Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Catcher Vessel Operational Area and Inshore/Offshore Provisions for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and the Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Fisheries; Amendments 62/62, 14950-14951 [E9-7449]

Download as PDF 14950 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 62 / Thursday, April 2, 2009 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 RIN 0648–AR06 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Catcher Vessel Operational Area and Inshore/Offshore Provisions for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and the Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Fisheries; Amendments 62/ 62 dwashington3 on PROD1PC60 with PROPOSALS AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Announcement of availability of fishery management plan amendments; request for comments. SUMMARY: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendment 62 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP) and Amendment 62 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP). If approved, Amendments 62/62 would revise the BSAI FMP description of the Catcher Vessel Operational Area (CVOA) and remove the obsolete sunset date for inshore/offshore sector allocations of pollock and Pacific cod in the GOA FMP. This action is necessary to amend outdated FMP text so that both FMPs are consistent with the American Fisheries Act (AFA) and other applicable law. This action 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 on Amendments 62/ 62 must be received on or before June 1, 2009. 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– AR06’’ by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. • Fax: 907–586–7557. • Mail: P. O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802. • Hand delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, Alaska. VerDate Nov<24>2008 14:51 Apr 01, 2009 Jkt 217001 All comments received are a part of the public record and will 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 (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments must be in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe portable document file (pdf) formats to be accepted. Copies of the Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review (EA/RIR) prepared for this action are available from the NMFS Alaska Region website at http:// www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov or from the mailing and street addresses listed above. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Becky Carls, 907–586–7228. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires that each regional fishery management council submit any FMP or FMP amendment it prepares to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or partial approval by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). The MagnusonStevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving an FMP amendment, immediately publish a notice in the Federal Register that the FMP amendment is available for public review and comment. This requirement is satisfied by this notice of availability (NOA) for Amendments 62/62. In June 2002, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) adopted Amendments 62/62 to revise obsolete or inconsistent inshore/ offshore language in the BSAI and GOA FMPs to make them consistent with the AFA. A combination of circumstances has since resulted in the delay of submitting these amendments for Secretarial review. Additionally, other amendments incorporated two of the four Council-approved FMP changes regarding inshore/offshore language. In April 2008, the Council reviewed Amendments 62/62 and affirmed its 2002 decisions concerning the remaining FMP amendments. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Inshore/Offshore Language The purpose of the revisions recommended by the Council concerning BSAI inshore/offshore PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 language in the FMPs was to make the FMPs consistent with the AFA, passed in 1998. Most of the inshore/offshore language made obsolete by the AFA was removed from federal regulations under a final rule that implemented the AFA provisions under Amendments 61/61 to the BSAI and GOA FMPs (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002). To revise additional inshore/offshore language in the FMPs overlooked in Amendments 61/61, the following four actions were adopted by the Council under Amendments 62/62: • Remove obsolete inshore/offshore language from the BSAI FMP. • Revise the BSAI FMP description of the CVOA. • Remove references to BSAI inshore/ offshore allocations from the GOA FMP. • Remove the December 31, 2004, sunset date for inshore/offshore sector allocations of pollock and Pacific cod from the GOA FMP. Since the Council adopted Amendments 62/62, other FMP amendments incorporated two of the four Council-recommended FMP changes regarding inshore/offshore language. The recommended removals from the FMPs of obsolete inshore/ offshore language and references were made under Amendments 83/75 (70 FR 35395, June 20, 2005), as part of comprehensive housekeeping amendments. Amendments 83/75 revised the respective FMPs by updating