Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2015 and 2016 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish, 11919-11945 [2015-05041]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the directed fishing closure of Pacific cod for vessels using jig gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of February 27, 2015. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment. This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 2, 2015. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–05063 Filed 3–2–15; 04:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 141021887–5172–02] RIN 0648–XD587 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2015 and 2016 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; closures. AGENCY: NMFS announces final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2015 and 2016 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the BSAI (FMP). The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). DATES: Effective from 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 5, 2015, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2016. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of Decision (ROD), Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS, and the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) prepared for this action are available from http://alaska fisheries.noaa.gov. The final 2014 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the BSAI, dated November 2014, as well as the SAFE reports for previous years, are available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK, 99510–2252, (phone) 907–271–2809, or from the Council’s Web site at http:// www.npfmc.org/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved it under the MagnusonStevens Act. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600. The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species category. The sum TAC for all groundfish species must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see § 679.20(a)(1)(i)). This final rule specifies the TAC at 2.0 million mt for both 2015 and 2016. NMFS also must specify apportionments of TAC, prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances, and prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by § 679.21; seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC; Amendment 80 allocations; and Community Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts established by § 679.20(b)(1)(ii). The final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 22 of this action satisfy these requirements. Section 679.20(c)(3)(i) further requires NMFS to consider public comment on the proposed annual TACs (and apportionments thereof) and PSC allowances, and to publish final harvest PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 11919 specifications in the Federal Register. The proposed 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications and PSC allowances for the groundfish fishery of the BSAI were published in the Federal Register on December 8, 2014 (79 FR 72571). Comments were invited and accepted through January 7, 2015. NMFS received five letters with 13 comments on the proposed harvest specifications. These comments are summarized and responded to in the ‘‘Response to Comments’’ section of this rule. NMFS consulted with the Council on the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications during the December 2014 Council meeting in Anchorage, AK. After considering public comments, as well as biological and economic data that were available at the Council’s December meeting, NMFS is implementing the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications as recommended by the Council. Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Harvest Specifications The final ABC levels for Alaska groundfish are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised technical methods used to calculate stock biomass. In general, the development of ABCs and overfishing levels (OFLs) involves sophisticated statistical analyses of fish populations. The FMP specifies a series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts based on the level of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier 1 represents the highest level of information quality available while Tier 6 represents the lowest. In December 2014, the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), Advisory Panel (AP), and Council reviewed current biological and harvest information about the condition of the BSAI groundfish stocks. The Council’s Plan Team compiled and presented this information in the final 2014 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries, dated November 2014 (see ADDRESSES). The SAFE report contains a review of the latest scientific analyses and estimates of each species’ biomass and other biological parameters, as well as summaries of the available information on the BSAI ecosystem and the economic condition of groundfish fisheries off Alaska. NMFS notified the public and asked for review of the SAFE report in the notice of proposed harvest specifications. From these data and analyses, the Plan Team recommended an OFL and ABC for each species or E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 11920 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations species category at the November 2014 Plan Team meeting. In December 2014, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed the Plan Team’s recommendations. The final TAC recommendations were based on the ABCs as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the sum of the TACs within the required OY range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million mt. As required by annual catch limit rules for all fisheries (74 FR 3178, January 16, 2009), none of the Council’s recommended TACs for 2015 or 2016 exceeds the final 2015 or 2016 ABCs for any species category. The Secretary of Commerce approves the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications as recommended by the Council. NMFS finds that the Council’s recommended OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the preferred harvest strategy and the biological condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 2014 SAFE report that was approved by the Council. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2015 and 2016 Harvest Specifications A final rule implementing Steller sea lion protection measures in the BSAI became effective on December 26, 2014 (79 FR 70286, November 25, 2014). These regulations insure that the western distinct population segment of Steller sea lions’ continued existence is not jeopardized or its critical habitat is not destroyed or adversely modified. These regulations alter areas open for directed fishing in the Aleutian Islands subarea of the BSAI. They also alter the harvest limitation in these harvest specifications for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod primarily in the Aleutian Islands subarea of the BSAI. The proposed harvest specifications notified the public of possible changes to the harvest specification limits. Changes to the pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod harvest specifications that are required by the rule implementing the protection measures are described in the section for each of these target species. For 2015, the Board of Fisheries (BOF) for the State of Alaska (State) established a Pacific cod guideline harvest level (GHL) in State waters between 164 and 167 degrees west longitude in the Bering Sea (BS) subarea. The Pacific cod GHL in this area is equal to 3 percent of the sum of the Pacific cod ABCs for the Aleutian Islands (AI) and the BS. To account for the State GHL fishery in 2015 and 2016, the Council reduced the final BS subarea TAC by 3 percent of the combined BS and AI subarea ABCs. The combined BS subarea TAC and GHL (248,178 mt) are less than the final BS subarea ABC. For 2015, the BOF for the State established a Pacific cod GHL in State waters in the AI subarea. The Pacific cod GHL in this area is equal to 3 percent of the sum of the Pacific cod ABCs for the AI and the BS. To account for the State GHL fishery in 2015 and 2016, the Council reduced the final AI subarea TAC by 3 percent of the combined BS and AI subarea ABCs. The combined AI TAC and GHL (17,600 mt) equal the final AI subarea ABC. Changes From the Proposed 2015 and 2016 Harvest Specifications for the BSAI In October 2014, the Council proposed its recommendations for the 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications (which were proposed by NMFS, 79 FR 72571, December 8, 2014), based largely on information contained in the 2013 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries. Through the proposed harvest specifications, NMFS notified the public that these harvest specifications could change, as the Council would consider information contained in the final 2014 SAFE report, recommendations from the Plan Team, SSC, and AP committees, and public testimony when making its recommendations for final harvest specifications at the December Council meeting. NMFS further notified the public that, as required by the FMP and its implementing regulations, the sum of the TACs must be within the OY range of 1.4 million and 2.0 million mt. Information contained in the 2014 SAFE reports indicates biomass changes for several groundfish species from the 2013 SAFE reports. At the December 2014 Council meeting, the SSC recommended the 2015 and 2016 ABCs for many species based on the best and most recent information contained in the 2014 SAFE reports. This recommendation resulted in an ABC sum total for all BSAI groundfish species in excess of 2 million mt for both 2015 and 2016. Based on the SSC ABC recommendations and the 2014 SAFE reports, the Council recommends increasing Bering Sea pollock by 52,000 mt. In terms of percentage, the largest increases in TACs were for Central Aleutian district (CAI) Atka mackerel and Western Aleutian district (WAI) Atka mackerel, octopuses, and Aleutian Island Pacific cod. The Atka mackerel fisheries are valuable and likely to be harvested to the full TAC available. The Council increased these TACs due to changes in Steller sea lion conservation measures. The octopuses increase was due to anticipated higher catches in 2015 and 2016, and the increase in Aleutian Islands Pacific cod was due to larger biomass estimates. Conversely, the largest decrease in TAC in terms of tonnage is 38,000 mt for yellowfin sole and 15,750 for rock sole. In terms of percentage change from the proposed TACs, Aleutian Island Greenland turbot and shortraker rockfish had the largest decreases in TAC. The Council decreased TACs for these species because they were not fully harvested in 2014. The changes to TAC between the proposed and final harvest specifications are based on the most recent scientific and economic information and are consistent with the FMP, regulatory obligations, and harvest strategy as described in the proposed harvest specifications. These changes are compared in Table 1A. Table 1 lists the Council’s recommended final 2015 OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ reserve amounts of the BSAI groundfish; and Table 2 lists the Council’s recommended final 2016 OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC, and CDQ reserve amounts of the BSAI groundfish. NMFS concurs in these recommendations. The final 2015 and 2016 TAC recommendations for the BSAI are within the OY range established for the BSAI and do not exceed the ABC for any species or species group. The apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and seasons is discussed below. TABLE 1—FINAL 2015 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2015 Species Area OFL Pollock 4 .............................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 BS ....................................... 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00064 ABC TAC ITAC 2 3,330,000 1,637,000 1,310,000 1,179,000 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 CDQ 3 131,000 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 11921 TABLE 1—FINAL 2015 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI 1—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2015 Species Area OFL ABC ITAC 2 TAC Skates ................................. Sculpins ............................... Sharks ................................. Squids ................................. Octopuses ........................... AI ........................................ Bogoslof ............................. BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... EAI ...................................... CAI ..................................... WAI ..................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS/EAI ................................ CAI/WAI .............................. BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BS/EAI ................................ CAI ..................................... WAI ..................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... 36,005 21,200 346,000 23,400 1,575 2,128 266,400 3,903 n/a n/a 93,856 10,500 187,600 79,419 54,000 17,700 42,558 n/a n/a n/a n/a 15,337 560 n/a n/a 690 1,667 n/a n/a 125,297 n/a n/a n/a 49,575 52,365 1,363 2,624 3,452 29,659 15,900 255,000 17,600 1,333 1,802 248,800 3,172 2,448 724 80,547 9,000 181,700 66,130 44,900 13,250 34,988 8,771 8,312 7,723 10,182 12,488 453 149 304 518 1,250 695 555 106,000 38,492 33,108 34,400 41,658 39,725 1,022 1,970 2,589 19,000 100 240,000 9,422 1,333 1,802 149,000 2,648 2,448 200 22,000 6,500 69,250 24,250 18,500 3,620 32,021 8,021 8,000 7,000 9,000 3,250 349 149 200 250 880 325 555 54,500 27,000 17,000 10,500 25,700 4,700 125 400 400 17,100 100 214,320 8,414 567 383 133,057 2,251 2,081 170 18,700 5,525 61,840 21,655 15,725 3,077 28,250 6,818 7,144 6,251 8,037 2,763 297 127 170 213 748 276 472 48,669 24,111 15,181 9,377 21,845 3,995 106 340 340 Total ............................. 4,769,174 ........................... 2,848,454 2,000,000 1,789,278 197,038 Pacific cod 5 ........................ Sablefish ............................. Yellowfin sole ...................... Greenland turbot ................. Arrowtooth flounder ............. Kamchatka flounder ............ Rock sole ............................ Flathead sole 6 .................... Alaska plaice ....................... Other flatfish 7 ..................... Pacific ocean perch ............ Northern rockfish ................. Rougheye rockfish 8 ............ Shortraker rockfish .............. Other rockfish 9 ................... Atka mackerel ..................... 1 These mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES CDQ 3 1,900 0 25,680 1,008 183 304 15,943 n/a 262 0 2,354 0 7,410 2,595 0 0 n/a 0 856 749 963 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5,832 2,889 1,819 1,124 0 0 0 0 0 amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District. 2 Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is put into a reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species, ITAC is the non-CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 5). 3 For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch), 10.7 percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). Aleutian Islands Greenland turbot, ‘‘other flatfish,’’ Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program. 4 Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), the annual BS subarea pollock TAC after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (4.0 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: inshore—50 percent; catcher/processor—40 percent; and motherships—10 percent. Under § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,400 mt) is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. 5 The BS Pacific cod TAC is reduced by 3 percent from the combined BSAI ABC to account for the State of Alaska’s (State) guideline harvest level in State waters of the Bering Sea subarea. The AI Pacific cod TAC is reduced by 3 percent from the combined BSAI ABC to account for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea. 6 ‘‘Flathead sole’’ includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering flounder). 7 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice. 8 ‘‘Rougheye rockfish’’ includes Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted). 9 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, dark rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish.Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2 (BS=Bering Sea subarea, AI=Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI=Eastern Aleutian district, CAI=Central Aleutian district, WAI=Western Aleutian district.) VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 11922 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 1A—COMPARISON OF FINAL 2015 AND 2016 WITH PROPOSED 2015 AND 2016 TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH IN THE BSAI [Amounts are in metric tons] Species Area 1 Pollock ......................... Skates ......................... Sculpins ....................... Sharks ......................... Squid ........................... Octopuses ................... Total ..................... Yellowfin sole .............. Greenland turbot ......... Arrowtooth flounder ..... Kamchatka flounder .... Rock sole .................... Flathead sole ............... Alaska plaice ............... Other flatfish ................ Pacific ocean perch ..... Northern rockfish ......... Rougheye rockfish ...... Shortraker rockfish ...... Other rockfish .............. Atka mackerel ............. 1,258,000 19,000 75 251,712 6,487 1,210 1,636 187,000 2,478 695 25,000 7,300 85,000 25,129 25,000 3,000 7,340 8,833 6,299 9,169 3,000 201 277 370 400 473 21,769 9,722 1,000 26,000 5,750 125 325 225 52,000 0 25 ¥11,712 2,935 123 166 ¥38,000 ¥30 ¥495 ¥3,000 ¥800 ¥15,750 ¥879 ¥6,500 620 681 ¥833 701 ¥169 250 ¥52 ¥77 ¥120 ¥75 82 5,231 7,278 9,500 ¥300 ¥1,050 0 75 175 2,000,000 BSAI ............... Sablefish ...................... 2015 Difference from proposed 1,310,000 19,000 100 240,000 9,422 1,333 1,802 149,000 2,448 200 22,000 6,500 69,250 24,250 18,500 3,620 8,021 8,000 7,000 9,000 3,250 149 200 250 325 555 27,000 17,000 10,500 25,700 4,700 125 400 400 BS ................... AI .................... Bogoslof ......... BS ................... AI .................... BS ................... AI .................... BSAI ............... BS ................... AI .................... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BS ................... EAI .................. CAI ................. WAI ................. BSAI ............... BS/EAI ............ CAI/WAI .......... BSAI ............... BS ................... AI .................... EAI/BS ............ CAI ................. WAI ................. BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... Pacific cod ................... 2015 Proposed TAC 2,000,000 0 2015 Final TAC 2016 Proposed TAC 2016 Difference from proposed 1,310,000 19,000 100 240,000 9,422 1,211 1,637 149,000 2,448 200 22,000 6,500 69,250 24,250 18,500 3,620 8,021 7,970 7,000 9,000 3,250 149 200 250 325 555 27,317 17,000 10,500 25,700 4,700 125 400 400 1,258,000 19,000 75 251,712 6,487 1,210 1,636 187,000 2,478 695 25,000 7,300 85,000 25,129 25,000 3,000 7,340 8,833 6,299 9,169 3,000 201 277 370 400 473 21,769 9,722 1,000 26,000 5,750 125 325 225 52,000 0 25 ¥11,712 2,935 1 1 ¥38,000 ¥30 ¥495 ¥3,000 ¥800 ¥15,750 ¥879 ¥6,500 620 681 ¥863 701 ¥169 250 ¥52 ¥77 ¥120 ¥75 82 5,548 7,278 9,500 ¥300 ¥1,050 0 75 175 2,000,000 2,000,000 0 2016 Final TAC 1 Bering Sea subarea (BS), Aleutian Islands subarea (AI), Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI), Eastern Aleutian District (EAI), Central Aleutian District (CAI), and Western Aleutian District (WAI). TABLE 2—FINAL 2016 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2016 Species Area OFL Pollock 4 .............................. Pacific cod 5 ........................ Sablefish ............................. Yellowfin sole ...................... mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Greenland turbot ................. Arrowtooth flounder ............. Kamchatka flounder ............ Rock sole ............................ Flathead sole 6 .................... Alaska plaice ....................... Other flatfish 7 ..................... Pacific ocean perch ............ VerDate Sep<11>2014 BS ....................................... AI ........................................ Bogoslof ............................. BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... EAI ...................................... 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00066 ABC TAC ITAC 2 3,490,000 38,699 21,200 389,000 23,400 1,431 1,934 262,900 6,453 n/a n/a 91,663 11,000 170,100 76,504 51,600 17,700 40,809 n/a n/a 1,554,000 31,900 15,900 255,000 17,600 1,211 1,637 245,500 5,248 4,050 1,198 78,661 9,500 164,800 63,711 42,900 13,250 33,550 8,411 7,970 1,310,000 19,000 100 240,000 9,422 1,211 1,637 149,000 2,648 2,448 200 22,000 6,500 69,250 24,250 18,500 3,620 31,991 8,021 7,970 1,179,000 17,100 100 214,320 8,414 515 348 133,057 2,251 2,081 170 18,700 5,525 61,840 21,655 15,725 3,077 28,223 6,818 7,117 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 CDQ 3 131,000 1,900 0 25,680 1,008 45 31 15,943 n/a 262 0 2,354 0 7,410 2,595 0 0 n/a 0 853 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 11923 TABLE 2—FINAL 2016 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI 1—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2016 Species Area OFL ABC ITAC 2 TAC CDQ 3 Skates ................................. Sculpins ............................... Sharks ................................. Squids ................................. Octopuses ........................... CAI ..................................... WAI ..................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... EBS/EAI ............................. CAI/WAI .............................. BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... EAI/BS ................................ CAI ..................................... WAI ..................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... n/a n/a 15,100 688 n/a n/a 690 1,667 n/a n/a 115,908 n/a n/a n/a 47,035 52,365 1,363 2,624 3,452 7,406 9,763 12,295 555 178 377 518 1,250 695 555 98,137 35,637 30,652 31,848 39,468 39,725 1,022 1,970 2,589 7,000 9,000 3,250 349 149 200 250 880 325 555 54,817 27,317 17,000 10,500 25,700 4,700 125 400 400 6,251 8,037 2,763 297 127 170 213 748 276 472 48,952 24,394 15,181 9,377 21,845 3,995 106 340 340 749 963 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5,865 2,923 1,819 1,124 0 0 0 0 0 Total ............................. ............................................. 4,935,285 2,731,897 2,000,000 1,789,447 196,658 Northern rockfish ................. Rougheye rockfish 8 ............ Shortraker rockfish .............. Other rockfish 9 ................... Atka mackerel ..................... 1 These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District. 2 Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is put into a reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species, ITAC is the non-CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 5). 3 For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch), 10.7 percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). Aleutian Islands Greenland turbot, ‘‘other flatfish,’’ Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program. 4 Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), the annual BS subarea pollock TAC after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (4.0 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: Inshore—50 percent; catcher/processor—40 percent; and motherships—10 percent. Under § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,400 mt) is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. 5 The BS Pacific cod TAC is reduced by 3 percent from the combined BSAI ABC to account for the State of Alaska’s (State) guideline harvest level in State waters of the Bering Sea subarea. The AI Pacific cod TAC is reduced by 3 percent from the combined BSAI ABC to account for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea. 6 ‘‘Flathead sole’’ includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering flounder). 7 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice. 8 ‘‘Rougheye rockfish’’ includes Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted). 9 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, dark rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2 (BS=Bering Sea subarea, AI=Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI=Eastern Aleutian district, CAI=Central Aleutian district, WAI=Western Aleutian district.) mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Groundfish Reserves and the Incidental Catch Allowance (ICA) for Pollock, Atka Mackerel, Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, Yellowfin Sole, and Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) requires NMFS to reserve 15 percent of the TAC for each target species, except for pollock, hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish, and Amendment 80 species, in a non-specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires that NMFS allocate 20 percent of the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish for the fixed-gear sablefish CDQ reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires that NMFS allocate 7.5 percent of the trawl VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 gear allocations of sablefish and 10.7 percent of the Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder TACs to the respective CDQ reserves. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) requires that NMFS allocate 10.7 percent of the TAC for Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod to the CDQ reserves. Sections 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) and 679.31(a) also require that 10 percent of the BSAI pollock TACs be allocated to the pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is allocated as an ICA (see § 679.20(a)(5)(ii)). With the exception of PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 the hook-and-line and pot gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the regulations do not further apportion the CDQ allocations by gear. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS allocates a pollock ICA of 4.0 percent of the BS subarea pollock TAC after subtracting the 10 percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on NMFS’ examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2000 through 2014. During this 15-year period, the pollock incidental catch ranged from a low of 2.4 percent in 2006 to a high of 4.8 percent in 2014, with a E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 11924 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 5,000 mt of yellowfin sole, 10 mt of WAI Pacific ocean perch, 75 mt of CAI Pacific ocean perch, 100 mt of EAI Pacific ocean perch, 40 mt of WAI Atka mackerel, 75 mt of CAI Atka mackerel, and 1,000 mt of EAI and BS subarea Atka mackerel TAC after subtracting the 10.7 percent CDQ reserve. These ICA allowances are based on NMFS’ examination of the incidental catch in other target fisheries from 2003 through 2014. The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified reserve by species or species group. Any amount of the reserve may be apportioned to a target species category that contributed to the non-specified 15-year average of 3.2 percent. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS establishes a pollock ICA of 2,400 mt of the AI subarea TAC after subtracting the 10-percent CDQ DFA. This allowance is based on NMFS’ examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2003 through 2014. During this 12-year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from a low of 5 percent in 2006 to a high of 17 percent in 2014, with an 11-year average of 8 percent. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS allocates ICAs of 5,000 mt of flathead sole, 8,000 mt of rock sole, reserves during the year, provided that such apportionments do not result in overfishing (see § 679.20(b)(1)(i)). The Regional Administrator has determined that the ITACs specified for the species listed in Table 1 need to be supplemented from the non-specified reserve because U.S. fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch the full TAC allocations. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(b)(3), NMFS is apportioning the amounts shown in Table 3 from the non-specified reserve to increase the ITAC for shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ sharks, and octopuses by 15 percent of the TAC in 2015 and 2016. TABLE 3—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 APPORTIONMENT OF RESERVES TO ITAC CATEGORIES [Amounts are in metric tons] Species-area or subarea 2015 ITAC 2015 reserve amount 2015 final ITAC 2016 ITAC 2016 reserve amount 2016 final ITAC Shortraker rockfish-BSAI ......................... Rougheye rockfish-BS/EAI ...................... Rougheye rockfish-CAI/WAI .................... Other rockfish-Bering Sea subarea ......... Other rockfish-Aleutian Islands subarea .. Sharks ...................................................... Octopuses ................................................ 213 127 170 276 472 106 340 37 22 30 49 83 19 60 250 149 200 325 555 125 400 213 127 170 276 472 106 340 37 22 30 49 83 19 60 250 149 200 325 555 125 400 Total .................................................. 1,704 300 2,004 1,704 300 2,004 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Allocation of Pollock TAC Under the American Fisheries Act (AFA) Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that the BS subarea pollock TAC be apportioned, after subtracting 10 percent for the CDQ program and 4.0 percent for the ICA, as a DFA as follows: 50 percent to the inshore sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor (C/P) sector, and 10 percent to the mothership sector. In the BS subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20–June 10), and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10–November 1) (§ 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)). The AI-directed pollock fishery allocation to the Aleut Corporation is the amount of pollock remaining in the AI subarea after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and 2,400 mt for the ICA (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(ii)). In the AI subarea, the total A season apportionment of the TAC is less than or equal to 40 percent of the ABC and the remainder of the TAC is allocated to VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 the B season. Tables 4 and 5 list these 2015 and 2016 amounts. The Steller sea lion protection measure final rule (79 FR 70286, November 25, 2014), sets harvest limits for pollock in the A season (January 20 to June 10) in Areas 543, 542, and 541, see § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6). In Area 543, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. In Area 542, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 15 percent of the Aleutian Islands ABC. In Area 541, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 30 percent of the Aleutian Islands ABC. Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific requirements regarding BS subarea pollock allocations. First, it requires that 8.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the C/P sector be available for harvest by AFA catcher vessels (CVs) with C/P sector endorsements, unless the Regional Administrator receives a cooperative contract that allows the distribution of harvest among AFA C/Ps and AFA CVs in a manner agreed to by PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 all members. Second, AFA C/Ps not listed in the AFA are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the C/P sector. Tables 4 and 5 list the 2015 and 2016 allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 21 through 26 list the AFA C/P and CV harvesting sideboard limits. The tables for the pollock allocations to the BS subarea inshore pollock cooperatives and open access sector will be posted on the Alaska Region Web site at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Tables 4 and 5 also list seasonal apportionments of pollock and harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The harvest within the SCA, as defined at § 679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to no more than 28 percent of the annual DFA before 12:00 noon, April 1, as provided in § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C). The A season pollock SCA harvest limit will be apportioned to each sector in proportion to each sector’s allocated percentage of the DFA. Tables 4 and 5 list these 2015 and 2016 amounts by sector. E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 11925 TABLE 4—FINAL 2015 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Area and sector A season DFA Bering Sea subarea TAC 1 .............................................................................. CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA 1 ................................................................................................................. AFA Inshore ..................................................................................................... AFA Catcher/Processors 3 ............................................................................... Catch by C/Ps .......................................................................................... Catch by CVs 3 ......................................................................................... Unlisted C/P Limit 4 ................................................................................... AFA Motherships ............................................................................................. Excessive Harvesting Limit 5 ............................................................................ Excessive Processing Limit 6 ........................................................................... Total Bering Sea DFA ..................................................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea ABC ......................................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea TAC 1 ....................................................................... CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA ................................................................................................................... Aleut Corporation ............................................................................................. Area harvest limit: 541 ............................................................................................................ 542 ............................................................................................................ 543 ............................................................................................................ Bogoslof District ICA 7 ...................................................................................... 2015 B season 1 2015 A season 1 2015 Allocations SCA harvest limit 2 B season DFA 1,310,000 131,000 47,160 565,920 452,736 414,253 38,483 2,264 113,184 198,072 339,552 1,131,840 29,659 19,000 1,900 2,400 14,700 n/a 52,400 n/a 226,368 181,094 165,701 15,393 905 45,274 n/a n/a 452,736 n/a n/a 760 1,200 9,904 n/a 36,680 n/a 158,458 126,766 n/a n/a n/a 31,692 n/a n/a 316,915 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 78,600 n/a 339,552 271,642 248,552 23,090 1,358 67,910 n/a n/a 679,104 n/a n/a 1,140 1,200 4,796 8,898 4,449 1,483 100 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the BS subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4.0 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector—50 percent, catcher/processor sector (C/P)—40 percent, and mothership sector—10 percent. In the BS subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20–June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10–November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is allocated 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the pollock directed fishery. 2 In the BS subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector’s annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels delivering to listed catcher/processors. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/ processors sector’s allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. 8 The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for ICA only and are not apportioned by season or sector. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 5—FINAL 2016 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Area and sector mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES A season DFA Bering Sea subarea TAC 1 .............................................................................. CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA 1 ................................................................................................................. AFA Inshore ..................................................................................................... AFA Catcher/Processors 3 ............................................................................... Catch by C/Ps .......................................................................................... Catch by CVs 3 ......................................................................................... Unlisted C/P Limit 4 ................................................................................... AFA Motherships ............................................................................................. Excessive Harvesting Limit 5 ............................................................................ Excessive Processing Limit 6 ........................................................................... Total Bering Sea DFA ..................................................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea ABC ......................................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea TAC 1 ....................................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 1,310,000 131,000 47,160 565,920 452,736 414,253 38,483 2,264 113,184 198,072 339,552 1,131,840 31,900 19,000 2016 B season 1 2016 A season 1 2016 Allocations n/a 52,400 n/a 226,368 181,094 165,701 15,393 905 45,274 n/a n/a 452,736 n/a n/a E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 SCA harvest limit 2 n/a 36,680 n/a 158,458 126,766 n/a n/a n/a 31,692 n/a n/a 316,915 n/a n/a B season DFA n/a 78,600 n/a 339,552 271,642 248,552 23,090 1,358 67,910 n/a n/a 679,104 n/a n/a 11926 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 5—FINAL 2016 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] Area and sector A season DFA CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA ................................................................................................................... Aleut Corporation ............................................................................................. Area harvest limit: 7 541 ............................................................................................................ 542 ............................................................................................................ 543 ............................................................................................................ Bogoslof District ICA 8 ...................................................................................... 2016 B season 1 2016 A season 1 2016 Allocations SCA harvest limit 2 B season DFA 1,900 2,400 14,700 760 1,200 10,800 n/a n/a n/a 1,140 1,200 3,900 9,570 4,785 1,595 100 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the BS subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4.0 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector—50 percent, catcher/processor sector (C/P)—40 percent, and mothership sector—10 percent. In the BS subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10–November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is allocated 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the pollock directed fishery. 2 In the BS subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector’s annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/ processors sector’s allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. 8 The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for ICA only and are not apportioned by season or sector. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TACs Section 679.20(a)(8) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and nontrawl gear sector (Tables 6 and 7). The percentage of the ITAC for Atka mackerel allocated to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is listed in Table 33 to part 679 and in § 679.91. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 2 percent of the EAI and the BS subarea Atka mackerel ITAC may be allocated to vessels using jig gear. The percent of this allocation is recommended annually by the Council based on several criteria, including the anticipated harvest capacity of the jig gear fleet. The Council recommended, and NMFS approves, a 0.5 percent allocation of the Atka mackerel ITAC in the EAI and BS subarea to the jig gear VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 sector in 2015 and 2016. This percentage is applied to the Atka mackerel TAC after subtracting the CDQ reserve and the ICA. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel TAC into two equal seasonal allowances. Section 679.23(e)(3) sets the first seasonal allowance for directed fishing with trawl gear from January 20 through June 10 (A season), and the second seasonal allowance from June 10 through December 31 (B season). Section 679.23(e)(4)(iii) applies Atka mackerel seasons to CDQ Atka mackerel fishing. The ICA and jig gear allocations are not apportioned by season. Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) and (ii) limits Atka mackerel catch within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to this part and located west of 178° W longitude to no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543; and equally PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 divides the annual TAC between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3). Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the annual TAC in Area 543 will be no more than 65 percent of the ABC in Area 543. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(D) requires that any unharvested Atka mackerel A season allowance that is added to the B season be prohibited from being harvested within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to this part and located in Areas 541, 542, and 543. Tables 6 and 7 list these 2015 and 2016 Atka mackerel seasons, area allowances, and the sector allocations. The 2016 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2015. E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 11927 TABLE 6—FINAL 2015 SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, CDQ RESERVE, INCIDENTAL CATCH ALLOWANCE, AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] 2015 allocation by area Eastern Aleutian District/ Bering Sea Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 TAC ......................................................................................... CDQ reserve ........................................................................... n/a .......................................... Total ....................................... A ............................................. Critical Habitat ....................... B ............................................. Critical Habitat ....................... Total ....................................... Total ....................................... Total ....................................... A ............................................. Critical Habitat ....................... B ............................................. Critical Habitat ....................... Total ....................................... A ............................................. B ............................................. Total 6 ..................................... A ............................................. Critical Habitat ....................... B ............................................. Critical Habitat ....................... Total 6 ..................................... A ............................................. Critical Habitat ....................... B ............................................. Critical Habitat ....................... ICA ........................................................................................... Jig 6 .......................................................................................... BSAI trawl limited access ........................................................ Amendment 80 sectors ........................................................... Alaska Groundfish Cooperative .............................................. Alaska Seafood Cooperative ................................................... 27,000 2,889 1,445 n/a 1,445 n/a 1,000 116 2,300 1,150 n/a 1,150 n/a 20,696 10,348 10,348 11,616 5,808 n/a 5,808 n/a 9,080 4,540 n/a 4,540 n/a Central Aleutian District 5 17,000 1,819 910 546 910 546 75 0 1,511 755 453 755 453 13,595 6,798 6,798 8,116 4,058 2,435 4,058 2,435 5,479 2,740 1,644 2,740 1,644 Western Aleutian District 10,500 1,124 562 337 562 337 40 0 0 0 0 0 0 9,337 4,668 4,668 5,742 2,871 1,723 2,871 1,723 3,594 1,797 1,078 1,797 1,078 1 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 2 Regulations at §§ 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 3 The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4 Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31. 5 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to be caught inside of critical habitat; (a)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3); and (a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC. 6 Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 7—FINAL 2016 SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, CDQ RESERVE, INCIDENTAL CATCH ALLOWANCE, AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATION OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] 2016 allocation by area Eastern Aleutian District/ Bering Sea 5 Season 2 3 4 TAC ......................................................................................... CDQ reserve ........................................................................... mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Sector 1 n/a .......................................... Total ....................................... A ............................................. Critical Habitat ....................... B ............................................. Critical Habitat ....................... Total ....................................... Total ....................................... Total ....................................... A ............................................. Critical Habitat ....................... B ............................................. Critical Habitat ....................... ICA ........................................................................................... Jig 6 .......................................................................................... BSAI trawl limited access ........................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 27,317 2,923 1,461 n/a 1,461 n/a 1,000 117 2,328 1,164 n/a 1,164 n/a E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 Central Aleutian District 5 17,000 1,819 910 546 910 546 75 0 1,511 755 453 755 453 Western Aleutian District 5 10,500 1,124 562 337 562 337 40 0 0 0 0 0 0 11928 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 7—FINAL 2016 SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, CDQ RESERVE, INCIDENTAL CATCH ALLOWANCE, AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATION OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2016 allocation by area Eastern Aleutian District/ Bering Sea 5 Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 Amendment 80 sectors ........................................................... Total ....................................... A ............................................. B ............................................. Central Aleutian District 5 20,949 10,475 10,475 Western Aleutian District 5 13,595 6,798 6,798 9,337 4,668 4,668 1 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 2 Regulations at §§ 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 3 The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4 Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31. 5 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to be caught inside of critical habitat; (a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3); and (a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC. 6 Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. 7 The 2016 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2015. NMFS will post 2016 Amendment 80 allocations when they become available in December 2015. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC The Council separated BS and AI subarea OFLs, ABCs, and TACs for Pacific cod. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) allocates 10.7 percent of the BS TAC and AI TAC to the CDQ program. After CDQ allocations have been deducted from the respective BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, the remaining BS and AI Pacific cod TACs are combined for calculating further BSAI Pacific cod sector allocations. However, if the nonCDQ Pacific cod TAC is or will be reached in either the BS or AI subareas, NMFS will prohibit non-CDQ directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea as provided in § 679.20(d)(1)(iii). Sections 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) allocate the Pacific cod TAC in the combined BSAI TAC, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ program, as follows: 1.4 percent to vessels using jig gear; 2.0 percent to hook-and-line and pot CVs less than 60 ft (18.3 m) length overall (LOA); 0.2 percent to hook-andline CVs greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA; 48.7 percent to hook-andline C/P; 8.4 percent to pot CVs greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA; 1.5 percent to pot C/Ps; 2.3 percent to AFA trawl C/Ps; 13.4 percent to non-AFA trawl C/Ps; and 22.1 percent to trawl CVs. The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. For 2015 and 2016, the Regional Administrator establishes an ICA of 500 mt based on anticipated incidental catch by these sectors in other fisheries. The ITAC allocation of Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 sector is established in Table 33 to part 679 and § 679.91. The 2016 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2015. The Pacific cod ITAC is apportioned into seasonal allowances to disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see §§ 679.20(a)(7) and 679.23(e)(5)). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(B) and (C), any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance will become available at the beginning of the next seasonal allowance. Section 679.20(a)(7)(vii) requires the Regional Administrator to establish an Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit based on Pacific cod abundance in Area 543. Based on the 2014 stock assessment, the Regional Administrator determined the Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit to be 26.3 percent of the AI Pacific cod TAC for 2015 and 2016. NMFS will first subtract the State GHL Pacific cod amount from the AI Pacific cod ABC. Then NMFS will determine the harvest limit in Area 543 by multiplying the percentage of Pacific cod estimated in Area 543 by the remaining ABC for AI Pacific cod. Based on these calculations, the Area 543 harvest limit is 2,478 mt. The CDQ and non-CDQ season allowances by gear based on the 2015 and 2016 Pacific cod TACs are listed in Tables 8 and 9, and are based on the sector allocation percentages of Pacific cod set forth at §§ 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) and 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(A) and the seasonal allowances of Pacific cod set forth at § 679.23(e)(5). TABLE 8—FINAL 2015 GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES [Amounts are in metric tons] Gear sector BS TAC ................................................................. BS CDQ ................................................................ BS non-CDQ TAC ................