Pacific Fishery Management Council; Notice of Intent, 70054-70056 [05-22992]

Download as PDF 70054 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 223 / Monday, November 21, 2005 / Proposed Rules owners and operators to comply with your recommendations? 5. If you recommend the Coast Guard adopt certain regulatory measures, what would be the economic impact to small entities, if any? ‘‘Small entities’’ is defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act [5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.], and generally refers to an enterprise or business that ‘‘is independently owned and operated and is not dominant it its field * * *’’ 5 U.S.C. 601. Comments are not limited to the preceding questions and are invited on any aspect of navigation safety within the Bays. • Fax: 503–820–2299. • Mail: Dr. Donald McIsaac, Pacific Fishery Management Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Pl., Suite 200, Portland, OR, 97220. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. John DeVore, Pacific Fishery Management Council, phone: 503–820– 2280, fax: 503–820–2299 and email: john.devore@noaa.gov; or Yvonne de Reynier NMFS, Northwest Region, phone: 206–526–6129, fax: 206–526– 6426 and email: yvonne.dereynier@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated: November 10, 2005. Mark J. Campbell, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Commander, First Coast Guard District. [FR Doc. 05–22951 Filed 11–18–05; 8:45 am] Electronic Access This Federal Register document is available on the Government Printing Office’s website at: www.gpoaccess.gov/ fr/index/html. BILLING CODE 4910–15–P Description of the Proposal The proposed action, which will be the subject of the EIS and considered by the Pacific Council for recommendation to NMFS, would establish new allocations among sectors of the groundfish fishery. Existing allocations may or may not be revised as part of the proposed action. These allocations are needed to support recent Pacific Council decisions to use sector-specific total catch limits (sector caps) to control bycatch (Bycatch Mitigation Program Final Environmental Impact Statement), would be useful in supporting the Pacific Council’s biennial management decisions, and would be needed to support the trawl individual quota program currently under consideration in a separate, but closely related EIS. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [I.D. 111505A] Pacific Fishery Management Council; Notice of Intent National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS); request for comments; preliminary notice of public scoping meetings. AGENCY: NMFS and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) announce their intent to prepare an EIS in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 to analyze proposals to allocate groundfish among various sectors of the non-tribal Pacific Coast groundfish fishery. DATES: Public scoping meetings will be announced in the Federal Register at a later date. Written comments will be accepted at the Pacific Council office through February 8, 2006. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, on issues and alternatives, identified by 111505A by any of the following methods: • E-mail: ##GFAllocationEIS.nwr@noaa.gov. Include [111505A] and enter ‘‘Scoping Comments’’ in the subject line of the message. • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. SUMMARY: VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:51 Nov 18, 2005 Jkt 208001 General Background The Pacific Council implemented a Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) in 1982. Groundfish stocks are harvested in numerous commercial, recreational, and tribal fisheries in state and Federal waters off the West Coast. The nontribal commercial seafood fleet taking groundfish is generally regulated as three sectors: Limited entry trawl, limited entry fixed gear, and directed open access. Groundfish are also harvested incidentally in nongroundfish commercial fisheries, most notably fisheries for pink shrimp, spot and ridgeback prawns, Pacific halibut, California halibut, and sea cucumbers (incidental open access fisheries). The recreational fleet also takes groundfish as targeted catch, as well as incidentally in, for example, salmon and halibut fisheries. The Pacific Council has previously established a number of formal allocations among sectors. PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 • An allocation of sablefish between the fixed gear and trawl sectors was first established by emergency regulation in 1986. An adjustment was made on April 26, 1989, and the allocation has remained stable since then. • Amendment 6 to the FMP (fully implemented in 1994 established rules for allocating any groundfish species between the limited entry and open access commercial fisheries based on relative catch histories of the two fleets from July 11, 1984 through August 1, 1988. Numerous groundfish species and species groups are allocated on the basis of this allocation rule. • An allocation of whiting among domestic segments of the fleet was first established in 1991, when the joint venture fleet was entirely displaced by domestic processors. Several adjustments were made before the current allocation was established. The current allocation is among vessels delivering whiting shoreside, vessels delivering to motherships and catcher processors, and was first implemented for the 1997 fishery. Other allocations are indirect and result from the preseason planning process. The management measures developed during the preseason process are intended to: achieve, but not exceed, optimum yields (OYs); prevent overfishing; rebuild overfished species; reduce and minimize the bycatch and discard of overfished and depleted stocks; provide equitable harvest opportunity for the recreational and commercial fishing sectors; and, within the commercial fisheries, achieve harvest guidelines and limited entry and open access allocations to the extent practicable. When this preseason process is complete, a table is developed (called the ‘‘score card’’) which