harvest, ecosystem, and socioeconomic information; consolidating text; and organizing the information to improve the readability of the documents. Amendments 83/75 were approved by the Secretary on June 14, 2005. In April 2008, the Council reviewed its remaining two recommendations under Amendments 62/62 and affirmed its 2002 adoption of these actions. Amendment 62 to the BSAI FMP would revise the CVOA descriptions to make the FMP consistent with current federal regulations at § 679.22(a)(5). The CVOA is an area in which AFA catcher/ processors are prohibited from directed fishing for pollock during the non-roe, or B, season unless they are participating in the Community Development Quota fishery. The current description at Section 3.5.2.1.6 of the BSAI FMP would be changed to use the more comprehensive term ‘‘non-roe season’’ instead of the term ‘‘pollock B season,’’ and the coordinates that define the CVOA would be added to the description. E:\FR\FM\02APP1.SGM 02APP1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 62 / Thursday, April 2, 2009 / Proposed Rules dwashington3 on PROD1PC60 with PROPOSALS Also, the description of the CVOA in Appendix B would be revised. Obsolete references to pollock ‘‘B’’ season dates, to the closing of the ‘‘inshore component’’ of the BSAI pollock fishery, and to the ‘‘offshore component’’ of the BSAI would be removed or modified. Currently, the description states that the ‘‘B’’ season for pollock begins on September 1. This season start date has been changed due to Steller sea lion protection measures and because the AFA has allowed for the lengthening of the pollock season. The current FMP description states that the ‘‘inshore component’’ in the BSAI may be closed to directed fishing for pollock. Under the AFA, NMFS no longer closes the ‘‘inshore component’’ to directed fishing for pollock, because each individual shoreside cooperative operates under its own pollock allocation. Therefore, this reference would be removed. Finally, the outdated reference to ‘‘offshore component’’ would be replaced by the AFA category ‘‘AFA catcher/processor.’’ The proposed new BSAI FMP text for Section 3.5.2.1.6 and Appendix B would be as follows: ‘‘The CVOA is defined as the area of the BSAI east of 167°30′ W. longitude, west of 163° W. longitude, south of 56° N. latitude, and north of the Aleutian Islands. AFA catcher/ processors are prohibited from engaging in directed fishing for pollock in the CVOA during the non-roe season unless VerDate Nov<24>2008 14:51 Apr 01, 2009 Jkt 217001 they are participating in the CDQ fishery.’’ This prohibition currently exists in the regulations at § 679.22(a)(5). Amendment 62 to the GOA FMP would formally remove the sunset date for GOA inshore/offshore pollock and Pacific cod allocations. As adopted by the Council and submitted to the Secretary in November 2001, Amendment 61 to the GOA FMP incorporated the AFA into the FMP, and extended GOA inshore/offshore allocations to December 31, 2004. Section 213 of the AFA as passed by Congress contained a December 31, 2004, sunset date. The Council decided to apply this sunset date to GOA inshore/offshore allocations under Amendment 61 so that BSAI and GOA allocation issues could be addressed concurrently when the AFA pollock allocations were scheduled to expire. However, after Amendment 61 was submitted for Secretarial review, Congress enacted legislation to remove the December 31, 2004, sunset date from the AFA (Section 211 of title II, Department of Commerce and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2002, Public Law 107–77, November 28, 2001). To reconcile the sunset dates contained in the FMP amendment with the newly-amended AFA, NMFS partially approved Amendments 61/61/ 13/8 to the FMPs for groundfish, crab, and scallop on February 27, 2002. PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 14951 NMFS disapproved the December 31, 2004, sunset dates in the amendments because the primary reason articulated by the Council for reviewing GOA inshore/offshore allocations in 2004 no longer existed. However, not all references to the sunset date were removed from the GOA FMP, necessitating Amendment 62 to the GOA FMP. As noted above, changes were made to the GOA FMP under Amendment 75. The removal of the sunset date from the FMP by Amendment 75 was premature because its removal was not specified as one of the changes made by Amendment 75. Approval of Amendment 62 to the GOA FMP would officially remove the sunset date from the FMP. Public comments are being solicited on the amendments through the end of the comment period stated in this NOA. To be considered, comments must be received by close of business on the last day of the comment period; that does not mean postmarked or otherwise transmitted by that date. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 108–447. Dated: March 27, 2009. Kristen C. Koch, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E9–7449 Filed 4–1–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\02APP1.SGM 02APP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 62 (Thursday, April 2, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 14950-14951]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-7449]



