Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; Limited Access Privilege Program, 49417-49423 [2011-20191]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 154 / Wednesday, August 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules that all information be accompanied by: (1) Supporting documentation such as maps, bibliographic references, or reprints of pertinent publications; and (2) the submitter’s name, address, and any association, institution, or business that the person represents. If, after the status review, we determine that listing the saltmarsh topminnow is warranted, we will propose critical habitat (see definition in section 3(5)(A) of the ESA), under section 4 of the ESA, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable at the same time we propose to list the species. Therefore, within the geographical range currently occupied by the saltmarsh topminnow, we request data and information on: (1) What may constitute ‘‘physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the species’’; (2) Where such physical and biological features are currently found; and (3) Whether any of these features may require special management considerations or protection. In addition, we request data and information on ‘‘specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species’’ that are ‘‘essential to the conservation of the species.’’ Please provide specific comments and information as to what, if any, critical habitat you think we should propose for designation if the species is proposed for listing, and why such habitat meets the requirements of section 4 of the ESA. References Cited A complete list of all references is available upon request from the Protected Resources Division of the NMFS Southeast Regional Office or the USFWS Panama City Ecological Office (see ADDRESSES). srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Authority: The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Dated: July 21, 2011. Gregory E. Siekaniec, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dated: August 5, 2011. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatoru Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2011–20335 Filed 8–9–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P; 4310–55–P VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:42 Aug 09, 2011 Jkt 223001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 100819383–0386–01] RIN 0648–BA18 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; Limited Access Privilege Program AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. NMFS proposes regulations that would implement Amendment 93 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). This proposed rule would amend the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Amendment 80 Program to modify the criteria for forming and participating in a harvesting cooperative. This action is necessary to encourage greater participation in harvesting cooperatives, which enable members to more efficiently target species, avoid areas with undesirable bycatch, and improve the quality of products produced. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Fishery Management Plan, and other applicable law. DATES: Comments must be received no later than September 9, 2011. ADDRESSES: Send comments to James W. Balsiger, Ph.D., Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. You may submit comments, identified by RIN 0648–BA18, by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov. • Fax: (907) 586–7557, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. • Mail: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802. • Hand Delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 49417 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 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 Amendment 93, the Environmental Assessment (EA), Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA)—collectively known as the Analysis—for this action are available from the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gwen Herrewig, (907) 586–7091. The groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic zone off Alaska are managed under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP). The FMP was prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) under the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). Amendment 80 to the BSAI FMP implemented the Amendment 80 Program. Regulations implementing Amendment 80 were published on September 14, 2007 (72 FR 52668). These regulations are located at 50 CFR part 679. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The Amendment 80 program is commonly known as a limited access privilege program (LAPP). Eligible fishery participants may receive exclusive access to specific fishery resources if certain conditions are met. Under the Amendment 80 Program, NMFS issues a quota share (QS) permit to a person holding the catch history of an original qualifying non-American Fisheries Act (AFA) trawl catcher/ processor that met specific criteria designated by Congress under the Capacity Reduction Program (CRP) (Pub. L. 108–447). NMFS determined that 28 vessels met the criteria specified in the CRP. These vessels comprise the originally qualifying Amendment 80 vessels. NMFS determined the amount of QS issued based on the catch history of six Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, flathead sole, Pacific cod, rock sole, and yellowfin sole) in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI), from 1998 through 2004, derived from the 28 originally E:\FR\FM\10AUP1.SGM 10AUP1 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 49418 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 154 / Wednesday, August 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules qualifying non-AFA trawl catcher processors. A QS permit details the total number of QS units for each of the six allocated Amendment 80 species. A QS permit may not be subdivided, and QS allocations of specific QS species may not be transferred or otherwise reassigned. Once NMFS issues a QS permit, it may not be transferred separately from the originally qualifying Amendment 80 vessel to which it has been assigned, except under specific conditions. NMFS may issue a QS permit based on the catch history of each of the 28 originally qualifying Amendment 80 vessels to either the owner of the originally qualifying Amendment 80 vessel, the owner of a replacement vessel if the original qualifying Amendment 80 vessel has been lost, or the holder of the License Limitation Program (LLP) license issued to the originally qualifying Amendment 80 vessel The Amendment 80 Program defined a specific LLP license for each originally qualifying Amendment 80 vessel to which a QS permit may be assigned in cases where a vessel has been lost. Additional details on the transfer of QS permits to LLP licenses is provided in the final rule to implement Amendment 80 and are not repeated here (September 14, 2007; 72 FR 52668). NMFS issued QS to the owner of the Amendment 80 vessel in most cases. As of the publication of this proposed rule, NMFS has issued QS permits based on the catch history of 27 of the 28 originally qualifying Amendment 80 vessels. One originally qualifying Amendment 80 vessel owner did not submit an application as of the publication date of this rule. Under the Amendment 80 Program, NMFS allocates a specific portion of the BSAI total allowable catch (TAC) to the Amendment 80 sector for each of the six defined Amendment 80 species. NMFS allocates the remainders of the TACs for Atka mackerel, Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, and yellowfin sole to nonAmendment 80 vessels participating in the BSAI trawl fisheries. In addition, NMFS allocates a specific portion of the allowable bycatch of BSAI halibut, Bristol Bay red king crab, snow crab, and Tanner crab to the Amendment 80 sector. This allowable bycatch is commonly known as prohibited species catch (PSC) because these species may not be retained, but are known to be incidentally taken in BSAI trawl fisheries. NMFS will limit groundfish fishing in the BSAI if the PSC limit for a species is reached. The specific groundfish species for which NMFS issues a QS permit, and the PSC species VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:42 Aug 09, 2011 Jkt 223001 assigned to the Amendment 80 sector, are shown in Table 1. TABLE 1—GROUNDFISH AND PSC SPECIES ASSIGNED TO THE AMENDMENT 80 PROGRAM Groundfish species assigned to the Amendment 80 sector PSC species assigned to the Amendment 80 sector Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch. Atka mackerel ........... Pacific halibut. Flathead sole ............ Pacific cod ................. Rock sole .................. Yellowfin sole ............ Zone 1 Bristol Bay red king crab. Zone 1 Chionoecetes opilio crab. Zone 2 C. opilio crab. Zone 1 C. bairdi crab. Zone 2 C. bairdi crab. The specific amounts of the TAC and PSC limits assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and the non-Amendment 80 BSAI trawl fishery on an annual basis are defined in regulations at 50 part 679 and are not repeated here (see Tables 33, 34, and 35 to part 679). The amount of the TAC and PSC assigned to the Amendment 80 sector is further divided between those who participate in Amendment 80 harvesting cooperatives, and those who participate in the ‘‘Amendment 80 limited access fishery.’’ Generally, the Amendment 80 Program is intended to facilitate the formation of cooperatives. As described in Section 2 of the Analysis, cooperative management improves fishery management, because Amendment 80 participants who join a cooperative receive cooperative quota (CQ), which are exclusive harvest privileges for a portion of these fishery resources. The allocation of CQ allows vessel operators to make operational choices to improve fishing practices and reduce discards of fish, because the incentives to maximize catch rates to capture a share of the available catch are removed. Cooperatives fishing under an exclusive harvest privilege can tailor their operations to more efficiently target species, avoid areas with undesirable bycatch, and improve the quality of products produced. Participants in the limited access fishery do not receive an exclusive harvest allocation, and may have little incentive to coordinate harvest strategies if they perceive a benefit by competing with other participants in a race for fish. A person who chooses to join a cooperative must designate the catch derived from his QS to the cooperative, the specific vessels that will be fishing for that cooperative, and the LLP licenses assigned to each designated vessel. For example, a person wishing to PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 participate in an Amendment 80 cooperative may assign all, or a portion, of the QS permits held by that person to an Amendment 80 cooperative by November 1 of each year to be eligible to fish in that cooperative for the following calendar year. Once a person assigns a QS permit, Amendment 80 vessel, or LLP license to a cooperative for a year, that person cannot reassign that QS permit, vessel, or LLP license to another cooperative or to the limited access fishery for that same calendar year. A person can also assign QS permits to the Amendment 80 limited access fishery if that person is unable or unwilling to meet the requirements established by an Amendment 80 cooperative. NMFS assigns any QS permits, vessels, and LLP licenses not assigned to a cooperative to the Amendment 80 limited access fishery by default. The proportion of the TAC that is assigned to an Amendment 80 cooperative is based on the amount of QS held by the members of the cooperative relative to the total Amendment 80 QS pool for a given groundfish fishery. For example, if a cooperative was comprised of members holding QS permits with a total number of QS units equaling 40 percent of the Amendment 80 QS pool in the yellowfin sole fishery, that cooperative would receive CQ to harvest 40 percent of the annual total allowable catch (TAC) of yellowfin sole that is assigned to the Amendment 80 sector for that year. A similar calculation is made for all other Amendment 80 species and allocation of PSC limits. Any catch of groundfish or PSC species that is assigned CQ is debited from a cooperative’s CQ account. NMFS allocates TAC and PSC limits first to cooperatives. The remaining TAC and PSC limits after allocation to cooperatives is available collectively to the participants in the Amendment 80 limited access fishery. The Proposed Action The proposed action would result in two changes to the Amendment 80 Program. First, it would reduce the minimum number of persons and licenses required to form a harvesting cooperative. Second, it would require that a person holding multiple QS permits, Amendment 80 vessels, and LLP licenses assign all those QS permits, vessels, and LLP licenses to either one or more cooperatives, or the limited access fishery, but not to both a cooperative and the limited access fishery. If approved, this second provision would not be applicable until E:\FR\FM\10AUP1.SGM 10AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 154 / Wednesday, August 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS the first fishing year 2 years after the effective date of the final rule. Modifying Cooperative Formation Standards The first aspect of this proposed action would allow a cooperative to form with a minimum of two unique persons holding a total of at least seven QS permits. The current requirement is that a minimum of three unique persons and nine QS permits must be assigned to a cooperative. Reducing the number of unique persons and number of QS permits could provide additional opportunities for QS holders to establish cooperative relationships that could reduce the number of participants engaged in the race for fish. Since the implementation of the Amendment 80 Program in 2008, some Amendment 80 sector participants have expressed concern that the current cooperative formation requirements could impede participants from joining a cooperative and receiving an exclusive allocation of Amendment 80 species. Most participants in the Amendment 80 sector have successfully established a cooperative in the first 3 years of the program. However, some participants have expressed concern that, over the long term, cooperative formation standards may put them at a disadvantage. Section 2.4 of the Analysis prepared for this action notes that vessel owners would be likely to have weakened negotiating leverage when seeking membership in a cooperative if they cannot be competitive in the limited access fishery and if fishing options in the Gulf of Alaska would not be viable. Participants may find it difficult to receive the benefits of cooperative management if they cannot reach agreement on negotiated terms, if the limited access fishery is not an economically viable option, or if members of a cooperative are able to derive some benefit from forcing an entity into the limited access fishery. Relaxing cooperative formation standards either by reducing the number of QS permits that must be assigned or the number of unique vessel owners required could: (1) Provide additional opportunities to QS holders to form cooperatives because more relationships are possible; (2) diminish the negotiating leverage of vessel owners who may be necessary to meet the threshold requirements under more stringent cooperative formation standards; (3) reduce the potential risk