Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; Proposed 2014 and 2015 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish, 74079-74100 [2013-29354]

Download as PDF emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules case TACs would have been limited to the OY. Alternative 3 would have set TACs to produce fishing rates equal to the most recent 5-year average fishing rates. Alternative 4 would have set TACs equal to the lower limit of the BSAI OY range. Alternative 5, the ‘‘no action’’ alternative, would have set TACs equal to zero. The TACs associated with the preferred harvest strategy are those adopted by the Council in October 2013, as per Alternative 2. OFLs and ABCs for the species were based on recommendations prepared by the Council’s BSAI Plan Team in September 2013, and reviewed and modified by the Council’s SSC in October 2013. The Council based its TAC recommendations on those of its AP, which were consistent with the SSC’s OFL and ABC recommendations. Alternative 1 selects harvest rates that will allow fishermen to harvest stocks at the level of ABCs, unless total harvests were constrained by the upper bound of the BSAI OY of two million mt. As shown in Table 1 of the preamble, the sum of ABCs in 2014 and 2015 would be about 2,686,688 mt, which falls above the upper bound of the OY range. The sum of TACs is equal to the sum of ABCs. In this instance, Alternative 1 is consistent with the preferred alternative (Alternative 2), meets the objectives of that action, and has small entity impacts that are equivalent to the preferred alternative. Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 years of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for the most recent 5 years of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). This alternative is inconsistent with the objectives of this action, (the Council’s preferred harvest strategy) because it does not take account of the most recent biological information for this fishery. Harvest rates are listed for each species category for each year in the SAFE report (see ADDRESSES). Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all species and reduce TACs from the upper end of the OY range in the BSAI, to its lower end of 1.4 million mt. Overall, this would reduce 2014 TACs by about 30 percent, which would lead to significant reductions in harvests of species by small entities. While reductions of this size would be associated with offsetting price increases, the size of these increases is very uncertain. There are close substitutes for BSAI groundfish species available from the GOA. While production declines in the BSAI would undoubtedly be associated with VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 significant price increases in the BSAI, these increases would still be constrained by production of substitutes, and are very unlikely to offset revenue declines from smaller production. Thus, this alternative action would have a detrimental impact on small entities. Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, would have a significant adverse impact on small entities and would be contrary to obligations to achieve OY on a continuing basis, as mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. In 2012, there were 595 individual catcher vessels with gross revenues less than or equal to $5 million. Many of these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, GOA rockfish cooperatives, or crab rationalization cooperatives, and, since under the RFA it is the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the cooperative that must meet the ‘‘under $19 million’’ threshold, they are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. After accounting for membership in these cooperatives, NMFS estimates that there are an estimated 428 small catcher vessel entities remaining in the BSAI groundfish sector. These 428 vessels had average gross revenues of about $0.4 million. In 2012, 45 catcher/processors grossed less than $19 million. In 2012, seven vessels in this group were affiliated through membership in three cooperatives (the Amendment 80 ‘‘Alaska Seafood Cooperative,’’ the Freezer Longline Conservation Cooperative, or the crab rationalization Intercooperative Exchange). After taking account of these affiliations, NMFS estimates that there are seven small catcher/processor entities. These seven entities had average gross revenues of about $1.8 million in 2012. The proposed harvest specifications extend the current 2014 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs to 2014 and 2015, except for Pacific cod and Kamchatka flounder. As noted in the IRFA, the Council may modify these OFLs, ABCs, and TACs in December 2013, when it reviews the November 2013 meeting report from its groundfish Plan Team, and the December Council meeting reports of its SSC and AP. Because most 2014 TACs in the proposed 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications are unchanged from the 2014 harvest specification TACs, NMFS does not expect adverse impacts on small entities. Also, NMFS does not expect any changes made by the Council in December to be large enough to have an impact on small entities. PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 74079 This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting requirements, or duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any Federal rules. Adverse impacts on marine mammals resulting from fishing activities conducted under these harvest specifications are discussed in the EIS (see ADDRESSES), and in the 2012 SIR (http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/ analyses/specs/2012– 13supplementaryinfoJan2012.pdf). Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540(f); 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105–277; Pub. L. 106– 31; Pub. L. 106–554; Pub. L. 108–199; Pub. L. 108–447; Pub. L. 109–241; Pub. L. 109– 479. Dated: December 3, 2013. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2013–29352 Filed 12–9–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 130925836–3836–01] RIN 0648–XC895 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; Proposed 2014 and 2015 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications, apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2014 and 2015 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the GOA in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 74080 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules Comments must be received by January 9, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by Docket Number NOAA–NMFS–2013–0147, by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail; D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0147, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668. • Fax: Address written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Fax comments to (907) 586–7557. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. 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, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS), Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS, and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) prepared for this action may be obtained from http://www.regulations.gov or from the Alaska Region Web site at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The final 2012 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the GOA, dated November 2012, is available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99501, phone 907–271–2809, or from the Council’s Web site at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc. The draft 2013 SAFE report for the GOA is available from the same source. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS DATES: VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the GOA groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the GOA under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). The Council prepared the FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1801, et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the FMP appear at 50 CFR parts 600, 679, and 680. The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species, the sum of which must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 116,000 to 800,000 metric tons (mt). Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires NMFS to publish and solicit public comment on proposed annual TACs, Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limits, and seasonal allowances of pollock and Pacific cod. The proposed harvest specifications in Tables 1 through 20 of this document satisfy these requirements. For 2014 and 2015, the sum of the proposed TAC amounts is 427,068 mt. Under § 679.20(c)(3), NMFS will publish the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications after (1) considering comments received within the comment period (see DATES), (2) consulting with the Council at its December 2013 meeting, (3) considering information presented in the 2013 Supplementary Information Report that assesses the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS (see ADDRESSES) and, (4) the final 2013 SAFE report prepared for the 2014 and 2015 groundfish fisheries. Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2014 and 2015 Harvest Specifications Amendment 95: Halibut Prohibited Species Catch Limit Revisions At its June 2012 meeting, the Council took final action to reduce halibut PSC limits in the GOA trawl and hook-andline groundfish fisheries. That action, Amendment 95 to the FMP, would change the process for setting halibut PSC limits, as well as reducing such limits from their current amounts. Halibut PSC limits would be established in Federal regulations and would remain in effect until changed by Secretarial approval of a subsequent Council action to amend those regulations. NMFS published a notice of availability for Amendment 95 on PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 August 29, 2013 (78 FR 53419). The public comment period for the notice of availability on Amendment 95 ended on October 28, 2013. The proposed rule that would implement Amendment 95 published on September 17, 2013 (78 FR 57106), with public comments accepted through October 17, 2013. That proposed rule describes the various reductions to the GOA halibut PSC limits and other, associated components of the action. If approved by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), Amendment 95 would reduce the GOA halibut PSC limit for the groundfish trawl gear sector and groundfish catcher vessel (CV) hook-and-line gear sector by 15 percent. The proposed reductions would be phased in over 3 years: 7 percent in year 1, 5 percent in year 2 (to 12 percent), and 3 percent in year 3 (for a total of 15 percent). The proposed reduction for the catcher/processor (C/ P) hook-and-line gear sector would be 7 percent, which would occur during the first year of implementation. Finally, the proposed reduction for the hook-andline demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) fishery in the Southeast Outside district of the GOA would be 1 mt. The proposed reductions to the trawl halibut PSC limits use 1,973 mt as the baseline for the reductions. That baseline limit was established with the implementation of the Central GOA Rockfish Program (Rockfish Program) in 2011 (76 FR 81248, December 27, 2011). Amendment 95 would result in a new trawl sector halibut PSC limit of 1,848 mt in the first year of implementation (in 2014), 1,759 mt (in 2015), and 1,706 mt (in 2016 and later years). The DSR fishery halibut PSC limit would be 9 mt. The hook-and-line sector halibut PSC limits would vary annually, as these limits are based on how the Pacific cod TAC is annually apportioned between the Central and Western regulatory areas of the GOA. Based on 2013 Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central GOA the hook-and-line C/P sector would receive a 115 mt halibut PSC limit. The hook-and-line CV sector PSC limit would be 154 mt (in 2014), 146 mt (in 2015), and 141 mt (in 2016 and later years). These limits are representative of the proposed halibut PSC reductions, but not the actual limits that would be implemented in future years. The proposed rule associated with Amendment 95 provides additional details about these limits (78 FR 57106, September 17, 2013). Amendment 97: Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limits in the Non-Pollock Trawl Groundfish Fisheries In June 2013, the Council took action to recommend Amendment 97 to the E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules FMP, as well as accompanying regulations. If approved by the Secretary, Amendment 97 would implement measures to control Chinook salmon PSC in all non-pollock trawl groundfish fisheries in the Western and Central GOA. The directed pollock fishery is not included in the Council’s recommended action, as that fishery is already subject to Chinook PSC limits (§ 679.21(h)). The Council’s preferred alternative would set an initial annual limit of 7,500 Chinook salmon apportioned among the sectors of catcher/processors, catcher vessels active in the Rockfish Program, and non-Rockfish Program catcher vessels. A sector would be prohibited from directed fishing for groundfish if it caught its apportioned amount of the total Chinook PSC limit. NMFS currently is developing a proposed rulemaking for this Chinook PSC action. If approved by the Secretary, the earliest these Chinook salmon PSC limits could be implemented would be 2015. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Combining Central and Western GOA Other Rockfish Acceptable Biological Catches (ABCs) and TACs At its November 2013 meeting, the Council’s GOA Groundfish Plan Team (Plan Team) recommended combining the Western and Central GOA ‘‘other rockfish’’ ABCs and TACs. The ‘‘other rockfish’’ category in those areas include ‘‘other rockfish’’ (19 species) and demersal shelf rockfish (7 species). The Plan Team recommended combining these ABCs and TACs based on the challenges associated with conducting a comprehensive assessment of all of the species in the ‘‘other rockfish’’ category in the Western and Central GOA. The Council and its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) will consider this recommendation at the December 2013 Council meeting, and may recommend combining these ABCs and TACs as recommended by the Plan Team. NMFS does not anticipate any adverse management or conservation effects if this were to occur, as directed fishing for other rockfish would continue to be prohibited in the Western and Central GOA. Changes to GOA State of Alaska (State) Pacific Cod Guideline Harvest Level Fisheries In addition to the Federal Pacific cod fisheries in the GOA, there are Pacific cod fisheries managed by the State of Alaska (State). The State’s guideline harvest level (GHL) fisheries are conducted independently of the Federal groundfish fisheries under direct regulation of the State. The State derives VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 GHLs from the Federal ABC for each GOA management area, and the TAC for each area is the amount available after the Council deducts the annual GHL percentage from the ABC. Thus, Pacific cod TACs are affected by the State’s Pacific cod GHLs. In October 2013, the Alaska Board of Fisheries, a regulatory body for the State’s Department of Fish and Game, adopted a proposal to increase the GHL in the South Alaska Peninsula management area to 30 percent from 25 percent of the Western GOA ABC. Once implemented, this would decrease the proposed Pacific cod TAC for the Western GOA. This is described in further detail in the section of this preamble that discusses the ‘‘Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts.’’ Proposed Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Specifications In October 2013, the Council, its SSC, and its Advisory Panel (AP) reviewed the most recent biological and harvest information about the condition of groundfish stocks in the GOA. This information was compiled by the GOA Groundfish Plan Team and presented in the final 2012 SAFE report for the GOA groundfish fisheries, dated November 2012 (see ADDRESSES). The SAFE report contains a review of the latest scientific analyses and estimates of each species’ biomass and other biological parameters, as well as summaries of the available information on the GOA ecosystem and the economic condition of the groundfish fisheries off Alaska. From these data and analyses, the Plan Team estimates an OFL and ABC for each species or species group. The amounts proposed for the 2014 and 2015 ABCs are based on the 2012 SAFE report. The AP and Council recommended that the proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs be set equal to proposed ABCs for all species and species groups, with the exception of the species categories further discussed below. The proposed ABCs and TACs could be changed in the final harvest specifications depending on the most recent scientific information contained in the final 2013 SAFE report. In November 2013, the Plan Team updated the 2012 SAFE report to include new information collected during 2013, such as NMFS stock surveys, revised stock assessments, and catch data. The Plan Team compiled this information and produced the draft 2013 SAFE report for presentation at the December 2013 Council meeting. At that meeting, the Council will consider information in the draft 2013 SAFE report, recommendations from the November 2013 Plan Team meeting and PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 74081 December 2013 SSC and AP meetings, public testimony, and relevant written public comments in making its recommendations for the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications. Pursuant to section 3.2.3.4.1 of the FMP, the Council could recommend adjusting the TACs if ‘‘warranted on the basis of bycatch considerations, management uncertainty, or socioeconomic considerations, or if required in order to cause the sum of the TACs to fall within the OY range.’’ In previous years, the largest changes from the proposed to the final harvest specifications have been for OFLs and ABCs based on the most recent NMFS stock surveys, which provide updated estimates of stock biomass and spatial distribution, and changes to the models used for producing stock assessments. NMFS scientists presented updated and new survey results, changes to assessment models, and accompanying stock estimates at the September 2013 Plan Team meeting, and the SSC reviewed this information at the October 2013 Council meeting. The species with possible model changes are pollock, Pacific cod, flathead sole, dover sole, rock sole, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ and demersal shelf rockfish. In November 2013, the Plan Team considered updated stock assessments for groundfish, which were included in the draft 2013 SAFE report. If the draft 2013 SAFE report indicates that the stock biomass trend is increasing for a species, then the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for that species may reflect an increase from the proposed harvest specifications. The draft 2013 SAFE reports indicate that the biomass trend for pollock, Pacific cod, deep-water flatfish, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, dusky rockfish, thornyhead rockfish, other rockfish, longnose skates, other skates, and octopuses may be increasing. Conversely, if the draft 2013 SAFE report indicates that the stock biomass trend is decreasing for a species, then the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications may reflect a decrease from the proposed harvest specifications. The draft 2013 SAFE reports indicate that the biomass trend for sablefish, shallow-water flatfish, rex sole, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, rougheye rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, big skate, sculpins, and sharks may be decreasing. The biomass trends for Atka mackerel and squid species are relatively stable. The proposed OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 74082 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS distribution of stock biomass, and revised methods used to calculate stock biomass. The FMP specifies the formulas, or tiers, to be used to compute OFLs and ABCs. The formulas applicable to a particular stock or stock complex are determined by the level of reliable information available to the fisheries scientists. This information is categorized into a successive series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts, with tier one representing the highest level of information quality available and tier six representing the lowest level of information quality available. The Plan Team used the FMP tier structure to calculate OFLs and ABCs for each groundfish species. The SSC adopted the proposed 2014 and 2015 OFLs and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team for all groundfish species. The Council adopted the SSC’s OFL and ABC recommendations and the AP’s TAC recommendations. These amounts are unchanged from the final 2014 harvest specifications published in the Federal Register on February 26, 2013 (78 FR 13162), with three exceptions. The TACs for three species and area combinations in the final 2014 harvest specifications were misspecified and would be corrected in this proposed action. These include the TACs for shallow-water flatfish in the West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts of the GOA, and the TAC for rex sole in the West Yakutat District. The 2013 TACs for these species and areas were inadvertently carried forward and published as the 2014 TACs in the final 2014 harvest specifications. The 2014 TACs for these three species should have been set equal to the 2014 ABCs for these species. This resulted in these three TACs being specified as greater than the available 2014 ABCs. The proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs for these species incorporate corrections to these mis-specifications. Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts The Council recommended proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs that are equal to proposed ABCs for all species and species groups, with the exceptions of Atka mackerel, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, and shallow-water flatfish, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ rex sole, Pacific cod, and pollock. The Atka mackerel TAC is set to accommodate incidental catch amounts of this species in other directed fisheries. The arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, and shallow-water flatfish TACs are set to conserve the halibut PSC limit for use in other fisheries. The ‘‘other rockfish’’ TAC is set to reduce the potential amount of discards in the Southeast Outside (SEO) District. The VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 rex sole TAC in the West Yakutat District was set to accommodate incidental catch amounts of this species in other directed fisheries. The Pacific cod TACs are set to accommodate the State’s GHL for Pacific cod so that ABCs are not exceeded. State GHL fisheries for Pacific cod are established in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, as well as in Prince William Sound (PWS). The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and Council recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the GOA not exceed ABC recommendations. Accordingly, the Council reduced the proposed 2014 and 2015 Pacific cod TACs in the Eastern, Central, and Western Regulatory Areas to account for State GHLs. Therefore, the proposed 2014 and 2015 Pacific cod TACs are less than the proposed ABCs by the following amounts: (1) Eastern GOA, 842 mt; (2) Central GOA, 12,841 mt; and (3) Western GOA, 7,368 mt. These amounts reflect the sum of the State’s 2014 and 2015 GHLs in these areas, which are 25 percent of the Eastern, Central, and Western GOA proposed ABCs, respectively. As described above, the State adopted an increase to the GHL for the State Pacific cod fishery in the Western GOA in October 2013. This increase, to 30 percent from 25 percent, would decrease the Western GOA Pacific cod TAC proposed by this action to 20,629 mt from 22,103 mt. This change will be incorporated in the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications, following the Council’s review of this change at its December 2013 meeting. The final Western GOA Pacific cod TAC may be either lower or higher than the above amount (20,629 mt), as the 2014 and 2015 Pacific cod ABCs will probably differ from those proposed in this action, based on the updated stock biomass trends that will be contained in the draft 2013 SAFE report. The ABC for the pollock stock in the combined Western, Central, and West Yakutat Regulatory Areas (W/C/WYK) has been adjusted to reflect the GHL established by the State for the PWS pollock fishery since its inception in 1995. Genetic studies have led fisheries scientists to believe that the pollock in PWS is not a separate stock from the combined W/C/WYK population. The Plan Team has had a protocol of recommending that the GHL amount be deducted from the Gulf-wide ABC since 1996. Accordingly, the Council recommended decreasing the W/C/WYK pollock ABC to account for the State’s PWS GHL. For 2014 and 2015, the proposed PWS pollock GHL is 2,583 mt, as recommended by State fisheries managers. PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 NMFS proposed apportionment for groundfish species are based on the distribution of biomass among the regulatory areas under which NMFS manages the species. Additional regulations govern the apportionment of Pacific cod, pollock, and sablefish. Additional detail on the apportionment of Pacific cod and pollock are described below, and briefly summarized here. NMFS proposes Pacific cod TACs in the Western, Central, and Eastern GOA (see Table 1). NMFS also proposes seasonal apportionment of the Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. Sixty percent of the annual TAC is apportioned to the A season for hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear from January 1 through June 10, and for trawl gear from January 20 through June 10. Forty percent of the annual TAC is apportioned to the B season for jig gear from June 10 through December 31, for hook-and-line or pot gear from September 1 through December 31, and for trawl gear from September 1 through November 1 (§§ 679.23(d)(3) and 679.20(a)(12)). The Western and Central GOA Pacific cod gear and sector apportionments are discussed in detail below; Table 3 lists these amounts. NMFS proposes pollock TACs in the Western, Central, West Yakutat Regulatory Areas, and the Southeast Outside District of the GOA (see Table 1). NMFS also proposes seasonal apportionment of the annual pollock TAC in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, and divided equally among each of the following four seasons: the A season (January 20 through March 10), the B season (March 10 through May 31), the C season (August 25 through October 1), and the D season (October 1 through November 1) (§ 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), and § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A) and (B)). Additional detail is provided below; Table 2 lists these amounts. The Council’s recommendation for sablefish area apportionments takes into account the prohibition on the use of trawl gear in the SEO District of the Eastern Regulatory Area and makes available 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area TACs to trawl gear for use as incidental catch in other directed groundfish fisheries in the WYK District (§ 679.20(a)(4)(i)). Additional detail is provided below; Tables 4 and 5 list these amounts. The sum of the proposed TACs for all GOA groundfish is 427,068 mt for 2014 and 2015, which is within the OY range specified by the FMP. The sums of the proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs are lower than the final 2013 TACs currently specified for the GOA groundfish E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules fisheries (78 FR 13162, February 26, 2013). The proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs for Pacific cod, flathead sole, and rougheye rockfish are higher than the final 2013 TACs for these species. The proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs for pollock, sablefish, shallow-water flatfish, rex sole, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, and dusky rockfish are lower than the final 2013 TACs for these species. The proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs for the remaining species are equal to the final 2013 TACs. For 2014 and 2015, the Council recommends and NMFS proposes the 74083 2012 SAFE report, and adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the total TAC within the required OY range. These proposed amounts and apportionments by area, season, and sector are subject to change pending consideration of the draft 2013 SAFE report and the Council’s recommendations for the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications during its December 2013 meeting. OFLs, ABCs, and TACs listed in Table 1. The proposed ABCs reflect harvest amounts that are less than the specified overfishing levels. The sum of the proposed 2014 and 2015 ABCs for all assessed groundfish is 584,094 mt, which is lower than the final 2013 ABC total of 595,920 mt (78 FR 13162, February 26, 2013). Table 1 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 OFLs, ABCs, TACs, and area apportionments of groundfish in the GOA. These amounts are consistent with the biological condition of groundfish stocks as described in the TABLE 1—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 ABCS, TACS, AND OFLS OF GROUNDFISH FOR THE WESTERN/CENTRAL/WEST YAKUTAT (W/C/WYK), WESTERN (W), CENTRAL (C), EASTERN (E) REGULATORY AREAS, AND IN THE WEST YAKUTAT (WYK), SOUTHEAST OUTSIDE (SEO), AND GULFWIDE (GW) DISTRICTS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area 1 Species Pollock 2 ................................................. OFL ABC TAC emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Arrowtooth flounder .................................. Flathead sole ............................................ VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 W .............................................................. C ............................................................... E ............................................................... n/a n/a n/a 29,470 51,362 3,368 22,103 38,522 2,526 101,100 84,200 63,150 W .............................................................. C ............................................................... WYK ......................................................... SEO .......................................................... E (WYK and SEO) (subtotal) ................... n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,641 5,195 1,902 2,993 4,895 1,641 5,195 1,902 2,993 4,895 13,871 11,731 11,731 W .............................................................. C ............................................................... WYK ......................................................... SEO .......................................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 18,033 18,660 4,299 1,092 13,250 18,000 4,299 1,092 51,580 42,084 36,641 W .............................................................. C ............................................................... WYK ......................................................... SEO .......................................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 176 2,308 1,581 1,061 176 2,308 1,581 1,061 6,834 5,126 5,126 W .............................................................. C ............................................................... WYK ......................................................... SEO .......................................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,287 6,310 823 1,040 1,287 6,310 823 822 12,362 9,460 9,242 W .............................................................. C ............................................................... WYK ......................................................... SEO .......................................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 26,970 140,424 20,754 20,663 14,500 75,000 6,900 6,900 Total .................................................. Rex sole .................................................... 111,530 Total .................................................. .................................. 111,530 Total .................................................. Deep-water 152,976 Total .................................................. flatfish 5 25,648 47,004 25,011 3,093 100,756 10,774 Total .................................................. Shallow-water flatfish 6 .............................. 25,648 47,004 25,011 3,093 100,756 10,774 Total .................................................. Sablefish 4 ................................................. n/a n/a n/a n/a 138,610 14,366 Total .................................................. Pacific cod 3 .............................................. Shumagin (610) ........................................ Chirikof (620) ............................................ Kodiak (630) ............................................. WYK (640) ................................................ W/C/WYK (subtotal) ................................. SEO (650) ................................................ 245,262 208,811 103,300 W .............................................................. n/a 16,063 8,650 PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 74084 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules TABLE 1—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 ABCS, TACS, AND OFLS OF GROUNDFISH FOR THE WESTERN/CENTRAL/WEST YAKUTAT (W/C/WYK), WESTERN (W), CENTRAL (C), EASTERN (E) REGULATORY AREAS, AND IN THE WEST YAKUTAT (WYK), SOUTHEAST OUTSIDE (SEO), AND GULFWIDE (GW) DISTRICTS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area 1 Species OFL ABC TAC C ............................................................... WYK ......................................................... SEO .......................................................... emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Longnose skates 17 ................................... skates 18 Other .......................................... Sculpins .................................................... Sharks ....................................................... Squid ......................................................... VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 1,775 1,775 18,061 16,133 16,133 W .............................................................. C ............................................................... E ............................................................... n/a n/a n/a 1,899 2,951 1,899 2,951 5,791 4,850 4,850 W .............................................................. C ............................................................... E ............................................................... n/a n/a n/a 104 452 525 104 452 525 1,441 1,081 1,081 W .............................................................. C ............................................................... WYK ......................................................... SEO .......................................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 354 3,317 465 277 354 3,317 465 277 5,395 4,413 4,413 W .............................................................. C ............................................................... E ............................................................... n/a n/a n/a 83 871 300 83 871 300 1,508 1,254 1,254 SEO .......................................................... W .............................................................. C ............................................................... E ............................................................... 487 n/a n/a n/a 303 150 766 749 303 150 766 749 2,220 1,665 1,665 W .............................................................. C ............................................................... WYK ......................................................... SEO .......................................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 44 606 230 3,165 44 606 230 200 5,305 4,045 1,080 GW ........................................................... W .............................................................. C ............................................................... E ............................................................... 6,200 n/a n/a n/a 4,700 469 1,793 1,505 2,000 469 1,793 1,505 5,023 3,767 3,767 W .............................................................. C ............................................................... E ............................................................... n/a n/a n/a 70 1,879 676 70 1,879 676 Total .................................................. Atka mackerel ........................................... Big skates 16 .............................................. 2,005 10,740 1,613 Total .................................................. Other rockfish 14 15 ..................................... 2,005 10,740 1,613 Total .................................................. Demersal shelf rockfish 12 ......................... Thornyhead rockfish 13 .............................. n/a n/a n/a 16,555 2,046 Total .................................................. Rougheye rockfish 11 ................................ W .............................................................. C ............................................................... WYK ......................................................... W/C/WYK ................................................. SEO .......................................................... Total .................................................. Dusky rockfish 10 ....................................... 30,632 Total .................................................. Shortraker rockfish 9 .................................. 49,771 Total .................................................. Northern rockfish 8 .................................... 62,296 Total .................................................. ................................ 15,400 4,785 1,797 Total .................................................. Pacific ocean 27,126 4,785 1,797 Total .................................................. perch 7 n/a n/a n/a 3,500 2,625 2,625 ........................................................... ........................................................... ........................................................... ........................................................... 2,706 7,614 8,037 1,530 2,030 5,884 6,028 1,148 2,030 5,884 6,028 1,148 GW GW GW GW PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules 74085 TABLE 1—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 ABCS, TACS, AND OFLS OF GROUNDFISH FOR THE WESTERN/CENTRAL/WEST YAKUTAT (W/C/WYK), WESTERN (W), CENTRAL (C), EASTERN (E) REGULATORY AREAS, AND IN THE WEST YAKUTAT (WYK), SOUTHEAST OUTSIDE (SEO), AND GULFWIDE (GW) DISTRICTS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Area 1 Octopuses ................................................. GW ........................................................... 1,941 1,455 1,455 Total ................................................... ................................................................... 723,580 584,094 427,068 OFL ABC TAC 1 Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2. (W=Western Gulf of Alaska; C=Central Gulf of Alaska; E=Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK=West Yakutat District; SEO=Southeast Outside District; GW=Gulf-wide). 2 Pollock is apportioned in the Western/Central Regulatory Areas among three statistical areas. Table 2 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 seasonal apportionments. In the West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided into seasonal allowances. 3 Section 679.20(a)(12)(i) requires the allocation of the Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA among gear and operational sectors. The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned among various sectors 60 percent to the A season and 40 percent to the B season in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA. In the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA, Pacific cod is allocated 90 percent for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent for processing by the offshore component. Table 3 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments. 4 Sablefish is allocated to hook-and-line and trawl gear in 2014 and trawl gear in 2015. Tables 4 and 5 list the proposed 2014 and 2015 allocations of sablefish TACs. 5 ‘‘Deep-water flatfish’’ means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deep-sea sole. 6 ‘‘Shallow-water flatfish’’ means flatfish not including ‘‘deep-water flatfish,’’ flathead sole, rex sole, or arrowtooth flounder. 7 ‘‘Pacific ocean perch’’ means Sebastes alutus. 8 ‘‘Northern rockfish’’ means Sebastes polyspinous. For management purposes the 3 mt apportionment of ABC to the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the slope rockfish species group. 9 ‘‘Shortraker rockfish’’ means Sebastes borealis. 10 ‘‘Dusky rockfish’’ means Sebastes variabilis. 11 ‘‘Rougheye rockfish’’ means Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted). 12 ‘‘Demersal shelf rockfish’’ means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper), S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye). 13 ‘‘Thornyhead rockfish’’ means ‘‘Sebastes species’’ 14 ‘‘Other rockfish (slope rockfish)’’ means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S. paucispinis (bocaccio), S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S. variegatus (harlequin), S. wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus (sharpchin), S. jordani (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergray), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola (stripetail), S. miniatus (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA only, other rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinous. 15 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means other rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. 16 ‘‘Big skate’’ means Raja binoculata. 17 ‘‘Longnose skate’’ means Raja rhina. 18 ‘‘Other skates’’ means Bathyraja spp. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Proposed Apportionment of Reserves Section 679.20(b)(2) requires NMFS to set aside 20 percent of each TAC for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, skates, sharks, squids, sculpins, and octopuses in reserves for possible apportionment at a later date during the fishing year. In 2013, NMFS apportioned all of the reserves in the final harvest specifications. For 2014 and 2015, NMFS proposes reapportionment of all the reserves for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, skates, sharks, squids, sculpins, and octopuses in anticipation of the projected annual catch of these species. The TACs in Table 1 reflect the apportionment of reserve amounts for these species and species groups. Each proposed TAC for the above mentioned species categories contains the full TAC recommended by the Council, since none of the relevant species and species groups’ TACs contributed to a reserve that could be used for future reapportionments. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 Proposed Apportionments of Pollock TAC Among Seasons and Regulatory Areas, and Allocations for Processing by Inshore and Offshore Components As noted earlier, pollock is apportioned by season and area, and is further allocated for processing by inshore and offshore components. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B), the annual pollock TAC specified for the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA is apportioned into four equal seasonal allowances of 25 percent. As established by § 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 through March 10, March 10 through May 31, August 25 through October 1, and October 1 through November 1, respectively. Pollock TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA are apportioned among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A). In the A and B seasons, the apportionments have historically been based on the proportional distribution of pollock biomass based on the four most recent PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 NMFS winter surveys. In the C and D seasons, the apportionments are in proportion to the distribution of pollock biomass based on the four most recent NMFS summer surveys. However, for 2014 and 2015, the Council recommends, and NMFS proposes, averaging the winter and summer distribution of pollock in the Central Regulatory Area for the A season instead of using the distribution based on only the winter surveys. This combination of summer and winter distribution has been used since 2002. The average is intended to reflect the best available information about migration patterns, distribution of pollock, and the performance of the fishery in the area during the A season. During the A season, the apportionment is based on the proposed adjusted estimate of the relative distribution of pollock biomass of approximately 16 percent, 62 percent, and 22 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. During the B season, the apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass of approximately 16 percent, 74 percent, and 10 percent in Statistical E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 74086 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. During the C and D seasons, the apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass of approximately 36 percent, 28 percent, and 35 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. Within any fishing year, the amount by which a seasonal allowance is underharvested or overharvested may be added to, or subtracted from, subsequent seasonal allowances in a manner to be determined by the Regional Administrator (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The rollover amount is limited to 20 percent of the unharvested seasonal apportionment for the statistical area. Any unharvested pollock above the 20-percent limit could be further distributed to the other statistical areas, in proportion to the estimated biomass in the subsequent season in those statistical areas (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The proposed 2014 and 2015 pollock TACs in the WYK District of 3,093 mt and SEO District of 10,774 mt are not allocated by season. Section 679.20(a)(6)(i) requires the allocation of 100 percent of the pollock TAC in all regulatory areas and all seasonal allowances to vessels catching pollock for processing by the inshore component after subtraction of pollock amounts projected by the Regional Administrator to be caught by, or delivered to, the offshore component incidental to directed fishing for other groundfish species. Thus, the amount of pollock available for harvest by vessels harvesting pollock for processing by the offshore component is that amount that will be taken as incidental catch during directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock, up to the maximum retainable amounts allowed under § 679.20(e) and (f). At this time, these incidental catch amounts of pollock are unknown and will be determined as fishing activity occurs during the fishing year by the offshore component. Table 2 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 seasonal biomass distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, area apportionments, and seasonal allowances. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown. TABLE 2—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 DISTRIBUTION OF POLLOCK IN THE CENTRAL AND WESTERN REGULATORY AREAS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA; SEASONAL BIOMASS DISTRIBUTION, AREA APPORTIONMENTS, AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF ANNUAL TAC 1 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Season 2 Shumagin (Area 610) Chirikof (Area 620) Kodiak (Area 630) Total A (Jan 20–Mar 10) ................................... B (Mar 10–May 31) .................................. C (Aug 25–Oct 1) ..................................... D (Oct 1–Nov 1) ....................................... 3,921 3,921 8,903 8,903 (16.06%) (16.06%) (36.47%) (36.47%) 15,015 18,102 6,944 6,944 (61.50%) (67.25%) (28.44%) (28.44%) 5,481 2,393 8,568 8,568 (22.45%) (9.80%) (32.10%) (32.10%) 24,416 24,416 24,416 24,415 Annual Total 3 ................................... 25,648 .................... 47,004 .................... 25,011 .................... 97,663 1 Area apportionments and seasonal allowances may not total precisely due to rounding. 2 As established by § 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to May 31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown in this table. 3 The WYK and SEO District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Proposed Annual and Seasonal Apportionments of Pacific Cod Section 679.20(a)(6)(ii) requires the allocation of the Pacific cod TAC between the inshore and offshore components in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA. Additional apportionment by gear, operational sectors, and season are not required in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(12)(i), NMFS proposes allocations for the 2014 and 2015 Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA. Section 679.20(a)(12)(i) requires allocation of the Pacific cod TAC among gear and operational sectors in each area. In the Central GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is apportioned seasonally among vessels using jig gear, CVs less than 50 feet in length overall using hook-andline gear, CVs equal to or greater than 50 feet in length overall using hook-andline gear, C/Ps using hook-and-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, C/Ps using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear. In the Western GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is apportioned seasonally among vessels VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 using jig gear, CVs using hook-and-line gear, C/Ps using hook-and-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear. The overall seasonal apportionments in the Western and Central GOA are 60 percent of the annual TAC to the A season and 40 percent of the annual TAC to the B season. In accordance with the FMP, the annual jig sector allocations may increase up to 6 percent of the annual Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs depending on the annual performance of the jig sector (See Table 1 of Amendment 83 to the FMP for a detailed discussion of the jig sector allocation process (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011)). NMFS proposes that the jig sector receive 2.5 percent of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Western GOA. This includes a base allocation of 1.5 percent and an additional 1.0 percent because this sector harvested greater than 90 percent of its initial 2012 allocation in the Western GOA. NMFS also proposes that the jig sector would receive 2.0 percent PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Central GOA. This includes a base allocation of 1.0 percent and an additional 1.0 percent because this sector harvested greater than 90 percent of its initial 2012 allocation in the Central GOA. In 2013, neither the Western nor Central GOA jig sectors harvested 90 percent of their respective 2013 Pacific cod allocations. However, jig sector allocation increases are established for a minimum of 2 years. In 2014, NMFS will re-evaluate the annual 2013 and 2014 harvest performance of each jig sector and determine whether to maintain or decrease the jig sector allocations proposed by this action in conjunction with the 2015 and 2016 proposed harvest specifications. The jig sector allocations are further apportioned between the A (60 percent) and B (40 percent) season. After allocation to the jig sector, the non-jig sector allocations based on gear type, operation type, and vessel length overall are allocated the remainder of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Western and Central GOA. Table 3 lists E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 74087 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules the seasonal apportionments and allocations of the proposed 2014 and 2015 Pacific cod TACs. Under § 679.20(a)(12)(ii), any overage or underage of the Pacific cod allowance from the A season will be subtracted from, or added to, the subsequent B season allowance. In addition, any portion of the hook-and-line, trawl, pot, or jig sector allocations that is determined by NMFS as likely to go unharvested by a sector may be reapportioned to other sectors for harvest during the remainder of the fishery year. TABLE 3—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 SEASONAL APPORTIONMENTS AND ALLOCATIONS OF PACIFIC COD TAC AMOUNTS TO GEAR TYPES, OPERATIONAL TYPES, AND VESSEL LENGTH OVERALL IN THE WESTERN AND CENTRAL GULF OF ALASKA AND ALLOCATIONS FOR PROCESSING BY THE INSHORE AND OFFSHORE COMPONENTS IN THE EASTERN GULF OF ALASKA [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] A season B season Annual allocation (mt) Sector % of annual non-jig TAC Western GOA Jig (2.5% of TAC) ......................................................... Hook-and-line CV ......................................................... Hook-and-line C/P ........................................................ Trawl CV ....................................................................... Trawl C/P ...................................................................... Pot CV and Pot C/P ..................................................... Total ....................................................................... 553 302 4,267 8,275 517 8,189 22,103 N/A 0.70 10.90 27.70 0.90 19.80 60.00 332 151 2,349 5,969 194 4,267 13,262 N/A 0.70 8.90 10.70 1.50 18.20 40.00 221 151 1,918 2,306 323 3,922 8,841 Central GOA Jig (2.0% of TAC) ......................................................... Hook-and-line < 50 CV ................................................. Hook-and-line ≥ 50 CV ................................................. Hook-and-line C/P ........................................................ Trawl CV ....................................................................... Trawl C/P ...................................................................... Pot CV and Pot C/P ..................................................... 770 5,513 2,532 1,927 15,698 1,585 10,497 N/A 9.32 5.61 4.11 21.13 2.00 17.83 462 3,517 2,118 1,550 7,979 756 6,731 N/A 5.29 1.10 1.00 20.45 2.19 9.97 308 1,996 414 377 7,720 828 3,766 Total ....................................................................... 38,522 60.00 23,113 40.00 15,409 Regulatory area and sector Eastern GOA ........................................................................ 2,526 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Proposed Allocations of the Sablefish TAC Amounts to Vessels Using Hookand-Line and Trawl Gear Section 679.20(a)(4)(i) and (ii) require allocations of sablefish TACs for each of the regulatory areas and districts to hook-and-line and trawl gear. In the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, 80 percent of each TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear, and 20 percent of each TAC is allocated to trawl gear. In the Eastern Regulatory Area, 95 percent of the TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear and 5 percent is allocated to trawl gear. The trawl gear allocation in the Eastern GOA may only be used to support incidental catch of sablefish in directed fisheries for other target species (§ 679.20(a)(4)(i)). In recognition of the prohibition against trawl gear in the SEO District of the Eastern Regulatory Area, the Council recommended and NMFS proposes the allocation of 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the WYK District, making the remainder of the WYK VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:00 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 Inshore (90% of Annual TAC) 2,273 sablefish TAC available to vessels using hook-and-line gear. As a result, NMFS proposes to allocate 100 percent of the sablefish TAC in the SEO District to vessels using hook-and-line gear. This recommendation results in a proposed 2014 allocation of 245 mt to trawl gear and 1,657 mt to hook-and-line gear in the WYK District, and 2,993 mt to hookand-line gear in the SEO District. Table 4 lists the allocations of the proposed 2014 sablefish TACs to hook-and-line and trawl gear. Table 5 lists the allocations of the proposed 2015 sablefish TACs to trawl gear. The Council recommended that the hook-and-line sablefish TAC be established annually to ensure that the Individual Fishery Quota (IFQ) fishery is conducted concurrent with the halibut IFQ fishery and is based on recent survey information. The Council also recommended that only the trawl sablefish TAC be established for 2 years so that retention of incidental catch of sablefish by trawl gear could commence in January in the second year of the PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4702 Seasonal allowances (mt) Sfmt 4702 Sector % of annual non-jig TAC Seasonal allowances (mt) Offshore (10% of Annual TAC) 253 groundfish harvest specifications. Since there is an annual assessment for sablefish and the final harvest specifications are expected to be published before the IFQ season begins (typically, in early March), the Council recommended that the sablefish TAC be set on an annual basis, rather than for 2 years, so that the best available scientific information could be considered in establishing the ABCs and TACs. With the exception of the trawl allocations that are provided to the Rockfish Program cooperatives (see Table 28c to part 679), directed fishing for sablefish with trawl gear is closed during the fishing year. Also, fishing for groundfish with trawl gear is prohibited prior to January 20. Therefore, it is not likely that the sablefish allocation to trawl gear would be reached before the effective date of the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications. E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 74088 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules TABLE 4—PROPOSED 2014 SABLEFISH TAC AMOUNTS IN THE GULF OF ALASKA AND ALLOCATIONS TO HOOK-AND-LINE AND TRAWL GEAR [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area/district TAC Hook-and-line allocation Trawl allocation Western ........................................................................................ Central ......................................................................................... West Yakutat 1 ............................................................................. Southeast Outside ....................................................................... 1,641 5,195 1,902 2,993 1,313 4,156 1,657 2,993 328 1,039 245 0 Total ...................................................................................... 11,731 10,119 1,612 1 The proposed trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat and Southeast Outside districts combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat district. TABLE 5—PROPOSED 2015 SABLEFISH TAC AMOUNTS IN THE GULF OF ALASKA AND ALLOCATION TO TRAWL GEAR 1 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area/District TAC Hook-and-line allocation Trawl allocation Western ........................................................................................ Central ......................................................................................... West Yakutat2 .............................................................................. Southeast Outside ....................................................................... 1,641 5,195 1,902 2,993 n/a n/a n/a n/a 328 1,039 245 0 Total ...................................................................................... 11,731 n/a 1,612 1 The Council recommended that harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota fisheries be limited to 1 year. 2 The proposed trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat and Southeast Outside districts combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat district. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Proposed Apportionments to the Rockfish Program These proposed 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for the GOA include the various fishery cooperative allocations and sideboard limitations established by the Rockfish Program. Program participants are primarily trawl catcher vessels and trawl catcher/ processors, with limited participation by vessels using longline gear. The Rockfish Program assigns quota share and cooperative quota to participants for primary and secondary species, allows a participant holding a license limitation program (LLP) license with rockfish quota share to form a rockfish cooperative with other persons, and allows holders of C/P LLP licenses to opt-out of the fishery. The Rockfish Program also has an entry level fishery for rockfish primary species for vessels using longline gear. Under the Rockfish Program, rockfish primary species (Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, and dusky rockfish) in the Central GOA are allocated to participants after deducting for incidental catch needs in other directed groundfish fisheries. Participants in the Rockfish Program also receive a portion of the Central GOA TAC of specific secondary species (Pacific cod, rougheye rockfish, sablefish, shortraker rockfish, and thornyhead rockfish). Additionally, the Rockfish Program establishes sideboard limits to restrict the ability of harvesters operating under the Rockfish Program to increase their participation in other, non-Rockfish Program fisheries. Besides groundfish species, the Rockfish Program allocates a portion of the halibut PSC limit from the third season deep-water species fishery allowance for the GOA trawl fisheries to Rockfish Program participants. (Rockfish Program sideboards and halibut PSC limits are discussed below.) Section 679.81(a)(2)(ii) requires allocations of 5 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 5 mt of northern rockfish, and 30 mt of dusky rockfish to the entry level longline fishery in 2014 and 2015. The allocation for the entry level longline fishery would increase incrementally each year if the catch exceeds 90 percent of the allocation of a species. The incremental increase in the allocation would continue each year until it is the maximum percent of the TAC for that species. In 2013, the catch did not exceed 90 percent of any allocated rockfish species. Therefore, NMFS is not proposing an increase to the entry level longline fishery 2014 and 2015 allocations in the Central GOA. The remainder of the TACs for the rockfish primary species would be allocated to the CV and C/P cooperatives. Table 6 lists the allocations of the proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs for each rockfish primary species to the entry level longline fishery, the incremental increase for future years, and the maximum percent of the TAC for the entry level longline fishery. TABLE 6—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 ALLOCATIONS OF ROCKFISH PRIMARY SPECIES TO THE ENTRY LEVEL LONGLINE FISHERY IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF ALASKA. Rockfish primary species Allocations of the proposed 2014 and 2015 TAC Pacific ocean perch ..................................................... Northern rockfish .......................................................... Incremental increase per year if catch exceeds 90 percent of the allocation of: 5 metric tons ............................................................... 5 metric tons ............................................................... VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 5 metric tons 5 metric tons Up to maximum percent of each TAC of: (%) 1 2 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules 74089 TABLE 6—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 ALLOCATIONS OF ROCKFISH PRIMARY SPECIES TO THE ENTRY LEVEL LONGLINE FISHERY IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF ALASKA.—Continued Rockfish primary species Allocations of the proposed 2014 and 2015 TAC Dusky rockfish .............................................................. Incremental increase per year if catch exceeds 90 percent of the allocation of: 30 metric tons ............................................................. Section 679.81(a)(2)(iii) requires allocations of rockfish primary species among various components of the Rockfish Program. Table 7 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 allocations of rockfish in the Central GOA to the entry level longline fishery and other participants in the Rockfish Program, which include CV and C/P cooperatives. NMFS also proposes setting aside incidental catch amounts (ICAs) for other directed fisheries in the Central GOA of 1,200 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 200 mt of northern rockfish, and 200 mt of dusky rockfish. These amounts are based on recent average incidental catches in the Central GOA by other groundfish fisheries. Allocations among vessels belonging to CV or C/P cooperatives are not included in these proposed harvest specifications. Rockfish Program applications for CV cooperatives and C/P cooperatives are not due to NMFS Up to maximum percent of each TAC of: (%) 20 metric tons 5 until March 1 of each calendar year; therefore, NMFS cannot calculate 2014 and 2015 allocations in conjunction with these proposed harvest specifications. NMFS will post these allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/ sustainablefisheries/goarat/default.htm) when they become available after March 1. TABLE 7—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 ALLOCATIONS OF ROCKFISH PRIMARY SPECIES IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF ALASKA TO THE ENTRY LEVEL LONGLINE FISHERY AND OTHER PARTICIPANTS IN THE ROCKFISH PROGRAM [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Rockfish primary species Incidental catch allowance TAC TAC minus ICA Allocation to the entry level longline 1 fishery Allocation to other participants in rockfish program 2 Pacific ocean perch ............................................................. Northern rockfish .................................................................. Dusky rockfish ...................................................................... 10,740 2,951 3,317 1,200 200 200 9,540 2,751 3,117 5 5 30 9,535 2,746 3,087 Total .............................................................................. 17,008 1,600 15,408 40 15,368 1 Longline 2 Other gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear. participants in the Rockfish Program include vessels in CV and C/P cooperatives. Section 679.81(c) requires allocations of rockfish secondary species to CV and C/P cooperatives in the GOA. CV cooperatives receive allocations of Pacific cod, sablefish from the trawl gear allocation, and thornyhead rockfish. C/ P cooperatives receive allocations of sablefish from the trawl allocation, rougheye rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and thornyhead rockfish. Table 8 lists the apportionments of the proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs of rockfish secondary species in the Central GOA to CV and C/P cooperatives. TABLE 8—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 APPORTIONMENTS OF ROCKFISH SECONDARY SPECIES IN THE CENTRAL GOA TO CATCHER VESSEL (CV) AND CATCHER PROCESSOR (C/P) COOPERATIVES [Values are in metric tons] CV cooperatives Central GOA annual TAC emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Rockfish secondary species Pacific cod ............................................................................ Sablefish .............................................................................. Shortraker rockfish ............................................................... Rougheye rockfish ............................................................... Thornyhead rockfish ............................................................ Proposed Halibut PSC Limits As discussed above, NMFS published a proposed rule to implement Amendment 95 to the GOA FMP (78 FR VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 Percentage of TAC Apportionment (mt) Percentage of TAC Apportionment (mt) 3.81 6.78 N/A N/A 7.84 1,468 352 N/A N/A 60 N/A 3.51 40.00 58.87 26.50 N/A 182 181 513 203 38,522 5,195 452 871 766 57106, September 17, 2013). Amendment 95 would include GOA halibut PSC limits in Federal regulations and reduce halibut PSC PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4702 C/P cooperatives Sfmt 4702 limits in the GOA trawl and hook-andline groundfish fisheries. For most gear and operational types, the proposed reductions would be phased-in over 3 E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 74090 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules years. This 3-year period could begin as early as 2014, if a final rule implementing Amendment 95 is approved. Implementation of the Amendment 95 final rule would require reductions to the 2014 halibut PSC limits in these proposed harvest specifications. Section 679.21(d) establishes annual halibut PSC limit apportionments to trawl and hook-and-line gear, and authorizes the establishment of apportionments for pot gear. In October 2013, the Council recommended proposed halibut PSC limits of 1,973 mt for trawl gear and 300 mt for hook-andline gear for the 2014 and 2015 groundfish fisheries. With respect to this proposed action, 10 mt of the 300 mt hook-and-line halibut PSC limit is further allocated to the DSR fishery in the SEO District. The DSR fishery is defined at § 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(A). This fishery has been apportioned 10 mt of the halibut PSC limit in recognition of its smallscale harvests of groundfish. Most vessels in the DSR fishery are less than 60 ft (18.3 m) length overall and until 2013, have been exempt from observer coverage. Therefore, observer data were not available to verify actual halibut bycatch amounts. In 2013, NMFS implemented a restructured observer program in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Observers were placed on vessels between 40 and 60 feet length overall, which has provided additional data about groundfish and halibut PSC. NMFS does not yet have complete data from 2013 to evaluate halibut PSC use in the DSR fishery. NMFS estimates low halibut bycatch in the DSR fishery because (1) the duration of the DSR fisheries and the gear soak times are short, (2) the DSR fishery occurs in the winter when less overlap occurs in the distribution of DSR and halibut, and (3) the directed commercial DSR fishery has a low DSR TAC. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game sets the GHL for the DSR fishery after estimates of DSR incidental catch in all fisheries (including halibut and subsistence) and allocation to the DSR sport fish fishery have been deducted. Of the 303 mt TAC for DSR in 2013, 249 mt were available for the DSR commercial directed fishery, of which 212 mt were harvested. The FMP authorizes the Council to exempt specific gear from the halibut PSC limits. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, proposes to exempt pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories from the non-trawl halibut PSC limit for 2014 and 2015. The Council recommended, and NMFS is proposing, these exemptions because (1) pot gear fisheries have low annual halibut bycatch mortality, (2) IFQ program regulations prohibit discard of halibut if any halibut IFQ permit holder on board a CV holds unused halibut IFQ (§ 679.7(f)(11)), (3) sablefish IFQ fishermen typically hold halibut IFQ permits and are therefore required to retain the halibut they catch while fishing sablefish IFQ, and (4) NMFS estimates negligible halibut mortality for the jig gear fisheries. NMFS estimates halibut mortality is negligible in the jig gear fisheries given the small amount of groundfish harvested by jig gear, the selective nature of jig gear, and the high survival rates of halibut caught and released with jig gear. NMFS implemented a restructured observer program in 2013 (77 FR 70062, November 21, 2012). The restructured observer program provides data on fisheries that have previously been unobserved or were subject to very limited observer coverage. Specifically, the restructured observer program will improve biological and fisheries data, including halibut PSC, for pot and sablefish IFQ fisheries. NMFS will continue to review halibut PSC data collected in pot and sablefish IFQ fisheries in 2013, and provide input to the GOA Plan Team and Council. These data could be considered in future years when deciding whether to exempt specific gear from halibut PSC limits. Section 679.21(d)(5) authorizes NMFS to seasonally apportion the halibut PSC limits after consultation with the Council. The FMP and regulations require that the Council and NMFS consider the following information in seasonally apportioning halibut PSC limits: (1) Seasonal distribution of halibut, (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to halibut distribution, (3) expected halibut bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relative to changes in halibut biomass and expected catch of target groundfish species, (4) expected bycatch rates on a seasonal basis, (5) expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons, (6) expected actual start of fishing effort, and (7) economic effects of establishing seasonal halibut allocations on segments of the target groundfish industry. The final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications (78 FR 13162, February 26, 2013) summarized the Council’s and NMFS’ findings with respect to halibut PSC for each of these FMP considerations. The Council’s and NMFS’ findings for 2014 and 2015 are unchanged from 2013. Table 9 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 Pacific halibut PSC limits, allowances, and apportionments. Section 679.21(d)(5)(iii) and (iv) specify that any underages or overages of a seasonal apportionment of a PSC limit will be deducted from or added to the next respective seasonal apportionment within the fishing year. TABLE 9—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 PACIFIC HALIBUT PSC LIMITS, ALLOWANCES, AND APPORTIONMENTS [Values are in metric tons] Hook-and-line gear 1 Trawl gear Other than DSR Season Percent Season emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS DSR Amount January 20–April 1 ........... April 1–July 1 ................... July 1–September 1 ......... 27.5 20 30 543 395 592 September 1–October 1 .. October 1–December 31 7.5 15 148 296 Total .......................... ................ 1,973 Percent January 1–June 10 .......... June 10–September 1 ..... September 1–December 31. .......................................... .......................................... Amount Season January 1–December 31 Amount 86 2 12 250 5 35 ................ ................ ................ ................ .......................................... ................ ................ ................ 290 .......................................... 10 1 The 10 Pacific halibut PSC limit for hook-and-line gear is allocated to the demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) fishery and fisheries other than DSR. The hook-and-line IFQ sablefish fishery is exempt from halibut PSC limits, as are pot and jig gear for all groundfish fisheries. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 74091 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules Section 679.21(d)(3)(ii) authorizes further apportionment of the trawl halibut PSC limit as bycatch allowances to trawl fishery categories. The annual apportionments are based on each category’s proportional share of the anticipated halibut bycatch mortality during a fishing year and optimization of the total amount of groundfish harvest under the halibut PSC limit. The fishery categories for the trawl halibut PSC limits are (1) a deep-water species fishery, composed of sablefish, rockfish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, and arrowtooth flounder; and (2) a shallowwater species fishery, composed of pollock, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Atka mackerel, and ‘‘other species’’ (skates, sharks, squids, sculpins, and octopuses) (§ 679.21(d)(3)(iii)). Table 10 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 seasonal apportionments of trawl halibut PSC limits between the trawl gear deepwater and the shallow-water species fisheries. Based on public comment and the information presented in the final 2013 SAFE report, the Council may recommend or NMFS may make changes to the seasonal, gear-type, or fishery category apportionments of halibut PSC limits for the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications. TABLE 10—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 SEASONAL APPORTIONMENTS OF THE PACIFIC HALIBUT PSC LIMIT APPORTIONED BETWEEN THE TRAWL GEAR SHALLOW-WATER AND DEEP-WATER SPECIES FISHERIES (Values are in metric tons) Season Shallow-water Deep-water 1 Total January 20–April 1 ........................................................................................................ April 1–July 1 ................................................................................................................ July 1–September 1 ...................................................................................................... September 1–October 1 ............................................................................................... 444 99 197 148 99 ..................... 296 ................... 395 ................... Any remainder .. 543 395 592 148 Subtotal, January 20–October 1 ........................................................................... October 1–December 31 2 ............................................................................................ 888 .............................. 789 ................... ........................... 1,677 296 Total ................................................................................................................ .............................. ........................... 1,973 1 Vessels participating in cooperatives in the Rockfish Program will receive 191 mt of the third season (July 1 through September 1) deepwater species fishery halibut PSC apportionment. 2 There is no apportionment between trawl shallow-water and deep-water species fisheries during the fifth season (October 1 through December 31). Section 679.21(d)(4) requires that the ‘‘other than DSR’’ halibut PSC apportionment to vessels using hookand-line gear must be divided between CVs and C/Ps. NMFS must calculate the halibut PSC limit apportionments for the entire GOA to hook-and-line CVs and C/Ps in accordance with § 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(B)(1) and (2) in conjunction with these harvest specifications. A comprehensive description and example of the calculations necessary to apportion the ‘‘other than DSR’’ hook-and-line halibut PSC limit between the hook-and-line CV and C/P sectors were included in the proposed rule to implement Amendment 83 (76 FR 44700, July 26, 2011) and is not repeated here. For 2014 and 2015, NMFS proposes annual halibut PSC limit allocations of 166 mt to hook-and-line CVs and 124 mt to hook-and-line C/P sectors. In addition, these annual halibut PSC limits are divided into three seasonal apportionments, using seasonal percentages of 86 percent, 2 percent, and 12 percent. Table 11 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 annual halibut PSC limits and seasonal apportionments between the hook-and-line sectors in the GOA. No later than November 1 of each year, NMFS calculates the projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit by either of the hook-and-line sectors for the remainder of the year. The projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit is made available to the other hook-andline sector for the remainder of that fishing year if NMFS determines that an additional amount of halibut PSC limit is necessary for that sector to continue its directed fishing operations (§ 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(B)(3)). TABLE 11—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 APPORTIONMENTS OF THE ‘‘OTHER HOOK-AND-LINE FISHERIES’’ HALIBUT PSC ALLOWANCE BETWEEN THE HOOK-AND-LINE GEAR CATCHER VESSEL AND CATCHER/PROCESSOR SECTORS [Values are in metric tons] Percent of annual allowance Sector annual amount Hook-andline sector 290 .......................... Catcher Vessel ...... 57.3 166 Catcher/Processor emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS ‘‘Other than DSR’’ allowance 42.7 124 Estimated Halibut Bycatch in Prior Years The best available information on estimated halibut bycatch consists of data collected by fisheries observers VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 January 1–June 10 ................................ June 10–September 1 ........................... September 1–December 31 ................... January 1–June 10 ................................ June 10–September 1 ........................... September 1–December 31 ................... during 2013. The calculated halibut bycatch mortality through November 2, 2013, is 1,076 mt for trawl gear, 145 mt for hook-and-line gear, and 13 mt for pot gear for a total halibut mortality of 1,234 PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4702 Seasonal percentage Season Sfmt 4702 86 2 12 86 2 12 Sector seasonal amount 143 3 20 106 2 15 mt. This halibut mortality was calculated using groundfish and halibut catch data from the NMFS Alaska Region’s catch accounting system. This system contains historical and recent E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 74092 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules catch information compiled from each Alaska groundfish fishery. Halibut bycatch restrictions seasonally constrained trawl gear fisheries during the 2013 fishing year. Table 12 lists the closure dates for fisheries that resulted from the attainment of seasonal or annual halibut PSC limits. TABLE 12—2013 FISHERY CLOSURES DUE TO ATTAINMENT OF PACIFIC HALIBUT PSC LIMITS Fishery category Opening date Closure date Federal Register citation Trawl Deep-water,1 season 2 ....................................... Hook-and-line gear, all sectors and targets 2 ............... April 1, 2013 ..................... January 1, 2013 ............... May 18, 2013 ................... Remains open 78 FR 12195, May 22, 2013. 1 With 2 With the exception of vessels participating in the Rockfish Program and vessels fishing for pollock using pelagic trawl gear. the exception of the IFQ sablefish fishery, which is open March 23, 2013, through November 7, 2013. Halibut Discard Mortality Rates To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut incidental catch rates, discard mortality rates (DMRs), and estimates of groundfish catch to project when a fishery’s halibut bycatch mortality allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. The DMRs are based on the best information available, including information contained in the annual SAFE report. NMFS proposes the Council’s recommendation that the halibut DMRs developed and recommended by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) for the 2013 through 2015 GOA groundfish fisheries be used to monitor the proposed 2014 and 2015 halibut bycatch mortality allowances (see Tables 9 through 11). The IPHC developed the DMRs for the 2013 through 2015 GOA groundfish fisheries using the 10-year mean DMRs for those fisheries. Long-term average DMRs were not available for some fisheries, so rates from the most recent years were used. For the sculpin, shark, squid, skate, and octopus fisheries, where insufficient mortality data are available, the mortality rate of halibut caught in the Pacific cod fishery for that gear type was recommended as a default rate. The IPHC will analyze observer data annually and recommend changes to the DMRs when a fishery DMR shows large variation from the mean. A discussion of the DMRs and how the IPHC establishes them is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). Table 13 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 DMRs. TABLE 13—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 HALIBUT DISCARD MORTALITY RATES FOR VESSELS FISHING IN THE GULF OF ALASKA [Values are percent of halibut assumed to be dead] Gear Target fishery Hook-and-line ..................................................................... Other fisheries 1 .................................................................. Skates ................................................................................. Pacific cod .......................................................................... Rockfish .............................................................................. Arrowtooth flounder ............................................................ Deep-water flatfish ............................................................. Flathead sole ...................................................................... Non-pelagic pollock ............................................................ Other fisheries .................................................................... Pacific cod .......................................................................... Pelagic pollock ................................................................... Rex sole ............................................................................. Rockfish .............................................................................. Sablefish ............................................................................. Shallow-water flatfish ......................................................... Other fisheries .................................................................... Pacific cod .......................................................................... Trawl ................................................................................... Pot ...................................................................................... 1 Other 11 11 11 9 73 43 65 60 62 62 71 69 66 71 67 17 17 fisheries includes all gear types for Atka mackerel, sculpins, sharks, squids, octopuses, and hook-and-line sablefish. Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limits emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Mortality rate (%) Amendment 93 to the FMP (77 FR 42629, July 20, 2012) established separate Chinook salmon PSC limits in the Western and Central GOA in the directed pollock fishery. These limits require NMFS to close the pollock directed fishery in the Western and Central regulatory areas of the GOA if the applicable limit is reached (§ 679.21(h)(6)). The annual Chinook salmon PSC limits in the pollock VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 directed fishery of 6,684 salmon in the Western GOA and 18,316 salmon in the Central GOA are set in regulation at § 679.21(h)(2)(i) and (ii). In addition, all salmon (regardless of species), taken in the pollock directed fisheries in the Western and Central GOA must be retained until an observer at the processing facility that takes delivery of the catch is provided an opportunity to count the number of salmon and to collect any scientific data or biological PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 samples from the salmon (§ 679.21(h)(4)). American Fisheries Act (AFA) Catcher/ Processor and Catcher Vessel Groundfish Sideboard Limits Section 679.64 establishes groundfish harvesting and processing sideboard limits on AFA C/Ps and CVs in the GOA. These sideboard limits are necessary to protect the interests of fishermen and processors who do not directly benefit from the AFA from E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules those fishermen and processors who receive exclusive harvesting and processing privileges under the AFA. Section 679.7(k)(1)(ii) prohibits listed AFA C/Ps from harvesting any species of fish in the GOA. Additionally, § 679.7(k)(1)(iv) prohibits listed AFA C/ Ps from processing any pollock harvested in a directed pollock fishery in the GOA and any groundfish harvested in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA. AFA CVs that are less than 125 ft (38.1 meters) length overall, have annual landings of pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands of less than 5,100 mt, and have made at least 40 landings of GOA groundfish from 1995 through 1997 are exempt from GOA sideboard limits under § 679.64(b)(2)(ii). Sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs operating in the GOA are based on their traditional harvest levels of TAC in groundfish fisheries covered by the FMP. Section 679.64(b)(3)(iii) 74093 establishes the groundfish sideboard limitations in the GOA based on the retained catch of non-exempt AFA CVs of each sideboard species from 1995 through 1997 divided by the TAC for that species over the same period. Table 14 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 groundfish sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs. NMFS will deduct all targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA CVs from the sideboard limits listed in Table 14. TABLE 14—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 GOA NON-EXEMPT AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL (CV) GROUNDFISH HARVEST SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Pollock ................................ A Season, January 20– March 10. C Season, August 25–October 1. D Season, October 1–November 1. Annual ................................ A Season 1, January 1– June 10. B Season 2, September 1– December 31. Annual ................................ Sablefish ............................. Annual, trawl gear .............. Flatfish, shallow-water ........ Annual ................................ Flatfish, deep-water ............ Annual ................................ Annual ................................ Arrowtooth flounder ............ emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Rex sole .............................. Annual ................................ Flathead sole ...................... Annual ................................ Pacific ocean perch ............ Annual ................................ Northern rockfish ................ Annual ................................ VerDate Mar<15>2010 Proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs Proposed 2014 and 2015 nonexempt AFA CV sideboard limit Shumagin (610) ................................. 0.6047 3,921 2,371 Chirikof (620) ..................................... Kodiak (630) ...................................... Shumagin (610) ................................. 0.1167 0.2028 0.6047 15,015 5,480 3,921 1,752 1,112 2,371 Chirikof (620) ..................................... Kodiak (630) ...................................... Shumagin (610) ................................. 0.1167 0.2028 0.6047 18,102 2,393 8,903 2,112 485 5,384 Chirikof (620) ..................................... Kodiak (630) ...................................... Shumagin (610) ................................. 0.1167 0.2028 0.6047 6,943 8,570 8,903 810 1,738 5,384 Chirikof (620) ..................................... Kodiak (630) ...................................... WYK (640) ......................................... SEO (650) .......................................... W ........................................................ 0.1167 0.2028 0.3495 0.3495 0.1331 6,943 8,570 3,093 10,774 13,262 810 1,738 1,081 3,766 1,765 C ........................................................ W ........................................................ 0.0692 0.1331 23,113 8,841 1,599 1,177 C ........................................................ E inshore ............................................ E offshore .......................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ 0.0692 0.0079 0.0078 0.0000 0.0642 0.0433 0.0156 0.0587 0.0126 0.0000 0.0647 0.0128 0.0007 0.0384 0.0029 0.0021 0.0280 0.0002 0.0036 0.0213 0.0009 0.0023 0.0748 0.0466 0.0003 0.0277 15,409 2,273 253 328 1,039 245 13,250 18,000 5,391 176 2,308 2,642 1,287 6,310 1,645 14,500 75,000 13,800 8,650 15,400 6,582 2,005 10,740 3,388 1,899 2,951 1,066 18 2 0 67 11 207 1,057 68 Apportionments by season/ gear B Season, March 10–May 31. Pacific cod .......................... Ratio of 1995– 1997 nonexempt AFA CV catch to 1995–1997 TAC 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Area/component Frm 00053 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 149 34 1 242 5 30 2,100 3 31 328 6 5 803 158 1 82 74094 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules TABLE 14—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 GOA NON-EXEMPT AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL (CV) GROUNDFISH HARVEST SIDEBOARD LIMITS—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Ratio of 1995– 1997 nonexempt AFA CV catch to 1995–1997 TAC Species Apportionments by season/ gear Area/component Shortraker rockfish .............. Annual ................................ Dusky rockfish .................... Annual ................................ Rougheye rockfish .............. Annual ................................ Demersal shelf rockfish ...... Thornyhead rockfish ........... Annual ................................ Annual ................................ Other Rockfish .................... Annual ................................ Atka mackerel ..................... Big skates ........................... Annual ................................ Annual ................................ Longnose skates ................. Annual ................................ Other skates ....................... Squids ................................. Sharks ................................. Octopuses ........................... Sculpins .............................. Annual Annual Annual Annual Annual Proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs Proposed 2014 and 2015 nonexempt AFA CV sideboard limit 0.0000 0.0218 0.0110 0.0001 0.0000 0.0067 0.0000 0.0237 0.0124 0.0020 0.0280 0.0280 0.0280 0.0034 0.1699 0.0000 0.0309 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 104 452 525 354 3,317 742 83 871 300 303 150 766 749 44 606 430 2,000 469 1,793 1,505 70 1,879 676 2,030 5,884 6,028 1,148 1,455 0 10 6 0 0 5 0 21 4 1 4 21 21 0 103 0 62 3 11 9 0 12 4 13 37 38 7 9 W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... SEO ................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... Gulfwide ............................................. W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... Gulfwide ............................................. Gulfwide ............................................. Gulfwide ............................................. Gulfwide ............................................. Gulfwide ............................................. 1 The 2 The ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. Non-Exempt AFA Catcher Vessel Halibut PSC Limits The halibut PSC sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA are based on the aggregate retained groundfish catch by non-exempt AFA CVs in each PSC target category from 1995 through 1997 divided by the retained catch of all vessels in that fishery from 1995 through 1997 (§ 679.64(b)(4)). Table 15 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 non-exempt AFA CV halibut PSC limits for vessels using trawl gear in the GOA. TABLE 15—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 NON-EXEMPT AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL HALIBUT PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH (PSC) LIMITS FOR VESSELS USING TRAWL GEAR IN THE GOA [PSC limits are rounded to the nearest whole metric ton] Ratio of 1995– 1997 nonexempt AFA CV retained catch to total retained catch Season dates Target fishery 1 ................... January 20–April 1 ............................ 2 ................... emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Season April 1–July 1 ..................................... 3 ................... July 1–September 1 .......................... 4 ................... September 1–October 1 .................... 5 ................... October 1–December 31 ................... Proposed 2014 and 2015 PSC limit 0.340 0.070 0.340 0.070 0.340 0.070 0.340 0.070 0.205 444 99 99 296 197 395 148 0 296 shallow-water ..................................... deep-water ......................................... shallow-water ..................................... deep-water ......................................... shallow-water ..................................... deep-water ......................................... shallow-water ..................................... deep-water ......................................... all targets ........................................... VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 Proposed 2014 and 2015 nonexempt AFA CV PSC limit 151 7 34 21 67 28 50 0 61 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules Non-AFA Crab Vessel Groundfish Sideboard Limits Section 680.22 establishes groundfish catch limits for vessels with a history of participation in the Bering Sea snow crab fishery to prevent these vessels from using the increased flexibility provided by the Crab Rationalization Program to expand their level of participation in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Sideboard limits restrict these vessels’ catch to their collective historical landings in each GOA groundfish fishery (except the fixed-gear sablefish fishery). Sideboard limits also apply to landings made using an LLP license derived from the history of a restricted vessel, even if that LLP license is used on another vessel. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the Crab Rationalization Program, including Amendments 18 and 19 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP) (70 FR 10174, March 74095 2, 2005) and Amendment 34 to the Crab FMP (76 FR 35772, June 20, 2011). In addition, Amendment 83 to the GOA FMP (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011) further modified the calculation of these sideboard limits. Table 16 lists these proposed 2014 and 2015 groundfish sideboard limitations for non-AFA crab vessels. All targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by non-AFA crab vessels or associated LLP licenses will be deducted from these sideboard limits. TABLE 16—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 GOA NON-AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CRAB VESSEL GROUNDFISH HARVEST SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Pollock ................................ C Season, August 25–October 1. D Season, October 1–November 1. Annual ................................ A Season,1 January 1– June 10. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS B Season,2 September 1– December 31. Annual ................................ Sablefish ............................. VerDate Mar<15>2010 Shumagin (610) ................................. 0.0098 3,921 38 Chirikof (620) ..................................... Kodiak (630) ...................................... Shumagin (610) ................................. 0.0031 0.0002 0.0098 15,015 5,481 3,920 47 1 38 Chirikof (620) ..................................... Kodiak (630) ...................................... Shumagin (610) ................................. 0.0031 0.0002 0.0098 18,102 2,393 8,903 56 0 87 Chirikof (620) ..................................... Kodiak (630) ...................................... Shumagin (610) ................................. 0.0031 0.0002 0.0098 6,944 8,568 8,903 22 2 87 Chirikof (620) ..................................... Kodiak (630) ...................................... WYK (640) ......................................... SEO (650) .......................................... W Jig CV ............................................ 0.0031 0.0002 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 6,944 8,568 3,093 10,774 13,262 22 2 0 0 0 W Hook-and-line CV .......................... W Hook-and-line C/P ......................... W Pot CV ........................................... W Pot C/P .......................................... W Trawl CV ....................................... C Jig CV ............................................ C Hook-and-line CV ........................... C Hook-and-line C/P .......................... C Pot CV ............................................ C Pot C/P ........................................... C Trawl CV ........................................ W Jig CV ............................................ 0.0004 0.0018 0.0997 0.0078 0.0007 0.0000 0.0001 0.0012 0.0474 0.0136 0.0012 0.0000 13,262 13,262 13,262 13,262 13,262 23,113 23,113 23,113 23,113 23,113 23,113 8,841 5 24 1,322 103 9 0 2 28 1,096 314 28 0 W Hook-and-line CV .......................... W Hook-and-line C/P ......................... W Pot CV ........................................... W Pot C/P .......................................... W Trawl CV ....................................... C Jig CV ............................................ C Hook-and-line CV ........................... C Hook-and-line C/P .......................... C Pot CV ............................................ C Pot C/P ........................................... C Trawl CV ........................................ E inshore ............................................ E offshore .......................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ 0.0004 0.0018 0.0997 0.0078 0.0007 0.0000 0.0001 0.0012 0.0474 0.0136 0.0012 0.0110 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 8,841 8,841 8,841 8,841 8,841 15,409 15,409 15,409 15,409 15,409 15,409 2,273 253 328 1,039 4 16 881 69 6 0 2 18 730 210 18 25 0 0 0 Area/component/gear B Season, March 10–May 31. Pacific cod .......................... Proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs Season/gear A Season, January 20– March 10. Annual, trawl gear .............. 19:26 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Proposed 2014 and 2015 nonAFA crab vessel sideboard limit Ratio of 1996– 2000 non-AFA crab vessel catch to 1996– 2000 total harvest Frm 00055 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 74096 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules TABLE 16—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 GOA NON-AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CRAB VESSEL GROUNDFISH HARVEST SIDEBOARD LIMITS—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Season/gear Flatfish, shallow-water ........ Annual ................................ Flatfish, deep-water ............ Annual ................................ Rex sole .............................. Annual ................................ Arrowtooth flounder ............ Annual ................................ Flathead sole ...................... Annual ................................ Pacific ocean perch ............ Annual ................................ Northern rockfish ................ Annual ................................ Shortraker rockfish .............. Annual ................................ Dusky rockfish .................... Annual ................................ Rougheye rockfish .............. Annual ................................ Demersal shelf rockfish ...... Thornyhead rockfish ........... Annual ................................ Annual ................................ Other rockfish ..................... Annual ................................ Atka mackerel ..................... Big skate ............................. Annual ................................ Annual ................................ Longnose skate .................. Annual ................................ Other skates ....................... Sculpins .............................. Sharks ................................. Squids ................................. Octopuses ........................... Annual Annual Annual Annual Annual 1 The emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 2 The Area/component/gear ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ Ratio of 1996– 2000 non-AFA crab vessel catch to 1996– 2000 total harvest Proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs 0.0000 0.0059 0.0001 0.0000 0.0035 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0004 0.0001 0.0000 0.0002 0.0004 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0005 0.0000 0.0013 0.0012 0.0009 0.0017 0.0000 0.0000 0.0067 0.0047 0.0008 0.0000 0.0047 0.0066 0.0045 0.0035 0.0033 0.0000 0.0000 0.0392 0.0159 0.0000 0.0392 0.0159 0.0000 0.0176 0.0176 0.0176 0.0176 0.0176 245 13,250 18,000 5,391 176 2,308 2,642 1,287 6,310 1,645 14,500 75,000 13,800 8,650 15,400 6,582 2,005 10,740 3,388 1,899 2,951 104 452 525 354 3,317 742 83 871 300 303 150 766 749 44 606 430 2,000 469 1,793 1,505 70 1,879 676 2,030 5,884 6,028 1,148 1,455 E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... SEO ................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... Gulfwide ............................................. W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... W ........................................................ C ........................................................ E ......................................................... Gulfwide ............................................. Gulfwide ............................................. Gulfwide ............................................. Gulfwide ............................................. Gulfwide ............................................. Proposed 2014 and 2015 nonAFA crab vessel sideboard limit 0 78 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 6 8 0 2 6 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 4 0 0 1 5 3 0 2 0 0 18 29 0 3 30 0 36 104 106 20 26 Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and Halibut PSC Limitations The Rockfish Program establishes three classes of sideboard provisions: CV groundfish sideboard restrictions, C/ P rockfish sideboard restrictions, and C/ P opt-out vessel sideboard restrictions. These sideboards are intended to limit VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 the ability of rockfish harvesters to expand into other fisheries. CVs participating in the Rockfish Program may not participate in directed fishing for dusky rockfish, northern rockfish, and Pacific ocean perch in the Western GOA and West Yakutat Districts from July 1 through July 31. Also, CVs may not participate in PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 directed fishing for arrowtooth flounder, deep-water flatfish, and rex sole in the GOA from July 1 through July 31 (§ 679.82(d)). Catcher/processors participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives are restricted by rockfish and halibut PSC sideboard limits. These C/Ps are prohibited from directed fishing for E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules northern rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and dusky rockfish in the Western GOA and West Yakutat District from July 1 through July 31. Holders of C/Pdesignated LLP licenses that opt-out of participating in a rockfish cooperative 74097 District. Due to confidentiality requirements associated with fisheries data, the sideboard limits for the West Yakutat District are not displayed. will receive the portion of each sideboard limit that is not assigned to rockfish cooperatives. Table 17 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 Rockfish Program C/P rockfish sideboard limits in the Western GOA and West Yakutat TABLE 17—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 ROCKFISH PROGRAM HARVEST LIMITS FOR THE WESTERN GOA AND WEST YAKUTAT DISTRICT BY FISHERY FOR THE CATCHER/PROCESSOR SECTOR [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area Fishery C/P sector (% of TAC) Western GOA ................................................. Dusky rockfish ................................................ Pacific ocean perch ........................................ Northern rockfish ............................................ Dusky rockfish ................................................ Pacific ocean perch ........................................ Proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs 72.3 ................ 50.6 ................ 74.3 ................ Confid.1 .......... Confid.1 .......... West Yakutat District ...................................... 1 Not Proposed 2014 and 2015 C/P limit 354 2,005 1,899 465 1,613 256 1,015 1,411 N/A N/A released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data established by NMFS and the State of Alaska. The C/P sector is subject to halibut PSC sideboard limits for the trawl deepwater and shallow-water species fisheries from July 1 through July 31. No halibut PSC sideboard limits apply to the CV sector as vessels participating in a rockfish cooperative receive a portion of the annual halibut PSC limit. C/Ps that opt-out of the Rockfish Program would be able to access that portion of the deep-water and shallow-water halibut PSC sideboard limit not assigned to C/P rockfish cooperatives. The sideboard provisions for C/Ps that elect to opt-out of participating in a rockfish cooperative are described in § 679.82(c), (e), and (f). Sideboards are linked to the catch history of specific vessels that may choose to opt-out. The applications for C/Ps electing to opt-out are due to NMFS on March 1 of each calendar year; therefore, NMFS cannot calculate proposed 2014 and 2015 allocations. Once opt-out applications (if any) are received in 2014, the ratios and amounts used to calculate opt-out sideboard ratios will be known. NMFS will then calculate any applicable optout sideboards and post these allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/ sustainablefisheries/goarat/default.htm) when they have been prepared. Table 18 lists the 2014 and 2015 proposed Rockfish Program halibut PSC limits for the C/P sector. TABLE 18—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 ROCKFISH PROGRAM HALIBUT MORTALITY LIMITS FOR THE CATCHER/PROCESSOR SECTOR [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Sector Shallow-water species fishery halibut PSC sideboard ratio (percent) Deep-water species fishery halibut PSC sideboard ratio (percent) Annual halibut mortality limit (mt) Annual shallow-water species fishery halibut PSC sideboard limit (mt) Annual deepwater species fishery halibut PSC sideboard limit (mt) Catcher/processor ................................................................ 0.10 2.50 1,973 2 49 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS If approved by the Secretary, implementation of Amendment 95 would phase in a 15-percent reduction to the Rockfish Program halibut PSC sideboard limits. Amendment 80 Program Groundfish Sideboard and PSC Limits Amendment 80 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (Amendment 80 Program) established a limited access privilege program for the non-AFA trawl C/P sector. To limit the ability of VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 participants eligible for the Amendment 80 Program to expand their harvest efforts in the GOA, the Amendment 80 Program established groundfish and halibut PSC limits for Amendment 80 Program participants. Section 679.92 establishes groundfish harvesting sideboard limits on all Amendment 80 Program vessels, other than the F/V Golden Fleece, to amounts no greater than the limits shown in Table 37 to part 679. Under regulations at § 679.92(d), the F/V Golden Fleece is prohibited from directed fishing for PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 pollock, Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, dusky rockfish, and northern rockfish in the GOA. Groundfish sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels operating in the GOA are based on their average aggregate harvests from 1998 to 2004. Table 19 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels. NMFS will deduct all targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by Amendment 80 Program vessels from the sideboard limits in Table 19. E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 74098 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules TABLE 19—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 GOA GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR AMENDMENT 80 PROGRAM VESSELS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Ratio of Amendment 80 sector vessels 1998– 2004 catch to TAC Species Season Area Pollock ................................... A Season, January 20–February 25. Proposed 2014 and 2015 TAC (mt) Proposed 2014 and 2015 Amendment 80 vessel sideboards (mt) 0.003 0.002 0.002 0.003 0.002 0.002 0.003 0.002 0.002 0.003 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.020 0.044 0.020 0.044 0.034 0.994 0.961 1.000 0.764 0.896 3,921 15,015 5,481 3,920 18,102 2,393 8,903 6,944 8,568 8,903 6,944 8,568 3,093 13,262 23,113 8,841 15,409 2,526 2,005 1,613 1,899 354 465 12 30 11 12 36 5 27 14 17 27 14 17 6 265 1,017 177 678 86 1,993 1,550 1,899 270 417 Shumagin (610) .................... Chirikof (620) ........................ Kodiak (630) ......................... Shumagin (610) .................... Chirikof (620) ........................ Kodiak (630) ......................... Shumagin (610) .................... Chirikof (620) ........................ Kodiak (630) ......................... Shumagin (610) .................... Chirikof (620) ........................ Kodiak (630) ......................... WYK (640) ............................ W .......................................... C ........................................... W .......................................... C ........................................... WYK ...................................... W .......................................... WYK ...................................... W .......................................... W .......................................... WYK ...................................... B Season, March 10–May 31 C Season, August 25–September 15. D Season, October 1–November 1. Pacific ocean perch ............... Annual ................................... A Season,1 January 1–June 10. B Season,2 September 1– December 31. Annual ................................... Annual ................................... Northern rockfish ................... Dusky rockfish ....................... Annual ................................... Annual ................................... Pacific cod ............................. 1 The 2 The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. The halibut PSC sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels in the GOA are based on the historic use of halibut PSC by Amendment 80 Program vessels in each PSC target category from 1998 through 2004. These values are slightly lower than the average historic use to accommodate two factors: Allocation of halibut PSC cooperative quota under the Rockfish Program and the exemption of the F/V Golden Fleece from this restriction (§ 679.92(b)(2)). Table 20 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 halibut PSC limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels, as contained in Table 38 to 50 CFR part 679. TABLE 20—PROPOSED 2014 AND 2015 HALIBUT PSC SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR AMENDMENT 80 PROGRAM VESSELS IN THE GOA [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Historic Amendment 80 use of the annual halibut PSC limit (ratio) Season dates Fishery category 1 ................... January 20–April 1 ............................ 2 ................... April 1–July 1 ..................................... 3 ................... July 1–September 1 .......................... 4 ................... emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Season September 1–October 1 .................... 5 ................... October 1–December 31 ................... shallow-water ..................................... deep-water ......................................... shallow-water ..................................... deep-water ......................................... shallow-water ..................................... deep-water ......................................... shallow-water ..................................... deep-water ......................................... shallow-water ..................................... deep-water ......................................... Classification NMFS has determined that the proposed harvest specifications are consistent with the FMP and preliminarily determined that the VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 proposed harvest specifications are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws. This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from review PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Proposed 2014 and 2015 annual PSC limit (mt) Proposed 2014 and 2015 Amendment 80 vessel PSC sideboard limit (mt) 0.0048 0.0115 0.0189 0.1072 0.0146 0.0521 0.0074 0.0014 0.0227 0.0371 1,973 1,973 1,973 1,973 1,973 1,973 1,973 1,973 1,973 1,973 9 23 37 212 29 103 15 3 45 73 under Executive Order 12866 and 13563. NMFS prepared an EIS for this action and made it available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules February 13, 2007, NMFS issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the EIS. Copies of the EIS and ROD for this action are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The EIS analyzes the environmental consequences of the proposed groundfish harvest specifications and alternative harvest strategies on resources in the action area. The EIS found no significant environmental consequences from the proposed action or its alternatives. NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), analyzing the methodology for establishing the relevant TACs. The IRFA evaluated the impacts on small entities of alternative harvest strategies for the groundfish fisheries in the EEZ off Alaska. As set forth in the methodology, TACs are set to a level that fall within the range of ABCs recommended by the SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve the OY specified in the FMP. While the specific numbers that the methodology produces may vary from year to year, the methodology itself remains constant. A description of the proposed action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for this proposed action are contained in the preamble above. A copy of the analysis is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows. The action under consideration is a harvest strategy to govern the catch of groundfish in the GOA. The preferred alternative is the existing harvest strategy in which TACs fall within the range of ABCs recommended by the SSC. This action is taken in accordance with the FMP prepared by the Council pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The entities directly regulated by this action are those that harvest groundfish in the EEZ of the GOA and in parallel fisheries within State waters. These include entities operating CVs and C/Ps within the action area and entities receiving direct allocations of groundfish. On June 20, 2013, the Small Business Administration issued a final rule revising the small business size standards for several industries effective July 22, 2013 (78 FR 37398; June 20, 2013). The rule increased the size standard for Finfish Fishing from $4.0 to 19.0 million, Shellfish Fishing from $4.0 to 5.0 million, and Other Marine Fishing from $4.0 to 7.0 million. The new size standards were used to prepare the IRFA for this action. Fishing vessels are considered small entities if their total annual gross receipts, from all their activities combined, are less than $19.0 million. The IRFA estimates the number of harvesting vessels that are considered VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 small entities, but these estimates may overstate the number of small entities because (1) some vessels may also be active as tender vessels in the salmon fishery, fish in areas other than Alaska and the West Coast, or generate revenue from other non-fishing sources; and (2) all affiliations are not taken into account, especially if the vessel has affiliations not tracked in available data (i.e., ownership of multiple vessel or affiliation with processors) and may be misclassified as a small entity The IRFA shows that, in 2012, there were 1,424 individual catcher vessels with gross revenues less than or equal to $19 million. Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, GOA rockfish cooperatives, or BSAI crab rationalization cooperatives. Therefore, under the RFA, it is the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the cooperative that must meet the ‘‘under $19 million’’ threshold. Vessels that participate in these cooperatives are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. After accounting for membership in these cooperatives, there are an estimated 1,378 small catcher vessel entities remaining in the GOA groundfish sector. This latter group of small vessels had average gross revenues of about $359,000. Additionally, data presented in the IRFA indicates that in 2012, 32 catcher/processors grossed less than $19 million. Twenty-five vessels in this group were estimated to be large entities because of their affiliations with other vessels through an Amendment 80 cooperative and the Freezer Longline Conservation Cooperative. After taking account of these affiliations, NMFS estimates that seven of these vessels are small entities. The average gross revenue for these seven small catcher/ processor entities was $1.6 million. The preferred alternative (Alternative 2) was compared to four other alternatives. Alternative 1 would have set TACs to generate fishing rates equal to the maximum permissible ABC (if the full TAC were harvested), unless the sum of TACs exceeded the GOA OY, in which case harvests would be limited to the OY. Alternative 3 would have set TACs to produce fishing rates equal to the most recent 5-year average fishing rate. Alternative 4 would have set TACs to equal the lower limit of the GOA OY range. Alternative 5, the ‘‘no action alternative,’’ would have set TACs equal to zero. The TACs associated with the preferred harvest strategy are those adopted by the Council in October 2013, as per Alternative 2. OFLs and ABCs for the species were based on PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 74099 recommendations prepared by the Council’s GOA Plan Team in September 2013, and reviewed by the Council’s SSC in October 2013. The Council based its TAC recommendations on those of its AP, which were consistent with the SSC’s OFL and ABC recommendations. Alternative 1 selects harvest rates that would allow fishermen to harvest stocks at the level of ABCs, unless total harvests were constrained by the upper bound of the GOA OY of 800,000 mt. As shown in Table 1 of the preamble, the sum of ABCs in 2014 and 2015 would be 584,094 mt, which falls below the upper bound of the OY range. The sum of TACs is 427,068 mt, which is less than the sum of ABCs. In this instance, Alternative 1 is consistent with the preferred alternative (Alternative 2), meets the objectives of that action, and has small entity impacts that are equivalent to the preferred alternative. In some instances, the selection of Alternative 1 would not reflect the practical implications that increased TACs (where the sum of TACs equals the sum of ABCs) for some species probably would not be fully harvested. This could be due to a lack of commercial or market interest in such species. Additionally, an underharvest of some TACs could result due to constraints such as the fixed, and therefore constraining, PSC limits associated with the harvest of the GOA groundfish species. Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 years of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for the most recent 5 years of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). This alternative is inconsistent with the objectives of this action, the Council’s preferred harvest strategy, because it does not take account of the most recent biological information for this fishery. NMFS annually conducts at-sea stock surveys for different species, as well as statistical modeling, to estimate stock sizes and permissible harvest levels. Actual harvest rates or harvest amounts are a component of these estimates, but in and of themselves may not accurately portray stock sizes and conditions. Harvest rates are listed for each species category for each year in the SAFE report (see ADDRESSES). Alternative 4 reduces the TACs from the upper end of the OY range in the GOA, to its lower end of 116,000 mt, which would lead to significantly lower harvests of all species. Overall, this would reduce 2014 TACs by about 73 percent and would lead to significant reductions in harvests of species harvested by small entities. While reductions of this size would be E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1 74100 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 10, 2013 / Proposed Rules emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS associated with offsetting price increases, the size of these increases is very uncertain. There are close substitutes for GOA groundfish species available in significant quantities from the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area. While production declines in the GOA would undoubtedly be associated with significant price increases in the GOA, these increases would still be constrained by production of substitutes, and are very unlikely to offset revenue declines from smaller production. Thus, this alternative would have a detrimental impact on small entities. Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, would have a significant adverse economic impact on small entities and would be contrary to obligations to achieve OY on a continuing basis, as mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Under Alternative 5, all 1,378 individual VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:46 Dec 09, 2013 Jkt 232001 catcher vessels impacted by this rule would have gross revenues of $0. Additionally, the seven small catcher/ processor impacted by this rule also would have gross revenues of $0. The proposed harvest specifications (Alternative 2) extend the current 2014 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs to 2014 and 2015. As noted in the IRFA, the Council may modify these OFLs, ABCs, and TACs in December 2013, when it reviews the November 2013 SAFE reports from its Groundfish Plan Teams, and the December 2013 meeting reports of its SSC and AP. Because TACs in the proposed 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications are unchanged from the 2014 TACs, NMFS does not expect adverse impacts on small entities. Also, NMFS does not expect any changes made by the Council in December 2013 to have significant adverse impacts on small entities. This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 requirements, or duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any Federal rules. Adverse impacts on marine mammals or endangered species resulting from fishing activities conducted under this rule are discussed in the EIS and its accompanying annual SIRs (see ADDRESSES). Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540(f); 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105–277; Pub. L. 106– 31; Pub. L. 106–554; Pub. L. 108–199; Pub. L. 108–447; Pub. L. 109–241; Pub. L. 109– 479. Dated: December 3, 2013. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2013–29354 Filed 12–9–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\10DEP1.SGM 10DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 237 (Tuesday, December 10, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 74079-74100]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-29354]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 130925836-3836-01]
RIN 0648-XC895


