assessments or updates prepared, the Council recommended OFLs derived 
from applying the FMSY harvest rate proxy to the estimated 
exploitable biomass from the most recent stock assessment or update, 
the results of rudimentary stock assessments, or the historical 
landings data approved by the Council for use in setting harvest 
specifications. These stocks include: Arrowtooth flounder, English 
sole, starry flounder, black rockfish south, black rockfish north, 
California scorpionfish, chilipeper rockfish south, longnose skate, 
longspine thornyhead Pacific cod, shortbelly rockfish, shortspine 
thornyhead, splitnose rockfish south, yellowtail rockfish, cabezon (off 
California), cabezon (off Oregon), and lingcod north and south. 
Proposed OFLs for these species can be found in Tables 1a and 2a.
    There are currently eight stock complexes used to manage groundfish 
stocks pursuant to the PCGFMP. These stock complexes are: (1) Minor 
nearshore rockfish north; (2) minor shelf rockfish north; (3) minor 
slope rockfish north; (4) minor nearshore rockfish south; (5) minor 
shelf rockfish south; (6) minor slope rockfish south; (7) other 
flatfish; and (8) other fish. Stock complexes are used to manage the 
harvest of many of the unassessed groundfish stocks. The proposed OFLs 
for stock complexes are the sum of the OFL contributions for the 
component stocks, when known. For the 2013-2014 biennial specification 
process, similar to what was done in 2011-2012, Depletion-Corrected 
Average Catch (DCAC), Depletion-Based Stock Reduction Analysis (DB-
SRA), or other SSC-endorsed methodologies were used to determine the 
OFL contributions made by category three species (data limited 
species). Stock assessment scientists from the Northwest Fisheries 
Science Center and the Southwest Fisheries Science Center developed the 
DCAC and DB-SRA methodologies. The DCAC and DB-SRA provide an estimate 
of sustainable yield for data-poor stocks of uncertain status. The 
Council and the SSC recognized these methods as improvements upon 
previous catch-based methods for estimating sustainable yield. While 
OFL contribution estimates should not vary from year to year for the 
category three stocks, a bias was discovered and corrected in both the 
DB-SRA and DCAC estimates. The 2011 estimates were generally biased 
somewhat high and the revised 2013 estimates were more precise. The 
corrected 2013 and 2014 OFL contribution estimates decreased an average 
of 6 percent relative to the 2011 estimates. For further information 
see http://www.pcouncil.org/resources/archives/briefing-books/september-2011-briefing-book/#groundfish, Agenda Item G.5.a 
Supplemental Attachment 8.
    The proposed OFLs for complexes can be found at in tables 1a and 2a 
of this proposed rule. In addition to OFL contributions derived by 
DCAC, DB-SRA, or other SSC approved estimates, OFL contributions for 
the following stocks were determined by applying the FMSY 
harvest rate proxy to the estimated exploitable biomass from the most 
recent stock assessments: Blackgill rockfish, blue rockfish, 
chilipepper rockfish north, greenstriped rockfish, greenspotted 
rockfish, gopher rockfish, splitnose rockfish north, and spiny dogfish. 
As summarized below, three of the stocks with OFL contributions 
determined by applying the FMSY harvest rate proxy to the 
estimated exploitable biomass from stock assessments had new stock 
assessments this cycle.
Blackgill Rockfish (Sebastes melanostomus)
    A new stock assessment was prepared for the portion of the 
blackgill rockfish stock south of 40[deg]10' N. lat. Blackgill rockfish 
contributes 130 mt in 2013 and 134 mt in 2014 to the minor slope 
rockfish south OFL. The blackgill rockfish contributions to the 2013 
and 2014 minor slope rockfish south OFLs are based on the 
FMSY harvest rate proxy of F50% as applied to the 
estimated exploitable biomass from the 2011 stock assessment.
Greenspotted Rockfish (Sebastes chlorostictus)
    A new assessment was prepared for the portion of the greenspotted 
rockfish

[[Page 67978]]

stock off California. The assessment modeled greenspotted rockfish as 
two independent stocks, one off southern California, and one off 
northern California. Greenspotted rockfish contributes 80.3 mt in 2013 
and 80.3 mt in 2014 to the minor shelf rockfish south OFLs and 
contributes 15.5 mt in 2013 and 15.5 mt in 2014 to the minor shelf 
rockfish north OFLs. The greenspotted rockfish contributions to the 
2013-2014 minor shelf rockfish south OFLs are based on a 
FMSY harvest rate proxy of F50% as applied to the 
estimated exploitable biomass from the 2011 stock assessment, and as 
apportioned to the minor shelf rockfish south complex. Greenspotted 
rockfish contributions to the 2013-2014 minor shelf rockfish north OFLs 
are based on the application of the of the same FMSY harvest 
rate proxy as described above and as apportioned to the minor shelf 
rockfish north complex. The DCAC estimate of 6.1 mt for the portion of 
the greenspotted rockfish stock off Oregon and Washington also 
contributes to the minor shelf rockfish north OFLs.
Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias)
    A new coastwide stock assessment was prepared for spiny dogfish. 
Spiny dogfish contributes 2,980 mt in 2013 and 2,950 mt in 2014 to the 
other fish complex OFLs. Spiny dogfish contributions to the other fish 
complex OFLs are based on the FMSY harvest rate proxy of 
F45% as applied to the estimated exploitable biomass from 
the 2011 stock assessment.
Proposed ABCs for 2013 and 2014
    The ABC is the stock or stock complex's OFL reduced by an amount 
associated with scientific uncertainty. The SSC-recommended P star-
Sigma approach determines the amount by which the OFL is reduced to 
establish the ABC. Under this approach, the SSC recommends a sigma 
([sigma]) value. The [sigma] value is generally based on the scientific 
uncertainty in the biomass estimates generated from stock assessments. 
After the SSC determines the appropriate [sigma] value the Council 
chooses a P star (P*) based on its chosen level of risk aversion 
considering the scientific uncertainties. As the P* value is reduced, 
the probability of the ABC being greater than the ``true'' OFL becomes 
lower. In combination, the P* and [sigma] values determine the amount 
by which the OFL will be reduced to establish the SSC-endorsed ABC.
    The SSC has quantified major sources of scientific uncertainty in 
the estimate of OFL for category one stocks (stocks with relatively 
data-rich quantitative assessments) and recommended a [sigma] value of 
0.36. For category two stocks (stocks with relatively data-poor 
quantitative or non-quantitative assessments) the SSC recommended a 
[sigma] value of 0.72 and for category three stocks (data-limited 
stocks with OFL contributions usually determined with DCAC or DB-SRA), 
the SSC recommend a [sigma] value of 1.44. For stocks with data-poor 
stock assessments or no stock assessments (category two and three 
stocks), there is typically greater scientific uncertainty in the 
estimate of OFL. Therefore, the scientific uncertainty buffer is 
generally greater than that recommended for stocks with quantitative 
stock assessments. Assuming the same P* is applied, a larger [sigma] 
value results in a larger reduction from the OFL.
    For 2013 and 2014, the Council continued the general policy of 
using the SSC-recommended [sigma] values for each species category. 
However, an exception to the general [sigma] policy was made for widow 
rockfish. For widow rockfish, the SSC recommended a larger [sigma] 
value of 0.41 rather than the 0.36 that would typically be used for 
category one stocks to better represent uncertainty in stock-recruit 
steepness, which is considered the major source of uncertainty in the 
widow rockfish assessment. In addition, several species changed 
categories in 2013-2014 as a result of updated stock assessments or due 
to being assessed for the first time. The [sigma] value for these 
species was updated accordingly when determining the proposed ABCs for 
2013 and 2014, as described below.
    The species categories for yelloweye rockfish and blackgill 
rockfish south of 40[deg]10'N. lat. were revised for 2013 and 2014 from 
category one to category two stocks. The yelloweye rockfish assessment 
was not able to estimate relative year class strength and the SSC 
recommended, yelloweye rockfish be considered a category two stock, and 
the [sigma] value of 0.72 was used. Similarly, based on the stock 
assessment, the SSC recommended that blackgill rockfish be treated as a 
category two stock and the [sigma] value of 0.72 was used. As a result 
of new stock assessments the species categories for spiny dogfish and 
greenspotted rockfish were revised for 2013 and 2014 from category 
three stocks to category two stocks. Accordingly, the [sigma] values of 
0.72 were used. Additional information about the [sigma] values used 
for different species categories as well as the P*- [sigma] approach 
can be found in the proposed and final rules from the 2011-2012 
biennium. (75 FR 67810, November 3, 2010; 76 FR 27508, May 11, 2011). A 
discussion of the P* values used in combination with the [sigma] values 
follows.
    The PCGFMP specifies that the upper limit of P* will be 0.45. A P* 
of 0.5 equates to no additional reduction for scientific uncertainty 
beyond the sigma value reduction. A lower P* is more risk averse than a 
higher value, meaning that the probability of the ABC being greater 
than the ``true'' OFL is lower. For 2013 and 2014, the Council largely 
maintained the P* policies it established for the 2011-2012 biennium. 
Specifically, the Council recommended using P* values of 0.45 for all 
category one species, expect sablefish, which is described below. 
Combining the [sigma] value of 0.36 the P* value of 0.45 results in a 
reduction of 4.4 percent from the OFL when deriving the ABC. For 
category two and three stocks, the Council's general policy was to use 
a P* of 0.4. When combined with the [sigma] values of 0.72 and 1.44 for 
category two and three stocks, a P* value of 0.40 corresponds to 16.7 
percent and 30.6 percent reductions, respectively.
    The Council recommended more precautionary P* values in 2013-2014 
for spiny dogfish and sablefish in order to account for uncertainty 
regarding the stock assessments. Spiny dogfish is a category two stock 
due to the model structure (fixed key parameters and no recruitment 
deviations) and sensitivity of the model results. The Council 
recommended a P* of 0.3 for spiny dogfish, which results in a 31.4 
percent reduction from the OFL, in recognition of the uncertain catch 
history of the stock, which are largely discarded in west coast 
fisheries. The Council also expressed the need for precaution in 
managing spiny dogfish, pending a meta-analysis of elasmobranch 
FMSY harvest rates due to the indication in the stock 
assessment that the current FMSY harvest rate proxy of 
F45% may be too aggressive. Regarding the 2011 sablefish 
assessment, the level of uncertainty in estimates of both depletion and 
absolute biomass is greater than in earlier assessments, in particular 
because allowance was made for uncertainty in key parameters such as 
natural mortality, growth, and survey catchability. Additionally, 
sablefish steepness cannot be estimated reliably given the currently 
available data, and steepness had to be set to an assumed value (0.6) 
in the assessment. Therefore, the Council recommended a P* of 0.4 for 
sablefish, which results in a 8.7 percent reduction from the OFL.
    The Council also applied the two-step [sigma] and P* approach for 
stocks managed in stock complexes. The Council's SSC categorized and 
applied the appropriate [sigma] value for individual stocks managed in 
stock complexes. For the six minor rockfish complexes, which are

[[Page 67979]]

comprised of a mix of all three categories of stocks, the Council 
recommended a P* of 0.45. For the other flatfish, and other fish stock 
complexes, which is composed of category three stocks (except for spiny 
dogfish in the Other Fish which is category 2) a more precautionary P* 
of 0.40 was recommended. For each of the stock complexes, the component 
species ABC contributions were calculated and summed to derive the 
complex ABC. Tables 1a and 2a of this proposed rule present the harvest 
specifications for each stock and stock complex, including the proposed 
ABCs, while the footnotes to these tables describe how the proposed 
specifications where derived. Details regarding this can also be found 
in Chapter 2.1.2 of the DEIS (see Supplementary Information section 
above).

Proposed ACLs for 2013 and 2014

    ACLs are specified for each stock and stock complex that is ``in 
the fishery''. An ACL is a harvest specification set equal to or below 
the ABC to address conservation objectives, socioeconomic concerns, 
management uncertainty, or other factors necessary to meet management 
objectives. All sources of fishing related mortality (tribal, 
commercial groundfish and non groundfish, recreational, and EFP), 
including retained and discard mortality, plus research catch are 
counted against an ACL. The ACL serves as the basis for invoking 
accountability measures (AMs). If ACLs are exceeded more than one time 
in four years, then improvements to or additional AMs, for example 
catch monitoring and inseason adjustments to fisheries, may need to be 
implemented.
    Under the PCGFMP harvest policies, when a stocks depletion level 
falls below BMSY or the proxy for BMSY, which is 
the biomass level that produces MSY (B25% for assessed 
flatfish, B40% for all other groundfish stocks), but is 
above the overfished level (MSST- B12.5% for assessed 
flatfish, B25% for all other groundfish stocks), 
the stock is said to be in the ``precautionary zone'' or below the 
precautionary threshold. In general, when recommending ACLs, the 
Council follows a risk-averse policy by recommending an ACL that is 
below the ABC when there is a perception the stock is below its 
BMSY, or to accommodate management uncertainty, 
socioeconomic concerns, or other considerations. When a stock is below 
the precautionary threshold the harvest policies reduce the fishing 
mortality rate. The further the stock biomass is below the 
precautionary threshold, the greater the reduction in ACL relative to 
the ABC, until at B10% for a stock with a BMSY 
proxy of B40% or B5% for a stock with a 
BMSY proxy of B25%, the ACL would be set at zero. 
These policies, known as the 40-10 and 25-5 harvest control rules, 
respectively, are designed to prevent stocks from becoming overfished 
and serve as an interim rebuilding policy for stocks that are below the 
overfished threshold. For stock complexes, the ACL is set for the 
complex in its entirety and is less than or equal to the sum of the 
individual component ABCs. The ACL may be adjusted below the sum of 
component ABCs to address the factors described above.
    Under the PCGFMP, the Council may recommend setting the ACL at a 
different level than what the default ACL harvest control rule 
specifies as long as the ACL does not exceed the ABC and complies with 
the requirements of the MSA. The ACLs proposed for 2013-2014 are 
discussed below.

ACLs for ``Healthy'' and ``Precautionary Zone'' Individually Managed 
Species

    For the following individually managed species there was no new 
scientific information or change in management policy from the 2011-
2012 biennium for establishing 2013 and 2014 ACLs: arrowtooth flounder 
(ACLs set equal to the ABCs); black rockfish (OR-CA) (ACLs set below 
the ABCs); black rockfish (WA) (ACLs set equal to the ABCs); cabezon 
(CA) (ACLs set equal to the ABCs); cabezon (OR) (ACLs set equal to the 
ABCs); California scorpionfish (ACLs set equal to the ABCs); 
chilipepper south of 40[deg]10' N. lat. (ACLs set equal to the ABCs); 
English sole (ACLs set equal to the ABCs); longspine thornyhead north 
of 34[deg]27' N. lat. (ACLs set below the ABCs); longspine thornyhead 
south of 34[deg]27' N. lat. (ACLs set below the ABCs); Pacific cod 
(ACLs set below the ABCs); shortbelly rockfish (ACLs set below the 
ABCs); shortspine thornyhead north of 34[deg]27' N. lat. (ACLs set 
below the ABCs); shortspine thornyhead south of 34[deg]27' N. lat. 
(ACLs set below the ABCs); splitnose south of 40[deg]10' N. lat. (ACLs 
set equal to the ABCs); starry flounder (ACLs set equal to the ABCs); 
and yellowtail north of 40[deg]10' N. lat. (ACLs set equal to the 
ABCs).
    The Council considered new policies or information relative to the 
ACLs for the following healthy and precautionary zone species: Dover 
sole, lingcod north of 42[deg] N. lat., lingcod south of 42[deg] N. 
lat., longnose skate, sablefish north of 36[deg] N. lat., sablefish 
south of 36[deg] N. lat., and widow rockfish.
Dover Sole
    A new Dover sole assessment was done in 2011, which indicated the 
stock was healthy with a 2011 spawning stock biomass depletion of 83.7 
percent of unfished biomass. Rather than set the ACLs equal to the ABCs 
of 88,865 mt in 2013 and 74,352 mt in 2014, the proposed 2013 and 2014 
ACL of 25,000 mt is a re-specification of the 2012 ACL. The stock is 
projected to remain healthy while accommodating the current level of 
catch. Lower sablefish ACLs are proposed for 2013 and 2014 and, given 
that the trawl sablefish allocation can dictate the amount of Dover 
sole that can be accessed in the IFQ fishery, the Council did not 
recommend higher Dover sole ACLs.
 Lingcod
    Lingcod are distributed coastwide with harvest specifications based 
on two area stock assessments that were conducted in 2009 for the areas 
north and south of the California-Oregon border at 42[deg] N. latitude. 
The stock assessments indicate west coast lingcod stocks are healthy 
with the stock depletion estimated for lingcod off Washington and 
Oregon to be at 62 percent of its unfished biomass, and lingcod off 
California estimated to be at 74 percent of its unfished biomass at the 
start of 2009. The lingcod ACLs for 2013-14 are being proposed for the 
areas north and south of the current 40[deg]10' N. lat. management line 
rather than north and south of the California-Oregon border (42[deg] N. 
lat.), which is where the stock assessment splits the stocks. Current 
regulations at Sec.  660.112(b)(1)(vii) prohibit vessels participating 
in the shorebased IFQ program from fishing in more than one IFQ 
management area on the same trip. Therefore, if lingcod were to have a 
geographic split at 42[deg] N. lat. it would create a new IFQ 
management area that could unnecessarily restrict IFQ program 
participants. Dividing the lingcod specifications at 40[deg]10' N. lat. 
has no biological implications yet is consistent with the management of 
most other species with north-south specifications. The adjusted 
specifications for lingcod were based on the NMFS Northwest Fisheries 
Science Center trawl survey. The swept area biomass estimates 
calculated annually (2003-2010) in the NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science 
Center trawl survey indicated that 48 percent of the lingcod biomass 
for the stock south of 42[deg] N. lat. occurred between 40[deg]10' N. 
lat. and 42[deg] N. lat, and the specifications were adjusted 
accordingly. The 2013 and 2014 lingcod ACLs are 3,187 mt in 2013

[[Page 67980]]

and 3,023 mt in 2014 for the stock north of 40[deg]10' N. latitude and 
1,111 mt in 2013 and 1,063 mt in 2014 for the stock south of 40[deg]10' 
N. lat., with the ACLs set equal to the ABCs.
Longnose Skate
    The west coast longnose skate stock was assessed in 2007. The 
spawning stock biomass was estimated to be at 66 percent of its 
unfished biomass at the start of 2007. The Council considered two 2013 
and 2014 longnose skate ACL alternatives. The alternatives were an ACL 
of 1,349 mt, which was the 2012 ACL and was based on a 50 percent 
increase in the average 2004-2006 total catch mortality, and an ACL of 
2,000 mt. The Council recommended an ACL of 2,000 mt to accommodate the 
increased landings in the non-whiting trawl fishery seen in recent 
years and limit potential disruption of current fisheries. An ACL of 
2,000 mt is well below the 2013 and 2014 ABCs for the stock of 2,774 mt 
and 2,692 mt. The proposed ACL is within a level of harvest projected 
to maintain the population at a healthy level as projected in the 10-
year forecast for longnose skate in the 2007 stock assessment.
Sablefish
    A new coastwide sablefish stock assessment was conducted in 2011. 
The spawning stock biomass was estimated to be at 33 percent of its 
unfished biomass at the beginning of 2011. Because the sablefish stock 
is in the precautionary zone with a stock biomass below the 
B40% target MSY biomass, the 40-10 harvest control rule was 
applied to the ABC to determine the proposed ACL. The coastwide ACL was 
then apportioned north and south of 36[deg] N. lat., using the average 
2003-2010 proportions derived from the swept-area biomass estimates of 
sablefish from the NWFSC shelf-slope trawl survey (73.6 percent north; 
26.4 percent south). The apportionments used to determine 2013 and 2014 
sablefish ACLs included updated information from the 2011 stock 
assessment. The proportions differ slightly from those used to 
apportion in 2012 ACLs.
    To account for the uncertainty inherent in the abundance estimates 
of sablefish south of 36[deg] N. lat. (due to the short time-series of 
survey data from the southern area and advisory body advice), the 
Council recommended southern area ACL apportionments that were reduced 
by 50 percent for 2011 and 2012. For 2013 and 2014, the SSC advised the 
Council that a fuller time series of trawl survey and catch data 
informing stock biomass in the Conception area reduced the scientific 
uncertainty in estimating biomass in that area in the 2011 assessment 
making the added 50 percent reduction unnecessary. The 2013 and 2014 
proposed sablefish ACLs are 4,012 mt in 2013 and 4,349 mt in 2014 for 
the stock north of 36[deg] N. lat. and 1,439 mt in 2013 and 1,560 mt in 
2014 for the stock south of 36[deg] N. lat. The ACLs are set below the 
ABCs based on the 40-10 harvest control rule. The 2013 and 2014 ACLs 
are a 25 percent reduction from the 2011-2012 ACLs for sablefish north 
of 36[deg] N. lat. Sablefish is an economically important species in 
all commercial fisheries. The effects of the sablefish ACL on projected 
ex-vessel revenues in 2013 and 2014 are further discussed in the 
Classification section below.
Widow Rockfish
    A new full assessment of widow rockfish was conducted in 2011. The 
new stock assessment indicated the spawning stock biomass was at 51 
percent of its unfished biomass at the start of 2011 and above the 
rebuilding threshold. Beginning in 2013 and 2014, widow rockfish will 
be managed as a healthy stock. Although the base model is considered to 
be the best available science, there was considerable uncertainty 
regarding the new stock assessment's findings. The Council took this 
into consideration when making the ACL recommendations. For 2013-2014, 
the Council recommended ACLs of 1,500 mt to accommodate increased 
opportunity in the trawl fishery while keeping the spawning stock 
biomass above the target B40% level for the next 10 years 
according to the base model. The ACL of 1,500 mt adds more precaution 
given the uncertainty associated with the results of the stock 
assessment and is set below the ABC of 4,598 mt in 2013 and 4,212 mt in 
2014.

ACLs for Stock Complexes

    For the eight stock complexes managed under the PCGFMP, the Council 
recommended maintaining the 2013 and 2014 ACLs as close as possible to 
the 2012 ACLs. Maintaining ACLs as similar as possible to 2012 will 
help provide stability to fisheries in 2013 and 2014 while the trawl 
fishery continues to adjust to IFQ management and while NMFS and the 
Council consider changes to how stock complexes are structured. All of 
the ACLs for stock complexes are less than or equal to the summed ABC 
contribution of each component stock in each complex as described in 
the following paragraphs.
Minor Nearshore Rockfish North and South of 40[deg]10' N. Lat.
    For minor nearshore rockfish north of 40[deg]10' N. lat., the 
preferred 2013 and 2014 complex ACL is set equal to the ABC, at 94 mt 
each year. The 2013 and 2014 complex ABC is the summed contribution of 
the component stocks' ABCs. For minor nearshore rockfish south of 
40[deg]10' N. lat., the preferred 2013 and 2014 complex ACL of 990 mt 
is the same as the 2012 ACL and is less than the 2013 ABC for the 
complex.
Minor Shelf Rockfish North and South of 40[deg]10' N. lat.
    For minor shelf rockfish north of 40[deg]10' N. lat., the preferred 
2013 and 2014 complex ACL of 968 mt is the same as the 2012 ACL and is 
less than the 2013 ABC of 1,920 and the 2014 ABC of 1,932 mt, for the 
complex. For minor shelf rockfish south of 40[deg]10' N. lat., the 
preferred 2013 and 2014 complex ACL of 714 mt is the same as the 2012 
ACL and is less than the 2013 and 2014 ABCs for the complex.
    Greenspotted rockfish is managed within the minor shelf rockfish 
complexes. The 2011 assessment indicated the stock is in the 
precautionary zone with spawning biomass depletions of 30.6 percent and 
37.4 percent for the stocks north and south of Point Conception, 
respectively. However, the stocks have shown substantial biomass 
increases since implementation of the rock fish conservation areas 
(RCAs) in 2003. Shelf rockfish are particularly well-protected by the 
RCAs, and greenspotted rockfish catches have been negligible since 
2003.
Minor Slope Rockfish North and South of 40[deg]10' N. Lat.
    For minor slope rockfish north of 40[deg]10' N. lat., the preferred 
2013 and 2014 complex ACL of 1,160 mt is the same as the 2012 ACL and 
is less than the 2013 ABC of 1,381 mt and the 2014 ABC of 1,414 mt, for 
the complex. For minor slope rockfish south of 40[deg]10' N. lat., the 
preferred 2013 and 2014 complex ACL is set equal to the ABC, at 618 mt 
in 2013 and 622 mt in 2014.
    Blackgill rockfish is managed within the minor slope rockfish 
complexes. The 2011 assessment for the stock south of 40[deg]10' N. 
lat. indicated the stock was in the precautionary zone with spawning 
biomass depletion estimated to be 30 percent of its unfished biomass at 
the start of 2011. The Council recommended and NMFS is proposing to 
establish 2013 and 2014 HGs equal to the 40-10 adjusted ACLs calculated 
for the southern blackgill rockfish stock of 106 mt and 110 mt in 2013 
and 2014, respectively.

[[Page 67981]]

Other Flatfish
    The preferred 2013 and 2014 ACL for the other flatfish complex of 
4,884 mt is equal to 2012 ACL. The 2013-2014 ACLs are set below the ABC 
of 6,982 mt.
Other Fish
    The preferred 2013 and 2014 ACLs for the other fish complex of 
4,717 mt and 4,697 mt, respectively, are equal to the preferred 2013 
and 2014 ABCs, which are lower than the No Action 2012 ACL of 5,575 mt.
    Spiny dogfish is managed within the other fish complex. The 2011 
assessment indicated that spiny dogfish stock was healthy with an 
estimated spawning biomass at 63 percent of its unfished biomass. 
Although the Council initially considered managing spiny dogfish with a 
species specific harvest specifications, the final recommendation was 
to continue managing it within the other fish complex ACL for 2013 and 
2014. Reconsideration of species specific specifications would be made 
in the 2015-2016 specifications cycle when a thorough analysis on 
complex management is expected to be completed as described below.

Stock Complex Composition

    The Council and NMFS have recognized the need to revisit the 
composition of the stock complexes to ensure that stocks grouped 
together are sufficiently similar in geographic distribution, life 
history, productivity, and susceptibility to the fishery. However, 
recognizing that additional scientific work and management 
consideration is necessary to comprehensively address the issue, the 
Council recommended maintaining the current stock complexes for 2013 
and 2014. NMFS is prioritizing completion of an analysis to inform 
changes to stock complexes in time for the 2015-2016 biennium due to 
information indicating that the harvest of some stocks may be out of 
proportion to their contribution to the complex specifications. The 
DEIS indicates that routine modifications to existing management 
measures could be effective at controlling catch of stock complexes if 
it becomes necessary.