of any one company being unable to negotiate settlement and be able to fish only in the limited access fishery; and (4) reduce the incentive for members of VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:42 Aug 09, 2011 Jkt 223001 a cooperative to attempt to create conditions that are unfavorable for certain fishery participants to form a cooperative. Section 2.4 estimates that there are approximately nine unique persons in the Amendment 80 sector holding 27 QS permits. Most, but not all, of these persons have joined a cooperative. The Alaska Seafood Cooperative (AKSC), formerly known as the Best Use Cooperative (BUC), includes most of the participants in the Amendment 80 sector. It is comprised of seven unique persons holding 17 to 18 QS permits annually during 2008 through 2011. The Amendment 80 limited access fishery had two to four unique persons holding seven to nine QS permits annually during 2008 through 2010. Recent business transactions in the Amendment 80 sector have resulted in a greater consolidation in the ownership of the Amendment 80 sector. In 2010, one of the QS permits that had been assigned to the limited access fishery was transferred to a participant in AKSC. In 2011, all Amendment 80 QS holders participated in a cooperative, with most participants joining AKSC. A second cooperative representing nine QS permits held by four unique persons was assigned to the Alaska Groundfish Cooperative (AGC). Two of the members of AGC own multiple QS permits and participate in both the AKSC and AGC. Conditions in the Amendment 80 sector suggest that cooperative formation may continue to be challenging even though two cooperatives formed in 2011. For example, some AKSC members have raised concerns that accepting members into a cooperative could adversely affect the cooperative’s internal management agreements and expose existing members to a potentially increased risk of enforcement actions under joint and several liability provisions because of perceived concerns about the past enforcement record of some Amendment 80 sector participants. The Council considered extensive testimony and input from the Amendment 80 sector during the development of the proposed action, as well as a review of the suite of decisions that affect cooperative formation and the potential incentives to include or exclude a member from a cooperative. Section 2.3.8 of the Analysis describes these factors. The Council developed the alternatives listed below: • Alternative 1: Status quo. A minimum of three unique QS holders holding at least nine QS permits are required to form a cooperative. • Alternative 2: Reduce the number of unique QS holders required to form a PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 49419 cooperative from the existing three QS holders to two or one unique QS holder. • Alternative 3: Reduce the number of QS permits required to form a cooperative from the existing nine permits to eight, seven, six, or three permits. • Alternative 4: Reduce both the number of unique QS holders and the number of QS permits required to form a cooperative (combination of Alternatives 2 and 3 above). • Alternative 5: Allow a cooperative to form with a minimum of three unique QS holders holding at least nine QS permits (status quo), or a single or collective group of entities that represent 20 percent, 25 percent, or 30 percent of the sector QS. • Alternative 6: Require that a cooperative accept all persons who are otherwise eligible to join a cooperative subject to the same terms and conditions as all other members. Section 2.4 of the Analysis notes that less strict cooperative formation standards might provide greater opportunities for cooperatives to form, in general, and greater opportunities for any specific participant to find arrangements that allow them to participate in a cooperative. Overall, Section 2.4 of the Analysis concludes that relaxing the cooperative formation standard would provide an increased likelihood that a greater proportion of the TAC assigned to the Amendment 80 sector is harvested under cooperative management. Ultimately, the Council chose Alternative 4 and the option for a minimum of two unique persons and seven QS permits. The Council chose an alternative that would provide some additional flexibility to the Amendment 80 sector to form cooperatives, without requiring drastic changes from the status quo structure of the most established cooperative, AKSC. The Council noted its preferred alternative would require more than one company to coordinate operations to receive an exclusive annual harvest allocation. The Council noted that maintaining a multi-company cooperative structure would extend the Council’s overall goal of enhancing coordination among a variety of different industry participants. Section 2.3.8 of the Analysis notes that the alternatives considered, including the Council’s preferred alternative that comprises the proposed action, are consistent with the overall goals of the Amendment 80 Program, including the goal of allocating groundfish species to harvesting cooperatives to encourage fishing practices with lower discard rates and to improve the opportunity for increasing E:\FR\FM\10AUP1.SGM 10AUP1 49420 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 154 / Wednesday, August 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS the value of harvested species while lowering costs. The Council noted that modifying the cooperative standards originally selected under Amendment 80 to reflect the changing negotiating positions of various industry participants was responsive to the best available information on current fishery conditions. Public input during the Council’s consideration of the proposed action generally supported the reduced cooperative formation standard as a mechanism to provide additional opportunities for cooperative formation. NMFS agrees with the Council’s rationale for this proposed change. This proposed rule would not modify the specific species that are allocated or the amount of the TAC allocated to the Amendment 80 Program. Requiring QS To Be Assigned to Cooperatives or the Limited Access Fishery The second modification under this proposed action would require that a person assign all QS permits either to a cooperative or to the limited access fishery, but not to both during the same calendar year. If this provision is approved, it would not apply until the first fishing year 2 years after a final rule, if implemented, becomes effective. Excluding a person from cooperative membership could benefit a cooperative, or specific members of a cooperative, who choose to participate in both a cooperative and the limited access fishery. For example, if a cooperative member who holds multiple QS permits and vessels can assign one vessel and QS permit to the limited access fishery and another vessel and QS permit to a cooperative, that member could harvest more fish in the limited access fishery than would be derived from their QS if it were assigned to a cooperative. A person participating in both a cooperative and the limited access fishery has an incentive to exclude participants in the limited access fishery from joining a cooperative or creating an additional cooperative. For example, a person participating in a cooperative and the limited access fishery could seek to exclude a person from fishing in a cooperative if the person to be excluded was unlikely to be able to join another cooperative. Under that scenario, the person excluded from a cooperative could be forced into the Amendment 80 limited access fishery. If the person participating in the cooperative also assigned a vessel to the Amendment 80 limited access fishery that was capable of effectively competing against the other Amendment 80 limited access fishery participants, that person could VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:42 Aug 09, 2011 Jkt 223001 maximize their catch in a race for fish. Under that scenario, a person with participation in both an Amendment 80 cooperative and the limited access fishery would have little incentive to allow a person to join a cooperative because they would lose access to fish that would otherwise be available in the Amendment 80 limited access fishery. Data from the first three years of the Amendment 80 Program indicate that one vessel owner with multiple vessels and QS permits has chosen to participate in both a cooperative and the limited access fishery. During the development of Amendment 93, participants in the limited access fishery testified that they have sought to join the existing cooperative (at that time, the Best Use Cooperative), but were unable to do so. The Council determined, and NMFS agrees, that this provision would reduce the incentive for a cooperative member to exclude another person from forming a cooperative in order to force them into a race for fish in the limited access fishery. The requirement that a vessel owner and QS holder assign all QS permits and vessels to either a cooperative or the limited access fishery would not apply until the first fishing year 2 years after the final rule would be effective. For example, if the final rule became effective in October 2011, this requirement would not apply until the 2014 fishing year, but QS holders would have to assign all QS permits and vessels to one or more cooperatives or to the limited access fishery by the Amendment 80 annual cooperative application deadline of November 1, 2013. The proposed rule text implementing this provision uses the 2014 fishing year as the first year in which this provision would be applicable because, it assumes the final rule for this action would be published by the end of 2011. The Council determined, and NMFS agrees, that this 2-year delay would provide vessel owners and QS holders time to establish relationships to ensure that all QS permits and vessels could be assigned to either the limited access fishery or a cooperative. The 2-year delay would allow vessel owners to ensure that they are well-coordinated with other participants in the fishery and all of their QS permits can be assigned to either one or more cooperative, or the limited access fishery. Some industry participants have expressed concerns that the ‘‘all-in’’ nature of this requirement could create contentious and complicated cooperative negotiations if vessel owners are unable PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 to enter all their vessels into a cooperative. If this provision becomes effective, NMFS would enforce this provision by not allowing the owner of multiple QS permits or vessels to assign QS permits or vessels to one or more cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access fishery during the annual cooperative application process. Conceivably, if a vessel owner is not able to assign all vessels or QS permits to a cooperative, that vessel owner would be required to assign those vessels or permits to the limited access fishery. Based on the demonstrated ability of the Amendment 80 participants to establish cooperatives, this scenario is unlikely. In 2011, both Amendment 80 cooperatives were comprised of vessel owners with a wide range of vessels. Their cooperative contracts govern the specific obligations that each member has and ensures that overall cooperative harvests meet those requirements. It is likely that these cooperative relationships will continue. The 2-year timeframe would provide the industry time to structure their cooperative contracts to incorporate ‘‘all-in’’ provisions necessary to allow owners of multiple vessels and QS permits to maintain membership in a cooperative. Expected Effects of the Proposed Action The RIR describes the predicted effects of the proposed action on harvesters, processors, communities, management and enforcement, consumers, and the nation (see ADDRESSES). Only the effects of the proposed action on harvesters are described here. Overall, the proposed action would be expected to increase the potential for cooperative formation. Vessels fishing under a cooperative would realize the benefits of LAPP management, including a strong incentive to reduce the race for fish. Based on a preliminary review of the first 3 years of the Amendment 80 Program (2008 through 2010) and past experience with cooperative-based management in other LAPPs (e.g., AFA, Central GOA Rockfish Program, and BSAI Crab Rationalization Program), participation in a cooperative is likely to allow optimization of harvest rates for product recovery and quality, reduce incentives to operate in adverse weather conditions, facilitate reductions of bycatch, and streamline operations to maximize profits. Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements NMFS would continue to oversee the submission of cooperative applications and the issuance and transfer of CQ. The E:\FR\FM\10AUP1.SGM 10AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 154 / Wednesday, August 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules proposed rule would not change the information required to be submitted by cooperative applicants. Classification The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with Amendment 93, the FMP, the MSA, and other applicable laws, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) An IRFA was prepared, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). Copies of the IRFA prepared for this proposed rule are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A description of the action, the reasons why it is being considered, and a statement of the objectives of, and the legal basis for, this action are contained in the SUMMARY section of the preamble and are not repeated in detail here. The IRFA for this proposed action describes the reasons why this action is being proposed; describes the objectives and legal basis for the proposed rule; describes and estimates the number of small entities to which the proposed rule would apply; describes any projected reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements of the proposed rule; identifies any overlapping, duplicative, or conflicting Federal rules; and describes any significant alternatives to the proposed rule that accomplish the stated objectives of the MSA and any other applicable statutes, and that would minimize any significant adverse economic impact of the proposed rule on small entities. A summary of that analysis follows. Rationale, Objectives, and Legal Basis of the Proposed Rule The IRFA describes the reasons why this action is being proposed, describes the objectives and legal basis for the proposed rule, and discusses both small and other regulated entities to adequately characterize the fishery participants. The MSA is the legal basis for the proposed rule. The objectives of the proposed rule are to facilitate cooperative formation among the Amendment 80 sector to ensure that fishery participants can realize the intended benefits of fishing under an exclusive harvest privilege. The proposed rule would accomplish this VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:42 Aug 09, 2011 Jkt 223001 goal by reducing the minimum number of persons and licenses required for cooperative formation under the Amendment 80 Program. NMFS expects the proposed action to provide additional opportunities for cooperative formation among participants in the Amendment 80 sector. Number of Small Entities To Which the Proposed Rule Would Apply The directly regulated entities under this proposed rule are holders of Amendment 80 QS. For purposes of an