[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 48 (Wednesday, March 12, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 13906-13923]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-05339]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 300

[Docket No. 131213999-4208-02]
RIN 0648-BD82


Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Administrator (AA) for Fisheries, National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), on behalf of the 
International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), publishes annual 
management measures adopted as regulations by the IPHC and accepted by 
the Secretary of State governing the Pacific halibut fishery. These 
actions are intended to enhance the conservation of Pacific halibut and 
further the goals and objectives of the North Pacific Fishery 
Management Council (NPFMC).

DATES: The IPHC's 2014 annual management measures are effective March 
7, 2014. The 2014 management measures are effective until superseded.

ADDRESSES: Additional requests for information regarding this action 
may be obtained by contacting the International Pacific Halibut 
Commission, 2320 W. Commodore Way, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98199-1287; 
or Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS Alaska Region, P.O. Box 21668, 
Juneau, AK 99802, Attn: Ellen Sebastian, Records Officer; or 
Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS West Coast Region, 7600 Sand Point 
Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115. This final rule also is accessible via the 
Internet at the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For waters off Alaska, Glenn Merrill 
or Julie Scheurer, 907-586-7228; or, for waters off the U.S. West 
Coast, Sarah Williams, 206-526-4646.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The IPHC has adopted regulations governing the Pacific halibut 
fishery in 2014, pursuant to the Convention between Canada and the 
United States for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the North 
Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea (Convention), signed at Ottawa, Ontario, 
on March 2, 1953, as amended by a Protocol Amending the Convention 
(signed at Washington, DC, on March 29, 1979).
    As provided by the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut 
Act) at 16 U.S.C. 773b, the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of 
the Secretary of Commerce, may accept or reject, on behalf of the 
United States, regulations adopted by the IPHC in accordance with the 
Convention (Halibut Act, Sections 773-773k). The Secretary of State of 
the United States, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce, 
accepted the 2014 IPHC regulations as provided by the Halibut Act at 16 
U.S.C. 773-773k.
    The Halibut Act provides the Secretary of Commerce with the 
authority and general responsibility to carry out the requirements of 
the Convention and the Halibut Act. The Regional Fishery Management 
Councils may develop, and the Secretary of Commerce may implement, 
regulations governing harvesting privileges among U.S. fishermen in 
U.S. waters that are in addition to, and not in conflict with, approved 
IPHC regulations. The NPFMC has exercised this authority most notably 
in developing halibut management programs for three fisheries that 
harvest halibut in Alaska: the subsistence, sport, and commercial 
fisheries.
    Subsistence and sport halibut fishery regulations are codified at 
50 CFR part 300. Commercial halibut fisheries in Alaska are subject to 
the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program and Community Development 
Quota (CDQ) Program (50 CFR part 679), and the area-specific catch 
sharing plans.
    The NPFMC implemented a CSP among commercial IFQ and CDQ halibut 
fisheries in IPHC Areas 4C, 4D and 4E (Area 4, Western Alaska) through 
rulemaking, and the Secretary approved the plan on March 20, 1996 (61 
FR 11337). The Area 4 CSP regulations were codified at 50 CFR 300.65, 
and were amended on March 17, 1998 (63 FR 13000). New annual 
regulations pertaining to the Area 4 CSP also may be implemented 
through IPHC action, subject to acceptance by the Secretary of State. 
The NPFMC recommended and NMFS implemented through rulemaking a CSP 
among guided sport (charter) and commercial IFQ halibut fisheries in 
IPHC Area 2C (Southeast Alaska) and Area 3A (Southcentral Alaska) on 
January 13, 2014 (78 FR 75844, December 12, 2013). The CSP replaces the 
guideline harvest level (GHL) program that had been in place in these 
regulatory areas since 2004. The Area 2C and 3A CSP regulations are 
codified at 50 CFR 300.65. The CSP defines an annual process for 
allocating halibut between the commercial and charter fisheries so that 
each sector's allocation varies in proportion to halibut abundance; 
specifies a public process for setting annual management measures; and 
authorizes limited annual leases of commercial IFQ for use in the 
charter fishery. The CSP also authorizes supplemental individual 
transfers of commercial halibut IFQ as guided angler fish (GAF) to 
qualified charter halibut permit holders for harvest by charter vessel 
anglers in Areas 2C and 3A. Through the GAF program, qualified charter 
halibut permit holders may offer charter vessel anglers the opportunity 
to retain halibut up to the limit for unguided anglers when the charter 
management measure in place would limit charter vessel anglers to a 
more restrictive harvest limit. In other words, a charter vessel angler 
may retain a halibut as GAF that exceeds the daily bag limit and length 
restrictions in place for charter anglers only to the extent that the 
angler's halibut retained under the charter halibut management measure 
plus halibut retained as GAF do not exceed daily bag limit and length 
restrictions imposed on unguided anglers. Federal regulations for the 
GAF program are at 50 CFR 300.65.
    The IPHC held its annual meeting in Seattle, Washington, January 
13-17, 2014, and adopted a number of changes to the previous IPHC 
regulations (78 FR 16423, March 15, 2013). The Secretary of State 
accepted the annual management measures, including the

[[Page 13907]]

following changes to the previous IPHC regulations for 2014:
    1. New halibut catch limits in all regulatory areas in Section 11;
    2. New commercial halibut fishery opening and closing dates in 
Section 8;
    3. New license due dates and the separation of the directed 
commercial and incidental sablefish licenses for Area 2A in Section 4; 
and
    4. New management measures for Area 2C and Area 3A guided sport 
fisheries.
    Pursuant to regulations at 50 CFR 300.62, the 2014 IPHC annual 
management measures are published in the Federal Register to provide 
notice of their immediate regulatory effectiveness and to inform 
persons subject to the regulations of their restrictions and 
requirements. Because NMFS publishes the regulations applicable to the 
entire Convention area, these regulations include some provisions 
relating to and affecting Canadian fishing and fisheries. NMFS could 
implement more restrictive regulations for the sport fishery for 
halibut or components of it; therefore, anglers are advised to check 
the current Federal or IPHC regulations prior to fishing.

Catch Limits

    The IPHC recommended to the governments of Canada and the United 
States catch limits for 2014 totaling 27,515,000 lb (12,481 mt), which 
should achieve a lower coastwide harvest rate compared to 2013 catch 
limits, based on the most recent coast-wide stock assessment. The IPHC 
adopted area-specific catch limits for 2014 that were lower than 2013 
in all of its management areas except Area 2C. A description of the 
process the IPHC used to set these catch limits follows.
    During 2012, IPHC staff conducted a full review of the data and the 
general approach used to assess the stock in recent years. A 
retrospective bias in recent assessments was found to occur because the 
model did not correctly account for variation in the availability of 
different sizes of fish in different areas. As a result of this 
retrospective bias, actual historical harvest rates were higher than 
the rates the IPHC used to inform its stock assessments. A peer review 
team, including the U.S. and Canadian Science Advisors, agreed that the 
more flexible model structure developed by the IPHC staff for use in 
the 2012 assessment could correct the retrospective bias. The 2012 
assessment results are more consistent with observed fishery and survey 
results than past assessments. Based on the results derived from the 
new model, estimates of recent recruitment are lower than previously 
thought.
    During 2013, IPHC staff analysts completed a thorough exploration 
of all available data sources. This analysis provided several new 
avenues for stock assessment modeling. This evaluation improved the 
2013 assessment, and will be used to help structure the 2014 
assessment. For the 2013 stock assessment, an ensemble of three 
alternative models was developed to produce the stock biomass 
estimates. This resulted in estimates of stock size and management 
reference points that are substantially more robust to current or 
future technical changes to the underlying models. The 2013 stock 
assessment indicates that the Pacific halibut stock has been declining 
continuously over the last decade, with recruitment strengths that are 
much smaller than those observed through the 1980s and 1990s, and more 
typical of those seen during the last century. The 2013 stock 
assessment notes that decreasing size at age may also contribute to 
lower biomass. In recent years, the estimated female spawning biomass 
appears to have stabilized near 200 million pounds.
    As in 2013, and as part of an ongoing effort to provide 
Commissioners with greater flexibility when selecting catch limits, in 
January 2014 IPHC staff provided a decision table that estimates the 
consequences to stock and fishery status and trends from different 
levels of harvest. This decision table more fully reflects uncertainty 
and allowed the Commissioners to weigh the risk and benefits of 
management choices as they set the annual catch limits. The row in the 
decision table that results in the current harvest rate policy of the 
IPHC is the ``Blue Line'' and the application of the apportionment 
process determines the catch limit for each regulatory area.
    After considering harvest advice for 2014 from its scientific 
staff, Canadian and U.S. harvesters and processors, and other fishery 
agencies, the IPHC recommended catch limits for 2014 to the U.S. and 
Canadian governments (see Table 1 below). The IPHC recommended catch 
limits slightly higher than the Blue Line apportionment for areas 2A 
and 2B because the stock assessment survey and fishery weight per unit 
effort (WPUE) estimates indicate a stable and upward trend in 
exploitable biomass in these areas. However, despite apportionments 
above the Blue Line, catch limits for areas 2A and 2B are reduced from 
2013, in response to concerns about the coastwide stock status. For 
Area 2C, although exploitable biomass and WPUE in the survey and 
commercial fishery show upward trends, the IPHC was precautionary and 
recommended the Blue Line apportionment. Area 2C is the only regulatory 
area for which the IPHC recommended an increase in its commercial catch 
limit from 2013. The IPHC recommended the Blue Line apportionments for 
areas 3A, 3B, and 4A citing concerns about the downward trends in 
exploitable biomass and WPUE in these areas. Catch limits decreased in 
these three areas from 2013 levels. Exploitable biomass has shown a 
downward trend over the past five years in Area 4B, but because of 
concerns about the negative socioeconomic effects of a full reduction 
in catch to the Blue Line apportionment, the IPHC recommended a stair-
step reduction in the catch limit to half way between the 2013 catch 
limit and the Blue Line apportionment. Likewise, indicators show a 
downward trend in areas 4CDE, but the Commission did not recommend the 
full reduction in catch limits to the Blue Line apportionment. Instead, 
the IPHC recommended a catch limit that it determined to be 
precautionary, while still providing sufficient allocation for the 
directed fishery to occur.

