Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program, 62850-62853 [2016-21824]

Download as PDF 62850 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 177 / Tuesday, September 13, 2016 / Proposed Rules measures required by Rule 433 will result in a substantial reduction of PM10 emissions in the OVPA from the Owens Lake bed.3 Guidance and policy documents that we use to evaluate enforceability, revision/relaxation and rule stringency requirements for the applicable criteria pollutants include the following: 1. ‘‘State Implementation Plans; General Preamble for the Implementation of Title I of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990,’’ 57 FR 13498 (April 16, 1992); 57 FR 18070 (April 28, 1992). 2. ‘‘Issues Relating to VOC Regulation Cutpoints, Deficiencies, and Deviations,’’ EPA, May 25, 1988 (the Bluebook, revised January 11, 1990). 3. ‘‘Guidance Document for Correcting Common VOC & Other Rule Deficiencies,’’ EPA Region 9, August 21, 2001 (the Little Bluebook). 4. ‘‘State Implementation Plans for Serious PM10 Nonattainment Areas, and Attainment Date Waivers for PM10 Nonattainment Areas Generally; Addendum to the General Preamble for the Implementation of Title I of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990,’’ 59 FR 41998 (August 16, 1994). 5. ‘‘PM10 Guideline Document,’’ EPA 452/R–93–008, April 1993. 6. ‘‘Fugitive Dust Background Document and Technical Information Document for Best Available Control Measures,’’ EPA 450/2–92–004, September 1992. B. Does the rule meet the evaluation criteria? The PM10 emission controls and other requirements in Rule 433 are clear and adequately enforceable. The requirements clearly strengthen the SIP and are consistent with CAA sections 110(l) and 193. We intend to address BACM for this area in the near future when we act on the OVPA 2016 SIP. Therefore, we find that Rule 433 is consistent with the relevant policy and guidance regarding enforceability and does not result in a SIP relaxation. The TSD has more information on our evaluation. Lhorne on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSALS C. Public Comment and Proposed Action As authorized in section 110(k)(3) of the Act, the EPA proposes to fully approve the submitted rule because it fulfills all relevant requirements. We will accept comments from the public on this proposal until October 13, 2016. If we take final action to approve the submitted rule, our final action will 3 OVPA 2016 SIP at p. 87 and Figure 10–1. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:25 Sep 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 incorporate this rule into the federally enforceable SIP. III. Incorporation by Reference In this rule, the EPA is proposing to include in a final EPA rule regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is proposing to incorporate by reference the GBUAPCD rule described in Table 1 of this preamble. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these materials available through www.regulations.gov and at the EPA Region IX Office (please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this preamble for more information). IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews Under the Clean Air Act, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable federal regulations. 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a). Thus, in reviewing SIP submissions, the EPA’s role is to approve State choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the Clean Air Act. Accordingly, this proposed action merely proposes to approve State law as meeting federal requirements and does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by State law. For that reason, this proposed action: • Is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993); • does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.); • is certified as not having a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.); • does not contain any unfunded mandate or significantly or uniquely affect small governments, as described in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4); • does not have Federalism implications as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999); • is not an economically significant regulatory action based on health or safety risks subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997); • is not a significant regulatory action subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001); • is not subject to requirements of Section 12(d) of the National PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) because application of those requirements would be inconsistent with the Clean Air Act; and • does not provide EPA with the discretionary authority to address disproportionate human health or environmental effects with practical, appropriate, and legally permissible methods under Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629, February 16, 1994). In addition, the SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where the EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications and will not impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000). List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52 Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Authority: 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq. Dated: August 24, 2016. Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX. [FR Doc. 2016–21872 Filed 9–12–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 680 RIN 0648–BG15 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability of fishery management plan amendment; request for comments. AGENCY: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council submitted Amendment 47 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP) to NMFS for review. If approved, Amendment 47 would exempt eastern Chionoecetes bairdi Tanner (EBT) and western C. bairdi SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\13SEP1.SGM 13SEP1 Lhorne on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 177 / Tuesday, September 13, 2016 / Proposed Rules Tanner (WBT) crab that is custom processed at a facility through contractual arrangements with the processing facility owners from being applied against the individual processing quota (IPQ) use cap of the processing facility owners. Amendment 47 would modify the Crab FMP to allow all of the EBT and WBT Class A individual fishing quota crab to be processed at the facilities currently processing EBT and WBT crab and would have significant, positive economic effects on the fishermen, processors, and communities that participate in the EBT and WBT fisheries. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Crab FMP, and other applicable laws. DATES: Submit comments on or before November 14, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2016–0081, by any one of the following methods. • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20160081, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies of the Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RIR/IRFA) (collectively referred to as the ‘‘Analysis’’) and the Categorical Exclusion prepared for Amendment 47 may be obtained from http:// www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:25 Sep 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 The Environmental Impact Statement, RIR, Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, and Social Impact Assessment prepared for the Crab Rationalization Program are available from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Keeley Kent, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires that each regional fishery management council submit any fishery management plan amendment it prepares to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or partial approval by the Secretary of Commerce. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving a fishery management plan amendment, immediately publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing that the amendment is available for public review and comment. This notice announces that proposed Amendment 47 to the Crab FMP is available for public review and comment. NMFS manages the king and Tanner crab fisheries in the U.S. exclusive economic zone of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) under the Crab FMP. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared, and NMFS approved, the Crab FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the Crab FMP appear at 50 CFR parts 600 and 680. The Crab Rationalization Program (Program) was implemented on March 2, 2005 (70 FR 10174). The Program established a limited access privilege program for nine crab fisheries in the BSAI, including the EBT and WBT crab fisheries, and assigned quota share (QS) to persons based on their historic participation in one or more of those nine BSAI crab fisheries during a specific period. Under the Program, NMFS issued four types of QS: Catcher vessel owner (CVO) QS was assigned to holders of License Limitation Program (LLP) licenses who delivered their catch to shoreside crab processors or to stationary floating crab processors; catcher/processor vessel owner QS was assigned to LLP license holders who harvested and processed their catch at sea; captains and crew on board catcher/ processor vessels were issued catcher/ processor crew QS; and captains and crew on board catcher vessels were issued catcher vessel crew QS. Each year, a person who holds QS may receive an exclusive harvest privilege PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 62851 for a portion of the annual total allowable catch, called individual fishing quota (IFQ). NMFS also issued processor quota share (PQS) under the Program. Each year PQS yields an exclusive privilege to process a portion of the IFQ in each of the nine BSAI crab fisheries. This annual exclusive processing privilege is called individual processor quota (IPQ). Only a portion of the QS issued yields IFQ that is required to be delivered to a processor with IPQ. QS derived from deliveries made by catcher vessel owners (i.e., CVO QS) is subject to designation as either Class A IFQ or Class B IFQ. Ninety percent of the IFQ derived from CVO QS is designated as Class A IFQ, and the remaining 10 percent is designated as Class B IFQ. Class A IFQ must be matched and delivered to a processor with IPQ. Class B IFQ is not required to be delivered to a specific processor with IPQ. Each year there is a one-to-one match of the total pounds of Class A IFQ with the total pounds of IPQ issued in each crab fishery. When the Council recommended the Program, it expressed concern about the potential for excessive consolidation of QS and PQS, in which too few persons control all of the QS or PQS and the resulting annual IFQ and IPQ. The Council determined that excessive consolidation could have adverse effects on crab markets, price setting negotiations between harvesters and processors, employment opportunities for harvesting and processing crew, tax revenue to communities in which crab are landed, and other factors considered and described in the