[[Page 14950]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

RIN 0648-AR06


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Catcher 
Vessel Operational Area and Inshore/Offshore Provisions for the Bering 
Sea and Aleutian Islands and the Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Fisheries; 
Amendments 62/62

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

ACTION: Announcement of availability of fishery management plan 
amendments; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has submitted 
Amendment 62 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP) and 
Amendment 62 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf 
of Alaska (GOA FMP). If approved, Amendments 62/62 would revise the 
BSAI FMP description of the Catcher Vessel Operational Area (CVOA) and 
remove the obsolete sunset date for inshore/offshore sector allocations 
of pollock and Pacific cod in the GOA FMP. This action is necessary to 
amend outdated FMP text so that both FMPs are consistent with the 
American Fisheries Act (AFA) and other applicable law. This action 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 on Amendments 62/62 must be received on or before June 
1, 2009.

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-AR06'' by any one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Fax: 907-586-7557.
     Mail: P. O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802.
     Hand delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th 
Street, Room 420A, Juneau, Alaska.
    All comments received are a part of the public record and will 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 (enter N/A in the required 
fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic 
comments must be in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe 
portable document file (pdf) formats to be accepted.
    Copies of the Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review 
(EA/RIR) prepared for this action are available from the NMFS Alaska 
Region website at http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov or from the 
mailing and street addresses listed above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Becky Carls, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires that each regional 
fishery management council submit any FMP or FMP amendment it prepares 
to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or partial approval by 
the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). The Magnuson-Stevens Act also 
requires that NMFS, upon receiving an FMP amendment, immediately 
publish a notice in the Federal Register that the FMP amendment is 
available for public review and comment. This requirement is satisfied 
by this notice of availability (NOA) for Amendments 62/62.
    In June 2002, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council 
(Council) adopted Amendments 62/62 to revise obsolete or inconsistent 
inshore/offshore language in the BSAI and GOA FMPs to make them 
consistent with the AFA. A combination of circumstances has since 
resulted in the delay of submitting these amendments for Secretarial 
review. Additionally, other amendments incorporated two of the four 
Council-approved FMP changes regarding inshore/offshore language. In 
April 2008, the Council reviewed Amendments 62/62 and affirmed its 2002 
decisions concerning the remaining FMP amendments.

Inshore/Offshore Language

    The purpose of the revisions recommended by the Council concerning 
BSAI inshore/offshore language in the FMPs was to make the FMPs 
consistent with the AFA, passed in 1998. Most of the inshore/offshore 
language made obsolete by the AFA was removed from federal regulations 
under a final rule that implemented the AFA provisions under Amendments 
61/61 to the BSAI and GOA FMPs (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002). To 
revise additional inshore/offshore language in the FMPs overlooked in 
Amendments 61/61, the following four actions were adopted by the 
Council under Amendments 62/62:
     Remove obsolete inshore/offshore language from the BSAI 
FMP.
     Revise the BSAI FMP description of the CVOA.
     Remove references to BSAI inshore/offshore allocations 
from the GOA FMP.
     Remove the December 31, 2004, sunset date for inshore/
offshore sector allocations of pollock and Pacific cod from the GOA 
FMP.
    Since the Council adopted Amendments 62/62, other FMP amendments 
incorporated two of the four Council-recommended FMP changes regarding 
inshore/offshore language. The recommended removals from the FMPs of 
obsolete inshore/offshore language and references were made under 
Amendments 83/75 (70 FR 35395, June 20, 2005), as part of comprehensive 
housekeeping amendments. Amendments 83/75 revised the respective FMPs 
by updating harvest, ecosystem, and socioeconomic information; 
consolidating text; and organizing the information to improve the 
readability of the documents. Amendments 83/75 were approved by the 
Secretary on June 14, 2005.
    In April 2008, the Council reviewed its remaining two 
recommendations under Amendments 62/62 and affirmed its 2002 adoption 
of these actions. Amendment 62 to the BSAI FMP would revise the CVOA 
descriptions to make the FMP consistent with current federal 
regulations at Sec.  679.22(a)(5). The CVOA is an area in which AFA 
catcher/processors are prohibited from directed fishing for pollock 
during the non-roe, or B, season unless they are participating in the 
Community Development Quota fishery. The current description at Section 
3.5.2.1.6 of the BSAI FMP would be changed to use the more 
comprehensive term ``non-roe season'' instead of the term ``pollock B 
season,'' and the coordinates that define the CVOA would be added to 
the description.

