Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; Final 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish, 12032-12062 [2017-03697]

Download as PDF 12032 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 160920866–7167–02] RIN 0648–XE904 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; Final 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; harvest specifications and closures. AGENCY: NMFS announces final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2017 and 2018 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the GOA in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. SUMMARY: Harvest specifications and closures are effective at 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 27, 2017, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2018. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Final Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of Decision (ROD), and the Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS prepared for this action are available from http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The final 2016 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the GOA, dated November 2016, is 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: Obren Davis, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the GOA groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic zone of the GOA under the Fishery Management sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). The Council prepared the FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the FMP appear at 50 CFR parts 600, 679, and 680. The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species, the sum of which must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 116,000 to 800,000 metric tons (mt) (50 CFR 679.20(a)(1)(i)(B)). Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires NMFS to publish and solicit public comment on proposed annual TACs, Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limits, and seasonal allowances of pollock and Pacific cod. Upon consideration of public comment received under § 679.20(c)(1), NMFS must publish notice of final harvest specifications for up to two fishing years as annual TACs, per § 679.20(c)(3)(ii). The final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 30 of this document reflect the outcome of this process, as required at § 679.20(c). The proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA and Pacific halibut PSC limits were published in the Federal Register on December 6, 2016 (81 FR 87881). Comments were invited and accepted through January 5, 2017. NMFS did not receive any comments on the proposed harvest specifications. In December 2016, NMFS consulted with the Council regarding the 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications. After considering public testimony, as well as biological and economic data that were available at the Council’s December 2016 meeting, NMFS is implementing the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, as recommended by the Council. For 2017, the sum of the TAC amounts is 535,863 mt. For 2018, the sum of the TAC amounts is 483,588 mt. Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications Amendment 103: Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limit Reapportionment Provisions for Trawl Sectors in the Western and Central GOA In December 2015, the Council recommended for Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) review Amendment 103 to the FMP to reapportion unused Chinook salmon PSC limits among the GOA pollock and non-pollock trawl sectors. Amendment 103 allows NMFS to reapportion the PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 Chinook salmon PSC limits established by Amendments 93 and 97 to the FMP to prevent or limit fishery closures due to attainment of sector-specific Chinook salmon PSC limits, while maintaining the annual, combined 32,500 Chinook salmon PSC limit for all sectors. The Secretary approved Amendment 103 on August 24, 2016. The final rule implementing Amendment 103 published on September 12, 2016, (81 FR 62659) and became effective on October 12, 2016. Amendment 101: Authorize Longline Pot Gear for Use in the Sablefish IFQ Fishery in the GOA In April 2015, the Council recommended for Secretarial review Amendment 101 to the FMP for the sablefish individual fishing quota (IFQ) fisheries in the GOA. Amendment 101 authorizes the use of longline pot gear in the GOA sablefish IFQ fishery. The objective of that amendment is to increase efficiency in harvesting sablefish IFQ and decrease the depredation of sablefish caught on hook-and-line gear by whales. The Secretary approved Amendment 101 on November 4, 2016. NMFS issued a final rule to implement Amendment 101 to the FMP for the sablefish individual fishing quota (IFQ) fisheries in the GOA on December 28, 2016 (81 FR 95435). The effective date of this final rule has been temporarily stayed in accordance with the memorandum of January 20, 2017, from the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, entitled ‘‘Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,’’ published in the Federal Register on January 24, 2017. While the effective date of the final rule is currently delayed (see 82 FR 8810, January 31, 2017), NMFS advises the public that the date of the stay, and therefore the effective date of the final rule, may change in the future. Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Specifications In December 2016, the Council, its Advisory Panel (AP), and its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) reviewed the most recent biological and harvest information about the condition of groundfish stocks in the GOA. This information was compiled by the Council’s GOA Groundfish Plan Team and was presented in the draft 2016 SAFE report for the GOA groundfish fisheries, dated November 2016 (see ADDRESSES). The SAFE report contains a review of the latest scientific analyses and estimates of each species’ biomass and other biological parameters, as well as summaries of the available information on the GOA ecosystem and the economic condition of the E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations groundfish fisheries off Alaska. From these data and analyses, the Plan Team estimates an overfishing level (OFL) and ABC for each species or species group. The 2016 report was made available for public review during the public comment period for the proposed harvest specifications. In previous years, the greatest changes from the proposed to the final harvest specifications have been based on recent NMFS stock surveys, which provide updated estimates of stock biomass and spatial distribution, and changes to the models used for producing stock assessments. At the November 2016 Plan Team meeting, NMFS scientists presented updated and new survey results, changes to stock assessment models, and accompanying stock assessment estimates for all groundfish species and species groups that are included in the final 2016 SAFE report. The SSC reviewed this information at the December 2016 Council meeting. Changes from the proposed to the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications are discussed below. The final 2017 and 2018 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised methods used to calculate stock biomass. The FMP specifies the formulas, or tiers, to be used to compute OFLs and ABCs. The formulas applicable to a particular stock or stock complex are determined by the level of reliable information available to fisheries scientists. This information is categorized into a successive series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts, with Tier 1 representing the highest level of information quality available and Tier 6 representing the lowest level of information quality available. The Plan Team used the FMP tier structure to calculate OFL and ABC amounts for each groundfish species. The SSC adopted the final 2017 and 2018 OFLs and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team for all groundfish species, with the exception of an adjustment to the sablefish OFLs. The Council adopted the SSC’s OFL and ABC recommendations and the AP’s TAC recommendations. The final TAC recommendations were based on the ABCs as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the sum of all TACs within the required OY range of 116,000 to 800,000 mt. The Council recommended 2017 and 2018 TACs that are equal to ABCs for pollock, sablefish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, Pacific ocean perch, northern VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 rockfish, shortraker rockfish, dusky rockfish, rougheye rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, thornyhead rockfish, big skate, longnose skate, other skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses in the GOA. The Council recommended TACs for 2017 and 2018 that are less than the ABCs for Pacific cod, shallowwater flatfish in the Western GOA, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole in the Western and Central GOA, ‘‘other rockfish’’ in the Southeast Outside (SEO) District, and Atka mackerel. The Pacific cod TACs are set to accommodate the State of Alaska’s (State’s) guideline harvest levels (GHLs) for Pacific cod so that the ABCs are not exceeded. The shallow-water flatfish, arrowtooth flounder, and flathead sole TACs are set to allow for increased harvest opportunities for these target species while conserving the halibut PSC limit for use in other, more fully utilized fisheries. The ‘‘other rockfish’’ TAC in the SEO District is set to reduce the amount of discards of the species in that complex. The Atka mackerel TAC is set to accommodate incidental catch amounts in other fisheries. The final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications approved by the Secretary are unchanged from those recommended by the Council and are consistent with the preferred harvest strategy alternative in the EIS (see ADDRESSES). NMFS finds that the Council’s recommended OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the biological condition of the groundfish stocks as described in the final 2016 SAFE report. NMFS also finds that the Council’s recommendations for OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the biological condition of groundfish stocks as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the total TAC within the OY range. NMFS reviewed the Council’s recommended TAC specifications and apportionments, and NMFS approves these harvest specifications under 50 CFR 679.20(c)(3)(ii). The apportionment of TAC amounts among gear types and sectors, processing sectors, and seasons is discussed below. Tables 1 and 2 list the final 2017 and 2018 OFLs, ABCs, TACs, and area apportionments of groundfish in the GOA. The sums of the 2017 and 2018 ABCs are 667,877 mt and 597,052 mt, respectively, which are lower in 2017 and 2018 than the 2016 ABC sum of 727,684 mt (81 FR 14740, March 18, 2016). The 2017 harvest specifications set in this final action will supersede the 2017 harvest specifications previously set in the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (81 FR PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 12033 14740, March 18, 2016). The 2018 harvest specifications herein will be superseded in early 2018 when the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications are published. Pursuant to this final action, the 2017 harvest specifications therefore will apply for the remainder of the current year (2017), while the 2018 harvest specifications are projected only for the following year (2018) and will be superseded in early 2018 by the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications. Because this final action (published in early 2017) will be superseded in early 2018 by the publication of the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications, it is projected that this final action will implement the harvest specifications for the Gulf of Alaska for approximately one year. Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts NMFS’ apportionment of groundfish species is based on the distribution of biomass among the regulatory areas over which NMFS manages the species. Additional regulations govern the apportionment of pollock, Pacific cod, and sablefish. Additional detail on the apportionment of pollock, Pacific cod, and sablefish are described below. The ABC for the pollock stock in the combined Western, Central, and West Yakutat Regulatory Areas (W/C/WYK) includes the amount for the GHL established by the State for the Prince William Sound (PWS) pollock fishery. The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and Council have recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water pollock removals from the GOA not exceed ABC recommendations. For 2017 and 2018, the SSC recommended and the Council approved the W/C/WYK pollock ABC, including the amount to account for the State’s PWS GHL. At the November 2016 Plan Team meeting, State fisheries managers recommended setting the PWS GHL at 2.5 percent of the annual W/C/WYK pollock ABC. For 2017, this yields a PWS pollock GHL of 5,094 mt, a decrease of 1,264 mt from the 2016 PWS GHL of 6,358 mt. For 2018, the PWS pollock GHL is 3,937 mt, a decrease of 2,421 mt from the 2016 PWS pollock GHL. After the GHL reductions, the 2017 and 2018 pollock ABC for the combined W/C/WYK areas is then apportioned between four statistical areas (Areas 610, 620, 630, and 640) as both ABCs and TACs, as described below and detailed in Tables 1 and 2. The total ABCs and TACs for the four statistical areas, plus the State GHL, do not exceed the combined W/C/WYK ABC. Apportionments of pollock to the W/ C/WYK management areas are E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 12034 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations considered to be ‘‘apportionments of annual catch limits (ACLs)’’ rather than ‘‘ABCs.’’ This more accurately reflects that such apportionments address management, rather than biological or conservation, concerns. In addition, apportionments of the ACL in this manner allow NMFS to balance any transfer of TAC from one area to another pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B) to ensure that the area-wide ACL and ABC are not exceeded. NMFS establishes pollock TACs in the Western, Central, West Yakutat Regulatory Areas, and the Southeast Outside District of the GOA (see Tables 1 and 2). NMFS also establishes seasonal apportionments of the annual pollock TAC in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630. These apportionments are divided equally among each of the following four seasons: The A season (January 20 through March 10), the B season (March 10 through May 31), the C season (August 25 through October 1), and the D season (October 1 through November 1) (§ 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), and § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A) and (B)). Additional detail is provided below; Tables 3 and 4 list these amounts. The 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs are set to accommodate the State’s GHL for Pacific cod in State waters in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, as well as in PWS. The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and Council recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the GOA not exceed ABC recommendations. Accordingly, the Council set the 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs in the Western, Central, and Eastern Regulatory Areas to account for State GHLs. Therefore, the 2017 Pacific cod TACs are less than the ABCs by the following amounts: (1) Western GOA, 10,887 mt; (2) Central GOA, 11,045 mt; and (3) Eastern GOA, 1,968 mt. The 2018 Pacific cod TACs are less than the ABCs by the following amounts: (1) Western GOA, 9,770 mt; (2) Central GOA, 9,911 mt; and (3) Eastern GOA, 1,766 mt. These amounts reflect the State’s 2017 and 2018 GHLs in these areas, which are 30 percent of the Western GOA ABC and 25 percent of the Eastern and Central ABCs. NMFS establishes seasonal apportionments of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. Sixty percent of the annual TAC is apportioned to the A season for hook-and-line, pot, and jig gear from January 1 through June 10, and for trawl gear from January 20 through June 10. Forty percent of the annual TAC is apportioned to the B VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 season for hook-and-line, pot, and jig gear from September 1 through December 31, and for trawl gear from September 1 through November 1 (§§ 679.23(d)(3) and 679.20(a)(12)). The Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs are allocated among various gear and operational sectors. The Pacific cod sector apportionments are discussed in detail in a subsequent