Rebuilding Plan ACLs for Overfished Species

    When a stock has been declared overfished a rebuilding plan must be 
developed and the stock must be managed in accordance with the 
rebuilding plan. ACLs for these stocks are therefore set according to 
the rebuilding plans. The following seven overfished groundfish stocks 
would be managed under rebuilding plans in 2013 and 2014: Bocaccio 
south of 40[deg]10' N. lat.; canary rockfish; cowcod south of 
40[deg]10' N. lat.; darkblotched rockfish, Pacific Ocean Perch (POP), 
petrale sole, and yelloweye rockfish. Section 304(e)(4) of the MSA 
provides that any fishery management plan, plan amendment, or proposed 
regulations for rebuilding an overfished fishery shall: ``(A) specify a 
time period for rebuilding the fishery that shall--(i) be as short as 
possible, taking into account the status and biology of any overfished 
stocks of fish, the needs of fishing communities, recommendations by 
international organizations in which the United States participates, 
and the interaction of the overfished stock of fish within the marine 
ecosystem; and (ii) not exceed ten years, except in cases where the 
biology of the stock of fish, other environmental conditions, or 
management measures under an international agreement in which the 
United States participates dictates otherwise'' (16 U.S.C. 1854(e)(4)).
    The Council and NMFS rely on rebuilding analyses to develop 
rebuilding plans, particularly to determine the amount of time needed 
to rebuild stocks given varying levels of fishing mortality. An 
overfished groundfish stock is considered rebuilt once its biomass 
reaches BMSY. Rebuilding analyses are used to project the 
status of the overfished resource into the future under a variety of 
alternative harvest strategies to determine the probability of 
recovering to BMSY (or its proxy) within a specified time 
frame. Life history characteristics (e.g., age of reproductive 
maturity, relative productivity at different ages and sizes, etc.) and 
the effects of environmental conditions on abundance (e.g., relative 
productivity under inter-annual and inter-decadal climate variability, 
availability of suitable food and habitat for different life stages, 
etc.) are taken into account in the stock assessment and the rebuilding 
analysis. A rebuilding analysis for an overfished species uses the 
information in the stock assessment for that species to determine 
TMIN, the minimum time to rebuild to BMSY with a 
50 percent probability starting at the time the rebuilding plan was 
implemented, in the absence of fishing-caused mortality. Also included 
in the rebuilding analysis and rebuilding plan is TF=0 which 
is the minimum time to rebuild to BMSY with a 50 percent 
probability in the absence of fishing-caused mortality starting from 
the beginning of the next biennial cycle, in this case 2013. The value 
of TF=0 is therefore, in effect, TMIN based on 
our current understanding of the stock. For purposes of this section 
and its description of the canary rockfish and POP rebuilding plans, 
TF=0 can thus be considered as TMIN. The 
rebuilding analyses are used to predict TMIN for each 
overfished species and, in doing so, answer the question of what time 
period for rebuilding is ``as short as possible'' for each of the 
overfished species. The amount of time between TMIN and the 
target rebuilding year (TTARGET), is used to measure the 
time period that the MSA requires to be as ``short as possible,'' when 
taking into account the required factors, including the needs of 
fishing communities. The TTARGET parameter is discussed in 
more detail below.
    TTARGET is the year in which the Council expects the 
stock to rebuild with at least a 50 percent probability under the 
chosen rebuilding strategy and is set between TMIN and 
TMAX. TMAX is TMIN plus the length of 
time associated with one mean generation time for that stock. A 
particular TTARGET is determined by the productivity of the 
stock, its current status, and the allowable harvest associated with a 
particular rebuilding strategy established based on consideration of 
the required factors. To rebuild a stock by the TMIN date 
would require elimination of human-induced mortality on a stock (the 
complete absence of fishing mortality is referred to as F=0). Even if 
incidental fishing mortality of overfished species, that occurs as the 
result of fishing for target groundfish species is ended, this does not 
necessarily result in the complete absence of human-induced fishing 
mortality. To rebuild by the TMIN date would require 
elimination of extractive scientific research, such as surveys, in 
addition to any target or incidental commercial, recreational, or 
ceremonial and subsistence fishing that results in overfished species 
mortality. Eliminating extractive scientific research would eliminate a 
significant portion of the data used to inform stock assessments and 
better understand the biological condition of groundfish stocks. Thus, 
the Council's rebuilding strategies allow for these sources of 
scientific research-related mortality. Also, as discussed above, the 
MSA requires that rebuilding plans take into account the needs of 
fishing communities. The rebuilding strategy for each overfished stock, 
and the resulting TTARGET, is determined in consideration of 
the statutory factors.
    When an SPR harvest rate is used as the rebuilding strategy, the 
Council's preference is to maintain a constant SPR harvest rate during 
the rebuilding period for a stock, if appropriate. The

[[Page 67982]]

SPR is the expected lifetime contribution to the spawning stock biomass 
for a recruit (a fish of specific spawning age or greater). Harvest 
rates are presented in terms of the SPR. This is a percent value 
indicating an effective harvest rate that would return the population 
to a given level of spawning potential (reproductive output) in 
relation to the spawning potential of the unfished population. The SPR 
harvest rate specifies the proportion of the spawning stock that can be 
removed each year while allowing the stock to rebuild by 
TTARGET and inherently takes into account the productivity 
of the stock. The harvest rate, or harvest control rule, determines the 
ACLs for overfished species. The exploitation pattern, rate of growth, 
and natural mortality can be given consideration when calculating an 
SPR harvest rate. Applying a constant SPR harvest rate is more 
precautionary in an uncertain environment as it reduces the effect of 
changes in variability in the scale of biomass (a change in the entire 
trajectory of biomass from the first biomass estimate forward to the 
current biomass estimate). When a new stock assessment results in a 
change in the understanding of stock scale or absolute stock abundance, 
a constant harvest rate strategy is expected to keep the stock on track 
towards rebuilding. In addition, the ``rebuilding paradox'' (the 
fishing interaction for a stock increases as the stock biomass 
increases) is addressed within a constant SPR approach. This is because 
the ACL would change in relation to changes in biomass. In contrast, 
constant catch rebuilding strategies do not adjust in relation to 
changes in biomass, which can be problematic when there is a downward 
change in abundance. In this case, the catch may become too large 
relative to the size of the biomass population and adjustments would 
become necessary to meet the same TTARGET. Although the 
biennial management cycle requires focus on ACLs for a two year period, 
an SPR harvest strategy is based on a rebuilding trajectory over time. 
For stocks with slow trajectories, the differences between two 
alternatives considered during a single biennial management cycle need 
to be compared in relation to how they rebuild the stock over time.
    As explained in the preamble to the proposed specifications and 
management measures for the 2011-2012 biennium (75 FR 67810, November 
3, 2010), new information or changes in perception of stock status and 
biology can result in variability in stock assessments and rebuilding 
analyses. In some cases, this variability requires revisions to 
existing rebuilding plans in order to account for new estimates of 
TMIN. Given the changes in perception of stock status and 
biology, the Council tracks rebuilding progress in three dimensions: 
Stock productivity; absolute stock abundance or stock scale; and 
relative stock abundance or stock status. Stock productivity is 
referred to as recruitment and means the ability of a stock to generate 
new individuals of harvestable size. Stock scale is the total number of 
individuals in a population. This value is rarely known, but is usually 
estimated from relative abundance or through other methods. Absolute 
stock abundance is an estimate of the current biomass usually measured 
by indices that track trends in population biomass over time. Stock 
status is the current biomass relative to the unfished biomass. Each of 
these dimensions is subject to considerable scientific uncertainty and 
can change the overall rebuilding outlook from cycle to cycle. To 
determine whether a stock is better or worse off compared to a previous 
assessment, all three dimensions must be examined. Changes in the 
understanding of stock productivity can affect rebuilding plans by 
altering our perception of how quickly a stock can increase. Changes in 
our understanding of life history traits (e.g. mortality, maturity, 
fecundity, or growth) can change the evaluation of stock productivity. 
In the case of many groundfish, recruitment is highly variable and 
sporadic or poorly understood. Age or length data, along with survey 
biomass estimates and removal histories, all inform recruitment 
patterns, but to varying degrees of resolution. The most recent few 
years of recruitment are often the most uncertain.
    Absolute stock abundance, or stock scale, has also demonstrated 
considerable variability across assessments. This variability is often 
a result of uncertainty in catch histories, which scales the biomass 
via estimates of fishing mortality, but is also sensitive to life 
history parameters such as growth and mortality. Any changes in these 
estimates can have large effects in perceived biomass. These changes in 
scale are commonly seen in estimates of unfished biomass, as the scale 
of the entire population trajectory can shift up or down. Changes in 
population scale will affect the level of catch needed to achieve the 
rebuilding goals if harvest levels are not based on harvest rates. 
Stock status or depletion is expressed as an estimate of current 
biomass relative to the estimate of unfished biomass. Importantly, 
changes in the estimate of unfished biomass can change with new data, 
even though the current population biomass stays the same. Likewise, as 
more data becomes available on productivity in current years it may 
alter our understanding of current year biomass relative to an unfished 
biomass. Because stock status is the basis for determining when a stock 
is rebuilt, subsequent estimates of when a stock is projected to 
rebuild at a specific SPR may change as estimates of stock status 
change.
    For two stocks, POP and canary rockfish, new scientific information 
revealed that it is unlikely that the stocks can be rebuilt by their 
current TTARGET even if all catch of these stocks was 
prohibited. To avoid disastrous short-term consequences for fishing 
communities, harvest levels above the TMIN level were 
considered. Section 4.5.3.2 of the PCGFMP provides the following 
general guidance on the needs of the fishing communities: ``Fishing 
communities need a sustainable fishery that: is safe, well-managed, and 
profitable; provides jobs and incomes; contributes to the local social 
fabric, culture, and image of the community; and helps market the 
community and its services and products.'' Because so many of the 
groundfish stocks are intermixed in different proportions, making 
adjustments to protect one stock may increase the mortality of other 
stocks. This intermixing makes rockfish rebuilding plans particularly 
challenging. Reducing catch of overfished rockfish indirectly affects 
fishing opportunity by constraining the harvest of target stocks in 
multiple commercial and recreational fishery sectors. The Council has 
approached this challenging situation using a comprehensive approach to 
analyzing rebuilding alternatives and impacts to fishing communities by 
taking into account the biology of the stocks and the needs of fishing 
communities in a holistic fashion that simultaneously considers all 
rebuilding species and groundfish fishing sectors.
    The EIS prepared for this action analyzed a range of POP and canary 
rockfish ACLs arrayed in different configurations along with the ACLs 
for other stocks and the management measures needed to prevent ACLs 
from being exceeded. These ``integrated alternatives'' are designed to 
help demonstrate how changes in POP and canary rockfish ACLs affect 
access to target stocks or influence projected mortalities of 
overfished species, among other factors. Because of the multispecies 
nature of the groundfish fishery (the ACL of one species can

[[Page 67983]]

influence the ACL and/or access to another species), the choice of 
canary rockfish and POP harvest rates, and the resulting ACLs and 
TTARGETS, were carefully considered by the Council. In their 
final recommendation, the Council weighed many factors including 
rebuilding progress, biology of the stock, economic impacts, 
allocations, and the need for new or more restrictive management 
measures. Ultimately, the Council recommended maintaining the harvest 
rate in the existing rebuilding plans for POP and canary rockfish and 
establishing revised TTARGETS, and maintaining the existing 
rebuilding plans, including the TTARGETS, for the other five 
overfished species. The proposed SPR or harvest control rule for each 
stock managed under a rebuilding plan, the resulting ACLs, and 
summarized information about rebuilding progress are presented below. 
Detailed information is also available in the relevant stock 
assessments, stock assessment updates, rebuilding analyses, and the EIS 
for this action, which are all available from NMFS and the Pacific 
Fishery Management Council (See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION).
Bocaccio
    The 2011 rebuilding analysis indicated that bocaccio is showing 
steady progress towards rebuilt status under the current rebuilding 
plan described in 50 CFR 660.40(a). Applying the current rebuilding 
harvest control rule to new information from the 2011 stock assessment 
update, the rebuilding analysis projects bocaccio to rebuild to 
BMSY one year earlier than the TTARGET of 2022 
specified in the current rebuilding plan.
    When an SPR harvest rate of 77.7 percent from the current 
rebuilding plan is applied to the biomass estimate from the 2011 
assessment update, it results in the proposed ACLs of 320 mt in 2013 
and 337 mt in 2014. Because rebuilding progress is considered adequate, 
and the 2011 assessment update supports our fundamental understanding 
of the stock, the Council's recommendation was to maintain the 
rebuilding plan currently in the FMP and 50 CFR 660.40(a) (i.e., no 
modifications to TTARGET or SPR harvest rate).
Canary Rockfish
    The 2011 rebuilding analysis indicated that the point estimate for 
the canary rockfish biomass is slightly below the rebuilding trajectory 
from the previous (2009) rebuilding analysis. The estimated unfished 
spawning biomass increased by 7 percent resulting in a change in the 
depletion estimate (the metric used to gauge stock status expressed as 
the ratio of current to unfished spawning biomass) from 23.7 to 23.3 
percent. Given changes in the relative status and productivity of the 
canary rockfish stock, the median time to rebuild the canary rockfish 
stock in the absence of fishing, TF=0, would be 2028, which 
is one year longer than the TTARGET of 2027 specified in the 
current rebuilding plan at 50 CFR 660.40(b). Because the canary 
rockfish stock cannot rebuild by the current TTARGET of 2027 
even in the absence of fishing, the rebuilding plan must be modified.
    The No Action or 2012 ACL for canary rockfish is 107 mt. Given the 
results of the 2011 stock assessment update and rebuilding analysis, 
the No Action ACL corresponds with an SPR of 89.5 percent and a median 
time to rebuild of 2030. In addition to the No Action ACL, the Council 
considered five ACLs that extend the median time to rebuild by one, 
two, three and four years from TF=0. The additional ACLs 
included: 48 mt in 2013 and 49 mt in 2014, which corresponds to a 
median time to rebuild of 2028 and an SPR of 95.1 percent; 101 mt in 
2013 and 104 mt in 2014, which corresponds to a median time to rebuild 
of 2029 and an SPR of 90 percent; 116 mt in 2013 and 119 mt in 2014, 
which corresponds to a median time to rebuild of 2030 and an SPR of 
88.7 percent; 147 mt in 2013 and 151 mt in 2014, which corresponds to a 
median time to rebuild of 2030 and an SPR of 85.9 percent; and, 216 mt 
in 2013 and 220 mt in 2014, which corresponds to a median time to 
rebuild of 2030 and an SPR of 80.3 percent.
    The ACLs of 116 mt in 2013 and 119 mt in 2014 were included in 
integrated alternatives one and three and would maintain the Council's 
existing policies and the SPR specified in the existing rebuilding plan 
(88.7 percent). Although estimates of unfished biomass increased for 
canary rockfish, the increase was relatively small compared to the 
increase in estimated unfished biomass for POP (discussed below). In 
addition, the estimated ending year spawning biomass increased. Due to 
the estimated increase in population size and different assumption used 
in the most recent rebuilding analysis about the relative catch by 
different gear types, the 2013-2014 ACLs resulting from the SPR 88.7 
percent harvest rate are slightly higher than the No Action ACLs. The 
ACLs of 101 mt in 2013 and 104 mt in 2014 were included in integrated 
alternatives two and six and are most similar to the 2012 ACL (No 
Action ACL). The ACLs of 48 mt in 2013 and 49 mt in 2014, included in 
integrated alternative four, are the most restrictive, and are similar 
to the OYs that were in place between 2003 and 2008. The alternative 
five ACLs of 216 mt in 2013 and 220 mt in 2014, and the alternative 
seven and alternative eight ACLs, which are the same, of 147 mt and 151 
mt, are increases that are expected to provide increased fishing 
opportunity particularly for widow rockfish.
    Despite very restrictive management measures being in place from 
2003 to 2008 (prior to implementation of the trawl rationalization 
program, for more information on this program see 75 FR 78344, December 
15, 2010 and 75 FR 60868, October 1, 2010), total mortality of canary 
rockfish exceeded the OYs in every year during this time period except 
in 2008. Effectively controlling catch of canary rockfish has proven 
difficult, particularly at low harvest levels that were in place 
between 2003 and 2008. The low canary rockfish ACL alternative, 
alternative four, would require a combination of shortened recreational 
fishing seasons or lower commercial fishery trip limits, and depth 
restrictions. Providing a higher ACL as under alternatives five, seven, 
or eight could allow some fishing effort to shift off of the slope 
areas resulting in reduced catch of POP.
    The Council's recommended ACLs are 116 mt in 2013 and 119 mt in 
2014, which maintains the current SPR harvest rate of 88.7. The target 
rebuilding year for canary rockfish is changed by three years (from 
2027 to 2030). However, the target rebuilding year is only two years 
longer than TF=0; the same length of time as in the previous 
rebuilding plan. Under the 2011 rebuilding analysis, the probability of 
rebuilding to TTARGET in 2030 using an SPR harvest rate of 
88.7 percent is 54.6 percent (see http://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/D5b_SUP_GMT_JUN2012BB.pdf). The preferred ACLs are intended 
to provide a level of harvest that rebuilds quickly, yet takes into 
account the needs of fishing communities. Also, the proposed management 
measures and catch allocations are projected to result in canary 
rockfish total catch mortality less than the annual ACLs. Managing the 
fishery to a level that is less than the annual ACLs is intended help 
ensure total mortality stays below the ACL, to allow the stock to 
rebuild faster, and to reduce the likelihood that inseason management 
changes will be needed to ensure that ACLs are not exceeded.
Cowcod
    The proposed 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications are consistent 
with the current rebuilding plan. No new assessment was done for cowcod 
because there was not enough new

[[Page 67984]]

information on which to base an assessment. However, rebuilding 
progress is considered adequate, the Council's recommendation was to 
maintain the rebuilding plan currently in the FMP, and at 50 CFR 660.40 
(i.e., no modifications to TTARGET of 2068 or SPR harvest 
rate). The three mt ACLs proposed for 2013 and 2014 are based on an SPR 
harvest rate of 82.7 percent and result in a median time to rebuild of 
2068, which is eight years longer than TF=0. As in previous 
biennial harvest specifications, the Conception area ACL was doubled as 
an appropriate harvest contribution for the unassessed Monterey area.
Darkblotched Rockfish
    The 2011 rebuilding analysis indicates that darkblotched rockfish 
is showing steady progress towards rebuilding under the current 
rebuilding plan (50 CFR 660.40(d)). The revised estimates from the new 
rebuilding analysis indicate that darkblotched rockfish will rebuild to 
BMSY eight years earlier than the TTARGET of 2025 
specified in the current rebuilding plan if the existing harvest 
control rule (SPR = 64.9 percent) remains in place. The proposed ACLs 
of 317 mt in 2013 and 330 mt in 2014 result from application of the SPR 
harvest rate of 64.9 percent to information from the 2011 stock 
assessment and has a median time to rebuild of 2017, which is one year 
longer than TF=0. Because the rebuilding progress indicated 
in the 2011 assessment and rebuilding analysis was considered adequate, 
and supports our fundamental understanding of the stock, the Council 
recommendation was to maintain the rebuilding plan currently in the FMP 
and regulation (i.e., no modifications to TTARGET or SPR 
harvest rate).
Petrale Sole
    The 2011 stock assessment and rebuilding analysis projected the 
petrale sole biomass to be at 18 percent of its unfished biomass and 
showing strong progress towards rebuilt status. The new rebuilding 
analysis estimates that petrale sole will rebuild to BMSY 
three years earlier than the TTARGET of 2016 specified in 
the current rebuilding plan if the 25-5 harvest control rule included 
in the rebuilding plan continues to be used as the rebuilding strategy. 
The ACLs derived by applying the 25-5 harvest control rule and being 
proposed are 2,592 mt and 2,652 mt in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The 
minimum time to rebuild petrale sole is 2014 (TMIN). The 
ACLs derived from the 25-5 harvest control rule are projected to 
rebuild the stock by 2013, the same year as TF=0. Because 
the rebuilding progress was considered adequate, and the 2011 
assessment supports our fundamental understanding of the stock, the 
Council recommendation was to maintain the rebuilding plan currently in 
the FMP and at 50 CFR 660.40(f) (i.e., no modifications to 
TTARGET or harvest control rule).
POP
    The 2011 rebuilding analysis showed the POP biomass to be below the 
rebuilding trajectory from the previous (2009) rebuilding analysis. The 
change is primarily due to a revised estimate of initial unfished 
biomass (B0) and depletion, rather than a change to the 
current biomass level. The new estimate of unfished stock size is 
higher than previously thought. This represented a fundamental revision 
to our understanding of the status of this species, which in turn 
warranted revisions to the rebuilding plan. Even if harvest of POP were 
prohibited (F=0) the median time to rebuild would be 2043, which is 23 
years past the current TTARGET of 2020.
    The No Action or 2012 ACL for POP is 183 mt. In 2012, an annual 
catch target (ACT) of 157 mt was also specified. In addition to the No 
Action ACL and ACT, the Council considered four ACLs for the 2013-14 
cycle that would extend the median time to rebuild beyond 
TF=0 by three, eight, 14, and 17 years. The alternative ACLs 
considered by the Council included: 74 mt in 2013 and 76 mt in 2014, 
which corresponds to a median time to rebuild of 2046 and an SPR of 
92.9 percent; 150 mt in 2013 and 153 mt in 2014, which corresponds to a 
median time to rebuild of 2051and an SPR of 86.4 percent; 222 mt in 
2013 and 226 mt in 2014, which corresponds to a median time to rebuild 
of 2057 and an SPR or 80.9 percent; and, 247 mt in 2013 and 251 mt in 
2014, which corresponds to a median time to rebuild of 2060 and an SPR 
or 79.2 percent.
    The Council considered this broad range of POP ACL alternatives in 
order to examine the effects of varying levels of POP mortality on the 
``needs of fishing communities'' and the POP rebuilding trajectory. The 
ACLs of 150 mt in 2013 and 153 mt in 2014 were included in integrated 
alternatives one, two, and eight and would maintain the SPR harvest 
rate policy in the existing rebuilding plan (86.4 percent). The ACLs of 
74 mt in 2013 and 76 mt in 2014 were included in integrated 
alternatives three and five and are similar to the lowest single year 
(2005) catch seen since 2004. The alternative four ACLs of 247 mt and 
251 mt are the most liberal followed by alternative six and seven with 
ACLs of 222 mt in 2013 and 226 mt in 2014. The larger ACL alternatives 
would allow targeting opportunity for widow rockfish and increases in 
the harvest of Pacific whiting. POP is a slope rockfish species that is 
primarily taken in the trawl fishery. Generally, lower ACLs for POP 
would reduce the flexibility of trawl vessels to fish deeper when 
targeting Pacific whiting and non-whiting stocks on slope fishing 
grounds north of 40[deg]10' N. lat. In recent years, POP catch has 
increased later in the season when the Pacific whiting fishery operated 
deeper and more northerly than earlier in the season. However, the bulk 
of POP catch is taken in the bottom trawl sector and has increased in 
recent years as more effort has shifted to areas seaward of the trawl 
RCA. For the commercial and tribal fisheries, the primary common factor 
limiting commercial groundfish fisheries under integrated alternatives 
one, two, three, five, seven, and eight were the POP ACLs under each 
alternative. In other words, management measures necessary to keep the 
commercial fisheries within the POP ACLs limited access to other stocks 
under alternatives one, two, three, five, seven, and eight. This was 
not the case for alternative four because of the higher POP ACL and the 
very low canary rockfish ACL. Under alternative four, canary rockfish 
becomes the limiting factor and even more effort is shifted offshore.
    The Council has recommended maintaining the rebuilding strategy in 
the current rebuilding plan, with an SPR harvest rate of 86.4 percent, 
resulting in ACLs of 150 mt in 2013 and 153 mt in 2014. This is a 
reduction from the 2012 POP ACL of 183 mt. The revised 
TTARGET is 2051, which is eight years longer than 
TF=0. The proposed management measures and catch allocations 
for 2013 and 2014 are projected to result in POP total catch mortality 
less than the annual ACLs. Managing the fishery to a level that is less 
than the annual ACLs is intended to help ensure total mortality stays 
below the ACL, to allow the stock to rebuild faster, and to reduce the 
likelihood that inseason management changes will be needed to keep 
mortality within the ACL. The ACL for POP has the greatest effect on 
the northern trawl fishery (both the at-sea whiting sectors and the 
shorebased IFQ sector).
Yelloweye Rockfish
    The 2011 rebuilding analysis indicates that yelloweye rockfish is 
showing steady progress towards rebuilt

[[Page 67985]]

status under the current rebuilding plan. The new rebuilding analysis 
estimates that yelloweye rockfish will rebuild to BMSY seven 
years earlier than the TTARGET of 2074 specified in the 
current rebuilding plan if the existing harvest control rule (SPR = 
76.0 percent) remains in place. The proposed ACL of 18 mt in 2013 and 
2014 results from applying an SPR harvest rate of 76.0 percent to 
current biomass and has a predicted median time to rebuild of 2067 
(yelloweye rockfish now has 62.1 percent probability of rebuilding by 
the TTARGET specified in the current rebuilding plan. 
Because rebuilding progress was considered adequate, and the assessment 
supports our fundamental understanding of the stock, the Council 
recommended maintaining the rebuilding plan currently in the FMP and at 
specified at Sec.  660.40 (i.e., no modifications to TTARGET 
or SPR harvest rate).

Management Measures

    New management measures being proposed for the 2013-2014 biennial 
cycle would work in combination with management measures in existing 
regulations to create a management structure intended to control 
fishing. This management structure should ensure that the catch of 
overfished groundfish species does not exceed the rebuilding ACLs while 
allowing harvest of healthier groundfish stocks to occur to the extent 
possible. Routine management measures are used to modify fishing 
behavior during the fishing year. Routine management measures for the 
commercial fisheries include trip and cumulative landing limits, time/
area closures, size limits, and gear restrictions. Routine management 
measures for the recreational fisheries include bag limits, size 
limits, gear restrictions, fish dressing requirements, and time/area 
closures. The groundfish fishery is managed with a variety of other 
regulatory requirements that are not routinely adjusted, many of which 
are not changed through this rulemaking, and are found at 50 CFR 660, 
subparts C through G. The regulations at 50 CFR 660, subparts C through 
G, include, but are not limited to, long-term harvest allocations, 
recordkeeping and reporting requirements, monitoring requirements, 
license limitation programs, and essential fish habitat (EFH) 
protection measures. The routine management measures specified at 50 
CFR 660.60 (c), in combination with the entire collection of groundfish 
regulations, are used to manage the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery 
during the biennium to achieve harvest guidelines, quotas, or 
allocations, that result from the harvest specifications identified in 
this proposed rule, while protecting overfished and depleted stocks.
    This section describes biennial fishery allocations and new 
management measures proposed for 2013-2014 including: changes to 
latitude and longitude coordinates that define the boundaries of the 
Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCA)s; the ability to routinely modify 
deductions from the ACL to provide fishing opportunities but not exceed 
ACLs; requirements to completely offload before starting a new trip; 
updating sorting requirements; and management measures to control the 
harvest, if needed, of longnose skate and spiny dogfish.

