Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program; Amendment 45; Pacific Cod Sideboard Allocations in the Gulf of Alaska, 7817-7826 [2015-02911]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 29 / Thursday, February 12, 2015 / Proposed Rules If approved by the Secretary, proposed Amendment 108 to the BSAI FMP, proposed Amendment 100 to the GOA FMP, and proposed Amendment 46 to the Crab FMP would correct the omissions in each FMP by adding ‘‘or equal to’’ to the length limits. Specifically, these FMP amendments would add vessels 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA in the GOA and vessels 32 ft (9.8 m) LOA in the BSAI, including BSAI Crab, to the LLP exemption. Since the implementation of the LLP, fisheries in the BSAI and GOA have been conducted according to Federal regulations and not the FMP texts; therefore, there would be no impact to license holders and no change to fishing behavior or fisheries management in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska if these amendments are approved. These amendments are necessary to make the three FMPs consistent with the original intent of the Council and Secretary, current operations in the fisheries, and Federal regulations. The inconsistencies among FMP text, regulatory text, and Council and Secretarial intent were not identified until August 2014. Public comments are being solicited on the proposed FMP amendments and must be received by the end of the comment period (see DATES) on Amendment 108 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 100 to the GOA FMP, and Amendment 46 to the Crab FMP to be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on each amendment. All comments received by the end of the comment period will be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on the amendments. To be considered, comments must be received, not just postmarked or otherwise transmitted, by the end of the comment period. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: February 6, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–02890 Filed 2–11–15; 8:45 am] Rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:51 Feb 11, 2015 Jkt 235001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 680 [Docket No. 130820737–5111–01] RIN 0648–BD61 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program; Amendment 45; Pacific Cod Sideboard Allocations in the Gulf of Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS issues a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 45 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP). If approved, Amendment 45 would establish, for a limited period of time, a process for NMFS to permanently remove Pacific cod catch limits, known as sideboard limits, which are applicable to certain hook-and-line catcher/processors in the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Regulatory Areas. This action would authorize NMFS to remove these Pacific cod sideboard limits in the Central and/or Western GOA if all eligible participants in the hook-andline catcher/processor sector in a regulatory area sign and submit a request that NMFS remove the sideboard limit. Each eligible participant would be required to submit the request to NMFS within 1 year of the date of publication of a final rule implementing Amendment 45, if it is approved by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). This action is necessary to provide participants in the Central and Western GOA hook-and-line catcher/ processor sectors with an opportunity to cooperatively coordinate harvests of Pacific cod through private arrangement to the participants’ mutual benefit, which would remove the need for sideboard limits in these regulatory areas. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Crab FMP, and other applicable laws. DATES: Submit comments on or before March 16, 2015. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 7817 You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2013-0133, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20130133, 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. 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 following documents may be obtained from http://www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov: • The Regulatory Impact Review/ Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RIR/IRFA), and the Categorical Exclusion prepared for this action (collectively referred to as the ‘‘Analysis’’); • The Harvest Specifications Supplemental Information Report (SIR) prepared for the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications; • The Final Environmental Assessment/Final RIR/Initial IRFA for Amendment 83 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP) Allocation of Pacific cod Among Sectors in the Western and Central GOA; and • The Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (Harvest Specifications EIS). Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this action may be submitted to NMFS at the above address and by email to OIRA_ ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1 Rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 7818 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 29 / Thursday, February 12, 2015 / Proposed Rules Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax to 202– 395–5806. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Seanbob Kelly, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: MFS proposes regulations to implement Amendment 45 to the Crab FMP. The king and Tanner crab fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands are managed under the Crab FMP. While the groundfish fisheries in the EEZ of the Gulf of Alaska are managed primarily under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP), some aspects of groundfish fishing in the Gulf of Alaska are managed under the Crab FMP. The Council prepared each fishery management plan pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws. Regulations implementing the Crab FMP appear at 50 CFR part 680. Regulations implementing the GOA FMP appear at 50 CFR part 679. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600. This proposed action would establish, for a limited period of time, a regulatory process for NMFS to permanently remove Pacific cod catch limits, known as sideboard limits, that are applicable to some participants in the Central GOA Regulatory Area (Central GOA) and Western GOA Regulatory Area (Western GOA) hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors. This proposed rule would modify regulations at 50 CFR 680.22(e) that currently require NMFS to establish Pacific cod sideboard limits for hookand-line catcher/processors during the annual harvest specification process. Under this proposed rule, NMFS would not establish these sideboard limits for the Central or Western GOA if all participants eligible to use a hook-andline catcher/processor to fish for Pacific cod in the regulatory area sign and submit to NMFS a request that NMFS remove the sideboard limit for that regulatory area. Each eligible participant would be required to submit that request to NMFS within 1 year of the date of publication of a final rule implementing Amendment 45, if approved by the Secretary. Each eligible participant in the Central and/or Western GOA must sign an affidavit, included on a form, to request that NMFS no longer establish Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector in the Central and/or Western GOA. If NMFS receives the required affidavits within the time provided, NMFS would announce the permanent removal of the Central and/ or Western GOA sideboard limits during VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:51 Feb 11, 2015 Jkt 235001 the annual GOA groundfish specification process and would no longer establish Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line catcher/ processor sector in the Central and/or Western GOA. If NMFS does not receive the required affidavits within the time provided, NMFS would continue to establish GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line catcher/ processor sectors through the annual GOA groundfish specification process. To understand the proposed action, the following sections of the preamble describe: (1) General management of Pacific cod in the Central and Western GOA; (2) GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits established under the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) Crab Rationalization Program; (3) recent allocations of Pacific cod in the GOA; (4) the effect of Pacific cod sideboard limits on hook-and-line catcher/processors in the Central and Western GOA; and (5) the proposed action. be effectively managed. Similarly, sideboard limits are calculated as a portion of the TACs for some groundfish species and established in the annual harvest specifications. Sideboard limits constrain harvests by specific vessels based on regulatory requirements established under various management programs. Specific to this proposed action, the Council recommends, and NMFS implements an OFL and ABC for Pacific cod in the GOA, and separate TACs for the Eastern, Central, and Western GOA Pacific cod fisheries. NMFS limits harvest by vessels participating in the Pacific cod fisheries to these TACs to provide for a conservatively managed sustainable yield throughout the GOA. Once the TACs have been established, NMFS apportions each TAC among various gear types (e.g., pot or trawl gear), operation types (e.g., catcher vessels and catcher/processors), and sectors (e.g., hook-and-line catcher/ processors) as required by regulation (see regulations at § 679.20(a)). Based on General Management of Pacific Cod in the regulatory area TACs for Eastern, the Central and Western GOA Central, and Western GOA, as divided NMFS implements conservation and by the A season and B season, NMFS management measures, such as catch establishes sideboard limits for Pacific limits, to prevent overfishing while cod, as required by regulations (for achieving the optimum yield in example, see regulations at § 680.22(a) federally managed fisheries. Catch and (d)). The resulting sideboard limits, limits for GOA Pacific cod are expressed in metric tons, are published established as part of the annual harvest in the annual GOA groundfish harvest specifications process for GOA specification notices (for the most recent groundfish. A detailed description of example, see 79 FR 12890, March 6, the annual harvest specification process 2014). As described in more detail in is provided in the Harvest the following sections of this preamble, Specifications EIS (see ADDRESSES), the NMFS manages vessels subject to Harvest Specifications SIR (see Pacific cod sideboard limits to ensure ADDRESSES), and the final 2014 and 2015 that these limits are not exceeded. harvest specifications for groundfish of NMFS also manages Pacific cod the GOA (79 FR 12890, March 6, 2014). fisheries through the License Limitation Regulations at § 679.20(a) require that Program (LLP). A vessel is required to the North Pacific Fishery Management be named on an LLP license before it Council (Council) annually recommend, can be deployed to directed fish (i.e., and NMFS specify, an amount of catch specifically target) for groundfish in at which overfishing is occurring (i.e., Federal fisheries in the GOA. The term overfishing level or OFL), an acceptable ‘‘directed fishing’’ is defined in biological catch (ABC), and a total regulation at § 679.2. NMFS has issued allowable catch (TAC) for each stock or a specific number of LLP licenses, stock complex (i.e., species or species which establish an upper limit on the group). NMFS defines the ABC as the total number of potential participants in level of a species or species group’s GOA groundfish fisheries. LLP licenses annual catch that accounts for the are assigned endorsements for specific scientific uncertainty in the estimate of areas (e.g., Central or Western GOA), OFL and any other scientific specific gear (e.g., trawl or hook-anduncertainty. The ABC is always set line gear), operation type (e.g., catcher below the OFL. The TAC is defined as vessel or catcher/processor), and in the the annual catch target for a species or case of vessels using hook-and-line or species group that is derived from the pot gear in the Central and Western ABC after considering social and GOA Pacific cod fisheries, a Pacific cod economic factors and management endorsement. LLP licenses must have uncertainty. Separate TACs are the necessary endorsements for the fishing to be conducted. For example, in calculated using the apportionment of order for a vessel to be used to conduct TAC for specific regulatory areas to limit catch and ensure that fisheries can directed fishing for Pacific cod in the PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 29 / Thursday, February 12, 2015 / Proposed Rules Rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Central GOA as a hook-and-line catcher/ processor, the vessel must be named on an LLP license that has hook-and-line, catcher/processor, and Pacific cod endorsements for the Central GOA. Additional detail on the LLP is available in the final rule implementing the LLP (63 FR 52642, October 1, 1998), and in the final rule implementing Amendment 86 to the GOA FMP, which established Pacific cod endorsement requirements for hook-and-line and pot gear in the Central and Western GOA (March 22, 2011, 76 FR 15826). GOA Pacific Cod Sideboard Limits Established Under the BSAI Crab Rationalization Program The BSAI Crab Rationalization Program (CR Program) was implemented in 2005 and established a catch share program that allocates BSAI crab resources among harvesters, processors, and coastal communities (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005). As part of the CR Program, eligible vessel owners and vessel captains were allocated quota share (QS) in several valuable crab fisheries, including the Bering Sea snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) fishery (see Table 1 to 50 CFR part 680 and § 680.40(a) for a complete list of fisheries). The amount of crab QS assigned to each harvester is based on historic landings in these fisheries (see regulations at § 680.40(c)). The QS allocated to historic participants in the crab fisheries represents an exclusive harvest privilege, commonly known as a catch share. A catch share provides each qualified harvester with an annual allocation of a portion of the available TAC for each target species. As a catch share program, the CR Program benefits eligible harvesters by allowing them to tailor their fishing to their specific exclusive harvest allocation. This allows harvesters to avoid a ‘‘race for fish,’’ in which participants compete against each other to maximize their catch before the TAC is reached. The CR Program provides increased flexibility for crab fishermen to choose when and where to fish or whether to lease their crab QS and fish for species other than crab. The Council and NMFS recognized that the benefits of the CR Program could create incentives for recipients of snow crab QS to increase their level of participation in groundfish fisheries, especially Pacific cod fisheries in the Central and Western GOA. Vessel owners that received snow crab QS were active in Pacific cod fisheries, and to a lesser extent pollock and other groundfish fisheries, in the GOA. Therefore, vessel owners receiving snow crab QS could increase their fishing VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:51 Feb 11, 2015 Jkt 235001 effort in GOA groundfish fisheries because the allocation of snow crab QS provides an exclusive harvest privilege to each eligible vessel owner that can be leased, thereby providing the opportunity for those vessel owners to forgo crab harvests in the BSAI to directed fish for Pacific cod and other groundfish in the GOA. Regulations implementing the CR Program established catch restrictions, known as CR Program GOA sideboards, to limit the potential adverse effects of the CR Program on GOA groundfish fisheries. These sideboards prevent CR Program participants from preempting fishermen in the GOA that did not receive benefits from the CR Program. The final rule implementing the CR Program (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005) and Section 1.1.3 of the Analysis provide additional detail on the rationale for specific provisions of CR Program GOA sideboards. This preamble provides a summary of relevant provisions. CR Program GOA sideboards apply to the owners and operators of vessels that (1) are not authorized to conduct directed fishing for pollock under the American Fisheries Act (AFA) of 1998 (Pub. L. 105–227, Title II of Division C); and (2) were used to fish for Bering Sea snow crab from 1996 through 2000. For this preamble, these vessels are termed ‘‘non-AFA crab vessels.’’ CR Program GOA sideboards also apply to any vessel that fishes under the authority of an LLP license originally issued to a non-AFA crab vessel. For this preamble, these LLP licenses are termed ‘‘non-AFA crab LLP licenses.’’ When developing the CR Program GOA sideboards, the Council and NMFS recognized that individual non-AFA crab vessels and associated non-AFA crab LLP licenses had varying levels of historical participation in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Therefore, the Council and NMFS established two broad categories of CR Program GOA sideboards: (1) Sideboard limits for groundfish species other than Pacific cod that apply to all non-AFA crab vessels and non-AFA crab LLP licenses; and (2) sideboard provisions for Pacific cod that apply to all non-AFA crab vessels and non-AFA crab LLP licenses but that vary depending on the specific harvest patterns of the non-AFA crab vessel and its associated non-AFA crab LLP license. Because this proposed action would not modify GOA sideboard limits for groundfish species other than Pacific cod, only the GOA Pacific cod sideboard provisions are further described in this preamble. The CR Program establishes three separate GOA Pacific cod sideboard PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 7819 provisions based on historic fishing patterns for Bering Sea snow crab and GOA Pacific cod by non-AFA crab vessels from 1996 through 2000. Many vessels active in the Bering Sea snow crab fisheries during this time also used pot gear to fish for Pacific cod in the GOA because the gear is similar to the pot gear used for fishing crab, and the vessels were well-suited to fishing for Pacific cod. Specifically, some non-AFA crab vessels, and the non-AFA crab LLP licenses associated with those vessels, had relatively little participation in GOA Pacific cod fisheries and relatively high levels of participation in Bering Sea snow crab fisheries; some had relatively high levels of participation in GOA Pacific cod fisheries and relatively little participation in Bering Sea snow crab fisheries; and some had relatively moderate levels of participation in both GOA Pacific cod fisheries and Bering Sea snow crab fisheries. To recognize these three different participation patterns, the CR Program established three types of GOA Pacific cod sideboard provisions for non-AFA crab vessels and non-AFA crab LLP licenses. These three CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard provisions are: (1) A prohibition on directed fishing for GOA Pacific cod for those non-AFA crab vessels and LLP licenses that had relatively little participation in GOA Pacific cod fisheries and relatively high levels of participation in Bering Sea snow crab fisheries; (2) a GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit for those non-AFA crab vessels and LLP licenses that had relatively moderate levels of participation in both GOA Pacific cod fisheries and Bering Sea snow crab fisheries; and (3) an exemption from the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for those non-AFA crab vessels and LLP licenses that had relatively high levels of participation in GOA Pacific cod fisheries and relatively little participation in Bering Sea snow crab fisheries. Because this proposed action would not modify the prohibition on directed fishing for GOA Pacific cod or the exemption from CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits, only the sideboard provision described under (2) above that imposes GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits is further described in this preamble. Those non-AFA crab vessels and nonAFA crab LLP licenses that are not prohibited from directed fishing for GOA Pacific cod or exempt from GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits are subject to specific annual limits on the maximum amount of Pacific cod that can be caught. These annual limits are known as CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. These CR Program E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1 Rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 7820 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 29 / Thursday, February 12, 2015 / Proposed Rules GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits are calculated based on the proportion of the GOA Pacific cod TACs in the Eastern, Central, and Western GOA harvested from 1996 through 2000 by non-AFA crab vessels subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits (see regulations at § 680.22(a)(1)). The CR Program created separate Pacific cod sideboard limits for the Eastern, Central, and Western GOA. CR Program GOA sideboard limits are established through the annual harvest specifications. Because the final annual harvest specifications for 2005 were effective before the final rule for the CR Program was effective, the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits were first implemented in 2006 in the final 2006 and 2007 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (71 FR 10870, March 3, 2006). During a fishing year, NMFS manages CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits by tracking all catch of vessels subject to a sideboard limit to make sure the sideboard limits are not exceeded. NMFS opens directed fishing for GOA Pacific cod in a specific regulatory area by vessels subject to the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit when it determines that all Pacific cod catch by those vessels, in directed fisheries and as incidental catch, would not exceed the sideboard limit in that area (see regulations at § 680.22(e)). NMFS prohibits directed fishing for GOA Pacific cod in a specific regulatory area by vessels subject to the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit when it determines that the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit is reached or the remainder of the sideboard limit is needed to account for incidental catch of Pacific cod by those vessels in other fisheries. NMFS will prohibit directed fishing for GOA Pacific cod in a specific regulatory area by vessels subject to the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit through the annual harvest specifications if NMFS determines at the start of the fishing year that the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit is insufficient to support a directed fishery by those vessels (see regulations at § 680.22(e)(2) and (3)). Some of the vessels and LLP licenses active in the hook-and-line catcher/ processor sector are subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. In general, the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector operates primarily in the BSAI, and to a lesser extent in the Central and Western GOA. The hook-and-line catcher/processor sector primarily targets Pacific cod. Recent estimates indicate that nearly 90 percent of the revenue from the hookand-line catcher/processor sector is VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:51 Feb 11, 2015 Jkt 235001 generated from directed fishing for Pacific cod (Section 1.6.2 of the Analysis provides additional detail on catch and revenue by the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector). According to Section 1.6 of the Analysis, the hook-and-line catcher/ processor sector operating in the EEZ off Alaska currently consists of 36 vessels. NMFS has determined that eight of these 36 vessels are subject to the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. The Federal Fisheries Permit (FFP) issued by NMFS to each of these eight vessels includes a designation indicating that the vessel is subject to the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. Of the LLP licenses that authorize a vessel to participate in the Central and/or Western GOA Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor sector, NMFS has determined that five LLP licenses are subject to the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. These five LLP licenses include a designation indicating that the license is subject to the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits (see Section 1.6 of the Analysis for more detail). NMFS has determined that the number of vessels subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits and that have been used as hook-and-line catcher/processors in the GOA (eight vessels) is slightly more than the number of vessels identified in the analysis available to the Council at the time the Council recommended this proposed action (six vessels). NMFS has identified the following list of eight vessels that have operated as hook-andline catcher/processors in the GOA and that are subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits: Aleutian Lady; Baranof; Beauty Bay; Bering Prowler; Blue Attu; Courageous; Siberian Sea; and US Liberator. NMFS has revised the Analysis to provide a full description of the vessels subject to the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits and updated the assessment of the impacts of this proposed action. Section 1.6 of the Analysis provides additional detail. The following sections of the preamble describe the allocation of Pacific cod in the GOA and the effects of this allocation on the management of CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits in the Central and Western GOA. Allocations of Pacific Cod in the GOA For the last 20 years, Pacific cod in the GOA has been managed under two management regimes—inshore/offshore management from the early 1990s through 2011 and sector management under Amendment 83 to the GOA FMP (Amendment 83) from 2012 until the PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 present. Prior to 2012, Pacific cod in the GOA was apportioned on the basis of processor component (i.e., an inshore and an offshore component) and season, commonly known as inshore/offshore management. Under inshore/offshore management, 90 percent of the Eastern, Central, and Western GOA Pacific cod TACs were allocated to vessels catching Pacific cod for processing by the inshore component, and 10 percent to vessels catching Pacific cod for processing by the offshore component. In 2007, the Council recognized that, under inshore/ offshore management, competition among participants in the Central and Western GOA Pacific cod fisheries had intensified beginning around 2005 relative to prior years. Because the Central and Western GOA Pacific cod TACs were divided by inshore and offshore processing components and not among gear or operation types, a race for fish existed among vessels in the inshore and the offshore components. All vessels using various types of gear (i.e., hook-and-line, jig, pot, and trawl) competed against each other for the harvest of the GOA Pacific cod TACs. In response to this race for fish, the Council recommended, and NMFS approved, Amendment 83 in 2011 (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011). Regulations implementing Amendment 83 became effective on January 1, 2012. Amendment 83 removed inshore/ offshore management for Pacific cod in the Central and Western GOA and allocated Central and Western GOA Pacific cod TACs among a number of sectors composed of combinations of various gear types, operation types, and vessel size classes. The final rule implementing Amendment 83 defines these Pacific cod sectors (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011). Sector allocations limit the amount of Central and Western GOA Pacific cod that each sector is authorized to catch. Amendment 83 was intended to reduce competition and support stability in the Pacific cod fishery. Amendment 83 did not change Pacific cod management in the Eastern GOA because the same level of competition, or race for fish, did not exist in the Eastern GOA compared to the Central and Western GOA. Therefore, Pacific cod in the Eastern GOA is still subject to inshore/offshore management. Under the regulations implementing Amendment 83, allocations from the Central and Western GOA Pacific cod TACs are made first to the jig sector, and then to all other sectors. The allocations made to the various sectors, other than jig gear, were based on harvest during a range of years that reflected historic and recent patterns of harvest by each sector E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1 7821 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 29 / Thursday, February 12, 2015 / Proposed Rules (see the final rule implementing Amendment 83 for additional detail (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011)). Specific to this proposed action, regulations implementing Amendment 83 established sector allocations for hookand-line catcher/processors in the Central GOA and the Western GOA. The hook-and-line catcher/processor sector receives 5.10 percent of the Central GOA Pacific cod TAC after allocation to jig gear, and 19.80 percent of the Western GOA Pacific cod TAC after allocation to jig gear (see § 679.20(a)(12)(i)(A) and (B)). The allocations of Central and Western GOA Pacific cod to the hookand-line catcher/processor sector can be harvested only by vessels that are named on an LLP license with Central and/or Western GOA, Pacific cod, hookand-line, and catcher/processor endorsements (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011). A total of 23 LLP licenses are endorsed for the Pacific cod hook-andline catcher/processor sector in the Central GOA, and 18 LLP licenses are endorsed for the Pacific cod hook-andline catcher/processor sector in the Western GOA (See Section 1.5 of the Analysis). Some of these LLP licenses are endorsed for both the Central and Western GOA; therefore, a total of 30 LLP licenses are endorsed for the Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor sector in the Central or Western GOA. Twenty-seven of these 30 LLP licenses are also endorsed for the Bering Sea or Aleutian Islands Pacific cod hook-andline catcher/processor sector. The three remaining LLP licenses are not endorsed for the BSAI Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor sector, and fish exclusively in the GOA (see Section 1.5.4 of the Analysis for additional detail). The Effect of Pacific Cod Sideboard Limits on Hook-and-Line Catcher/ Processors in the Central and Western GOA The CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits affected the eight vessels and the five LLP licenses subject to the sideboard limits differently starting in 2012 under Amendment 83 than under inshore/offshore management when the CR Program was first implemented in 2006 through 2011. When the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits were implemented in 2006, CR Program Pacific cod GOA sideboard limits were divided between the inshore and offshore components in order to be consistent with inshore/ offshore management measures in effect for Pacific cod at that time. From 2006 through 2011, the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits were calculated by adding up the amount of harvest of all vessels subject to sideboards in the inshore or offshore components and dividing that by the catches of all vessels in either the inshore or offshore component to yield a sideboard ratio for the inshore and offshore components. The sideboard ratio was annually multiplied by the inshore or offshore TAC for the applicable area (e.g., Central or Western GOA) to yield a sideboard limit for that year. Finally, the sideboard limit was divided into the seasonal apportionments established for the Central and Western GOA and published in the Federal Register as part of the harvest specifications. For example, the Central GOA inshore component sideboard ratio for the Pacific cod A season (January 1 to June 10) was 0.0383, or 3.08%of the A season TAC, and the Western GOA inshore component sideboard ratio for the A season was 0.0902, or 9.02% of the A season TAC. Additional detail on this allocation process is provided in Table 16 of the final 2006 and 2007 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (71 FR 10870, March 3, 2006) and in Section 1.5.3 of the Analysis. Because the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits were allocated among the inshore and offshore components, and not allocated among gear-specific sectors (e.g., hook-and-line gear, pot gear), the owners and operators of the eight sideboarded hook-and-line catcher/processors and the hook-andline catcher/processors assigned to the five sideboarded LLP licenses competed with the other sideboarded participants in the inshore or offshore component, including vessels using other gear types (e.g., pot gear). This created a ‘‘race for sideboards’’ as the various vessels subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits in the inshore and offshore components competed amongst each other. The hook-and-line catcher/ processor sector was able to effectively harvest a large portion of the Pacific cod sideboard limits in the Central and Western GOA under these management conditions, as noted in Section 1.6.2 of the Analysis. As illustrated in Table 1, the hookand-line catcher/processor participants subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits catch more Pacific cod in the BSAI than in the GOA; however, these participants increased participation in the GOA Pacific cod fishery from 2001 through 2004 and had relatively higher Pacific cod catch rates following the implementation of the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits from 2006 through 2011 as compared to catch rates during the historic period used to calculate the sideboards (1996–2000). Since the implementation of operation and gearspecific CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits under Amendment 83 in 2012, hook-and-line catcher/ processors subject to these sideboards have not harvested GOA Pacific cod. Rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS TABLE 1—AVERAGE CATCH IN THE GOA AND BSAI BY HOOK-AND-LINE CATCHER/PROCESSORS THAT ARE CURRENTLY SUBJECT TO THE CR PROGRAM GOA PACIFIC COD SIDEBOARDS RELATIVE TO THE AVERAGE PACIFIC COD TAC AMOUNTS FOR ALL SECTORS IN THE BSAI AND GOA: 1996 THROUGH 2000, CATCH DURING THE PERIOD USED TO CALCULATE CR PROGRAM SIDEBOARDS; 2001–2004, CATCH PRIOR TO IMPLEMENTATION OF CR PROGRAM; 2005– 2011, CATCH FOLLOWING IMPLEMENTATION OF CR PROGRAM; AND 2012–2013, CATCH FOLLOWING IMPLEMENTATION OF GEAR AND OPERATION TYPE SPECIFIC CR PROGRAM GOA PACIFIC COD SIDEBOARDS UNDER AMENDMENT 83 BSAI Time period TAC (mt) 1996–2000 ............................................... 