Program EIS. To address these concerns, the Program limits the amount of QS that a person can hold (i.e., own), the amount of IFQ that a person can use, and the amount of IFQ that can be used on board a vessel. Similarly, the Program limits the amount of PQS that a person can hold, the amount of IPQ that a person can use, and the amount of IPQ that can be processed at a given facility. These limits are commonly referred to as use caps. In most of the nine BSAI crab fisheries under the Program, including the Tanner crab fisheries, a person is limited to holding no more than 30 percent of the PQS initially issued in the fishery, and to using no more than the amount of IPQ resulting from 30 percent of the initially issued PQS in a given fishery, with a limited exemption for persons receiving more than 30 percent of the initially issued PQS. No person in the EBT or WBT crab fisheries received in excess of 30 percent of the initially issued PQS (see Section 2.5.2 of E:\FR\FM\13SEP1.SGM 13SEP1 Lhorne on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSALS 62852 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 177 / Tuesday, September 13, 2016 / Proposed Rules the Analysis). Therefore, no person may use an amount of EBT or WBT IPQ greater than an amount resulting from 30 percent of the initially issued EBT or WBT PQS. The rationale for the IPQ use caps is described in the Program EIS and the final rule implementing the Program (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005). Under § 680.7(a)(7), any IPQ crab that is ‘‘custom processed’’ at a facility an IPQ holder owns will be applied against the IPQ use cap of the facility owner, unless specifically exempted by § 680.42(b)(7). A custom processing arrangement exists when an IPQ holder has a contract with the owners of a processing facility to have his or her crab processed at that facility, and the IPQ holder does not have an ownership interest in that processing facility or is not otherwise affiliated with the owners of that processing facility. In custom processing arrangements, the IPQ holder contracts with a facility operator to have the IPQ crab processed according to that IPQ holder’s specifications. Shortly after implementation of the Program, the Council submitted and NMFS approved Amendment 27 to the Crab FMP (74 FR 25449, May 28, 2009). Amendment 27 was designed to improve operational efficiencies in crab fisheries with historically low total allowable catches or that occur in more remote regions by exempting certain IPQ crab processed under a custom processing arrangement from applying against the IPQ use cap of the owner of the facility at which IPQ crab are custom processed. Table 2–5 in Section 2.6.1 of the Analysis shows that during the 2006/ 2007 crab fishing year, there were six processing facilities owned by five unaffiliated processors receiving EBT Class A IFQ crab and there were five processing facilities owned by four unaffiliated processors receiving WBT Class A IFQ crab. Since then, there has been consolidation in the BSAI crab processing sector, thus reducing the number of processing facilities that are unaffiliated with one another. This consolidation has occurred through the merger of two companies and the recent exit of a company from the fishery. Additionally, PQS has been purchased by entities that do not own or operate processing facilities. As Section 2.6 of the Analysis describes (see ADDRESSES), for the first year since the start of the Program, there were only three unique unaffiliated persons (processors) who received EBT and WBT IPQ crab at their facilities during the 2015/2016 crab fishing year. These three processors are the Maruha-Nichiro Corporation, which includes Alyeska Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, and Westward Seafoods; VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:25 Sep 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 Trident Seafoods; and Unisea Seafoods. Information in section 2.6 of the Analysis explains that these three processors also own and operate all of the facilities that processed EBT and WBT IPQ crab during the 2015/2016 crab fishing year. The Council recognized that consolidation within the Tanner crab processing sector has constrained the ability of the processing sector to process all of the EBT and WBT Class A IFQ crab without exceeding the IPQ use caps. The Council recognized that without additional unique and unaffiliated processing facilities entering the Tanner crab processing sector for the 2016/2017 crab fishing year or beyond, there is a significant risk that the portion of the Tanner crab allocation in excess of the caps would not be processed. Without the ability to have all EBT and WBT Class A IFQ processed, that portion of the Tanner crab allocation in excess of the caps would likely go unharvested because sufficient processing facilities do not exist in the Bering Sea region. In June 2016, the Council recommended Amendment 47 to the FMP. This proposed action would add EBT and WBT IPQ crab to the list of BSAI crab fisheries receiving a custom processing arrangement exemption under Chapter 11 of the FMP in the Clarifications and Expressions of Council Intent section. If approved, Amendment 47 would exempt EBT and WBT IPQ crab that is custom processed at a facility through contractual arrangements with the facility owners from being applied against the IPQ use cap of the facility owners. This action would allow all EBT and WBT IPQ crab received under custom processing arrangements at the facilities owned by