Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments, 38313-38325 [2011-16512]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 126 / Thursday, June 30, 2011 / Rules and Regulations possession limit; and May 22–October 11 and November 1–December 31 fishing seasons for Federal waters. This alternative provides the lowest associated economic impacts to small entities of the measures considered for Federal waters that also meets the statutory and regulatory requirements for the 2011 fishery. Alternative 1 (a 13.0-inch (33.02-cm) minimum fish size, a 25-fish per person possession limit, and open season of July 1 through October 1 and November 1 through December 31), originally proposed by NMFS for 2011, was projected to achieve the conservation objectives for the 2011 black sea bass fishery; however, the landings level reduction imposed by the alternative’s measures is more restrictive than necessary. The Alternative 3 measures proposed (12.5inch (31.75-cm) minimum fish size, a 25-fish per person possession limit, and open seasons of January 1 through December 31) were not projected to achieve the necessary reduction in landings for 2011 and, as such, could not be implemented by NMFS. Small Entity Compliance Guide Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for which an agency is required to prepare a FRFA, the agency shall publish one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule, and shall designate such publications as ‘‘small entity compliance guides.’’ The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. As part of this rulemaking process, a letter to permit holders that also serves as the small entity compliance guide was prepared and will be sent to all holders of Federal party/charter permits issued for the summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass fisheries. In addition, copies of this final rule and the small entity compliance guide are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and at the following Web site: https:// www.nero.noaa.gov. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: June 27, 2011. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is amended as follows: VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:53 Jun 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 648.103, paragraph (b) is revised to read as follows: ■ § 648.103 Minimum fish sizes. * * * * * (b) Unless otherwise specified pursuant to § 648.107, the minimum size for summer flounder is 18.5 inches (46.99 cm) TL for all vessels that do not qualify for a moratorium permit, and charter boats holding a moratorium permit if fishing with more than three crew members, or party boats holding a moratorium permit if fishing with passengers for hire or carrying more than five crew members. * * * * * 3. In § 648.107, paragraph (a) introductory text and paragraph (b) are revised to read as follows: ■ § 648.107 Conservation equivalent measures for the summer flounder fishery. (a) The Regional Administrator has determined that the recreational fishing measures proposed to be implemented by Massachusetts through North Carolina for 2011 are the conservation equivalent of the season, minimum fish size, and possession limit prescribed in §§ 648.102, 648.103, and 648.105(a), respectively. This determination is based on a recommendation from the Summer Flounder Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. * * * * * (b) Federally permitted vessels subject to the recreational fishing measures of this part, and other recreational fishing vessels subject to the recreational fishing measures of this part and registered in states whose fishery management measures are not determined by the Regional Administrator to be the conservation equivalent of the season, minimum size, and possession limit prescribed in §§ 648.102, 648.103(b) and 648.105(a), respectively, due to the lack of, or the reversal of, a conservation equivalent recommendation from the Summer Flounder Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, shall be subject to the following precautionary default measures: Season—May 1 through September 30; minimum size— 20.0 inches (50.80 cm); and possession limit—two fish. [FR Doc. 2011–16517 Filed 6–29–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 38313 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 Docket No. 100804324–1265–02] RIN 0648–BB21 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; inseason adjustments to biennial groundfish management measures; request for comments. AGENCY: This final rule announces inseason changes to management measures in the commercial Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. These actions, which are authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), are intended to allow fisheries to access more abundant groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted stocks. SUMMARY: Effective 0001 hours (local time) July 1, 2011. Comments on this final rule must be received no later than 5 p.m., local time on August 1, 2011. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by RIN 0648–BB21 by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal https:// www.regulations.gov. • Fax: 206–526–6736, Attn: Gretchen Hanshew. • Mail: William W. Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115–0070, Attn: Gretchen Hanshew. Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to https:// www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). You may submit DATES: E:\FR\FM\30JNR1.SGM 30JNR1 38314 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 126 / Thursday, June 30, 2011 / Rules and Regulations attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gretchen Hanshew (Northwest Region, NMFS), 206–526–6147, fax: 206–526– 6736, gretchen.hanshew@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: than originally projected through the end of 2011. Estimated mortality of overfished and target species are the result of management measures designed to achieve, to the extent possible, but not exceed, ACLs of target species while fostering the rebuilding of overfished stocks by remaining within their rebuilding ACLs. Electronic Access Trawl Rockfish Conservation Area The Council recommended and NMFS is implementing a shift in the seaward boundary of the trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) for the area from 48°10′ N. lat. (Cape Alava) to 45°46′ N. lat. (Cape Falcon) by shifting the seaward boundary of the trawl RCA boundary from the boundary line approximating the 200-fm (366-m) depth contour to the boundary line approximating the 150-fm (274-m) depth contour. In June 2010, the Council recommended that the trawl RCA boundaries that were scheduled for the 2010 calendar year, as of June 2010, be in place for the 2011 start of the rationalized trawl fishery. Boundaries of the trawl RCA were left in place as they existed in 2010 due to the uncertainty in how the rationalized fishery would perform. One of the goals of the trawl rationalization program was to allow individual accountability to drive bycatch rates of overfished species down, and the Council acknowledged that once fishery information was available from the rationalized fishery, adjustments to the trawl RCA boundaries may be made in the future. At its March 2011 meeting, the Council considered changes to the trawl RCA boundaries after a request from industry. However, the Council did not recommend changes due to the limited amount of fishery information on landings and bycatch at that time. At its June 2011 meeting, the Council considered a different, more limited, industry request to shift the seaward boundary of the trawl RCA shoreward to open some areas for harvesting Dover sole and sablefish. The Council carefully weighed the potential risks and benefits of opening some deeper areas that are currently closed by the trawl RCA where the fleet may have higher encounters with darkblotched rockfish and Pacific halibut. The most recent fishery information on total catch, including discards, of darkblotched rockfish in the IFQ fishery indicated that as of June 6, 2011, only 27.3 mt of darkblotched rockfish have been harvested. In light of the low catch levels of darkblotched rockfish to date, opening some deeper areas that are currently closed by the RCA could This final rule is accessible via the Internet at the Office of the Federal Register’s Web site at https:// www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/. Background information and documents are available at the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Web site at https://www.pcouncil.org/. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Background The Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP and its implementing regulations at title 50 in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 660, subparts C through G, regulate fishing for over 90 species of groundfish off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. Groundfish specifications and management measures are developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), and are implemented by NMFS. On November 3, 2011, NMFS published a proposed rule to implement the 2011– 2012 harvest specifications and management measures for the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery (75 FR 67810). The final rule to implement the 2011– 2012 harvest specifications and management measures for the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery was published on May 11, 2011 (76 FR 27508). These specifications and management measures are codified in the CFR (50 CFR part 660, subparts C through G). Changes to current groundfish management measures implemented by this action were recommended by the Council at its June 6–13, 2011 meeting in Spokane, Washington. The Council recommended adjustments to current groundfish management measures to respond to updated fishery information and other inseason management needs. The projected impacts to two of the eight overfished species (canary rockfish and yelloweye rockfish) will increase slightly with the adjustments to the deeper nearshore rockfish limits in the limited entry fixed gear and open access fisheries south of 40°10.00′ N. lat. However, these impacts, when combined with the impacts from all other fisheries, are not projected to exceed the 2011 rebuilding annual catch limits (ACLs) for these species. All other adjustments to fishery management measures are not expected to result in greater impacts to overfished species VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:53 Jun 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 increase accessibility of some of the more valuable target resources on the slope, such as Dover sole and sablefish. This change to the RCA structure would also give fishers a chance to demonstrate the benefits of individual accountability that they have in the trawl rationalization program. The Council acknowledged that as of June 6, 2011, there was no information available on catch stratified by the depths that vessels were fishing. This information would help inform the catch levels of overfished species and how they vary by depth, and could be informative for decisions on changes to the RCA. However, the Council noted that this information is being collected and processed, and is anticipated to be available by its September 2011 meeting. The Council also considered that west coast groundfish observer program (WCGOP) data on the trip-limit fishery from 2006–2009 indicated that the requested change to the seaward RCA boundary would open areas where bycatch rates of darkblotched rockfish have been documented to be higher than in some other areas. If a vessel had a large catch of darkblotched, as seen in WCGOP data where a single tow could catch more than 1 mt of darkblotched rockfish, or of Pacific halibut, fishers may not be able to cover their catch with their available quota pounds, and it may force them to cease fishing until any overage can be covered. If large tows of darkblotched rockfish occur several times and inadequate darkblotched rockfish quota is available, it could even mean that fishing opportunities seaward of the RCA could be in jeopardy for all of the shorebased non-whiting IFQ vessels. The Council also considered additional factors that supported making the requested changes to the trawl RCA boundaries. First, vessels operating in the IFQ fishery, with full observer coverage, have strong incentives to avoid catch levels of species that they cannot cover with available quota pounds (e.g., darkblotched rockfish or Pacific halibut). In addition, the full observer coverage and increased ability to track catch inseason could allow the Council to make necessary adjustments if excessive catch is observed. Therefore, the risk of several large tows of darkblotched rockfish threatening fishing opportunities for all of the shorebased non-whiting IFQ vessels is minimized. Second, the Council acknowledged that the request was limited to only a specific portion of the coast; from Cape Alava in northern Washington (48°10′ N. lat.) south to E:\FR\FM\30JNR1.SGM 30JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 126 / Thursday, June 30, 2011 / Rules and Regulations longer to resume operations than previously thought. The Council considered increases to black rockfish trip limits to allow additional harvest of this healthy stock, and the potential impacts to overfished species. An increase in trip limits is not anticipated to increase projected impacts to overfished species because projected impacts to overfished species are calculated assuming that up to 82 mt of black rockfish are harvested in this fishery. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing trip limit changes for minor nearshore and black rockfish in the limited entry fixed gear and open access fishery between 42° N. lat. and 40°10.00′ N. lat.: From ‘‘7,000 lb (3,175 kg) per two months, no more than 1,200 lb (544 kg) of which may be species other than black rockfish’’ to ‘‘8,500 lb (3,856 kg) per two months, no more than 1,200 lb (544 kg) of which may be species other than black rockfish’’ beginning in Period 4, on July 1, through the end of the year. Limited Entry Fixed Gear and Open Access Fishery Management Measures mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Cape Falcon in northern Oregon (45°46′ N. lat.), just below the Columbia River. The Council also recognized that additional fishery information will become available prior to the September 2011 Council meeting, and further adjustments to RCA boundaries may be considered for the end of 2011 if necessary. Therefore, the Council ultimately recommended and NMFS is implementing a shift in the seaward boundary of the trawl RCA for the area from 48°10′ N. lat. (Cape Alava) to 45°46′ N. lat. (Cape Falcon): Open fishing area between the boundary line approximating the 150-fm (274-m) depth contour and the boundary line approximating the 200-fm (366-m) depth contour, by shifting the seaward boundary of the trawl RCA boundary from the boundary line approximating the 200-fm (366-m) depth contour to the boundary line approximating the 150-fm (274-m) depth contour beginning on September 1 through the end of the year. Deeper Nearshore Rockfish South of 40°10′ N. Lat. The Council recommended and NMFS is implementing trip limit increases for deeper nearshore rockfish in the limited entry fixed gear and open access fishery south of 40°10′ N. lat. At its June meeting, the Council considered the most recent fish ticket data indicating that landings of deeper nearshore rockfish south of 40°10′ N. lat. have been lower in 2011 than in previous years. An industry request came forward to increase the deeper nearshore rockfish trip limits to provide more access to black and blue rockfish while keeping their total catch within the state fishery harvest guidelines for these species. Modest increases to the deeper nearshore rockfish trip limits in the limited entry fixed gear and open access fisheries in Periods 4–6 (July 1 through December 31) are projected to slightly increase impacts to co-occurring overfished rockfish, particularly canary rockfish and yelloweye rockfish. Projected impacts to canary rockfish increase by 0.1 mt and projected impacts to yelloweye rockfish are projected to increase by less than 0.05 mt. These slightly higher projected impacts in the deeper nearshore fishery, when combined with the anticipated impacts to these species in all other fisheries through the end of the year, are not anticipated to exceed the 2011 rebuilding ACLs for canary rockfish or yelloweye rockfish. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing trip limit Minor Nearshore and Black Rockfish Trip Limits Between 42° N. Lat. and 40°10.00′ N. Lat. The Council recommended and NMFS is implementing an increase to the bi-monthly limit for minor nearshore and black rockfish in the limited entry fixed gear and open access fisheries between 42° N. lat. and 40°10.00′ N. lat. beginning on July 1, through the end of the year. The change allows for increased landings of black rockfish. Black rockfish is a nearshore rockfish species that was assessed in 2007. The 2011 black rockfish commercial catch target in the California nearshore fishery is 82 mt. At its June meeting, the Council considered the most recent fish ticket data and projected impacts to black rockfish in the nearshore fishery off the California coast through the rest of the year. These estimates indicated that under the current trip limit structure, catch was estimated to be only 68 mt, or 83 percent of the 82 mt catch target. Industry requested an increase to black rockfish trip limits in northern California, between 42° N. lat. and 40°10.00′ N. lat., because they have had limited nearshore fishing opportunities due in part to poor weather conditions and the impacts of the tsunami on infrastructure and fishing vessels. Some vessels have not been able to resume full time operations since the tsunami and other vessels which sustained damage are taking VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:53 Jun 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 38315 changes for deeper nearshore rockfish in the limited entry fixed gear and open access fishery south of 40°10.00′ N. lat.: From ‘‘700 lb (318 kg) per 2 months’’ between 40°10′ N. lat. and 34°27′ N. lat. and ‘‘600 lb (272 kg) per 2 months’’ south of 34°27′ N. lat. in Period 4 (JulyAugust), and from ‘‘800 lb (363 kg) per 2 months’’ south of 40°10.00′ N. lat. in Periods 5–6 (September-December) to ‘‘900 lb (408 kg) per 2 months’’ beginning in Period 4, on July 1, through the end of the year. Open Access Fishery, Minor Shelf Rockfish Trip Limits South of 34°27′ N. Lat. At its June 2011 meeting, the Council received a request to increase trip limits for minor shelf rockfish south of 34°27′ N. lat. Total mortality of minor shelf rockfish south of 40°10′ N. lat. has been well below the optimum yield for this area in 2006–2009. Beginning in 2011, formal allocations of this species complex were made between the trawl and the non-trawl fisheries, with 87.8 percent of the ACL for this species complex being allocated to the nontrawl fisheries, including both commercial and recreational fisheries. The Council considered total mortality of this species complex in 2006–2009 if that formal non-trawl allocation had been in place in those years. If that formal non-trawl allocation had been in place, no more than 52 percent of what would have been the non-trawl allocation would have been caught in any of those years. The Council also considered anecdotal information that catch of speckled rockfish, a species in the minor shelf rockfish complex south of 40°10′ N. lat., has been high for vessels that are targeting deeper nearshore and vermilion rockfish. Industry is requesting an increase to the minor shelf rockfish trip limits for the area south of 34°27′ N. lat. to turn catch of speckled rockfish, which may have been discarded under lower limits, into landed catch. There is no formal model to project impacts to co-occurring overfished species in this non-nearshore fishery south of 34°27′ N. lat. However, as included in the transmittal letter from the Director of the Council, dated June 23, 2011, the Groundfish Management Team (GMT), an advisory body to the Council, analyzed data from the west coast groundfish observer program indicate that very few encounters with overfished species occur in this fishery and this area, including encounters with bocaccio. However, if bocaccio catch were to increase as a result of the increase to minor shelf rockfish trip limits, it is anticipated that increased E:\FR\FM\30JNR1.SGM 30JNR1 38316 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 126 / Thursday, June 30, 2011 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES catch would be accommodated under the current bocaccio trip limits for this fishery. Under the current trip limit structure for minor shelf rockfish species, state fish ticket information indicates that the 100 lb (45 kg) per 2 months trip limit for bocaccio is not being attained by most fishers. The landings of bocaccio being below the bimonthly trip limit indicates that if higher catch of bocaccio were to occur under a modest increase in shelf rockfish trip limits, the catch could be accommodated by the current bocaccio trip limits and would therefore not increase overall projected impacts of bocaccio in the open access fishery. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing trip limit changes for minor shelf rockfish in the open access fishery south of 34°27′ N. lat.: From ‘‘750 lb (340 kg) per 2 months’’ to ‘‘1,000 lb (454 kg) per 2 months’’ beginning in Period 4, on July 1, through the end of the year. Limited Entry Fixed Gear Sablefish Daily Trip Limit Fishery, North of 36° N. Lat. The Council recommended and NMFS is implementing decreases in trip limits for the limited entry fixed gear sablefish fishery north of 36° N. lat. At its March 2011 meeting, the Council took action to reduce limits in the limited entry fixed gear sablefish daily trip limit (DTL) fishery north of 36° N. lat. This recommendation was precautionary, in response to the discovery of an error in the methods that were used to estimate landings of sablefish in the DTL fishery. Since March, staff at NMFS, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), and the GMT have worked to correct the algorithm that is used in PacFIN to estimate sablefish landings in the DTL fishery. The new, corrected algorithm in PacFIN produced higher than anticipated landings estimates of sablefish in this fishery. Even with the precautionary adjustments to the limited entry fixed gear sablefish DTL fishery limits that were recommended in March, without any additional changes to current management measures, landings of sablefish in the limited entry fixed gear DTL fishery north of 36° N. lat. are projected to be 439 mt, 160 percent of the 273 mt fishery landed catch harvest guideline. Considerable reductions to the bimonthly cumulative limits are necessary, as quickly as possible, to keep projected catch through the end of the year within the fishery harvest guideline and to prevent exceeding the non-trawl fishery allocation for sablefish in 2011. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:53 Jun 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 Decreases in trip limits to keep catch within the fishery harvest guideline are not anticipated to change projected impacts to overfished species because projected impacts to overfished species are calculated assuming that the entire sablefish allocation is harvested. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing changes for the limited entry fixed gear fishery north of 36° N. lat. that decrease sablefish DTL fishery limits from ‘‘2,000 lb (907 kg) per week, not to exceed 6,500 lb (2,948 kg) per 2 months’’ to ‘‘2,000 lb (907 kg) per week, not to exceed 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) per 2 months’’ beginning in period 4, on July 1, through the end of the year. Open Access Sablefish DTL Fishery North of 36° N. Lat. The Council recommended and NMFS is implementing a decrease for the open access sablefish fishery trip limits north of 36° N. lat. The most recent landings projections for the open access sablefish DTL fishery, combined with the addition of anticipated discard mortality, indicate that catches of sablefish in the open access fishery north of 36° N. lat. through the end of the year would exceed the fishery harvest guideline. Without any changes to current management measures, landings are projected to be 436 mt, or 101 percent of the 433 mt landed catch harvest guideline for the directed open access fishery. The Council considered modest decreases to the weekly and bi-monthly limits for sablefish in the open access fishery north of 36° N. lat. in order to approach, but not exceed, the fishery harvest guideline. This modest decrease in trip limits is not anticipated to change projected impacts to overfished species because projected impacts to overfished species are calculated assuming that the entire sablefish allocation is harvested. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing a decrease for the open access fishery trip limits north of 36° N. lat. from ‘‘300 lb (136 kg) per day, or 1 landing per week of up to 1,200 lb (544 kg), not to exceed 2,250 lb (1,021 kg) per 2 months’’ to ‘‘300 lb (136 kg) per day, or 1 landing per week of up to 1,050 lb (476 kg), not to exceed 2,100 lb (953 kg) per 2 months’’ beginning in period 4, on July 1, through the end of the year. Classification This final rule makes routine inseason adjustments to groundfish fishery management measures based on the best available information and is taken pursuant to the regulations PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 implementing the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP. These actions are taken under the authority of 50 CFR 660.60(c) and are exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. These inseason adjustments are taken under the authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), and are in accordance with 50 CFR part 660, subparts C through G, the regulations implementing the FMP. These actions are based on the most recent data available. The aggregate data upon which these actions are based are available for public inspection at the Office of the Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS (see ADDRESSES), during business hours. For the following reasons, NMFS finds good cause to waive prior public notice and comment on the revisions to biennial groundfish management measures under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) because notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Also, for the same reasons, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30day delay in effectiveness pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), so that this final rule may become effective as quickly as possible. The recently available data upon which these recommendations were based was provided to the Council, and the Council made its recommendations, at its June 6–13, 2011, meeting in Spokane, Washington. The Council recommended that these changes be implemented by July 1, 2011 or as quickly as possible thereafter. There was not sufficient time after that meeting to draft this document and undergo proposed and final rulemaking before these actions need to be in effect. For the actions to be implemented in this final rule, affording the time necessary for prior notice and opportunity for public comment would prevent the Agency from managing fisheries using the best available science to approach, without exceeding, the ACLs for federally managed species in accordance with the FMP and applicable laws. The adjustments to management measures in this document affect commercial fisheries off Washington, Oregon, and California. Changes to sablefish trip limits in the limited entry fixed gear and open access sablefish DTL fisheries north of 36° N. lat. are needed to prevent the 2011 sablefish ACL for the area north of 36° N. lat. from being exceeded. These changes must be implemented in a timely manner by July 1, 2011 because failure to implement trip limit restrictions by July 1, 2011 could risk E:\FR\FM\30JNR1.SGM 30JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 126 / Thursday, June 30, 2011 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES catch of sablefish in the fishery north of 36° N. lat. exceeding the 2011 sablefish non-trawl allocation or even the 2011 sablefish ACL for the area north of 36° N. lat. These revisions are needed to keep the harvest of groundfish species within the harvest levels in place for 2011, while allowing fishermen access to healthy stocks. Delaying these changes beyond July 1, 2011 would allow fishers to access the higher bimonthly trip limit in Period 4 (JulyAugust) and could require even larger restrictions or closures later in the year. Such a delay would keep management measures in place that are not based on the best available data and that could lead to exceeding ACLs. Such delay could impair achievement of one of the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP goals to prevent overfishing and to promote year-round fishing opportunities. Changes to trip limits for black rockfish in the minor nearshore rockfish complex, deeper nearshore rockfish, and minor shelf rockfish in the south will allow fishermen additional harvest opportunities for black rockfish, blue rockfish, spotted rockfish, and other stocks within those complexes. These VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:53 Jun 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 changes are necessary to relieve a restriction by allowing additional harvest opportunities, while staying within ACLs. These changes must be implemented in a timely manner, as quickly as possible, so that fishermen are allowed increased opportunities to harvest available healthy stocks while preventing stocks from exceeding their ACLs. These changes are intended to meet the goal of the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP to achieve maximum biological yield while keeping within the constraints of overfished species rebuilding requirements. Changes to trawl RCA boundaries will allow fishermen additional harvest opportunities for Dover sole and sablefish. These changes are necessary to relieve a restriction by allowing additional harvest opportunities, while staying within ACLs. These changes must be implemented in a timely manner, on September 1, so that fishermen are allowed increased opportunities to harvest available healthy stocks while preventing stocks from exceeding their ACLs. It would be contrary to the public interest to wait to PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 38317 implement these changes until after public notice and comment, because that would prevent fishermen from taking these fish at the time they are available, preventing additional harvest in fisheries that are important to coastal communities. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660 Fisheries, Fishing, Indian Fisheries. Dated: June 24, 2011. Margo Schulze-Haugen, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended as follows: PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq. 2. Table 1 (North) to part 660, subpart D, is revised to read as follows: ■ BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\30JNR1.SGM 30JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 126 / Thursday, June 30, 2011 / Rules and Regulations 3. Table 2 (North) and Table 2 (South) to part 660, subpart E, are revised to ■ VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:53 Jun 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 read as follows: PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\30JNR1.SGM 30JNR1 ER30JN11.000</GPH> mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES 38318 VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:53 Jun 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\30JNR1.SGM 30JNR1 38319 ER30JN11.001</GPH> mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 126 / Thursday, June 30, 2011 / Rules and Regulations VerDate Mar<15>2010 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 126 / Thursday, June 30, 2011 / Rules and Regulations 16:53 Jun 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\30JNR1.SGM 30JNR1 ER30JN11.002</GPH> mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES 38320 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 126 / Thursday, June 30, 2011 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:53 Jun 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 read as follows: PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\30JNR1.SGM 30JNR1 ER30JN11.003</GPH> 4. 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Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 126 (Thursday, June 30, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 38313-38325]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-16512]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

