Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Revised Management Authority for Dark Rockfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area and the Gulf of Alaska, 55010-55020 [E8-22441]

Download as PDF rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with PROPOSALS 55010 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 24, 2008 / Proposed Rules foreign governments or international organizations. (B) When a particular foreign government or international organization has funded the acquisition of specific production and research property, do not assess the foreign government or international organization rental charges or nonrecurring recoupments for the use of such property. (2) Special tooling and special test equipment. (i) DoD normally recovers a fair share of nonrecurring costs of special tooling and special test equipment by including these costs in its calculation of the nonrecurring cost recoupment charge when major defense equipment is sold by foreign military sales or direct commercial sales to foreign governments or international organizations. ‘‘Major defense equipment’’ is defined in DoD Directive 2140.2, Recoupment of Nonrecurring Costs on Sales of U.S. Items, as any item of significant military equipment on the United States Munitions List having a nonrecurring research, development, test, and evaluation cost of more than $50 million or a total production cost of more than $200 million. (ii) When the cost thresholds in paragraph (2)(i) of this section are not met, the contracting officer shall assess rental charges for use of special tooling and special test equipment pursuant to the Use and Charges clause if administratively practicable. (3) Waivers. (i) Rental charges for use of U.S. production and research property on commercial sales transactions to the Government of Canada are waived for all commercial contracts. This waiver is based on an understanding wherein the Government of Canada has agreed to waive its rental charges. (ii) Requests for waiver or reduction of charges for the use of Government property on work for foreign governments or international organizations shall be submitted to the contracting officer, who shall refer the matter through contracting channels. In response to these requests, approvals may be granted only by the Director, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, for particular sales that are consistent with paragraph (1)(i)(C) of this section. Subparts 245.4 and 245.5 [Removed] 6. Subparts 245.4 and 245.5 are removed. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:48 Sep 23, 2008 Jkt 214001 PART 252—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES 252.217–7005 [Amended] 7. Section 252.217–7005 is amended as follows: a. By revising the clause date to read ‘‘(XXX 2008)’’; and b. In paragraph (e)(7) by removing ‘‘(Fixed-Price Contracts)’’. 252.217–7010 [Amended] 8. Section 252.217–7010 is amended as follows: a. By revising the clause date to read ‘‘(XXX 2008)’’; and b. In paragraph (c)(3) by removing ‘‘(Fixed Price Contracts)’’. 252.242–7004 [Amended] 9. Section 252.242–7004 is amended as follows: a. By revising the clause date to read ‘‘(XXX 2008)’’; and b. In paragraph (e)(9) introductory text, in the first sentence, by removing ‘‘Regardless of the provisions of FAR 45.505–3(f)(1)(ii), have’’ and adding in its place ‘‘Have’’. 252.245–7000 [Amended] 10. Section 252.245–7000 is amended as follows: a. By revising the clause date to read ‘‘(XXX 2008)’’; and b. In the introductory text by removing ‘‘245.310–70’’ and adding in its place ‘‘245.107–70’’. [FR Doc. E8–22419 Filed 9–23–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–08–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 080226310–81205–01] RIN 0648–AU20 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Revised Management Authority for Dark Rockfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area and the Gulf of Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS issues a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 73 PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area and Amendment 77 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (collectively, Amendments 73/77). If approved, Amendments 73/77 would remove dark rockfish (Sebastes ciliatus) from both fishery management plans (FMPs). The State of Alaska (State) would then assume management of dark rockfish catch by State–permitted vessels in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area and the Gulf of Alaska. This action is necessary to allow the State of Alaska to implement more responsive, regionally based management of dark rockfish than is currently possible under the FMPs. This action would improve conservation and management of dark rockfish and is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the FMPs, and other applicable laws. Comments must be received no later than November 17, 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 RIN 0648– AU20, by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking 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, 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 (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe portable document file (pdf) formats only. Copies of Amendments 73/77 and the Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory DATES: E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 24, 2008 / Proposed Rules rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with PROPOSALS Flexibility Analysis (EA/RIR/IRFA) prepared for this action are available from the Alaska Region NMFS at the address above or from the Alaska Region NMFS website at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/regs/ summary.htm. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Hogan, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic zone of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) and the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) under their respective 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), 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the FMP appear at 50 CFR parts 600 and 679. The Council has submitted Amendments 73/77 for review by the Secretary of Commerce, and a Notice of Availability (NOA) of the FMP amendments was published in the Federal Register on September 17, 2008 (73 FR 53816) with comments on the FMP amendments invited through November 17, 2008. All written comments received by November 17, 2008, whether specifically directed to the FMP amendments, this proposed rule, or both, will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on the FMP amendments. Management Background and Need for Action Dark rockfish (Sebastes ciliatus) currently are managed as part of the ‘‘other rockfish’’ complex in the BSAI and as part of the pelagic shelf rockfish (PSR) complex in the GOA. Dusky rockfish (Sebastes variabilis) and thornyhead rockfish (Sebastolobus species) comprise the majority of the biomass of the BSAI ‘‘other rockfish’’ complex. The biomass of the GOA PSR complex is dominated by dusky rockfish. The proposed action would remove dark rockfish from the FMPs to allow the State of Alaska (State) to assume management authority for dark rockfish catch by State–permitted vessels in Federal waters off Alaska, in addition to its existing authority in State waters. The Council recommended removal of dark rockfish from the FMPs in April 2007 for the following reasons: (1) in 2004, dark rockfish was identified as a separate rockfish species, (2) data in the stock assessments for the PSR complex in the GOA and the ‘‘other rockfish’’ VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:48 Sep 23, 2008 Jkt 214001 complex in the BSAI are predominantly from dusky rockfish, not dark rockfish, (3) dark rockfish are distributed in nearshore habitats that are not specifically assessed by the NMFS trawl surveys, and (4) the possibility of overfishing dark rockfish in local areas given the relatively high total allowable catch (TAC) for the PSR and ‘‘other rockfish’’ complexes as a whole. Two types of dusky rockfish previously recognized as ‘‘light dusky rockfish’’ and ‘‘dark dusky rockfish’’ are now recognized by fishery scientists as two species. Sebastes variabilis, or dusky rockfish, is the variably colored deeper–water species, and Sebastes ciliatus, or dark rockfish, is the dark colored shallow–water species. Dark rockfish is the focus of Amendments 73/ 77 and this proposed rule. The TAC for all PSR species is based on a NMFS biannual or triennial trawl survey. Based on NMFS surveys conducted from 1997 through 2006, dark rockfish averaged 2 percent of the total biomass of the ‘‘other rockfish’’ complex in the Aleutian Islands (AI) and less than 1 percent in the Eastern Bering Sea (EBS). Based on observer data from 1997 through 2006, the average catch of dark rockfish was 1.6 percent of the total ‘‘other rockfish’’ catch in the AI and 0.7 percent in the EBS. Based on NMFS surveys conducted from 1996 through 2005, dark rockfish constituted an average of 3.5 percent of the total biomass of the PSR complex in the GOA. Based on observer data from 1996 though 2005, the average catch of dark rockfish was 0.6 percent of the total PSR catch in the GOA. However, the trawl surveys used to estimate the abundance of rockfish in the GOA and BSAI only sample fish that are on or near a smooth bottom. Most dark rockfish occur in rocky nearshore reef habitats that are not sampled in these surveys. Therefore, the NMFS surveys are not the most satisfactory means to assess dark rockfish abundance. In addition, including dark rockfish in the TAC for a group of rockfish (the ‘‘other rockfish’’ complex in the BSAI and the PSR complex in the GOA) is not appropriate for less abundant stocks such as dark rockfish because it could lead to overfishing of the less abundant species in the species groups. Section 306(a)(3)(A) of the Magnuson–Stevens Act allows a state to regulate a fishing vessel outside the boundaries of the state if the fishing vessel is registered under the law of that state, and no fishery management plan or other applicable Federal fishing regulations exist for the fishery in which the vessel is operating. Removing dark PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 55011 rockfish from the FMPs and regulations at 50 CFR part 679 would provide the necessary conditions for the State to manage dark rockfish in Federal waters off Alaska. Management by the State would better address localized assessment and harvest requirements for this nearshore species than is currently provided by Federal management under the larger PSR complex in the GOA and the ‘‘other rockfish’’ complex in the BSAI. Assessment of dark rockfish is difficult under either Federal or State management. As stated earlier, the Federal trawl surveys do not adequately assess dark rockfish. And, as noted in the EA, the State does not have the resources to conduct large scale stock assessment surveys for rockfish. However, the State’s management of this species in Federal waters would provide several benefits. First, the State would develop a fishery management plan for dark rockfish that would specify guideline harvest levels, allowable gear types, seasons, and locations for the directed fishery. Also, the State can manage dark rockfish in smaller area fisheries than can be managed by NMFS. In addition, the State would be able to conduct periodic and localized stock assessment surveys when budgets allow and monitor fishing effort data available from fish tickets and logbooks. State port sampling would continue to be used to collect biological data on rockfish and to improve species identification by fishermen and processing plant workers. The State also would continue to evaluate data on dark rockfish from the NMFS surveys and data collected by observers onboard vessels catching dark rockfish. These efforts by the State would provide stronger protection of dark rockfish from overfishing than Federal management of dark rockfish as part of a larger rockfish species complex. If Amendments 73/77 are approved, the State would be authorized to regulate State–permitted vessels fishing for dark rockfish in both State and Federal waters. The directed fishery for dark rockfish under the PSR complex quota category currently occurs in State waters. This fishery is relatively small and all vessels directly participating in it are permitted under the laws of the State. Typically, the vessels also are small and participants land their catch at shoreside processing plants in Alaska. Dark rockfish also are taken as incidental catch in other federally managed fisheries, including trawl and jig gear fisheries targeting pelagic shelf rockfish in the GOA, the trawl Atka mackerel fishery in the Aleutian Islands, and the hook–and–line and trawl gear E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with PROPOSALS 55012 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 24, 2008 / Proposed Rules fisheries for Pacific cod in the Bering Sea. Under Amendments 73/77, the State would develop management plans and regulations for dark rockfish similar to those that currently exist for black rockfish (Sebastes melanops) and blue rockfish (Sebastes mystinus), which were removed from NMFS’ GOA groundfish FMP in 1998 under Amendment 46 (63 FR 11167, March 6, 1998). Notably, no adverse impacts or difficulties managing the groundfish fisheries off Alaska have occurred as a result of removing these two rockfish species from the GOA FMP. In managing black rockfish and blue rockfish, the State limits the gear types and areas open for directed fishing. It also limits the retention of black rockfish and blue rockfish to 5 percent of the retained catch of other groundfish species open for directed fishing. Similar gear, area, and incidental catch limits likely would be implemented by the State for dark rockfish. The retention of dark rockfish by a vessel permitted by the State in either State or Federal waters would be limited by State regulation. In 2007, all catcher vessels and 123 catcher/processors with Federal Fishery Permits (FFPs) participating in the groundfish fisheries off Alaska also held permits issued by the State. However, 21 additional catcher/processors with FFPs that participated in the Alaska groundfish fisheries did not hold State permits in 2007. These 21 catcher/ processors would not be subject to State regulations governing dark rockfish caught in Federal waters off Alaska, and no Federal regulations governing the retention of dark rockfish would exist if dark rockfish were removed from the FMPs and Federal regulations. However, none of the catcher/processors has targeted dark rockfish and their incidental catch of this species is historically much lower (less than 1 percent) than the incidental catch limit the State would likely establish. NMFS does not expect these catcher/processors to target dark rockfish in the EEZ in the future because of the low abundance of these species in the EEZ. However, if concerns develop about the conservation of dark rockfish as a result of unregulated targeting on dark rockfish in the EEZ, NMFS would evaluate the circumstances to determine if emergency