Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments, 58289-58307 [06-8402]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES BFT per vessel per day/trip. NMFS anticipates that with a combination of the default retention limit starting on November 1, 2006, and the large amount of General category quota available, there will be sufficient quota for the coastwide General category season to extend into the winter months and allow for a southern Atlantic fishery to take place on an order of magnitude of prior years with minimal risk of landings exceeding available quota. However, to reduce the risks of excessive landings rates throughout the winter, NMFS has determined it necessary to only extend the three BFT daily retention limit for the one month of October and will re-examine the need to further extend the increased bag limit prior to November 1 based on landings rates and other fishery information. In addition, one of the preferred alternatives in the final Consolidated Highly Migratory Species FMP (July 14, 2006, 71 FR 40095), would formally allocate General category sub-quota to the December and January individual time-frames to provide for a late-season south Atlantic fishery. This adjustment is intended to provide a reasonable opportunity to harvest the U.S. landings quota of BFT while maintaining an equitable distribution of fishing opportunities, to help achieve optimum yield in the General category BFT fishery, to collect a broad range of data for stock monitoring purposes, and to be consistent with the objectives of the 1999 FMP. Monitoring and Reporting NMFS selected the daily retention limits and their duration after examining current and previous fishing year catch and effort rates, taking into consideration public comment on the annual specifications and inseason management measures for the General category received during the 2006 BFT quota specifications rulemaking process, and analyzing the available quota for the 2006 fishing year. NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely through dealer landing reports, the Automated Landings Reporting System, state harvest tagging programs in North Carolina and Maryland, and the Large Pelagics Survey. Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional retention limit adjustments are necessary to ensure available quota is not exceeded or, to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. Closures or subsequent adjustments to the daily retention limits, if any, will be published in the Federal Register. In VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (888) 872–8862 or (978) 281–9260, or access the internet at www.hmspermits.gov, for updates on quota monitoring and retention limit adjustments. Classification The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA), finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons: NMFS has recently become aware of increased availability of large medium and giant BFT off southern New England fishing grounds from fishing reports and landings data from dealers. This increase in abundance provides the potential to increase General category landings rates for a late season, southern New England fishery if participants are authorized to harvest three large medium or giant BFT per day. Although landings to date have been low (i.e. less than one mt/day) there is the potential for increased availability of BFT off the southern New England coast during the Fall to allow for an increase in fishery landing rates. The regulations implementing the 1999 FMP provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Adjustment of retention limits is also necessary to avoid excessive quota rollovers to subsequent General category time-period subquotas. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment to implement these retention limits is impracticable as it would preclude NMFS from acting promptly to allow harvest of BFT that are still available on southern New England fishing grounds. Analysis of available data shows that the General category BFT retention limit may be increased for the Atlantic tuna General and HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders with minimal risks of exceeding the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas allocated quota. Delays in increasing the retention limits would be contrary to the public interest. Limited opportunities to harvest the respective quotas may have negative social and economic impacts to U.S. fishermen that either depend on catching the available quota within the time-periods designated in the 1999 FMP, or depend on multiple BFT retention limits to attract individuals to book charters. For both the General and the HMS Charter/Headboat sectors, the retention limits must be adjusted as PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 58289 expeditiously as possible so the impacted sectors can benefit from the adjustment. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For all of the above reasons, and because this action relieves a restriction (i.e., current default retention limit is one fish per vessel/trip but this action increases that limit and allows retention of more fish), there is also good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under 50 CFR 635.23(a)(4) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: September 27, 2006. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 06–8435 Filed 9–28–06; 2:57 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 051014263–6028–03; I.D. 092106A] Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Inseason adjustments to groundfish management measures; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS announces changes to management measures in the commercial and recreational Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. These actions, which are authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), are intended to allow fisheries to access more abundant groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted stocks. Effective 0001 hours (local time) October 1, 2006. Comments on this rule will be accepted through November 2, 2006. DATES: You may submit comments, identified by I.D. 092106A by any of the following methods: ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 58290 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES • E-mail: GroundfishInseason10.nwr@noaa.gov. Include I.D. 092106A in the subject line of the message. • Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: D. Robert Lohn, Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, Attn: Jamie Goen, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115–0070. • Fax: 206–526–6736, Attn: Jamie Goen. was subsequently amended on March 27, 2006 (71 FR 10545), April 11, 2006 (71 FR 18227), April 26, 2006 (71 FR 24601), May 11, 2006 (71 FR 27408), May 22, 2006 (71 FR 29257), June 1, 2006 (71 FR 31104), July 3, 2006 (71 FR 37839), August 7, 2006 (71 FR 44590), and August 22, 2006 (71 FR 48824). The changes to current groundfish management measures implemented by this action were recommended by the Pacific Council, in consultation with Pacific Coast Treaty Indian Tribes and the States of Washington, Oregon, and FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: California, at its September 11–15, 2006, Jamie Goen (Northwest Region, NMFS), meeting in Foster City, CA. At that phone: 206–526–6150; fax: 206–526– meeting, the Pacific Council 6736; or e-mail: jamie.goen@noaa.gov. recommended: (1) increasing the widow SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: rockfish bycatch limit and decreasing the canary rockfish bycatch limit for the Electronic Access commercial limited entry non-tribal This Federal Register document is primary whiting fishery; (2) increasing available on the Government Printing the limited entry trawl trip limits Office’s website at: www.gpoaccess.gov/ coastwide in Period 6 (Novemberfr/index.html. December) for sablefish and petrale sole; Background information and (3) closing the open access daily trip documents are available at the Pacific limit (DTL) fishery for sablefish north of Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific 36° N. lat. beginning October 1; (4) Council’s) website at: www.pcouncil.org. increasing the limited entry fixed gear and open access DTL fishery for Background sablefish south of 36° N. lat. beginning The Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP October 1; and (5) prohibiting retention and its implementing regulations at of vermilion rockfish by boat anglers in Title 50 in the Code of Federal the recreational fishery seaward of the Regulations (CFR), part 660, subpart G, state of Oregon. In addition, NMFS is regulate fishing for over 80 species of correcting an error in the footnote for groundfish off the coasts of Washington, yelloweye rockfish in Table 2b to part Oregon, and California. Groundfish 660, subpart G. Pacific Coast groundfish specifications and management landings will be monitored throughout measures are developed by the Pacific the year and further adjustments to trip Council, and are implemented by limits or management measures will be NMFS. The specifications and made as necessary to allow achievement management measures for 2005–2006 of, or to avoid exceeding, optimum were codified in the CFR (50 CFR part yields (OYs). 660, subpart G). They were published in Limited Entry Trawl Non-tribal Whiting the Federal Register as a proposed rule Fishery Bycatch Limits for Widow and on September 21, 2004 (69 FR 56550), and as a final rule on December 23, 2004 Canary Rockfish (69 FR 77012). The final rule was The Pacific Council considered subsequently amended on March 18, adjusting the bycatch limits for widow 2005 (70 FR 13118); March 30, 2005 (70 rockfish and canary rockfish in the nonFR 16145); April 19, 2005 (70 FR tribal whiting fisheries. An increase in 20304); May 3, 2005 (70 FR 22808); May the widow bycatch limit for the non4, 2005 (70 FR 23040); May 5, 2005 (70 tribal whiting fishery would buffer FR 23804); May 16, 2005 (70 FR 25789); against the possibility of a disaster tow May 19, 2005 (70 FR 28852); July 5, that might shut down the fishery before 2005 (70 FR 38596); August 22, 2005 (70 the whiting quota is achieved. A FR 48897); August 31, 2005 (70 FR decrease in the canary bycatch limit 51682); October 5, 2005 (70 FR 58066); would provide a precautionary October 20, 2005 (70 FR 61063); October adjustment to the projected total 24, 2005 (70 FR 61393); November 1, mortality of canary rockfish for all 2005 (70 FR 65861); and December 5, fisheries (commercial, recreational, EFP, 2005 (70 FR 723850). Longer-term and research) while still allowing the changes to the 2006 specifications and whiting quota to be achieved, based on management measures were published current information about the fishery’s in the Federal Register as a proposed bycatch rates. The Pacific Council considered rule on December 19, 2005 (70 FR whether to increase the bycatch limits 75115), and as a final rule on February for widow rockfish in the non-tribal 17, 2006 (71 FR 8489). The final rule VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 whiting fishery above the 200 mt specified in regulation. Bycatch of widow rockfish in the whiting fishery was estimated in NMFS Whiting Report #12 to be at 186.47 mt through September 5, 2006. The whiting fishery is nearing the end of its seasons for the various sectors. The shorebased fishery has already closed. The mothership fishery has approximately 5,000 mt (approximately 9 percent of allocation) remaining, and the catcher/processor fishery has approximately 15,000 mt (approximately 20 percent of allocation) remaining. Catch of widow rockfish in the non-tribal whiting fishery is expected to remain low through the remainder of the season. However, widow rockfish tends to be taken sporadically and in infrequent but large amounts. This makes widow rockfish bycatch rates difficult to predict, and there have been past unexpectedly high tows upwards of 20 mt. Therefore, while catch of widow rockfish is expected to remain low, the Pacific Council considered increasing the widow bycatch limit enough to cover an unexpectedly high tow of approximately 20 mt. Increasing the bycatch limit from 200 mt to 220 mt should provide enough widow rockfish to allow the whiting fisheries to catch their whiting allocations without the threat of a single large widow tow shutting non-tribal whiting fisheries down early. In addition, an increase in the widow rockfish bycatch limit to 220 mt is still well within the projected total mortality of widow rockfish (258 mt projected total mortality for all fisheries out of a 289 mt widow rockfish OY). The Pacific Council also considered a decrease in the canary rockfish bycatch limit to provide a precautionary adjustment to the projected total mortality of canary rockfish for all fisheries (commercial, recreational, EFP, and research). Catch of canary rockfish by research vessels is higher than projected for 2006. Previously, an advisory body to the Pacific Council, the Groundfish Management Team (GMT), had projected 3 mt of canary rockfish would be taken as 2006 research catch in their bycatch scorecard. The bycatch scorecard is a tool used by the GMT to track estimated and projected total mortality of overfished species for the year. Based on preliminary information from research vessels to date, the 2006 research catch is now 7.5 mt (7.2 mt from the NMFS triennial trawl survey and 0.3 mt from research off Oregon). Additional catch of canary rockfish is likely to occur as the NMFS triennial trawl survey continues from Eureka to San Diego, California. The GMT E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations reviewed historical survey trend data from 2003–2005 and estimated that an additional 0.3 mt should cover the remainder of the research catch for that area. However, the survey vessel is conducting its survey in the area between 41° N. latitude and 40°10′ N. latitude (off of Eureka), which is a known ‘‘hot spot’’ area for canary rockfish. While more than 90 percent of the canary rockfish take in the historical triennial trawl survey occurs north of Eureka, there is the potential for an unexpectedly high tow of canary rockfish. Therefore, the GMT suggested increasing the potential additional research catch from 0.3 mt to 1.0 mt, which should buffer against the potential for a high tow of canary rockfish. Thus, the total projection for canary rockfish mortality from research in the bycatch scorecard will be increased to 8.5 mt through the end of the year (7.5 mt current total mortality plus 1.0 mt projected total mortality for research during the remainder of the year). Because the mortality of canary rockfish from research is estimated to be much higher in 2006 than estimated in pre-season projections, the Pacific Council reviewed the bycatch scorecard for estimated mortality of canary rockfish in other fisheries. Some ongoing fisheries are tracking behind their projected take of canary rockfish. The non-tribal whiting fisheries have taken 2.5 mt out of their 4.7 mt canary rockfish bycatch limit. The tribal whiting fishery has taken 0.3 mt through August out of a projected 1.6 mt canary mortality, and the tribal midwater trawl fishery is also tracking behind in the bycatch scorecard. In addition, recreational fisheries are tracking behind their estimated take of canary rockfish at this time. Thus, there is the potential for canary rockfish total mortality to come in below the bycatch scorecard projections for the year. Even with many fisheries tracking behind their projected canary rockfish take for the