summarizes the expected harvest of overfished species for each segment of the fleet. During the year, the catch by each sector is estimated, and adjustments to the score card are made using inseason information. If it appears the OY for an overfished species may be exceeded, the Pacific Council recommends changes to the management measures based on the same criteria used during the preseason process. As part of this inseason process, the expected harvests on the scorecard for each sector may be adjusted upwards or downwards. The explicit allocations that would be established under the proposed action would replace some or all of those that are currently the indirect result of the preseason planning process and management regulations flowing from that process. E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 223 / Monday, November 21, 2005 / Proposed Rules Allocations among sectors will be needed to support Pacific Council policies for managing bycatch. In September 2004, NMFS released the Bycatch Mitigation Program Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), containing the Pacific Council’s preferred alternative. The Pacific Council is developing Amendment 18 to the groundfish FMP to implement this alternative. Among other things, Amendment 18 will add language to authorize the use of sector-specific and vessel-specific total catch limit programs to reduce bycatch in appropriate sectors of the fishery and support the future use of individual fishing quota (IFQ) programs as bycatch reduction tools for appropriate fishery sectors. The Pacific Council embarked on its most recent consideration of individual quotas for the trawl fishery (a kind of dedicated access privilege) in September 2003. After conducting preliminary internal scoping, the Pacific Council announced its intent to prepare an EIS on dedicated access privileges in a Federal Register document published on May 24, 2004 (69 FR 29482–29485). The comment period on scoping for that EIS was closed on August 2, 2004, and the Pacific Council and its advisory bodies began their review of comments received. At its June 2005 meeting, the Pacific Council adopted a range of alternatives for an EIS. These alternatives focus on IFQs as the main kind of dedicated access privilege the Pacific Council will be considering. The Pacific Council may or may not eventually adopt an IFQ program; however, before such a program can be implemented, allocations will need to be established between the trawl fleet and other segments of the fishery. Preliminary Identification of Alternatives NEPA requires preparation of an EIS for major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. The Pacific Council and NMFS are seeking information from the public on the range of alternatives and on the environmental, social, and economic issues to be considered. Alternatives should meet the need for allocations to support the Pacific Council’s biennial allocation decisions, implementation of Amendment 18 sector caps to control bycatch, and implementation of a potential trawl IFQ program. Allocation alternatives should promote the goals and objectives contained in the groundfish FMP, available from the Pacific Council website (www.pcouncil.org), and should be consistent with the national VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Nov 18, 2005 Jkt 208001 standards established under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The Pacific Council’s Groundfish Allocation Committee (Allocation Committee) has met twice to conduct some preliminary scoping on the issue (January 26–27, 2005 and May 2–3, 2005). The Allocation Committee has recommended that initial analyses of sector total catch limits should be done using the following ten sectors: limited entry trawl, limited entry fixed gear longline, limited entry fixed gear pot/ trap, whiting motherships, whiting catcher/processors, whiting shore-based, open access directed groundfish, open access incidental groundfish, tribal, and recreational. However, with respect to the allocations needed to support the trawl IQ decisions, the Allocation Committee recommended examination of the following sectors: limited entry trawl, limited entry fixed gear, open access, recreational, and tribal. Allocations to the tribal sector would not be set as part of an intersector allocation formula or schedule. Tribal allocation would be set according to the case law interpreting the treaties between the United States and the Northwest treaty Indian tribes. The amounts eventually set aside for the tribes would be deducted from the totals before applying rules for allocation among sectors. At its meetings, the Allocation Committee requested additional data on harvest history by segments of the fishery. These data will likely be available for a tentatively scheduled November 14–15, 2005, meeting and will be available to any person who would like to take the data into consideration when providing comments. The Allocation Committee is considering use of a 5–year outlook when considering the shape of the fishery that the allocations would be intended to support. It is also considering a recommendation that allocations be reviewed every four to six years. However, allocations of some target species, especially target species that are predominant in a single sector, may be of longer duration than allocations of more constraining species, such as the overfished species. Different approaches may be used for different species. Allocations based on a percentage of the OY may make the most sense for target species, while a sliding scale structure (e.g., the allocation percentage by sector varies with biomass) may make the most sense for allocating overfished species. The EIS will identify and evaluate reasonable alternatives that might be PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 70055 used to achieve the needed allocations. The Pacific Council is interested in public comment on alternatives that it should consider. Preliminary Identification of Environmental Issues A principal objective of this scoping and public input process