Docket No. 100804324-1265-02]
RIN 0648-BB21


Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Biennial Specifications and 
Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments

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

ACTION: Final rule; inseason adjustments to biennial groundfish 
management measures; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: This final rule announces inseason changes to management 
measures in the commercial Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. These 
actions, which are authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery 
Management Plan (FMP), are intended to allow fisheries to access more 
abundant groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted 
stocks.

DATES: Effective 0001 hours (local time) July 1, 2011. Comments on this 
final rule must be received no later than 5 p.m., local time on August 
1, 2011.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by RIN 0648-BB21 by any 
one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal https://www.regulations.gov.
     Fax: 206-526-6736, Attn: Gretchen Hanshew.
     Mail: William W. Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator, 
Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115-
0070, Attn: Gretchen Hanshew.
    Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record 
and will generally be posted to https://www.regulations.gov without 
change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, 
address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly 
accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information.
    NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required 
fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). You may submit

[[Page 38314]]

attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, 
WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gretchen Hanshew (Northwest Region, 
NMFS), 206-526-6147, fax: 206-526-6736, gretchen.hanshew@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

    This final rule is accessible via the Internet at the Office of the 
Federal Register's Web site at https://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/. 
Background information and documents are available at the Pacific 
Fishery Management Council's Web site at https://www.pcouncil.org/.

Background

    The Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP and its implementing regulations 
at title 50 in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 660, 
subparts C through G, regulate fishing for over 90 species of 
groundfish off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. 
Groundfish specifications and management measures are developed by the 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), and are implemented by 
NMFS. On November 3, 2011, NMFS published a proposed rule to implement 
the 2011-2012 harvest specifications and management measures for the 
Pacific Coast groundfish fishery (75 FR 67810). The final rule to 
implement the 2011-2012 harvest specifications and management measures 
for the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery was published on May 11, 2011 
(76 FR 27508). These specifications and management measures are 
codified in the CFR (50 CFR part 660, subparts C through G).
    Changes to current groundfish management measures implemented by 
this action were recommended by the Council at its June 6-13, 2011 
meeting in Spokane, Washington. The Council recommended adjustments to 
current groundfish management measures to respond to updated fishery 
information and other inseason management needs. The projected impacts 
to two of the eight overfished species (canary rockfish and yelloweye 
rockfish) will increase slightly with the adjustments to the deeper 
nearshore rockfish limits in the limited entry fixed gear and open 
access fisheries south of 40[deg]10.00' N. lat. However, these impacts, 
when combined with the impacts from all other fisheries, are not 
projected to exceed the 2011 rebuilding annual catch limits (ACLs) for 
these species. All other adjustments to fishery management measures are 
not expected to result in greater impacts to overfished species than 
originally projected through the end of 2011. Estimated mortality of 
overfished and target species are the result of management measures 
designed to achieve, to the extent possible, but not exceed, ACLs of 
target species while fostering the rebuilding of overfished stocks by 
remaining within their rebuilding ACLs.

Trawl Rockfish Conservation Area

    The Council recommended and NMFS is implementing a shift in the 
seaward boundary of the trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) for the 
area from 48[deg]10' N. lat. (Cape Alava) to 45[deg]46' N. lat. (Cape 
Falcon) by shifting the seaward boundary of the trawl RCA boundary from 
the boundary line approximating the 200-fm (366-m) depth contour to the 
boundary line approximating the 150-fm (274-m) depth contour.
    In June 2010, the Council recommended that the trawl RCA boundaries 
that were scheduled for the 2010 calendar year, as of June 2010, be in 
place for the 2011 start of the rationalized trawl fishery. Boundaries 
of the trawl RCA were left in place as they existed in 2010 due to the 
uncertainty in how the rationalized fishery would perform. One of the 
goals of the trawl rationalization program was to allow individual 
accountability to drive bycatch rates of overfished species down, and 
the Council acknowledged that once fishery information was available 
from the rationalized fishery, adjustments to the trawl RCA boundaries 
may be made in the future.
    At its March 2011 meeting, the Council considered changes to the 
trawl RCA boundaries after a request from industry. However, the 
Council did not recommend changes due to the limited amount of fishery 
information on landings and bycatch at that time.
    At its June 2011 meeting, the Council considered a different, more 
limited, industry request to shift the seaward boundary of the trawl 
RCA shoreward to open some areas for harvesting Dover sole and 
sablefish. The Council carefully weighed the potential risks and 
benefits of opening some deeper areas that are currently closed by the 
trawl RCA where the fleet may have higher encounters with darkblotched 
rockfish and Pacific halibut.
    The most recent fishery information on total catch, including 
discards, of darkblotched rockfish in the IFQ fishery indicated that as 
of June 6, 2011, only 27.3 mt of darkblotched rockfish have been 
harvested. In light of the low catch levels of darkblotched rockfish to 
date, opening some deeper areas that are currently closed by the RCA 
could increase accessibility of some of the more valuable target 
resources on the slope, such as Dover sole and sablefish. This change 
to the RCA structure would also give fishers a chance to demonstrate 
the benefits of individual accountability that they have in the trawl 
rationalization program.
    The Council acknowledged that as of June 6, 2011, there was no 
information available on catch stratified by the depths that vessels 
were fishing. This information would help inform the catch levels of 
overfished species and how they vary by depth, and could be informative 
for decisions on changes to the RCA. However, the Council noted that 
this information is being collected and processed, and is anticipated 
to be available by its September 2011 meeting. The Council also 
considered that west coast groundfish observer program (WCGOP) data on 
the trip-limit fishery from 2006-2009 indicated that the requested 
change to the seaward RCA boundary would open areas where bycatch rates 
of darkblotched rockfish have been documented to be higher than in some 
other areas.
    If a vessel had a large catch of darkblotched, as seen in WCGOP 
data where a single tow could catch more than 1 mt of darkblotched 
rockfish, or of Pacific halibut, fishers may not be able to cover their 
catch with their available quota pounds, and it may force them to cease 
fishing until any overage can be covered. If large tows of darkblotched 
rockfish occur several times and inadequate darkblotched rockfish quota 
is available, it could even mean that fishing opportunities seaward of 
the RCA could be in jeopardy for all of the shorebased non-whiting IFQ 
vessels.
    The Council also considered additional factors that supported 
making the requested changes to the trawl RCA boundaries. First, 
vessels operating in the IFQ fishery, with full observer coverage, have 
strong incentives to avoid catch levels of species that they cannot 
cover with available quota pounds (e.g., darkblotched rockfish or 
Pacific halibut). In addition, the full observer coverage and increased 
ability to track catch inseason could allow the Council to make 
necessary adjustments if excessive catch is observed. Therefore, the 
risk of several large tows of darkblotched rockfish threatening fishing 
opportunities for all of the shorebased non-whiting IFQ vessels is 
minimized. Second, the Council acknowledged that the request was 
limited to only a specific portion of the coast; from Cape Alava in 
northern Washington (48[deg]10' N. lat.) south to