IRFA, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has established that a business involved in fish harvesting is a small business if it is independently owned and operated, not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and if it has combined annual gross receipts not in excess of $4.0 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. A seafood processor is a small business if it is independently owned and operated, not dominant in its field of operation, and employs 500 or fewer persons on a full-time, part-time, temporary, or other basis, at all its affiliated operations worldwide. Because the SBA does not have a size criterion for businesses that are involved in both the harvesting and processing of seafood products, NMFS has in the past applied, and continues to apply, SBA’s fish harvesting criterion for these businesses because catcher/ processors are first and foremost fish harvesting businesses. Therefore, a business involved in both the harvesting and processing of seafood products is a small business if it meets the $4.0 million criterion for fish harvesting operations. NMFS is reviewing its small entity size classification for all catcher/ processors in the United States. However, until new guidance is adopted, NMFS will continue to use the annual receipts standard for catcher/ processors. Even if additional catcher/ processors would have been identified as small entities under a revised smallentity size classification, NMFS would have analyzed the effect on small entities using the same methods that were used in the IRFA prepared for the proposed rule. NMFS considered the effects of the proposed rule and attempted to reduce costs to all directly regulated entities regardless of the number of small entities. The IRFA estimates that 28 non-AFA trawl catcher/processors could generate Amendment 80 QS, based on the provisions of the Amendment 80 Program. Those persons who apply for and receive Amendment 80 QS are eligible to fish in the Amendment 80 sector, and those QS holders would be PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 49421 directly regulated by the proposed action. Based on the known affiliations and ownership of the Amendment 80 vessels, all but one of the Amendment QS holders would be categorized as large entities for the purpose of the RFA under the principles of affiliation, due to their participation in a harvest cooperative or through known ownership of multiple vessels, coownership and ‘‘shares’’ ownership among vessels, and other economic and operational affiliations. Thus, this analysis estimates that only one small entity would be directly regulated by the proposed action. It is possible that this one small entity could be linked by company affiliation to a large entity, which may then qualify that entity as a large entity, but complete information is not available to determine any such linkages. The estimate of the number of small entities is conservative. Other supporting businesses may also be indirectly affected by this action if it leads to fewer vessels participating in the fishery. These impacts are analyzed in the RIR prepared for this action (see ADDRESSES). Impacts on Directly Regulated Small Entities The proposed action would modify the cooperative formation standards and requirements for assigning QS and Amendment 80 vessels to either a cooperative or the limited access fishery. The overall impact to small entities is expected to be positive. Impacts from the proposed rule would accrue differentially (i.e., some entities could be negatively affected and others positively affected). The Council considered an extensive range of alternatives and options as it designed and evaluated the potential for changes to the Amendment 80 sector, including the ‘‘no action’’ alternative. Six alternative approaches for modifying cooperative formation criteria were considered. Alternative 1: Status quo. A minimum of three unique QS holders holding at least nine QS permits are required to form a cooperative. Alternative 2: Reduce the number of unique QS holders required to form a cooperative from the existing three QS holders to two or one unique QS holder. Alternative 3: Reduce the number of QS permits required to form a cooperative from the existing nine permits to eight, seven, six, or three permits. Alternative 4: Reduce both the number of unique QS holders and the number of QS permits required to form a cooperative (combination of Alternatives 2 and 3 above). Alternative 5: Allow a cooperative to form with a minimum of E:\FR\FM\10AUP1.SGM 10AUP1 49422 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 154 / Wednesday, August 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules three unique QS holders holding at least nine QS permits (status quo), or a single or collective group of entities that represent 20 percent, 25 percent, or 30 percent of the sector QS. Alternative 6: Require that a cooperative accept all persons who are otherwise eligible to join a cooperative subject to the same terms and conditions as all other members. The Council recommended Alternative 4, reducing the number of unique QS holders to two unique persons and reducing the number of QS permits required to form a cooperative to seven QS permits, as its preferred alternative. Two alternative approaches were considered for the QS and vessel assignment provision. Alternative 1: status quo. QS holders with multiple QS permits and vessels may assign those QS permits and vessels to one or more cooperatives and the limited access fishery. Alternative 2: QS holders with multiple QS permits and vessels may assign those QS permits and vessels to one or more cooperatives or the limited access fishery, but not both. If approved, this alternative would be effective two years after the effective date of the final rule. Collectively, the alternatives and options considered under these two proposed actions provided a broad suite of alternatives from which the Council chose to modify the factors affecting cooperative formation. Compared with the status quo, the proposed action selected by the Council minimizes the adverse economic impacts on the directly regulated small entity. The alternatives under consideration in this proposed rule would be expected to provide greater opportunity for cooperative formation among the various industries. In no case are these combined impacts expected to be substantial. Alternative 4 of action 1, with the two unique persons and seven QS permit option, would not be expected to adversely affect the existing Amendment 80 cooperatives, but could provide additional cooperative formation opportunities for participants in the Amendment 80 limited access fishery. The proposed QS assignment provision would reduce the incentive for owners of multiple vessels to exclude a person from a cooperative. This proposed provision would be expected to enhance the likelihood of cooperative formation. Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other Compliance Requirements Existing recordkeeping and reporting requirements necessary to apply to form an Amendment 80 cooperative would not be modified. (ii) What is the minimum number of Amendment 80 QS permits that must be assigned to an Amendment 80 cooperative to allow it to form? (iii) How many Amendment 80 QS holders are required to form an Amendment 80 cooperative? Duplicate, Overlapping, or Conflicting Federal Rules No Federal rules that might duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this proposed action have been identified. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679 Alaska, Fisheries, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: August 3, 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 679 is proposed to be amended 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 § 679.91, paragraphs (h)(3)(ii), (h)(3)(iii), and (h)(3)(xii) are revised to read as follows: § 679.91 Amendment 80 Program annual harvester privileges. * * * (h) * * * (3) * * * * * Any combination of at least seven Amendment 80 QS permits which would include Amendment 80 LLP/QS licenses. At least two Amendment 80 QS holders each of whom may not have a ten percent or greater direct or indirect ownership interest in any of the other Amendment 80 QS holders. srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS * * * * * * * (xii) Can an Amendment 80 QS permit, Amendment 80 LLP license, or No, an Amendment 80 QS permit, Amendment 80 LLP license, or Amendment 80 vessel be assigned to an Amendment 80 cooperative Amendment 80 vessel assigned to an Amendment 80 cooperative and the Amendment 80 limited access fishery? may not be assigned to the Amendment 80 limited access fishery for that calendar year. Prior to the 2014 fishing year, a person holding multiple Amendment 80 QS permits, Amendment 80 LLP licenses, or owning multiple Amendment 80 vessels is not required to assign all Amendment 80 QS permits, Amendment 80 LLP licenses, or Amendment 80 vessels to the same Amendment 80 cooperative or the Amendment 80 limited access fishery. Starting with the 2014 fishing year and thereafter, a person holding multiple Amendment 80 QS permits, Amendment 80 LLP licenses, or owning multiple Amendment 80 vessels must assign all Amendment 80 QS permits, Amendment 80 LLP licenses, or Amendment 80 vessels to either one or more Amendment 80 cooperatives, or the Amendment 80 limited access fishery. * VerDate Mar<15>2010 * 17:42 Aug 09, 2011 * Jkt 223001 PO 00000 * Frm 00042 Fmt 4702 * Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\10AUP1.SGM * 10AUP1 * Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 154 / Wednesday, August 10, 2011 / Proposed Rules [FR Doc. 2011–20191 Filed 8–9–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 680 [Docket No. 0812081573–1423–02] RIN 0648–AX47 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. SUMMARY: NMFS proposes regulations implementing Amendment 30 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (FMP). This proposed rule would amend the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program (CR Program) to modify procedures for producing and submitting documents that are required under the Arbitration System to resolve price, delivery, and other disputes between harvesters and processors. This action is necessary to improve the quality and timeliness of market information used to conduct arbitration proceedings. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the FMP, and other applicable law. DATES: Comments must be received no later than September 9, 2011. ADDRESSES: Send comments to Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. You may submit comments, identified by ‘‘RIN 0648–AX47,’’ by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site 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 VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:42 Aug 09, 2011 Jkt 223001 49423 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 will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe portable document file (pdf) formats only. Copies of Amendment 30, the Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RIR/ IRFA) and the categorical exclusion prepared for this action—as well as the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared for the CR Program—may be obtained from the NMFS Alaska Region at the address above or from the Alaska Region Web site at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. NMFS determined that this proposed action was categorically excluded from the need to prepare an environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act. Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this proposed rule may be submitted to NMFS Alaska Region by e-mail to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov, or fax to 202–395–7285. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Forrest R. Bowers, 907–586–7240. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The king and Tanner crab fisheries in the exclusive economic zone of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) are managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Amendments 18 and 19 to the FMP implemented the CR Program. Regulations implementing the FMP, including the CR Program, are located at 50 CFR part 680. amount of QS held by a person in relation to the total QS pool in a crab fishery. For example, a person holding QS equaling 1 percent of the QS pool in a crab fishery would receive IFQ to harvest 1 percent of the annual total allowable catch (TAC) in that crab fishery. Catcher processor license holders were allocated catcher processor vessel owner (CPO) QS for their history as catcher processors; and catcher vessel license holders were issued catcher vessel owner (CVO) QS based on their history as a catcher vessel. Under the CR Program, 97 percent of the initial allocation of QS was issued to vessel owners as CPO or CVO QS; the remaining 3 percent was issued to vessel captains and crew as CPC or CVC QS based on their harvest histories as crew members onboard crab fishing vessels. Ninety percent of the annual CVO IFQ is issued as A shares, or Class A IFQ, which are subject to landing requirements in specific geographic regions, and must be delivered to a processor holding unused individual processor quota (IPQ). The remaining 10 percent of the annual CVO IFQ is issued as B shares, or Class B IFQ, which may be delivered to any processor and are not subject to regionalization. CPO, CPC, and CVC IFQ are not subject to regionalization and are not required to be matched with a processor holding IPQ. NMFS also issued processor quota shares (PQS) to processors based on their qualifying processing histories in the BSAI crab fisheries during a specific time period. These PQS yield annual IPQ, which represent a privilege to receive a certain amount of crab harvested with Class A IFQ. IPQ are issued in an amount equivalent to the Class A IFQ, creating a one-to-one correspondence between Class A IFQ and IPQ. Prior to the start of a crab fishing season, Class A IFQ and IPQ holders match their shares with one another, thereby determining their markets for the coming year. These matches may be modified during the crab season, but both parties must consent to any modifications. Background Arbitration System The CR Program requires holders of Class A IFQ to deliver their catch to processors holding IPQ for a specific crab fishery within a specific geographic region. Potential disputes among harvesters and processors during price and delivery negotiations can occur, and the share matching requirements can exacerbate these disputes. To fairly address potential price and delivery disputes that may arise between Class A IFQ holders and IPQ holders, the CR Under the CR Program, NMFS issued quota share (QS) to persons based on their qualifying harvest histories in the BSAI crab fisheries during a specific time period. Each year, the QS issued to a person yields an amount of individual fishing quota (IFQ), which is a permit providing an exclusive harvesting privilege for a specific amount of raw crab pounds, in a specific crab fishery, in a given season. The size of each annual IFQ allocation is based on the PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\10AUP1.SGM 10AUP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 154 (Wednesday, August 10, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 49417-49423]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-20191]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 100819383-0386-01]
RIN 0648-BA18