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of 
Alaska; Proposed 2014 and 2015 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS proposes 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications, 
apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for 
the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is 
necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2014 
and 2015 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of 
the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. The 
intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish 
resources in the GOA in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act.

[[Page 74080]]


DATES: Comments must be received by January 9, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
Docket Number NOAA-NMFS-2013-0147, by any one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0147, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, 
AK 99802-1668.
     Fax: Address written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Fax comments to (907) 586-7557.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, 
or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender 
will be publicly accessible. 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, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications 
Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS), Supplementary 
Information Report (SIR) to the EIS, and the Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) prepared for this action may be obtained 
from http://www.regulations.gov or from the Alaska Region Web site at 
http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The final 2012 Stock Assessment and 
Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the 
GOA, dated November 2012, is available from the North Pacific Fishery 
Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, 
Anchorage, AK 99501, phone 907-271-2809, or from the Council's Web site 
at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc. The draft 2013 SAFE report 
for the GOA is available from the same source.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the GOA groundfish fisheries in 
the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the GOA under the Fishery 
Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). The Council 
prepared the FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1801, 
et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the FMP 
appear at 50 CFR parts 600, 679, and 680.
    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after 
consultation with the Council, to specify the total allowable catch 
(TAC) for each target species, the sum of which must be within the 
optimum yield (OY) range of 116,000 to 800,000 metric tons (mt). 
Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires NMFS to publish and solicit 
public comment on proposed annual TACs, Pacific halibut prohibited 
species catch (PSC) limits, and seasonal allowances of pollock and 
Pacific cod. The proposed harvest specifications in Tables 1 through 20 
of this document satisfy these requirements. For 2014 and 2015, the sum 
of the proposed TAC amounts is 427,068 mt.
    Under Sec.  679.20(c)(3), NMFS will publish the final 2014 and 2015 
harvest specifications after (1) considering comments received within 
the comment period (see DATES), (2) consulting with the Council at its 
December 2013 meeting, (3) considering information presented in the 
2013 Supplementary Information Report that assesses the need to prepare 
a Supplemental EIS (see ADDRESSES) and, (4) the final 2013 SAFE report 
prepared for the 2014 and 2015 groundfish fisheries.

Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2014 and 2015 Harvest 
Specifications

Amendment 95: Halibut Prohibited Species Catch Limit Revisions

    At its June 2012 meeting, the Council took final action to reduce 
halibut PSC limits in the GOA trawl and hook-and-line groundfish 
fisheries. That action, Amendment 95 to the FMP, would change the 
process for setting halibut PSC limits, as well as reducing such limits 
from their current amounts. Halibut PSC limits would be established in 
Federal regulations and would remain in effect until changed by 
Secretarial approval of a subsequent Council action to amend those 
regulations.
    NMFS published a notice of availability for Amendment 95 on August 
29, 2013 (78 FR 53419). The public comment period for the notice of 
availability on Amendment 95 ended on October 28, 2013. The proposed 
rule that would implement Amendment 95 published on September 17, 2013 
(78 FR 57106), with public comments accepted through October 17, 2013. 
That proposed rule describes the various reductions to the GOA halibut 
PSC limits and other, associated components of the action. If approved 
by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), Amendment 95 would reduce the 
GOA halibut PSC limit for the groundfish trawl gear sector and 
groundfish catcher vessel (CV) hook-and-line gear sector by 15 percent. 
The proposed reductions would be phased in over 3 years: 7 percent in 
year 1, 5 percent in year 2 (to 12 percent), and 3 percent in year 3 
(for a total of 15 percent). The proposed reduction for the catcher/
processor (C/P) hook-and-line gear sector would be 7 percent, which 
would occur during the first year of implementation. Finally, the 
proposed reduction for the hook-and-line demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) 
fishery in the Southeast Outside district of the GOA would be 1 mt. The 
proposed reductions to the trawl halibut PSC limits use 1,973 mt as the 
baseline for the reductions. That baseline limit was established with 
the implementation of the Central GOA Rockfish Program (Rockfish 
Program) in 2011 (76 FR 81248, December 27, 2011).
    Amendment 95 would result in a new trawl sector halibut PSC limit 
of 1,848 mt in the first year of implementation (in 2014), 1,759 mt (in 
2015), and 1,706 mt (in 2016 and later years). The DSR fishery halibut 
PSC limit would be 9 mt. The hook-and-line sector halibut PSC limits 
would vary annually, as these limits are based on how the Pacific cod 
TAC is annually apportioned between the Central and Western regulatory 
areas of the GOA. Based on 2013 Pacific cod TACs in the Western and 
Central GOA the hook-and-line C/P sector would receive a 115 mt halibut 
PSC limit. The hook-and-line CV sector PSC limit would be 154 mt (in 
2014), 146 mt (in 2015), and 141 mt (in 2016 and later years). These 
limits are representative of the proposed halibut PSC reductions, but 
not the actual limits that would be implemented in future years. The 
proposed rule associated with Amendment 95 provides additional details 
about these limits (78 FR 57106, September 17, 2013).

Amendment 97: Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limits in the 
Non-Pollock Trawl Groundfish Fisheries

    In June 2013, the Council took action to recommend Amendment 97 to 
the

[[Page 74081]]

FMP, as well as accompanying regulations. If approved by the Secretary, 
Amendment 97 would implement measures to control Chinook salmon PSC in 
all non-pollock trawl groundfish fisheries in the Western and Central 
GOA. The directed pollock fishery is not included in the Council's 
recommended action, as that fishery is already subject to Chinook PSC 
limits (Sec.  679.21(h)). The Council's preferred alternative would set 
an initial annual limit of 7,500 Chinook salmon apportioned among the 
sectors of catcher/processors, catcher vessels active in the Rockfish 
Program, and non-Rockfish Program catcher vessels. A sector would be 
prohibited from directed fishing for groundfish if it caught its 
apportioned amount of the total Chinook PSC limit. NMFS currently is 
developing a proposed rulemaking for this Chinook PSC action. If 
approved by the Secretary, the earliest these Chinook salmon PSC limits 
could be implemented would be 2015.

Combining Central and Western GOA Other Rockfish Acceptable Biological 
Catches (ABCs) and TACs

    At its November 2013 meeting, the Council's GOA Groundfish Plan 
Team (Plan Team) recommended combining the Western and Central GOA 
``other rockfish'' ABCs and TACs. The ``other rockfish'' category in 
those areas include ``other rockfish'' (19 species) and demersal shelf 
rockfish (7 species). The Plan Team recommended combining these ABCs 
and TACs based on the challenges associated with conducting a 
comprehensive assessment of all of the species in the ``other 
rockfish'' category in the Western and Central GOA. The Council and its 
Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) will consider this 
recommendation at the December 2013 Council meeting, and may recommend 
combining these ABCs and TACs as recommended by the Plan Team. NMFS 
does not anticipate any adverse management or conservation effects if 
this were to occur, as directed fishing for other rockfish would 
continue to be prohibited in the Western and Central GOA.

Changes to GOA State of Alaska (State) Pacific Cod Guideline Harvest 
Level Fisheries

    In addition to the Federal Pacific cod fisheries in the GOA, there 
are Pacific cod fisheries managed by the State of Alaska (State). The 
State's guideline harvest level (GHL) fisheries are conducted 
independently of the Federal groundfish fisheries under direct 
regulation of the State. The State derives GHLs from the Federal ABC 
for each GOA management area, and the TAC for each area is the amount 
available after the Council deducts the annual GHL percentage from the 
ABC. Thus, Pacific cod TACs are affected by the State's Pacific cod 
GHLs. In October 2013, the Alaska Board of Fisheries, a regulatory body 
for the State's Department of Fish and Game, adopted a proposal to 
increase the GHL in the South Alaska Peninsula management area to 30 
percent from 25 percent of the Western GOA ABC. Once implemented, this 
would decrease the proposed Pacific cod TAC for the Western GOA. This 
is described in further detail in the section of this preamble that 
discusses the ``Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts.''

Proposed Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Specifications

    In October 2013, the Council, its SSC, and its Advisory Panel (AP) 
reviewed the most recent biological and harvest information about the 
condition of groundfish stocks in the GOA. This information was 
compiled by the GOA Groundfish Plan Team and presented in the final 
2012 SAFE report for the GOA groundfish fisheries, dated November 2012 
(see ADDRESSES). The SAFE report contains a review of the latest 
scientific analyses and estimates of each species' biomass and other 
biological parameters, as well as summaries of the available 
information on the GOA ecosystem and the economic condition of the 
groundfish fisheries off Alaska. From these data and analyses, the Plan 
Team estimates an OFL and ABC for each species or species group. The 
amounts proposed for the 2014 and 2015 ABCs are based on the 2012 SAFE 
report. The AP and Council recommended that the proposed 2014 and 2015 
TACs be set equal to proposed ABCs for all species and species groups, 
with the exception of the species categories further discussed below. 
The proposed ABCs and TACs could be changed in the final harvest 
specifications depending on the most recent scientific information 
contained in the final 2013 SAFE report.
    In November 2013, the Plan Team updated the 2012 SAFE report to 
include new information collected during 2013, such as NMFS stock 
surveys, revised stock assessments, and catch data. The Plan Team 
compiled this information and produced the draft 2013 SAFE report for 
presentation at the December 2013 Council meeting. At that meeting, the 
Council will consider information in the draft 2013 SAFE report, 
recommendations from the November 2013 Plan Team meeting and December 
2013 SSC and AP meetings, public testimony, and relevant written public 
comments in making its recommendations for the final 2014 and 2015 
harvest specifications. Pursuant to section 3.2.3.4.1 of the FMP, the 
Council could recommend adjusting the TACs if ``warranted on the basis 
of bycatch considerations, management uncertainty, or socioeconomic 
considerations, or if required in order to cause the sum of the TACs to 
fall within the OY range.''
    In previous years, the largest changes from the proposed to the 
final harvest specifications have been for OFLs and ABCs based on the 
most recent NMFS stock surveys, which provide updated estimates of 
stock biomass and spatial distribution, and changes to the models used 
for producing stock assessments. NMFS scientists presented updated and 
new survey results, changes to assessment models, and accompanying 
stock estimates at the September 2013 Plan Team meeting, and the SSC 
reviewed this information at the October 2013 Council meeting. The 
species with possible model changes are pollock, Pacific cod, flathead 
sole, dover sole, rock sole, ``other rockfish,'' and demersal shelf 
rockfish. In November 2013, the Plan Team considered updated stock 
assessments for groundfish, which were included in the draft 2013 SAFE 
report.
    If the draft 2013 SAFE report indicates that the stock biomass 
trend is increasing for a species, then the final 2014 and 2015 harvest 
specifications for that species may reflect an increase from the 
proposed harvest specifications. The draft 2013 SAFE reports indicate 
that the biomass trend for pollock, Pacific cod, deep-water flatfish, 
Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, dusky 
rockfish, thornyhead rockfish, other rockfish, longnose skates, other 
skates, and octopuses may be increasing. Conversely, if the draft 2013 
SAFE report indicates that the stock biomass trend is decreasing for a 
species, then the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications may 
reflect a decrease from the proposed harvest specifications. The draft 
2013 SAFE reports indicate that the biomass trend for sablefish, 
shallow-water flatfish, rex sole, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, 
rougheye rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, big skate, sculpins, and 
sharks may be decreasing. The biomass trends for Atka mackerel and 
squid species are relatively stable.
    The proposed OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are based on the best available 
biological and socioeconomic information, including projected biomass 
trends, information on assumed

[[Page 74082]]

distribution of stock biomass, and revised methods used to calculate 
stock biomass. The FMP specifies the formulas, or tiers, to be used to 
compute OFLs and ABCs. The formulas applicable to a particular stock or 
stock complex are determined by the level of reliable information 
available to the fisheries scientists. This information is categorized 
into a successive series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts, 
with tier one representing the highest level of information quality 
available and tier six representing the lowest level of information 
quality available. The Plan Team used the FMP tier structure to 
calculate OFLs and ABCs for each groundfish species.
    The SSC adopted the proposed 2014 and 2015 OFLs and ABCs 
recommended by the Plan Team for all groundfish species. The Council 
adopted the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations and the AP's TAC 
recommendations. These amounts are unchanged from the final 2014 
harvest specifications published in the Federal Register on February 
26, 2013 (78 FR 13162), with three exceptions. The TACs for three 
species and area combinations in the final 2014 harvest specifications 
were mis-specified and would be corrected in this proposed action. 
These include the TACs for shallow-water flatfish in the West Yakutat 
and Southeast Outside Districts of the GOA, and the TAC for rex sole in 
the West Yakutat District. The 2013 TACs for these species and areas 
were inadvertently carried forward and published as the 2014 TACs in 
the final 2014 harvest specifications. The 2014 TACs for these three 
species should have been set equal to the 2014 ABCs for these species. 
This resulted in these three TACs being specified as greater than the 
available 2014 ABCs. The proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs for these species 
incorporate corrections to these mis-specifications.

Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts

    The Council recommended proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs that are equal 
to proposed ABCs for all species and species groups, with the 
exceptions of Atka mackerel, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, and 
shallow-water flatfish, ``other rockfish,'' rex sole, Pacific cod, and 
pollock. The Atka mackerel TAC is set to accommodate incidental catch 
amounts of this species in other directed fisheries. The arrowtooth 
flounder, flathead sole, and shallow-water flatfish TACs are set to 
conserve the halibut PSC limit for use in other fisheries. The ``other 
rockfish'' TAC is set to reduce the potential amount of discards in the 
Southeast Outside (SEO) District. The rex sole TAC in the West Yakutat 
District was set to accommodate incidental catch amounts of this 
species in other directed fisheries.
    The Pacific cod TACs are set to accommodate the State's GHL for 
Pacific cod so that ABCs are not exceeded. State GHL fisheries for 
Pacific cod are established in the Western and Central Regulatory 
Areas, as well as in Prince William Sound (PWS). The Plan Team, SSC, 
AP, and Council recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water 
Pacific cod removals from the GOA not exceed ABC recommendations. 
Accordingly, the Council reduced the proposed 2014 and 2015 Pacific cod 
TACs in the Eastern, Central, and Western Regulatory Areas to account 
for State GHLs. Therefore, the proposed 2014 and 2015 Pacific cod TACs 
are less than the proposed ABCs by the following amounts: (1) Eastern 
GOA, 842 mt; (2) Central GOA, 12,841 mt; and (3) Western GOA, 7,368 mt. 
These amounts reflect the sum of the State's 2014 and 2015 GHLs in 
these areas, which are 25 percent of the Eastern, Central, and Western 
GOA proposed ABCs, respectively. As described above, the State adopted 
an increase to the GHL for the State Pacific cod fishery in the Western 
GOA in October 2013. This increase, to 30 percent from 25 percent, 
would decrease the Western GOA Pacific cod TAC proposed by this action 
to 20,629 mt from 22,103 mt. This change will be incorporated in the 
final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications, following the Council's 
review of this change at its December 2013 meeting. The final Western 
GOA Pacific cod TAC may be either lower or higher than the above amount 
(20,629 mt), as the 2014 and 2015 Pacific cod ABCs will probably differ 
from those proposed in this action, based on the updated stock biomass 
trends that will be contained in the draft 2013 SAFE report.
    The ABC for the pollock stock in the combined Western, Central, and 
West Yakutat Regulatory Areas (W/C/WYK) has been adjusted to reflect 
the GHL established by the State for the PWS pollock fishery since its 
inception in 1995. Genetic studies have led fisheries scientists to 
believe that the pollock in PWS is not a separate stock from the 
combined W/C/WYK population. The Plan Team has had a protocol of 
recommending that the GHL amount be deducted from the Gulf-wide ABC 
since 1996. Accordingly, the Council recommended decreasing the W/C/WYK 
pollock ABC to account for the State's PWS GHL. For 2014 and 2015, the 
proposed PWS pollock GHL is 2,583 mt, as recommended by State fisheries 
managers.
    NMFS proposed apportionment for groundfish species are based on the 
distribution of biomass among the regulatory areas under which NMFS 
manages the species. Additional regulations govern the apportionment of 
Pacific cod, pollock, and sablefish. Additional detail on the 
apportionment of Pacific cod and pollock are described below, and 
briefly summarized here.
    NMFS proposes Pacific cod TACs in the Western, Central, and Eastern 
GOA (see Table 1). NMFS also proposes seasonal apportionment of the 
Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. Sixty 
percent of the annual TAC is apportioned to the A season for hook-and-
line, pot, or jig gear from January 1 through June 10, and for trawl 
gear from January 20 through June 10. Forty percent of the annual TAC 
is apportioned to the B season for jig gear from June 10 through 
December 31, for hook-and-line or pot gear from September 1 through 
December 31, and for trawl gear from September 1 through November 1 
(Sec. Sec.  679.23(d)(3) and 679.20(a)(12)). The Western and Central 
GOA Pacific cod gear and sector apportionments are discussed in detail 
below; Table 3 lists these amounts.
    NMFS proposes pollock TACs in the Western, Central, West Yakutat 
Regulatory Areas, and the Southeast Outside District of the GOA (see 
Table 1). NMFS also proposes seasonal apportionment of the annual 
pollock TAC in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA 
among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, and divided equally among 
each of the following four seasons: the A season (January 20 through 
March 10), the B season (March 10 through May 31), the C season (August 
25 through October 1), and the D season (October 1 through November 1) 
(Sec.  679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), and Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A) and 
(B)). Additional detail is provided below; Table 2 lists these amounts.
    The Council's recommendation for sablefish area apportionments 
takes into account the prohibition on the use of trawl gear in the SEO 
District of the Eastern Regulatory Area and makes available 5 percent 
of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area TACs to trawl gear for use as 
incidental catch in other directed groundfish fisheries in the WYK 
District (Sec.  679.20(a)(4)(i)). Additional detail is provided below; 
Tables 4 and 5 list these amounts.
    The sum of the proposed TACs for all GOA groundfish is 427,068 mt 
for 2014 and 2015, which is within the OY range specified by the FMP. 
The sums of the proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs are lower than the final 
2013 TACs currently specified for the GOA groundfish

[[Page 74083]]

fisheries (78 FR 13162, February 26, 2013). The proposed 2014 and 2015 
TACs for Pacific cod, flathead sole, and rougheye rockfish are higher 
than the final 2013 TACs for these species. The proposed 2014 and 2015 
TACs for pollock, sablefish, shallow-water flatfish, rex sole, Pacific 
ocean perch, northern rockfish, and dusky rockfish are lower than the 
final 2013 TACs for these species. The proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs for 
the remaining species are equal to the final 2013 TACs.
    For 2014 and 2015, the Council recommends and NMFS proposes the 
OFLs, ABCs, and TACs listed in Table 1. The proposed ABCs reflect 
harvest amounts that are less than the specified overfishing levels. 
The sum of the proposed 2014 and 2015 ABCs for all assessed groundfish 
is 584,094 mt, which is lower than the final 2013 ABC total of 595,920 
mt (78 FR 13162, February 26, 2013).
    Table 1 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 OFLs, ABCs, TACs, and area 
apportionments of groundfish in the GOA. These amounts are consistent 
with the biological condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 
2012 SAFE report, and adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic 
considerations, including maintaining the total TAC within the required 
OY range. These proposed amounts and apportionments by area, season, 
and sector are subject to change pending consideration of the draft 
2013 SAFE report and the Council's recommendations for the final 2014 
and 2015 harvest specifications during its December 2013 meeting.

  Table 1--Proposed 2014 and 2015 ABCs, TACs, and OFLs of Groundfish for the Western/Central/West Yakutat (W/C/
 WYK), Western (W), Central (C), Eastern (E) Regulatory Areas, and in the West Yakutat (WYK), Southeast Outside
                            (SEO), and Gulfwide (GW) Districts of the Gulf of Alaska
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Species                       Area \1\               OFL               ABC               TAC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Pollock \2\.......................  Shumagin (610).......               n/a            25,648            25,648
                                     Chirikof (620).......               n/a            47,004            47,004
                                     Kodiak (630).........               n/a            25,011            25,011
                                     WYK (640)............               n/a             3,093             3,093
                                     W/C/WYK (subtotal)...           138,610           100,756           100,756
                                     SEO (650)............            14,366            10,774            10,774
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............           152,976           111,530           111,530
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod \3\....................  W....................               n/a            29,470            22,103
                                     C....................               n/a            51,362            38,522
                                     E....................               n/a             3,368             2,526
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............           101,100            84,200            63,150
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish \4\......................  W....................               n/a             1,641             1,641
                                     C....................               n/a             5,195             5,195
                                     WYK..................               n/a             1,902             1,902
                                     SEO..................               n/a             2,993             2,993
                                     E (WYK and SEO)                     n/a             4,895             4,895
                                      (subtotal).
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............            13,871            11,731            11,731
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shallow-water flatfish \6\.........  W....................               n/a            18,033            13,250
                                     C....................               n/a            18,660            18,000
                                     WYK..................               n/a             4,299             4,299
                                     SEO..................               n/a             1,092             1,092
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............            51,580            42,084            36,641
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deep-water flatfish \5\............  W....................               n/a               176               176
                                     C....................               n/a             2,308             2,308
                                     WYK..................               n/a             1,581             1,581
                                     SEO..................               n/a             1,061             1,061
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............             6,834             5,126             5,126
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rex sole...........................  W....................               n/a             1,287             1,287
                                     C....................               n/a             6,310             6,310
                                     WYK..................               n/a               823               823
                                     SEO..................               n/a             1,040               822
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............            12,362             9,460             9,242
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arrowtooth flounder................  W....................               n/a            26,970            14,500
                                     C....................               n/a           140,424            75,000
                                     WYK..................               n/a            20,754             6,900
                                     SEO..................               n/a            20,663             6,900
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............           245,262           208,811           103,300
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flathead sole......................  W....................               n/a            16,063             8,650

[[Page 74084]]

 
                                     C....................               n/a            27,126            15,400
                                     WYK..................               n/a             4,785             4,785
                                     SEO..................               n/a             1,797             1,797
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............            62,296            49,771            30,632
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch \7\............  W....................               n/a             2,005             2,005
                                     C....................               n/a            10,740            10,740
                                     WYK..................               n/a             1,613             1,613
                                     W/C/WYK..............            16,555  ................  ................
                                     SEO..................             2,046             1,775             1,775
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............            18,061            16,133            16,133
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Northern rockfish \8\..............  W....................               n/a             1,899             1,899
                                     C....................               n/a             2,951             2,951
                                     E....................               n/a  ................  ................
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............             5,791             4,850             4,850
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shortraker rockfish \9\............  W....................               n/a               104               104
                                     C....................               n/a               452               452
                                     E....................               n/a               525               525
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............             1,441             1,081             1,081
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dusky rockfish \10\................  W....................               n/a               354               354
                                     C....................               n/a             3,317             3,317
                                     WYK..................               n/a               465               465
                                     SEO..................               n/a               277               277
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............             5,395             4,413             4,413
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rougheye rockfish \11\.............  W....................               n/a                83                83
                                     C....................               n/a               871               871
                                     E....................               n/a               300               300
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............             1,508             1,254             1,254
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Demersal shelf rockfish \12\.......  SEO..................               487               303               303
Thornyhead rockfish \13\...........  W....................               n/a               150               150
                                     C....................               n/a               766               766
                                     E....................               n/a               749               749
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............             2,220             1,665             1,665
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other rockfish 14 15...............  W....................               n/a                44                44
                                     C....................               n/a               606               606
                                     WYK..................               n/a               230               230
                                     SEO..................               n/a             3,165               200
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............             5,305             4,045             1,080
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atka mackerel......................  GW...................             6,200             4,700             2,000
Big skates \16\....................  W....................               n/a               469               469
                                     C....................               n/a             1,793             1,793
                                     E....................               n/a             1,505             1,505
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............             5,023             3,767             3,767
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Longnose skates \17\...............  W....................               n/a                70                70
                                     C....................               n/a             1,879             1,879
                                     E....................               n/a               676               676
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Total.............             3,500             2,625             2,625
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other skates \18\..................  GW...................             2,706             2,030             2,030
Sculpins...........................  GW...................             7,614             5,884             5,884
Sharks.............................  GW...................             8,037             6,028             6,028
Squid..............................  GW...................             1,530             1,148             1,148

[[Page 74085]]

 
Octopuses..........................  GW...................             1,941             1,455             1,455
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total..........................  .....................           723,580           584,094           427,068
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   679.2. (W=Western Gulf of Alaska; C=Central Gulf of
  Alaska; E=Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK=West Yakutat District; SEO=Southeast Outside District; GW=Gulf-wide).
\2\ Pollock is apportioned in the Western/Central Regulatory Areas among three statistical areas. Table 2 lists
  the proposed 2014 and 2015 seasonal apportionments. In the West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts of the
  Eastern Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided into seasonal allowances.
\3\ Section 679.20(a)(12)(i) requires the allocation of the Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central
  Regulatory Areas of the GOA among gear and operational sectors. The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned
  among various sectors 60 percent to the A season and 40 percent to the B season in the Western and Central
  Regulatory Areas of the GOA. In the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA, Pacific cod is allocated 90 percent
  for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent for processing by the offshore component. Table 3 lists
  the proposed 2014 and 2015 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments.
\4\ Sablefish is allocated to hook-and-line and trawl gear in 2014 and trawl gear in 2015. Tables 4 and 5 list
  the proposed 2014 and 2015 allocations of sablefish TACs.
\5\ ``Deep-water flatfish'' means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deep-sea sole.
\6\ ``Shallow-water flatfish'' means flatfish not including ``deep-water flatfish,'' flathead sole, rex sole, or
  arrowtooth flounder.
\7\ ``Pacific ocean perch'' means Sebastes alutus.
\8\ ``Northern rockfish'' means Sebastes polyspinous. For management purposes the 3 mt apportionment of ABC to
  the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the slope rockfish species group.
\9\ ``Shortraker rockfish'' means Sebastes borealis.
\10\ ``Dusky rockfish'' means Sebastes variabilis.
\11\ ``Rougheye rockfish'' means Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted).
\12\ ``Demersal shelf rockfish'' means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper),
  S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye).
\13\ ``Thornyhead rockfish'' means ``Sebastes species''
\14\ ``Other rockfish (slope rockfish)'' means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S.
  paucispinis (bocaccio), S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S.
  variegatus (harlequin), S. wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus
  (sharpchin), S. jordani (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergray), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola
  (stripetail), S. miniatus (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus
  (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA only, other rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinous.
\15\ ``Other rockfish'' in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means other
  rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish.
\16\ ``Big skate'' means Raja binoculata.
\17\ ``Longnose skate'' means Raja rhina.
\18\ ``Other skates'' means Bathyraja spp.

