Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2007 and 2008 Proposed Harvest Specifications for Groundfish, 75460-75474 [E6-21447]

Download as PDF 75460 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules biological issues. These ABCs can be less than maximum permissible ABCs. This is expected to be the case with GOA pollock. Thus higher TACs, under Alternative 1 may not be consistent with prudent biological management of the resource. For these reasons, Alternative 2 is the preferred alternative. This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting requirements, or duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any Federal rules. This action is authorized under § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Adverse impacts on marine mammals resulting from fishing activities conducted under this rule are discussed in the DEIS (see ADDRESSES). Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1540(f); 1801 et seq.; 1851 note; and 3631 et seq. Dated: December 6, 2006. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for RegulatoryPrograms, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E6–21303 Filed 12–14–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 061130318–6318–01; I.D. 112706A] Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2007 and 2008 Proposed Harvest Specifications for Groundfish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS proposes 2007 and 2008 harvest specifications and prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances for the groundfish fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2007 and 2008 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson- VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). DATES: Comments must be received by January 16, 2007. ADDRESSES: Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Walsh. Comments may be submitted by: • Mail to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802; • Hand delivery to the Federal Building, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK; • E-mail to 2007tacspecs@noaa.gov and include in the subject line the document identifier: 2007 Proposed Specifications (E-mail comments, with or without attachments, are limited to 5 megabytes); • Fax to 907–586–7557; or • Webform at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: https:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions at that site for submitting comments. Copies of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) prepared for this action are available from NMFS at the mailing addresses above or from the Alaska Region website at https://www.fakr.noaa.gov. Copies of the final 2005 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the BSAI, dated November 2005, are available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99510–2252, 907–271–2809, or from its website at https://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Furuness, 907–586–7228, or email at mary.furuness@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP and NMFS approved it under the MSA. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600. The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify annually the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species and the ‘‘other species’’ category, the sum of which must be within the optimum yield range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see § 679.20(a)(1)(i)). Regulations at § 679.20(c)(1) further require NMFS to publish proposed harvest specifications in the Federal Register and solicit public comment on proposed annual TACs and PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 apportionments thereof, PSC allowances and prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by § 679.21, seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC, and Community Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts established by § 679.20(b)(1)(iii). The proposed harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 11 of this action satisfy these requirements. Under § 679.20(c)(3), NMFS will publish the final harvest specifications for 2007 and 2008 after (1) considering comments received within the comment period (see DATES), (2) consulting with the Council at its December 2006 meeting, and (3) considering new information presented in the DEIS and the final 2006 SAFE reports prepared for the 2007 and 2008 groundfish fisheries. Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2007 and 2008 Harvest Specifications The following paragraphs identify actions that are currently under consideration by the Council and that, if submitted to and approved by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), could change the 2007 and 2008 final harvest specifications. The existing 2007 harvest specifications will be updated in early 2007 when final harvest specifications for 2007 and new harvest specifications for 2008 are implemented. In April 2006, the Council adopted Amendment 85 to the FMP. Amendment 85 would revise the BSAI Pacific cod sector allocations. If approved by the Secretary, final regulations implementing Amendment 85 are anticipated to be effective for the 2008 fishing year. In June 2006, the Council adopted Amendment 80 to the FMP. Amendment 80 would provide specific groundfish allocations to the non-American Fisheries Act (AFA) trawl catcher/processor sector and allow the formation of cooperatives. If approved by the Secretary, final regulations implementing Amendment 80 also are anticipated to be effective for the 2008 fishing year. The Council also adopted Amendment 84 that would modify current regulations for managing incidental catch of Chinook and chum salmon and may change the PSC limits. The Council also is considering two proposals. One would allocate the Pacific cod TAC by Bering Sea subarea and Aleutian Islands (AI) subarea instead of a combined BSAI TAC. The other would separate some species from the ‘‘other rockfish’’ or ‘‘other species’’ categories so individual overfishing levels (OFLs), acceptable biological catch (ABCs), and TACs may be established. E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES Proposed ABC and TAC Harvest Specifications The proposed ABC levels are based on the best available biological information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised technical methods used to calculate stock biomass. In general, the development of ABCs and OFLs involves sophisticated statistical analyses of fish populations and is based on a successive series of six levels, or tiers, of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier one represents the highest level of data quality available while tier six represents the lowest level of data quality available. Appendix A to the final SAFE report for the 2005 BSAI groundfish fisheries dated November 2005 (see ADDRESSES) sets forth the best information currently available. Information on the status of stocks will be updated, including the 2006 survey results, and considered by the Plan Team in November 2006 for the 2006 SAFE report. The 2007 and 2008 final harvest specifications will be based on the 2006 SAFE report. In October 2006, the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), Advisory Panel, and the Council reviewed the Plan Team’s preliminary projections as the basis for the 2007 and 2008 proposed ABC, OFL, and TAC amounts. The SSC concurred with the Plan Team’s recommendations. For stocks in tiers 1–3, the Plan Team used 2006 estimated fishing mortality rates in stock projection models to estimate OFLs and ABCs for 2007. For Bering Sea pollock, the projection model used a tier 3 model, but the projection used in December 2005 (as recommended by the SSC) used a tier 1 model. The SSC recommended that in the future projections should use the same approach that is approved by the Council in December of the previous year. The public should be aware that a tier 1 projection model may be used in December 2006 for Bering Sea pollock for ABC and OFL amounts. The Plan Team estimated 2007 TACs based on ABC constraints and past Council actions. The Plan Team estimated 2007 TACs were treated as the projected 2007 fishing mortality rates to derive estimates of OFLs and ABCs for 2008. For stocks in tiers 4–6, for which there are no population projection models, the Plan Team used the OFL and ABC amounts from 2006 for 2007 and 2008. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 The Council adopted the OFL and ABC amounts recommended by the SSC (Table 1). The Council recommended that all the 2007 proposed TAC amounts be set equal to the ABC amounts except for reduced TAC amounts for AI subarea and Bogoslof pollock, Pacific cod, Alaska plaice, arrowtooth flounder, rock sole, flathead sole, ‘‘other flatfish,’’ northern rockfish, Atka mackerel, squid, and ‘‘other species.’’ The Council recommended that all the 2008 proposed TAC amounts be set equal to the ABC amounts except for TAC decreases for AI subarea and Bogoslof pollock, Pacific cod, sablefish, Alaska plaice, northern rockfish, and ‘‘other species.’’ As in previous years, the Plan Team, Advisory Panel, SSC, and Council recommended that total removals of Pacific cod from the BSAI not exceed ABC recommendations. Accordingly, the Council recommended that the 2007 and 2008 Pacific cod TACs be adjusted downward from the ABCs by amounts equal to 3 percent of the ABC. This adjustment is necessary to account for the guideline harvest level (GHL) established for Pacific cod by the State of Alaska (State) for a Statemanaged fishery that occurs in State waters in the AI subarea. Finally, the Council recommended using the 2006 and 2007 PSC allowances for the 2007 and 2008 proposed PSC allowances. The Council will reconsider the OFL, ABC, TAC, and PSC amounts in December 2006 after the Plan Team incorporates new status of groundfish stocks information into a final 2006 SAFE report for the 2007 and 2008 BSAI groundfish fishery. None of the Council’s recommended proposed TACs for 2007 or 2008 exceeds the recommended 2007 or 2008 proposed ABC for any species category. NMFS finds the Council’s recommended 2007 and 2008 proposed OFL, ABC, and TAC amounts consistent with the best available information on the biological condition of the groundfish stocks. On July 11, 2006, the President signed the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006 (Coast Guard Act). Section 416(a) of the Coast Guard Act revises section 305(i)(1) of the MSA (16 U.S.C. 1855(i)(1)) by replacing all of the existing language in this section with new language. New section 305(i)(1)(B)(i) of the MSA addresses allocations to the CDQ Program. It requires that ‘‘the annual percentage of the total allowable catch, guideline harvest level, or other annual catch limit allocated to the program in each directed fishery of the Bering Sea and PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 75461 Aleutian Islands shall be the percentage approved by the Secretary, or established by Federal law, as of March 1, 2006, for the program.’’ Prior to these amendments, section 305(i)(1)(A) of the MSA stated that ‘‘a percentage of the total allowable catch of any Bering Sea fishery is allocated to the program.’’ Since 1998, NMFS has allocated to the CDQ Program a percentage of each groundfish TAC category, except squid. The allocation of squid to the CDQ Program was discontinued in 2001 under Amendment 66 to the FMP (45 FR 13672, March 7, 2001). As a result of the changes to section 305(i)(1), the MSA requires apportionments to the CDQ reserves of those directed fishery TAC categories for which a percentage was approved by the Secretary or established by Federal law as of March 1, 2006. In 2006, the only TAC category for which a percentage was not approved or established for the CDQ Program was squid. Therefore, squid would continue to not be allocated to the CDQ Program. For the TAC categories other than squid, those that did not have a directed fishery in the BSAI in 2006 were Bogoslof pollock, trawl sablefish, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ and ‘‘other species.’’ Therefore, based on NMFS’ interpretation of the MSA, apportionments from these TAC categories to the CDQ Program will no longer be made. Catch in the CDQ fisheries of species in TAC categories that are not allocated to the CDQ Program will be managed under the regulations and fishery status that applies to the TAC category in the nonCDQ groundfish fisheries. Retention of species closed to directed fishing would either be limited to maximum retainable amounts or all catch of the species would be required to be discarded. Notices of closures to directed fishing and retention requirements for these species would apply to the CDQ and non-CDQ sectors. The catch of these species in the CDQ fisheries would not constrain the catch of other CDQ species unless catch by all sectors approached an OFL. Table 1 lists the 2007 and 2008 proposed OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ amounts for groundfish in the BSAI. The proposed apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and seasons is discussed below. E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1 n/a n/a n/a n/a 10,100 774 299 BS WAI CAI EAI BSAI BSAI BSAI 3,003,067 1,122 748 2,620 89,404 67,100 24,200 227,100 17,900 BSAI BSAI BSAI BSAI BS AI BSAI BSAI 1,707,000 39,100 50,600 176,100 3,080 3,120 107,300 n/a n/a n/a 138,900 146,000 18,300 n/a n/a 172,200 OFL BS2 AI2 Bogoslof BSAI BS AI BSAI WAI CAI EAI/BS BSAI BSAI BSAI BS AI BSAI Area 2,426,954 810 590 1,970 62,950 224 580 3,020 5,481 3,277 3,322 8,500 55,900 18,100 180,200 15,100 1,419,800 29,400 5,500 148,500 2,580 2,620 90,900 34,182 38,718 18,000 117,100 122,500 2,630 1,815 815 140,500 ABC 2,000,000 810 590 1,275 40,900 224 580 3,020 5,481 3,277 3,322 5,000 22,000 5,000 32,000 15,100 1,419,800 19,000 10 144,045 2,580 2,620 63,000 16,782 38,718 7,500 117,100 85,736 2,630 1,815 815 20,000 TAC 2007 1,769,177 689 502 1,084 34,765 190 493 2,567 4,659 2,785 2,824 4,250 18,700 4,250 27,200 12,835 1,277,820 17,100 10 122,438 1,097 557 53,550 14,265 32,910 6,375 99,535 72,876 2,236 1,543 693 17,000 ITAC2 182,301 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 411 246 249 0 1,650 375 2,400 n/a 141,980 1,900 0 10,803 258 393 4,725 1,259 2,904 563 8,783 6,430 197 136 61 1,500 CDQ3 2,615,667 1,122 748 2,620 89,404 299 774 n/a n/a n/a n/a 10,000 62,700 24,200 218,400 17,900 1,418,100 39,100 50,600 144,900 2,680 2,720 75,200 n/a n/a n/a 126,200 133,100 17,500 n/a n/a 177,400 OFL 2,094,554 810 590 1,970 62,950 224 580 3,020 5,481 3,277 3,322 8,500 52,200 18,100 173,200 15,100 1,168,700 29,400 5,500 121,700 2,240 2,260 65,100 24,481 27,728 12,891 106,400 111,600 2,630 1,815 815 144,800 ABC 2,000,000 810 590 1,970 35,000 224 580 3,020 5,481 3,277 3,322 5,000 52,200 18,100 129,637 15,100 1,168,700 19,000 10 118,049 2,240 2,260 65,100 24,481 27,728 12,891 106,400 111,600 2,630 1,815 815 144,800 TAC 2008 1,756,995 689 502 1,675 29,750 190 493 2,567 4,659 2,785 2,824 4,250 44,370 15,385 110,191 12,835 1,051,830 17,100 10 100,342 952 480 55,335 20,809 23,569 10,957 90,440 94,860 2,236 1,543 693 123,080 ITAC2 175,816 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 411 246 249 0 3,915 1,358 9,723 n/a 116,870 1,900 0 8,854 n/a n/a 4,883 1,836 2,080 967 7,980 8,370 197 136 61 10,860 CDQ3 3 2 These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District. Except for pollock and the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear, 15 percent of each TAC is placed in a reserve. The ITAC for each species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. Except for Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ″other rockfish,″ squid, ″other species,″ and the trawl gear allocation of sablefish one half of the amount of the TACs placed in reserve, or 7.5 percent of the TACs, is designated as a CDQ reserve for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(iii) and 679.31). 4 Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), the annual Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC after subtraction for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and the incidental catch allowance (3.35 percent), is further allocated by sector for a directed pollock fishery as follows: inshore - 50 percent; catcher/processor - 40 percent; and motherships - 10 percent. Under § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (1,600 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery. 5 The ITAC for sablefish reflected in Table 1 is for trawl gear only. Regulations at § 679.20(b)(1) do not provide for the establishment of an ITAC for the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation for sablefish. Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(iii)(B)). 6 ″Other flatfish″ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder, and Alaska plaice. 7 ″Other rockfish″ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern, shortraker, and rougheye rockfish. 8 ″Other species″ includes sculpins, sharks, skates and octopus. Forage fish, as defined at § 679.2, are not included in the ″other species″category. 1 TOTAL Squid Other species8 Northern rockfish Shortraker rockfish Rougheye rockfish Other rockfish7 Arrowtooth flounder Flathead sole Other flatfish6 Alaska plaice Pacific ocean perch Yellowfin sole Rock sole Greenland turbot Atka mackerel Pacific cod Sablefish5 Pollock4 Species [Amounts are in metric tons] TABLE 1 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI1 jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES 75462 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES Reserves and the Incidental Catch Allowance (ICA) for Pollock Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) of the CFR requires placement of 15 percent of the TAC for each target species or species group, except for pollock and the hookand-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish, in a non-specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii)(A) of the CFR and section 305(i)(1)(B)(i) of the MSA further requires the allocation of one half of each TAC amount that is placed in the non-specified reserve (7.5 percent) be allocated to the groundfish CDQ reserve, with the exception of Bogoslof pollock, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ squid, ‘‘other species,’’ and the trawl gear allocation of sablefish, as explained above. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii)(B) requires 20 percent of the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish be allocated to the fixed gear sablefish CDQ reserve. Sections 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i), and 679.31(a) also require the allocation of 10 percent of the BSAI pollock TACs to the pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance. The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is allocated as an ICA (see § 679.20(a)(5)(ii)). With the exception of the hook-and-line and pot gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the regulations do not further apportion the CDQ reserves by gear. Section 679.21(e)(1)(i) requires withholding of 7.5 percent of each PSC limit, with the exception of herring, as a PSQ reserve for the CDQ fisheries. Sections 679.30 and 679.31 set forth the regulations governing the management of the CDQ and PSQ reserves. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS proposes a pollock ICA of 3.35 percent of the Bering Sea pollock TAC after subtraction of the 10 percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on NMFS’ examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 1999 through 2005. During this 7–year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from a low of 2.7 percent in 2003 to a high of 5 percent in 1999, with a 7–year average of 3.5 percent. Because these incidental percentages are contingent on the relative amounts of other groundfish TACs, NMFS will be better able to assess the ICA amount when the Council makes final ABC and TAC amount recommendations in VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 December. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS proposes a pollock ICA of 1,600 mt for the AI subarea pollock after subtraction of the 10 percent CDQ directed fishing allowance. This allowance is based on NMFS’ examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2003 through 2005. During this 3–year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from a low of 8 percent in 2005 to a high of 10 percent in 2003, with a 3–year average of 8 percent. The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified reserve by species or species group, and any amount of the reserve may be reapportioned to a target species or the ‘‘other species’’ category during the year, providing that such reapportionments do not result in overfishing (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)). Allocations of Pollock TAC Under the AFA Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that the pollock TAC apportioned to the Bering Sea subarea, after subtraction of 10 percent for the CDQ program and 3.35 percent for the ICA, be allocated as a directed fishing allowance (DFA) as follows: 50 percent to the inshore sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor sector, and 10 percent to the mothership sector. In the Bering Sea subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20–June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10–November 1). In October 2006, the State’s Board of Fish adopted a proposal for a 3,000 mt pollock fishery in State waters of the AI subarea. However, this action by the State does not require a downward adjustment of the federal AI subarea pollock TAC because the combined TAC and GHL (22,000 mt) are less than the proposed ABC of 29,400 mt. The AI directed pollock fishery allocation to the Aleut Corporation is the amount of pollock remaining in the AI subarea after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and 1,600 mt for the ICA. In the AI subarea, 40 percent of the ABC is allocated to the A season and the remainder of the directed pollock fishery is allocated to the B season. Table 2 lists these 2007 and 2008 proposed amounts. Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific requirements PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 75463 regarding pollock allocations. First, 8.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the catcher/processor sector will be available for harvest by AFA catcher vessels with catcher/processor sector endorsements, unless the Regional Administrator receives a cooperative contract that provides for the distribution of harvest among AFA catcher/processors and AFA catcher vessels in a manner agreed to by all members. Second, AFA catcher/ processors not listed in the AFA are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the catcher/processor sector. Table 2 lists the 2007 and 2008 proposed allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 8 through 11 list the AFA catcher/processor and catcher vessel harvesting sideboard limits. In past years, the proposed harvest specifications included text and tables describing pollock allocations to the Bering Sea subarea inshore pollock cooperatives and open access sector. These allocations are based on the submission of AFA inshore cooperative applications due to NMFS on December 1 of each calendar year. Because AFA inshore cooperative applications for 2007 have not been submitted to NMFS, thereby preventing NMFS from calculating 2007 allocations, NMFS has not included inshore cooperative text and tables in these proposed harvest specifications. NMFS will post AFA inshore cooperative allocations on the Alaska Region website at https:// www.fakr.noaa.gov when they become available in December 2006. Table 2 also lists proposed seasonal apportionments of pollock and harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The harvest of pollock within the SCA, as defined at § 679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to 28 percent of the DFA until April 1. The remaining 12 percent of the 40 percent of the annual DFA allocated to the A season may be taken outside the SCA before April 1 or inside the SCA after April 1. If less than 28 percent of the annual DFA is taken inside the SCA before April 1, the remainder will be available to be taken inside the SCA after April 1. The A season pollock SCA harvest limit will be apportioned to each sector in proportion to each sector’s allocated percentage of the DFA. Table 2 lists by sector these 2007 and 2008 proposed amounts. E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1 75464 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules TABLE 2 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA)1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2007 A season1 Area and sector Bering Sea subarea CDQ DFA ICA1 AFA Inshore AFA Catcher/Processors3 Catch by C/Ps Catch by CVs3 Unlisted C/P Limit4 AFA Motherships Excessive Harvesting Limit5 Excessive Processing Limit6 Total Bering Sea DFA Aleutian Islands subarea1 CDQ DFA ICA Aleut Corporation 2007 allocations A season DFA 2008 A season1 2007 B season1 SCA harvest limit2 2008 allocations B season DFA A season DFA 2008 B season SCA harvest limit2 B season DFA 1,419,800 141,980 44,724 616,548 493,239 451,313 41,925 2,466 123,310 215,792 369,929 1,419,800 n/a 56,792 n/a 246,619 197,295 180,525 16,770 986 49,324 n/a n/a 550,031 n/a 39,754 n/a 172,633 138,107 n/a n/a n/a 34,527 n/a n/a 385,021 n/a 85,188 n/a 369,929 295,943 270,788 25,155 1,480 73,986 n/a n/a 825,046 1,168,700 116,870 36,814 507,508 406,006 371,496 34,511 2,030 101,502 177,628 304,505 1,168,700 n/a 46,748 n/a 203,003 162,403 148,598 13,804 812 40,601 n/a n/a 452,754 n/a 32,724 n/a 142,102 113,682 n/a n/a n/a 28,420 n/a n/a 316,928 n/a 70,122 n/a 304,505 243,604 222,898 20,706 1,218 60,901 n/a n/a 679,132 19,000 1,900 1,600 15,500 n/a 760 800 10,200 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,140 800 5,300 19,000 1,900 1,600 15,300 n/a 760 800 10,500 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,140 800 5,300 10 n/a n/a n/a 11 n/a n/a n/a Bogoslof District ICA7 1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC, after subtraction for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (3.35 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: inshore component - 50 percent, catcher/processor component - 40 percent, and mothership component - 10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20 June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10 November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second the ICA (1,600 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is allocated 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the directed pollock fishery. 2 In the Bering Sea subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector’s annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1. The remaining 12 percent of the annual DFA allocated to the A season may be taken outside of the SCA before April 1 or inside the SCA after April 1. If 28 percent of the annual DFA is not taken inside the SCA before April 1, the remainder is available to be taken inside the SCA after April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels delivering to listed catcher/processors. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/ processors sector’s allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6) NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the pollock DFAs not including CDQ. 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7) NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the pollock DFAs not including CDQ. 7 The Bogoslof District is closed by the proposed harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for incidental catch only, and are not apportioned by season or sector. Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TAC jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea Atka mackerel ITAC may be allocated to jig gear. The amount of this allocation is determined annually by the Council based on several criteria, including the anticipated harvest capacity of the jig gear fleet. The Council recommended and NMFS proposes that 1 percent of the Atka mackerel ITAC in the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 subarea be allocated to jig gear in 2007 and 2008. Based on the proposed 2007 ITAC of 6,375 mt, the jig gear allocation would be 64 mt for 2007. Based on the proposed 2008 ITAC of 10,975 mt, the jig gear allocation would be 110 mt for 2008. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel ITAC into two equal seasonal allowances. After subtraction of the jig gear allocation, the first allowance is made available for directed fishing from January 1 (January 20 for trawl gear) to April 15 (A season), and PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 the second seasonal allowance is made available from September 1 to November 1 (B season; Table 3). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1), the Regional Administrator proposes a harvest limit area (HLA) limit of no more than 60 percent of the seasonal TAC for the Western and Central Aleutian Districts. A lottery system is used for the HLA Atka mackerel directed fisheries to reduce the amount of daily catch in the HLA by about half and to disperse the fishery over two districts (see § 679.20(a)(8)(iii)). E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1 75465 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules TABLE 3 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, AND CDQ RESERVE OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2007 Seasonal allowances2 Subarea and component 2007 TAC 2007 CDQ reserve 2007 CDQ reserve HLA limit4 A season3 2007 ITAC B season3 HLA limit4 Total Total HLA limit4 Western Aleutian District Central Aleutian District EAI/BS subarea5 Jig (1%)6 Other gear (99%) 16,782 38,718 7,500 n/a n/a 1,259 2,904 563 n/a n/a 755 1,742 n/a n/a n/a 14,265 32,910 6,375 64 6,311 7,132 16,455 n/a n/a 3,156 4,279 9,873 n/a n/a n/a 7,132 16,455 n/a n/a 3,156 4,279 9,873 n/a n/a n/a Total 63,000 4,726 n/a 53,550 26,743 n/a 26,743 n/a 2008 CDQ reserve 2008 CDQ reserve HLA limit4 2008 Seasonal allowances2 Subarea and component 2008 TAC A season3 2008 ITAC B season3 HLA limit4 Total Total HLA limit4 Western Aleutian District Central Aleutian District EAI/BS subarea5 Jig (1%)6 Other gear (99%) 24,481 27,728 12,891 n/a n/a 1,836 2,080 967 n/a n/a 1,102 1,248 n/a n/a n/a 20,809 23,569 10,957 110 10,848 10,404 11,784 n/a n/a 5,424 6,243 7,071 n/a n/a n/a 10,404 11,784 n/a n/a 5,424 6,243 7,071 n/a n/a n/a Total 65,100 4,883 n/a 55,335 27,612 n/a 27,612 n/a 1 Regulations at §§ 679.20(a)(8)(ii) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 3 The A season is January 1 (January 20 for trawl gear) to April 15 and the B season is September 1 to November 1. 4 Harvest Limit Area (HLA) limit refers to the amount of each seasonal allowance that is available for fishing inside the HLA (see § 679.2). In 2007 and 2008, 60 percent of each seasonal allowance is available for fishing inside the HLA in the Western and Central Aleutian Districts. 5 Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea. 6 Regulations at § 679.20(a)(8)(i) require that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea ITAC be allocated to jig gear. The proposed amount of this allocation is 1 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. 2 Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(A), 2 percent of the Pacific cod ITAC is allocated to vessels using jig gear, 51 percent to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, and 47 percent to vessels using trawl gear. Section 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) further allocates the portion of the Pacific cod ITAC allocated to trawl gear as 50 percent to catcher vessels and 50 percent to catcher/processors. Section 679.20(a)(7)(i)(C)(1) sets aside a portion of the Pacific cod ITAC allocated to hook-and-line or pot gear as an ICA of Pacific cod in directed fisheries for groundfish using these gear types. The Regional Administrator proposes an ICA of 500 mt for 2007 and 2008 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. The remainder of the Pacific cod ITAC is further allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear as the following DFAs: 80 percent to hookand-line catcher/processors, 0.3 percent VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 to hook-and-line catcher vessels, 3.3 percent to pot catcher/processors, 15 percent to pot catcher vessels, and 1.4 percent to catcher vessels under 60 feet (18.3 m) length overall (LOA) using hook-and-line or pot gear. Due to concerns about the potential impact of the Pacific cod fishery on Steller sea lions and their critical habitat, the Pacific cod ITAC is apportioned into seasonal allowances to disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see §§ 679.20(a)(7)(iii)(A) and 679.23(e)(5)). For pot and most hook-and-line gear, the first seasonal allowance of 60 percent of the ITAC is made available for directed fishing from January 1 to June 10, and the second seasonal allowance of 40 percent of the ITAC is made available from June 10 (September 1 for pot gear) to December 31. No seasonal harvest constraints are imposed on the Pacific cod fishery by catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 For trawl gear, the first season is January 20 to April 1 and is allocated 60 percent of the ITAC. The second season, April 1 to June 10, and the third season, June 10 to November 1, are each allocated 20 percent of the ITAC. The trawl catcher vessel allocation is further allocated as 70 percent in the first season, 10 percent in the second season, and 20 percent in the third season. The trawl catcher/ processor allocation is allocated 50 percent in the first season, 30 percent in the second season, and 20 percent in the third season. For jig gear, the first and third seasonal allowances are each allocated 40 percent of the ITAC and the second seasonal allowance is allocated 20 percent of the ITAC. Table 4 lists the 2007 and 2008 proposed allocations and seasonal apportionments of the Pacific cod ITAC. In accordance with § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(D) and (a)(7)(iii)(B), any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance will become available at the beginning of the next seasonal allowance. E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1 VerDate Aug<31>2005 51 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 Hook-and-line/ pot sub-total PO 00000 n/a Frm 00035 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 1.4 1,021 10,944 2,408 219 58,370 n/a 500 n/a 2007 Share of gear sector total n/a E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 2 15DEP1 Total 144,045 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a Jan 1-Apr 30 Apr 30-Aug 31 Aug 31-Dec 31 Jan 20-Apr 1 Apr 1-Jun 10 Jun 10-Nov 1 Jan 20-Apr 1 Apr 1- Jun 10 Jun 10-Nov 1 n/a n/a Jan 1-Jun 10 Sept 1-Dec 31 Jan 1-Jun 10 Sept 1-Dec 31 Jan 1-Jun 10 Jun 10-Dec 31 Jan 1-Jun 10 Jun 10-Dec 31 Date n/a 1,153 576 1,152 23,695 3,385 6,771 16,925 10,155 6,771 n/a n/a 6,567 4,377 1,445 963 131 88 35,022 23,348 n/a n/a n/a Amount 2007 Seasonal apportionment1 118,049 2,361 55,483 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 59,705 n/a 60,205 2008 Share of gear sector total n/a n/a 50 50 n/a 1.4 15 3.3 0.3 80 n/a n/a n/a 2008 Subtotal percentages for gear sectors n/a n/a 27,742 27,742 n/a 836 8,956 1,970 179 47,764 n/a 500 n/a 2008 Share of gear sector total n/a n/a n/a n/a Jan 1-Apr 30 Apr 30-Aug 31 Aug 31-Dec 31 Jan 20-Apr 1Apr 1-Jun 10 Jun 10-Nov 1 Jan 20-Apr 1 Apr 1- Jun 10 Jun 10-Nov 1 n/a n/a Jan 1-Jun 10 Sept 1-Dec 31 Jan 1-Jun 10 Sept 1-Dec 31 Jan 1-Jun 10 Jun 10-Dec 31 Jan 1-Jun 10 Jun 10-Dec 31 Date n/a 945 472 944 19,419 2,774 5,549 13,871 8,322 5,549 n/a n/a 5,373 3,582 1,182 788 107 72 28,658 19,106 n/a n/a n/a Amount 2008 Seasonal apportionment1 For most non-trawl gear the first season is allocated 60 percent of the ITAC and the second season is allocated 40 percent of the ITAC. For jig gear, the first and third seasons are each allocated 40 percent of the ITAC and the second season is allocated 20 percent of the ITAC. No seasonal harvest constraints are imposed for the Pacific cod fishery by catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. For trawl gear, the first season is allocated 60 percent of the ITAC and the second and third seasons are each allocated 20 percent of the ITAC. The trawl catcher vessels’ allocation is further allocated as 70 percent in the first season, 10 percent in the second season and 20 percent in the third season. The trawl catcher/processors’ allocation is allocated 50 percent in the first season, 30 percent in the second season and 20 percent in the third season. Any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance will be reapportioned to the next seasonal allowance. 