[[Page 14951]]

    Also, the description of the CVOA in Appendix B would be revised. 
Obsolete references to pollock ``B'' season dates, to the closing of 
the ``inshore component'' of the BSAI pollock fishery, and to the 
``offshore component'' of the BSAI would be removed or modified. 
Currently, the description states that the ``B'' season for pollock 
begins on September 1. This season start date has been changed due to 
Steller sea lion protection measures and because the AFA has allowed 
for the lengthening of the pollock season. The current FMP description 
states that the ``inshore component'' in the BSAI may be closed to 
directed fishing for pollock. Under the AFA, NMFS no longer closes the 
``inshore component'' to directed fishing for pollock, because each 
individual shoreside cooperative operates under its own pollock 
allocation. Therefore, this reference would be removed. Finally, the 
outdated reference to ``offshore component'' would be replaced by the 
AFA category ``AFA catcher/processor.''
    The proposed new BSAI FMP text for Section 3.5.2.1.6 and Appendix B 
would be as follows: ``The CVOA is defined as the area of the BSAI east 
of 167[deg]30' W. longitude, west of 163[deg] W. longitude, south of 
56[deg] N. latitude, and north of the Aleutian Islands. AFA catcher/
processors are prohibited from engaging in directed fishing for pollock 
in the CVOA during the non-roe season unless they are participating in 
the CDQ fishery.'' This prohibition currently exists in the regulations 
at Sec.  679.22(a)(5).
    Amendment 62 to the GOA FMP would formally remove the sunset date 
for GOA inshore/offshore pollock and Pacific cod allocations. As 
adopted by the Council and submitted to the Secretary in November 2001, 
Amendment 61 to the GOA FMP incorporated the AFA into the FMP, and 
extended GOA inshore/offshore allocations to December 31, 2004. Section 
213 of the AFA as passed by Congress contained a December 31, 2004, 
sunset date. The Council decided to apply this sunset date to GOA 
inshore/offshore allocations under Amendment 61 so that BSAI and GOA 
allocation issues could be addressed concurrently when the AFA pollock 
allocations were scheduled to expire. However, after Amendment 61 was 
submitted for Secretarial review, Congress enacted legislation to 
remove the December 31, 2004, sunset date from the AFA (Section 211 of 
title II, Department of Commerce and Related Agencies Appropriations 
Act, 2002, Public Law 107-77, November 28, 2001). To reconcile the 
sunset dates contained in the FMP amendment with the newly-amended AFA, 
NMFS partially approved Amendments 61/61/13/8 to the FMPs for 
groundfish, crab, and scallop on February 27, 2002. NMFS disapproved 
the December 31, 2004, sunset dates in the amendments because the 
primary reason articulated by the Council for reviewing GOA inshore/
offshore allocations in 2004 no longer existed. However, not all 
references to the sunset date were removed from the GOA FMP, 
necessitating Amendment 62 to the GOA FMP. As noted above, changes were 
made to the GOA FMP under Amendment 75. The removal of the sunset date 
from the FMP by Amendment 75 was premature because its removal was not 
specified as one of the changes made by Amendment 75. Approval of 
Amendment 62 to the GOA FMP would officially remove the sunset date 
from the FMP.
    Public comments are being solicited on the amendments through the 
end of the comment period stated in this NOA. To be considered, 
comments must be received by close of business on the last day of the 
comment period; that does not mean postmarked or otherwise transmitted 
by that date.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; 
Pub. L. 108-447.

    Dated: March 27, 2009.
Kristen C. Koch,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E9-7449 Filed 4-1-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S