year, the Pacific Council recommended reducing the canary rockfish bycatch limit in the non-tribal whiting fishery from 4.7 mt to 4.0 mt in regulation, as a precautionary measure. The non-tribal whiting fishery is estimated to have taken 2.5 mt out of their 4.7 mt canary rockfish bycatch limit, as of September 5, 2006. As a comparison, the non-tribal whiting fishery took 3.3 mt of canary rockfish in its 2005 season. Given other updates to the bycatch scorecard, the non-tribal whiting bycatch limit would need to be reduced to 4.0 mt, to ensure that estimates within the scorecard remain within the 2006 OY for canary rockfish. VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 With the shorebased fishery closed and limited amounts of the whiting allocation remaining for the mothership and catcher/processor sector, the nontribal whiting fishery will likely remain within the lower 4.0 mt canary rockfish bycatch limit. With all of the updates to the bycatch scorecard, projected total mortality of canary rockfish for the year in the bycatch scorecard is 47.1 mt, equivalent to the OY for 2006, while widow rockfish is projected to be 278 mt, below the OY of 289 mt. However, as mentioned previously, many fisheries are expected to come in below their projections of canary rockfish take for the year. The Pacific Council’s GMT anticipates updating the bycatch scorecard with new inseason information at the Council’s November 13–17, 2006, meeting. Therefore, the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS is implementing a reduction in the canary rockfish bycatch limit from 4.7 mt to 4.0 mt, and an increase in the widow rockfish bycatch limit from 200 mt to 220 mt. Limited Entry Trawl Trip Limits Catch of petrale sole and sablefish in the limited entry bottom trawl fisheries is tracking behind projections. The Pacific Council considered increasing trip limits in Period 6 (NovemberDecember) to 70,000 lb (31,752 kg) per 2 months for petrale sole and to 20,000 lb (9,072 kg) per 2 months for sablefish to provide some increase in fishing opportunity while staying within the OYs for these species. North of 40°10′ N. lat., these increases would only apply seaward of the trawl rockfish conservation area (RCA). The Pacific Council also considered whether increased catches of these species could be accommodated without increasing impacts on overfished species beyond what is projected to remain within the OY. These trip limit changes would increase the estimated mortality of the following overfished species: bocaccio, darkblotched rockfish and Pacific Ocean perch (POP). However, the estimated impacts on these overfished species as a result of the trip limit adjustments, combined with all estimated mortality, are within the 2006 OYs for those species. Therefore, the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS is implementing trip limit adjustments for the limited entry bottom trawl fishery in Period 6 (November-December) as follows: (1) north of 40°10′ N. lat., increase petrale sole trip limits from 60,000 lb (27,216 kg) per 2 months to 70,000 lb (31,752 kg) per 2 months for PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 58291 large and small footrope trawl gear; (2) north of 40°10′ N. lat., increase sablefish trip limits from 14,000 lb (6.350 kg) per 2 months to 20,000 lb (9,072 kg) per 2 months for large and small footrope trawl gear; (3) south of 40°10′ N. lat., increase petrale sole trip limits from 60,000 lb (27,216 kg) per 2 months to 70,000 lb (31,752 kg) per 2 months; and (4) south of 40°10′ N. lat., increase sablefish trip limits from 17,000 lb (7,711 kg) per 2 months to 20,000 lb (9,072 kg) per 2 months. Open Access DTL Fishery for Sablefish North of 36≥ N. lat. Catch of sablefish in the open access (OA) DTL fishery continues to be higher than in previous years. To slow the catch of sablefish earlier in the year, NMFS reduced the OA sablefish daily trip limit, or DTL, fishery cumulative trip limit north of 36° N. lat. from 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) per 2 months to 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) per 2 months (71 FR 24601, April 26, 2006). The Council recommended this reduction in anticipation of a large influx of fishing effort into the sablefish DTL fishery from vessels unable to participate in this year’s highly restricted salmon fishery. Reducing the cumulative limit was intended to provide for a longer season, which was thought to most benefit fishers who have historically participated in the year-round fishery. To date, the catch of OA sablefish is higher in 2006 than catch projected from historical data. This supports the assumptions that restrictions in the salmon fishery may have led to increased effort in the OA sablefish DTL fishery. PacFIN estimates the OA sablefish DTL catch through August to be 524 mt, out of a 613 mt harvest guideline north of 36° N. lat. Given that this sector has caught an average of 70– 80 mt of sablefish per month since March, the OA DTL fishery is expected to attain their sablefish allocation in early October. Therefore, the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS is implementing a reduction in the OA sablefish DTL fishery trip limits north of 36° N. lat. beginning October 1 from ‘‘300 lb (136 kg) per day, or 1 landing per week of up to 1,000 lb (454 kg), not to exceed 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) per 2 months’’ to ‘‘closed.’’ Limited Entry Fixed Gear & Open Access DTL Fishery for Sablefish South of 36≥ N. lat. While OA DTL fisheries north of 36° N. lat. are tracking ahead of schedule, limited entry fixed gear and OA sablefish DTL fisheries south of 36° N. lat. are tracking behind schedule. E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 58292 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES PacFIN data through the end of August estimates that 52 mt out of a 271–mt total catch OY have been taken south of 36° N. lat. There is not an allocation between limited entry or open access sablefish fisheries in this area. Because sablefish fisheries south of 36° N. lat. are tracking behind schedule, the Pacific Council discussed increasing trip limits for the limited entry fixed gear and OA sablefish DTL fisheries south of 36° N. lat. from 350 lb (159 kg) per day to 500 lb (227 kg) per day beginning October 1, leaving the weekly limit the same. Leaving the weekly limit the same is intended to discourage increased effort from shifting from waters north of 36° N. lat., which will close October 1. This action would not increase estimated impacts on overfished species, including canary rockfish, because estimated mortality for overfished species for the year assume that this sector will achieve its allocation. Therefore, the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS is implementing an increase in the limited entry fixed gear and OA sablefish DTL fishery trip limits south of 36° N. lat. beginning October 1 from ‘‘350 lb (159 kg) per day, or 1 landing per week of up to 1,050 lb (476 kg)’’ to ‘‘500 lb (227 kg) per day, or 1 landing per week of up to 1,050 lb. (476 kg).’’ Oregon Recreational Fishery Vermilion rockfish is a federallymanaged species under the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP. However, the state of Oregon has more restrictive state harvest limits for vermilion rockfish than the federal limits. The federal and state governments work cooperatively to manage the OYs for Pacific Coast groundfish species, such as vermilion rockfish, from 0–200 nm. In the Oregon recreational groundfish fishery, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) manages vermilion rockfish under a state harvest limit as part of the ‘‘other nearshore rockfish’’ aggregate, which also includes brown, china, copper, grass, quillback, and tiger rockfishes). In June, the catch rate of the ‘‘other nearshore rockfish’’ aggregate was tracking higher than expected and projections showed that without action, the harvest limit would be prematurely attained. Vermilion rockfish represented approximately half of the landings in the ‘‘other nearshore rockfish’’ aggregate. ODFW took management action specific to vermilion rockfish to prevent the ‘‘other nearshore rockfish’’ aggregate from reaching the Oregon state harvest limit. Effective June 24, 2006, ODFW prohibited the retention of vermilion VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 rockfish in the recreational ocean and estuary boat fisheries. Therefore, in order to conform recreational management measures for Federal waters (3–200 nm) to management measures for Oregon state waters (0–3 nm), the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS is implementing a prohibition on the retention of vermilion rockfish by boat anglers in Federal recreational regulations off Oregon. Yelloweye Rockfish Recreational Harvest Guideline Boundary Correction NMFS is correcting an error in the footnote for yelloweye rockfish in Table 2b to part 660, subpart G. Table 2b is part of the acceptable biological catch (ABC)/OY tables. Footnote aa/ for yelloweye rockfish was revised on May 22, 2006 (71 FR 29257). In the preamble for this revision, NMFS explained that the recreational harvest guideline is divided north and south of the Oregon/ California border, at 42° N. lat., as recommended by the Pacific Council and as analyzed in the Environmental Impact Statement for the 2005–2006 groundfish specifications and management measures. However, the footnote in the table divided the recreational harvest guideline at the wrong place, at 40°10′ N. lat. Therefore, NMFS is correcting footnote aa/ for yelloweye rockfish to break the recreational harvest guideline at 42° N. lat. (Oregon/California border) instead of 40°10′ N. lat. The recreational harvest guideline of 6.7 mt is managed jointly by Oregon and Washington north of 42° N. lat., and the recreational harvest guideline of 3.7 mt is managed by California south of 42° N. lat. This correction is necessary for the states to be able to manage their respective state harvest guidelines consistent with the record and intent for this fishery. Classification These actions are taken under the authority of 50 CFR 660.370(c) and are exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. These actions are authorized by the Pacific Coast groundfish FMP and its implementing regulations, and are based on the most recent data available. The aggregate data upon which these actions are based are available for public inspection at the Office of the Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, (see ADDRESSES) during business hours. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice and comment would be impracticable. The data upon which PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 these recommendations were based was provided to the Pacific Council, and the Pacific Council made its recommendations at its September 11– 15, 2006, meeting in Foster City, CA. There was not sufficient time after that meeting to draft this notice and undergo proposed and final rulemaking before these actions need to be in effect. For the actions to be implemented in this notice, prior notice and opportunity for comment would be impracticable because affording the time necessary for prior notice and opportunity for public comment would impede the Agency’s function of managing fisheries using the best available science to approach without exceeding the OYs for federally managed species. The adjustments to management measures in this document affect commercial and recreational groundfish fisheries. Changes to the limited entry non-whiting trawl fishery must be implemented in a timely manner by November 1, 2006, to allow fishermen an opportunity to harvest higher trip limits for stocks tracking behind their projected OY and within projected mortality for overfished species. The reduction to the canary rockfish bycatch limit for the limited entry non-tribal whiting trawl fishery must be implemented in a timely manner by October 1, 2006, to keep mortality of canary rockfish, an overfished species, within its projection for the year. The increase to the widow rockfish bycatch limit for the limited entry non-tribal whiting trawl fishery must be implemented in a timely manner by October 1, 2006, to allow the take of the whiting allocation while keeping mortality of widow rockfish, an overfished species, within its projection for the year. Changes to the open access sablefish fishery north of 36° N. lat. must be implemented in a timely manner by October 1, 2006, to keep harvest of sablefish within the allocation for this fishery. Changes to the limited entry fixed gear and open access sablefish fishery south of 36° N. lat. must be implemented in a timely manner by October 1, 2006, to allow fishermen an opportunity to harvest higher trip limits for stocks tracking behind their projected OY and within projected mortality for overfished species. Changes to the recreational fishery must be implemented by October 1, 2006, in order to conform to existing state regulations and to keep recreational harvest within state harvest limits. Changes to the yelloweye rockfish recreational harvest guideline boundary must be implemented by October 1, 2006, to allow the states to take management action should a E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 58293 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations yelloweye rockfish recreational harvest guideline be reached before the end of the year. Delaying any of these changes would keep management measures in place that are not based on the best available data, which could risk fisheries exceeding their OY, or deny fishermen access to available harvest. This would impair managing fisheries to stay within the OYs for the year, or would impair achievement of one of the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP objectives of providing for year-round harvest opportunities or extending fishing opportunities as long as practicable during the fishing year. For these reasons, good cause also exists to waive the 30 day delay in effectiveness requirement under 5 U.S.C. 553 (d)(3). List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660 Fisheries, Fishing, Indian fisheries. Dated: September 27, 2006. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. § 660.384 Recreational fishery management measures. * For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended as follows: I PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: I Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 660.373, paragraph (b)(4) is revised to read as follows: I § 660.373 Pacific whiting (whiting) fishery management. * * * * * (b) * * * (4) 2005 2006 bycatch limits in the whiting fishery. The bycatch limits for the whiting fishery may be used inseason to close a sector or sectors of the whiting fishery to achieve the rebuilding of an overfished or depleted stock, under routine management measure authority at § 660.370 (c)(1)(ii). These limits are routine management measures under § 660.370 (c) and, as such, may be adjusted inseason or may have new species added to the list of those with bycatch limits. For 2005, the whiting fishery bycatch limits for the sectors identified § 660.323(a) are 4.7 mt of canary rockfish and 212 mt of widow rockfish. For 2006, the whiting fishery bycatch limits are 4.0 mt of canary rockfish, 220 mt of widow rockfish, and 25 mt of darkblotched rockfish. * * * * * I 3. In § 660.384, paragraph (c)(2)(iii) is revised to read as follows: * * * * (c) * * * (2) * * * (iii) Bag limits, size limits. The bag limits for each person engaged in recreational fishing in the EEZ seaward of Oregon are two lingcod per day, which may be no smaller than 24 in (61 cm) total length; and 6 marine fish per day, which excludes Pacific halibut, salmonids, tuna, perch species, sturgeon, sanddabs, lingcod, striped bass, hybrid bass, offshore pelagic species and baitfish (herring, smelt, anchovies and sardines), but which includes rockfish, greenling, cabezon and other groundfish species. In the Pacific halibut fisheries, retention of groundfish is governed in part by annual management measures for Pacific halibut fisheries, which are published in the Federal Register. Between the Oregon border with Washington and Cape Falcon, when Pacific halibut are onboard the vessel, groundfish may not be taken and retained, possessed or landed, except sablefish and Pacific cod. Between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain, during days open to the Oregon Central Coast ‘‘all-depth’’ sport halibut fishery, when Pacific halibut are onboard the vessel, no groundfish may be taken and retained, possessed or landed, except sablefish. ‘‘All-depth’’ season days are established in the annual management measures for Pacific halibut fisheries, which are published in the Federal Register and are announced on the NMFS halibut hotline, 1 800 662 9825. The minimum size limit for cabezon retained in the recreational fishery is 16 in (41 cm) and for greenling is 10 in (26 cm). Taking and retaining canary rockfish and yelloweye rockfish is prohibited at all times and in all areas. From October 1 through December 31, 2006, taking and retaining vermilion rockfish is prohibited in all areas by boat anglers. * * * * * 4. In part 660, subpart G, Table 2b is revised to read as follows: I Table 2b to Part 660, Subpart G—2006, and Beyond, OYs for Minor Rockfish by Depth Subgroups (Weights in Metric Tons) OY (Total Catch) Harvest Guidelines (total catch) Total Catch OY Recreational Estimate Commercial HG for minor rockfish and depth subgroups 2,250 78 2,172 Nearshore 122 68 54 Shelf 968 10 958 Slope 1,160 0 1,160 1,968 443 1,390 Nearshore ii/ 615 383 97 Shelf 714 60 654 Slope 639 0 639 Species Total Catch ABC Minor Rockfish north cc/ 3,680 mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES Minor Rockfish south dd/ 3,412 Limited Entry Open Access Mt Mt % 1,992 91.7 180 8.3 774 55.7 616 44.3 a/ ABCs apply to the U.S. portion of the Vancouver area, except as noted under individual species. VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 % E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES 58294 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations b/ Lingcod was declared overfished on March 3, 1999. A coastwide stock assessment was prepared in 2003. Lingcod was believed to be at 25 percent of its unfished biomass coastwide in 2002, 31 percent in the north and 19 percent in the south. The ABC projection for 2006 is 2,716 mt and was calculated using an FMSY proxy of F45%. The total catch OY of 2,414 mt (the sum of 1,891 mt in the north and 612 mt in the south) is based on the rebuilding plan with a 70 percent probability of rebuilding the stock to BMSY by the year 2009 (TMAX). The harvest control rule will be F=0.17 in the north and F=0.15 in the south. Out of the OY, it is estimated that 693 mt will be taken in the recreational fishery, 7.2 mt will be taken during research activity, and 2.8 mt will be taken in non-groundfish fisheries. Under the 2006 management measures, it is anticipated that 214.7 mt will be taken in the commercial fisheries (which is being set as a commercial HG), leaving a residual amount of 1,496.3 mt to be used as necessary during the fishing year. There is a recreational harvest guideline of 271 mt for the area north of 42° N. lat. and a recreational harvest guideline of 422 mt for the area south of 42° N. lat. The tribes do not have a specific allocation at this time, but are expected to take 25.1 mt of the commercial HG. c/ ‘‘Other species’’, these are neither common nor important to the commercial and recreational fisheries in the areas footnoted. Accordingly, Pacific cod is included in the non-commercial HG of ‘‘other fish’’ and rockfish species are included in either ‘‘other rockfish’’ or ‘‘remaining rockfish’’ for the areas footnoted. d/ Pacific Cod - The 3,200 mt ABC is based on historical landings data and is set at the same level as it was in 2004. The 1,600 mt OY is the ABC reduced by 50 percent as a precautionary adjustment. The OY is reduced by 400 mt for the tribal harvest guideline, resulting in a commercial harvest guideline of 1,200 mt. e/ Pacific whiting - The most recent stock assessment was prepared in early 2006, and the whiting biomass was estimated to be between 31 percent and 38 percent of its unfished biomass. The U.S. ABC of 518,294 mt is based on the 2006 assessment results with the application of an FMSY proxy harvest rate of 40%. The U.S. ABC is 73.88 percent of the coastwide ABC. The U.S. total catch OY is being set at 269,069 mt. The total catch OY is reduced by 35,000 mt for the tribal allocation, 200 mt for the amount estimated to be taken during research fishing, and 1,800 mt for the estimated catch in non-groundfish fisheries, resulting in a commercial OY of 232,069 mt. The commercial OY is allocated between the sectors with 42 percent (97,469 mt) going to the shore-based sector, 34 percent (78,903 mt) going to the catcher/processor sector, and 24 percent (55,696 mt) going to the mothership sector. Discards of whiting are estimated from the observer data and counted towards the OY inseason. f/ Sablefish north of 36° N. lat. - A coastwide sablefish stock assessment was prepared in 2001 and updated for 2002. Following the 2002 stock assessment update, the sablefish biomass north of 34°27′ N. lat. was believed to be between 31 percent and 38 percent of its unfished biomass. The coastwide ABC of 8,175 mt is based on environmentally driven projections with the FMSY proxy of F45%. The ABC for the management area north of 36° N. lat. is 7,885 mt (96.45 percent of the coastwide ABC). The coastwide OY of 7,634 mt (the sum of 7,363 mt in the north and 271 mt in the south) is based on the density-dependent model and the application of the 40–10 harvest policy. The total catch OY for the area north of 36° N. lat is 7,363 mt and is 96.45 percent of the coastwide OY. The OY is reduced by 10 percent (736 mt) for the tribal allocation. Out of the remaining OY, 86 mt will be taken during research activity, and 19 mt will be taken in non-groundfish fisheries, resulting in a commercial HG of 6,522 mt. The open access allocation is 9.4 percent (613 mt) of the commercial HG and the limited entry allocation is 90.6 percent (5,909 mt) of the commercial HG. The limited entry allocation is further divided with 58 percent (3,427 mt) allocated to the trawl fishery and 42 percent (2,482 mt) allocated to the fixed-gear fishery. To provide for bycatch in the at-sea whiting fishery, 15 mt of the limited entry trawl allocation will be set aside. g/ Sablefish south of 36° N. lat. - The ABC of 290 mt is 3.55 percent of the ABC from the 2002 coastwide stock assessment update. The total catch OY of 271 mt is 3.55 percent of the OY from the 2002 coastwide stock assessment update. There are no limited entry or open access allocations in the Conception area at this time. h/ Cabezon was first assessed in 2003 and was believed to be at 34.7 percent of its unfished biomass. The ABC of 108 mt is based on a harvest rate proxy of F45%. The OY of 69 mt is based on a constant harvest level for 2005 and 2006. i/ Dover sole north of 34°27′ N. lat. was assessed in 2001 and was believed to be at 29 percent of its unfished biomass. The ABC of 8,589 mt is the 2006 projection from the 2001 assessment with an FMSY proxy of F40%. Because the biomass is estimated to be in the precautionary zone, the 40–10 harvest rate policy was applied, resulting in a total catch OY of 7,564 mt. The OY is reduced by 60 mt for the amount estimated to be taken as research catch, resulting in a commercial HG of 7,504 mt. j/ English sole - Research catch is estimated to be 9.7 mt. k/ Petrale sole was believed to be at 42 percent of its unfished biomass following a 1999 stock assessment. For 2006, the ABC for the Vancouver-Columbia area (1,262 mt) is based on a four year average projection from 2000–2003 with a F40% FMSY proxy. The ABCs for the Eureka, Monterey, and Conception areas (1,500 mt) are based on historical landings data and continue at the same level as 2005. Management measures to constrain the harvest of overfished species have reduced the availability of these stocks to the fishery during the past several years. Because the harvest assumptions (from the most recent stock assessment in the Vancouver-Columbia area) used to forecast future harvest were likely overestimates, carrying the previously used ABCs and OYs forward into 2006 was considered to be conservative and based on the best available data. Research catch is estimated to be 2.9 mt and will be taken out of the OY. l/ Arrowtooth flounder was last assessed in 1993 and was believed to be above 40 percent of its unfished biomass. Research catch is estimated to be 13.6 mt and will be taken out of the OY. m/ Other flatfish are those species that do not have individual ABC/OYs and include butter sole, curlfin sole, flathead sole, Pacific sand dab, rex sole, rock sole, sand sole, and starry flounder. The ABC is based on historical catch levels. The ABC of 6,781 mt is based on the highest landings for sanddabs (1995) and rex sole (1982) for the 1981–2003 period and on the average landings from the 1994–1998 period for the remaining other flatfish species. The OY of 4,909 mt is based on the ABC with a 25 percent precautionary adjustment for sanddabs and rex sole and a 50 percent precautionary adjustment for the remaining species. Research catch is estimated to be 20.5 mt and will be taken out of the OY. n/ POP was declared overfished on March 3, 1999. A stock assessment was prepared in 2003 and POP was determined to be at 25 percent of its unfished biomass. The ABC of 934 mt was projected from the 2003 stock assessment and is based on an FMSY proxy of F50%. The OY of 447 mt is based on a 70 percent probability of rebuilding the stock to BMSY by the year 2042 (TMAX). The harvest control rule will be F=0.0257. Out of the OY it is anticipated that 4.6 mt will be taken during research activity and 102.6 mt in the commercial fishery (which is being set as a commercial HG), leaving a residual amount of 339.8 mt to be used as necessary during the fishing year. o/ Shortbelly rockfish remains as an unexploited stock and is difficult to assess quantitatively. A 1989 stock assessment provided 2 alternative yield calculations of 13,900 mt and 47,000 mt. NMFS surveys have shown poor recruitment in most years since 1989, indicating low recent productivity and a naturally declining population in spite of low fishing pressure. The ABC and OY therefore are set at 13,900 mt, the low end of the range in the stock assessment. The available OY is reduced by 12 mt for the amount estimated to be taken as research catch, resulting in a commercial HG of 13,888 mt. p/ The widow rockfish stock was declared overfished on January 11, 2001 (66 FR 2338). The most recent stock assessment was prepared for widow rockfish in 2003. The spawning stock biomass is believed to be at 22.4 percent of its unfished biomass in 2002. The ABC of 3,059 mt is based an F50% FMSY proxy. The 289 mt OY is based on a 60 percent probability of rebuilding the stock to BMSY by the year 2042 (TMAX). The harvest control rule is F=0.0093. Out of the OY, it is anticipated that 1.0 mt will be taken during the research activity, 2.3 mt will be taken in the recreational fishery, 0.1 mt will be taken in non-groundfish fisheries, and 285.6 mt will be taken in the commercial fishery (which is being set as the commercial HG). Specific open access/limited entry allocations have been suspended during the rebuilding period as necessary to meet the overall rebuilding target while allowing harvest of healthy stocks. Tribal vessels are estimated to land about 40 mt of widow rockfish in 2006, but do not have a specific allocation at this time. The widow rockfish bycatch limit for the commercial Pacific whiting fisheries is 200 mt. This amount may be adjusted via inseason action. VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations 58295 mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES q/ Canary rockfish was declared overfished on January 4, 2000 (65 FR 221). A stock assessment was completed in 2002 for canary rockfish and the stock was believed to be at 8 percent of its unfished biomass coastwide in 2001. The coastwide ABC of 279 mt is based on a FMSY proxy of F50%. The coastwide OY of 47.1 mt is based on the rebuilding plan, which has a 60 percent probability of rebuilding the stock to BMSY by the year 2076 (TMAX) and a catch sharing arrangement that has 58 percent of the OY going to the commercial fisheries and 42 percent going to the recreational fisheries. The harvest control rule will be F=0.0220. Out of the OY, it is anticipated that 2.7 mt will be taken during the research activity, 17.8 mt will be taken in the recreational fishery, 2.1 mt will be taken in non-groundfish fisheries, and 22.7 mt will be taken in the commercial fishery (which is being set as the commercial HG), leaving a residual amount of 1.8 mt. The residual amount will be further divided with 0.9 mt being available as needed for the recreational and 0.9 mt being available as needed for the commercial fisheries. A recreational HG for the area north of 42° N. lat. will be 8.5 mt. For the area south of 42° N. lat., the recreational HG will be 9.3 mt. Specific open access/limited entry allocations have been suspended during the rebuilding period as necessary to meet the overall rebuilding target while allowing harvest of healthy stocks. Tribal vessels are estimated to land about 2.6 mt of canary rockfish under the commercial HG, but do not have a specific allocation at this time. The canary rockfish bycatch limit for the commercial Pacific whiting fisheries is 4.7 mt. This amount may be adjusted via inseason action. r/ Chilipepper rockfish - the ABC (2,700 mt) for the Monterey-Conception area is based on a three year average projection from 1999–2001 with a F50% FMSY proxy. Because the unfished biomass is believed to be above 40 percent, the default OY could be set equal to the ABC. However, the OY is set at 2,000 mt to discourage effort on chilipepper, which is taken with bocaccio. Management measures to constrain the harvest of overfished species have reduced the availability of these stocks to the fishery during the past several years. Because the harvest assumptions (from the most recent stock assessment) used to forecast future harvest were likely overestimates, carrying the previously used ABCs and OYs forward into 2006 was considered to be conservative and based on the best available data. The OY is reduced by 15 mt for the amount estimated to be taken in the recreational fishery and 21 mt for the amount estimated to be taken during research activity, resulting in a commercial HG of 1,964 mt. Open access is allocated 44.3 percent (870 mt) of the commercial HG and limited entry is allocated 55.7 percent (1,094 mt) of the commercial HG. s/ Bocaccio was declared overfished on March 3, 1999. A new stock assessment and a new rebuilding analysis were prepared for bocaccio in 2003. The bocaccio stock was believed to be at 7.4 percent of its unfished biomass in 2002. The ABC of 549 mt is based on a F50% FMSY proxy. The OY of 308 mt is based