2001–2004 ............................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:51 Feb 11, 2015 Jkt 235001 Catch (mt) 224,000 202,750 PO 00000 Frm 00011 GOA Percent of TAC 7,988 15,480 Fmt 4702 4 8 Sfmt 4702 TAC (mt) 65,345 46,228 E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM Catch (mt) 266 792 12FEP1 Percent of TAC <1 2 Percent of GOA catch relative to total BSAI and GOA Pacific cod catch 3 5 7822 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 29 / Thursday, February 12, 2015 / Proposed Rules TABLE 1—AVERAGE CATCH IN THE GOA AND BSAI BY HOOK-AND-LINE CATCHER/PROCESSORS THAT ARE CURRENTLY SUBJECT TO THE CR PROGRAM GOA PACIFIC COD SIDEBOARDS RELATIVE TO THE AVERAGE PACIFIC COD TAC AMOUNTS FOR ALL SECTORS IN THE BSAI AND GOA: 1996 THROUGH 2000, CATCH DURING THE PERIOD USED TO CALCULATE CR PROGRAM SIDEBOARDS; 2001–2004, CATCH PRIOR TO IMPLEMENTATION OF CR PROGRAM; 2005– 2011, CATCH FOLLOWING IMPLEMENTATION OF CR PROGRAM; AND 2012–2013, CATCH FOLLOWING IMPLEMENTATION OF GEAR AND OPERATION TYPE SPECIFIC CR PROGRAM GOA PACIFIC COD SIDEBOARDS UNDER AMENDMENT 83—Continued BSAI Time period TAC (mt) Rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 2005–2011 ............................................... 2012–2013 ............................................... 187,816 260,500 During the development and implementation of Amendment 83, the Council and NMFS made reasoned and consistent decisions to maintain the years of catch history of GOA Pacific cod originally used to calculate the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits (i.e., 1996 through 2000). In addition, the Council and NMFS clearly chose to base the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits on harvests by specific sectors (e.g., hook-and-line catcher/processors, pot catcher/ processors). The preamble to the final rule for Amendment 83 (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011) and Section 1.5.4 of the Analysis provide additional detail. The net effect of these decisions is that CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line catcher/ processor sector are based on the harvest of Pacific cod by non-AFA crab vessels and vessels using non-AFA crab LLP licenses that operated as hook-andline catcher/processors during 1996 through 2000. Overall, there was very limited harvest of Pacific cod by non-AFA crab vessels and vessels using non-AFA crab LLP licenses operating as hook-and-line catcher/processors in the Central and Western GOA from 1996 through 2000. Therefore, the sideboard limits established under Amendment 83 for GOA Pacific cod for vessels in the hookand-line catcher/processor sector in the Central and Western GOA are a very small portion of the TACs. For example, the Central GOA hook-and-line catcher/ processor sideboard ratio for the Pacific cod A season (January 1 to June 10) is 0.0012 or 0.12% of the A season TAC, and the Western GOA hook-and-line catcher/processor sideboard ratio for the Pacific cod A season is 0.0018 or 0.18% of the A season TAC. Additional detail is provided in the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for groundfish of VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:51 Feb 11, 2015 Jkt 235001 Catch (mt) GOA Percent of TAC 22,046 31,819 12 12 TAC (mt) 53,474 63,150 the GOA (79 FR 12890, March 6, 2014), and in Section 1.5.4 of the Analysis. Since the implementation of Amendment 83, NMFS has prohibited directed fishing by participants subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits in the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector in the Central and Western GOA. NMFS has made this determination each year based on the small amount of the sideboard limits, the need to account for incidental catch of Pacific cod by sideboarded hook-andline catcher/processors in other groundfish fisheries in the Central and Western GOA, and the potential catch rates of Pacific cod by sideboarded hook-and-line catcher/processors relative to the sideboard limits. Additional information is provided in the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (79 FR 12890, March 6, 2014) and in Section 1.5.4 of the Analysis. In October 2011, the Council received public comment requesting that the Council and NMFS reconsider the method for applying the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits as proposed under Amendment 83. This comment was received prior to the publication of the final rule implementing Amendment 83 on December 1, 2011 (76 FR 74670). Representatives of hook-and-line catcher/processor sector participants, who would be subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits under Amendment 83, asserted that application of the proposed sideboard limits would eliminate the ability to directed fish in the Central and Western GOA Pacific cod fisheries. At its October 2011 meeting, the Council noted that the proposed sideboard ratios were included in the analysis for Amendment 83 and were considered by the Council at final action. As part of Amendment 83, the Council PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Catch (mt) 634 0 Percent of TAC 1 0 Percent of GOA catch relative to total BSAI and GOA Pacific cod catch 3 0 considered—and rejected—alternative methods for managing CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits (see Section 2.2.4 of the analysis prepared for Amendment 83). At the time the Council took action to recommend Amendment 83, the Council recognized that the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard ratios resulting from the revised calculation method were not likely to provide enough TAC to support directed sideboard fisheries for all catcher/processor gear types, let alone for specific catcher/processor sectors such as the hook-and-line catcher/ processor sector. After considering public comment during the October 2011 meeting, the Council did not recommend rescinding or revising the method for calculating CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits, as proposed under Amendment 83. Therefore, NMFS implemented regulations under Amendment 83 that establish separate sideboard limits by sector, including sideboard limits specific to the hook-and-line catcher/ processor sector in the Central and Western GOA (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011). However, in October 2011, the Council did initiate an analysis to examine alternative methods for managing CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits that apply to the hookand-line catcher/processor sector. During the development of this action, the Council considered the merits of removing the GOA Pacific cod hookand-line C/P sideboard limits for the sideboarded vessels and LLP licenses. Under this approach, the eight vessels and five LLP licenses would continue to have CR Program sideboard designations affixed to them, but the sideboard designation would have no effect in fisheries, such as Central and Western GOA Pacific cod, for which no sideboard limit is established. After reviewing a discussion paper at its June E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 29 / Thursday, February 12, 2015 / Proposed Rules Rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 2012 meeting, the Council developed a problem statement and alternatives, and tasked staff to prepare an initial analysis of a proposed action to remove the Pacific cod sideboard limits in the Central and Western GOA. In February 2013, the Council reviewed an initial review analysis and added the option of removing the sideboard limits only if all eligible participants in the Central and Western GOA Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors submit an affidavit asking NMFS to remove the sideboard limits. Following a review of the analysis and considering public comment, the Council recommended Amendment 45 to the Crab FMP in June 2013. This action is intended to balance the Council’s competing objectives: (1) To relieve the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for some vessels and LLP licenses that benefitted from allocations under the CR program, and (2) to protect the GOA-only participants from adverse impacts that may result from removal of those sideboard limits. Proposed Action This action is necessary to provide participants in the Central and Western GOA hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors with an opportunity to cooperatively coordinate harvests of Pacific cod through private arrangement to the participants’ mutual benefit, which would remove the need for current regulations that impose sideboard harvest restrictions on some participants in the sectors. The Council determined and NMFS agrees that making the removal of the sideboard limits contingent on the equitable cooperation of all participants in the GOA Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/ processor sectors would ensure the management stability that is necessary for removal of the sideboard limits. This action would establish the regulatory conditions that must be met prior to the removal of CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors in the Central and/or Western GOA. NMFS would remove the sideboard limits if each person holding an LLP license or LLP licenses with endorsements that authorize directed fishing for Pacific cod as a hook-and-line catcher/ processor in the Central or Western GOA (i.e., eligible participants) provide NMFS with a signed form requesting that NMFS remove the Pacific cod sideboard limit for that regulatory area. Under this proposed rule, all of the eligible participants in the Central or Western GOA would be required to submit to NMFS a completed Request to Extinguish Pacific Cod Sideboard Limit in the Central or Western GOA. The VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:51 Feb 11, 2015 Jkt 235001 Council and NMFS determined that LLP license holders best represent the eligible participants in the Central and Western GOA hook-and-line catcher/ processor sectors. As noted earlier in this preamble, an LLP license is required to deploy a vessel to conduct directed fishing for Pacific cod in the Central and Western GOA Pacific as a hook-and-line catcher/processor. Therefore, the holders of LLP licenses endorsed for Pacific cod, hook-and-line gear, and catcher/processor in the Central and/or Western GOA represent the complete range of all eligible participants. The Council and NMFS determined that the owners of vessels currently used in the Central and Western GOA hook-and-line catcher/ processor sector are not the best representation of eligible participants. Vessels that are currently used as hookand-line catcher/processors in the Central and Western GOA can become active in other fisheries, removed from the fishery, or replaced by other vessels. While vessels are needed to participate in the fishery, vessel ownership is not the defining eligibility criterion because a vessel may lack the LLP endorsements that authorize a vessel to participate in a fishery. Thus, the holders of LLP licenses with the necessary endorsements, rather than vessels owners, represent the universe of eligible fishery participants in the Central and Western GOA hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors. The proposed rule would add Table 10 to Part 680. Proposed Table 10 to Part 680 would identify the 23 LLP licenses with endorsements that authorize a vessel to catch and process Pacific cod at-sea using hook-and-line gear in the Central GOA, and the 18 LLP licenses with endorsements that authorize a vessel to catch and process Pacific cod at-sea using hook-and-line gear in the Western GOA. The holders of the LLP licenses listed in proposed Table 10 to Part 680 would comprise the universe of participants eligible to request removal of a GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit. Each holder of an LLP license with Central GOA endorsements listed in proposed Table 10 to Part 680 would need to complete and submit to NMFS the form requesting removal of the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit in the Central GOA. Similarly, each holder of an LLP license with Western GOA endorsements listed in proposed Table 10 to Part 680 would need to complete and submit to NMFS the form requesting removal of the CR Program GOA sideboard limit in the Western GOA. The proposed rule would modify Federal regulations at § 680.22(e)(1) to PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 7823 establish a regulatory process for the removal of the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. Under the proposed rule, NMFS would permanently remove a CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit if NMFS receives the required form from each eligible participant in the Central GOA (see proposed regulations at § 680.22(e)(1)(ii)(A)) and Western GOA (see proposed regulations at § 680.22(e)(1)(ii)(B)). Although this proposed action is intended to provide an opportunity for coordination and cooperation among all eligible participants in both the Central and Western GOA, the Council and NMFS recognized that eligible participants may reach agreement to remove the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit in one regulatory area, but not in the other regulatory area. By allowing the eligible participants to submit requests for each regulatory area separately, a CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit could be removed for one regulatory area without requiring all eligible participants in both areas to agree. Proposed regulations at § 680.22(e)(1)(ii) would require that holders of the LLP licenses listed in Table 10 to Part 680 submit a completed form applicable to the Central or Western GOA no later than 1 year (365 days) after the date of publication in the Federal Register of the final rule implementing Amendment 45, if approved by the Secretary. The Council determined and NMFS agrees that a 1year deadline would encourage negotiations and provide adequate opportunity for eligible participants in a regulatory area to reach agreement to submit the required form, but would not prolong management uncertainty about the potential applicability of the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. If the required forms are not received by NMFS by the date or the methods specified under proposed regulations at § 680.22(e)(1)(ii), the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits would not be removed and the opportunity to remove them would expire. The proposed regulations at § 680.22(e)(1)(ii) clarify that NMFS would not establish CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector in a regulatory area through the annual harvest specification process if NMFS receives completed request forms from all eligible participants in a regulatory area by the deadline. As noted earlier in this preamble, CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits are currently implemented through the annual E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1 Rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 7824 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 29 / Thursday, February 12, 2015 / Proposed Rules harvest specification process; therefore, it follows that any modification to the sideboard limits must align with the annual harvest specifications cycle. Sideboard limits could not be removed immediately upon receipt by NMFS of the required forms. If NMFS would receive the required forms after the annual harvest specification cycle is completed, NMFS would remove a CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit for the hook-and-line catcher/ processor sector during the next annual harvest specification cycle for GOA groundfish. The proposed rule does not require eligible participants to enter into a private contractual agreement to coordinate fishing practices within that regulatory area prior to submitting to NMFS the required forms requesting removal of a CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit. However, the Council and NMFS anticipate that all eligible participants in the Central or Western GOA would reach a binding agreement to coordinate fishing practices within that regulatory area prior to submitting to NMFS the required forms requesting removal of a CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit. Voluntary agreements, or fishing cooperatives, have consistently proven to be effective at coordinating fishing practices and resolving conflicts among fishery participants in numerous fisheries throughout the BSAI and GOA (see Section 1.6.1 of the Analysis for additional detail). Any voluntary contractual agreements that may be reached by eligible participants are not required to be reviewed by or submitted to NMFS under the proposed rule. NMFS notes that it is highly unlikely that eligible participants who did not benefit from the CR Program would agree to request removal of a CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit unless they have established private agreements with all eligible participants that are beneficial to them. If the holder of the LLP licenses listed in proposed Table 10 to Part 680 are unable, or unwilling, to agree to request that NMFS remove a CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit in a regulatory area within the proposed timeline, the sideboard limit for that regulatory area would continue to apply. Maintaining the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits—if unanimous agreement