section of this preamble. The Council’s recommendation for sablefish area apportionments takes into account the prohibition on the use of trawl gear in the SEO District of the Eastern Regulatory Area and makes available 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area ABCs to trawl gear for use as incidental catch in other groundfish fisheries in the WYK District (§ 679.20(a)(4)(i)). Tables 7 and 8 list the final 2017 and 2018 allocations of sablefish TAC to hook-and-line and trawl gear in the GOA. Changes From the Proposed 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications in the GOA In October 2016, the Council’s recommendations for the proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87881, December 6, 2016) were based largely on information contained in the final 2015 SAFE report for the GOA groundfish fisheries, dated November 2015. The final 2015 SAFE report for the GOA is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). The Council proposed that the final OFLs, ABCs, and TACs established for the 2017 groundfish fisheries (81 FR 14740, March 18, 2016) be used for the proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, pending completion and review of the final 2016 SAFE report at its December 2016 meeting. As described previously, the SSC adopted the final 2017 and 2018 OFLs and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team, except for the sablefish OFL. The SSC deducted the amount calculated for whale depredation from the sablefish OFL. The Council adopted the SSC’s OFL and ABC recommendations and the AP’s TAC recommendations for 2017 and 2018. The final 2017 ABCs are higher than the proposed 2017 ABCs published in the proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87881, December 6, 2016) for Pacific cod, sablefish, shallow-water flatfish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, flathead sole, northern rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. The final 2017 ABCs are lower than the proposed 2017 and 2018 ABCs for pollock, arrowtooth flounder, Pacific ocean perch, dusky rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, and squids. The final 2018 ABCs are higher than the proposed ABCs for sablefish, PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 shallow-water flatfish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, and flathead sole. The final 2018 ABCs are lower than the proposed ABCs for pollock, Pacific cod, arrowtooth flounder, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, dusky rockfish, rougheye rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, and squids. For the remaining target species, the Council recommended the final 2017 and 2018 ABCs that are the same as the proposed 2017 and 2018 ABCs. Additional information explaining the changes between the proposed and final ABCs is included in the final 2016 SAFE report, which was not available when the Council made its proposed ABC and TAC recommendations in October 2016. At that time, the most recent stock assessment information was contained in the final 2015 SAFE report. The final 2016 SAFE report contains the best and most recent scientific information on the condition of the groundfish stocks, as previously discussed in this preamble, and is available for review (see ADDRESSES). The Council considered the final 2016 SAFE report in December 2016 when it made recommendations for the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications. In the GOA, the total final 2017 TAC amount is 535,863 mt, a decrease of 7 percent from the total proposed 2017 TAC amount of 573,872 mt. The total final 2018 TAC amount is 483,588 mt, a decrease of 16 percent from the total proposed 2018 TAC amount of 573,872 mt. Table 1a summarizes the difference between the proposed and final TACs. Annual stock assessments incorporate a variety of new or revised inputs, such as survey data or catch information, as well as changes to the statistical models used to estimate a species’ biomass and population trend. In 2016, most stocks were not directly surveyed, as the GOA trawl survey is conducted every other year. Thus, most changes to biomass and ABC estimates are based on fishery catch updates to species’ assessment models. Some species, such as pollock and sablefish, have additional surveys conducted on an annual basis, which result in additional data being available for the assessments for these stocks. Based on changes in the estimates of overall biomass made by stock assessment scientists for 2017 and 2018, as compared to the estimates previously made for 2015 and 2016, the greatest TAC percentage increases are for sablefish, shallow-water flatfish, rex sole, and Atka mackerel. One notable increase includes that made for sablefish. The increase in the sablefish ABC and TAC is a result of the inclusion of new catch, abundance, and age datasets, as well as adjustments to E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations the sablefish assessment model. Another notable increase between the proposed and final TACs includes the 2017 and 2018 TACs for Atka mackerel, which increased because of public interest in additional opportunities to catch and retain Atka mackerel. The AP recommended, and the Council adopted, this increase. Based on changes in the estimates of biomass, the greatest decrease in TACs is for pollock. The pollock assessment model incorporated 2016 survey data, as well as changes to the model. A notable model change included using a random- effects model to calculate the weight-atage of pollock, rather than a 5-year average weight-at-age. This change resulted