Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish, Crab, Salmon, and Scallop Fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, 65539-65556 [07-5774]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 594 Administrative practice and procedure, Imports, Motor vehicle safety, Motor vehicles. In consideration of the foregoing, the agency proposes to amend part 594 in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows: PART 594—SCHEDULE OF FEES AUTHORIZED BY 49 U.S.C. 30141 1. The authority citation for part 594 continues to read as follows: Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30141, 31 U.S.C. 9701; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50. 2. Section 594.9 is amended by; a. Revising the section heading; b. Adding paragraph (d); and c. Adding paragraph (e); to read as follows: § 594.9 Fee for reimbursement of bond processing costs and costs for processing offers of cash deposits or obligations of the United States in lieu of sureties on bonds. * * * * * (d) Each importer must pay a fee based upon the direct and indirect costs the agency incurs for receipt, processing, handling, and disbursement of cash deposits or obligations of the United States in lieu of sureties on bonds that the importer submits as authorized by 591.10 of this chapter in lieu of a conformance bond required under 591.6(c). (e) The fee for each vehicle imported on and after October 1, 2008, for which cash deposits or obligations of the United States is furnished in lieu of a conformance bond, is $598.00. * * * * * Issued on: November 13, 2007. Ronald L. Medford, Senior Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety. [FR Doc. E7–22532 Filed 11–20–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 070711313–7637–03] mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS RIN 0648–AV62 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish, Crab, Salmon, and Scallop Fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and AGENCY: VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. SUMMARY: NMFS issues a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 88 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. This amendment, if approved, would revise the Aleutian Islands Habitat Conservation Area (AIHCA) boundary to allow nonpelagic trawling in an area historically fished and to prohibit nonpelagic trawling in an area of known coral and sponge occurrence. This action is necessary to ensure the AIHCA protects areas of coral and sponge habitat from the potential effects of nonpelagic trawling and allow nonpelagic trawling in areas historically fished and without evidence of coral and sponge occurrence. DATES: Written comments must be received by January 7, 2008. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by 0648–AV62, by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal https:// www.regulations.gov; • Mail: Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802; Attn: Ellen Sebastian, Records Officer; • Hand delivery: 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK; or • Fax: 907–586–7557, Attention: Sue Salveson. Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to https:// www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Copies of the map of the AIHCA and the Environmental Assessment/ Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/ RIR/IRFA) for this action may be obtained from the addresses stated above or from the Alaska Region NMFS website at https://www.fakr.noaa.gov. PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 65539 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melanie Brown, 907–586–7228 or email at melanie.brown@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The groundfish, crab, scallop, and salmon fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off Alaska are managed under their respective fishery management plans (FMPs). The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the FMPs under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Regulations implementing the FMPs appear at 50 CFR parts 679 and 680. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600. The groundfish fishery restrictions for the AIHCA described in the groundfish FMP are implemented by regulations at 50 CFR part 679. Revisions to the AIHCA also are described in the proposed Amendment 23 to the FMP for BSAI King and Tanner Crabs, Amendment 12 to the FMP for Scallop Fisheries off Alaska, and Amendment 9 to the FMP for Salmon Fisheries in the Exclusive Economic Zone off the Coast of Alaska. No regulatory amendments are needed for implementing these FMP amendments due to a prohibition on using nonpelagic trawl gear in the crab, scallop, and salmon fisheries. The Council has submitted the amendments for the AIHCA revision for review by the Secretary of Commerce, and a Notice of Availability of the amendments was published in the Federal Register on November 13, 2007 (72 FR 63871), with comments on the amendments invited through January 14, 2008. Comments may address the FMP amendments, the proposed rule, or both, but must be received by January 7, 2008, to be considered in the approval/ disapproval decision