1 100 Jig 2,881 50 Trawl CP 33,851 33,851 50 67,701 n/a 15 3.3 0.3 80 n/a n/a n/a 2007 Subtotal percentages for gear sectors Total Trawl Gear Trawl CV 47 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 72,963 n/a 73,463 2007 Share of gear sector total n/a CV < 60 feet LOA using Hook-andline or Pot gear n/a Pot C/P Pot CV n/a Hook-and-line CV n/a n/a Hook-and-line/ pot ICA Hook-and-line C/P n/a Total hookand-line/pot gear Percent [Amounts are in metric tons] TABLE 4 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD ITAC Gear sector jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES 75466 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules Sablefish Gear Allocation Sections 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) require the allocation of sablefish TACs for the Bering Sea and AI subareas between trawl gear and hook-and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TACs for the Bering Sea subarea are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear and for the AI subarea are 25 percent for trawl gear and 75 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii)(B) requires apportionment of 20 percent of the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish to the CDQ reserve. The Council recommended that only trawl sablefish TAC be established biennially. The harvest specifications for the hookand-line gear and pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fisheries will be limited to the 2007 fishing year to ensure those fisheries are conducted concurrent with the halibut IFQ fishery. 75467 Concurrent sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries would reduce the potential for discards of halibut and sablefish in those fisheries. The sablefish IFQ fisheries would remain closed at the beginning of each fishing year until the final harvest specifications for the sablefish IFQ fisheries are in effect. Table 5 lists the 2007 and 2008 proposed gear allocations of the sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts. TABLE 5 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED GEAR SHARES AND CDQ RESERVE OF BSAI SABLEFISH TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Subarea and gear Percent of TAC Bering Sea Trawl Hook-and-line/pot gear2 2007 Share of TAC 2007 ITAC1 2007 CDQ reserve 2008 Share of TAC 2008 ITAC 2008 CDQ reserve 50 50 1,120 n/a 952 n/a 0 n/a 2,580 1,097 258 2,240 952 0 655 1,965 557 n/a 0 393 565 n/a 480 n/a 0 n/a 100 TOTAL 0 258 25 75 Aleutian Islands Trawl Hook-and-line/pot gear2 1,097 n/a 100 TOTAL 1,290 1,290 2,620 557 393 2,260 480 0 1 Except for the sablefish hook-and-line or pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the reserve. The ITAC is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. 2 For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, 20 percent of the allocated TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants. Regulations in § 679.20(b)(1) do not provide for the establishment of an ITAC for sablefish allocated to hook-and-line or pot gear. jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES Allocation of PSC Limits for Halibut, Crab, Salmon, and Herring Section 679.21(e) sets forth the BSAI PSC limits. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(v) and (e)(2)(i) the BSAI halibut mortality limits are 3,675 mt for trawl fisheries and 900 mt for the non-trawl fisheries. Section 679.21(e)(1)(i) allocates 7.5 percent of these halibut mortality limits as the proposed PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program. Section 679.21(e)(1)(vii) specifies 29,000 fish as the 2007 and 2008 proposed Chinook salmon PSC limit for the Bering Sea subarea pollock fishery. Section 679.21(e)(1)(i) allocates 7.5 percent, or 2,175 Chinook salmon, as the proposed PSQ for the CDQ program and allocates the remaining 26,825 Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries. Section 679.21(e)(1)(ix) specifies 700 fish as the 2007 and 2008 proposed Chinook salmon PSC limit for the AI subarea pollock fishery. Section 679.21(e)(1)(i) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, as the proposed AI subarea PSQ for the CDQ program and allocates the remaining 647 Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries. Section 679.21(e)(1)(viii) specifies 42,000 fish as the 2007 and 2008 proposed nonChinook salmon PSC limit. Section 679.21(e)(1)(i) allocates 7.5 percent, or VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 3,150 non-Chinook salmon, as the proposed PSQ for the CDQ program and allocates the remaining 38,850 nonChinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries. PSC limits for crab and herring are specified annually based on abundance and spawning biomass. Due to the lack of new information in October 2006 regarding PSC limits and apportionments, the Council recommended and NMFS proposes using the crab and herring 2006 and 2007 PSC limits and apportionments for the proposed 2007 and 2008 limits and apportionments. The Council will reconsider these amounts in December 2006, based on recommendations by the Plan Team and the SSC. The red king crab mature female abundance is estimated from the 2004 survey data at 35.4 million crabs and the effective spawning biomass is estimated at 61.9 million pounds (28,077 mt). Based on the criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(ii), the 2007 and 2008 proposed PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl gear is 197,000 animals. This limit results from the mature female abundance being above 8.4 million king crabs and of the effective spawning biomass estimate being greater than 55 million pounds (24,948 mt). PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Section 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B) establishes criteria under which NMFS must specify an annual red king crab bycatch limit for the Red King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS). The regulations limit the RKCSS to up to 35 percent of the trawl bycatch allowance specified for the rock sole/flathead sole/‘‘other flatfish’’ fishery category based on the need to optimize the groundfish harvest relative to red king crab bycatch. The Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, a red king crab bycatch limit equal to 35 percent of the trawl bycatch allowance specified for the rock sole/ flathead sole/‘‘other flatfish’’ fishery category within the RKCSS. Based on 2004 survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) abundance is estimated at 437.41 million crabs. Given the criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(iii), the 2007 and 2008 proposed C. bairdi crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 980,000 animals in Zone 1 and 2,970,000 animals in Zone 2. These limits result from the C. bairdi crab abundance estimate of over 400 million crabs. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(iv), the PSC limit for snow crab (C. opilio) is based on total abundance as indicated by the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey. The C. opilio crab PSC limit is set at 0.1133 percent of the Bering Sea abundance index. Based on the 2004 survey E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1 75468 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules estimate of 4.421 billion crabs, the calculated limit is 5,008,993 animals. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(iv)(A), the 2007 and 2008 proposed C. opilio crab PSC limit is 4,858,993 animals (5,008,993 animals minus 150,000 animals). Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(i), 7.5 percent of each PSC limit specified for crab is allocated as a PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(vi), the proposed PSC limit of Pacific herring caught while conducting any trawl operation for groundfish in the BSAI is 1 percent of the annual eastern Bering Sea herring biomass. The best estimate of 2006 and 2007 herring biomass is 201,180 mt. This amount was derived using 2005 survey data and an agestructured biomass projection model developed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Therefore, the proposed herring PSC limit for 2007 and 2008 is 2,012 mt. Section 679.21(e)(3) requires the apportionment of each trawl PSC limit into PSC bycatch allowances for seven specified fishery categories. Section 679.21(e)(4)(ii) authorizes the apportionment of the non-trawl halibut PSC limit into PSC bycatch allowances for five fishery categories. Table 6 lists the proposed fishery bycatch allowances for the trawl and non-trawl fisheries. Section 679.21(e)(4)(ii) authorizes the exemption of specified non-trawl fisheries from the halibut PSC limit. As in past years, NMFS, after consultation with the Council, proposes to exempt pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories from halibut bycatch restrictions because (1) the pot gear fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality, (2) halibut mortality for the jig gear fleet is assumed to be negligible although it cannot be estimated because these vessels do not carry observers, and (3) the sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality because the IFQ program (subpart D of 50 CFR part 679) requires legal-sized halibut to be retained by vessels using hook-and-line gear if a halibut IFQ permit holder or a hired master is aboard and is holding unused halibut IFQ. In 2006, total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the BSAI was approximately 19,721 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch mortality of about 5 mt. The 2006 groundfish jig gear fishery harvested about 84 mt of groundfish. Most vessels in the jig gear fleet are less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA and are exempt from observer coverage requirements. As a result, observer data are not available on halibut bycatch in the jig gear fishery. However, a negligible amount of halibut bycatch mortality is assumed because of the selective nature of jig gear and the likelihood that halibut caught with jig gear have a high survival rate when released. Section 679.21(e)(5) authorizes NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to establish seasonal apportionments of PSC amounts in order to maximize the ability of the fleet to harvest the available groundfish TAC and to minimize bycatch. The factors to be considered are: (1) seasonal distribution of prohibited species, (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish species, (3) PSC bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relevant to prohibited species biomass, (4) expected variations in bycatch rates throughout the year, (5) expected start of fishing effort, and (6) economic effects of seasonal PSC apportionments on industry sectors. The final 2006 and 2007 harvest specifications (71 FR 10894, March 3, 2006) summarized the Council and NMFS’ findings with respect to each of these FMP considerations. The Council and NMFS’ findings for 2007 and 2008 are unchanged from 2006. NMFS proposes the Council’s recommendations listed in Table 6. TABLE 6 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR THE BSAI TRAWL AND NON-TRAWL FISHERIES Prohibited species and zone Trawl fisheries Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Red King Crab (animals) Zone 11 Herring (mt) BSAI C. opilio (animals) COBLZ1 C. bairdi (animals) Zone 11 Zone 21 Yellowfin sole January 20 - April 1 April 1 - May 21 May 21 - July 1 July 1 - December 31 Rock sole/other flat/flathead sole2,6 January 20 - April 1 April 1 - July 1 July 1 - December 31 Turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish3 Rockfish July 1 - December 31 Pacific cod Midwater trawl pollock Pollock/Atka mackerel/other4 Red King Crab Savings Subarea6 (non-pelagic trawl) 886 262 195 49 380 779 448 164 167 ....... ....... 69 1,434 ....... 232 ....... ....... 183 ....... ....... ....... ....... 27 ....... ....... ....... 12 ....... 10 27 1,562 192 ....... ....... 33,843 ....... ....... ....... ....... 121,413 ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... 26,563 ....... 406 ....... 42,495 3,101,915 ....... ....... ....... ....... 1,082,528 ....... ....... ....... 44,946 ....... 44,945 139,331 ....... 80,903 ....... ....... 340,844 ....... ....... ....... ....... 365,320 ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... 183,112 ....... 17,224 ....... ....... 1,788,459 ....... ....... ....... ....... 596,154 ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... 10,988 324,176 ....... 27,473 ....... ....... Total trawl PSC 3,400 2,012 182,225 4,494,569 906,500 2,747,250 775 320 0 455 58 58 ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... ....... jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES Non-trawl fisheries Pacific cod - Total January 1 - June 10 June 10 - August 15 August 15 - December 31 Other non-trawl - Total May 1 - December 31 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules 75469 TABLE 6 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR THE BSAI TRAWL AND NON-TRAWL FISHERIES—Continued Prohibited species and zone Trawl fisheries Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Groundfish pot and jig Sablefish hook-and-line Red King Crab (animals) Zone 11 Herring (mt) BSAI C. opilio (animals) COBLZ1 C. bairdi (animals) Zone 11 Zone 21 exempt exempt Total non-trawl PSC 833 PSQ reserve5 342 ....... 14,775 364,424 73,500 222,750 4,575 2,012 197,000 4,858,993 980,000 2,970,000 PSC grand total 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. 2 ″Other flatfish″ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except halibut (a prohibited species), Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, and arrowtooth flounder. 3 Greenland turbot, arrowtooth flounder, and sablefish fishery category. 4 Pollock other than pelagic trawl pollock, Atka mackerel, and ″other species″ fishery category. 5 With the exception of herring, 7.5 percent of each PSC limit is allocated to the CDQ program as PSQ reserve. The PSQ reserve is not allocated by fishery, gear, or season. 6 In October 2006, the Council recommended that red king crab bycatch for trawl fisheries within the RKCSS be limited to 35 percent of the total allocation to the rock sole/flathead sole/″other flatfish″ fishery category (see § 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)). jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES Halibut Discard Mortality Rates To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut bycatch rates, discard mortality rates (DMR), and estimates of groundfish catch to project when a fishery’s halibut bycatch mortality allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. The DMRs are based on the best information available, including information contained in the annual SAFE report. The Council recommended and NMFS proposes that the halibut DMRs developed and recommended by staff of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) for the 2007 and 2008 BSAI groundfish fisheries be used for monitoring the 2007 and 2008 proposed halibut bycatch allowances (see Table 7). The BSAI DMRs proposed for 2007 and 2008 are revised from those used in 2006. The IPHC developed these DMRs using the 10–year mean DMRs for the BSAI non-CDQ groundfish fisheries. The IPHC will analyze observer data annually and recommend changes to the DMRs where a fishery DMR shows large variation from the mean. The IPHC has been calculating DMRs for the CDQ fisheries since 1998, and a 10–year mean is not yet available. Until 10 years of data from CDQ fishing has been collected, recommendations will be based on averaging all available data. A copy of the document justifying these DMRs is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES) and will be discussed in Appendix A of the final 2006 SAFE report to be released November 2006. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 TABLE 7 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED ASSUMED PACIFIC HALIBUT DISCARD MORTALITY RATES FOR THE BSAI FISHERIES Halibut mortality (percent) 13 Sablefish 75 Yellowfin sole 80 11 11 Other species 7 Pacific cod Rockfish 17 Pacific cod 7 Atka mackerel 76 Atka mackerel 86 Flathead sole 70 Flathead sole 70 Greenland turbot 70 Non-pelagic pollock 85 Non-pelagic pollock 74 Pelagic pollock 90 Pelagic pollock 88 Rockfish 76 74 Yellowfin sole 86 Other flatfish 70 Greenland turbot 13 Other species Pacific cod 10 Pacific cod 70 CDQ pot Pacific cod 7 Rockfish 76 CDQ pot Sablefish Rock sole Hook-and-line Fishery Other species Gear Fishery Halibut mortality (percent) Greenland turbot TABLE 7 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED ASSUMED PACIFIC HALIBUT DISCARD MORTALITY RATES FOR THE BSAI FISHERIES—Continued 80 Gear Pot Trawl PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 CDQ trawl CDQ hookand-line E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1 34 75470 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules Amendment 68 Sideboards Section 802 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 (Public Law 108–199; Section 802) grants NMFS specific statutory authority to manage the Central Gulf of Alaska rockfish fisheries. The Council adopted a Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Pilot Program (Rockfish Program) to meet the requirements of Section 802 on June 6, 2005. The elements of the Rockfish Program are discussed in detail in the proposed and final rules to Amendment 68 to the FMP for Groundfish of the GOA (71 FR 33040, June 7, 2006 and 71 FR 67210, November 20, 2006). The Council submitted Amendment 68 to NMFS and the Secretary approved it on August 11, 2006. Based on the final rule for Amendment 68 (71 FR 67210, November 20, 2006), the final harvest specifications also will establish sideboard measures including prohibitions on catcher vessels fishing specific groundfish fisheries in the BSAI and limitations on fishing Pacific cod in the BSAI during July. The basis for the fishing prohibitions and the BSAI catcher vessel Pacific cod sideboard limit is described in detail in the final rule for Amendment 68 (71 FR 67210, November 20, 2006). The BSAI catcher vessel Pacific cod sideboard limit would be 0.0 mt, and this would effectively close directed fishing for BSAI Pacific cod in July for catcher vessels under the Rockfish Program sideboard limitations. Listed AFA Catcher/Processor Sideboard Limits According to § 679.64(a), the Regional Administrator will restrict the ability of listed AFA catcher/processors to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the directed pollock fishery. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rule implementing major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002). Table 8 lists the 2007 and 2008 proposed catcher/processor sideboard limits. All groundfish other than pollock that are caught by listed AFA catcher/ processors, whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be deducted from the proposed sideboard limits in Table 8. However, groundfish other than pollock that are delivered to listed catcher/processors by catcher vessels will not be deducted from the 2007 and 2008 proposed sideboard limits for the listed catcher/processors. TABLE 8 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED LISTED BSAI AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER/PROCESSOR GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Amounts are in metric tons] 1995 - 1997 Target species Pacific cod trawl Sablefish trawl Atka mackerel Yellowfin sole Rock sole Greenland turbot Arrowtooth flounder Flathead sole Alaska plaice Other flatfish Pacific ocean perch Northern rockfish Shortraker rockfish Rougheye rockfish Other rockfish jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES Squid Other species Area BSAI BS AI Western Aleutian A season1 HLA limit2 B season1 HLA limit Central Aleutian A season1 HLA limit B season HLA limit BSAI BSAI BS AI BSAI BSAI BSAI BSAI BS Western Aleutian Central Aleutian Eastern Aleutian BSAI BSAI BSAI BS AI BSAI BSAI Retained catch Total catch Ratio of retained catch to total catch 2007 Proposed ITAC available to trawl C/Ps 2007 Proposed C/P sideboard limit 2008 Proposed ITAC available to trawl C/Ps 2008 Proposed C/P sideboard limit 12,424 8 0 48,177 497 145 0.258 0.016 0.000 33,851 1,097 557 8,734 18 0 27,742 952 480 7,157 15 0 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 0.200 n/a 0.200 n/a 7,132 4,279 7,132 4,279 1,426 856 1,426 856 10,404 6,242 10,404 6,242 2,081 1,248 2,081 1,248 n/a n/a n/a n/a 100,192 6,317 121 23 76 1,925 14 3,058 12 54 3 125 91 50 50 18 22 73 553 n/a n/a n/a n/a 435,788 169,362 17,305 4,987 33,987 52,755 9,438 52,298 4,879 13,598 5,698 6,179 13,040 2,811 2,811 621 806 3,328 68,672 0.115 n/a 0.115 n/a 0.230 0.037 0.007 0.005 0.002 0.036 0.001 0.058 0.002 0.004 0.001 0.020 0.007 0.018 0.018 0.029 0.027 0.022 0.008 16,455 9,873 16,455 9,873 99,535 72,876 1,543 693 17,000 18,700 27,200 4,250 2,567 4,659 2,785 2,824 4,250 493 190 689 502 1,084 34,765 1,892 1,135 1,892 1,135 22,893 2,696 11 3 34 673 27 247 5 19 3 56 30 9 3 20 14 24 278 11,784 7,070 11,784 7,070 90,440 94,860 1,543 693 123,080 44,370 110,191 15,385 2,567 4,659 2,785 2,824 4,250 493 190 689 502 1,675 29,750 1,355 813 1,355 813 20,801 3,510 11 3 246 1,597 110 892 5 19 3 56 30 9 3 20 14 37 238 1 The seasonal apportionment of Atka mackerel in the open access fishery is 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. Listed AFA catcher/processors are limited to harvesting no more than zero in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea, 20 percent of the annual TAC specified for the Western Aleutian District, and 11.5 percent of the annual TAC specified for the Central Aleutian District. 2 Harvest Limit Area (HLA) limit refers to the amount of each seasonal allowance that is available for fishing inside the HLA (see § 679.2). In 2007 and 2008, 60 percent of each seasonal allowance is available for fishing inside the HLA in the Western and Central Aleutian Districts. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules Section 679.64(a)(5) establishes a formula for PSC sideboard limits for listed AFA catcher/processors. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rule implementing major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002). PSC species listed in Table 9 that are caught by listed AFA catcher/processors participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue against the 2007 and 2008 proposed PSC sideboard limits for the listed AFA catcher/processors. Section 679.21(e)(3)(v) authorizes NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for listed AFA catcher/processors once a 2006 or 2007 proposed PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 9 is reached. 75471 Crab or halibut PSC caught by listed AFA catcher/processors while fishing for pollock will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/Atka mackerel/‘‘other species’’ fishery categories according to regulations at § 679.21(e)(3)(iv). TABLE 9– 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED BSAI AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT LISTED CATCHER/PROCESSOR PROHIBITED SPECIES SIDEBOARD LIMITS1 1995 – 1997 PSC Species PSC Halibut mortality Red king crab C. opilio C. bairdi Zone 12 Zone 22 Ratio of PSC to total PSC Total PSC 2007 and 2008 Proposed PSC available to trawl vessels 2007 and 2008 Proposed C/P sideboard limit 995 3,098 2,323,731 11,325 473,750 15,139,178 0.084 0.007 0.153 3,400 182,225 4,494,569 286 1,276 687,669 385,978 406,860 2,750,000 8,100,000 0.140 0.050 906,500 2,747,2250 126,910 137,363 1Halibut 2Refer mortality amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. AFA Catcher Vessel Sideboard Limits Pursuant to § 679.64(b), the Regional Administrator restricts the ability of AFA catcher vessels to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the directed pollock fishery. Section 679.64(b) establishes formulas for setting AFA catcher vessel groundfish and PSC sideboard limits for the BSAI. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rule implementing major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002). Tables 10 and 11 list the 2007 and 2008 proposed catcher vessel sideboard limits. All catch of groundfish sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA catcher vessels, whether as targeted catch or as incidental catch, will be deducted from the 2007 and 2008 proposed sideboard limits listed in Table 10. TABLE 10 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED BSAI AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Amounts are in metric tons] Fishery by area/ season/ processor/ gear Species Pacific cod Sablefish jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES Atka mackerel VerDate Aug<31>2005 Ratio of 19951997 AFA CV catch to 19951997 TAC BSAI Jig gear Hook-and-line CV Jan 1 - Jun 10 Jun 10 - Dec 31 Pot gear CV Jan 1 - Jun 10 Sept 1 - Dec 31 CV < 60 feet LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear Trawl gear CV Jan 20 - Apr 1 Apr 1 - Jun 1 Jun 10 - Nov 1 BS trawl gear AI trawl gear Eastern Aleutian/BS Jig gear Other gear Jan 1 - Apr 15 Sept 1 - Nov 1 Central Aleutian Jan 1 - Apr 15 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 2007 Proposed catcher vessel sideboard limits 2007 Proposed initial TAC 2008 Proposed initial TAC 2008 Proposed catcher vessel sideboard limits 0.0000 2,881 0 2,361 0 0.0006 0.0006 131 88 0 0 107 72 0 0 0.0006 0.0006 0.0006 6,567 4,377 1,021 4 3 1 5,373 3,582 836 3 2 1 0.8609 0.8609 0.8609 0.0906 0.0645 23,695 3,385 6,771 1,097 557 20,399 2,914 5,829 99 36 19,419 2,774 5,549 952 480 16,718 2,388 4,777 86 31 0.0031 64 0 110 0 0.0032 0.0032 3,156 3,156 10 10 5,424 5,424 17 17 0.0001 16,455 2 11,784 1 Frm 00040 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1 75472 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules TABLE 10 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED BSAI AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL SIDEBOARD LIMITS—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] Fishery by area/ season/ processor/ gear Species Yellowfin sole Rock sole Greenland Turbot Arrowtooth flounder Alaska plaice Other flatfish Pacific ocean perch Northern rockfish Shortraker rockfish Rougheye rockfish Other rockfish Squid Other species Flathead Sole Ratio of 19951997 AFA CV catch to 19951997 TAC HLA limit Sept 1 - Nov 1 HLA limit Western Aleutian Jan 1 - Apr 15 HLA limit Sept 1 - Nov 1 HLA limit BSAI BSAI BS AI BSAI BSAI BSAI BS Eastern Aleutian Central Aleutian Western Aleutian BSAI BSAI BSAI BS AI BSAI BSAI BS trawl gear 2007 Proposed catcher vessel sideboard limits 2007 Proposed initial TAC 2008 Proposed initial TAC 2008 Proposed catcher vessel sideboard limits 0.0001 0.0001 0.0001 1 2 1 7,071 11,784 7,071 1 1 1 0.0000 n/a 0.0000 n/a 0.0647 0.0341 0.0645 0.0205 0.0690 0.0441 0.0441 0.1000 0.0077 0.0025 0.0000 0.0084 0.0037 0.0037 0.0048 0.0095 0.3827 0.0541 0.0505 Halibut and crab PSC listed in Table 11 that are caught by AFA catcher vessels participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue against the 2007 and 2008 proposed PSC sideboard limits for the AFA catcher vessels. Sections 679.21(d)(8) and 9,873 16,455 9,873 7,132 4,279 7,132 4,279 99,535 72,876 1,543 693 17,000 27,200 4,250 2,567 2,824 2,785 4,659 4,250 493 190 689 502 1,084 34,765 17,000 0 0 0 0 6,440 2,485 100 14 1,173 1,200 187 257 22 7 0 36 2 1 3 5 415 1,881 859 10,404 6,243 10,404 6,243 90,440 94,860 1,543 693 123,080 110,191 15,385 2,567 2,824 2,785 4,659 4,250 493 190 689 502 1,675 29,750 43,010 0 0 0 0 5,851 3,235 100 14 8,493 4,859 678 257 22 7 0 36 2 1 3 5 641 1,609 2,172 (e)(3)(v) provide authority to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for AFA catcher vessels once a 2007 and 2008 proposed PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 11 is reached. The PSC caught by AFA catcher vessels while fishing for pollock in the BSAI will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/Atka mackerel/‘‘other species’’ fishery categories under regulations at § 679.21(e)(3)(iv). TABLE 11 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED BSAI AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH SIDEBOARD LIMITS1 PSC species jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES Halibut Red King Crab Zone 14 VerDate Aug<31>2005 Target fishery Ratio of 1995-1997 AFA catcher vessel groundfish retained catch to total retained catch category2 Pacific cod trawl Pacific cod hook-and-line or pot Yellowfin sole January 20-April 1 April 1-May 21 May 21-July 5 July 5-December 31 Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish5 January 20-April 1 April 1-July 5 July 5-December 31 Turbot/Arrowtooth/Sablefish Rockfish (July 1 - December 31) Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species Pacific cod Yellowfin sole Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish5 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4702 2007 and 2008 Proposed PSC limit 2007 and 2008 Proposed AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit 0.6183 0.0022 887 2 0.1144 0.1144 0.1144 0.1144 262 195 49 380 30 22 6 43 0.2841 0.2841 0.2841 0.2327 0.0245 0.0227 0.6183 0.1144 0.2841 Sfmt 4702 1,434 775 448 164 167 0 69 232 26,563 33,843 121,413 127 47 47 0 2 5 16,424 3,872 34,493 E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules 75473 TABLE 11 – 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED BSAI AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH SIDEBOARD LIMITS1—Continued PSC species C. opilio COBLZ3 C. bairdi Zone 13 C. bairdi Zone 23 Target fishery Ratio of 1995-1997 AFA catcher vessel groundfish retained catch to total retained catch category2 Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species Pacific cod Yellowfin sole Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish5 Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species Rockfish Turbot/Arrowtooth/Sablefishs Pacific cod Yellowfin sole Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish5 Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species Pacific cod Yellowfin sole Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish5 Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species Rockfish 2007 and 2008 Proposed PSC limit 2007 and 2008 Proposed AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit 0.0227 0.6183 0.1144 0.2841 406 139,331 3,101,915 1,082,528 9 86,148 354,859 307,546 0.0227 0.0245 0.2327 0.6183 0.1144 0.2841 80,903 44,945 44,946 183,112 340,844 365,320 1,836 1,101 10,459 113,218 38,993 103,787 0.0227 0.6183 0.1144 0.2841 17,224 324,176 1,788,459 596,154 391 200,438 204,600 169,367 0.0227 0.0245 27,473 10,988 624 269 1 Halibut mortality amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. Target fishery categories are defined in regulation at § 679.21(e)(3)(iv). 3 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. 4 In October 2006, the Council recommended that red king crab bycatch for trawl fisheries within the RKCSS be limited to 35 percent of the total allocation to the rock sole/flathead sole/″other flatfish″ fishery category (see § 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)). 5 ″Other flatfish″ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, and arrowtooth flounder. jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES 2 Classification NMFS has determined that the proposed specifications are consistent with the FMP and preliminarily determined that the proposed specifications are consistent with the MSA and other applicable laws. NMFS prepared a DEIS for this action; a notice of availability was published on September 8, 2006 (71 FR 53093). The public comment period closed on October 23, 2006. The DEIS analyzes the environmental consequences of the proposed action and its alternatives on resources in the action area. The DEIS found no significant environmental consequences from the proposed action or its alternatives, however, some impacts were unknown. This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. An initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) was prepared, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A description of the action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for this action are contained at the beginning of this section in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble. A summary of the analysis follows. A copy VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 of this analysis is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The action under consideration is a harvest strategy to govern the catch of groundfish in the BSAI. The preferred alternative is the status quo harvest strategy in which TACs fall within the range of ABCs recommended by the Council’s Groundfish Plan Teams, and TACs recommended by the Council. This action is taken in accordance with the FMP prepared by the Council pursuant to the MSA. The entities directly regulated by this action are those that harvest groundfish in the EEZ of the BSAI, and in parallel fisheries within State of Alaska waters. These include entities operating catcher vessels and catcher-processor vessels within the action area, and entities receiving direct allocations of groundfish. Catcher vessels and catcher processors were considered to be small entities if they had annual gross receipts, from all of their economic activities, and including the revenue of their affiliated operations, less than or equal to $4 million per year. Data from 2004 was used because it was the most recent available. CDQ groups receive direct allocations of groundfish, and these were considered to be small entities because they are non-profit entities. The Aleut Corporation is not a small entity because it is a holding PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 company which does not meet the SBA $6 million threshold for holding companies (13 CFR 121.201). The directly regulated small entities include approximately 810 small catcher vessels, fewer than 20 small catcher/processors, and six CDQ groups. Estimates of first wholesale gross revenues for the BSAI non-CDQ and CDQ sectors were used as indices of the potential impacts of the alternative harvest strategies on small entities. Revenues were projected to decline from 2006 levels in 2007 and 2008 under the preferred alternative due to declines in ABCs for economically key groundfish species. The new provisions in the MSA governing the CDQ Program may reduce the amount of sablefish available as incidental catch by CDQ trawl vessels and directed or incidental catch by CDQ fixed gear vessels. The amounts of sablefish involved are expected to be relatively small, and may be under one percent of the annual first wholesale value of CDQ production. The preferred alternative (Alternative 2) was compared to four other alternatives. These included Alternative 1, which would set TACs to generate fishing rates equal to the maximum permissible ABC (if the full TAC were harvested), unless the sum of TACs would exceed the BSAI OY, in which E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1 75474 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 241 / Friday, December 15, 2006 / Proposed Rules jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES case TACs would be limited to the OY. Alternative 3 would set TACs to produce fishing rates equal to the most recent five-year average fishing rates. Alternative 4 would set TACs to equal the lower bound of the BSAI OY range. Alternative 5 would set TACs equal to zero. Alternative 5 is the ‘‘no action’’ alternative. Alternatives 3, 4, and 5 were all associated with smaller levels for important fishery TACs than the preferred alternative. Estimated total first wholesale gross revenues were used as an index of potential adverse impacts to small entities. As a consequence of the lower TAC levels, Alternatives 3, 4 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:16 Dec 14, 2006 Jkt 211001 and 5 all had smaller values of these first wholesale revenue indices for both non-CDQ and CDQ sectors than Alternative 2. Thus, Alternatives 3, 4 and 5 had greater adverse impacts on small entities. Alternative 1 could have higher TAC levels than Alternative 2, if the sum of the Alternative 2 TACs were less than the BSAI optimum yield (OY) level. However, Alternative 2 is expected to be associated with TACs that are equal to the statutory OY. Therefore, Alternative 1 and Alternative 2 TACs are assumed to be equal to each other, and Alternative 1 is not expected to have greater net benefits than Alternative 2 in this instance. PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting requirements, or duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any Federal rules. Adverse impacts on marine mammals resulting from fishing activities conducted under these harvest specifications are discussed in the DEIS (see ADDRESSES). Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1540(f); 1801 et seq.; 1851 note; and 3631 et seq. Dated: December 5, 2006. William T. Hogarth, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E6–21447 Filed 12–14–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\15DEP1.SGM 15DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 241 (Friday, December 15, 2006)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 75460-75474]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-21447]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 061130318-6318-01; I.D. 112706A]