for their removal is not reached by the eligible participants—is consistent with the objectives of sideboard management as established by the CR Program and the sideboard limit calculation method established under regulations implementing Amendment 83. VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:51 Feb 11, 2015 Jkt 235001 Removing sideboard limits without unanimous agreement of all of the eligible participants could indicate that eligible participants have not agreed to coordinate harvests. This could increase the likelihood of a race for fish and could allow those who received QS under the CR Program to expand their efforts in the GOA Pacific cod fisheries. Such a result would not be consistent with the goals of the CR Program or the Council’s objectives for this action. The Council considered and rejected an option that would have suspended, rather than permanently removed, the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. The Council concluded that if eligible participants had to renegotiate and resubmit request forms each year, management and operational uncertainty among eligible participants would substantially increase, and could result in increased administrative burden and costs when compared to the permanent removal of the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits as proposed by this action. Section 2.2 of the Analysis provides additional description about the potential costs and uncertainty resulting from this rejected approach. This proposed action would not modify the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for hook-and-line catcher/processors in the Eastern GOA. As explained earlier, this action would not remove the sideboard designations on the FFPs for the eight sideboarded vessels or the five sideboarded LLP licenses, and these vessels and LLP licenses will still be subject to a CR Program Pacific cod sideboard limit if they are used in the Eastern GOA. As also noted earlier in this preamble, Amendment 83 did not modify CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits in the Eastern GOA. The Eastern GOA is still subject to inshore/offshore management. As a result, the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits in the Eastern GOA were not recalculated for gear and operation type. Additionally, NMFS notes that this proposed action would not increase the likelihood that an OFL, ABC, TAC, or sector catch limit would be exceeded. As proposed, Pacific cod TACs and sector allocations would continue to be established through the annual GOA harvest specifications process and managed by NMFS as described earlier in this preamble. Classification Pursuant to sections 304(b)(1)(A) and 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Crab FMP, GOA PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 FMP, other provisions of the MagnusonStevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis An initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) was prepared, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A description of the proposed action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for this proposed action are contained at the beginning of this section in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble and are not repeated here. While this IRFA concludes that no small entities will be directly regulated by this action, this is a result of the IRFA analysis, and NMFS has thus chosen not to certify that the proposed rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of directly regulated small entities. A summary of the IRFA follows. A copy of the IRFA is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). Number and Description of Small Entities Regulated by the Proposed Action This proposed action would directly regulate eight entities. These eight entities include the owners of the eight vessels, and the holders of the five LLP licenses currently subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits in the Central and Western GOA hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors. The owners of the eight vessels and holders of the five LLP licenses directly regulated by this proposed action are affiliated through their membership in the Freezer Longline Conservation Cooperative (FLCC). The FLCC represents LLP holders and the owners and operators of vessels that participate in the Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor sector in the Federal waters of the BSAI. The FLCC is comprised of businesses that are engaged in the harvesting and processing of finfish. The annual revenue of members of the FLCC has exceeded $130 million per year since its formation, and $172 million in 2012, the most recent year of available revenue data (see Table 1–14 in Section 1.6 of the Analysis for additional detail). Members of the FLCC are not considered small entities because the annual revenue of the cooperative exceeds the size standards for small entities. The Small Business E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1 Rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 29 / Thursday, February 12, 2015 / Proposed Rules Administration (SBA) has established size standards for all major industry sectors in the United States, including commercial finfish harvesters (NAICS code 114111), commercial shellfish harvesters (NAICS code 114112), other commercial marine harvesters (NAICS code 114119), for-hire businesses (NAICS code 487210), marinas (NAICS code 713930), seafood dealers/ wholesalers (NAICS code 424460), and seafood processors (NAICS code 311710). A business primarily involved in finfish harvesting is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual gross receipts not in excess of $20.5 million, for all its affiliated operations worldwide. For commercial shellfish harvesters, the same qualifiers apply, except the combined annual gross receipts threshold is $5.5 million. For other commercial marine harvesters, forhire fishing businesses, and marinas, the same qualifiers apply, except the combined annual gross receipts threshold is $7.5 million. A business primarily involved in seafood processing is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual employment, counting all individuals employed on a full-time, part-time, or other basis, not in excess of 500 employees for all its affiliated operations worldwide. For seafood dealers/wholesalers, the same qualifiers apply, except the employment threshold is 100 employees. In determining a number of employees, SBA counts all individuals employed on a full-time, part-time, or other basis. This includes employees obtained from a temporary employee agency, professional employee organization or leasing concern. SBA will consider the totality of the circumstances, including criteria used by the IRS for Federal income tax purposes, in determining whether individuals are employees of a concern. Volunteers (i.e., individuals who receive no compensation, including no in-kind compensation, for work performed) are not considered employees. Where the size standard is number of employees, the method for determining a concern’s size includes the following principles: (1) The average number of employees of the concern is used (including the employees of its domestic and foreign affiliates) based upon numbers of employees for each of the pay periods for the preceding completed 12 calendar months; and (2) part-time and VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:51 Feb 11, 2015 Jkt 235001 temporary employees are counted the same as full-time employees. Three entities hold LLP licenses and own vessels that operate only in the GOA as hook-and-line catcher/ processors. These three entities are not directly regulated by the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits, and are not members of the FLCC. One entity owns a vessel named on an LLP license with Central GOA Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor endorsements; the other two entities each own a vessel named on LLP licenses with Western GOA Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor endorsements. These three entities are not directly regulated by this action because this action would not impose regulations on these vessels or the associated LLP licenses, or relieve them from regulation. These three entities may voluntarily choose to submit a request for removal of the sideboard limits under this action, but are not required to do so. Duplicate, Overlapping, or Conflicting Federal Rules No duplication, overlap, or conflict between this proposed action and existing Federal rules has been identified. Description of Significant Alternatives that Minimize Adverse Impacts on Small Entities The Council considered two alternatives for this action. Alternative 1 is the status quo, which does not meet the objectives of the action. Alternative 2 would remove the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits in either the Central GOA, Western GOA, or both regulatory areas. As part of Alternative 2, the Council and NMFS also considered an option and a suboption for removing the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. The option (i.e., proposed action) would remove CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line catcher/ processor sector permanently if certain conditions are met by a specified date. The sub-option would suspend the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line catcher/ processor sector on an annual basis if certain conditions are met annually. The option would require all hookand-line catcher/processor LLP license holders that are authorized to target Pacific cod in the Central or Western GOA (i.e., eligible participants) to submit a form to NMFS requesting the permanent removal of the GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit in that regulatory area on a one-time basis. The option would also require the request to be PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 7825 submitted within one year of the date of publication in the Federal Register of the final rule implementing Amendment 45, if approved by the Secretary. The sub-option would require all eligible participants to annually submit a form to NMFS requesting removal of the GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit in that regulatory area for the upcoming fishing year. Under the sub-option, if the annual form is not received by NFMS, the sideboard limits would not be removed for the following fishing year (i.e., January 1 through December 31). This proposed action would implement Alternative 2 with the option to permanently remove the CR Program GOA sideboard limits if all eligible participants in a regulatory area submit to NMFS a form requesting removal and provide that form to NMFS within the required timeline. The Council rejected the sub-option because the annual suspension of sideboards could create uncertainty for participants, result in additional administrative burden and costs, and potentially create management instability. Although this proposed action does not directly regulate small entities, the preferred alternative is the only alternative in the suite of options and alternatives considered that reduces the burden on directly regulated entities and best meets the purpose and need for this proposed action. Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements The reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements would be increased slightly under the proposed action if eligible participants in the Central or Western GOA agree to submit an affidavit to NMFS requesting removal of the CR Program GOA sideboard limits. Collection-of-Information Requirements This proposed rule contains a collection-of-information requirement subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). This requirement has been submitted to OMB for approval under OMB Control No. 0648–0334. Public reporting burden for the Request to Extinguish Pacific Cod Sideboard Limits for Hook-and-Line Catcher/Processors in the Western or Central GOA is estimated to average 30 minutes per individual response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1 7826 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 29 / Thursday, February 12, 2015 / Proposed Rules Public comment is sought regarding: Whether this proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Send comments on these or any other aspects of the collection of information to NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and by email to OIRA_ Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax to 202– 395–5806. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number. All currently approved NOAA collections of information may be viewed at: http://www.cio.noaa.gov/ services_programs/prasubs.html. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 680 Alaska, Fisheries, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: February 6, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 680 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 680—SHELLFISH FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA 1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 680 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1862; Public Law 109–241; Public Law 109–479. 2. In § 680.22, revise paragraph (e) heading and introductory text, and paragraph (e)(1) to read as follows: ■ § 680.22 Sideboard protections for GOA groundfish fisheries. Rmajette on DSK2VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS * * * * * (e) Conversion of sideboard ratios into annual sideboard harvest limits. NMFS VerDate Sep<11>2014 13:51 Feb 11, 2015 Jkt 235001 will convert sideboard ratios into annual sideboard harvest limits according to the following procedures. (1) Annual sideboard harvest limits. (i) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section, annual sideboard harvest limits for each groundfish species, except fixed-gear sablefish, will be established by multiplying the sideboard ratios calculated under paragraph (d) of this section by the proposed and final TACs in each area for which a TAC is specified. If a TAC is further apportioned by season, the sideboard harvest limit also will be apportioned by season in the same ratio as the overall TAC. The resulting harvest limits expressed in metric tons will be published in the annual GOA groundfish harvest specification notices. (ii) NMFS will not establish an annual sideboard harvest limit for Pacific cod for vessels that catch and process Pacific cod using hook-and-line gear in the Central GOA Regulatory Area if all eligible participants request that the sideboard harvest limit be removed in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (e)(1)(ii)(A) of this section. NMFS will not establish an annual sideboard harvest limit for Pacific cod for vessels that catch and process Pacific cod using hook-and-line gear in the Western GOA Regulatory Area if all eligible participants request that the sideboard harvest limit be removed in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (e)(1)(ii)(B) of this section. NMFS will publish notification of the removal of the sideboard harvest limit for Pacific cod for vessels that catch and process Pacific cod using hook-and-line gear in the Central GOA Regulatory Area or the Western GOA Regulatory Area through the annual GOA groundfish harvest specifications (see § 679.20(c)(1)(iii) and (c)(3)(ii)). (A) Central GOA. For the Central GOA Regulatory Area (Statistical Areas 620 and 630; see Figure 3 to 50 CFR part 679), the holders of all LLP licenses listed in Column A of Table 10 to this part must submit to NMFS a completed Request to Extinguish Pacific Cod Sideboard Limits for Hook-and-Line Catcher/Processors in the Western or Central GOA, and the request must be received by NMFS on or before [INSERT DATE 365 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 PUBLICATION OF THE FINAL RULE IN THE Federal Register]. (B) Western GOA. For the Western GOA Regulatory Area (Statistical Area 610; see Figure 3 to 50 CFR part 679), the holders of all LLP licenses listed in Column B of Table 10 to this part must submit to NMFS a completed Request to Extinguish Pacific Cod Sideboard Limits for Hook-and-Line Catcher/Processors in the Western or Central GOA, and the request must be received by NMFS on or before [INSERT DATE 365 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE FINAL RULE IN THE Federal Register]. * * * * * ■ 3. Add Table 10 to part 680 to read as follows: TABLE 10 TO PART 680—LICENSE LIMITATION PROGRAM LICENSE NUMBERS THAT AUTHORIZE THE OWNERS AND OPERATORS OF CATCHER/ PROCESSORS TO DIRECTED FISH FOR PACIFIC COD WITH HOOK-ANDLINE GEAR IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF ALASKA REGULATORY AREA (COLUMN A) AND IN THE WESTERN GULF OF ALASKA REGULATORY AREA (COLUMN B) Column A: LLG1125 LLG1128 LLG1400 LLG1576 LLG1713 LLG1785 LLG1916 LLG1917 LLG1989 LLG2081 LLG2112 LLG2238 LLG2705 LLG2783 LLG2892 LLG2958 LLG3609 LLG3616 LLG3617. LLG3676. LLG3681. LLG3973. LLG4823. Column B: ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... LLG1400. LLG1401. LLG1576. LLG1578. LLG1785. LLG1916. LLG1917. LLG2026. LLG2081. LLG2112. LLG2892. LLG2935. LLG3090. LLG3602. LLG3617. LLG3676. LLG4004. LLG4823. [FR Doc. 2015–02911 Filed 2–11–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\12FEP1.SGM 12FEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 29 (Thursday, February 12, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 7817-7826]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-02911]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 680

