Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; License Limitation Program for the Scallop Fishery, 15063-15064 [05-5860]

Download as PDF 15063 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 56 / Thursday, March 24, 2005 / Proposed Rules Species Historic range Common name Do ...................... ......do ....................... U.S.A. (FL) .............. Scientific name ......do ....................... * * * Dated: January 28, 2005. Marshall P. Jones, Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 05–5640 Filed 3–23–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [I.D. 031705E] RIN 0648–AS90 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; License Limitation Program for the Scallop Fishery National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; availability of an amendment to a fishery management plan; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 10 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Scallop Fishery off Alaska (FMP) for review by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). Amendment 10 would modify the gear endorsements under the license limitation program (LLP) for the scallop fishery to increase the dredge size allowed on vessels that qualify for the gear restriction endorsement. This action is necessary to allow increased participation by LLP license holders in the scallop fisheries off Alaska. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the FMP, and other applicable laws. DATES: Written comments on the amendments must be received on or before May 23, 2005. ADDRESSES: Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Lori Durall. Comments may be submitted by: • E-mail to Scallop10–NOA–0648– AS90@noaa.gov. Include in the subject VerDate jul<14>2003 Vertebrate population where endangered or threatened 16:27 Mar 23, 2005 Jkt 205001 * Status Frm 00047 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 10, 87, l T * line the following document identifier: Scallop 10. E-mail comments, with or without attachments, are limited to 5 megabytes; • Webform at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions at that site for submitting comments; • Hand delivery to the Federal Building, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK; • Mail to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802; or • Fax to 907–586–7557. Copies of Amendment 10 and the Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/RIR/IRFA) for this action may be obtained from the NMFS Alaska Region at the address above or from the Alaska Region website at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gretchen Harrington, phone: 907–586– 7228 or e-mail: gretchen.harrington@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that each regional fishery management council submit any FMP amendment it prepares to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or partial approval by the Secretary. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving an FMP amendment, immediately publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing that the amendment is available for public review and comment. Beginning in 2001, NMFS required a Federal scallop LLP license on board any vessel deployed in the scallop fisheries in Federal waters off Alaska. The LLP was implemented through approval of Amendment 4 to the FMP by the Secretary on June 8, 2000, and the final rule implementing Amendment 4 was published December 14, 2000 (65 FR 78110). The LLP was established to limit harvesting capacity in the Federal scallop fishery off Alaska. NMFS issued a total of nine LLP licenses. Licenses were issued to holders of either Federal or state moratorium permits who used their moratorium permits to make legal landings of scallops in each of any two calendar years during the period beginning January 1, 1996, through PO 00000 When listed * Critical habitat Special rules 17.95(c) NA * October 9, 1998. The licenses authorize their holders to catch and retain scallops in all waters off Alaska that are open for scallop fishing. Licenses based on the legal landings of scallops harvested only from Cook Inlet (State Registration Area H) during the qualifying period have a gear restriction endorsement that limited allowable gear to a single 6–foot (1.8 m) dredge when fishing for scallops in any area. NMFS issued two licenses with this gear endorsement. The purpose of this gear restriction was to prevent expansion in overall fishing capacity by not allowing relatively small operations in Cook Inlet to increase their fishing capacity. The other seven licenses, based on the legal landings of scallops harvested from other areas outside Cook Inlet during the qualifying period, have no gear endorsement, but are limited to two 15–foot (4.5 m) dredges under existing state regulations. Since the LLP was implemented, the Council found that the gear restriction endorsement may create a disproportionate economic hardship for those two LLP license holders with the endorsement when they fish in Federal waters, especially in light of the state’s observer requirements and their associated costs. In February 2004, the Council developed a problem statement and four alternatives for analysis of modifying or eliminating the gear restriction for the two licenses affected by the gear restriction. In October 2004, the Council voted unanimously to recommend Amendment 10 to change the single 6– foot (1.8 m) dredge restriction endorsement to a gear restriction endorsement of two dredges with a combined width of no more that 20–foot (6.096 m). This change would allow the two LLP license holders with the current gear endorsement to fish in Federal waters outside Cook Inlet with larger dredges. The Council recommended this change because it found that it is not economically viable for vessels to operate outside Cook Inlet with the existing gear restrictions. The Council also concluded that, because of changes to the fleet after the LLP was implemented due to the formation of a voluntary fishing cooperative, these two vessels could increase their capacity E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1 15064 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 56 / Thursday, March 24, 2005 / Proposed Rules and enhance economic viability in statewide waters outside Cook Inlet without increasing overall fishing effort to the extent that it would jeopardize the total fleet’s ability to operate at a sustainable and economically viable level. Amendment 10 would provide the two vessels with a larger share of the total catch that could better offset their observer costs and enhance their economic viability. An EA/RIR/IRFA was prepared for Amendment 10 that describes the management background, the purpose and need for action, the management VerDate jul<14>2003 16:27 Mar 23, 2005 Jkt 205001 alternatives, and the environmental and socio-economic impacts of the alternatives (see ADDRESSES). Written public comments are being solicited on proposed Amendment 10 through the end of the comment period stated (see DATES). All comments received by the end of the comment period on the amendment will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision. Comments received after that date will not be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on the amendment. To be considered, comments must be received not just PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 postmarked or otherwise transmitted by the close of business on the last day of the comment period. NMFS will soon publish the proposed regulations to implement Amendment 10. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 18, 2005. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 05–5860 Filed 3–23–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\24MRP1.SGM 24MRP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 56 (Thursday, March 24, 2005)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 15063-15064]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-5860]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[I.D. 031705E]
RIN 0648-AS90


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; License 
Limitation Program for the Scallop Fishery

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; availability of an amendment to a fishery 
management plan; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has 
submitted Amendment 10 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Scallop 
Fishery off Alaska (FMP) for review by the Secretary of Commerce 
(Secretary). Amendment 10 would modify the gear endorsements under the 
license limitation program (LLP) for the scallop fishery to increase 
the dredge size allowed on vessels that qualify for the gear 
restriction endorsement. This action is necessary to allow increased 
participation by LLP license holders in the scallop fisheries off 
Alaska. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act), the FMP, and other applicable laws.