on the rebuilding analysis and has a 70 percent probability of rebuilding the stock to BMSY by the year 2032 (TMAX). The harvest control rule is F=0.0498. Out of the OY, it is anticipated that 0.6 mt will be taken during the research activity, 43.0 mt will be taken in the recreational fishery, 1.3 mt will be taken in non-groundfish fisheries, and 75.2 mt will be taken in the commercial fishery (which is being set as the commercial HG), leaving a residual amount of 187.9 mt to be used as necessary during the fishing year. t/ Splitnose rockfish - The ABC is 615 mt in the southern area (Monterey-Conception). The 461 mt OY for the southern area reflects a 25 percent precautionary adjustment because of the less rigorous stock assessment for this stock. In the north, splitnose is included in the minor slope rockfish OY. Because the harvest assumptions (from the most recent stock assessment) used to forecast future harvest were likely overestimates, carrying the previously used ABCs and OYs forward into 2006 was considered to be conservative and based on the best available data. u/ Yellowtail rockfish - A yellowtail rockfish stock assessment was prepared in 2003 for the Vancouver-Columbia-Eureka areas. Yellowtail rockfish was believed to be at 46 percent of its unfished biomass in 2002. The ABC of 3,681 mt is based on the 2003 stock assessment with the FMSY proxy of F50%. The OY of 3,681 mt was set equal to the ABC, because the stock is above the precautionary threshold. The OY is reduced by 15 mt for the amount estimated to be taken in the recreational fishery, 5 mt for the amount estimated to be taken during research activity, and 6 mt for the amount taken in non-groundfish fisheries, resulting in a commercial HG of 3,655 mt. The open access allocation (303 mt) is 8.3 percent of the commercial HG. The limited entry allocation (3,352 mt) is 91.7 percent the commercial HG. Tribal vessels are estimated to land about 506 mt of yellowtail rockfish in 2006, but do not have a specific allocation at this time. v/ Shortspine thornyhead was last assessed in 2001 and the stock was believed to be between 25 and 50 percent of its unfished biomass. The ABC (1,077 mt) for the area north of Pt. Conception (34°27′ N. lat.) is based on a F50% FMSY proxy. The OY of 1,018 mt is based on the 2001 survey with the application of the 40–10 harvest policy. The OY is reduced by 7 mt for the amount estimated to be taken during research activity, resulting in a commercial HG of 1,011 mt. Open access is allocated 0.27 percent (27 mt) of the commercial HG and limited entry is allocated 99.73 percent (984 mt) of the commercial HG. There is no ABC or OY for the southern Conception area. Tribal vessels are estimated to land about 6.6 mt of shortspine thornyhead in 2006, but do not have a specific allocation at this time. w/ Longspine thornyhead north of 36° N. lat. is believed to be above 40 percent of its unfished biomass. The ABC (2,461 mt) in the north (Vancouver-Columbia-Eureka-Monterey) is based on a F50% FMSY proxy. Because the harvest assumptions (from the most recent stock assessment) used to forecast future harvest were likely overestimates, carrying the previously used ABCs and OYs forward into 2006 was considered to be conservative and based on the best available data. The total catch OY (2,461 mt) is set equal to the ABC. The OY is reduced by 12 mt for the amount estimated to be taken during research activity, resulting in a commercial HG of 2,449 mt. x/ Longspine thornyhead south of 36° - A separate ABC (390 mt) is established for the Conception area and is based on historical catch for the portion of the Conception area north of 34°27′ N. lat. (Point Conception). To address uncertainty in the stock assessment due to limited information, the ABC was reduced by 50 percent to obtain the OY, 195 mt. There is no ABC or OY for the southern Conception Area. y/ Cowcod in the Conception area was assessed in 1999 and was believed to be less than 10 percent of its unfished biomass. Cowcod was declared as overfished on January 4, 2000 (65 FR 221). The ABC in the Conception area (5 mt) is based on the 1999 stock assessment, while the ABC for the Monterey area (19 mt) is based on average landings from 1993–1997. The OY of 4.2 mt (2.1 mt in each area) is based on the rebuilding plan adopted under Amendment 16–3, which has a 60 percent probability of rebuilding the stock to BMSY by the year 2099 (TMAX). The harvest control rule is F=0.009. Cowcod retention will not be permitted in 2006. The OY will be used to accommodate discards of cowcod rockfish resulting from incidental take. z/ Darkblotched rockfish was assessed in 2000 and a stock assessment update was prepared in 2003. Darkblotched rockfish was declared overfished on January 11, 2001 (66 FR 2338). Following the 2003 stock assessment update, the darkblotched rockfish stock was believed to be at 11 percent of its unfished biomass. A new darkblotched rockfish assessment was prepared for 2005. The 2005 darkblotched rockfish stock assessment found that darkblotched has been rebuilding at a faster rate than had been shown in the 2003 stock assessment. The ABC of 294 mt was projected from the 2003 assessment update and is based on an FMSY proxy of F50%. The 2006 OY will be 200 mt. This OY is 94 mt below the 294 mt OY originally in place for 2006, which was based on the rebuilding plan adopted under Amendment 16–2 and a harvest control rule of F=0.032 [69 FR 77012.] Based on the results of the 2005 assessment, NMFS estimates that reducing the 2006 OY to 200 mt is projected to rebuild the darkblotched rockfish stock to BMSY by March 2010, as compared to the July 2010 rebuilding date that was projected with a 294 mt OY. Out of the OY, it is anticipated that 5.2 mt will be taken during research activity, leaving 194.8 mt available to the commercial fishery. aa/ Yelloweye rockfish was assessed in 2001 and updated for 2002. On January 11, 2002, yelloweye rockfish was declared overfished (67 FR 1555). In 2002 following the stock assessment update, yelloweye rockfish was believed to be at 24.1 percent of its unfished biomass coastwide. The 55 mt coastwide ABC is based on an FMSY proxy of F50%. The OY of 27 mt, based on a revised rebuilding analysis (August 2002) and the rebuilding plan proposed under Amendment 16–3, have a 80 percent probability of rebuilding to BMSY by the year 2071 (TMAX) and a harvest control rule of F=0.0153. Out of the OY, it is anticipated that 10.4 mt will be taken in the recreational fishery (the HG for the area north of 42° N. lat. is 6.7 mt and the HG for the area south of 42° N. lat. is 3.7 mt), 1.0 mt will be taken during research activity, 0.8 mt will be taken in nongroundfish fisheries and 6.4 mt will be taken in the commercial fishery (which is being set as a commercial HG), leaving a residual amount of 8.4 mt to be used as necessary during the fishing year. Tribal vessels are estimated to land about 2.3 mt of yelloweye rockfish of the commercial HG in 2006, but do not have a specific allocation at this time. VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 58296 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations bb/ Black rockfish was last assessed in 2003 for the Columbia and Eureka area and in 2000 for the Vancouver area. The ABC for the area north of 46°16′ N. lat. is 540 mt and the ABC for the area south of 46°16′ N. lat. is 736 mt. Because of an overlap in the assessed areas between Cape Falcon and the Columbia River, projections from the 2000 stock assessment were adjusted downward by 12 percent to account for the overlap. The ABCs were derived using an FMSY proxy of F50%. The unfished biomass is believed to be above 40 percent. Therefore, the OYs were set equal to the ABCs, 540 mt for the area north of 46°16′ N. lat. and 736 mt for the area south of 46°16′ N. lat. A harvest guideline of 30,000 lb (13.6 mt) is set for the tribes. The black rockfish OY in the area south of 46°16′ N. lat. is subdivided with separate HGs being set for the area north of 42° N. lat (427 mt/58 percent) and for the area south of 42° N. lat (309 mt/42 percent). For the 427 mt attributed to the area north of 42° N. lat. 290–360 mt is estimated to be taken in the recreational fishery, resulting in a commercial HG of 67–137 mt. A range is being provided because the recreational and commercial shares are not currently available. Of the 309 mt of black rockfish attributed to the area south of 42° N. lat., a HG of 185 mt (60 percent) will be applied to the area north of 40°10′ N. lat. and a HG of 124 mt (40 percent) will be applied to the area south of 40°10′ N. lat. For the area between 42° N. lat. and 40°10′ N. lat., 74 mt is estimated to be taken in the recreational fishery, resulting in a commercial HG of 111 mt. For the area south of 40°10′ N. lat., 101 mt is estimated to be taken in the recreational fishery, resulting in a commercial HG of 23 mt. Black rockfish was included in the minor rockfish north and other rockfish south categories until 2004. cc/ Minor rockfish north includes the ‘‘remaining rockfish’’ and ‘‘other rockfish’’ categories in the Vancouver, Columbia, and Eureka areas combined. These species include ‘‘remaining rockfish’’, which generally includes species that have been assessed by less rigorous methods than stock assessments, and ‘‘other rockfish’’, which includes species that do not have quantifiable stock assessments. The ABC of 3,680 mt is the sum of the individual ‘‘remaining rockfish’’ ABCs plus the ‘‘other rockfish’’ ABCs. The remaining rockfish ABCs continue to be reduced by 25 percent (F=0.75M) as a precautionary adjustment. To obtain the total catch OY of 2,250 mt, the remaining rockfish ABCs were further reduced by 25 percent and other rockfish ABCs were reduced by 50 percent. This was a precautionary measure to address limited stock assessment information. The OY is reduced by 78 mt for the amount estimated to be taken in the recreational fishery, resulting in a 2,172 mt commercial HG. Open access is allocated 8.3 percent (180 mt) of the commercial HG and limited entry is allocated 91.7 percent (1,992 mt) of the commercial HG. Tribal vessels are estimated to land about 28 mt of minor rockfish in 2006, but do not have a specific allocation at this time. dd/ Minor rockfish south includes the ‘‘remaining rockfish’’ and ‘‘other rockfish’’ categories in the Monterey and Conception areas combined. These species include ‘‘remaining rockfish’’ which generally includes species that have been assessed by less rigorous methods than stock assessment, and ‘‘other rockfish’’ which includes species that do not have quantifiable stock assessments. The ABC of 3,412 mt is the sum of the individual ‘‘remaining rockfish’’ ABCs plus the ‘‘other rockfish’’ ABCs. The remaining rockfish ABCs continue to be reduced by 25 percent (F=0.75M) as a precautionary adjustment. To obtain a total catch OY of 1,968 mt, the remaining rockfish ABCs are further reduced by 25 percent, with the exception of blackgill rockfish, the other rockfish ABCs were reduced by 50 percent. This was a precautionary measure due to limited stock assessment information. The OY is reduced by 443 mt for the amount estimated to be taken in the recreational fishery, resulting in a 1,525 mt HG for the commercial fishery. Open access is allocated 44.3 percent (676 mt) of the commercial HG and limited entry is allocated 55.7 percent (849 mt) of the commercial HG. ee/ Bank rockfish -- The ABC is 350 mt, which is based on a 2000 stock assessment for the Monterey and Conception areas. This stock contributes 263 mt towards the minor rockfish OY in the south. ff/ Blackgill rockfish was believed to be at 51 percent of its unfished biomass in 1997. The ABC of 343 mt is the sum of the Conception area ABC of 268 mt, based on the 1998 stock assessment with an FMSY proxy of F50%, and the Monterey area ABC of 75 mt. This stock contributes 306 mt towards minor rockfish south (268 mt for the Conception area ABC and 38 mt for the Monterey area). The OY for the Monterey area is the ABC reduced by 50 percent as a precautionary measure because of the lack of information. gg/ ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes rockfish species listed in 50 CFR 660.302 and California scorpionfish. The ABC is based on the 1996 review of commercial Sebastes landings and includes an estimate of recreational landings. These species have never been assessed quantitatively. The amount expected to be taken during research activity is reduced by 22.1 mt. hh/ ‘‘Other fish’’ includes sharks, skates, rays, ratfish, morids, grenadiers, kelp greenling, and other groundfish species noted above in footnote c/. The amount expected to be taken during research activity is 55.7 mt. ii/ Minor nearshore rockfish south - The total catch OY is 615 mt. Out of the OY it is anticipated that the recreational fishery will take 383 mt, and 97 mt will be taken by the commercial fishery (which is being set as a commercial HG), leaving a residual amount of 135 mt to be used as necessary during the fishing year. 5. In part 660, subpart G, Table 3 (North) and Table 3 (South) are revised to read as follows: I Table 3 (North) to Part 660, Subpart G—2006 Trip Limits for Limited Entry Trawl Gear North of 40≥10′ N. Lat. mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES BILLING CODE 3510–22–S VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 58297 ER03OC06.003</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 ER03OC06.004</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES 58298 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations 58299 VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 ER03OC06.005</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES Table 3 (South) to Part 660, Subpart G—2006 Trip Limits for Limited Entry Trawl Gear South of 40≥10′ N. Lat. VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 ER03OC06.006</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES 58300 6. In part 660, subpart G, Table 4 (South) is revised to read as follows: I VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 58301 Table 4 (South) to Part 660, Subpart G—2006 Trip Limits for Limited Entry Fixed Gear South of 40≥10′ N. Lat. PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 ER03OC06.007</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 ER03OC06.008</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES 58302 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 Table 5 (North) to Part 660, Subpart G—2006 Trip Limits for Open Access Gears North of 40≥10′ N. Lat. PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 ER03OC06.009</GPH> 7. In part 660, subpart G, Table 5 (North) and Table 5 (South) are revised to read as follows: I 58303 VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 ER03OC06.010</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES 58304 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 191 / Tuesday, October 3, 2006 / Rules and Regulations 58305 VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Oct 02, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\03OCR1.SGM 03OCR1 ER03OC06.011</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC61 with RULES Table 5 (South) to Part 660, Subpart G—2006 Trip Limits for Open Access Gears South of 40≥10′ N. Lat. 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Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 191 (Tuesday, October 3, 2006)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 58289-58307]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-8402]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 051014263-6028-03; I.D. 092106A]


Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish 
Fishery; Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments

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

ACTION: Inseason adjustments to groundfish management measures; request 
for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces changes to management measures in the 
commercial and recreational Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. These 
actions, which are authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery 
Management Plan (FMP), are intended to allow fisheries to access more 
abundant groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted 
stocks.

DATES: Effective 0001 hours (local time) October 1, 2006. Comments on 
this rule will be accepted through November 2, 2006.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by I.D. 092106A by any 
of the following methods:

[[Page 58290]]

     E-mail: GroundfishInseason10.nwr@noaa.gov. Include I.D. 
092106A in the subject line of the message.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: D. Robert Lohn, Administrator, Northwest Region, 
NMFS, Attn: Jamie Goen, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115-0070.
     Fax: 206-526-6736, Attn: Jamie Goen.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jamie Goen (Northwest Region, NMFS), 
phone: 206-526-6150; fax: 206-526-6736; or e-mail: jamie.goen@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.
    Background information and documents are available at the Pacific 
Fishery Management Council's (Pacific Council's) website at: 
www.pcouncil.org.

Background

    The Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP and its implementing regulations 
at Title 50 in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 660, subpart 
G, regulate fishing for over 80 species of groundfish off the coasts of 
Washington, Oregon, and California. Groundfish specifications and 
management measures are developed by the Pacific Council, and are 
implemented by NMFS. The specifications and management measures for 
2005-2006 were codified in the CFR (50 CFR part 660, subpart G). They 
were published in the Federal Register as a proposed rule on September 
21, 2004 (69 FR 56550), and as a final rule on December 23, 2004 (69 FR 
77012). The final rule was subsequently amended on March 18, 2005 (70 
FR 13118); March 30, 2005 (70 FR 16145); April 19, 2005 (70 FR 20304); 
May 3, 2005 (70 FR 22808); May 4, 2005 (70 FR 23040); May 5, 2005 (70 
FR 23804); May 16, 2005 (70 FR 25789); May 19, 2005 (70 FR 28852); July 
5, 2005 (70 FR 38596); August 22, 2005 (70 FR 48897); August 31, 2005 
(70 FR 51682); October 5, 2005 (70 FR 58066); October 20, 2005 (70 FR 
61063); October 24, 2005 (70 FR 61393); November 1, 2005 (70 FR 65861); 
and December 5, 2005 (70 FR 723850). Longer-term changes to the 2006 
specifications and management measures were published in the Federal 
Register as a proposed rule on December 19, 2005 (70 FR 75115), and as 
a final rule on February 17, 2006 (71 FR 8489). The final rule was 
subsequently amended on March 27, 2006 (71 FR 10545), April 11, 2006 
(71 FR 18227), April 26, 2006 (71 FR 24601), May 11, 2006 (71 FR 
27408), May 22, 2006 (71 FR 29257), June 1, 2006 (71 FR 31104), July 3, 
2006 (71 FR 37839), August 7, 2006 (71 FR 44590), and August 22, 2006 
(71 FR 48824).
    The changes to current groundfish management measures implemented 
by this action were recommended by the Pacific Council, in consultation 
with Pacific Coast Treaty Indian Tribes and the States of Washington, 
Oregon, and California, at its September 11-15, 2006, meeting in Foster 
City, CA. At that meeting, the Pacific Council recommended: (1) 
increasing the widow rockfish bycatch limit and decreasing the canary 
rockfish bycatch limit for the commercial limited entry non-tribal 
primary whiting fishery; (2) increasing the limited entry trawl trip 
limits coastwide in Period 6 (November-December) for sablefish and 
petrale sole; (3) closing the open access daily trip limit (DTL) 
fishery for sablefish north of 36[deg] N. lat. beginning October 1; (4) 
increasing the limited entry fixed gear and open access DTL fishery for 
sablefish south of 36[deg] N. lat. beginning October 1; and (5) 
prohibiting retention of vermilion rockfish by boat anglers in the 
recreational fishery seaward of the state of Oregon. In addition, NMFS 
is correcting an error in the footnote for yelloweye rockfish in Table 
2b to part 660, subpart G. Pacific Coast groundfish landings will be 
monitored throughout the year and further adjustments to trip limits or 
management measures will be made as necessary to allow achievement of, 
or to avoid exceeding, optimum yields (OYs).

Limited Entry Trawl Non-tribal Whiting Fishery Bycatch Limits for Widow 
and Canary Rockfish

    The Pacific Council considered adjusting the bycatch limits for 
widow rockfish and canary rockfish in the non-tribal whiting fisheries. 
An increase in the widow bycatch limit for the non-tribal whiting 
fishery would buffer against the possibility of a disaster tow that 
might shut down the fishery before the whiting quota is achieved. A 
decrease in the canary bycatch limit would provide a precautionary 
adjustment to the projected total mortality of canary rockfish for all 
fisheries (commercial, recreational, EFP, and research) while still 
allowing the whiting quota to be achieved, based on current information 
about the fishery's bycatch rates.
    The Pacific Council considered whether to increase the bycatch 
limits for widow rockfish in the non-tribal whiting fishery above the 
200 mt specified in regulation. Bycatch of widow rockfish in the 
whiting fishery was estimated in NMFS Whiting Report 12 to be 
at 186.47 mt through September 5, 2006. The whiting fishery is nearing 
the end of its seasons for the various sectors. The shorebased fishery 
has already closed. The mothership fishery has approximately 5,000 mt 
(approximately 9 percent of allocation) remaining, and the catcher/
processor fishery has approximately 15,000 mt (approximately 20 percent 
of allocation) remaining. Catch of widow rockfish in the non-tribal 
whiting fishery is expected to remain low through the remainder of the 
season. However, widow rockfish tends to be taken sporadically and in 
infrequent but large amounts. This makes widow rockfish bycatch rates 
difficult to predict, and there have been past unexpectedly high tows 
upwards of 20 mt. Therefore, while catch of widow rockfish is expected 
to remain low, the Pacific Council considered increasing the widow 
bycatch limit enough to cover an unexpectedly high tow of approximately 
20 mt. Increasing the bycatch limit from 200 mt to 220 mt should 
provide enough widow rockfish to allow the whiting fisheries to catch 
their whiting allocations without the threat of a single large widow 
tow shutting non-tribal whiting fisheries down early. In addition, an 
increase in the widow rockfish bycatch limit to 220 mt is still well 
within the projected total mortality of widow rockfish (258 mt 
projected total mortality for all fisheries out of a 289 mt widow 
rockfish OY).
    The Pacific Council also considered a decrease in the canary 
rockfish bycatch limit to provide a precautionary adjustment to the 
projected total mortality of canary rockfish for all fisheries 
(commercial, recreational, EFP, and research). Catch of canary rockfish 
by research vessels is higher than projected for 2006. Previously, an 
advisory body to the Pacific Council, the Groundfish Management Team 
(GMT), had projected 3 mt of canary rockfish would be taken as 2006 
research catch in their bycatch scorecard. The bycatch scorecard is a 
tool used by the GMT to track estimated and projected total mortality 
of overfished species for the year.
    Based on preliminary information from research vessels to date, the 
2006 research catch is now 7.5 mt (7.2 mt from the NMFS triennial trawl 
survey and 0.3 mt from research off Oregon). Additional catch of canary 
rockfish is likely to occur as the NMFS triennial trawl survey 
continues from Eureka to San Diego, California. The GMT

[[Page 58291]]

reviewed historical survey trend data from 2003-2005 and estimated that 
an additional 0.3 mt should cover the remainder of the research catch 
for that area. However, the survey vessel is conducting its survey in 
the area between 41[deg] N. latitude and 40[deg]10' N. latitude (off of 
Eureka), which is a known ``hot spot'' area for canary rockfish. While 
more than 90 percent of the canary rockfish take in the historical 
triennial trawl survey occurs north of Eureka, there is the potential 
for an unexpectedly high tow of canary rockfish. Therefore, the GMT 
suggested increasing the potential additional research catch from 0.3 
mt to 1.0 mt, which should buffer against the potential for a high tow 
of canary rockfish. Thus, the total projection for canary rockfish 
mortality from research in the bycatch scorecard will be increased to 
8.5 mt through the end of the year (7.5 mt current total mortality plus 
1.0 mt projected total mortality for research during the remainder of 
the year).
    Because the mortality of canary rockfish from research is estimated 
to be much higher in 2006 than estimated in pre-season projections, the 
Pacific Council reviewed the bycatch scorecard for estimated mortality 
of canary rockfish in other fisheries. Some ongoing fisheries are 
tracking behind their projected take of canary rockfish. The non-tribal 
whiting fisheries have taken 2.5 mt out of their 4.7 mt canary rockfish 
bycatch limit. The tribal whiting fishery has taken 0.3 mt through 
August out of a projected 1.6 mt canary mortality, and the tribal 
midwater trawl fishery is also tracking behind in the bycatch 
scorecard. In addition, recreational fisheries are tracking behind 
their estimated take of canary rockfish at this time. Thus, there is 
the potential for canary rockfish total mortality to come in below the 
bycatch scorecard projections for the year.
    Even with many fisheries tracking behind their projected canary 
rockfish take for the year, the Pacific Council recommended reducing 
the canary rockfish bycatch limit in the non-tribal whiting fishery 
from 4.7 mt to 4.0 mt in regulation, as a precautionary measure. The 
non-tribal whiting fishery is estimated to have taken 2.5 mt out of 
their 4.7 mt canary rockfish bycatch limit, as of September 5, 2006. As 
a comparison, the non-tribal whiting fishery took 3.3 mt of canary 
rockfish in its 2005 season. Given other updates to the bycatch 
scorecard, the non-tribal whiting bycatch limit would need to be 
reduced to 4.0 mt, to ensure that estimates within the scorecard remain 
within the 2006 OY for canary rockfish. With the shorebased fishery 
closed and limited amounts of the whiting allocation remaining for the 
mothership and catcher/processor sector, the non-tribal whiting fishery 
will likely remain within the lower 4.0 mt canary rockfish bycatch 
limit.
    With all of the updates to the bycatch scorecard, projected total 
mortality of canary rockfish for the year in the bycatch scorecard is 
47.1 mt, equivalent to the OY for 2006, while widow rockfish is 
projected to be 278 mt, below the OY of 289 mt. However, as mentioned 
previously, many fisheries are expected to come in below their 
projections of canary rockfish take for the year. The Pacific Council's 
GMT anticipates updating the bycatch scorecard with new inseason 
information at the Council's November 13-17, 2006, meeting.
    Therefore, the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS is implementing 
a reduction in the canary rockfish bycatch limit from 4.7 mt to 4.0 mt, 
and an increase in the widow rockfish bycatch limit from 200 mt to 220 
mt.

Limited Entry Trawl Trip Limits

    Catch of petrale sole and sablefish in the limited entry bottom 
trawl fisheries is tracking behind projections. The Pacific Council 
considered increasing trip limits in Period 6 (November-December) to 
70,000 lb (31,752 kg) per 2 months for petrale sole and to 20,000 lb 
(9,072 kg) per 2 months for sablefish to provide some increase in 
fishing opportunity while staying within the OYs for these species. 
North of 40[deg]10' N. lat., these increases would only apply seaward 
of the trawl rockfish conservation area (RCA). The Pacific Council also 
considered whether increased catches of these species could be 
accommodated without increasing impacts on overfished species beyond 
what is projected to remain within the OY. These trip limit changes 
would increase the estimated mortality of the following overfished 
species: bocaccio, darkblotched rockfish and Pacific Ocean perch (POP). 
However, the estimated impacts on these overfished species as a result 
of the trip limit adjustments, combined with all estimated mortality, 
are within the 2006 OYs for those species.
    Therefore, the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS is implementing 
trip limit adjustments for the limited entry bottom trawl fishery in 
Period 6 (November-December) as follows: (1) north of 40[deg]10' N. 
lat., increase petrale sole trip limits from 60,000 lb (27,216 kg) per 
2 months to 70,000 lb (31,752 kg) per 2 months for large and small 
footrope trawl gear; (2) north of 40[deg]10' N. lat., increase 
sablefish trip limits from 14,000 lb (6.350 kg) per 2 months to 20,000 
lb (9,072 kg) per 2 months for large and small footrope trawl gear; (3) 
south of 40[deg]10' N. lat., increase petrale sole trip limits from 
60,000 lb (27,216 kg) per 2 months to 70,000 lb (31,752 kg) per 2 
months; and (4) south of 40[deg]10' N. lat., increase sablefish trip 
limits from 17,000 lb (7,711 kg) per 2 months to 20,000 lb (9,072 kg) 
per 2 months.

Open Access DTL Fishery for Sablefish North of 36[deg] N. lat.