[Docket No. 130820737-5111-01]
RIN 0648-BD61


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program; Amendment 45; 
Pacific Cod Sideboard Allocations in the Gulf of Alaska

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS issues a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 45 
to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and 
Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP). If approved, Amendment 45 would establish, for 
a limited period of time, a process for NMFS to permanently remove 
Pacific cod catch limits, known as sideboard limits, which are 
applicable to certain hook-and-line catcher/processors in the Central 
and Western Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Regulatory Areas. This action would 
authorize NMFS to remove these Pacific cod sideboard limits in the 
Central and/or Western GOA if all eligible participants in the hook-
and-line catcher/processor sector in a regulatory area sign and submit 
a request that NMFS remove the sideboard limit. Each eligible 
participant would be required to submit the request to NMFS within 1 
year of the date of publication of a final rule implementing Amendment 
45, if it is approved by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). This 
action is necessary to provide participants in the Central and Western 
GOA hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors with an opportunity to 
cooperatively coordinate harvests of Pacific cod through private 
arrangement to the participants' mutual benefit, which would remove the 
need for sideboard limits in these regulatory areas. This action is 
intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the 
Crab FMP, and other applicable laws.

DATES: Submit comments on or before March 16, 2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2013-0133, 
by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0133, 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.
    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 following documents may be obtained from 
http://www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at 
http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov:
     The Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (RIR/IRFA), and the Categorical Exclusion prepared 
for this action (collectively referred to as the ``Analysis'');
     The Harvest Specifications Supplemental Information Report 
(SIR) prepared for the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications;
     The Final Environmental Assessment/Final RIR/Initial IRFA 
for Amendment 83 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the 
Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP) Allocation of Pacific cod Among Sectors in the 
Western and Central GOA; and
     The Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final 
Environmental Impact Statement (Harvest Specifications EIS).
    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
action may be submitted to NMFS at the above address and by email to 
OIRA_

[[Page 7818]]

Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax to 202-395-5806.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Seanbob Kelly, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: MFS proposes regulations to implement 
Amendment 45 to the Crab FMP. The king and Tanner crab fisheries in the 
exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
are managed under the Crab FMP. While the groundfish fisheries in the 
EEZ of the Gulf of Alaska are managed primarily under the Fishery 
Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP), some 
aspects of groundfish fishing in the Gulf of Alaska are managed under 
the Crab FMP. The Council prepared each fishery management plan 
pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws. 
Regulations implementing the Crab FMP appear at 50 CFR part 680. 
Regulations implementing the GOA FMP appear at 50 CFR part 679. General 
regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600.
    This proposed action would establish, for a limited period of time, 
a regulatory process for NMFS to permanently remove Pacific cod catch 
limits, known as sideboard limits, that are applicable to some 
participants in the Central GOA Regulatory Area (Central GOA) and 
Western GOA Regulatory Area (Western GOA) hook-and-line catcher/
processor sectors. This proposed rule would modify regulations at 50 
CFR 680.22(e) that currently require NMFS to establish Pacific cod 
sideboard limits for hook-and-line catcher/processors during the annual 
harvest specification process. Under this proposed rule, NMFS would not 
establish these sideboard limits for the Central or Western GOA if all 
participants eligible to use a hook-and-line catcher/processor to fish 
for Pacific cod in the regulatory area sign and submit to NMFS a 
request that NMFS remove the sideboard limit for that regulatory area. 
Each eligible participant would be required to submit that request to 
NMFS within 1 year of the date of publication of a final rule 
implementing Amendment 45, if approved by the Secretary. Each eligible 
participant in the Central and/or Western GOA must sign an affidavit, 
included on a form, to request that NMFS no longer establish Pacific 
cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector in 
the Central and/or Western GOA. If NMFS receives the required 
affidavits within the time provided, NMFS would announce the permanent 
removal of the Central and/or Western GOA sideboard limits during the 
annual GOA groundfish specification process and would no longer 
establish Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line catcher/
processor sector in the Central and/or Western GOA. If NMFS does not 
receive the required affidavits within the time provided, NMFS would 
continue to establish GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-
and-line catcher/processor sectors through the annual GOA groundfish 
specification process.
    To understand the proposed action, the following sections of the 
preamble describe: (1) General management of Pacific cod in the Central 
and Western GOA; (2) GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits established under 
the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) Crab 
Rationalization Program; (3) recent allocations of Pacific cod in the 
GOA; (4) the effect of Pacific cod sideboard limits on hook-and-line 
catcher/processors in the Central and Western GOA; and (5) the proposed 
action.

General Management of Pacific Cod in the Central and Western GOA

    NMFS implements conservation and management measures, such as catch 
limits, to prevent overfishing while achieving the optimum yield in 
federally managed fisheries. Catch limits for GOA Pacific cod are 
established as part of the annual harvest specifications process for 
GOA groundfish. A detailed description of the annual harvest 
specification process is provided in the Harvest Specifications EIS 
(see ADDRESSES), the Harvest Specifications SIR (see ADDRESSES), and 
the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for groundfish of the 
GOA (79 FR 12890, March 6, 2014).
    Regulations at Sec.  679.20(a) require that the North Pacific 
Fishery Management Council (Council) annually recommend, and NMFS 
specify, an amount of catch at which overfishing is occurring (i.e., 
overfishing level or OFL), an acceptable biological catch (ABC), and a 
total allowable catch (TAC) for each stock or stock complex (i.e., 
species or species group). NMFS defines the ABC as the level of a 
species or species group's annual catch that accounts for the 
scientific uncertainty in the estimate of OFL and any other scientific 
uncertainty. The ABC is always set below the OFL. The TAC is defined as 
the annual catch target for a species or species group that is derived 
from the ABC after considering social and economic factors and 
management uncertainty. Separate TACs are calculated using the 
apportionment of TAC for specific regulatory areas to limit catch and 
ensure that fisheries can be effectively managed. Similarly, sideboard 
limits are calculated as a portion of the TACs for some groundfish 
species and established in the annual harvest specifications. Sideboard 
limits constrain harvests by specific vessels based on regulatory 
requirements established under various management programs.
    Specific to this proposed action, the Council recommends, and NMFS 
implements an OFL and ABC for Pacific cod in the GOA, and separate TACs 
for the Eastern, Central, and Western GOA Pacific cod fisheries. NMFS 
limits harvest by vessels participating in the Pacific cod fisheries to 
these TACs to provide for a conservatively managed sustainable yield 
throughout the GOA. Once the TACs have been established, NMFS 
apportions each TAC among various gear types (e.g., pot or trawl gear), 
operation types (e.g., catcher vessels and catcher/processors), and 
sectors (e.g., hook-and-line catcher/processors) as required by 
regulation (see regulations at Sec.  679.20(a)). Based on the 
regulatory area TACs for Eastern, Central, and Western GOA, as divided 
by the A season and B season, NMFS establishes sideboard limits for 
Pacific cod, as required by regulations (for example, see regulations 
at Sec.  680.22(a) and (d)). The resulting sideboard limits, expressed 
in metric tons, are published in the annual GOA groundfish harvest 
specification notices (for the most recent example, see 79 FR 12890, 
March 6, 2014). As described in more detail in the following sections 
of this preamble, NMFS manages vessels subject to Pacific cod sideboard 
limits to ensure that these limits are not exceeded.
    NMFS also manages Pacific cod fisheries through the License 
Limitation Program (LLP). A vessel is required to be named on an LLP 
license before it can be deployed to directed fish (i.e., specifically 
target) for groundfish in Federal fisheries in the GOA. The term 
``directed fishing'' is defined in regulation at Sec.  679.2. NMFS has 
issued a specific number of LLP licenses, which establish an upper 
limit on the total number of potential participants in GOA groundfish 
fisheries. LLP licenses are assigned endorsements for specific areas 
(e.g., Central or Western GOA), specific gear (e.g., trawl or hook-and-
line gear), operation type (e.g., catcher vessel or catcher/processor), 
and in the case of vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear in the 
Central and Western GOA Pacific cod fisheries, a Pacific cod 
endorsement. LLP licenses must have the necessary endorsements for the 
fishing to be conducted. For example, in order for a vessel to be used 
to conduct directed fishing for Pacific cod in the

[[Page 7819]]

Central GOA as a hook-and-line catcher/processor, the vessel must be 
named on an LLP license that has hook-and-line, catcher/processor, and 
Pacific cod endorsements for the Central GOA. Additional detail on the 
LLP is available in the final rule implementing the LLP (63 FR 52642, 
October 1, 1998), and in the final rule implementing Amendment 86 to 
the GOA FMP, which established Pacific cod endorsement requirements for 
hook-and-line and pot gear in the Central and Western GOA (March 22, 
2011, 76 FR 15826).

GOA Pacific Cod Sideboard Limits Established Under the BSAI Crab 
Rationalization Program

    The BSAI Crab Rationalization Program (CR Program) was implemented 
in 2005 and established a catch share program that allocates BSAI crab 
resources among harvesters, processors, and coastal communities (70 FR 
10174, March 2, 2005). As part of the CR Program, eligible vessel 
owners and vessel captains were allocated quota share (QS) in several 
valuable crab fisheries, including the Bering Sea snow crab 
(Chionoecetes opilio) fishery (see Table 1 to 50 CFR part 680 and Sec.  
680.40(a) for a complete list of fisheries). The amount of crab QS 
assigned to each harvester is based on historic landings in these 
fisheries (see regulations at Sec.  680.40(c)). The QS allocated to 
historic participants in the crab fisheries represents an exclusive 
harvest privilege, commonly known as a catch share. A catch share 
provides each qualified harvester with an annual allocation of a 
portion of the available TAC for each target species.
    As a catch share program, the CR Program benefits eligible 
harvesters by allowing them to tailor their fishing to their specific 
exclusive harvest allocation. This allows harvesters to avoid a ``race 
for fish,'' in which participants compete against each other to 
maximize their catch before the TAC is reached. The CR Program provides 
increased flexibility for crab fishermen to choose when and where to 
fish or whether to lease their crab QS and fish for species other than 
crab. The Council and NMFS recognized that the benefits of the CR 
Program could create incentives for recipients of snow crab QS to 
increase their level of participation in groundfish fisheries, 
especially Pacific cod fisheries in the Central and Western GOA. Vessel 
owners that received snow crab QS were active in Pacific cod fisheries, 
and to a lesser extent pollock and other groundfish fisheries, in the 
GOA. Therefore, vessel owners receiving snow crab QS could increase 
their fishing effort in GOA groundfish fisheries because the allocation 
of snow crab QS provides an exclusive harvest privilege to each 
eligible vessel owner that can be leased, thereby providing the 
opportunity for those vessel owners to forgo crab harvests in the BSAI 
to directed fish for Pacific cod and other groundfish in the GOA.
    Regulations implementing the CR Program established catch 
restrictions, known as CR Program GOA sideboards, to limit the 
potential adverse effects of the CR Program on GOA groundfish 
fisheries. These sideboards prevent CR Program participants from 
preempting fishermen in the GOA that did not receive benefits from the 
CR Program. The final rule implementing the CR Program (70 FR 10174, 
March 2, 2005) and Section 1.1.3 of the Analysis provide additional 
detail on the rationale for specific provisions of CR Program GOA 
sideboards. This preamble provides a summary of relevant provisions.
    CR Program GOA sideboards apply to the owners and operators of 
vessels that (1) are not authorized to conduct directed fishing for 
pollock under the American Fisheries Act (AFA) of 1998 (Pub. L. 105-
227, Title II of Division C); and (2) were used to fish for Bering Sea 
snow crab from 1996 through 2000. For this preamble, these vessels are 
termed ``non-AFA crab vessels.'' CR Program GOA sideboards also apply 
to any vessel that fishes under the authority of an LLP license 
originally issued to a non-AFA crab vessel. For this preamble, these 
LLP licenses are termed ``non-AFA crab LLP licenses.''
    When developing the CR Program GOA sideboards, the Council and NMFS 
recognized that individual non-AFA crab vessels and associated non-AFA 
crab LLP licenses had varying levels of historical participation in the 
GOA groundfish fisheries. Therefore, the Council and NMFS established 
two broad categories of CR Program GOA sideboards: (1) Sideboard limits 
for groundfish species other than Pacific cod that apply to all non-AFA 
crab vessels and non-AFA crab LLP licenses; and (2) sideboard 
provisions for Pacific cod that apply to all non-AFA crab vessels and 
non-AFA crab LLP licenses but that vary depending on the specific 
harvest patterns of the non-AFA crab vessel and its associated non-AFA 
crab LLP license. Because this proposed action would not modify GOA 
sideboard limits for groundfish species other than Pacific cod, only 
the GOA Pacific cod sideboard provisions are further described in this 
preamble.
    The CR Program establishes three separate GOA Pacific cod sideboard 
provisions based on historic fishing patterns for Bering Sea snow crab 
and GOA Pacific cod by non-AFA crab vessels from 1996 through 2000. 
Many vessels active in the Bering Sea snow crab fisheries during this 
time also used pot gear to fish for Pacific cod in the GOA because the 
gear is similar to the pot gear used for fishing crab, and the vessels 
were well-suited to fishing for Pacific cod. Specifically, some non-AFA 
crab vessels, and the non-AFA crab LLP licenses associated with those 
vessels, had relatively little participation in GOA Pacific cod 
fisheries and relatively high levels of participation in Bering Sea 
snow crab fisheries; some had relatively high levels of participation 
in GOA Pacific cod fisheries and relatively little participation in 
Bering Sea snow crab fisheries; and some had relatively moderate levels 
of participation in both GOA Pacific cod fisheries and Bering Sea snow 
crab fisheries.
    To recognize these three different participation patterns, the CR 
Program established three types of GOA Pacific cod sideboard provisions 
for non-AFA crab vessels and non-AFA crab LLP licenses. These three CR 
Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard provisions are: (1) A prohibition on 
directed fishing for GOA Pacific cod for those non-AFA crab vessels and 
LLP licenses that had relatively little participation in GOA Pacific 
cod fisheries and relatively high levels of participation in Bering Sea 
snow crab fisheries; (2) a GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit for those 
non-AFA crab vessels and LLP licenses that had relatively moderate 
levels of participation in both GOA Pacific cod fisheries and Bering 
Sea snow crab fisheries; and (3) an exemption from the CR Program GOA 
Pacific cod sideboard limits for those non-AFA crab vessels and LLP 
licenses that had relatively high levels of participation in GOA 
Pacific cod fisheries and relatively little participation in Bering Sea 
snow crab fisheries. Because this proposed action would not modify the 
prohibition on directed fishing for GOA Pacific cod or the exemption 
from CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits, only the sideboard 
provision described under (2) above that imposes GOA Pacific cod 
sideboard limits is further described in this preamble.
    Those non-AFA crab vessels and non-AFA crab LLP licenses that are 
not prohibited from directed fishing for GOA Pacific cod or exempt from 
GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits are subject to specific annual limits 
on the maximum amount of Pacific cod that can be caught. These annual 
limits are known as CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. These 
CR Program