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands; 2007 and 2008 Proposed Harvest Specifications for 
Groundfish

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS proposes 2007 and 2008 harvest specifications and 
prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances for the groundfish fishery of 
the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action 
is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2007 
and 2008 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of 
the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). The intended effect of this 
action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI 
in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (MSA).

DATES: Comments must be received by January 16, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional 
Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, 
Attn: Ellen Walsh. Comments may be submitted by:
     Mail to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802;
     Hand delivery to the Federal Building, 709 West 9th 
Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK;
     E-mail to 2007tacspecs@noaa.gov and include in the subject 
line the document identifier: 2007 Proposed Specifications (E-mail 
comments, with or without attachments, are limited to 5 megabytes);
     Fax to 907-586-7557; or
     Webform at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://
www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions at that site for 
submitting comments.
    Copies of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and the 
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) prepared for this action 
are available from NMFS at the mailing addresses above or from the 
Alaska Region website at https://www.fakr.noaa.gov. Copies of the final 
2005 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the 
groundfish resources of the BSAI, dated November 2005, are available 
from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), West 4th 
Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99510-2252, 907-271-2809, or from its 
website at https://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Furuness, 907-586-7228, or e-mail 
at mary.furuness@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 
implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The 
Council prepared the FMP and NMFS approved it under the MSA. General 
regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600.
    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after 
consultation with the Council, to specify annually the total allowable 
catch (TAC) for each target species and the ``other species'' category, 
the sum of which must be within the optimum yield range of 1.4 million 
to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see Sec.  679.20(a)(1)(i)). 
Regulations at Sec.  679.20(c)(1) further require NMFS to publish 
proposed harvest specifications in the Federal Register and solicit 
public comment on proposed annual TACs and apportionments thereof, PSC 
allowances and prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by 
Sec.  679.21, seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka 
mackerel TAC, and Community Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts 
established by Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(iii). The proposed harvest 
specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 11 of this action satisfy 
these requirements.
    Under Sec.  679.20(c)(3), NMFS will publish the final harvest 
specifications for 2007 and 2008 after (1) considering comments 
received within the comment period (see DATES), (2) consulting with the 
Council at its December 2006 meeting, and (3) considering new 
information presented in the DEIS and the final 2006 SAFE reports 
prepared for the 2007 and 2008 groundfish fisheries.

Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2007 and 2008 Harvest 
Specifications

    The following paragraphs identify actions that are currently under 
consideration by the Council and that, if submitted to and approved by 
the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), could change the 2007 and 2008 
final harvest specifications. The existing 2007 harvest specifications 
will be updated in early 2007 when final harvest specifications for 
2007 and new harvest specifications for 2008 are implemented.
    In April 2006, the Council adopted Amendment 85 to the FMP. 
Amendment 85 would revise the BSAI Pacific cod sector allocations. If 
approved by the Secretary, final regulations implementing Amendment 85 
are anticipated to be effective for the 2008 fishing year. In June 
2006, the Council adopted Amendment 80 to the FMP. Amendment 80 would 
provide specific groundfish allocations to the non-American Fisheries 
Act (AFA) trawl catcher/processor sector and allow the formation of 
cooperatives. If approved by the Secretary, final regulations 
implementing Amendment 80 also are anticipated to be effective for the 
2008 fishing year. The Council also adopted Amendment 84 that would 
modify current regulations for managing incidental catch of Chinook and 
chum salmon and may change the PSC limits. The Council also is 
considering two proposals. One would allocate the Pacific cod TAC by 
Bering Sea subarea and Aleutian Islands (AI) subarea instead of a 
combined BSAI TAC. The other would separate some species from the 
``other rockfish'' or ``other species'' categories so individual 
overfishing levels (OFLs), acceptable biological catch (ABCs), and TACs 
may be established.