Biennial Fishery Allocations

    Two-year trawl and nontrawl allocations are decided during the 
biennial process for those species without long-term allocations or 
species where the long-term allocation is suspended because the species 
was declared overfished. For all species, except sablefish north of 
36[deg] N. lat., allocations for the trawl and nontrawl sectors are 
calculated from the fishery harvest guideline. The term ``fishery 
harvest guideline'' is defined at Sec.  660.11, and is the tonnage that 
remains after subtracting from the ACL, or ACT when specified, harvest 
in Tribal fisheries, scientific research activities, non-groundfish 
fisheries and activities conducted under exempted fishing permits. The 
two-year allocations and recreational harvest guidelines are designed 
to accommodate anticipated mortality in each sector as well as to 
accommodate variability and uncertainty in those estimates of 
mortality. Allocations described below are specified in the harvest 
specification tables appended to part 660, subpart C.
Longnose Skate
    The Council recommended a two-year trawl and nontrawl HG for 
longnose skate of 90 percent to the trawl fishery and 10 percent to the 
nontrawl fishery. The allocation percentages reflect historical catch 
of longnose skate between the two sectors.
Bocaccio
    The following are the Council's recommended allocations for 
bocaccio in 2013: Limited entry trawl, 76.9 mt; limited entry and open 
access non-nearshore fixed gears, 74.2 mt; limited entry and open 
access nearshore fixed gear, 0.9 mt; and California recreational 167.9 
mt. The following are the Council's recommended allocations for 
bocaccio in 2014: Limited entry trawl, 79.8 mt; limited entry and open 
access non-nearshore fixed gears, 77 mt; limited entry and open access 
nearshore fixed gear, 0.9 mt; California recreational 174.2 mt. These 
allocations are anticipated to accommodate estimates of mortality of 
bocaccio by sector in 2013-2014.
Canary Rockfish
    The following are the Council's recommended allocations for canary 
rockfish in 2013: Shorebased IFQ Program, 40.3 mt; at-sea sectors of 
the Pacific whiting fishery, 12.8 mt (catcher/processor 7.5 mt and 
mothership 5.3 mt); limited entry and open access non-nearshore fixed 
gears, 3.6 mt; limited entry and open access nearshore fixed gear, 6.2 
mt; Washington recreational, 3.1 mt; Oregon recreational 10.9 mt; and 
California recreational 22.6 mt. The following are the Council's 
recommended allocations for canary rockfish in 2014: Shorebased IFQ 
Program, 41.5 mt; at-sea sectors of the Pacific whiting fishery, 13.2 
mt (catcher/processor 7.7 mt and mothership 5.5 mt); limited entry and 
open access non-nearshore fixed gears, 3.7 mt; limited entry and open 
access nearshore fixed gear, 6.4 mt; Washington recreational, 3.2 mt; 
Oregon recreational 11.2 mt; and California recreational 23.3 mt. These 
allocations are anticipated to accommodate estimates of mortality of 
canary rockfish by sector in 2013-2014.
Cowcod
    The trawl/non-trawl allocations of cowcod for the first years of 
the IFQ fishery were 66 percent to the trawl fishery and 34 percent to 
the non-trawl fisheries. The trawl fishery had a higher allocation to 
account for the uncertainty in how much cowcod IFQ fishery participants 
would encounter. Catch of cowcod in the IFQ fishery during 2011 was 
only 39 pounds while best available estimates for cowcod catch in non-
trawl fisheries was almost 1 mt. If the non-trawl allocation is not 
increased, and catches of cowcod continue at levels similar to those 
estimated for 2011, trip limit reductions and/or RCA modifications may 
be required in southern California to address the higher-than-expected 
catch levels in non-trawl fisheries. Rather than imposing such 
restrictions, the Council recommended a change in the allocation, 
making less cowcod available to trawl fisheries and more available to 
non-trawl fisheries. The cowcod allocation is proposed to be 34 percent 
trawl and 66 percent non-trawl for 2013-2014. NMFS anticipates the 
proposed allocation structure will keep

[[Page 67986]]

catch below the 2013-2014 cowcod ACLs without having to make changes to 
fishery management measures.
Minor Shelf Rockfish
    For minor shelf rockfish north of 40[deg]10' N. lat., 560 mt (60.2 
percent of the fishery harvest guideline) is allocated to the trawl 
fishery and 370 mt (39.8 percent of the fishery harvest guideline) is 
allocated to the nontrawl fishery for 2013 and 2014. For minor shelf 
rockfish south of 40[deg]10' N. lat., 82 mt (12.2 percent of the 
fishery harvest guideline) is allocated to the trawl fishery and 587 mt 
(87.8 percent of the fishery harvest guideline) is allocated to the 
nontrawl fishery for 2013-2014. For both minor slope rockfish north and 
minor slope rockfish south, this maintains the same allocation 
percentages as were in place for these complexes in 2012.
Petrale Sole
    For petrale sole, 35 mt is allocated to the nontrawl fishery and 
the remainder of the fishery HG is allocated to the trawl fishery. This 
maintains the same allocation scheme that was in place for petrale sole 
in 2012.
Yelloweye Rockfish
    The following are the Council's recommended allocations for 
yelloweye rockfish in 2013 and 2014: limited entry trawl, 1 mt; limited 
entry and open access non-nearshore fixed gears, 1.1; limited entry and 
open access nearshore fixed gear, 1.2; Washington recreational, 2.9; 
Oregon recreational 2.6 mt; and California recreational 3.4 mt. These 
allocations are anticipated to accommodate estimates of mortality of 
yelloweye by sector in 2013-2014.

Modifications to the Boundaries Defining RCAs

    RCAs are large area closures intended to reduce the catch of a 
species or species complex, by restricting fishing activity at specific 
depths. The boundaries for RCAs are defined by straight lines 
connecting a series of latitude and longitude coordinates that 
approximate depth contours. A set of coordinates define lines that 
approximate various depth contours. These sets of coordinates, or 
lines, in and of themselves, are not gear or fishery specific, but are 
used in combination to define an area. That area may then be described 
with fishing restrictions implemented for a specific gear and/or 
fishery (e.g., between the boundary line approximating the 75 fm depth 
contour and the boundary line approximating the 150 fm depth contour is 
the trawl RCA, and fishing with bottom trawl gear is prohibited in this 
area). For the 2013-2014 cycle, changes to refine selected coordinates 
to more closely approximate the depth contour are being proposed for 
the 150 fm line off Washington, the 200 fm line off Washington and 
Oregon and the 150 fm line defining the Usal and Noyo Canyons off 
California. These changes refine the lines that approximate the depth 
contours and makes no regulatory changes to how, or for which 
fisheries, those lines may be used.

Deductions From the ACL

Background
    Before allocations are made to groundfish fisheries, deductions are 
made from ACLs to set fish aside fish for certain types of activities. 
The deductions from the ACL are associated with four distinct sources 
of groundfish mortality: Harvest in Pacific Coast treaty Indian tribal 
fisheries; harvest in scientific research activities; harvest in non-
groundfish fisheries; and harvest that occurs under exempted fishing 
permits (EFPs). These deductions from the ACL are described at Sec.  
660.55(b) and specified in the footnotes to Tables 1a and 2a to subpart 
C. Under current regulations if any of these sources came in under the 
amounts deducted from the ACL, for example because a research activity 
was canceled, the leftover was generally not available to other 
fisheries. In order to make any unharvested fish available for harvest 
in other sectors, the Council recommended formalizing a process for 
allowing groundfish that are set aside for harvest in scientific 
research, non-groundfish fisheries, and for EFPs, to be harvested in 
other groundfish fisheries if those fish would otherwise go unharvested 
(fish unharvested in the tribal fisheries are not part of this change). 
In order to keep the public informed about these changes, any movement 
of fish from the deductions from the ACL to other fisheries will be 
announced in the Federal Register. This additional flexibility for 
2013-2014, and beyond, is intended to allow unused yield to be 
redistributed to other sectors of the groundfish fishery, as needed.
    This rule proposes revising regulations to allow more flexibility 
and is not proposing changes to how set-asides that come off an 
allocation for a specific fishery are managed. Additionally, for 
clarity this rule makes changes to definitions and descriptions at 
Sec.  660.55(k), Sec.  660.55(b) and (b)(4) to distinguish between off 
the top deductions and set-asides.
    To implement this change the Council recommended and NMFS is 
proposing to allow the non-tribal deductions from the ACL for any 
groundfish species to be modified inseason, however this movement of 
fish is discretionary and not automatic. Therefore, the Council will 
consider various factors before recommending that fish be moved from 
the non-tribal deductions from the ACL, including: Status of the 
activities for which the yield was initially intended and the level of 
certainty that there will be unharvested fish; potential benefits to 
groundfish fishery sectors; risk of exceeding ACLs; and other 
appropriate factors. For 2013-2014, the Council recommended that fish 
that would go unharvested be available to be distributed among the 
sectors in proportion to the allocations made at the start of the year, 
but that the Council may make modifications to those proportions based 
on sector needs. The Council will consider various factors when making 
recommendations for changing the proportions by which fish would be 
distributed including: Whether sectors are closed and additional fish 
would not provide enough yield to re-open the fishery; whether sectors 
are not anticipated to catch their existing allocation of the species 
that is to be redistributed; and the timing and feasibility of how 
additional yield could be released to and used by a given sector. 
Allowing changes to the proportions based on sector needs will help 
maximize the socioeconomic benefits of moving unused yield into a 
fishery sector.
    Regulations that describe routine management measures, at Sec.  
660.60(c), and that describe the types of deductions that are made from 
the ACL, at Sec.  660.55(b), are proposed to be revised to allow the 
non-tribal deductions from the ACL to be modified as a routine action.
    Special consideration must be made for the shorebased IFQ program 
because these species are allocated differently than non-IFQ species. 
An IFQ species that has yield available may be made available for 
harvest in the Shorebased IFQ Program. Shorebased IFQ program 
participants would be notified of any changes through the Federal 
Register. NMFS is proposing regulations to allow quota pounds (QP) made 
available after September 1 due to changes in the non-tribal deductions 
from the ACL to be transferred from a quota share (QS) account to a 
vessel account in a similar manner as Pacific whiting reapportionment: 
NMFS will credit the QS account with additional QP proportionally, 
based on the increase in the shorebased trawl allocation; the QS 
account transfer function will be reactivated for species with 
additional

[[Page 67987]]

QP; and after December 15 the transfer function will again be 
inactivated. Therefore, changes to regulations at Sec.  
660.140(d)(3)(ii)(B)(3) are proposed to expand the regulations for 
Pacific whiting reapportionment after September 1 so they may also 
apply to QP that are released to the Shorebased IFQ Program due to 
changes in the non-tribal deductions from the ACL.
    QP made available to the Shorebased IFQ Program from the non-tribal 
deductions from the ACL will count towards calculations for 
accumulation limits: Both QS and QP accumulation limits. Any movement 
of fish from the deductions from the ACL into the Shorebased IFQ 
Program would change allocations, and therefore would also affect the 
individual amounts associated with the QS and QP accumulation limits. 
There would be no change in the percentage that applies; the existing 
percentage would be applying to a larger poundage that may result in a 
higher poundage at the individual level.
    In contrast, QP made available to the Shorebased IFQ Program from 
the non-tribal deductions from the ACL will not count towards 
calculations for carryover. The Pacific whiting final rule (77 FR 
28497, May 15, 2012, comment 15) addressed this issue in the context of 
reapportionment of whiting to the Shorebased IFQ Program. Any release 
of additional QP resulting from deductions from the ACL is similar to 
reapportionment of whiting in that both may be added to the shorebased 
trawl allocation during the year but were not part of the annual 
allocation. Because reapportionment of whiting is not included in the 
calculation for the carryover limit in the Shorebased IFQ Program, and 
because release of additional QP is a similar provision, NMFS proposes 
that that release of additional QP resulting from changes to the non-
tribal deductions from the ACL would also not count toward the 
carryover limit. Language has been added to Sec.  660.140(e)(5) stating 
that these additional amounts do not count toward calculation of the 
carryover limit. No changes to the regulations at Sec.  
660.140(e)(5)(ii) regarding deficit carryover are proposed. Therefore, 
if a vessel has already opted out of the fishery, it would not have the 
option of covering its deficit with the additional QP that were 
released due to changes to the non-tribal deductions from the ACL. Also 
at Sec.  660.140(e)(5)(i), NMFS proposes clarifying language stating 
that surplus carryover QP or IBQ pounds are deposited straight into 
vessel accounts and do not change the shorebased trawl allocation.

Offloading Requirements

    The trawl rationalization program, in part, implemented sector 
allocations and the management measures to track catches against those 
sector allocations. Initially, regulations were established for the 
shorebased IFQ fishery such that, once the transfer of fish begins, all 
fish on board a vessel count toward a landing and the offload must be 
completed prior to the start of a subsequent trip. The purpose of this 
measure was to ensure all fish harvested on a shorebased IFQ trip were 
clearly associated with the landings receipts and permit status. The 
information on the landing receipts, combined with the permit status of 
the vessel making the landing, provides fishery managers with the tools 
to accurately account for catch against the sector allocation. During 
development of the 2013-2014 harvest specifications and management 
measures, the Council and NMFS identified a need for similar offloading 
requirements in other sectors of the fishery to ensure accurate catch 
accounting between other sector allocations.
    At its June 2012 meeting, the Council recommended a change to 
regulations that would require all fish from any trip be offloaded 
prior to beginning a new trip. Based on that recommendation, every 
sector of the groundfish fishery, including landings in the limited 
entry fixed gear and open access fisheries, and would be required to 
completely remove all fish from the vessel once landing had begun, in 
order for them to be allowed to start a subsequent trip. Therefore, in 
particular, NMFS is seeking comments from participants in the limited 
entry fixed gear and open access sectors, on the proposed action to 
require all fish from any trip, except for vessels fishing in the at-
sea sectors of the Pacific whiting fishery, be offloaded prior to 
beginning a new trip.
    While developing regulations for this new requirement, NMFS noted 
that the complete offloading requirements for the shorebased IFQ 
program that are currently in place do not apply to vessels 
participating in the primary whiting fishery as part of the mothership 
or catcher/processor sectors. However, there is already a provision at 
Sec.  660.112(d)(8) requiring MS CVs to offload all catch to a single 
MS before resetting the net. Therefore, NMFS is not proposing changes 
to the offload requirements for the mothership or catcher/processor 
sectors.

Sorting Requirements

    In the non-whiting groundfish fishery, catch is sorted to species 
or species group in order to account for catch against the various 
harvest specifications and management measures that are specific to 
those species or species groups. Except for vessels participating in 
the Pacific whiting fishery (see Sec.  660.130(d)(2)(ii) and (d)(3)), 
groundfish regulations require that species or species groups with a 
trip limit, size limit, scientific sorting designation, quota, harvest 
guideline, ACT, ACL or OY, be sorted (see Sec.  660.12(a)(8)). Whenever 
a new species is given its own harvest specification or management 
measure, as described in the list above, that species must then be 
sorted. For the first time, blackgill rockfish is given a species 
specific harvest guideline for the area south of 40[deg]10' N. lat.; 
therefore, blackgill rockfish would need to be sorted in all fisheries, 
except the Pacific whiting fishery, beginning in 2013.

Longnose Skate Management Measures

    Longnose skate were assessed for the first time in 2008 and in the 
2009-2010 harvest specifications and management measures longnose skate 
was removed from the ``other fish'' complex and given its own species 
specific harvest specifications. At that time, mortality estimates from 
the stock assessment were below the harvest specifications and the 
concern for overfishing was extremely low so no new management measures 
were established. Since longnose skate is not an IFQ species, the 2011-
2012 harvest specifications and management measures established an 
incidental landing limit for the Shorebased IFQ Program as a management 
tool. However, as a precautionary measure for 2013 and 2014, the 
Council recommended that trawl and non-trawl harvest guidelines be 
specified for longnose skate. Therefore, this proposed rule reflects a 
fishery harvest guideline for longnose skate of 1,927.8 mt, of which 
the trawl harvest guideline is 90 percent (1,735 mt), and the non-trawl 
harvest guideline is 10 percent (192.8 mt) in 2013 and 2014. For 
vessels using trawl gear, landing limits for the non-IFQ species, 
including longnose skate, are published in Table 1 (North) and Table 1 
(South) to subpart D. Also for 2011-2012, longnose skate was added to 
the list of species for which trip landing and frequency limits, and 
size limits could be implemented or modified routinely for the 
Shorebased IFQ Program.
    According to West coast groundfish observer program (WCGOP) data 
available at the end of 2011, the estimates of longnose skate total 
mortality in 2009 and 2010 approached or slightly exceeded the longnose 
skate

[[Page 67988]]

OYs in those years, depending on the assumptions made about discard 
mortality. The assumptions made about discard mortality of longnose 
skate have varied, with 100 percent discard mortality assumed by WCGOP 
but the stock assessment assumed 50 percent discard mortality. Since 
the 2008 stock assessment has been recommended as the best available 
science by the SSC, the SSC has also recommended that the discard 
mortality rate that is assumed in the stock assessment be used by 
WCGOP. So, if one were to apply the best available discard mortality 
assumption of 50 percent retroactively, longnose skate mortality would 
have been approximately 88 percent of the 2009 and 2010 OYs. However, 
the Council considered that total mortality, regardless of the 
assumptions in discard mortality, has an increasing trend and 
recommended that management measures, including trip limits and depth-
based area restrictions to control or reduce fishery impacts to 
longnose skate be designated as routine for all fisheries to allow 
fishery managers to respond to the best available fishery data during 
the year and take action to make sure that total mortality of longnose 
skate does not exceed the 2013-2014 ACLs. Therefore, the Council 
recommended and NMFS is proposing to add longnose skate to the list of 
species for which trip landing and frequency limits, and size limits 
could be implemented or modified routinely for all fisheries.

Lingcod Management Measures

    Minimum size limits for lingcod have been in place since the late 
1990s. Minimum size limits were used as a rebuilding tool to decrease 
harvest and improve stock status after lingcod was declared overfished 
in 1999. The lingcod stock was declared rebuilt in 2005. The Council 
considered reducing or removing the minimum size limit for lingcod in 
the shorebased IFQ fishery because all of the catch counts against a 
vessel's IFQ, and fish that are smaller than the minimum size limit are 
still considered marketable but are required to be discarded. However, 
the Council's Enforcement Consultants (EC) recommended that if the 
Council made changes to lingcod minimum size limits in the IFQ fishery 
that they make the same changes to the non-IFQ fisheries. Because of 
the concerns raised by the EC, the Council recommended no changes to 
lingcod size limits for any commercial or recreational fisheries for 
the start of the 2013-2014 biennium. However, the Council requested 
additional analysis of the environmental effects of reducing or 
eliminating the minimum lingcod size limit for non-IFQ commercial as 
well as recreational fisheries. The Council may use this analysis in 
combination with the most recently available fishery information to 
make changes to lingcod minimum size limits during the biennium. 
Changes to lingcod size limits are considered a routine measure under 
Sec.  660.60(c) and may be implemented, if determined necessary, 
through inseason action.

Spiny Dogfish Management Measures

    Spiny dogfish are a component stock in the ``other fish'' complex, 
and have species specific trip limits in commercial groundfish 
fisheries. Mortality of spiny dogfish in recent years has approached, 
and would have exceeded in 2008, the 2013-2014 level of the 
contribution of this stock to the ``other fish'' ABC. Therefore, the 
Council considered management measures that could be implemented, if 
needed, to decrease catch of spiny dogfish inseason.
    Catch of spiny dogfish in each sector of the groundfish fishery has 
been highly variable, but they are most commonly encountered by vessels 
fishing for groundfish with bottom trawl gear, midwater trawl gear, or 
with fixed gear seaward of the non-trawl RCA (also referred to as the 
non-nearshore fishery). Of these fisheries, two have targeted and sold 
spiny dogfish: The bottom trawl and non-nearshore fixed gear fisheries. 
Therefore, if changes to management measures were necessary to reduce 
catch, they would primarily focus on bottom trawl and non-nearshore 
fixed gear fisheries (both limited entry and open access fixed gear). 
Based on a review of catch estimates, landings data, price per pound, 
and current fishery management measures that are likely affecting the 
harvest levels of spiny dogfish, the Council recommended no changes to 
fishery management measures for the start of the biennium, but noted 
that adjustments to spiny dogfish trip limits and changes to RCA 
boundaries would be effective tools to control catch, if needed 
inseason.

Limited Entry Trawl

Trawl Fishery Management Measures

    Amendment 20 established a program to ``rationalize'' the 
groundfish limited entry trawl fishery. Rationalization results in a 
sustainable level of fishing from both the resource conservation and 
economic perspective through the use of harvest shares and 
cooperatives. The program under the PCGFMP uses quota shares, or catch 
allocation, to allow individuals to harvest specific amounts of 
groundfish. The trawl rationalization program is intended to increase 
net economic benefits, create individual economic stability, provide 
full utilization of the trawl sector allocation, consider environmental 
impacts, and achieve individual accountability of catch (retained and 
discarded).
    Since the start of 2011, the limited entry trawl fishery has been 
divided into three distinct sectors (shoreside, mothership, and 
catcher/processor). An individual fishing quota (IFQ) program is 
created for the shoreside sector and harvester cooperatives are created 
for the catcher/processor and mothership sectors. Formal allocations to 
and among the trawl sectors to support the trawl rationalization 
program are specified in the PCGFMP and in federal Pacific coast 
groundfish regulations at 50 CFR 660, Subparts C and D.
    The PCGFMP framework specifies formal, long term, allocations 
between trawl and non-trawl fisheries for many groundfish species 
including: lingcod, Pacific cod, sablefish south of 36[deg] N. lat., 
Pacific ocean perch (POP), widow rockfish, chilipepper rockfish, 
splitnose rockfish, yellowtail rockfish north of 40[deg]10' N. lat., 
shortspine thornyhead (north and south of 34[deg]27' N. lat.), 
longspine thornyhead north of 34[deg]27' N. lat., darkblotched 
rockfish, minor slope rockfish (north and south of 40[deg]10' N. lat.), 
Dover sole, English sole, petrale sole, arrowtooth flounder, starry 
flounder, and other flatfish. Species that are not formally allocated 
by the PCGFMP are addressed through short-term allocations, decided 
through the biennial harvest specifications and management measure 
process. Trawl and non-trawl allocations are established through the 
biennial harvest specifications for canary rockfish, bocaccio, cowcod, 
yelloweye rockfish, and minor shelf rockfish north and south. In 
addition to allocations specified by the PCGFMP and those mentioned 
above, trawl and non-trawl allocations for some additional species are 
being specified through the biennial harvest specifications including: 
Minor nearshore rockfish north and south, and longnose skate. Species 
being managed under trip limits and without trawl and non-trawl 
allocations are: Shortbelly rockfish, longspine thornyhead south of 
34[deg]27' N. lat., black rockfish (Washington-Oregon), California 
scorpionfish, cabezon (California only), kelp greenling, and the 
``other fish'' complex.

Carry-Over

    The Shorebased IFQ Program contains a carryover provision that is 
specified at 50 CFR part 660.140(e)(5). The carryover provision allows 
for two types of

[[Page 67989]]

carryover. If an individual catches more fish than is in their 
corresponding vessel account, but it is within the 10 percent carryover 
limit for a deficit, then this overage in one year can be covered by 
the following year's QP--called a deficit carryover. Likewise, the 
provision also allows up to 10 percent of QP that were not used in one 
year to be carried over into the following year--called a surplus 
carryover. Each year NMFS is required to determine whether each species 
can be issued surplus carryover to individual vessel accounts within 
the conservation requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The use of 
the deficit carryover provision is the choice of the vessel account 
owner and does not require a direct role for NMFS.
    Beginning in 2013, the Council is recommending a process in which 
the Council (rather than NMFS) would review in the first instance the 
eligible surplus carry-over amounts from the previous year, projected 
mortality for the current year, and available AMs to determine whether 
issuing the eligible surplus carry-over QPs would likely result in 
exceeding an ACL. If a concern is identified, the Council would make 
recommendations to NMFS to reduce or eliminate the surplus carryover 
for the species in question for that year. The ability to modify the 
surplus carry-over percentages through routine inseason action is 
different from the No Action option where adjustments are made by NMFS 
under MSA authority or by the Council through the biennial cycle. 
Considering the amount of surplus carryover as an inseason action would 
increase the Council's involvement. NMFS is proposing that the 
percentage of surplus carryover may be modified as a routine action, 
though the percentage may not exceed 10 percent.
    As an example of how the process might work, the Council would 
review the preliminary data available from the previous year beginning 
in the spring and could make recommendations to NMFS after any Council 
meeting, but likely after the March or April meeting. The Council could 
recommend the surplus carryover limit be adjusted through an inseason 
action published in the Federal Register to a percentage lower than 10 
percent for any individual IFQ species or all IFQ species (the deficit 
carryover limit would remain at 10 percent). If surplus carryover is 
not issued for any species (i.e., 0 percent), that would be included in 
the Federal Register notice.
    Surplus carryover credits would function differently than increases 
to sector allocations. Increases in sector allocations (e.g., 
allocation top-ups, reapportionment of whiting, and flexibility of 
deductions from the ACL), would be added to the shorebased trawl 
allocation, added to the QS accumulation limits and vessel limits 
calculations, and allocated to QS accounts. However, the surplus 
carryover credit to the shorebased sector would not be added to the 
shorebased trawl allocation, and would not be added to the vessel 
accumulation limit calculation. Rather, NMFS would credit the amount 
directly to vessel accounts.
    NMFS is also proposing that issuance of surplus carryover to vessel 
accounts will be restricted by the vessel limits (annual and daily 
limits). Annual and daily vessel limits are set at a percentage. Any 
increase to the sector allocation during the calendar year, due to 
adjustments in the non-tribal deductions from the ACL, allocation top-
ups in the spring, and whiting reapportionment in the fall, would 
increase the associated QP amount for those daily and annual vessel 
limits (as well as the QS accumulation limits). Before any credit of 
surplus carryover QP to vessel accounts, fishermen may want to estimate 
their surplus carryover and then look at their vessel account balances 
to determine whether they would be able to accept their entire surplus 
carryover credit. Fishermen may be faced with fluctuating surplus 
carryover limits if the percentage is changed inseason. Fishermen may 
also face fluctuating vessel limits caused by increasing allocations.
    To ensure that issuance of surplus carryover would not cause 
overfishing, and would be extremely unlikely to exceed an ACL, the 
Council also recommended modifying the regulations to allow the 
Shorebased IFQ Program to be closed automatically. However, NMFS 
already has the authority in current regulations Sec.  660.140(a)(3) to 
close all or part of the Shorebased IFQ Program. Therefore, NMFS is not 
proposing to add an automatic action to close the Shorebased IFQ 
Program.