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands Management Area; Limited Access Privilege Program

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes regulations that would implement Amendment 93 to 
the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). This proposed rule would amend 
the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Amendment 80 Program to modify the 
criteria for forming and participating in a harvesting cooperative. 
This action is necessary to encourage greater participation in 
harvesting cooperatives, which enable members to more efficiently 
target species, avoid areas with undesirable bycatch, and improve the 
quality of products produced. This action is intended to promote the 
goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act, the Fishery Management Plan, and other applicable law.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than September 9, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to James W. Balsiger, Ph.D., Administrator, 
Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. You may submit comments, 
identified by RIN 0648-BA18, by any one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.
     Fax: (907) 586-7557, Attn: Ellen Sebastian.
     Mail: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802.
     Hand Delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th 
Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK.
    All comments received are a part of the public record and will 
generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All 
Personal Identifying Information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily 
submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit 
Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected 
information.
    NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in 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 Amendment 93, the Environmental Assessment (EA), 
Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis (IRFA)--collectively known as the Analysis--for this action 
are available from the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gwen Herrewig, (907) 586-7091.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The groundfish fisheries in the exclusive 
economic zone off Alaska are managed under the Fishery Management Plan 
for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area 
(BSAI FMP). The FMP was prepared by the North Pacific Fishery 
Management Council (Council) under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (MSA). Amendment 80 to the BSAI FMP 
implemented the Amendment 80 Program. Regulations implementing 
Amendment 80 were published on September 14, 2007 (72 FR 52668). These 
regulations are located at 50 CFR part 679.