[[Page 38315]]

Cape Falcon in northern Oregon (45[deg]46' N. lat.), just below the 
Columbia River. The Council also recognized that additional fishery 
information will become available prior to the September 2011 Council 
meeting, and further adjustments to RCA boundaries may be considered 
for the end of 2011 if necessary.
    Therefore, the Council ultimately recommended and NMFS is 
implementing a shift in the seaward boundary of the trawl RCA for the 
area from 48[deg]10' N. lat. (Cape Alava) to 45[deg]46' N. lat. (Cape 
Falcon): Open fishing area between the boundary line approximating the 
150-fm (274-m) depth contour and the boundary line approximating the 
200-fm (366-m) depth contour, by shifting the seaward boundary of the 
trawl RCA boundary from the boundary line approximating the 200-fm 
(366-m) depth contour to the boundary line approximating the 150-fm 
(274-m) depth contour beginning on September 1 through the end of the 
year.

Limited Entry Fixed Gear and Open Access Fishery Management Measures

Minor Nearshore and Black Rockfish Trip Limits Between 42[deg] N. Lat. 
and 40[deg]10.00' N. Lat.

    The Council recommended and NMFS is implementing an increase to the 
bi-monthly limit for minor nearshore and black rockfish in the limited 
entry fixed gear and open access fisheries between 42[deg] N. lat. and 
40[deg]10.00' N. lat. beginning on July 1, through the end of the year. 
The change allows for increased landings of black rockfish.
    Black rockfish is a nearshore rockfish species that was assessed in 
2007. The 2011 black rockfish commercial catch target in the California 
nearshore fishery is 82 mt. At its June meeting, the Council considered 
the most recent fish ticket data and projected impacts to black 
rockfish in the nearshore fishery off the California coast through the 
rest of the year. These estimates indicated that under the current trip 
limit structure, catch was estimated to be only 68 mt, or 83 percent of 
the 82 mt catch target. Industry requested an increase to black 
rockfish trip limits in northern California, between 42[deg] N. lat. 
and 40[deg]10.00' N. lat., because they have had limited nearshore 
fishing opportunities due in part to poor weather conditions and the 
impacts of the tsunami on infrastructure and fishing vessels. Some 
vessels have not been able to resume full time operations since the 
tsunami and other vessels which sustained damage are taking longer to 
resume operations than previously thought.
    The Council considered increases to black rockfish trip limits to 
allow additional harvest of this healthy stock, and the potential 
impacts to overfished species. An increase in trip limits is not 
anticipated to increase projected impacts to overfished species because 
projected impacts to overfished species are calculated assuming that up 
to 82 mt of black rockfish are harvested in this fishery.
    Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing trip 
limit changes for minor nearshore and black rockfish in the limited 
entry fixed gear and open access fishery between 42[deg] N. lat. and 
40[deg]10.00' N. lat.: From ``7,000 lb (3,175 kg) per two months, no 
more than 1,200 lb (544 kg) of which may be species other than black 
rockfish'' to ``8,500 lb (3,856 kg) per two months, no more than 1,200 
lb (544 kg) of which may be species other than black rockfish'' 
beginning in Period 4, on July 1, through the end of the year.

Deeper Nearshore Rockfish South of 40[deg]10' N. Lat.