    Catch of sablefish in the open access (OA) DTL fishery continues to 
be higher than in previous years. To slow the catch of sablefish 
earlier in the year, NMFS reduced the OA sablefish daily trip limit, or 
DTL, fishery cumulative trip limit north of 36[deg] N. lat. from 5,000 
lb (2,268 kg) per 2 months to 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) per 2 months (71 FR 
24601, April 26, 2006). The Council recommended this reduction in 
anticipation of a large influx of fishing effort into the sablefish DTL 
fishery from vessels unable to participate in this year's highly 
restricted salmon fishery. Reducing the cumulative limit was intended 
to provide for a longer season, which was thought to most benefit 
fishers who have historically participated in the year-round fishery.
    To date, the catch of OA sablefish is higher in 2006 than catch 
projected from historical data. This supports the assumptions that 
restrictions in the salmon fishery may have led to increased effort in 
the OA sablefish DTL fishery. PacFIN estimates the OA sablefish DTL 
catch through August to be 524 mt, out of a 613 mt harvest guideline 
north of 36[deg] N. lat. Given that this sector has caught an average 
of 70-80 mt of sablefish per month since March, the OA DTL fishery is 
expected to attain their sablefish allocation in early October.
    Therefore, the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS is implementing 
a reduction in the OA sablefish DTL fishery trip limits north of 
36[deg] N. lat. beginning October 1 from ``300 lb (136 kg) per day, or 
1 landing per week of up to 1,000 lb (454 kg), not to exceed 3,000 lb 
(1,361 kg) per 2 months'' to ``closed.''

Limited Entry Fixed Gear & Open Access DTL Fishery for Sablefish South 
of 36[deg] N. lat.

    While OA DTL fisheries north of 36[deg] N. lat. are tracking ahead 
of schedule, limited entry fixed gear and OA sablefish DTL fisheries 
south of 36[deg] N. lat. are tracking behind schedule.

[[Page 58292]]

PacFIN data through the end of August estimates that 52 mt out of a 
271-mt total catch OY have been taken south of 36[deg] N. lat. There is 
not an allocation between limited entry or open access sablefish 
fisheries in this area.
    Because sablefish fisheries south of 36[deg] N. lat. are tracking 
behind schedule, the Pacific Council discussed increasing trip limits 
for the limited entry fixed gear and OA sablefish DTL fisheries south 
of 36[deg] N. lat. from 350 lb (159 kg) per day to 500 lb (227 kg) per 
day beginning October 1, leaving the weekly limit the same. Leaving the 
weekly limit the same is intended to discourage increased effort from 
shifting from waters north of 36[deg] N. lat., which will close October 
1. This action would not increase estimated impacts on overfished 
species, including canary rockfish, because estimated mortality for 
overfished species for the year assume that this sector will achieve 
its allocation.
    Therefore, the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS is implementing 
an increase in the limited entry fixed gear and OA sablefish DTL 
fishery trip limits south of 36[deg] N. lat. beginning October 1 from 
``350 lb (159 kg) per day, or 1 landing per week of up to 1,050 lb (476 
kg)'' to ``500 lb (227 kg) per day, or 1 landing per week of up to 
1,050 lb. (476 kg).''

Oregon Recreational Fishery

    Vermilion rockfish is a federally-managed species under the Pacific 
Coast Groundfish FMP. However, the state of Oregon has more restrictive 
state harvest limits for vermilion rockfish than the federal limits. 
The federal and state governments work cooperatively to manage the OYs 
for Pacific Coast groundfish species, such as vermilion rockfish, from 
0-200 nm.
    In the Oregon recreational groundfish fishery, the Oregon 
Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) manages vermilion rockfish under 
a state harvest limit as part of the ``other nearshore rockfish'' 
aggregate, which also includes brown, china, copper, grass, quillback, 
and tiger rockfishes). In June, the catch rate of the ``other nearshore 
rockfish'' aggregate was tracking higher than expected and projections 
showed that without action, the harvest limit would be prematurely 
attained. Vermilion rockfish represented approximately half of the 
landings in the ``other nearshore rockfish'' aggregate. ODFW took 
management action specific to vermilion rockfish to prevent the ``other 
nearshore rockfish'' aggregate from reaching the Oregon state harvest 
limit. Effective June 24, 2006, ODFW prohibited the retention of 
vermilion rockfish in the recreational ocean and estuary boat 
fisheries.
    Therefore, in order to conform recreational management measures for 
Federal waters (3-200 nm) to management measures for Oregon state 
waters (0-3 nm), the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS is 
implementing a prohibition on the retention of vermilion rockfish by 
boat anglers in Federal recreational regulations off Oregon.

Yelloweye Rockfish Recreational Harvest Guideline Boundary Correction

    NMFS is correcting an error in the footnote for yelloweye rockfish 
in Table 2b to part 660, subpart G. Table 2b is part of the acceptable 
biological catch (ABC)/OY tables. Footnote aa/ for yelloweye rockfish 
was revised on May 22, 2006 (71 FR 29257). In the preamble for this 
revision, NMFS explained that the recreational harvest guideline is 
divided north and south of the Oregon/California border, at 42[deg] N. 
lat., as recommended by the Pacific Council and as analyzed in the 
Environmental Impact Statement for the 2005-2006 groundfish 
specifications and management measures. However, the footnote in the 
table divided the recreational harvest guideline at the wrong place, at 
40[deg]10' N. lat. Therefore, NMFS is correcting footnote aa/ for 
yelloweye rockfish to break the recreational harvest guideline at 
42[deg] N. lat. (Oregon/California border) instead of 40[deg]10' N. 
lat. The recreational harvest guideline of 6.7 mt is managed jointly by 
Oregon and Washington north of 42[deg] N. lat., and the recreational 
harvest guideline of 3.7 mt is managed by California south of 42[deg] 
N. lat. This correction is necessary for the states to be able to 
manage their respective state harvest guidelines consistent with the 
record and intent for this fishery.

Classification

    These actions are taken under the authority of 50 CFR 660.370(c) 
and are exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
    These actions are authorized by the Pacific Coast groundfish FMP 
and its implementing regulations, and are based on the most recent data 
available. The aggregate data upon which these actions are based are 
available for public inspection at the Office of the Administrator, 
Northwest Region, NMFS, (see ADDRESSES) during business hours.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior 
notice and opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice and 
comment would be impracticable. The data upon which these 
recommendations were based was provided to the Pacific Council, and the 
Pacific Council made its recommendations at its September 11-15, 2006, 
meeting in Foster City, CA. There was not sufficient time after that 
meeting to draft this notice and undergo proposed and final rulemaking 
before these actions need to be in effect. For the actions to be 
implemented in this notice, prior notice and opportunity for comment 
would be impracticable because affording the time necessary for prior 
notice and opportunity for public comment would impede the Agency's 
function of managing fisheries using the best available science to 
approach without exceeding the OYs for federally managed species. The 
adjustments to management measures in this document affect commercial 
and recreational groundfish fisheries. Changes to the limited entry 
non-whiting trawl fishery must be implemented in a timely manner by 
November 1, 2006, to allow fishermen an opportunity to harvest higher 
trip limits for stocks tracking behind their projected OY and within 
projected mortality for overfished species. The reduction to the canary 
rockfish bycatch limit for the limited entry non-tribal whiting trawl 
fishery must be implemented in a timely manner by October 1, 2006, to 
keep mortality of canary rockfish, an overfished species, within its 
projection for the year. The increase to the widow rockfish bycatch 
limit for the limited entry non-tribal whiting trawl fishery must be 
implemented in a timely manner by October 1, 2006, to allow the take of 
the whiting allocation while keeping mortality of widow rockfish, an 
overfished species, within its projection for the year. Changes to the 
open access sablefish fishery north of 36[deg] N. lat. must be 
implemented in a timely manner by October 1, 2006, to keep harvest of 
sablefish within the allocation for this fishery. Changes to the 
limited entry fixed gear and open access sablefish fishery south of 
36[deg] N. lat. must be implemented in a timely manner by October 1, 
2006, to allow fishermen an opportunity to harvest higher trip limits 
for stocks tracking behind their projected OY and within projected 
mortality for overfished species. Changes to the recreational fishery 
must be implemented by October 1, 2006, in order to conform to existing 
state regulations and to keep recreational harvest within state harvest 
limits. Changes to the yelloweye rockfish recreational harvest 
guideline boundary must be implemented by October 1, 2006, to allow the 
states to take management action should a

[[Page 58293]]

yelloweye rockfish recreational harvest guideline be reached before the 
end of the year. Delaying any of these changes would keep management 
measures in place that are not based on the best available data, which 
could risk fisheries exceeding their OY, or deny fishermen access to 
available harvest. This would impair managing fisheries to stay within 
the OYs for the year, or would impair achievement of one of the Pacific 
Coast Groundfish FMP objectives of providing for year-round harvest 
opportunities or extending fishing opportunities as long as practicable 
during the fishing year.
    For these reasons, good cause also exists to waive the 30 day delay 
in effectiveness requirement under 5 U.S.C. 553 (d)(3).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Indian fisheries.

    Dated: September 27, 2006.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.

0
For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended as 
follows:

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows:

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

0
2. In Sec.  660.373, paragraph (b)(4) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  660.373  Pacific whiting (whiting) fishery management.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (4) 2005 2006 bycatch limits in the whiting fishery. The bycatch 
limits for the whiting fishery may be used inseason to close a sector 
or sectors of the whiting fishery to achieve the rebuilding of an 
overfished or depleted stock, under routine management measure 
authority at Sec.  660.370 (c)(1)(ii). These limits are routine 
management measures under Sec.  660.370 (c) and, as such, may be 
adjusted inseason or may have new species added to the list of those 
with bycatch limits. For 2005, the whiting fishery bycatch limits for 
the sectors identified Sec.  660.323(a) are 4.7 mt of canary rockfish 
and 212 mt of widow rockfish. For 2006, the whiting fishery bycatch 
limits are 4.0 mt of canary rockfish, 220 mt of widow rockfish, and 25 
mt of darkblotched rockfish.
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  660.384, paragraph (c)(2)(iii) is revised to read as 
follows:


Sec.  660.384  Recreational fishery management measures.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (iii) Bag limits, size limits. The bag limits for each person 
engaged in recreational fishing in the EEZ seaward of Oregon are two 
lingcod per day, which may be no smaller than 24 in (61 cm) total 
length; and 6 marine fish per day, which excludes Pacific halibut, 
salmonids, tuna, perch species, sturgeon, sanddabs, lingcod, striped 
bass, hybrid bass, offshore pelagic species and baitfish (herring, 
smelt, anchovies and sardines), but which includes rockfish, greenling, 
cabezon and other groundfish species. In the Pacific halibut fisheries, 
retention of groundfish is governed in part by annual management 
measures for Pacific halibut fisheries, which are published in the 
Federal Register. Between the Oregon border with Washington and Cape 
Falcon, when Pacific halibut are onboard the vessel, groundfish may not 
be taken and retained, possessed or landed, except sablefish and 
Pacific cod. Between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain, during days open 
to the Oregon Central Coast ``all-depth'' sport halibut fishery, when 
Pacific halibut are onboard the vessel, no groundfish may be taken and 
retained, possessed or landed, except sablefish. ``All-depth'' season 
days are established in the annual management measures for Pacific 
halibut fisheries, which are published in the Federal Register and are 
announced on the NMFS halibut hotline, 1 800 662 9825. The minimum size 
limit for cabezon retained in the recreational fishery is 16 in (41 cm) 
and for greenling is 10 in (26 cm). Taking and retaining canary 
rockfish and yelloweye rockfish is prohibited at all times and in all 
areas. From October 1 through December 31, 2006, taking and retaining 
vermilion rockfish is prohibited in all areas by boat anglers.
* * * * *

0
4. In part 660, subpart G, Table 2b is revised to read as follows:

Table 2b to Part 660, Subpart G--2006, and Beyond, OYs for Minor 
Rockfish by Depth Subgroups (Weights in Metric Tons)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       OY (Total Catch)               Harvest Guidelines (total
                                          ------------------------------------------            catch)
                                   Total                              Commercial HG ----------------------------
            Species                Catch                                for minor    Limited Entry   Open Access
                                    ABC      Total     Recreational    rockfish and ----------------------------
                                           Catch OY      Estimate       depth sub-
                                                                          groups       Mt      %      Mt     %
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minor Rockfish north cc/         3,680...  2,250     78               2,172          1,992   91.7   180    8.3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Nearshore                       ........  122       68               54             ......  .....  .....  .....
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Shelf                           ........  968       10               958            ......  .....  .....  .....
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Slope                           ........  1,160     0                1,160          ......  .....  .....  .....
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minor Rockfish south dd/         3,412...  1,968     443              1,390          774     55.7   616    44.3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Nearshore ii/                   ........  615       383              97             ......  .....  .....  .....
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Shelf                           ........  714       60               654            ......  .....  .....  .....
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Slope                           ........  639       0                639            ......  .....  .....  .....
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
a/ ABCs apply to the U.S. portion of the Vancouver area, except as noted under individual species.