Background

    The Amendment 80 program is commonly known as a limited access 
privilege program (LAPP). Eligible fishery participants may receive 
exclusive access to specific fishery resources if certain conditions 
are met. Under the Amendment 80 Program, NMFS issues a quota share (QS) 
permit to a person holding the catch history of an original qualifying 
non-American Fisheries Act (AFA) trawl catcher/processor that met 
specific criteria designated by Congress under the Capacity Reduction 
Program (CRP) (Pub. L. 108-447). NMFS determined that 28 vessels met 
the criteria specified in the CRP. These vessels comprise the 
originally qualifying Amendment 80 vessels. NMFS determined the amount 
of QS issued based on the catch history of six Amendment 80 species 
(Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, flathead sole, 
Pacific cod, rock sole, and yellowfin sole) in the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI), from 1998 through 2004, 
derived from the 28 originally

[[Page 49418]]

qualifying non-AFA trawl catcher processors.
    A QS permit details the total number of QS units for each of the 
six allocated Amendment 80 species. A QS permit may not be subdivided, 
and QS allocations of specific QS species may not be transferred or 
otherwise reassigned. Once NMFS issues a QS permit, it may not be 
transferred separately from the originally qualifying Amendment 80 
vessel to which it has been assigned, except under specific conditions.
    NMFS may issue a QS permit based on the catch history of each of 
the 28 originally qualifying Amendment 80 vessels to either the owner 
of the originally qualifying Amendment 80 vessel, the owner of a 
replacement vessel if the original qualifying Amendment 80 vessel has 
been lost, or the holder of the License Limitation Program (LLP) 
license issued to the originally qualifying Amendment 80 vessel The 
Amendment 80 Program defined a specific LLP license for each originally 
qualifying Amendment 80 vessel to which a QS permit may be assigned in 
cases where a vessel has been lost. Additional details on the transfer 
of QS permits to LLP licenses is provided in the final rule to 
implement Amendment 80 and are not repeated here (September 14, 2007; 
72 FR 52668). NMFS issued QS to the owner of the Amendment 80 vessel in 
most cases. As of the publication of this proposed rule, NMFS has 
issued QS permits based on the catch history of 27 of the 28 originally 
qualifying Amendment 80 vessels. One originally qualifying Amendment 80 
vessel owner did not submit an application as of the publication date 
of this rule.
    Under the Amendment 80 Program, NMFS allocates a specific portion 
of the BSAI total allowable catch (TAC) to the Amendment 80 sector for 
each of the six defined Amendment 80 species. NMFS allocates the 
remainders of the TACs for Atka mackerel, Pacific cod, Pacific ocean 
perch, and yellowfin sole to non-Amendment 80 vessels participating in 
the BSAI trawl fisheries. In addition, NMFS allocates a specific 
portion of the allowable bycatch of BSAI halibut, Bristol Bay red king 
crab, snow crab, and Tanner crab to the Amendment 80 sector. This 
allowable bycatch is commonly known as prohibited species catch (PSC) 
because these species may not be retained, but are known to be 
incidentally taken in BSAI trawl fisheries. NMFS will limit groundfish 
fishing in the BSAI if the PSC limit for a species is reached. The 
specific groundfish species for which NMFS issues a QS permit, and the 
PSC species assigned to the Amendment 80 sector, are shown in Table 1.

Table 1--Groundfish and PSC Species Assigned to the Amendment 80 Program
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Groundfish species assigned to the       PSC species assigned to the
            Amendment 80 sector                  Amendment 80 sector
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch......  Pacific halibut.
Atka mackerel.............................  Zone 1 Bristol Bay red king
                                             crab.
Flathead sole.............................  Zone 1 Chionoecetes opilio
                                             crab.
Pacific cod...............................  Zone 2 C. opilio crab.
Rock sole.................................  Zone 1 C. bairdi crab.
Yellowfin sole............................  Zone 2 C. bairdi crab.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The specific amounts of the TAC and PSC limits assigned to the 
Amendment 80 sector and the non-Amendment 80 BSAI trawl fishery on an 
annual basis are defined in regulations at 50 part 679 and are not 
repeated here (see Tables 33, 34, and 35 to part 679). The amount of 
the TAC and PSC assigned to the Amendment 80 sector is further divided 
between those who participate in Amendment 80 harvesting cooperatives, 
and those who participate in the ``Amendment 80 limited access 
fishery.''
    Generally, the Amendment 80 Program is intended to facilitate the 
formation of cooperatives. As described in Section 2 of the Analysis, 
cooperative management improves fishery management, because Amendment 
80 participants who join a cooperative receive cooperative quota (CQ), 
which are exclusive harvest privileges for a portion of these fishery 
resources. The allocation of CQ allows vessel operators to make 
operational choices to improve fishing practices and reduce discards of 
fish, because the incentives to maximize catch rates to capture a share 
of the available catch are removed. Cooperatives fishing under an 
exclusive harvest privilege can tailor their operations to more 
efficiently target species, avoid areas with undesirable bycatch, and 
improve the quality of products produced. Participants in the limited 
access fishery do not receive an exclusive harvest allocation, and may 
have little incentive to coordinate harvest strategies if they perceive 
a benefit by competing with other participants in a race for fish.
    A person who chooses to join a cooperative must designate the catch 
derived from his QS to the cooperative, the specific vessels that will 
be fishing for that cooperative, and the LLP licenses assigned to each 
designated vessel. For example, a person wishing to participate in an 
Amendment 80 cooperative may assign all, or a portion, of the QS 
permits held by that person to an Amendment 80 cooperative by November 
1 of each year to be eligible to fish in that cooperative for the 
following calendar year. Once a person assigns a QS permit, Amendment 
80 vessel, or LLP license to a cooperative for a year, that person 
cannot reassign that QS permit, vessel, or LLP license to another 
cooperative or to the limited access fishery for that same calendar 
year. A person can also assign QS permits to the Amendment 80 limited 
access fishery if that person is unable or unwilling to meet the 
requirements established by an Amendment 80 cooperative. NMFS assigns 
any QS permits, vessels, and LLP licenses not assigned to a cooperative 
to the Amendment 80 limited access fishery by default.
    The proportion of the TAC that is assigned to an Amendment 80 
cooperative is based on the amount of QS held by the members of the 
cooperative relative to the total Amendment 80 QS pool for a given 
groundfish fishery. For example, if a cooperative was comprised of 
members holding QS permits with a total number of QS units equaling 40 
percent of the Amendment 80 QS pool in the yellowfin sole fishery, that 
cooperative would receive CQ to harvest 40 percent of the annual total 
allowable catch (TAC) of yellowfin sole that is assigned to the 
Amendment 80 sector for that year. A similar calculation is made for 
all other Amendment 80 species and allocation of PSC limits. Any catch 
of groundfish or PSC species that is assigned CQ is debited from a 
cooperative's CQ account. NMFS allocates TAC and PSC limits first to 
cooperatives. The remaining TAC and PSC limits after allocation to 
cooperatives is available collectively to the participants in the 
Amendment 80 limited access fishery.