the three existing EBT and WBT processors (Maruha-Nichiro Corporation, Trident Seafoods, or Unisea Seafoods) to not be counted against the IPQ use cap of the facility or the facility owners. The custom processing arrangement exemption would allow these processors to custom process crab for unaffiliated IPQ holders who have custom processing arrangements with the processors, thereby allowing harvesters to fully harvest and deliver their EBT and WBT Class A IFQ crab to IPQ holders with a custom processing arrangement at facilities operating in these fisheries. The anticipated effects of this proposed action include allowing the full processing of all EBT and WBT Class A IFQ crab and the associated economic and social benefits of that processing activity for harvesters, the existing Tanner crab processors, and the PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 communities where processing facilities are located. These communities include Akutan, Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, King Cove, and Saint Paul. The proposed rule would allow all of the Tanner crab Class A IFQ to be harvested and processed by existing processors and thus avoid the adverse economic and social impacts created by the lack of adequate processing capacity that would otherwise result if the EBT and WBT crab fisheries could not be fully processed. Ten percent of the EBT and WBT Class A IFQ crab represents approximately $3.4 million in ex-vessel value and $ 4.95 million in first wholesale value based on estimated exvessel and first wholesale values of EBT and WBT crab in the 2015/2016 crab fishing year (see Section 2.9 of the Analysis for additional detail). The Council and NMFS considered whether Amendment 47 could result in further consolidation of Tanner crab processing to fewer facilities than currently operating. Under Amendment 47, there would be no regulatory barriers for processing companies to further consolidate processing facilities for Tanner crab. Since EBT and WBT crab are not subject to regionalization or right of first refusal provisions, there would be no regulatory limitations preventing all of the EBT and WBT IPQ crab from being processed by one company at one facility. However, further consolidation is not anticipated as a result of this action because the existing processing companies also have substantial holdings of PQS in the EBT and WBT fisheries, and it would be more economical for them to process the PQS they hold to help maintain a consistent amount of crab available for processing at the facility rather than create custom processing arrangements with other companies. Public comments are solicited on proposed Amendment 47 to the Crab FMP through the end of the comment period (see DATES). NMFS intends to publish in the Federal Register and seek public comment on a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 47, following NMFS’ evaluation of the proposed rule under the MagnusonStevens Act. Public comments on the proposed rule must be received by the end of the comment period on Amendment 47 to be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on Amendment 47. All comments received by the end of the comment period on Amendment 47, whether specifically directed to the amendment or the proposed rule will be considered in the amendment approval/disapproval decision. Comments received after that date will not be considered in the E:\FR\FM\13SEP1.SGM 13SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 177 / Tuesday, September 13, 2016 / Proposed Rules approval/disapproval decision on the amendment. To be considered, comments must be received, not just postmarked or otherwise transmitted, by the last day of the comment period. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 62853 Dated: September 7, 2016. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–21824 Filed 9–12–16; 8:45 am] Lhorne on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:25 Sep 12, 2016 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\13SEP1.SGM 13SEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 177 (Tuesday, September 13, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 62850-62853]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-21824]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 680

RIN 0648-BG15


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program

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

ACTION: Notice of availability of fishery management plan amendment; 
request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council submitted 
Amendment 47 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian 
Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP) to NMFS for review. If 
approved, Amendment 47 would exempt eastern Chionoecetes bairdi Tanner 
(EBT) and western C. bairdi

[[Page 62851]]

Tanner (WBT) crab that is custom processed at a facility through 
contractual arrangements with the processing facility owners from being 
applied against the individual processing quota (IPQ) use cap of the 
processing facility owners. Amendment 47 would modify the Crab FMP to 
allow all of the EBT and WBT Class A individual fishing quota crab to 
be processed at the facilities currently processing EBT and WBT crab 
and would have significant, positive economic effects on the fishermen, 
processors, and communities that participate in the EBT and WBT 
fisheries. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives 
of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the 
Crab FMP, and other applicable laws.