action were warranted. This situation, however, has not occurred with the removal of black rockfish and blue rockfish from the GOA FMP. To implement Amendments 73/77, NMFS proposes to revise the definition of ‘‘rockfish’’ under § 679.2 to exclude dark rockfish in both the GOA and VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:48 Sep 23, 2008 Jkt 214001 BSAI. The definition for ‘‘other rockfish’’ would be amended to add a reference to Table 11 to part 679 because the quota category for ‘‘other rockfish’’ exists in both the BSAI and GOA and is referred to in the maximum retainable amounts tables for both areas (Tables 10 and 11). In addition, the definition of ‘‘other red rockfish’’ would be removed from § 679.2 because this rockfish quota category would no longer exist and the term is not used anywhere else in 50 CFR part 679. NMFS also proposes to correct the Latin name of dusky rockfish (Sebastes variabilis), species code 172, in Table 2a to part 679, and to add dark rockfish (Sebastes ciliatus), species code 173, to the non–FMP species listed in Table 2d to part 679. In Table 10 to part 679 (Gulf of Alaska Retainable Percentages), footnote 5 would be revised to correct the Latin name for dusky rockfish (Sebastes variabilis). Footnote 8 would be revised to remove reference to Sebastes and Sebastolobus and to refer to the definition of ‘‘rockfish’’ at § 679.2. The proposed rule also would make minor editorial revisions to Table 10. The words ‘‘shallow water’’ and ‘‘deep water’’ would be revised to ‘‘shallow– water’’ and ‘‘deep–water’’ to standardize the preferred spelling of these terms. In note 1 to Table 10, the term ‘‘shortraker/ rougheye’’ (171) would be removed because NMFS no longer has a species category or code in Table 2a to part 679 for the combination of shortraker and rougheye rockfish. Note 10 to Table 10 lists the species included in the aggregated forage fish category. The word ‘‘families’’ in the parentheses following the term ‘‘Aggregated forage fish’’ would be replaced with the word ‘‘taxa’’ because all species of the order Euphausiacea (krill) also are included in the list of aggregated forage fish. The word ‘‘taxa’’ refers to more general groupings of similar organisms and includes taxonomic families and orders. In Table 11 to part 679 (BSAI Retainable Percentages), footnotes 3 and 6 would be revised to remove reference to Sebastes and Sebastolobus and to refer to the definition of ‘‘rockfish’’ at § 679.2. This revision would exclude dark rockfish from these rockfish categories in the BSAI because dark rockfish are excluded from the definition of rockfish in § 679.2. Classification Pursuant to sections 304(b)(1)(A) and 305(d) of the Magnuson–Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with Amendment 73 to the Fishery Management Plan for PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, Amendment 77 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, other provisions of the Magnuson–Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined not to be a significant regulatory action for the purposes of Executive Order 12866. An initial regulatory review analysis (IRFA) was prepared, 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. A description of the action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for this action were contained earlier in this preamble to this proposed rule. A summary of the analysis follows. A copy of this analysis is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). In 2006, one year immediately preceding the Council action recommending the removal of dark rockfish from the FMPs, there were 81 small catcher vessels that made landings of pelagic shelf rockfish from the GOA, taken as either targeted or incidental catch fish. No small catcher/processors made such landings. The 81 small catcher vessels included 74 that used hook–and–line, pot, or jig gear, and seven that used pelagic or non–pelagic trawl gear. The 81 small catcher vessels averaged about $400,000, in gross ex– vessel revenues from all sources. In 2006, one small catcher/processor and 36 small catcher vessels made incidental catch landings of pelagic shelf rockfish in the BSAI. All together, 35 vessels used hook–and–line, pot, or jig gear, and two used trawl gear. The 37 small vessels averaged about $1.4 million in gross revenues from all sources. The RFA requires that an IRFA contain a description of any significant alternatives to the proposed rule that would accomplish the stated objectives of the proposed action, consistent with applicable statutes, and that would minimize any significant economic impact of the proposed rule on small entities. Two alternatives were analyzed: the status quo and the preferred alternative presented in this proposed rule. The preferred alternatives may have adverse impacts on operations targeting pelagic shelf rockfish in the Central GOA and in the West Yakutat District. However these impacts, if any, are expected to be small. The reductions in TACs will be modest; the preliminary specifications for 2009 suggest a drop of about 6% in E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 55013 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 24, 2008 / Proposed Rules the Central GOA and about 7% in the West Yakutat District for the pelagic shelf rockfish complex as a result of removing dark rockfish from the complex. NMFS does not expect the action to have adverse impacts on operations targeting rockfish in the Southeast Outside and Western regions of the GOA, or in the BSAI because targeting does not appear to have been significant in these two areas. NMFS does not expect the action to have adverse impacts on operations taking dark rockfish as incidental catch because so few dark rockfish has been taken as incidental catch historically and because the State likely will continue to allow some retention of dark rockfish. In the Central GOA, most of the adverse impact would fall on participants in the Central GOA Rockfish Pilot Project. Because of the affiliations these operations have with cooperatives or large business entities through the quota management and allocation features of the pilot project, NMFS does not believe these operations can be considered small entities for the purpose of the RFA. However, it is possible that they would experience some adverse impact as described in the RIR because of the reduction in the TAC for pelagic shelf rockfish as a result of removing dark rockfish from the complex. For example, the ex–vessel price for dusky rockfish is currently about $0.25 per pound, and the potential loss of gross revenue in the Central GOA could range from $19,000 up to $171,000 as a result of removing dark rockfish from the complex. The primary alternative considered here, Alternative 1 – No Action, would not have these adverse impacts, but would not remove dark rockfish from the FMPs and, thus, does not accomplish the stated objective for the action to allow the State to assume management authority for dark rockfish catch by State–permitted vessels in State and Federal waters. The Council also considered a third alternative to the proposed action, but it was not carried forward for analysis. This alternative was to transfer management authority of dark rockfish to the State of Alaska while retaining the species under the Federal FMPs. Demersal shelf rockfish in Southeast Alaska is under a similarly delegated management program with the State of Alaska. A similar alternative was considered and rejected for black rockfish and blue rockfish under Amendment 46 to the GOA groundfish FMP. This alternative was not carried forward for dark rockfish because (1) State personnel would be required to comply with additional Federal VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:48 Sep 23, 2008 Jkt 214001 management processes that may not be consistent with State procedures; (2) the State would need to meet both State and Federal requirements, which often prescribe different time–frames for management actions (e.g., notice, public meetings, and reports); and (3) the State did not believe it could meet the costly assessment requirements for managing a nearshore species, mandated under a Federal management plan. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679 Alaska, Fisheries. Dated: September 18, 2008. Samuel D. Rauch III Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. TABLE 2A TO PART 679 — SPECIES CODES: FMP GROUNDFISH—Continued Species Description Code FLOUNDER Alaska plaice Arrowtooth and/or Kamchatka 133 121 Starry 129 Octopus 870 Pacific cod 110 Pollock 270 For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS proposes to amend 50 CFR part 679 as follows: ROCKFISH PART 679—FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA Black (BSAI) (S. melanops) 142 1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 679 continues to read as follows: Blackgill (S. melanostomus) 177 Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., 1801 et seq., 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 108–447. Blue (BSAI) (S. mystinus) 167 Bocaccio (S. paucispinis) 137 Canary (S. pinniger) 146 Chilipepper (S. goodei) 178 China (S. nebulosus) 149 Copper (S. caurinus) 138 Darkblotched (S. crameri) 159 Dusky (S. variabilis) 172 Greenstriped (S. elongatus) 135 Harlequin (S. variegatus) 176 Northern (S. polyspinis) 136 Pacific Ocean Perch (S. alutus) 141 2. In § 679.2, remove the definition for ‘‘Other red rockfish’’ and revise the definitions for ‘‘Other rockfish’’ and ‘‘Rockfish’’ to read as follows: § 679.2 Definitions. * * * * * Other rockfish (see Tables 10 and 11 to this part pursuant to § 679.20(c); see also ‘‘rockfish’’ in this section.) * * * * * Rockfish means: (1) For the Gulf of Alaska: Any species of the genera Sebastes or Sebastolobus except Sebastes ciliatus (dark rockfish); Sebastes melanops (black rockfish); and Sebastes mystinus (blue rockfish). (2) For the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area: Any species of the genera Sebastes or Sebastolobus except Sebastes ciliatus (dark rockfish). * * * * * 3. Table 2a to part 679 is revised to read as follows: TABLE 2A TO PART 679 — SPECIES CODES: FMP GROUNDFISH Species Description Code Atka mackerel (greenling) 193 Flatfish, miscellaneous (flatfish species without separate codes) 120 PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4702 Aurora (S. aurora) Pygmy (S. wilsoni) 185 179 147 Redbanded (S. babcocki) Sfmt 4702 Quillback (S. maliger) 153 E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 55014 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 24, 2008 / Proposed Rules TABLE 2A TO PART 679 — SPECIES CODES: FMP GROUNDFISH—Continued TABLE 2A TO PART 679 — SPECIES CODES: FMP GROUNDFISH—Continued Species Description Code Species Description Redstripe (S. proriger) 158 Rosethorn (S. helvomaculatus) 150 Rougheye (S. aleutianus) 151 Sharpchin (S. zacentrus) 166 Shortbelly (S. jordani) 181 Shortraker (S. borealis) 152 Silvergray (S. brevispinis) 157 Splitnose (S. diploproa) 182 Stripetail (S. saxicola) 183 Thornyhead (all Sebastolobus species) 143 Tiger (S. nigrocinctus) 148 Vermilion (S. miniatus) 184 Widow (S. entomelas) 156 Yelloweye (S. ruberrimus) 145 Yellowmouth (S. reedi) 175 Yellowtail (S. flavidus) 155 Sablefish (blackcod) 710 Butter Sculpins 160 TABLE 2D TO PART 679 — SPECIES CODES: NON–FMP SPECIES—Continued Species Description Code Longnose Korean horsehair 701 Other (If longnose or big skate – use specific species code) Multispina (Paralomis multispina) 700 Code 940 951 Verrilli (Paralomis verilli) Dolly varden, anadromous SOLE 953 531 Butter 126 Eels or eel–like fish 210 Dover 124 Giant grenadier 214 English 128 GREENLING Flathead 122 Kelp 194 Petrale 131 Rock 191 Rex 125 Whitespot 192 Rock 123 Grenadier (rattail) 213 Sand 132 Jellyfish 625 Yellowfin 127 Lamprey, pacific 600 Squid 875 Lingcod 130 Turbot, Greenland 134 Lumpsucker 216 Mussel, blue 855 Pacific flatnose 260 Pacific hagfish 212 Pacific hake 112 Code Pacific saury 220 Abalone 860 Pacific tomcod 250 Albacore 720 Prowfish 215 Arctic char, anadromous 521 Rockfish, black (GOA) 142 Rockfish, blue (GOA) 167 810 Rockfish, dark 173 Cockle 820 Sardine, Pacific (pilchard) 170 Eastern softshell 842 Scallop, weathervane 850 Geoduck 815 Scallop, pink (or calico) 851 Little–neck 840 Sea cucumber 895 Razor 830 Sea urchin, green 893 4. Table 2d to part 679 is revised to read as follows: TABLE 2D TO PART 679 — SPECIES CODES: NON–FMP SPECIES Species Description CLAMS SHARKS 689 Pacific sleeper rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with PROPOSALS Other (if salmon, spiny dogfish or Pacific sleeper shark – use specific species code) 692 Surf 812 Sea urchin, red 892 Salmon 690 Coral 899 Shad 180 Spiny dogfish 691 CRAB Box Big 702 16:48 Sep 23, 2008 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 900 Coonstripe 964 Dungeness SKATES VerDate Aug<31>2005 SHRIMP 910 Humpy 963 Frm 00028 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 24, 2008 / Proposed Rules TABLE 2D TO PART 679 — SPECIES CODES: NON–FMP SPECIES—Continued Species Description TABLE 2D TO PART 679 — SPECIES CODES: NON–FMP SPECIES—Continued Code Species Description Code 961 Snails 890 Sidestripe 962 Sturgeon, general 680 Spot 965 BILLING CODE 3510–22–S Skilfish 715 Smelt, surf rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with PROPOSALS Northern (pink) 515 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:48 Sep 23, 2008 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 55015 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 24, 2008 / Proposed Rules rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with PROPOSALS 5. Tables 10 and 11 to part 679 are revised to read as follows: VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:48 Sep 23, 2008 Jkt 214001 Table 10 to Part 679—Gulf of Alaska Retainable Percentages PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 EP24SE08.013</GPH> 55016 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:48 Sep 23, 2008 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 55017 EP24SE08.014</GPH> rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 24, 2008 / Proposed Rules VerDate Aug<31>2005 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 24, 2008 / Proposed Rules 16:48 Sep 23, 2008 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 EP24SE08.015</GPH><FNP> rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with PROPOSALS 55018 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 24, 2008 / Proposed Rules 55019 VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:48 Sep 23, 2008 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 EP24SE08.016</GPH> rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with PROPOSALS Table 11 to Part 679—BSAI Retainable Percentages Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 186 / Wednesday, September 24, 2008 / Proposed Rules [FR Doc. E8–22441 Filed 9–23–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–C VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:48 Sep 23, 2008 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\24SEP1.SGM 24SEP1 EP24SE08.017</GPH> rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with PROPOSALS 55020