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 2015 Share of gear sector total Percent Jkt 235001 PO 00000 2015 Share of sector total 240,000 25,680 214,320 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a Frm 00072 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2015 Seasonal apportionment Seasons n/a ................................. see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) n/a ................................. E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 Amount n/a n/a n/a Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 11929 TABLE 8—FINAL 2015 GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2015 Share of gear sector total 2015 Share of sector total n/a n/a n/a n/a 100 60.8 n/a n/a 48.7 ........................ 0.2 ........................ 1.5 ........................ 8.4 ........................ 2 9,422 1,008 8,414 2,478 222,734 135,422 500 134,922 n/a ........................ n/a ........................ n/a ........................ n/a ........................ n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 108,071 ........................ 444 ........................ 3,329 ........................ 18,641 ........................ 4,438 n/a ................................. see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) n/a ................................. n/a ................................. n/a ................................. n/a ................................. see § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(B) n/a ................................. Jan 1-Jun 10 ................ Jun 10–Dec 31 ............. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................ Jun 10–Dec 31 ............. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................ Sept 1–Dec 31 ............. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................ Sept 1–Dec 31 ............. n/a ................................. n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 55,116 52,955 226 217 1,698 1,631 9,507 9,134 n/a 22.1 ........................ ........................ 2.3 ........................ ........................ 13.4 ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ 1.4 ........................ ........................ 49,224 ........................ ........................ 5,123 ........................ ........................ 29,846 ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ 3,118 ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ 4,711 ........................ ........................ 25,135 ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ Jan 20–Apr 1 ................ Apr 1–Jun 10 ................ Jun 10–Nov 1 ............... Jan 20–Apr 1 ................ Apr 1–Jun 10 ................ Jun 10–Nov 1 ............... Jan 20–Apr 1 ................ Apr 1–Jun 10 ................ Jun 10–Nov 1 ............... Jan 20–Apr 1 ................ Apr 1–Jun 10 ................ Jun 10–Dec 31 ............. Jan 20–Apr 1 ................ Apr 1–Jun 10 ................ Jun 10–Dec 31 ............. Jan 1–Apr 30 ................ Apr 30–Aug 31 ............. Aug 31–Dec 31 ............ 36,426 5,415 7,384 3,842 1,281 0 22,385 7,462 0 3,533 1,178 0 18,851 6,284 0 1,871 624 624 Gear sector Percent AI TAC .................................................................. AI CDQ ................................................................. AI non-CDQ TAC .................................................. Western Aleutian Island Limit ............................... Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC 1 .................................. Total hook-and-line/pot gear ................................. Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 ........................................ Hook-and-line/pot sub-total ................................... Hook-and-line catcher/processor .......................... Hook-and-line catcher vessel ≥ 60 ft LOA ........... Pot catcher/processor ........................................... Pot catcher vessel ≥ 60 ft LOA ............................ Catcher vessel < 60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Trawl catcher vessel ............................................. AFA trawl catcher/processor ................................ Amendment 80 ..................................................... Alaska Groundfish Cooperative ............................ Alaska Seafood Cooperative ................................ Jig ......................................................................... 2015 Seasonal apportionment Seasons Amount 1 The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of CDQ. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea may be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains. 2 The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 500 mt for 2015 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 9—FINAL 2016 GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Gear sector BS TAC ................................................................. BS CDQ ................................................................ BS non-CDQ TAC ................................................ AI TAC .................................................................. AI CDQ ................................................................. AI non-CDQ TAC .................................................. Western Aleutian Island Limit ............................... Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC 1 .................................. Total hook-and-line/pot gear ................................. Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 ........................................ Hook-and-line/pot sub-total ................................... Hook-and-line catcher/processor .......................... Hook-and-line catcher vessel ≥ 60 ft LOA ........... Pot catcher/processor ........................................... Pot catcher vessel ≥ 60 ft LOA ............................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 2016 Share of gear sector total Percent Jkt 235001 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 60.8 n/a n/a 48.7 ........................ 0.2 ........................ 1.5 ........................ 8.4 PO 00000 Frm 00073 2016 Share of sector total 240,000 25,680 214,320 9,422 1,008 8,414 2,478 222,734 135,422 500 134,922 n/a ........................ n/a ........................ n/a ........................ n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 108,071 ........................ 444 ........................ 3,329 ........................ 18,641 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2016 Seasonal apportionment Seasons n/a ................................. see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) n/a ................................. n/a ................................. see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) n/a ................................. n/a ................................. n/a ................................. n/a ................................. see § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(B) n/a ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................ Jun 10–Dec 31 ............. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................ Jun 10–Dec 31 ............. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................ Sept 1–Dec 31 ............. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................ E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 Amount n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 55,116 52,955 226 217 1,698 1,631 9,507 11930 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 9—FINAL 2016 GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2016 Share of gear sector total 2016 Share of sector total ........................ 2 ........................ n/a ........................ 4,438 Sept 1–Dec 31 ............. n/a ................................. 9,134 n/a 22.1 ........................ ........................ 2.3 ........................ ........................ 13.4 ........................ ........................ 1.4 ........................ ........................ 49,224 ........................ ........................ 5,123 ........................ ........................ 29,846 ........................ ........................ 3,118 ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ Jan 20–Apr 1 ................ Apr 1–Jun 10 ................ Jun 10–Nov 1 ............... Jan 20–Apr 1 ................ Apr 1–Jun 10 ................ Jun 10–Nov 1 ............... Jan 20–Apr 1 ................ Apr 1–Jun 10 ................ Jun 10–Dec 31 ............. Jan 1–Apr 30 ................ Apr 30–Aug 31 ............. Aug 31–Dec 31 ............ 36,426 5,415 7,384 3,842 1,281 0 22,385 7,462 0 1,871 624 624 Gear sector Percent Catcher vessel < 60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Trawl catcher vessel ............................................. AFA trawl catcher/processor ................................ Amendment 80 ..................................................... Jig ......................................................................... 2016 Seasonal apportionment Seasons Amount 1 The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of CDQ. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea may be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains. 2 The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 500 mt for 2016 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Sablefish Gear Allocation Sections 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) require allocation of the sablefish TAC for the BS and AI subareas between trawl and hook-and-line or pot gear sectors. Gear allocations of the TAC for the BS subarea are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TACs for the AI subarea are 25 percent for trawl gear and 75 percent for hook-andline or pot gear. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires NMFS to apportion 20 percent of the hook-andline and pot gear allocation of sablefish to the CDQ reserve. Additionally, § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D)(1) requires that 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocation of sablefish from the non-specified reserves, established under § 679.20(b)(1)(i), be assigned to the CDQ reserve. The Council recommended that only trawl sablefish TAC be established biennially. The harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear and pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fisheries will be limited to the 2015 fishing year to ensure those fisheries are conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery. Concurrent sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries will reduce the potential for discards of halibut and sablefish in those fisheries. The sablefish IFQ fisheries will remain closed at the beginning of each fishing year until the final harvest specifications for the sablefish IFQ fisheries are in effect. Table 10 lists the 2015 and 2016 gear allocations of the sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts. TABLE 10—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 GEAR SHARES AND CDQ RESERVE OF BSAI SABLEFISH TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Percent of TAC Subarea and gear Bering Sea: Trawl 1 ........................................................................... Hook-and-line/pot gear 2 ............................................... 2015 Share of TAC 2015 ITAC 2015 CDQ Reserve 2016 Share of TAC 2016 ITAC 2016 CDQ Reserve 50 50 667 667 567 533 50 133 606 n/a 515 n/a 45 Total ....................................................................... Aleutian Islands: Trawl 1 ........................................................................... Hook-and-line/pot gear 2 ............................................... 100 1,333 1,100 183 606 515 45 25 75 451 1,351 383 1,081 34 270 410 n/a 349 n/a 31 n/a Total ....................................................................... 100 1,802 1,464 304 410 349 31 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES 1 Except for the sablefish hook-and-line or pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the reserve. The ITAC is the remainder of the TAC after the subtracting these reserves. 2 For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, 20 percent of the allocated TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants. The Council recommended that specifications for the hook-and-line gear sablefish IFQ fisheries be limited to one year. Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations Allocation of the AI Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACs Sections 679.20(a)(10)(i) and (ii) require that NMFS allocate AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TAC between the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector, after 11931 The 2016 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2015. Tables 11 and 12 list the 2015 and 2016 allocations of the AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs. subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ reserve and an ICA for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels using non-trawl gear. The allocation of the ITAC for AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole to the Amendment 80 sector is established in accordance with Tables 33 and 34 to part 679 and § 679.91. TABLE 11—FINAL 2015 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA (CDQ) RESERVES, INCIDENTAL CATCH AMOUNTS (ICAS), AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS PACIFIC OCEAN PERCH, AND BSAI FLATHEAD SOLE, ROCK SOLE, AND YELLOWFIN SOLE TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Pacific ocean perch Sector Eastern Aleutian District TAC .................................................................................. CDQ ................................................................................. ICA ................................................................................... BSAI trawl limited access ................................................ Amendment 80 ................................................................. Alaska Groundfish Cooperative ....................................... Alaska Seafood Cooperative ........................................... Central Aleutian District 8,000 856 100 704 6,340 3,362 2,978 Flathead sole Western Aleutian District 7,000 749 75 618 5,558 2,947 2,611 9,000 963 10 161 7,866 4,171 3,695 Rock sole Yellowfin sole BSAI BSAI BSAI 24,250 2,595 5,000 0 16,655 1,708 14,947 69,250 7,410 8,000 0 53,840 13,318 40,522 149,000 15,943 5,000 16,165 111,892 44,455 67,437 Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 12—FINAL 2016 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA (CDQ) RESERVES, INCIDENTAL CATCH AMOUNTS (ICAS), AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS PACIFIC OCEAN PERCH, AND BSAI FLATHEAD SOLE, ROCK SOLE, AND YELLOWFIN SOLE TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Pacific ocean perch Sector Eastern Aleutian District TAC .................................................................................. CDQ ................................................................................. ICA ................................................................................... BSAI trawl limited access ................................................ Amendment 80 1 .............................................................. 7,970 853 100 702 6,315 Central Aleutian District Flathead sole Western Aleutian District 7,000 749 75 618 5,558 9,000 963 10 161 7,866 Rock sole Yellowfin sole BSAI BSAI BSAI 24,250 2,595 5,000 0 16,655 69,250 7,410 8,000 0 53,840 149,000 15,943 5,000 16,165 111,892 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES 1 The 2016 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2015. NMFS will publish 2016 Amendment 80 allocations when they become available in December 2015. Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Section 679.2 defines the ABC surplus for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole as the difference between the annual ABC and TAC for each species. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii) establishes ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The ABC surpluses and the ABC reserves are necessary to mitigate the operational variability, environmental conditions, and economic factors that may constrain the CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 cooperatives from achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may set the ABC reserve at or below the ABC surplus for each species thus maintaining the TAC below ABC limits. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the ABC reserves will be allocated as CDQ reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The Amendment 80 ABC reserves shall be the ABC reserves PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 minus the CDQ ABC reserves. Section 679.91(i)(2) establishes each Amendment 80 cooperative ABC reserve to be the ratio of each cooperatives’ quota share (QS) units and the total Amendment 80 QS units, multiplied by the Amendment 80 ABC reserve for each respective species. Table 13 lists the 2015 and 2016 ABC surplus and ABC reserves for BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 11932 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 13—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 ABC SURPLUS, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA (CDQ) ABC RESERVES, AND AMENDMENT 80 ABC RESERVES IN THE BSAI FOR FLATHEAD SOLE, ROCK SOLE, AND YELLOWFIN SOLE [Amounts are in metric tons] 2015 Flathead sole Sector ABC .................................................................................. TAC .................................................................................. ABC surplus ..................................................................... ABC reserve ..................................................................... CDQ ABC reserve ........................................................... Amendment 80 ABC reserve ........................................... Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for 2015 1 ...................... Alaska Seafood Cooperative for 2015 1 .......................... 66,130 24,250 41,880 41,880 4,481 37,399 3,836 33,563 2015 Rock sole 181,700 69,250 112,450 112,450 12,032 100,418 24,840 75,578 2015 Yellowfin sole 2016 Flathead sole 248,800 149,000 99,800 99,800 10,679 89,121 35,408 53,713 63,711 24,250 39,461 39,461 4,222 35,239 n/a n/a 2016 Rock sole 164,800 69,250 95,550 95,550 10,224 85,326 n/a n/a 2016 Yellowfin sole 245,500 149,000 96,500 96,500 10,326 86,175 n/a n/a 1 The 2016 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2015. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES PSC Limits for Halibut, Salmon, Crab, and Herring Section 679.21(e) sets forth the BSAI PSC limits. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(iv) and (e)(2), the 2015 and 2016 BSAI halibut mortality limits are 3,675 mt for trawl fisheries and 900 mt for the nontrawl fisheries. Sections 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(2) and 679.21(e)(4)(i)(A) allocate 326 mt of the trawl halibut mortality limit and 7.5 percent, or 67 mt, of the non-trawl halibut mortality limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program. Section 679.21(e)(4)(i) authorizes apportioning the non-trawl halibut PSC limit into PSC bycatch allowances among six fishery categories. Tables 15 and 16 list the fishery bycatch allowances for the trawl fisheries, and Table 17 lists the fishery bycatch allowances for the non-trawl fisheries. Pursuant to Section 3.6 of the FMP, the Council recommends, and NMFS agrees, that certain specified non-trawl fisheries be exempt from the halibut PSC limit. As in past years, after consulting with the Council, NMFS exempts pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories from halibut bycatch restrictions for the following reasons: (1) The pot gear fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality; (2) NMFS estimates halibut mortality for the jig gear fleet to be negligible because of the small size of the fishery and the selectivity of the gear; and (3) the IFQ program requires legal-size halibut to be retained by vessels using hook-and-line gear if a halibut IFQ permit holder or a hired master is aboard and is holding unused halibut IFQ (subpart D of 50 CFR part 679). In 2014, total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the BSAI was approximately 43,225 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch mortality of about 4 mt. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 The 2014 jig gear fishery harvested about 3 mt of groundfish. Most vessels in the jig gear fleet are exempt from observer coverage requirements. As a result, observer data are not available on halibut bycatch in the jig gear fishery. However, as mentioned above, NMFS estimates the jig gear sector will have a negligible amount of halibut bycatch mortality because of the selective nature of jig gear and the low mortality rate of halibut caught with jig gear and released. Section 679.21(f)(2) annually allocates portions of either 47,591 or 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limits among the AFA sectors, depending on past catch performance and on whether Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreements are formed. If an AFA sector participates in an approved Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreement, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 60,000 PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). If no Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreement is approved, or if the sector has exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6), then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector, as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). In 2015, the Chinook salmon PSC limit is 60,000 and the AFA sector Chinook salmon allocations are seasonally allocated with 70 percent of the allocation for the A season pollock fishery, and 30 percent of the allocation for the B season pollock fishery as stated in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). The basis for these PSC limits is described in detail in the final rule implementing management measures for Amendment 91 (75 FR 53026, August 30, 2010). NMFS publishes the approved Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreements, 2014 allocations, and reports at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa. PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 gov/sustainablefisheries/bycatch/ default.htm. Section 679.21(e)(1)(viii) specifies 700 fish as the 2015 and 2016 Chinook salmon PSC limit for the AI subarea pollock fishery. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(3)(i) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, to the AI subarea PSQ for the CDQ program, and allocates the remaining 647 Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries. Section 679.21(e)(1)(vii) specifies 42,000 fish as the 2015 and 2016 nonChinook salmon PSC limit in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area (CVOA). Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(3)(ii) allocates 10.7 percent, or 4,494 nonChinook salmon in the CVOA as the PSQ for the CDQ program, and allocates the remaining 37,506 non-Chinook salmon in the CVOA as the PSC limit for the non-CDQ fisheries. PSC limits for crab and herring are specified annually based on abundance and spawning biomass. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(1) allocates 10.7 percent from each trawl gear PSC limit specified for crab as a PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program. Based on the 2014 survey data, the red king crab mature female abundance is estimated to be at 38.6 million red king crabs, which is above the threshold of 8.4 million red king crabs, and the effective spawning biomass is estimated at 51.3 million lb (23,362 mt). Based on the criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(i), the 2015 and 2016 PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl gear is 97,000 animals. This limit derives from the mature female abundance of more than 8.4 million king crab and the effective spawning biomass estimate of less than 55 million lb (24,948 mt). Section 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2) establishes criteria under which NMFS must specify an annual red king crab bycatch limit for the Red King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS). The regulations limit the RKCSS red king E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations crab bycatch limit to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC limit, based on the need to optimize the groundfish harvest relative to red king crab bycatch. In December 2014, the Council recommended and NMFS concurs that the red king crab bycatch limit be equal to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC limit within the RKCSS (Table 15). Based on 2014 survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) abundance is estimated at 758 million animals. Pursuant to criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(ii), the calculated 2015 and 2016 C. bairdi crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 980,000 animals in Zone 1 and 2,970,000 animals in Zone 2. These limits derive from the C. bairdi crab abundance estimate being in excess of the 400 million animals for both the Zone 1 and Zone 2 allocations. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(iii), the PSC limit for snow crab (C. opilio) is based on total abundance as indicated by the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey. The C. opilio crab PSC limit is set at 0.1133 percent of the BS abundance index minus 150,000 crab. Based on the 2014 survey estimate of 9.852 billion animals, the calculated C. opilio crab PSC limit is 11,011,976 animals. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(v), the PSC limit of Pacific herring caught while conducting any trawl operation for BSAI groundfish is 1 percent of the annual eastern BS herring biomass. The best estimate of 2015 and 2016 herring biomass is 274,236 mt. This amount was developed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game based on spawning location estimates. Therefore, the herring PSC limit for 2015 and 2016 is 2,742 mt for all trawl gear as listed in Tables 14 and 15. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A) requires PSQ reserves to be subtracted from the total trawl PSC limits. The 2014 PSC limits assigned to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors are specified in Table 35 to part 679. The resulting allocations of PSC limit to CDQ PSQ, the Amendment 80 sector, and the BSAI trawl limited access fisheries are listed in Table 10. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(iv) and § 679.91(d) through (f), crab and halibut trawl PSC limits assigned to the Amendment 80 sector are then further allocated to Amendment 80 cooperatives as PSC cooperative quota as listed in Table 18. PSC cooperative quota assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives is not allocated to specific fishery categories. In 2015, there are no vessels in the Amendment 80 limited access sector. The 2016 PSC allocations between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible 11933 participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2015. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(B) requires NMFS to apportion each trawl PSC limit not assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives into PSC bycatch allowances for seven specified fishery categories. Section 679.21(e)(5) authorizes NMFS, after consulting with the Council, to establish seasonal apportionments of PSC amounts for the BSAI trawl limited access and Amendment 80 limited access sectors in order to maximize the ability of the fleet to harvest the available groundfish TAC and to minimize bycatch. The factors to be considered are (1) seasonal distribution of prohibited species; (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish species; (3) PSC bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relevant to prohibited species biomass; (4) expected variations in bycatch rates throughout the year; (5) expected start of fishing effort; and (6) economic effects of seasonal PSC apportionments on industry sectors. The Council recommended and NMFS approves the seasonal PSC apportionments in Tables 15 and 16 to maximize harvest among gear types, fisheries, and seasons while minimizing bycatch of PSC based on the above criteria. TABLE 14—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 APPORTIONMENT OF PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH ALLOWANCES TO NON-TRAWL GEAR, THE CDQ PROGRAM, AMENDMENT 80, AND THE BSAI TRAWL LIMITED ACCESS SECTORS PSC Species and Total nontrawl PSC area 1 Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI ...................... Herring (mt) BSAI .................................... Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 .............. C. opilio (animals) COBLZ ....................... C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 1 ............... C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 2 ............... Non-trawl PSC remaining after CDQ PSQ 2 900 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 832 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a Total trawl PSC 3,675 2,742 97,000 11,011,976 980,000 2,970,000 Trawl PSC remaining after CDQ PSQ 2 CDQ PSQ Reserve 2 3,349 n/a 86,621 9,833,695 875,140 2,652,210 393 n/a 10,379 1,178,281 104,860 317,790 Amendment 80 sector 3 BSAI Trawl limited access fishery 2,325 n/a 43,293 4,833,261 368,521 627,778 875 n/a 26,489 3,160,549 411,228 1,241,500 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of zones. 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(2) allocates 326 mt of the trawl halibut mortality limit and § 679.21(e)(4)(i)(A) allocates 7.5 percent, or 67 mt, of the non-trawl halibut mortality limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program. The PSQ reserve for crab species is 10.7 percent of each crab PSC limit. 3 The Amendment 80 program reduced apportionment of the trawl PSC limits by 150 mt for halibut mortality and 20 percent for crab. These reductions are not apportioned to other gear types or sectors. Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. 2 Section mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES TABLE 15—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 HERRING AND RED KING CRAB SAVINGS SUBAREA PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH ALLOWANCES FOR ALL TRAWL SECTORS Herring (mt) BSAI Fishery categories Yellowfin sole ........................................................................................................................................................... Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 1 .................................................................................................................... Turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish 2 ................................................................................................................................... Rockfish ................................................................................................................................................................... Pacific cod ............................................................................................................................................................... Midwater trawl pollock ............................................................................................................................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 187 30 20 14 42 2,242 Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 11934 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 15—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 HERRING AND RED KING CRAB SAVINGS SUBAREA PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH ALLOWANCES FOR ALL TRAWL SECTORS—Continued Herring (mt) BSAI Fishery categories Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 3 4 .................................................................................................................. Red king crab savings subarea non-pelagic trawl gear 5 ........................................................................................ 207 n/a n/a 24,250 Total trawl PSC ................................................................................................................................................ 2,742 97,000 1 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 2 ‘‘Arrowtooth flounder’’ for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka flounder. 3 Pollock other than pelagic trawl pollock, Atka mackerel, and ‘‘other species’’ fishery category. 4 ‘‘Other species’’ for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses. 5 In December 2014 the Council recommended that the red king crab bycatch limit for non-pelagic trawl fisheries within the RKCSS be limited to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance (see § 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2)). Note: Species apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 16—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR THE BSAI TRAWL LIMITED ACCESS SECTOR Prohibited species and area 1 BSAI Trawl limited access fisheries Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 C. opilio (animals) COBLZ C. bairdi (animals) Zone 1 Zone 2 Yellowfin sole ....................................................................... Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 2 ................................. Turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish 3 ............................................... Rockfish April 15–December 31 .......................................... Pacific cod ............................................................................ Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 4 ................................. 167 0 0 5 453 250 23,338 0 0 0 2,954 197 2,979,410 0 0 4,922 126,994 49,223 346,228 0 0 0 60,000 5,000 1,185,500 0 0 1,000 50,000 5,000 Total BSAI trawl limited access PSC ........................... 875 26,489 3,160,549 411,228 1,241,500 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. 2 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 3 Arrowtooth flounder for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka flounder. 4 ‘‘Other species’’ for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 17—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 HALIBUT PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR NON-TRAWL FISHERIES Non-trawl fisheries Catcher/ Processor Pacific cod—Total: ..................................................................................................................................................... January 1–June 10 ............................................................................................................................................. June 10–August 15 ............................................................................................................................................. August 15–December 31 .................................................................................................................................... Other non-trawl—Total: .............................................................................................................................................. May 1–December 31 .......................................................................................................................................... Groundfish pot and jig ................................................................................................................................................ Sablefish hook-and-line .............................................................................................................................................. Total non-trawl PSC .................................................................................................................................... 760 455 190 115 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ Catcher vessel 15. 10. 3. 2. 58. 58. Exempt. Exempt. 833. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 18—FINAL 2015 PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCE FOR THE BSAI AMENDMENT 80 COOPERATIVES mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Prohibited species and zones 1 Cooperative Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Alaska Seafood Cooperative ............................................... Alaska Groundfish Cooperative ........................................... Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 C. opilio (animals) COBLZ 30,834 12,459 3,311,730 1,521,531 1,693 632 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of zones. Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:48 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 C. bairdi (animals) Zone 1 271,542 96,980 Zone 2 465,879 161,899 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations Halibut Discard Mortality Rates (DMR) To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut bycatch rates, DMRs, and estimates of groundfish catch to project when a fishery’s halibut bycatch mortality allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. The DMRs are based on the best information available, including information contained in the annual SAFE report. NMFS approves the halibut DMRs developed and recommended by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) and the Council for the 2015 and 2016 BSAI groundfish fisheries for use in monitoring the 2015 and 2016 halibut bycatch allowances (see Tables 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18). The 11935 IPHC developed these DMRs for the 2015 and 2016 BSAI fisheries using the 10-year mean DMRs for those fisheries. The IPHC will analyze observer data annually and recommend changes to the DMRs when a fishery DMR shows large variation from the mean. A discussion of the DMRs is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). Table 19 lists the 2015 and 2016 DMRs. TABLE 19—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 PACIFIC HALIBUT DISCARD MORTALITY RATES FOR THE BSAI Halibut discard mortality rate (percent) Gear Fishery Non-CDQ hook-and-line ............................................................. Greenland turbot ........................................................................ Other species 1 ........................................................................... Pacific cod .................................................................................. Rockfish ...................................................................................... Alaska plaice .............................................................................. Arrowtooth flounder 2 .................................................................. Atka mackerel ............................................................................. Flathead sole .............................................................................. Greenland turbot ........................................................................ Non-pelagic pollock .................................................................... Pelagic pollock ............................................................................ Other flatfish 3 ............................................................................. Other species 1 ........................................................................... Pacific cod .................................................................................. Rockfish ...................................................................................... Rock sole .................................................................................... Sablefish ..................................................................................... Yellowfin sole ............................................................................. Other species 1 ........................................................................... Pacific cod .................................................................................. Atka mackerel ............................................................................. Greenland turbot ........................................................................ Flathead sole .............................................................................. Non-pelagic pollock .................................................................... Pacific cod .................................................................................. Pelagic pollock ............................................................................ Rockfish ...................................................................................... Rock sole .................................................................................... Yellowfin sole ............................................................................. Greenland turbot ........................................................................ Pacific cod .................................................................................. Pacific cod .................................................................................. Sablefish ..................................................................................... Non-CDQ trawl ........................................................................... Non-CDQ Pot ............................................................................. CDQ trawl ................................................................................... CDQ hook-and-line ..................................................................... CDQ pot ...................................................................................... 13 9 9 4 71 76 77 73 64 77 88 71 71 71 79 85 75 83 8 8 86 89 79 83 90 90 80 88 86 4 10 8 34 1 ‘‘Other species’’ includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses. flounder includes Kamchatka flounder. flatfish’’ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), Alaska plaice, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 2 Arrowtooth 3 ‘‘Other mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Directed Fishing Closures In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator may establish a DFA for a species or species group if the Regional Administrator determines that any allocation or apportionment of a target species has been or will be reached. If the Regional Administrator establishes a DFA, and that allowance is or will be reached before the end of the fishing year, NMFS will prohibit directed fishing for that species or species group in the specified subarea or district (see VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:48 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 § 697.20(d)(1)(iii)). Similarly, pursuant to § 679.21(e), if the Regional Administrator determines that a fishery category’s bycatch allowance of halibut, red king crab, C. bairdi crab, or C. opilio crab for a specified area has been reached, the Regional Administrator will prohibit directed fishing for each species in that category in the specified area. Based on historic catch patterns and anticipated fishing activity, the Regional Administrator has determined that the groundfish allocation amounts in Table PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 20 will be necessary as incidental catch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2015 and 2016 fishing years. Consequently, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator establishes the DFA for the species and species groups in Table 20 as zero. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these sectors and species in the specified areas effective at 1200 hrs, A.l.t., March E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 11936 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 5, 2015, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2016. Also, for the BSAI trawl limited access sector, bycatch allowances of halibut, red king crab, C. bairdi crab, and C. opilio crab listed in Table 20 are insufficient to support directed fisheries. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.21(e)(7), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these sectors and fishery categories in the specified areas effective at 1200 hrs, A.l.t., March 5, 2015, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2016. TABLE 20—2015 AND 2016 DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1 [Groundfish and halibut amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in number of animals] 2015 Incidental catch allowance 2016 Incidental catch allowance Area Sector Species Bogoslof District .............................. Aleutian Islands subarea ................ All ................................................... All ................................................... Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea. Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea. Eastern Aleutian District ................. Non-amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access. All ................................................... Pollock ............................................ ICA pollock ..................................... ‘‘Other rockfish’’ 2 ........................... ICA Atka mackerel ......................... 100 2,400 555 1,000 100 2,400 555 1,000 Rougheye rockfish ......................... 177 201 BSAI ICA Pacific ocean perch ................ 100 100 BSAI ICA Atka mackerel ......................... 75 75 Non-amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access. All ................................................... ICA Pacific ocean perch ................ ICA Atka mackerel ......................... ICA Pacific ocean perch ................ Rougheye rockfish ......................... 75 40 10 239 75 40 10 277 Pacific ocean perch ....................... ‘‘Other rockfish’’ 2 ........................... ICA pollock ..................................... Northern rockfish ............................ Shortraker rockfish ......................... Skates ............................................ Sculpins .......................................... Sharks ............................................ Squids ............................................ Octopuses ...................................... ICA Pacific cod .............................. ICA flathead sole ........................... ICA rock sole ................................. ICA yellowfin sole .......................... 6,818 325 47,160 2,763 250 21,845 3,995 125 340 400 500 5,000 8,000 5,000 6,818 325 47,160 2,763 250 21,845 3,995 125 340 400 500 5,000 8,000 5,000 Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish—halibut mortality, red king crab Zone 1, C. opilio COBLZ, C. bairdi Zone 1 and 2. Turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish—halibut mortality, red king crab Zone 1, C. opilio COBLZ, C. bairdi Zone 1 and 2. Rockfish—red king crab Zone 1 .... 0 0 0 0 0 0 Central Aleutian District .................. Western Aleutian District ................ Central and Western Aleutian Districts. Bering Sea subarea ........................ Non-amendment 80 and trawl limited access. Non-amendment 80 and trawl limited access. All ................................................... All ................................................... Hook-and-line and pot gear ........... Non-amendment 80 ....................... Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands .... Non-amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access. BSAI trawl limited access .............. 1 Maximum mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679. 2 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, dark rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. Closures implemented under the final 2014 and 2015 BSAI harvest specifications for groundfish (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014) remain effective under authority of these final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications, and are posted at the following Web sites: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/cm/ info_bulletins/ and http://alaska fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries_reports/ reports/. While these closures are in effect, the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a fishing trip. These closures to directed fishing are in addition to VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 closures and prohibitions found in regulations at 50 CFR part 679. Listed AFA Catcher/Processor Sideboard Limits Pursuant to § 679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is responsible for restricting the ability of listed AFA C/ Ps to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the pollock directed fishery. These restrictions are set out as PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 ‘‘sideboard’’ limits on catch. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Table 21 lists the 2015 and 2016 C/P sideboard limits. All harvest of groundfish sideboard species by listed AFA C/Ps, whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be deducted from the sideboard limits in Table 21. However, groundfish sideboard species that are delivered to listed AFA C/Ps by CVs will not be E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 11937 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations deducted from the 2015 and 2016 sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/Ps. TABLE 21—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 LISTED BSAI AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER/PROCESSOR GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Amounts are in metric tons] 1995–1997 Retained catch Target species Area/Season Sablefish trawl ....................... BS ......................................... AI ........................................... Central AI A season 2 ............ Central AI B season 2 ............ Western AI A season 2 .......... Western AI B season 2 .......... BSAI ...................................... BS ......................................... AI ........................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... BS ......................................... Eastern AI ............................. Central AI .............................. Western AI ............................ BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... EBS/EAI ................................ CAI/WAI ................................ BS ......................................... AI ........................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... Atka mackerel ........................ Rock sole ............................... Greenland turbot ................... Arrowtooth flounder ............... Kamchatka flounder .............. Flathead sole ......................... Alaska plaice ......................... Other flatfish .......................... Pacific ocean perch ............... Northern rockfish ................... Shortraker rockfish ................ Rougheye rockfish ................. Other rockfish ........................ Skates .................................... Sculpins ................................. Sharks ................................... Squids .................................... Octopuses ............................. Total catch Ratio of retained catch to total catch 2015 ITAC Available to trawl C/Ps1 497 145 n/a n/a n/a n/a 169,362 17,305 4,987 33,987 33,987 52,755 9,438 52,298 4,879 6,179 5,698 13,598 13,040 2,811 2,811 2,811 621 806 68,672 68,672 68,672 3,328 68,672 0.016 0 0.115 0.115 0.2 0.2 0.037 0.007 0.005 0.002 0.002 0.036 0.001 0.058 0.002 0.02 0.001 0.004 0.007 0.018 0.018 0.018 0.029 0.027 0.008 0.008 0.008 0.022 0.008 567 383 7,591 7,591 4,689 4,689 61,840 2,081 170 18,700 5,525 21,655 15,725 3,077 6,818 7,144 6,251 8,037 2,763 250 149 200 325 555 21,845 3,995 125 340 400 8 0 n/a n/a n/a n/a 6,317 121 23 76 76 1,925 14 3,058 12 125 3 54 91 50 50 50 18 22 553 553 553 73 553 2015 AFA C/P Sideboard limit 9 0 873 873 938 938 2,288 15 1 37 11 780 16 178 14 143 6 32 19 5 3 4 9 15 175 32 1 7 3 2016 ITAC Available to trawl C/Ps1 515 348 7,591 7,591 4,689 4,689 61,840 2,081 170 18,700 5,525 21,655 15,725 3,077 6,818 7,117 6,251 8,037 2,763 250 149 200 325 555 21,845 3,995 125 340 400 2016 AFA C/P Sideboard limit 8 0 873 873 938 938 2,288 15 1 37 11 780 16 178 14 142 6 32 19 5 3 4 9 15 175 32 1 7 3 1 Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C). 