DATES: Submit comments on or before November 14, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2016-0081, by any one of the following methods.
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0081, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, 
AK 99802-1668.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, 
or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender 
will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter 
``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).
    Electronic copies of the Regulatory Impact Review/Initial 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RIR/IRFA) (collectively referred to as 
the ``Analysis'') and the Categorical Exclusion prepared for Amendment 
47 may be obtained from http://www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS 
Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.
    The Environmental Impact Statement, RIR, Final Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis, and Social Impact Assessment prepared for the 
Crab Rationalization Program are available from the NMFS Alaska Region 
Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Keeley Kent, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires that each regional 
fishery management council submit any fishery management plan amendment 
it prepares to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or partial 
approval by the Secretary of Commerce. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also 
requires that NMFS, upon receiving a fishery management plan amendment, 
immediately publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing that 
the amendment is available for public review and comment. This notice 
announces that proposed Amendment 47 to the Crab FMP is available for 
public review and comment.
    NMFS manages the king and Tanner crab fisheries in the U.S. 
exclusive economic zone of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) 
under the Crab FMP. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council 
(Council) prepared, and NMFS approved, the Crab FMP under the authority 
of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations 
governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the Crab FMP appear at 50 CFR 
parts 600 and 680.
    The Crab Rationalization Program (Program) was implemented on March 
2, 2005 (70 FR 10174). The Program established a limited access 
privilege program for nine crab fisheries in the BSAI, including the 
EBT and WBT crab fisheries, and assigned quota share (QS) to persons 
based on their historic participation in one or more of those nine BSAI 
crab fisheries during a specific period. Under the Program, NMFS issued 
four types of QS: Catcher vessel owner (CVO) QS was assigned to holders 
of License Limitation Program (LLP) licenses who delivered their catch 
to shoreside crab processors or to stationary floating crab processors; 
catcher/processor vessel owner QS was assigned to LLP license holders 
who harvested and processed their catch at sea; captains and crew on 
board catcher/processor vessels were issued catcher/processor crew QS; 
and captains and crew on board catcher vessels were issued catcher 
vessel crew QS. Each year, a person who holds QS may receive an 
exclusive harvest privilege for a portion of the annual total allowable 
catch, called individual fishing quota (IFQ).
    NMFS also issued processor quota share (PQS) under the Program. 
Each year PQS yields an exclusive privilege to process a portion of the 
IFQ in each of the nine BSAI crab fisheries. This annual exclusive 
processing privilege is called individual processor quota (IPQ). Only a 
portion of the QS issued yields IFQ that is required to be delivered to 
a processor with IPQ. QS derived from deliveries made by catcher vessel 
owners (i.e., CVO QS) is subject to designation as either Class A IFQ 
or Class B IFQ. Ninety percent of the IFQ derived from CVO QS is 
designated as Class A IFQ, and the remaining 10 percent is designated 
as Class B IFQ. Class A IFQ must be matched and delivered to a 
processor with IPQ. Class B IFQ is not required to be delivered to a 
specific processor with IPQ. Each year there is a one-to-one match of 
the total pounds of Class A IFQ with the total pounds of IPQ issued in 
each crab fishery.
