Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Allocating Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab Fishery Resources, 15118-15119 [E8-5789]

Download as PDF 15118 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 56 / Friday, March 21, 2008 / Proposed Rules § 648.107 Conservation equivalent measures for the summer flounder fishery. (a) The Regional Administrator has determined that the recreational fishing measures proposed to be implemented by Massachusetts through North Carolina for 2008 are the conservation equivalent of the season, minimum fish size, and possession limit prescribed in §§ 648.102, 648.103, and 648.105(a), respectively. This determination is based on a recommendation from the Summer Flounder Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. * * * * * (b) Federally permitted vessels subject to the recreational fishing measures of this part, and other recreational fishing vessels subject to the recreational fishing measures of this part and registered in states whose fishery management measures are not determined by the Regional Administrator to be the conservation equivalent of the season, minimum size, and possession limit prescribed in §§ 648.102, 648.103(b) and 648.105(a), respectively, due to the lack of, or the reversal of, a conservation equivalent recommendation from the Summer Flounder Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, shall be subject to the following precautionary default measures: Season-July 4 through September 1; minimum size-20.0 inches (50.80 cm); and possession limit-two fish. 6. In § 648.122, paragraph (g) is revised to read as follows: § 648.122 Season and area restrictions. * * * * * (g) Time restrictions. Vessels that are not eligible for a moratorium permit under § 648.4(a)(6), and fishermen subject to the possession limit, may not possess scup, except from January 1 through the last day of February, and from October 1 through October 31. This time period may be adjusted pursuant to the procedures in § 648.120. 7. In § 648.124, paragraph (b) is revised to read as follows: § 648.124 Minimum fish sizes. yshivers on PROD1PC62 with PROPOSALS * * * * * (b) The minimum size for scup is 10.5 inches (26.67 cm) TL for all vessels that do not have a moratorium permit, or for party and charter vessels that are issued a moratorium permit but are fishing with passengers for hire, or carrying more than three crew members if a charter boat, or more than five crew members if a party boat. * * * * * VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:22 Mar 20, 2008 Jkt 214001 8. In § 648.125, the introductory text of paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows: § 648.125 Possession limit. (a) No person shall possess more than 15 scup in, or harvested from, the EEZ unless that person is the owner or operator of a fishing vessel issued a scup moratorium permit, or is issued a scup dealer permit. * * * * * * * * [FR Doc. E8–5785 Filed 3–20–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 680 RIN 0648–AW45 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Allocating Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab Fishery Resources National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability of fishery management plan amendment; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: Congress amended the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) to require the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to approve the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Crab Rationalization Program (Program). The Program allocates BSAI crab resources among harvesters, processors, and coastal communities. Amendment 26 would modify the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) King and Tanner crabs (FMP) and the Program to Amendment 26 to the FMP would exempt quota share issued to crew members, and the annual harvest privileges derived from that quota share, from requirements for: delivery to specific processors; delivery within specific geographic regions; and participation in an arbitration system to resolve price disputes. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws. DATES: Comments on the amendment must be received by May 20, 2008. ADDRESSES: Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Ellen Sebastian. You may submit comments, identified by 0648–AW45, by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the FederaleRulemaking Portal website at http://www.regulations.gov. • Mail: P. O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802. • Fax: (907) 586–7557. • Hand delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (e.g., name, address) 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 portable document file (pdf) formats only. Copies of Amendment 26, the Regulatory Impact Review (RIR)/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) for this action, and the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared for the Crab Rationalization Program may be obtained from the NMFS Alaska Region at the address above or from the Alaska Region website at http:// www.fakr.noaa.gov/ sustainablefisheries.htm. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Glenn Merrill, 907–586–7228, glenn.merrill@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that each regional fishery management council submit any fishery management plan amendment it prepares to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or partial approval by the Secretary. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving a fishery management plan amendment, immediately publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing that the amendment is available for public review and comment. The king and Tanner crab fisheries in the exclusive economic zone of the BSAI are managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) under the Magnuson-Stevens Act as amended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108–199, section 801). Amendments 18 and 19 to the FMP amended the FMP to include the Program. Regulations E:\FR\FM\21MRP1.SGM 21MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 56 / Friday, March 21, 2008 / Proposed Rules yshivers on PROD1PC62 with PROPOSALS implementing these amendments were published on March 2, 2005 (70 FR 10174) and are located at 50 CFR part 680. The Council submitted Amendment 26 to the FMP for Secretarial review, which would make minor changes to the FMP necessary for the management of quota share (QS), which is a longterm harvest privilege, and individual fishing quota (IFQ), which is the annual allocation of a specific amount of crab issued to a person based on the amount of QS they hold. Under the Program, NMFS issued QS to persons based on their qualifying harvest histories in BSAI crab fisheries during a specific period of time as defined under the Program. Four types of QS were issued under the Program. The first two types of QS were issued to holders of license limitation program (LLP) licenses endorsed for a crab fishery. Catcher/processor LLP license holders were allocated catcher/ processor vessel owner (CPO) QS based on the catch history of catcher processors using an LLP license; catcher vessel LLP license holders were issued catcher vessel (CVO) QS based on the catch history of catcher vessels using an LLP license. Under the Program, 97 percent of the QS was initially issued as CVO and CPO QS. The remaining three percent of the QS was initially issued to vessel captains and crew as ‘‘C shares’’, based on their harvest histories as crew members onboard crab fishing vessels. Captains onboard catcher/processor vessels were issued catcher/processor crew (CPC) QS; captains and crew onboard catcher vessels were issued catcher vessel crew (CVC) QS. The Program also established specific requirements for the use of QS and IFQ. Specifically, the Program requires that CVO QS/IFQ and CVC QS/IFQ is subject VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:22 Mar 20, 2008 Jkt 214001 to: (1) Delivery requirements to a specific onshore processor or stationary floating crab processor; (2) delivery within specific geographic regions, also known as regionalization; and (3) requirements to participate in a binding arbitration system. These provisions were designed to provide stability to specific processors and communities with historic participation in the fisheries by ensuring that harvesters did not deliver catch without some degree of coordination and compensation to these traditional participants. The arbitration system established by the Program seeks to guarantee that price disputes arising among harvesters and processors can be fairly and equitably resolved. The Program exempts CVC QS/IFQ from these requirements for the first three years of the Program, which expires on June 30, 2008. The Program did not apply these restrictions to CVC QS/IFQ due to the limited amount of CVC QS/IFQ issued relative to all other quota types, and the potential logistical complexities and additional costs these requirements could impose on CVC QS/ IFQ holders. The three year grace period was intended to provide participants time to adapt to the Program. In addition, the Council recommended that this specific provision be reviewed after 18 months and an FMP amendment be developed if subsequent analysis indicated that revisions were appropriate. If approved, Amendment 26 to the FMP would modify CVC QS and IFQ so that a person holding CVC QS/IFQ would not be subject to delivery, regionalization, or arbitration system requirements after June 30, 2008. As described in greater detail in the draft RIR/IRFA prepared for this action, based on the additional costs and complexity PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 15119 that will result to CVC QS/IFQ holders and the very limited benefits that may accrue to some processors and communities if the permanent exemption were not granted, the Council has recommended this FMP amendment to relive these requirements. Currently, CVC QS/IFQ holders are not subject to these requirements, and this proposed rule would merely extend the existing exemption. Public comments are being solicited on proposed Amendment 26 through the end of the comment period (see DATES). NMFS intends to publish a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 26 in the Federal Register for public comment, following NMFS( evaluation under the Magnuson-Stevens Act procedures. Public comments on the proposed rule must be received by the end of the comment period on Amendment 26 to be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on Amendment 26. All comments received by the end of the comment period on Amendment 26, whether specifically directed to the FMP amendment or the proposed rule, will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision. Comments received after that date will not be considered in the approval/ disapproval decision on the amendments. To be considered, comments must be received—not just postmarked or otherwise transmitted— by the close of business on the last day of the comment period. Dated: March 17, 2008. Emily H. Menashes Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E8–5789 Filed 3–20–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\21MRP1.SGM 21MRP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 56 (Friday, March 21, 2008)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 15118-15119]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-5789]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 680