Incidental Trip Limits for IFQ Vessels

    For vessels fishing IFQ, with either groundfish trawl gear or non-
trawl gears, the following incidentally caught species are managed with 
trip limits: Minor nearshore rockfish north and south, black rockfish, 
cabezon (46[deg]16' to 42[deg] N. lat. and south of 42[deg] N. lat.), 
spiny dogfish, shortbelly rockfish, Pacific whiting, and the ``other 
fish'' category. If determined necessary, trip limits may also be 
established for longnose skate, California scorpionfish, and as sub-
limits within the other fish category, big skate, California skate, 
leopard skate, soupfin shark, finescale codling, Pacific rattail, kelp 
greenling, and cabezon off Washington. No changes to trip limits in the 
IFQ fishery are proposed for the start of the 2013-2014 biennium; 
however, changes to trip limits are considered a routine measure under 
Sec.  660.60(c) and may be implemented, if determined necessary, 
through inseason action.

RCA Configurations for Vessels Using Groundfish Trawl Gear

    Based on analysis of West Coast Groundfish Observer Data and vessel 
logbook data, the boundaries of the RCAs were developed to prohibit 
groundfish fishing within a range of depths where encounters with 
overfished species were most likely to occur. The RCAs boundaries vary 
by season, latitude, and gear group. Boundaries for limited entry trawl 
vessels are different from those for the limited entry fixed-gear and 
open access gears. The trawl RCAs apply to vessels fishing with 
groundfish trawl gear. The non-trawl RCAs apply to the limited entry 
fixed-gear and open access gears other than non-groundfish trawl. The 
non-groundfish trawl RCAs are defined by fishery.
    Under Amendment 20 to the PCGFMP, quota pounds associated with a 
limited entry trawl permit may be harvested with either trawl gear or 
legal fixed gear. Groundfish regulations specify both trawl and non-
trawl RCAs. The type of gear employed determines the RCA structure. As 
such, vessels that harvest IFQ species with groundfish trawl gear will 
be held to the trawl RCA while vessels that harvest IFQ species with 
fixed gear will be held to the non-trawl RCA.
    No changes to the 2012 trawl RCA boundaries are proposed for the 
start of the 2013-2014 biennium. As the IFQ fishery proceeds and if 
catch data supports reconsideration of the RCAs, the Council could 
revise the RCA boundaries through inseason measures.

Changes to Lingcod QP and QS Accumulation Limits

    Because of the geographic split for lingcod at 40[deg]10' N. lat., 
changes to the tables that describe the QS control limits at Sec.  
660.140(d)(4)(i)(C) and the QP vessel limits at Sec.  660.140(e)(4)(i) 
are proposed in this rule. Consistent with current regulations the QS 
control limit percent is equally split between north and south and the 
percentages remain the same, i.e. the previous limit was 2.5 percent 
coastwide and this rule proposes a 2.5 percent limit north and a 2.5 
percent limit south of 40[deg]10' N. lat. QP vessel use limits proposed 
in this rule are 5.3 percent north of 40[deg]10' N. lat. and 13.3 
percent south of 40[deg]10' N.

[[Page 67990]]

lat. The changes would provide vessels an opportunity to harvest the 
same amount of lingcod north and south of 40[deg]10' N. lat. that would 
have been available had the coastwide lingcod quota not been split. It 
was noted at the Council's June meeting that the QS accumulation limits 
may also need to be revisited in light of the change in the geographic 
split being proposed for lingcod; however, NMFS is not proposing 
changes to QS accumulation limits at this time. Likewise, the aggregate 
non-whiting groundfish species QS accumulation limit and QP vessel 
limits may also need to be revisited in light of the change in the 
geographic split being proposed for lingcod; however, NMFS is not 
proposing changes at this time.

Limited-Entry Fixed Gear and Open Access Non-Trawl Fishery Management 
Measures

    Management measures for the limited entry fixed gear (LEFG) and 
open access non-trawl fisheries tend to be similar because the majority 
of participants in both fisheries use hook-and-line gear. Management 
measures, including area restrictions and trip limits, in these non-
trawl fisheries are generally designed to allow harvest of target 
species while keeping catch of overfished species low. For 2013-2014, 
changes to management measures in these fisheries are primarily driven 
by the lower sablefish ACL for the area north of 36[deg] N. lat. The 
Council also considered the tradeoffs in area restrictions compared to 
trip limit restrictions for the non-trawl fishery that is prosecuted 
shoreward of the non-trawl RCA.
Non-Trawl RCAs
    The non-trawl RCA applies to vessels that take, retain, possess, or 
land groundfish using non-trawl gears, unless they are incidental 
fisheries that are exempt from the non-trawl RCA (e.g. the pink shrimp 
non-groundfish trawl fishery). The seaward and shoreward boundaries of 
the non-trawl RCAs vary along the coast, and are divided at various 
commonly used geographic coordinates, defined in Sec.  660.11, subpart 
C. In 2009, the shoreward boundary of the non-trawl RCA was established 
based on fishery information indicating that fishing in some areas in 
the non-trawl fishery have higher yelloweye rockfish bycatch than in 
others, and the RCA boundaries were adjusted to reduce mortality of 
yelloweye rockfish in these areas.
    The non-trawl RCA boundaries proposed for 2013-2014 are the same as 
those in place for the non-trawl fisheries in 2011-2012, except for the 
shoreward boundary of the non-trawl RCA off a small part of the 
southern Oregon coast. The shoreward boundary of the non-trawl RCA, 
between 43[deg] N. lat. (Columbia/Eureka line) and 42[deg] N. lat. 
(Oregon/California border), is proposed to be shifted seaward, to open 
some additional areas to fishing close to shore. Under the final 
preferred allocations for canary and yelloweye rockfish for 2013-2014, 
bycatch species that limit access to targeted nearshore stocks, and 
with the trip limits for nearshore species that were in place during 
2011-2012 remaining the same, some additional fishing opportunities can 
be provided while keeping anticipated mortality of canary and yelloweye 
rockfish below the nearshore fishery allocations. Therefore, the 
Council recommended and NMFS is proposing to shift the shoreward 
boundary of the non-trawl RCA, between 43[deg] N. lat. and 42[deg] N. 
lat., from the line approximating the 20 fm (37 m) depth contour to the 
line approximating the 30 fm (55 m) depth contour. These boundary lines 
are defined by latitude and longitude coordinates found at Sec.  
660.71, subpart C. The change to the non-trawl RCA boundary in this 
area opens fishing areas that have been closed since 2009, and may 
increase fishing efficiency and reduce gear conflicts by spreading the 
nearshore fleet over a larger fishing area. Opening this area is 
anticipated to increase overall landings of both target and bycatch 
species, but mortality is anticipated to be below the allocations or 
harvest limits for all species.
Non-Trawl Fishery Trip Limits
    Trip limits proposed for the non-trawl fisheries in 2013-2014 are 
similar to those that applied to these fisheries in 2011-2012 with the 
exception of the addition of species-specific limits for blackgill 
rockfish south of 40[deg]10' N. lat. To help achieve but not exceed the 
allocations of sablefish in the limited entry fixed gear and open 
access fisheries, proposed trip limits for sablefish in these fisheries 
are different between 2013 and 2014, with slightly higher limits in 
2014 because of the higher sablefish ACL. Proposed 2013 and 2014 trip 
limits for sablefish in the non-trawl fisheries are specified in Table 
2 (North), Table 2 (South) to subpart E and in Table 3 (North) and 
Table 3 (South) to subpart F.
    Blackgill rockfish is a species in the slope rockfish complex, 
coastwide, and was assessed in 2011. For 2013-2014, blackgill rockfish 
will have species-specific harvest guidelines for the area south of 
40[deg]10' N. lat. of 106 mt and 110 mt for 2013 and 2014, 
respectively. To improve inseason tracking of catch and keep 
anticipated catch of blackgill rockfish within its harvest guideline, 
species specific sub-limits are proposed for the non-IFQ fisheries. For 
the limited entry fixed gear fishery south of 40[deg]10' N. lat., a 
species-specific sub-limit is established, within the minor slope 
rockfish limit, for blackgill rockfish of 1,375 lb (653 kg) per two 
months. For the open access fishery south of 40[deg]10' N. lat., a 
species-specific sub-limit is established, within the minor slope 
rockfish limit, for blackgill rockfish of 480 lb (217 kg) per two 
months. These trip limits, when combined with anticipated catch of 
blackgill rockfish in the Shorebased IFQ Program, are anticipated to 
keep catch below the 2013 and 2014 harvest guidelines. For the 
Shorebased IFQ Program, blackgill rockfish will remain a part of the 
minor slope rockfish south of 40[deg]10' N. lat. complex.
Primary Sablefish Fishery Tier Limits
    Some limited entry fixed gear permits are endorsed to receive 
annual sablefish quota, or ``tier limits,'' and vessels registered with 
one, two, or up to three of these permits may participate in the 
primary sablefish fishery, described at Sec.  660.231. Tier limits 
proposed for the limited entry fixed gear primary sablefish fleet are 
lower than in 2011-2012, reflecting the lower sablefish harvest 
specifications for 2013 and 2014. The proposed tier limits are as 
follows: In 2013, Tier 1 at 34,513 lb (15,665 kg), Tier 2 at 15,688 lb 
(7,116 kg), and Tier 3 at 8,964 lb (4,066 kg). For 2014, Tier 1 at 
37,441 lb (16,983 kg), Tier 2 at 17,019 lb (7,720 kg), and Tier 3 at 
9,725 lb (4,411 kg). These tier limits are found in groundfish 
regulations at Sec.  660.231, Subpart E.
    Management measures for the LEFG fishery are found at Sec.  
660.230, subpart E, with management measures specific to the primary 
sablefish season found at Sec.  660.231, subpart E. Limited entry fixed 
gear trip limits are found in Table 2 (North) and Table 2 (South) of 
subpart E of part 660. Management measures for the open access fishery 
are found at Sec.  660.330, subpart F. Trip limits for the open access 
fishery are found in Table 3 (North) and Table 3 (South) of subpart F 
of part 660.
Transitioning Between the Limited Entry Fixed Gear Primary Sablefish 
Fishery and the Daily Trip Limit (DTL) Fishery
    After vessels participating in the limited entry fixed gear primary 
sablefish fishery have fished their tier limit(s), they are then 
eligible to fish in the sablefish fishery that is subject to

[[Page 67991]]

trip limits, also known as the daily trip limit (DTL) fishery. Prior to 
2009, the threshold by which it was determined when a vessel's primary 
fishery season was completed was equal to the daily trip limit in place 
for the limited entry fixed gear DTL fishery. In 2009, the daily trip 
limit in the limit entry fixed gear DTL fishery was removed. Removal of 
the daily limit in the limited entry fixed gear DTL fishery 
incidentally also changed the threshold by which completion of the 
vessels tier was judged, to the weekly rather than daily limit that was 
in place. Therefore, language is added to remedy the unintended 
threshold change that was made because of removal of the daily limit. 
Proposed revised regulations set a 300 lb (136 kg) threshold for the 
amount of sablefish that is left on a tier limit when no daily limit is 
specified.

Recreational Fisheries Management Measures

    Recreational fisheries management measures are designed to limit 
catch of overfished and nearshore species to sustainable levels while 
also allowing viable fishing seasons. Overfished species that are taken 
in recreational fisheries include bocaccio, cowcod, canary, and 
yelloweye rockfish. Because sport fisheries are more concentrated in 
nearshore waters, the 2013-2014 recreational fishery management 
measures are intended to constrain catch of nearshore species such as 
minor nearshore rockfish, black rockfish, blue rockfish, and cabezon. 
These protections are particularly important for fisheries off 
California, where the majority of West Coast recreational fishing 
occurs. Management measures for the California recreational groundfish 
fishery are designed to reduce the incidental catch of overfished 
rockfish, primarily yelloweye and canary rockfish, while providing 
fishing opportunity for anglers targeting groundfish. Depth 
restrictions and RCAs are the primary tools used to keep overfished 
species impacts under the prescribed harvest levels for the California 
recreational fishery.
    Washington, Oregon, and California each proposed, and the Council 
recommended, different combinations of seasons, bag limits, area 
closures, and size limits, to best fit the requirements to rebuild 
overfished species found in their regions, and the needs and 
constraints of their particular recreational fisheries, including 
responding to a very strong recruitment event of bocaccio.
    Recreational fisheries management measures for Oregon in 2013-2014 
are proposed to be very similar to the recreational fishery management 
measures that were in place off Oregon during 2011-2012. Recreational 
fisheries off northern California, Oregon, and Washington are limited 
by the need to reduce yelloweye rockfish impacts. Changes to 
recreational fishery management measures off California are in response 
to: New methods for estimating harvest specifications for data limited 
species; recent stock assessment information indicating a very strong 
recruitment of juvenile bocaccio rockfish in California; and the desire 
to broadly redistribute effort displaced by restrictions on fishing in 
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in state waters.
Washington
    Off Washington, recreational fishing for groundfish and Pacific 
halibut will continue to be prohibited inside the North Coast 
Recreational YRCA, a C-shaped closed area off the northern Washington 
coast, the South Coast Recreational YRCA, and the Westport Offshore 
YRCA. Coordinates for YRCAs are defined at Sec.  660.70. The RCA for 
recreational fishing off Washington will be the same as in 2012. The 
aggregate groundfish bag limits off Washington will continue to be 12 
fish. The rockfish and lingcod sub-limits will remain the same as in 
2011-2012: 10 rockfish sub-limit with no retention of canary or 
yelloweye rockfish; 2 lingcod sub-limit, with the lingcod minimum size 
of 22 inches (56 cm). Since catches of cabezon have increased in recent 
years and the stock status of cabezon off the Washington coast is 
unknown, and to make cabezon retention regulations off the West Coast 
consistent with WDFW regulations in Puget Sound, this rule continues a 
cabezon sub-limit for 2013-2014 of two cabezon per day. The lingcod 
seasons in 2013-2014 will be slightly changed from those in 2011-2012, 
due to minor fluctuations in differences between calendar years. 
Similar to 2012, this proposed rule includes a Washington State lingcod 
recreational fishing closure area off Washington Marine areas 1 and 2, 
a portion of which are closed to lingcod fishing, except on days that 
the primary halibut fishery is open.
Oregon
    Off Oregon, recreational fishing for groundfish in 2013-2014 will 
have the same management measures as in 2011-2012, and the Oregon 
recreational fishery marine fish bag limit will continue to have a 
seasonal sub-bag limit for cabezon, as described at Sec.  
660.360(c)(2)(iii). The seasonal sub-bag limit for cabezon is intended 
to reduce the projected impacts to cabezon in the Oregon recreational 
ocean boat fishery in order to stay within the recreational portion of 
the 2013 and 2014 cabezon ACLs for Oregon of 50 mt and 48 mt, 
respectively.
California
    For 2013-2014, recreational fisheries off California will continue 
to be managed as five separate areas, to reduce complexity while 
retaining flexibility in minimizing impacts on overfished stocks. 
California recreational management areas and regulations can be found 
at Sec.  660.350(c)(3). Minor changes are proposed to the California 
recreational regulations to make references to management areas 
consistent.
    California updated its recreational fisheries catch model with data 
from the California Recreational Fisheries Survey to make 
recommendations to the Council for the 2013-2014 fisheries. Season and 
area closures differ between California regions to better prevent 
incidental catch of overfished species according to where those species 
occur and where fishing effort is greatest, while providing as much 
fishing opportunity as possible. The California-wide combined bag limit 
for the Rockfish-Cabezon-Greenling (RCG) Complex will continue to be 10 
fish per day when the season is open. RCG Complex sub-bag limits will 
also remain largely the same, including the cabezon statewide limit of 
three fish per day, with a few exceptions pertaining to kelp greenling 
and bocaccio.
    Kelp greenling in California is managed as part of the Other Fish 
complex, while its harvest specifications contribute to the complex as 
a whole. The ACL contribution for kelp greenling was substantially 
increased in 2011-12 based on new methods for estimating harvest 
specifications for data limited species. However, more conservative 
state regulations including a total allowable catch (TAC) of 17 mt 
currently govern the catch of kelp greenling in California. A revised 
kelp greenling contribution to the other fish complex was analyzed and 
adopted for use in management in 2011-2012 (2011-2012 FEIS), and the 
kelp greenling contribution to the Other Fish complex increased for 
2013-2014. In order to conform to the higher federal ACL contribution, 
California State will be implementing a higher recreational kelp 
greenling bag limit and increasing from two fish to 10 fish. No changes 
to the minimum size limit are proposed. No additional impacts are 
expected on overfished species compared to 2011-2012, because kelp 
greenling are

[[Page 67992]]

commonly encountered in shallower depths and more than 50 percent of 
the catch comes from shore anglers. Increased mortality as a result of 
this action could be accommodated with low risk of exceeding a harvest 
guideline, specifically, the kelp greenling contribution to the 
complex.
    There is a very strong year class of bocaccio entering the 
recreational fishery, as evidenced from the updated 2011 stock 
assessment, and increased encounters of bocaccio entering the fishery 
in 2012. In order to reduce unnecessary discarding as a result of 
increased encounters with the new year-class entrants, the changes to 
California recreational bocaccio management measures being proposed are 
to: Remove the recreational bocaccio size limit; increase the 
recreational bag limit for bocaccio; and allow shelf rockfish retention 
in the Cowcod Conservation Area, excluding bronzespotted, canary, 
cowcod and yelloweye rockfish, from 0-20 fathoms when the season is 
open to fishing.
    Bocaccio are the only rockfish subject to a recreational size limit 
(10 inches), which was initially implemented in 2000. Since 2000, 
managers have additional data, which suggests that the size limit has 
been ineffective in reducing mortality. Bocaccio has shown steady 
progress toward rebuilding under the current rebuilding plan, and 
application of the constant harvest rate in the current rebuilding plan 
corresponds with an ACL for 2013-2014 that is larger than the ACL in 
recent years. Length data from the California Recreational Fisheries 
Survey (CRFS) from 2005 to 2010 was used to analyze the projected 
mortality of bocaccio as a result of removing the recreational size 
limit, which is only expected to increase total bocaccio mortality by 
0.36 percent (0.2 mt), and the projected subsequent mortality can be 
accommodated within the higher proposed 2013-2014 ACLs and HGs. Under 
this proposed rule, recreational anglers will be allowed to retain all 
bocaccio, regardless of size, while abiding by current depth and season 
restrictions. This action will reduce regulatory complexity for a 
fishery that already has many regulations; the overall mortality of 
bocaccio is expected to be minimal, and no additional mortality of 
overfished species is expected.
    There will also be an increase in the recreational bag limit for 
bocaccio in this proposed rule. The bocaccio recreational HGs are 
higher in 2013-2014 (163.5 mt and 172.5 mt, respectively) than in 2012 
(131 mt). Currently for 2012, recreational anglers are allowed two 
bocaccio within a 10 fish Rockfish, Cabezon, Greenling (RCG) complex 
bag limit. Because bocaccio have a high susceptibility to barotrauma in 
depths of 40 fathoms or greater, anglers are often required to discard 
and therefore fish longer to achieve their 10 fish bag limit, which in 
turn can have the undesired effect of increasing the likelihood of 
encounters with overfished species. Bocaccio mortality is expected to 
increase by 11.5 percent (5.8 mt) as a result of the increase in the 
sub-bag limit. Given the large magnitude of the buffer between 
projected mortality and the recreational allocation, the HG is not 
likely to be exceeded.
    This proposed rule would allow shelf rockfish retention in the 
Cowcod Conservation Area, excluding bronzespotted, canary, cowcod, and 
yelloweye rockfish, from 0-20 fathoms when the season is open to 
fishing. Bocaccio, an overfished and desirable recreational species, 
could be retained under this option. Incidental catch of cowcod in the 
area south of 34[deg]27' north latitude continues to be restricted by 
the CCAs. In 2010, the state of California implemented marine protected 
areas in state waters between Point Conception to U.S. Mexico border, 
including state waters adjacent to offshore islands and rocks. The best 
available scientific information on depth distributions of cowcod 
indicates that adults primarily inhabit depths deeper than 60 fm (110 
m). The California Recreational Fisheries Survey (CRFS) is used to 
estimate total marine recreational catch and effort in California. CRFS 
sample data from 2005 through 2010 indicating encounters of nearshore 
and shelf rockfish species, stratified by depth and area were used to 
analyze rockfish catch. These data were used to: Evaluate current 
fishing activity in depths greater than 20 fathoms or less; to evaluate 
mortality of shelf rockfish; and evaluate the mortality of overfished 
species as a result of allowing retention of shelf rockfish in the CCA. 
Allowing retention in this area may reduce the overall bycatch of shelf 
rockfish, since fish previously discarded would likely be retained, and 
effort on-the-grounds could be reduced. However, public comments 
submitted to the National Marine Fisheries Service on the 2011-12 FEIS 
indicate that some increase in revenue could occur as a result of 
allowing shelf rockfish retention within the CCA. The extent to which 
this increase in revenue may increase or reduce the amount of effort is 
currently unknown. Some increase to bocaccio mortality would be 
expected as a result of allowing shelf rockfish retention inside 20 
fathoms, but overall projected mortality will not change compared to 
2011-2012. Any increase in mortality as a result of the strong incoming 
year class entering the recreational fishery could still be 
accommodated without exceeding the recreational HG, and especially, the 
ACL. No changes to projected mortality of cowcod are expected to occur 
compared to 2011-2012 under this rule. Additionally, increased 
shoreside sampling landings estimates resulting from increased sub-bag 
limits are likely to reduce uncertainty associated with angler 
identification, allowing retention of species that otherwise may have 
been discarded, allowing for further species verification by CRFS 
dockside samplers.
    The preferred recreational depth restriction in the Southern 
Management Area is 50 fathoms for 2013-2014, a change from 60 fathoms 
in 2011-2012. Tradeoffs between depth restrictions in the Southern 
Management Area were explored to reduce cowcod encounters. Submersible 
surveys at the Northern end of the Southern California Bight indicate 
that juvenile cowcod were most common from 49 fm to 82 fm and adults 
were most common from 66 fm to 115 fm. The projected mortality under 
the 50 fm depth option includes a decrease of 0.9 mt for bocaccio, 0.1 
mt for canary rockfish, and 0.1 mt of cowcod compared to the No Action 
alternative of a 60 fm depth restriction, due to the reduction of 
available fishing area. If cowcod encounters are tracking higher or 
lower than projected, inseason action could be taken to modify the 
depth restrictions accordingly.
    Management measures for recreational fisheries off all three West 
Coast states are found at Sec.  660.360, subpart G.

Pacific Coast Treaty Indian fisheries Management Measures

    Tribes implement management measures for tribal fisheries both 
separately and cooperatively with those management measures that are 
described in the Federal regulations. The tribes may adjust their 
tribal fishery management measures, inseason, to stay within the 
overall harvest targets and estimated impacts to overfished species. 
Trip limits are the primary management measure that the tribes specify 
in Federal regulations at Sec.  660.50, subpart C.
    Continued from 2011-2012, the tribes propose trip limit management 
in tribal fisheries during 2013-2014 for several species including: 
Spiny dogfish; several rockfish species and species groups, including 
thornyheads; and flatfish species and species groups. For spiny 
dogfish, tribal fisheries in 2013-

[[Page 67993]]

2014 will continue to be restricted to a cumulative limit of ``60,000 
lbs (27,216 kg) per two month period;'' the same trip limit that is in 
place for vessels fishing in the Shorebased IFQ Program. For rockfish 
species, tribal regulations will continue to require the 2013-2014 
tribal fisheries to fully retain all overfished rockfish species and 
marketable non-overfished rockfish species. Tribal fisheries are 
restricted to ``17,000 lbs (7,711 kg) per two month period'' for 
shortspine thornyheads and ``22,000 lbs (9,979 kg) per two month 
period'' for longspine thornyheads. As in 2011-2012, other rockfish, 
including minor nearshore, shelf, and slope rockfish, are restricted to 
a ``300 lb (136 kg) per trip'' limit for each species group in 2013-
2014. Also, as in 2011-2012, rockfish would be restricted to the 
limited entry trip limits if those limits are higher than 300 lb (136 
kg) per trip. For 2013-2014, a new, higher, trip limit is established 
for redstripe rockfish (Sebastes proriger). Redstripe rockfish is a 
species in the minor shelf rockfish complex and makes a relatively 
large contribution to the stock complex OFL. In recent years, large 
schools of redstripe rockfish have been encountered in the tribal 
midwater trawl fishery, and allowing these fish to be landed is not 
anticipated to have mortality exceed the OFL contribution. As in 2011-
2012, tribal midwater trawl fisheries in 2013-2014 are subject to a 
cumulative limit for yellowtail rockfish of 180,000 lb (81,647 kg) per 
two months and the landings of widow rockfish must not exceed 10 
percent of the cumulative poundage of yellowtail rockfish landed by a 
given vessel for the year. As in 2011-2012, trip limits for canary 
rockfish and yelloweye rockfish in 2013-2014 are ``300 lb (136-kg) per 
trip'' and ``100 lbs (45 kg) per trip'', respectively. The tribes will 
continue to develop management measures, including depth, area, and 
time restrictions, in the directed tribal Pacific halibut fishery in 
order to minimize incidental catch of yelloweye rockfish.
    Tribal cumulative limits for most flatfish species in 2013-2014 are 
the same as those that were in place in 2011-2012. As in 2011-2012, the 
2013-2014 tribal cumulative limits are ``110,000 lbs (49,895 kg) per 
two months'' for Dover sole, English sole, and Other Flatfish, 
combined; and ``150,000 lbs (68,039 kg) per two months'' for arrowtooth 
flounder. For 2013-2014, the ``50,000 lb (22,680 kg) per two months'' 
tribal cumulative limit for petrale sole is removed and replaced with 
an overall harvest target of 220 mt. Catches of petrale sole in the 
tribal bottom trawl fishery during 2012 was higher than anticipated. 
This re-structured management measure is intended to allow the tribes 
to modify their fishery management measures to control catch of petrale 
sole without the need for conforming Federal action. Tribal fishing 
regulations, as recommended by the tribes and the Council, and adopted 
by NMFS, are in Federal regulations at Sec.  660.50, subpart C.

