Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Application for an Exempted Fishing Permit, 14447 [E5-1248]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 54 / Tuesday, March 22, 2005 / Notices Recruitment will begin immediately and will close on July 29, 2005. The trade mission participation fee will be US$3,500 per company. The participation fee does not include the cost of travel and lodging. Participation is open to the first 10 qualified U.S. companies. Applications received after that date will be considered only if space and scheduling constraints permit. Contact Information Bill Kutson, Project Manager, U.S. Commercial Service, Global Trade Programs, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 2012, Washington, DC 20230, Tel: (202) 482–2839, Fax: (202) 482–0178, E-mail: William.Kutson@mail.doc.gov. Dated: March 14, 2005. Nancy Hesser, Industry Sector Manager, Office of Trade Event Programs. [FR Doc. E5–1235 Filed 3–21–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DR–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [I.D. 031705B] Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Application for an Exempted Fishing Permit National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; receipt of an exempted fishing permit application; intent to issue the EFP; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS announces the receipt of an exempted fishing permit (EFP) application, and the intent to issue EFPs for vessels participating in an observation program to monitor the incidental take of salmon and groundfish in the shore-based component of the Pacific whiting fishery. The EFPs are necessary to allow trawl vessels fishing for Pacific whiting to delay sorting their catch, and thus to retain prohibited species and groundfish in excess of cumulative trip limits until the point of offloading. These activities are otherwise prohibited by Federal regulations. The EFPs will be effective no earlier than April 1, 2005, and would expire no later than May 31, 2006, but could be terminated earlier under terms and conditions of the EFPs and other applicable laws. VerDate jul<14>2003 15:26 Mar 21, 2005 Jkt 205001 Written comments must be received by April 1, 2005. ADDRESSES: Send comments or request for copies of the EFP application to Carrie Nordeen, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Bldg. 1, Seattle, WA 98115 0070 or email to 2005WhitingEFP.nwr@noaa.gov. Comments sent via email, including all attachments, must not exceed a 10 megabyte file size. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carrie Nordeen at (206) 526 6144. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This action is authorized by the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act provisions at 50 CFR 600.745, which state that EFPs may be used to authorize fishing activities that would otherwise be prohibited. At the November 2004 Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) meeting in Portland, Oregon, NMFS received an application for these EFPs from the States of Washington, Oregon, and California. An opportunity for public testimony was provided during the Pacific Council meeting. The Pacific Council recommended that NMFS issue the EFPs, as requested by the States. NMFS is working with the States and participants of the EFP to resolve funding, full retention, and monitoring issues affecting this EFP. Issuance of these EFPs, to about 40 vessels, will continue an ongoing program to collect information on the incidental catch of salmon and groundfish in whiting harvests delivered to shore-based processing facilities by domestic trawl vessels. Because whiting deteriorates rapidly, whiting must be minimally handled and immediately chilled to maintain the flesh quality. As a result, many vessels dump catch directly or near directly into the hold and are unable to effectively sort their catch. The issuance of EFPs will allow vessels to delay sorting of groundfish catch in excess of cumulative trip limits and prohibited species until offloading. These activities are otherwise prohibited by regulation. In 2004, electronic monitoring systems were provided by NMFS to catcher vessels participating in the whiting EFP as part of a pilot study to evaluate if these systems would be useful tools to verify full retention and/or document discard at sea. Based on the results from the 2004 pilot study, electronic monitoring systems may be useful tools to monitor compliance with full retention requirements. NMFS will continue to evaluate the usefulness of electronic monitoring tools during the 2005 whiting EFP and will once again DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 14447 provide electronic monitoring systems to participating vessels. Delaying sorting until offloading will allow samplers located at the processing facilities to collect incidental catch data for total catch estimates and will enable whiting quality to be maintained. Without an EFP, groundfish regulations at 50 CFR 660.306(a)(2) require vessels to sort their prohibited species catch and return them to sea as soon as practicable with minimum injury. Similarly, regulations at 50 CFR 660.306(a)(10) prohibit the retention of groundfish in excess of the published trip limits. In addition to providing information that will be used to monitor the attainment of the shore-based whiting allocation, information gathered through these EFPs is expected to be used in a future rulemaking. In the near future, NMFS is considering implementing, through federal regulation, a monitoring program for the shore-based Pacific whiting fleet. The Pacific Council recommended using EFPs only until a permanent monitoring program can be developed and implemented. NMFS is developing a preliminary draft Environmental Assessment that includes a range of alternative monitoring systems for the shore-based Pacific whiting fishery. At its June 2004 meeting, the Pacific Council considered a preliminary range of alternatives for a monitoring program that focus on three major issues: (1) The monitoring program (i.e., federal observers, state monitors, electronic monitoring, or a combination thereof); (2) tracking and disposition of prohibited species and groundfish overages; and (3) mechanisms for funding of the monitoring program. In summer 2005, the Pacific Council is expected to adopt a revised range of alternatives for public review that cover these same issues. In autumn 2005, the Pacific Council is expected to make final recommendations to NMFS regarding this monitoring program. NMFS would then prepare a proposed rule, which would include a public comment period, followed by a final rule implementing a monitoring program before the start of the 2006 shore-based primary Pacific whiting season. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 17, 2005. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E5–1248 Filed 3–21–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\22MRN1.SGM 22MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 54 (Tuesday, March 22, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Page 14447]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E5-1248]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[I.D. 031705B]


Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Application for an Exempted Fishing 
Permit

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

ACTION: Notice; receipt of an exempted fishing permit application; 
intent to issue the EFP; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS announces the receipt of an exempted fishing permit (EFP) 
application, and the intent to issue EFPs for vessels participating in 
an observation program to monitor the incidental take of salmon and 
groundfish in the shore-based component of the Pacific whiting fishery. 
The EFPs are necessary to allow trawl vessels fishing for Pacific 
whiting to delay sorting their catch, and thus to retain prohibited 
species and groundfish in excess of cumulative trip limits until the 
point of offloading. These activities are otherwise prohibited by 
Federal regulations. The EFPs will be effective no earlier than April 
1, 2005, and would expire no later than May 31, 2006, but could be 
terminated earlier under terms and conditions of the EFPs and other 
applicable laws.

DATES: Written comments must be received by April 1, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Send comments or request for copies of the EFP application 
to Carrie Nordeen, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., 
Bldg. 1, Seattle, WA 98115 0070 or email to 
2005WhitingEFP.nwr@noaa.gov. Comments sent via email, including all 
attachments, must not exceed a 10 megabyte file size.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carrie Nordeen at (206) 526 6144.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This action is authorized by the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act provisions at 50 CFR 
600.745, which state that EFPs may be used to authorize fishing 
activities that would otherwise be prohibited. At the November 2004 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) meeting in 
Portland, Oregon, NMFS received an application for these EFPs from the 
States of Washington, Oregon, and California. An opportunity for public 
testimony was provided during the Pacific Council meeting. The Pacific 
Council recommended that NMFS issue the EFPs, as requested by the 
States. NMFS is working with the States and participants of the EFP to 
resolve funding, full retention, and monitoring issues affecting this 
EFP.
    Issuance of these EFPs, to about 40 vessels, will continue an 
ongoing program to collect information on the incidental catch of 
salmon and groundfish in whiting harvests delivered to shore-based 
processing facilities by domestic trawl vessels. Because whiting 
deteriorates rapidly, whiting must be minimally handled and immediately 
chilled to maintain the flesh quality. As a result, many vessels dump 
catch directly or near directly into the hold and are unable to 
effectively sort their catch.
    The issuance of EFPs will allow vessels to delay sorting of 
groundfish catch in excess of cumulative trip limits and prohibited 
species until offloading. These activities are otherwise prohibited by 
regulation. In 2004, electronic monitoring systems were provided by 
NMFS to catcher vessels participating in the whiting EFP as part of a 
pilot study to evaluate if these systems would be useful tools to 
verify full retention and/or document discard at sea. Based on the 
results from the 2004 pilot study, electronic monitoring systems may be 
useful tools to monitor compliance with full retention requirements. 
NMFS will continue to evaluate the usefulness of electronic monitoring 
tools during the 2005 whiting EFP and will once again provide 
electronic monitoring systems to participating vessels.
    Delaying sorting until offloading will allow samplers located at 
the processing facilities to collect incidental catch data for total 
catch estimates and will enable whiting quality to be maintained. 
Without an EFP, groundfish regulations at 50 CFR 660.306(a)(2) require 
vessels to sort their prohibited species catch and return them to sea 
as soon as practicable with minimum injury. Similarly, regulations at 
50 CFR 660.306(a)(10) prohibit the retention of groundfish in excess of 
the published trip limits.
    In addition to providing information that will be used to monitor 
the attainment of the shore-based whiting allocation, information 
gathered through these EFPs is expected to be used in a future 
rulemaking. In the near future, NMFS is considering implementing, 
through federal regulation, a monitoring program for the shore-based 
Pacific whiting fleet. The Pacific Council recommended using EFPs only 
until a permanent monitoring program can be developed and implemented. 
NMFS is developing a preliminary draft Environmental Assessment that 
includes a range of alternative monitoring systems for the shore-based 
Pacific whiting fishery. At its June 2004 meeting, the Pacific Council 
considered a preliminary range of alternatives for a monitoring program 
that focus on three major issues: (1) The monitoring program (i.e., 
federal observers, state monitors, electronic monitoring, or a 
combination thereof); (2) tracking and disposition of prohibited 
species and groundfish overages; and (3) mechanisms for funding of the 
monitoring program. In summer 2005, the Pacific Council is expected to 
adopt a revised range of alternatives for public review that cover 
these same issues. In autumn 2005, the Pacific Council is expected to 
make final recommendations to NMFS regarding this monitoring program. 
NMFS would then prepare a proposed rule, which would include a public 
comment period, followed by a final rule implementing a monitoring 
program before the start of the 2006 shore-based primary Pacific 
whiting season.

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

    Dated: March 17, 2005.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E5-1248 Filed 3-21-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S