[[Page 7820]]

GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits are calculated based on the proportion 
of the GOA Pacific cod TACs in the Eastern, Central, and Western GOA 
harvested from 1996 through 2000 by non-AFA crab vessels subject to CR 
Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits (see regulations at Sec.  
680.22(a)(1)).
    The CR Program created separate Pacific cod sideboard limits for 
the Eastern, Central, and Western GOA. CR Program GOA sideboard limits 
are established through the annual harvest specifications. Because the 
final annual harvest specifications for 2005 were effective before the 
final rule for the CR Program was effective, the CR Program GOA Pacific 
cod sideboard limits were first implemented in 2006 in the final 2006 
and 2007 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (71 FR 10870, 
March 3, 2006).
    During a fishing year, NMFS manages CR Program GOA Pacific cod 
sideboard limits by tracking all catch of vessels subject to a 
sideboard limit to make sure the sideboard limits are not exceeded. 
NMFS opens directed fishing for GOA Pacific cod in a specific 
regulatory area by vessels subject to the CR Program GOA Pacific cod 
sideboard limit when it determines that all Pacific cod catch by those 
vessels, in directed fisheries and as incidental catch, would not 
exceed the sideboard limit in that area (see regulations at Sec.  
680.22(e)). NMFS prohibits directed fishing for GOA Pacific cod in a 
specific regulatory area by vessels subject to the CR Program GOA 
Pacific cod sideboard limit when it determines that the CR Program GOA 
Pacific cod sideboard limit is reached or the remainder of the 
sideboard limit is needed to account for incidental catch of Pacific 
cod by those vessels in other fisheries. NMFS will prohibit directed 
fishing for GOA Pacific cod in a specific regulatory area by vessels 
subject to the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit through the 
annual harvest specifications if NMFS determines at the start of the 
fishing year that the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit is 
insufficient to support a directed fishery by those vessels (see 
regulations at Sec.  680.22(e)(2) and (3)).
    Some of the vessels and LLP licenses active in the hook-and-line 
catcher/processor sector are subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod 
sideboard limits. In general, the hook-and-line catcher/processor 
sector operates primarily in the BSAI, and to a lesser extent in the 
Central and Western GOA. The hook-and-line catcher/processor sector 
primarily targets Pacific cod. Recent estimates indicate that nearly 90 
percent of the revenue from the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector 
is generated from directed fishing for Pacific cod (Section 1.6.2 of 
the Analysis provides additional detail on catch and revenue by the 
hook-and-line catcher/processor sector).
    According to Section 1.6 of the Analysis, the hook-and-line 
catcher/processor sector operating in the EEZ off Alaska currently 
consists of 36 vessels. NMFS has determined that eight of these 36 
vessels are subject to the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. 
The Federal Fisheries Permit (FFP) issued by NMFS to each of these 
eight vessels includes a designation indicating that the vessel is 
subject to the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. Of the LLP 
licenses that authorize a vessel to participate in the Central and/or 
Western GOA Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor sector, NMFS 
has determined that five LLP licenses are subject to the CR Program GOA 
Pacific cod sideboard limits. These five LLP licenses include a 
designation indicating that the license is subject to the CR Program 
GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits (see Section 1.6 of the Analysis for 
more detail).
    NMFS has determined that the number of vessels subject to CR 
Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits and that have been used as 
hook-and-line catcher/processors in the GOA (eight vessels) is slightly 
more than the number of vessels identified in the analysis available to 
the Council at the time the Council recommended this proposed action 
(six vessels). NMFS has identified the following list of eight vessels 
that have operated as hook-and-line catcher/processors in the GOA and 
that are subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits: 
Aleutian Lady; Baranof; Beauty Bay; Bering Prowler; Blue Attu; 
Courageous; Siberian Sea; and US Liberator. NMFS has revised the 
Analysis to provide a full description of the vessels subject to the CR 
Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits and updated the assessment of 
the impacts of this proposed action. Section 1.6 of the Analysis 
provides additional detail.
    The following sections of the preamble describe the allocation of 
Pacific cod in the GOA and the effects of this allocation on the 
management of CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits in the 
Central and Western GOA.

Allocations of Pacific Cod in the GOA

    For the last 20 years, Pacific cod in the GOA has been managed 
under two management regimes--inshore/offshore management from the 
early 1990s through 2011 and sector management under Amendment 83 to 
the GOA FMP (Amendment 83) from 2012 until the present. Prior to 2012, 
Pacific cod in the GOA was apportioned on the basis of processor 
component (i.e., an inshore and an offshore component) and season, 
commonly known as inshore/offshore management. Under inshore/offshore 
management, 90 percent of the Eastern, Central, and Western GOA Pacific 
cod TACs were allocated to vessels catching Pacific cod for processing 
by the inshore component, and 10 percent to vessels catching Pacific 
cod for processing by the offshore component. In 2007, the Council 
recognized that, under inshore/offshore management, competition among 
participants in the Central and Western GOA Pacific cod fisheries had 
intensified beginning around 2005 relative to prior years. Because the 
Central and Western GOA Pacific cod TACs were divided by inshore and 
offshore processing components and not among gear or operation types, a 
race for fish existed among vessels in the inshore and the offshore 
components. All vessels using various types of gear (i.e., hook-and-
line, jig, pot, and trawl) competed against each other for the harvest 
of the GOA Pacific cod TACs.
    In response to this race for fish, the Council recommended, and 
NMFS approved, Amendment 83 in 2011 (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011). 
Regulations implementing Amendment 83 became effective on January 1, 
2012. Amendment 83 removed inshore/offshore management for Pacific cod 
in the Central and Western GOA and allocated Central and Western GOA 
Pacific cod TACs among a number of sectors composed of combinations of 
various gear types, operation types, and vessel size classes. The final 
rule implementing Amendment 83 defines these Pacific cod sectors (76 FR 
74670, December 1, 2011). Sector allocations limit the amount of 
Central and Western GOA Pacific cod that each sector is authorized to 
catch. Amendment 83 was intended to reduce competition and support 
stability in the Pacific cod fishery. Amendment 83 did not change 
Pacific cod management in the Eastern GOA because the same level of 
competition, or race for fish, did not exist in the Eastern GOA 
compared to the Central and Western GOA. Therefore, Pacific cod in the 
Eastern GOA is still subject to inshore/offshore management.
    Under the regulations implementing Amendment 83, allocations from 
the Central and Western GOA Pacific cod TACs are made first to the jig 
sector, and then to all other sectors. The allocations made to the 
various sectors, other than jig gear, were based on harvest during a 
range of years that reflected historic and recent patterns of harvest 
by each sector

[[Page 7821]]

(see the final rule implementing Amendment 83 for additional detail (76 
FR 74670, December 1, 2011)). Specific to this proposed action, 
regulations implementing Amendment 83 established sector allocations 
for hook-and-line catcher/processors in the Central GOA and the Western 
GOA. The hook-and-line catcher/processor sector receives 5.10 percent 
of the Central GOA Pacific cod TAC after allocation to jig gear, and 
19.80 percent of the Western GOA Pacific cod TAC after allocation to 
jig gear (see Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i)(A) and (B)).
    The allocations of Central and Western GOA Pacific cod to the hook-
and-line catcher/processor sector can be harvested only by vessels that 
are named on an LLP license with Central and/or Western GOA, Pacific 
cod, hook-and-line, and catcher/processor endorsements (76 FR 74670, 
December 1, 2011). A total of 23 LLP licenses are endorsed for the 
Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor sector in the Central GOA, 
and 18 LLP licenses are endorsed for the Pacific cod hook-and-line 
catcher/processor sector in the Western GOA (See Section 1.5 of the 
Analysis). Some of these LLP licenses are endorsed for both the Central 
and Western GOA; therefore, a total of 30 LLP licenses are endorsed for 
the Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor sector in the Central 
or Western GOA. Twenty-seven of these 30 LLP licenses are also endorsed 
for the Bering Sea or Aleutian Islands Pacific cod hook-and-line 
catcher/processor sector. The three remaining LLP licenses are not 
endorsed for the BSAI Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor 
sector, and fish exclusively in the GOA (see Section 1.5.4 of the 
Analysis for additional detail).

The Effect of Pacific Cod Sideboard Limits on Hook-and-Line Catcher/
Processors in the Central and Western GOA

    The CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits affected the eight 
vessels and the five LLP licenses subject to the sideboard limits 
differently starting in 2012 under Amendment 83 than under inshore/
offshore management when the CR Program was first implemented in 2006 
through 2011. When the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits were 
implemented in 2006, CR Program Pacific cod GOA sideboard limits were 
divided between the inshore and offshore components in order to be 
consistent with inshore/offshore management measures in effect for 
Pacific cod at that time. From 2006 through 2011, the CR Program GOA 
Pacific cod sideboard limits were calculated by adding up the amount of 
harvest of all vessels subject to sideboards in the inshore or offshore 
components and dividing that by the catches of all vessels in either 
the inshore or offshore component to yield a sideboard ratio for the 
inshore and offshore components. The sideboard ratio was annually 
multiplied by the inshore or offshore TAC for the applicable area 
(e.g., Central or Western GOA) to yield a sideboard limit for that 
year. Finally, the sideboard limit was divided into the seasonal 
apportionments established for the Central and Western GOA and 
published in the Federal Register as part of the harvest 
specifications. For example, the Central GOA inshore component 
sideboard ratio for the Pacific cod A season (January 1 to June 10) was 
0.0383, or 3.08%of the A season TAC, and the Western GOA inshore 
component sideboard ratio for the A season was 0.0902, or 9.02% of the 
A season TAC. Additional detail on this allocation process is provided 
in Table 16 of the final 2006 and 2007 harvest specifications for 
groundfish of the GOA (71 FR 10870, March 3, 2006) and in Section 1.5.3 
of the Analysis.
    Because the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits were 
allocated among the inshore and offshore components, and not allocated 
among gear-specific sectors (e.g., hook-and-line gear, pot gear), the 
owners and operators of the eight sideboarded hook-and-line catcher/
processors and the hook-and-line catcher/processors assigned to the 
five sideboarded LLP licenses competed with the other sideboarded 
participants in the inshore or offshore component, including vessels 
using other gear types (e.g., pot gear). This created a ``race for 
sideboards'' as the various vessels subject to CR Program GOA Pacific 
cod sideboard limits in the inshore and offshore components competed 
amongst each other. The hook-and-line catcher/processor sector was able 
to effectively harvest a large portion of the Pacific cod sideboard 
limits in the Central and Western GOA under these management 
conditions, as noted in Section 1.6.2 of the Analysis.
    As illustrated in Table 1, the hook-and-line catcher/processor 
participants subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits 
catch more Pacific cod in the BSAI than in the GOA; however, these 
participants increased participation in the GOA Pacific cod fishery 
from 2001 through 2004 and had relatively higher Pacific cod catch 
rates following the implementation of the CR Program GOA Pacific cod 
sideboard limits from 2006 through 2011 as compared to catch rates 
during the historic period used to calculate the sideboards (1996-
2000). Since the implementation of operation and gear-specific CR 
Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits under Amendment 83 in 2012, 
hook-and-line catcher/processors subject to these sideboards have not 
harvested GOA Pacific cod.