Proposed Apportionment of Reserves

    Section 679.20(b)(2) requires NMFS to set aside 20 percent of each 
TAC for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, skates, sharks, squids, 
sculpins, and octopuses in reserves for possible apportionment at a 
later date during the fishing year. In 2013, NMFS apportioned all of 
the reserves in the final harvest specifications. For 2014 and 2015, 
NMFS proposes reapportionment of all the reserves for pollock, Pacific 
cod, flatfish, skates, sharks, squids, sculpins, and octopuses in 
anticipation of the projected annual catch of these species. The TACs 
in Table 1 reflect the apportionment of reserve amounts for these 
species and species groups. Each proposed TAC for the above mentioned 
species categories contains the full TAC recommended by the Council, 
since none of the relevant species and species groups' TACs contributed 
to a reserve that could be used for future reapportionments.

Proposed Apportionments of Pollock TAC Among Seasons and Regulatory 
Areas, and Allocations for Processing by Inshore and Offshore 
Components

    As noted earlier, pollock is apportioned by season and area, and is 
further allocated for processing by inshore and offshore components. 
Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B), the annual pollock TAC specified 
for the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA is apportioned 
into four equal seasonal allowances of 25 percent. As established by 
Sec.  679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season 
allowances are available from January 20 through March 10, March 10 
through May 31, August 25 through October 1, and October 1 through 
November 1, respectively.
    Pollock TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA 
are apportioned among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, pursuant to 
Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A). In the A and B seasons, the apportionments 
have historically been based on the proportional distribution of 
pollock biomass based on the four most recent NMFS winter surveys. In 
the C and D seasons, the apportionments are in proportion to the 
distribution of pollock biomass based on the four most recent NMFS 
summer surveys. However, for 2014 and 2015, the Council recommends, and 
NMFS proposes, averaging the winter and summer distribution of pollock 
in the Central Regulatory Area for the A season instead of using the 
distribution based on only the winter surveys. This combination of 
summer and winter distribution has been used since 2002. The average is 
intended to reflect the best available information about migration 
patterns, distribution of pollock, and the performance of the fishery 
in the area during the A season. During the A season, the apportionment 
is based on the proposed adjusted estimate of the relative distribution 
of pollock biomass of approximately 16 percent, 62 percent, and 22 
percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. During 
the B season, the apportionment is based on the relative distribution 
of pollock biomass of approximately 16 percent, 74 percent, and 10 
percent in Statistical

[[Page 74086]]

Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. During the C and D seasons, the 
apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass 
of approximately 36 percent, 28 percent, and 35 percent in Statistical 
Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively.
    Within any fishing year, the amount by which a seasonal allowance 
is underharvested or overharvested may be added to, or subtracted from, 
subsequent seasonal allowances in a manner to be determined by the 
Regional Administrator (Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The rollover amount 
is limited to 20 percent of the unharvested seasonal apportionment for 
the statistical area. Any unharvested pollock above the 20-percent 
limit could be further distributed to the other statistical areas, in 
proportion to the estimated biomass in the subsequent season in those 
statistical areas (Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The proposed 2014 and 
2015 pollock TACs in the WYK District of 3,093 mt and SEO District of 
10,774 mt are not allocated by season.
    Section 679.20(a)(6)(i) requires the allocation of 100 percent of 
the pollock TAC in all regulatory areas and all seasonal allowances to 
vessels catching pollock for processing by the inshore component after 
subtraction of pollock amounts projected by the Regional Administrator 
to be caught by, or delivered to, the offshore component incidental to 
directed fishing for other groundfish species. Thus, the amount of 
pollock available for harvest by vessels harvesting pollock for 
processing by the offshore component is that amount that will be taken 
as incidental catch during directed fishing for groundfish species 
other than pollock, up to the maximum retainable amounts allowed under 
Sec.  679.20(e) and (f). At this time, these incidental catch amounts 
of pollock are unknown and will be determined as fishing activity 
occurs during the fishing year by the offshore component.
    Table 2 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 seasonal biomass 
distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, 
area apportionments, and seasonal allowances. The amounts of pollock 
for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown.

       Table 2--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Distribution of Pollock in the Central and Western Regulatory Areas of the Gulf of Alaska; Seasonal Biomass
                                      Distribution, Area Apportionments, and Seasonal Allowances of Annual TAC \1\
                                                     [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Season \2\                                                        Shumagin (Area 610)
                                                                  Chirikof (Area 620)
                                                                   Kodiak (Area 630)           Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A (Jan 20-Mar 10)............................................        3,921     (16.06%)       15,015     (61.50%)        5,481     (22.45%)       24,416
B (Mar 10-May 31)............................................        3,921     (16.06%)       18,102     (67.25%)        2,393      (9.80%)       24,416
C (Aug 25-Oct 1).............................................        8,903     (36.47%)        6,944     (28.44%)        8,568     (32.10%)       24,416
D (Oct 1-Nov 1)..............................................        8,903     (36.47%)        6,944     (28.44%)        8,568     (32.10%)       24,415
                                                              ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Annual Total \3\.........................................       25,648  ...........       47,004  ...........       25,011  ...........       97,663
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Area apportionments and seasonal allowances may not total precisely due to rounding.
\2\ As established by Sec.   679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to
  May 31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore
  components are not shown in this table.
\3\ The WYK and SEO District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table.

Proposed Annual and Seasonal Apportionments of Pacific Cod

    Section 679.20(a)(6)(ii) requires the allocation of the Pacific cod 
TAC between the inshore and offshore components in the Eastern 
Regulatory Area of the GOA. Additional apportionment by gear, 
operational sectors, and season are not required in the Eastern 
Regulatory Area of the GOA.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i), NMFS proposes allocations for 
the 2014 and 2015 Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central 
Regulatory Areas of the GOA. Section 679.20(a)(12)(i) requires 
allocation of the Pacific cod TAC among gear and operational sectors in 
each area. In the Central GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is apportioned 
seasonally among vessels using jig gear, CVs less than 50 feet in 
length overall using hook-and-line gear, CVs equal to or greater than 
50 feet in length overall using hook-and-line gear, C/Ps using hook-
and-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, C/Ps using trawl gear, and vessels 
using pot gear. In the Western GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is apportioned 
seasonally among vessels using jig gear, CVs using hook-and-line gear, 
C/Ps using hook-and-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, and vessels using 
pot gear. The overall seasonal apportionments in the Western and 
Central GOA are 60 percent of the annual TAC to the A season and 40 
percent of the annual TAC to the B season.
    In accordance with the FMP, the annual jig sector allocations may 
increase up to 6 percent of the annual Western and Central GOA Pacific 
cod TACs depending on the annual performance of the jig sector (See 
Table 1 of Amendment 83 to the FMP for a detailed discussion of the jig 
sector allocation process (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011)). NMFS 
proposes that the jig sector receive 2.5 percent of the annual Pacific 
cod TAC in the Western GOA. This includes a base allocation of 1.5 
percent and an additional 1.0 percent because this sector harvested 
greater than 90 percent of its initial 2012 allocation in the Western 
GOA. NMFS also proposes that the jig sector would receive 2.0 percent 
of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Central GOA. This includes a base 
allocation of 1.0 percent and an additional 1.0 percent because this 
sector harvested greater than 90 percent of its initial 2012 allocation 
in the Central GOA. In 2013, neither the Western nor Central GOA jig 
sectors harvested 90 percent of their respective 2013 Pacific cod 
allocations. However, jig sector allocation increases are established 
for a minimum of 2 years. In 2014, NMFS will re-evaluate the annual 
2013 and 2014 harvest performance of each jig sector and determine 
whether to maintain or decrease the jig sector allocations proposed by 
this action in conjunction with the 2015 and 2016 proposed harvest 
specifications. The jig sector allocations are further apportioned 
between the A (60 percent) and B (40 percent) season.
    After allocation to the jig sector, the non-jig sector allocations 
based on gear type, operation type, and vessel length overall are 
allocated the remainder of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Western 
and Central GOA. Table 3 lists

[[Page 74087]]

the seasonal apportionments and allocations of the proposed 2014 and 
2015 Pacific cod TACs.
    Under Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(ii), any overage or underage of the 
Pacific cod allowance from the A season will be subtracted from, or 
added to, the subsequent B season allowance. In addition, any portion 
of the hook-and-line, trawl, pot, or jig sector allocations that is 
determined by NMFS as likely to go unharvested by a sector may be 
reapportioned to other sectors for harvest during the remainder of the 
fishery year.

   Table 3--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Seasonal Apportionments and Allocations of Pacific Cod TAC Amounts to Gear
  Types, Operational Types, and Vessel Length Overall in the Western and Central Gulf of Alaska and Allocations
               for Processing by the Inshore and Offshore Components in the Eastern Gulf of Alaska
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             A season                        B season
                                      Annual     ---------------------------------------------------------------
   Regulatory area and sector       allocation      Sector % of      Seasonal       Sector % of      Seasonal
                                       (mt)       annual non-jig    allowances    annual non-jig    allowances
                                                        TAC            (mt)             TAC            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western GOA
    Jig (2.5% of TAC)...........             553             N/A             332             N/A             221
    Hook-and-line CV............             302            0.70             151            0.70             151
    Hook-and-line C/P...........           4,267           10.90           2,349            8.90           1,918
    Trawl CV....................           8,275           27.70           5,969           10.70           2,306
    Trawl C/P...................             517            0.90             194            1.50             323
    Pot CV and Pot C/P..........           8,189           19.80           4,267           18.20           3,922
        Total...................          22,103           60.00          13,262           40.00           8,841
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Central GOA
    Jig (2.0% of TAC)...........             770             N/A             462             N/A             308
    Hook-and-line < 50 CV.......           5,513            9.32           3,517            5.29           1,996
    Hook-and-line >= 50 CV......           2,532            5.61           2,118            1.10             414
    Hook-and-line C/P...........           1,927            4.11           1,550            1.00             377
    Trawl CV....................          15,698           21.13           7,979           20.45           7,720
    Trawl C/P...................           1,585            2.00             756            2.19             828
    Pot CV and Pot C/P..........          10,497           17.83           6,731            9.97           3,766
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...................          38,522           60.00          23,113           40.00          15,409
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eastern GOA.....................  ..............    Inshore (90% of Annual TAC)
                                   Offshore (10% of Annual TAC)
                                           2,526                   2,273
                                                     253
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Proposed Allocations of the Sablefish TAC Amounts to Vessels Using 
Hook-and-Line and Trawl Gear

    Section 679.20(a)(4)(i) and (ii) require allocations of sablefish 
TACs for each of the regulatory areas and districts to hook-and-line 
and trawl gear. In the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, 80 percent 
of each TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear, and 20 percent of each 
TAC is allocated to trawl gear. In the Eastern Regulatory Area, 95 
percent of the TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear and 5 percent is 
allocated to trawl gear. The trawl gear allocation in the Eastern GOA 
may only be used to support incidental catch of sablefish in directed 
fisheries for other target species (Sec.  679.20(a)(4)(i)).
    In recognition of the prohibition against trawl gear in the SEO 
District of the Eastern Regulatory Area, the Council recommended and 
NMFS proposes the allocation of 5 percent of the combined Eastern 
Regulatory Area sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the WYK District, making 
the remainder of the WYK sablefish TAC available to vessels using hook-
and-line gear. As a result, NMFS proposes to allocate 100 percent of 
the sablefish TAC in the SEO District to vessels using hook-and-line 
gear. This recommendation results in a proposed 2014 allocation of 245 
mt to trawl gear and 1,657 mt to hook-and-line gear in the WYK 
District, and 2,993 mt to hook-and-line gear in the SEO District. Table 
4 lists the allocations of the proposed 2014 sablefish TACs to hook-
and-line and trawl gear. Table 5 lists the allocations of the proposed 
2015 sablefish TACs to trawl gear.
    The Council recommended that the hook-and-line sablefish TAC be 
established annually to ensure that the Individual Fishery Quota (IFQ) 
fishery is conducted concurrent with the halibut IFQ fishery and is 
based on recent survey information. The Council also recommended that 
only the trawl sablefish TAC be established for 2 years so that 
retention of incidental catch of sablefish by trawl gear could commence 
in January in the second year of the groundfish harvest specifications. 
Since there is an annual assessment for sablefish and the final harvest 
specifications are expected to be published before the IFQ season 
begins (typically, in early March), the Council recommended that the 
sablefish TAC be set on an annual basis, rather than for 2 years, so 
that the best available scientific information could be considered in 
establishing the ABCs and TACs. With the exception of the trawl 
allocations that are provided to the Rockfish Program cooperatives (see 
Table 28c to part 679), directed fishing for sablefish with trawl gear 
is closed during the fishing year. Also, fishing for groundfish with 
trawl gear is prohibited prior to January 20. Therefore, it is not 
likely that the sablefish allocation to trawl gear would be reached 
before the effective date of the final 2014 and 2015 harvest 
specifications.

[[Page 74088]]



  Table 4--Proposed 2014 Sablefish TAC Amounts in the Gulf of Alaska and Allocations to Hook-and-Line and Trawl
                                                      Gear
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Hook-and-line
            Area/district                        TAC                   allocation            Trawl allocation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western..............................                    1,641                    1,313                      328
Central..............................                    5,195                    4,156                    1,039
West Yakutat \1\.....................                    1,902                    1,657                      245
Southeast Outside....................                    2,993                    2,993                        0
                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total............................                   11,731                   10,119                    1,612
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The proposed trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West
  Yakutat and Southeast Outside districts combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat district.


       Table 5--Proposed 2015 Sablefish TAC Amounts in the Gulf of Alaska and Allocation to Trawl Gear \1\
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Hook-and-line
            Area/District                        TAC                   allocation            Trawl allocation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western..............................                    1,641                      n/a                      328
Central..............................                    5,195                      n/a                    1,039
West Yakutat\2\......................                    1,902                      n/a                      245
Southeast Outside....................                    2,993                      n/a                        0
                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total............................                   11,731                      n/a                    1,612
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Council recommended that harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear sablefish Individual Fishing
  Quota fisheries be limited to 1 year.
\2\ The proposed trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West
  Yakutat and Southeast Outside districts combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat district.

Proposed Apportionments to the Rockfish Program

    These proposed 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for the GOA 
include the various fishery cooperative allocations and sideboard 
limitations established by the Rockfish Program. Program participants 
are primarily trawl catcher vessels and trawl catcher/processors, with 
limited participation by vessels using longline gear. The Rockfish 
Program assigns quota share and cooperative quota to participants for 
primary and secondary species, allows a participant holding a license 
limitation program (LLP) license with rockfish quota share to form a 
rockfish cooperative with other persons, and allows holders of C/P LLP 
licenses to opt-out of the fishery. The Rockfish Program also has an 
entry level fishery for rockfish primary species for vessels using 
longline gear.
    Under the Rockfish Program, rockfish primary species (Pacific ocean 
perch, northern rockfish, and dusky rockfish) in the Central GOA are 
allocated to participants after deducting for incidental catch needs in 
other directed groundfish fisheries. Participants in the Rockfish 
Program also receive a portion of the Central GOA TAC of specific 
secondary species (Pacific cod, rougheye rockfish, sablefish, 
shortraker rockfish, and thornyhead rockfish).
    Additionally, the Rockfish Program establishes sideboard limits to 
restrict the ability of harvesters operating under the Rockfish Program 
to increase their participation in other, non-Rockfish Program 
fisheries. Besides groundfish species, the Rockfish Program allocates a 
portion of the halibut PSC limit from the third season deep-water 
species fishery allowance for the GOA trawl fisheries to Rockfish 
Program participants. (Rockfish Program sideboards and halibut PSC 
limits are discussed below.)
    Section 679.81(a)(2)(ii) requires allocations of 5 mt of Pacific 
ocean perch, 5 mt of northern rockfish, and 30 mt of dusky rockfish to 
the entry level longline fishery in 2014 and 2015. The allocation for 
the entry level longline fishery would increase incrementally each year 
if the catch exceeds 90 percent of the allocation of a species. The 
incremental increase in the allocation would continue each year until 
it is the maximum percent of the TAC for that species. In 2013, the 
catch did not exceed 90 percent of any allocated rockfish species. 
Therefore, NMFS is not proposing an increase to the entry level 
longline fishery 2014 and 2015 allocations in the Central GOA. The 
remainder of the TACs for the rockfish primary species would be 
allocated to the CV and C/P cooperatives. Table 6 lists the allocations 
of the proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs for each rockfish primary species to 
the entry level longline fishery, the incremental increase for future 
years, and the maximum percent of the TAC for the entry level longline 
fishery.

 Table 6--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Allocations of Rockfish Primary Species to the Entry Level Longline Fishery in
                                           the Central Gulf of Alaska.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     Incremental        Up to
                                                                                  increase per year    maximum
           Rockfish primary species             Allocations of the proposed 2014   if catch exceeds   percent of
                                                          and 2015 TAC            90 percent of the    each TAC
                                                                                    allocation of:     of:  (%)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch...........................  5 metric tons...................      5 metric tons            1
Northern rockfish.............................  5 metric tons...................      5 metric tons            2

[[Page 74089]]

 
Dusky rockfish................................  30 metric tons..................     20 metric tons            5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 679.81(a)(2)(iii) requires allocations of rockfish primary 
species among various components of the Rockfish Program. Table 7 lists 
the proposed 2014 and 2015 allocations of rockfish in the Central GOA 
to the entry level longline fishery and other participants in the 
Rockfish Program, which include CV and C/P cooperatives. NMFS also 
proposes setting aside incidental catch amounts (ICAs) for other 
directed fisheries in the Central GOA of 1,200 mt of Pacific ocean 
perch, 200 mt of northern rockfish, and 200 mt of dusky rockfish. These 
amounts are based on recent average incidental catches in the Central 
GOA by other groundfish fisheries.
    Allocations among vessels belonging to CV or C/P cooperatives are 
not included in these proposed harvest specifications. Rockfish Program 
applications for CV cooperatives and C/P cooperatives are not due to 
NMFS until March 1 of each calendar year; therefore, NMFS cannot 
calculate 2014 and 2015 allocations in conjunction with these proposed 
harvest specifications. NMFS will post these allocations on the Alaska 
Region Web site at (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/goarat/default.htm) when they become available 
after March 1.

  Table 7--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Allocations of Rockfish Primary Species in the Central Gulf of Alaska to the
                   Entry Level Longline Fishery and Other Participants in the Rockfish Program
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                   Allocation to
                                                    Incidental                     Allocation to       other
    Rockfish primary species            TAC            catch       TAC minus ICA     the entry     participants
                                                     allowance                    level longline    in rockfish
                                                                                    \1\ fishery     program \2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch.............          10,740           1,200           9,540               5           9,535
Northern rockfish...............           2,951             200           2,751               5           2,746
Dusky rockfish..................           3,317             200           3,117              30           3,087
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................          17,008           1,600          15,408              40          15,368
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear.
\2\ Other participants in the Rockfish Program include vessels in CV and C/P cooperatives.

    Section 679.81(c) requires allocations of rockfish secondary 
species to CV and C/P cooperatives in the GOA. CV cooperatives receive 
allocations of Pacific cod, sablefish from the trawl gear allocation, 
and thornyhead rockfish. C/P cooperatives receive allocations of 
sablefish from the trawl allocation, rougheye rockfish, shortraker 
rockfish, and thornyhead rockfish. Table 8 lists the apportionments of 
the proposed 2014 and 2015 TACs of rockfish secondary species in the 
Central GOA to CV and C/P cooperatives.