on the FMP amendments. All comments received by that time, whether specifically directed to the FMP amendments or to the proposed rule, will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on the FMP amendments. Background In 2006, NMFS implemented essential fish habitat (EFH) protection measures for the Aleutian Islands subarea and adjacent State of Alaska (State) waters (71 FR 36694, June 28, 2006, and corrected at 72 FR 63500, November 9, 2007). The background on the development of the EFH protection measures is available in the proposed rule for that action (71 FR 14470, March 22, 2006). The EFH protection measures prohibited nonpelagic trawling within the AIHCA. The AIHCA is the Aleutian E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 65540 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules www.fakr.noaa.gov/habitat/efh/ aihca.pdf. In March 2007, the Council recommended two revisions to the boundaries of the AIHCA. These revisions were developed in response to corrections provided by the nonpelagic trawl industry regarding fishing locations and additional information on coral and sponge occurrence in the Aleutian Islands. The two revisions would revise the AIHCA boundaries near Agattu Island and Buldir Island (see figure below). The proposed rule would prohibit nonpelagic trawling in an area west of Buldir Island and would permit nonpelagic trawling in an area north of Agattu Island. NMFS is proposing to open the area near Agattu Island to nonpelagic trawling because no evidence of coral or sponge habitat exists in this area, and nonpelagic trawling historically has occurred in this location. NMFS is proposing to close the area near Buldir Island because NMFS surveys show corals and sponges occur in this area. Anecdotal information also indicated that nonpelagic trawlers avoid the proposed Buldir Island closure area to protect fishing gear from damage by bottom structures. Details of the fishing history and biological features of these sites are available in the EA/RIR/IRFA for this action (see ADDRESSES). The proposed rule would revise the coordinates for the boundaries of the AIHCA near Agattu Island and Buldir Island. Table 24 to 50 CFR part 679 contains coordinates for sites where nonpelagic trawling is permitted in the AIHCA. Table 24 would be revised to specify the coordinates near Agattu and Buldir Islands to adjust the boundaries of the AIHCA to allow for nonpelagic trawling near Agattu Island and prohibit nonpelagic trawling near Buldir Island, as shown in the figure above. The proposed rule would modify the coordinates for the Buldir and Semichi areas listed on Table 24. The Semichi area includes the waters near Agattu Island proposed to be opened to nonpelagic trawling. Because the proposed rule would divide the Buldir Island open area into two areas to allow for the closure area, the proposed rule would add the West Buldir site to Table 24. The proposed rule also would remove the site number for each site because the site number serves no additional purpose in the identification of the site beyond that provided by the site name. The proposed rule also would remove from Table 24 two redundant sets of coordinates for the Buldir site because they are not necessary to accurately describe the boundaries. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Classification Pursuant to section 304 (b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with Amendment 88 to the FMP for Groundfish of the BSAI, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 EP21NO07.005</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS Islands subarea and adjacent State waters except for specific sites that remain open to nonpelagic trawling. Locations open to nonpelagic trawling in the AIHCA included areas without known occurrences of coral and sponge habitat and where nonpelagic trawling previously occurred. A map of the AIHCA is available from the NMFS Alaska Region website at https:// Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866. NMFS prepared an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA), as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. Descriptions of the action, the reasons it is under consideration, and its objectives and legal basis, are contained earlier in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble. A summary of the analysis follows. A copy of this analysis is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). Vessels were considered small, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA) criteria, if they had estimated 2004 gross revenues less than or equal to $4 million, and were not known to be affiliated with other firms whose combined receipts exceeded $4 million. Ten vessels that qualify as small entities under SBA criteria are directly regulated by this action. Six of these vessels are catcher vessels, and four are catcher/processors. Average gross revenues in 2005 were about $1,400,000 for the catcher vessels and about $2,200,000 for the catcher/processors. This regulation does not impose new recordkeeping and reporting requirements on the regulated small entities. The IRFA did not reveal any Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the proposed action. The Council considered one alternative (Alternative 1, no action) to the preferred alternative for this action. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 The boundaries of the opened and closed areas were based on information provided by the fishing industry regarding historical fishing activity and on NMFS survey information regarding coral and sponge location. This is the method of boundary identification used in the original EFH rule for the AIHCA. Because this is a correction to that rule, the identification of boundaries for the opened and closed areas for this action is based on the same method. No other alternatives were identified because the action is an adjustment to the AIHCA boundaries based on corrected fishing information and NMFS survey information, and no additional information regarding adjustments to the AIHCA was available. No other boundaries of the opened or closed areas for the AIHCA were considered because no additional information was available to support other boundary alternatives. The status quo condition of the fishery should be based on the 2006 fishery because of the recent implementation of the EFH protection measures (71 FR 36694, June 28, 2006), but 2006 data were not yet available for the analysis. Therefore, 2001 through 2005 data were used as a proxy for status quo. Vessel monitoring system (VMS) and NMFS inseason catch data were used to analyze the catches in the proposed Agattu and Buldir Islands opened and closed areas. These types of data allowed for determining the fine scale location of fishing activities in combination with the estimated harvest from the proposed opened and closed areas. The no action alternative would not meet the objectives of this action. The status quo alternative would allow fishing in an area of known coral and PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 65541 sponge occurrence and would prohibit fishing in an area that had historical fishing activity. This would not meet the intent of the Council for the AIHCA and does not meet the objectives of the action to provide continued fishing where historical fishing activity has occurred and to prohibit fishing where coral and sponges occur. Moreover, the IRFA did not identify discernable adverse impacts to small entities from this action. In fact, as noted in the preamble, this action may have positive benefits for small entities because more historical fishing activity occurred in the area to be opened by this action, than in the area to be closed. Vessels that are not small entities will likely experience the same benefits as small entities by being allowed to fish in an area historically fished, and no adverse impacts are expected for these vessels. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679 Alaska, Fisheries, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Dated: November 16, 2007. Samuel D. Rauch III Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS proposes to amend 50 CFR part 679 as follows: PART 679—FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA 1. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as follows: Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 108–447 2. Revise Table 24 to part 679 to read as follows: BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 EP21NO07.006</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS 65542 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 65543 EP21NO07.007</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 EP21NO07.008</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS 65544 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 65545 EP21NO07.009</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 EP21NO07.010</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS 65546 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 65547 EP21NO07.011</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 EP21NO07.012</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS 65548 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 65549 EP21NO07.013</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 EP21NO07.014</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS 65550 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 65551 EP21NO07.015</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 EP21NO07.016</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS 65552 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 65553 EP21NO07.017</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 EP21NO07.018</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS 65554 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 65555 EP21NO07.019</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules 65556 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 224 / Wednesday, November 21, 2007 / Proposed Rules [FR Doc. 07–5774 Filed 11–20–07; 8:45 am] VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:47 Nov 20, 2007 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\21NOP1.SGM 21NOP1 EP21NO07.020</GPH> mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 3510–22–C