2 The seasonal apportionment of Atka mackerel in the open access fishery is 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. Listed AFA catcher/processors are limited to harvesting no more than zero in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea, 20 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Western Aleutian District, and 11.5 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Central Aleutian District. Section 679.64(a)(2) and Tables 40 and 41 of part 679 establish a formula for calculating PSC sideboard limits for listed AFA C/Ps. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). PSC species listed in Table 22 that are caught by listed AFA C/Ps participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue against the 2015 and 2016 PSC sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/Ps. Section 679.21(e)(3)(v) authorizes NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for listed AFA C/Ps once a 2015 or 2016 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 22 is reached. Crab or halibut PSC caught by listed AFA C/Ps while fishing for pollock will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/Atka mackerel/‘‘other species’’ fishery categories under regulations at § 679.21(e)(3)(iv). TABLE 22—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 BSAI AFA LISTED CATCHER/PROCESSOR PROHIBITED SPECIES SIDEBOARD LIMITS mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES PSC Species and Ratio of PSC catch to total PSC area 1 Halibut mortality BSAI .................................................................................................................. Red king crab zone 1 .................................................................................................................. C. opilio (COBLZ) ........................................................................................................................ C. bairdi Zone 1 ........................................................................................................................... C. bairdi Zone 2 ........................................................................................................................... 1 Refer n/a 0.007 0.153 0.14 0.05 to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. 2 Halibut VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 2015 and 2016 PSC available to trawl vessels after subtraction of PSQ 2 n/a 86,621 9,833,695 875,140 2,652,210 2015 and 2016 catcher/ processor sideboard limit 2 286 606 1,504,555 122,520 132,611 11938 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations AFA Catcher Vessel Sideboard Limits Pursuant to § 679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is responsible for restricting the ability of AFA CVs to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the pollock directed fishery. Section 679.64(b) establishes a formula for setting AFA CV groundfish and PSC sideboard limits for the BSAI. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Tables 23 and 24 list the 2015 and 2016 AFA CV sideboard limits. All catch of groundfish sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA CVs, whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be deducted from the 2015 and 2016 sideboard limits listed in Table 23. TABLE 23—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL BSAI GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Amounts are in metric tons] Ratio of 1995– 1997 AFA CV catch to 1995– 1997 TAC 2015 Initial TAC 1 2015 AFA Catcher vessel sideboard limits 2016 Initial TAC 1 2016 AFA catcher vessel sideboard limits Species/Gear Fishery by area/season Pacific cod/Jig gear ............. Pacific cod/Hook-and-line CV ≥60 feet LOA. BSAI ................................... BSAI Jan 1–Jun 10 ............ 0 0.0006 n/a 226 0 0 n/a 226 0 0 Pacific cod pot gear CV ...... BSAI BSAI BSAI BSAI Jun 10–Dec 31 ......... Jan 1–Jun 10 ............ Sept 1–Dec 31 .......... ................................... 0.0006 0.0006 0.0006 0.0006 217 9,507 9,134 4,438 0 6 5 3 217 9,507 9,134 4,438 0 6 5 3 BSAI Jan 20–Apr 1 ............ BSAI Apr 1–Jun 10 ............ BSAI Jun 10–Nov 1 ........... BS ....................................... AI ........................................ Eastern AI/BS Jan 1–Jun 10. Eastern AI/BS Jun 10–Nov 1. Central AI Jan 1–Jun 10 .... Central AI Jun 10–Nov 1 .... Western AI Jan 1–Jun 10 .. Western AI Jun 10–Nov 1 .. BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... BS ....................................... Eastern AI .......................... Central AI ........................... Western AI ......................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... EBS/EAI ............................. CAI/WAI .............................. BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... 0.8609 0.8609 0.8609 0.0906 0.0645 0.0032 36,426 5,415 7,384 567 383 12,056 31,359 4,662 6,357 51 25 39 36,426 5,415 7,384 515 348 12,197 31,359 4,662 6,357 47 22 39 0.0032 12,056 39 12,197 39 0.0001 0.0001 0 0 0.0341 0.0645 0.0205 0.069 0.069 0.0441 0.0441 0.0505 0.1 0.0077 0.0025 0 0.0084 0.0037 0.0037 0.0037 0.0048 0.0095 0.0541 0.0541 0.0541 0.3827 0.0541 7,590 7,590 4689 4689 61,840 2,081 170 18,700 5,525 15,725 3,077 21,655 6,818 7,144 6,251 8,037 2,763 250 149 200 325 555 21,845 3,995 125 340 400 1 1 0 0 2,109 134 3 1,290 381 693 136 1,094 682 55 16 0 23 1 1 1 2 5 1,182 216 7 130 22 7,591 7,591 4689 4689 61,840 2,081 170 18,700 5,525 15,725 3,077 21,655 6,818 7,117 6,251 8,037 2,763 250 149 200 325 555 21,845 3,995 125 340 400 1 1 0 0 2,109 134 3 1,290 381 693 136 1,094 682 55 16 0 23 1 1 1 2 5 1,182 216 7 130 22 Pacific cod CV ≤60 feet LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Pacific cod trawl gear CV ... Sablefish trawl gear ............ Atka mackerel ..................... Rock sole ............................ Greenland turbot ................. Arrowtooth flounder ............. Kamchatka flounder ............ Alaska plaice ....................... Other flatfish ........................ Flathead sole ...................... Pacific ocean perch ............ Northern rockfish ................. Shortraker rockfish .............. Rougheye rockfish .............. Other rockfish ...................... Skates ................................. Sculpins ............................... Sharks ................................. Squids ................................. Octopuses ........................... mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES 1 Aleutians Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, and rock sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC of that species after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C). Halibut and crab PSC limits listed in Table 24 that are caught by AFA CVs participating in any groundfish fishery for groundfish other than pollock will accrue against the 2015 and 2016 PSC sideboard limits for the AFA CVs. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 Sections 679.21(d)(7) and 679.21(e)(3)(v) authorize NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for AFA CVs once a 2015 or 2016 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 24 is reached. The PSC that is caught by PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 AFA CVs while fishing for pollock in the BSAI will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/ Atka mackerel/‘‘other species’’ fishery E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 11939 categories under regulations at § 679.21(e)(3)(iv). TABLE 24—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR THE BSAI 1 AFA Catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit ratio PSC Species and area 1 Target fishery category 2 Halibut ..................................... 2015 and 2016 PSC limit after subtraction of PSQ reserves 3 2015 and 2016 AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit 3 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 0.299 0.168 0.33 0.186 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 86,621 9,833,695 875,140 2,652,210 887 2 101 228 0 2 5 25,900 1,652,061 288,796 493,311 Pacific cod trawl ..................................................................... Pacific cod hook-and-line or pot ............................................ Yellowfin sole total ................................................................. Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 4 ................................... Greenland turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish 5 ................................. Rockfish .................................................................................. Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 6 ................................... n/a ........................................................................................... n/a ........................................................................................... n/a ........................................................................................... n/a ........................................................................................... Red king crab Zone 1 ............. C. opilio COBLZ ...................... C. bairdi Zone 1 ...................... C. bairdi Zone 2 ...................... 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. fishery categories are defined in regulation at § 679.21(e)(3)(iv). 3 Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. 4 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 5 Arrowtooth for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka flounder. 6 ‘‘Other species’’ for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses. 2 Target AFA Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel Sideboard Directed Fishing Closures Based on historical catch patterns, the Regional Administrator has determined that many of the AFA C/P and CV sideboard limits listed in Tables 25 and 26 are necessary as incidental catch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2015 and 2016 fishing years. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iv), the Regional Administrator establishes the sideboard limits listed in Tables 25 and 26 as DFAs. Because many of these DFAs will be reached before the end of 2015, the Regional Administrator has determined, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), that NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing by listed AFA C/Ps for the species in the specified areas set out in Table 25, and directed fishing by nonexempt AFA CVs for the species in the specified areas set out in Table 26. TABLE 25—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT LISTED CATCHER/PROCESSOR SIDEBOARD DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Species Area Sablefish trawl ................................................. BS ................................................................... AI .................................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BS ................................................................... AI .................................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BS ................................................................... Eastern AI ...................................................... Central AI ....................................................... Western AI ..................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... EBS/EAI ......................................................... CAI/WAI .......................................................... BS ................................................................... AI .................................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... Rock sole ........................................................ Greenland turbot ............................................. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Arrowtooth flounder ......................................... Kamchatka flounder ........................................ Alaska plaice ................................................... Other flatfish 2 ................................................. Flathead sole .................................................. Pacific ocean perch ........................................ Northern rockfish ............................................. Shortraker rockfish .......................................... Rougheye rockfish .......................................... Other rockfish 3 ............................................... Skates ............................................................. Sculpins ........................................................... Sharks ............................................................. Squids ............................................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:48 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4700 Gear types Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 2015 Sideboard limit 2016 Sideboard limit 9 0 2,288 15 1 37 11 16 178 780 14 143 6 32 19 5 3 4 9 15 175 32 1 7 8 0 2,288 15 1 37 11 16 178 780 14 142 6 32 19 5 3 4 9 15 175 32 1 7 trawl trawl all all all all all all all all all all all all all all all all all all all all all all 05MRR1 11940 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 25—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT LISTED CATCHER/PROCESSOR SIDEBOARD DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] Species Area Gear types Octopuses ....................................................... BSAI ............................................................... 2015 Sideboard limit 2016 Sideboard limit 3 3 all 1 Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679. flatfish’’ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut, Alaska plaice, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 3 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, dark rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. 2 ‘‘Other TABLE 26—FINAL 2015 AND 2016 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL SIDEBOARD DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2015 Sideboard limit Species Area Gear types Pacific cod ...................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... 2016 Sideboard limit 0 11 3 0 11 3 0 51 25 78 2 0 134 3 1,290 381 693 136 1,094 2,109 682 55 16 0 23 1 1 1 2 5 1,182 216 7 130 22 0 47 22 78 2 0 134 3 1,290 381 693 136 1,094 2,109 682 55 16 0 23 1 1 1 2 5 1,182 216 7 130 22 hook-and-line CV ≥60 feet LOA .... pot CV ≥60 feet LOA ..................... hook-and-line or pot CV ≤60 feet LOA. jig .................................................... trawl ................................................ trawl ................................................ all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... Sablefish ......................................... Atka mackerel ................................. Greenland turbot ............................. Arrowtooth flounder ........................ Kamchatka flounder ........................ Alaska plaice .................................. Other flatfish 2 ................................. Flathead sole .................................. Rock sole ........................................ Pacific ocean perch ........................ Northern rockfish ............................ Shortraker rockfish ......................... Rougheye rockfish .......................... Other rockfish 3 ............................... Skates ............................................. Sculpins .......................................... Sharks ............................................. Squids ............................................. Octopuses ....................................... BSAI ............................................... BS .................................................. AI .................................................... Eastern AI/BS ................................ Central AI ....................................... Western AI ..................................... BS .................................................. AI .................................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BS .................................................. Eastern AI ...................................... Central AI ....................................... Western AI ..................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BS/EAI ............................................ CAI/WAI ......................................... BS .................................................. AI .................................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... 1 Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679. flatfish’’ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut, Alaska plaice, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 3 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, dark rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. 2 ‘‘Other mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Response to Comments NMFS received five letters with 13 comments. Comment 1: The Pacific halibut population is in steep decline yet NMFS is proposing to authorize the removal of millions of pounds of halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea groundfish fishery. Response: The final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for the BSAI publishes regulatory halibut PSC limits VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 that are imposed on the federal groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The halibut PSC limits for the BSAI groundfish fisheries are described in the FMP for Groundfish of the BSAI management area and the regulations at 50 CFR 679.21(e) implement the BSAI PSC limits. The Council and NMFS establish halibut PSC limits to constrain the amount of bycatch taken in the groundfish fisheries. The halibut PSC PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 limits are not allowances for halibut bycatch in the groundfish fishery; rather, halibut PSC limits impose maximum limits on the amount of halibut bycatch mortality that may be taken by the groundfish fisheries. When a halibut PSC limit is reached, further groundfish fishing with specific types of gear and modes of operation is prohibited in that area. The Council and NMFS have initiated a separate action to E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations reduce halibut PSC limits in the BSAI to minimize halibut bycatch in the groundfish fishery to the extent practicable. See response to Comment 2. Comment 2: The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that NMFS, to the extent practicable: (A) Minimize bycatch; and (B), minimize the mortality of bycatch which cannot be avoided. Before finalizing the 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for the BSAI, NMFS must minimize bycatch of halibut in the groundfish fisheries consistent with its statutory obligations. Response: The Council and NMFS are committed to minimizing halibut bycatch in the BSAI to the extent practicable. Section 3.6.2.1.4 of the FMP states that annual BSAI-wide Pacific halibut bycatch mortality limits for trawl and non-trawl gear fisheries will be established in regulations and may be amended by regulatory amendment. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(iv), (e)(3), and (e)(2), the 2015 and 2016 BSAI halibut PSC limits are 3,525 mt for trawl fisheries and 900 mt for the non-trawl fisheries. The Council has initiated action to consider revising regulations to reduce halibut PSC limits in the BSAI groundfish fisheries consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act obligations to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable and to achieve, on a continuing basis, optimum yield from the groundfish fisheries. Pursuant to section 3.6.2.1.4 of the FMP, the Secretary, after consultation with the Council, will consider the following information when evaluating measures to minimize halibut bycatch in the BSAI fisheries: 1. Estimated change in halibut biomass and stock condition; 2. potential impacts on halibut stocks and fisheries; 3. potential impacts on groundfish fisheries; 4. estimated bycatch mortality during prior years; 5. expected halibut bycatch mortality; 6. methods available to reduce halibut bycatch mortality; 7. the cost of reducing halibut bycatch mortality; and 8. other biological and socioeconomic factors that affect the appropriateness of a specific bycatch mortality limit in terms of FMP objectives. The Council is scheduled to consider final action to reduce halibut PSC limits later in 2015. Comment 3: In the BSAI, millions of pounds of Pacific halibut are killed and are not utilized. Response: Consistent with National Standards 1 and 9, the Council and NMFS use halibut PSC mortality limits to minimize halibut bycatch in the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 groundfish fisheries to the extent practicable, while achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from the fisheries. The Council has designated Pacific halibut as ‘‘prohibited species’’ in the groundfish fisheries, which fishermen are required by regulation to discard. NMFS acknowledges that recent declines in the exploitable biomass of halibut and recent decreases in the Pacific halibut catch limits set by the IPHC for the directed BSAI halibut fisheries have raised concerns about the levels of halibut PSC by the commercial groundfish trawl and hook-and-line sectors. The Council has initiated action to consider revising halibut PSC limits in the BSAI groundfish fisheries consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act obligations to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable while achieving, on a continuing basis, optimum yield from the groundfish fisheries. The Council will review a draft Environmental Assessment and Regulatory Impact Review at its February 2015 meeting and is scheduled to take final action on halibut PSC limit reductions later in 2015. Comment 4: The catch limits of Pacific halibut in the North Pacific Ocean and the BSAI have been reduced in recent years by the IPHC due to low stock abundance. The IPHC 2015 preliminary directed halibut fishery catch limits are much less than the anticipated 2015 halibut PSC in the BSAI. Bycatch mortality will almost entirely preclude all directed fisheries in some areas. Response: During the 2015 annual IPHC meeting, the IPHC adopted catch limits in area 4A that are increased from the 2014 catch limits in that area. The IPHC adopted catch limits in areas 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E that are unchanged from 2014. Consistent with National Standards 1 and 9 of the MagnusonStevens Act, NMFS established halibut PSC limits in regulation to minimize halibut bycatch to the extent practicable while also permitting optimum yield from the groundfish fisheries. As described in response to Comments 2 and 3, the Council has initiated action to consider revising regulations to reduce halibut PSC limits in the BSAI groundfish fisheries consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act obligations to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable and to achieve, on a continuing basis, optimum yield from the groundfish fisheries. Comment 5: Under the MagnusonStevens Act, NMFS must conserve and manage the Pacific halibut stock and prevent the overfishing of Pacific halibut. This must be addressed in the PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 11941 FMP and in the final groundfish harvest specifications. Response: NMFS and the Council manage Pacific halibut under the Halibut Act. Under the MagnusonStevens Act, NMFS and the Council manage the groundfish fisheries to minimize halibut bycatch to the extent practicable using the PSC limits established in Federal regulations. Pacific halibut are classified as a prohibited species in the FMP and not as a ‘‘stock in the fishery.’’ Therefore, Section 303(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act does not apply to Pacific halibut. Comment 6: NMFS has not provided NEPA documents to address the environmental impacts of halibut bycatch on the marine environment or the environmental impact of reduced Pacific halibut stocks. NEPA compels Federal agencies to evaluate prospectively the environmental impacts of proposed actions that they carry out, fund, or authorize. NMFS has relied on an EIS it prepared in 2007. Since that time, the halibut stock has lost 50 percent of its spawning biomass and the commercial harvest of halibut has declined more than 60 percent. NMFS did not contemplate such circumstances in the 2007 EIS. Response: NMFS agrees that there have been changes in halibut abundance and the halibut fisheries, as well as advancements in scientific understanding since the Harvest Specifications EIS. NMFS has provided NEPA documents to address the impacts of halibut bycatch on the marine environment. As explained in this preamble, section 679.21(e) sets forth the BSAI halibut PSC limits. NMFS set this halibut PSC limit under a separate action with a supporting Environmental Assessments that analyzed the impacts of halibut bycatch on halibut stocks and the human environment. The Council has initiated action to consider revising regulations to reduce halibut PSC limits in the BSAI for groundfish fisheries. The Council will review a draft Environmental Assessment and Regulatory Impact Review at its February 2015 meeting and is scheduled to take final action on halibut PSC reductions later in 2015. This EA will analyze the impacts of the halibut bycatch in the BSAI groundfish fishery on Pacific halibut stocks. NMFS prepared a supplementary information report to evaluate the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS (SEIS) for the 2015/2016 groundfish harvest specifications. An SEIS should be prepared if— 1. the agency makes substantial changes in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental concerns, or E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES 11942 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 2. significant new circumstances or information exist relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts (40 CFR 1502.9(c)(1)). The 2007 Harvest Specifications EIS concluded that halibut mortality in the groundfish fisheries is taken into account when the IPHC sets commercial halibut quotas to prevent adverse impacts on the halibut stock. The 2015 supplementary information report further explains that the IPHC comprehensively assesses the impacts of fishing mortality on stock abundance on an annual basis in its stock assessment process. Each year, the IPHC assesses the status of the halibut stocks and sets the constant exploitation yield (CEY), which is the amount of halibut harvest that is determined to be sustainable in a year. The total CEY is calculated by multiplying a target harvest rate by the total exploitable biomass and represents the sum of all halibut removals. After deducting non-directed fishery removals (e.g., halibut PSC in the groundfish fisheries, wastage in halibut fisheries, recreational harvest, and subsistence use), the remainder is allocated to the directed commercial hook-and-line fishery. The CEY therefore takes into account the change in halibut abundance. Therefore, the impacts of halibut PSC in the BSAI groundfish fisheries are unlikely to have effects on the halibut resource in a manner not previously considered in the 2007 Harvest Specifications EIS. After reviewing the information in the supplementary information report (see ADDRESSES) and presented in the SAFE reports (see ADDRESSES; SAFE reports, and the information they contain that is used in the harvest specifications, is explained above in this preamble under the heading ‘‘Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Harvest Specifications’’), NMFS determined that (1) the 2015/2016 harvest specifications, which were set according to the preferred harvest strategy described in the 2007 EIS, do not constitute a change in the action; and (2) the information presented does not indicate that there are significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts. Additionally, the 2015/2016 harvest specifications will result in environmental impacts within the scope of those analyzed and disclosed in the EIS. Therefore, supplemental NEPA documentation is not necessary to implement the 2015/ 2016 harvest specifications. Comment 7: The BSAI halibut PSC limit has remained almost the same since the late 1980s. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 Response: With the implementation of Amendment 57 (65 FR 31105, May 16, 2000) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007), the Pacific halibut PSC limit was reduced by 250 mt from the halibut PSC limits set in regulations. However, NMFS agrees that the Pacific halibut PSC limits have largely been unchanged in recent decades. The halibut PSC limits are for bycatch in groundfish fisheries, which have largely remained stable in recent decades. As described in response to Comment 2, the halibut PSC limits are established in regulation and may be changed through regulatory amendment. The Council has initiated action to consider revising halibut PSC limits in the BSAI, consistent with the National Standard 9 obligations to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable. Comment 8: The 2015 groundfish harvest specifications do not address cultural, fisheries, ecological, and subsistence impacts of discarded halibut PSC. Response: These harvest specifications specify halibut PSC limits among fisheries and by season. However, as described in response to Comment 2, the halibut PSC limits are established in regulation and may be changed through regulatory amendment. The Council has initiated action to consider revising halibut PSC limits in the BSAI, consistent with the National Standard 9 obligations to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable. NMFS expects the Council will address cultural, fisheries, ecological, and subsistence impacts through that action. Comment 9: NMFS and fishery participants must work more diligently to reduce bycatch, prevent waste of fish, and protect fish stocks. Response: As noted in response to Comment 2, NMFS and the Council are committed to minimizing halibut bycatch in the BSAI to the extent practicable. Current halibut PSC limits are established in regulation and may be changed by a regulatory amendment. The Council has initiated action to consider revising halibut PSC limits in the BSAI, consistent with the National Standard 9 obligation to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable. Comment 10: NMFS has allowed almost every groundfish species in the BSAI to be overfished. Response: NMFS disagrees. In the most recent fishing year, no species or species complex of groundfish in the BSAI reached an OFL, and no species or species complex of groundfish is in overfishing status; see SAFE reports. Comment 11: Temporary closures should be put in place to prevent sea lions from being shot by commercial PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 fishermen. A one million dollar fine should be imposed for every sea lion shot by commercial fishermen. Response: Fishery closures and fines to protect sea lions are outside the scope of this action. NOAA has a Penalty Policy and Summary Settlement Schedules for the assessment of civil administrative penalties and permit sanctions under the statutes and regulations enforced by NOAA, including violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. See http:// www.gc.noaa.gov/enforce-office3.html. Comment 12: The BOF must produce downward quota adjustments for fisheries. Response: The State and the BOF has jurisdiction to manage fisheries within Alaska state waters. In recommending harvest limits for the Federal commercial groundfish fisheries, the Council considers state GHL harvest limits when distribution and range of federally fished groundfish stocks extend between Federal and state waters. The Council recommends federal TACs for such stocks so that the sum of state and Federal harvest limits does not exceed ABC limits for such stocks. However, management measures implemented by the BOF in state waters are not within the jurisdiction of the Council. Comment 13: The ICAs for several species should be reduced to prevent overfishing. Specifically, the Bering Sea pollock ICA should be reduced to 23,288 mt, the flathead sole ICA to 1,000 mt, the Pacific ocean perch ICA to ten mt, and the yellowfin sole ICA to one mt. Response: NMFS disagrees. The Regional Administrator establishes incidental catch allowances to account for projected incidental catch of species and species complexes by vessels engaged in directed fishing in other groundfish fisheries. Sufficient ICAs are needed to prevent exceeding TACs, ABCs, and OFLs of groundfish species and species complexes. Reducing the ICAs would leave these stocks more vulnerable to overfishing. Classification NMFS has determined that these final harvest specifications are consistent with the FMP and with the MagnusonStevens Act and other applicable laws. This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563. NMFS prepared an EIS that covers this action (see ADDRESSES) and made it available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 13, E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 2007, NMFS issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the EIS. In January 2015, NMFS prepared a Supplemental Information Report (SIR) for this action. Copies of the EIS, ROD, and SIR for this action are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The EIS analyzes the environmental consequences of the groundfish harvest specifications and alternative harvest strategies on resources in the action area. The EIS found no significant environmental consequences of this action and its alternatives. The SIR evaluates the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS (SEIS) for the 2015 and 2016 groundfish harvest specifications. An SEIS should be prepared if (1) the agency makes substantial changes in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental concerns; or (2) significant new circumstances or information exist relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts (40 CFR 1502.9(c)(1)). After reviewing the information contained in the SIR and SAFE reports, the Regional Administrator has determined that (1) approval of the 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications, which were set according to the preferred harvest strategy in the EIS, do not constitute a change in the action; and (2) there are no significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the action or its impacts. Additionally, the 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications will result in environmental impacts within the scope of those analyzed and disclosed in the EIS. Therefore, supplemental NEPA documentation is not necessary to implement the 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications. Pursuant to section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., a FRFA was prepared for this action. The FRFA incorporates the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), and includes a summary of the significant issues raised by public comments in response to the IRFA, as well as NMFS’ responses to those comments. A summary of the analyses completed to support the action is also included in the FRFA. A copy of the FRFA prepared for this final rule is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A description of this action, its purpose, and its legal basis are contained at the beginning of the preamble to this final rule and are not repeated here. NMFS published the proposed rule on December 8, 2014 (79 FR 72571). The rule was accompanied by an IRFA, which was summarized in the proposed VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 rule. The comment period closed on January 7, 2015. No comments were received on the IRFA. The entities directly regulated by this action are those that receive allocations of groundfish in the exclusive economic zone of the BSAI, and in parallel fisheries within State of Alaska waters, during the annual harvest specifications process. These directly regulated entities include the groundfish CVs and C/Ps active in these areas. Direct allocations of groundfish are also made to certain organizations, including the CDQ groups, AFA C/P and inshore CV sectors, Aleut Corporation, and Amendment 80 cooperatives. These entities are, therefore, also considered directly regulated. On June 12, 2014, the Small Business Administration issued an interim final rule revising the small business size standards for several industries effective July 14, 2014 (79 FR 33647, June 12, 2014). The rule increased the size standard for Finfish Fishing from $19.0 million to $20.5 million, Shellfish Fishing from $5.0 million to $5.5 million, and Other Marine Fishing from $7.0 million to $7.5 million. Fishing vessels are considered small entities if their total annual gross receipts, from all their activities combined, are less than $25.0 million. In 2013, there were 353 individual C/Vs with total gross revenues less than or equal to $20.5 million. Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, GOA rockfish cooperatives, or crab rationalization cooperatives, and, since under the RFA it is the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the cooperative that must meet the ‘‘under $20.5 million’’ threshold, they are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. Thus, the estimate of 353 C/Vs may be an overstatement of the number of small entities. Average gross revenues were $320,000 for small hook-and-line vessels, $1.25 million for small pot vessels, and $3.56 million for small trawl vessels. Revenue data for catcher/ processors is confidential; however, in 2013, NMFS estimates that there were four catcher/processor small entities with gross receipts less than $20.5. Through the CDQ program, the Council and NMFS allocate a portion of the BSAI groundfish TACs, and halibut and crab PSC limits to 65 eligible Western Alaska communities. These communities work through six nonprofit CDQ groups, and are required to use the proceeds from the CDQ allocations to start or support activities that will result in ongoing, regionally based, commercial fishery or related PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 11943 businesses. The CDQ groups receive allocations through the harvest specifications process, and are directly regulated by this action, but the 65 communities are not directly regulated. Because they are nonprofit entities that are independently owned and operated, and are not dominant in their field, the CDQ groups are considered small entities for RFA purposes. The AFA and Amendment 80 fisheries cooperatives are directly regulated because they receive allocations of TAC through the harvest specifications process. However, the Freezer Longliner Conservation Cooperative (FLCC), a voluntary private cooperative that became fully effective in 2010, is not considered to be directly regulated. The FLCC manages a catch share program among its members, but it does not receive an allocation under the harvest specifications. NMFS allocates TAC to the freezer longline sector, and the cooperative members voluntarily allocate this TAC among themselves via the FLCC. The AFA and Amendment 80 cooperatives are large entities, since they are affiliated with firms with joint revenues of more than $25 million. The Aleut Corporation is an Alaska Native Corporation that receives an allocation of pollock in the Aleutian Islands. The Aleut Corporation is a holding company and evaluated according to the Small Business Administration criteria for Office or Other Holding Companies, at 13 CFR 121.201, which uses a threshold of $7.5 million gross annual receipts threshold for small entities. The Aleut Corporation revenues exceed this threshold, and the Aleut Corporation is considered to be a large entity. This determination follows the analysis in the RFA certification for BSAI FMP. This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting requirements. The significant alternatives were those considered as alternative harvest strategies when the Council selected its preferred harvest strategy (Alternative 2) in December 2006. These included the following: • Alternative 1: Set TAC to produce fishing mortality rates, F, that are equal to maxFABC, unless the sum of the TAC is constrained by the OY established in the FMPs. This is equivalent to setting TAC to produce harvest levels equal to the maximum permissible ABC, as constrained by OY. The term ‘‘maxFABC’’ refers to the maximum permissible value of FABC under Amendment 56 to the groundfish FMPs. Historically, the TAC has been set at or below the ABC; therefore, this E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES 11944 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations alternative represents a likely upper limit for setting the TAC within the OY and ABC limits. • Alternative 3: For species in Tiers 1, 2, and 3, set TAC to produce F equal to the most recent 5-year average actual F. For species in Tiers 4, 5, and 6, set TAC equal to the most recent 5-year average actual catch. For stocks with a high level of scientific information, TAC would be set to produce harvest levels equal to the most recent 5-year average actual fishing mortality rates. For stocks with insufficient scientific information, TAC would be set equal to the most recent 5-year average actual catch. This alternative recognizes that for some stocks, catches may fall well below ABC, and recent average F may provide a better indicator of actual F than FABC does. • Alternative 4: (1) Set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 3 at F75%. Set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 5 at F = 0.5M. Set spatially explicit TAC for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the BSAI. (2) Taking the rockfish TAC as calculated above, reduce all other TAC by a proportion that does not vary across species, so that the sum of all TAC, including rockfish TAC, is equal to the lower bound of the area OY (1,400,000 mt in the BSAI). This alternative sets conservative and spatially explicit TAC for rockfish species that are long-lived and late to mature, and sets conservative TAC for the other groundfish species. • Alternative 5: Set TAC at zero. Alternative 2 is the preferred alternative chosen by the Council: Set TAC that fall within the range of ABC recommended through the Council harvest specifications process and TACs recommended by the Council. Under this scenario, F is set equal to a constant fraction of maxFABC. The recommended fractions of maxFABC may vary among species or stocks, based on other considerations unique to each. This is the method for determining TAC that has been used in the past. Alternatives 1, 3, 4, and 5 do not meet the objectives of this action, although they have a smaller adverse economic impact on small entities than the preferred alternative. The Council rejected these alternatives as harvest strategies in 2006, and the Secretary of Commerce did so in 2007. Alternative 1 would lead to TAC limits whose sum exceeds the fishery OY, which is set out in statute and the FMP. As shown in Table 1 and Table 2, the sum of ABCs in 2015 and 2016 would be 2,848,454 and 2,731,897 million mt, respectively. Both of these are substantially in excess of the fishery OY for the BSAI. This VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 result would be inconsistent with the objectives of this action, in that it would violate the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, Pub. L. 108–199, Sec. 803(c), and the FMP for the BSAI groundfish fishery, which both set a 2 million mt maximum harvest for BSAI groundfish. Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 years’ worth of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for the most recent 5 years’ worth of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). This alternative is also inconsistent with the objectives of this action, because it does not take into account the most recent biological information for this fishery. Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all species to reduce TAC from the upper end of the OY range in the BSAI, to its lower end. This result would lead to significant reductions in harvests of species by small entities. While reductions of this size could be associated with offsetting price increases, the size of these increases is very uncertain, and NMFS has no confidence that they would be sufficient to offset the volume decreases and leave revenues unchanged. Thus, this action would have an adverse economic impact on small entities, compared to the preferred alternative. Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, may also address conservation issues, but would have a significant adverse economic impact on small entities. Impacts on marine mammals resulting from fishing activities conducted under this rule are discussed in the EIS (see ADDRESSES). In December 2014, the Council adopted separate Pacific cod harvest specifications for the Aleutian Islands and the Bering Sea in the 2015 and 2016 fishing years. While separate OFLs, ABCs, and TACs, have been created for the Aleutian Islands and for the Bering Sea, the actual sector allocations (except CDQ allocations) remain BSAI-wide allocations. Sector allocations are calculated as a percent of the summed Aleutian Island and Bering Sea TACs, after adjustments are made to account for CDQ allocations. Because sector allocations (except CDQ allocations) continue to be defined BSAI-wide, sectors remain free to redeploy between the two areas. However, if the non-CDQ portion of the TAC in either sub-area is reached, NMFS will close directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea. Thus if the resources in one of the areas is fully utilized, one sector will not be able to increase its harvest, unless at the expense of another sector’s harvest. PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 It is possible that in some years an Aleutian Island-specific Pacific cod TAC, in combination with a deduction from the ABC for a GHL fishery, and a deduction for an ICA, may leave the Aleutian Islands TAC too small to permit a directed fishery. The ultimate impact of the Pacific cod split will depend on policy decisions made by the Council and the Secretary of Commerce. In the 10 years since the first year of the baseline period for this analysis (2004), the BSAI Pacific cod TAC was only set equal to the ABC in 2 years. There may be flexibility for the Council to offset anticipated Aleutian Island production limits by setting the Aleutian Islands TAC less than the ABC, and the Bering Sea TAC equal to the ABC. The 2 million metric ton groundfish optimum yield is the sum of the BSAI TACs, so a decrease in the Aleutian Islands TAC, coupled with an equal increase in the Bering sea TAC, would leave the aggregate BSAI Pacific cod TAC unchanged, and would not require reductions in TACs for other species so as to comply with the 2 million metric ton optimum yield limit. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness for this rule, because delaying this rule is contrary to the public interest. Plan Team review occurred in November 2014, and Council consideration and recommendations occurred in December 2014. Accordingly, NMFS’ review could not begin until after the December 2014 Council meeting, and after the public had time to comment on the proposed action. If this rule’s effectiveness is delayed, fisheries that might otherwise remain open under these rules may prematurely close based on the lower TACs established in the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014). If implemented immediately, this rule would allow these fisheries to continue fishing without worrying about a potential closure because the new TAC limits are higher than the ones under which they are currently fishing. Certain fisheries, such as those for pollock and Pacific cod are intensive, fast-paced fisheries. Other fisheries, such as those for flatfish, rockfish, skates, sculpins, sharks, and octopuses, are critical as directed fisheries and as incidental catch in other fisheries. U.S. fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch the TAC allocations in these fisheries. Any delay in allocating the final TAC limits in these fisheries would cause confusion in the industry and potential economic harm through E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 43 / Thursday, March 5, 2015 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES unnecessary discards. Determining which fisheries may close is impossible because these fisheries are affected by several factors that cannot be predicted in advance, including fishing effort, weather, movement of fishery stocks, and market price. Furthermore, the closure of one fishery has a cascading effect on other fisheries by freeing up fishing vessels, allowing them to move from closed fisheries to open ones, increasing the fishing capacity in those open fisheries and causing them to close at an accelerated pace. Additionally, in fisheries subject to declining sideboards, delaying this rule’s effectiveness could allow some vessels to inadvertently reach or exceed their new sideboard levels. Because sideboards are intended to protect traditional fisheries in other sectors, allowing one sector to exceed its new sideboards by delaying this rule’s effectiveness would effectively reduce the available catch for sectors without sideboard limits. Moreover, the new TAC and sideboard limits protect the fisheries from being overfished. Thus, the delay is contrary to the public interest in protecting traditional fisheries and fish stocks. If the final harvest specifications are not effective by March 14, 2015, which is the start of the 2015 Pacific halibut season as specified by the IPHC, the hook-and-line sablefish fishery will not VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:52 Mar 04, 2015 Jkt 235001 begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. Delayed effectiveness of this action would result in confusion for sablefish harvesters and economic harm from unnecessary discard of sablefish that are caught along with Pacific halibut, as both hookand-line sablefish and Pacific halibut are managed under the same IFQ program. Immediate effectiveness of the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications will allow the sablefish IFQ fishery to begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. Also, immediate effectiveness of this action is required to provide consistent management and conservation of fishery resources based on the best available scientific information. This is particularly true of those species that have lower 2015 ABC and TAC limits than those established in the 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014). Immediate effectiveness also would give the fishing industry the earliest possible opportunity to plan and conduct its fishing operations with respect to new information about TAC limits. Therefore, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). Small Entity Compliance Guide This final rule is a plain language guide to assist small entities in PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 11945 complying with this final rule as required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This final rule’s primary purpose is to announce the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications and prohibited species bycatch allowances for the groundfish fisheries of the BSAI. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits and associated management measures for groundfish during the 2015 and 2016 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the FMP. This action directly affects all fishermen who participate in the BSAI fisheries. The specific amounts of OFL, ABC, TAC, and PSC are provided in tables to assist the reader. NMFS will announce closures of directed fishing in the Federal Register and information bulletins released by the Alaska Region. Affected fishermen should keep themselves informed of such closures. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540(f); 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105–277; Pub. L. 106– 31; Pub. L. 106–554; Pub. L. 108–199; Pub. L. 108–447; Pub. L. 109–241; Pub. L. 109– 479. Dated: February 27, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–05041 Filed 3–4–15; 08:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\05MRR1.SGM 05MRR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 43 (Thursday, March 5, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11919-11945]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-05041]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 141021887-5172-02]
RIN 0648-XD587


