[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 237 (Tuesday, December 10, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 74063-74079]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-29352]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 131021878-3878-01]
RIN 0648-XC927


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands; 2014 and 2015 Harvest Specifications for 
Groundfish

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS proposes 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications, 
apportionments, and prohibited species catch allowances for the 
groundfish fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) 
management area. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits 
for groundfish during the 2014 and 2015 fishing years, and to 
accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for 
Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. The 
intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish 
resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act.

DATES: Comments must be received by January 9, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2013-0152, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0152, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Address written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, 
AK 99802-1668.
     Fax: Address written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Fax comments to 907-586-7557.
    Instructions: 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 by NMFS. 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), confidential business information, 
or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender 
will be publicly accessible. 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, 
Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications 
Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS), Supplementary 
Information Report (SIR) and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis (IRFA) prepared for this action may be obtained from http://www.regulations.gov or from the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The final 2012 Stock Assessment and Fishery 
Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the BSAI, 
dated November 2012, is available from the North Pacific Fishery 
Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, 
Anchorage, AK 99501-2252, phone 907-271-2809, or from the Council's Web 
site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc. The draft 2013 SAFE 
report for the BSAI will be available from the same sources in November 
2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 
implement the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) and govern the groundfish 
fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP and NMFS approved 
it under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
(Magnuson-Stevens Act). General regulations governing U.S. fisheries 
also appear at 50 CFR part 600.
    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after 
consultation with the Council, to specify annually the total allowable 
catch (TAC) for each target species category. The sum TAC for all 
groundfish species must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 1.4 
million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see Sec.  679.20(a)(1)(i)). 
Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires NMFS to publish proposed harvest 
specifications in the Federal Register and solicit public

[[Page 74064]]

comments on proposed annual TACs and apportionments thereof, prohibited 
species catch (PSC) allowances, prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves 
established by Sec.  679.21, seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific 
cod, and Atka mackerel TAC, American Fisheries Act allocations, 
Amendment 80 allocations, and Community Development Quota (CDQ) reserve 
amounts established by Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(ii). The proposed harvest 
specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 16 of this action satisfy 
these requirements.
    Under Sec.  679.20(c)(3), NMFS will publish the final harvest 
specifications for 2014 and 2015 after (1) considering comments 
received within the comment period (see DATES), (2) consulting with the 
Council at its December 2013 meeting, and (3) considering information 
presented in the Supplementary Information Report that assesses the 
need to prepare a Supplemental EIS (see ADDRESSES) and the final 2013 
SAFE reports prepared for the 2014 and 2015 groundfish fisheries.

Other Actions Affecting the 2014 and 2015 Harvest Specifications

    For 2014, the Board of Fisheries (BOF) for the State of Alaska 
(State) established a guideline harvest level (GHL) in State waters 
between 164 and 167 degrees west longitude in the BS subarea equal to 3 
percent of the Pacific cod ABC in the BSAI. The action by the State 
does not require a downward adjustment of the proposed Bering Sea 
subarea Pacific cod TAC because the combined TAC and GHL (252,381 mt) 
are less than the proposed ABC of 300,390 mt.
    For 2014, the BOF for the State of Alaska State established a 
guideline harvest level (GHL) in State waters in the Aleutian Islands 
subarea equal to 3 percent of the Pacific cod ABC in the BSAI. The 
action by the State does not require a downward adjustment of the 
proposed Aleutian Islands subarea Pacific cod TAC because the combined 
TAC and GHL (16,900 mt) equal the proposed ABC of 16,900 mt.
    Accordingly, the Council will need to consider these GHLs when 
recommending the final 2014 and 2015 BSAI TACs. The Council is expected 
to set the final Bering Sea TACs less than the ABCs by amounts that 
account for these 2014 and 2015 GHLs. In addition, the Plan Team is 
reviewing the stock structure of BSAI groundfish and may recommend 
allocating current OFLs or ABCs by subareas or reporting areas.

Proposed ABC and TAC Harvest Specifications

    At the October 2013 Council meeting, the SSC, Advisory Panel (AP), 
and Council reviewed the most recent biological and harvest information 
about the condition of the BSAI groundfish stocks. The Council's Plan 
Team compiled and presented this information, which was initially 
compiled by the Plan Team and presented in the final 2012 SAFE report 
for the BSAI groundfish fisheries, dated November 2012 (see ADDRESSES). 
The amounts proposed for the 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications are 
based on the 2012 SAFE report, and are subject to change in the final 
harvest specifications to be published by NMFS following the Council's 
December 2013 meeting. In November 2013, the Plan Team updated the 2012 
SAFE report to include new information collected during 2013, such as 
NMFS stock surveys, revised stock assessments, and catch data. At its 
December 2013 meeting, the Council will consider information contained 
in the final 2013 SAFE report, recommendations from the November 2013 
Plan Team meeting, public testimony from the December 2013 SSC and AP 
meetings, and relevant written comments in making its recommendations 
for the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications.
    In previous years, some of the largest changes from the proposed to 
the final harvest specifications have been based on the most recent 
NMFS stock surveys, which provide updated estimates of stock biomass 
and spatial distribution, and changes to the models used in the stock 
assessments. These changes are recommended by the Plan Team in November 
2013 and are included in the 2013 final SAFE report. The 2013 final 
SAFE report includes the most recent information, such as 2013 catch. 
The final harvest specification amounts for these stocks are not 
expected to vary greatly from the proposed specification amounts 
published here.
    If the final 2013 SAFE report indicates that the stock biomass 
trend is increasing for a species, then the final 2014 and 2015 harvest 
specifications may reflect that increase from the proposed harvest 
specifications. Conversely, if the final 2013 SAFE report indicates 
that the stock biomass trend is decreasing for a species, then the 
final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications may reflect a decrease from 
the proposed harvest specifications. In addition to changes driven by 
biomass trends, there may be changes in TACs due to the sum of ABCs 
exceeding 2 million mt. Since the FMP requires TACs to be set to an OY 
between 1.4 and 2 million mt, the Council may be required to recommend 
TACs that are lower than the ABCs recommended by the Plan Team, if 
setting TACs equal to ABC would cause TAC to exceed an OY of 2 million 
mt. Generally, ABCs greatly exceed 2 million mt in years with a large 
pollock biomass. NMFS anticipates that, both for 2014 and 2015, the sum 
of the ABCs will exceed 2 million mt. NMFS expects that the final total 
TAC for the BSAI for both 2014 and 2015 will equal 2 million mt.
    The proposed ABCs and TACs are based on the best available 
biological and socioeconomic data, including projected biomass trends, 
information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised 
methods used to calculate stock biomass. The FMP specifies a series of 
six tiers to define OFLs and ABCs based on the level of reliable 
information available to fishery scientists. Tier one represents the 
highest level of information quality available while tier six 
represents the lowest.
    In October 2013, the SSC adopted the proposed 2014 and 2015 OFLs 
and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team for all groundfish species. The 
Council adopted the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations. These amounts 
are unchanged from the final 2014 harvest specifications published in 
the Federal Register on March 1, 2013 (78 FR 13813) except for Pacific 
cod and Kamchatka flounder. For Pacific cod, separate BS and AI harvest 
specifications were recommended. For the eastern Bering Sea (EBS), the 
Plan Team used 93 percent of the combined 2014 BSAI OFL and ABC 
published last year. For the AI, the Plan Team used Tier 5 estimates 
from last year's preliminary assessment, noting that it will review a 
revised model in November 2013. The proposed 2014 OFL and ABC for 
Kamchatka flounder were obtained using results from the preliminary 
Tier 3 assessment that was approved for use in November by the Plan 
Team. The Council adopted the AP's TAC recommendations except for 
Pacific cod, pollock, yellowfin sole, and rock sole. The Council 
decreased the AI Pacific cod TAC to account for the State's AI GHL of 3 
percent of the BSAI ABC, and increased by that same amount the TACs for 
BS Pacific cod, pollock, yellowfin sole, and rock sole. For 2014 and 
2015, the Council recommended and NMFS proposes the OFLs, ABCs, and 
TACs listed in Table 1. The proposed ABCs reflect harvest amounts that 
are less than the specified overfishing amounts. The sum of the

[[Page 74065]]

proposed 2014 and 2015 ABCs for all assessed groundfish is 2,686,688 
mt, which is higher than the final 2013 ABC total of 2,639,317 mt (78 
FR 13813, March 1, 2013).

Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts

    The Council recommended proposed TACs for 2014 and 2015 that are 
equal to proposed ABCs for sablefish, Kamchatka flounder, Pacific ocean 
perch, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, AI ``other rockfish,'' 
and Eastern AI/BS Atka mackerel. The Council recommended proposed TACs 
for 2014 and 2015 that are less than the proposed ABCs for pollock, 
Pacific cod, Western and Central AI Atka mackerel, Greenland turbot, 
yellowfin sole, rock sole, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, ``other 
flatfish,'' Alaska plaice, northern rockfish, BS ``other rockfish,'' 
squids, sharks, skates, sculpins, and octopuses.
    Section 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(1) requires the AI pollock TAC to be 
set at 19,000 mt when the AI pollock ABC equals or exceeds 19,000 mt. 
The Bogoslof pollock TAC is set to accommodate incidental catch 
amounts. TACs are set so that the sum of the overall TAC does not 
exceed the BSAI OY.
    The proposed groundfish OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are subject to change 
pending the completion of the final 2013 SAFE report and the Council's 
recommendations for final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications during 
its December 2013 meeting. These proposed amounts are consistent with 
the biological condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 2012 
SAFE report, and adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic 
considerations. Pursuant to section 3.2.3.4.1 of the FMP, the Council 
could recommend adjusting the TACs if ``warranted on the basis of 
bycatch considerations, management uncertainty, or socioeconomic 
considerations, or if required in order to cause the sum of the TACs to 
fall within the OY range.'' Table 1 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 
OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ amounts for groundfish for 
the BSAI. The proposed apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and 
seasons is discussed below.

   Table 1--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Overfishing Level (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC), Total Allowable
            Catch (TAC), Initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ Reserve Allocation of Groundfish in the BSAI \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      Proposed 2014 and 2015
           Species                   Area       ----------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     OFL          ABC          TAC        ITAC \2\    CDQ 3 4 5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock......................  BS..............    2,730,000    1,430,000    1,252,500    1,127,250      125,250
                               AI..............       48,600       39,800       19,000       17,100        1,900
                               Bogoslof........       13,400       10,100          100          100            0
Pacific cod..................  BS..............      352,470      300,390      245,000      218,785       26,215
                               AI..............       22,500       16,900        7,381        6,591          790
Sablefish....................  BS..............        1,760        1,480        1,480          629           56
                               AI..............        2,370        2,010        2,010          427           38
Yellowfin sole...............  BSAI............      219,000      206,000      200,000      178,600       21,400
Greenland turbot.............  BSAI............        3,270        2,650        2,060        1,751            0
                               BS..............          n/a        2,070        1,610        1,369          172
                               AI..............          n/a          580          450          383            0
Arrowtooth flounder..........  BSAI............      186,000      152,000       25,000       21,250        2,675
Kamchatka flounder...........  BSAI............        8,300        7,100        7,100        6,035            0
Northern rock sole \6\.......  BSAI............      229,000      204,000       94,569       80,384       10,119
Flathead sole \7\............  BSAI............       80,100       66,700       22,699       19,294        2,429
Alaska plaice................  BSAI............       60,200       55,800       23,700       20,145            0
Other flatfish \8\...........  BSAI............       17,800       13,300        3,500        2,975            0
Pacific Ocean perch..........  BSAI............       39,500       33,100       33,100       28,135        2,720
                               BS..............          n/a        7,680        7,680        6,528            0
                               EAI.............          n/a        9,240        9,240        7,854          989
                               CAI.............          n/a        6,590        6,590        5,602          705
                               WAI.............          n/a        9,590        9,590        8,152        1,026
Northern rockfish............  BSAI............       12,000        9,320        3,000        2,550            0
Blackspotted/Rougheye          BSAI............          524          429          429          365            0
 rockfish \9\.
                               EBS/EAI.........          n/a          189          189          161            0
                               CAI/WAI.........          n/a          240          240          204            0
Shortraker rockfish..........  BSAI............          493          370          370          315            0
Other rockfish...............  BSAI............        1,540        1,159          873          742            0
                               BS..............          n/a          686          400          340            0
                               AI..............          n/a          473          473          402            0
Atka mackerel................  BSAI............       56,500       48,900       25,379       21,572        2,716
                               EAI/BS..........          n/a       16,500       16,500       14,025        1,766
                               CAI.............          n/a       15,700        7,379        6,272          790
                               WAI.............          n/a       16,700        1,500        1,275          161
Skates.......................  BSAI............       44,100       37,300       24,000       20,400            0
Sculpins.....................  BSAI............       56,400       42,300        5,600        4,760            0
Sharks.......................  BSAI............        1,360        1,020          150          128            0
Squids.......................  BSAI............        2,620        1,970          500          425            0
Octopuses....................  BSAI............        3,450        2,590          500          425            0
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Total....................  ................    4,193,257    2,686,688    2,000,000    1,781,132      196,306
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of
  pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the
  Bogoslof District.

[[Page 74066]]

 
\2\ Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment
  80 species (Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and
  Pacific cod), 15 percent of each TAC is put into a reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the
  TAC after the subtraction of these reserves.
\3\ Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), the annual Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for
  the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (3.4 percent),
  is further allocated by sector for a directed pollock fishery as follows: inshore--50 percent; catcher/
  processor--40 percent; and motherships--10 percent. Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the
  annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance
  (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (1,600 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation
  for a directed pollock fishery.
\4\ The Pacific cod TAC is reduced by 3 percent from the ABC to account for the State of Alaska guideline
  harvest level in state waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea.
\5\ For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock
  sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod), 10.7 percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see
  Sec.  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line
  gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear. The 2014 hook-and-line and pot
  gear portion of the sablefish ITAC and CDQ reserve will not be specified until the fall of 2013. 10.7 percent
  of the TACs for Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants
  (see Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). Aleutian Islands Greenland turbot, ``other flatfish,'' Alaska
  plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, Kamchatka flounder, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye
  rockfish, ``other rockfish,'' squids, octopuses, skates, sculpins, and sharks are not allocated to the CDQ
  program.
\6\ ``Rock sole'' includes Lepidopsetta polyxystra (Northern rock sole) and Lepidopsetta bilineata (Southern
  rock sole).
\7\ ``Flathead sole'' includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering
  flounder).
\8\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole,
  Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice.
\9\ ``Rougheye rockfish'' includes Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted).
\10\ ''Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern,
  shortraker, and rougheye rockfish.

Groundfish Reserves and the Incidental Catch Allowance (ICA) for 
Pollock, Atka Mackerel, Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, Yellowfin Sole, and 
AI Pacific Ocean Perch

    Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) requires NMFS to reserve 15 percent of the 
TAC for each target species category, except for pollock, hook-and-line 
or pot gear allocation of sablefish, and Amendment 80 species, in a 
non-specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires NMFS to 
allocate 20 percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of 
sablefish to the fixed gear sablefish CDQ reserve. Section 
679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires NMFS to allocate 7.5 percent of the trawl 
gear allocation of sablefish and 10.7 percent of Bering Sea Greenland 
turbot and arrowtooth flounder to the respective CDQ reserves. Section 
679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) requires NMFS to allocate 10.7 percent of the TACs 
for Atka mackerel, AI Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, 
flathead sole, and Pacific cod to the CDQ reserves. Sections 
679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) and 679.31(a) also require allocation of 10 percent 
of the BSAI pollock TACs to the pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance 
(DFA). The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is allocated as an ICA 
(see Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(ii)). With the exception of the hook-and-line 
and pot gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the regulations do not further 
apportion the CDQ reserves by gear.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS proposes a pollock 
ICA of 3.4 percent of the Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC after 
subtracting the 10 percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on 
NMFS' examination of the pollock incidentally retained and discarded 
catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target 
fisheries other than pollock from 1999 through 2013. During this 15-
year period, the pollock incidental catch ranged from a low of 2.3 
percent in 2012 to a high of 5 percent in 1999, with a 15-year average 
of 3.4 percent. Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), 
NMFS proposes a pollock ICA of 2,000 mt for the AI subarea after 
subtracting the 10 percent CDQ DFA. This allowance is based on NMFS' 
examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental 
catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2003 
through 2013. During this 11-year period, the incidental catch of 
pollock ranged from a low of 5 percent in 2006 to a high of 17 percent 
in 2013, with an 11-year average of 8 percent.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS proposes ICAs of 
5,000 mt of flathead sole, 10,000 mt of rock sole, 2,400 mt of 
yellowfin sole, 10 mt of Western Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 
75 mt of Central Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 200 mt of 
Eastern Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 40 mt for Western 
Aleutian District Atka mackerel, 75 mt for Central Aleutian District 
Atka mackerel, and 1,000 mt of Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea 
subarea Atka mackerel after subtracting the 10.7 percent CDQ reserve. 
These ICAs are based on NMFS' examination of the average incidental 
retained and discarded catch in other target fisheries from 2003 
through 2013.
    The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified 
reserve by species or species group. Any amount of the reserve may be 
apportioned to a target species that contributed to the non-specified 
reserve, provided that such apportionments do not result in overfishing 
(see Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(i)).