    When the Council recommended the Program, it expressed concern 
about the potential for excessive consolidation of QS and PQS, in which 
too few persons control all of the QS or PQS and the resulting annual 
IFQ and IPQ. The Council determined that excessive consolidation could 
have adverse effects on crab markets, price setting negotiations 
between harvesters and processors, employment opportunities for 
harvesting and processing crew, tax revenue to communities in which 
crab are landed, and other factors considered and described in the 
Program EIS. To address these concerns, the Program limits the amount 
of QS that a person can hold (i.e., own), the amount of IFQ that a 
person can use, and the amount of IFQ that can be used on board a 
vessel. Similarly, the Program limits the amount of PQS that a person 
can hold, the amount of IPQ that a person can use, and the amount of 
IPQ that can be processed at a given facility. These limits are 
commonly referred to as use caps.
    In most of the nine BSAI crab fisheries under the Program, 
including the Tanner crab fisheries, a person is limited to holding no 
more than 30 percent of the PQS initially issued in the fishery, and to 
using no more than the amount of IPQ resulting from 30 percent of the 
initially issued PQS in a given fishery, with a limited exemption for 
persons receiving more than 30 percent of the initially issued PQS. No 
person in the EBT or WBT crab fisheries received in excess of 30 
percent of the initially issued PQS (see Section 2.5.2 of

[[Page 62852]]

the Analysis). Therefore, no person may use an amount of EBT or WBT IPQ 
greater than an amount resulting from 30 percent of the initially 
issued EBT or WBT PQS. The rationale for the IPQ use caps is described 
in the Program EIS and the final rule implementing the Program (70 FR 
10174, March 2, 2005).
    Under Sec.  680.7(a)(7), any IPQ crab that is ``custom processed'' 
at a facility an IPQ holder owns will be applied against the IPQ use 
cap of the facility owner, unless specifically exempted by Sec.  
680.42(b)(7). A custom processing arrangement exists when an IPQ holder 
has a contract with the owners of a processing facility to have his or 
her crab processed at that facility, and the IPQ holder does not have 
an ownership interest in that processing facility or is not otherwise 
affiliated with the owners of that processing facility. In custom 
processing arrangements, the IPQ holder contracts with a facility 
operator to have the IPQ crab processed according to that IPQ holder's 
specifications.
    Shortly after implementation of the Program, the Council submitted 
and NMFS approved Amendment 27 to the Crab FMP (74 FR 25449, May 28, 
2009). Amendment 27 was designed to improve operational efficiencies in 
crab fisheries with historically low total allowable catches or that 
occur in more remote regions by exempting certain IPQ crab processed 
under a custom processing arrangement from applying against the IPQ use 
cap of the owner of the facility at which IPQ crab are custom 
processed.
    Table 2-5 in Section 2.6.1 of the Analysis shows that during the 
2006/2007 crab fishing year, there were six processing facilities owned 
by five unaffiliated processors receiving EBT Class A IFQ crab and 
there were five processing facilities owned by four unaffiliated 
processors receiving WBT Class A IFQ crab. Since then, there has been 
consolidation in the BSAI crab processing sector, thus reducing the 
number of processing facilities that are unaffiliated with one another. 
This consolidation has occurred through the merger of two companies and 
the recent exit of a company from the fishery. Additionally, PQS has 
been purchased by entities that do not own or operate processing 
facilities. As Section 2.6 of the Analysis describes (see ADDRESSES), 
for the first year since the start of the Program, there were only 
three unique unaffiliated persons (processors) who received EBT and WBT 
IPQ crab at their facilities during the 2015/2016 crab fishing year. 
These three processors are the Maruha-Nichiro Corporation, which 
includes Alyeska Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, and Westward Seafoods; 
Trident Seafoods; and Unisea Seafoods. Information in section 2.6 of 
the Analysis explains that these three processors also own and operate 
all of the facilities that processed EBT and WBT IPQ crab during the 
2015/2016 crab fishing year.
    The Council recognized that consolidation within the Tanner crab 
processing sector has constrained the ability of the processing sector 
to process all of the EBT and WBT Class A IFQ crab without exceeding 
the IPQ use caps. The Council recognized that without additional unique 
and unaffiliated processing facilities entering the Tanner crab 
processing sector for the 2016/2017 crab fishing year or beyond, there 
is a significant risk that the portion of the Tanner crab allocation in 
excess of the caps would not be processed. Without the ability to have 
all EBT and WBT Class A IFQ processed, that portion of the Tanner crab 
allocation in excess of the caps would likely go unharvested because 
sufficient processing facilities do not exist in the Bering Sea region.