                Table 1--Percent Change in Catch Limits From 2013 to 2014 by IPHC Regulatory Area
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                                          2014 IPHC        2014 Blue Line
           Regulatory area            Recommended catch    apportionment     2013 Catch limit    Percent change
                                          limit (lb)            (lb)               (lb)            from 2013
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2A \1\..............................            960,000            720,000            990,000               -3.0
2B \2\..............................          6,850,000          4,980,000          7,038,000               -2.7
2C \3\..............................          4,160,000          4,160,000          2,970,000              +11.7
3A \3\..............................          9,430,000          9,430,000         11,030,000              -33.7
3B..................................          2,840,000          2,840,000          4,290,000              -33.8
4A..................................            850,000            850,000          1,330,000              -36.1

[[Page 13908]]

 
4B..................................          1,140,000            820,000          1,450,000              -21.4
4CDE................................          1,285,000            640,000          1,930,000              -33.4
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    Coastwide.......................         27,515,000  .................         31,028,000                n/a
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\1\ Area 2A catch limit includes sport, commercial, and tribal catch limits.
\2\ Area 2B catch limit includes sport and commercial catch limits.
\3\ Shown is the combined commercial and charter allocation under the new Area 2C and Area 3A CSP. This value is
  not directly comparable to the 2013 catch limit because it also includes allocations to the charter sector,
  and an amount for commercial wastage. The commercial catch limits after deducting wastage are 3,318,720 lb in
  Area 2C and 7,317,730 lb in Area 3A. These are the values that were used to calculate the percent change from
  the 2013 catch limits.

Commercial Halibut Fishery Opening Dates

    The opening date for the tribal commercial fishery in Area 2A and 
for the commercial halibut fisheries in Areas 2B through 4E is March 8, 
2014. The date takes into account a number of factors, including the 
timing of halibut migration and spawning, marketing for seasonal 
holidays, and interest in getting product to processing plants before 
the herring season opens. The closing date for the halibut fisheries is 
November 7, 2014. This date takes into account the anticipated time 
required to fully harvest the commercial halibut catch limits while 
providing adequate time for IPHC staff to review the complete record of 
2014 commercial catch data for use in the 2015 stock assessment 
process.
    In the Area 2A directed fishery, each fishing period shall begin at 
0800 hours and terminate at 1800 hours local time on June 25, July 9, 
July 23, August 6, August 20, September 3, and September 17, 2014, 
unless the IPHC specifies otherwise. These 10-hour openings will occur 
until the quota is taken and the fishery is closed.

Area 2A Catch Sharing Plan

    The NMFS West Coast Region published a proposed rule for changes to 
the Pacific Halibut Catch Sharing Plan for Area 2A off Washington, 
Oregon, and California on February 6, 2014 (79 FR 7156), with public 
comments accepted through February 21, 2014. A separate final rule will 
be published to approve changes to the Area 2A CSP and to implement the 
portions of the CSP and management measures that are not implemented 
through the IPHC annual management measures that are published in this 
final rule. These measures include the sport fishery allocations and 
management measures for Area 2A.

Catch Sharing Plan for Area 2C and Area 3A

    On January 13, 2014, NMFS implemented a CSP for Area 2C and Area 
3A. The final rule for the CSP was published on December 12, 2013 (78 
FR 75844). The CSP replaces the Guideline Harvest Level (GHL) program 
implemented in 2003 (68 FR 47256, August 8, 2003), defines an annual 
process for allocating halibut between the charter and commercial 
fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A, and establishes allocations for each 
fishery. The commercial fishery will continue to be managed under the 
Individual Fishing Quota system. To allow flexibility for individual 
commercial and charter fishery participants, the CSP also authorizes 
annual transfers of commercial halibut IFQ to charter halibut permit 
holders for harvest in the charter fishery. Under the CSP, the IPHC 
will adopt combined catch limits (CCLs) for the charter and commercial 
halibut fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A. The CCL will include 
estimates of discard mortality (wastage) for each fishery. This action 
was necessary to achieve the halibut fishery management goals of the 
NPFMC. More information about the CSP is provided in the proposed rule 
for the CSP (78 FR 39122, June, 28, 2013) and in the final rule 
implementing the CSP. Implementing regulations for the CSP are at 50 
CFR 300.65. The Area 2C and Area 3A CSP allocation tables are Tables 1 
through 4 of subpart E of 50 CFR part 300. The IPHC adopted a CCL of 
4,160,000 lb (1,886.9 mt) for Area 2C. Following the CSP allocations in 
Tables 1 and 3 of subpart E of 50 CFR part 300, the commercial fishery 
is allocated 81.7 percent or 3,398,720 lb (1,541.6 mt), and the charter 
fishery is allocated 18.3 percent or 761,280 lb (345.3 mt) of the CCL. 
Wastage in the amount of 80,000 lb (36.3 mt) was deducted from the 
commercial allocation to obtain the commercial catch limit of 3,318,720 
lb (1,505.3 mt). The charter catch limit for 2014 was reduced by 26,720 
lb (12.1 mt), or 3.4 percent from the GHL of 788,000 lb (357.4 mt) in 
2013. Further, an estimate of 45,677 lb (20.7 mt), or 6 percent, 
wastage is assumed to occur in the charter fishery and is factored into 
the management measures. To reduce Area 2C charter harvest, including 
discard mortality, to the lower 2014 catch limit, and keep total 
harvest in Area 2C to within the IPHC's stated harvest policy, required 
a change to the management measures for the charter fishery (discussed 
below).
    The IPHC adopted a CCL of 9,430,000 lb (4,277.4 mt) for Area 3A. 
Following the CSP allocations in Tables 2 and 4 of subpart E of 50 CFR 
part 300, the commercial fishery is allocated 81.1 percent or 7,647,730 
lb (3,469 mt), and the charter fishery is allocated 18.9 percent or 
1,782,270 lb (808.4 mt) of the CCL. Discard mortality in the amount of 
330,000 lb (149.7 mt) was deducted from the commercial allocation to 
obtain the commercial catch limit of 7,317,730 lb (3,319.3 mt). The 
charter catch limit was reduced by 951,730 lb (431.7 mt), or 34.8 
percent from the GHL of 2,734,000 lb (1,240.1 mt) in 2013, a similar 
percentage reduction as the one borne by the commercial fishery. 
Further, an estimate of 89,113 lb (40.4 mt), or 5 percent, for wastage 
is assumed to occur in the charter fishery and is factored into the 
management measures. The reduction from the 2013 GHL to the 2014 
charter catch limit required changes to the management measures for the 
charter fishery to keep total harvest in Area 3A to within the IPHC's 
stated harvest policy (discussed below). This is the first year that 
more restrictive management measures have been implemented for charter 
vessel anglers than unguided anglers in Area 3A.

[[Page 13909]]

Charter Halibut Management Measures for Area 2C and Area 3A

    The NPFMC formed the Charter Halibut Management Implementation 
Committee to provide it with recommendations for annual management 
measures intended to limit charter harvest to the charter catch limit 
while minimizing negative economic impacts to the charter fishery 
participants in times of low halibut abundance. The committee is 
composed of representatives from the charter fishing industry in Areas 
2C and 3A. The committee selected management measures for further 
analysis from a suite of more than 15 alternatives that were proposed 
to the NPFMC in October 2013. After analyzing the effects of the 
alternative measures on estimated charter harvest, charter businesses, 
and charter anglers, the committee recommended their preferred 
management measures to the NPFMC for 2014. The NPFMC adopted the 
committee's preferred measures to recommend to the IPHC, and the IPHC 
adopted the NPFMC's recommendations. The NPFMC has used this process to 
select and recommend annual management measures to the IPHC since 2012.
    The IPHC recognizes the role of the NPFMC to develop policy and 
regulations that allocate the Pacific halibut resource among fishermen 
in and off Alaska, and that NMFS has developed numerous regulations to 
support the NPFMC's goals of limiting charter harvests over the past 
several years. The IPHC concluded that additional restrictions were 
necessary to limit the Area 2C and Area 3A charter halibut fisheries to 
their charter catch limits under the CSP, to achieve the IPHC's overall 
conservation objective to limit/maintain total halibut harvests to 
established catch limits, and to meet the NPFMC's allocation objective 
for these areas. The IPHC determined that limiting charter harvests by 
implementing the management measures discussed below would likely meet 
these objectives.