The Proposed Action

    The proposed action would result in two changes to the Amendment 80 
Program. First, it would reduce the minimum number of persons and 
licenses required to form a harvesting cooperative. Second, it would 
require that a person holding multiple QS permits, Amendment 80 
vessels, and LLP licenses assign all those QS permits, vessels, and LLP 
licenses to either one or more cooperatives, or the limited access 
fishery, but not to both a cooperative and the limited access fishery. 
If approved, this second provision would not be applicable until

[[Page 49419]]

the first fishing year 2 years after the effective date of the final 
rule.

Modifying Cooperative Formation Standards

    The first aspect of this proposed action would allow a cooperative 
to form with a minimum of two unique persons holding a total of at 
least seven QS permits. The current requirement is that a minimum of 
three unique persons and nine QS permits must be assigned to a 
cooperative. Reducing the number of unique persons and number of QS 
permits could provide additional opportunities for QS holders to 
establish cooperative relationships that could reduce the number of 
participants engaged in the race for fish.
    Since the implementation of the Amendment 80 Program in 2008, some 
Amendment 80 sector participants have expressed concern that the 
current cooperative formation requirements could impede participants 
from joining a cooperative and receiving an exclusive allocation of 
Amendment 80 species. Most participants in the Amendment 80 sector have 
successfully established a cooperative in the first 3 years of the 
program. However, some participants have expressed concern that, over 
the long term, cooperative formation standards may put them at a 
disadvantage.
    Section 2.4 of the Analysis prepared for this action notes that 
vessel owners would be likely to have weakened negotiating leverage 
when seeking membership in a cooperative if they cannot be competitive 
in the limited access fishery and if fishing options in the Gulf of 
Alaska would not be viable. Participants may find it difficult to 
receive the benefits of cooperative management if they cannot reach 
agreement on negotiated terms, if the limited access fishery is not an 
economically viable option, or if members of a cooperative are able to 
derive some benefit from forcing an entity into the limited access 
fishery.
    Relaxing cooperative formation standards either by reducing the 
number of QS permits that must be assigned or the number of unique 
vessel owners required could: (1) Provide additional opportunities to 
QS holders to form cooperatives because more relationships are 
possible; (2) diminish the negotiating leverage of vessel owners who 
may be necessary to meet the threshold requirements under more 
stringent cooperative formation standards; (3) reduce the potential 
risk of any one company being unable to negotiate settlement and be 
able to fish only in the limited access fishery; and (4) reduce the 
incentive for members of a cooperative to attempt to create conditions 
that are unfavorable for certain fishery participants to form a 
cooperative.
    Section 2.4 estimates that there are approximately nine unique 
persons in the Amendment 80 sector holding 27 QS permits. Most, but not 
all, of these persons have joined a cooperative. The Alaska Seafood 
Cooperative (AKSC), formerly known as the Best Use Cooperative (BUC), 
includes most of the participants in the Amendment 80 sector. It is 
comprised of seven unique persons holding 17 to 18 QS permits annually 
during 2008 through 2011. The Amendment 80 limited access fishery had 
two to four unique persons holding seven to nine QS permits annually 
during 2008 through 2010. Recent business transactions in the Amendment 
80 sector have resulted in a greater consolidation in the ownership of 
the Amendment 80 sector. In 2010, one of the QS permits that had been 
assigned to the limited access fishery was transferred to a participant 
in AKSC. In 2011, all Amendment 80 QS holders participated in a 
cooperative, with most participants joining AKSC. A second cooperative 
representing nine QS permits held by four unique persons was assigned 
to the Alaska Groundfish Cooperative (AGC). Two of the members of AGC 
own multiple QS permits and participate in both the AKSC and AGC.
    Conditions in the Amendment 80 sector suggest that cooperative 
formation may continue to be challenging even though two cooperatives 
formed in 2011. For example, some AKSC members have raised concerns 
that accepting members into a cooperative could adversely affect the 
cooperative's internal management agreements and expose existing 
members to a potentially increased risk of enforcement actions under 
joint and several liability provisions because of perceived concerns 
about the past enforcement record of some Amendment 80 sector 
participants.
    The Council considered extensive testimony and input from the 
Amendment 80 sector during the development of the proposed action, as 
well as a review of the suite of decisions that affect cooperative 
formation and the potential incentives to include or exclude a member 
from a cooperative. Section 2.3.8 of the Analysis describes these 
factors. The Council developed the alternatives listed below:
     Alternative 1: Status quo. A minimum of three unique QS 
holders holding at least nine QS permits are required to form a 
cooperative.
     Alternative 2: Reduce the number of unique QS holders 
required to form a cooperative from the existing three QS holders to 
two or one unique QS holder.
     Alternative 3: Reduce the number of QS permits required to 
form a cooperative from the existing nine permits to eight, seven, six, 
or three permits.
     Alternative 4: Reduce both the number of unique QS holders 
and the number of QS permits required to form a cooperative 
(combination of Alternatives 2 and 3 above).
     Alternative 5: Allow a cooperative to form with a minimum 
of three unique QS holders holding at least nine QS permits (status 
quo), or a single or collective group of entities that represent 20 
percent, 25 percent, or 30 percent of the sector QS.
     Alternative 6: Require that a cooperative accept all 
persons who are otherwise eligible to join a cooperative subject to the 
same terms and conditions as all other members.
    Section 2.4 of the Analysis notes that less strict cooperative 
formation standards might provide greater opportunities for 
cooperatives to form, in general, and greater opportunities for any 
specific participant to find arrangements that allow them to 
participate in a cooperative. Overall, Section 2.4 of the Analysis 
concludes that relaxing the cooperative formation standard would 
provide an increased likelihood that a greater proportion of the TAC 
assigned to the Amendment 80 sector is harvested under cooperative 
management.
    Ultimately, the Council chose Alternative 4 and the option for a 
minimum of two unique persons and seven QS permits. The Council chose 
an alternative that would provide some additional flexibility to the 
Amendment 80 sector to form cooperatives, without requiring drastic 
changes from the status quo structure of the most established 
cooperative, AKSC. The Council noted its preferred alternative would 
require more than one company to coordinate operations to receive an 
exclusive annual harvest allocation. The Council noted that maintaining 
a multi-company cooperative structure would extend the Council's 
overall goal of enhancing coordination among a variety of different 
industry participants.
    Section 2.3.8 of the Analysis notes that the alternatives 
considered, including the Council's preferred alternative that 
comprises the proposed action, are consistent with the overall goals of 
the Amendment 80 Program, including the goal of allocating groundfish 
species to harvesting cooperatives to encourage fishing practices with 
lower discard rates and to improve the opportunity for increasing

[[Page 49420]]

the value of harvested species while lowering costs. The Council noted 
that modifying the cooperative standards originally selected under 
Amendment 80 to reflect the changing negotiating positions of various 
industry participants was responsive to the best available information 
on current fishery conditions. Public input during the Council's 
consideration of the proposed action generally supported the reduced 
cooperative formation standard as a mechanism to provide additional 
opportunities for cooperative formation. NMFS agrees with the Council's 
rationale for this proposed change. This proposed rule would not modify 
the specific species that are allocated or the amount of the TAC 
allocated to the Amendment 80 Program.