[[Page 58294]]

 
b/ Lingcod was declared overfished on March 3, 1999. A coastwide stock assessment was prepared in 2003. Lingcod
  was believed to be at 25 percent of its unfished biomass coastwide in 2002, 31 percent in the north and 19
  percent in the south. The ABC projection for 2006 is 2,716 mt and was calculated using an FMSY proxy of F45%.
  The total catch OY of 2,414 mt (the sum of 1,891 mt in the north and 612 mt in the south) is based on the
  rebuilding plan with a 70 percent probability of rebuilding the stock to BMSY by the year 2009 (TMAX). The
  harvest control rule will be F=0.17 in the north and F=0.15 in the south. Out of the OY, it is estimated that
  693 mt will be taken in the recreational fishery, 7.2 mt will be taken during research activity, and 2.8 mt
  will be taken in non-groundfish fisheries. Under the 2006 management measures, it is anticipated that 214.7 mt
  will be taken in the commercial fisheries (which is being set as a commercial HG), leaving a residual amount
  of 1,496.3 mt to be used as necessary during the fishing year. There is a recreational harvest guideline of
  271 mt for the area north of 42[deg] N. lat. and a recreational harvest guideline of 422 mt for the area south
  of 42[deg] N. lat. The tribes do not have a specific allocation at this time, but are expected to take 25.1 mt
  of the commercial HG.
c/ ``Other species'', these are neither common nor important to the commercial and recreational fisheries in the
  areas footnoted. Accordingly, Pacific cod is included in the non-commercial HG of ``other fish'' and rockfish
  species are included in either ``other rockfish'' or ``remaining rockfish'' for the areas footnoted.
d/ Pacific Cod - The 3,200 mt ABC is based on historical landings data and is set at the same level as it was in
  2004. The 1,600 mt OY is the ABC reduced by 50 percent as a precautionary adjustment. The OY is reduced by 400
  mt for the tribal harvest guideline, resulting in a commercial harvest guideline of 1,200 mt.
e/ Pacific whiting - The most recent stock assessment was prepared in early 2006, and the whiting biomass was
  estimated to be between 31 percent and 38 percent of its unfished biomass. The U.S. ABC of 518,294 mt is based
  on the 2006 assessment results with the application of an FMSY proxy harvest rate of 40%. The U.S. ABC is
  73.88 percent of the coastwide ABC. The U.S. total catch OY is being set at 269,069 mt. The total catch OY is
  reduced by 35,000 mt for the tribal allocation, 200 mt for the amount estimated to be taken during research
  fishing, and 1,800 mt for the estimated catch in non-groundfish fisheries, resulting in a commercial OY of
  232,069 mt. The commercial OY is allocated between the sectors with 42 percent (97,469 mt) going to the shore-
  based sector, 34 percent (78,903 mt) going to the catcher/processor sector, and 24 percent (55,696 mt) going
  to the mothership sector. Discards of whiting are estimated from the observer data and counted towards the OY
  inseason.
f/ Sablefish north of 36[deg] N. lat. - A coastwide sablefish stock assessment was prepared in 2001 and updated
  for 2002. Following the 2002 stock assessment update, the sablefish biomass north of 34[deg]27' N. lat. was
  believed to be between 31 percent and 38 percent of its unfished biomass. The coastwide ABC of 8,175 mt is
  based on environmentally driven projections with the FMSY proxy of F45%. The ABC for the management area north
  of 36[deg] N. lat. is 7,885 mt (96.45 percent of the coastwide ABC). The coastwide OY of 7,634 mt (the sum of
  7,363 mt in the north and 271 mt in the south) is based on the density-dependent model and the application of
  the 40-10 harvest policy. The total catch OY for the area north of 36[deg] N. lat is 7,363 mt and is 96.45
  percent of the coastwide OY. The OY is reduced by 10 percent (736 mt) for the tribal allocation. Out of the
  remaining OY, 86 mt will be taken during research activity, and 19 mt will be taken in non-groundfish
  fisheries, resulting in a commercial HG of 6,522 mt. The open access allocation is 9.4 percent (613 mt) of the
  commercial HG and the limited entry allocation is 90.6 percent (5,909 mt) of the commercial HG. The limited
  entry allocation is further divided with 58 percent (3,427 mt) allocated to the trawl fishery and 42 percent
  (2,482 mt) allocated to the fixed-gear fishery. To provide for bycatch in the at-sea whiting fishery, 15 mt of
  the limited entry trawl allocation will be set aside.
g/ Sablefish south of 36[deg] N. lat. - The ABC of 290 mt is 3.55 percent of the ABC from the 2002 coastwide
  stock assessment update. The total catch OY of 271 mt is 3.55 percent of the OY from the 2002 coastwide stock
  assessment update. There are no limited entry or open access allocations in the Conception area at this time.
h/ Cabezon was first assessed in 2003 and was believed to be at 34.7 percent of its unfished biomass. The ABC of
  108 mt is based on a harvest rate proxy of F45%. The OY of 69 mt is based on a constant harvest level for 2005
  and 2006.
i/ Dover sole north of 34[deg]27' N. lat. was assessed in 2001 and was believed to be at 29 percent of its
  unfished biomass. The ABC of 8,589 mt is the 2006 projection from the 2001 assessment with an FMSY proxy of
  F40%. Because the biomass is estimated to be in the precautionary zone, the 40-10 harvest rate policy was
  applied, resulting in a total catch OY of 7,564 mt. The OY is reduced by 60 mt for the amount estimated to be
  taken as research catch, resulting in a commercial HG of 7,504 mt.
j/ English sole - Research catch is estimated to be 9.7 mt.
k/ Petrale sole was believed to be at 42 percent of its unfished biomass following a 1999 stock assessment. For
  2006, the ABC for the Vancouver-Columbia area (1,262 mt) is based on a four year average projection from 2000-
  2003 with a F40% FMSY proxy. The ABCs for the Eureka, Monterey, and Conception areas (1,500 mt) are based on
  historical landings data and continue at the same level as 2005. Management measures to constrain the harvest
  of overfished species have reduced the availability of these stocks to the fishery during the past several
  years. Because the harvest assumptions (from the most recent stock assessment in the Vancouver-Columbia area)
  used to forecast future harvest were likely overestimates, carrying the previously used ABCs and OYs forward
  into 2006 was considered to be conservative and based on the best available data. Research catch is estimated
  to be 2.9 mt and will be taken out of the OY.
l/ Arrowtooth flounder was last assessed in 1993 and was believed to be above 40 percent of its unfished
  biomass. Research catch is estimated to be 13.6 mt and will be taken out of the OY.
m/ Other flatfish are those species that do not have individual ABC/OYs and include butter sole, curlfin sole,
  flathead sole, Pacific sand dab, rex sole, rock sole, sand sole, and starry flounder. The ABC is based on
  historical catch levels. The ABC of 6,781 mt is based on the highest landings for sanddabs (1995) and rex sole
  (1982) for the 1981-2003 period and on the average landings from the 1994-1998 period for the remaining other
  flatfish species. The OY of 4,909 mt is based on the ABC with a 25 percent precautionary adjustment for
  sanddabs and rex sole and a 50 percent precautionary adjustment for the remaining species. Research catch is
  estimated to be 20.5 mt and will be taken out of the OY.
n/ POP was declared overfished on March 3, 1999. A stock assessment was prepared in 2003 and POP was determined
  to be at 25 percent of its unfished biomass. The ABC of 934 mt was projected from the 2003 stock assessment
  and is based on an FMSY proxy of F50%. The OY of 447 mt is based on a 70 percent probability of rebuilding the
  stock to BMSY by the year 2042 (TMAX). The harvest control rule will be F=0.0257. Out of the OY it is
  anticipated that 4.6 mt will be taken during research activity and 102.6 mt in the commercial fishery (which
  is being set as a commercial HG), leaving a residual amount of 339.8 mt to be used as necessary during the
  fishing year.
o/ Shortbelly rockfish remains as an unexploited stock and is difficult to assess quantitatively. A 1989 stock
  assessment provided 2 alternative yield calculations of 13,900 mt and 47,000 mt. NMFS surveys have shown poor
  recruitment in most years since 1989, indicating low recent productivity and a naturally declining population
  in spite of low fishing pressure. The ABC and OY therefore are set at 13,900 mt, the low end of the range in
  the stock assessment. The available OY is reduced by 12 mt for the amount estimated to be taken as research
  catch, resulting in a commercial HG of 13,888 mt.
p/ The widow rockfish stock was declared overfished on January 11, 2001 (66 FR 2338). The most recent stock
  assessment was prepared for widow rockfish in 2003. The spawning stock biomass is believed to be at 22.4
  percent of its unfished biomass in 2002. The ABC of 3,059 mt is based an F50% FMSY proxy. The 289 mt OY is
  based on a 60 percent probability of rebuilding the stock to BMSY by the year 2042 (TMAX). The harvest control
  rule is F=0.0093. Out of the OY, it is anticipated that 1.0 mt will be taken during the research activity, 2.3
  mt will be taken in the recreational fishery, 0.1 mt will be taken in non-groundfish fisheries, and 285.6 mt
  will be taken in the commercial fishery (which is being set as the commercial HG). Specific open access/
  limited entry allocations have been suspended during the rebuilding period as necessary to meet the overall
  rebuilding target while allowing harvest of healthy stocks. Tribal vessels are estimated to land about 40 mt
  of widow rockfish in 2006, but do not have a specific allocation at this time. The widow rockfish bycatch
  limit for the commercial Pacific whiting fisheries is 200 mt. This amount may be adjusted via inseason action.

[[Page 58295]]