Housekeeping Measures

    Several non-substantive revisions are made to regulations to 
improve consistency, remove unnecessary redundancies, remove subpart 
references, group similar regulations, and to add clarifying cross-
references.
    At Sec.  660.11, paragraph (1) of the definition for ``Conservation 
area(s)'' is revised so the description of the purpose of the 
Groundfish Conservation Areas (GCAs) is consistent with the description 
of the uses for invoking these GCAs at Sec.  660.60(c)(3). The revision 
to the definition of ``Conservation area(s)'' does not change how or 
why GCAs are used, but simply brings consistency between the language 
describing the uses in two different sections of the groundfish 
regulations.
    The definition of ``Fishery harvest guideline'' at Sec.  660.11 is 
revised to clarify that all anticipated catch in tribal fisheries, not 
just those species for which the tribes have a formal allocation, is 
deducted from the ACL. The same non-substantive changes are made at 
Sec.  660.55(b) to the description of how the fishery harvest guideline 
is calculated.
    Prior to 2011, groundfish fishing regulations that pertained to 
tribal fisheries were contained in two separate sections: Sec.  660.324 
``Pacific Coast Treaty Indian Fisheries''; and Sec.  660.385 
``Washington Coastal Tribal Fisheries Management Measures''. During 
2011, groundfish regulations were re-organized and these two sections 
of tribal groundfish regulations were combined into a single section at 
Sec.  660.55. Combining the two sections without revisions has caused 
some confusing inconsistencies, redundancies, and disorganization 
within Sec.  660.55. The two different naming conventions for the 
sections remain in regulation even though they have identical meanings. 
NMFS proposes to eliminate the naming convention that is used least 
frequently in the groundfish regulations in part 660, subparts C 
through G, and revise the regulations at Sec.  660.55 to refer to the 
tribal fisheries as ``Pacific Coast Treaty Indian Fisheries.'' NMFS 
also proposes to separate information on overall tribal catch levels, 
such as allocations, harvest guidelines and set-asides and bring them 
together at Sec.  660.55(f). NMFS is also proposing to separate 
information regarding how tribal fisheries will be managed to achieve 
but not exceed their overall catch levels and bring them together at 
Sec.  660.55(g). No substantive changes are made to regulations with 
these changes, unless described above under ``Pacific Coast Treaty 
Indian Fisheries''; provisions are merely being moved from other 
paragraphs of Sec.  660.55 in order to group similar types of 
information.
    Also in Sec.  660.55, trip limits for rockfish in tribal fisheries 
at Sec.  660.55(g)(6) have been described since 2005 as 300 lb per 
trip, or equal to the non-tribal limited entry fishery trip limit for 
those species, if that limit is less restrictive than 300 lb per trip. 
The reference to limited entry fishery trip limits intentionally did 
not distinguish between limited entry trawl and limited entry fixed 
gear fisheries; tribal trip limits could be raised as high as the 
highest trip limit in either limited entry fishery. However, beginning 
in 2011, some of the rockfish species or species groups for which this 
trip limit provision applied were made IFQ species in the Shorebased 
IFQ Program and no longer have limited entry trawl fishery trip limits: 
They are now managed with IFQ. Therefore, a clarification is proposed 
at Sec.  660.55(g)(6) to distinguish that, for IFQ species and species 
groups, only the trip limits imposed for the limited entry fixed gear 
fishery would be applicable since trip limits for IFQ species are no 
longer specified for the limited entry trawl fishery.
    In Sec.  660.60, newly redesignated paragraph (c)(3)(i) is revised 
to clarify that depth-based area restrictions may be implemented, 
either automatically or as an inseason action, in the at-sea Pacific 
whiting fishery. This brings consistency with existing regulations at 
Sec.  660.150(c)(2)(i)(B)(3) and Sec.  660.160(c)(3)(iii).
    Several sections of the groundfish regulations are composed of long 
lists of latitude and longitude coordinates that are used to define 
groundfish conservation areas and areas designated as essential fish 
habitat. In Sec.  660.72(j) there is a list of 256 subparagraphs, and 
they all appear in the appropriate order. However, there is a mistake 
in the paragraph designation at (j)(247), where an extra digit was 
added to the paragraph number and it appears in the CFR as (j)(2475). 
Since the content and the location of the paragraph are correct, it is 
apparent that the paragraph should

[[Page 67994]]

have been (j)(247). Therefore, the paragraph is redesignated so that 
the extra digit is removed. This will reduce confusion that may be 
caused by the incorrect paragraph designation that is currently in the 
CFR.
    On May 15, 2012, NMFS published a final rule to establish a process 
to reapportion Pacific whiting (77 FR 28497) at Sec.  660.131(h). In 
the regulations that describe QP allocations for Pacific whiting, a new 
paragraph is added at Sec.  660.140(d)(1)(ii)(B)(4) so that 
reapportionment of Pacific whiting is included as one of the ways that 
additional QP may be issued to QS accounts. The added paragraph does 
not change how or why reapportionment of Pacific whiting may occur, but 
simply brings consistency between the language describing the process 
in two different sections of the groundfish regulations.
    NMFS also proposes clarifying language in surplus carryover 
regulations at Sec.  660.140(e)(5)(i), which state that additional 
surplus carryover QP or IBQ pounds will not be issued by NMFS above the 
vessel limits. This reiterates existing regulations at Sec.  
660.140(b)(1)(v) and does not change the effect or impact of the 
existing regulations. Also at Sec.  660.140(e)(5)(i), NMFS proposes 
clarifying language stating that surplus QP or IBQ pounds are not 
included as part of the shorebased trawl allocation.

Classification

    At this time, NMFS has made a preliminary determination that the 
2013-2014 groundfish harvest specifications and management measures in 
this proposed rule are consistent with PCGFMP, the MSA, and other 
applicable law. In making its final determination, NMFS will take into 
account the complete record, including the data, views, and comments 
received during the comment period.
    A DEIS was prepared for the 2013-2014 groundfish harvest 
specifications and management measures. The DEIS includes socio-
economic information that was used to prepare the RIR and IRFA. The 
Environmental Protection Agency published a notice of availability for 
the draft EIS on June 15, 2012 (77 FR 35961). A copy of the DEIS is 
available online at http://www.pcouncil.org/.
    An initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) was prepared, as 
required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The 
IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, 
would have on small entities. A description of the action, why it is 
being considered, and the legal basis for this action are contained at 
the beginning of this section in the preamble and in the SUMMARY 
section of the preamble. A copy of the IRFA is available from NMFS (see 
ADDRESSES). A summary of the analysis follows: The RIR/IRFA summarizes 
the key indicators and analyses used in the DEIS to compare the 
alternatives. Among other things, the DEIS discusses the impacts of the 
alternatives on commercial fishermen, the processors, recreational 
fishermen and businesses, and fishing communities.
    The reasons for why agency action is being considered and the 
statement of objectives and legal basis for the proposed rule are 
discussed above in the SUMMARY and in the Executive Summary. The number 
of small entities that are affected is discussed below along with the 
other IRFA requirements. The analysis below suggests that there are 
approximately 1,900 small entities involved in the fishery.
    This proposed rule will regulate businesses that harvest 
groundfish. This rule directly affects limited entry fixed gear permit 
holders, trawl quota share and whiting catch history endorsed permit 
holders (which includes shorebased whiting processors), tribal vessels, 
charterboat vessels, and open access vessels. Quota share holders are 
directly affected because the amount of quota pounds they receive based 
on their quota shares are affected by the ACLs. Vessels that fish under 
the trawl rationalization program receive their quota pounds from the 
quota share holders, and thus are indirectly affected if they only own 
vessel accounts rather than quota shares. Similarly, Mothership 
processors are indirectly affected as they receive the fish they 
process from limited entry permits that are endorsed with whiting catch 
history assignments. According to the Small Business Administration, a 
small commercial harvesting business is one that has annual receipts 
under $4.0 million, a small charter boat business is one that has 
annual receipts under $7 million, and a small processor is one that 
employs 500 employees or fewer. To determine the number of small 
entities potentially affected by this rule, NMFS reviewed analyses of 
fish ticket data and limited entry permit data, the DEIS associated 
with this rulemaking, which includes information on charterboat, 
tribal, and open access fleets, available cost-earnings data developed 
by NWFSC, and responses associated with the permitting process for the 
Trawl rationalization program where applicants were asked if they 
considered themselves a small business based on SBA definitions. This 
proposed rule would regulate businesses that harvest groundfish.
    NMFS makes the following conclusions based primarily on analyses 
associated with fish ticket data and limited entry permit data, 
available employment data provided by processors, information on the 
charterboat and tribal fleets, available industry responses to on-going 
surveys on ownership, current permit information, and the EIS 
associated with this rule making. As part of the permitting process for 
the Trawl rationalization program, applicants were asked if they 
considered themselves a small business. Quota shares were initially 
allocated to 166 limited entry trawl permit holders (permits held by 
catcher processors did not receive QS, while one limited entry trawl 
permit did not apply to receive QS) and to 10 whiting processors. 
Thirty-six limited entry permits also have MS/CV endorsements and catch 
history assignments. Because many of these permits were owned by the 
same entity, these initial allocations were consolidated into 138 quota 
share permits/accounts. Of the 166 limited entry permits that received 
quota share, 25 limited entry trawl permits are either owned or closely 
associated with a ``large'' shorebased processing company or with a 
non-profit organization who considers itself a ``large'' organization. 
Nine other permit owners indicated that they were ``large'' companies. 
Almost all of these large companies are associated with the shorebased 
and mothership whiting fisheries. The remaining 132 limited entry trawl 
permits are likely held by ``small'' companies. Of the 10 shorebased 
processing companies (whiting first receivers/processors) that received 
whiting QS, three are ``small'' entities.
    There are 222 fixed gear limited entry permits with 164 of these 
permits endorsed for sablefish. Currently 105 of these sablefish 
permits are stacked onto 42 vessels. Open access vessels are not 
federally permitted so counts based on landings can provide an estimate 
of the fleet. In 2011, 682 directed open access vessels fished while 
284 incidental open access vessels fished for a total of 966 vessels. 
Over the 2005-2010 period, 1,583 different directed open access vessels 
fished and 837 different incidental open access vessels fished for a 
total of 2,420 different vessels. According to the DEIS, over the 2008-
2010 period, 447 to 470 charterboats participated in the groundfish 
fishery. The four tribal fleets sum to a total of 54 longline vessels, 
5 whiting trawlers, and 5 non-whiting trawlers, for a grand total of 64 
vessels. Available

[[Page 67995]]

information on average revenue per vessel suggests that all the 
entities in these groups can be considered small.
    There are no new reporting or recordkeeping requirements. There are 
two new compliance requirements: An offloading requirement and a 
blackgill rockfish sorting requirement. As discussed above (See Sorting 
Requirements), current regulations already authorize the expansion of 
sorting requirements. In this instance, blackgill rockfish need to be 
sorted to a species specific level so that its catch can be matched 
against the new blackgill rockfish HG. As discussed above (See 
Offloading Requirements), NMFS is proposing to expand the offload 
requirements now used in the trawl rationalization program to all other 
sectors of the fishery. Every sector of the groundfish fishery, 
including landings in the limited entry fixed gear and open access 
fisheries, would be required to completely remove all fish from the 
vessel once landing had begun, in order for them to be allowed to start 
a subsequent trip. This requirement will make matching catch against 
sector allocations more accurate. NMFS is seeking comments from 
participants in the limited entry fixed gear and open access sectors, 
on the proposed action to require all fish from any trip, except for 
vessels fishing in the at-sea sectors of the Pacific whiting fishery, 
be offloaded prior to beginning a new trip.
    There are no relevant Federal rules that may duplicate, overlap, or 
conflict with this action. There are no significant alternatives to the 
proposed rule that accomplish the stated objectives of applicable 
statutes and that minimize any of the significant economic impact of 
the proposed rule on small entities. An analysis of the alternatives 
follows.
    The DEIS compared alternatives based on time to rebuild, changes in 
ex-vessel revenues, recreational trips and amount of regional impacts 
generated as measured by changes in personal income. The RIR/IRFA and 
the DEIS describe the alternatives in more detail and include the 
Council's analysis of the economic effects associated with the new 
management measures and accounting measures. These new management 
measures are not incorporated into the models used to project ex-vessel 
revenue, net revenue, income impacts, and employment used in the 
evaluation of the alternatives. Except for new recreational shelf 
rockfish retention measures, which may increase annual charterboat 
revenues by $3.5 to $7.0 million, generally speaking, the impacts of 
these new measures will have insignificant socio-economic effects. 
Several new measures include the elimination of unneeded size limits or 
allowing greater opportunity of harvested fish in one sector to be 
reallocated to another. The RIR/IRFA also contains discussions taken 
from the DEIS that address the following: non-market values, safety, 
and effects on processors. The effects on processors are generally 
reflected in the change in ex-vessel revenues discussed bellowed. The 
Council's conclusion on non-market values of groundfish is that there 
was no quantitative information to assess the non-consumptive uses that 
range from recreational enjoyment of the environment, or on the 
benefits from the knowledge that these resources will be available in 
the future or that the environmental quality is maintained. Regardless, 
even should such information be available, it is not likely that there 
would be substantive differences among the alternatives. The 
differences between the integrated alternatives in terms of their 
possible effects on vessel safety are expected to be negligible.
    The DEIS undertakes comparisons of the eight integrated action 
alternatives that are described above using the no action alternative 
as a benchmark. In comparing the action alternatives to the no action 
alternative, much of the change results from a 25 percent reduction in 
the ACL for sablefish north of 36[deg] north latitude. This reduction 
extends across all the 2013 action alternatives and forms a backdrop 
affecting all sectors targeting sablefish. The affected sectors and 
projected respective shares of total groundfish ex-vessel revenue 
contributed by sablefish landings under no action are: Nonwhiting Trawl 
(IFQ) 50 percent, Limited Entry Fixed Gear 79 percent, Non-nearshore 
Open Access 88 percent, and Tribal groundfish (including shoreside 
whiting) 35 percent.
    As the no action alternative represents the status quo, the 
economic analysis of this alternative provides the main characteristics 
of the current fishery. Under the no action alternative, total 
shoreside ex-vessel revenues from groundfish landings of $93,512 are 
projected in 2013. This includes the following projections for 
shoreside groundfish sectors: Whiting Trawl $23.65 million, Nonwhiting 
Trawl $26,912 million, Limited Entry Fixed Gear $19,068 million, 
Nearshore Open Access $4,218 million, Non-nearshore Open Access $7,687, 
Tribal groundfish (including shoreside whiting) $11.825 million, and 
Incidental Open Access $0.151 million. In addition $30,890 million ex-
vessel revenue equivalent from the at-sea non-tribal whiting fisheries 
(combined motherships and catcher processors) and $9.675 million ex-
vessel revenue equivalent from the at-sea Tribal whiting (mothership) 
fisheries are projected under the no action and all the action 
alternatives. Total shoreside and at-sea revenues including Tribal 
shoreside and at-sea revenues, are projected to reach $134 million.
    The combined projected revenue estimate of $134 million is higher 
than what actually occurred in 2011. Total groundfish revenues 
including tribal and at-sea fisheries reached $122 million in 2011. The 
main reason for the difference concerns Pacific whiting. To model the 
socioeconomic impacts of the alternatives the same Pacific whiting TAC, 
U.S. allocation, and sector allocations--equal to those set for 2011--
were used for all of the integrated alternatives including No Action. 
However in 2011, the entire U.S. allocation was not caught. The 
analysis predicts that 287,000 mt of whiting will be landed under the 
no action alternative. During 2011, 230,000 mt of whiting was landed. 
The assumption that whiting landings will approximate 287,000 mt in 
2013 and 2014 will depend on the upcoming stock assessment in April 
2013. However, recent changes in the ability to reapportion unharvested 
whiting from the tribal sector to the non-tribal sectors make it more 
likely that whatever the allocation, it will be more fully harvested.
    In comparison to the no action alternative, depending in the 
indicator, the range of impacts across the action alternatives is 
either negative or essentially reflects no change: ex-vessel revenues 
(-9.60 percent to -16.6 percent), shoreside commercial fishery net 
revenues, a measure of effects on vessel profits (-14.40 percent to -
24.70 percent), total recreational trips (-1.8 percent to +0.3 
percent), community commercial fishery income impacts (-9.8 percent to 
-18.0 percent), employment impacts (-6.3 percent to -19.8 percent), 
change in regional unemployment rates (+.001 percent to +.003 percent), 
recreational income impacts (-10.3 percent to +0.2 percent), combined 
recreational and commercial income impacts (-5.3 percent to -14.5 
percent), and processor groundfish purchases (-9.6 percent to -16.6 
percent).
    Of the indicators listed above, the coastwide income indicator is 
the most comprehensive indicator because it incorporates both 
recreational and commercial information including shoreside tribal 
fisheries. The action alternatives do not differ greatly in level of 
income generated. Alternatives 1, 2,

[[Page 67996]]

and 8 differ from alternatives 6 and 7 by $235,000. After rounding to 
the nearest million, these alternatives all generate about $155 million 
in coastwide income. Coastwide income under alternatives 3-5 generate 
income levels that range from $141 million to $149 million. Alternative 
4, as it has the lowest level of canary, generates the lowest income 
level of $141 million. Adoption of this alternative, would lead to a 
14.5 percent decrease in income from the no action alternative level of 
$165 million.
    The range in differences in the action alternatives summarized 
above result from varying levels of POP and canary rockfish ACLs. The 
allowable total mortality of canary rockfish affects all sectors of the 
groundfish fishery, while that for POP affects only the northern trawl 
fishery (both the at-sea whiting sectors and the shorebased IFQ sector, 
whiting and non-whiting). However, differences in nontrawl sector 
impacts (both projected total mortality and socioeconomic impacts) are 
due solely to variation of the canary rockfish ACL across the 
integrated alternatives. A substantial amount of total fishing 
mortality for canary rockfish also incurs in the recreational sector. 
Increased canary rockfish harvests may lead to increased harvests of 
bocaccio and cowcod, while the petrale sole fishery is limited by the 
available amount of canary and yelloweye rockfish, and Pacific halibut.
    Under the no action alternative, the following impacts were 
assessed. A total of 653,600 groundfish and Pacific halibut trips are 
projected coastwide. Just over half of these are private boat trips 
with the remainder taken on charterboats. The breakdown by state is: 
Washington 27,100 trips (14,300 charter + 12,800 private), Oregon 
92,100 trips (37,600 charter + 54,400 private, and California (269,400 
charter + 265,100 private). For shoreside communities, commercial 
groundfish fishing coastwide generates income and employment impacts of 
$90.249 million and 3,029 total and full time part-time jobs. The 
unemployment rate in coastal counties coastwide in 2010 according to 
the Bureau of Labor Statistics was 11.17 percent. A total of $74.089 
million in income impacts were generated by recreational groundfish 
angling. The total, combined coastwide commercial plus recreational, 
income impacts under no action is $164,518 million. Under no action, 
total purchases of groundfish landings by shoreside processors are 
projected in 2013. This total includes projected purchases of $23.65 
million of whiting and $69.862 million in deliveries of combined 
nonwhiting groundfish species.
    Although not explicitly analyzed, the combination of low canary 
rockfish and POP ACLS would affect the trawl fleets significantly. Low 
canary ACLs (i.e., <100 mt) and low POP ACLs (i.e., <150 mt) could 
result in limiting trawl fisheries to deeper waters outside the range 
of canary rockfish and POP. The low canary rockfish ACL negatively 
affects the smaller-sized trawlers that cannot safely fish the deeper 
slope areas, and are limited to fishing on the shelf shoreward of the 
RCA. The whiting fishery is especially challenged when canary rockfish 
and POP ACLs are both low because they have to avoid a larger area to 
target whiting without exceeding a canary rockfish or POP set-aside. 
When canary rockfish allocations are low, the whiting fleet tends to 
move to deeper waters to avoid canary rockfish at the expense of higher 
bycatch rates of darkblotched rockfish and POP. When POP allocations 
are low, the fleet targets whiting on the shelf to avoid that species. 
When both allocations are low, there are few areas the whiting fleets 
can go to safely target whiting.
    For purposes of contrast, the impacts of alternative 1 (The Council 
preferred alternative; alternatives 2 and 8 yield the same impacts), 
alternative 4 (greatest negative impact) and alternative 6 (least 
negative impact, alternative 7 yields same impact) are presented. 
Projected impacts under alternative 2 are the same as under alternative 
1 for all commercial groundfish sectors. This is because measures used 
to manage commercial fisheries to stay within the 116 mt canary 
rockfish ACL and sector HGs under alternative 1 are also sufficient to 
not exceed the 101 mt canary rockfish ACL under alternative 2. The 
primary common factor limiting commercial groundfish fisheries modeled 
under alternatives 1 and 2 is the fixed ACL for POP. Impacts under 
alternative 2 are the same as alternative 1. This result is because 
measures used to manage cowcod, bocaccio, and yelloweye rockfish to 
stay within their common ACLs and HGs under all the action alternatives 
are already sufficient to manage for the lower canary rockfish ACL 
under alternative 2.
    Projected impacts under alternative 8 are the same as under 
alternative 1 (the preferred alternative). The lack of difference in 
projected ex-vessel revenue impacts may seem surprising given that 
management measures to limit canary rockfish mortality are likely to 
affect target species fishing opportunity. However, measures used to 
manage commercial trawl fisheries to stay within the 150 mt POP ACL and 
sector HGs under alternative 8 are the same as those used under 
alternative 1. Thus the POP ACL is more limiting of commercial trawl 
fisheries modeled under alternatives 1 and 8 than is the canary 
rockfish ACL. Similarly the 3.3 mt of yelloweye rockfish allocated to 
the fixed gear fisheries sectors under all the action alternatives 
means that increasing the canary rockfish ACL is not expected to 
increase fishing opportunity for fixed gear sector target species to 
any great degree. Projected impacts under alternative 7 are the same as 
under alternative 6 for all commercial groundfish sectors. This is 
because measures used to manage commercial fisheries to stay within the 
222 mt POP ACL and sector HGs under alternative 7 are the same as those 
used under alternative 6. The 222 mt POP ACL is the main factor 
limiting commercial fisheries modeled under both alternatives 6 and 7.
    For recreational impacts, other than alternative 4, estimates of 
the impacts do not differ because of the constant levels of the other 
overfished species or because POP is not a recreational fish. Projected 
impacts under alternative 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are the same as under 
alternative 1. This is because measures used to manage cowcod, bocaccio 
and yelloweye rockfish to stay within their common ACLs and HGs under 
the action alternatives generally override the effects of the lower 
canary rockfish ACL under alternative 6, and changes in the POP ACL do 
not impact recreational fisheries. Impacts under alternative 3 are the 
same as alternative 1. This is because POP is not generally caught by 
recreational anglers, so changes in the POP ACL do not impact 
recreational fisheries.
    The regulations in this proposed rule would implement the Council's 
preferred alternative; in the discussion below references are made to 
options ``B'' and a distinction between alternative 1 and the Council 
preferred alternative, which is a modification of alternative 1. Under 
each of alternatives 1-8, two sub-alternatives (``A'' and ``B'') were 
developed for the Nearshore Open Access sector. The preferred 
alternative incorporates the management measures under sub-alternative 
B. This treatment reflects consideration of two different management 
options to achieve the prescribed bycatch levels. In each case, the 
``B'' option would likely yield lower harvests and revenues for the 
Nearshore Open Access sector than would the ``A'' option, a difference 
of about $206,000 to a fishery projected to earn $4.2 million in 
revenues under the no action alternative.