[[Page 75461]]

Proposed ABC and TAC Harvest Specifications

    The proposed ABC levels are based on the best available biological 
information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed 
distribution of stock biomass, and revised technical methods used to 
calculate stock biomass. In general, the development of ABCs and OFLs 
involves sophisticated statistical analyses of fish populations and is 
based on a successive series of six levels, or tiers, of reliable 
information available to fishery scientists. Tier one represents the 
highest level of data quality available while tier six represents the 
lowest level of data quality available.
    Appendix A to the final SAFE report for the 2005 BSAI groundfish 
fisheries dated November 2005 (see ADDRESSES) sets forth the best 
information currently available. Information on the status of stocks 
will be updated, including the 2006 survey results, and considered by 
the Plan Team in November 2006 for the 2006 SAFE report. The 2007 and 
2008 final harvest specifications will be based on the 2006 SAFE 
report.
    In October 2006, the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), 
Advisory Panel, and the Council reviewed the Plan Team's preliminary 
projections as the basis for the 2007 and 2008 proposed ABC, OFL, and 
TAC amounts. The SSC concurred with the Plan Team's recommendations. 
For stocks in tiers 1-3, the Plan Team used 2006 estimated fishing 
mortality rates in stock projection models to estimate OFLs and ABCs 
for 2007. For Bering Sea pollock, the projection model used a tier 3 
model, but the projection used in December 2005 (as recommended by the 
SSC) used a tier 1 model. The SSC recommended that in the future 
projections should use the same approach that is approved by the 
Council in December of the previous year. The public should be aware 
that a tier 1 projection model may be used in December 2006 for Bering 
Sea pollock for ABC and OFL amounts. The Plan Team estimated 2007 TACs 
based on ABC constraints and past Council actions. The Plan Team 
estimated 2007 TACs were treated as the projected 2007 fishing 
mortality rates to derive estimates of OFLs and ABCs for 2008. For 
stocks in tiers 4-6, for which there are no population projection 
models, the Plan Team used the OFL and ABC amounts from 2006 for 2007 
and 2008.
    The Council adopted the OFL and ABC amounts recommended by the SSC 
(Table 1). The Council recommended that all the 2007 proposed TAC 
amounts be set equal to the ABC amounts except for reduced TAC amounts 
for AI subarea and Bogoslof pollock, Pacific cod, Alaska plaice, 
arrowtooth flounder, rock sole, flathead sole, ``other flatfish,'' 
northern rockfish, Atka mackerel, squid, and ``other species.'' The 
Council recommended that all the 2008 proposed TAC amounts be set equal 
to the ABC amounts except for TAC decreases for AI subarea and Bogoslof 
pollock, Pacific cod, sablefish, Alaska plaice, northern rockfish, and 
``other species.'' As in previous years, the Plan Team, Advisory Panel, 
SSC, and Council recommended that total removals of Pacific cod from 
the BSAI not exceed ABC recommendations. Accordingly, the Council 
recommended that the 2007 and 2008 Pacific cod TACs be adjusted 
downward from the ABCs by amounts equal to 3 percent of the ABC. This 
adjustment is necessary to account for the guideline harvest level 
(GHL) established for Pacific cod by the State of Alaska (State) for a 
State-managed fishery that occurs in State waters in the AI subarea. 
Finally, the Council recommended using the 2006 and 2007 PSC allowances 
for the 2007 and 2008 proposed PSC allowances. The Council will 
reconsider the OFL, ABC, TAC, and PSC amounts in December 2006 after 
the Plan Team incorporates new status of groundfish stocks information 
into a final 2006 SAFE report for the 2007 and 2008 BSAI groundfish 
fishery. None of the Council's recommended proposed TACs for 2007 or 
2008 exceeds the recommended 2007 or 2008 proposed ABC for any species 
category. NMFS finds the Council's recommended 2007 and 2008 proposed 
OFL, ABC, and TAC amounts consistent with the best available 
information on the biological condition of the groundfish stocks.
    On July 11, 2006, the President signed the Coast Guard and Maritime 
Transportation Act of 2006 (Coast Guard Act). Section 416(a) of the 
Coast Guard Act revises section 305(i)(1) of the MSA (16 U.S.C. 
1855(i)(1)) by replacing all of the existing language in this section 
with new language. New section 305(i)(1)(B)(i) of the MSA addresses 
allocations to the CDQ Program. It requires that ``the annual 
percentage of the total allowable catch, guideline harvest level, or 
other annual catch limit allocated to the program in each directed 
fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands shall be the percentage 
approved by the Secretary, or established by Federal law, as of March 
1, 2006, for the program.''
    Prior to these amendments, section 305(i)(1)(A) of the MSA stated 
that ``a percentage of the total allowable catch of any Bering Sea 
fishery is allocated to the program.'' Since 1998, NMFS has allocated 
to the CDQ Program a percentage of each groundfish TAC category, except 
squid. The allocation of squid to the CDQ Program was discontinued in 
2001 under Amendment 66 to the FMP (45 FR 13672, March 7, 2001).
    As a result of the changes to section 305(i)(1), the MSA requires 
apportionments to the CDQ reserves of those directed fishery TAC 
categories for which a percentage was approved by the Secretary or 
established by Federal law as of March 1, 2006. In 2006, the only TAC 
category for which a percentage was not approved or established for the 
CDQ Program was squid. Therefore, squid would continue to not be 
allocated to the CDQ Program. For the TAC categories other than squid, 
those that did not have a directed fishery in the BSAI in 2006 were 
Bogoslof pollock, trawl sablefish, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, 
northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ``other 
rockfish,'' and ``other species.'' Therefore, based on NMFS' 
interpretation of the MSA, apportionments from these TAC categories to 
the CDQ Program will no longer be made. Catch in the CDQ fisheries of 
species in TAC categories that are not allocated to the CDQ Program 
will be managed under the regulations and fishery status that applies 
to the TAC category in the non-CDQ groundfish fisheries. Retention of 
species closed to directed fishing would either be limited to maximum 
retainable amounts or all catch of the species would be required to be 
discarded. Notices of closures to directed fishing and retention 
requirements for these species would apply to the CDQ and non-CDQ 
sectors. The catch of these species in the CDQ fisheries would not 
constrain the catch of other CDQ species unless catch by all sectors 
approached an OFL.
    Table 1 lists the 2007 and 2008 proposed OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC 
(ITAC), and CDQ amounts for groundfish in the BSAI. The proposed 
apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and seasons is discussed 
below.

[[Page 75462]]



  TABLE 1 - 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE
                                                                                             BSAI\1\
                                                                                  [Amounts are in metric tons]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                 2007                                                                      2008
           Species                  Area     ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   OFL            ABC            TAC          ITAC\2\         CDQ\3\          OFL            ABC            TAC          ITAC\2\       CDQ\3\
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock\4\                     BS\2\          1,707,000      1,419,800       1,419,800     1,277,820      141,980        1,418,100      1,168,700      1,168,700      1,051,830     116,870
                               AI\2\          39,100         29,400         19,000         17,100         1,900          39,100         29,400         19,000         17,100        1,900
                               Bogoslof       50,600         5,500          10             10             0              50,600         5,500          10             10            0
Pacific cod                    BSAI           176,100        148,500        144,045        122,438        10,803         144,900        121,700        118,049        100,342       8,854
Sablefish\5\                   BS             3,080          2,580          2,580          1,097          258            2,680          2,240          2,240          952           n/a
                               AI             3,120          2,620          2,620          557            393            2,720          2,260          2,260          480           n/a
Atka mackerel                  BSAI           107,300        90,900         63,000         53,550         4,725          75,200         65,100         65,100         55,335        4,883
                               WAI            n/a            34,182         16,782         14,265         1,259          n/a            24,481         24,481         20,809        1,836
                               CAI            n/a            38,718         38,718         32,910         2,904          n/a            27,728         27,728         23,569        2,080
                               EAI/BS         n/a            18,000         7,500          6,375          563            n/a            12,891         12,891         10,957        967
Yellowfin sole                 BSAI           138,900        117,100        117,100        99,535         8,783          126,200        106,400        106,400        90,440        7,980
Rock sole                      BSAI           146,000        122,500        85,736         72,876         6,430          133,100        111,600        111,600        94,860        8,370
Greenland turbot               BSAI           18,300         2,630          2,630          2,236          197            17,500         2,630          2,630          2,236         197
                               BS             n/a            1,815          1,815          1,543          136            n/a            1,815          1,815          1,543         136
                               AI             n/a            815            815            693            61             n/a            815            815            693           61
Arrowtooth flounder            BSAI           172,200        140,500        20,000         17,000         1,500          177,400        144,800        144,800        123,080       10,860
Flathead sole                  BSAI           67,100         55,900         22,000         18,700         1,650          62,700         52,200         52,200         44,370        3,915
Other flatfish\6\              BSAI           24,200         18,100         5,000          4,250          375            24,200         18,100         18,100         15,385        1,358
Alaska plaice                  BSAI           227,100        180,200        32,000         27,200         2,400          218,400        173,200        129,637        110,191       9,723
Pacific ocean perch            BSAI           17,900         15,100         15,100         12,835         n/a            17,900         15,100         15,100         12,835        n/a
                               BS             n/a            3,020          3,020          2,567          0              n/a            3,020          3,020          2,567         0
                               WAI            n/a            5,481          5,481          4,659          411            n/a            5,481          5,481          4,659         411
                               CAI            n/a            3,277          3,277          2,785          246            n/a            3,277          3,277          2,785         246
                               EAI            n/a            3,322          3,322          2,824          249            n/a            3,322          3,322          2,824         249
Northern rockfish              BSAI           10,100         8,500          5,000          4,250          0              10,000         8,500          5,000          4,250         0
Shortraker rockfish            BSAI           774            580            580            493            0              774            580            580            493           0
Rougheye rockfish              BSAI           299            224            224            190            0              299            224            224            190           0
Other rockfish\7\              BS             1,122          810            810            689            0              1,122          810            810            689           0
                               AI             748            590            590            502            0              748            590            590            502           0
Squid                          BSAI           2,620          1,970          1,275          1,084          0              2,620          1,970          1,970          1,675         0
Other species\8\               BSAI           89,404         62,950         40,900         34,765         0              89,404         62,950         35,000         29,750        0
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL                                         3,003,067      2,426,954      2,000,000      1,769,177      182,301        2,615,667      2,094,554      2,000,000      1,756,995     175,816
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS)
  subarea includes the Bogoslof District.
\2\ Except for pollock and the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear, 15 percent of each TAC is placed in a reserve. The ITAC for each species is the remainder of the
  TAC after the subtraction of these reserves.
\3\ Except for Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ''other rockfish,'' squid, ''other species,'' and the trawl gear allocation of
  sablefish one half of the amount of the TACs placed in reserve, or 7.5 percent of the TACs, is designated as a CDQ reserve for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(iii) and
  679.31).
\4\ Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), the annual Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC after subtraction for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and the incidental catch allowance (3.35
  percent), is further allocated by sector for a directed pollock fishery as follows: inshore - 50 percent; catcher/processor - 40 percent; and motherships - 10 percent. Under Sec.
  679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the
  incidental catch allowance (1,600 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery.
\5\ The ITAC for sablefish reflected in Table 1 is for trawl gear only. Regulations at Sec.   679.20(b)(1) do not provide for the establishment of an ITAC for the hook-and-line and pot gear
  allocation for sablefish. Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(iii)(B)).
\6\ ''Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder, and Alaska
  plaice.
\7\ ''Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern, shortraker, and rougheye rockfish.
\8\ ''Other species'' includes sculpins, sharks, skates and octopus. Forage fish, as defined at Sec.   679.2, are not included in the ''other species''category.


[[Page 75463]]

Reserves and the Incidental Catch Allowance (ICA) for Pollock

    Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) of the CFR requires placement of 15 percent 
of the TAC for each target species or species group, except for pollock 
and the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish, in a non-
specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii)(A) of the CFR and section 
305(i)(1)(B)(i) of the MSA further requires the allocation of one half 
of each TAC amount that is placed in the non-specified reserve (7.5 
percent) be allocated to the groundfish CDQ reserve, with the exception 
of Bogoslof pollock, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, 
shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ``other rockfish,'' squid, 
``other species,'' and the trawl gear allocation of sablefish, as 
explained above. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii)(B) requires 20 percent of 
the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish be allocated to 
the fixed gear sablefish CDQ reserve. Sections 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), 
679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i), and 679.31(a) also require the allocation 
of 10 percent of the BSAI pollock TACs to the pollock CDQ directed 
fishing allowance. The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is 
allocated as an ICA (see Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(ii)). With the exception of 
the hook-and-line and pot gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the regulations 
do not further apportion the CDQ reserves by gear. Section 
679.21(e)(1)(i) requires withholding of 7.5 percent of each PSC limit, 
with the exception of herring, as a PSQ reserve for the CDQ fisheries. 
Sections 679.30 and 679.31 set forth the regulations governing the 
management of the CDQ and PSQ reserves.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS proposes a pollock 
ICA of 3.35 percent of the Bering Sea pollock TAC after subtraction of 
the 10 percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on NMFS' 
examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental 
catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 1999 
through 2005. During this 7-year period, the incidental catch of 
pollock ranged from a low of 2.7 percent in 2003 to a high of 5 percent 
in 1999, with a 7-year average of 3.5 percent. Because these incidental 
percentages are contingent on the relative amounts of other groundfish 
TACs, NMFS will be better able to assess the ICA amount when the 
Council makes final ABC and TAC amount recommendations in December. 
Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS proposes a 
pollock ICA of 1,600 mt for the AI subarea pollock after subtraction of 
the 10 percent CDQ directed fishing allowance. This allowance is based 
on NMFS' examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the 
incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock 
from 2003 through 2005. During this 3-year period, the incidental catch 
of pollock ranged from a low of 8 percent in 2005 to a high of 10 
percent in 2003, with a 3-year average of 8 percent.
    The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified 
reserve by species or species group, and any amount of the reserve may 
be reapportioned to a target species or the ``other species'' category 
during the year, providing that such reapportionments do not result in 
overfishing (see Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(ii)).