Requiring QS To Be Assigned to Cooperatives or the Limited Access 
Fishery

    The second modification under this proposed action would require 
that a person assign all QS permits either to a cooperative or to the 
limited access fishery, but not to both during the same calendar year. 
If this provision is approved, it would not apply until the first 
fishing year 2 years after a final rule, if implemented, becomes 
effective.
    Excluding a person from cooperative membership could benefit a 
cooperative, or specific members of a cooperative, who choose to 
participate in both a cooperative and the limited access fishery. For 
example, if a cooperative member who holds multiple QS permits and 
vessels can assign one vessel and QS permit to the limited access 
fishery and another vessel and QS permit to a cooperative, that member 
could harvest more fish in the limited access fishery than would be 
derived from their QS if it were assigned to a cooperative. A person 
participating in both a cooperative and the limited access fishery has 
an incentive to exclude participants in the limited access fishery from 
joining a cooperative or creating an additional cooperative. For 
example, a person participating in a cooperative and the limited access 
fishery could seek to exclude a person from fishing in a cooperative if 
the person to be excluded was unlikely to be able to join another 
cooperative. Under that scenario, the person excluded from a 
cooperative could be forced into the Amendment 80 limited access 
fishery. If the person participating in the cooperative also assigned a 
vessel to the Amendment 80 limited access fishery that was capable of 
effectively competing against the other Amendment 80 limited access 
fishery participants, that person could maximize their catch in a race 
for fish. Under that scenario, a person with participation in both an 
Amendment 80 cooperative and the limited access fishery would have 
little incentive to allow a person to join a cooperative because they 
would lose access to fish that would otherwise be available in the 
Amendment 80 limited access fishery. Data from the first three years of 
the Amendment 80 Program indicate that one vessel owner with multiple 
vessels and QS permits has chosen to participate in both a cooperative 
and the limited access fishery. During the development of Amendment 93, 
participants in the limited access fishery testified that they have 
sought to join the existing cooperative (at that time, the Best Use 
Cooperative), but were unable to do so. The Council determined, and 
NMFS agrees, that this provision would reduce the incentive for a 
cooperative member to exclude another person from forming a cooperative 
in order to force them into a race for fish in the limited access 
fishery.
    The requirement that a vessel owner and QS holder assign all QS 
permits and vessels to either a cooperative or the limited access 
fishery would not apply until the first fishing year 2 years after the 
final rule would be effective. For example, if the final rule became 
effective in October 2011, this requirement would not apply until the 
2014 fishing year, but QS holders would have to assign all QS permits 
and vessels to one or more cooperatives or to the limited access 
fishery by the Amendment 80 annual cooperative application deadline of 
November 1, 2013. The proposed rule text implementing this provision 
uses the 2014 fishing year as the first year in which this provision 
would be applicable because, it assumes the final rule for this action 
would be published by the end of 2011. The Council determined, and NMFS 
agrees, that this 2-year delay would provide vessel owners and QS 
holders time to establish relationships to ensure that all QS permits 
and vessels could be assigned to either the limited access fishery or a 
cooperative. The 2-year delay would allow vessel owners to ensure that 
they are well-coordinated with other participants in the fishery and 
all of their QS permits can be assigned to either one or more 
cooperative, or the limited access fishery. Some industry participants 
have expressed concerns that the ``all-in'' nature of this requirement 
could create contentious and complicated cooperative negotiations if 
vessel owners are unable to enter all their vessels into a cooperative. 
If this provision becomes effective, NMFS would enforce this provision 
by not allowing the owner of multiple QS permits or vessels to assign 
QS permits or vessels to one or more cooperatives and the Amendment 80 
limited access fishery during the annual cooperative application 
process.
    Conceivably, if a vessel owner is not able to assign all vessels or 
QS permits to a cooperative, that vessel owner would be required to 
assign those vessels or permits to the limited access fishery. Based on 
the demonstrated ability of the Amendment 80 participants to establish 
cooperatives, this scenario is unlikely. In 2011, both Amendment 80 
cooperatives were comprised of vessel owners with a wide range of 
vessels. Their cooperative contracts govern the specific obligations 
that each member has and ensures that overall cooperative harvests meet 
those requirements. It is likely that these cooperative relationships 
will continue. The 2-year timeframe would provide the industry time to 
structure their cooperative contracts to incorporate ``all-in'' 
provisions necessary to allow owners of multiple vessels and QS permits 
to maintain membership in a cooperative.

Expected Effects of the Proposed Action

    The RIR describes the predicted effects of the proposed action on 
harvesters, processors, communities, management and enforcement, 
consumers, and the nation (see ADDRESSES). Only the effects of the 
proposed action on harvesters are described here. Overall, the proposed 
action would be expected to increase the potential for cooperative 
formation. Vessels fishing under a cooperative would realize the 
benefits of LAPP management, including a strong incentive to reduce the 
race for fish. Based on a preliminary review of the first 3 years of 
the Amendment 80 Program (2008 through 2010) and past experience with 
cooperative-based management in other LAPPs (e.g., AFA, Central GOA 
Rockfish Program, and BSAI Crab Rationalization Program), participation 
in a cooperative is likely to allow optimization of harvest rates for 
product recovery and quality, reduce incentives to operate in adverse 
weather conditions, facilitate reductions of bycatch, and streamline 
operations to maximize profits.

Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

    NMFS would continue to oversee the submission of cooperative 
applications and the issuance and transfer of CQ. The

[[Page 49421]]

proposed rule would not change the information required to be submitted 
by cooperative applicants.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, has determined 
that this proposed rule is consistent with Amendment 93, the FMP, the 
MSA, and other applicable laws, subject to further consideration after 
public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA)

    An IRFA was prepared, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (RFA). Copies of the IRFA prepared for this proposed 
rule are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The IRFA describes the 
economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small 
entities. A description of the action, the reasons why it is being 
considered, and a statement of the objectives of, and the legal basis 
for, this action are contained in the SUMMARY section of the preamble 
and are not repeated in detail here. The IRFA for this proposed action 
describes the reasons why this action is being proposed; describes the 
objectives and legal basis for the proposed rule; describes and 
estimates the number of small entities to which the proposed rule would 
apply; describes any projected reporting, recordkeeping, or other 
compliance requirements of the proposed rule; identifies any 
overlapping, duplicative, or conflicting Federal rules; and describes 
any significant alternatives to the proposed rule that accomplish the 
stated objectives of the MSA and any other applicable statutes, and 
that would minimize any significant adverse economic impact of the 
proposed rule on small entities. A summary of that analysis follows.

Rationale, Objectives, and Legal Basis of the Proposed Rule

    The IRFA describes the reasons why this action is being proposed, 
describes the objectives and legal basis for the proposed rule, and 
discusses both small and other regulated entities to adequately 
characterize the fishery participants. The MSA is the legal basis for 
the proposed rule. The objectives of the proposed rule are to 
facilitate cooperative formation among the Amendment 80 sector to 
ensure that fishery participants can realize the intended benefits of 
fishing under an exclusive harvest privilege. The proposed rule would 
accomplish this goal by reducing the minimum number of persons and 
licenses required for cooperative formation under the Amendment 80 
Program. NMFS expects the proposed action to provide additional 
opportunities for cooperative formation among participants in the 
Amendment 80 sector.