[[Page 67997]]

    The preferred alternative is very similar to alternative 1 except 
that the fishery harvest guideline is lower for petrale sole, 
yellowtail rockfish, and to a lesser extent, shortspine thornyheads, to 
accommodate tribal fisheries set asides. Increased allowances for 
research and at-sea whiting sector catch of arrowtooth flounder also 
reduce the fishery harvest guideline for these stocks. These changes 
reduce the fishery harvest guideline (allocations) for commercial 
fisheries for those four species accordingly. There may be an increase 
in tribal landings of petrale sole under the preferred alternative 
since projected tribal petrale sole landings under No action are 
slightly higher than the alternative 1 set aside. If the full amount of 
the tribal petrale sole set aside were landed under the preferred 
alternative, the upper bound on possible additional tribal revenue 
impact is on the order of +$0.25 million. All of these additional 
landings would be made in Puget Sound and Washington coast ports. Any 
increase in tribal yellowtail rockfish landings under the preferred 
alternative is less certain since projected tribal yellowtail rockfish 
landings under no action are well below the alternative 1 set aside 
amount. There is no expected decrease in commercial trawl (IFQ) 
fisheries revenue impacts under the preferred alternative because 
projected landings of petrale sole and yellowtail rockfish under 
alternative 1B are both well below the preferred alternative's 
shorebased trawl sector harvest guideline. There is no expected 
decrease in non-trawl sectors' revenue impacts under the preferred 
alternative because the affected species either are not taken 
(arrowtooth flounder, petrale sole), or projected landings under 
alternative 1B are well below the preferred alternative's non-trawl 
sector harvest guideline (shortspine thornyheads, yellowtail rockfish). 
As a result, preferred alternative may differ slightly from alternative 
1 in the distribution of revenues between Nonwhiting Trawl and Tribal 
fisheries sectors.
    Compared with No Action, under the alternative 1B, total shoreside 
ex-vessel revenue is projected to decline by $9.174 million (-9.8 
percent) and accounting net revenues by $4.510 (-14.7 percent). 
Nearshore Open Access would see projected revenues increase by $0.539 
million (+12.8 percent) under alternative 1B. These numbers represent 
the most favorable outcome for the Nearshore Open Access sector and are 
the same as those expected under alternatives 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8. All 
other shoreside directed groundfish sectors would experience ex-vessel 
revenue decreases from no action under this alternative: Whiting Trawl 
by $0.278 million (-1.2 percent), Nonwhiting Trawl by $3.175 million (-
11.8 percent), Limited Entry Fixed Gear by $3.782 million (-19.8 
percent), Non-nearshore Open Access by $1.436 million (-18.7 percent), 
and Tribal groundfish by $1.042 million (-8.8 percent). Under 
alternative 1, Shoreside Whiting and Nonwhiting Trawl would experience 
the second highest ex-vessel revenues among the action alternatives. 
Ex-vessel revenues for Limited Entry Fixed Gear, Non-nearshore Open 
Access and Tribal sectors do not vary across the action alternatives. 
Under the preferred alternative and alternative 1, angler trips 
coastwide are projected to increase by 1,700 (+0.3 percent) over no 
action, with all of the increase occurring in the Mendocino and Sonoma 
County (Fort Bragg--Bodega Bay) region of California. No change in 
angler effort is expected in Washington or Oregon. Alternative 1 shows 
the greatest increase in angler trips under the action.
    Compared to the status quo as measured by the no action 
alternative, total ex-vessel revenue under the proposed regulations is 
projected to decline by about 10 percent ($9.2 million) and accounting 
net revenues (vessel ``profits'') by 15 percent ($4.5 million). This is 
primarily due to the decline in the sablefish ACLs, which under no 
action/status quo alternative sum to 6,813 mt, versus 5,451 mt under 
the proposed regulations. This is a 20 percent decline in the ACL. 
Based on sablefish prices used in the analysis, declining sablefish 
revenues account for about 80 percent of the projected decline of $9 
million. Under the proposed regulations, angler trips coastwide are 
projected to increase by 1,700 (+0.3 percent) compared to the status 
quo. Under the proposed regulations, income from commercial groundfish 
fishing is projected to decline by $9.274 million (-10.3 percent). 
Income impacts from recreational groundfish are expected to increase by 
$0.136 million (+0.2 percent). Combined coastwide commercial plus 
recreational income impacts are expected to decrease by $9.138 million 
(-5.6 percent) compared to the no action alternative.
    For context, total groundfish revenues including tribal and at-sea 
fisheries reached $122 million in 2011-a 43 percent increase over 2010. 
Major causes of the increase can be associated with a 33 percent 
increase in sablefish prices; 43 percent increase in whiting prices, 
and 60 percent increase in whiting harvests. However, prices for all 
major species except lingcod increased in 2011. For most species, the 
percentage increase in ex-vessel prices was greater than 25 percent. 
Specific reasons for these increases are unknown, but appear correlated 
with improvements in U.S. and World economies, and in particular for 
sablefish, the Japanese market. For the shoreside trawl fishery, the 
IFQ program may also have had an influence on prices. Sablefish now 
accounts for almost 40 percent of the entire groundfish fishery 
(shoreside, at-sea, and tribal) revenues. Total groundfish revenues and 
total shoreside revenues in 2011 including whiting are at levels not 
seen since 1997. However, despite these increases, the shoreside non-
whiting fishery has not returned to pre-overfished era levels. During 
the period 1981 to 1998, shoreside non-whiting revenues averaged $98 
million annually in inflation adjusted revenues. For the period 1999 to 
2011, shoreside non-whiting revenues have averaged $54 million. 
Shoreside non-whiting revenues reached $69 million in 2011, compared to 
$58 million in 2010.
    With respect to assessing the needs of communities and choosing the 
time period to rebuild, the Council is recommending keeping to a 
constant harvest rate because, as stock biomass increases, the ACL 
increases correspondingly (essentially, a constant fraction of the 
population, rather than quantity, is removed from the population). 
Maintaining the no action ACL of 107 mt for canary would imply a 
constant catch policy in which the ACL would be set at a fixed value 
for the duration of the rebuilding period. This strategy is problematic 
if, as the stock becomes more abundant, harvesters have a harder time 
avoiding incidental catch. Fishery managers would then have to impose 
even more restrictive measures to prevent the ACL from being exceeded. 
Furthermore, it is not clear that a harvest rate associated with this 
lower ACL would rebuild the stock any faster than the preferred 
alternative since decreasing the SPR harvest rate from the default 88.7 
percent to 90 percent--an ACL of 101 mt in 2013--shortens rebuilding by 
only one year. The preferred ACL maintains the spawning biomass per 
recruit (SPR) harvest rate and provides a level of harvest that is 
expected to rebuild in a time period as short as possible, while taking 
into account the needs of fishing communities. For POP, the ACLs of 150 
mt and 153 mt in 2013 and 2014, respectively maintain the SPR harvest 
rate and provide a level of harvest that is reduced from the ACLs in 
2011--and 2012 to take into account fundament

[[Page 67998]]

changes in our understanding of the biology of the stock. Although the 
target time to rebuild POP is extended to 2051 due to revised estimates 
of the unfished biomass, which is estimated to be much larger than in 
previous assessments, POP limits access to target stocks as indicated 
in the integrated alternatives analyzed in the DEIS. As a result, the 
2013 POP ACL is 18 percent lower than the status quo 2012 POP ACL. 
Maintaining a continued constant harvest strategy allows incidental 
take of POP in target fisheries, allowing POP to rebuild in as short a 
time as possible, while also balancing the needs of fishing 
communities.
    The final preferred alternative represents the Council's efforts to 
address the MSA's requirements to rebuild stocks in as short a time as 
possible, taking into account: (1) The status and biology of the 
stocks, (2) the needs of fishing communities, and (3) interactions of 
depleted stocks within the marine ecosystem. By taking into account the 
``needs of fishing communities'' the Council was also simultaneously 
taking into account the ``needs of small businesses'' as fishing 
communities rely on small businesses as a source of economic income and 
activity and income. During its four major council meetings, actions 
and revisions by the Council in selecting the preferred alternative can 
be seen as means of trying to mitigate impacts of the proposed rule on 
small entities. The DEIS includes analysis of a range of alternatives 
that were considered by the Council, including analysis of the effects 
of setting allowable harvest levels necessary to rebuild groundfish 
species that were previously declared overfished. The Council reviewed 
these analyses and read and heard testimony from Council advisors, 
fishing industry representatives, representatives from non-governmental 
organizations, and the general public before deciding the final 
Council-preferred alternative in June 2012. The Council's final 
preferred management measures are intended to stay within all the final 
recommended harvest levels for groundfish species decided by the 
Council at their April and June 2012 meetings.
    The above analysis suggests that there are approximately 1,400 
small entities involved in the fishery. Under the RFA, an agency does 
not need to conduct an IRFA and/or Final Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis (FRFA), if an agency can certify that the proposed rule will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The economic analysis forecasts that 2013-2014 will lead to 
an increase in recreational groundfish trips and a decline of about 15 
percent in commercial revenues compared to 2011, largely because of the 
decline in the amount of sablefish available to be harvested. This 
decline will affect the profits of both large and small entities. 
However, we do not believe that this rule will place a substantial 
number of small entities at a significant competitive disadvantage 
compared to large entities. Nonetheless, NMFS has prepared an IRFA. 
Through the rulemaking process associated with this action, we are 
requesting comments on this conclusion.
    NMFS issued Biological Opinions under the Endangered Species Act 
(ESA) on August 10, 1990, November 26, 1991, August 28, 1992, September 
27, 1993, May 14, 1996, and December 15, 1999, pertaining to the 
effects of the Pacific Coast groundfish FMP fisheries on Chinook salmon 
(Puget Sound, Snake River spring/summer, Snake River fall, upper 
Columbia River spring, lower Columbia River, upper Willamette River, 
Sacramento River winter, Central Valley spring, California coastal), 
coho salmon (Central California coastal, southern Oregon/northern 
California coastal), chum salmon (Hood Canal summer, Columbia River), 
sockeye salmon (Snake River, Ozette Lake), and steelhead (upper, middle 
and lower Columbia River, Snake River Basin, upper Willamette River, 
central California coast, California Central Valley, south/central 
California, northern California, southern California). These biological 
opinions have concluded that implementing the FMP for the Pacific Coast 
groundfish fishery is not expected to jeopardize the continued 
existence of any endangered or threatened species under the 
jurisdiction of NMFS, or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat.
    NMFS issued a Supplemental Biological Opinion on March 11, 2006, 
concluding that neither the higher observed bycatch of Chinook in the 
2005 whiting fishery nor new data regarding salmon bycatch in the 
groundfish bottom trawl fishery required a reconsideration of its prior 
``no jeopardy'' conclusion. NMFS also reaffirmed its prior 
determination that implementation of the Pacific Coast Groundfish 
Fishery Management Plan (PCGFMP) is not likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of any of the affected ESUs. Lower Columbia River 
coho (70 FR 37160, June 28, 2005) and Oregon Coastal coho (73 FR 7816, 
February 11, 2008) were recently relisted as threatened under the ESA. 
The 1999 biological opinion concluded that the bycatch of salmonids in 
the Pacific whiting fishery were almost entirely Chinook salmon, with 
little or no bycatch of coho, chum, sockeye, and steelhead.
    On February 9, 2012, NMFS's Protected Resources Division issued a 
Biological Opinion (BO) pursuant to section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered 
Species Act (ESA) on the effects of the operation of the Pacific coast 
groundfish fishery in 2012. In this Opinion, NMFS concluded that the 
operation of the groundfish fishery is not likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris), eulachon 
(Thaleichthys pacificus), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), 
Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus), and leatherback sea turtles 
(Dennochelys coriacea). NMFS also concluded that the operation of the 
groundfish fishery is not likely to destroy or adversely modify 
designated critical habitat of green sturgeon or leatherback sea 
turtles. Furthermore, NMFS concluded that the operation of the 
groundfish fishery may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect 
the following species and designated critical habitat: Sei whales 
(Balaenoptera borealis); North Pacific Right whales (Eubalaena 
japonica); Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus); Fin whales 
(Balaenoptera physalus); Sperm whales (Physter macrocephalus); Southern 
Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca); Guadalupe fur seals 
(Arctocephalus townsendi); Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas); Olive 
ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea); Loggerhead sea turtles 
(Carretta carretta); critical habitat of Southern Resident killer 
whales; and critical habitat of Steller sea lions.
    On August 25, 2011, NMFS' Sustainable Fisheries Division initiated 
consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) pursuant to 
section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on the effects of 
the operation of the Pacific coast groundfish fishery. The Biological 
Assessment (BA) on the effects of the groundfish fishery on endangered 
species was revised and re-submitted to USFWS on January 17, 2012. The 
BA concludes that the continued operation of the Pacific Coast 
Groundfish Fishery is likely to adversely affect short-tailed 
albatross; however, the level of take is not expected to reduce 
appreciably the likelihood of survival or significantly affect recovery 
of the species. The BA preliminarily concludes that continued operation 
of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery is not likely to adversely 
affect California least terns, marbled murrelets, bull trout, and 
Northern or Southern sea otters. USFWS

[[Page 67999]]

formally responded with a letter dated March 29, 2012 and advised NMFS 
that formal consultation has been initiated. Marine Mammal Protection 
Act (MMPA) impacts resulting from fishing activities in this final rule 
are discussed in the DEIS for the 2013-2014 groundfish fishery 
specifications and management measures. As discussed above, NMFS issued 
a BO addressing impacts to ESA listed marine mammals and is currently 
completing formal consultation for the ongoing effects of prosecution 
of the groundfish fishery for 2013 and beyond. NMFS is also working on 
the process leading to any necessary authorization of incidental taking 
under MMPA section 101(a)(5)(E).
    Pursuant to Executive Order 13175, this proposed rule was developed 
after meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials 
from the area covered by the PCGFMP. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act at 
16 U.S.C. 1852(b)(5), one of the voting members of the Pacific Council 
must be a representative of an Indian tribe with federally recognized 
fishing rights from the area of the Council's jurisdiction. In 
addition, regulations implementing the PCGFMP establish a procedure by 
which the tribes with treaty fishing rights in the area covered by the 
PCGFMP request new allocations or regulations specific to the tribes, 
in writing, before the first of the two meetings at which the Council 
considers groundfish management measures. The regulations at 50 CFR 
660.324(d) further state ``the Secretary will develop tribal 
allocations and regulations under this paragraph in consultation with 
the affected tribe(s) and, insofar as possible, with tribal 
consensus''. The tribal management measures in this proposed rule have 
been developed following these procedures. The tribal representative on 
the Council made a motion to adopt the non-whiting tribal management 
measures, which was passed by the Council. Those management measures, 
which were developed and proposed by the tribes, are included in this 
proposed rule.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Indian fisheries.

    Dated: November 2, 2012.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, performing the 
functions and duties of the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

    1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. and 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.

    2. In Sec.  660.11, revise the definitions for ``Conservation 
area(s)'' paragraph (1), and ``Fishery harvest guideline'' as follows:


Sec.  660.11  General definitions

* * * * *
    Conservation area(s) * * *
    (1) Groundfish Conservation Area or GCA means a geographic area 
defined by coordinates expressed in degrees latitude and longitude, 
wherein fishing by a particular gear type or types may be prohibited. 
Regulations at Sec.  660.60(c)(3) describe the various purposes for 
which these GCAs may be implemented. Regulations at Sec.  660.70 define 
coordinates for these polygonal GCAs: Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation 
Areas, Cowcod Conservation Areas, waters encircling the Farallon 
Islands, and waters encircling the Cordell Banks. GCAs also include 
Bycatch Reduction Areas or BRAs and Rockfish Conservation Areas or 
RCAs, which are areas closed to fishing by particular gear types, 
bounded by lines approximating particular depth contours. RCA 
boundaries may and do change seasonally according to conservation 
needs. Regulations at Sec. Sec.  660.70 through 660.74 define RCA 
boundary lines with latitude/longitude coordinates; regulations at 
Tables 1 (North) and 1 (South) of subpart D, Tables 2 (North) and 2 
(South) of subpart E, and Tables 3 (North) and 3 (South) of subpart F 
set RCA seasonal boundaries. Fishing prohibitions associated with GCAs 
are in addition to those associated with EFH Conservation Areas.
* * * * *
    Fishery harvest guideline means the harvest guideline or quota 
after subtracting from the TAC, ACL, or ACT when specified, any 
allocation or projected catch for the Pacific Coast treaty Indian 
Tribes, projected research catch, deductions for fishing mortality in 
non-groundfish fisheries, and deductions for EFPs.
* * * * *
    3. In Sec.  660.12, paragraphs (a)(11) through (a)(13) are 
redesignated as (a)(12) through (a)(14) and new paragraph (a)(11) is 
added to read as follows:


Sec.  660.12  General groundfish prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (11) Fail to remove all fish from the vessel at landing (defined in 
Sec.  660.11) and prior to beginning a new fishing trip, except for 
processing vessels in the catcher/processor or mothership sectors of 
the Pacific whiting fishery.
* * * * *
    4. In Sec.  660.40, introductory text and paragraphs (b), (e) and 
(f) are revised, paragraph (g) is removed, and paragraph (h) is 
redesignated as paragraph (g) to read as follows:


Sec.  660.40  Overfished species rebuilding plans.

    For each overfished groundfish stock with an approved rebuilding 
plan, this section contains the standards to be used to establish 
annual or biennial ACLs, specifically the target date for rebuilding 
the stock to its MSY level and the harvest control rule to be used to 
rebuild the stock. The harvest control rule may be expressed as a 
``Spawning Potential Ratio'' or ``SPR'' harvest rate.
* * * * *
    (b) Canary rockfish. Canary rockfish was declared overfished in 
2000. The target year for rebuilding the canary rockfish stock to 
BMSY is 2030. The harvest control rule to be used to rebuild 
the canary rockfish stock is an annual SPR harvest rate of 88.7 
percent.
* * * * *
    (e) Pacific Ocean Perch (POP). POP was declared overfished in 1999. 
The target year for rebuilding the POP stock to BMSY is 
2051. The harvest control rule to be used to rebuild the POP stock is 
an annual SPR harvest rate of 86.4 percent.
    (f) Petrale Sole. Petrale sole was declared overfished in 2010. The 
target year for rebuilding the petrale sole stock to BMSY is 
2016. The harvest control rule is the 25-5 default adjustment.
* * * * *
    (g) Yelloweye rockfish. Yelloweye rockfish was declared overfished 
in 2002. The target year for rebuilding the yelloweye rockfish stock to 
BMSY is 2074. The harvest control rule to be used to rebuild 
the yelloweye rockfish stock is an annual SPR harvest rate of 76.0 
percent.
    5. In Sec.  660.50, paragraphs (f) introductory text, (f)(2)(ii), 
(f)(4), (g)

[[Page 68000]]

introductory text, (g)(5), through (7) are revised and (f)(6), (f)(7) 
are added to read as follows:


Sec.  660.50  Pacific Coast treaty Indian fisheries

* * * * *
    (f) Pacific Coast treaty Indian fisheries allocations, harvest 
guidelines, and set-asides. Catch amounts may be specified in this 
section and in Tables 1a and 2a to subpart C. Trip limits for certain 
species were recommended by the tribes and the Council and are 
specified in paragraph (g) of this section.
* * * * *
    (2) * * *
    (ii) The Tribal allocation is 401 mt in 2013 and 435 in 2014 per 
year. This allocation is, for each year, 10 percent of the Monterey 
through Vancouver area (North of 36[deg] N. lat.) ACL. The Tribal 
allocation is reduced by 1.5 percent for estimated discard mortality.
* * * * *
    (4) Pacific whiting. The tribal allocation for 2012 is 48,556 mt. 
The tribal allocations will be announced annually in the Federal 
Register.
* * * * *
    (6) For petrale sole, treaty fishing vessels are restricted to a 
fleetwide harvest target of 220 mt each year.
    (7) Yellowtail rockfish taken in the directed tribal mid-water 
trawl fisheries are subject to a catch limit of 677 mt for the entire 
fleet.
    (g) Pacific Coast treaty Indian fisheries management measures. Trip 
limits for certain species were recommended by the tribes and the 
Council and are specified here.
* * * * *
    (5) Yellowtail and widow rockfish. The Makah Tribe will manage the 
midwater trawl fisheries as follows: Landings of widow rockfish must 
not exceed 10 percent of the weight of yellowtail rockfish landed, for 
a given vessel, throughout the year. These limits may be adjusted by 
the tribe inseason to minimize the incidental catch of canary rockfish 
and widow rockfish, provided the catch of yellowtail rockfish does not 
exceed the fleetwide catch limit specified in paragraph (f) of this 
section.
    (6) Other rockfish.
    (i) Minor nearshore rockfish. Minor nearshore rockfish are subject 
to a 300-lb (136-kg) trip limit per species or species group, or to the 
non-tribal limited entry trip limit for those species if those limits 
are less restrictive than 300-lb (136-kg) per trip. Limited entry trip 
limits for waters off Washington are specified in Table 1 (North) to 
subpart D, and Table 2 (North) to subpart E.
    (ii) Minor shelf rockfish and minor slope rockfish. Redstripe 
rockfish are subject to an 800-lb (363 kg) trip limit. Minor shelf 
(excluding redstripe rockfish), and minor slope rockfish groups are 
subject to a 300-lb (136 kg) trip limit per species or species group, 
or to the non-tribal limited entry fixed gear trip limit for those 
species if those limits are less restrictive than 300-lb (136 kg) per 
trip. Limited entry fixed gear trip limits are specified in Table 2 
(North) to subpart E.
    (iii) Other rockfish. All other rockfish, not listed specifically 
in paragraph (g) of this section, are subject to a 300-lb (136 kg) trip 
limit per species or species group, or to the non-tribal limited entry 
trip limit for those species if those limits are less restrictive than 
300-lb (136 kg) per trip. Limited entry trip limits for waters off 
Washington are specified in Table1 (North) to subpart D, and Table 2 
(North) to subpart E.
    (7) Flatfish and other fish. Trawl vessels are restricted to using 
small footrope trawl gear. Treaty fishing vessels using bottom trawl 
gear are subject to the following limits: For Dover sole, English sole, 
other flatfish 110,000-lbs (49,895 kg) per 2 months; and for arrowtooth 
flounder 150,000-lbs (68,039 kg) per 2 months. The Dover sole and 
arrowtooth flounder limits in place at the beginning of the season will 
be combined across periods and the fleet to create a cumulative harvest 
target. The limits available to individual vessels will then be 
adjusted inseason to stay within the overall harvest target as well as 
estimated impacts to overfished species.
* * * * *
    6. In Sec.  660.55, paragraph (k) is removed and reserved, 
paragraph (b) introductory text, and (j) are revised as follows:


Sec.  660.55  Allocations.

* * * * *
    (b) Fishery harvest guidelines and reductions made prior to fishery 
allocations. Prior to the setting of fishery allocations, the TAC, ACL, 
or ACT when specified, is reduced by the Pacific Coast treaty Indian 
Tribal harvest (allocations, set-asides, and estimated harvest under 
regulations at Sec.  660.50); projected scientific research catch of 
all groundfish species, estimates of fishing mortality in non-
groundfish fisheries and, as necessary, deductions for EFPs. The 
remaining amount after these deductions is the fishery harvest 
guideline or quota. (note: recreational estimates are not deducted 
here).
* * * * *
    (j) Fishery set-asides. Annual set-asides are not formal 
allocations but they are amounts which are not available to the other 
fisheries during the fishing year. For Pacific Coast treaty Indian 
fisheries, set-asides will be deducted from the TAC, OY, ACL, or ACT 
when specified. For the catcher/processor and mothership sectors of the 
at-sea Pacific whiting fishery, set-asides will be deducted from the 
limited entry trawl fishery allocation. Set-aside amounts will be 
specified in Tables 1a through 2d of this subpart and may be adjusted 
through the biennial harvest specifications and management measures 
process.
    (k) [Reserved]
* * * * *
    7. In Sec.  660.60, paragraphs (c) introductory text, (c)(1)(i), 
(c)(3), (d)(1)(ii), (d)(1)(vi), (h)(2) are revised and paragraph 
(c)(1)(v) is added to read as follows:


Sec.  660.60  Specifications and management measures.

* * * * *
    (c) Routine management measures. Catch restrictions that are likely 
to be adjusted on a biennial or more frequent basis may be imposed and 
announced by a single notification in the Federal Register if good 
cause exists under the APA to waive notice and comment, and if they 
have been designated as routine through the two-meeting process 
described in the PCGFMP. Routine management measures that may be 
revised during the fishing year, via this process, are implemented in 
paragraph (h) of this section, and in subparts C through G of this 
part, including Tables 1a through 1c, and 2a through 2c to subpart C, 
Tables 1 (North) and 1 (South) of subpart D, Tables 2 (North) and 2 
(South) of subpart E, Tables 3 (North) and 3 (South) of subpart F. Most 
trip, bag, and size limits, and area closures in the groundfish fishery 
have been designated ``routine,'' which means they may be changed 
rapidly after a single Council meeting. Council meetings are held in 
the months of March, April, June, September, and November. Inseason 
changes to routine management measures are announced in the Federal 
Register pursuant to the requirements of the Administrative Procedure 
Act (APA). Changes to trip limits are effective at the times stated in 
the Federal Register. Once a change is effective, it is illegal to take 
and retain, possess, or land more fish than allowed under the new trip 
limit. This means that, unless otherwise announced in the Federal 
Register, offloading must begin before the time a fishery closes or a 
more restrictive trip limit takes effect. The following catch 
restrictions have been designated as routine:

[[Page 68001]]

    (1) * * *
    (i) Trip landing and frequency limits, size limits, all gear. Trip 
landing and frequency limits have been designated as routine for the 
following species or species groups: widow rockfish, canary rockfish, 
yellowtail rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, yelloweye rockfish, black 
rockfish, blue rockfish, splitnose rockfish, blackgill rockfish in the 
area south of 40[deg]10' N. lat., chilipepper, bocaccio, cowcod, minor 
nearshore rockfish or shallow and deeper minor nearshore rockfish, 
shelf or minor shelf rockfish, and minor slope rockfish; DTS complex 
which is composed of Dover sole, sablefish, shortspine thornyheads, 
longspine thornyheads; petrale sole, rex sole, arrowtooth flounder, 
Pacific sanddabs, and the other flatfish complex, which is composed of 
those species plus any other flatfish species listed at Sec.  660.11; 
Pacific whiting; lingcod; Pacific cod; spiny dogfish; longnose skate; 
cabezon in Oregon and California and ``other fish'' as a complex 
consisting of all groundfish species listed at Sec.  660.11 and not 
otherwise listed as a distinct species or species group. In addition to 
the species and species groups listed above, sub-limits or aggregate 
limits may be specified, specific to the Shorebased IFQ Program, for 
the following species: big skate, California skate, California 
scorpionfish, leopard shark, soupfin shark, finescale codling, Pacific 
rattail (grenadier), ratfish, kelp greenling, shortbelly, and cabezon 
in Washington. Size limits have been designated as routine for 
sablefish and lingcod. Trip landing and frequency limits and size 
limits for species with those limits designated as routine may be 
imposed or adjusted on a biennial or more frequent basis for the 
purpose of keeping landings within the harvest levels announced by 
NMFS, and for the other purposes given in paragraphs (c)(1)(i)(A) and 
(B) of this section.
* * * * *
    (v) Shorebased IFQ Program surplus carryover percentage. As 
specified at Sec.  660.140(e)(5)(i), a percentage of surplus QP or IBQ 
pounds in a vessel account may be carried over from one year to the 
next. The percentage of surplus QP or IBQ pounds, that may be carried 
over may be modified on a biennial or more frequent basis, and may not 
be higher than 10 percent.
* * * * *
    (3) All fisheries, all gear types.
    (i) Depth-based management measures. Depth-based management 
measures, particularly the setting of closed areas known as Groundfish 
Conservation Areas, may be implemented in any fishery that takes 
groundfish directly or incidentally. Depth-based management measures 
are set using specific boundary lines that approximate depth contours 
with latitude/longitude waypoints found at Sec.  660.70 through 660.74. 
Depth-based management measures and the setting of closed areas may be 
used: to protect and rebuild overfished stocks, to prevent the 
overfishing of any groundfish species by minimizing the direct or 
incidental catch of that species, to minimize the incidental harvest of 
any protected or prohibited species taken in the groundfish fishery, to 
extend the fishing season; for the commercial fisheries, to minimize 
disruption of traditional fishing and marketing patterns; for the 
recreational fisheries, to spread the available catch over a large 
number of anglers; to discourage target fishing while allowing small 
incidental catches to be landed; and to allow small fisheries to 
operate outside the normal season. BRAs may be implemented in the 
Pacific whiting fishery: as an automatic action for species with a 
sector specific allocation, consistent with paragraph (d)(1) of this 
section; or as a routine action consistent with the purposes for 
implementing depth based management and the setting of closed areas as 
described in paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section.
    (ii) Non-tribal deductions from the ACL. Changes to the non-tribal 
amounts deducted from the TAC, ACLs, or ACT when specified, described 
at Sec.  660.55 (b)(2) through (4) and specified in the footnotes to 
Tables 1a through 1c, and 2a through 2c, to subpart C, have been 
designated as routine to make fish that would otherwise go unharvested 
available to other fisheries during the fishing year. Adjustments may 
be made to provide additional harvest opportunities in groundfish 
fisheries when catch in scientific research activities, non-groundfish 
fisheries, and EFPs are lower than the amounts that were initially 
deducted off the TAC, ACL, or ACT when specified, during the biennial 
specifications. When recommending adjustments to the non-tribal 
deductions, the Council shall consider the allocation framework 
criteria outlined in the PCGFMP and the objectives to maintain or 
extend fishing and marketing opportunities taking into account the best 
available fishery information on sector needs.
    (d) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (ii) Close one or more at-sea sectors of the fishery when a non-
whiting groundfish species with allocations is reached or projected to 
be reached.
* * * * *
    (vi) Implement Pacific Whiting Bycatch Reduction Areas, described 
at Sec.  660.131(c)(4), when NMFS projects a sector-specific allocation 
will be reached before the sector's whiting allocation.
* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (2) Landing. As stated at Sec.  660.11 (in the definition of ``Land 
or landing''), once the offloading of any species begins, all fish 
aboard the vessel are counted as part of the landing and must be 
reported as such. All fish from a landing must be removed from the 
vessel before a new fishing trip begins, except for processing vessels 
fishing in the catcher/processor or mothership sectors of the Pacific 
whiting fishery. Transfer of fish at sea is prohibited under Sec.  
660.12, unless a vessel is participating in the primary whiting fishery 
as part of the mothership or catcher/processor sectors, as described at 
Sec.  660.131(a). Catcher vessels in the mothership sector must 
transfer all catch from a haul to the same vessel registered to an MS 
permit prior to the gear being set for a subsequent haul. Catch may not 
be transferred to a tender vessel.
* * * * *
    8. In Sec.  660.72, paragraph (j)(2475) is redesignated as 
(j)(247).
    9. Section 660.73 is amended as follows:
    a. Remove paragraphs (h)(58) and (h)(59),
    b. Redesignate paragraphs (h)(60) through (h)(186) as (h)(61) 
through (h)(187), (h)(187) through (h)(191) as (h)(192) through 
(h)(196), (h)(192) through (h)(301) as (h)(200) through (h)(309),
    c. Add paragraphs (h)(58) through (h)(60), (h)(188) through 
(h)(191), (h)(197) through (h)(199), and paragraph (l) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  660.73  Latitude/longitude coordinates defining the 100 fm (183 
m) through 150 fm (274 m) depth contours.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (58) 46[deg]58.36' N. lat., 124[deg]59.82' W. long.;
    (59) 46[deg]56.80' N. lat., 125[deg]00.00' W. long.;
    (60) 46[deg]56.62' N. lat., 125[deg]00.00' W. long.;
* * * * *
    (188) 39[deg]49.10' N. lat., 124[deg]06.00' W. long.;
    (189) 39[deg]48.94' N. lat., 124[deg]04.74' W. long.;
    (190) 39[deg]48.60' N. lat., 124[deg]04.50' W. long.;