DATES: Written comments on the amendments must be received on or before 
May 23, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional 
Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, 
Attn: Lori Durall. Comments may be submitted by:
     E-mail to Scallop10-NOA-0648-AS90@noaa.gov. Include in the 
subject line the following document identifier: Scallop 10. E-mail 
comments, with or without attachments, are limited to 5 megabytes;
     Webform at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: 
www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions at that site for 
submitting comments;
     Hand delivery to the Federal Building, 709 West 9th 
Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK;
     Mail to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802; or
     Fax to 907-586-7557.
    Copies of Amendment 10 and the Environmental Assessment/Regulatory 
Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/RIR/IRFA) for 
this action may be obtained from the NMFS Alaska Region at the address 
above or from the Alaska Region website at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gretchen Harrington, phone: 907-586-
7228 or e-mail: gretchen.harrington@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that each 
regional fishery management council submit any FMP amendment it 
prepares to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or partial 
approval by the Secretary. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that 
NMFS, upon receiving an FMP amendment, immediately publish a notice in 
the Federal Register announcing that the amendment is available for 
public review and comment.
    Beginning in 2001, NMFS required a Federal scallop LLP license on 
board any vessel deployed in the scallop fisheries in Federal waters 
off Alaska. The LLP was implemented through approval of Amendment 4 to 
the FMP by the Secretary on June 8, 2000, and the final rule 
implementing Amendment 4 was published December 14, 2000 (65 FR 78110). 
The LLP was established to limit harvesting capacity in the Federal 
scallop fishery off Alaska. NMFS issued a total of nine LLP licenses. 
Licenses were issued to holders of either Federal or state moratorium 
permits who used their moratorium permits to make legal landings of 
scallops in each of any two calendar years during the period beginning 
January 1, 1996, through October 9, 1998. The licenses authorize their 
holders to catch and retain scallops in all waters off Alaska that are 
open for scallop fishing.
    Licenses based on the legal landings of scallops harvested only 
from Cook Inlet (State Registration Area H) during the qualifying 
period have a gear restriction endorsement that limited allowable gear 
to a single 6-foot (1.8 m) dredge when fishing for scallops in any 
area. NMFS issued two licenses with this gear endorsement. The purpose 
of this gear restriction was to prevent expansion in overall fishing 
capacity by not allowing relatively small operations in Cook Inlet to 
increase their fishing capacity. The other seven licenses, based on the 
legal landings of scallops harvested from other areas outside Cook 
Inlet during the qualifying period, have no gear endorsement, but are 
limited to two 15-foot (4.5 m) dredges under existing state 
regulations.
    Since the LLP was implemented, the Council found that the gear 
restriction endorsement may create a disproportionate economic hardship 
for those two LLP license holders with the endorsement when they fish 
in Federal waters, especially in light of the state's observer 
requirements and their associated costs. In February 2004, the Council 
developed a problem statement and four alternatives for analysis of 
modifying or eliminating the gear restriction for the two licenses 
affected by the gear restriction.
    In October 2004, the Council voted unanimously to recommend 
Amendment 10 to change the single 6-foot (1.8 m) dredge restriction 
endorsement to a gear restriction endorsement of two dredges with a 
combined width of no more that 20-foot (6.096 m). This change would 
allow the two LLP license holders with the current gear endorsement to 
fish in Federal waters outside Cook Inlet with larger dredges. The 
Council recommended this change because it found that it is not 
economically viable for vessels to operate outside Cook Inlet with the 
existing gear restrictions. The Council also concluded that, because of 
changes to the fleet after the LLP was implemented due to the formation 
of a voluntary fishing cooperative, these two vessels could increase 
their capacity

[[Page 15064]]

and enhance economic viability in statewide waters outside Cook Inlet 
without increasing overall fishing effort to the extent that it would 
jeopardize the total fleet's ability to operate at a sustainable and 
economically viable level. Amendment 10 would provide the two vessels 
with a larger share of the total catch that could better offset their 
observer costs and enhance their economic viability.
    An EA/RIR/IRFA was prepared for Amendment 10 that describes the 
management background, the purpose and need for action, the management 
alternatives, and the environmental and socio-economic impacts of the 
alternatives (see ADDRESSES).
    Written public comments are being solicited on proposed Amendment 
10 through the end of the comment period stated (see DATES). All 
comments received by the end of the comment period on the amendment 
will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision. Comments 
received after that date will not be considered in the approval/
disapproval decision on the amendment. To be considered, comments must 
be received not just postmarked or otherwise transmitted by the close 
of business on the last day of the comment period. NMFS will soon 
publish the proposed regulations to implement Amendment 10.

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

    Dated: March 18, 2005.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 05-5860 Filed 3-23-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S