Reverse Slot Limit for Halibut Retained on a Charter Vessel Fishing in 
Area 2C

    This final rule amends the 2013 measures applicable to the charter 
vessel fishery in Area 2C. For 2014, the IPHC adopted a management 
measure that prohibits a person on board a charter vessel referred to 
in 50 CFR 300.65 and fishing in Area 2C from taking or possessing any 
halibut, with head on, that is greater than 44 inches (111.8 cm) and 
less than 76 inches (193.0 cm), as measured in a straight line, passing 
over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with mouth closed, 
to the extreme end of the middle of the tail. This type of restriction 
is referred to as a ``reverse slot limit.'' The 2013 reverse slot limit 
prohibited retention by charter anglers of halibut that were greater 
than 45 inches (114.3 cm) and less than 68 inches (172.7 cm). The 2014 
reverse slot limit is more restrictive to reduce charter harvest in 
Area 2C to the reduced charter catch limit under the CSP of 761,280 lb 
(345.3 mt).

Size Limits for Halibut Retained On Board and Trip Limits for Charter 
Vessel Fishing in Area 3A

    This final rule amends the 2013 management measures applicable to 
the charter halibut fishery in Area 3A. Previously, charter vessel 
anglers in Area 3A were allowed to catch and retain two halibut of any 
size per person per day, the same limit as for unguided anglers. For 
2014, the IPHC adopted a two-fish daily bag limit in which one of the 
retained halibut may be of any size and one of the retained halibut 
must be less than 29 inches (73.7 cm) total length. The NPFMC 
recommended this measure to restrict charter harvest while minimizing 
the negative impacts of new restrictions on charter operations and 
anglers in Area 3A. A similar measure was used to reduce charter 
harvest in Area 2C in 2007 and 2008, before further reductions in the 
GHL required a one-fish bag limit in that area (72 FR 30714, June 4, 
2007). A 29-inch halibut weighs approximately 10.3 lb (4.7 kg). In Area 
3A in 2013, the average size of a halibut retained in the charter 
fishery was 31 inches and 12.8 lb (5.8 kg). Therefore, assuming an 
angler caught two fish of average size, this size limit would restrict 
an angler's total harvest by about 2.5 lb (1.1 kg). Charter operators 
in Area 3A stressed the importance of maintaining a two-fish bag limit 
for charter anglers to maintain similar angling opportunities to 
previous years. This management measure achieves that objective and is 
projected to maintain total Area 3A charter harvest close to or below 
the Area 3A charter catch limit.
    Charter vessels will also be limited to one charter halibut fishing 
trip in which halibut are retained per calendar day in Area 3A. If no 
halibut are retained during a charter vessel fishing trip, the vessel 
may take an additional trip to catch and retain halibut that day. The 
trip limit applies to vessels only, not to charter halibut permits. A 
charter operator may use more than one vessel to take more than one 
charter vessel fishing trip using the same charter halibut permit per 
day. Trip limits will affect only a small number of charter operators 
and allow the size of the size-restricted fish to be maximized. Without 
a trip limit, a more restrictive size or bag limit might have been 
necessary to achieve harvest targets.

Areas 2C and 3A Carcass Retention

    Current IPHC regulations prohibit the filleting, mutilation or 
other disfigurement of sport-caught halibut that would prevent the 
determination of the size or number of halibut possessed or landed. In 
Southeast Alaska (Area 2C), the IPHC has not changed the current 
regulation at section 28(2)(b) requiring that a person on board a 
charter vessel who possesses filleted halibut must also retain the 
entire carcass, with head and tail connected as a single piece, on 
board the vessel until all the fillets are offloaded. The carcass 
retention regulation was first implemented in Area 2C in 2011 to 
facilitate enforcement of a maximum size limit and a one-fish per 
angler daily bag limit. The IPHC adopted no changes to the carcass 
retention requirement in 2014 to facilitate enforcement of the U44/O76 
reverse slot limit in Area 2C. The IPHC also adopted the carcass 
retention requirement in Area 3A to facilitate enforcement of the 29-
inch maximum size limit on one of the two fish. Anglers in Area 3A will 
be required to retain only the carcass of the halibut that is less than 
the 29-inch maximum size limit if two halibut are retained. If an 
angler only retains one halibut in a day, the carcass does not need to 
be retained.

Annual Halibut Management Measures

    The following annual management measures for the 2014 Pacific 
halibut fishery are those recommended by the IPHC and accepted by the 
Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary.

1. Short Title

    These Regulations may be cited as the Pacific Halibut Fishery 
Regulations.

2. Application

    (1) These Regulations apply to persons and vessels fishing for 
halibut in, or possessing halibut taken from, the maritime area as 
defined in Section 3.
    (2) Sections 3 to 6 apply generally to all halibut fishing.
    (3) Sections 7 to 20 apply to commercial fishing for halibut.
    (4) Section 21 applies to tagged halibut caught by any vessel.
    (5) Section 22 applies to the United States treaty Indian fishery 
in Subarea 2A-1.

[[Page 13910]]

    (6) Section 23 applies to customary and traditional fishing in 
Alaska.
    (7) Section 24 applies to Aboriginal groups fishing for food, 
social and ceremonial purposes in British Columbia.
    (8) Sections 25 to 28 apply to sport fishing for halibut.
    (9) These Regulations do not apply to fishing operations authorized 
or conducted by the Commission for research purposes.

3. Definitions

    (1) In these Regulations,
    (a) ``authorized officer'' means any State, Federal, or Provincial 
officer authorized to enforce these Regulations including, but not 
limited to, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Canada's 
Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Alaska Wildlife Troopers 
(AWT), United States Coast Guard (USCG), Washington Department of Fish 
and Wildlife (WDFW), and the Oregon State Police (OSP);
    (b) ``authorized clearance personnel'' means an authorized officer 
of the United States, a representative of the Commission, or a 
designated fish processor;
    (c) ``charter vessel'' means a vessel used for hire in sport 
fishing for halibut, but not including a vessel without a hired 
operator;
    (d) ``commercial fishing'' means fishing, the resulting catch of 
which is sold or bartered; or is intended to be sold or bartered, other 
than (i) sport fishing, (ii) treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence 
fishing as referred to in section 22, (iii) customary and traditional 
fishing as referred to in section 23 and defined by and regulated 
pursuant to NMFS regulations published at 50 CFR Part 300, and (iv) 
Aboriginal groups fishing in British Columbia as referred to in section 
24;
    (e) ``Commission'' means the International Pacific Halibut 
Commission;
    (f) ``daily bag limit'' means the maximum number of halibut a 
person may take in any calendar day from Convention waters;
    (g) ``fishing'' means the taking, harvesting, or catching of fish, 
or any activity that can reasonably be expected to result in the 
taking, harvesting, or catching of fish, including specifically the 
deployment of any amount or component part of setline gear anywhere in 
the maritime area;
    (h) ``fishing period limit'' means the maximum amount of halibut 
that may be retained and landed by a vessel during one fishing period;
    (i) ``land'' or ``offload'' with respect to halibut, means the 
removal of halibut from the catching vessel;
    (j) ``license'' means a halibut fishing license issued by the 
Commission pursuant to section 4;
    (k) ``maritime area'', in respect of the fisheries jurisdiction of 
a Contracting Party, includes without distinction areas within and 
seaward of the territorial sea and internal waters of that Party;
    (l) ``net weight'' of a halibut means the weight of halibut that is 
without gills and entrails, head-off, washed, and without ice and 
slime. If a halibut is weighed with the head on or with ice and slime, 
the required conversion factors for calculating net weight are a 2 
percent deduction for ice and slime and a 10 percent deduction for the 
head;
    (m) ``operator'', with respect to any vessel, means the owner and/
or the master or other individual on board and in charge of that 
vessel;
    (n) ``overall length'' of a vessel means the horizontal distance, 
rounded to the nearest foot, between the foremost part of the stem and 
the aftermost part of the stern (excluding bowsprits, rudders, outboard 
motor brackets, and similar fittings or attachments);
    (o) ``person'' includes an individual, corporation, firm, or 
association;
    (p) ``regulatory area'' means an area referred to in section 6;
    (q) ``setline gear'' means one or more stationary, buoyed, and 
anchored lines with hooks attached;
    (r) ``sport fishing'' means all fishing other than (i) commercial 
fishing, (ii) treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence fishing as 
referred to in section 22, (iii) customary and traditional fishing as 
referred to in section 23 and defined in and regulated pursuant to NMFS 
regulations published in 50 CFR Part 300, and (iv) Aboriginal groups 
fishing in British Columbia as referred to in section 24;
    (s) ``tender'' means any vessel that buys or obtains fish directly 
from a catching vessel and transports it to a port of landing or fish 
processor;
    (t) ``VMS transmitter'' means a NMFS-approved vessel monitoring 
system transmitter that automatically determines a vessel's position 
and transmits it to a NMFS-approved communications service provider.\1\
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    \1\ Call NOAA Enforcement Division, Alaska Region, at 907-586-
7225 between the hours of 0800 and 1600 local time for a list of 
NMFS-approved VMS transmitters and communications service providers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (2) In these Regulations, all bearings are true and all positions 
are determined by the most recent charts issued by the United States 
National Ocean Service or the Canadian Hydrographic Service.