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 224 (Wednesday, November 21, 2007)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 65539-65556]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 07-5774]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 070711313-7637-03]
RIN 0648-AV62


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Groundfish, 
Crab, Salmon, and Scallop Fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian 
Islands Management Area

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 issues a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 88 
to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands Management Area. This amendment, if approved, would 
revise the Aleutian Islands Habitat Conservation Area (AIHCA) boundary 
to allow nonpelagic trawling in an area historically fished and to 
prohibit nonpelagic trawling in an area of known coral and sponge 
occurrence. This action is necessary to ensure the AIHCA protects areas 
of coral and sponge habitat from the potential effects of nonpelagic 
trawling and allow nonpelagic trawling in areas historically fished and 
without evidence of coral and sponge occurrence.

DATES: Written comments must be received by January 7, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by 0648-AV62, by any one 
of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal https://www.regulations.gov;
     Mail: Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, 
Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, P.O. Box 21668, 
Juneau, AK 99802; Attn: Ellen Sebastian, Records Officer;
     Hand delivery: 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK; 
or
     Fax: 907-586-7557, Attention: Sue Salveson.
    Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record 
and will generally be posted to https://www.regulations.gov without 
change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, 
address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly 
accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept 
anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted 
in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Copies of the map of the AIHCA and the Environmental Assessment/
Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/
RIR/IRFA) for this action may be obtained from the addresses stated 
above or from the Alaska Region NMFS website at https://
www.fakr.noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melanie Brown, 907-586-7228 or email 
at melanie.brown@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The groundfish, crab, scallop, and salmon 
fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off Alaska are managed 
under their respective fishery management plans (FMPs). The North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the FMPs under 
the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Regulations implementing the 
FMPs appear at 50 CFR parts 679 and 680. General regulations governing 
U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600. The groundfish fishery 
restrictions for the AIHCA described in the groundfish FMP are 
implemented by regulations at 50 CFR part 679. Revisions to the AIHCA 
also are described in the proposed Amendment 23 to the FMP for BSAI 
King and Tanner Crabs, Amendment 12 to the FMP for Scallop Fisheries 
off Alaska, and Amendment 9 to the FMP for Salmon Fisheries in the 
Exclusive Economic Zone off the Coast of Alaska. No regulatory 
amendments are needed for implementing these FMP amendments due to a 
prohibition on using nonpelagic trawl gear in the crab, scallop, and 
salmon fisheries.
    The Council has submitted the amendments for the AIHCA revision for 
review by the Secretary of Commerce, and a Notice of Availability of 
the amendments was published in the Federal Register on November 13, 
2007 (72 FR 63871), with comments on the amendments invited through 
January 14, 2008. Comments may address the FMP amendments, the proposed 
rule, or both, but must be received by January 7, 2008, to be 
considered in the approval/disapproval decision on the FMP amendments. 
All comments received by that time, whether specifically directed to 
the FMP amendments or to the proposed rule, will be considered in the 
approval/disapproval decision on the FMP amendments.

Background

    In 2006, NMFS implemented essential fish habitat (EFH) protection 
measures for the Aleutian Islands subarea and adjacent State of Alaska 
(State) waters (71 FR 36694, June 28, 2006, and corrected at 72 FR 
63500, November 9, 2007). The background on the development of the EFH 
protection measures is available in the proposed rule for that action 
(71 FR 14470, March 22, 2006). The EFH protection measures prohibited 
nonpelagic trawling within the AIHCA. The AIHCA is the Aleutian

[[Page 65540]]

Islands subarea and adjacent State waters except for specific sites 
that remain open to nonpelagic trawling. Locations open to nonpelagic 
trawling in the AIHCA included areas without known occurrences of coral 
and sponge habitat and where nonpelagic trawling previously occurred. A 
map of the AIHCA is available from the NMFS Alaska Region website at 
https://www.fakr.noaa.gov/habitat/efh/aihca.pdf.
    In March 2007, the Council recommended two revisions to the 
boundaries of the AIHCA. These revisions were developed in response to 
corrections provided by the nonpelagic trawl industry regarding fishing 
locations and additional information on coral and sponge occurrence in 
the Aleutian Islands.
    The two revisions would revise the AIHCA boundaries near Agattu 
Island and Buldir Island (see figure below). The proposed rule would 
prohibit nonpelagic trawling in an area west of Buldir Island and would 
permit nonpelagic trawling in an area north of Agattu Island.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP21NO07.005

    NMFS is proposing to open the area near Agattu Island to nonpelagic 
trawling because no evidence of coral or sponge habitat exists in this 
area, and nonpelagic trawling historically has occurred in this 
location. NMFS is proposing to close the area near Buldir Island 
because NMFS surveys show corals and sponges occur in this area. 
Anecdotal information also indicated that nonpelagic trawlers avoid the 
proposed Buldir Island closure area to protect fishing gear from damage 
by bottom structures. Details of the fishing history and biological 
features of these sites are available in the EA/RIR/IRFA for this 
action (see ADDRESSES).
    The proposed rule would revise the coordinates for the boundaries 
of the AIHCA near Agattu Island and Buldir Island. Table 24 to 50 CFR 
part 679 contains coordinates for sites where nonpelagic trawling is 
permitted in the AIHCA. Table 24 would be revised to specify the 
coordinates near Agattu and Buldir Islands to adjust the boundaries of 
the AIHCA to allow for nonpelagic trawling near Agattu Island and 
prohibit nonpelagic trawling near Buldir Island, as shown in the figure 
above. The proposed rule would modify the coordinates for the Buldir 
and Semichi areas listed on Table 24. The Semichi area includes the 
waters near Agattu Island proposed to be opened to nonpelagic trawling. 
Because the proposed rule would divide the Buldir Island open area into 
two areas to allow for the closure area, the proposed rule would add 
the West Buldir site to Table 24. The proposed rule also would remove 
the site number for each site because the site number serves no 
additional purpose in the identification of the site beyond that 
provided by the site name. The proposed rule also would remove from 
Table 24 two redundant sets of coordinates for the Buldir site because 
they are not necessary to accurately describe the boundaries.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304 (b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is 
consistent with Amendment 88 to the FMP for Groundfish of the BSAI, 
other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens

[[Page 65541]]

Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after 
public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
the purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    NMFS prepared an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA), as 
required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The 
IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, 
would have on small entities. Descriptions of the action, the reasons 
it is under consideration, and its objectives and legal basis, are 
contained earlier in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the 
preamble. A summary of the analysis follows. A copy of this analysis is 
available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES).
    Vessels were considered small, according to the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) criteria, if they had estimated 2004 gross 
revenues less than or equal to $4 million, and were not known to be 
affiliated with other firms whose combined receipts exceeded $4 
million.
    Ten vessels that qualify as small entities under SBA criteria are 
directly regulated by this action. Six of these vessels are catcher 
vessels, and four are catcher/processors. Average gross revenues in 
2005 were about $1,400,000 for the catcher vessels and about $2,200,000 
for the catcher/processors.
    This regulation does not impose new recordkeeping and reporting 
requirements on the regulated small entities.
    The IRFA did not reveal any Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, 
or conflict with the proposed action.
    The Council considered one alternative (Alternative 1, no action) 
to the preferred alternative for this action. The boundaries of the 
opened and closed areas were based on information provided by the 
fishing industry regarding historical fishing activity and on NMFS 
survey information regarding coral and sponge location. This is the 
method of boundary identification used in the original EFH rule for the 
AIHCA. Because this is a correction to that rule, the identification of 
boundaries for the opened and closed areas for this action is based on 
the same method. No other alternatives were identified because the 
action is an adjustment to the AIHCA boundaries based on corrected 
fishing information and NMFS survey information, and no additional 
information regarding adjustments to the AIHCA was available. No other 
boundaries of the opened or closed areas for the AIHCA were considered 
because no additional information was available to support other 
boundary alternatives.
    The status quo condition of the fishery should be based on the 2006 
fishery because of the recent implementation of the EFH protection 
measures (71 FR 36694, June 28, 2006), but 2006 data were not yet 
available for the analysis. Therefore, 2001 through 2005 data were used 
as a proxy for status quo. Vessel monitoring system (VMS) and NMFS 
inseason catch data were used to analyze the catches in the proposed 
Agattu and Buldir Islands opened and closed areas. These types of data 
allowed for determining the fine scale location of fishing activities 
in combination with the estimated harvest from the proposed opened and 
closed areas.
    The no action alternative would not meet the objectives of this 
action. The status quo alternative would allow fishing in an area of 
known coral and sponge occurrence and would prohibit fishing in an area 
that had historical fishing activity. This would not meet the intent of 
the Council for the AIHCA and does not meet the objectives of the 
action to provide continued fishing where historical fishing activity 
has occurred and to prohibit fishing where coral and sponges occur. 
Moreover, the IRFA did not identify discernable adverse impacts to 
small entities from this action. In fact, as noted in the preamble, 
this action may have positive benefits for small entities because more 
historical fishing activity occurred in the area to be opened by this 
action, than in the area to be closed. Vessels that are not small 
entities will likely experience the same benefits as small entities by 
being allowed to fish in an area historically fished, and no adverse 
impacts are expected for these vessels.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679

    Alaska, Fisheries, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: November 16, 2007.
Samuel D. Rauch III
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
    For reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS proposes to amend 50 CFR 
part 679 as follows:

PART 679--FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA

    1. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; 
Pub. L. 108-447
    2. Revise Table 24 to part 679 to read as follows:
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[FR Doc. 07-5774 Filed 11-20-07; 8:45 am]
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