Allocations of Pollock TAC Under the American Fisheries Act (AFA)

    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that Bering Sea pollock TAC be 
apportioned after subtracting 10 percent for the CDQ program and 3.4 
percent for the ICA as a DFA as follows: 50 percent to the inshore 
sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor sector, and 10 percent to 
the mothership sector. In the Bering Sea subarea, 40 percent of the DFA 
is allocated to the A season (January 20 to June 10) and 60 percent of 
the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10 to November 1) (Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(i)(B)). The AI directed pollock fishery allocation to the 
Aleut Corporation is the amount of pollock remaining in the AI subarea 
after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 percent), and 2,000 mt 
for the ICA (Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(ii)). In the AI subarea, the 
A season pollock TAC may equal up to 40 percent of the ABC and the 
remainder of the pollock TAC is allocated to the B season. Table 2 
lists these proposed 2014 and 2015 amounts.
    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific 
requirements regarding Bering Sea subarea pollock allocations. First, 
8.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the catcher/processor sector 
will be available for harvest by AFA catcher vessels with catcher/
processor sector endorsements, unless the Regional Administrator 
receives a cooperative contract entered into by listed AFA C/Ps and all 
AFA catcher vessels with C/P sector endorsements, and the Regional 
Administrator determines the contract provides for the distribution of 
harvest among AFA catcher/processors and AFA catcher vessels in a 
manner agreed to by all members. Second, AFA catcher/processors not 
listed in the AFA are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent 
of the pollock allocated to

[[Page 74067]]

the catcher/processor sector. Table 2 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 
allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 13 through 16 list the AFA catcher/
processor and catcher vessel harvesting sideboard limits. In past 
years, the proposed harvest specifications included text and tables 
describing pollock allocations to the Bering Sea subarea inshore 
pollock cooperatives and open access sector. These allocations are 
based on the submission of AFA inshore cooperative applications due to 
NMFS on December 1 of each calendar year. Because AFA inshore 
cooperative applications for 2014 have not been submitted to NMFS, 
thereby preventing NMFS from calculating 2014 allocations, NMFS has not 
included inshore cooperative text and tables in these proposed harvest 
specifications. NMFS will post 2014 AFA inshore cooperative allocations 
on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov when 
they become available in December 2013.
    Table 2 also lists proposed seasonal apportionments of pollock and 
harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The 
harvest of pollock within the SCA, as defined at Sec.  
679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to no more than 28 percent of the DFA 
until before April 1, as provided in Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(i)(C). The 
remaining 12 percent of the 40 percent annual DFA allocated to the A 
season may be taken outside the SCA before noon, April 1, or inside the 
SCA after noon, April 1. The A season pollock SCA harvest limit will be 
apportioned to each sector in proportion to each sector's allocated 
percentage of the DFA. Table 2 lists these proposed 2014 and 2015 
amounts by sector.

  Table 2--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ
                                      Directed Fishing Allowances (DFA) \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                           A season \1\            B season \1\
                                                   2014 and 2015 -----------------------------------------------
                 Area and sector                    allocations                     SCA harvest
                                                                   A season DFA      limit \2\     B season DFA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea subarea TAC..........................       1,252,500             N/A             N/A             N/A
CDQ DFA.........................................         125,250          50,100          35,070          75,150
ICA \1\.........................................          38,327             N/A             N/A             N/A
AFA Inshore.....................................         544,462         217,785         152,449         326,677
AFA Catcher/Processors \3\......................         435,569         174,228         121,959         261,342
    Catch by C/Ps...............................         398,546         159,418             N/A         239,128
    Catch by C/Vs \3\...........................          37,023          14,809             N/A          22,214
        Unlisted C/P Limit \4\..................           2,178             871             N/A           1,307
AFA Motherships.................................         108,892          43,557          30,490          65,335
Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\..................         190,562             N/A             N/A             N/A
Excessive Processing Limit \6\..................         326,677             N/A             N/A             N/A
Total Bering Sea DFA (non-CDQ)..................       1,088,924         435,569         304,899         653,354
Aleutian Islands subarea TAC....................          19,000             N/A             N/A             N/A
CDQ DFA.........................................           1,900             760             N/A           1,140
ICA.............................................           2,000           1,000             N/A           1,000
Aleut Corporation...............................          15,100          14,160             N/A             940
Bogoslof District ICA \7\.......................             100             N/A             N/A             N/A
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting the CDQ
  DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (3.4 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector 50 percent,
  catcher/processor sector 40 percent, and mothership sector 10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 40 percent
  of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B
  season (June 10-November 1). Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock
  TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,000 mt), is allocated to the
  Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is allocated 40 percent of
  the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the directed pollock fishery.
\2\ In the Bering Sea subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual DFA may be taken from the SCA
  before April 1. The remaining 12 percent of the annual DFA allocated to the A season may be taken outside of
  the SCA before April 1 or inside the SCA after April 1. If 28 percent of the annual DFA is not taken inside
  the SCA before April 1, the remainder is available to be taken inside the SCA after April 1.
\3\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/
  processors (C/Ps) shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels (CVs) delivering to listed
  catcher/processors.
\4\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting
  not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processor sector's allocation of pollock.
\5\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5
  percent of the sum of the pollock DFAs not including CDQ.
\6\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0
  percent of the sum of the pollock DFAs not including CDQ.
\7\ The Regional Administrator proposes closing the Bogoslof pollock fishery for directed fishing under the
  final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for the BSAI. The amounts specified are for incidental catch only
  and are not apportioned by season or sector.

Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TACs

    Section 679.20(a)(8) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs to the 
Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors, after subtracting 
the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs for the BSAI trawl 
limited access sector and non-trawl gear (Table 3). The percentage of 
the ITAC for Atka mackerel allocated to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl 
limited access sectors is listed in Table 33 to part 679 and in Sec.  
679.91. Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 2 percent of the 
Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea Atka mackerel ITAC may 
be allocated to jig gear. The percent of this allocation is recommended 
annually by the Council based on several criteria, including the 
anticipated harvest capacity of the jig gear fleet. The Council 
recommended and NMFS proposes a 0.5 percent allocation of the Atka 
mackerel ITAC in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea 
to jig gear in 2014 and 2015. This percentage is applied to the TAC 
after subtracting the CDQ reserve and the ICA. Section 
679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(3) limits the annual TAC for Area 542 to no more 
than 47 percent of the Area 542 ABC. Section 679.7(a)(19) prohibits 
retaining Atka mackerel in Area 543, and the

[[Page 74068]]

proposed TAC is set to account for discards in other fisheries.
    Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel TAC 
(including the CDQ reserve) into two equal seasonal allowances. Section 
679.23(e)(3) sets the first seasonal allowance for directed fishing 
with trawl gear from January 20 to June 10 (A season), and the second 
seasonal allowance from June 10 to November 1 (B season). Section 
679.23(e)(4)(iii) applies Atka mackerel seasons to CDQ Atka mackerel 
fishing. The jig gear and ICA allocations are not apportioned by 
season.
    Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) and (ii) require the Amendment 
80 cooperatives and CDQ groups to limit harvest to 10 percent of their 
Central Aleutian District Atka mackerel allocation equally divided 
between the A and B seasons within waters 10 nautical miles (nm) to 20 
nm of Gramp Rock and Tag Island, as described on Table 12 to part 679. 
Vessels not fishing under the authority of an Amendment 80 cooperative 
quota or CDQ allocation are prohibited from conducting directed fishing 
for Atka mackerel inside Steller sea lion critical habitat in the 
Central Aleutian District.
    Two Amendment 80 cooperatives have formed for the 2014 fishing 
year. Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of a cooperative, no 
allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required. NMFS 
will post 2014 Amendment 80 cooperative allocations on the Alaska 
Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start 
of the fishing year on January 1, 2014, based on the harvest 
specifications effective on that date.
    Table 3 lists these 2014 and 2015 Atka mackerel season allowances, 
area allowances, and the sector allocations. The 2015 allocations for 
Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the 
Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible 
participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 
2014. NMFS will post 2015 Amendment 80 cooperatives and Amendment 80 
limited access allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov when they become available in December 2014.

   Table 3--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch
                      Allowance, and Amendment 80 Allocations of the BSAI Atka Mackerel TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                Allocation by area
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                      Eastern
              Sector 1                       Season 2 3 4            Aleutian         Central         Western
                                                                     District/       Aleutian        Aleutian
                                                                    Bering Sea       District        District
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC................................  n/a........................          16,500           7,379           1,500
CDQ reserve........................  Total......................           1,766             790             161
                                     A..........................             883             395              80
                                     Critical habitat \5\.......             n/a              39             n/a
                                     B..........................             883             395              80
                                     Critical habitat \5\.......             n/a              39             n/a
ICA................................  Total......................           1,000              75              40
Jig \6\............................  Total......................              69               0               0
BSAI trawl limited access..........  Total......................           1,367             651               0
                                     A..........................             683             326               0
                                     B..........................             683             326               0
Amendment 80 \7\...................  Total......................          12,299           5,863           1,300
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for    Total......................           7,082           3,495             767
 2014.
                                     A..........................           3,541           1,748             384
                                     Critical habitat \5\.......             n/a             175             n/a
                                     B..........................           3,541           1,748             384
                                     Critical habitat \5\.......             n/a             175             n/a
Alaska Seafood Cooperative for 2014  Total......................           5,217           2,368             532
                                     A..........................           2,609           1,184             266
                                     Critical habitat \5\.......             n/a             118             n/a
                                     B..........................           2,609           1,184             266
                                     Critical habitat \5\.......             n/a             118             n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, ICAs, and the
  jig gear allocation, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for
  Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to part 679
  and Sec.   679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.  Sec.
  679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31).
\2\ Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel
  fishery.
\3\ The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season.
\4\ Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from
  January 20 to June 10, and the B season from June 10 to November 1.
\5\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C) requires the TAC in area 542 shall be no more than 47 percent of ABC, and Atka
  mackerel harvests for Amendment 80 cooperatives and CDQ groups within waters 10 nm to 20 nm of Gramp Rock and
  Tag Island, as described in Table 12 to part 679, in Area 542 are limited to no more than 10 percent of the
  Amendment 80 cooperative Atka mackerel allocation or 10 percent of the CDQ Atka mackerel allocation.
\6\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea
  subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtraction of the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this
  allocation is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season.
\7\ The 2015 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited
  access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November
  1, 2014.

Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC

    The Council recommended and NMFS proposes separate BS and AI 
subarea OFLs, ABCs, and TACs for Pacific cod. Section 
679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) allocates 10.7 percent of the BS TAC and AI TAC to 
the CDQ program. After CDQ allocations have been deducted from the 
respective BS and AI Pacific

[[Page 74069]]

cod TACs, the remaining BS and AI Pacific cod TACs will be combined for 
calculating further BSAI Pacific cod sector allocations. However, if 
the non-CDQ Pacific cod TAC is or will be reached in either the BS or 
AI subareas, NMFS will prohibit non-CDQ directed fishing for Pacific 
cod in that subarea as provided in Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii).
    Sections 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) allocate the Pacific cod TAC in 
the combined BSAI TAC, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ 
program, as follows: 1.4 Percent to vessels using jig gear, 2.0 percent 
to hook-and-line and pot catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) 
length overall (LOA), 0.2 percent to hook-and-line catcher vessels 
greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA, 48.7 percent to hook-and-
line catcher/processors, 8.4 percent to pot catcher vessels greater 
than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA, 1.5 percent to pot catcher/
processors, 2.3 percent to AFA trawl catcher/processors, 13.4 percent 
to non-AFA trawl catcher/processors, and 22.1 percent to trawl catcher 
vessels. The BSAI ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be 
deducted from the aggregate portion of BSAI Pacific cod TAC allocated 
to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. For 2014 and 2015, the Regional 
Administrator proposes a BSAI ICA of 500 mt, based on anticipated 
incidental catch in these fisheries.
    The allocation of the BSAI ITAC for Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 
sector is established in Table 33 to part 679 and Sec.  679.91. Two 
Amendment 80 cooperatives have formed for the 2014 fishing year. 
Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of a cooperative, no 
allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required. NMFS 
will post 2014 Amendment 80 cooperative allocations on the Alaska 
Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start 
of the fishing year on January 1, 2014, based on the harvest 
specifications effective on that date.
    The 2015 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 
cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be 
known until eligible participants apply for participation in the 
program by November 1, 2014. NMFS will post 2015 Amendment 80 
cooperatives and Amendment 80 limited access allocations on the Alaska 
Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov when they become 
available in December 2014.
    The Pacific cod ITAC is apportioned into seasonal allowances to 
disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see 
Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(7) and 679.23(e)(5)). In accordance with Sec.  
679.20(a)(7)(iv)(B) and (C), any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific 
cod allowance will become available at the beginning of the next 
seasonal allowance.
    The CDQ and non-CDQ season allowances by gear based on the proposed 
2014 and 2015 Pacific cod TACs are listed in Table 4 based on the 
sector allocation percentages of Pacific cod set forth at Sec. Sec.  
679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) and 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(A); and the seasonal allowances 
of Pacific cod set forth at Sec.  679.23(e)(5).
    Section 679.7(a)(19) prohibits retaining Pacific cod in Area 543 
and Sec.  679.7(a)(23) prohibits directed fishing for Pacific cod with 
hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear in the AI subarea November 1 through 
December 31.

       Table 4--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Gear Shares and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI \1\ Pacific Cod TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     2014 and 2015 seasonal
                                                 2014 and 2015   2014 and 2015            apportionment
          Gear sector               Percent      share of gear     share of    ---------------------------------
                                                 sector total    sector total        Season           Amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BS TAC........................  ..............         245,000             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
BS CDQ........................  ..............          26,215             n/a  See Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
AI TAC........................  ..............           7,381             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI CDQ........................  ..............             790             n/a  See Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC \1\....             100         225,376             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total hook-and-line/pot gear..            60.8         137,029             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line/pot ICA \2\.....             n/a             n/a             500  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line/pot sub-total...             n/a         136,529             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line catcher/                    48.7             n/a         109,358  Jan 1-Jun 10....          55,772
 processors.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...          53,585
Hook-and-line catcher vessels              0.2             n/a             449  Jan 1-Jun 10....             229
 >=60 ft LOA.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...             220
Pot catcher/processors........             1.5             n/a           3,368  Jan 1-Jun 10....           1,718
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Sept 1-Dec 31...           1,650
Pot catcher vessels >=60 ft                8.4             n/a          18,863  Jan 1-Jun 10....           9,620
 LOA.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Sept 1-Dec 31...           9,243
Catcher vessels <60 ft LOA                   2             n/a           4,491  n/a.............             n/a
 using hook-and-line or pot
 gear.
Trawl catcher vessels.........            22.1          49,808             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          36,858
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           5,479
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....           7,471
AFA trawl catcher/processors..             2.3           5,184             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           3,888
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           1,296
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....               0
Amendment 80..................            13.4          30,200             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          22,650
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           7,550
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....               0
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative              n/a           5,624             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           4,218
 for 2014 \3\.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           1,406
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....               0
Alaska Seafood Cooperative for             n/a          24,577             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          18,433
 2014 \3\.

[[Page 74070]]

 
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           6,144
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....               0
Jig...........................             1.4           3,155             n/a  Jan 1-Apr 30....           1,893
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 30-Aug 31...             631
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Aug 31-Dec 31...             631
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI
  Pacific cod TACs. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached, then directed fishing for
  Pacific cod in that subarea may be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains.
\2\ The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC
  allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator proposes an ICA of 500 mt for 2014
  and 2015 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries.
\3\ The 2015 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited
  access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November
  1, 2014.

Sablefish Gear Allocation

    Sections 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) require allocation of sablefish 
TACs for the Bering Sea and AI subareas between trawl gear and hook-
and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TACs for the Bering Sea 
subarea are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for hook-and-line 
or pot gear. Gear allocations for the AI subarea are 25 percent for 
trawl gear and 75 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Section 
679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires NMFS to apportion 20 percent of the hook-
and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish to the CDQ reserve. 
Additionally, Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D)(1) requires that 7.5 percent of 
the trawl gear allocation of sablefish from the nonspecified reserves, 
established under Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(i), be assigned to the CDQ 
reserve. The Council recommended that only trawl sablefish TAC be 
established biennially. The harvest specifications for the hook-and-
line gear and pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) 
fisheries will be limited to the 2014 fishing year to ensure those 
fisheries are conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery. 
Concurrent sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries would reduce the 
potential for discards of halibut and sablefish in those fisheries. The 
sablefish IFQ fisheries would remain closed at the beginning of each 
fishing year until the final harvest specifications for the sablefish 
IFQ fisheries are in effect. Table 5 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 
gear allocations of the sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts.

               Table 5--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Gear Shares and CDQ Reserve of BSAI Sablefish TACS
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   2014                             2015
            Subarea gear              Percent    share of  2014 ITAC   2014 CDQ   share of  2015 ITAC   2015 CDQ
                                       of TAC      TAC        \1\      reserve      TAC                 reserve
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bearing Sea
    Trawl..........................         50        740        629         56        740        629         56
    Hook-and-line gear \2\.........         50        740        n/a        148        n/a        n/a        n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total..............................        100      1,480        629        204        740        629         56
Aleutian Islands
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trawl..........................         25        503        427         38        503        427         38
    Hook-and-line gear \2\.........         75      1,508        n/a        302        n/a        n/a        n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total......................      2,010        427        339        503        427         38
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Except for the sablefish hook-and-line or pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the
  reserve. The ITAC is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves.
\2\ For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, 20 percent of the
  allocated TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants. Section 679.20(b)(1) does not provide for the
  establishment of an ITAC for sablefish allocated to hook-and-line or pot gear.

Allocation of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI 
Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACs

    Sections 679.20(a)(10)(i) and (ii) require that NMFS allocate AI 
Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin 
sole TACs between the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access 
sectors, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ reserve and an ICA 
for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels using non-trawl 
gear. The allocation of the ITAC for AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI 
flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole to the Amendment 80 sector 
is established in Tables 33 and 34 to part 679 and in Sec.  679.91.
    Two Amendment 80 cooperatives have formed for the 2014 fishing 
year. Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of a cooperative, no 
allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required. NMFS 
will post 2014 Amendment 80 cooperative allocations

[[Page 74071]]

on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior 
to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2014, based on the 
harvest specifications effective on that date.
    The 2015 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 
cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be 
known until eligible participants apply for participation in the 
program by November 1, 2014. NMFS will post 2015 Amendment 80 
cooperatives and Amendment 80 limited access allocations on the Alaska 
Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov when they become 
available in December 2014.
    Table 6 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 allocations of the AI 
Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin 
sole TACs.

