Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments, 69076-69082 [06-9451]

Download as PDF 69076 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 29, 2006 / Rules and Regulations A. In paragraph (g)(1), remove ‘‘paragraph (g)(2)’’ the last time it appears and add ‘‘paragraph (g)(3)’’, and remove ‘‘paragraphs (g)(3) and (5) of this section’’ and add ‘‘paragraphs (g)(3) and (g)(4)(ii) of this section.’’ B. In paragraph (h)(3)(vi), remove ‘‘paragraph (h)(2) of this section’’ and add ‘‘paragraph (h)(5) of this section.’’ C. In paragraph (h)(7)(ii), remove ‘‘ paragraph (h)(3) of this section;’’ and add ‘‘paragraph (h)(6) of this section;’’ D. In paragraph (i)(5), remove ‘‘paragraph (i)(3) of this section,’’ and add ‘‘paragraphs (i)(1) through (3) of this section,’’ [FR Doc. E6–20248 Filed 11–28–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 051014263–6028–03; I.D. 112106B] 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. cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with RULES 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. DATES: Effective 0001 hours (local time) December 1, 2006. Comments on this rule will be accepted through December 29, 2006. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by I.D. 112106B, by any of the following methods: • E-mail: GroundfishInseason11.nwr@noaa.gov. Include I.D. 112106B 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: VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:36 Nov 28, 2006 Jkt 211001 2, (71 FR 57889), October 3, 2006 (71 FR 58289), October 10, 2006 (71 FR 59505), and November 16, 2006 (71 FR 66693). 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 November 12–17, 2006, meeting in Del Mar, CA. At that meeting, the Pacific Council Electronic Access recommended: (1) requesting industry This Federal Register document is to take voluntary action to reduce available on the Government Printing petrale sole catches if catch rates appear Office’s website at: www.gpoaccess.gov/ too high in December; (2) decreasing the fr/. limited entry fixed gear and open access Background information and daily-trip-limit (DTL) fishery for documents are available at the Pacific sablefish south of 36° N. lat. beginning Fishery Management Council’s (Pacific December 1; and (3) prohibiting Council’s) website at: www.pcouncil.org. retention of cabezon in the recreational fishery in federal waters off Oregon. Background Gretchen Arentzen, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115–0070. • Fax: 206–526–6736, Attn: Gretchen Arentzen. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gretchen Arentzen (Northwest Region, NMFS), phone: 206–526–6140; fax: 206– 526–6736; or e-mail: gretchen.arentzen@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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), August 22, 2006 (71 FR 48824), October PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Limited Entry Trawl Petrale Sole Fishery The 2006 estimated total catch of petrale sole is approaching its 2006 ABC/OY. The best available information as of November 11, 2006 estimates petrale sole catch to be 2,174 mt out of an ABC/OY of 2,762, meaning that there are approximately 588 mt remaining for the November-December fishing period (Period 6). There is little recent data to inform catch projections for Period 6 since the Period 6 petrale fishery has largely been closed in the last several years. Based on 2006 fishery information, however, NMFS believes that ongoing fisheries will not exceed the ABC/OY for several reasons: (1) anecdotal information indicates that petrale sole have not yet migrated to open petrale fishing areas; (2) winter weather is expected to remain poor in the near future, which should dampen fishing effort; (3) the Dungeness crab fishery is expected to open in December along much of the coast and many trawl vessels are expected to switch their focus to that more lucrative fishery when it opens; and (4) the Period 6 trawl fishery has a cumulative petrale sole limit in place for 2006 to control catch levels; when petrale sole was available in prior Period 6 fishing periods, there were not limits for this species. In spite of these issues, it is important to consider that: overfishing on petrale sole occurred last year; the fleet is capable of catching in excess of 1,000 mt of petrale sole during a single period (as it did in the winter of 2005); and there is little data to inform this year’s Period 6 projections. The Pacific Council considered several options available to control the catch of this species through the end of the year in the event that catch rates E:\FR\FM\29NOR1.SGM 29NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 29, 2006 / Rules and Regulations cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with RULES appear higher than a rate that would achieve 588 mt. These options included: (1) closing the petrale fishing areas in December; (2) using an inseason trigger mechanism to close the petrale sole fishing areas; and (3) soliciting voluntary action on the part of industry to reduce petrale sole catches. The Council believed that either closing the petrale areas in December or implementing a trigger mechanism could be counter-productive, because, if fishers did not want to voluntarily forego the fishing opportunities, either measure would likely induce a race to fish before NMFS could implement a regulatory change. NMFS has asked industry to voluntarily reduce catches of petrale sole once before, in the summer of 2005, which resulted in an immediate 30–percent reduction of the petrale sole catch rate. The GMT believes that the risk of exceeding the ABC/OY without a regulatory action is low. However, if the catch rate appears too high, voluntary action on the part of industry is expected to be sufficient to keep catches within the ABC/OY. At the November 2006 Council meeting, several fish processors present pledged to reduce their petrale purchases for the November-December 2006 period, if necessary. Therefore, the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS concurs that no regulatory action will be taken at this time, however NMFS will continue to monitor petrale catch closely and request industry to take voluntary action if catch rates appear too high. Limited Entry Fixed Gear & Open Access Daily Trip Limit (DTL) Fishery for Sablefish South of 36≥ N. lat. Beginning on October 1, 2006, the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS implemented a closure of the open access sablefish DTL fishery north of 36° N. lat. and increased the open access sablefish DTL fishery trip limits south of 36° N. lat. from ‘‘350 lb per day, or 1 landing per week of up to 1,050 lb’’ to ‘‘500 lb per day, or 1 landing per week of up to 1,050 lb.’’ Catch rates for sablefish south of 36° N. lat. increased substantially after this trip limit increase, and industry has asserted that sablefish landings have been in excess of 3 mt per day in Morro Bay alone. The best available data as of November 11, 2006 estimates catch in this area to be 145 mt out of an OY of 271 mt. If current catch rates continue through the end of the year, it is likely the sablefish OY could be exceeded in this area. The Pacific Council considered ways to control the catch of sablefish and believes a combination of a daily trip limit reduction and the introduction of VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:36 Nov 28, 2006 Jkt 211001 a monthly catch limit is the best approach to slowing the catch rate of sablefish in this area. Therefore, the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS is implementing a decrease in the limited entry fixed gear and open access sablefish DTL fishery trip limits, and an introduction of a monthly catch limit, south of 36° N. lat. beginning December 1 from ‘‘500 lb per day, or 1 landing per week of up to 1,050 lb.’’ to ‘‘300 lb per day, or 1 landing per week of up to 1,050 lb not to exceed 3,000 lb per 1 month.’’ Oregon Recreational Fishery In the Oregon recreational groundfish fishery, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) manages cabezon, which is harvested primarily in state waters, under a state harvest limit. Oregon recreational catch estimates through July and projections from historical temporal catch patterns indicate that the Oregon state harvest limit for cabezon, which was 15.9 mt, has been reached. State harvest limits apply to landings by recreational ocean boats and do not include shore catch and discards. Effective September 22, 2006, Oregon prohibited cabezon retention in the recreational ocean and estuary boat fisheries. Shore fisheries, including shore-based diving, angling and spear fishing, were not affected by this closure. The most recent landings update, which includes data through September 3, 2006, confirmed that the management measure was appropriate; cabezon landings were 14.9 mt, or 94 percent of the harvest limit. 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 cabezon by boat anglers in federal recreational regulations off Oregon. 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. PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 69077 Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice and an 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 November 12–17, 2006, meeting in Del Mar, 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 fixed gear and open access sablefish DTL fishery south of 36° N. lat. must be implemented in a timely manner by December 1, 2006, to keep harvest of sablefish within the OY for this area. Changes to the recreational fishery must be implemented by December 1, 2006, in order to conform to existing state regulations and to keep recreational harvest within state harvest limits. 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 OYs or harvest guideline. This would impair managing fisheries to stay within the OYs and harvest guidelines for the 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: November 24, 2006. Lee Benaka, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. 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 § 660.384, paragraph (c)(2)(iii) is revised to read as follows: I E:\FR\FM\29NOR1.SGM 29NOR1 69078 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 29, 2006 / Rules and Regulations § 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 cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with RULES * VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:36 Nov 28, 2006 Jkt 211001 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 PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 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. From December 1 through December 31, 2006, taking and retaining cabezon is prohibited in all areas by boat anglers. * * * * * I 3. In part 660, subpart G, Table 4 (South) and Table 5 (South) are revised to read as follows: BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\29NOR1.SGM 29NOR1 VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:36 Nov 28, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\29NOR1.SGM 29NOR1 69079 ER29NO06.001</GPH> cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 29, 2006 / Rules and Regulations Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 29, 2006 / Rules and Regulations VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:36 Nov 28, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\29NOR1.SGM 29NOR1 ER29NO06.002</GPH> cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with RULES 69080 VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:36 Nov 28, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\29NOR1.SGM 29NOR1 69081 ER29NO06.003</GPH> cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 29, 2006 / Rules and Regulations ER29NO06.005</GPH> Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 29, 2006 / Rules and Regulations [FR Doc. 06–9451 Filed 11–24–06; 2:07 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–C VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:45 Nov 28, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\29NOR1.SGM 29NOR1 ER29NO06.004</GPH> cprice-sewell on PROD1PC66 with RULES 69082