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands; 2015 and 2016 Harvest Specifications for 
Groundfish

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

ACTION: Final rule; closures.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS announces final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications and 
prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fishery of the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is 
necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2015 
and 2016 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of 
the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the BSAI (FMP). The 
intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish 
resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

DATES: Effective from 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), March 5, 
2015, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest 
Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of 
Decision (ROD), Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS, and 
the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) prepared for this 
action are available from http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The final 
2014 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the 
groundfish resources of the BSAI, dated November 2014, as well as the 
SAFE reports for previous years, are available from the North Pacific 
Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, 
Anchorage, AK, 99510-2252, (phone) 907-271-2809, or from the Council's 
Web site at http://www.npfmc.org/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 
implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The 
Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved it under the Magnuson-
Stevens Act. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear 
at 50 CFR part 600.
    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after 
consultation with the Council, to specify the total allowable catch 
(TAC) for each target species category. The sum TAC for all groundfish 
species must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 1.4 million to 
2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see Sec.  679.20(a)(1)(i)). This final 
rule specifies the TAC at 2.0 million mt for both 2015 and 2016. NMFS 
also must specify apportionments of TAC, prohibited species catch (PSC) 
allowances, and prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by 
Sec.  679.21; seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka 
mackerel TAC; Amendment 80 allocations; and Community Development Quota 
(CDQ) reserve amounts established by Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(ii). The final 
harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 22 of this action 
satisfy these requirements.
    Section 679.20(c)(3)(i) further requires NMFS to consider public 
comment on the proposed annual TACs (and apportionments thereof) and 
PSC allowances, and to publish final harvest specifications in the 
Federal Register. The proposed 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications and 
PSC allowances for the groundfish fishery of the BSAI were published in 
the Federal Register on December 8, 2014 (79 FR 72571). Comments were 
invited and accepted through January 7, 2015. NMFS received five 
letters with 13 comments on the proposed harvest specifications. These 
comments are summarized and responded to in the ``Response to 
Comments'' section of this rule. NMFS consulted with the Council on the 
final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications during the December 2014 
Council meeting in Anchorage, AK. After considering public comments, as 
well as biological and economic data that were available at the 
Council's December meeting, NMFS is implementing the final 2015 and 
2016 harvest specifications as recommended by the Council.

Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Harvest Specifications

    The final ABC levels for Alaska groundfish are based on the best 
available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected 
biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, 
and revised technical methods used to calculate stock biomass. In 
general, the development of ABCs and overfishing levels (OFLs) involves 
sophisticated statistical analyses of fish populations. The FMP 
specifies a series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts based on 
the level of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier 
1 represents the highest level of information quality available while 
Tier 6 represents the lowest.
    In December 2014, the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), 
Advisory Panel (AP), and Council reviewed current biological and 
harvest information about the condition of the BSAI groundfish stocks. 
The Council's Plan Team compiled and presented this information in the 
final 2014 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries, dated 
November 2014 (see ADDRESSES). The SAFE report contains a review of the 
latest scientific analyses and estimates of each species' biomass and 
other biological parameters, as well as summaries of the available 
information on the BSAI ecosystem and the economic condition of 
groundfish fisheries off Alaska. NMFS notified the public and asked for 
review of the SAFE report in the notice of proposed harvest 
specifications. From these data and analyses, the Plan Team recommended 
an OFL and ABC for each species or

[[Page 11920]]

species category at the November 2014 Plan Team meeting.
    In December 2014, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed the Plan Team's 
recommendations. The final TAC recommendations were based on the ABCs 
as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, 
including maintaining the sum of the TACs within the required OY range 
of 1.4 million to 2.0 million mt. As required by annual catch limit 
rules for all fisheries (74 FR 3178, January 16, 2009), none of the 
Council's recommended TACs for 2015 or 2016 exceeds the final 2015 or 
2016 ABCs for any species category. The Secretary of Commerce approves 
the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications as recommended by the 
Council. NMFS finds that the Council's recommended OFLs, ABCs, and TACs 
are consistent with the preferred harvest strategy and the biological 
condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 2014 SAFE report 
that was approved by the Council.

Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2015 and 2016 Harvest 
Specifications

    A final rule implementing Steller sea lion protection measures in 
the BSAI became effective on December 26, 2014 (79 FR 70286, November 
25, 2014). These regulations insure that the western distinct 
population segment of Steller sea lions' continued existence is not 
jeopardized or its critical habitat is not destroyed or adversely 
modified. These regulations alter areas open for directed fishing in 
the Aleutian Islands subarea of the BSAI. They also alter the harvest 
limitation in these harvest specifications for pollock, Atka mackerel, 
and Pacific cod primarily in the Aleutian Islands subarea of the BSAI. 
The proposed harvest specifications notified the public of possible 
changes to the harvest specification limits. Changes to the pollock, 
Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod harvest specifications that are required 
by the rule implementing the protection measures are described in the 
section for each of these target species.
    For 2015, the Board of Fisheries (BOF) for the State of Alaska 
(State) established a Pacific cod guideline harvest level (GHL) in 
State waters between 164 and 167 degrees west longitude in the Bering 
Sea (BS) subarea. The Pacific cod GHL in this area is equal to 3 
percent of the sum of the Pacific cod ABCs for the Aleutian Islands 
(AI) and the BS. To account for the State GHL fishery in 2015 and 2016, 
the Council reduced the final BS subarea TAC by 3 percent of the 
combined BS and AI subarea ABCs. The combined BS subarea TAC and GHL 
(248,178 mt) are less than the final BS subarea ABC.
    For 2015, the BOF for the State established a Pacific cod GHL in 
State waters in the AI subarea. The Pacific cod GHL in this area is 
equal to 3 percent of the sum of the Pacific cod ABCs for the AI and 
the BS. To account for the State GHL fishery in 2015 and 2016, the 
Council reduced the final AI subarea TAC by 3 percent of the combined 
BS and AI subarea ABCs. The combined AI TAC and GHL (17,600 mt) equal 
the final AI subarea ABC.