4. Licensing Vessels for Area 2A

    (1) No person shall fish for halibut from a vessel, nor possess 
halibut on board a vessel, used either for commercial fishing or as a 
charter vessel in Area 2A, unless the Commission has issued a license 
valid for fishing in Area 2A in respect of that vessel.
    (2) A license issued for a vessel operating in Area 2A shall be 
valid only for operating either as a charter vessel or a commercial 
vessel, but not both.
    (3) A vessel with a valid Area 2A commercial license cannot be used 
to sport fish for Pacific halibut in Area 2A.
    (4) A license issued for a vessel operating in the commercial 
fishery in Area 2A shall be valid for one of the following:
    (a) The directed commercial fishery during the fishing periods 
specified in paragraph (2) of section 8 and the incidental commercial 
fishery during the sablefish fishery specified in paragraph (3) of 
section 8;
    (b) the incidental catch fishery during the sablefish fishery 
specified in paragraph (3) of section 8; or
    (c) the incidental catch fishery during the salmon troll fishery 
specified in paragraph (4) of section 8.
    (5) No person may apply for or be issued a license for a vessel 
operating in the incidental catch fishery during the salmon troll 
fishery in paragraph (4)(c), if that vessel was previously issued a 
license for either the directed commercial fishery in paragraph (4)(a) 
or the incidental catch fishery during the sablefish fishery in 
paragraph (4)(b).
    (6) A license issued in respect to a vessel referred to in 
paragraph (1) of this section must be carried on board that vessel at 
all times and the vessel operator shall permit its inspection by any 
authorized officer.
    (7) The Commission shall issue a license in respect to a vessel, 
without fee, from its office in Seattle, Washington, upon receipt of a 
completed, written, and signed ``Application for Vessel License for the 
Halibut Fishery'' form.
    (8) A vessel operating in the directed commercial fishery in Area 
2A must have its ``Application for Vessel License for the Halibut 
Fishery'' form postmarked no later than 11:59 p.m. on April 30, or on 
the first weekday in May if April 30 is a Saturday or Sunday.
    (9) A vessel operating in the incidental catch fishery during the 
sablefish fishery in Area 2A must have its ``Application for Vessel 
License for the Halibut Fishery'' form postmarked no later than 11:59 
p.m. on March 15, or the next weekday in March if March 15 is a 
Saturday or Sunday.

[[Page 13911]]

    (10) A vessel operating in the incidental catch fishery during the 
salmon troll fishery in Area 2A must have its ``Application for Vessel 
License for the Halibut Fishery'' form postmarked no later than 11:59 
p.m. on March 15, or the next weekday in March if March 15 is a 
Saturday or Sunday.
    (11) Application forms may be obtained from any authorized officer 
or from the Commission.
    (12) Information on ``Application for Vessel License for the 
Halibut Fishery'' form must be accurate.
    (13) The ``Application for Vessel License for the Halibut Fishery'' 
form shall be completed and signed by the vessel owner.
    (14) Licenses issued under this section shall be valid only during 
the year in which they are issued.
    (15) A new license is required for a vessel that is sold, 
transferred, renamed, or the documentation is changed.
    (16) The license required under this section is in addition to any 
license, however designated, that is required under the laws of the 
United States or any of its States.
    (17) The United States may suspend, revoke, or modify any license 
issued under this section under policies and procedures in Title 15, 
CFR Part 904.

5. In-Season Actions

    (1) The Commission is authorized to establish or modify regulations 
during the season after determining that such action:
    (a) Will not result in exceeding the catch limit established 
preseason for each regulatory area;
    (b) is consistent with the Convention between Canada and the United 
States of America for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the 
Northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, and applicable domestic law of 
either Canada or the United States; and
    (c) is consistent, to the maximum extent practicable, with any 
domestic catch sharing plans or other domestic allocation programs 
developed by the United States or Canadian governments.
    (2) In-season actions may include, but are not limited to, 
establishment or modification of the following:
    (a) Closed areas;
    (b) fishing periods;
    (c) fishing period limits;
    (d) gear restrictions;
    (e) recreational bag limits;
    (f) size limits; or
    (g) vessel clearances.
    (3) In-season changes will be effective at the time and date 
specified by the Commission.
    (4) The Commission will announce in-season actions under this 
section by providing notice to major halibut processors; Federal, 
State, United States treaty Indian, and Provincial fishery officials; 
and the media.

6. Regulatory Areas

    The following areas shall be regulatory areas (see Figure 1) for 
the purposes of the Convention:
    (1) Area 2A includes all waters off the states of California, 
Oregon, and Washington;
    (2) Area 2B includes all waters off British Columbia;
    (3) Area 2C includes all waters off Alaska that are east of a line 
running 340[deg] true from Cape Spencer Light (58[deg]11'56'' N. 
latitude, 136[deg]38'26'' W. longitude) and south and east of a line 
running 205[deg] true from said light;
    (4) Area 3A includes all waters between Area 2C and a line 
extending from the most northerly point on Cape Aklek (57[deg]41'15'' 
N. latitude, 155[deg]35'00'' W. longitude) to Cape Ikolik 
(57[deg]17'17'' N. latitude, 154[deg]47'18'' W. longitude), then along 
the Kodiak Island coastline to Cape Trinity (56[deg]44'50'' N. 
latitude, 154[deg]08'44'' W. longitude), then 140[deg] true;
    (5) Area 3B includes all waters between Area 3A and a line 
extending 150[deg] true from Cape Lutke (54[deg]29'00'' N. latitude, 
164[deg]20'00'' W. longitude) and south of 54[deg]49'00'' N. latitude 
in Isanotski Strait;
    (6) Area 4A includes all waters in the Gulf of Alaska west of Area 
3B and in the Bering Sea west of the closed area defined in section 10 
that are east of 172[deg]00'00'' W. longitude and south of 
56[deg]20'00'' N. latitude;
    (7) Area 4B includes all waters in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of 
Alaska west of Area 4A and south of 56[deg]20'00'' N. latitude;
    (8) Area 4C includes all waters in the Bering Sea north of Area 4A 
and north of the closed area defined in section 10 which are east of 
171[deg]00'00'' W. longitude, south of 58[deg]00'00'' N. latitude, and 
west of 168[deg]00'00'' W. longitude;
    (9) Area 4D includes all waters in the Bering Sea north of Areas 4A 
and 4B, north and west of Area 4C, and west of 168[deg]00'00'' W. 
longitude; and
    (10) Area 4E includes all waters in the Bering Sea north and east 
of the closed area defined in section 10, east of 168[deg]00'00'' W. 
longitude, and south of 65[deg]34'00'' N. latitude.

7. Fishing in Regulatory Area 4E and 4D

    (1) Section 7 applies only to any person fishing, or vessel that is 
used to fish for, Area 4E Community Development Quota (CDQ) or Area 4D 
CDQ halibut, provided that the total annual halibut catch of that 
person or vessel is landed at a port within Area 4E or 4D.
    (2) A person may retain halibut taken with setline gear in Area 4E 
CDQ and 4D CDQ fishery that are smaller than the size limit specified 
in section 13, provided that no person may sell or barter such halibut.
    (3) The manager of a CDQ organization that authorizes persons to 
harvest halibut in the Area 4E or 4D CDQ fisheries must report to the 
Commission the total number and weight of undersized halibut taken and 
retained by such persons pursuant to section 7, paragraph (2). This 
report, which shall include data and methodology used to collect the 
data, must be received by the Commission prior to November 1 of the 
year in which such halibut were harvested.

8. Fishing Periods

    (1) The fishing periods for each regulatory area apply where the 
catch limits specified in section 11 have not been taken.
    (2) Each fishing period in the Area 2A directed commercial fishery 
\2\ shall begin at 0800 hours and terminate at 1800 hours local time on 
June 25, July 9, July 23, August 6, August 20, September 3, and 
September 17 unless the Commission specifies otherwise.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The directed fishery is restricted to waters that are south 
of Point Chehalis, Washington (46[deg]53'18'' N. latitude) under 
regulations promulgated by NMFS and published in the Federal 
Register.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) Notwithstanding paragraph (7) of section 11, an incidental 
catch fishery \3\ is authorized during the sablefish seasons in Area 2A 
in accordance with regulations promulgated by NMFS. This fishery will 
occur between 1200 hours local time on March 8 and 1200 hours local 
time on November 7.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ The incidental fishery during the directed, fixed gear 
sablefish season is restricted to waters that are north of Point 
Chehalis, Washington (46[deg]53'18'' N. latitude) under regulations 
promulgated by NMFS at 50 CFR 300.63. Landing restrictions for 
halibut retention in the fixed gear sablefish fishery can be found 
at 50 CFR 660.231.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) Notwithstanding paragraph (2), and paragraph (7) of section 11, 
an incidental catch fishery is authorized during salmon troll seasons 
in Area 2A in accordance with regulations promulgated by NMFS. This 
fishery will occur between 1200 hours local time on March 8 and 1200 
hours local time on November 7.
    (5) The fishing period in Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 
4E shall begin at 1200 hours local time on March 8 and terminate at 
1200 hours local time on November 7, unless the Commission specifies 
otherwise.

[[Page 13912]]

    (6) All commercial fishing for halibut in Areas 2A, 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 
4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E shall cease at 1200 hours local time on November 
7.

9. Closed Periods

    (1) No person shall engage in fishing for halibut in any regulatory 
area other than during the fishing periods set out in section 8 in 
respect of that area.
    (2) No person shall land or otherwise retain halibut caught outside 
a fishing period applicable to the regulatory area where the halibut 
was taken.
    (3) Subject to paragraphs (7), (8), (9), and (10) of section 19, 
these Regulations do not prohibit fishing for any species of fish other 
than halibut during the closed periods.
    (4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), no person shall have halibut in 
his/her possession while fishing for any other species of fish during 
the closed periods.
    (5) No vessel shall retrieve any halibut fishing gear during a 
closed period if the vessel has any halibut on board.
    (6) A vessel that has no halibut on board may retrieve any halibut 
fishing gear during the closed period after the operator notifies an 
authorized officer or representative of the Commission prior to that 
retrieval.
    (7) After retrieval of halibut gear in accordance with paragraph 
(6), the vessel shall submit to a hold inspection at the discretion of 
the authorized officer or representative of the Commission.
    (8) No person shall retain any halibut caught on gear retrieved in 
accordance with paragraph (6).
    (9) No person shall possess halibut on board a vessel in a 
regulatory area during a closed period unless that vessel is in 
continuous transit to or within a port in which that halibut may be 
lawfully sold.