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 229 (Wednesday, November 29, 2006)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 69076-69082]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-9451]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 051014263-6028-03; I.D. 112106B]


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.

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

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) December 1, 2006. Comments on 
this rule will be accepted through December 29, 2006.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by I.D. 112106B, by any 
of the following methods:
     E-mail: GroundfishInseason11.nwr@noaa.gov. Include I.D. 
112106B 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: Gretchen Arentzen, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 
98115-0070.
     Fax: 206-526-6736, Attn: Gretchen Arentzen.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gretchen Arentzen (Northwest Region, 
NMFS), phone: 206-526-6140; fax: 206-526-6736; or e-mail: 
gretchen.arentzen@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

    This Federal Register document is available on the Government 
Printing Office's website at: www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/.
    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), August 22, 2006 (71 
FR 48824), October 2, (71 FR 57889), October 3, 2006 (71 FR 58289), 
October 10, 2006 (71 FR 59505), and November 16, 2006 (71 FR 66693).
    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 November 12-17, 2006, meeting in Del 
Mar, CA. At that meeting, the Pacific Council recommended: (1) 
requesting industry to take voluntary action to reduce petrale sole 
catches if catch rates appear too high in December; (2) decreasing the 
limited entry fixed gear and open access daily-trip-limit (DTL) fishery 
for sablefish south of 36[deg] N. lat. beginning December 1; and (3) 
prohibiting retention of cabezon in the recreational fishery in federal 
waters off Oregon.

Limited Entry Trawl Petrale Sole Fishery

    The 2006 estimated total catch of petrale sole is approaching its 
2006 ABC/OY. The best available information as of November 11, 2006 
estimates petrale sole catch to be 2,174 mt out of an ABC/OY of 2,762, 
meaning that there are approximately 588 mt remaining for the November-
December fishing period (Period 6). There is little recent data to 
inform catch projections for Period 6 since the Period 6 petrale 
fishery has largely been closed in the last several years. Based on 
2006 fishery information, however, NMFS believes that ongoing fisheries 
will not exceed the ABC/OY for several reasons: (1) anecdotal 
information indicates that petrale sole have not yet migrated to open 
petrale fishing areas; (2) winter weather is expected to remain poor in 
the near future, which should dampen fishing effort; (3) the Dungeness 
crab fishery is expected to open in December along much of the coast 
and many trawl vessels are expected to switch their focus to that more 
lucrative fishery when it opens; and (4) the Period 6 trawl fishery has 
a cumulative petrale sole limit in place for 2006 to control catch 
levels; when petrale sole was available in prior Period 6 fishing 
periods, there were not limits for this species. In spite of these 
issues, it is important to consider that: overfishing on petrale sole 
occurred last year; the fleet is capable of catching in excess of 1,000 
mt of petrale sole during a single period (as it did in the winter of 
2005); and there is little data to inform this year's Period 6 
projections.
    The Pacific Council considered several options available to control 
the catch of this species through the end of the year in the event that 
catch rates