in a downward calculation of biomass and ABC, with additional declines expected in the short-term. For all other species and species groups, changes from the proposed 2017 TACs to the final 2017 TACs are within a range of plus or minus 4 percent. The changes from the proposed 2018 TACs to the final 2018 TACs are within a range of plus or minus 8 percent. These TAC changes correspond to associated changes in the ABCs and TACs, as 12035 recommended by the SSC, AP, and Council. Detailed information providing the basis for the changes described above is contained in the final 2016 SAFE report. The final TACs are based on the best scientific information available. These TACs are specified in compliance with the harvest strategy described in the proposed and final rules for the 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications. The changes in TACs between the proposed rule and this final rule are compared in Table 1a. TABLE 1a—COMPARISON OF PROPOSED AND FINAL 2017 AND 2018 GOA TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH LIMITS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentage] Species 2017 and 2018 proposed TAC 2017 Final TAC 2017 Final minus 2017 proposed TAC Percentage difference 2018 Final TAC 2018 Final minus 2018 proposed TAC Percentage difference Pollock .......................... Pacific cod .................... Sablefish ...................... Shallow-water flatfish ... Deep-water flatfish ....... Rex sole ....................... Arrowtooth flounder ...... Flathead sole ............... Pacific ocean perch ..... Northern rockfish .......... Shortraker rockfish ....... Dusky rockfish .............. Rougheye rockfish ....... Demersal shelf rockfish Thornyhead rockfish .... Other rockfish ............... Atka mackerel .............. Big skate ...................... Longnose skate ............ Other skates ................. Sculpins ........................ Sharks .......................... Squids .......................... Octopuses .................... 254,200 62,150 8,307 34,855 9,281 7,507 103,300 27,850 24,189 3,768 1286 4,284 1,325 231 1,961 2,308 2,000 3,814 3,206 1,919 5,591 4,514 1,148 4,878 208,595 64,442 10,074 36,843 9,292 8,311 103,300 27,856 23,918 3,786 1,286 4,278 1,327 227 1,961 2,308 3,000 3,814 3,206 1,919 5,591 4,514 1,137 4,878 ¥45,605 2,292 1,767 1,988 11 804 0 6 ¥271 18 0 ¥6 2 ¥4 0 0 1,000 0 0 0 0 0 ¥11 0 ¥18 4 21 6 0 11 0 0 ¥1 0 0 0 0 ¥2 0 0 50 0 0 0 0 0 ¥1 0 163,479 57,825 10,207 36,979 9,382 8,421 103,300 27,920 23,454 3,508 1286 3,954 1,318 227 1,961 2,308 3,000 3,814 3,206 1,919 5,591 4,514 1,137 4,878 ¥90,721 ¥4,325 1,900 2,124 101 914 0 70 ¥735 ¥260 0 ¥330 ¥7 ¥4 0 0 1,000 0 0 0 0 0 ¥11 0 ¥36 ¥7 23 6 1 12 0 0 ¥3 ¥7 0 ¥8 ¥1 ¥2 0 0 50 0 0 0 0 0 ¥1 0 Total ...................... 573,872 535,863 ¥38,009 ¥7 483,588 ¥90,284 ¥16 The final 2017 and 2018 TAC recommendations for the GOA are within the OY range established for the GOA and do not exceed the ABC for any species or species group. Tables 1 and 2 list the final OFL, ABC, and TAC amounts for GOA groundfish for 2017 and 2018, respectively. TABLE 1—FINAL 2017 OFLS, ABCS, AND TACS OF GROUNDFISH FOR THE WESTERN/CENTRAL/WEST YAKUTAT, WESTERN, CENTRAL, EASTERN REGULATORY AREAS, AND IN THE WEST YAKUTAT, SOUTHEAST OUTSIDE, AND GULFWIDE DISTRICTS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area 1 Species sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Pollock 2 ABC TAC cod 3 VerDate Sep<11>2014 ............................................................................. 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Shumagin (610) ..................... Chirikof (620) ......................... Kodiak (630) .......................... WYK (640) ............................. W/C/WYK (subtotal) 2 ............. SEO (650) .............................. n/a n/a n/a n/a 235,807 13,226 43,602 98,652 48,929 7,492 203,769 9,920 43,602 98,652 48,929 7,492 198,675 9,920 Total ................................ Pacific ................................................................................... OFL 249,033 213,689 208,595 W ............................................ C ............................................ n/a n/a 36,291 44,180 25,404 33,135 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 12036 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 1—FINAL 2017 OFLS, ABCS, AND TACS OF GROUNDFISH FOR THE WESTERN/CENTRAL/WEST YAKUTAT, WESTERN, CENTRAL, EASTERN REGULATORY AREAS, AND IN THE WEST YAKUTAT, SOUTHEAST OUTSIDE, AND GULFWIDE DISTRICTS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area 1 Species OFL ABC TAC E ............................................. n/a 7,871 5,903 Total ................................ Shortraker rockfish 9 ................................................................ sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Dusky rockfish 10 ..................................................................... Rougheye and Blackspotted VerDate Sep<11>2014 rockfish 11 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 .................................. Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00006 20,921 19,306 3,188 1,099 13,250 19,306 3,188 1,099 54,583 44,514 36,843 W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 256 3,454 3,017 2,565 256 3,454 3,017 2,565 11,182 9,292 9,292 W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,459 4,930 850 1,072 1,459 4,930 850 1,072 10,860 8,311 8,311 W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... n/a n/a n/a ........................ 