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 186 (Wednesday, September 24, 2008)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 55010-55020]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-22441]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 080226310-81205-01]
RIN 0648-AU20


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Revised 
Management Authority for Dark Rockfish in the Bering Sea and Aleutian 
Islands Management Area and the Gulf of Alaska

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 73 
to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands Management Area and Amendment 77 to the Fishery 
Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (collectively, 
Amendments 73/77). If approved, Amendments 73/77 would remove dark 
rockfish (Sebastes ciliatus) from both fishery management plans (FMPs). 
The State of Alaska (State) would then assume management of dark 
rockfish catch by State-permitted vessels in the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands Management Area and the Gulf of Alaska. This action is 
necessary to allow the State of Alaska to implement more responsive, 
regionally based management of dark rockfish than is currently possible 
under the FMPs. This action would improve conservation and management 
of dark rockfish and is intended to promote the goals and objectives of 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the FMPs, 
and other applicable laws.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than November 17, 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 RIN 0648-
AU20, by any one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking 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, 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 (enter N/A in the required 
fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic 
comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or 
Adobe portable document file (pdf) formats only.
    Copies of Amendments 73/77 and the Environmental Assessment/
Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory

[[Page 55011]]

Flexibility Analysis (EA/RIR/IRFA) prepared for this action are 
available from the Alaska Region NMFS at the address above or from the 
Alaska Region NMFS website at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/regs/
summary.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Hogan, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fisheries in the 
exclusive economic zone of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
Management Area (BSAI) and the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) under their 
respective 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), 16 U.S.C. 1801 
et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the FMP 
appear at 50 CFR parts 600 and 679.
    The Council has submitted Amendments 73/77 for review by the 
Secretary of Commerce, and a Notice of Availability (NOA) of the FMP 
amendments was published in the Federal Register on September 17, 2008 
(73 FR 53816) with comments on the FMP amendments invited through 
November 17, 2008. All written comments received by November 17, 2008, 
whether specifically directed to the FMP amendments, this proposed 
rule, or both, will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision 
on the FMP amendments.