 Table 6-Proposed 2014 and 2015 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and
  Amendment 80 Allocations of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and
                                               Yellowfin Sole TACS
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              2014 and 2015 allocations
                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Pacific ocean perch             Flathead    Rock sole    Yellowfin
              Sector               ---------------------------------------     sole    -------------     sole
                                      Eastern      Central      Western   -------------             ------------
                                      Aleutian     Aleutian     Aleutian                    BSAI
                                      District     District     District       BSAI                      BSAI
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC...............................        9,240        6,590        9,590       22,699       94,569      200,000
CDQ...............................          989          705        1,026        2,429       10,119       21,400
ICA...............................          200           75           10        5,000       10,000        2,400
BSAI trawl limited access.........          805          581          171            0            0       35,422
Amendment 80......................        7,246        5,229        8,383       15,270       74,450      140,778
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for         3,404        2,456        3,938        2,997       21,270       60,460
 2014\1\..........................
Alaska Seafood Cooperative for            3,842        2,773        4,445       12,273       53,180       80,317
 2014\1\..........................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 2015 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited
  access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November
  1, 2014.

Allocation of PSC Limits for Halibut, Salmon, Crab, and Herring

    Section 679.21(e) sets forth the BSAI PSC limits. Pursuant to Sec.  
679.21(e)(1)(iv) and (e)(2), the 2014 and 2015 BSAI halibut mortality 
limits are 3,675 mt for trawl fisheries, and 900 mt for the non-trawl 
fisheries. Sections 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(2) and (e)(4)(i)(A) allocate 326 
mt of the trawl halibut mortality limit and 7.5 percent, or 67 mt, of 
the non-trawl halibut mortality limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the 
groundfish CDQ program.
    Section 679.21(e)(4)(i) authorizes apportionment of the non-trawl 
halibut PSC limit into PSC bycatch allowances among six fishery 
categories. Table 9 lists the fishery bycatch allowances for the trawl 
fisheries, and Table 10 lists the fishery bycatch allowances for the 
non-trawl fisheries.
    Pursuant to section 3.6 of the BSAI FMP, the Council recommends, 
and NMFS agrees, that certain specified non-trawl fisheries be exempt 
from the halibut PSC limit. As in past years after consultation with 
the Council, NMFS exempts pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ 
hook-and-line gear fishery categories from halibut bycatch restrictions 
for the following reasons: (1) The pot gear fisheries have low halibut 
bycatch mortality; (2) NMFS estimates halibut mortality for the jig 
gear fleet to be negligible because of the small size of the fishery 
and the selectivity of the gear; and (3) the sablefish and halibut IFQ 
fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality because the IFQ program 
requires legal-size halibut to be retained by vessels using hook-and-
line gear if a halibut IFQ permit holder or a hired master is aboard 
and is holding unused halibut IFQ (subpart D of 50 CFR part 679). In 
2013, total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the BSAI was 
26,433 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch mortality of 2 mt.
    The 2013 jig gear fishery harvested about 11 mt of groundfish. Most 
vessels in the jig gear fleet are exempt from observer coverage 
requirements. As a result, observer data are not available on halibut 
bycatch in the jig gear fishery. However, as mentioned above, NMFS 
estimates a negligible amount of halibut bycatch mortality because of 
the selective nature of jig gear and the low mortality rate of halibut 
caught with jig gear and released.
    Under section 679.21(f)(2), NMFS annually allocates portions of 
either 47,591 or 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC among the AFA sectors, 
depending on past catch performance and on whether Chinook salmon 
bycatch incentive plan agreements are formed. If an AFA sector 
participates in an approved Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan 
agreement, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 60,000 PSC limit to 
that sector as specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). If no Chinook 
salmon bycatch incentive plan agreement is approved, or if the sector 
has exceeded its performance standard under Sec.  679.21(f)(6), NMFS 
will allocate a portion of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that 
sector as specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). In 2014, the Chinook 
salmon PSC limit is 60,000, and the AFA sector Chinook salmon 
allocations are seasonally allocated with 70 percent of the allocation 
for the A season pollock fishery, and 30 percent of the allocation for 
the B season pollock fishery as stated in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). 
The basis for these PSC limits is described in detail in the final rule 
implementing management measures for Amendment 91 (75 FR 53026, August 
30, 2010). NMFS publishes the approved Chinook salmon bycatch incentive 
plan agreements, allocations and reports at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/bycatch/default.htm.
    Section 679.21(e)(1)(viii) specifies 700 fish as the 2014 and 2015 
Chinook salmon PSC limit for the AI subarea pollock fishery. Section 
679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(3)(i) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, 
as the AI subarea PSQ for the CDQ program and allocates the remaining 
647 Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries.
    Section 679.21(e)(1)(vii) specifies 42,000 fish as the 2014 and 
2015 non-

[[Page 74072]]

Chinook salmon PSC limit in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area (CVOA). 
Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(3)(ii) allocates 10.7 percent, or 4,494, 
non-Chinook salmon in the CVOA as the PSQ for the CDQ program, and 
allocates the remaining 37,506 non-Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ 
fisheries.
    PSC limits for crab and herring are specified annually based on 
abundance and spawning biomass. Due to the lack of new information as 
of October 2013 regarding Zone 1 red king crab and BSAI herring PSC 
limits and apportionments, the Council recommended and NMFS proposes 
basing the crab and herring 2014 and 2015 PSC limits and apportionments 
on the 2012 survey data. The Council will reconsider these amounts in 
December 2013. Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(1), 10.7 percent of 
each PSC limit specified for crab is allocated as a PSQ reserve for use 
by the groundfish CDQ program.
    Based on 2012 survey data, the red king crab mature female 
abundance is estimated at 21.1 million red king crabs, and the 
effective spawning biomass is estimated at 44.2 million lb (20,049 mt). 
Based on the criteria set out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(i), the proposed 
2014 and 2015 PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl gear is 
97,000 animals. This limit derives from the mature female abundance 
estimate of more than 8.4 million red king crab and the effective 
spawning biomass estimate of more than 55 million lbs (24,948 mt).
    Section 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2) establishes criteria under which 
NMFS must specify an annual red king crab bycatch limit for the Red 
King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS). The regulations limit the RKCSS to 
up to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance. NMFS proposes the 
Council's recommendation that the red king crab bycatch limit be equal 
to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance within the RKCSS 
(Table 8). Based on 2012 survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) 
abundance is estimated at 711 million animals. Pursuant to criteria set 
out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(ii), the calculated 2014 and 2015 C. bairdi 
crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 980,000 animals in Zone 1, and 
2,970,000 animals in Zone 2. These limits derive from the C. bairdi 
crab abundance estimate being in excess of 400 million animals for both 
the Zone 1 and Zone 2 allocations. Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(iii), 
the PSC limit for snow crab (C. opilio) is based on total abundance as 
indicated by the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey. The C. opilio crab 
PSC limit is set at 0.1133 percent of the Bering Sea abundance index 
minus 150,000 crabs. Based on the 2012 survey estimate of 9.401 billion 
animals, the calculated limit is 10,501,333 animals.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(v), the PSC limit of Pacific herring 
caught while conducting any trawl operation for BSAI groundfish is 1 
percent of the annual eastern Bering Sea herring biomass. The best 
estimate of 2014 and 2015 herring biomass is 264,802 mt. This amount 
was derived using 2012 survey data and an age-structured biomass 
projection model developed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. 
Therefore, the herring PSC limit proposed for 2014 and 2015 is 2,648 mt 
for all trawl gear as listed in Tables 7 and 8.
    Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A) requires PSQ reserves to be subtracted 
from the total trawl PSC limits. The amount of the 2014 PSC limits 
assigned to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors are 
specified in Table 35 to part 679. The resulting allocation of PSC to 
CDQ PSQ, the Amendment 80 sector, and the BSAI trawl limited access 
sector are listed in Table 7. Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(iv) and 
Sec.  679.91(d) through (f), crab and halibut trawl PSC assigned to the 
Amendment 80 sector is then further allocated to Amendment 80 
cooperatives as PSC cooperative quota as listed in Table 11. Two 
Amendment 80 cooperatives have formed for the 2014 fishing year. 
Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of a cooperative, no 
allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required. NMFS 
will post 2014 Amendment 80 cooperative allocations on the Alaska 
Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start 
of the fishing year on January 1, 2014, based on the harvest 
specifications effective on that date.
    The 2015 PSC allocations between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the 
Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible 
participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 
2014. NMFS will post 2015 Amendment 80 cooperatives and Amendment 80 
limited access allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov when they become available in December 2014.
    Section 679.21(e)(5) authorizes NMFS, after consulting with the 
Council, to establish seasonal apportionments of PSC amounts for the 
BSAI trawl limited access and Amendment 80 limited access sectors to 
maximize the ability of the fleet to harvest the available groundfish 
TAC and to minimize bycatch. The factors considered are (1) seasonal 
distribution of prohibited species, (2) seasonal distribution of target 
groundfish species, (3) PSC bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relevant 
to prohibited species biomass, (4) expected variations in bycatch rates 
throughout the year, (5) expected start of fishing effort, and (6) 
economic effects of seasonal PSC apportionments on industry sectors.
    NMFS proposes the Council's recommendation of the seasonal PSC 
apportionments in Table 9 to maximize harvest among gear types, 
fisheries, and seasons while minimizing bycatch of PSC based on the 
above criteria.