    The Council recommended and NMFS is implementing trip limit 
increases for deeper nearshore rockfish in the limited entry fixed gear 
and open access fishery south of 40[deg]10' N. lat.
    At its June meeting, the Council considered the most recent fish 
ticket data indicating that landings of deeper nearshore rockfish south 
of 40[deg]10' N. lat. have been lower in 2011 than in previous years. 
An industry request came forward to increase the deeper nearshore 
rockfish trip limits to provide more access to black and blue rockfish 
while keeping their total catch within the state fishery harvest 
guidelines for these species.
    Modest increases to the deeper nearshore rockfish trip limits in 
the limited entry fixed gear and open access fisheries in Periods 4-6 
(July 1 through December 31) are projected to slightly increase impacts 
to co-occurring overfished rockfish, particularly canary rockfish and 
yelloweye rockfish. Projected impacts to canary rockfish increase by 
0.1 mt and projected impacts to yelloweye rockfish are projected to 
increase by less than 0.05 mt. These slightly higher projected impacts 
in the deeper nearshore fishery, when combined with the anticipated 
impacts to these species in all other fisheries through the end of the 
year, are not anticipated to exceed the 2011 rebuilding ACLs for canary 
rockfish or yelloweye rockfish.
    Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing trip 
limit changes for deeper nearshore rockfish in the limited entry fixed 
gear and open access fishery south of 40[deg]10.00' N. lat.: From ``700 
lb (318 kg) per 2 months'' between 40[deg]10' N. lat. and 34[deg]27' N. 
lat. and ``600 lb (272 kg) per 2 months'' south of 34[deg]27' N. lat. 
in Period 4 (July-August), and from ``800 lb (363 kg) per 2 months'' 
south of 40[deg]10.00' N. lat. in Periods 5-6 (September-December) to 
``900 lb (408 kg) per 2 months'' beginning in Period 4, on July 1, 
through the end of the year.

Open Access Fishery, Minor Shelf Rockfish Trip Limits South of 
34[deg]27' N. Lat.

    At its June 2011 meeting, the Council received a request to 
increase trip limits for minor shelf rockfish south of 34[deg]27' N. 
lat. Total mortality of minor shelf rockfish south of 40[deg]10' N. 
lat. has been well below the optimum yield for this area in 2006-2009. 
Beginning in 2011, formal allocations of this species complex were made 
between the trawl and the non-trawl fisheries, with 87.8 percent of the 
ACL for this species complex being allocated to the non-trawl 
fisheries, including both commercial and recreational fisheries. The 
Council considered total mortality of this species complex in 2006-2009 
if that formal non-trawl allocation had been in place in those years. 
If that formal non-trawl allocation had been in place, no more than 52 
percent of what would have been the non-trawl allocation would have 
been caught in any of those years. The Council also considered 
anecdotal information that catch of speckled rockfish, a species in the 
minor shelf rockfish complex south of 40[deg]10' N. lat., has been high 
for vessels that are targeting deeper nearshore and vermilion rockfish. 
Industry is requesting an increase to the minor shelf rockfish trip 
limits for the area south of 34[deg]27' N. lat. to turn catch of 
speckled rockfish, which may have been discarded under lower limits, 
into landed catch.
    There is no formal model to project impacts to co-occurring 
overfished species in this non-nearshore fishery south of 34[deg]27' N. 
lat. However, as included in the transmittal letter from the Director 
of the Council, dated June 23, 2011, the Groundfish Management Team 
(GMT), an advisory body to the Council, analyzed data from the west 
coast groundfish observer program indicate that very few encounters 
with overfished species occur in this fishery and this area, including 
encounters with bocaccio. However, if bocaccio catch were to increase 
as a result of the increase to minor shelf rockfish trip limits, it is 
anticipated that increased

[[Page 38316]]

catch would be accommodated under the current bocaccio trip limits for 
this fishery. Under the current trip limit structure for minor shelf 
rockfish species, state fish ticket information indicates that the 100 
lb (45 kg) per 2 months trip limit for bocaccio is not being attained 
by most fishers. The landings of bocaccio being below the bi-monthly 
trip limit indicates that if higher catch of bocaccio were to occur 
under a modest increase in shelf rockfish trip limits, the catch could 
be accommodated by the current bocaccio trip limits and would therefore 
not increase overall projected impacts of bocaccio in the open access 
fishery.
    Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing trip 
limit changes for minor shelf rockfish in the open access fishery south 
of 34[deg]27' N. lat.: From ``750 lb (340 kg) per 2 months'' to ``1,000 
lb (454 kg) per 2 months'' beginning in Period 4, on July 1, through 
the end of the year.

Limited Entry Fixed Gear Sablefish Daily Trip Limit Fishery, North of 
36[deg] N. Lat.

    The Council recommended and NMFS is implementing decreases in trip 
limits for the limited entry fixed gear sablefish fishery north of 
36[deg] N. lat.
    At its March 2011 meeting, the Council took action to reduce limits 
in the limited entry fixed gear sablefish daily trip limit (DTL) 
fishery north of 36[deg] N. lat. This recommendation was precautionary, 
in response to the discovery of an error in the methods that were used 
to estimate landings of sablefish in the DTL fishery. Since March, 
staff at NMFS, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), 
and the GMT have worked to correct the algorithm that is used in PacFIN 
to estimate sablefish landings in the DTL fishery. The new, corrected 
algorithm in PacFIN produced higher than anticipated landings estimates 
of sablefish in this fishery. Even with the precautionary adjustments 
to the limited entry fixed gear sablefish DTL fishery limits that were 
recommended in March, without any additional changes to current 
management measures, landings of sablefish in the limited entry fixed 
gear DTL fishery north of 36[deg] N. lat. are projected to be 439 mt, 
160 percent of the 273 mt fishery landed catch harvest guideline. 
Considerable reductions to the bi-monthly cumulative limits are 
necessary, as quickly as possible, to keep projected catch through the 
end of the year within the fishery harvest guideline and to prevent 
exceeding the non-trawl fishery allocation for sablefish in 2011.
    Decreases in trip limits to keep catch within the fishery harvest 
guideline are not anticipated to change projected impacts to overfished 
species because projected impacts to overfished species are calculated 
assuming that the entire sablefish allocation is harvested.
    Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing changes 
for the limited entry fixed gear fishery north of 36[deg] N. lat. that 
decrease sablefish DTL fishery limits from ``2,000 lb (907 kg) per 
week, not to exceed 6,500 lb (2,948 kg) per 2 months'' to ``2,000 lb 
(907 kg) per week, not to exceed 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) per 2 months'' 
beginning in period 4, on July 1, through the end of the year.

Open Access Sablefish DTL Fishery North of 36[deg] N. Lat.