is to identify potentially significant impacts to the human environment that should be analyzed in depth in the intersector allocation EIS. Concomitant with identification of those impacts to be analyzed in depth is identification and elimination from detailed study of issues that are not significant or which have been covered in prior environmental reviews. This narrowing is intended to allow greater focus on those impacts that are potentially most significant. Impacts on the following components of the biological and physical environment will be evaluated: (1) essential fish habitat and ecosystems; (2) protected species listed under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act and their habitat; and (3) the fishery management unit, including target and non-target fish stocks. Socioeconomic impacts are also considered in terms of the effect changes will have on the following groups: (1) those who participate in harvesting the fishery resources and other living marine resources (for commercial, subsistence, or recreational purposes); (2) those who process and market fish and fish products; (3) those who are involved in allied support industries; (4) those who rely on living marine resources in the management area; (5) those who consume fish products; (6) those who benefit from non-consumptive use (e.g., wildlife viewing); (7) those who do not use the resource, but derive benefit from it by virtue of its existence, the option to use it, or the bequest of the resource to future generations; (8) those involved in managing and monitoring fisheries; and (9) fishing communities. Analysis of the effects of the alternatives on these groups will be presented in a manner that allows the identification of any disproportionate impacts on low income and minority segments of the identified groups, impacts on small entities, and cumulative impacts. Additional comment is sought on other types of impacts that should be considered or specific impacts to which particular attention should be paid within these categories. Related NEPA Analyses The proposed allocation action is necessary to fully implement the bycatch management policy decision E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 70056 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 223 / Monday, November 21, 2005 / Proposed Rules made under the Bycatch Mitigation Program FEIS. The allocations proposed are necessary to implement the sector cap policies adopted and information in the bycatch EIS may be used to support the allocation action. The intersector allocation EIS is also expected to support the Pacific Council’s biennial process for managing groundfish. The intersector allocations will reduce the scope of actions that must be covered by the biennial management decisions, and analysis produced in this EIS will contribute information in support of the environmental assessments or EISs developed for those actions. Finally, the intersector allocation EIS is complementary and closely related to the EIS for dedicated access privileges, and the proposed allocation action would be necessary for full implementation of an IFQ or other type of dedicated access privilege program. As described in the notice of intent to prepare an EIS on dedicated access privileges for the trawl fishery (69 FR 29482), implementation of an IFQ program or an alternative dedicated access privilege program for the trawl fishery will be a two-step process. The first step was to design the basic program and its major elements (e.g., VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Nov 18, 2005 Jkt 208001 allocation of shares among participants, monitoring and reporting requirements, and species to be allocated). The Pacific Council has selected a set of alternatives for analysis in a dedicated access privilege EIS, and drafting of that EIS is expected to commence shortly. With this notice, the Pacific Council and NMFS are seeking comments on the second step: determination of the amounts of each species that are to be allocated to the trawl and other sectors. Scoping and Public Involvement Scoping is an early and open process for identifying the scope of notable issues related to proposed alternatives (including status quo and other alternatives identified during the scoping process). A principal objective of the scoping and public input process is to identify a reasonable set of alternatives that, with adequate analysis, sharply define critical issues and provide a clear basis for distinguishing among those alternatives and selecting a preferred alternative. The public scoping process provides the public with the opportunity to comment on the range of alternatives. The scope of the alternatives to be analyzed should be broad enough for the Pacific Council and NMFS to make informed decisions PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 on whether an alternative should be developed and, if so, how it should be designed, and to assess other changes to the FMP and regulations necessary for the implementation of the alternative. To provide additional preliminary information for the public scoping document, the Pacific Council’s Allocation Committee has been tentatively scheduled to meet November 14–15, 2005. Information presented at this meeting will be available to the general public for review and may be requested through the Pacific Council office (see ADDRESSES) or from the Pacific Council website (www.pcouncil.org). Written comments will be accepted at the Pacific Council office through February 8, 2006 (see ADDRESSES). Public scoping meetings will be announced in the Federal Register at a later date and posted on the Pacific Council website. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: November 15, 2005. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 05–22992 Filed 11–18–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 223 (Monday, November 21, 2005)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 70054-70056]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-22992]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[I.D. 111505A]