   Table 8--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA to Catcher
                              Vessel (CV) and Catcher Processor (C/P) Cooperatives
                                           [Values are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          CV cooperatives                C/P cooperatives
                                    Central GOA  ---------------------------------------------------------------
   Rockfish secondary species       annual TAC     Percentage of   Apportionment   Percentage of   Apportionment
                                                        TAC            (mt)             TAC            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod.....................          38,522            3.81           1,468             N/A             N/A
Sablefish.......................           5,195            6.78             352            3.51             182
Shortraker rockfish.............             452             N/A             N/A           40.00             181
Rougheye rockfish...............             871             N/A             N/A           58.87             513
Thornyhead rockfish.............             766            7.84              60           26.50             203
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Proposed Halibut PSC Limits

    As discussed above, NMFS published a proposed rule to implement 
Amendment 95 to the GOA FMP (78 FR 57106, September 17, 2013). 
Amendment 95 would include GOA halibut PSC limits in Federal 
regulations and reduce halibut PSC limits in the GOA trawl and hook-
and-line groundfish fisheries. For most gear and operational types, the 
proposed reductions would be phased-in over 3

[[Page 74090]]

years. This 3-year period could begin as early as 2014, if a final rule 
implementing Amendment 95 is approved. Implementation of the Amendment 
95 final rule would require reductions to the 2014 halibut PSC limits 
in these proposed harvest specifications.
    Section 679.21(d) establishes annual halibut PSC limit 
apportionments to trawl and hook-and-line gear, and authorizes the 
establishment of apportionments for pot gear. In October 2013, the 
Council recommended proposed halibut PSC limits of 1,973 mt for trawl 
gear and 300 mt for hook-and-line gear for the 2014 and 2015 groundfish 
fisheries.
    With respect to this proposed action, 10 mt of the 300 mt hook-and-
line halibut PSC limit is further allocated to the DSR fishery in the 
SEO District. The DSR fishery is defined at Sec.  679.21(d)(4)(iii)(A). 
This fishery has been apportioned 10 mt of the halibut PSC limit in 
recognition of its small-scale harvests of groundfish.
    Most vessels in the DSR fishery are less than 60 ft (18.3 m) length 
overall and until 2013, have been exempt from observer coverage. 
Therefore, observer data were not available to verify actual halibut 
bycatch amounts. In 2013, NMFS implemented a restructured observer 
program in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Observers were placed on 
vessels between 40 and 60 feet length overall, which has provided 
additional data about groundfish and halibut PSC. NMFS does not yet 
have complete data from 2013 to evaluate halibut PSC use in the DSR 
fishery. NMFS estimates low halibut bycatch in the DSR fishery because 
(1) the duration of the DSR fisheries and the gear soak times are 
short, (2) the DSR fishery occurs in the winter when less overlap 
occurs in the distribution of DSR and halibut, and (3) the directed 
commercial DSR fishery has a low DSR TAC. The Alaska Department of Fish 
and Game sets the GHL for the DSR fishery after estimates of DSR 
incidental catch in all fisheries (including halibut and subsistence) 
and allocation to the DSR sport fish fishery have been deducted. Of the 
303 mt TAC for DSR in 2013, 249 mt were available for the DSR 
commercial directed fishery, of which 212 mt were harvested.
    The FMP authorizes the Council to exempt specific gear from the 
halibut PSC limits. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, proposes 
to exempt pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear 
fishery categories from the non-trawl halibut PSC limit for 2014 and 
2015. The Council recommended, and NMFS is proposing, these exemptions 
because (1) pot gear fisheries have low annual halibut bycatch 
mortality, (2) IFQ program regulations prohibit discard of halibut if 
any halibut IFQ permit holder on board a CV holds unused halibut IFQ 
(Sec.  679.7(f)(11)), (3) sablefish IFQ fishermen typically hold 
halibut IFQ permits and are therefore required to retain the halibut 
they catch while fishing sablefish IFQ, and (4) NMFS estimates 
negligible halibut mortality for the jig gear fisheries. NMFS estimates 
halibut mortality is negligible in the jig gear fisheries given the 
small amount of groundfish harvested by jig gear, the selective nature 
of jig gear, and the high survival rates of halibut caught and released 
with jig gear.
    NMFS implemented a restructured observer program in 2013 (77 FR 
70062, November 21, 2012). The restructured observer program provides 
data on fisheries that have previously been unobserved or were subject 
to very limited observer coverage. Specifically, the restructured 
observer program will improve biological and fisheries data, including 
halibut PSC, for pot and sablefish IFQ fisheries. NMFS will continue to 
review halibut PSC data collected in pot and sablefish IFQ fisheries in 
2013, and provide input to the GOA Plan Team and Council. These data 
could be considered in future years when deciding whether to exempt 
specific gear from halibut PSC limits.
    Section 679.21(d)(5) authorizes NMFS to seasonally apportion the 
halibut PSC limits after consultation with the Council. The FMP and 
regulations require that the Council and NMFS consider the following 
information in seasonally apportioning halibut PSC limits: (1) Seasonal 
distribution of halibut, (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish 
species relative to halibut distribution, (3) expected halibut bycatch 
needs on a seasonal basis relative to changes in halibut biomass and 
expected catch of target groundfish species, (4) expected bycatch rates 
on a seasonal basis, (5) expected changes in directed groundfish 
fishing seasons, (6) expected actual start of fishing effort, and (7) 
economic effects of establishing seasonal halibut allocations on 
segments of the target groundfish industry.
    The final 2013 and 2014 harvest specifications (78 FR 13162, 
February 26, 2013) summarized the Council's and NMFS' findings with 
respect to halibut PSC for each of these FMP considerations. The 
Council's and NMFS' findings for 2014 and 2015 are unchanged from 2013. 
Table 9 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 Pacific halibut PSC limits, 
allowances, and apportionments. Section 679.21(d)(5)(iii) and (iv) 
specify that any underages or overages of a seasonal apportionment of a 
PSC limit will be deducted from or added to the next respective 
seasonal apportionment within the fishing year.

                               Table 9--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Pacific Halibut PSC Limits, Allowances, and Apportionments
                                                               [Values are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Trawl gear                                                             Hook-and-line gear \1\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  Other than DSR                                    DSR
                 Season                    Percent     Amount  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                           Season             Percent     Amount             Season              Amount
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 20-April 1......................       27.5        543  January 1-June 10..........         86        250  January 1-December 31.....         10
April 1-July 1..........................         20        395  June 10-September 1........          2          5
July 1-September 1......................         30        592  September 1-December 31....         12         35
September 1-October 1...................        7.5        148  ...........................  .........  .........  ..........................  .........
October 1-December 31...................         15        296                               .........  .........                              .........
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................  .........      1,973  ...........................  .........        290  ..........................         10
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific halibut PSC limit for hook-and-line gear is allocated to the demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) fishery and fisheries other than DSR. The
  hook-and-line IFQ sablefish fishery is exempt from halibut PSC limits, as are pot and jig gear for all groundfish fisheries.


[[Page 74091]]

    Section 679.21(d)(3)(ii) authorizes further apportionment of the 
trawl halibut PSC limit as bycatch allowances to trawl fishery 
categories. The annual apportionments are based on each category's 
proportional share of the anticipated halibut bycatch mortality during 
a fishing year and optimization of the total amount of groundfish 
harvest under the halibut PSC limit. The fishery categories for the 
trawl halibut PSC limits are (1) a deep-water species fishery, composed 
of sablefish, rockfish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, and arrowtooth 
flounder; and (2) a shallow-water species fishery, composed of pollock, 
Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Atka mackerel, and 
``other species'' (skates, sharks, squids, sculpins, and octopuses) 
(Sec.  679.21(d)(3)(iii)). Table 10 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 
seasonal apportionments of trawl halibut PSC limits between the trawl 
gear deep-water and the shallow-water species fisheries. Based on 
public comment and the information presented in the final 2013 SAFE 
report, the Council may recommend or NMFS may make changes to the 
seasonal, gear-type, or fishery category apportionments of halibut PSC 
limits for the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications.

  Table 10--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Seasonal Apportionments of the Pacific Halibut PSC Limit Apportioned Between
                          the Trawl Gear Shallow-Water and Deep-Water Species Fisheries
                                           (Values are in metric tons)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Season                     Shallow-water             Deep-water \1\                 Total
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 20-April 1......................                444  99..............................                543
April 1-July 1..........................                 99  296.............................                395
July 1-September 1......................                197  395.............................                592
September 1-October 1...................                148  Any remainder...................                148
                                         ====================
    Subtotal, January 20-October 1......                888  789.............................              1,677
October 1-December 31 \2\...............  .................  ................................                296
                                         ====================
        Total...........................  .................  ................................              1,973
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Vessels participating in cooperatives in the Rockfish Program will receive 191 mt of the third season (July
  1 through September 1) deep-water species fishery halibut PSC apportionment.
\2\ There is no apportionment between trawl shallow-water and deep-water species fisheries during the fifth
  season (October 1 through December 31).

    Section 679.21(d)(4) requires that the ``other than DSR'' halibut 
PSC apportionment to vessels using hook-and-line gear must be divided 
between CVs and C/Ps. NMFS must calculate the halibut PSC limit 
apportionments for the entire GOA to hook-and-line CVs and C/Ps in 
accordance with Sec.  679.21(d)(4)(iii)(B)(1) and (2) in conjunction 
with these harvest specifications. A comprehensive description and 
example of the calculations necessary to apportion the ``other than 
DSR'' hook-and-line halibut PSC limit between the hook-and-line CV and 
C/P sectors were included in the proposed rule to implement Amendment 
83 (76 FR 44700, July 26, 2011) and is not repeated here.
    For 2014 and 2015, NMFS proposes annual halibut PSC limit 
allocations of 166 mt to hook-and-line CVs and 124 mt to hook-and-line 
C/P sectors. In addition, these annual halibut PSC limits are divided 
into three seasonal apportionments, using seasonal percentages of 86 
percent, 2 percent, and 12 percent. Table 11 lists the proposed 2014 
and 2015 annual halibut PSC limits and seasonal apportionments between 
the hook-and-line sectors in the GOA.
    No later than November 1 of each year, NMFS calculates the 
projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit by either of the hook-and-
line sectors for the remainder of the year. The projected unused amount 
of halibut PSC limit is made available to the other hook-and-line 
sector for the remainder of that fishing year if NMFS determines that 
an additional amount of halibut PSC limit is necessary for that sector 
to continue its directed fishing operations (Sec.  
679.21(d)(4)(iii)(B)(3)).

  Table 11--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Apportionments of the ``Other Hook-and-Line Fisheries'' Halibut PSC Allowance Between the Hook-and-Line Gear Catcher
                                                          Vessel and Catcher/Processor Sectors
                                                               [Values are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      Percent of     Sector                                                     Sector
      ``Other than DSR'' allowance          Hook-and- line sector       annual       annual                 Season                Seasonal     seasonal
                                                                      allowance      amount                                      percentage     amount
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
290....................................  Catcher Vessel............         57.3          166  January 1-June 10..............           86          143
                                                                                               June 10-September 1............            2            3
                                                                                               September 1-December 31........           12           20
                                         Catcher/Processor.........         42.7          124  January 1-June 10..............           86          106
                                                                                               June 10-September 1............            2            2
                                                                                               September 1-December 31........           12           15
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Estimated Halibut Bycatch in Prior Years

    The best available information on estimated halibut bycatch 
consists of data collected by fisheries observers during 2013. The 
calculated halibut bycatch mortality through November 2, 2013, is 1,076 
mt for trawl gear, 145 mt for hook-and-line gear, and 13 mt for pot 
gear for a total halibut mortality of 1,234 mt. This halibut mortality 
was calculated using groundfish and halibut catch data from the NMFS 
Alaska Region's catch accounting system. This system contains 
historical and recent

[[Page 74092]]

catch information compiled from each Alaska groundfish fishery.
    Halibut bycatch restrictions seasonally constrained trawl gear 
fisheries during the 2013 fishing year. Table 12 lists the closure 
dates for fisheries that resulted from the attainment of seasonal or 
annual halibut PSC limits.

                 Table 12--2013 Fishery Closures Due to Attainment of Pacific Halibut PSC Limits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Fishery category            Opening date        Closure date            Federal Register citation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Trawl Deep-water,\1\ season 2..  April 1, 2013.....  May 18, 2013......  78 FR 12195, May 22, 2013.
Hook-and-line gear, all sectors  January 1, 2013...  Remains open
 and targets \2\.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ With the exception of vessels participating in the Rockfish Program and vessels fishing for pollock using
  pelagic trawl gear.
\2\ With the exception of the IFQ sablefish fishery, which is open March 23, 2013, through November 7, 2013.

Halibut Discard Mortality Rates

    To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, 
the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut incidental catch 
rates, discard mortality rates (DMRs), and estimates of groundfish 
catch to project when a fishery's halibut bycatch mortality allowance 
or seasonal apportionment is reached. The DMRs are based on the best 
information available, including information contained in the annual 
SAFE report.
    NMFS proposes the Council's recommendation that the halibut DMRs 
developed and recommended by the International Pacific Halibut 
Commission (IPHC) for the 2013 through 2015 GOA groundfish fisheries be 
used to monitor the proposed 2014 and 2015 halibut bycatch mortality 
allowances (see Tables 9 through 11). The IPHC developed the DMRs for 
the 2013 through 2015 GOA groundfish fisheries using the 10-year mean 
DMRs for those fisheries. Long-term average DMRs were not available for 
some fisheries, so rates from the most recent years were used. For the 
sculpin, shark, squid, skate, and octopus fisheries, where insufficient 
mortality data are available, the mortality rate of halibut caught in 
the Pacific cod fishery for that gear type was recommended as a default 
rate. The IPHC will analyze observer data annually and recommend 
changes to the DMRs when a fishery DMR shows large variation from the 
mean. A discussion of the DMRs and how the IPHC establishes them is 
available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). Table 13 lists the proposed 
2014 and 2015 DMRs.

  Table 13--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Halibut Discard Mortality Rates for
                  Vessels Fishing in the Gulf of Alaska
           [Values are percent of halibut assumed to be dead]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Gear               Target fishery      Mortality rate (%)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hook-and-line................  Other fisheries                        11
                                \1\.
                               Skates..........                       11
                               Pacific cod.....                       11
                               Rockfish........                        9
Trawl........................  Arrowtooth                             73
                                flounder.
                               Deep-water                             43
                                flatfish.
                               Flathead sole...                       65
                               Non-pelagic                            60
                                pollock.
                               Other fisheries.                       62
                               Pacific cod.....                       62
                               Pelagic pollock.                       71
                               Rex sole........                       69
                               Rockfish........                       66
                               Sablefish.......                       71
                               Shallow-water                          67
                                flatfish.
Pot..........................  Other fisheries.                       17
                               Pacific cod.....                       17
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Other fisheries includes all gear types for Atka mackerel, sculpins,
  sharks, squids, octopuses, and hook-and-line sablefish.

Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limits

    Amendment 93 to the FMP (77 FR 42629, July 20, 2012) established 
separate Chinook salmon PSC limits in the Western and Central GOA in 
the directed pollock fishery. These limits require NMFS to close the 
pollock directed fishery in the Western and Central regulatory areas of 
the GOA if the applicable limit is reached (Sec.  679.21(h)(6)). The 
annual Chinook salmon PSC limits in the pollock directed fishery of 
6,684 salmon in the Western GOA and 18,316 salmon in the Central GOA 
are set in regulation at Sec.  679.21(h)(2)(i) and (ii). In addition, 
all salmon (regardless of species), taken in the pollock directed 
fisheries in the Western and Central GOA must be retained until an 
observer at the processing facility that takes delivery of the catch is 
provided an opportunity to count the number of salmon and to collect 
any scientific data or biological samples from the salmon (Sec.  
679.21(h)(4)).

American Fisheries Act (AFA) Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel 
Groundfish Sideboard Limits

    Section 679.64 establishes groundfish harvesting and processing 
sideboard limits on AFA C/Ps and CVs in the GOA. These sideboard limits 
are necessary to protect the interests of fishermen and processors who 
do not directly benefit from the AFA from

[[Page 74093]]

those fishermen and processors who receive exclusive harvesting and 
processing privileges under the AFA. Section 679.7(k)(1)(ii) prohibits 
listed AFA C/Ps from harvesting any species of fish in the GOA. 
Additionally, Sec.  679.7(k)(1)(iv) prohibits listed AFA C/Ps from 
processing any pollock harvested in a directed pollock fishery in the 
GOA and any groundfish harvested in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA.
    AFA CVs that are less than 125 ft (38.1 meters) length overall, 
have annual landings of pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
of less than 5,100 mt, and have made at least 40 landings of GOA 
groundfish from 1995 through 1997 are exempt from GOA sideboard limits 
under Sec.  679.64(b)(2)(ii). Sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs 
operating in the GOA are based on their traditional harvest levels of 
TAC in groundfish fisheries covered by the FMP. Section 
679.64(b)(3)(iii) establishes the groundfish sideboard limitations in 
the GOA based on the retained catch of non-exempt AFA CVs of each 
sideboard species from 1995 through 1997 divided by the TAC for that 
species over the same period.
    Table 14 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 groundfish sideboard 
limits for non-exempt AFA CVs. NMFS will deduct all targeted or 
incidental catch of sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA CVs from 
the sideboard limits listed in Table 14.

  Table 14--Proposed 2014 and 2015 GOA Non-Exempt American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel (CV) Groundfish Harvest
                                                Sideboard Limits
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                       Proposed
                                                                        Ratio of 1995-                 2014 and
                                                                           1997 non-      Proposed    2015 non-
            Species               Apportionments by    Area/component    exempt AFA CV    2014 and    exempt AFA
                                     season/gear                        catch to 1995-   2015 TACs        CV
                                                                           1997 TAC                   sideboard
                                                                                                        limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock........................  A Season, January   Shumagin (610)...          0.6047        3,921        2,371
                                  20-March 10.
                                                     Chirikof (620)...          0.1167       15,015        1,752
                                                     Kodiak (630).....          0.2028        5,480        1,112
                                 B Season, March 10- Shumagin (610)...          0.6047        3,921        2,371
                                  May 31.
                                                     Chirikof (620)...          0.1167       18,102        2,112
                                                     Kodiak (630).....          0.2028        2,393          485
                                 C Season, August    Shumagin (610)...          0.6047        8,903        5,384
                                  25-October 1.
                                                     Chirikof (620)...          0.1167        6,943          810
                                                     Kodiak (630).....          0.2028        8,570        1,738
                                 D Season, October   Shumagin (610)...          0.6047        8,903        5,384
                                  1-November 1.
                                                     Chirikof (620)...          0.1167        6,943          810
                                                     Kodiak (630).....          0.2028        8,570        1,738
                                 Annual............  WYK (640)........          0.3495        3,093        1,081
                                                     SEO (650)........          0.3495       10,774        3,766
Pacific cod....................  A Season \1\,       W................          0.1331       13,262        1,765
                                  January 1-June 10.
                                                     C................          0.0692       23,113        1,599
                                 B Season \2\,       W................          0.1331        8,841        1,177
                                  September 1-
                                  December 31.
                                                     C................          0.0692       15,409        1,066
                                 Annual............  E inshore........          0.0079        2,273           18
                                                     E offshore.......          0.0078          253            2
Sablefish......................  Annual, trawl gear  W................          0.0000          328            0
                                                     C................          0.0642        1,039           67
                                                     E................          0.0433          245           11
Flatfish, shallow-water........  Annual............  W................          0.0156       13,250          207
                                                     C................          0.0587       18,000        1,057
                                                     E................          0.0126        5,391           68
Flatfish, deep-water...........  Annual............  W................          0.0000          176
                                                     C................          0.0647        2,308          149
                                                     E................          0.0128        2,642           34
Rex sole.......................  Annual............  W................          0.0007        1,287            1
                                                     C................          0.0384        6,310          242
                                                     E................          0.0029        1,645            5
Arrowtooth flounder............  Annual............  W................          0.0021       14,500           30
                                                     C................          0.0280       75,000        2,100
                                                     E................          0.0002       13,800            3
Flathead sole..................  Annual............  W................          0.0036        8,650           31
                                                     C................          0.0213       15,400          328
                                                     E................          0.0009        6,582            6
Pacific ocean perch............  Annual............  W................          0.0023        2,005            5
                                                     C................          0.0748       10,740          803
                                                     E................          0.0466        3,388          158
Northern rockfish..............  Annual............  W................          0.0003        1,899            1
                                                     C................          0.0277        2,951           82

[[Page 74094]]

 
Shortraker rockfish............  Annual............  W................          0.0000          104            0
                                                     C................          0.0218          452           10
                                                     E................          0.0110          525            6
Dusky rockfish.................  Annual............  W................          0.0001          354            0
                                                     C................          0.0000        3,317            0
                                                     E................          0.0067          742            5
Rougheye rockfish..............  Annual............  W................          0.0000           83            0
                                                     C................          0.0237          871           21
                                                     E................          0.0124          300            4
Demersal shelf rockfish........  Annual............  SEO..............          0.0020          303            1
Thornyhead rockfish............  Annual............  W................          0.0280          150            4
                                                     C................          0.0280          766           21
                                                     E................          0.0280          749           21
Other Rockfish.................  Annual............  W................          0.0034           44            0
                                                     C................          0.1699          606          103
                                                     E................          0.0000          430            0
Atka mackerel..................  Annual............  Gulfwide.........          0.0309        2,000           62
Big skates.....................  Annual............  W................          0.0063          469            3
                                                     C................          0.0063        1,793           11
                                                     E................          0.0063        1,505            9
Longnose skates................  Annual............  W................          0.0063           70            0
                                                     C................          0.0063        1,879           12
                                                     E................          0.0063          676            4
Other skates...................  Annual............  Gulfwide.........          0.0063        2,030           13
Squids.........................  Annual............  Gulfwide.........          0.0063        5,884           37
Sharks.........................  Annual............  Gulfwide.........          0.0063        6,028           38
Octopuses......................  Annual............  Gulfwide.........          0.0063        1,148            7
Sculpins.......................  Annual............  Gulfwide.........          0.0063        1,455            9
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

Non-Exempt AFA Catcher Vessel Halibut PSC Limits

    The halibut PSC sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA 
are based on the aggregate retained groundfish catch by non-exempt AFA 
CVs in each PSC target category from 1995 through 1997 divided by the 
retained catch of all vessels in that fishery from 1995 through 1997 
(Sec.  679.64(b)(4)). Table 15 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 non-
exempt AFA CV halibut PSC limits for vessels using trawl gear in the 
GOA.

  Table 15--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Non-Exempt American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Halibut Prohibited Species
                           Catch (PSC) Limits for Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the GOA
                            [PSC limits are rounded to the nearest whole metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Ratio of 1995-
                                                                     1997 non-                     Proposed 2014
                                                                   exempt AFA CV   Proposed 2014   and 2015 non-
        Season             Season dates         Target fishery    retained catch   and 2015 PSC    exempt AFA CV
                                                                     to total          limit         PSC limit
                                                                  retained catch
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1....................  January 20-April 1..  shallow-water......           0.340             444             151
                                             deep-water.........           0.070              99               7
2....................  April 1-July 1......  shallow-water......           0.340              99              34
                                             deep-water.........           0.070             296              21
3....................  July 1-September 1..  shallow-water......           0.340             197              67
                                             deep-water.........           0.070             395              28
4....................  September 1-October   shallow-water......           0.340             148              50
                        1.
                                             deep-water.........           0.070               0               0
5....................  October 1-December    all targets........           0.205             296              61
                        31.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 74095]]

Non-AFA Crab Vessel Groundfish Sideboard Limits

    Section 680.22 establishes groundfish catch limits for vessels with 
a history of participation in the Bering Sea snow crab fishery to 
prevent these vessels from using the increased flexibility provided by 
the Crab Rationalization Program to expand their level of participation 
in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Sideboard limits restrict these 
vessels' catch to their collective historical landings in each GOA 
groundfish fishery (except the fixed-gear sablefish fishery). Sideboard 
limits also apply to landings made using an LLP license derived from 
the history of a restricted vessel, even if that LLP license is used on 
another vessel.
    The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the 
final rules implementing the major provisions of the Crab 
Rationalization Program, including Amendments 18 and 19 to the Fishery 
Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs 
(Crab FMP) (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005) and Amendment 34 to the Crab 
FMP (76 FR 35772, June 20, 2011). In addition, Amendment 83 to the GOA 
FMP (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011) further modified the calculation of 
these sideboard limits.
    Table 16 lists these proposed 2014 and 2015 groundfish sideboard 
limitations for non-AFA crab vessels. All targeted or incidental catch 
of sideboard species made by non-AFA crab vessels or associated LLP 
licenses will be deducted from these sideboard limits.