Changes From the Proposed 2015 and 2016 Harvest Specifications for the 
BSAI

    In October 2014, the Council proposed its recommendations for the 
2015 and 2016 harvest specifications (which were proposed by NMFS, 79 
FR 72571, December 8, 2014), based largely on information contained in 
the 2013 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries. Through the 
proposed harvest specifications, NMFS notified the public that these 
harvest specifications could change, as the Council would consider 
information contained in the final 2014 SAFE report, recommendations 
from the Plan Team, SSC, and AP committees, and public testimony when 
making its recommendations for final harvest specifications at the 
December Council meeting. NMFS further notified the public that, as 
required by the FMP and its implementing regulations, the sum of the 
TACs must be within the OY range of 1.4 million and 2.0 million mt.
    Information contained in the 2014 SAFE reports indicates biomass 
changes for several groundfish species from the 2013 SAFE reports. At 
the December 2014 Council meeting, the SSC recommended the 2015 and 
2016 ABCs for many species based on the best and most recent 
information contained in the 2014 SAFE reports. This recommendation 
resulted in an ABC sum total for all BSAI groundfish species in excess 
of 2 million mt for both 2015 and 2016. Based on the SSC ABC 
recommendations and the 2014 SAFE reports, the Council recommends 
increasing Bering Sea pollock by 52,000 mt. In terms of percentage, the 
largest increases in TACs were for Central Aleutian district (CAI) Atka 
mackerel and Western Aleutian district (WAI) Atka mackerel, octopuses, 
and Aleutian Island Pacific cod. The Atka mackerel fisheries are 
valuable and likely to be harvested to the full TAC available. The 
Council increased these TACs due to changes in Steller sea lion 
conservation measures. The octopuses increase was due to anticipated 
higher catches in 2015 and 2016, and the increase in Aleutian Islands 
Pacific cod was due to larger biomass estimates. Conversely, the 
largest decrease in TAC in terms of tonnage is 38,000 mt for yellowfin 
sole and 15,750 for rock sole. In terms of percentage change from the 
proposed TACs, Aleutian Island Greenland turbot and shortraker rockfish 
had the largest decreases in TAC. The Council decreased TACs for these 
species because they were not fully harvested in 2014. The changes to 
TAC between the proposed and final harvest specifications are based on 
the most recent scientific and economic information and are consistent 
with the FMP, regulatory obligations, and harvest strategy as described 
in the proposed harvest specifications. These changes are compared in 
Table 1A. Table 1 lists the Council's recommended final 2015 OFL, ABC, 
TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ reserve amounts of the BSAI 
groundfish; and Table 2 lists the Council's recommended final 2016 OFL, 
ABC, TAC, initial TAC, and CDQ reserve amounts of the BSAI groundfish. 
NMFS concurs in these recommendations. The final 2015 and 2016 TAC 
recommendations for the BSAI are within the OY range established for 
the BSAI and do not exceed the ABC for any species or species group. 
The apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and seasons is 
discussed below.

    Table 1--Final 2015 Overfishing Level (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC), Total Allowable Catch (TAC), Initial Tac (ITAC), and CDQ Reserve
                                                        Allocation of Groundfish in the BSAI \1\
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                               2015
                  Species                               Area             -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                OFL             ABC             TAC          ITAC \2\         CDQ \3\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \4\...............................  BS..........................       3,330,000       1,637,000       1,310,000       1,179,000         131,000

[[Page 11921]]

 
                                            AI..........................          36,005          29,659          19,000          17,100           1,900
                                            Bogoslof....................          21,200          15,900             100             100               0
Pacific cod \5\...........................  BS..........................         346,000         255,000         240,000         214,320          25,680
                                            AI..........................          23,400          17,600           9,422           8,414           1,008
Sablefish.................................  BS..........................           1,575           1,333           1,333             567             183
                                            AI..........................           2,128           1,802           1,802             383             304
Yellowfin sole............................  BSAI........................         266,400         248,800         149,000         133,057          15,943
Greenland turbot..........................  BSAI........................           3,903           3,172           2,648           2,251             n/a
                                            BS..........................             n/a           2,448           2,448           2,081             262
                                            AI..........................             n/a             724             200             170               0
Arrowtooth flounder.......................  BSAI........................          93,856          80,547          22,000          18,700           2,354
Kamchatka flounder........................  BSAI........................          10,500           9,000           6,500           5,525               0
Rock sole.................................  BSAI........................         187,600         181,700          69,250          61,840           7,410
Flathead sole \6\.........................  BSAI........................          79,419          66,130          24,250          21,655           2,595
Alaska plaice.............................  BSAI........................          54,000          44,900          18,500          15,725               0
Other flatfish \7\........................  BSAI........................          17,700          13,250           3,620           3,077               0
Pacific ocean perch.......................  BSAI........................          42,558          34,988          32,021          28,250             n/a
                                            BS..........................             n/a           8,771           8,021           6,818               0
                                            EAI.........................             n/a           8,312           8,000           7,144             856
                                            CAI.........................             n/a           7,723           7,000           6,251             749
                                            WAI.........................             n/a          10,182           9,000           8,037             963
Northern rockfish.........................  BSAI........................          15,337          12,488           3,250           2,763               0
Rougheye rockfish \8\.....................  BSAI........................             560             453             349             297               0
                                            BS/EAI......................             n/a             149             149             127               0
                                            CAI/WAI.....................             n/a             304             200             170               0
Shortraker rockfish.......................  BSAI........................             690             518             250             213               0
Other rockfish \9\........................  BSAI........................           1,667           1,250             880             748               0
                                            BS..........................             n/a             695             325             276               0
                                            AI..........................             n/a             555             555             472               0
Atka mackerel.............................  BSAI........................         125,297         106,000          54,500          48,669           5,832
                                            BS/EAI......................             n/a          38,492          27,000          24,111           2,889
                                            CAI.........................             n/a          33,108          17,000          15,181           1,819
                                            WAI.........................             n/a          34,400          10,500           9,377           1,124
Skates....................................  BSAI........................          49,575          41,658          25,700          21,845               0
Sculpins..................................  BSAI........................          52,365          39,725           4,700           3,995               0
Sharks....................................  BSAI........................           1,363           1,022             125             106               0
Squids....................................  BSAI........................           2,624           1,970             400             340               0
Octopuses.................................  BSAI........................           3,452           2,589             400             340               0
                                                                         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.................................  4,769,174...................       2,848,454       2,000,000       1,789,278         197,038
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these
  harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District.
\2\ Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is
  put into a reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80
  species, ITAC is the non-CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 5).
\3\ For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch), 10.7
  percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC
  allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea
  Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). Aleutian Islands Greenland
  turbot, ``other flatfish,'' Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ``other
  rockfish,'' skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program.
\4\ Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), the annual BS subarea pollock TAC after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent)
  and second for the incidental catch allowance (4.0 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: inshore--50
  percent; catcher/processor--40 percent; and motherships--10 percent. Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual Aleutian Islands
  subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,400
  mt) is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery.
\5\ The BS Pacific cod TAC is reduced by 3 percent from the combined BSAI ABC to account for the State of Alaska's (State) guideline harvest level in
  State waters of the Bering Sea subarea. The AI Pacific cod TAC is reduced by 3 percent from the combined BSAI ABC to account for the State guideline
  harvest level in State waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea.
\6\ ``Flathead sole'' includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering flounder).
\7\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin
  sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice.
\8\ ``Rougheye rockfish'' includes Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted).
\9\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, dark rockfish, shortraker
  rockfish, and rougheye rockfish.Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   679.2 (BS=Bering Sea subarea, AI=Aleutian Islands subarea,
  EAI=Eastern Aleutian district, CAI=Central Aleutian district, WAI=Western Aleutian district.)


[[Page 11922]]


                        Table 1A--Comparison of Final 2015 and 2016 With Proposed 2015 and 2016 Total Allowable Catch in the BSAI
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                               2015                                            2016
              Species                     Area \1\        2015 Final TAC  2015  Proposed    Difference    2016 Final TAC  2016  Proposed    Difference
                                                                                TAC        from proposed                        TAC        from proposed
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock...........................  BS..................       1,310,000       1,258,000          52,000       1,310,000       1,258,000          52,000
                                    AI..................          19,000          19,000               0          19,000          19,000               0
                                    Bogoslof............             100              75              25             100              75              25
Pacific cod.......................  BS..................         240,000         251,712         -11,712         240,000         251,712         -11,712
                                    AI..................           9,422           6,487           2,935           9,422           6,487           2,935
Sablefish.........................  BS..................           1,333           1,210             123           1,211           1,210               1
                                    AI..................           1,802           1,636             166           1,637           1,636               1
Yellowfin sole....................  BSAI................         149,000         187,000         -38,000         149,000         187,000         -38,000
Greenland turbot..................  BS..................           2,448           2,478             -30           2,448           2,478             -30
                                    AI..................             200             695            -495             200             695            -495
Arrowtooth flounder...............  BSAI................          22,000          25,000          -3,000          22,000          25,000          -3,000
Kamchatka flounder................  BSAI................           6,500           7,300            -800           6,500           7,300            -800
Rock sole.........................  BSAI................          69,250          85,000         -15,750          69,250          85,000         -15,750
Flathead sole.....................  BSAI................          24,250          25,129            -879          24,250          25,129            -879
Alaska plaice.....................  BSAI................          18,500          25,000          -6,500          18,500          25,000          -6,500
Other flatfish....................  BSAI................           3,620           3,000             620           3,620           3,000             620
Pacific ocean perch...............  BS..................           8,021           7,340             681           8,021           7,340             681
                                    EAI.................           8,000           8,833            -833           7,970           8,833            -863
                                    CAI.................           7,000           6,299             701           7,000           6,299             701
                                    WAI.................           9,000           9,169            -169           9,000           9,169            -169
Northern rockfish.................  BSAI................           3,250           3,000             250           3,250           3,000             250
Rougheye rockfish.................  BS/EAI..............             149             201             -52             149             201             -52
                                    CAI/WAI.............             200             277             -77             200             277             -77
Shortraker rockfish...............  BSAI................             250             370            -120             250             370            -120
Other rockfish....................  BS..................             325             400             -75             325             400             -75
                                    AI..................             555             473              82             555             473              82
Atka mackerel.....................  EAI/BS..............          27,000          21,769           5,231          27,317          21,769           5,548
                                    CAI.................          17,000           9,722           7,278          17,000           9,722           7,278
                                    WAI.................          10,500           1,000           9,500          10,500           1,000           9,500
Skates............................  BSAI................          25,700          26,000            -300          25,700          26,000            -300
Sculpins..........................  BSAI................           4,700           5,750          -1,050           4,700           5,750          -1,050
Sharks............................  BSAI................             125             125               0             125             125               0
Squid.............................  BSAI................             400             325              75             400             325              75
Octopuses.........................  BSAI................             400             225             175             400             225             175
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.........................  BSAI................       2,000,000       2,000,000               0       2,000,000       2,000,000               0
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Bering Sea subarea (BS), Aleutian Islands subarea (AI), Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI), Eastern Aleutian District (EAI),
  Central Aleutian District (CAI), and Western Aleutian District (WAI).


    Table 2--Final 2016 Overfishing Level (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC), Total Allowable Catch (TAC), Initial Tac (ITAC), and CDQ Reserve
                                                        Allocation of Groundfish in the BSAI \1\
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                 2016
              Species                         Area         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  OFL             ABC             TAC          ITAC \2\         CDQ \3\
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \4\........................  BS...................       3,490,000       1,554,000       1,310,000       1,179,000         131,000
                                     AI...................          38,699          31,900          19,000          17,100           1,900
                                     Bogoslof.............          21,200          15,900             100             100               0
Pacific cod \5\....................  BS...................         389,000         255,000         240,000         214,320          25,680
                                     AI...................          23,400          17,600           9,422           8,414           1,008
Sablefish..........................  BS...................           1,431           1,211           1,211             515              45
                                     AI...................           1,934           1,637           1,637             348              31
Yellowfin sole.....................  BSAI.................         262,900         245,500         149,000         133,057          15,943
                                     BSAI.................           6,453           5,248           2,648           2,251             n/a
Greenland turbot...................  BS...................             n/a           4,050           2,448           2,081             262
                                     AI...................             n/a           1,198             200             170               0
Arrowtooth flounder................  BSAI.................          91,663          78,661          22,000          18,700           2,354
Kamchatka flounder.................  BSAI.................          11,000           9,500           6,500           5,525               0
Rock sole..........................  BSAI.................         170,100         164,800          69,250          61,840           7,410
Flathead sole \6\..................  BSAI.................          76,504          63,711          24,250          21,655           2,595
Alaska plaice......................  BSAI.................          51,600          42,900          18,500          15,725               0
Other flatfish \7\.................  BSAI.................          17,700          13,250           3,620           3,077               0
                                     BSAI.................          40,809          33,550          31,991          28,223             n/a
                                     BS...................             n/a           8,411           8,021           6,818               0
Pacific ocean perch................  EAI..................             n/a           7,970           7,970           7,117             853

[[Page 11923]]

 
                                     CAI..................             n/a           7,406           7,000           6,251             749
                                     WAI..................             n/a           9,763           9,000           8,037             963
Northern rockfish..................  BSAI.................          15,100          12,295           3,250           2,763               0
                                     BSAI.................             688             555             349             297               0
Rougheye rockfish \8\..............  EBS/EAI..............             n/a             178             149             127               0
                                     CAI/WAI..............             n/a             377             200             170               0
Shortraker rockfish................  BSAI.................             690             518             250             213               0
                                     BSAI.................           1,667           1,250             880             748               0
Other rockfish \9\.................  BS...................             n/a             695             325             276               0
                                     AI...................             n/a             555             555             472               0
                                     BSAI.................         115,908          98,137          54,817          48,952           5,865
Atka mackerel......................  EAI/BS...............             n/a          35,637          27,317          24,394           2,923
                                     CAI..................             n/a          30,652          17,000          15,181           1,819
                                     WAI..................             n/a          31,848          10,500           9,377           1,124
Skates.............................  BSAI.................          47,035          39,468          25,700          21,845               0
Sculpins...........................  BSAI.................          52,365          39,725           4,700           3,995               0
Sharks.............................  BSAI.................           1,363           1,022             125             106               0
Squids.............................  BSAI.................           2,624           1,970             400             340               0
Octopuses..........................  BSAI.................           3,452           2,589             400             340               0
                                                           ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total..........................  .....................       4,935,285       2,731,897       2,000,000       1,789,447         196,658
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these
  harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District.
\2\ Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is
  put into a reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80
  species, ITAC is the non-CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 5).
\3\ For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch), 10.7
  percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC
  allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea
  Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). Aleutian Islands Greenland
  turbot, ``other flatfish,'' Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ``other
  rockfish,'' skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program.
\4\ Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), the annual BS subarea pollock TAC after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent)
  and second for the incidental catch allowance (4.0 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: Inshore--50
  percent; catcher/processor--40 percent; and motherships--10 percent. Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual Aleutian Islands
  subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,400
  mt) is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery.
\5\ The BS Pacific cod TAC is reduced by 3 percent from the combined BSAI ABC to account for the State of Alaska's (State) guideline harvest level in
  State waters of the Bering Sea subarea. The AI Pacific cod TAC is reduced by 3 percent from the combined BSAI ABC to account for the State guideline
  harvest level in State waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea.
\6\ ``Flathead sole'' includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering flounder).
\7\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin
  sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice.
\8\ ``Rougheye rockfish'' includes Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted).
\9\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, dark rockfish, shortraker
  rockfish, and rougheye rockfish.
Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   679.2 (BS=Bering Sea subarea, AI=Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI=Eastern Aleutian district,
  CAI=Central Aleutian district, WAI=Western Aleutian district.)

Groundfish Reserves and the Incidental Catch Allowance (ICA) for 
Pollock, Atka Mackerel, Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, Yellowfin Sole, and 
Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch

    Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) requires NMFS to reserve 15 percent of the 
TAC for each target species, except for pollock, hook-and-line and pot 
gear allocation of sablefish, and Amendment 80 species, in a non-
specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires that NMFS 
allocate 20 percent of the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of 
sablefish for the fixed-gear sablefish CDQ reserve. Section 
679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires that NMFS allocate 7.5 percent of the 
trawl gear allocations of sablefish and 10.7 percent of the Bering Sea 
Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder TACs to the respective CDQ 
reserves. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) requires that NMFS allocate 10.7 
percent of the TAC for Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean 
perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod to the 
CDQ reserves. Sections 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) and 679.31(a) also require 
that 10 percent of the BSAI pollock TACs be allocated to the pollock 
CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). The entire Bogoslof District 
pollock TAC is allocated as an ICA (see Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(ii)). With 
the exception of the hook-and-line and pot gear sablefish CDQ reserve, 
the regulations do not further apportion the CDQ allocations by gear.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS allocates a pollock 
ICA of 4.0 percent of the BS subarea pollock TAC after subtracting the 
10 percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on NMFS' examination of 
the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ 
vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2000 through 2014. 
During this 15-year period, the pollock incidental catch ranged from a 
low of 2.4 percent in 2006 to a high of 4.8 percent in 2014, with a

[[Page 11924]]

15-year average of 3.2 percent. Pursuant to Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS establishes a pollock ICA of 
2,400 mt of the AI subarea TAC after subtracting the 10-percent CDQ 
DFA. This allowance is based on NMFS' examination of the pollock 
incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in 
target fisheries other than pollock from 2003 through 2014. During this 
12-year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from a low of 5 
percent in 2006 to a high of 17 percent in 2014, with an 11-year 
average of 8 percent.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS allocates ICAs of 
5,000 mt of flathead sole, 8,000 mt of rock sole, 5,000 mt of yellowfin 
sole, 10 mt of WAI Pacific ocean perch, 75 mt of CAI Pacific ocean 
perch, 100 mt of EAI Pacific ocean perch, 40 mt of WAI Atka mackerel, 
75 mt of CAI Atka mackerel, and 1,000 mt of EAI and BS subarea Atka 
mackerel TAC after subtracting the 10.7 percent CDQ reserve. These ICA 
allowances are based on NMFS' examination of the incidental catch in 
other target fisheries from 2003 through 2014.
    The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified 
reserve by species or species group. Any amount of the reserve may be 
apportioned to a target species category that contributed to the non-
specified reserves during the year, provided that such apportionments 
do not result in overfishing (see Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(i)). The Regional 
Administrator has determined that the ITACs specified for the species 
listed in Table 1 need to be supplemented from the non-specified 
reserve because U.S. fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to 
catch the full TAC allocations. Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  
679.20(b)(3), NMFS is apportioning the amounts shown in Table 3 from 
the non-specified reserve to increase the ITAC for shortraker rockfish, 
rougheye rockfish, ``other rockfish,'' sharks, and octopuses by 15 
percent of the TAC in 2015 and 2016.

                                        Table 3--Final 2015 and 2016 Apportionment of Reserves to ITAC Categories
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                           2015 reserve     2015 final                     2016 reserve     2016 final
                 Species-area or subarea                     2015 ITAC        amount           ITAC          2016 ITAC        amount           ITAC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shortraker rockfish-BSAI................................             213              37             250             213              37             250
Rougheye rockfish-BS/EAI................................             127              22             149             127              22             149
Rougheye rockfish-CAI/WAI...............................             170              30             200             170              30             200
Other rockfish-Bering Sea subarea.......................             276              49             325             276              49             325
Other rockfish-Aleutian Islands subarea.................             472              83             555             472              83             555
Sharks..................................................             106              19             125             106              19             125
Octopuses...............................................             340              60             400             340              60             400
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................................           1,704             300           2,004           1,704             300           2,004
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Allocation of Pollock TAC Under the American Fisheries Act (AFA)

    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that the BS subarea pollock TAC 
be apportioned, after subtracting 10 percent for the CDQ program and 
4.0 percent for the ICA, as a DFA as follows: 50 percent to the inshore 
sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor (C/P) sector, and 10 
percent to the mothership sector. In the BS subarea, 40 percent of the 
DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10), and 60 percent 
of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10-November 1) (Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)). The AI-directed pollock fishery allocation to the 
Aleut Corporation is the amount of pollock remaining in the AI subarea 
after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and 2,400 mt 
for the ICA (Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(ii)). In the AI subarea, the 
total A season apportionment of the TAC is less than or equal to 40 
percent of the ABC and the remainder of the TAC is allocated to the B 
season. Tables 4 and 5 list these 2015 and 2016 amounts.
    The Steller sea lion protection measure final rule (79 FR 70286, 
November 25, 2014), sets harvest limits for pollock in the A season 
(January 20 to June 10) in Areas 543, 542, and 541, see Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6). In Area 543, the A season pollock harvest 
limit is no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. In 
Area 542, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 15 percent 
of the Aleutian Islands ABC. In Area 541, the A season pollock harvest 
limit is no more than 30 percent of the Aleutian Islands ABC.
    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific 
requirements regarding BS subarea pollock allocations. First, it 
requires that 8.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the C/P sector be 
available for harvest by AFA catcher vessels (CVs) with C/P sector 
endorsements, unless the Regional Administrator receives a cooperative 
contract that allows the distribution of harvest among AFA C/Ps and AFA 
CVs in a manner agreed to by all members. Second, AFA C/Ps not listed 
in the AFA are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the 
pollock allocated to the C/P sector. Tables 4 and 5 list the 2015 and 
2016 allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 21 through 26 list the AFA C/P 
and CV harvesting sideboard limits. The tables for the pollock 
allocations to the BS subarea inshore pollock cooperatives and open 
access sector will be posted on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.
    Tables 4 and 5 also list seasonal apportionments of pollock and 
harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The 
harvest within the SCA, as defined at Sec.  679.22(a)(7)(vii), is 
limited to no more than 28 percent of the annual DFA before 12:00 noon, 
April 1, as provided in Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(i)(C). The A season pollock 
SCA harvest limit will be apportioned to each sector in proportion to 
each sector's allocated percentage of the DFA. Tables 4 and 5 list 
these 2015 and 2016 amounts by sector.

[[Page 11925]]



    Table 4--Final 2015 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed
                                          Fishing Allowances (DFA) \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        2015  A season \1\        2015  B season
                                                       2015      --------------------------------       \1\
                 Area and sector                    Allocations                     SCA harvest  ---------------
                                                                   A season DFA      limit \2\     B season DFA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea subarea TAC \1\......................       1,310,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................         131,000          52,400          36,680          78,600
ICA \1\.........................................          47,160             n/a             n/a             n/a
AFA Inshore.....................................         565,920         226,368         158,458         339,552
AFA Catcher/Processors \3\......................         452,736         181,094         126,766         271,642
    Catch by C/Ps...............................         414,253         165,701             n/a         248,552
    Catch by CVs \3\............................          38,483          15,393             n/a          23,090
    Unlisted C/P Limit \4\......................           2,264             905             n/a           1,358
AFA Motherships.................................         113,184          45,274          31,692          67,910
Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\..................         198,072             n/a             n/a             n/a
Excessive Processing Limit \6\..................         339,552             n/a             n/a             n/a
Total Bering Sea DFA............................       1,131,840         452,736         316,915         679,104
Aleutian Islands subarea ABC....................          29,659             n/a             n/a             n/a
Aleutian Islands subarea TAC \1\................          19,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................           1,900             760             n/a           1,140
ICA.............................................           2,400           1,200             n/a           1,200
Aleut Corporation...............................          14,700           9,904             n/a           4,796
Area harvest limit:
    541.........................................           8,898             n/a             n/a             n/a
    542.........................................           4,449             n/a             n/a             n/a
    543.........................................           1,483             n/a             n/a             n/a
Bogoslof District ICA \7\.......................             100             n/a             n/a             n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the BS subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent)
  and the ICA (4.0 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector--50 percent, catcher/processor
  sector (C/P)--40 percent, and mothership sector--10 percent. In the BS subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is
  allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10-
  November 1). Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after
  subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,400 mt), is
  allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is
  allocated 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the pollock directed fishery.
\2\ In the BS subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before
  April 1.
\3\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/
  processors shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels delivering to listed catcher/
  processors.
\4\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting
  not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processors sector's allocation of pollock.
\5\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\6\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\7\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in
  Area 541 no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 no more than 5 percent
  of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC.
\8\ The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The
  amounts specified are for ICA only and are not apportioned by season or sector.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


    Table 5--Final 2016 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed
                                          Fishing Allowances (DFA) \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        2016  A season \1\        2016  B season
                                                       2016      --------------------------------       \1\
                 Area and sector                    Allocations                     SCA harvest  ---------------
                                                                   A season DFA      limit \2\     B season DFA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea subarea TAC \1\......................       1,310,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................         131,000          52,400          36,680          78,600
ICA \1\.........................................          47,160             n/a             n/a             n/a
AFA Inshore.....................................         565,920         226,368         158,458         339,552
AFA Catcher/Processors \3\......................         452,736         181,094         126,766         271,642
    Catch by C/Ps...............................         414,253         165,701             n/a         248,552
    Catch by CVs \3\............................          38,483          15,393             n/a          23,090
    Unlisted C/P Limit \4\......................           2,264             905             n/a           1,358
AFA Motherships.................................         113,184          45,274          31,692          67,910
Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\..................         198,072             n/a             n/a             n/a
Excessive Processing Limit \6\..................         339,552             n/a             n/a             n/a
Total Bering Sea DFA............................       1,131,840         452,736         316,915         679,104
Aleutian Islands subarea ABC....................          31,900             n/a             n/a             n/a
Aleutian Islands subarea TAC \1\................          19,000             n/a             n/a             n/a

[[Page 11926]]

 
CDQ DFA.........................................           1,900             760             n/a           1,140
ICA.............................................           2,400           1,200             n/a           1,200
Aleut Corporation...............................          14,700          10,800             n/a           3,900
Area harvest limit: \7\
    541.........................................           9,570             n/a             n/a             n/a
    542.........................................           4,785             n/a             n/a             n/a
    543.........................................           1,595             n/a             n/a             n/a
Bogoslof District ICA \8\.......................             100             n/a             n/a             n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the BS subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent)
  and the ICA (4.0 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector--50 percent, catcher/processor
  sector (C/P)--40 percent, and mothership sector--10 percent. In the BS subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is
  allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10-
  November 1). Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after
  subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,400 mt), is
  allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is
  allocated 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the pollock directed fishery.
\2\ In the BS subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before
  April 1.
\4\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting
  not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processors sector's allocation of pollock.
\5\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\6\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\7\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in
  Area 541 no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 no more than 5 percent
  of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC.
\8\ The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The
  amounts specified are for ICA only and are not apportioned by season or sector.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TACs

    Section 679.20(a)(8) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs to the 
Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors, after subtracting 
the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs for the BSAI trawl 
limited access sector and non-trawl gear sector (Tables 6 and 7). The 
percentage of the ITAC for Atka mackerel allocated to the Amendment 80 
and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is listed in Table 33 to part 679 
and in Sec.  679.91. Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 2 percent 
of the EAI and the BS subarea Atka mackerel ITAC may be allocated to 
vessels using jig gear. The percent of this allocation is recommended 
annually by the Council based on several criteria, including the 
anticipated harvest capacity of the jig gear fleet. The Council 
recommended, and NMFS approves, a 0.5 percent allocation of the Atka 
mackerel ITAC in the EAI and BS subarea to the jig gear sector in 2015 
and 2016. This percentage is applied to the Atka mackerel TAC after 
subtracting the CDQ reserve and the ICA.
    Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel TAC into 
two equal seasonal allowances. Section 679.23(e)(3) sets the first 
seasonal allowance for directed fishing with trawl gear from January 20 
through June 10 (A season), and the second seasonal allowance from June 
10 through December 31 (B season). Section 679.23(e)(4)(iii) applies 
Atka mackerel seasons to CDQ Atka mackerel fishing. The ICA and jig 
gear allocations are not apportioned by season.
    Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) and (ii) limits Atka mackerel 
catch within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in 
Table 6 to this part and located west of 178[deg] W longitude to no 
more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543; and 
equally divides the annual TAC between the A and B seasons as defined 
at Sec.  679.23(e)(3). Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the 
annual TAC in Area 543 will be no more than 65 percent of the ABC in 
Area 543. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(D) requires that any unharvested 
Atka mackerel A season allowance that is added to the B season be 
prohibited from being harvested within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller 
sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to this part and located in Areas 541, 
542, and 543.
    Tables 6 and 7 list these 2015 and 2016 Atka mackerel seasons, area 
allowances, and the sector allocations. The 2016 allocations for Atka 
mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited 
access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for 
participation in the program by November 1, 2015.