Pacific Fishery Management Council; Notice of Intent

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

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement 
(EIS); request for comments; preliminary notice of public scoping 
meetings.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS and the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific 
Council) announce their intent to prepare an EIS in accordance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 to analyze proposals 
to allocate groundfish among various sectors of the non-tribal Pacific 
Coast groundfish fishery.

DATES: Public scoping meetings will be announced in the Federal 
Register at a later date. Written comments will be accepted at the 
Pacific Council office through February 8, 2006.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, on issues and alternatives, 
identified by 111505A by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: ##GFAllocationEIS.nwr@noaa.gov. Include [111505A] 
and enter ``Scoping Comments'' in the subject line of the message.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Fax: 503-820-2299.
     Mail: Dr. Donald McIsaac, Pacific Fishery Management 
Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Pl., Suite 200, Portland, OR, 97220.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. John DeVore, Pacific Fishery 
Management Council, phone: 503-820-2280, fax: 503-820-2299 and email: 
john.devore@noaa.gov; or Yvonne de Reynier NMFS, Northwest Region, 
phone: 206-526-6129, fax: 206-526-6426 and email: 
yvonne.dereynier@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

    This Federal Register document is available on the Government 
Printing Office's website at: www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index/html.

Description of the Proposal

    The proposed action, which will be the subject of the EIS and 
considered by the Pacific Council for recommendation to NMFS, would 
establish new allocations among sectors of the groundfish fishery. 
Existing allocations may or may not be revised as part of the proposed 
action. These allocations are needed to support recent Pacific Council 
decisions to use sector-specific total catch limits (sector caps) to 
control bycatch (Bycatch Mitigation Program Final Environmental Impact 
Statement), would be useful in supporting the Pacific Council's 
biennial management decisions, and would be needed to support the trawl 
individual quota program currently under consideration in a separate, 
but closely related EIS.

General Background

    The Pacific Council implemented a Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery 
Management Plan (FMP) in 1982. Groundfish stocks are harvested in 
numerous commercial, recreational, and tribal fisheries in state and 
Federal waters off the West Coast. The non-tribal commercial seafood 
fleet taking groundfish is generally regulated as three sectors: 
Limited entry trawl, limited entry fixed gear, and directed open 
access. Groundfish are also harvested incidentally in non-groundfish 
commercial fisheries, most notably fisheries for pink shrimp, spot and 
ridgeback prawns, Pacific halibut, California halibut, and sea 
cucumbers (incidental open access fisheries). The recreational fleet 
also takes groundfish as targeted catch, as well as incidentally in, 
for example, salmon and halibut fisheries.
    The Pacific Council has previously established a number of formal 
allocations among sectors.
     An allocation of sablefish between the fixed gear and 
trawl sectors was first established by emergency regulation in 1986. An 
adjustment was made on April 26, 1989, and the allocation has remained 
stable since then.
     Amendment 6 to the FMP (fully implemented in 1994 
established rules for allocating any groundfish species between the 
limited entry and open access commercial fisheries based on relative 
catch histories of the two fleets from July 11, 1984 through August 1, 
1988. Numerous groundfish species and species groups are allocated on 
the basis of this allocation rule.
     An allocation of whiting among domestic segments of the 
fleet was first established in 1991, when the joint venture fleet was 
entirely displaced by domestic processors. Several adjustments were 
made before the current allocation was established. The current 
allocation is among vessels delivering whiting shoreside, vessels 
delivering to motherships and catcher processors, and was first 
implemented for the 1997 fishery.
    Other allocations are indirect and result from the preseason 
planning process. The management measures developed during the 
preseason process are intended to: achieve, but not exceed, optimum 
yields (OYs); prevent overfishing; rebuild overfished species; reduce 
and minimize the bycatch and discard of overfished and depleted stocks; 
provide equitable harvest opportunity for the recreational and 
commercial fishing sectors; and, within the commercial fisheries, 
achieve harvest guidelines and limited entry and open access 
allocations to the extent practicable. When this preseason process is 
complete, a table is developed (called the ``score card'') which 
summarizes the expected harvest of overfished species for each segment 
of the fleet. During the year, the catch by each sector is estimated, 
and adjustments to the score card are made using inseason information. 
If it appears the OY for an overfished species may be exceeded, the 
Pacific Council recommends changes to the management measures based on 
the same criteria used during the preseason process. As part of this 
inseason process, the expected harvests on the scorecard for each 
sector may be adjusted upwards or downwards. The explicit allocations 
that would be established under the proposed action would replace some 
or all of those that are currently the indirect result of the preseason 
planning process and management regulations flowing from that process.