RIN 0648-AW45


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Allocating 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab Fishery Resources

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

ACTION: Notice of availability of fishery management plan amendment; 
request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: Congress amended the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) to require the Secretary of 
Commerce (Secretary) to approve the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands (BSAI) 
Crab Rationalization Program (Program). The Program allocates BSAI crab 
resources among harvesters, processors, and coastal communities. 
Amendment 26 would modify the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/
Aleutian Islands (BSAI) King and Tanner crabs (FMP) and the Program to 
Amendment 26 to the FMP would exempt quota share issued to crew 
members, and the annual harvest privileges derived from that quota 
share, from requirements for: delivery to specific processors; delivery 
within specific geographic regions; and participation in an arbitration 
system to resolve price disputes. This action is intended to promote 
the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the FMP, and 
other applicable laws.

DATES: Comments on the amendment must be received by May 20, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional 
Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, 
Attn: Ellen Sebastian. You may submit comments, identified by 0648-
AW45, by any one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the FederaleRulemaking Portal website at http://
www.regulations.gov.
     Mail: P. O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802.
     Fax: (907) 586-7557.
     Hand delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9\th\ 
Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK.
    All comments received are a part of the public record and will 
generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All 
Personal Identifying Information (e.g., name, address) 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 portable document file (pdf) formats only.
    Copies of Amendment 26, the Regulatory Impact Review (RIR)/Initial 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) for this action, and the 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared for the Crab 
Rationalization Program may be obtained from the NMFS Alaska Region at 
the address above or from the Alaska Region website at http://
www.fakr.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Glenn Merrill, 907-586-7228, 
glenn.merrill@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that each 
regional fishery management council submit any fishery management plan 
amendment it prepares to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or 
partial approval by the Secretary. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also 
requires that NMFS, upon receiving a fishery management plan amendment, 
immediately publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing that 
the amendment is available for public review and comment.
    The king and Tanner crab fisheries in the exclusive economic zone 
of the BSAI are managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the 
North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) under the Magnuson-
Stevens Act as amended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 
(Pub. L. 108-199, section 801). Amendments 18 and 19 to the FMP amended 
the FMP to include the Program. Regulations

[[Page 15119]]

implementing these amendments were published on March 2, 2005 (70 FR 
10174) and are located at 50 CFR part 680.
    The Council submitted Amendment 26 to the FMP for Secretarial 
review, which would make minor changes to the FMP necessary for the 
management of quota share (QS), which is a long-term harvest privilege, 
and individual fishing quota (IFQ), which is the annual allocation of a 
specific amount of crab issued to a person based on the amount of QS 
they hold.
    Under the Program, NMFS issued QS to persons based on their 
qualifying harvest histories in BSAI crab fisheries during a specific 
period of time as defined under the Program. Four types of QS were 
issued under the Program. The first two types of QS were issued to 
holders of license limitation program (LLP) licenses endorsed for a 
crab fishery. Catcher/processor LLP license holders were allocated 
catcher/processor vessel owner (CPO) QS based on the catch history of 
catcher processors using an LLP license; catcher vessel LLP license 
holders were issued catcher vessel (CVO) QS based on the catch history 
of catcher vessels using an LLP license. Under the Program, 97 percent 
of the QS was initially issued as CVO and CPO QS. The remaining three 
percent of the QS was initially issued to vessel captains and crew as 
``C shares'', based on their harvest histories as crew members onboard 
crab fishing vessels. Captains onboard catcher/processor vessels were 
issued catcher/processor crew (CPC) QS; captains and crew onboard 
catcher vessels were issued catcher vessel crew (CVC) QS.
    The Program also established specific requirements for the use of 
QS and IFQ. Specifically, the Program requires that CVO QS/IFQ and CVC 
QS/IFQ is subject to: (1) Delivery requirements to a specific onshore 
processor or stationary floating crab processor; (2) delivery within 
specific geographic regions, also known as regionalization; and (3) 
requirements to participate in a binding arbitration system. These 
provisions were designed to provide stability to specific processors 
and communities with historic participation in the fisheries by 
ensuring that harvesters did not deliver catch without some degree of 
coordination and compensation to these traditional participants. The 
arbitration system established by the Program seeks to guarantee that 
price disputes arising among harvesters and processors can be fairly 
and equitably resolved.
    The Program exempts CVC QS/IFQ from these requirements for the 
first three years of the Program, which expires on June 30, 2008. The 
Program did not apply these restrictions to CVC QS/IFQ due to the 
limited amount of CVC QS/IFQ issued relative to all other quota types, 
and the potential logistical complexities and additional costs these 
requirements could impose on CVC QS/IFQ holders. The three year grace 
period was intended to provide participants time to adapt to the 
Program. In addition, the Council recommended that this specific 
provision be reviewed after 18 months and an FMP amendment be developed 
if subsequent analysis indicated that revisions were appropriate.
    If approved, Amendment 26 to the FMP would modify CVC QS and IFQ so 
that a person holding CVC QS/IFQ would not be subject to delivery, 
regionalization, or arbitration system requirements after June 30, 
2008. As described in greater detail in the draft RIR/IRFA prepared for 
this action, based on the additional costs and complexity that will 
result to CVC QS/IFQ holders and the very limited benefits that may 
accrue to some processors and communities if the permanent exemption 
were not granted, the Council has recommended this FMP amendment to 
relive these requirements. Currently, CVC QS/IFQ holders are not 
subject to these requirements, and this proposed rule would merely 
extend the existing exemption.
    Public comments are being solicited on proposed Amendment 26 
through the end of the comment period (see DATES). NMFS intends to 
publish a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 26 in the 
Federal Register for public comment, following NMFS( evaluation under 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act procedures. Public comments on the proposed 
rule must be received by the end of the comment period on Amendment 26 
to be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on Amendment 26. 
All comments received by the end of the comment period on Amendment 26, 
whether specifically directed to the FMP amendment or the proposed 
rule, will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision. Comments 
received after that date will not be considered in the approval/
disapproval decision on the amendments. To be considered, comments must 
be received--not just postmarked or otherwise transmitted--by the close 
of business on the last day of the comment period.

    Dated: March 17, 2008.
Emily H. Menashes
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E8-5789 Filed 3-20-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S