Allocations of Pollock TAC Under the AFA

    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that the pollock TAC 
apportioned to the Bering Sea subarea, after subtraction of 10 percent 
for the CDQ program and 3.35 percent for the ICA, be allocated as a 
directed fishing allowance (DFA) as follows: 50 percent to the inshore 
sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor sector, and 10 percent to 
the mothership sector. In the Bering Sea subarea, 40 percent of the DFA 
is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 60 percent of the 
DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10-November 1). In October 2006, 
the State's Board of Fish adopted a proposal for a 3,000 mt pollock 
fishery in State waters of the AI subarea. However, this action by the 
State does not require a downward adjustment of the federal AI subarea 
pollock TAC because the combined TAC and GHL (22,000 mt) are less than 
the proposed ABC of 29,400 mt. The AI directed pollock fishery 
allocation to the Aleut Corporation is the amount of pollock remaining 
in the AI subarea after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 
percent) and 1,600 mt for the ICA. In the AI subarea, 40 percent of the 
ABC is allocated to the A season and the remainder of the directed 
pollock fishery is allocated to the B season. Table 2 lists these 2007 
and 2008 proposed amounts.
    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific 
requirements regarding pollock allocations. First, 8.5 percent of the 
pollock allocated to the catcher/processor sector will be available for 
harvest by AFA catcher vessels with catcher/processor sector 
endorsements, unless the Regional Administrator receives a cooperative 
contract that provides for the distribution of harvest among AFA 
catcher/processors and AFA catcher vessels in a manner agreed to by all 
members. Second, AFA catcher/processors not listed in the AFA are 
limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the pollock 
allocated to the catcher/processor sector. Table 2 lists the 2007 and 
2008 proposed allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 8 through 11 list the 
AFA catcher/processor and catcher vessel harvesting sideboard limits. 
In past years, the proposed harvest specifications included text and 
tables describing pollock allocations to the Bering Sea subarea inshore 
pollock cooperatives and open access sector. These allocations are 
based on the submission of AFA inshore cooperative applications due to 
NMFS on December 1 of each calendar year. Because AFA inshore 
cooperative applications for 2007 have not been submitted to NMFS, 
thereby preventing NMFS from calculating 2007 allocations, NMFS has not 
included inshore cooperative text and tables in these proposed harvest 
specifications. NMFS will post AFA inshore cooperative allocations on 
the Alaska Region website at https://www.fakr.noaa.gov when they become 
available in December 2006.
    Table 2 also lists proposed seasonal apportionments of pollock and 
harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The 
harvest of pollock within the SCA, as defined at Sec.  
679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to 28 percent of the DFA until April 1. 
The remaining 12 percent of the 40 percent of the annual DFA allocated 
to the A season may be taken outside the SCA before April 1 or inside 
the SCA after April 1. If less than 28 percent of the annual DFA is 
taken inside the SCA before April 1, the remainder will be available to 
be taken inside the SCA after April 1. The A season pollock SCA harvest 
limit will be apportioned to each sector in proportion to each sector's 
allocated percentage of the DFA. Table 2 lists by sector these 2007 and 
2008 proposed amounts.

[[Page 75464]]



   TABLE 2 - 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA)\1\
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        2007 A season\1\           2007 B                            2008 A season\1\          2008 B
                                        2007      ----------------------------   season\1\                     ----------------------------    season
         Area and sector            allocations                   SCA harvest --------------- 2008 allocations                 SCA harvest -------------
                                                   A season DFA    limit\2\     B season DFA                    A season DFA    limit\2\    B season DFA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea subarea                 1,419,800       n/a           n/a           n/a            1,168,700         n/a           n/a           n/a
  CDQ DFA                         141,980          56,792        39,754        85,188         116,870           46,748        32,724        70,122
  ICA\1\                          44,724           n/a           n/a           n/a            36,814            n/a           n/a           n/a
  AFA Inshore                     616,548          246,619       172,633       369,929        507,508           203,003       142,102       304,505
  AFA Catcher/Processors\3\       493,239          197,295       138,107       295,943        406,006           162,403       113,682       243,604
  Catch by C/Ps                   451,313          180,525       n/a           270,788        371,496           148,598       n/a           222,898
  Catch by CVs\3\                 41,925           16,770        n/a           25,155         34,511            13,804        n/a           20,706
   Unlisted C/P Limit\4\          2,466            986           n/a           1,480          2,030             812           n/a           1,218
  AFA Motherships                 123,310          49,324        34,527        73,986         101,502           40,601        28,420        60,901
Excessive Harvesting Limit\5\     215,792          n/a           n/a           n/a            177,628           n/a           n/a           n/a
Excessive Processing Limit\6\     369,929          n/a           n/a           n/a            304,505           n/a           n/a           n/a
Total Bering Sea DFA              1,419,800        550,031       385,021       825,046        1,168,700         452,754       316,928       679,132
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aleutian Islands subarea\1\       19,000           n/a           n/a           n/a            19,000            n/a           n/a           n/a
  CDQ DFA                         1,900            760           n/a           1,140          1,900             760           n/a           1,140
  ICA                             1,600            800           n/a           800            1,600             800           n/a           800
  Aleut Corporation               15,500           10,200        n/a           5,300          15,300            10,500        n/a           5,300
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bogoslof District ICA\7\          10               n/a           n/a           n/a            11                n/a           n/a           n/a
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC, after subtraction for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (3.35
  percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: inshore component - 50 percent, catcher/processor component - 40 percent, and mothership component - 10
  percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20 June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to
  the B season (June 10 November 1). Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the
  CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second the ICA (1,600 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery. In the AI subarea, the A
  season is allocated 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the directed pollock fishery.
\2\ In the Bering Sea subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1. The remaining 12 percent of
  the annual DFA allocated to the A season may be taken outside of the SCA before April 1 or inside the SCA after April 1. If 28 percent of the annual
  DFA is not taken inside the SCA before April 1, the remainder is available to be taken inside the SCA after April 1.
\3\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors shall be available for harvest
  only by eligible catcher vessels delivering to listed catcher/processors.
\4\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the
  catcher/processors sector's allocation of pollock.
\5\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6) NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the pollock DFAs
  not including CDQ.
\6\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7) NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the pollock DFAs
  not including CDQ.
\7\ The Bogoslof District is closed by the proposed harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for incidental
  catch only, and are not apportioned by season or sector.

Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TAC

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 2 percent of the Eastern 
Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea Atka mackerel ITAC may be 
allocated to jig gear. The amount of this allocation is determined 
annually by the Council based on several criteria, including the 
anticipated harvest capacity of the jig gear fleet. The Council 
recommended and NMFS proposes that 1 percent of the Atka mackerel ITAC 
in the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea be 
allocated to jig gear in 2007 and 2008. Based on the proposed 2007 ITAC 
of 6,375 mt, the jig gear allocation would be 64 mt for 2007. Based on 
the proposed 2008 ITAC of 10,975 mt, the jig gear allocation would be 
110 mt for 2008.
    Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel ITAC into 
two equal seasonal allowances. After subtraction of the jig gear 
allocation, the first allowance is made available for directed fishing 
from January 1 (January 20 for trawl gear) to April 15 (A season), and 
the second seasonal allowance is made available from September 1 to 
November 1 (B season; Table 3).
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1), the Regional 
Administrator proposes a harvest limit area (HLA) limit of no more than 
60 percent of the seasonal TAC for the Western and Central Aleutian 
Districts. A lottery system is used for the HLA Atka mackerel directed 
fisheries to reduce the amount of daily catch in the HLA by about half 
and to disperse the fishery over two districts (see Sec.  
679.20(a)(8)(iii)).

[[Page 75465]]



 TABLE 3 - 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, AND CDQ RESERVE OF THE BSAI ATKA
                                                 MACKEREL TAC\1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              2007 Seasonal allowances\2\
                                                  2007 CDQ           -------------------------------------------
                                        2007 CDQ   reserve    2007          A season\3\           B season\3\
    Subarea and component     2007 TAC   reserve     HLA      ITAC   -------------------------------------------
                                                  limit\4\                             HLA                 HLA
                                                                          Total     limit\4\    Total   limit\4\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western Aleutian District     16,782    1,259     755       14,265    7,132         4,279     7,132     4,279
Central Aleutian District     38,718    2,904     1,742     32,910    16,455        9,873     16,455    9,873
EAI/BS subarea\5\             7,500     563       n/a       6,375     n/a           n/a       n/a       n/a
Jig (1%)\6\                   n/a       n/a       n/a       64        n/a           n/a       n/a       n/a
Other gear (99%)              n/a       n/a       n/a       6,311     3,156         n/a       3,156     n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total                         63,000    4,726     n/a       53,550    26,743        n/a       26,743    n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              2008 Seasonal allowances\2\
                                                  2008 CDQ           -------------------------------------------
                                        2008 CDQ   reserve    2008          A season\3\           B season\3\
    Subarea and component     2008 TAC   reserve     HLA      ITAC   -------------------------------------------
                                                  limit\4\                             HLA                 HLA
                                                                          Total     limit\4\    Total   limit\4\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western Aleutian District     24,481    1,836     1,102     20,809    10,404        6,243     10,404    6,243
Central Aleutian District     27,728    2,080     1,248     23,569    11,784        7,071     11,784    7,071
EAI/BS subarea\5\             12,891    967       n/a       10,957    n/a           n/a       n/a       n/a
Jig (1%)\6\                   n/a       n/a       n/a       110       n/a           n/a       n/a       n/a
Other gear (99%)              n/a       n/a       n/a       10,848    5,424         n/a       5,424     n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total                         65,100    4,883     n/a       55,335    27,612        n/a       27,612    n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Regulations at Sec.  Sec.   679.20(a)(8)(ii) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for
  the Atka mackerel fishery.
\2\ The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season.
\3\ The A season is January 1 (January 20 for trawl gear) to April 15 and the B season is September 1 to
  November 1.
\4\ Harvest Limit Area (HLA) limit refers to the amount of each seasonal allowance that is available for fishing
  inside the HLA (see Sec.   679.2). In 2007 and 2008, 60 percent of each seasonal allowance is available for
  fishing inside the HLA in the Western and Central Aleutian Districts.
\5\ Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea.
\6\ Regulations at Sec.   679.20(a)(8)(i) require that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the
  Bering Sea subarea ITAC be allocated to jig gear. The proposed amount of this allocation is 1 percent. The jig
  gear allocation is not apportioned by season.

Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(i)(A), 2 percent of the Pacific cod 
ITAC is allocated to vessels using jig gear, 51 percent to vessels 
using hook-and-line or pot gear, and 47 percent to vessels using trawl 
gear. Section 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) further allocates the portion of the 
Pacific cod ITAC allocated to trawl gear as 50 percent to catcher 
vessels and 50 percent to catcher/processors. Section 
679.20(a)(7)(i)(C)(1) sets aside a portion of the Pacific cod ITAC 
allocated to hook-and-line or pot gear as an ICA of Pacific cod in 
directed fisheries for groundfish using these gear types. The Regional 
Administrator proposes an ICA of 500 mt for 2007 and 2008 based on 
anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. The remainder of the 
Pacific cod ITAC is further allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or 
pot gear as the following DFAs: 80 percent to hook-and-line catcher/
processors, 0.3 percent to hook-and-line catcher vessels, 3.3 percent 
to pot catcher/processors, 15 percent to pot catcher vessels, and 1.4 
percent to catcher vessels under 60 feet (18.3 m) length overall (LOA) 
using hook-and-line or pot gear.
    Due to concerns about the potential impact of the Pacific cod 
fishery on Steller sea lions and their critical habitat, the Pacific 
cod ITAC is apportioned into seasonal allowances to disperse the 
Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see Sec. Sec.  
679.20(a)(7)(iii)(A) and 679.23(e)(5)). For pot and most hook-and-line 
gear, the first seasonal allowance of 60 percent of the ITAC is made 
available for directed fishing from January 1 to June 10, and the 
second seasonal allowance of 40 percent of the ITAC is made available 
from June 10 (September 1 for pot gear) to December 31. No seasonal 
harvest constraints are imposed on the Pacific cod fishery by catcher 
vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. 
For trawl gear, the first season is January 20 to April 1 and is 
allocated 60 percent of the ITAC. The second season, April 1 to June 
10, and the third season, June 10 to November 1, are each allocated 20 
percent of the ITAC. The trawl catcher vessel allocation is further 
allocated as 70 percent in the first season, 10 percent in the second 
season, and 20 percent in the third season. The trawl catcher/processor 
allocation is allocated 50 percent in the first season, 30 percent in 
the second season, and 20 percent in the third season. For jig gear, 
the first and third seasonal allowances are each allocated 40 percent 
of the ITAC and the second seasonal allowance is allocated 20 percent 
of the ITAC. Table 4 lists the 2007 and 2008 proposed allocations and 
seasonal apportionments of the Pacific cod ITAC. In accordance with 
Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(ii)(D) and (a)(7)(iii)(B), any unused portion of a 
seasonal Pacific cod allowance will become available at the beginning 
of the next seasonal allowance.