[[Page 69077]]

appear higher than a rate that would achieve 588 mt. These options 
included: (1) closing the petrale fishing areas in December; (2) using 
an inseason trigger mechanism to close the petrale sole fishing areas; 
and (3) soliciting voluntary action on the part of industry to reduce 
petrale sole catches.
    The Council believed that either closing the petrale areas in 
December or implementing a trigger mechanism could be counter-
productive, because, if fishers did not want to voluntarily forego the 
fishing opportunities, either measure would likely induce a race to 
fish before NMFS could implement a regulatory change. NMFS has asked 
industry to voluntarily reduce catches of petrale sole once before, in 
the summer of 2005, which resulted in an immediate 30-percent reduction 
of the petrale sole catch rate. The GMT believes that the risk of 
exceeding the ABC/OY without a regulatory action is low. However, if 
the catch rate appears too high, voluntary action on the part of 
industry is expected to be sufficient to keep catches within the ABC/
OY. At the November 2006 Council meeting, several fish processors 
present pledged to reduce their petrale purchases for the November-
December 2006 period, if necessary.
    Therefore, the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS concurs that no 
regulatory action will be taken at this time, however NMFS will 
continue to monitor petrale catch closely and request industry to take 
voluntary action if catch rates appear too high.

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

    Beginning on October 1, 2006, the Pacific Council recommended and 
NMFS implemented a closure of the open access sablefish DTL fishery 
north of 36[deg] N. lat. and increased the open access sablefish DTL 
fishery trip limits south of 36[deg] N. lat. from ``350 lb per day, or 
1 landing per week of up to 1,050 lb'' to ``500 lb per day, or 1 
landing per week of up to 1,050 lb.'' Catch rates for sablefish south 
of 36[deg] N. lat. increased substantially after this trip limit 
increase, and industry has asserted that sablefish landings have been 
in excess of 3 mt per day in Morro Bay alone. The best available data 
as of November 11, 2006 estimates catch in this area to be 145 mt out 
of an OY of 271 mt. If current catch rates continue through the end of 
the year, it is likely the sablefish OY could be exceeded in this area. 
The Pacific Council considered ways to control the catch of sablefish 
and believes a combination of a daily trip limit reduction and the 
introduction of a monthly catch limit is the best approach to slowing 
the catch rate of sablefish in this area.
    Therefore, the Pacific Council recommended and NMFS is implementing 
a decrease in the limited entry fixed gear and open access sablefish 
DTL fishery trip limits, and an introduction of a monthly catch limit, 
south of 36[deg] N. lat. beginning December 1 from ``500 lb per day, or 
1 landing per week of up to 1,050 lb.'' to ``300 lb per day, or 1 
landing per week of up to 1,050 lb not to exceed 3,000 lb per 1 
month.''

Oregon Recreational Fishery

    In the Oregon recreational groundfish fishery, the Oregon 
Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) manages cabezon, which is 
harvested primarily in state waters, under a state harvest limit. 
Oregon recreational catch estimates through July and projections from 
historical temporal catch patterns indicate that the Oregon state 
harvest limit for cabezon, which was 15.9 mt, has been reached. State 
harvest limits apply to landings by recreational ocean boats and do not 
include shore catch and discards. Effective September 22, 2006, Oregon 
prohibited cabezon retention in the recreational ocean and estuary boat 
fisheries. Shore fisheries, including shore-based diving, angling and 
spear fishing, were not affected by this closure. The most recent 
landings update, which includes data through September 3, 2006, 
confirmed that the management measure was appropriate; cabezon landings 
were 14.9 mt, or 94 percent of the harvest limit.
    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 cabezon by boat anglers 
in federal recreational regulations off Oregon.

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 an 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 November 12-17, 2006, 
meeting in Del Mar, 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 
fixed gear and open access sablefish DTL fishery south of 36[deg] N. 
lat. must be implemented in a timely manner by December 1, 2006, to 
keep harvest of sablefish within the OY for this area. Changes to the 
recreational fishery must be implemented by December 1, 2006, in order 
to conform to existing state regulations and to keep recreational 
harvest within state harvest limits. 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 OYs or 
harvest guideline. This would impair managing fisheries to stay within 
the OYs and harvest guidelines for the 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: November 24, 2006.
Lee Benaka,
Acting 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.  660.384, paragraph (c)(2)(iii) is revised to read as 
follows:

[[Page 69078]]

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. From 
December 1 through December 31, 2006, taking and retaining cabezon is 
prohibited in all areas by boat anglers.
* * * * *

0
3. In part 660, subpart G, Table 4 (South) and Table 5 (South) are 
revised to read as follows:
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S

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[FR Doc. 06-9451 Filed 11-24-06; 2:07 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-C