[[Page 68002]]

    (191) 39[deg]47.95' N. lat., 124[deg]05.22' W. long.;
* * * * *
    (197) 39[deg]31.64' N. lat., 123[deg]56.16' W. long.;
    (198) 39[deg]31.40' N. lat., 123[deg]56.70' W. long.;
    (199) 39[deg]32.35' N. lat., 123[deg]57.42' W. long.;
* * * * *
    (l) The 150 fm (274 m) depth contour used between the U.S. border 
with Canada and 40[deg]10' N. lat., modified to allow fishing in 
petrale sole areas, is defined by straight lines connecting all of the 
following points in the order stated:
    (1) 48[deg]14.96' N. lat., 125[deg]41.24' W. long.;
    (2) 48[deg]12.89' N. lat., 125[deg]37.83' W. long.;
    (3) 48[deg]11.49' N. lat., 125[deg]39.27' W. long.;
    (4) 48[deg]10.00' N. lat., 125[deg]40.65' W. long.;
    (5) 48[deg]08.72' N. lat., 125[deg]41.84' W. long.;
    (6) 48[deg]07.00' N. lat., 125[deg]45.00' W. long.;
    (7) 48[deg]06.13' N. lat., 125[deg]41.57' W. long.;
    (8) 48[deg]05.00' N. lat., 125[deg]39.00' W. long.;
    (9) 48[deg]04.15' N. lat., 125[deg]36.71' W. long.;
    (10) 48[deg]03.00' N. lat., 125[deg]36.00' W. long.;
    (11) 48[deg]01.65' N. lat., 125[deg]36.96' W. long.;
    (12) 48[deg]01.00' N. lat., 125[deg]38.50' W. long.;
    (13) 47[deg]57.50' N. lat., 125[deg]36.50' W. long.;
    (14) 47[deg]56.53' N. lat., 125[deg]30.33' W. long.;
    (15) 47[deg]57.28' N. lat., 125[deg]27.89' W. long.;
    (16) 47[deg]59.00' N. lat., 125[deg]25.50' W. long.;
    (17) 48[deg]01.77' N. lat., 125[deg]24.05' W. long.;
    (18) 48[deg]02.08' N. lat., 125[deg]22.98' W. long.;
    (19) 48[deg]03.00' N. lat., 125[deg]22.50' W. long.;
    (20) 48[deg]03.46' N. lat., 125[deg]22.10' W. long.;
    (21) 48[deg]04.29' N. lat., 125[deg]20.37' W. long.;
    (22) 48[deg]02.00' N. lat., 125[deg]18.50' W. long.;
    (23) 48[deg]00.01' N. lat., 125[deg]19.90' W. long.;
    (24) 47[deg]58.75' N. lat., 125[deg]17.54' W. long.;
    (25) 47[deg]53.50' N. lat., 125[deg]13.50' W. long.;
    (26) 47[deg]48.88' N. lat., 125[deg]05.91' W. long.;
    (27) 47[deg]48.50' N. lat., 125[deg]05.00' W. long.;
    (28) 47[deg]45.98' N. lat., 125[deg]04.26' W. long.;
    (29) 47[deg]45.00' N. lat., 125[deg]05.50' W. long.;
    (30) 47[deg]42.11' N. lat., 125[deg]04.74' W. long.;
    (31) 47[deg]39.00' N. lat., 125[deg]06.00' W. long.;
    (32) 47[deg]35.53' N. lat., 125[deg]04.55' W. long.;
    (33) 47[deg]30.90' N. lat., 124[deg]57.31' W. long.;
    (34) 47[deg]29.54' N. lat., 124[deg]56.50' W. long.;
    (35) 47[deg]29.50' N. lat., 124[deg]54.50' W. long.;
    (36) 47[deg]28.57' N. lat., 124[deg]51.50' W. long.;
    (37) 47[deg]25.00' N. lat., 124[deg]48.00' W. long.;
    (38) 47[deg]23.95' N. lat., 124[deg]47.24' W. long.;
    (39) 47[deg]23.00' N. lat., 124[deg]47.00' W. long.;
    (40) 47[deg]21.00' N. lat., 124[deg]46.50' W. long.;
    (41) 47[deg]18.20' N. lat., 124[deg]45.84' W. long.;
    (42) 47[deg]18.50' N. lat., 124[deg]49.00' W. long.;
    (43) 47[deg]19.17' N. lat., 124[deg]50.86' W. long.;
    (44) 47[deg]18.07' N. lat., 124[deg]53.29' W. long.;
    (45) 47[deg]17.78' N. lat., 124[deg]51.39' W. long.;
    (46) 47[deg]16.81' N. lat., 124[deg]50.85' W. long.;
    (47) 47[deg]15.96' N. lat., 124[deg]53.15' W. long.;
    (48) 47[deg]14.31' N. lat., 124[deg]52.62' W. long.;
    (49) 47[deg]11.87' N. lat., 124[deg]56.90' W. long.;
    (50) 47[deg]12.39' N. lat., 124[deg]58.09' W. long.;
    (51) 47[deg]09.50' N. lat., 124[deg]57.50' W. long.;
    (52) 47[deg]09.00' N. lat., 124[deg]59.00' W. long.;
    (53) 47[deg]06.06' N. lat., 124[deg]58.80' W. long.;
    (54) 47[deg]03.62' N. lat., 124[deg]55.96' W. long.;
    (55) 47[deg]02.89' N. lat., 124[deg]56.89' W. long.;
    (56) 47[deg]01.04' N. lat., 124[deg]59.54' W. long.;
    (57) 46[deg]58.47' N. lat., 124[deg]59.08' W. long.;
    (58) 46[deg]58.36' N. lat., 124[deg]59.82' W. long.;
    (59) 46[deg]56.80' N. lat., 125[deg]00.00' W. long.;
    (60) 46[deg]56.62' N. lat., 125[deg]00.00' W. long.;
    (61) 46[deg]57.09' N. lat., 124[deg]58.86' W. long.;
    (62) 46[deg]55.95' N. lat., 124[deg]54.88' W. long.;
    (63) 46[deg]54.79' N. lat., 124[deg]54.14' W. long.;
    (64) 46[deg]58.00' N. lat., 124[deg]50.00' W. long.;
    (65) 46[deg]54.50' N. lat., 124[deg]49.00' W. long.;
    (66) 46[deg]54.53' N. lat., 124[deg]52.94' W. long.;
    (67) 46[deg]49.52' N. lat., 124[deg]53.41' W. long.;
    (68) 46[deg]42.24' N. lat., 124[deg]47.86' W. long.;
    (69) 46[deg]39.50' N. lat., 124[deg]42.50' W. long.;
    (70) 46[deg]38.17' N. lat., 124[deg]41.50' W. long.;
    (71) 46[deg]37.50' N. lat., 124[deg]41.00' W. long.;
    (72) 46[deg]36.50' N. lat., 124[deg]38.00' W. long.;
    (73) 46[deg]33.85' N. lat., 124[deg]36.99' W. long.;
    (74) 46[deg]33.50' N. lat., 124[deg]29.50' W. long.;
    (75) 46[deg]32.00' N. lat., 124[deg]31.00' W. long.;
    (76) 46[deg]30.53' N. lat., 124[deg]30.55' W. long.;
    (77) 46[deg]25.50' N. lat., 124[deg]33.00' W. long.;
    (78) 46[deg]23.00' N. lat., 124[deg]35.00' W. long.;
    (79) 46[deg]21.05' N. lat., 124[deg]37.00' W. long.;
    (80) 46[deg]20.64' N. lat., 124[deg]36.21' W. long.;
    (81) 46[deg]20.36' N. lat., 124[deg]37.85' W. long.;
    (82) 46[deg]19.48' N. lat., 124[deg]38.35' W. long.;
    (83) 46[deg]17.87' N. lat., 124[deg]38.54' W. long.;
    (84) 46[deg]16.15' N. lat., 124[deg]25.20' W. long.;
    (85) 46[deg]16.00' N. lat., 124[deg]23.00' W. long.;
    (86) 46[deg]14.87' N. lat., 124[deg]26.15' W. long.;
    (87) 46[deg]13.37' N. lat., 124[deg]31.36' W. long.;
    (88) 46[deg]12.08' N. lat., 124[deg]38.39' W. long.;
    (89) 46[deg]09.46' N. lat., 124[deg]40.64' W. long.;
    (90) 46[deg]07.29' N. lat., 124[deg]40.89' W. long.;
    (91) 46[deg]02.76' N. lat., 124[deg]44.01' W. long.;
    (92) 46[deg]01.22' N. lat., 124[deg]43.47' W. long.;
    (93) 45[deg]51.82' N. lat., 124[deg]42.89' W. long.;
    (94) 45[deg]46.00' N. lat., 124[deg]40.88' W. long.;
    (95) 45[deg]45.95' N. lat., 124[deg]40.72' W. long.;
    (96) 45[deg]45.21' N. lat., 124[deg]41.70' W. long.;

[[Page 68003]]

    (97) 45[deg]42.72' N. lat., 124[deg]41.22' W. long.;
    (98) 45[deg]34.50' N. lat., 124[deg]30.28' W. long.;
    (99) 45[deg]21.10' N. lat., 124[deg]23.11' W. long.;
    (100) 45[deg]20.25' N. lat., 124[deg]22.92' W. long.;
    (101) 45[deg]09.69' N. lat., 124[deg]20.45' W. long.;
    (102) 45[deg]03.83' N. lat., 124[deg]23.30' W. long.;
    (103) 44[deg]56.41' N. lat., 124[deg]27.65' W. long.;
    (104) 44[deg]44.47' N. lat., 124[deg]37.85' W. long.;
    (105) 44[deg]37.17' N. lat., 124[deg]38.60' W. long.;
    (106) 44[deg]35.55' N. lat., 124[deg]39.27' W. long.;
    (107) 44[deg]31.81' N. lat., 124[deg]39.60' W. long.;
    (108) 44[deg]31.48' N. lat., 124[deg]43.30' W. long.;
    (109) 44[deg]12.67' N. lat., 124[deg]57.87' W. long.;
    (110) 44[deg]08.30' N. lat., 124[deg]57.84' W. long.;
    (111) 44[deg]07.38' N. lat., 124[deg]57.87' W. long.;
    (112) 43[deg]57.42' N. lat., 124[deg]57.20' W. long.;
    (113) 43[deg]52.52' N. lat., 124[deg]49.00' W. long.;
    (114) 43[deg]51.55' N. lat., 124[deg]37.49' W. long.;
    (115) 43[deg]47.83' N. lat., 124[deg]36.43' W. long.;
    (116) 43[deg]31.79' N. lat., 124[deg]36.80' W. long.;
    (117) 43[deg]29.34' N. lat., 124[deg]36.77' W. long.;
    (118) 43[deg]26.37' N. lat., 124[deg]39.53' W. long.;
    (119) 43[deg]20.83' N. lat., 124[deg]42.39' W. long.;
    (120) 43[deg]16.15' N. lat., 124[deg]44.36' W. long.;
    (121) 43[deg]09.33' N. lat., 124[deg]45.35' W. long.;
    (122) 43[deg]08.77' N. lat., 124[deg]49.82' W. long.;
    (123) 43[deg]08.83' N. lat., 124[deg]50.93' W. long.;
    (124) 43[deg]05.89' N. lat., 124[deg]51.60' W. long.;
    (125) 43[deg]04.60' N. lat., 124[deg]53.02' W. long.;
    (126) 43[deg]02.64' N. lat., 124[deg]52.01' W. long.;
    (127) 43[deg]00.39' N. lat., 124[deg]51.77' W. long.;
    (128) 42[deg]58.00' N. lat., 124[deg]52.99' W. long.;
    (129) 42[deg]57.56' N. lat., 124[deg]54.10' W. long.;
    (130) 42[deg]53.93' N. lat., 124[deg]54.60' W. long.;
    (131) 42[deg]53.26' N. lat., 124[deg]53.94' W. long.;
    (132) 42[deg]52.31' N. lat., 124[deg]50.76' W. long.;
    (133) 42[deg]50.00' N. lat., 124[deg]48.97' W. long.;
    (134) 42[deg]47.78' N. lat., 124[deg]47.27' W. long.;
    (135) 42[deg]46.31' N. lat., 124[deg]43.60' W. long.;
    (136) 42[deg]41.63' N. lat., 124[deg]44.07' W. long.;
    (137) 42[deg]40.50' N. lat., 124[deg]43.52' W. long.;
    (138) 42[deg]38.83' N. lat., 124[deg]42.77' W. long.;
    (139) 42[deg]35.36' N. lat., 124[deg]43.22' W. long.;
    (140) 42[deg]32.78' N. lat., 124[deg]44.68' W. long.;
    (141) 42[deg]32.02' N. lat., 124[deg]43.00' W. long.;
    (142) 42[deg]30.54' N. lat., 124[deg]43.50' W. long.;
    (143) 42[deg]28.16' N. lat., 124[deg]48.38' W. long.;
    (144) 42[deg]18.26' N. lat., 124[deg]39.01' W. long.;
    (145) 42[deg]13.66' N. lat., 124[deg]36.82' W. long.;
    (146) 42[deg]00.00' N. lat., 124[deg]35.99' W. long.;
    (147) 41[deg]47.80' N. lat., 124[deg]29.41' W. long.;
    (148) 41[deg]41.67' N. lat., 124[deg]29.46' W. long.;
    (149) 41[deg]22.80' N. lat., 124[deg]29.10' W. long.;
    (150) 41[deg]13.29' N. lat., 124[deg]23.31' W. long.;
    (151) 41[deg]06.23' N. lat., 124[deg]22.62' W. long.;
    (152) 40[deg]55.60' N. lat., 124[deg]26.04' W. long.;
    (153) 40[deg]53.97' N. lat., 124[deg]26.16' W. long.;
    (154) 40[deg]53.94' N. lat., 124[deg]26.10' W. long.;
    (155) 40[deg]50.31' N. lat., 124[deg]26.16' W. long.;
    (156) 40[deg]49.82' N. lat., 124[deg]26.58' W. long.;
    (157) 40[deg]49.62' N. lat., 124[deg]26.57' W. long.;
    (158) 40[deg]45.72' N. lat., 124[deg]30.00' W. long.;
    (159) 40[deg]40.56' N. lat., 124[deg]32.11' W. long.;
    (160) 40[deg]38.87' N. lat., 124[deg]30.18' W. long.;
    (161) 40[deg]38.38' N. lat., 124[deg]30.18' W. long.;
    (162) 40[deg]37.33' N. lat., 124[deg]29.27' W. long.;
    (163) 40[deg]35.60' N. lat., 124[deg]30.49' W. long.;
    (164) 40[deg]37.38' N. lat., 124[deg]37.14' W. long.;
    (165) 40[deg]36.03' N. lat., 124[deg]39.97' W. long.;
    (166) 40[deg]31.58' N. lat., 124[deg]40.74' W. long.;
    (167) 40[deg]30.30' N. lat., 124[deg]37.63' W. long.;
    (168) 40[deg]28.22' N. lat., 124[deg]37.23' W. long.;
    (169) 40[deg]24.86' N. lat., 124[deg]35.71' W. long.;
    (170) 40[deg]23.01' N. lat., 124[deg]31.94' W. long.;
    (171) 40[deg]23.39' N. lat., 124[deg]28.64' W. long.;
    (172) 40[deg]22.29' N. lat., 124[deg]25.25' W. long.;
    (173) 40[deg]21.90' N. lat., 124[deg]25.18' W. long.;
    (174) 40[deg]22.02' N. lat., 124[deg]28.00' W. long.;
    (175) 40[deg]21.34' N. lat., 124[deg]29.53' W. long.;
    (176) 40[deg]19.74' N. lat., 124[deg]28.95' W. long.;
    (177) 40[deg]18.13' N. lat., 124[deg]27.08' W. long.;
    (178) 40[deg]17.45' N. lat., 124[deg]25.53' W. long.;
    (179) 40[deg]17.97' N. lat., 124[deg]24.12' W. long.;
    (180) 40[deg]15.96' N. lat., 124[deg]26.05' W. long.;
    (181) 40[deg]16.90' N. lat., 124[deg]34.20' W. long.;
    (182) 40[deg]16.29' N. lat., 124[deg]34.50' W. long.;
    (183) 40[deg]14.91' N. lat., 124[deg]33.60' W. long.;
    (184) 40[deg]10.00' N. lat., 124[deg]22.96' W. long.;
    10. Section 660.74 is amended as follows:
    a. Remove paragraphs (g)(87),
    b. Redesignate paragraphs (g)(88) through (g)(257) as (g)(89) 
through (g)(258),
    c. Add paragraphs (g)(87) through (g)(88), to read as follows:


Sec.  660.74  Latitude/longitude coordinates defining the 180 fm (329 
m) through 250 fm (457 m) depth contours.

* * * * *
    (g) * * *
    (87) 44[deg]21.73' N. lat., 124[deg]49.82' W. long.;
    (88) 44[deg]17.57' N. lat., 124[deg]55.04' W. long.;
* * * * *
    11. Tables 1a through 1d and 2a through 2d, Subpart C, are revised 
to read as follows:
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[[Page 68026]]

    12. In Sec.  660.112, introductory text and paragraph (b)(1)(xv) is 
revised to read as follows:


Sec.  660.112  Trawl fishery--prohibitions.

    These prohibitions are specific to the limited entry trawl 
fisheries. General groundfish prohibitions are defined at Sec.  660.12. 
In addition to the general prohibitions specified in Sec.  600.725 of 
this chapter, it is unlawful for any person or vessel to:
* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (xv) Begin a new fishing trip until all fish from an IFQ landing 
have been offloaded from the vessel, consistent with Sec.  
660.12(a)(11).
* * * * *
    13. In Sec.  660.130, paragraphs (d) introductory text, 
(d)(1)(iii), and (e) introductory text are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  660.130  Trawl fishery--management measures.

* * * * *
    (d) Sorting. In addition to the requirements at Sec.  660.12(a)(8), 
the States of Washington, Oregon, and California may also require that 
vessels record their landings as sorted on their state landing receipt. 
Sector-specific sorting requirements and exceptions are listed at 
paragraphs (d)(2) and (d)(3) of this section.
    (1) * * *
* * * * *
    (iii) South of 40[deg]10' N. lat. Minor shallow nearshore rockfish, 
minor deeper nearshore rockfish, California scorpionfish, chilipepper, 
bocaccio, splitnose rockfish, Pacific sanddabs, cowcod, bronzespotted 
rockfish, blackgill rockfish and cabezon.
* * * * *
    (e) Groundfish conservation areas (GCAs) applicable to trawl 
vessels. A GCA, a type of closed area, is a geographic area defined by 
coordinates expressed in degrees of latitude and longitude. The 
latitude and longitude coordinates of the GCA boundaries are specified 
at Sec. Sec.  660.70 through 660.74. A vessel that is fishing within a 
GCA listed in this paragraph (e) with trawl gear authorized for use 
within a GCA may not have any other type of trawl gear on board the 
vessel. The following GCAs apply to vessels participating in the 
limited entry trawl fishery. Additional closed areas that specifically 
apply to the Pacific whiting fisheries are described at Sec.  
660.131(c).
* * * * *
    14. In Sec.  660.140, paragraphs (c)(1) table, (d)(1)(ii) 
introductory text, (d)(1)(ii)(D), (d)(3)(ii)(B)(3), (d)(4)(i)(C), 
(e)(4)(i), (e)(5) introductory text, and (e)(5)(i) are revised and 
paragraphs (d)(1)(ii)(A)(3), (d)(1)(ii)(B)(3) and (d)(1)(ii)(B)(4) are 
added to read as follows:


Sec.  660.140  Shorebased IFQ Program

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (1) * * *

                               IFQ Species
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
ROUNDFISH:
  Lingcod N. of 40[deg]10' N. lat
  Lingcod S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat
  Pacific cod
  Pacific whiting
  Sablefish N. of 36[deg] N. lat
  Sablefish S. of 36[deg] N. lat
FLATFISH:
  Arrowtooth flounder
  Dover sole
  English sole
  Other flatfish stock complex
  Petrale sole
  Starry flounder
  Pacific halibut (IBQ) N. of 40[deg]10' N. lat
ROCKFISH:
  Bocaccio S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat
  Canary rockfish
  Chilipepper S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat
  Cowcod S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat
  Darkblotched rockfish
  Longspine thornyhead N. of 34[deg]27' N. lat
  Minor shelf rockfish complex N. of 40[deg]10' N. lat
  Minor shelf rockfish complex S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat
  Minor slope rockfish complex N. of 40[deg]10' N. lat
  Minor slope rockfish complex S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat
  Pacific ocean perch N. of 40[deg]10' N. lat
  Shortspine thornyhead N. of 34[deg]27' N. lat
  Shortspine thornyhead S. of 34[deg]27' N. lat
  Splitnose rockfish S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat
  Widow rockfish
  Yelloweye rockfish
  Yellowtail rockfish N. of 40[deg]10' N. lat
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (ii) Annual QP and IBQ pound allocations. QP and IBQ pounds will be 
deposited into QS accounts annually. QS permit owners will be notified 
of QP deposits via the IFQ Web site and their QS account. QP and IBQ 
pounds will be issued to the nearest whole pound using standard 
rounding rules (i.e., decimal amounts less than 0.5 round down and 0.5 
and greater round up), except that in the first year of the Shorebased 
IFQ Program, issuance of QP for overfished species greater than zero 
but less than one pound will be rounded up to one pound. Rounding rules 
may affect distribution of the entire shorebased trawl allocation. NMFS 
will distribute such allocations to the maximum extent practicable, not 
to exceed the total allocation. QS permit owners must transfer their QP 
and IBQ pounds from their QS account to a vessel account in order for 
those QP and IBQ pounds to be fished. QP and IBQ pounds must be 
transferred in whole pounds (i.e., no fraction of a QP or IBQ pound can 
be transferred). All QP and IBQ pounds in a QS account must be 
transferred to a vessel account by September 1 of each year in order to 
be fished, unless there is a reapportionment of Pacific whiting 
consistent with Sec.  660.131(h) and paragraph (d)(3) of this section 
or a release of additional QP consistent with Sec.  660.60(c) and 
paragraph (d)(3)(ii)(B)(3) of this section.
    (A) * * *
    (3) In years where the non-tribal deductions from the TAC, ACL, or 
ACT when specified, described at Sec.  660.55(b), were too high and 
would go unharvested, NMFS may increase the shorebased trawl 
allocation, consistent with Sec.  660.60(c), and issue additional QP to 
QS accounts.
    (B) * * *
    (3) In years where the non-tribal deductions from the TAC, ACL, or 
ACT when specified, described at Sec.  660.55(b), were too high and 
would go unharvested, NMFS may increase the shorebased trawl 
allocation, consistent with Sec.  660.60(c), and issue additional QP to 
QS accounts.
    (4) In years where there is reapportionment of Pacific whiting, 
specified at Sec.  660.131(h), to the Shorebased IFQ Program, NMFS will 
increase the shorebased trawl allocation and issue additional QP to QS 
accounts as described at paragraph (d)(3)(ii)(B)(3) of this section.
* * * * *
    (D) For the trawl fishery, NMFS will issue QP based on the 
following shorebased trawl allocations:

[[Page 68027]]