[[Page 75466]]



                                                TABLE 4 - 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD ITAC
                                                                                  [Amounts are in metric tons]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                  2007 Seasonal                            2008                            2008 Seasonal
                                              2007 Share of  2007 Subtotal   2007 Share          apportionment\1\         2008 Share     Subtotal     2008 Share          apportionment\1\
         Gear sector              Percent      gear sector    percentages      of gear   -------------------------------    of gear     percentages     of gear   ------------------------------
                                                  total         for gear    sector total                                 sector total    for gear    sector total
                                                                sectors                         Date          Amount                      sectors                        Date          Amount
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total hook-and-line/pot gear   51             73,463         n/a            n/a           n/a              n/a           60,205        n/a           n/a           n/a              n/a
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hook-and-line/pot ICA          n/a            n/a            n/a            500           n/a              n/a           n/a           n/a           500           n/a              n/a
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hook-and-line/pot sub-total    n/a            72,963         n/a            n/a           n/a              n/a           59,705        n/a           n/a           n/a              n/a
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hook-and-line C/P              n/a            n/a            80             58,370        Jan 1-Jun 10     35,022        n/a           80            47,764        Jan 1-Jun 10     28,658
                                                                                          Jun 10-Dec 31    23,348                                                  Jun 10-Dec 31    19,106
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hook-and-line CV               n/a            n/a            0.3            219           Jan 1-Jun 10     131           n/a           0.3           179           Jan 1-Jun 10     107
                                                                                          Jun 10-Dec 31    88                                                      Jun 10-Dec 31    72
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pot C/P                        n/a            n/a            3.3            2,408         Jan 1-Jun 10     1,445         n/a           3.3           1,970         Jan 1-Jun 10     1,182
                                                                                          Sept 1-Dec 31    963                                                     Sept 1-Dec 31    788
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pot CV                         n/a            n/a            15             10,944        Jan 1-Jun 10     6,567         n/a           15            8,956         Jan 1-Jun 10     5,373
                                                                                          Sept 1-Dec 31    4,377                                                   Sept 1-Dec 31    3,582
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CV < 60 feet LOA using Hook-   n/a            n/a            1.4            1,021         n/a              n/a           n/a           1.4           836           n/a              n/a
 and-line or Pot gear
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Trawl Gear               47             67,701         n/a            n/a           n/a              n/a           55,483        n/a           n/a           n/a              n/a
   Trawl CV                    .............  .............  50             33,851        Jan 20-Apr 1     23,695        ............  50            27,742        Jan 20-Apr       19,419
                                                                                          Apr 1-Jun 10     3,385                                                   1Apr 1-Jun 10    2,774
                                                                                          Jun 10-Nov 1     6,771                                                   Jun 10-Nov 1     5,549
   Trawl CP                    .............  .............  50             33,851        Jan 20-Apr 1     16,925        ............  50            27,742        Jan 20-Apr 1     13,871
                                                                                          Apr 1- Jun 10    10,155                                                  Apr 1- Jun 10    8,322
                                                                                          Jun 10-Nov 1     6,771                                                   Jun 10-Nov 1     5,549
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jig                            2              2,881          n/a            n/a           Jan 1-Apr 30     1,153         2,361         n/a           n/a           Jan 1-Apr 30     945
                                                                                          Apr 30-Aug 31    576                                                     Apr 30-Aug 31    472
                                                                                          Aug 31-Dec 31    1,152                                                   Aug 31-Dec 31    944
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total                          100            144,045        n/a            n/a           n/a              n/a           118,049       n/a           n/a           n/a              n/a
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ For most non-trawl gear the first season is allocated 60 percent of the ITAC and the second season is allocated 40 percent of the ITAC. For jig gear, the first and third seasons are each
  allocated 40 percent of the ITAC and the second season is allocated 20 percent of the ITAC. No seasonal harvest constraints are imposed for the Pacific cod fishery by catcher vessels less
  than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. For trawl gear, the first season is allocated 60 percent of the ITAC and the second and third seasons are each allocated 20 percent
  of the ITAC. The trawl catcher vessels' allocation is further allocated as 70 percent in the first season, 10 percent in the second season and 20 percent in the third season. The trawl
  catcher/processors' allocation is allocated 50 percent in the first season, 30 percent in the second season and 20 percent in the third season. Any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod
  allowance will be reapportioned to the next seasonal allowance.


[[Page 75467]]

Sablefish Gear Allocation

     Sections 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) require the allocation of 
sablefish TACs for the Bering Sea and AI subareas between trawl gear 
and hook-and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TACs for the 
Bering Sea subarea are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for 
hook-and-line or pot gear and for the AI subarea are 25 percent for 
trawl gear and 75 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Section 
679.20(b)(1)(iii)(B) requires apportionment of 20 percent of the hook-
and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish to the CDQ reserve. The 
Council recommended that only trawl sablefish TAC be established 
biennially. The harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear and 
pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fisheries will be 
limited to the 2007 fishing year to ensure those fisheries are 
conducted concurrent with the halibut IFQ fishery. Concurrent sablefish 
and halibut IFQ fisheries would reduce the potential for discards of 
halibut and sablefish in those fisheries. The sablefish IFQ fisheries 
would remain closed at the beginning of each fishing year until the 
final harvest specifications for the sablefish IFQ fisheries are in 
effect. Table 5 lists the 2007 and 2008 proposed gear allocations of 
the sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts.

               TABLE 5 - 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED GEAR SHARES AND CDQ RESERVE OF BSAI SABLEFISH TACS
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Percent of  2007 Share     2007      2007 CDQ   2008 Share              2008 CDQ
       Subarea and gear             TAC       of TAC      ITAC\1\     reserve     of TAC    2008 ITAC   reserve
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea                      ..........  ..........  ..........  ..........  ..........  .........  .........
Trawl                           50          1,290       1,097       0           1,120       952        0
Hook-and-line/pot gear\2\       50          1,290       n/a         258         n/a         n/a        n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL                           100         2,580       1,097       258         2,240       952        0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aleutian Islands                ..........  ..........  ..........  ..........  ..........  .........  .........
Trawl                           25          655         557         0           565         480        0
Hook-and-line/pot gear\2\       75          1,965       n/a         393         n/a         n/a        n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL                           100         2,620       557         393         2,260       480        0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Except for the sablefish hook-and-line or pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the
  reserve. The ITAC is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves.
\2\ For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, 20 percent of the
  allocated TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants. Regulations in Sec.   679.20(b)(1) do not provide for
  the establishment of an ITAC for sablefish allocated to hook-and-line or pot gear.

Allocation of PSC Limits for Halibut, Crab, Salmon, and Herring

    Section 679.21(e) sets forth the BSAI PSC limits. Pursuant to Sec.  
679.21(e)(1)(v) and (e)(2)(i) the BSAI halibut mortality limits are 
3,675 mt for trawl fisheries and 900 mt for the non-trawl fisheries. 
Section 679.21(e)(1)(i) allocates 7.5 percent of these halibut 
mortality limits as the proposed PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish 
CDQ program. Section 679.21(e)(1)(vii) specifies 29,000 fish as the 
2007 and 2008 proposed Chinook salmon PSC limit for the Bering Sea 
subarea pollock fishery. Section 679.21(e)(1)(i) allocates 7.5 percent, 
or 2,175 Chinook salmon, as the proposed PSQ for the CDQ program and 
allocates the remaining 26,825 Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries. 
Section 679.21(e)(1)(ix) specifies 700 fish as the 2007 and 2008 
proposed Chinook salmon PSC limit for the AI subarea pollock fishery. 
Section 679.21(e)(1)(i) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, as 
the proposed AI subarea PSQ for the CDQ program and allocates the 
remaining 647 Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries. Section 
679.21(e)(1)(viii) specifies 42,000 fish as the 2007 and 2008 proposed 
non-Chinook salmon PSC limit. Section 679.21(e)(1)(i) allocates 7.5 
percent, or 3,150 non-Chinook salmon, as the proposed PSQ for the CDQ 
program and allocates the remaining 38,850 non-Chinook salmon to the 
non-CDQ fisheries.
    PSC limits for crab and herring are specified annually based on 
abundance and spawning biomass. Due to the lack of new information in 
October 2006 regarding PSC limits and apportionments, the Council 
recommended and NMFS proposes using the crab and herring 2006 and 2007 
PSC limits and apportionments for the proposed 2007 and 2008 limits and 
apportionments. The Council will reconsider these amounts in December 
2006, based on recommendations by the Plan Team and the SSC.
    The red king crab mature female abundance is estimated from the 
2004 survey data at 35.4 million crabs and the effective spawning 
biomass is estimated at 61.9 million pounds (28,077 mt). Based on the 
criteria set out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(ii), the 2007 and 2008 proposed 
PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl gear is 197,000 animals. 
This limit results from the mature female abundance being above 8.4 
million king crabs and of the effective spawning biomass estimate being 
greater than 55 million pounds (24,948 mt).
    Section 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B) establishes criteria under which NMFS 
must specify an annual red king crab bycatch limit for the Red King 
Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS). The regulations limit the RKCSS to up to 
35 percent of the trawl bycatch allowance specified for the rock sole/
flathead sole/``other flatfish'' fishery category based on the need to 
optimize the groundfish harvest relative to red king crab bycatch. The 
Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, a red king crab bycatch limit 
equal to 35 percent of the trawl bycatch allowance specified for the 
rock sole/flathead sole/``other flatfish'' fishery category within the 
RKCSS.
    Based on 2004 survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) 
abundance is estimated at 437.41 million crabs. Given the criteria set 
out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(iii), the 2007 and 2008 proposed C. bairdi 
crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 980,000 animals in Zone 1 and 
2,970,000 animals in Zone 2. These limits result from the C. bairdi 
crab abundance estimate of over 400 million crabs.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(iv), the PSC limit for snow crab (C. 
opilio) is based on total abundance as indicated by the NMFS annual 
bottom trawl survey. The C. opilio crab PSC limit is set at 0.1133 
percent of the Bering Sea abundance index. Based on the 2004 survey

[[Page 75468]]

estimate of 4.421 billion crabs, the calculated limit is 5,008,993 
animals. Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(iv)(A), the 2007 and 2008 
proposed C. opilio crab PSC limit is 4,858,993 animals (5,008,993 
animals minus 150,000 animals).
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(i), 7.5 percent of each PSC limit 
specified for crab is allocated as a PSQ reserve for use by the 
groundfish CDQ program.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(vi), the proposed PSC limit of 
Pacific herring caught while conducting any trawl operation for 
groundfish in the BSAI is 1 percent of the annual eastern Bering Sea 
herring biomass. The best estimate of 2006 and 2007 herring biomass is 
201,180 mt. This amount was derived using 2005 survey data and an age-
structured biomass projection model developed by the Alaska Department 
of Fish and Game. Therefore, the proposed herring PSC limit for 2007 
and 2008 is 2,012 mt.
    Section 679.21(e)(3) requires the apportionment of each trawl PSC 
limit into PSC bycatch allowances for seven specified fishery 
categories. Section 679.21(e)(4)(ii) authorizes the apportionment of 
the non-trawl halibut PSC limit into PSC bycatch allowances for five 
fishery categories. Table 6 lists the proposed fishery bycatch 
allowances for the trawl and non-trawl fisheries.
    Section 679.21(e)(4)(ii) authorizes the exemption of specified non-
trawl fisheries from the halibut PSC limit. As in past years, NMFS, 
after consultation with the Council, proposes to exempt pot gear, jig 
gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories from 
halibut bycatch restrictions because (1) the pot gear fisheries have 
low halibut bycatch mortality, (2) halibut mortality for the jig gear 
fleet is assumed to be negligible although it cannot be estimated 
because these vessels do not carry observers, and (3) the sablefish and 
halibut IFQ fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality because the 
IFQ program (subpart D of 50 CFR part 679) requires legal-sized halibut 
to be retained by vessels using hook-and-line gear if a halibut IFQ 
permit holder or a hired master is aboard and is holding unused halibut 
IFQ. In 2006, total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the 
BSAI was approximately 19,721 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch 
mortality of about 5 mt. The 2006 groundfish jig gear fishery harvested 
about 84 mt of groundfish. Most vessels in the jig gear fleet are less 
than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA and are exempt from observer coverage 
requirements. As a result, observer data are not available on halibut