[[Page 11927]]



 Table 6--Final 2015 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch Allowance, and
                             Amendment 80 Allocations of the BSAI ATKA Mackerel TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              2015 allocation by area
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                      Eastern
              Sector \1\                      Season 2 3 4           Aleutian         Central         Western
                                                                     District/       Aleutian        Aleutian
                                                                    Bering Sea     District \5\      District
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC...................................  n/a.....................          27,000          17,000          10,500
CDQ reserve...........................  Total...................           2,889           1,819           1,124
                                        A.......................           1,445             910             562
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             546             337
                                        B.......................           1,445             910             562
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             546             337
ICA...................................  Total...................           1,000              75              40
Jig \6\...............................  Total...................             116               0               0
BSAI trawl limited access.............  Total...................           2,300           1,511               0
                                        A.......................           1,150             755               0
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             453               0
                                        B.......................           1,150             755               0
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             453               0
Amendment 80 sectors..................  Total...................          20,696          13,595           9,337
                                        A.......................          10,348           6,798           4,668
                                        B.......................          10,348           6,798           4,668
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative.........  Total \6\...............          11,616           8,116           5,742
                                        A.......................           5,808           4,058           2,871
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a           2,435           1,723
                                        B.......................           5,808           4,058           2,871
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a           2,435           1,723
Alaska Seafood Cooperative............  Total \6\...............           9,080           5,479           3,594
                                        A.......................           4,540           2,740           1,797
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a           1,644           1,078
                                        B.......................           4,540           2,740           1,797
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a           1,644           1,078
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear
  allocation, and ICAs to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for
  Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to part 679
  and Sec.   679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.  Sec.
  679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31).
\2\ Regulations at Sec.  Sec.   679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for
  the Atka mackerel fishery.
\3\ The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season.
\4\ Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from
  January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31.
\5\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to
  be caught inside of critical habitat; (a)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B
  seasons as defined at Sec.   679.23(e)(3); and (a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more
  than 65 percent of ABC.
\6\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea
  subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation
  is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


 Table 7--Final 2016 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch Allowance, and
                              Amendment 80 Allocation of the BSAI ATKA Mackerel TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              2016 allocation by area
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                      Eastern
              Sector \1\                      Season 2 3 4           Aleutian         Central         Western
                                                                     District/       Aleutian        Aleutian
                                                                  Bering Sea \5\   District \5\    District \5\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC...................................  n/a.....................          27,317          17,000          10,500
CDQ reserve...........................  Total...................           2,923           1,819           1,124
                                        A.......................           1,461             910             562
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             546             337
                                        B.......................           1,461             910             562
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             546             337
ICA...................................  Total...................           1,000              75              40
Jig \6\...............................  Total...................             117               0               0
BSAI trawl limited access.............  Total...................           2,328           1,511               0
                                        A.......................           1,164             755               0
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             453               0
                                        B.......................           1,164             755               0
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             453               0

[[Page 11928]]

 
Amendment 80 sectors..................  Total...................          20,949          13,595           9,337
                                        A.......................          10,475           6,798           4,668
                                        B.......................          10,475           6,798           4,668
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear
  allocation, and ICAs to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for
  Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to part 679
  and Sec.   679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.  Sec.
  679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31).
\2\ Regulations at Sec.  Sec.   679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for
  the Atka mackerel fishery.
\3\ The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season.
\4\ Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from
  January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31.
\5\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to
  be caught inside of critical habitat; (a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B
  seasons as defined at Sec.   679.23(e)(3); and (a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more
  than 65 percent of ABC.
\6\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea
  subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation
  is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season.
\7\ The 2016 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access
  sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1,
  2015. NMFS will post 2016 Amendment 80 allocations when they become available in December 2015.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC

    The Council separated BS and AI subarea OFLs, ABCs, and TACs for 
Pacific cod. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) allocates 10.7 percent of the 
BS TAC and AI TAC to the CDQ program. After CDQ allocations have been 
deducted from the respective BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, the remaining 
BS and AI Pacific cod TACs are combined for calculating further BSAI 
Pacific cod sector allocations. However, if the non-CDQ Pacific cod TAC 
is or will be reached in either the BS or AI subareas, NMFS will 
prohibit non-CDQ directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea as 
provided in Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii).
    Sections 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) allocate the Pacific cod TAC in 
the combined BSAI TAC, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ 
program, as follows: 1.4 percent to vessels using jig gear; 2.0 percent 
to hook-and-line and pot CVs less than 60 ft (18.3 m) length overall 
(LOA); 0.2 percent to hook-and-line CVs greater than or equal to 60 ft 
(18.3 m) LOA; 48.7 percent to hook-and-line C/P; 8.4 percent to pot CVs 
greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA; 1.5 percent to pot C/Ps; 
2.3 percent to AFA trawl C/Ps; 13.4 percent to non-AFA trawl C/Ps; and 
22.1 percent to trawl CVs. The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot 
sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC 
allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. For 2015 and 2016, the 
Regional Administrator establishes an ICA of 500 mt based on 
anticipated incidental catch by these sectors in other fisheries.
    The ITAC allocation of Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 sector is 
established in Table 33 to part 679 and Sec.  679.91. The 2016 
allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives 
and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until 
eligible participants apply for participation in the program by 
November 1, 2015.
    The Pacific cod ITAC is apportioned into seasonal allowances to 
disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see 
Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(7) and 679.23(e)(5)). In accordance with Sec.  
679.20(a)(7)(iv)(B) and (C), any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific 
cod allowance will become available at the beginning of the next 
seasonal allowance.
    Section 679.20(a)(7)(vii) requires the Regional Administrator to 
establish an Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit based on Pacific cod 
abundance in Area 543. Based on the 2014 stock assessment, the Regional 
Administrator determined the Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit to be 
26.3 percent of the AI Pacific cod TAC for 2015 and 2016. NMFS will 
first subtract the State GHL Pacific cod amount from the AI Pacific cod 
ABC. Then NMFS will determine the harvest limit in Area 543 by 
multiplying the percentage of Pacific cod estimated in Area 543 by the 
remaining ABC for AI Pacific cod. Based on these calculations, the Area 
543 harvest limit is 2,478 mt.
    The CDQ and non-CDQ season allowances by gear based on the 2015 and 
2016 Pacific cod TACs are listed in Tables 8 and 9, and are based on 
the sector allocation percentages of Pacific cod set forth at 
Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) and 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(A) and the seasonal 
allowances of Pacific cod set forth at Sec.  679.23(e)(5).

               Table 8--Final 2015 Gear Shares and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI Pacific Cod TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 2015 Share of                     2015 Seasonal apportionment
          Gear sector               Percent       gear sector    2015 Share of ---------------------------------
                                                     total       sector total        Seasons          Amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BS TAC........................             n/a         240,000             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
BS CDQ........................             n/a          25,680             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
BS non-CDQ TAC................             n/a         214,320             n/a  n/a.............             n/a

[[Page 11929]]

 
AI TAC........................             n/a           9,422             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI CDQ........................             n/a           1,008             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
AI non-CDQ TAC................             n/a           8,414             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Western Aleutian Island Limit.             n/a           2,478             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC \1\....             100         222,734             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total hook-and-line/pot gear..            60.8         135,422             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line/pot ICA \2\.....             n/a             500             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(ii
                                                                                 )(B).
Hook-and-line/pot sub-total...             n/a         134,922             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line catcher/                    48.7             n/a         108,071  Jan 1-Jun 10....          55,116
 processor.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...          52,955
Hook-and-line catcher vessel               0.2             n/a             444  Jan 1-Jun 10....             226
 >= 60 ft LOA.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...             217
Pot catcher/processor.........             1.5             n/a           3,329  Jan 1-Jun 10....           1,698
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Sept 1-Dec 31...           1,631
Pot catcher vessel >= 60 ft                8.4             n/a          18,641  Jan 1-Jun 10....           9,507
 LOA.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Sept 1-Dec 31...           9,134
Catcher vessel < 60 ft LOA                   2             n/a           4,438  n/a.............             n/a
 using hook-and-line or pot
 gear.
Trawl catcher vessel..........            22.1          49,224             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          36,426
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           5,415
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....           7,384
AFA trawl catcher/processor...             2.3           5,123             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           3,842
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           1,281
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....               0
Amendment 80..................            13.4          29,846             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          22,385
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           7,462
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....               0
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative.             n/a             n/a           4,711  Jan 20-Apr 1....           3,533
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           1,178
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...               0
Alaska Seafood Cooperative....             n/a             n/a          25,135  Jan 20-Apr 1....          18,851
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           6,284
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...               0
Jig...........................             1.4           3,118             n/a  Jan 1-Apr 30....           1,871
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 30-Aug 31...             624
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Aug 31-Dec 31...             624
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI
  Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of CDQ. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached,
  then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea may be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains.
\2\ The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC
  allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 500 mt for 2015
  based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


               Table 9--Final 2016 Gear Shares and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI Pacific Cod TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 2016 Share of                     2016 Seasonal apportionment
          Gear sector               Percent       gear sector    2016 Share of ---------------------------------
                                                     total       sector total        Seasons          Amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BS TAC........................             n/a         240,000             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
BS CDQ........................             n/a          25,680             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
BS non-CDQ TAC................             n/a         214,320             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI TAC........................             n/a           9,422             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI CDQ........................             n/a           1,008             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
AI non-CDQ TAC................             n/a           8,414             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Western Aleutian Island Limit.             n/a           2,478             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC \1\....             n/a         222,734             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total hook-and-line/pot gear..            60.8         135,422             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line/pot ICA \2\.....             n/a             500             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(ii
                                                                                 )(B).
Hook-and-line/pot sub-total...             n/a         134,922             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line catcher/                    48.7             n/a         108,071  Jan 1-Jun 10....          55,116
 processor.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...          52,955
Hook-and-line catcher vessel               0.2             n/a             444  Jan 1-Jun 10....             226
 >= 60 ft LOA.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...             217
Pot catcher/processor.........             1.5             n/a           3,329  Jan 1-Jun 10....           1,698
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Sept 1-Dec 31...           1,631
Pot catcher vessel >= 60 ft                8.4             n/a          18,641  Jan 1-Jun 10....           9,507
 LOA.

[[Page 11930]]

 
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Sept 1-Dec 31...           9,134
Catcher vessel < 60 ft LOA                   2             n/a           4,438  n/a.............             n/a
 using hook-and-line or pot
 gear.
Trawl catcher vessel..........            22.1          49,224             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          36,426
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           5,415
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....           7,384
AFA trawl catcher/processor...             2.3           5,123             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           3,842
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           1,281
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....               0
Amendment 80..................            13.4          29,846             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          22,385
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           7,462
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...               0
Jig...........................             1.4           3,118             n/a  Jan 1-Apr 30....           1,871
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 30-Aug 31...             624
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Aug 31-Dec 31...             624
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI
  Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of CDQ. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached,
  then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea may be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains.
\2\ The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC
  allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 500 mt for 2016
  based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Sablefish Gear Allocation

    Sections 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) require allocation of the 
sablefish TAC for the BS and AI subareas between trawl and hook-and-
line or pot gear sectors. Gear allocations of the TAC for the BS 
subarea are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for hook-and-line 
or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TACs for the AI subarea are 25 
percent for trawl gear and 75 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. 
Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires NMFS to apportion 20 percent of 
the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish to the CDQ 
reserve. Additionally, Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D)(1) requires that 7.5 
percent of the trawl gear allocation of sablefish from the non-
specified reserves, established under Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(i), be 
assigned to the CDQ reserve. The Council recommended that only trawl 
sablefish TAC be established biennially. The harvest specifications for 
the hook-and-line gear and pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota 
(IFQ) fisheries will be limited to the 2015 fishing year to ensure 
those fisheries are conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ 
fishery. Concurrent sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries will reduce the 
potential for discards of halibut and sablefish in those fisheries. The 
sablefish IFQ fisheries will remain closed at the beginning of each 
fishing year until the final harvest specifications for the sablefish 
IFQ fisheries are in effect. Table 10 lists the 2015 and 2016 gear 
allocations of the sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts.

                Table 10--Final 2015 and 2016 Gear Shares and CDQ Reserve of BSAI Sablefish TACS
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   2015                             2016
          Subarea and gear            Percent    Share of  2015 ITAC   2015 CDQ   Share of  2016 ITAC   2016 CDQ
                                       of TAC      TAC                 Reserve      TAC                 Reserve
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea:
    Trawl \1\......................         50        667        567         50        606        515         45
    Hook-and-line/pot gear \2\.....         50        667        533        133        n/a        n/a
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total......................        100      1,333      1,100        183        606        515         45
Aleutian Islands:
    Trawl \1\......................         25        451        383         34        410        349         31
    Hook-and-line/pot gear \2\.....         75      1,351      1,081        270        n/a        n/a        n/a
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total......................        100      1,802      1,464        304        410        349         31
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Except for the sablefish hook-and-line or pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the
  reserve. The ITAC is the remainder of the TAC after the subtracting these reserves.
\2\ For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, 20 percent of the
  allocated TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants. The Council recommended that specifications for the
  hook-and-line gear sablefish IFQ fisheries be limited to one year.
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


[[Page 11931]]

Allocation of the AI Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock 
Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACs

    Sections 679.20(a)(10)(i) and (ii) require that NMFS allocate AI 
Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin 
sole TAC between the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access 
sector, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ reserve and an ICA 
for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels using non-trawl 
gear. The allocation of the ITAC for AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI 
flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole to the Amendment 80 sector 
is established in accordance with Tables 33 and 34 to part 679 and 
Sec.  679.91.
    The 2016 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 
cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be 
known until eligible participants apply for participation in the 
program by November 1, 2015. Tables 11 and 12 list the 2015 and 2016 
allocations of the AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock 
sole, and yellowfin sole TACs.

 Table 11--Final 2015 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment
  80 Allocations of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin
                                                    Sole TACS
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Pacific ocean perch             Flathead    Rock sole    Yellowfin
                                   ---------------------------------------     sole    -------------     sole
              Sector                  Eastern      Central      Western   -------------             ------------
                                      Aleutian     Aleutian     Aleutian                    BSAI
                                      District     District     District       BSAI                      BSAI
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC...............................        8,000        7,000        9,000       24,250       69,250      149,000
CDQ...............................          856          749          963        2,595        7,410       15,943
ICA...............................          100           75           10        5,000        8,000        5,000
BSAI trawl limited access.........          704          618          161            0            0       16,165
Amendment 80......................        6,340        5,558        7,866       16,655       53,840      111,892
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative.....        3,362        2,947        4,171        1,708       13,318       44,455
Alaska Seafood Cooperative........        2,978        2,611        3,695       14,947       40,522       67,437
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


 Table 12--Final 2016 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment
  80 Allocations of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin
                                                    Sole TACS
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Pacific ocean perch             Flathead    Rock sole    Yellowfin
                                   ---------------------------------------     sole    -------------     sole
              Sector                  Eastern      Central      Western   -------------             ------------
                                      Aleutian     Aleutian     Aleutian                    BSAI
                                      District     District     District       BSAI                      BSAI
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC...............................        7,970        7,000        9,000       24,250       69,250      149,000
CDQ...............................          853          749          963        2,595        7,410       15,943
ICA...............................          100           75           10        5,000        8,000        5,000
BSAI trawl limited access.........          702          618          161            0            0       16,165
Amendment 80 \1\..................        6,315        5,558        7,866       16,655       53,840      111,892
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 2016 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited
  access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November
  1, 2015. NMFS will publish 2016 Amendment 80 allocations when they become available in December 2015.
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    Section 679.2 defines the ABC surplus for flathead sole, rock sole, 
and yellowfin sole as the difference between the annual ABC and TAC for 
each species. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii) establishes ABC reserves for 
flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The ABC surpluses and the 
ABC reserves are necessary to mitigate the operational variability, 
environmental conditions, and economic factors that may constrain the 
CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperatives from achieving, on a 
continuing basis, the optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. 
NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may set the ABC reserve at 
or below the ABC surplus for each species thus maintaining the TAC 
below ABC limits. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the ABC reserves 
will be allocated as CDQ reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and 
yellowfin sole. The Amendment 80 ABC reserves shall be the ABC reserves 
minus the CDQ ABC reserves. Section 679.91(i)(2) establishes each 
Amendment 80 cooperative ABC reserve to be the ratio of each 
cooperatives' quota share (QS) units and the total Amendment 80 QS 
units, multiplied by the Amendment 80 ABC reserve for each respective 
species. Table 13 lists the 2015 and 2016 ABC surplus and ABC reserves 
for BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole.

[[Page 11932]]



 Table 13--Final 2015 and 2016 ABC Surplus, Community Development Quota (CDQ) ABC Reserves, and Amendment 80 ABC
                      Reserves in the BSAI for Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        2015                      2015         2016                      2016
              Sector                  Flathead    2015 Rock    Yellowfin     Flathead    2016 Rock    Yellowfin
                                        sole         sole         sole         sole         sole         sole
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ABC...............................       66,130      181,700      248,800       63,711      164,800      245,500
TAC...............................       24,250       69,250      149,000       24,250       69,250      149,000
ABC surplus.......................       41,880      112,450       99,800       39,461       95,550       96,500
ABC reserve.......................       41,880      112,450       99,800       39,461       95,550       96,500
CDQ ABC reserve...................        4,481       12,032       10,679        4,222       10,224       10,326
Amendment 80 ABC reserve..........       37,399      100,418       89,121       35,239       85,326       86,175
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for         3,836       24,840       35,408          n/a          n/a          n/a
 2015 \1\.........................
Alaska Seafood Cooperative for           33,563       75,578       53,713          n/a          n/a          n/a
 2015 \1\.........................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 2016 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited
  access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November
  1, 2015.

PSC Limits for Halibut, Salmon, Crab, and Herring

    Section 679.21(e) sets forth the BSAI PSC limits. Pursuant to Sec.  
679.21(e)(1)(iv) and (e)(2), the 2015 and 2016 BSAI halibut mortality 
limits are 3,675 mt for trawl fisheries and 900 mt for the non-trawl 
fisheries. Sections 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(2) and 679.21(e)(4)(i)(A) 
allocate 326 mt of the trawl halibut mortality limit and 7.5 percent, 
or 67 mt, of the non-trawl halibut mortality limit as the PSQ reserve 
for use by the groundfish CDQ program.
    Section 679.21(e)(4)(i) authorizes apportioning the non-trawl 
halibut PSC limit into PSC bycatch allowances among six fishery 
categories. Tables 15 and 16 list the fishery bycatch allowances for 
the trawl fisheries, and Table 17 lists the fishery bycatch allowances 
for the non-trawl fisheries.
    Pursuant to Section 3.6 of the FMP, the Council recommends, and 
NMFS agrees, that certain specified non-trawl fisheries be exempt from 
the halibut PSC limit. As in past years, after consulting with the 
Council, NMFS exempts pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-
and-line gear fishery categories from halibut bycatch restrictions for 
the following reasons: (1) The pot gear fisheries have low halibut 
bycatch mortality; (2) NMFS estimates halibut mortality for the jig 
gear fleet to be negligible because of the small size of the fishery 
and the selectivity of the gear; and (3) the IFQ program requires 
legal-size halibut to be retained by vessels using hook-and-line gear 
if a halibut IFQ permit holder or a hired master is aboard and is 
holding unused halibut IFQ (subpart D of 50 CFR part 679). In 2014, 
total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the BSAI was 
approximately 43,225 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch mortality 
of about 4 mt.
    The 2014 jig gear fishery harvested about 3 mt of groundfish. Most 
vessels in the jig gear fleet are exempt from observer coverage 
requirements. As a result, observer data are not available on halibut 
bycatch in the jig gear fishery. However, as mentioned above, NMFS 
estimates the jig gear sector will have a negligible amount of halibut 
bycatch mortality because of the selective nature of jig gear and the 
low mortality rate of halibut caught with jig gear and released.
    Section 679.21(f)(2) annually allocates portions of either 47,591 
or 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limits among the AFA sectors, depending on 
past catch performance and on whether Chinook salmon bycatch incentive 
plan agreements are formed. If an AFA sector participates in an 
approved Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreement, then NMFS 
will allocate a portion of the 60,000 PSC limit to that sector as 
specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). If no Chinook salmon bycatch 
incentive plan agreement is approved, or if the sector has exceeded its 
performance standard under Sec.  679.21(f)(6), then NMFS will allocate 
a portion of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector, as 
specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). In 2015, the Chinook salmon 
PSC limit is 60,000 and the AFA sector Chinook salmon allocations are 
seasonally allocated with 70 percent of the allocation for the A season 
pollock fishery, and 30 percent of the allocation for the B season 
pollock fishery as stated in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). The basis for 
these PSC limits is described in detail in the final rule implementing 
management measures for Amendment 91 (75 FR 53026, August 30, 2010). 
NMFS publishes the approved Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan 
agreements, 2014 allocations, and reports at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/bycatch/default.htm.
    Section 679.21(e)(1)(viii) specifies 700 fish as the 2015 and 2016 
Chinook salmon PSC limit for the AI subarea pollock fishery. Section 
679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(3)(i) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, 
to the AI subarea PSQ for the CDQ program, and allocates the remaining 
647 Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries.
    Section 679.21(e)(1)(vii) specifies 42,000 fish as the 2015 and 
2016 non-Chinook salmon PSC limit in the Catcher Vessel Operational 
Area (CVOA). Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(3)(ii) allocates 10.7 percent, 
or 4,494 non-Chinook salmon in the CVOA as the PSQ for the CDQ program, 
and allocates the remaining 37,506 non-Chinook salmon in the CVOA as 
the PSC limit for the non-CDQ fisheries.
    PSC limits for crab and herring are specified annually based on 
abundance and spawning biomass. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(1) allocates 
10.7 percent from each trawl gear PSC limit specified for crab as a PSQ 
reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program.
    Based on the 2014 survey data, the red king crab mature female 
abundance is estimated to be at 38.6 million red king crabs, which is 
above the threshold of 8.4 million red king crabs, and the effective 
spawning biomass is estimated at 51.3 million lb (23,362 mt). Based on 
the criteria set out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(i), the 2015 and 2016 PSC 
limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl gear is 97,000 animals. This 
limit derives from the mature female abundance of more than 8.4 million 
king crab and the effective spawning biomass estimate of less than 55 
million lb (24,948 mt).
    Section 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2) establishes criteria under which 
NMFS must specify an annual red king crab bycatch limit for the Red 
King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS). The regulations limit the RKCSS red 
king

[[Page 11933]]

crab bycatch limit to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC limit, based 
on the need to optimize the groundfish harvest relative to red king 
crab bycatch. In December 2014, the Council recommended and NMFS 
concurs that the red king crab bycatch limit be equal to 25 percent of 
the red king crab PSC limit within the RKCSS (Table 15).
    Based on 2014 survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) 
abundance is estimated at 758 million animals. Pursuant to criteria set 
out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(ii), the calculated 2015 and 2016 C. bairdi 
crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 980,000 animals in Zone 1 and 
2,970,000 animals in Zone 2. These limits derive from the C. bairdi 
crab abundance estimate being in excess of the 400 million animals for 
both the Zone 1 and Zone 2 allocations.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(iii), the PSC limit for snow crab 
(C. opilio) is based on total abundance as indicated by the NMFS annual 
bottom trawl survey. The C. opilio crab PSC limit is set at 0.1133 
percent of the BS abundance index minus 150,000 crab. Based on the 2014 
survey estimate of 9.852 billion animals, the calculated C. opilio crab 
PSC limit is 11,011,976 animals.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(v), the PSC limit of Pacific herring 
caught while conducting any trawl operation for BSAI groundfish is 1 
percent of the annual eastern BS herring biomass. The best estimate of 
2015 and 2016 herring biomass is 274,236 mt. This amount was developed 
by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game based on spawning location 
estimates. Therefore, the herring PSC limit for 2015 and 2016 is 2,742 
mt for all trawl gear as listed in Tables 14 and 15.
    Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A) requires PSQ reserves to be subtracted 
from the total trawl PSC limits. The 2014 PSC limits assigned to the 
Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors are specified in 
Table 35 to part 679. The resulting allocations of PSC limit to CDQ 
PSQ, the Amendment 80 sector, and the BSAI trawl limited access 
fisheries are listed in Table 10. Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(iv) 
and Sec.  679.91(d) through (f), crab and halibut trawl PSC limits 
assigned to the Amendment 80 sector are then further allocated to 
Amendment 80 cooperatives as PSC cooperative quota as listed in Table 
18. PSC cooperative quota assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives is not 
allocated to specific fishery categories. In 2015, there are no vessels 
in the Amendment 80 limited access sector. The 2016 PSC allocations 
between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access 
sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for 
participation in the program by November 1, 2015. Section 
679.21(e)(3)(i)(B) requires NMFS to apportion each trawl PSC limit not 
assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives into PSC bycatch allowances for 
seven specified fishery categories.
    Section 679.21(e)(5) authorizes NMFS, after consulting with the 
Council, to establish seasonal apportionments of PSC amounts for the 
BSAI trawl limited access and Amendment 80 limited access sectors in 
order to maximize the ability of the fleet to harvest the available 
groundfish TAC and to minimize bycatch. The factors to be considered 
are (1) seasonal distribution of prohibited species; (2) seasonal 
distribution of target groundfish species; (3) PSC bycatch needs on a 
seasonal basis relevant to prohibited species biomass; (4) expected 
variations in bycatch rates throughout the year; (5) expected start of 
fishing effort; and (6) economic effects of seasonal PSC apportionments 
on industry sectors. The Council recommended and NMFS approves the 
seasonal PSC apportionments in Tables 15 and 16 to maximize harvest 
among gear types, fisheries, and seasons while minimizing bycatch of 
PSC based on the above criteria.