10. Closed Area

    All waters in the Bering Sea north of 55[deg]00'00'' N. latitude in 
Isanotski Strait that are enclosed by a line from Cape Sarichef Light 
(54[deg]36'00'' N. latitude, 164[deg]55'42'' W. longitude) to a point 
at 56[deg]20'00'' N. latitude, 168[deg]30'00'' W. longitude; thence to 
a point at 58[deg]21'25'' N. latitude, 163[deg]00'00'' W. longitude; 
thence to Strogonof Point (56[deg]53'18'' N. latitude, 158[deg]50'37'' 
W. longitude); and then along the northern coasts of the Alaska 
Peninsula and Unimak Island to the point of origin at Cape Sarichef 
Light are closed to halibut fishing and no person shall fish for 
halibut therein or have halibut in his/her possession while in those 
waters, except in the course of a continuous transit across those 
waters. All waters in Isanotski Strait between 55[deg]00'00'' N. 
latitude and 54[deg]49'00'' N. latitude are closed to halibut fishing.

11. Catch Limits

    (1) The total allowable catch of halibut to be taken during the 
halibut fishing periods specified in section 8 shall be limited to the 
net weights expressed in pounds or metric tons shown in the following 
table:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Catch limit--net weight
          Regulatory area          -------------------------------------
                                          Pounds          Metric tons
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2A: Directed commercial, and                  197,808               89.7
 incidental commercial catch
 during salmon troll fishery......
2A: Incidental commercial during               14,274                6.5
 sablefish fishery................
2B \4\............................          6,850,000            3,107.1
2C \5\............................          3,318,720            1,505.3
3A \6\............................          7,317,730            3,319.3
3B................................          2,840,000            1,288.2
4A................................            850,000              385.6
4B................................          1,140,000              517.1
4C................................            596,600              270.6
4D................................            596,600              270.6
4E................................             91,800               41.6
------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

    \4\ Area 2B includes combined commercial and sport catch limits 
that will be allocated by DFO. See section 27 for sport fishing 
regulations.
    \5\ For the commercial fishery in Area 2C, in addition to the 
catch limit, the estimate of incidental mortality from the 
commercial fishery is 80,000 pounds. This amount is included in the 
combined commercial and guided sport sector catch limit set by IPHC 
and allocated by NMFS by a catch sharing plan.
    \6\ For the commercial fishery in Area 3A, in addition to the 
catch limit, the estimate of incidental mortality from the 
commercial fishery is 330,000 pounds. This amount is included in the 
combined commercial and guided sport sector catch limit set by IPHC 
and allocated by NMFS by a catch sharing plan.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), regulations pertaining to the 
division of the Area 2A catch limit between the directed commercial 
fishery and the incidental catch fishery as described in paragraph (4) 
of section 8 will be promulgated by NMFS and published in the Federal 
Register.
    (3) The Commission shall determine and announce to the public the 
date on which the catch limit for Area 2A will be taken.
    (4) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the commercial fishing in Area 
2B will close only when all Individual Vessel Quotas (IVQs) assigned by 
DFO are taken, or November 7, whichever is earlier.
    (5) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 
4D, and 4E will each close only when all Individual Fishing Quotas 
(IFQ) and all CDQs issued by NMFS have been taken, or November 7, 
whichever is earlier.
    (6) If the Commission determines that the catch limit specified for 
Area 2A in paragraph (1) would be exceeded in an unrestricted 10-hour 
fishing period as specified in paragraph (2) of section 8, the catch 
limit for that area shall be considered to have been taken unless 
fishing period limits are implemented.
    (7) When under paragraphs (2), (3), and (6) the Commission has 
announced a date on which the catch limit for Area 2A will be taken, no 
person shall fish for halibut in that area after that date for the rest 
of the year, unless the Commission has announced the reopening of that 
area for halibut fishing.
    (8) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the total allowable catch of 
halibut that may be taken in the Area 4E directed commercial fishery is 
equal to the combined annual catch limits specified for the Area 4D and 
Area 4E CDQ fisheries. The annual Area 4D CDQ catch limit will decrease 
by the equivalent amount of halibut CDQ taken in Area 4E in excess of 
the annual Area 4E CDQ catch limit.
    (9) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the total allowable catch of 
halibut that may be taken in the Area 4D directed commercial fishery is 
equal to the combined annual catch limits specified

[[Page 13913]]

for Area 4C and Area 4D. The annual Area 4C catch limit will decrease 
by the equivalent amount of halibut taken in Area 4D in excess of the 
annual Area 4D catch limit.
    Area 2B includes combined commercial and sport catch limits that 
will be allocated by DFO.

12. Fishing Period Limits

    (1) It shall be unlawful for any vessel to retain more halibut than 
authorized by that vessel's license in any fishing period for which the 
Commission has announced a fishing period limit.
    (2) The operator of any vessel that fishes for halibut during a 
fishing period when fishing period limits are in effect must, upon 
commencing an offload of halibut to a commercial fish processor, 
completely offload all halibut on board said vessel to that processor 
and ensure that all halibut is weighed and reported on State fish 
tickets.
    (3) The operator of any vessel that fishes for halibut during a 
fishing period when fishing period limits are in effect must, upon 
commencing an offload of halibut other than to a commercial fish 
processor, completely offload all halibut on board said vessel and 
ensure that all halibut are weighed and reported on State fish tickets.
    (4) The provisions of paragraph (3) are not intended to prevent 
retail over-the-side sales to individual purchasers so long as all the 
halibut on board is ultimately offloaded and reported.
    (5) When fishing period limits are in effect, a vessel's maximum 
retainable catch will be determined by the Commission based on:
    (a) The vessel's overall length in feet and associated length 
class;
    (b) the average performance of all vessels within that class; and
    (c) the remaining catch limit.
    (6) Length classes are shown in the following table:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Vessel
                   Overall length (in feet)                      class
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1-25.........................................................          A
26-30........................................................          B
31-35........................................................          C
36-40........................................................          D
41-45........................................................          E
46-50........................................................          F
51-55........................................................          G
56+..........................................................          H
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (7) Fishing period limits in Area 2A apply only to the directed 
halibut fishery referred to in paragraph (2) of section 8.

13. Size Limits

    (1) No person shall take or possess any halibut that:
    (a) With the head on, is less than 32 inches (81.3 cm) as measured 
in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the 
lower jaw with the mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of 
the tail, as illustrated in Figure 2; or
    (b) with the head removed, is less than 24 inches (61.0 cm) as 
measured from the base of the pectoral fin at its most anterior point 
to the extreme end of the middle of the tail, as illustrated in Figure 
2.
    (2) No person on board a vessel fishing for, or tendering, halibut 
caught in Area 2A shall possess any halibut that has had its head 
removed.

14. Careful Release of Halibut

    (1) All halibut that are caught and are not retained shall be 
immediately released outboard of the roller and returned to the sea 
with a minimum of injury by:
    (a) Hook straightening;
    (b) cutting the gangion near the hook; or
    (c) carefully removing the hook by twisting it from the halibut 
with a gaff.
    (2) Except that paragraph (1) shall not prohibit the possession of 
halibut on board a vessel that has been brought aboard to be measured 
to determine if the minimum size limit of the halibut is met and, if 
sublegal-sized, is promptly returned to the sea with a minimum of 
injury.

15. Vessel Clearance in Area 4

    (1) The operator of any vessel that fishes for halibut in Areas 4A, 
4B, 4C, or 4D must obtain a vessel clearance before fishing in any of 
these areas, and before the landing of any halibut caught in any of 
these areas, unless specifically exempted in paragraphs (10), (13), 
(14), (15), or (16).
    (2) An operator obtaining a vessel clearance required by paragraph 
(1) must obtain the clearance in person from the authorized clearance 
personnel and sign the IPHC form documenting that a clearance was 
obtained, except that when the clearance is obtained via VHF radio 
referred to in paragraphs (5), (8), and (9), the authorized clearance 
personnel must sign the IPHC form documenting that the clearance was 
obtained.
    (3) The vessel clearance required under paragraph (1) prior to 
fishing in Area 4A may be obtained only at Nazan Bay on Atka Island, 
Dutch Harbor or Akutan, Alaska, from an authorized officer of the 
United States, a representative of the Commission, or a designated fish 
processor.
    (4) The vessel clearance required under paragraph (1) prior to 
fishing in Area 4B may only be obtained at Nazan Bay on Atka Island or 
Adak, Alaska, from an authorized officer of the United States, a 
representative of the Commission, or a designated fish processor.
    (5) The vessel clearance required under paragraph (1) prior to 
fishing in Area 4C or 4D may be obtained only at St. Paul or St. 
George, Alaska, from an authorized officer of the United States, a 
representative of the Commission, or a designated fish processor by VHF 
radio and allowing the person contacted to confirm visually the 
identity of the vessel.
    (6) The vessel operator shall specify the specific regulatory area 
in which fishing will take place.
    (7) Before unloading any halibut caught in Area 4A, a vessel 
operator may obtain the clearance required under paragraph (1) only in 
Dutch Harbor or Akutan, Alaska, by contacting an authorized officer of 
the United States, a representative of the Commission, or a designated 
fish processor.
    (8) Before unloading any halibut caught in Area 4B, a vessel 
operator may obtain the clearance required under paragraph (1) only in 
Nazan Bay on Atka Island or Adak, by contacting an authorized officer 
of the United States, a representative of the Commission, or a 
designated fish processor by VHF radio or in person.
    (9) Before unloading any halibut caught in Area 4C and 4D, a vessel 
operator may obtain the clearance required under paragraph (1) only in 
St. Paul, St. George, Dutch Harbor, or Akutan, Alaska, either in person 
or by contacting an authorized officer of the United States, a 
representative of the Commission, or a designated fish processor. The 
clearances obtained in St. Paul or St. George, Alaska, can be obtained 
by VHF radio and allowing the person contacted to confirm visually the 
identity of the vessel.
    (10) Any vessel operator who complies with the requirements in 
section 18 for possessing halibut on board a vessel that was caught in 
more than one regulatory area in Area 4 is exempt from the clearance 
requirements of paragraph (1) of this section, provided that:
    (a) The operator of the vessel obtains a vessel clearance prior to 
fishing in Area 4 in either Dutch Harbor, Akutan, St. Paul, St. George, 
Adak, or Nazan Bay on Atka Island by contacting an authorized officer 
of the United States, a representative of the Commission, or a 
designated fish processor. The clearance obtained in St. Paul, St. 
George, Adak, or Nazan Bay on Atka Island can be obtained by VHF radio

