[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 224 (Wednesday, November 20, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 69591-69592]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-27779]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 121018563-3148-02]
RIN 0648-XC985


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reallocation 
of Halibut and Crab Prohibited Species Catch Allowances in the Bering 
Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; reallocation.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is reallocating the projected unused amounts of the 2013 
halibut and crab prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances from the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands trawl (BSAI) limited access sector to 
the Amendment 80 cooperatives in the BSAI management area. This action 
is necessary to allow the Amendment 80 cooperatives to fully harvest 
their 2013 groundfish allocations.

DATES: Effective November 15, 2013, through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time 
(A.l.t.), December 31, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907-586-7269.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
BSAI according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the 
North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations 
governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at 
subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.
    The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that 140 
metric tons of halibut PSC, 20,000 crabs of Zone 1 red king crab PSC, 
300,000 crabs of Zone 1 C. bairdi tanner crab PSC, 900,000 crabs of 
Zone 2 C. bairdi tanner crab PSC, and 2,400,000 crabs of C. opilio 
Bycatch Limitation Zone (COBLZ) C. opilio tanner crab PSC from the BSAI 
trawl limited access sector will not be needed to support BSAI trawl 
limited access fisheries. Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  
679.91(f)(4) and (5), NMFS is reallocating these halibut and crab PSC 
amounts from the BSAI trawl limited access sector to the Amendment 80 
cooperatives in the BSAI.
    In accordance with Sec.  679.91(f)(1), NMFS will reissue 
cooperative quota permits for the reallocated halibut and crab PSC 
following the procedures set forth in Sec.  679.91(f)(4) and Sec.  
679.91(f)(5).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.91(f)(4)(i), NMFS will reallocate 95 
percent of the halibut PSC reallocated from the BSAI trawl limited 
access sector to the Amendment 80 cooperatives, which is 133 metric 
tons.
    In accordance with the formula set forth in Sec.  679.91(f)(5), 
NMFS will reallocate 3,620,000 crab PSC from the BSAI trawl limited 
access sector to the Amendment 80 cooperatives.
    The 2013 harvest specifications for halibut and crab PSC allowances 
included in the final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications for crab in 
the BSAI (78 FR 13813, March 1, 2013) are revised as follows in Tables 
10, 12, and 14:

 Table 10--Final 2013 Apportionment of Prohibited Species Catch Allowances to Non-Trawl Gear, the CDQ Program, Amendment 80, and the BSAI Trawl Limited
                                                                     Access Sectors
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Non-trawl
                                                                        PSC                         Trawl PSC                   Amendment    BSAI trawl
            PSC species and area \1\              Total non-trawl    remaining   Total trawl PSC    remaining      CDQ PSQ      80 sector      limited
                                                        PSC          after CDQ                      after CDQ    reserve \2\       \3\         access
                                                                      PSQ \2\                        PSQ \2\                                   fishery
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI....................               900           832            3,675         3,349           393         2,458           735
Herring (mt) BSAI..............................               n/a           n/a            2,648           n/a           n/a           n/a           n/a
Red king crab (animals) Zone 1.................               n/a           n/a           97,000        86,621        10,379        63,293         6,489
C. opilio (animals) COBLZ......................               n/a           n/a       10,501,333     9,377,690     1,123,643     7,009,135       613,990
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 1................               n/a           n/a          980,000       875,140       104,860       668,521       111,228
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 2................               n/a           n/a        2,970,000     2,652,210       317,790     1,527,778       341,500
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\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of zones.
\2\ Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(2) allocates 326 mt of the trawl halibut mortality limit and Sec.   679.21(e)(4)(i)(A) allocates 7.5 percent, or 67 mt,
  of the non-trawl halibut mortality limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program. The PSQ reserve for crab species is 10.7 percent of
  each crab PSC limit.
\3\ The Amendment 80 program reduced apportionment of the trawl PSC limits by 150 mt for halibut mortality and 20 percent for crab. These reductions are
  not apportioned to other gear types or sectors.
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


                           Table 12-Final 2013 Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowances for the BSAI Trawl Limited Access Sector
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                                                                                             Prohibited species and area \1\
                                                               -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              BSAI trawl limited access fisheries                    Halibut        Red king crab                             C. bairdi (animals)
                                                                 mortality  (mt)   (animals)  Zone      C. opilio    -----------------------------------
                                                                      BSAI                1         (animals)  COBLZ       Zone 1            Zone 2
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yellowfin sole................................................               167             3,338           440,175            46,228           285,500

[[Page 69592]]

 
Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish \2\....................                 0                 0                 0                 0                 0
Turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish \3\...............................                 0                 0                 0                 0                 0
Rockfish April 15--December 31................................                 5                 0             4,828                 0             1,000
Pacific cod...................................................               333             2,954           120,705            60,000            50,000
Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species \4\.......................               230               197            48,282             5,000             5,000
                                                               -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total BSAI trawl limited access PSC.......................               735             6,489           613,990           111,228           341,500
                                                               -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot,
  rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder.
\3\ Arrowtooth flounder for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka flounder.
\4\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


                            Table 14--Final 2013 Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowance for the BSAI Amendment 80 Cooperatives
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                                                                                            Prohibited species and zones \1\
                                                               -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Cooperative                                Halibut        Red king crab                             C. bairdi (animals)
                                                                 mortality  (mt)   (animals)  Zone      C. opilio    -----------------------------------
                                                                      BSAI                1         (animals)  COBLZ       Zone 1            Zone 2
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Alaska Seafood Cooperative....................................             1,701            43,105         4,525,272           470,617         1,054,123
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative.................................               757            20,188         2,483,863           197,904           473,655
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\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of zones.
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    This will enhance the socioeconomic well-being of harvesters of 
groundfish dependent upon these PSC allowances. The Regional 
Administrator considered the following factors in reaching this 
decision: (1) The current catch and stated future harvesting intent of 
BSAI trawl limited access sector fisheries and, (2) the harvest 
capacity and stated intent on future harvesting patterns of the 
Amendment 80 cooperatives that participates in this BSAI fishery. The 
Regional Administrator also has determined that this action will create 
no threats of exceeding TACs for any species or species group.

Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently 
obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, 
NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior 
notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set 
forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and 
contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and 
contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from 
responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and 
would delay the reallocation of crab PSC allowances from the BSAI trawl 
limited access sector to the Amendment 80 cooperatives in the BSAI. 
Since the fisheries are currently open, it is important to immediately 
inform the industry as to the revised allocations. Immediate 
notification is necessary to allow for the orderly conduct and 
efficient operation of these fisheries, to allow the industry to plan 
for the fishing season, and to avoid potential disruption to the 
fishing fleet as well as processors. NMFS was unable to publish a 
notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, 
relevant data only became available as of November 12, 2013.
    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the 
effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is 
based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment.
    This action is required by Sec.  679.91 and is exempt from review 
under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: November 15, 2013.
Kelly Denit,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-27779 Filed 11-15-13; 4:15 pm]
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