[[Page 70055]]

    Allocations among sectors will be needed to support Pacific Council 
policies for managing bycatch. In September 2004, NMFS released the 
Bycatch Mitigation Program Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), 
containing the Pacific Council's preferred alternative. The Pacific 
Council is developing Amendment 18 to the groundfish FMP to implement 
this alternative. Among other things, Amendment 18 will add language to 
authorize the use of sector-specific and vessel-specific total catch 
limit programs to reduce bycatch in appropriate sectors of the fishery 
and support the future use of individual fishing quota (IFQ) programs 
as bycatch reduction tools for appropriate fishery sectors.
    The Pacific Council embarked on its most recent consideration of 
individual quotas for the trawl fishery (a kind of dedicated access 
privilege) in September 2003. After conducting preliminary internal 
scoping, the Pacific Council announced its intent to prepare an EIS on 
dedicated access privileges in a Federal Register document published on 
May 24, 2004 (69 FR 29482-29485). The comment period on scoping for 
that EIS was closed on August 2, 2004, and the Pacific Council and its 
advisory bodies began their review of comments received. At its June 
2005 meeting, the Pacific Council adopted a range of alternatives for 
an EIS. These alternatives focus on IFQs as the main kind of dedicated 
access privilege the Pacific Council will be considering. The Pacific 
Council may or may not eventually adopt an IFQ program; however, before 
such a program can be implemented, allocations will need to be 
established between the trawl fleet and other segments of the fishery.

Preliminary Identification of Alternatives

    NEPA requires preparation of an EIS for major Federal actions 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. The 
Pacific Council and NMFS are seeking information from the public on the 
range of alternatives and on the environmental, social, and economic 
issues to be considered.
    Alternatives should meet the need for allocations to support the 
Pacific Council's biennial allocation decisions, implementation of 
Amendment 18 sector caps to control bycatch, and implementation of a 
potential trawl IFQ program. Allocation alternatives should promote the 
goals and objectives contained in the groundfish FMP, available from 
the Pacific Council website (www.pcouncil.org), and should be 
consistent with the national standards established under the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
    The Pacific Council's Groundfish Allocation Committee (Allocation 
Committee) has met twice to conduct some preliminary scoping on the 
issue (January 26-27, 2005 and May 2-3, 2005). The Allocation Committee 
has recommended that initial analyses of sector total catch limits 
should be done using the following ten sectors: limited entry trawl, 
limited entry fixed gear longline, limited entry fixed gear pot/trap, 
whiting motherships, whiting catcher/processors, whiting shore-based, 
open access directed groundfish, open access incidental groundfish, 
tribal, and recreational. However, with respect to the allocations 
needed to support the trawl IQ decisions, the Allocation Committee 
recommended examination of the following sectors: limited entry trawl, 
limited entry fixed gear, open access, recreational, and tribal. 
Allocations to the tribal sector would not be set as part of an 
intersector allocation formula or schedule. Tribal allocation would be 
set according to the case law interpreting the treaties between the 
United States and the Northwest treaty Indian tribes. The amounts 
eventually set aside for the tribes would be deducted from the totals 
before applying rules for allocation among sectors.
    At its meetings, the Allocation Committee requested additional data 
on harvest history by segments of the fishery. These data will likely 
be available for a tentatively scheduled November 14-15, 2005, meeting 
and will be available to any person who would like to take the data 
into consideration when providing comments.
    The Allocation Committee is considering use of a 5-year outlook 
when considering the shape of the fishery that the allocations would be 
intended to support. It is also considering a recommendation that 
allocations be reviewed every four to six years. However, allocations 
of some target species, especially target species that are predominant 
in a single sector, may be of longer duration than allocations of more 
constraining species, such as the overfished species. Different 
approaches may be used for different species. Allocations based on a 
percentage of the OY may make the most sense for target species, while 
a sliding scale structure (e.g., the allocation percentage by sector 
varies with biomass) may make the most sense for allocating overfished 
species.
    The EIS will identify and evaluate reasonable alternatives that 
might be used to achieve the needed allocations. The Pacific Council is 
interested in public comment on alternatives that it should consider.