[[Page 13914]]

and allowing the person contacted to confirm visually the identity of 
the vessel. This clearance will list the areas in which the vessel will 
fish; and
    (b) before unloading any halibut from Area 4, the vessel operator 
obtains a vessel clearance from Dutch Harbor, Akutan, St. Paul, St. 
George, Adak, or Nazan Bay on Atka Island by contacting an authorized 
officer of the United States, a representative of the Commission, or a 
designated fish processor. The clearance obtained in St. Paul or St. 
George can be obtained by VHF radio and allowing the person contacted 
to confirm visually the identity of the vessel. The clearance obtained 
in Adak or Nazan Bay on Atka Island can be obtained by VHF radio.
    (11) Vessel clearances shall be obtained between 0600 and 1800 
hours, local time.
    (12) No halibut shall be on board the vessel at the time of the 
clearances required prior to fishing in Area 4.
    (13) Any vessel that is used to fish for halibut only in Area 4A 
and lands its total annual halibut catch at a port within Area 4A is 
exempt from the clearance requirements of paragraph (1).
    (14) Any vessel that is used to fish for halibut only in Area 4B 
and lands its total annual halibut catch at a port within Area 4B is 
exempt from the clearance requirements of paragraph (1).
    (15) Any vessel that is used to fish for halibut only in Area 4C or 
4D or 4E and lands its total annual halibut catch at a port within Area 
4C, 4D, 4E, or the closed area defined in section 10, is exempt from 
the clearance requirements of paragraph (1).
    (16) Any vessel that carries a transmitting VMS transmitter while 
fishing for halibut in Area 4A, 4B, 4C, or 4D and until all halibut 
caught in any of these areas is landed, is exempt from the clearance 
requirements of paragraph (1) of this section, provided that:
    (a) The operator of the vessel complies with NMFS' vessel 
monitoring system regulations published at 50 CFR sections 
679.28(f)(3), (4) and (5); and
    (b) the operator of the vessel notifies NOAA Fisheries Office for 
Law Enforcement at 800-304-4846 (select option 1 to speak to an 
Enforcement Data Clerk) between the hours of 0600 and 0000 (midnight) 
local time within 72 hours before fishing for halibut in Area 4A, 4B, 
4C, or 4D and receives a VMS confirmation number.

16. Logs

    (1) The operator of any U.S. vessel fishing for halibut that has an 
overall length of 26 feet (7.9 meters) or greater shall maintain an 
accurate log of halibut fishing operations. The operator of a vessel 
fishing in waters in and off Alaska must use one of the following 
logbooks: The Groundfish/IFQ Daily Fishing Longline and Pot Gear 
Logbook provided by NMFS; the Alaska hook-and-line logbook provided by 
Petersburg Vessel Owners Association or Alaska Longline Fisherman's 
Association; the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) longline-
pot logbook; or the logbook provided by IPHC. The operator of a vessel 
fishing in Area 2A must use either the Washington Department of Fish 
and Wildlife (WDFW) Voluntary Sablefish Logbook, Oregon Department of 
Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Fixed Gear Logbook, or the logbook provided by 
IPHC.
    (2) The logbook referred to in paragraph (1) must include the 
following information:
    (a) The name of the vessel and the State (ADF&G, WDFW, ODFW, or 
California Department of Fish and Game) or Tribal vessel number;
    (b) the date(s) upon which the fishing gear is set or retrieved;
    (c) the latitude and longitude coordinates or a direction and 
distance from a point of land for each set or day;
    (d) the number of skates deployed or retrieved, and number of 
skates lost; and
    (e) the total weight or number of halibut retained for each set or 
day.
    (3) The logbook referred to in paragraph (1) shall be:
    (a) Maintained on board the vessel;
    (b) updated not later than 24 hours after 0000 (midnight) local 
time for each day fished and prior to the offloading or sale of halibut 
taken during that fishing trip;
    (c) retained for a period of two years by the owner or operator of 
the vessel;
    (d) open to inspection by an authorized officer or any authorized 
representative of the Commission upon demand; and
    (e) kept on board the vessel when engaged in halibut fishing, 
during transits to port of landing, and until the offloading of all 
halibut is completed.
    (4) The log referred to in paragraph (1) does not apply to the 
incidental halibut fishery during the salmon troll season in Area 2A 
defined in paragraph (4) of section 8.
    (5) The operator of any Canadian vessel fishing for halibut shall 
maintain an accurate log recorded in the British Columbia Integrated 
Groundfish Fishing Log provided by DFO.
    (6) The logbook referred to in paragraph (5) must include the 
following information:
    (a) The name of the vessel and the DFO vessel registration number;
    (b) the date(s) upon which the fishing gear is set and retrieved;
    (c) the latitude and longitude coordinates for each set;
    (d) the number of skates deployed or retrieved, and number of 
skates lost; and
    (e) the total weight or number of halibut retained for each set.
    (7) The logbook referred to in paragraph (5) shall be:
    (a) Maintained on board the vessel;
    (b) retained for a period of two years by the owner or operator of 
the vessel;
    (c) open to inspection by an authorized officer or any authorized 
representative of the Commission upon demand;
    (d) kept on board the vessel when engaged in halibut fishing, 
during transits to port of landing, and until the offloading of all 
halibut is completed;
    (e) mailed to the DFO (white copy) within seven days of offloading; 
and
    (f) mailed to the Commission (yellow copy) within seven days of the 
final offload if not collected by a Commission employee.
    (8) No person shall make a false entry in a log referred to in this 
section.

17. Receipt and Possession of Halibut

    (1) No person shall receive halibut caught in Area 2A from a United 
States vessel that does not have on board the license required by 
section 4.
    (2) No person shall possess on board a vessel a halibut other than 
whole or with gills and entrails removed, except that this paragraph 
shall not prohibit the possession on board a vessel of:
    (a) Halibut cheeks cut from halibut caught by persons authorized to 
process the halibut on board in accordance with NMFS regulations 
published at 50 CFR Part 679;
    (b) fillets from halibut offloaded in accordance with section 17 
that are possessed on board the harvesting vessel in the port of 
landing up to 1800 hours local time on the calendar day following the 
offload; \7\ and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ DFO has more restrictive regulations; therefore, section 17 
paragraph (2)(b) does not apply to fish caught in Area 2B or landed 
in British Columbia.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (c) halibut with their heads removed in accordance with section 13.
    (3) No person shall offload halibut from a vessel unless the gills 
and entrails have been removed prior to offloading.
    (4) It shall be the responsibility of a vessel operator who lands 
halibut to continuously and completely offload at a single offload site 
all halibut on board the vessel.
    (5) A registered buyer (as that term is defined in regulations 
promulgated by NMFS and codified at 50 CFR Part 679) who receives 
halibut harvested in IFQ and CDQ fisheries in Areas 2C, 3A, 3B,

[[Page 13915]]