 Table 1--Average Catch in the GOA and BSAI by Hook-and-Line Catcher/Processors That Are Currently Subject to the CR Program GOA Pacific Cod Sideboards
  Relative to the Average Pacific Cod TAC Amounts for all Sectors in the BSAI and GOA: 1996 Through 2000, Catch During the Period Used To Calculate CR
   Program Sideboards; 2001-2004, Catch Prior To Implementation of CR Program; 2005-2011, Catch Following Implementation of CR Program; and 2012-2013,
               Catch Following Implementation of Gear and Operation Type Specific CR Program GOA Pacific Cod Sideboards Under Amendment 83
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                BSAI                                   GOA                    Percent of
                                                              ------------------------------------------------------------------------------  GOA catch
                                                                                                                                             relative to
                         Time period                                                                                                          total BSAI
                                                                TAC  (mt)   Catch  (mt)   Percent of   TAC  (mt)   Catch  (mt)   Percent of    and GOA
                                                                                             TAC                                    TAC      Pacific cod
                                                                                                                                                catch
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1996-2000....................................................      224,000        7,988            4       65,345          266           <1            3
2001-2004....................................................      202,750       15,480            8       46,228          792            2            5

[[Page 7822]]

 
2005-2011....................................................      187,816       22,046           12       53,474          634            1            3
2012-2013....................................................      260,500       31,819           12       63,150            0            0            0
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    During the development and implementation of Amendment 83, the 
Council and NMFS made reasoned and consistent decisions to maintain the 
years of catch history of GOA Pacific cod originally used to calculate 
the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits (i.e., 1996 through 
2000). In addition, the Council and NMFS clearly chose to base the CR 
Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits on harvests by specific 
sectors (e.g., hook-and-line catcher/processors, pot catcher/
processors). The preamble to the final rule for Amendment 83 (76 FR 
74670, December 1, 2011) and Section 1.5.4 of the Analysis provide 
additional detail. The net effect of these decisions is that CR Program 
GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line catcher/
processor sector are based on the harvest of Pacific cod by non-AFA 
crab vessels and vessels using non-AFA crab LLP licenses that operated 
as hook-and-line catcher/processors during 1996 through 2000.
    Overall, there was very limited harvest of Pacific cod by non-AFA 
crab vessels and vessels using non-AFA crab LLP licenses operating as 
hook-and-line catcher/processors in the Central and Western GOA from 
1996 through 2000. Therefore, the sideboard limits established under 
Amendment 83 for GOA Pacific cod for vessels in the hook-and-line 
catcher/processor sector in the Central and Western GOA are a very 
small portion of the TACs. For example, the Central GOA hook-and-line 
catcher/processor sideboard ratio for the Pacific cod A season (January 
1 to June 10) is 0.0012 or 0.12% of the A season TAC, and the Western 
GOA hook-and-line catcher/processor sideboard ratio for the Pacific cod 
A season is 0.0018 or 0.18% of the A season TAC. Additional detail is 
provided in the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for 
groundfish of the GOA (79 FR 12890, March 6, 2014), and in Section 
1.5.4 of the Analysis.
    Since the implementation of Amendment 83, NMFS has prohibited 
directed fishing by participants subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod 
sideboard limits in the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector in the 
Central and Western GOA. NMFS has made this determination each year 
based on the small amount of the sideboard limits, the need to account 
for incidental catch of Pacific cod by sideboarded hook-and-line 
catcher/processors in other groundfish fisheries in the Central and 
Western GOA, and the potential catch rates of Pacific cod by 
sideboarded hook-and-line catcher/processors relative to the sideboard 
limits. Additional information is provided in the final 2014 and 2015 
harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (79 FR 12890, March 6, 
2014) and in Section 1.5.4 of the Analysis.
    In October 2011, the Council received public comment requesting 
that the Council and NMFS reconsider the method for applying the CR 
Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits as proposed under Amendment 
83. This comment was received prior to the publication of the final 
rule implementing Amendment 83 on December 1, 2011 (76 FR 74670). 
Representatives of hook-and-line catcher/processor sector participants, 
who would be subject to CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits 
under Amendment 83, asserted that application of the proposed sideboard 
limits would eliminate the ability to directed fish in the Central and 
Western GOA Pacific cod fisheries. At its October 2011 meeting, the 
Council noted that the proposed sideboard ratios were included in the 
analysis for Amendment 83 and were considered by the Council at final 
action. As part of Amendment 83, the Council considered--and rejected--
alternative methods for managing CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard 
limits (see Section 2.2.4 of the analysis prepared for Amendment 83). 
At the time the Council took action to recommend Amendment 83, the 
Council recognized that the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard ratios 
resulting from the revised calculation method were not likely to 
provide enough TAC to support directed sideboard fisheries for all 
catcher/processor gear types, let alone for specific catcher/processor 
sectors such as the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector.
    After considering public comment during the October 2011 meeting, 
the Council did not recommend rescinding or revising the method for 
calculating CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits, as proposed 
under Amendment 83. Therefore, NMFS implemented regulations under 
Amendment 83 that establish separate sideboard limits by sector, 
including sideboard limits specific to the hook-and-line catcher/
processor sector in the Central and Western GOA (76 FR 74670, December 
1, 2011). However, in October 2011, the Council did initiate an 
analysis to examine alternative methods for managing CR Program GOA 
Pacific cod sideboard limits that apply to the hook-and-line catcher/
processor sector. During the development of this action, the Council 
considered the merits of removing the GOA Pacific cod hook-and-line C/P 
sideboard limits for the sideboarded vessels and LLP licenses. Under 
this approach, the eight vessels and five LLP licenses would continue 
to have CR Program sideboard designations affixed to them, but the 
sideboard designation would have no effect in fisheries, such as 
Central and Western GOA Pacific cod, for which no sideboard limit is 
established. After reviewing a discussion paper at its June

[[Page 7823]]

2012 meeting, the Council developed a problem statement and 
alternatives, and tasked staff to prepare an initial analysis of a 
proposed action to remove the Pacific cod sideboard limits in the 
Central and Western GOA. In February 2013, the Council reviewed an 
initial review analysis and added the option of removing the sideboard 
limits only if all eligible participants in the Central and Western GOA 
Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors submit an affidavit 
asking NMFS to remove the sideboard limits. Following a review of the 
analysis and considering public comment, the Council recommended 
Amendment 45 to the Crab FMP in June 2013. This action is intended to 
balance the Council's competing objectives: (1) To relieve the CR 
Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for some vessels and LLP 
licenses that benefitted from allocations under the CR program, and (2) 
to protect the GOA-only participants from adverse impacts that may 
result from removal of those sideboard limits.

Proposed Action

    This action is necessary to provide participants in the Central and 
Western GOA hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors with an opportunity 
to cooperatively coordinate harvests of Pacific cod through private 
arrangement to the participants' mutual benefit, which would remove the 
need for current regulations that impose sideboard harvest restrictions 
on some participants in the sectors. The Council determined and NMFS 
agrees that making the removal of the sideboard limits contingent on 
the equitable cooperation of all participants in the GOA Pacific cod 
hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors would ensure the management 
stability that is necessary for removal of the sideboard limits. This 
action would establish the regulatory conditions that must be met prior 
to the removal of CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for the 
hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors in the Central and/or Western 
GOA. NMFS would remove the sideboard limits if each person holding an 
LLP license or LLP licenses with endorsements that authorize directed 
fishing for Pacific cod as a hook-and-line catcher/processor in the 
Central or Western GOA (i.e., eligible participants) provide NMFS with 
a signed form requesting that NMFS remove the Pacific cod sideboard 
limit for that regulatory area.
    Under this proposed rule, all of the eligible participants in the 
Central or Western GOA would be required to submit to NMFS a completed 
Request to Extinguish Pacific Cod Sideboard Limit in the Central or 
Western GOA. The Council and NMFS determined that LLP license holders 
best represent the eligible participants in the Central and Western GOA 
hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors. As noted earlier in this 
preamble, an LLP license is required to deploy a vessel to conduct 
directed fishing for Pacific cod in the Central and Western GOA Pacific 
as a hook-and-line catcher/processor. Therefore, the holders of LLP 
licenses endorsed for Pacific cod, hook-and-line gear, and catcher/
processor in the Central and/or Western GOA represent the complete 
range of all eligible participants. The Council and NMFS determined 
that the owners of vessels currently used in the Central and Western 
GOA hook-and-line catcher/processor sector are not the best 
representation of eligible participants. Vessels that are currently 
used as hook-and-line catcher/processors in the Central and Western GOA 
can become active in other fisheries, removed from the fishery, or 
replaced by other vessels. While vessels are needed to participate in 
the fishery, vessel ownership is not the defining eligibility criterion 
because a vessel may lack the LLP endorsements that authorize a vessel 
to participate in a fishery. Thus, the holders of LLP licenses with the 
necessary endorsements, rather than vessels owners, represent the 
universe of eligible fishery participants in the Central and Western 
GOA hook-and-line catcher/processor sectors.
    The proposed rule would add Table 10 to Part 680. Proposed Table 10 
to Part 680 would identify the 23 LLP licenses with endorsements that 
authorize a vessel to catch and process Pacific cod at-sea using hook-
and-line gear in the Central GOA, and the 18 LLP licenses with 
endorsements that authorize a vessel to catch and process Pacific cod 
at-sea using hook-and-line gear in the Western GOA. The holders of the 
LLP licenses listed in proposed Table 10 to Part 680 would comprise the 
universe of participants eligible to request removal of a GOA Pacific 
cod sideboard limit. Each holder of an LLP license with Central GOA 
endorsements listed in proposed Table 10 to Part 680 would need to 
complete and submit to NMFS the form requesting removal of the CR 
Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit in the Central GOA. Similarly, 
each holder of an LLP license with Western GOA endorsements listed in 
proposed Table 10 to Part 680 would need to complete and submit to NMFS 
the form requesting removal of the CR Program GOA sideboard limit in 
the Western GOA.
    The proposed rule would modify Federal regulations at Sec.  
680.22(e)(1) to establish a regulatory process for the removal of the 
CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits. Under the proposed rule, 
NMFS would permanently remove a CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard 
limit if NMFS receives the required form from each eligible participant 
in the Central GOA (see proposed regulations at Sec.  
680.22(e)(1)(ii)(A)) and Western GOA (see proposed regulations at Sec.  
680.22(e)(1)(ii)(B)). Although this proposed action is intended to 
provide an opportunity for coordination and cooperation among all 
eligible participants in both the Central and Western GOA, the Council 
and NMFS recognized that eligible participants may reach agreement to 
remove the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit in one regulatory 
area, but not in the other regulatory area. By allowing the eligible 
participants to submit requests for each regulatory area separately, a 
CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit could be removed for one 
regulatory area without requiring all eligible participants in both 
areas to agree.
    Proposed regulations at Sec.  680.22(e)(1)(ii) would require that 
holders of the LLP licenses listed in Table 10 to Part 680 submit a 
completed form applicable to the Central or Western GOA no later than 1 
year (365 days) after the date of publication in the Federal Register 
of the final rule implementing Amendment 45, if approved by the 
Secretary. The Council determined and NMFS agrees that a 1-year 
deadline would encourage negotiations and provide adequate opportunity 
for eligible participants in a regulatory area to reach agreement to 
submit the required form, but would not prolong management uncertainty 
about the potential applicability of the CR Program GOA Pacific cod 
sideboard limits. If the required forms are not received by NMFS by the 
date or the methods specified under proposed regulations at Sec.  
680.22(e)(1)(ii), the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits would 
not be removed and the opportunity to remove them would expire.
    The proposed regulations at Sec.  680.22(e)(1)(ii) clarify that 
NMFS would not establish CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits 
for the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector in a regulatory area 
through the annual harvest specification process if NMFS receives 
completed request forms from all eligible participants in a regulatory 
area by the deadline. As noted earlier in this preamble, CR Program GOA 
Pacific cod sideboard limits are currently implemented through the 
annual

[[Page 7824]]

harvest specification process; therefore, it follows that any 
modification to the sideboard limits must align with the annual harvest 
specifications cycle. Sideboard limits could not be removed immediately 
upon receipt by NMFS of the required forms. If NMFS would receive the 
required forms after the annual harvest specification cycle is 
completed, NMFS would remove a CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard 
limit for the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector during the next 
annual harvest specification cycle for GOA groundfish.
    The proposed rule does not require eligible participants to enter 
into a private contractual agreement to coordinate fishing practices 
within that regulatory area prior to submitting to NMFS the required 
forms requesting removal of a CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard 
limit. However, the Council and NMFS anticipate that all eligible 
participants in the Central or Western GOA would reach a binding 
agreement to coordinate fishing practices within that regulatory area 
prior to submitting to NMFS the required forms requesting removal of a 
CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit. Voluntary agreements, or 
fishing cooperatives, have consistently proven to be effective at 
coordinating fishing practices and resolving conflicts among fishery 
participants in numerous fisheries throughout the BSAI and GOA (see 
Section 1.6.1 of the Analysis for additional detail). Any voluntary 
contractual agreements that may be reached by eligible participants are 
not required to be reviewed by or submitted to NMFS under the proposed 
rule. NMFS notes that it is highly unlikely that eligible participants 
who did not benefit from the CR Program would agree to request removal 
of a CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit unless they have 
established private agreements with all eligible participants that are 
beneficial to them.
    If the holder of the LLP licenses listed in proposed Table 10 to 
Part 680 are unable, or unwilling, to agree to request that NMFS remove 
a CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limit in a regulatory area 
within the proposed timeline, the sideboard limit for that regulatory 
area would continue to apply. Maintaining the CR Program GOA Pacific 
cod sideboard limits--if unanimous agreement for their removal is not 
reached by the eligible participants--is consistent with the objectives 
of sideboard management as established by the CR Program and the 
sideboard limit calculation method established under regulations 
implementing Amendment 83. Removing sideboard limits without unanimous 
agreement of all of the eligible participants could indicate that 
eligible participants have not agreed to coordinate harvests. This 
could increase the likelihood of a race for fish and could allow those 
who received QS under the CR Program to expand their efforts in the GOA 
Pacific cod fisheries. Such a result would not be consistent with the 
goals of the CR Program or the Council's objectives for this action.
    The Council considered and rejected an option that would have 
suspended, rather than permanently removed, the CR Program GOA Pacific 
cod sideboard limits. The Council concluded that if eligible 
participants had to renegotiate and resubmit request forms each year, 
management and operational uncertainty among eligible participants 
would substantially increase, and could result in increased 
administrative burden and costs when compared to the permanent removal 
of the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits as proposed by this 
action. Section 2.2 of the Analysis provides additional description 
about the potential costs and uncertainty resulting from this rejected 
approach.
    This proposed action would not modify the CR Program GOA Pacific 
cod sideboard limits for hook-and-line catcher/processors in the 
Eastern GOA. As explained earlier, this action would not remove the 
sideboard designations on the FFPs for the eight sideboarded vessels or 
the five sideboarded LLP licenses, and these vessels and LLP licenses 
will still be subject to a CR Program Pacific cod sideboard limit if 
they are used in the Eastern GOA. As also noted earlier in this 
preamble, Amendment 83 did not modify CR Program GOA Pacific cod 
sideboard limits in the Eastern GOA. The Eastern GOA is still subject 
to inshore/offshore management. As a result, the CR Program GOA Pacific 
cod sideboard limits in the Eastern GOA were not recalculated for gear 
and operation type. Additionally, NMFS notes that this proposed action 
would not increase the likelihood that an OFL, ABC, TAC, or sector 
catch limit would be exceeded. As proposed, Pacific cod TACs and sector 
allocations would continue to be established through the annual GOA 
harvest specifications process and managed by NMFS as described earlier 
in this preamble.