Management Background and Need for Action

    Dark rockfish (Sebastes ciliatus) currently are managed as part of 
the ``other rockfish'' complex in the BSAI and as part of the pelagic 
shelf rockfish (PSR) complex in the GOA. Dusky rockfish (Sebastes 
variabilis) and thornyhead rockfish (Sebastolobus species) comprise the 
majority of the biomass of the BSAI ``other rockfish'' complex. The 
biomass of the GOA PSR complex is dominated by dusky rockfish.
    The proposed action would remove dark rockfish from the FMPs to 
allow the State of Alaska (State) to assume management authority for 
dark rockfish catch by State-permitted vessels in Federal waters off 
Alaska, in addition to its existing authority in State waters. The 
Council recommended removal of dark rockfish from the FMPs in April 
2007 for the following reasons: (1) in 2004, dark rockfish was 
identified as a separate rockfish species, (2) data in the stock 
assessments for the PSR complex in the GOA and the ``other rockfish'' 
complex in the BSAI are predominantly from dusky rockfish, not dark 
rockfish, (3) dark rockfish are distributed in nearshore habitats that 
are not specifically assessed by the NMFS trawl surveys, and (4) the 
possibility of overfishing dark rockfish in local areas given the 
relatively high total allowable catch (TAC) for the PSR and ``other 
rockfish'' complexes as a whole.
    Two types of dusky rockfish previously recognized as ``light dusky 
rockfish'' and ``dark dusky rockfish'' are now recognized by fishery 
scientists as two species. Sebastes variabilis, or dusky rockfish, is 
the variably colored deeper-water species, and Sebastes ciliatus, or 
dark rockfish, is the dark colored shallow-water species. Dark rockfish 
is the focus of Amendments 73/77 and this proposed rule.
    The TAC for all PSR species is based on a NMFS biannual or 
triennial trawl survey. Based on NMFS surveys conducted from 1997 
through 2006, dark rockfish averaged 2 percent of the total biomass of 
the ``other rockfish'' complex in the Aleutian Islands (AI) and less 
than 1 percent in the Eastern Bering Sea (EBS). Based on observer data 
from 1997 through 2006, the average catch of dark rockfish was 1.6 
percent of the total ``other rockfish'' catch in the AI and 0.7 percent 
in the EBS. Based on NMFS surveys conducted from 1996 through 2005, 
dark rockfish constituted an average of 3.5 percent of the total 
biomass of the PSR complex in the GOA. Based on observer data from 1996 
though 2005, the average catch of dark rockfish was 0.6 percent of the 
total PSR catch in the GOA. However, the trawl surveys used to estimate 
the abundance of rockfish in the GOA and BSAI only sample fish that are 
on or near a smooth bottom. Most dark rockfish occur in rocky nearshore 
reef habitats that are not sampled in these surveys. Therefore, the 
NMFS surveys are not the most satisfactory means to assess dark 
rockfish abundance. In addition, including dark rockfish in the TAC for 
a group of rockfish (the ``other rockfish'' complex in the BSAI and the 
PSR complex in the GOA) is not appropriate for less abundant stocks 
such as dark rockfish because it could lead to overfishing of the less 
abundant species in the species groups.
    Section 306(a)(3)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act allows a state to 
regulate a fishing vessel outside the boundaries of the state if the 
fishing vessel is registered under the law of that state, and no 
fishery management plan or other applicable Federal fishing regulations 
exist for the fishery in which the vessel is operating. Removing dark 
rockfish from the FMPs and regulations at 50 CFR part 679 would provide 
the necessary conditions for the State to manage dark rockfish in 
Federal waters off Alaska.
    Management by the State would better address localized assessment 
and harvest requirements for this nearshore species than is currently 
provided by Federal management under the larger PSR complex in the GOA 
and the ``other rockfish'' complex in the BSAI. Assessment of dark 
rockfish is difficult under either Federal or State management. As 
stated earlier, the Federal trawl surveys do not adequately assess dark 
rockfish. And, as noted in the EA, the State does not have the 
resources to conduct large scale stock assessment surveys for rockfish. 
However, the State's management of this species in Federal waters would 
provide several benefits. First, the State would develop a fishery 
management plan for dark rockfish that would specify guideline harvest 
levels, allowable gear types, seasons, and locations for the directed 
fishery. Also, the State can manage dark rockfish in smaller area 
fisheries than can be managed by NMFS. In addition, the State would be 
able to conduct periodic and localized stock assessment surveys when 
budgets allow and monitor fishing effort data available from fish 
tickets and logbooks. State port sampling would continue to be used to 
collect biological data on rockfish and to improve species 
identification by fishermen and processing plant workers. The State 
also would continue to evaluate data on dark rockfish from the NMFS 
surveys and data collected by observers onboard vessels catching dark 
rockfish. These efforts by the State would provide stronger protection 
of dark rockfish from overfishing than Federal management of dark 
rockfish as part of a larger rockfish species complex.
    If Amendments 73/77 are approved, the State would be authorized to 
regulate State-permitted vessels fishing for dark rockfish in both 
State and Federal waters. The directed fishery for dark rockfish under 
the PSR complex quota category currently occurs in State waters. This 
fishery is relatively small and all vessels directly participating in 
it are permitted under the laws of the State. Typically, the vessels 
also are small and participants land their catch at shoreside 
processing plants in Alaska.
    Dark rockfish also are taken as incidental catch in other federally 
managed fisheries, including trawl and jig gear fisheries targeting 
pelagic shelf rockfish in the GOA, the trawl Atka mackerel fishery in 
the Aleutian Islands, and the hook-and-line and trawl gear

[[Page 55012]]

fisheries for Pacific cod in the Bering Sea. Under Amendments 73/77, 
the State would develop management plans and regulations for dark 
rockfish similar to those that currently exist for black rockfish 
(Sebastes melanops) and blue rockfish (Sebastes mystinus), which were 
removed from NMFS' GOA groundfish FMP in 1998 under Amendment 46 (63 FR 
11167, March 6, 1998). Notably, no adverse impacts or difficulties 
managing the groundfish fisheries off Alaska have occurred as a result 
of removing these two rockfish species from the GOA FMP.
    In managing black rockfish and blue rockfish, the State limits the 
gear types and areas open for directed fishing. It also limits the 
retention of black rockfish and blue rockfish to 5 percent of the 
retained catch of other groundfish species open for directed fishing. 
Similar gear, area, and incidental catch limits likely would be 
implemented by the State for dark rockfish. The retention of dark 
rockfish by a vessel permitted by the State in either State or Federal 
waters would be limited by State regulation.
    In 2007, all catcher vessels and 123 catcher/processors with 
Federal Fishery Permits (FFPs) participating in the groundfish 
fisheries off Alaska also held permits issued by the State. However, 21 
additional catcher/processors with FFPs that participated in the Alaska 
groundfish fisheries did not hold State permits in 2007. These 21 
catcher/processors would not be subject to State regulations governing 
dark rockfish caught in Federal waters off Alaska, and no Federal 
regulations governing the retention of dark rockfish would exist if 
dark rockfish were removed from the FMPs and Federal regulations. 
However, none of the catcher/processors has targeted dark rockfish and 
their incidental catch of this species is historically much lower (less 
than 1 percent) than the incidental catch limit the State would likely 
establish. NMFS does not expect these catcher/processors to target dark 
rockfish in the EEZ in the future because of the low abundance of these 
species in the EEZ. However, if concerns develop about the conservation 
of dark rockfish as a result of unregulated targeting on dark rockfish 
in the EEZ, NMFS would evaluate the circumstances to determine if 
emergency action were warranted. This situation, however, has not 
occurred with the removal of black rockfish and blue rockfish from the 
GOA FMP.
    To implement Amendments 73/77, NMFS proposes to revise the 
definition of ``rockfish'' under Sec.  679.2 to exclude dark rockfish 
in both the GOA and BSAI. The definition for ``other rockfish'' would 
be amended to add a reference to Table 11 to part 679 because the quota 
category for ``other rockfish'' exists in both the BSAI and GOA and is 
referred to in the maximum retainable amounts tables for both areas 
(Tables 10 and 11). In addition, the definition of ``other red 
rockfish'' would be removed from Sec.  679.2 because this rockfish 
quota category would no longer exist and the term is not used anywhere 
else in 50 CFR part 679.
    NMFS also proposes to correct the Latin name of dusky rockfish 
(Sebastes variabilis), species code 172, in Table 2a to part 679, and 
to add dark rockfish (Sebastes ciliatus), species code 173, to the non-
FMP species listed in Table 2d to part 679.
    In Table 10 to part 679 (Gulf of Alaska Retainable Percentages), 
footnote 5 would be revised to correct the Latin name for dusky 
rockfish (Sebastes variabilis). Footnote 8 would be revised to remove 
reference to Sebastes and Sebastolobus and to refer to the definition 
of ``rockfish'' at Sec.  679.2.
    The proposed rule also would make minor editorial revisions to 
Table 10. The words ``shallow water'' and ``deep water'' would be 
revised to ``shallow-water'' and ``deep-water'' to standardize the 
preferred spelling of these terms. In note 1 to Table 10, the term 
``shortraker/rougheye'' (171) would be removed because NMFS no longer 
has a species category or code in Table 2a to part 679 for the 
combination of shortraker and rougheye rockfish. Note 10 to Table 10 
lists the species included in the aggregated forage fish category. The 
word ``families'' in the parentheses following the term ``Aggregated 
forage fish'' would be replaced with the word ``taxa'' because all 
species of the order Euphausiacea (krill) also are included in the list 
of aggregated forage fish. The word ``taxa'' refers to more general 
groupings of similar organisms and includes taxonomic families and 
orders.
    In Table 11 to part 679 (BSAI Retainable Percentages), footnotes 3 
and 6 would be revised to remove reference to Sebastes and Sebastolobus 
and to refer to the definition of ``rockfish'' at Sec.  679.2. This 
revision would exclude dark rockfish from these rockfish categories in 
the BSAI because dark rockfish are excluded from the definition of 
rockfish in Sec.  679.2.