4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E, directly from the vessel operator that 
harvested such halibut must weigh all the halibut received and record 
the following information on Federal catch reports: Date of offload; 
name of vessel; vessel number (State, Tribal or Federal, not IPHC 
vessel number); scale weight obtained at the time of offloading, 
including the scale weight (in pounds) of halibut purchased by the 
registered buyer, the scale weight (in pounds) of halibut offloaded in 
excess of the IFQ or CDQ, the scale weight of halibut (in pounds) 
retained for personal use or for future sale, and the scale weight (in 
pounds) of halibut discarded as unfit for human consumption.
    (6) The first recipient, commercial fish processor, or buyer in the 
United States who purchases or receives halibut directly from the 
vessel operator that harvested such halibut must weigh and record all 
halibut received and record the following information on State fish 
tickets: The date of offload; vessel number (State, Tribal or Federal, 
not IPHC vessel number); total weight obtained at the time of offload 
including the weight (in pounds) of halibut purchased; the weight (in 
pounds) of halibut offloaded in excess of the IFQ, CDQ, or fishing 
period limits; the weight of halibut (in pounds) retained for personal 
use or for future sale; and the weight (in pounds) of halibut discarded 
as unfit for human consumption.
    (7) The individual completing the State fish tickets for the Area 
2A fisheries as referred to in paragraph (6) must additionally record 
whether the halibut weight is of head-on or head-off fish.
    (8) For halibut landings made in Alaska, the requirements as listed 
in paragraph (5) and (6) can be met by recording the information in the 
Interagency Electronic Reporting Systems, eLandings in accordance with 
NMFS regulation published at 50 CFR Part 679.
    (9) The master or operator of a Canadian vessel that was engaged in 
halibut fishing must weigh and record all halibut on board said vessel 
at the time offloading commences and record on Provincial fish tickets 
or Federal catch reports the date; locality; name of vessel; the 
name(s) of the person(s) from whom the halibut was purchased; and the 
scale weight obtained at the time of offloading of all halibut on board 
the vessel including the pounds purchased, pounds in excess of IVQs, 
pounds retained for personal use, and pounds discarded as unfit for 
human consumption.
    (10) No person shall make a false entry on a State or Provincial 
fish ticket or a Federal catch or landing report referred to in 
paragraphs (5), (6), and (9) of section 17.
    (11) A copy of the fish tickets or catch reports referred to in 
paragraphs (5), (6), and (9) shall be:
    (a) Retained by the person making them for a period of three years 
from the date the fish tickets or catch reports are made; and
    (b) open to inspection by an authorized officer or any authorized 
representative of the Commission.
    (12) No person shall possess any halibut taken or retained in 
contravention of these Regulations.
    (13) When halibut are landed to other than a commercial fish 
processor, the records required by paragraph (6) shall be maintained by 
the operator of the vessel from which that halibut was caught, in 
compliance with paragraph (11).
    (14) No person shall tag halibut unless the tagging is authorized 
by IPHC permit or by a Federal or State agency.

18. Fishing Multiple Regulatory Areas

    (1) Except as provided in this section, no person shall possess at 
the same time on board a vessel halibut caught in more than one 
regulatory area.
    (2) Halibut caught in more than one of the Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, 
or 3B may be possessed on board a vessel at the same time, provided the 
operator of the vessel:
    (a) Has a NMFS-certified observer on board when required by NMFS 
regulations \8\ published at 50 CFR 679.7(f)(4); and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ Without an observer, a vessel cannot have on board more 
halibut than the IFQ for the area that is being fished, even if some 
of the catch occurred earlier in a different area.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) can identify the regulatory area in which each halibut on board 
was caught by separating halibut from different areas in the hold, 
tagging halibut, or by other means.
    (3) Halibut caught in more than one of the Regulatory Areas 4A, 4B, 
4C, or 4D may be possessed on board a vessel at the same time, provided 
the operator of the vessel:
    (a) Has a NMFS-certified observer on board the vessel as required 
by NMFS regulations published at 50 CFR 679.7(f)(4); or has an 
operational VMS on board actively transmitting in all regulatory areas 
fished and does not possess at any time more halibut on board the 
vessel than the IFQ permit holders on board the vessel have 
cumulatively available for any single Area 4 regulatory area fished; 
and
    (b) can identify the regulatory area in which each halibut on board 
was caught by separating halibut from different areas in the hold, 
tagging halibut, or by other means.
    (4) If halibut from Area 4 are on board the vessel, the vessel can 
have halibut caught in Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, and 3B on board if in 
compliance with paragraph (2).

19. Fishing Gear

    (1) No person shall fish for halibut using any gear other than hook 
and line gear, except that vessels licensed to catch sablefish in Area 
2B using sablefish trap gear as defined in the Condition of Sablefish 
Licence can retain halibut caught as bycatch under regulations 
promulgated by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
    (2) No person shall possess halibut taken with any gear other than 
hook and line gear, except that vessels licensed to catch sablefish in 
Area 2B using sablefish trap gear as defined by the Condition of 
Sablefish Licence can retain halibut caught as bycatch under 
regulations promulgated by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and 
Oceans.
    (3) No person shall possess halibut while on board a vessel 
carrying any trawl nets or fishing pots capable of catching halibut, 
except that in Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, or 4E, halibut heads, 
skin, entrails, bones or fins for use as bait may be possessed on board 
a vessel carrying pots capable of catching halibut, provided that a 
receipt documenting purchase or transfer of these halibut parts is on 
board the vessel.
    (4) All setline or skate marker buoys carried on board or used by 
any United States vessel used for halibut fishing shall be marked with 
one of the following:
    (a) The vessel's State license number; or
    (b) the vessel's registration number.
    (5) The markings specified in paragraph (4) shall be in characters 
at least four inches in height and one-half inch in width in a 
contrasting color visible above the water and shall be maintained in 
legible condition.
    (6) All setline or skate marker buoys carried on board or used by a 
Canadian vessel used for halibut fishing shall be:
    (a) floating and visible on the surface of the water; and
    (b) legibly marked with the identification plate number of the 
vessel engaged in commercial fishing from which that setline is being 
operated.
    (7) No person on board a vessel used to fish for any species of 
fish anywhere

[[Page 13916]]

in Area 2A during the 72-hour period immediately before the fishing 
period for the directed commercial fishery shall catch or possess 
halibut anywhere in those waters during that halibut fishing period 
unless, prior to the start of the halibut fishing period, the vessel 
has removed its gear from the water and has either:
    (a) Made a landing and completely offloaded its catch of other 
fish; or
    (b) submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer.
    (8) No vessel used to fish for any species of fish anywhere in Area 
2A during the 72-hour period immediately before the fishing period for 
the directed commercial fishery may be used to catch or possess halibut 
anywhere in those waters during that halibut fishing period unless, 
prior to the start of the halibut fishing period, the vessel has 
removed its gear from the water and has either:
    (a) Made a landing and completely offloaded its catch of other 
fish; or
    (b) submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer.
    (9) No person on board a vessel from which setline gear was used to 
fish for any species of fish anywhere in Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 
4C, 4D, or 4E during the 72-hour period immediately before the opening 
of the halibut fishing season shall catch or possess halibut anywhere 
in those areas until the vessel has removed all of its setline gear 
from the water and has either:
    (a) Made a landing and completely offloaded its entire catch of 
other fish; or
    (b) submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer.
    (10) No vessel from which setline gear was used to fish for any 
species of fish anywhere in Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, or 4E 
during the 72-hour period immediately before the opening of the halibut 
fishing season may be used to catch or possess halibut anywhere in 
those areas until the vessel has removed all of its setline gear from 
the water and has either:
    (a) Made a landing and completely offloaded its entire catch of 
other fish; or
    (b) submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer.
    (11) Notwithstanding any other provision in these Regulations, a 
person may retain, possess and dispose of halibut taken with trawl gear 
only as authorized by Prohibited Species Donation regulations of NMFS.

20. Supervision of Unloading and Weighing

    The unloading and weighing of halibut may be subject to the 
supervision of authorized officers to assure the fulfillment of the 
provisions of these Regulations.

21. Retention of Tagged Halibut

    (1) Nothing contained in these Regulations prohibits any vessel at 
any time from retaining and landing a halibut that bears a Commission 
external tag at the time of capture, if the halibut with the tag still 
attached is reported at the time of landing and made available for 
examination by a representative of the Commission or by an authorized 
officer.
    (2) After examination and removal of the tag by a representative of 
the Commission or an authorized officer, the halibut:
    (a) May be retained for personal use; or
    (b) may be sold only if the halibut is caught during commercial 
halibut fishing and complies with the other commercial fishing 
provisions of these Regulations.
    (3) Externally tagged fish must count against commercial IVQs, 
CDQs, IFQs, or daily bag or possession limits unless otherwise exempted 
by State, Provincial, or Federal regulations.

22. Fishing by United States Treaty Indian Tribes

    (1) Halibut fishing in Subarea 2A-1 by members of United States 
treaty Indian tribes located in the State of Washington shall be 
regulated under regulations promulgated by NMFS and published in the 
Federal Register.
    (2) Subarea 2A-1 includes all waters off the coast of Washington 
that are north of 46[deg]53[acute]18[acute][acute] N. latitude and east 
of 125[deg]44[acute]00[acute][acute] W. longitude, and all inland 
marine waters of Washington.
    (3) Section 13 (size limits), section 14 (careful release of 
halibut), section 16 (logs), section 17 (receipt and possession of 
halibut) and section 19 (fishing gear), except paragraphs (7) and (8) 
of section 19, apply to commercial fishing for halibut in Subarea 2A-1 
by the treaty Indian tribes.
    (4) Regulations in paragraph (3) of this section that apply to 
State fish tickets apply to Tribal tickets that are authorized by 
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
    (5) Section 4 (Licensing Vessels for Area 2A) does not apply to 
commercial fishing for halibut in Subarea 2A-1 by treaty Indian tribes.
    (6) Commercial fishing for halibut in Subarea 2A-1 is permitted 
with hook and line gear from March 8 through November 7, or until 
307,500 pounds (139.5 metric tons) net weight is taken, whichever 
occurs first.
    (7) Ceremonial and subsistence fishing for halibut in Subarea 2A-1 
is permitted with hook and line gear from January 1 through December 
31, and is estimated to take 28,500 pounds (12.9 metric tons) net 
weight.

23. Customary and Traditional Fishing in Alaska

    (1) Customary and traditional fishing for halibut in Regulatory 
Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E shall be governed pursuant to 
regulations promulgated by NMFS and published in 50 CFR Part 300.
    (2) Customary and traditional fishing is authorized from January 1 
through December 31.