   Table 7--Proposed 2014 and 2015 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                                      BSAI trawl
                                            Total  non-      remaining      Total trawl      remaining        CDQ PSQ      Amendment  80      limited
        PSC species and area \1\             trawl PSC    after  CDQ PSQ        PSC       after  CDQ PSQ    reserve \2\     sector \3\        access
                                                                \2\                             \2\                                           fishery
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI.............             900             832           3,675           3,349             393           2,325             875
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          43,293          26,489
C. opilio (animals) COBLZ...............             n/a             n/a      10,501,333       9,377,690       1,123,643       4,609,135       3,013,990
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 1.........             n/a             n/a         980,000         875,140         104,860         368,521         411,228

[[Page 74073]]

 
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 2.........             n/a             n/a       2,970,000       2,652,210         317,790         627,778       1,241,500
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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 PSC. These reductions
  are not apportioned to other gear types or sectors.


    Table 8--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Herring and Red King Crab Savings
    Subarea Prohibited Species Catch Allowances for all Trawl Sectors
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Herring (mt)      Red king crab
        Fishery categories                 BSAI        (animals)  Zone 1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yellowfin sole....................                180                n/a
Rock sole/flathead sole/other                      30                n/a
 flatfish \1\.....................
Greenland turbot/arrowtooth/                       20                n/a
 sablefish \2\....................
Rockfish..........................                 13                n/a
Pacific cod.......................                 40                n/a
Midwater trawl pollock............              2,165                n/a
Pollock/Atka mackerel/other                       200                n/a
 species 3,4......................
Red king crab savings subarea non-                n/a             24,250
 pelagic trawl gear \5\...........
                                   -------------------------------------
    Total trawl PSC...............              2,648             97,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species,
  except for halibut (a prohibited species), arrowtooth flounder,
  flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and
  yellowfin sole.
\2\ ``Arrowtooth flounder'' for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka
  flounder.
\3\ Pollock other than pelagic trawl pollock, Atka mackerel, and ``other
  species'' fishery category.
\4\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes sculpins, sharks,
  skates, and octopuses.
\5\ In October 2013 the Council recommended that the red king crab
  bycatch limit for non-pelagic trawl fisheries within the RKCSS be
  limited to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance (see Sec.
  679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2)).


 Table 9--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowances for the BSAI Trawl Limited Access Sector
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          Prohibited species and area \1\
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    BSAI trawl limited access         Halibut     Red king  crab     C. opilio         C. bairdi  (animals)
            fisheries                mortality       (animals)       (animals)   -------------------------------
                                     (mt) BSAI        Zone 1           COBLZ          Zone 1          Zone 2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yellowfin sole..................             167          23,338       2,840,175         346,228       1,185,500
Rock sole/flathead sole/other                  0               0               0               0               0
 flatfish \2\...................
Turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish \3\.               0               0               0               0               0
Rockfish April 15-December 31...               5               0           4,828               0           1,000
Pacific cod.....................             453           2,954         120,705          60,000          50,000
Pollock/Atka mackerel/other                  250             197          48,282           5,000           5,000
 species \4\....................
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total BSAI trawl limited                 875          26,489       3,013,990         411,228       1,241,500
     access PSC.................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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), arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin
  sole.
\3\ ``Arrowtooth flounder'' for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka flounder.
\4\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes sculpins, sharks, skates, and octopuses.


[[Page 74074]]


   Table 10--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Halibut Prohibited Species Bycatch
                   Allowances for Non-Trawl Fisheries
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         Catcher/
       Non-trawl  fisheries             processor        Catcher vessel
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod-Total.................                760                 15
                                   -------------------------------------
January 1-June 10.................                455                 10
June 10-August 15.................                190                  3
August 15-December 31.............                115                  2
                                   -------------------------------------
Other non-trawl-Total.............  .................                 58
May 1-December 31.................  .................                 58
Groundfish pot and jig............  .................             Exempt
Sablefish hook-and-line...........  .................             Exempt
    Total non-trawl PSC...........  .................                833
------------------------------------------------------------------------


       Table 11--Proposed 2014 Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowance for the BSAI Amendment 80 Cooperatives
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Prohibited species and zones \1\
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Cooperative                Halibut      Red king crab     C. opilio         C. bairdi  (animals)
                                     mortality    (animals) Zone     (animals)   -------------------------------
                                     (mt) BSAI           1             COBLZ          Zone 1          Zone 2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative...             723          14,008       1,651,657         110,580         196,583
Alaska Seafood Cooperative......           1,602          29,285       2,957,478         257,941         431,195
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of zones.

Halibut Discard Mortality Rates (DMRs)

    To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, 
the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut bycatch rates, DMRs, 
and estimates of groundfish catch to project when a fishery's halibut 
bycatch mortality allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. The 
DMRs are based on the best information available, including information 
contained in the annual SAFE report.
    NMFS proposes the halibut DMRs developed and recommended by the 
International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) and the Council for the 
2014 and 2015 BSAI groundfish fisheries for use in monitoring the 2014 
and 2015 halibut bycatch allowances (see Tables 6, 7, 9, 10, and 11). 
The IPHC developed these DMRs for the 2013 to 2015 BSAI fisheries using 
the 10-year mean DMRs for those fisheries. The IPHC will analyze 
observer data annually and recommend changes to the DMRs when a fishery 
DMR shows large variation from the mean. A discussion of the DMRs and 
their justification is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). 
Table 12 lists the 2014 and 2015 DMRs.

          Table 12--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Assumed Pacific Halibut Discard Mortality Rates for the BSAI
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                             Halibut discard
                      Gear                                       Fishery                      mortality rate
                                                                                                (percent)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Non-CDQ hook-and-line..........................  Greenland turbot......................                       13
                                                 Other species \1\.....................                        9
                                                 Pacific cod...........................                        9
                                                 Rockfish..............................                        4
Non-CDQ trawl..................................  Alaska Plaice.........................                       71
                                                 Arrowtooth flounder \2\...............                       76
                                                 Atka mackerel.........................                       77
                                                 Flathead sole.........................                       73
                                                 Greenland turbot......................                       64
                                                 Kamchatka flounder....................                       71
                                                 Non-pelagic pollock...................                       77
                                                 Pelagic pollock.......................                       88
                                                 Other flatfish \3\....................                       71
                                                 Other species \1\.....................                       71
                                                 Pacific cod...........................                       71
                                                 Rockfish..............................                       79
                                                 Rock sole.............................                       85
                                                 Sablefish.............................                       75
                                                 Yellowfin sole........................                       83
Non-CDQ pot....................................  Other species \1\.....................                        8
                                                 Pacific cod...........................                        8
CDQ trawl......................................  Atka mackerel.........................                       86
                                                 Arrowtooth flounder \2\...............                       76

[[Page 74075]]

 
                                                 Flathead sole.........................                       79
                                                 Kamchatka flounder....................                       90
                                                 Non-pelagic pollock...................                       83
                                                 Pelagic pollock.......................                       90
                                                 Pacific cod...........................                       90
                                                 Greenland turbot......................                       89
                                                 Rockfish..............................                       80
                                                 Rock sole.............................                       88
                                                 Yellowfin sole........................                       86
CDQ hook-and-line..............................  Greenland turbot......................                        4
                                                 Pacific cod...........................                       10
CDQ pot........................................  Pacific cod...........................                        8
                                                 Sablefish.............................                       34
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ ``Other species'' includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses.
\2\ Arrowtooth flounder includes Kamchatka flounder.
\3\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole,
  Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder.

Listed AFA Catcher/Processor Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is 
responsible for restricting the ability of listed AFA catcher/
processors to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other 
than pollock, to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries 
from adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery 
cooperatives in the directed pollock fishery. These restrictions are 
set out as ``sideboard'' limits on catch. The basis for these proposed 
sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing 
the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and 
Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Table 13 lists the 
proposed 2014 and 2015 catcher/processor sideboard limits.
    All harvests of groundfish sideboard species by listed AFA catcher/
processors, whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be 
deducted from the sideboard limits in Table 13. However, groundfish 
sideboard species that are delivered to listed AFA catcher/processors 
by catcher vessels will not be deducted from the 2014 and 2015 
sideboard limits for the listed AFA catcher/processors.