Classification

    Pursuant to sections 304(b)(1)(A) and 305(d) of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this 
proposed rule is consistent with Amendment 73 to the Fishery Management 
Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management 
Area, Amendment 77 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the 
Gulf of Alaska, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other 
applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined not to be a significant 
regulatory action for the purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    An initial regulatory review analysis (IRFA) was prepared, 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. A description of the action, why it is 
being considered, and the legal basis for this action were contained 
earlier in this preamble to this proposed rule. A summary of the 
analysis follows. A copy of this analysis is available from NMFS (see 
ADDRESSES).
    In 2006, one year immediately preceding the Council action 
recommending the removal of dark rockfish from the FMPs, there were 81 
small catcher vessels that made landings of pelagic shelf rockfish from 
the GOA, taken as either targeted or incidental catch fish. No small 
catcher/processors made such landings. The 81 small catcher vessels 
included 74 that used hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear, and seven that 
used pelagic or non-pelagic trawl gear. The 81 small catcher vessels 
averaged about $400,000, in gross ex-vessel revenues from all sources.
    In 2006, one small catcher/processor and 36 small catcher vessels 
made incidental catch landings of pelagic shelf rockfish in the BSAI. 
All together, 35 vessels used hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear, and two 
used trawl gear. The 37 small vessels averaged about $1.4 million in 
gross revenues from all sources.
    The RFA requires that an IRFA contain a description of any 
significant alternatives to the proposed rule that would accomplish the 
stated objectives of the proposed action, consistent with applicable 
statutes, and that would minimize any significant economic impact of 
the proposed rule on small entities.
    Two alternatives were analyzed: the status quo and the preferred 
alternative presented in this proposed rule. The preferred alternatives 
may have adverse impacts on operations targeting pelagic shelf rockfish 
in the Central GOA and in the West Yakutat District. However these 
impacts, if any, are expected to be small. The reductions in TACs will 
be modest; the preliminary specifications for 2009 suggest a drop of 
about 6% in

[[Page 55013]]

the Central GOA and about 7% in the West Yakutat District for the 
pelagic shelf rockfish complex as a result of removing dark rockfish 
from the complex. NMFS does not expect the action to have adverse 
impacts on operations targeting rockfish in the Southeast Outside and 
Western regions of the GOA, or in the BSAI because targeting does not 
appear to have been significant in these two areas. NMFS does not 
expect the action to have adverse impacts on operations taking dark 
rockfish as incidental catch because so few dark rockfish has been 
taken as incidental catch historically and because the State likely 
will continue to allow some retention of dark rockfish. In the Central 
GOA, most of the adverse impact would fall on participants in the 
Central GOA Rockfish Pilot Project. Because of the affiliations these 
operations have with cooperatives or large business entities through 
the quota management and allocation features of the pilot project, NMFS 
does not believe these operations can be considered small entities for 
the purpose of the RFA. However, it is possible that they would 
experience some adverse impact as described in the RIR because of the 
reduction in the TAC for pelagic shelf rockfish as a result of removing 
dark rockfish from the complex. For example, the ex-vessel price for 
dusky rockfish is currently about $0.25 per pound, and the potential 
loss of gross revenue in the Central GOA could range from $19,000 up to 
$171,000 as a result of removing dark rockfish from the complex.
    The primary alternative considered here, Alternative 1 - No Action, 
would not have these adverse impacts, but would not remove dark 
rockfish from the FMPs and, thus, does not accomplish the stated 
objective for the action to allow the State to assume management 
authority for dark rockfish catch by State-permitted vessels in State 
and Federal waters.
    The Council also considered a third alternative to the proposed 
action, but it was not carried forward for analysis. This alternative 
was to transfer management authority of dark rockfish to the State of 
Alaska while retaining the species under the Federal FMPs. Demersal 
shelf rockfish in Southeast Alaska is under a similarly delegated 
management program with the State of Alaska. A similar alternative was 
considered and rejected for black rockfish and blue rockfish under 
Amendment 46 to the GOA groundfish FMP. This alternative was not 
carried forward for dark rockfish because (1) State personnel would be 
required to comply with additional Federal management processes that 
may not be consistent with State procedures; (2) the State would need 
to meet both State and Federal requirements, which often prescribe 
different time-frames for management actions (e.g., notice, public 
meetings, and reports); and (3) the State did not believe it could meet 
the costly assessment requirements for managing a nearshore species, 
mandated under a Federal management plan.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679

    Alaska, Fisheries.