Number of Small Entities To Which the Proposed Rule Would Apply

    The directly regulated entities under this proposed rule are 
holders of Amendment 80 QS. For purposes of an IRFA, the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) has established that a business involved in fish 
harvesting is a small business if it is independently owned and 
operated, not dominant in its field of operation (including its 
affiliates), and if it has combined annual gross receipts not in excess 
of $4.0 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. A seafood 
processor is a small business if it is independently owned and 
operated, not dominant in its field of operation, and employs 500 or 
fewer persons on a full-time, part-time, temporary, or other basis, at 
all its affiliated operations worldwide. Because the SBA does not have 
a size criterion for businesses that are involved in both the 
harvesting and processing of seafood products, NMFS has in the past 
applied, and continues to apply, SBA's fish harvesting criterion for 
these businesses because catcher/processors are first and foremost fish 
harvesting businesses. Therefore, a business involved in both the 
harvesting and processing of seafood products is a small business if it 
meets the $4.0 million criterion for fish harvesting operations. NMFS 
is reviewing its small entity size classification for all catcher/
processors in the United States. However, until new guidance is 
adopted, NMFS will continue to use the annual receipts standard for 
catcher/processors. Even if additional catcher/processors would have 
been identified as small entities under a revised small-entity size 
classification, NMFS would have analyzed the effect on small entities 
using the same methods that were used in the IRFA prepared for the 
proposed rule. NMFS considered the effects of the proposed rule and 
attempted to reduce costs to all directly regulated entities regardless 
of the number of small entities.
    The IRFA estimates that 28 non-AFA trawl catcher/processors could 
generate Amendment 80 QS, based on the provisions of the Amendment 80 
Program. Those persons who apply for and receive Amendment 80 QS are 
eligible to fish in the Amendment 80 sector, and those QS holders would 
be directly regulated by the proposed action. Based on the known 
affiliations and ownership of the Amendment 80 vessels, all but one of 
the Amendment QS holders would be categorized as large entities for the 
purpose of the RFA under the principles of affiliation, due to their 
participation in a harvest cooperative or through known ownership of 
multiple vessels, co-ownership and ``shares'' ownership among vessels, 
and other economic and operational affiliations. Thus, this analysis 
estimates that only one small entity would be directly regulated by the 
proposed action. It is possible that this one small entity could be 
linked by company affiliation to a large entity, which may then qualify 
that entity as a large entity, but complete information is not 
available to determine any such linkages.
    The estimate of the number of small entities is conservative. Other 
supporting businesses may also be indirectly affected by this action if 
it leads to fewer vessels participating in the fishery. These impacts 
are analyzed in the RIR prepared for this action (see ADDRESSES).

Impacts on Directly Regulated Small Entities

    The proposed action would modify the cooperative formation 
standards and requirements for assigning QS and Amendment 80 vessels to 
either a cooperative or the limited access fishery. The overall impact 
to small entities is expected to be positive. Impacts from the proposed 
rule would accrue differentially (i.e., some entities could be 
negatively affected and others positively affected). The Council 
considered an extensive range of alternatives and options as it 
designed and evaluated the potential for changes to the Amendment 80 
sector, including the ``no action'' alternative.
    Six alternative approaches for modifying cooperative formation 
criteria were considered. Alternative 1: Status quo. A minimum of three 
unique QS holders holding at least nine QS permits are required to form 
a cooperative. Alternative 2: Reduce the number of unique QS holders 
required to form a cooperative from the existing three QS holders to 
two or one unique QS holder. Alternative 3: Reduce the number of QS 
permits required to form a cooperative from the existing nine permits 
to eight, seven, six, or three permits. Alternative 4: Reduce both the 
number of unique QS holders and the number of QS permits required to 
form a cooperative (combination of Alternatives 2 and 3 above). 
Alternative 5: Allow a cooperative to form with a minimum of

[[Page 49422]]

three unique QS holders holding at least nine QS permits (status quo), 
or a single or collective group of entities that represent 20 percent, 
25 percent, or 30 percent of the sector QS. Alternative 6: Require that 
a cooperative accept all persons who are otherwise eligible to join a 
cooperative subject to the same terms and conditions as all other 
members. The Council recommended Alternative 4, reducing the number of 
unique QS holders to two unique persons and reducing the number of QS 
permits required to form a cooperative to seven QS permits, as its 
preferred alternative.
    Two alternative approaches were considered for the QS and vessel 
assignment provision. Alternative 1: status quo. QS holders with 
multiple QS permits and vessels may assign those QS permits and vessels 
to one or more cooperatives and the limited access fishery. Alternative 
2: QS holders with multiple QS permits and vessels may assign those QS 
permits and vessels to one or more cooperatives or the limited access 
fishery, but not both. If approved, this alternative would be effective 
two years after the effective date of the final rule.
    Collectively, the alternatives and options considered under these 
two proposed actions provided a broad suite of alternatives from which 
the Council chose to modify the factors affecting cooperative 
formation.
    Compared with the status quo, the proposed action selected by the 
Council minimizes the adverse economic impacts on the directly 
regulated small entity. The alternatives under consideration in this 
proposed rule would be expected to provide greater opportunity for 
cooperative formation among the various industries. In no case are 
these combined impacts expected to be substantial. Alternative 4 of 
action 1, with the two unique persons and seven QS permit option, would 
not be expected to adversely affect the existing Amendment 80 
cooperatives, but could provide additional cooperative formation 
opportunities for participants in the Amendment 80 limited access 
fishery. The proposed QS assignment provision would reduce the 
incentive for owners of multiple vessels to exclude a person from a 
cooperative. This proposed provision would be expected to enhance the 
likelihood of cooperative formation.

Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other Compliance Requirements

    Existing recordkeeping and reporting requirements necessary to 
apply to form an Amendment 80 cooperative would not be modified.

Duplicate, Overlapping, or Conflicting Federal Rules

    No Federal rules that might duplicate, overlap, or conflict with 
this proposed action have been identified.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679

    Alaska, Fisheries, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: August 3, 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 679 is 
proposed to be amended 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.  679.91, paragraphs (h)(3)(ii), (h)(3)(iii), and 
(h)(3)(xii) are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  679.91  Amendment 80 Program annual harvester privileges.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (3) * * *

------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(ii) What is the minimum number of       Any combination of at least
 Amendment 80 QS permits that must be     seven Amendment 80 QS permits
 assigned to an Amendment 80              which would include Amendment
 cooperative to allow it to form?         80 LLP/QS licenses.
(iii) How many Amendment 80 QS holders   At least two Amendment 80 QS
 are required to form an Amendment 80     holders each of whom may not
 cooperative?                             have a ten percent or greater
                                          direct or indirect ownership
                                          interest in any of the other
                                          Amendment 80 QS holders.
 
                              * * * * * * *
(xii) Can an Amendment 80 QS permit,     No, an Amendment 80 QS permit,
 Amendment 80 LLP license, or Amendment   Amendment 80 LLP license, or
 80 vessel be assigned to an Amendment    Amendment 80 vessel assigned
 80 cooperative and the Amendment 80      to an Amendment 80 cooperative
 limited access fishery?                  may not be assigned to the
                                          Amendment 80 limited access
                                          fishery for that calendar
                                          year. Prior to the 2014
                                          fishing year, a person holding
                                          multiple Amendment 80 QS
                                          permits, Amendment 80 LLP
                                          licenses, or owning multiple
                                          Amendment 80 vessels is not
                                          required to assign all
                                          Amendment 80 QS permits,
                                          Amendment 80 LLP licenses, or
                                          Amendment 80 vessels to the
                                          same Amendment 80 cooperative
                                          or the Amendment 80 limited
                                          access fishery. Starting with
                                          the 2014 fishing year and
                                          thereafter, a person holding
                                          multiple Amendment 80 QS
                                          permits, Amendment 80 LLP
                                          licenses, or owning multiple
                                          Amendment 80 vessels must
                                          assign all Amendment 80 QS
                                          permits, Amendment 80 LLP
                                          licenses, or Amendment 80
                                          vessels to either one or more
                                          Amendment 80 cooperatives, or
                                          the Amendment 80 limited
                                          access fishery.
 
                              * * * * * * *
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 49423]]

[FR Doc. 2011-20191 Filed 8-9-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P