 
q/ Canary rockfish was declared overfished on January 4, 2000 (65 FR 221). A stock assessment was completed in
  2002 for canary rockfish and the stock was believed to be at 8 percent of its unfished biomass coastwide in
  2001. The coastwide ABC of 279 mt is based on a FMSY proxy of F50%. The coastwide OY of 47.1 mt is based on
  the rebuilding plan, which has a 60 percent probability of rebuilding the stock to BMSY by the year 2076
  (TMAX) and a catch sharing arrangement that has 58 percent of the OY going to the commercial fisheries and 42
  percent going to the recreational fisheries. The harvest control rule will be F=0.0220. Out of the OY, it is
  anticipated that 2.7 mt will be taken during the research activity, 17.8 mt will be taken in the recreational
  fishery, 2.1 mt will be taken in non-groundfish fisheries, and 22.7 mt will be taken in the commercial fishery
  (which is being set as the commercial HG), leaving a residual amount of 1.8 mt. The residual amount will be
  further divided with 0.9 mt being available as needed for the recreational and 0.9 mt being available as
  needed for the commercial fisheries. A recreational HG for the area north of 42[deg] N. lat. will be 8.5 mt.
  For the area south of 42[deg] N. lat., the recreational HG will be 9.3 mt. Specific open access/limited entry
  allocations have been suspended during the rebuilding period as necessary to meet the overall rebuilding
  target while allowing harvest of healthy stocks. Tribal vessels are estimated to land about 2.6 mt of canary
  rockfish under the commercial HG, but do not have a specific allocation at this time. The canary rockfish
  bycatch limit for the commercial Pacific whiting fisheries is 4.7 mt. This amount may be adjusted via inseason
  action.
r/ Chilipepper rockfish - the ABC (2,700 mt) for the Monterey-Conception area is based on a three year average
  projection from 1999-2001 with a F50% FMSY proxy. Because the unfished biomass is believed to be above 40
  percent, the default OY could be set equal to the ABC. However, the OY is set at 2,000 mt to discourage effort
  on chilipepper, which is taken with bocaccio. Management measures to constrain the harvest of overfished
  species have reduced the availability of these stocks to the fishery during the past several years. Because
  the harvest assumptions (from the most recent stock assessment) used to forecast future harvest were likely
  overestimates, carrying the previously used ABCs and OYs forward into 2006 was considered to be conservative
  and based on the best available data. The OY is reduced by 15 mt for the amount estimated to be taken in the
  recreational fishery and 21 mt for the amount estimated to be taken during research activity, resulting in a
  commercial HG of 1,964 mt. Open access is allocated 44.3 percent (870 mt) of the commercial HG and limited
  entry is allocated 55.7 percent (1,094 mt) of the commercial HG.
s/ Bocaccio was declared overfished on March 3, 1999. A new stock assessment and a new rebuilding analysis were
  prepared for bocaccio in 2003. The bocaccio stock was believed to be at 7.4 percent of its unfished biomass in
  2002. The ABC of 549 mt is based on a F50% FMSY proxy. The OY of 308 mt is based on the rebuilding analysis
  and has a 70 percent probability of rebuilding the stock to BMSY by the year 2032 (TMAX). The harvest control
  rule is F=0.0498. Out of the OY, it is anticipated that 0.6 mt will be taken during the research activity,
  43.0 mt will be taken in the recreational fishery, 1.3 mt will be taken in non-groundfish fisheries, and 75.2
  mt will be taken in the commercial fishery (which is being set as the commercial HG), leaving a residual
  amount of 187.9 mt to be used as necessary during the fishing year.
t/ Splitnose rockfish - The ABC is 615 mt in the southern area (Monterey-Conception). The 461 mt OY for the
  southern area reflects a 25 percent precautionary adjustment because of the less rigorous stock assessment for
  this stock. In the north, splitnose is included in the minor slope rockfish OY. Because the harvest
  assumptions (from the most recent stock assessment) used to forecast future harvest were likely overestimates,
  carrying the previously used ABCs and OYs forward into 2006 was considered to be conservative and based on the
  best available data.
u/ Yellowtail rockfish - A yellowtail rockfish stock assessment was prepared in 2003 for the Vancouver-Columbia-
  Eureka areas. Yellowtail rockfish was believed to be at 46 percent of its unfished biomass in 2002. The ABC of
  3,681 mt is based on the 2003 stock assessment with the FMSY proxy of F50%. The OY of 3,681 mt was set equal
  to the ABC, because the stock is above the precautionary threshold. The OY is reduced by 15 mt for the amount
  estimated to be taken in the recreational fishery, 5 mt for the amount estimated to be taken during research
  activity, and 6 mt for the amount taken in non-groundfish fisheries, resulting in a commercial HG of 3,655 mt.
  The open access allocation (303 mt) is 8.3 percent of the commercial HG. The limited entry allocation (3,352
  mt) is 91.7 percent the commercial HG. Tribal vessels are estimated to land about 506 mt of yellowtail
  rockfish in 2006, but do not have a specific allocation at this time.
v/ Shortspine thornyhead was last assessed in 2001 and the stock was believed to be between 25 and 50 percent of
  its unfished biomass. The ABC (1,077 mt) for the area north of Pt. Conception (34[deg]27' N. lat.) is based on
  a F50% FMSY proxy. The OY of 1,018 mt is based on the 2001 survey with the application of the 40-10 harvest
  policy. The OY is reduced by 7 mt for the amount estimated to be taken during research activity, resulting in
  a commercial HG of 1,011 mt. Open access is allocated 0.27 percent (27 mt) of the commercial HG and limited
  entry is allocated 99.73 percent (984 mt) of the commercial HG. There is no ABC or OY for the southern
  Conception area. Tribal vessels are estimated to land about 6.6 mt of shortspine thornyhead in 2006, but do
  not have a specific allocation at this time.
w/ Longspine thornyhead north of 36[deg] N. lat. is believed to be above 40 percent of its unfished biomass. The
  ABC (2,461 mt) in the north (Vancouver-Columbia-Eureka-Monterey) is based on a F50% FMSY proxy. Because the
  harvest assumptions (from the most recent stock assessment) used to forecast future harvest were likely
  overestimates, carrying the previously used ABCs and OYs forward into 2006 was considered to be conservative
  and based on the best available data. The total catch OY (2,461 mt) is set equal to the ABC. The OY is reduced
  by 12 mt for the amount estimated to be taken during research activity, resulting in a commercial HG of 2,449
  mt.
x/ Longspine thornyhead south of 36[deg] - A separate ABC (390 mt) is established for the Conception area and is
  based on historical catch for the portion of the Conception area north of 34[deg]27' N. lat. (Point
  Conception). To address uncertainty in the stock assessment due to limited information, the ABC was reduced by
  50 percent to obtain the OY, 195 mt. There is no ABC or OY for the southern Conception Area.
y/ Cowcod in the Conception area was assessed in 1999 and was believed to be less than 10 percent of its
  unfished biomass. Cowcod was declared as overfished on January 4, 2000 (65 FR 221). The ABC in the Conception
  area (5 mt) is based on the 1999 stock assessment, while the ABC for the Monterey area (19 mt) is based on
  average landings from 1993-1997. The OY of 4.2 mt (2.1 mt in each area) is based on the rebuilding plan
  adopted under Amendment 16-3, which has a 60 percent probability of rebuilding the stock to BMSY by the year
  2099 (TMAX). The harvest control rule is F=0.009. Cowcod retention will not be permitted in 2006. The OY will
  be used to accommodate discards of cowcod rockfish resulting from incidental take.
z/ Darkblotched rockfish was assessed in 2000 and a stock assessment update was prepared in 2003. Darkblotched
  rockfish was declared overfished on January 11, 2001 (66 FR 2338). Following the 2003 stock assessment update,
  the darkblotched rockfish stock was believed to be at 11 percent of its unfished biomass. A new darkblotched
  rockfish assessment was prepared for 2005. The 2005 darkblotched rockfish stock assessment found that
  darkblotched has been rebuilding at a faster rate than had been shown in the 2003 stock assessment. The ABC of
  294 mt was projected from the 2003 assessment update and is based on an FMSY proxy of F50%. The 2006 OY will
  be 200 mt. This OY is 94 mt below the 294 mt OY originally in place for 2006, which was based on the
  rebuilding plan adopted under Amendment 16-2 and a harvest control rule of F=0.032 [69 FR 77012.] Based on the
  results of the 2005 assessment, NMFS estimates that reducing the 2006 OY to 200 mt is projected to rebuild the
  darkblotched rockfish stock to BMSY by March 2010, as compared to the July 2010 rebuilding date that was
  projected with a 294 mt OY. Out of the OY, it is anticipated that 5.2 mt will be taken during research
  activity, leaving 194.8 mt available to the commercial fishery.
aa/ Yelloweye rockfish was assessed in 2001 and updated for 2002. On January 11, 2002, yelloweye rockfish was
  declared overfished (67 FR 1555). In 2002 following the stock assessment update, yelloweye rockfish was
  believed to be at 24.1 percent of its unfished biomass coastwide. The 55 mt coastwide ABC is based on an FMSY
  proxy of F50%. The OY of 27 mt, based on a revised rebuilding analysis (August 2002) and the rebuilding plan
  proposed under Amendment 16-3, have a 80 percent probability of rebuilding to BMSY by the year 2071 (TMAX) and
  a harvest control rule of F=0.0153. Out of the OY, it is anticipated that 10.4 mt will be taken in the
  recreational fishery (the HG for the area north of 42[deg] N. lat. is 6.7 mt and the HG for the area south of
  42[deg] N. lat. is 3.7 mt), 1.0 mt will be taken during research activity, 0.8 mt will be taken in non-
  groundfish fisheries and 6.4 mt will be taken in the commercial fishery (which is being set as a commercial
  HG), leaving a residual amount of 8.4 mt to be used as necessary during the fishing year. Tribal vessels are
  estimated to land about 2.3 mt of yelloweye rockfish of the commercial HG in 2006, but do not have a specific
  allocation at this time.

[[Page 58296]]

 
bb/ Black rockfish was last assessed in 2003 for the Columbia and Eureka area and in 2000 for the Vancouver
  area. The ABC for the area north of 46[deg]16' N. lat. is 540 mt and the ABC for the area south of 46[deg]16'
  N. lat. is 736 mt. Because of an overlap in the assessed areas between Cape Falcon and the Columbia River,
  projections from the 2000 stock assessment were adjusted downward by 12 percent to account for the overlap.
  The ABCs were derived using an FMSY proxy of F50%. The unfished biomass is believed to be above 40 percent.
  Therefore, the OYs were set equal to the ABCs, 540 mt for the area north of 46[deg]16' N. lat. and 736 mt for
  the area south of 46[deg]16' N. lat. A harvest guideline of 30,000 lb (13.6 mt) is set for the tribes. The
  black rockfish OY in the area south of 46[deg]16' N. lat. is subdivided with separate HGs being set for the
  area north of 42[deg] N. lat (427 mt/58 percent) and for the area south of 42[deg] N. lat (309 mt/42 percent).
  For the 427 mt attributed to the area north of 42[deg] N. lat. 290-360 mt is estimated to be taken in the
  recreational fishery, resulting in a commercial HG of 67-137 mt. A range is being provided because the
  recreational and commercial shares are not currently available. Of the 309 mt of black rockfish attributed to
  the area south of 42[deg] N. lat., a HG of 185 mt (60 percent) will be applied to the area north of 40[deg]10'
  N. lat. and a HG of 124 mt (40 percent) will be applied to the area south of 40[deg]10' N. lat. For the area
  between 42[deg] N. lat. and 40[deg]10' N. lat., 74 mt is estimated to be taken in the recreational fishery,
  resulting in a commercial HG of 111 mt. For the area south of 40[deg]10' N. lat., 101 mt is estimated to be
  taken in the recreational fishery, resulting in a commercial HG of 23 mt. Black rockfish was included in the
  minor rockfish north and other rockfish south categories until 2004.
cc/ Minor rockfish north includes the ``remaining rockfish'' and ``other rockfish'' categories in the Vancouver,
  Columbia, and Eureka areas combined. These species include ``remaining rockfish'', which generally includes
  species that have been assessed by less rigorous methods than stock assessments, and ``other rockfish'', which
  includes species that do not have quantifiable stock assessments. The ABC of 3,680 mt is the sum of the
  individual ``remaining rockfish'' ABCs plus the ``other rockfish'' ABCs. The remaining rockfish ABCs continue
  to be reduced by 25 percent (F=0.75M) as a precautionary adjustment. To obtain the total catch OY of 2,250 mt,
  the remaining rockfish ABCs were further reduced by 25 percent and other rockfish ABCs were reduced by 50
  percent. This was a precautionary measure to address limited stock assessment information. The OY is reduced
  by 78 mt for the amount estimated to be taken in the recreational fishery, resulting in a 2,172 mt commercial
  HG. Open access is allocated 8.3 percent (180 mt) of the commercial HG and limited entry is allocated 91.7
  percent (1,992 mt) of the commercial HG. Tribal vessels are estimated to land about 28 mt of minor rockfish in
  2006, but do not have a specific allocation at this time.
dd/ Minor rockfish south includes the ``remaining rockfish'' and ``other rockfish'' categories in the Monterey
  and Conception areas combined. These species include ``remaining rockfish'' which generally includes species
  that have been assessed by less rigorous methods than stock assessment, and ``other rockfish'' which includes
  species that do not have quantifiable stock assessments. The ABC of 3,412 mt is the sum of the individual
  ``remaining rockfish'' ABCs plus the ``other rockfish'' ABCs. The remaining rockfish ABCs continue to be
  reduced by 25 percent (F=0.75M) as a precautionary adjustment. To obtain a total catch OY of 1,968 mt, the
  remaining rockfish ABCs are further reduced by 25 percent, with the exception of blackgill rockfish, the other
  rockfish ABCs were reduced by 50 percent. This was a precautionary measure due to limited stock assessment
  information. The OY is reduced by 443 mt for the amount estimated to be taken in the recreational fishery,
  resulting in a 1,525 mt HG for the commercial fishery. Open access is allocated 44.3 percent (676 mt) of the
  commercial HG and limited entry is allocated 55.7 percent (849 mt) of the commercial HG.
ee/ Bank rockfish -- The ABC is 350 mt, which is based on a 2000 stock assessment for the Monterey and
  Conception areas. This stock contributes 263 mt towards the minor rockfish OY in the south.
ff/ Blackgill rockfish was believed to be at 51 percent of its unfished biomass in 1997. The ABC of 343 mt is
  the sum of the Conception area ABC of 268 mt, based on the 1998 stock assessment with an FMSY proxy of F50%,
  and the Monterey area ABC of 75 mt. This stock contributes 306 mt towards minor rockfish south (268 mt for the
  Conception area ABC and 38 mt for the Monterey area). The OY for the Monterey area is the ABC reduced by 50
  percent as a precautionary measure because of the lack of information.
gg/ ``Other rockfish'' includes rockfish species listed in 50 CFR 660.302 and California scorpionfish. The ABC
  is based on the 1996 review of commercial Sebastes landings and includes an estimate of recreational landings.
  These species have never been assessed quantitatively. The amount expected to be taken during research
  activity is reduced by 22.1 mt.
hh/ ``Other fish'' includes sharks, skates, rays, ratfish, morids, grenadiers, kelp greenling, and other
  groundfish species noted above in footnote c/. The amount expected to be taken during research activity is
  55.7 mt.
ii/ Minor nearshore rockfish south - The total catch OY is 615 mt. Out of the OY it is anticipated that the
  recreational fishery will take 383 mt, and 97 mt will be taken by the commercial fishery (which is being set
  as a commercial HG), leaving a residual amount of 135 mt to be used as necessary during the fishing year.


0
5. In part 660, subpart G, Table 3 (North) and Table 3 (South) are 
revised to read as follows:

Table 3 (North) to Part 660, Subpart G--2006 Trip Limits for Limited 
Entry Trawl Gear North of 40[deg]10' N. Lat.

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S

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[[Page 58298]]


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[[Page 58299]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR03OC06.005

Table 3 (South) to Part 660, Subpart G--2006 Trip Limits for Limited 
Entry Trawl Gear South of 40[deg]10' N. Lat.

[[Page 58300]]

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0
6. In part 660, subpart G, Table 4 (South) is revised to read as 
follows:

Table 4 (South) to Part 660, Subpart G--2006 Trip Limits for Limited 
Entry Fixed Gear South of 40[deg]10' N. Lat.

[[Page 58302]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR03OC06.008


[[Page 58303]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR03OC06.009


0
7. In part 660, subpart G, Table 5 (North) and Table 5 (South) are 
revised to read as follows:

Table 5 (North) to Part 660, Subpart G--2006 Trip Limits for Open 
Access Gears North of 40[deg]10' N. Lat.

[[Page 58304]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR03OC06.010


[[Page 58305]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR03OC06.011

Table 5 (South) to Part 660, Subpart G--2006 Trip Limits for Open 
Access Gears South of 40[deg]10' N. Lat.

[[Page 58306]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR03OC06.012


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[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR03OC06.013

[FR Doc. 06-8402 Filed 9-28-06; 2:45 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-C