Classification

    Pursuant to sections 304(b)(1)(A) and 305(d) of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this 
proposed rule is consistent with the Crab FMP, GOA FMP, other 
provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, 
subject to further consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
the purposes of Executive Order 12866.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    An initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) was prepared, as 
required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The IRFA 
describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would 
have on small entities. A description of the proposed action, why it is 
being considered, and the legal basis for this proposed action are 
contained at the beginning of this section in the preamble and in the 
SUMMARY section of the preamble and are not repeated here. While this 
IRFA concludes that no small entities will be directly regulated by 
this action, this is a result of the IRFA analysis, and NMFS has thus 
chosen not to certify that the proposed rule is not expected to have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of directly 
regulated small entities. A summary of the IRFA follows. A copy of the 
IRFA is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES).

Number and Description of Small Entities Regulated by the Proposed 
Action

    This proposed action would directly regulate eight entities. These 
eight entities include the owners of the eight vessels, and the holders 
of the five LLP licenses currently subject to CR Program GOA Pacific 
cod sideboard limits in the Central and Western GOA hook-and-line 
catcher/processor sectors. The owners of the eight vessels and holders 
of the five LLP licenses directly regulated by this proposed action are 
affiliated through their membership in the Freezer Longline 
Conservation Cooperative (FLCC). The FLCC represents LLP holders and 
the owners and operators of vessels that participate in the Pacific cod 
hook-and-line catcher/processor sector in the Federal waters of the 
BSAI. The FLCC is comprised of businesses that are engaged in the 
harvesting and processing of finfish. The annual revenue of members of 
the FLCC has exceeded $130 million per year since its formation, and 
$172 million in 2012, the most recent year of available revenue data 
(see Table 1-14 in Section 1.6 of the Analysis for additional detail).
    Members of the FLCC are not considered small entities because the 
annual revenue of the cooperative exceeds the size standards for small 
entities. The Small Business

[[Page 7825]]

Administration (SBA) has established size standards for all major 
industry sectors in the United States, including commercial finfish 
harvesters (NAICS code 114111), commercial shellfish harvesters (NAICS 
code 114112), other commercial marine harvesters (NAICS code 114119), 
for-hire businesses (NAICS code 487210), marinas (NAICS code 713930), 
seafood dealers/wholesalers (NAICS code 424460), and seafood processors 
(NAICS code 311710). A business primarily involved in finfish 
harvesting is classified as a small business if it is independently 
owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation 
(including its affiliates), and has combined annual gross receipts not 
in excess of $20.5 million, for all its affiliated operations 
worldwide. For commercial shellfish harvesters, the same qualifiers 
apply, except the combined annual gross receipts threshold is $5.5 
million. For other commercial marine harvesters, for-hire fishing 
businesses, and marinas, the same qualifiers apply, except the combined 
annual gross receipts threshold is $7.5 million.
    A business primarily involved in seafood processing is classified 
as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not 
dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has 
combined annual employment, counting all individuals employed on a 
full-time, part-time, or other basis, not in excess of 500 employees 
for all its affiliated operations worldwide. For seafood dealers/
wholesalers, the same qualifiers apply, except the employment threshold 
is 100 employees.
    In determining a number of employees, SBA counts all individuals 
employed on a full-time, part-time, or other basis. This includes 
employees obtained from a temporary employee agency, professional 
employee organization or leasing concern. SBA will consider the 
totality of the circumstances, including criteria used by the IRS for 
Federal income tax purposes, in determining whether individuals are 
employees of a concern. Volunteers (i.e., individuals who receive no 
compensation, including no in-kind compensation, for work performed) 
are not considered employees. Where the size standard is number of 
employees, the method for determining a concern's size includes the 
following principles: (1) The average number of employees of the 
concern is used (including the employees of its domestic and foreign 
affiliates) based upon numbers of employees for each of the pay periods 
for the preceding completed 12 calendar months; and (2) part-time and 
temporary employees are counted the same as full-time employees.
    Three entities hold LLP licenses and own vessels that operate only 
in the GOA as hook-and-line catcher/processors. These three entities 
are not directly regulated by the CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard 
limits, and are not members of the FLCC. One entity owns a vessel named 
on an LLP license with Central GOA Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/
processor endorsements; the other two entities each own a vessel named 
on LLP licenses with Western GOA Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/
processor endorsements. These three entities are not directly regulated 
by this action because this action would not impose regulations on 
these vessels or the associated LLP licenses, or relieve them from 
regulation. These three entities may voluntarily choose to submit a 
request for removal of the sideboard limits under this action, but are 
not required to do so.

Duplicate, Overlapping, or Conflicting Federal Rules

    No duplication, overlap, or conflict between this proposed action 
and existing Federal rules has been identified.

Description of Significant Alternatives that Minimize Adverse Impacts 
on Small Entities

    The Council considered two alternatives for this action. 
Alternative 1 is the status quo, which does not meet the objectives of 
the action. Alternative 2 would remove the CR Program GOA Pacific cod 
sideboard limits in either the Central GOA, Western GOA, or both 
regulatory areas. As part of Alternative 2, the Council and NMFS also 
considered an option and a suboption for removing the CR Program GOA 
Pacific cod sideboard limits. The option (i.e., proposed action) would 
remove CR Program GOA Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-
line catcher/processor sector permanently if certain conditions are met 
by a specified date. The sub-option would suspend the CR Program GOA 
Pacific cod sideboard limits for the hook-and-line catcher/processor 
sector on an annual basis if certain conditions are met annually.
    The option would require all hook-and-line catcher/processor LLP 
license holders that are authorized to target Pacific cod in the 
Central or Western GOA (i.e., eligible participants) to submit a form 
to NMFS requesting the permanent removal of the GOA Pacific cod 
sideboard limit in that regulatory area on a one-time basis. The option 
would also require the request to be submitted within one year of the 
date of publication in the Federal Register of the final rule 
implementing Amendment 45, if approved by the Secretary.
    The sub-option would require all eligible participants to annually 
submit a form to NMFS requesting removal of the GOA Pacific cod 
sideboard limit in that regulatory area for the upcoming fishing year. 
Under the sub-option, if the annual form is not received by NFMS, the 
sideboard limits would not be removed for the following fishing year 
(i.e., January 1 through December 31).
    This proposed action would implement Alternative 2 with the option 
to permanently remove the CR Program GOA sideboard limits if all 
eligible participants in a regulatory area submit to NMFS a form 
requesting removal and provide that form to NMFS within the required 
timeline. The Council rejected the sub-option because the annual 
suspension of sideboards could create uncertainty for participants, 
result in additional administrative burden and costs, and potentially 
create management instability.
    Although this proposed action does not directly regulate small 
entities, the preferred alternative is the only alternative in the 
suite of options and alternatives considered that reduces the burden on 
directly regulated entities and best meets the purpose and need for 
this proposed action.

Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

    The reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements 
would be increased slightly under the proposed action if eligible 
participants in the Central or Western GOA agree to submit an affidavit 
to NMFS requesting removal of the CR Program GOA sideboard limits.

Collection-of-Information Requirements

    This proposed rule contains a collection-of-information requirement 
subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). This requirement has 
been submitted to OMB for approval under OMB Control No. 0648-0334. 
Public reporting burden for the Request to Extinguish Pacific Cod 
Sideboard Limits for Hook-and-Line Catcher/Processors in the Western or 
Central GOA is estimated to average 30 minutes per individual response, 
including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data 
sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and 
reviewing the collection of information.

[[Page 7826]]

    Public comment is sought regarding: Whether this proposed 
collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of 
the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall 
have practical utility; the accuracy of the burden estimate; ways to 
enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be 
collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information, including through the use of automated collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology. Send comments on 
these or any other aspects of the collection of information to NMFS 
(see ADDRESSES) and by email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax to 
202-395-5806.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to penalty for 
failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the 
requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays 
a currently valid OMB control number. All currently approved NOAA 
collections of information may be viewed at: http://www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prasubs.html.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 680

    Alaska, Fisheries, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: February 6, 2015.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 680 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 680--SHELLFISH FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF 
ALASKA

0
1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 680 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1862; Public Law 109-241; Public Law 109-
479.

0
2. In Sec.  680.22, revise paragraph (e) heading and introductory text, 
and paragraph (e)(1) to read as follows:


Sec.  680.22  Sideboard protections for GOA groundfish fisheries.

* * * * *
    (e) Conversion of sideboard ratios into annual sideboard harvest 
limits. NMFS will convert sideboard ratios into annual sideboard 
harvest limits according to the following procedures.
    (1) Annual sideboard harvest limits. (i) Except as provided in 
paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section, annual sideboard harvest limits 
for each groundfish species, except fixed-gear sablefish, will be 
established by multiplying the sideboard ratios calculated under 
paragraph (d) of this section by the proposed and final TACs in each 
area for which a TAC is specified. If a TAC is further apportioned by 
season, the sideboard harvest limit also will be apportioned by season 
in the same ratio as the overall TAC. The resulting harvest limits 
expressed in metric tons will be published in the annual GOA groundfish 
harvest specification notices.
    (ii) NMFS will not establish an annual sideboard harvest limit for 
Pacific cod for vessels that catch and process Pacific cod using hook-
and-line gear in the Central GOA Regulatory Area if all eligible 
participants request that the sideboard harvest limit be removed in 
accordance with the requirements of paragraph (e)(1)(ii)(A) of this 
section. NMFS will not establish an annual sideboard harvest limit for 
Pacific cod for vessels that catch and process Pacific cod using hook-
and-line gear in the Western GOA Regulatory Area if all eligible 
participants request that the sideboard harvest limit be removed in 
accordance with the requirements of paragraph (e)(1)(ii)(B) of this 
section. NMFS will publish notification of the removal of the sideboard 
harvest limit for Pacific cod for vessels that catch and process 
Pacific cod using hook-and-line gear in the Central GOA Regulatory Area 
or the Western GOA Regulatory Area through the annual GOA groundfish 
harvest specifications (see Sec.  679.20(c)(1)(iii) and (c)(3)(ii)).
    (A) Central GOA. For the Central GOA Regulatory Area (Statistical 
Areas 620 and 630; see Figure 3 to 50 CFR part 679), the holders of all 
LLP licenses listed in Column A of Table 10 to this part must submit to 
NMFS a completed Request to Extinguish Pacific Cod Sideboard Limits for 
Hook-and-Line Catcher/Processors in the Western or Central GOA, and the 
request must be received by NMFS on or before [INSERT DATE 365 DAYS 
AFTER THE DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE FINAL RULE IN THE Federal 
Register].
    (B) Western GOA. For the Western GOA Regulatory Area (Statistical 
Area 610; see Figure 3 to 50 CFR part 679), the holders of all LLP 
licenses listed in Column B of Table 10 to this part must submit to 
NMFS a completed Request to Extinguish Pacific Cod Sideboard Limits for 
Hook-and-Line Catcher/Processors in the Western or Central GOA, and the 
request must be received by NMFS on or before [INSERT DATE 365 DAYS 
AFTER THE DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE FINAL RULE IN THE Federal 
Register].
* * * * *
0
3. Add Table 10 to part 680 to read as follows:

  Table 10 to Part 680--License Limitation Program License Numbers That
  Authorize the Owners and Operators of Catcher/Processors To Directed
   Fish for Pacific Cod With Hook-and-Line Gear in the Central Gulf of
   Alaska Regulatory Area (Column A) and in the Western Gulf of Alaska
                       Regulatory Area (Column B)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Column A:                            Column B:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
LLG1125...................................  LLG1400.
LLG1128...................................  LLG1401.
LLG1400...................................  LLG1576.
LLG1576...................................  LLG1578.
LLG1713...................................  LLG1785.
LLG1785...................................  LLG1916.
LLG1916...................................  LLG1917.
LLG1917...................................  LLG2026.
LLG1989...................................  LLG2081.
LLG2081...................................  LLG2112.
LLG2112...................................  LLG2892.
LLG2238...................................  LLG2935.
LLG2705...................................  LLG3090.
LLG2783...................................  LLG3602.
LLG2892...................................  LLG3617.
LLG2958...................................  LLG3676.
LLG3609...................................  LLG4004.
LLG3616...................................  LLG4823.
LLG3617...................................
LLG3676...................................
LLG3681...................................
LLG3973...................................
LLG4823...................................
------------------------------------------------------------------------

[FR Doc. 2015-02911 Filed 2-11-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P