    The Council recommended and NMFS is implementing a decrease for the 
open access sablefish fishery trip limits north of 36[deg] N. lat.
    The most recent landings projections for the open access sablefish 
DTL fishery, combined with the addition of anticipated discard 
mortality, indicate that catches of sablefish in the open access 
fishery north of 36[deg] N. lat. through the end of the year would 
exceed the fishery harvest guideline. Without any changes to current 
management measures, landings are projected to be 436 mt, or 101 
percent of the 433 mt landed catch harvest guideline for the directed 
open access fishery. The Council considered modest decreases to the 
weekly and bi-monthly limits for sablefish in the open access fishery 
north of 36[deg] N. lat. in order to approach, but not exceed, the 
fishery harvest guideline. This modest decrease in trip limits is not 
anticipated to change projected impacts to overfished species because 
projected impacts to overfished species are calculated assuming that 
the entire sablefish allocation is harvested.
    Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing a 
decrease for the open access fishery trip limits north of 36[deg] N. 
lat. from ``300 lb (136 kg) per day, or 1 landing per week of up to 
1,200 lb (544 kg), not to exceed 2,250 lb (1,021 kg) per 2 months'' to 
``300 lb (136 kg) per day, or 1 landing per week of up to 1,050 lb (476 
kg), not to exceed 2,100 lb (953 kg) per 2 months'' beginning in period 
4, on July 1, through the end of the year.

Classification

    This final rule makes routine inseason adjustments to groundfish 
fishery management measures based on the best available information and 
is taken pursuant to the regulations implementing the Pacific Coast 
Groundfish FMP.
    These actions are taken under the authority of 50 CFR 660.60(c) and 
are exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
    These inseason adjustments are taken under the authority of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act), and are in accordance with 50 CFR part 660, subparts C 
through G, the regulations implementing the FMP. These actions are 
based on the most recent data available. The aggregate data upon which 
these actions are based are available for public inspection at the 
Office of the Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS (see ADDRESSES), 
during business hours.
    For the following reasons, NMFS finds good cause to waive prior 
public notice and comment on the revisions to biennial groundfish 
management measures under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) because notice and comment 
would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Also, for 
the same reasons, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), so that this final rule 
may become effective as quickly as possible.
    The recently available data upon which these recommendations were 
based was provided to the Council, and the Council made its 
recommendations, at its June 6-13, 2011, meeting in Spokane, 
Washington. The Council recommended that these changes be implemented 
by July 1, 2011 or as quickly as possible thereafter. There was not 
sufficient time after that meeting to draft this document and undergo 
proposed and final rulemaking before these actions need to be in 
effect. For the actions to be implemented in this final rule, affording 
the time necessary for prior notice and opportunity for public comment 
would prevent the Agency from managing fisheries using the best 
available science to approach, without exceeding, the ACLs for 
federally managed species in accordance with the FMP and applicable 
laws. The adjustments to management measures in this document affect 
commercial fisheries off Washington, Oregon, and California.
    Changes to sablefish trip limits in the limited entry fixed gear 
and open access sablefish DTL fisheries north of 36[deg] N. lat. are 
needed to prevent the 2011 sablefish ACL for the area north of 36[deg] 
N. lat. from being exceeded. These changes must be implemented in a 
timely manner by July 1, 2011 because failure to implement trip limit 
restrictions by July 1, 2011 could risk

[[Page 38317]]

catch of sablefish in the fishery north of 36[deg] N. lat. exceeding 
the 2011 sablefish non-trawl allocation or even the 2011 sablefish ACL 
for the area north of 36[deg] N. lat. These revisions are needed to 
keep the harvest of groundfish species within the harvest levels in 
place for 2011, while allowing fishermen access to healthy stocks. 
Delaying these changes beyond July 1, 2011 would allow fishers to 
access the higher bi-monthly trip limit in Period 4 (July-August) and 
could require even larger restrictions or closures later in the year. 
Such a delay would keep management measures in place that are not based 
on the best available data and that could lead to exceeding ACLs. Such 
delay could impair achievement of one of the Pacific Coast Groundfish 
FMP goals to prevent overfishing and to promote year-round fishing 
opportunities.
    Changes to trip limits for black rockfish in the minor nearshore 
rockfish complex, deeper nearshore rockfish, and minor shelf rockfish 
in the south will allow fishermen additional harvest opportunities for 
black rockfish, blue rockfish, spotted rockfish, and other stocks 
within those complexes. These changes are necessary to relieve a 
restriction by allowing additional harvest opportunities, while staying 
within ACLs. These changes must be implemented in a timely manner, as 
quickly as possible, so that fishermen are allowed increased 
opportunities to harvest available healthy stocks while preventing 
stocks from exceeding their ACLs. These changes are intended to meet 
the goal of the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP to achieve maximum 
biological yield while keeping within the constraints of overfished 
species rebuilding requirements. Changes to trawl RCA boundaries will 
allow fishermen additional harvest opportunities for Dover sole and 
sablefish. These changes are necessary to relieve a restriction by 
allowing additional harvest opportunities, while staying within ACLs. 
These changes must be implemented in a timely manner, on September 1, 
so that fishermen are allowed increased opportunities to harvest 
available healthy stocks while preventing stocks from exceeding their 
ACLs. It would be contrary to the public interest to wait to implement 
these changes until after public notice and comment, because that would 
prevent fishermen from taking these fish at the time they are 
available, preventing additional harvest in fisheries that are 
important to coastal communities.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Indian Fisheries.

    Dated: June 24, 2011.
Margo Schulze-Haugen,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended 
as follows:

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 
16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq.


0
2. Table 1 (North) to part 660, subpart D, is revised to read as 
follows:
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P

[[Page 38318]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR30JN11.000


0
3. Table 2 (North) and Table 2 (South) to part 660, subpart E, are 
revised to read as follows:

[[Page 38319]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR30JN11.001


[[Page 38320]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR30JN11.002


[[Page 38321]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR30JN11.003

0
4. Table 3 (North) and Table 3 (South) to part 660, subpart F, are 
revised to read as follows:

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[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR30JN11.004


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[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR30JN11.005


[[Page 38324]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR30JN11.006


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[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR30JN11.007

[FR Doc. 2011-16512 Filed 6-29-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-C