 Table 14--Final 2015 and 2016 apportionment of Prohibited Species Catch Allowances to Non-Trawl Gear, the CDQ Program, Amendment 80, and the BSAI Trawl
                                                                 Limited Access Sectors
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                             Non-trawl
                                                                                PSC                    Trawl PSC                 Amendment    BSAI Trawl
                   PSC Species and area \1\                     Total non-   remaining   Total trawl   remaining     CDQ PSQ     80 sector     limited
                                                                trawl PSC    after CDQ       PSC       after CDQ   Reserve \2\      \3\         access
                                                                              PSQ \2\                   PSQ \2\                                fishery
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI..................................          900          832        3,675        3,349          393        2,325          875
Herring (mt) BSAI............................................          n/a          n/a        2,742          n/a          n/a          n/a          n/a
Red king crab (animals) Zone 1...............................          n/a          n/a       97,000       86,621       10,379       43,293       26,489
C. opilio (animals) COBLZ....................................          n/a          n/a   11,011,976    9,833,695    1,178,281    4,833,261    3,160,549
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 1..............................          n/a          n/a      980,000      875,140      104,860      368,521      411,228
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 2..............................          n/a          n/a    2,970,000    2,652,210      317,790      627,778    1,241,500
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of zones.
\2\ Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(2) allocates 326 mt of the trawl halibut mortality limit and Sec.   679.21(e)(4)(i)(A) allocates 7.5 percent, or 67 mt,
  of the non-trawl halibut mortality limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program. The PSQ reserve for crab species is 10.7 percent of
  each crab PSC limit.
\3\ The Amendment 80 program reduced apportionment of the trawl PSC limits by 150 mt for halibut mortality and 20 percent for crab. These reductions are
  not apportioned to other gear types or sectors.
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


 Table 15--Final 2015 and 2016 Herring and Red King Crab Savings Subarea
        Prohibited Species Catch Allowances for all Trawl Sectors
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           Red king crab
           Fishery categories              Herring (mt)      (animals)
                                               BSAI           Zone 1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yellowfin sole..........................             187             n/a
Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish                30             n/a
 \1\....................................
Turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish \2\.........              20             n/a
Rockfish................................              14             n/a
Pacific cod.............................              42             n/a
Midwater trawl pollock..................           2,242             n/a

[[Page 11934]]

 
Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species \3\              207             n/a
 \4\....................................
Red king crab savings subarea non-                   n/a          24,250
 pelagic trawl gear \5\.................
                                         -------------------------------
    Total trawl PSC.....................           2,742          97,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species,
  except for halibut (a prohibited species), arrowtooth flounder,
  flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and
  yellowfin sole.
\2\ ``Arrowtooth flounder'' for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka
  flounder.
\3\ Pollock other than pelagic trawl pollock, Atka mackerel, and ``other
  species'' fishery category.
\4\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins,
  sharks, squids, and octopuses.
\5\ In December 2014 the Council recommended that the red king crab
  bycatch limit for non-pelagic trawl fisheries within the RKCSS be
  limited to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance (see Sec.
  679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2)).
Note: Species apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


   Table 16--Final 2015 And 2016 Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowances for the BSAI Trawl Limited Access Sector
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          Prohibited species and area \1\
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    BSAI Trawl limited access         Halibut      Red king crab     C. opilio          C. bairdi (animals)
            fisheries             mortality (mt)  (animals) Zone     (animals)   -------------------------------
                                       BSAI              1             COBLZ          Zone 1          Zone 2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yellowfin sole..................             167          23,338       2,979,410         346,228       1,185,500
Rock sole/flathead sole/other                  0               0               0               0               0
 flatfish \2\...................
Turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish \3\.               0               0               0               0               0
Rockfish April 15-December 31...               5               0           4,922               0           1,000
Pacific cod.....................             453           2,954         126,994          60,000          50,000
Pollock/Atka mackerel/other                  250             197          49,223           5,000           5,000
 species \4\....................
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total BSAI trawl limited                 875          26,489       3,160,549         411,228       1,241,500
     access PSC.................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited
  species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth
  flounder.
\3\ Arrowtooth flounder for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka flounder.
\4\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


    Table 17--Final 2015 and 2016 Halibut Prohibited Species Bycatch
                   Allowances for Non-Trawl Fisheries
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Catcher/
       Non-trawl fisheries            Processor       Catcher  vessel
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod--Total:..............             760  15.
    January 1-June 10............             455  10.
    June 10-August 15............             190  3.
    August 15-December 31........             115  2.
Other non-trawl--Total:..........  ..............  58.
    May 1-December 31............  ..............  58.
Groundfish pot and jig...........  ..............  Exempt.
Sablefish hook-and-line..........  ..............  Exempt.
        Total non-trawl PSC......  ..............  833.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to
  rounding.


        Table 18--Final 2015 Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowance for the BSAI Amendment 80 Cooperatives
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Prohibited species and zones \1\
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Cooperative                Halibut      Red king crab     C. opilio          C. bairdi (animals)
                                  mortality (mt)  (animals) Zone     (animals)   -------------------------------
                                       BSAI              1             COBLZ          Zone 1          Zone 2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alaska Seafood Cooperative......           1,693          30,834       3,311,730         271,542         465,879
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative...             632          12,459       1,521,531          96,980         161,899
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of zones.
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


[[Page 11935]]

Halibut Discard Mortality Rates (DMR)

    To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, 
the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut bycatch rates, DMRs, 
and estimates of groundfish catch to project when a fishery's halibut 
bycatch mortality allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. The 
DMRs are based on the best information available, including information 
contained in the annual SAFE report.
    NMFS approves the halibut DMRs developed and recommended by the 
International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) and the Council for the 
2015 and 2016 BSAI groundfish fisheries for use in monitoring the 2015 
and 2016 halibut bycatch allowances (see Tables 14, 15, 16, 17, and 
18). The IPHC developed these DMRs for the 2015 and 2016 BSAI fisheries 
using the 10-year mean DMRs for those fisheries. The IPHC will analyze 
observer data annually and recommend changes to the DMRs when a fishery 
DMR shows large variation from the mean. A discussion of the DMRs is 
available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). Table 19 lists the 2015 and 
2016 DMRs.

  Table 19--Final 2015 And 2016 Pacific Halibut Discard Mortality Rates
                              for the BSAI
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Halibut
                                                              discard
               Gear                        Fishery        mortality rate
                                                             (percent)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Non-CDQ hook-and-line.............  Greenland turbot....              13
                                    Other species \1\...               9
                                    Pacific cod.........               9
                                    Rockfish............               4
Non-CDQ trawl.....................  Alaska plaice.......              71
                                    Arrowtooth flounder               76
                                     \2\.
                                    Atka mackerel.......              77
                                    Flathead sole.......              73
                                    Greenland turbot....              64
                                    Non-pelagic pollock.              77
                                    Pelagic pollock.....              88
                                    Other flatfish \3\..              71
                                    Other species \1\...              71
                                    Pacific cod.........              71
                                    Rockfish............              79
                                    Rock sole...........              85
                                    Sablefish...........              75
                                    Yellowfin sole......              83
Non-CDQ Pot.......................  Other species \1\...               8
                                    Pacific cod.........               8
CDQ trawl.........................  Atka mackerel.......              86
                                    Greenland turbot....              89
                                    Flathead sole.......              79
                                    Non-pelagic pollock.              83
                                    Pacific cod.........              90
                                    Pelagic pollock.....              90
                                    Rockfish............              80
                                    Rock sole...........              88
                                    Yellowfin sole......              86
CDQ hook-and-line.................  Greenland turbot....               4
                                    Pacific cod.........              10
CDQ pot...........................  Pacific cod.........               8
                                    Sablefish...........              34
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ ``Other species'' includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and
  octopuses.
\2\ Arrowtooth flounder includes Kamchatka flounder.
\3\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut
  (a prohibited species), Alaska plaice, flathead sole, Greenland
  turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth
  flounder.

Directed Fishing Closures

    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional 
Administrator may establish a DFA for a species or species group if the 
Regional Administrator determines that any allocation or apportionment 
of a target species has been or will be reached. If the Regional 
Administrator establishes a DFA, and that allowance is or will be 
reached before the end of the fishing year, NMFS will prohibit directed 
fishing for that species or species group in the specified subarea or 
district (see Sec.  697.20(d)(1)(iii)). Similarly, pursuant to Sec.  
679.21(e), if the Regional Administrator determines that a fishery 
category's bycatch allowance of halibut, red king crab, C. bairdi crab, 
or C. opilio crab for a specified area has been reached, the Regional 
Administrator will prohibit directed fishing for each species in that 
category in the specified area.
    Based on historic catch patterns and anticipated fishing activity, 
the Regional Administrator has determined that the groundfish 
allocation amounts in Table 20 will be necessary as incidental catch to 
support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2015 and 2016 
fishing years. Consequently, in accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), 
the Regional Administrator establishes the DFA for the species and 
species groups in Table 20 as zero. Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  
679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these 
sectors and species in the specified areas effective at 1200 hrs, 
A.l.t., March

[[Page 11936]]

5, 2015, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2016. Also, for the 
BSAI trawl limited access sector, bycatch allowances of halibut, red 
king crab, C. bairdi crab, and C. opilio crab listed in Table 20 are 
insufficient to support directed fisheries. Therefore, in accordance 
with Sec.  679.21(e)(7), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these 
sectors and fishery categories in the specified areas effective at 1200 
hrs, A.l.t., March 5, 2015, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 
2016.

                              Table 20--2015 and 2016 Directed Fishing Closures \1\
           [Groundfish and halibut amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in number of animals]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                       2015            2016
                                                                                    Incidental      Incidental
              Area                        Sector                  Species              catch           catch
                                                                                     allowance       allowance
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bogoslof District..............  All....................  Pollock...............             100             100
Aleutian Islands subarea.......  All....................  ICA pollock...........           2,400           2,400
                                                          ``Other rockfish'' \2\             555             555
Eastern Aleutian District/       Non-amendment 80 and     ICA Atka mackerel.....           1,000           1,000
 Bering Sea.                      BSAI trawl limited
                                  access.
Eastern Aleutian District/       All....................  Rougheye rockfish.....             177             201
 Bering Sea.
Eastern Aleutian District......  Non-amendment 80 and     ICA Pacific ocean                  100             100
                                  BSAI trawl limited       perch.
                                  access.
Central Aleutian District......  Non-amendment 80 and     ICA Atka mackerel.....              75              75
                                  BSAI trawl limited
                                  access.
                                                          ICA Pacific ocean                   75              75
                                                           perch.
Western Aleutian District......  Non-amendment 80 and     ICA Atka mackerel.....              40              40
                                  BSAI trawl limited      ICA Pacific ocean                   10              10
                                  access.                  perch.
Central and Western Aleutian     All....................  Rougheye rockfish.....             239             277
 Districts.
Bering Sea subarea.............  All....................  Pacific ocean perch...           6,818           6,818
                                                          ``Other rockfish'' \2\             325             325
                                                          ICA pollock...........          47,160          47,160
                                                          Northern rockfish.....           2,763           2,763
                                                          Shortraker rockfish...             250             250
                                                          Skates................          21,845          21,845
                                 All....................  Sculpins..............           3,995           3,995
                                                          Sharks................             125             125
                                                          Squids................             340             340
                                                          Octopuses.............             400             400
                                 Hook-and-line and pot    ICA Pacific cod.......             500             500
                                  gear.
                                 Non-amendment 80.......  ICA flathead sole.....           5,000           5,000
                                                          ICA rock sole.........           8,000           8,000
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands  Non-amendment 80 and     ICA yellowfin sole....           5,000           5,000
                                  BSAI trawl limited
                                  access.
                                 BSAI trawl limited       Rock sole/flathead                   0               0
                                  access.                  sole/other flatfish--
                                                           halibut mortality,
                                                           red king crab Zone 1,
                                                           C. opilio COBLZ, C.
                                                           bairdi Zone 1 and 2.
                                                          Turbot/arrowtooth/                   0               0
                                                           sablefish--halibut
                                                           mortality, red king
                                                           crab Zone 1, C.
                                                           opilio COBLZ, C.
                                                           bairdi Zone 1 and 2.
                                                          Rockfish--red king                   0               0
                                                           crab Zone 1.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 \1\ Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679.
 \2\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern
  rockfish, dark rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish.

    Closures implemented under the final 2014 and 2015 BSAI harvest 
specifications for groundfish (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014) remain 
effective under authority of these final 2015 and 2016 harvest 
specifications, and are posted at the following Web sites: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/cm/info_bulletins/ and http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries_reports/reports/. While these 
closures are in effect, the maximum retainable amounts at Sec.  
679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a fishing trip. These 
closures to directed fishing are in addition to closures and 
prohibitions found in regulations at 50 CFR part 679.

Listed AFA Catcher/Processor Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is 
responsible for restricting the ability of listed AFA C/Ps to engage in 
directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect 
participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects 
resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the pollock 
directed fishery. These restrictions are set out as ``sideboard'' 
limits on catch. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in 
detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA 
(67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, 
September 14, 2007). Table 21 lists the 2015 and 2016 C/P sideboard 
limits.
    All harvest of groundfish sideboard species by listed AFA C/Ps, 
whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be deducted from 
the sideboard limits in Table 21. However, groundfish sideboard species 
that are delivered to listed AFA C/Ps by CVs will not be

[[Page 11937]]

deducted from the 2015 and 2016 sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/
Ps.

                     Table 21--Final 2015 and 2016 Listed BSAI American Fisheries Act Catcher/Processor Groundfish Sideboard Limits
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        1995-1997
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                           Ratio of    2015 ITAC                 2016 ITAC
                                                                 Retained                  retained    Available   2015 AFA C/   Available   2016 AFA C/
           Target species                   Area/Season           catch     Total catch    catch to   to trawl C/    P Side-    to trawl C/    P Side-
                                                                                         total catch     Ps\1\     board limit     Ps\1\     board limit
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish trawl.....................  BS.....................            8          497        0.016          567            9          515            8
                                      AI.....................            0          145            0          383            0          348            0
Atka mackerel.......................  Central AI A season \2\          n/a          n/a        0.115        7,591          873        7,591          873
                                      Central AI B season \2\          n/a          n/a        0.115        7,591          873        7,591          873
                                      Western AI A season \2\          n/a          n/a          0.2        4,689          938        4,689          938
                                      Western AI B season \2\          n/a          n/a          0.2        4,689          938        4,689          938
Rock sole...........................  BSAI...................        6,317      169,362        0.037       61,840        2,288       61,840        2,288
Greenland turbot....................  BS.....................          121       17,305        0.007        2,081           15        2,081           15
                                      AI.....................           23        4,987        0.005          170            1          170            1
Arrowtooth flounder.................  BSAI...................           76       33,987        0.002       18,700           37       18,700           37
Kamchatka flounder..................  BSAI...................           76       33,987        0.002        5,525           11        5,525           11
Flathead sole.......................  BSAI...................        1,925       52,755        0.036       21,655          780       21,655          780
Alaska plaice.......................  BSAI...................           14        9,438        0.001       15,725           16       15,725           16
Other flatfish......................  BSAI...................        3,058       52,298        0.058        3,077          178        3,077          178
Pacific ocean perch.................  BS.....................           12        4,879        0.002        6,818           14        6,818           14
                                      Eastern AI.............          125        6,179         0.02        7,144          143        7,117          142
                                      Central AI.............            3        5,698        0.001        6,251            6        6,251            6
                                      Western AI.............           54       13,598        0.004        8,037           32        8,037           32
Northern rockfish...................  BSAI...................           91       13,040        0.007        2,763           19        2,763           19
Shortraker rockfish.................  BSAI...................           50        2,811        0.018          250            5          250            5
Rougheye rockfish...................  EBS/EAI................           50        2,811        0.018          149            3          149            3
                                      CAI/WAI................           50        2,811        0.018          200            4          200            4
Other rockfish......................  BS.....................           18          621        0.029          325            9          325            9
                                      AI.....................           22          806        0.027          555           15          555           15
Skates..............................  BSAI...................          553       68,672        0.008       21,845          175       21,845          175
Sculpins............................  BSAI...................          553       68,672        0.008        3,995           32        3,995           32
Sharks..............................  BSAI...................          553       68,672        0.008          125            1          125            1
Squids..............................  BSAI...................           73        3,328        0.022          340            7          340            7
Octopuses...........................  BSAI...................          553       68,672        0.008          400            3          400            3
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole are multiplied by the remainder of the
  TAC after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C).
\2\ The seasonal apportionment of Atka mackerel in the open access fishery is 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. Listed AFA
  catcher/processors are limited to harvesting no more than zero in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea, 20 percent of the annual ITAC
  specified for the Western Aleutian District, and 11.5 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Central Aleutian District.

    Section 679.64(a)(2) and Tables 40 and 41 of part 679 establish a 
formula for calculating PSC sideboard limits for listed AFA C/Ps. The 
basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final 
rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, 
December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007).
    PSC species listed in Table 22 that are caught by listed AFA C/Ps 
participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue 
against the 2015 and 2016 PSC sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/Ps. 
Section 679.21(e)(3)(v) authorizes NMFS to close directed fishing for 
groundfish other than pollock for listed AFA C/Ps once a 2015 or 2016 
PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 22 is reached.
    Crab or halibut PSC caught by listed AFA C/Ps while fishing for 
pollock will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified 
for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/Atka mackerel/``other 
species'' fishery categories under regulations at Sec.  
679.21(e)(3)(iv).

       Table 22--Final 2015 and 2016 BSAI AFA Listed Catcher/Processor Prohibited Species Sideboard Limits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   2015 and 2016
                                                                                   PSC available   2015 and 2016
                                                                   Ratio of PSC      to trawl        catcher/
                    PSC Species and area \1\                      catch to total   vessels after     processor
                                                                        PSC       subtraction of     sideboard
                                                                                      PSQ \2\        limit \2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut mortality BSAI..........................................             n/a             n/a             286
Red king crab zone 1............................................           0.007          86,621             606
C. opilio (COBLZ)...............................................           0.153       9,833,695       1,504,555
C. bairdi Zone 1................................................            0.14         875,140         122,520
C. bairdi Zone 2................................................            0.05       2,652,210         132,611
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals.


[[Page 11938]]

AFA Catcher Vessel Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is 
responsible for restricting the ability of AFA CVs to engage in 
directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect 
participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects 
resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the pollock 
directed fishery. Section 679.64(b) establishes a formula for setting 
AFA CV groundfish and PSC sideboard limits for the BSAI. The basis for 
these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules 
implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 
2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Tables 23 and 
24 list the 2015 and 2016 AFA CV sideboard limits.
    All catch of groundfish sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA 
CVs, whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be deducted 
from the 2015 and 2016 sideboard limits listed in Table 23.

                          Table 23--Final 2015 and 2016 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel BSAI Groundfish Sideboard Limits
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                          Ratio of 1995-                     2015 AFA                        2016 AFA
                                                                            1997 AFA CV    2015 Initial   Catcher vessel   2016 Initial   catcher vessel
              Species/Gear                    Fishery by area/season      catch to 1995-      TAC \1\        sideboard        TAC \1\        sideboard
                                                                             1997 TAC                         limits                          limits
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod/Jig gear...................  BSAI...........................               0             n/a               0             n/a               0
Pacific cod/Hook-and-line CV >=60 feet   BSAI Jan 1-Jun 10..............          0.0006             226               0             226               0
 LOA.
                                         BSAI Jun 10-Dec 31.............          0.0006             217               0             217               0
Pacific cod pot gear CV................  BSAI Jan 1-Jun 10..............          0.0006           9,507               6           9,507               6
                                         BSAI Sept 1-Dec 31.............          0.0006           9,134               5           9,134               5
Pacific cod CV <=60 feet LOA using hook- BSAI...........................          0.0006           4,438               3           4,438               3
 and-line or pot gear.
Pacific cod trawl gear CV..............  BSAI Jan 20-Apr 1..............          0.8609          36,426          31,359          36,426          31,359
                                         BSAI Apr 1-Jun 10..............          0.8609           5,415           4,662           5,415           4,662
                                         BSAI Jun 10-Nov 1..............          0.8609           7,384           6,357           7,384           6,357
Sablefish trawl gear...................  BS.............................          0.0906             567              51             515              47
                                         AI.............................          0.0645             383              25             348              22
Atka mackerel..........................  Eastern AI/BS Jan 1-Jun 10.....          0.0032          12,056              39          12,197              39
                                         Eastern AI/BS Jun 10-Nov 1.....          0.0032          12,056              39          12,197              39
                                         Central AI Jan 1-Jun 10........          0.0001           7,590               1           7,591               1
                                         Central AI Jun 10-Nov 1........          0.0001           7,590               1           7,591               1
                                         Western AI Jan 1-Jun 10........               0            4689               0            4689               0
                                         Western AI Jun 10-Nov 1........               0            4689               0            4689               0
Rock sole..............................  BSAI...........................          0.0341          61,840           2,109          61,840           2,109
Greenland turbot.......................  BS.............................          0.0645           2,081             134           2,081             134
                                         AI.............................          0.0205             170               3             170               3
Arrowtooth flounder....................  BSAI...........................           0.069          18,700           1,290          18,700           1,290
Kamchatka flounder.....................  BSAI...........................           0.069           5,525             381           5,525             381
Alaska plaice..........................  BSAI...........................          0.0441          15,725             693          15,725             693
Other flatfish.........................  BSAI...........................          0.0441           3,077             136           3,077             136
Flathead sole..........................  BS.............................          0.0505          21,655           1,094          21,655           1,094
Pacific ocean perch....................  BS.............................             0.1           6,818             682           6,818             682
                                         Eastern AI.....................          0.0077           7,144              55           7,117              55
                                         Central AI.....................          0.0025           6,251              16           6,251              16
                                         Western AI.....................               0           8,037               0           8,037               0
Northern rockfish......................  BSAI...........................          0.0084           2,763              23           2,763              23
Shortraker rockfish....................  BSAI...........................          0.0037             250               1             250               1
Rougheye rockfish......................  EBS/EAI........................          0.0037             149               1             149               1
                                         CAI/WAI........................          0.0037             200               1             200               1
Other rockfish.........................  BS.............................          0.0048             325               2             325               2
                                         AI.............................          0.0095             555               5             555               5
Skates.................................  BSAI...........................          0.0541          21,845           1,182          21,845           1,182
Sculpins...............................  BSAI...........................          0.0541           3,995             216           3,995             216
Sharks.................................  BSAI...........................          0.0541             125               7             125               7
Squids.................................  BSAI...........................          0.3827             340             130             340             130
Octopuses..............................  BSAI...........................          0.0541             400              22             400              22
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Aleutians Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, and rock sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC of that
  species after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C).

    Halibut and crab PSC limits listed in Table 24 that are caught by 
AFA CVs participating in any groundfish fishery for groundfish other 
than pollock will accrue against the 2015 and 2016 PSC sideboard limits 
for the AFA CVs. Sections 679.21(d)(7) and 679.21(e)(3)(v) authorize 
NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for 
AFA CVs once a 2015 or 2016 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 24 is 
reached. The PSC that is caught by AFA CVs while fishing for pollock in 
the BSAI will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified 
for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/Atka mackerel/``other 
species'' fishery

[[Page 11939]]

categories under regulations at Sec.  679.21(e)(3)(iv).

  Table 24--Final 2015 and 2016 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Prohibited Species Catch Sideboard Limits
                                                for the BSAI \1\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   2015 and 2016
                                                                    AFA Catcher      PSC limit     2015 and 2016
                                                                    vessel PSC         after        AFA catcher
      PSC Species and area \1\       Target fishery category \2\     sideboard    subtraction of    vessel PSC
                                                                    limit ratio    PSQ  reserves     sideboard
                                                                                        \3\          limit \3\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut............................  Pacific cod trawl..........             n/a             n/a             887
                                     Pacific cod hook-and-line               n/a             n/a               2
                                      or pot.
                                     Yellowfin sole total.......             n/a             n/a             101
                                     Rock sole/flathead sole/                n/a             n/a             228
                                      other flatfish \4\.
                                     Greenland turbot/arrowtooth/            n/a             n/a               0
                                      sablefish \5\.
                                     Rockfish...................             n/a             n/a               2
                                     Pollock/Atka mackerel/other             n/a             n/a               5
                                      species \6\.
Red king crab Zone 1...............  n/a........................           0.299          86,621          25,900
C. opilio COBLZ....................  n/a........................           0.168       9,833,695       1,652,061
C. bairdi Zone 1...................  n/a........................            0.33         875,140         288,796
C. bairdi Zone 2...................  n/a........................           0.186       2,652,210         493,311
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ Target fishery categories are defined in regulation at Sec.   679.21(e)(3)(iv).
\3\ Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals.
\4\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited
  species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth
  flounder.
\5\ Arrowtooth for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka flounder.
\6\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses.

AFA Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel Sideboard Directed Fishing 
Closures

    Based on historical catch patterns, the Regional Administrator has 
determined that many of the AFA C/P and CV sideboard limits listed in 
Tables 25 and 26 are necessary as incidental catch to support other 
anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2015 and 2016 fishing years. 
In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iv), the Regional Administrator 
establishes the sideboard limits listed in Tables 25 and 26 as DFAs. 
Because many of these DFAs will be reached before the end of 2015, the 
Regional Administrator has determined, in accordance with Sec.  
679.20(d)(1)(iii), that NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing by listed 
AFA C/Ps for the species in the specified areas set out in Table 25, 
and directed fishing by non-exempt AFA CVs for the species in the 
specified areas set out in Table 26.

    Table 25--Final 2015 and 2016 American Fisheries Act Listed Catcher/Processor Sideboard Directed Fishing
                                                  Closures \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  2015 Sideboard  2016 Sideboard
                Species                           Area              Gear types         limit           limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish trawl.......................  BS......................           trawl               9               8
                                        AI......................           trawl               0               0
Rock sole.............................  BSAI....................             all           2,288           2,288
Greenland turbot......................  BS......................             all              15              15
                                        AI......................             all               1               1
Arrowtooth flounder...................  BSAI....................             all              37              37
Kamchatka flounder....................  BSAI....................             all              11              11
Alaska plaice.........................  BSAI....................             all              16              16
Other flatfish \2\....................  BSAI....................             all             178             178
Flathead sole.........................  BSAI....................             all             780             780
Pacific ocean perch...................  BS......................             all              14              14
                                        Eastern AI..............             all             143             142
                                        Central AI..............             all               6               6
                                        Western AI..............             all              32              32
Northern rockfish.....................  BSAI....................             all              19              19
Shortraker rockfish...................  BSAI....................             all               5               5
Rougheye rockfish.....................  EBS/EAI.................             all               3               3
                                        CAI/WAI.................             all               4               4
Other rockfish \3\....................  BS......................             all               9               9
                                        AI......................             all              15              15
Skates................................  BSAI....................             all             175             175
Sculpins..............................  BSAI....................             all              32              32
Sharks................................  BSAI....................             all               1               1
Squids................................  BSAI....................             all               7               7

[[Page 11940]]

 
Octopuses.............................  BSAI....................             all               3               3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679.
\2\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut, Alaska plaice, flathead sole,
  Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder.
\3\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern
  rockfish, dark rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish.


   Table 26--Final 2015 and 2016 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Sideboard Directed Fishing Closures \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  2015 Sideboard  2016 Sideboard
              Species                        Area                Gear types            limit           limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod.......................  BSAI.................  hook-and-line CV >=60               0               0
                                                            feet LOA.
                                    BSAI.................  pot CV >=60 feet LOA.              11              11
                                    BSAI.................  hook-and-line or pot                3               3
                                                            CV <=60 feet LOA.
                                    BSAI.................  jig..................               0               0
Sablefish.........................  BS...................  trawl................              51              47
                                    AI...................  trawl................              25              22
Atka mackerel.....................  Eastern AI/BS........  all..................              78              78
                                    Central AI...........  all..................               2               2
                                    Western AI...........  all..................               0               0
Greenland turbot..................  BS...................  all..................             134             134
                                    AI...................  all..................               3               3
Arrowtooth flounder...............  BSAI.................  all..................           1,290           1,290
Kamchatka flounder................  BSAI.................  all..................             381             381
Alaska plaice.....................  BSAI.................  all..................             693             693
Other flatfish \2\................  BSAI.................  all..................             136             136
Flathead sole.....................  BSAI.................  all..................           1,094           1,094
Rock sole.........................  BSAI.................  all..................           2,109           2,109
Pacific ocean perch...............  BS...................  all..................             682             682
                                    Eastern AI...........  all..................              55              55
                                    Central AI...........  all..................              16              16
                                    Western AI...........  all..................               0               0
Northern rockfish.................  BSAI.................  all..................              23              23
Shortraker rockfish...............  BSAI.................  all..................               1               1
Rougheye rockfish.................  BS/EAI...............  all..................               1               1
                                    CAI/WAI..............  all..................               1               1
Other rockfish \3\................  BS...................  all..................               2               2
                                    AI...................  all..................               5               5
Skates............................  BSAI.................  all..................           1,182           1,182
Sculpins..........................  BSAI.................  all..................             216             216
Sharks............................  BSAI.................  all..................               7               7
Squids............................  BSAI.................  all..................             130             130
Octopuses.........................  BSAI.................  all..................              22              22
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679.
\2\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut, Alaska plaice, flathead sole,
  Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder.
\3\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern
  rockfish, dark rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish.