                                          Shorebased Trawl Allocations
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                             2013 shorebased    2014 shorebased
                IFQ species                         Management area          trawl allocation   trawl allocation
                                                                                   (mt)               (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arrowtooth flounder........................  .............................           3,846.13           3,467.08
Bocaccio...................................  South of 40[deg]10' N. lat...              74.90              79.00
Canary Rockfish............................  .............................              39.90              41.10
Chilipepper................................  South of 40[deg]10' N. lat...           1,099.50           1,067.25
Cowcod.....................................  South of 40[deg]10' N. lat...               1.00               1.00
Darkblotched Rockfish......................  .............................             266.70             278.41
Dover sole.................................  .............................          22,234.50          22,234.50
English sole...............................  .............................           6,365.03           5,255.59
Lingcod....................................  North of 40[deg]10' N. lat...           1,222.57           1,151.68
Lingcod....................................  South of 40[deg]10' N. lat...             494.41             472.88
Longspine thornyhead.......................  North of 34[deg]27' N. lat...           1,859.85           1,811.40
Minor shelf rockfish complex...............  North of 40[deg]10' N. lat...             508.00             508.00
Minor shelf rockfish complex...............  South of 40[deg]10' N. lat...              81.00              81.00
Minor slope rockfish complex...............  North of 40[deg]10' N. lat...             776.93             776.93
Minor slope rockfish complex...............  South of 40[deg]10' N. lat...             376.11             378.63
Other flatfish complex.....................  .............................           4,189.61           4,189.61
Pacific cod................................  .............................           1,125.29           1,125.29
Pacific Ocean Perch........................  North of 40[deg]10' N. lat...             109.43             112.28
Pacific Whiting............................  .............................  .................  .................
Petrale Sole...............................  .............................           2,318.00           2,378.00
Sablefish..................................  North of 36[deg] N. lat......           1,828.00           1,988.00
Sablefish..................................  South of 36[deg] N. lat......             602.28             653.10
Shortspine thornyhead......................  North of 34[deg]27' N. lat...           1,385.35           1,371.12
Shortspine thornyhead......................  South of 34[deg]27' N. lat...              50.00              50.00
Splitnose rockfish.........................  South of 40[deg]10' N. lat...           1,518.10           1,575.10
Starry flounder............................  .............................             751.50             755.50
Widow rockfish.............................  .............................             993.83             993.83
Yelloweye Rockfish.........................  .............................               1.00               1.00
Yellowtail rockfish........................  North of 40[deg]10' N. lat...           2,635.33           2,638.85
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
    (3) * * *
    (ii) * * *
    (B) * * *
    (3) Transfer of QP or IBQ pounds from a QS account to a vessel 
account. QP or IBQ pounds must be transferred in whole pounds (i.e. no 
fraction of a QP can be transferred). QP or IBQ pounds must be 
transferred to a vessel account in order to be used. Transfers of QP or 
IBQ pounds from a QS account to a vessel account are subject to vessel 
accumulation limits and NMFS' approval. Once QP or IBQ pounds are 
transferred from a QS account to a vessel account (accepted by the 
transferee/vessel owner), they cannot be transferred back to a QS 
account and may only be transferred to another vessel account. QP or 
IBQ pounds may not be transferred from one QS account to another QS 
account. All QP or IBQ pounds from a QS account must be transferred to 
one or more vessel accounts by September 1 each year. If, after 
September 1 in any year, the Regional Administrator makes a decision to 
reapportion Pacific whiting from the tribal to the non-tribal fishery 
or NMFS releases additional QP consistent with Sec. Sec.  660.60(c) and 
paragraph (d)(1)(ii) of this section, the following actions will be 
taken.
    (i) NMFS will credit QS accounts with additional QP proportionally, 
based on the QS percent for a particular QS permit owner and the 
increase in the shorebased trawl allocation specified at paragraph 
(d)(1)(ii)(D) of this section.
    (ii) The QS account transfer function will be reactivated by NMFS 
from the date that QS accounts are credited with additional QP to allow 
permit holders to transfer QP to vessel accounts only for those IFQ 
species with additional QP.
    (iii) After December 15, the transfer function in QS accounts will 
again be inactivated.
* * * * *
    (4) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (C) The Shorebased IFQ Program accumulation limits are as follows:

                           Accumulation Limits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            QS and IBQ
                    Species category                      control limit
                                                           (in percent)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arrowtooth flounder....................................             10
Bocaccio S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat.......................             13.2
Canary rockfish........................................              4.4
Chilipepper S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat....................             10
Cowcod S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat.........................             17.7
Darkblotched rockfish..................................              4.5
Dover sole.............................................              2.6
English sole...........................................              5
Lingcod:
  N. of 40[deg]10' N. lat..............................              2.5
  S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat..............................              2.5
Longspine thornyhead:
  N. of 34[deg]27' N. lat..............................              6
Minor rockfish complex N. of 40[deg]10' N. lat:
  Shelf species........................................              5
  Slope species........................................              5
Minor rockfish complex S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat:
  Shelf species........................................              9
  Slope species........................................              6
Other flatfish stock complex...........................             10
Pacific cod............................................             12
Pacific halibut (IBQ) N. of 40[deg]10' N. lat..........              5.4
Pacific ocean perch N. of 40[deg]10' N. lat............              4
Pacific whiting (shoreside)............................             10
Petrale sole...........................................              3
Sablefish:
  N. of 36[deg] N. lat. (Monterey north)...............              3
  S. of 36[deg] N. lat. (Conception area)..............             10
Shortspine thornyhead:
  N. of 34[deg]27' N. lat..............................              6
  S. of 34[deg]27' N. lat..............................              6
Splitnose rockfish S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat.............             10
Starry flounder........................................             10

[[Page 68028]]

 
Widow rockfish.........................................              5.1
Yelloweye rockfish.....................................              5.7
Yellowtail rockfish N. of 40[deg]10' N. lat............              5
Non-whiting groundfish species.........................              2.7
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
    (e) * * *
    (4) * * *
    (i) Vessel limits. For each IFQ species or species group specified 
in this paragraph, vessel accounts may not have QP or IBQ pounds in 
excess of the QP Vessel Limit (Annual Limit) in any year, and, for 
species covered by Unused QP Vessel Limits (Daily Limit), may not have 
QP or IBQ pounds in excess of the Unused QP Vessel Limit at any time. 
The QP Vessel Limit (Annual Limit) is calculated as unused available 
QPs plus used QPs (landings and discards) plus any pending outgoing 
transfer of QPs. The Unused QP Vessel Limits (Daily Limit) is 
calculated as unused available QPs plus any pending outgoing transfer 
of QPs. These vessel limits are as follows:

                              Vessel Limits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Unused QP vessel
                                    QP vessel limit      limit (daily
        Species category          (annual limit) (in      limit) (in
                                       percent)            percent)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arrowtooth flounder.............                20    ..................
Bocaccio S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat                15.4                13.2
Canary rockfish.................                10                   4.4
Chilipepper S. of 40[deg]10' N.                 15    ..................
 lat............................
Cowcod S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat..                17.7                17.7
Darkblotched rockfish...........                 6.8                 4.5
Dover sole......................                 3.9  ..................
English sole....................                 7.5  ..................
Lingcod
    N. of 40[deg]10' N. lat.....                 5.3  ..................
    S. of 40[deg]10' N. lat.....                13.3  ..................
Longspine thornyhead:
    N. of 34[deg]27' N. lat.....                 9    ..................
Minor rockfish complex N. of
 40[deg]10' N. lat:
    Shelf species...............                 7.5  ..................
    Slope species...............                 7.5  ..................
Minor rockfish complex S. of
 40[deg]10' N. lat:
    Shelf species...............                13.5  ..................
    Slope species...............                 9    ..................
Other flatfish complex..........                15    ..................
Pacific cod.....................                20    ..................
Pacific halibut (IBQ) N. of                     14.4                 5.4
 40[deg]10' N. lat..............
Pacific ocean perch N. of                        6                   4
 40[deg]10' N. lat..............
Pacific whiting (shoreside).....                15    ..................
Petrale sole....................                 4.5  ..................
Sablefish:
    N. of 36[deg] N. lat.                        4.5  ..................
     (Monterey north)...........
    S. of 36[deg] N. lat.                       15    ..................
     (Conception area)..........
Shortspine thornyhead:
    N. of 34[deg]27' N. lat.....                 9    ..................
    S. of 34[deg]27' N. lat.....                 9    ..................
Splitnose rockfish S. of                        15    ..................
 40[deg]10' N. lat..............
Starry flounder.................                20    ..................
Widow rockfish..................                 8.5                 5.1
Yelloweye rockfish..............                11.4                 5.7
Yellowtail rockfish N. of                        7.5  ..................
 40[deg]10' N. lat..............
Non-whiting groundfish species..                 3.2  ..................
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
    (5) Carryover. The carryover provision allows a limited amount of 
surplus QP or IBQ pounds in a vessel account to be carried over from 
one year to the next or allows a deficit in a vessel account in one 
year to be covered with QP or IBQ pounds from a subsequent year, up to 
a carryover limit. The carryover limit is calculated by multiplying the 
carryover percentage by the cumulative total of QP or IBQ pounds (used 
and unused) in a vessel account for the base year, less any transfers 
out of the vessel account, any QP resulting from reapportionment of 
whiting specified at Sec.  660.60(d) or release of additional QP during 
the year specified at Sec.  660.60(c)(3)(ii), or any previous carryover 
amounts. The percentage used for the carryover provision may be changed 
during the biennial specifications and management measures process, 
and, for the surplus carryover provision specified in paragraph 
(e)(5)(i) of this section, the percentage is designated as a ``routine 
management measure'' at Sec.  660.60(c)(1)(v) and may be changed 
through an inseason action, but may not exceed 10 percent.
    (i) Surplus QP or IBQ pounds. A vessel account with a surplus of QP 
or IBQ pounds (unused QP or IBQ pounds) for any IFQ species at the end 
of the fishing year may carryover for use in the immediately following 
year an amount of unused QP or IBQ pounds up to its carry over limit. 
The carryover limit for the surplus is calculated as 10 percent of the 
cumulative total QP or IBQ pounds (used and unused, less any transfers 
or any previous carryover

[[Page 68029]]

amounts) in the vessel account at the end of the year. Based on a 
Council recommendation, NMFS will credit the carryover amount to the 
vessel account in the immediately following year once NMFS has 
completed its end-of-the-year account reconciliation. If NMFS disagrees 
with all or part of the Council recommendation, NMFS will not credit 
the vessel accounts, as appropriate, and will notify the Council in 
writing, describing the basis for the decision. NMFS will notify vessel 
account owners through the online IFQ system of any additional QP or 
IBQ pounds resulting from a carryover of surplus pounds, and will not 
issue those pounds above the vessel limits (specified at paragraph 
(e)(4) of this section). If there is a decline in the ACL between the 
base year and the following year in which the QP or IBQ pounds would be 
carried over, the carryover amount will be reduced in proportion to the 
reduction in the ACL. When surplus QP or IBQ pounds are issued, those 
pounds are deposited directly into the vessel accounts and do not 
increase the shorebased trawl allocation. Surplus QP or IBQ pounds may 
not be carried over for more than one year. Any amount of QP or IBQ 
pounds in a vessel account and in excess of the carryover amount will 
expire on December 31 each year and will not be available for any 
future use.
* * * * *
    15. Table 1 (North) and 1 (South) to 660, subpart D are revised as 
follows:
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    16. In Sec.  660.230, paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2), and (c)(2)(ii) 
and (c)(2)(iii) are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  660.230  Fixed gear fishery--management measures.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (1) In addition to the requirements at Sec.  660.12(a)(8) the 
States of Washington, Oregon, and California may also require that 
vessels record their landings as sorted on their state landing 
receipts.
    (2) For limited entry fixed gear vessels, the following species 
must be sorted:
* * * * *
    (ii) North of 40[deg]10' N. lat.--POP, yellowtail rockfish, cabezon 
(Oregon and California);
    (iii) South of 40[deg]10' N. lat.--minor shallow nearshore 
rockfish, minor deeper nearshore rockfish, California scorpionfish, 
chilipepper, bocaccio, splitnose rockfish, Pacific sanddabs, cowcod, 
bronzespotted rockfish, blackgill rockfish and cabezon.
* * * * *
    17. In Sec.  660.231, introductory text and paragraph (b)(3)(i) is 
revised to read as follows:


Sec.  660.231  Limited entry fixed gear sablefish primary fishery.

    This section applies to the sablefish primary fishery for the 
limited entry fixed gear fishery north of 36[deg] N. lat. Limited entry 
and open access fixed gear sablefish fishing outside of the sablefish 
primary season north of 36[deg] N. lat. is governed by management 
measures imposed under Sec. Sec.  660.230, 660.232, 660.330 and 
660.332.
* * * * *

[[Page 68032]]

    (b) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (i) A vessel participating in the primary season will be 
constrained by the sablefish cumulative limit associated with each of 
the permits registered for use with that vessel. During the primary 
season, each vessel authorized to fish in that season under paragraph 
(a) of this section may take, retain, possess, and land sablefish, up 
to the cumulative limits for each of the permits registered for use 
with that vessel (i.e., stacked permits). If multiple limited entry 
permits with sablefish endorsements are registered for use with a 
single vessel, that vessel may land up to the total of all cumulative 
limits announced in this paragraph for the tiers for those permits, 
except as limited by paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section. Up to 3 
permits may be registered for use with a single vessel during the 
primary season; thus, a single vessel may not take and retain, possess 
or land more than 3 primary season sablefish cumulative limits in any 
one year. A vessel registered for use with multiple limited entry 
permits is subject to per vessel limits for species other than 
sablefish, and to per vessel limits when participating in the daily 
trip limit fishery for sablefish under Sec.  660.232. In 2013, the 
following annual limits are in effect: Tier 1 at 34,513lb (15,665 kg), 
Tier 2 at 15,688 lb (7,116 kg), and Tier 3 at 8,964 lb (4,066 kg). For 
2014 and beyond, the following annual limits are in effect: Tier 1 at 
37,441 lb (16,983 kg), Tier 2 at 17,019 lb (7,720 kg), and Tier 3 at 
9,725 lb (4,411 kg).
* * * * *
    18. In Sec.  660.232, paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3) are revised to 
read as follows:


Sec.  660.232  Limited entry daily trip limit (DTL) fishery for 
sablefish.

    (a) * * *
    (2) Following the start of the primary season, all landings made by 
a vessel authorized by Sec.  660.231(a) of this subpart to fish in the 
primary season will count against the primary season cumulative 
limit(s) associated with the permit(s) registered for use with that 
vessel. A vessel that is eligible to fish in the sablefish primary 
season may fish in the DTL fishery for sablefish once that vessels' 
primary season sablefish limit(s) have been taken, or after the close 
of the primary season, whichever occurs earlier. A vessel's primary 
season cumulative limit(s) are considered to be taken when the total 
amount remaining is less than the daily trip limit for sablefish north 
of 36[deg] N. lat., if one is specified, in Table 2 (North) and Table 2 
(South) to this subpart. If no daily limit is specified, the primary 
season cumulative limit(s) are considered to be taken when the total 
amount remaining is less than 300 pounds. Any subsequent sablefish 
landings by that vessel will be subject to the restrictions and limits 
of the limited entry DTL fishery for sablefish for the remainder of the 
fishing year.
    (3) No vessel may land sablefish against both its primary season 
cumulative sablefish limits and against the DTL fishery limits within 
the same 24 hour period of 0001 hours local time to 2400 hours local 
time.
* * * * *
    19. Tables 2 (North) and 2 (South) to Part 660, subpart E are 
revised to read as follows:

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    20. In Sec.  660.330, paragraph (c) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  660.330  Open access fishery--management measures.

* * * * *
    (c) Sorting requirements.
    (1) In addition to the requirements at Sec.  660.12(a)(8) the 
States of Washington, Oregon, and California may also require that 
vessels record their landings as sorted on their state landing 
receipts.
    (2) For open access vessels, the following species must be sorted:
    (i) Coastwide--widow rockfish, canary rockfish, darkblotched 
rockfish, yelloweye rockfish, shortbelly rockfish, black rockfish, blue 
rockfish, minor nearshore rockfish, minor shelf rockfish, minor slope 
rockfish, shortspine and longspine thornyhead, Dover sole, arrowtooth 
flounder, petrale sole, starry flounder, English sole, other flatfish, 
lingcod, sablefish, Pacific cod, spiny dogfish, longnose skate, other 
fish, Pacific whiting, and Pacific sanddabs;
    (ii) North of 40[deg]10' N. lat.--POP, yellowtail rockfish, cabezon 
(Oregon and California);
    (iii) South of 40[deg]10' N. lat.--minor shallow nearshore 
rockfish, minor deeper nearshore rockfish, chilipepper, bocaccio, 
splitnose rockfish, cowcod, bronzespotted rockfish, blackgill rockfish 
and cabezon.
* * * * *
    21. In Sec.  660.332, paragraphs (a) and (b) are revised to read as 
follows:


Sec.  660.332  Open access daily trip limit (DTL) fishery for 
sablefish.

    (a) Open access DTL fisheries both north and south of 36[deg] N. 
lat. Open access vessels may fish in the open access, daily trip limit 
fishery for as long as that fishery is open during the year, subject to 
the routine management measures imposed under Sec.  660.60.
    (b) Trip limits.
    (1) Daily and/or weekly trip limits for the open access fishery 
north and south of 36[deg] N. lat. are provided in Tables 3 (North) and 
3 (South) of this subpart.
    (2) Trip and/or frequency limits may be imposed in the limited 
entry fishery on vessels that are not participating in the primary 
season under Sec.  660.60.
    (3) Trip and/or size limits to protect juvenile sablefish in the 
limited entry or open access fisheries also may be imposed at any time 
under Sec.  660.60.
    (4) Trip limits may be imposed in the open access fishery at any 
time under Sec.  660.60.
    22. Tables 3 (North) and 3 (South), to subpart F, are revised to 
read as follows:

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BILLING CODE 3510-22-C++
    23. In Sec.  660.360, paragraphs (c)(1)(iv)(A) and (B), (c)(3) 
introductory text, (c)(3)(i)(A)(1), and (2), (c)(3)(i)(B), 
(c)(3)(ii)(A)(1) and (2), (c)(3)(ii)(B) through (D), (c)(3)(iii)(A)(1) 
and (2),

[[Page 68040]]

(c)(3)(v)(A)(1) through (3) are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  660.360  Recreational fishery-management measures.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iv) * * *
    (A) Between the U.S./Canada border and 48[deg]10' N. lat. (Cape 
Alava) (Washington Marine Area 4), recreational fishing for lingcod is 
open, for 2013, from April 16 through October 12, and for 2014, from 
April 16 through October 15. Lingcod may be no smaller than 24 inches 
(61 cm) total length.
    (B) Between 48[deg]10' N. lat. (Cape Alava) and 46[deg]16' N. lat. 
(Washington/Oregon border) (Washington Marine Areas 1-3), recreational 
fishing for lingcod is open for 2013, from March 16 through October 12, 
and for 2014, from March 15 through October 18. Lingcod may be no 
smaller than 22 inches (56 cm) total length.
* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (3) California. Seaward of California, California law provides 
that, in times and areas when the recreational fishery is open, there 
is a 20 fish bag limit for all species of finfish, within which no more 
than 10 fish of any one species may be taken or possessed by any one 
person. [Note: There are some exceptions to this rule. The following 
groundfish species are not subject to a bag limit: Petrale sole, 
Pacific sanddab and starry flounder.] For groundfish species not 
specifically mentioned in this paragraph, fishers are subject to the 
overall 20-fish bag limit for all species of finfish and the depth 
restrictions at paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section. Recreational 
spearfishing for all federally-managed groundfish, is exempt from 
closed areas and seasons, consistent with Title 14 of the California 
Code of Regulations. This exemption applies only to recreational 
vessels and divers provided no other fishing gear, except spearfishing 
gear, is on board the vessel. California state law may provide 
regulations similar to Federal regulations for the following state-
managed species: Ocean whitefish, California sheephead, and all 
greenlings of the genus Hexagrammos. Kelp greenling is the only 
federally-managed greenling. Retention of cowcod, yelloweye rockfish, 
bronzespotted rockfish, and canary rockfish is prohibited in the 
recreational fishery seaward of California all year in all areas. For 
each person engaged in recreational fishing in the EEZ seaward of 
California, the following closed areas, seasons, bag limits, and size 
limits apply:
* * * * *
    (i) * * *
    (A) * * *
    (1) Between 42[deg] N. lat. (California/Oregon border) and 
40[deg]10' N. lat. (Northern Management Area), recreational fishing for 
all groundfish (except ``other flatfish'' as specified in paragraph 
(c)(3)(iv) of this section) is prohibited seaward of the 20 fm (37 m) 
depth contour along the mainland coast and along islands and offshore 
seamounts from May 15 through October 31 (shoreward of 20 fm is open); 
and is closed entirely from January 1 through May 14 and from November 
1 through December 31.
    (2) Between 40[deg]10' N. lat. and 38[deg]57.50' N. lat. (Mendocino 
Management Area), recreational fishing for all groundfish (except 
``other flatfish'' as specified in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this 
section) is prohibited seaward of the 20 fm (37 m) depth contour along 
the mainland coast and along islands and offshore seamounts from May 
15, 2013 through September 2, 2013 (shoreward of 20 fm is open), and is 
closed entirely from January 1, 2013 through May 14, 2013 and from 
September 3, 2013 through December 31, 2013; Recreational fishing for 
groundfish is prohibited seaward of 20 fm (37 m) and from May 15, 2014 
through September 1, 2014 (shoreward of 20 fm is open); and is closed 
entirely from January 1, 2014 through May 14, 2014 and from September 
2, 2014 through December 31, 2014.
* * * * *
    (B) Cowcod conservation areas. The latitude and longitude 
coordinates of the Cowcod Conservation Areas (CCAs) boundaries are 
specified at Sec.  660.70. In general, recreational fishing for all 
groundfish is prohibited within the CCAs, except that fishing for 
``other flatfish'' is permitted within the CCAs as specified in 
paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section. However, recreational fishing for 
the following species is permitted shoreward of the 20 fm (37 m) depth 
contour when the season for those species is open south of 34[deg]27' 
N. lat.: Minor nearshore rockfish, cabezon, kelp greenling, lingcod, 
California scorpionfish, shelf rockfish and ``other flatfish'' (subject 
to gear requirements at paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section during 
January-February). Retention of canary rockfish, yelloweye rockfish, 
bronzespotted rockfish and cowcod is prohibited within the CCA. [NOTE: 
California state regulations also permit recreational fishing for 
California sheephead, ocean whitefish, and all greenlings of the genus 
Hexagrammos shoreward of the 20 fm (37 m) depth contour in the CCAs 
when the season for the RCG complex is open south of 34[deg]27' N. 
lat.] It is unlawful to take and retain, possess, or land groundfish 
within the CCAs, except for species authorized in this section.
* * * * *
    (ii) * * *
    (A) * * *
    (1) Between 42[deg] N. lat. (California/Oregon border) and 
40[deg]10' N. lat. (North Management Area), recreational fishing for 
the RCG complex is open from May 15 through October 31 (i.e., it's 
closed from January 1 through May 14 and from November 1 through 
December 31.
    (2) Between 40[deg]10' N. lat. and 38[deg]57.50' N. lat. (Mendocino 
Management Area), recreational fishing for the RCG Complex is open from 
May 15, 2013 through September 2, 2013 (i.e., it's closed from January 
1 through May 14 and September 3 through December 31 in 2013), and from 
May 15, 2014 through September 1, 2014 (i.e., it's closed from January 
1 through May 14 and September 2 through December 31 in 2014).
* * * * *
    (B) Bag limits, hook limits. In times and areas when the 
recreational season for the RCG Complex is open, there is a limit of 2 
hooks and 1 line when fishing for the RCG complex and lingcod. The bag 
limit is 10 RCG Complex fish per day coastwide. Retention of canary 
rockfish, yelloweye rockfish, bronzespotted rockfish and cowcod is 
prohibited. Within the 10 RCG Complex fish per day limit, no more than 
3 may be bocaccio and no more than 3 may be cabezon. Multi-day limits 
are authorized by a valid permit issued by California and must not 
exceed the daily limit multiplied by the number of days in the fishing 
trip.
    (C) Size limits. The following size limits apply: Cabezon may be no 
smaller than 15 in (38 cm) total length; and kelp and other greenling 
may be no smaller than 12 in (30 cm) total length.
    (D) Dressing/filleting. Cabezon, kelp greenling, and rock greenling 
taken in the recreational fishery may not be filleted at sea. Rockfish 
skin may not be removed when filleting or otherwise dressing rockfish 
taken in the recreational fishery. The following rockfish filet size 
limits apply: Brown-skinned rockfish fillets may be no smaller than 6.5 
in (16.6 cm). ``Brown-skinned'' rockfish include the following species: 
Brown, calico, copper, gopher, kelp, olive, speckled, squarespot, and 
yellowtail.
* * * * *

[[Page 68041]]

    (iii) * * *
    (A) * * *
    (1) Between 42[deg] N. lat. (California/Oregon border) and 
40[deg]10' N. lat. (Northern Management Area), recreational fishing for 
lingcod is open from May 15 through October 31 (i.e., it's closed from 
January 1 through May 14 and from November 1 through December 31).
    (2) Between 40[deg]10' N. lat. and 38[deg]57.50' N. lat. (Mendocino 
Management Area), recreational fishing for lingcod is open from May 15, 
2013 through September 2, 2013 (i.e., it's closed from January 1 
through May 14 and September 3 through December 31 in 2013) and from 
May 15, 2014 through September 1, 2014 (i.e., it's closed from January 
1 through May 14 and September 2 through December 31 in 2014).
* * * * *
    (v) * * *
    (A) * * *
    (1) Between 40[deg]10' N. lat. and 38[deg]57.50' N. lat. (Mendocino 
Management Area), recreational fishing for California scorpionfish is 
open from May 15 through September 2, 2013 (i.e., it's closed from 
January 1 through May 14 and from September 3 through December 31, in 
2013), and from May 15, 2014 through September 1, 2014 (i.e., it's 
closed from January 1 through May 14 and September 2 through December 
31 in 2014).
    (2) Between 38[deg]57.50' N. lat. and 37[deg]11' N. lat. (San 
Francisco Management Area), recreational fishing for California 
scorpionfish is open from June 1 through December 31 (i.e., it's closed 
from January 1 through May 31).
    (3) Between 37[deg]11' N. lat. and 34[deg]27' N. lat. (Central 
Management Area), recreational fishing for California scorpionfish is 
open from May 1 through December 31 (i.e., it's closed from January 1 
through April 30).
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2012-27338 Filed 11-13-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P