    In June 2016, the Council recommended Amendment 47 to the FMP. This 
proposed action would add EBT and WBT IPQ crab to the list of BSAI crab 
fisheries receiving a custom processing arrangement exemption under 
Chapter 11 of the FMP in the Clarifications and Expressions of Council 
Intent section. If approved, Amendment 47 would exempt EBT and WBT IPQ 
crab that is custom processed at a facility through contractual 
arrangements with the facility owners from being applied against the 
IPQ use cap of the facility owners. This action would allow all EBT and 
WBT IPQ crab received under custom processing arrangements at the 
facilities owned by the three existing EBT and WBT processors (Maruha-
Nichiro Corporation, Trident Seafoods, or Unisea Seafoods) to not be 
counted against the IPQ use cap of the facility or the facility owners. 
The custom processing arrangement exemption would allow these 
processors to custom process crab for unaffiliated IPQ holders who have 
custom processing arrangements with the processors, thereby allowing 
harvesters to fully harvest and deliver their EBT and WBT Class A IFQ 
crab to IPQ holders with a custom processing arrangement at facilities 
operating in these fisheries.
    The anticipated effects of this proposed action include allowing 
the full processing of all EBT and WBT Class A IFQ crab and the 
associated economic and social benefits of that processing activity for 
harvesters, the existing Tanner crab processors, and the communities 
where processing facilities are located. These communities include 
Akutan, Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, King Cove, and Saint Paul. The proposed 
rule would allow all of the Tanner crab Class A IFQ to be harvested and 
processed by existing processors and thus avoid the adverse economic 
and social impacts created by the lack of adequate processing capacity 
that would otherwise result if the EBT and WBT crab fisheries could not 
be fully processed. Ten percent of the EBT and WBT Class A IFQ crab 
represents approximately $3.4 million in ex-vessel value and $ 4.95 
million in first wholesale value based on estimated ex-vessel and first 
wholesale values of EBT and WBT crab in the 2015/2016 crab fishing year 
(see Section 2.9 of the Analysis for additional detail).
    The Council and NMFS considered whether Amendment 47 could result 
in further consolidation of Tanner crab processing to fewer facilities 
than currently operating. Under Amendment 47, there would be no 
regulatory barriers for processing companies to further consolidate 
processing facilities for Tanner crab. Since EBT and WBT crab are not 
subject to regionalization or right of first refusal provisions, there 
would be no regulatory limitations preventing all of the EBT and WBT 
IPQ crab from being processed by one company at one facility. However, 
further consolidation is not anticipated as a result of this action 
because the existing processing companies also have substantial 
holdings of PQS in the EBT and WBT fisheries, and it would be more 
economical for them to process the PQS they hold to help maintain a 
consistent amount of crab available for processing at the facility 
rather than create custom processing arrangements with other companies.
    Public comments are solicited on proposed Amendment 47 to the Crab 
FMP through the end of the comment period (see DATES). NMFS intends to 
publish in the Federal Register and seek public comment on a proposed 
rule that would implement Amendment 47, following NMFS' evaluation of 
the proposed rule under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Public comments on 
the proposed rule must be received by the end of the comment period on 
Amendment 47 to be considered in the approval/disapproval decision on 
Amendment 47. All comments received by the end of the comment period on 
Amendment 47, whether specifically directed to the amendment or the 
proposed rule will be considered in the amendment approval/disapproval 
decision. Comments received after that date will not be considered in 
the

[[Page 62853]]

approval/disapproval decision on the amendment. To be considered, 
comments must be received, not just postmarked or otherwise 
transmitted, by the last day of the comment period.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: September 7, 2016.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-21824 Filed 9-12-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P