              Table 13--Proposed 2014 and 2015 BSAI Groundfish Sideboard Limits for Listed American Fisheries Act Catcher/Processors (C/Ps)
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                             1995-1997
                                                                         ------------------------------------------------  2014 and 2015   2014 and 2015
             Target species                            Area                                                  Ratio of     ITAC available      AFA C/P
                                                                          Retained catch    Total catch   retained catch  to all trawl C/    sideboard
                                                                                                          of total catch      Ps \1\           limit
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish trawl........................  BS.............................               8             497           0.016             629              10
                                         AI.............................               0             145               0             427               0
Greenland turbot.......................  BS.............................             121          17,305           0.007           1,369              10
                                         AI.............................              23           4,987           0.005             383               2
Arrowtooth flounder....................  BSAI...........................              76          33,987           0.002          21,250              43
Kamchatka flounder.....................  BSAI...........................              76          33,987           0.002           6,035              12
Rock sole..............................  BSAI...........................           6,317         169,362           0.037          80,384           2,974
Flathead sole..........................  BSAI...........................           1,925          52,755           0.036          19,294             695
Alaska plaice..........................  BSAI...........................              14           9,438           0.001          20,145              20
Other flatfish.........................  BSAI...........................           3,058          52,298           0.058           2,975             173
Pacific ocean perch....................  BS.............................              12           4,879           0.002           6,528              13
                                         Eastern AI.....................             125           6,179            0.02           7,854             157
                                         Central AI.....................               3           5,698           0.001           5,602               6
                                         Western AI.....................              54          13,598           0.004           8,152              33
Northern rockfish......................  BSAI...........................              91          13,040           0.007           2,550              18
Rougheye rockfish......................  EBS/EAI........................              50           2,811           0.018             161               3
                                         CAI/WAI........................              50           2,811           0.018             204               4
Shortraker rockfish....................  BSAI...........................              50           2,811           0.018             315               6
Other rockfish.........................  BS.............................              18             621           0.029             340              10
                                         AI.............................              22             806           0.027             402              11
Atka mackerel..........................  Central AI
                                            A season \2\................             n/a             n/a           0.115           3,136             361
                                            B season \2\................             n/a             n/a           0.115           3,136             361
                                         Western AI
                                            A season \2\................             n/a             n/a             0.2             670             134
                                            B season \2\................             n/a             n/a             0.2             670             134
Skates.................................  BSAI...........................             553          68,672           0.008          20,400             163

[[Page 74076]]

 
Sculpins...............................  BSAI...........................             553          68,672           0.008           4,760              38
Sharks.................................  BSAI...........................             553          68,672           0.008             128               1
Squids.................................  BSAI...........................              73           3,328           0.022             425               9
Octopuses..............................  BSAI...........................             553          68,672           0.008             425               3
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Aleutians Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole are multiplied by the remainder of the
  TAC of that species after subtracting the CDQ reserve under Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C).
\2\ The seasonal apportionment of Atka mackerel in the open access fishery is 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. Listed AFA
  catcher/processors are limited to harvesting no more than zero in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea, 20 percent of the annual ITAC
  specified for the Western Aleutian District, and 11.5 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Central Aleutian District.
Note: Section 679.64(a)(1)(v) exempts AFA catcher/processors from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2014 and 2015 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin
  sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt.

    Section 679.64(a)(2) and Tables 40 and 41 to part 679 establish a 
formula for calculating PSC sideboard limits for listed AFA catcher/
processors. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail 
in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 
79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 
2007).
    PSC species listed in Table 14 that are caught by listed AFA 
catcher/processors participating in any groundfish fishery other than 
pollock will accrue against the proposed 2014 and 2015 PSC sideboard 
limits for the listed AFA catcher/processors. Section 679.21(e)(3)(v) 
authorizes NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than 
pollock for listed AFA catcher/processors once a proposed 2014 or 2015 
PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 14 is reached.
    Crab or halibut PSC caught by listed AFA catcher/processors while 
fishing for pollock will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually 
specified for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/Atka mackerel/
``other species'' fishery categories, according to regulations at Sec.  
679.21(e)(3)(iv).

   Table 14--Proposed 2014 and 2015 BSAI Prohibited Species Sideboard Limits for American Fisheries Act Listed
                                               Catcher/Processors
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Ratio of PSC to total    Proposed 2014 and 2015   Proposed 2014 and 2015
       PSC species and area \1\                  PSC             PSC available to trawl  C/P sideboard limit \1\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BSAI Halibut mortality...............                      n/a                      n/a                      286
Red king crab Zone 1 \2\.............                    0.007                   86,621                      606
C. opilio (COBLZ) \2\................                    0.153                9,377,690                1,434,787
C. bairdi............................                      n/a                      n/a                      n/a
Zone 1 \2\...........................                     0.14                  875,140                  122,520
Zone 2 \2\...........................                     0.05                2,652,210                  132,611
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals.

AFA Catcher Vessel Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.64(b), the Regional Administrator is 
responsible for restricting the ability of AFA catcher vessels to 
engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock, 
to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse 
effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the 
directed pollock fishery. Section 679.64(b) establishes formulas for 
setting AFA catcher vessel groundfish and PSC sideboard limits for the 
BSAI. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in 
the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 
79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 
2007). Tables 15 and 16 list the proposed 2014 and 2015 AFA catcher 
vessel sideboard limits.
    All catch of groundfish sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA 
catcher vessels, whether as targeted catch or as incidental catch, will 
be deducted from the 2014 and 2015 sideboard limits listed in Table 15.

[[Page 74077]]



  Table 15--Proposed 2014 and 2015 BSAI Groundfish Sideboard Limits for American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessels
                                                      (CVs)
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                   2014 and 2015
                                                                  Ratio of 1995-   2014 and 2015    AFA catcher
                Species                   Fishery by area/gear/     1997 AFA CV     initial TAC       vessel
                                                 season           catch to 1995-        \1\          sideboard
                                                                     1997 TAC                         limits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod...........................  BSAI....................             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                        Jig gear................               0           3,063               0
                                        Hook-and-line CV........             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                           Jan 1-Jun 10.........          0.0006             222               0
                                           Jun 10-Dec 31........          0.0006             214               0
                                        Pot gear CV.............             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                           Jan 1-Jun 10.........          0.0006           9,338               6
                                           Sept 1-Dec 31........          0.0006           8,971               5
                                        CV< 60 ft LOA using hook-         0.0006           4,359               3
                                         and-line or pot gear.
                                        Trawl gear CV...........             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                           Jan 20-Apr 1.........          0.8609          35,780          30,803
                                           Apr 1-Jun 10.........          0.8609           5,319           4,579
                                           Jun 10-Nov 1.........          0.8609           7,253           6,244
Sablefish.............................  BS trawl gear...........          0.0906             629              57
                                        AI trawl gear...........          0.0645             427              28
Atka mackerel.........................  Eastern AI/BS...........             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                           Jan 1-Jun 10.........          0.0032          82,500             264
                                           Jun 10-Nov 1.........          0.0032          82,500             264
                                        Central AI..............             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                           Jan 1-Jun 10.........          0.0001           3,136               0
                                           Jun 10-Nov 1.........          0.0001           3,136               0
                                        Western AI..............             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                           Jan 1-Jun 10.........               0             670               0
                                           Jun 10-Nov 1.........               0             670               0
Greenland turbot......................  BS......................          0.0645           1,369              88
                                        AI......................          0.0205             383               8
Arrowtooth flounder...................  BSAI....................           0.069          21,250           1,466
Kamchatka flounder....................  BSAI....................           0.069           6,035             416
Rock sole.............................  BSAI....................          0.0341          80,384           2,741
Flathead sole.........................  BS trawl gear...........          0.0505          22,699           1,146
Alaska plaice.........................  BSAI....................          0.0441          20,145             888
Other flatfish........................  BSAI....................          0.0441           2,975             131
Pacific ocean perch...................  BS......................             0.1           6,528             653
                                        Eastern AI..............          0.0077           7,854              60
                                        Central AI..............          0.0025           5,602              14
                                        Western AI..............               0           8,152               0
Northern rockfish.....................  BSAI....................          0.0084           2,550              21
Rougheye rockfish.....................  EBS/EAI.................          0.0037             161               1
                                        CAI/WAI.................          0.0037             204               1
Shortraker rockfish...................  BSAI....................          0.0037             315               1
Other rockfish........................  BS......................          0.0048             340               2
                                        AI......................          0.0095             402               4
Skates................................  BSAI....................          0.0541          20,400           1,104
Sculpins..............................  BSAI....................          0.0541           4,760             258
Sharks................................  BSAI....................          0.0541             128               7
Squids................................  BSAI....................          0.3827             425             163
Octopuses.............................  BSAI....................          0.0541             425              23
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Aleutians Islands Pacific ocean perch, Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole are
  multiplied by the remainder of the TAC of that species after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under Sec.
  679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C).
Note: Section 679.64(b)(6) exempts AFA catcher vessels from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2014
  and 2015 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access
  sector is greater than 125,000 mt.

    Halibut and crab PSC limits listed in Table 16 that are caught by 
AFA catcher vessels participating in any groundfish fishery other than 
pollock will accrue against the 2014 and 2015 PSC sideboard limits for 
the AFA catcher vessels. Sections 679.21(d)(8) and 679.21(e)(3)(v) 
authorize NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than 
pollock for AFA catcher vessels once a proposed 2014 and 2015 PSC 
sideboard limit listed in Table 16 is reached. The PSC that is caught 
by AFA catcher vessels while fishing for pollock in the Bering Sea 
subarea will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified 
for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/Atka mackerel/``other 
species'' fishery categories under regulations at Sec.  
679.21(e)(3)(iv).