Response to Comments

    NMFS received five letters with 13 comments.
    Comment 1: The Pacific halibut population is in steep decline yet 
NMFS is proposing to authorize the removal of millions of pounds of 
halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea groundfish fishery.
    Response: The final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for the 
BSAI publishes regulatory halibut PSC limits that are imposed on the 
federal groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The halibut PSC limits for 
the BSAI groundfish fisheries are described in the FMP for Groundfish 
of the BSAI management area and the regulations at 50 CFR 679.21(e) 
implement the BSAI PSC limits. The Council and NMFS establish halibut 
PSC limits to constrain the amount of bycatch taken in the groundfish 
fisheries. The halibut PSC limits are not allowances for halibut 
bycatch in the groundfish fishery; rather, halibut PSC limits impose 
maximum limits on the amount of halibut bycatch mortality that may be 
taken by the groundfish fisheries. When a halibut PSC limit is reached, 
further groundfish fishing with specific types of gear and modes of 
operation is prohibited in that area. The Council and NMFS have 
initiated a separate action to

[[Page 11941]]

reduce halibut PSC limits in the BSAI to minimize halibut bycatch in 
the groundfish fishery to the extent practicable. See response to 
Comment 2.
    Comment 2: The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that NMFS, to the 
extent practicable: (A) Minimize bycatch; and (B), minimize the 
mortality of bycatch which cannot be avoided. Before finalizing the 
2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for the BSAI, NMFS must minimize 
bycatch of halibut in the groundfish fisheries consistent with its 
statutory obligations.
    Response: The Council and NMFS are committed to minimizing halibut 
bycatch in the BSAI to the extent practicable. Section 3.6.2.1.4 of the 
FMP states that annual BSAI-wide Pacific halibut bycatch mortality 
limits for trawl and non-trawl gear fisheries will be established in 
regulations and may be amended by regulatory amendment. Pursuant to 
Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(iv), (e)(3), and (e)(2), the 2015 and 2016 BSAI 
halibut PSC limits are 3,525 mt for trawl fisheries and 900 mt for the 
non-trawl fisheries. The Council has initiated action to consider 
revising regulations to reduce halibut PSC limits in the BSAI 
groundfish fisheries consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act obligations 
to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable and to achieve, on a 
continuing basis, optimum yield from the groundfish fisheries. Pursuant 
to section 3.6.2.1.4 of the FMP, the Secretary, after consultation with 
the Council, will consider the following information when evaluating 
measures to minimize halibut bycatch in the BSAI fisheries:
    1. Estimated change in halibut biomass and stock condition;
    2. potential impacts on halibut stocks and fisheries;
    3. potential impacts on groundfish fisheries;
    4. estimated bycatch mortality during prior years;
    5. expected halibut bycatch mortality;
    6. methods available to reduce halibut bycatch mortality;
    7. the cost of reducing halibut bycatch mortality; and
    8. other biological and socioeconomic factors that affect the 
appropriateness of a specific bycatch mortality limit in terms of FMP 
objectives.
    The Council is scheduled to consider final action to reduce halibut 
PSC limits later in 2015.
    Comment 3: In the BSAI, millions of pounds of Pacific halibut are 
killed and are not utilized.
    Response: Consistent with National Standards 1 and 9, the Council 
and NMFS use halibut PSC mortality limits to minimize halibut bycatch 
in the groundfish fisheries to the extent practicable, while achieving, 
on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from the fisheries. The 
Council has designated Pacific halibut as ``prohibited species'' in the 
groundfish fisheries, which fishermen are required by regulation to 
discard.
    NMFS acknowledges that recent declines in the exploitable biomass 
of halibut and recent decreases in the Pacific halibut catch limits set 
by the IPHC for the directed BSAI halibut fisheries have raised 
concerns about the levels of halibut PSC by the commercial groundfish 
trawl and hook-and-line sectors. The Council has initiated action to 
consider revising halibut PSC limits in the BSAI groundfish fisheries 
consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act obligations to minimize 
bycatch to the extent practicable while achieving, on a continuing 
basis, optimum yield from the groundfish fisheries. The Council will 
review a draft Environmental Assessment and Regulatory Impact Review at 
its February 2015 meeting and is scheduled to take final action on 
halibut PSC limit reductions later in 2015.
    Comment 4: The catch limits of Pacific halibut in the North Pacific 
Ocean and the BSAI have been reduced in recent years by the IPHC due to 
low stock abundance. The IPHC 2015 preliminary directed halibut fishery 
catch limits are much less than the anticipated 2015 halibut PSC in the 
BSAI. Bycatch mortality will almost entirely preclude all directed 
fisheries in some areas.
    Response: During the 2015 annual IPHC meeting, the IPHC adopted 
catch limits in area 4A that are increased from the 2014 catch limits 
in that area. The IPHC adopted catch limits in areas 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E 
that are unchanged from 2014. Consistent with National Standards 1 and 
9 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS established halibut PSC limits in 
regulation to minimize halibut bycatch to the extent practicable while 
also permitting optimum yield from the groundfish fisheries. As 
described in response to Comments 2 and 3, the Council has initiated 
action to consider revising regulations to reduce halibut PSC limits in 
the BSAI groundfish fisheries consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act 
obligations to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable and to 
achieve, on a continuing basis, optimum yield from the groundfish 
fisheries.
    Comment 5: Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS must conserve and 
manage the Pacific halibut stock and prevent the overfishing of Pacific 
halibut. This must be addressed in the FMP and in the final groundfish 
harvest specifications.
    Response: NMFS and the Council manage Pacific halibut under the 
Halibut Act. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS and the Council 
manage the groundfish fisheries to minimize halibut bycatch to the 
extent practicable using the PSC limits established in Federal 
regulations. Pacific halibut are classified as a prohibited species in 
the FMP and not as a ``stock in the fishery.'' Therefore, Section 
303(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act does not apply to Pacific halibut.
    Comment 6: NMFS has not provided NEPA documents to address the 
environmental impacts of halibut bycatch on the marine environment or 
the environmental impact of reduced Pacific halibut stocks. NEPA 
compels Federal agencies to evaluate prospectively the environmental 
impacts of proposed actions that they carry out, fund, or authorize. 
NMFS has relied on an EIS it prepared in 2007. Since that time, the 
halibut stock has lost 50 percent of its spawning biomass and the 
commercial harvest of halibut has declined more than 60 percent. NMFS 
did not contemplate such circumstances in the 2007 EIS.
    Response: NMFS agrees that there have been changes in halibut 
abundance and the halibut fisheries, as well as advancements in 
scientific understanding since the Harvest Specifications EIS. NMFS has 
provided NEPA documents to address the impacts of halibut bycatch on 
the marine environment. As explained in this preamble, section 
679.21(e) sets forth the BSAI halibut PSC limits. NMFS set this halibut 
PSC limit under a separate action with a supporting Environmental 
Assessments that analyzed the impacts of halibut bycatch on halibut 
stocks and the human environment. The Council has initiated action to 
consider revising regulations to reduce halibut PSC limits in the BSAI 
for groundfish fisheries. The Council will review a draft Environmental 
Assessment and Regulatory Impact Review at its February 2015 meeting 
and is scheduled to take final action on halibut PSC reductions later 
in 2015. This EA will analyze the impacts of the halibut bycatch in the 
BSAI groundfish fishery on Pacific halibut stocks.
    NMFS prepared a supplementary information report to evaluate the 
need to prepare a Supplemental EIS (SEIS) for the 2015/2016 groundfish 
harvest specifications. An SEIS should be prepared if--
    1. the agency makes substantial changes in the proposed action that 
are relevant to environmental concerns, or

[[Page 11942]]

    2. significant new circumstances or information exist relevant to 
environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its 
impacts (40 CFR 1502.9(c)(1)).
    The 2007 Harvest Specifications EIS concluded that halibut 
mortality in the groundfish fisheries is taken into account when the 
IPHC sets commercial halibut quotas to prevent adverse impacts on the 
halibut stock. The 2015 supplementary information report further 
explains that the IPHC comprehensively assesses the impacts of fishing 
mortality on stock abundance on an annual basis in its stock assessment 
process. Each year, the IPHC assesses the status of the halibut stocks 
and sets the constant exploitation yield (CEY), which is the amount of 
halibut harvest that is determined to be sustainable in a year. The 
total CEY is calculated by multiplying a target harvest rate by the 
total exploitable biomass and represents the sum of all halibut 
removals. After deducting non-directed fishery removals (e.g., halibut 
PSC in the groundfish fisheries, wastage in halibut fisheries, 
recreational harvest, and subsistence use), the remainder is allocated 
to the directed commercial hook-and-line fishery. The CEY therefore 
takes into account the change in halibut abundance. Therefore, the 
impacts of halibut PSC in the BSAI groundfish fisheries are unlikely to 
have effects on the halibut resource in a manner not previously 
considered in the 2007 Harvest Specifications EIS.
    After reviewing the information in the supplementary information 
report (see ADDRESSES) and presented in the SAFE reports (see 
ADDRESSES; SAFE reports, and the information they contain that is used 
in the harvest specifications, is explained above in this preamble 
under the heading ``Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Harvest 
Specifications''), NMFS determined that (1) the 2015/2016 harvest 
specifications, which were set according to the preferred harvest 
strategy described in the 2007 EIS, do not constitute a change in the 
action; and (2) the information presented does not indicate that there 
are significant new circumstances or information relevant to 
environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its 
impacts. Additionally, the 2015/2016 harvest specifications will result 
in environmental impacts within the scope of those analyzed and 
disclosed in the EIS. Therefore, supplemental NEPA documentation is not 
necessary to implement the 2015/2016 harvest specifications.
    Comment 7: The BSAI halibut PSC limit has remained almost the same 
since the late 1980s.
    Response: With the implementation of Amendment 57 (65 FR 31105, May 
16, 2000) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007), the 
Pacific halibut PSC limit was reduced by 250 mt from the halibut PSC 
limits set in regulations. However, NMFS agrees that the Pacific 
halibut PSC limits have largely been unchanged in recent decades. The 
halibut PSC limits are for bycatch in groundfish fisheries, which have 
largely remained stable in recent decades. As described in response to 
Comment 2, the halibut PSC limits are established in regulation and may 
be changed through regulatory amendment. The Council has initiated 
action to consider revising halibut PSC limits in the BSAI, consistent 
with the National Standard 9 obligations to minimize bycatch to the 
extent practicable.
    Comment 8: The 2015 groundfish harvest specifications do not 
address cultural, fisheries, ecological, and subsistence impacts of 
discarded halibut PSC.
    Response: These harvest specifications specify halibut PSC limits 
among fisheries and by season. However, as described in response to 
Comment 2, the halibut PSC limits are established in regulation and may 
be changed through regulatory amendment. The Council has initiated 
action to consider revising halibut PSC limits in the BSAI, consistent 
with the National Standard 9 obligations to minimize bycatch to the 
extent practicable. NMFS expects the Council will address cultural, 
fisheries, ecological, and subsistence impacts through that action.
    Comment 9: NMFS and fishery participants must work more diligently 
to reduce bycatch, prevent waste of fish, and protect fish stocks.
    Response: As noted in response to Comment 2, NMFS and the Council 
are committed to minimizing halibut bycatch in the BSAI to the extent 
practicable. Current halibut PSC limits are established in regulation 
and may be changed by a regulatory amendment. The Council has initiated 
action to consider revising halibut PSC limits in the BSAI, consistent 
with the National Standard 9 obligation to minimize bycatch to the 
extent practicable.
    Comment 10: NMFS has allowed almost every groundfish species in the 
BSAI to be overfished.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. In the most recent fishing year, no 
species or species complex of groundfish in the BSAI reached an OFL, 
and no species or species complex of groundfish is in overfishing 
status; see SAFE reports.
    Comment 11: Temporary closures should be put in place to prevent 
sea lions from being shot by commercial fishermen. A one million dollar 
fine should be imposed for every sea lion shot by commercial fishermen.
    Response: Fishery closures and fines to protect sea lions are 
outside the scope of this action. NOAA has a Penalty Policy and Summary 
Settlement Schedules for the assessment of civil administrative 
penalties and permit sanctions under the statutes and regulations 
enforced by NOAA, including violations of the Marine Mammal Protection 
Act and the Endangered Species Act. See http://www.gc.noaa.gov/enforce-office3.html.
    Comment 12: The BOF must produce downward quota adjustments for 
fisheries.
    Response: The State and the BOF has jurisdiction to manage 
fisheries within Alaska state waters. In recommending harvest limits 
for the Federal commercial groundfish fisheries, the Council considers 
state GHL harvest limits when distribution and range of federally 
fished groundfish stocks extend between Federal and state waters. The 
Council recommends federal TACs for such stocks so that the sum of 
state and Federal harvest limits does not exceed ABC limits for such 
stocks. However, management measures implemented by the BOF in state 
waters are not within the jurisdiction of the Council.
    Comment 13: The ICAs for several species should be reduced to 
prevent overfishing. Specifically, the Bering Sea pollock ICA should be 
reduced to 23,288 mt, the flathead sole ICA to 1,000 mt, the Pacific 
ocean perch ICA to ten mt, and the yellowfin sole ICA to one mt.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. The Regional Administrator establishes 
incidental catch allowances to account for projected incidental catch 
of species and species complexes by vessels engaged in directed fishing 
in other groundfish fisheries. Sufficient ICAs are needed to prevent 
exceeding TACs, ABCs, and OFLs of groundfish species and species 
complexes. Reducing the ICAs would leave these stocks more vulnerable 
to overfishing.

Classification

    NMFS has determined that these final harvest specifications are 
consistent with the FMP and with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other 
applicable laws.
    This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from 
review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563.
    NMFS prepared an EIS that covers this action (see ADDRESSES) and 
made it available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On 
February 13,

[[Page 11943]]

2007, NMFS issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the EIS. In January 
2015, NMFS prepared a Supplemental Information Report (SIR) for this 
action. Copies of the EIS, ROD, and SIR for this action are available 
from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The EIS analyzes the environmental 
consequences of the groundfish harvest specifications and alternative 
harvest strategies on resources in the action area. The EIS found no 
significant environmental consequences of this action and its 
alternatives. The SIR evaluates the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS 
(SEIS) for the 2015 and 2016 groundfish harvest specifications.
    An SEIS should be prepared if (1) the agency makes substantial 
changes in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental 
concerns; or (2) significant new circumstances or information exist 
relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action 
or its impacts (40 CFR 1502.9(c)(1)). After reviewing the information 
contained in the SIR and SAFE reports, the Regional Administrator has 
determined that (1) approval of the 2015 and 2016 harvest 
specifications, which were set according to the preferred harvest 
strategy in the EIS, do not constitute a change in the action; and (2) 
there are no significant new circumstances or information relevant to 
environmental concerns and bearing on the action or its impacts. 
Additionally, the 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications will result in 
environmental impacts within the scope of those analyzed and disclosed 
in the EIS. Therefore, supplemental NEPA documentation is not necessary 
to implement the 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications.
    Pursuant to section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 
U.S.C. 601, et seq., a FRFA was prepared for this action. The FRFA 
incorporates the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), and 
includes a summary of the significant issues raised by public comments 
in response to the IRFA, as well as NMFS' responses to those comments. 
A summary of the analyses completed to support the action is also 
included in the FRFA.
    A copy of the FRFA prepared for this final rule is available from 
NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A description of this action, its purpose, and 
its legal basis are contained at the beginning of the preamble to this 
final rule and are not repeated here.
    NMFS published the proposed rule on December 8, 2014 (79 FR 72571). 
The rule was accompanied by an IRFA, which was summarized in the 
proposed rule. The comment period closed on January 7, 2015. No 
comments were received on the IRFA.
    The entities directly regulated by this action are those that 
receive allocations of groundfish in the exclusive economic zone of the 
BSAI, and in parallel fisheries within State of Alaska waters, during 
the annual harvest specifications process. These directly regulated 
entities include the groundfish CVs and C/Ps active in these areas. 
Direct allocations of groundfish are also made to certain 
organizations, including the CDQ groups, AFA C/P and inshore CV 
sectors, Aleut Corporation, and Amendment 80 cooperatives. These 
entities are, therefore, also considered directly regulated.
    On June 12, 2014, the Small Business Administration issued an 
interim final rule revising the small business size standards for 
several industries effective July 14, 2014 (79 FR 33647, June 12, 
2014). The rule increased the size standard for Finfish Fishing from 
$19.0 million to $20.5 million, Shellfish Fishing from $5.0 million to 
$5.5 million, and Other Marine Fishing from $7.0 million to $7.5 
million. Fishing vessels are considered small entities if their total 
annual gross receipts, from all their activities combined, are less 
than $25.0 million. In 2013, there were 353 individual C/Vs with total 
gross revenues less than or equal to $20.5 million. Some of these 
vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, GOA rockfish 
cooperatives, or crab rationalization cooperatives, and, since under 
the RFA it is the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members 
of the cooperative that must meet the ``under $20.5 million'' 
threshold, they are considered to be large entities within the meaning 
of the RFA. Thus, the estimate of 353 C/Vs may be an overstatement of 
the number of small entities. Average gross revenues were $320,000 for 
small hook-and-line vessels, $1.25 million for small pot vessels, and 
$3.56 million for small trawl vessels. Revenue data for catcher/
processors is confidential; however, in 2013, NMFS estimates that there 
were four catcher/processor small entities with gross receipts less 
than $20.5.
    Through the CDQ program, the Council and NMFS allocate a portion of 
the BSAI groundfish TACs, and halibut and crab PSC limits to 65 
eligible Western Alaska communities. These communities work through six 
non-profit CDQ groups, and are required to use the proceeds from the 
CDQ allocations to start or support activities that will result in 
ongoing, regionally based, commercial fishery or related businesses. 
The CDQ groups receive allocations through the harvest specifications 
process, and are directly regulated by this action, but the 65 
communities are not directly regulated. Because they are nonprofit 
entities that are independently owned and operated, and are not 
dominant in their field, the CDQ groups are considered small entities 
for RFA purposes.
    The AFA and Amendment 80 fisheries cooperatives are directly 
regulated because they receive allocations of TAC through the harvest 
specifications process. However, the Freezer Longliner Conservation 
Cooperative (FLCC), a voluntary private cooperative that became fully 
effective in 2010, is not considered to be directly regulated. The FLCC 
manages a catch share program among its members, but it does not 
receive an allocation under the harvest specifications. NMFS allocates 
TAC to the freezer longline sector, and the cooperative members 
voluntarily allocate this TAC among themselves via the FLCC. The AFA 
and Amendment 80 cooperatives are large entities, since they are 
affiliated with firms with joint revenues of more than $25 million.
    The Aleut Corporation is an Alaska Native Corporation that receives 
an allocation of pollock in the Aleutian Islands. The Aleut Corporation 
is a holding company and evaluated according to the Small Business 
Administration criteria for Office or Other Holding Companies, at 13 
CFR 121.201, which uses a threshold of $7.5 million gross annual 
receipts threshold for small entities. The Aleut Corporation revenues 
exceed this threshold, and the Aleut Corporation is considered to be a 
large entity. This determination follows the analysis in the RFA 
certification for BSAI FMP.
    This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting 
requirements.
    The significant alternatives were those considered as alternative 
harvest strategies when the Council selected its preferred harvest 
strategy (Alternative 2) in December 2006. These included the 
following:
     Alternative 1: Set TAC to produce fishing mortality rates, 
F, that are equal to maxFABC, unless the sum of the TAC is constrained 
by the OY established in the FMPs. This is equivalent to setting TAC to 
produce harvest levels equal to the maximum permissible ABC, as 
constrained by OY. The term ``maxFABC'' refers to the maximum 
permissible value of FABC under Amendment 56 to the groundfish FMPs. 
Historically, the TAC has been set at or below the ABC; therefore, this

[[Page 11944]]

alternative represents a likely upper limit for setting the TAC within 
the OY and ABC limits.
     Alternative 3: For species in Tiers 1, 2, and 3, set TAC 
to produce F equal to the most recent 5-year average actual F. For 
species in Tiers 4, 5, and 6, set TAC equal to the most recent 5-year 
average actual catch. For stocks with a high level of scientific 
information, TAC would be set to produce harvest levels equal to the 
most recent 5-year average actual fishing mortality rates. For stocks 
with insufficient scientific information, TAC would be set equal to the 
most recent 5-year average actual catch. This alternative recognizes 
that for some stocks, catches may fall well below ABC, and recent 
average F may provide a better indicator of actual F than FABC does.
     Alternative 4: (1) Set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 3 
at F75%. Set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 5 at F = 0.5M. Set 
spatially explicit TAC for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the 
BSAI. (2) Taking the rockfish TAC as calculated above, reduce all other 
TAC by a proportion that does not vary across species, so that the sum 
of all TAC, including rockfish TAC, is equal to the lower bound of the 
area OY (1,400,000 mt in the BSAI). This alternative sets conservative 
and spatially explicit TAC for rockfish species that are long-lived and 
late to mature, and sets conservative TAC for the other groundfish 
species.
     Alternative 5: Set TAC at zero.

    Alternative 2 is the preferred alternative chosen by the Council: 
Set TAC that fall within the range of ABC recommended through the 
Council harvest specifications process and TACs recommended by the 
Council. Under this scenario, F is set equal to a constant fraction of 
maxFABC. The recommended fractions of maxFABC may vary among species or 
stocks, based on other considerations unique to each. This is the 
method for determining TAC that has been used in the past.
    Alternatives 1, 3, 4, and 5 do not meet the objectives of this 
action, although they have a smaller adverse economic impact on small 
entities than the preferred alternative. The Council rejected these 
alternatives as harvest strategies in 2006, and the Secretary of 
Commerce did so in 2007. Alternative 1 would lead to TAC limits whose 
sum exceeds the fishery OY, which is set out in statute and the FMP. As 
shown in Table 1 and Table 2, the sum of ABCs in 2015 and 2016 would be 
2,848,454 and 2,731,897 million mt, respectively. Both of these are 
substantially in excess of the fishery OY for the BSAI. This result 
would be inconsistent with the objectives of this action, in that it 
would violate the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, Pub. L. 108-
199, Sec. 803(c), and the FMP for the BSAI groundfish fishery, which 
both set a 2 million mt maximum harvest for BSAI groundfish.
    Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 
years' worth of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for 
the most recent 5 years' worth of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 
through 6). This alternative is also inconsistent with the objectives 
of this action, because it does not take into account the most recent 
biological information for this fishery.
    Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all 
species to reduce TAC from the upper end of the OY range in the BSAI, 
to its lower end. This result would lead to significant reductions in 
harvests of species by small entities. While reductions of this size 
could be associated with offsetting price increases, the size of these 
increases is very uncertain, and NMFS has no confidence that they would 
be sufficient to offset the volume decreases and leave revenues 
unchanged. Thus, this action would have an adverse economic impact on 
small entities, compared to the preferred alternative.
    Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, may also 
address conservation issues, but would have a significant adverse 
economic impact on small entities.
    Impacts on marine mammals resulting from fishing activities 
conducted under this rule are discussed in the EIS (see ADDRESSES).
    In December 2014, the Council adopted separate Pacific cod harvest 
specifications for the Aleutian Islands and the Bering Sea in the 2015 
and 2016 fishing years. While separate OFLs, ABCs, and TACs, have been 
created for the Aleutian Islands and for the Bering Sea, the actual 
sector allocations (except CDQ allocations) remain BSAI-wide 
allocations. Sector allocations are calculated as a percent of the 
summed Aleutian Island and Bering Sea TACs, after adjustments are made 
to account for CDQ allocations. Because sector allocations (except CDQ 
allocations) continue to be defined BSAI-wide, sectors remain free to 
redeploy between the two areas. However, if the non-CDQ portion of the 
TAC in either sub-area is reached, NMFS will close directed fishing for 
Pacific cod in that subarea. Thus if the resources in one of the areas 
is fully utilized, one sector will not be able to increase its harvest, 
unless at the expense of another sector's harvest.
    It is possible that in some years an Aleutian Island-specific 
Pacific cod TAC, in combination with a deduction from the ABC for a GHL 
fishery, and a deduction for an ICA, may leave the Aleutian Islands TAC 
too small to permit a directed fishery. The ultimate impact of the 
Pacific cod split will depend on policy decisions made by the Council 
and the Secretary of Commerce. In the 10 years since the first year of 
the baseline period for this analysis (2004), the BSAI Pacific cod TAC 
was only set equal to the ABC in 2 years. There may be flexibility for 
the Council to offset anticipated Aleutian Island production limits by 
setting the Aleutian Islands TAC less than the ABC, and the Bering Sea 
TAC equal to the ABC. The 2 million metric ton groundfish optimum yield 
is the sum of the BSAI TACs, so a decrease in the Aleutian Islands TAC, 
coupled with an equal increase in the Bering sea TAC, would leave the 
aggregate BSAI Pacific cod TAC unchanged, and would not require 
reductions in TACs for other species so as to comply with the 2 million 
metric ton optimum yield limit.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness for this rule, because delaying this rule is contrary to 
the public interest. Plan Team review occurred in November 2014, and 
Council consideration and recommendations occurred in December 2014. 
Accordingly, NMFS' review could not begin until after the December 2014 
Council meeting, and after the public had time to comment on the 
proposed action. If this rule's effectiveness is delayed, fisheries 
that might otherwise remain open under these rules may prematurely 
close based on the lower TACs established in the final 2014 and 2015 
harvest specifications (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014). If implemented 
immediately, this rule would allow these fisheries to continue fishing 
without worrying about a potential closure because the new TAC limits 
are higher than the ones under which they are currently fishing. 
Certain fisheries, such as those for pollock and Pacific cod are 
intensive, fast-paced fisheries. Other fisheries, such as those for 
flatfish, rockfish, skates, sculpins, sharks, and octopuses, are 
critical as directed fisheries and as incidental catch in other 
fisheries. U.S. fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch 
the TAC allocations in these fisheries. Any delay in allocating the 
final TAC limits in these fisheries would cause confusion in the 
industry and potential economic harm through

[[Page 11945]]

unnecessary discards. Determining which fisheries may close is 
impossible because these fisheries are affected by several factors that 
cannot be predicted in advance, including fishing effort, weather, 
movement of fishery stocks, and market price. Furthermore, the closure 
of one fishery has a cascading effect on other fisheries by freeing up 
fishing vessels, allowing them to move from closed fisheries to open 
ones, increasing the fishing capacity in those open fisheries and 
causing them to close at an accelerated pace.
    Additionally, in fisheries subject to declining sideboards, 
delaying this rule's effectiveness could allow some vessels to 
inadvertently reach or exceed their new sideboard levels. Because 
sideboards are intended to protect traditional fisheries in other 
sectors, allowing one sector to exceed its new sideboards by delaying 
this rule's effectiveness would effectively reduce the available catch 
for sectors without sideboard limits. Moreover, the new TAC and 
sideboard limits protect the fisheries from being overfished. Thus, the 
delay is contrary to the public interest in protecting traditional 
fisheries and fish stocks.
    If the final harvest specifications are not effective by March 14, 
2015, which is the start of the 2015 Pacific halibut season as 
specified by the IPHC, the hook-and-line sablefish fishery will not 
begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. Delayed 
effectiveness of this action would result in confusion for sablefish 
harvesters and economic harm from unnecessary discard of sablefish that 
are caught along with Pacific halibut, as both hook-and-line sablefish 
and Pacific halibut are managed under the same IFQ program. Immediate 
effectiveness of the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications will 
allow the sablefish IFQ fishery to begin concurrently with the Pacific 
halibut IFQ season. Also, immediate effectiveness of this action is 
required to provide consistent management and conservation of fishery 
resources based on the best available scientific information. This is 
particularly true of those species that have lower 2015 ABC and TAC 
limits than those established in the 2014 and 2015 harvest 
specifications (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014). Immediate effectiveness 
also would give the fishing industry the earliest possible opportunity 
to plan and conduct its fishing operations with respect to new 
information about TAC limits. Therefore, NMFS finds good cause to waive 
the 30-day delay in effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

Small Entity Compliance Guide

    This final rule is a plain language guide to assist small entities 
in complying with this final rule as required by the Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This final rule's primary 
purpose is to announce the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications 
and prohibited species bycatch allowances for the groundfish fisheries 
of the BSAI. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits and 
associated management measures for groundfish during the 2015 and 2016 
fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the FMP. 
This action directly affects all fishermen who participate in the BSAI 
fisheries. The specific amounts of OFL, ABC, TAC, and PSC are provided 
in tables to assist the reader. NMFS will announce closures of directed 
fishing in the Federal Register and information bulletins released by 
the Alaska Region. Affected fishermen should keep themselves informed 
of such closures.

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

    Dated: February 27, 2015.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-05041 Filed 3-4-15; 08:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P