Preliminary Identification of Environmental Issues

    A principal objective of this scoping and public input process is 
to identify potentially significant impacts to the human environment 
that should be analyzed in depth in the intersector allocation EIS. 
Concomitant with identification of those impacts to be analyzed in 
depth is identification and elimination from detailed study of issues 
that are not significant or which have been covered in prior 
environmental reviews. This narrowing is intended to allow greater 
focus on those impacts that are potentially most significant. Impacts 
on the following components of the biological and physical environment 
will be evaluated: (1) essential fish habitat and ecosystems; (2) 
protected species listed under the Endangered Species Act and Marine 
Mammal Protection Act and their habitat; and (3) the fishery management 
unit, including target and non-target fish stocks. Socioeconomic 
impacts are also considered in terms of the effect changes will have on 
the following groups: (1) those who participate in harvesting the 
fishery resources and other living marine resources (for commercial, 
subsistence, or recreational purposes); (2) those who process and 
market fish and fish products; (3) those who are involved in allied 
support industries; (4) those who rely on living marine resources in 
the management area; (5) those who consume fish products; (6) those who 
benefit from non-consumptive use (e.g., wildlife viewing); (7) those 
who do not use the resource, but derive benefit from it by virtue of 
its existence, the option to use it, or the bequest of the resource to 
future generations; (8) those involved in managing and monitoring 
fisheries; and (9) fishing communities. Analysis of the effects of the 
alternatives on these groups will be presented in a manner that allows 
the identification of any disproportionate impacts on low income and 
minority segments of the identified groups, impacts on small entities, 
and cumulative impacts. Additional comment is sought on other types of 
impacts that should be considered or specific impacts to which 
particular attention should be paid within these categories.

Related NEPA Analyses

    The proposed allocation action is necessary to fully implement the 
bycatch management policy decision

[[Page 70056]]

made under the Bycatch Mitigation Program FEIS. The allocations 
proposed are necessary to implement the sector cap policies adopted and 
information in the bycatch EIS may be used to support the allocation 
action.
    The intersector allocation EIS is also expected to support the 
Pacific Council's biennial process for managing groundfish. The 
intersector allocations will reduce the scope of actions that must be 
covered by the biennial management decisions, and analysis produced in 
this EIS will contribute information in support of the environmental 
assessments or EISs developed for those actions.
    Finally, the intersector allocation EIS is complementary and 
closely related to the EIS for dedicated access privileges, and the 
proposed allocation action would be necessary for full implementation 
of an IFQ or other type of dedicated access privilege program. As 
described in the notice of intent to prepare an EIS on dedicated access 
privileges for the trawl fishery (69 FR 29482), implementation of an 
IFQ program or an alternative dedicated access privilege program for 
the trawl fishery will be a two-step process. The first step was to 
design the basic program and its major elements (e.g., allocation of 
shares among participants, monitoring and reporting requirements, and 
species to be allocated). The Pacific Council has selected a set of 
alternatives for analysis in a dedicated access privilege EIS, and 
drafting of that EIS is expected to commence shortly. With this notice, 
the Pacific Council and NMFS are seeking comments on the second step: 
determination of the amounts of each species that are to be allocated 
to the trawl and other sectors.

Scoping and Public Involvement

    Scoping is an early and open process for identifying the scope of 
notable issues related to proposed alternatives (including status quo 
and other alternatives identified during the scoping process). A 
principal objective of the scoping and public input process is to 
identify a reasonable set of alternatives that, with adequate analysis, 
sharply define critical issues and provide a clear basis for 
distinguishing among those alternatives and selecting a preferred 
alternative. The public scoping process provides the public with the 
opportunity to comment on the range of alternatives. The scope of the 
alternatives to be analyzed should be broad enough for the Pacific 
Council and NMFS to make informed decisions on whether an alternative 
should be developed and, if so, how it should be designed, and to 
assess other changes to the FMP and regulations necessary for the 
implementation of the alternative.
    To provide additional preliminary information for the public 
scoping document, the Pacific Council's Allocation Committee has been 
tentatively scheduled to meet November 14-15, 2005. Information 
presented at this meeting will be available to the general public for 
review and may be requested through the Pacific Council office (see 
ADDRESSES) or from the Pacific Council website (www.pcouncil.org).
    Written comments will be accepted at the Pacific Council office 
through February 8, 2006 (see ADDRESSES). Public scoping meetings will 
be announced in the Federal Register at a later date and posted on the 
Pacific Council website.

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

    Dated: November 15, 2005.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 05-22992 Filed 11-18-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S