[[Page 74078]]



Table 16--Proposed 2014 and 2015 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Prohibited Species Catch Sideboard Limits
                                                for the BSAI \1\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Proposed 2014   Proposed 2014
                                                                    AFA catcher    and 2015 PSC    and 2015 AFA
       PSC species and area \2\          Target fishery category    vessel PSC      limit after   catcher vessel
                                                   \3\               sideboard    subtraction of   PSC sideboard
                                                                    limit ratio     PSQ reserves       limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut...............................  Pacific cod trawl.......             n/a             n/a             887
                                        Pacific cod hook-and-                n/a             n/a               2
                                         line or pot.
                                        Yellowfin sole total....             n/a             n/a             101
                                        Rock sole/flathead sole/             n/a             n/a             228
                                         other flatfish\4\.
                                        Greenland turbot/                    n/a             n/a               0
                                         arrowtooth/sablefish
                                         \5\.
                                        Rockfish................             n/a             n/a               2
                                        Pollock/Atka mackerel/               n/a             n/a               5
                                         other species\6\.
Red king crab Zone 1..................  n/a.....................           0.299          86,621          25,900
C. opilio COBLZ.......................  n/a.....................           0.168       9,377,690       1,575,452
C. bairdi Zone 1......................  n/a.....................            0.33         875,140         288,796
C. bairdi Zone 2......................  n/a.....................           0.186       2,652,210         493,311
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals.
\2\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\3\ Target fishery categories are defined in regulation at Sec.   679.21(e)(3)(iv).
\4\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited
  species), arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, and yellowfin sole.
\5\ Arrowtooth for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka flounder.
\6\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, and octopuses.

Classification

    NMFS has determined that the proposed harvest specifications are 
consistent with the FMP and preliminarily determined that the proposed 
harvest specifications are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and 
other applicable laws.
    This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from 
review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563.
    NMFS prepared an EIS for this action and made it available to the 
public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 13, 2007, NMFS 
issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the EIS. A Supplemental 
Information Report (SIR) that assesses the need to prepare a 
Supplemental EIS is being prepared for the final action. Copies of the 
EIS, ROD, and SIR for this action are available from NMFS (see 
ADDRESSES). The EIS analyzes the environmental consequences of the 
proposed groundfish harvest specifications and alternative harvest 
strategies on resources in the action area. The EIS found no 
significant environmental consequences from the proposed action or its 
alternatives.
    NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), as 
required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, analyzing 
the methodology for establishing the relevant TACs. The IRFA evaluates 
the impacts on small entities of alternative harvest strategies for the 
groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic zone off Alaska. As set 
forth in the methodology, TACs are set to a level that fall within the 
range of ABCs recommended by the SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve 
OY specified in the FMP. While the specific numbers that the 
methodology may produce vary from year to year, the methodology itself 
remains constant.
    A description of the proposed action, why it is being considered, 
and the legal basis for this proposed action are contained in the 
preamble above. A copy of the analysis is available from NMFS (see 
ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows. The action under 
consideration is a harvest strategy to govern the catch of groundfish 
in the BSAI. The preferred alternative is the existing harvest strategy 
in which TACs fall within the range of ABCs recommended by the SSC, 
but, as discussed below, NMFS considered other alternatives. This 
action is taken in accordance with the FMP prepared by the Council 
pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    The entities directly regulated by this action are those that 
harvest groundfish in the exclusive economic zone of the BSAI and in 
parallel fisheries within State of Alaska waters. These include 
entities operating catcher vessels and catcher/processors within the 
action area, and entities receiving direct allocations of groundfish.
    On June 20, 2013, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a 
final rule revising the small business size standards for several 
industries effective July 22, 2013 (78 FR 37398; June 20, 2013). The 
rule increased the size standard for Finfish Fishing from $4.0 to 19.0 
million, Shellfish Fishing from $4.0 to 5.0 million, and Other Marine 
Fishing from $4.0 to 7.0 million. The new size standards were used to 
prepare the IRFA for this action. Fishing vessels are considered small 
entities if their total annual gross receipts, from all their 
activities combined, are less than $19.0 million.
    The directly regulated small entities include approximately 428 
small catcher vessels, seven small catcher/processors, and six CDQ 
groups. The IRFA estimates the number of harvesting vessels that are 
considered small entities, but these estimates may overstate the number 
of small entities because (1) some vessels may also be active as tender 
vessels in the salmon fishery, fish in areas other than Alaska and the 
West Coast, or generate revenue from other non-fishing sources; and (2) 
all affiliations are not taken into account, especially if the vessel 
has affiliations not tracked in available data (i.e., ownership of 
multiple vessel or affiliation with processors) and may be 
misclassified as a small entity. Because the 428 CVs and seven C/Ps 
meet this size standard, they are considered to be small entities for 
the purposes of this analysis.
    The preferred alternative (Alternative 2) was compared to four 
other alternatives. These included Alternative 1, which would have set 
TACs to generate fishing rates equal to the maximum permissible ABC (if 
the full TAC were harvested), unless the sum of TACs exceeded the BSAI 
OY, in which

[[Page 74079]]

case TACs would have been limited to the OY. Alternative 3 would have 
set TACs to produce fishing rates equal to the most recent 5-year 
average fishing rates. Alternative 4 would have set TACs equal to the 
lower limit of the BSAI OY range. Alternative 5, the ``no action'' 
alternative, would have set TACs equal to zero.
    The TACs associated with the preferred harvest strategy are those 
adopted by the Council in October 2013, as per Alternative 2. OFLs and 
ABCs for the species were based on recommendations prepared by the 
Council's BSAI Plan Team in September 2013, and reviewed and modified 
by the Council's SSC in October 2013. The Council based its TAC 
recommendations on those of its AP, which were consistent with the 
SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations.
    Alternative 1 selects harvest rates that will allow fishermen to 
harvest stocks at the level of ABCs, unless total harvests were 
constrained by the upper bound of the BSAI OY of two million mt. As 
shown in Table 1 of the preamble, the sum of ABCs in 2014 and 2015 
would be about 2,686,688 mt, which falls above the upper bound of the 
OY range. The sum of TACs is equal to the sum of ABCs. In this 
instance, Alternative 1 is consistent with the preferred alternative 
(Alternative 2), meets the objectives of that action, and has small 
entity impacts that are equivalent to the preferred alternative.
    Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 
years of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for the 
most recent 5 years of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). 
This alternative is inconsistent with the objectives of this action, 
(the Council's preferred harvest strategy) because it does not take 
account of the most recent biological information for this fishery. 
Harvest rates are listed for each species category for each year in the 
SAFE report (see ADDRESSES).
    Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all 
species and reduce TACs from the upper end of the OY range in the BSAI, 
to its lower end of 1.4 million mt. Overall, this would reduce 2014 
TACs by about 30 percent, which would lead to significant reductions in 
harvests of species by small entities. While reductions of this size 
would be associated with offsetting price increases, the size of these 
increases is very uncertain. There are close substitutes for BSAI 
groundfish species available from the GOA. While production declines in 
the BSAI would undoubtedly be associated with significant price 
increases in the BSAI, these increases would still be constrained by 
production of substitutes, and are very unlikely to offset revenue 
declines from smaller production. Thus, this alternative action would 
have a detrimental impact on small entities.
    Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, would have a 
significant adverse impact on small entities and would be contrary to 
obligations to achieve OY on a continuing basis, as mandated by the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    In 2012, there were 595 individual catcher vessels with gross 
revenues less than or equal to $5 million. Many of these vessels are 
members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, GOA rockfish cooperatives, 
or crab rationalization cooperatives, and, since under the RFA it is 
the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the 
cooperative that must meet the ``under $19 million'' threshold, they 
are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. 
After accounting for membership in these cooperatives, NMFS estimates 
that there are an estimated 428 small catcher vessel entities remaining 
in the BSAI groundfish sector. These 428 vessels had average gross 
revenues of about $0.4 million.
    In 2012, 45 catcher/processors grossed less than $19 million. In 
2012, seven vessels in this group were affiliated through membership in 
three cooperatives (the Amendment 80 ``Alaska Seafood Cooperative,'' 
the Freezer Longline Conservation Cooperative, or the crab 
rationalization Intercooperative Exchange). After taking account of 
these affiliations, NMFS estimates that there are seven small catcher/
processor entities. These seven entities had average gross revenues of 
about $1.8 million in 2012.
    The proposed harvest specifications extend the current 2014 OFLs, 
ABCs, and TACs to 2014 and 2015, except for Pacific cod and Kamchatka 
flounder. As noted in the IRFA, the Council may modify these OFLs, 
ABCs, and TACs in December 2013, when it reviews the November 2013 
meeting report from its groundfish Plan Team, and the December Council 
meeting reports of its SSC and AP. Because most 2014 TACs in the 
proposed 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications are unchanged from the 
2014 harvest specification TACs, NMFS does not expect adverse impacts 
on small entities. Also, NMFS does not expect any changes made by the 
Council in December to be large enough to have an impact on small 
entities.
    This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting 
requirements, or duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any Federal 
rules.
    Adverse impacts on marine mammals resulting from fishing activities 
conducted under these harvest specifications are discussed in the EIS 
(see ADDRESSES), and in the 2012 SIR (http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/analyses/specs/2012-13supplementaryinfoJan2012.pdf).

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540(f); 16 U.S.C. 
1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105-277; Pub. L. 106-
31; Pub. L. 106-554; Pub. L. 108-199; Pub. L. 108-447; Pub. L. 109-
241; Pub. L. 109-479.

    Dated: December 3, 2013.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and 
duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-29352 Filed 12-9-13; 8:45 am]
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