 Table 16--Proposed 2014 and 2015 GOA Non-American Fisheries Act Crab Vessel Groundfish Harvest Sideboard Limits
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                       Proposed
                                                                        Ratio of 1996-                 2014 and
                                                                         2000 non-AFA     Proposed    2015 non-
            Species                  Season/gear      Area/component/     crab vessel     2014 and     AFA crab
                                                            gear        catch to 1996-   2015 TACs      vessel
                                                                          2000 total                  sideboard
                                                                            harvest                     limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock........................  A Season, January   Shumagin (610)...          0.0098        3,921           38
                                  20-March 10.
                                                     Chirikof (620)...          0.0031       15,015           47
                                                     Kodiak (630).....          0.0002        5,481            1
                                 B Season, March 10- Shumagin (610)...          0.0098        3,920           38
                                  May 31.
                                                     Chirikof (620)...          0.0031       18,102           56
                                                     Kodiak (630).....          0.0002        2,393            0
                                 C Season, August    Shumagin (610)...          0.0098        8,903           87
                                  25-October 1.
                                                     Chirikof (620)...          0.0031        6,944           22
                                                     Kodiak (630).....          0.0002        8,568            2
                                 D Season, October   Shumagin (610)...          0.0098        8,903           87
                                  1-November 1.
                                                     Chirikof (620)...          0.0031        6,944           22
                                                     Kodiak (630).....          0.0002        8,568            2
                                 Annual............  WYK (640)........          0.0000        3,093            0
                                                     SEO (650)........          0.0000       10,774            0
Pacific cod....................  A Season,\1\        W Jig CV.........          0.0000       13,262            0
                                  January 1-June 10.
                                                     W Hook-and-line            0.0004       13,262            5
                                                      CV.
                                                     W Hook-and-line C/         0.0018       13,262           24
                                                      P.
                                                     W Pot CV.........          0.0997       13,262        1,322
                                                     W Pot C/P........          0.0078       13,262          103
                                                     W Trawl CV.......          0.0007       13,262            9
                                                     C Jig CV.........          0.0000       23,113            0
                                                     C Hook-and-line            0.0001       23,113            2
                                                      CV.
                                                     C Hook-and-line C/         0.0012       23,113           28
                                                      P.
                                                     C Pot CV.........          0.0474       23,113        1,096
                                                     C Pot C/P........          0.0136       23,113          314
                                                     C Trawl CV.......          0.0012       23,113           28
                                 B Season,\2\        W Jig CV.........          0.0000        8,841            0
                                  September 1-
                                  December 31.
                                                     W Hook-and-line            0.0004        8,841            4
                                                      CV.
                                                     W Hook-and-line C/         0.0018        8,841           16
                                                      P.
                                                     W Pot CV.........          0.0997        8,841          881
                                                     W Pot C/P........          0.0078        8,841           69
                                                     W Trawl CV.......          0.0007        8,841            6
                                                     C Jig CV.........          0.0000       15,409            0
                                                     C Hook-and-line            0.0001       15,409            2
                                                      CV.
                                                     C Hook-and-line C/         0.0012       15,409           18
                                                      P.
                                                     C Pot CV.........          0.0474       15,409          730
                                                     C Pot C/P........          0.0136       15,409          210
                                                     C Trawl CV.......          0.0012       15,409           18
                                 Annual............  E inshore........          0.0110        2,273           25
                                                     E offshore.......          0.0000          253            0
Sablefish......................  Annual, trawl gear  W................          0.0000          328            0
                                                     C................          0.0000        1,039            0

[[Page 74096]]

 
                                                     E................          0.0000          245            0
Flatfish, shallow-water........  Annual............  W................          0.0059       13,250           78
                                                     C................          0.0001       18,000            2
                                                     E................          0.0000        5,391            0
Flatfish, deep-water...........  Annual............  W................          0.0035          176            1
                                                     C................          0.0000        2,308            0
                                                     E................          0.0000        2,642            0
Rex sole.......................  Annual............  W................          0.0000        1,287            0
                                                     C................          0.0000        6,310            0
                                                     E................          0.0000        1,645            0
Arrowtooth flounder............  Annual............  W................          0.0004       14,500            6
                                                     C................          0.0001       75,000            8
                                                     E................          0.0000       13,800            0
Flathead sole..................  Annual............  W................          0.0002        8,650            2
                                                     C................          0.0004       15,400            6
                                                     E................          0.0000        6,582            0
Pacific ocean perch............  Annual............  W................          0.0000        2,005            0
                                                     C................          0.0000       10,740            0
                                                     E................          0.0000        3,388            0
Northern rockfish..............  Annual............  W................          0.0005        1,899            1
                                                     C................          0.0000        2,951            0
Shortraker rockfish............  Annual............  W................          0.0013          104            0
                                                     C................          0.0012          452            1
                                                     E................          0.0009          525            0
Dusky rockfish.................  Annual............  W................          0.0017          354            1
                                                     C................          0.0000        3,317            0
                                                     E................          0.0000          742            0
Rougheye rockfish..............  Annual............  W................          0.0067           83            1
                                                     C................          0.0047          871            4
                                                     E................          0.0008          300            0
Demersal shelf rockfish........  Annual............  SEO..............          0.0000          303            0
Thornyhead rockfish............  Annual............  W................          0.0047          150            1
                                                     C................          0.0066          766            5
                                                     E................          0.0045          749            3
Other rockfish.................  Annual............  W................          0.0035           44            0
                                                     C................          0.0033          606            2
                                                     E................          0.0000          430            0
Atka mackerel..................  Annual............  Gulfwide.........          0.0000        2,000            0
Big skate......................  Annual............  W................          0.0392          469           18
                                                     C................          0.0159        1,793           29
                                                     E................          0.0000        1,505            0
Longnose skate.................  Annual............  W................          0.0392           70            3
                                                     C................          0.0159        1,879           30
                                                     E................          0.0000          676            0
Other skates...................  Annual............  Gulfwide.........          0.0176        2,030           36
Sculpins.......................  Annual............  Gulfwide.........          0.0176        5,884          104
Sharks.........................  Annual............  Gulfwide.........          0.0176        6,028          106
Squids.........................  Annual............  Gulfwide.........          0.0176        1,148           20
Octopuses......................  Annual............  Gulfwide.........          0.0176        1,455           26
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and Halibut PSC Limitations

    The Rockfish Program establishes three classes of sideboard 
provisions: CV groundfish sideboard restrictions, C/P rockfish 
sideboard restrictions, and C/P opt-out vessel sideboard restrictions. 
These sideboards are intended to limit the ability of rockfish 
harvesters to expand into other fisheries.
    CVs participating in the Rockfish Program may not participate in 
directed fishing for dusky rockfish, northern rockfish, and Pacific 
ocean perch in the Western GOA and West Yakutat Districts from July 1 
through July 31. Also, CVs may not participate in directed fishing for 
arrowtooth flounder, deep-water flatfish, and rex sole in the GOA from 
July 1 through July 31 (Sec.  679.82(d)).
    Catcher/processors participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives 
are restricted by rockfish and halibut PSC sideboard limits. These C/Ps 
are prohibited from directed fishing for

[[Page 74097]]

northern rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and dusky rockfish in the 
Western GOA and West Yakutat District from July 1 through July 31. 
Holders of C/P-designated LLP licenses that opt-out of participating in 
a rockfish cooperative will receive the portion of each sideboard limit 
that is not assigned to rockfish cooperatives. Table 17 lists the 
proposed 2014 and 2015 Rockfish Program C/P rockfish sideboard limits 
in the Western GOA and West Yakutat District. Due to confidentiality 
requirements associated with fisheries data, the sideboard limits for 
the West Yakutat District are not displayed.

 Table 17--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Rockfish Program Harvest Limits for the Western GOA and West Yakutat District
                                   by Fishery for the Catcher/Processor Sector
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                   Proposed 2014
               Area                       Fishery         C/P sector  (% of TAC)   Proposed 2014   and 2015 C/P
                                                                                   and 2015 TACs       limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western GOA......................  Dusky rockfish......  72.3...................             354             256
                                   Pacific ocean perch.  50.6...................           2,005           1,015
                                   Northern rockfish...  74.3...................           1,899           1,411
West Yakutat District............  Dusky rockfish......  Confid.\1\.............             465             N/A
                                   Pacific ocean perch.  Confid.\1\.............           1,613             N/A
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Not released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data established by NMFS and
  the State of Alaska.

    The C/P sector is subject to halibut PSC sideboard limits for the 
trawl deep-water and shallow-water species fisheries from July 1 
through July 31. No halibut PSC sideboard limits apply to the CV sector 
as vessels participating in a rockfish cooperative receive a portion of 
the annual halibut PSC limit. C/Ps that opt-out of the Rockfish Program 
would be able to access that portion of the deep-water and shallow-
water halibut PSC sideboard limit not assigned to C/P rockfish 
cooperatives. The sideboard provisions for C/Ps that elect to opt-out 
of participating in a rockfish cooperative are described in Sec.  
679.82(c), (e), and (f). Sideboards are linked to the catch history of 
specific vessels that may choose to opt-out. The applications for C/Ps 
electing to opt-out are due to NMFS on March 1 of each calendar year; 
therefore, NMFS cannot calculate proposed 2014 and 2015 allocations. 
Once opt-out applications (if any) are received in 2014, the ratios and 
amounts used to calculate opt-out sideboard ratios will be known. NMFS 
will then calculate any applicable opt-out sideboards and post these 
allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/goarat/default.htm) when 
they have been prepared.
    Table 18 lists the 2014 and 2015 proposed Rockfish Program halibut 
PSC limits for the C/P sector.

                       Table 18--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Rockfish Program Halibut Mortality Limits for the Catcher/Processor Sector
                                                     [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      Shallow-water      Deep-water                     Annual shallow-    Annual deep-
                                                                     species fishery  species fishery   Annual halibut   water species    water species
                               Sector                                  halibut PSC       halibut PSC   mortality limit  fishery halibut  fishery halibut
                                                                     sideboard ratio  sideboard ratio        (mt)        PSC sideboard    PSC sideboard
                                                                        (percent)        (percent)                         limit (mt)       limit (mt)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catcher/processor..................................................            0.10             2.50            1,973                2               49
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If approved by the Secretary, implementation of Amendment 95 would 
phase in a 15-percent reduction to the Rockfish Program halibut PSC 
sideboard limits.

Amendment 80 Program Groundfish Sideboard and PSC Limits

    Amendment 80 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (Amendment 80 Program) 
established a limited access privilege program for the non-AFA trawl C/
P sector. To limit the ability of participants eligible for the 
Amendment 80 Program to expand their harvest efforts in the GOA, the 
Amendment 80 Program established groundfish and halibut PSC limits for 
Amendment 80 Program participants.
    Section 679.92 establishes groundfish harvesting sideboard limits 
on all Amendment 80 Program vessels, other than the F/V Golden Fleece, 
to amounts no greater than the limits shown in Table 37 to part 679. 
Under regulations at Sec.  679.92(d), the F/V Golden Fleece is 
prohibited from directed fishing for pollock, Pacific cod, Pacific 
ocean perch, dusky rockfish, and northern rockfish in the GOA.
    Groundfish sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels 
operating in the GOA are based on their average aggregate harvests from 
1998 to 2004. Table 19 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 sideboard 
limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels. NMFS will deduct all targeted 
or incidental catch of sideboard species made by Amendment 80 Program 
vessels from the sideboard limits in Table 19.

[[Page 74098]]



        Table 19--Proposed 2014 and 2015 GOA Groundfish Sideboard Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Ratio of                      Proposed 2014
                                                                   Amendment 80                      and 2015
                                                                      sector       Proposed 2014   Amendment 80
           Species                  Season             Area        vessels 1998-   and 2015 TAC       vessel
                                                                   2004 catch to       (mt)         sideboards
                                                                        TAC                            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock......................  A Season,         Shumagin (610).           0.003           3,921              12
                                January 20-      Chirikof (620).           0.002          15,015              30
                                February 25.     Kodiak (630)...           0.002           5,481              11
                               B Season, March   Shumagin (610).           0.003           3,920              12
                                10-May 31.       Chirikof (620).           0.002          18,102              36
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002           2,393               5
                               C Season, August  Shumagin (610).           0.003           8,903              27
                                25-September 15. Chirikof (620).           0.002           6,944              14
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002           8,568              17
                               D Season,         Shumagin (610).           0.003           8,903              27
                                October 1-       Chirikof (620).           0.002           6,944              14
                                November 1.      Kodiak (630)...           0.002           8,568              17
                               Annual..........  WYK (640)......           0.002           3,093               6
Pacific cod..................  A Season,\1\      W..............           0.020          13,262             265
                                January 1-June   C..............           0.044          23,113           1,017
                                10.
                               B Season,\2\      W..............           0.020           8,841             177
                                September 1-     C..............           0.044          15,409             678
                                December 31.
                               Annual..........  WYK............           0.034           2,526              86
Pacific ocean perch..........  Annual..........  W..............           0.994           2,005           1,993
                                                 WYK............           0.961           1,613           1,550
Northern rockfish............  Annual..........  W..............           1.000           1,899           1,899
Dusky rockfish...............  Annual..........  W..............           0.764             354             270
                                                 WYK............           0.896             465             417
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

    The halibut PSC sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels 
in the GOA are based on the historic use of halibut PSC by Amendment 80 
Program vessels in each PSC target category from 1998 through 2004. 
These values are slightly lower than the average historic use to 
accommodate two factors: Allocation of halibut PSC cooperative quota 
under the Rockfish Program and the exemption of the F/V Golden Fleece 
from this restriction (Sec.  679.92(b)(2)).
    Table 20 lists the proposed 2014 and 2015 halibut PSC limits for 
Amendment 80 Program vessels, as contained in Table 38 to 50 CFR part 
679.

    Table 20--Proposed 2014 and 2015 Halibut PSC Sideboard Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels in the GOA
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Historic                      Proposed 2014
                                                                   Amendment 80    Proposed 2014     and 2015
                                                                    use of the       and 2015      Amendment 80
        Season             Season dates        Fishery category   annual halibut    annual PSC      vessel PSC
                                                                     PSC limit      limit (mt)       sideboard
                                                                      (ratio)                       limit (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1....................  January 20-April 1..  shallow-water......          0.0048           1,973               9
                                             deep-water.........          0.0115           1,973              23
2....................  April 1-July 1......  shallow-water......          0.0189           1,973              37
                                             deep-water.........          0.1072           1,973             212
3....................  July 1-September 1..  shallow-water......          0.0146           1,973              29
                                             deep-water.........          0.0521           1,973             103
4....................  September 1-October   shallow-water......          0.0074           1,973              15
                        1.
                                             deep-water.........          0.0014           1,973               3
5....................  October 1-December    shallow-water......          0.0227           1,973              45
                        31.
                                             deep-water.........          0.0371           1,973              73
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Classification

    NMFS has determined that the proposed harvest specifications are 
consistent with the FMP and preliminarily determined that the proposed 
harvest specifications are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and 
other applicable laws.
    This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866 and 13563.
    NMFS prepared an EIS for this action and made it available to the 
public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On

[[Page 74099]]

February 13, 2007, NMFS issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the 
EIS. Copies of the EIS and ROD for this action are available from NMFS 
(see ADDRESSES). The EIS analyzes the environmental consequences of the 
proposed groundfish harvest specifications and alternative harvest 
strategies on resources in the action area. The EIS found no 
significant environmental consequences from the proposed action or its 
alternatives.
    NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) as 
required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 
analyzing the methodology for establishing the relevant TACs. The IRFA 
evaluated the impacts on small entities of alternative harvest 
strategies for the groundfish fisheries in the EEZ off Alaska. As set 
forth in the methodology, TACs are set to a level that fall within the 
range of ABCs recommended by the SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve 
the OY specified in the FMP. While the specific numbers that the 
methodology produces may vary from year to year, the methodology itself 
remains constant.
    A description of the proposed action, why it is being considered, 
and the legal basis for this proposed action are contained in the 
preamble above. A copy of the analysis is available from NMFS (see 
ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows.
    The action under consideration is a harvest strategy to govern the 
catch of groundfish in the GOA. The preferred alternative is the 
existing harvest strategy in which TACs fall within the range of ABCs 
recommended by the SSC. This action is taken in accordance with the FMP 
prepared by the Council pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    The entities directly regulated by this action are those that 
harvest groundfish in the EEZ of the GOA and in parallel fisheries 
within State waters. These include entities operating CVs and C/Ps 
within the action area and entities receiving direct allocations of 
groundfish. On June 20, 2013, the Small Business Administration issued 
a final rule revising the small business size standards for several 
industries effective July 22, 2013 (78 FR 37398; June 20, 2013). The 
rule increased the size standard for Finfish Fishing from $4.0 to 19.0 
million, Shellfish Fishing from $4.0 to 5.0 million, and Other Marine 
Fishing from $4.0 to 7.0 million. The new size standards were used to 
prepare the IRFA for this action. Fishing vessels are considered small 
entities if their total annual gross receipts, from all their 
activities combined, are less than $19.0 million. The IRFA estimates 
the number of harvesting vessels that are considered small entities, 
but these estimates may overstate the number of small entities because 
(1) some vessels may also be active as tender vessels in the salmon 
fishery, fish in areas other than Alaska and the West Coast, or 
generate revenue from other non-fishing sources; and (2) all 
affiliations are not taken into account, especially if the vessel has 
affiliations not tracked in available data (i.e., ownership of multiple 
vessel or affiliation with processors) and may be misclassified as a 
small entity
    The IRFA shows that, in 2012, there were 1,424 individual catcher 
vessels with gross revenues less than or equal to $19 million. Some of 
these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, GOA 
rockfish cooperatives, or BSAI crab rationalization cooperatives. 
Therefore, under the RFA, it is the aggregate gross receipts of all 
participating members of the cooperative that must meet the ``under $19 
million'' threshold. Vessels that participate in these cooperatives are 
considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. After 
accounting for membership in these cooperatives, there are an estimated 
1,378 small catcher vessel entities remaining in the GOA groundfish 
sector. This latter group of small vessels had average gross revenues 
of about $359,000. Additionally, data presented in the IRFA indicates 
that in 2012, 32 catcher/processors grossed less than $19 million. 
Twenty-five vessels in this group were estimated to be large entities 
because of their affiliations with other vessels through an Amendment 
80 cooperative and the Freezer Longline Conservation Cooperative. After 
taking account of these affiliations, NMFS estimates that seven of 
these vessels are small entities. The average gross revenue for these 
seven small catcher/processor entities was $1.6 million.
    The preferred alternative (Alternative 2) was compared to four 
other alternatives. Alternative 1 would have set TACs to generate 
fishing rates equal to the maximum permissible ABC (if the full TAC 
were harvested), unless the sum of TACs exceeded the GOA OY, in which 
case harvests would be limited to the OY. Alternative 3 would have set 
TACs to produce fishing rates equal to the most recent 5-year average 
fishing rate. Alternative 4 would have set TACs to equal the lower 
limit of the GOA OY range. Alternative 5, the ``no action 
alternative,'' would have set TACs equal to zero.
    The TACs associated with the preferred harvest strategy are those 
adopted by the Council in October 2013, as per Alternative 2. OFLs and 
ABCs for the species were based on recommendations prepared by the 
Council's GOA Plan Team in September 2013, and reviewed by the 
Council's SSC in October 2013. The Council based its TAC 
recommendations on those of its AP, which were consistent with the 
SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations.
    Alternative 1 selects harvest rates that would allow fishermen to 
harvest stocks at the level of ABCs, unless total harvests were 
constrained by the upper bound of the GOA OY of 800,000 mt. As shown in 
Table 1 of the preamble, the sum of ABCs in 2014 and 2015 would be 
584,094 mt, which falls below the upper bound of the OY range. The sum 
of TACs is 427,068 mt, which is less than the sum of ABCs. In this 
instance, Alternative 1 is consistent with the preferred alternative 
(Alternative 2), meets the objectives of that action, and has small 
entity impacts that are equivalent to the preferred alternative. In 
some instances, the selection of Alternative 1 would not reflect the 
practical implications that increased TACs (where the sum of TACs 
equals the sum of ABCs) for some species probably would not be fully 
harvested. This could be due to a lack of commercial or market interest 
in such species. Additionally, an underharvest of some TACs could 
result due to constraints such as the fixed, and therefore 
constraining, PSC limits associated with the harvest of the GOA 
groundfish species.
    Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 
years of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for the 
most recent 5 years of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). 
This alternative is inconsistent with the objectives of this action, 
the Council's preferred harvest strategy, because it does not take 
account of the most recent biological information for this fishery. 
NMFS annually conducts at-sea stock surveys for different species, as 
well as statistical modeling, to estimate stock sizes and permissible 
harvest levels. Actual harvest rates or harvest amounts are a component 
of these estimates, but in and of themselves may not accurately portray 
stock sizes and conditions. Harvest rates are listed for each species 
category for each year in the SAFE report (see ADDRESSES).
    Alternative 4 reduces the TACs from the upper end of the OY range 
in the GOA, to its lower end of 116,000 mt, which would lead to 
significantly lower harvests of all species. Overall, this would reduce 
2014 TACs by about 73 percent and would lead to significant reductions 
in harvests of species harvested by small entities. While reductions of 
this size would be

[[Page 74100]]

associated with offsetting price increases, the size of these increases 
is very uncertain. There are close substitutes for GOA groundfish 
species available in significant quantities from the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands management area. While production declines in the GOA 
would undoubtedly be associated with significant price increases in the 
GOA, these increases would still be constrained by production of 
substitutes, and are very unlikely to offset revenue declines from 
smaller production. Thus, this alternative would have a detrimental 
impact on small entities.
    Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, would have a 
significant adverse economic impact on small entities and would be 
contrary to obligations to achieve OY on a continuing basis, as 
mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Under Alternative 5, all 1,378 
individual catcher vessels impacted by this rule would have gross 
revenues of $0. Additionally, the seven small catcher/processor 
impacted by this rule also would have gross revenues of $0.
    The proposed harvest specifications (Alternative 2) extend the 
current 2014 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs to 2014 and 2015. As noted in the 
IRFA, the Council may modify these OFLs, ABCs, and TACs in December 
2013, when it reviews the November 2013 SAFE reports from its 
Groundfish Plan Teams, and the December 2013 meeting reports of its SSC 
and AP. Because TACs in the proposed 2014 and 2015 harvest 
specifications are unchanged from the 2014 TACs, NMFS does not expect 
adverse impacts on small entities. Also, NMFS does not expect any 
changes made by the Council in December 2013 to have significant 
adverse impacts on small entities.
    This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting 
requirements, or duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any Federal 
rules.
    Adverse impacts on marine mammals or endangered species resulting 
from fishing activities conducted under this rule are discussed in the 
EIS and its accompanying annual SIRs (see ADDRESSES).

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540(f); 16 U.S.C. 
1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105-277; Pub. L. 106-
31; Pub. L. 106-554; Pub. L. 108-199; Pub. L. 108-447; Pub. L. 109-
241; Pub. L. 109-479.

    Dated: December 3, 2013.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and 
duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-29354 Filed 12-9-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P