    Dated: September 18, 2008.
Samuel D. Rauch III
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
    For the 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 50 CFR 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. In Sec.  679.2, remove the definition for ``Other red rockfish'' 
and revise the definitions for ``Other rockfish'' and ``Rockfish'' to 
read as follows:


Sec.  679.2  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Other rockfish (see Tables 10 and 11 to this part pursuant to Sec.  
679.20(c); see also ``rockfish'' in this section.)
* * * * *
    Rockfish means:
    (1) For the Gulf of Alaska: Any species of the genera Sebastes or 
Sebastolobus except Sebastes ciliatus (dark rockfish); Sebastes 
melanops (black rockfish); and Sebastes mystinus (blue rockfish).
    (2) For the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area: Any 
species of the genera Sebastes or Sebastolobus except Sebastes ciliatus 
(dark rockfish).
* * * * *
    3. Table 2a to part 679 is revised to read as follows:

          Table 2a to Part 679 -- Species Codes: FMP Groundfish
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Species Description                          Code
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atka mackerel (greenling)                      193
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flatfish, miscellaneous (flatfish species      120
 without separate codes)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
FLOUNDER                                       .........................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Alaska plaice                                 133
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Arrowtooth and/or Kamchatka                   121
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Starry                                        129
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Octopus                                        870
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod                                    110
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock                                        270
------------------------------------------------------------------------
ROCKFISH                                       .........................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Aurora (S. aurora)                            185
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Black (BSAI) (S. melanops)                    142
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Blackgill (S. melanostomus)                   177
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Blue (BSAI) (S. mystinus)                     167
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Bocaccio (S. paucispinis)                     137
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Canary (S. pinniger)                          146
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Chilipepper (S. goodei)                       178
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 China (S. nebulosus)                          149
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Copper (S. caurinus)                          138
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Darkblotched (S. crameri)                     159
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Dusky (S. variabilis)                         172
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Greenstriped (S. elongatus)                   135
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Harlequin (S. variegatus)                     176
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Northern (S. polyspinis)                      136
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Pacific Ocean Perch (S. alutus)               141
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Pygmy (S. wilsoni)                            179
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Quillback (S. maliger)                        147
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Redbanded (S. babcocki)                       153
------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 55014]]

 
 Redstripe (S. proriger)                       158
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Rosethorn (S. helvomaculatus)                 150
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Rougheye (S. aleutianus)                      151
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Sharpchin (S. zacentrus)                      166
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Shortbelly (S. jordani)                       181
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Shortraker (S. borealis)                      152
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Silvergray (S. brevispinis)                   157
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Splitnose (S. diploproa)                      182
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Stripetail (S. saxicola)                      183
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Thornyhead (all Sebastolobus species)         143
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Tiger (S. nigrocinctus)                       148
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Vermilion (S. miniatus)                       184
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Widow (S. entomelas)                          156
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Yelloweye (S. ruberrimus)                     145
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Yellowmouth (S. reedi)                        175
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Yellowtail (S. flavidus)                      155
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish (blackcod)                           710
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sculpins                                       160
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SHARKS                                         .........................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Other (if salmon, spiny dogfish or Pacific    689
 sleeper shark - use specific species code)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Pacific sleeper                               692
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Salmon                                        690
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Spiny dogfish                                 691
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SKATES                                         .........................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Big                                           702
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Longnose                                      701
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Other (If longnose or big skate - use         700
 specific species code)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SOLE                                           .........................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Butter                                        126
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Dover                                         124
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 English                                       128
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Flathead                                      122
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Petrale                                       131
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Rex                                           125
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Rock                                          123
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Sand                                          132
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Yellowfin                                     127
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Squid                                          875
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Turbot, Greenland                              134
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    4. Table 2d to part 679 is revised to read as follows:

         Table 2d to Part 679 -- Species Codes: Non-FMP Species
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Species Description                          Code
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Abalone                                          860
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Albacore                                         720
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arctic char, anadromous                          521
------------------------------------------------------------------------
CLAMS
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Butter                                          810
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Cockle                                          820
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Eastern softshell                               842
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Geoduck                                         815
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Little-neck                                     840
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Razor                                           830
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Surf                                            812
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Coral                                           899
------------------------------------------------------------------------
CRAB                                             .......................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Box                                             900
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Dungeness                                       910
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Korean horsehair                                940
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Multispina (Paralomis multispina)               951
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Verrilli (Paralomis verilli)                    953
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dolly varden, anadromous                         531
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eels or eel-like fish                            210
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Giant grenadier                                  214
------------------------------------------------------------------------
GREENLING                                        .......................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Kelp                                            194
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Rock                                            191
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Whitespot                                       192
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Grenadier (rattail)                              213
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jellyfish                                        625
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lamprey, pacific                                 600
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lingcod                                          130
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lumpsucker                                       216
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mussel, blue                                     855
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific flatnose                                 260
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific hagfish                                  212
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific hake                                     112
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific saury                                    220
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific tomcod                                   250
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Prowfish                                         215
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rockfish, black (GOA)                            142
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rockfish, blue (GOA)                             167
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rockfish, dark                                   173
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sardine, Pacific (pilchard)                      170
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Scallop, weathervane                             850
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Scallop, pink (or calico)                        851
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sea cucumber                                     895
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sea urchin, green                                893
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sea urchin, red                                  892
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shad                                             180
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SHRIMP                                           .......................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Coonstripe                                      964
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Humpy                                           963
------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 55015]]

 
 Northern (pink)                                 961
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Sidestripe                                      962
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Spot                                            965
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Skilfish                                         715
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Smelt, surf                                      515
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Snails                                           890
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sturgeon, general                                680
------------------------------------------------------------------------

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[[Page 55016]]

    5. Tables 10 and 11 to part 679 are revised to read as follows:
    Table 10 to Part 679--Gulf of Alaska Retainable Percentages
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP24SE08.013
    

[[Page 55017]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP24SE08.014


[[Page 55018]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP24SE08.015


[[Page 55019]]


    Table 11 to Part 679--BSAI Retainable Percentages
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP24SE08.016
    

[[Page 55020]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP24SE08.017

[FR Doc. E8-22441 Filed 9-23-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-C