24. Aboriginal Groups Fishing for Food, Social and Ceremonial Purposes 
in British Columbia

    (1) Fishing for halibut for food, social and ceremonial purposes by 
Aboriginal groups in Regulatory Area 2B shall be governed by the 
Fisheries Act of Canada and regulations as amended from time to time.

25. Sport Fishing for Halibut--General

    (1) No person shall engage in sport fishing for halibut using gear 
other than a single line with no more than two hooks attached; or a 
spear.
    (2) Any minimum overall size limit promulgated under IPHC or NMFS 
regulations shall be measured in a straight line passing over the 
pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with the mouth closed, to 
the extreme end of the middle of the tail.
    (3) Any halibut brought aboard a vessel and not immediately 
returned to the sea with a minimum of injury will be included in the 
daily bag limit of the person catching the halibut.
    (4) No person may possess halibut on a vessel while fishing in a 
closed area.
    (5) No halibut caught by sport fishing shall be offered for sale, 
sold, traded, or bartered.
    (6) No halibut caught in sport fishing shall be possessed on board 
a vessel when other fish or shellfish aboard said vessel are destined 
for commercial use, sale, trade, or barter.
    (7) The operator of a charter vessel shall be liable for any 
violations of these Regulations committed by a passenger aboard said 
vessel.

26. Sport Fishing for Halibut--Area 2A

    (1) The total allowable catch of halibut shall be limited to:
    (a) 214,110 pounds (97.1 metric tons) net weight in waters off 
Washington; and
    (b) 197,808 pounds (89.7 metric tons) net weight in waters off 
California and Oregon.

[[Page 13917]]

    (2) The Commission shall determine and announce closing dates to 
the public for any area in which the catch limits promulgated by NMFS 
are estimated to have been taken.
    (3) When the Commission has determined that a subquota under 
paragraph (8) of this section is estimated to have been taken, and has 
announced a date on which the season will close, no person shall sport 
fish for halibut in that area after that date for the rest of the year, 
unless a reopening of that area for sport halibut fishing is scheduled 
in accordance with the Catch Sharing Plan for Area 2A, or announced by 
the Commission.
    (4) In California, Oregon, or Washington, no person shall fillet, 
mutilate, or otherwise disfigure a halibut in any manner that prevents 
the determination of minimum size or the number of fish caught, 
possessed, or landed.
    (5) The possession limit on a vessel for halibut in the waters off 
the coast of Washington is the same as the daily bag limit. The 
possession limit on land in Washington for halibut caught in U.S. 
waters off the coast of Washington is two halibut.
    (6) The possession limit on a vessel for halibut caught in the 
waters off the coast of Oregon is the same as the daily bag limit. The 
possession limit for halibut on land in Oregon is three daily bag 
limits.
    (7) The possession limit on a vessel for halibut caught in the 
waters off the coast of California is one halibut. The possession limit 
for halibut on land in California is one halibut.
    (8) The sport fishing subareas, subquotas, fishing dates, and daily 
bag limits are as follows, except as modified under the in-season 
actions in 50 CFR 300.63(c). All sport fishing in Area 2A is managed on 
a ``port of landing'' basis, whereby any halibut landed into a port 
counts toward the quota for the area in which that port is located, and 
the regulations governing the area of landing apply, regardless of the 
specific area of catch.

27. Sport Fishing for Halibut--Area 2B

    (1) In all waters off British Columbia: 9 10
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ DFO could implement more restrictive regulations for the 
sport fishery, therefore anglers are advised to check the current 
Federal or Provincial regulations prior to fishing.
    \10\ For regulations on the experimental recreational fishery 
implement by DFO check the current Federal or Provincial 
regulations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (a) the sport fishing season will open on February 1 unless more 
restrictive regulations are in place; \10\
    (b) The sport fishing season will close when the sport catch limit 
allocated by DFO, is taken, or December 31, whichever is earlier;
    (c) the daily bag limit is two halibut of any size per day per 
person.
    (2) In British Columbia, no person shall fillet, mutilate, or 
otherwise disfigure a halibut in any manner that prevents the 
determination of minimum size or the number of fish caught, possessed, 
or landed.
    (3) The possession limit for halibut in the waters off the coast of 
British Columbia is three halibut.

28. Sport Fishing for Halibut--Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E

    (1) In Convention waters in and off Alaska: \11,*12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ NMFS could implement more restrictive regulations for the 
sport fishery or components of it, therefore, anglers are advised to 
check the current Federal or State regulations prior to fishing.
    \12\ Charter vessels are prohibited from harvesting halibut in 
Area 2C and 3A during one charter vessel fishing trip under 
regulations promulgated by NMFS at 50 CFR 300.66(v).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (a) The sport fishing season is from February 1 to December 31.
    (b) The daily bag limit is two halibut of any size per day per 
person unless a more restrictive bag limit applies in Commission 
regulations or Federal regulations at 50 CFR 300.65.
    (c) No person may possess more than two daily bag limits.
    (d) No person shall possess on board a vessel, including charter 
vessels and pleasure craft used for fishing, halibut that have been 
filleted, mutilated, or otherwise disfigured in any manner, except that 
each halibut may be cut into no more than 2 ventral pieces, 2 dorsal 
pieces, and 2 cheek pieces, with skin on all pieces.
    (e) Halibut in excess of the possession limit in paragraph (1)(c) 
of this section may be possessed on a vessel that does not contain 
sport fishing gear, fishing rods, hand lines, or gaffs.
    (2) For guided sport fishing (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.65) in 
Regulatory Area 2C:
    (a) The total catch allocation, including an estimate of incidental 
mortality (wastage), is 761,280 pounds (345.3 metric tons).
    (b) No person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 
300.65) shall catch and retain more than one halibut per calendar 
day.\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ Guided angler fish (GAF), as described at 50 CFR 300.65(c), 
may be used to allow a charter vessel angler to harvest additional 
halibut up to the limits in place for unguided anglers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (c) No person aboard a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 
300.65) shall take or possess any halibut that with head on that is 
greater than 44 inches (111.8 cm) and less than 76 inches (194.0 cm) as 
measured in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip 
of the lower jaw with mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of 
the tail, as illustrated in Figure 3.\13\
    (d) If the halibut is filleted, the entire carcass, with head and 
tail connected as a single piece, must be retained on board the vessel 
until all fillets are offloaded.\14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ For halibut caught and retained as GAF, the charter vessel 
guide must immediately remove the tips of the upper and lower lobes 
of the caudal (tail) fin, and if the halibut is filleted, the entire 
carcass, with head and tail connected as a single piece, must be 
retained on board the vessel until all fillets are offloaded (50 CFR 
300.65(c)(5)(iv)(G)). Additional regulations governing use of GAF 
are at 50 CFR 300.65.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) For guided sport fishing (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.65) in 
Regulatory Area 3A:
    (a) The total catch allocation, including an estimate of incidental 
mortality (wastage), is 1,782,270 pounds (808.4 metric tons).
    (b) No person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 
300.65) shall catch and retain more than two halibut per calendar day.
    (c) At least one of the retained halibut must have a head-on length 
of no more than 29 inches (73.7 cm) as measured in a straight line, 
passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with mouth 
closed, to the extreme end of the middle of the tail, as illustrated in 
Figure 4.\13\ If a person sport fishing on a charter vessel in Area 3A 
retains only one halibut in a calendar day, that halibut may be of any 
length.
    (d) If the size-restricted halibut is filleted, the entire carcass, 
with head and tail connected as a single piece, must be retained on 
board the vessel until all fillets are offloaded.\14\
    (e) A charter vessel, as defined in section 3 (Definitions) and 
referred to in 50 CFR 300.65, on which one or more anglers catch and 
retain halibut, may only make one charter vessel fishing trip per 
calendar day. A charter vessel fishing trip is defined at 50 CFR 300.61 
as the time period between the first deployment of fishing gear in to 
the water from a vessel after any charter vessel angler (as defined at 
50 CFR 300.61) is on board and the offloading of one or more charter 
vessel anglers or any halibut from that vessel.

29. Previous Regulations Superseded

    These Regulations shall supersede all previous regulations of the 
Commission, and these Regulations shall be effective each succeeding 
year until superseded.

[[Page 13918]]

Classification

IPHC Regulations
    These IPHC annual management measures are a product of an agreement 
between the United States and Canada and are published in the Federal 
Register to provide notice of their effectiveness and content. Pursuant 
to section 4 of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, 16 U.S.C. 
773c, the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of 
Commerce, may ``accept or reject'' but not modify these recommendations 
of the IPHC. The otherwise applicable notice-and-comment and delay-in-
effectiveness date provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act 
(APA), 5 U.S.C. 553(c) and (d), are inapplicable to IPHC management 
measures because this regulation involves a foreign affairs function of 
the United States, 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1). The additional time necessary to 
comply with the notice-and-comment and delay-in-effectiveness 
requirements of the APA would disrupt coordinated international 
conservation and management of the halibut fishery pursuant to the 
Convention. Furthermore, no other law requires prior notice and public 
comment for this rule. Because prior notice and an opportunity for 
public comment are not required to be provided for these portions of 
this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553, or any other law, the analytical 
requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., 
are not applicable. Accordingly, no Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is 
required for this portion of the rule and none has been prepared.
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P

[[Page 13919]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR12MR14.000


[[Page 13920]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR12MR14.001


[[Page 13921]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR12MR14.002


[[Page 13922]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR12MR14.003



[[Page 13923]]


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

    Dated: March 6, 2014.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-05339 Filed 3-7-14; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-C