28,100 107,934 37,405 12,654 14,500 75,000 6,900 6,900 219,327 186,093 103,300 W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 11,098 20,339 2,949 857 8,650 15,400 2,949 857 43,128 35,243 27,856 W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... W/C/WYK subtotal ................. SEO ....................................... n/a n/a n/a 25,753 2,073 2,679 16,671 2,786 22,136 1,782 2,679 16,671 2,786 22,136 1,782 27,826 23,918 23,918 W ............................................ C ............................................ E ............................................. n/a n/a n/a 432 3,354 4 432 3,354 4,522 3,790 3,786 W ............................................ C ............................................ E ............................................. n/a n/a n/a 38 301 947 38 301 947 1,715 1,286 1,286 W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 158 3,786 251 83 158 3,786 251 83 Total ................................ ................................................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a Total ................................ Northern rockfish 8 ............................................................... W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... Total ................................ Pacific ocean perch 7 10,074 Total ................................ Flathead sole ........................................................................... 10,074 Total ................................ Arrowtooth flounder ................................................................. 11,885 Total ................................ Rex sole .................................................................................. 1,349 4,514 1,605 2,606 4,211 Total ................................ ................................................................ 64,442 1,349 4,514 1,605 2,606 4,211 Total ................................ Deep-water flatfish 6 ............................................................ 88,342 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a Total ................................ Shallow-water flatfish 5 105,378 W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... E (WYK and SEO) (subtotal) Total ................................ Sablefish 4 ................................................................................ 5,233 4,278 4,278 W ............................................ C ............................................ E ............................................. n/a n/a n/a 105 706 516 105 706 516 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 12037 TABLE 1—FINAL 2017 OFLS, ABCS, AND TACS OF GROUNDFISH FOR THE WESTERN/CENTRAL/WEST YAKUTAT, WESTERN, CENTRAL, EASTERN REGULATORY AREAS, AND IN THE WEST YAKUTAT, SOUTHEAST OUTSIDE, AND GULFWIDE DISTRICTS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area 1 Species OFL ABC TAC Total ................................ 1,594 1,327 1,327 Demersal shelf rockfish 12 ....................................................... SEO ....................................... 357 227 227 Thornyhead rockfish ................................................................ W ............................................ C ............................................ E ............................................. n/a n/a n/a 291 988 682 291 988 682 Total ................................ 2,615 1,961 1,961 W and C ................................. WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... n/a n/a n/a 1,534 574 3,665 1,534 574 200 Total ................................ 7,424 5,773 2,308 Atka mackerel .......................................................................... GW ......................................... 6,200 4,700 3,000 Big skate 15 .............................................................................. W ............................................ C ............................................ E ............................................. n/a n/a n/a 908 1,850 1,056 908 1,850 1,056 Total ................................ 5,086 3,814 3,814 W ............................................ C ............................................ E ............................................. n/a n/a n/a 61 2,513 632 61 2,513 632 Total ................................ 4,274 3,206 3,206 ......................................... ......................................... ......................................... ......................................... ......................................... 2,558 7,338 6,020 1,516 6,504 1,919 5,591 4,514 1,137 4,878 1,919 5,591 4,514 1,137 4,878 ................................................ 796,158 667,877 535,863 Other rockfish 13 14 Longnose skate 16 ................................................................... ................................................................... Other skates 17 ........................................................................ Sculpins ................................................................................... Sharks ..................................................................................... Squids ...................................................................................... Octopus ................................................................................... Total ................................................................................. GW GW GW GW GW sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 1 Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2. (W=Western Gulf of Alaska; C=Central Gulf of Alaska; E=Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK=West Yakutat District; SEO=Southeast Outside District; GW=Gulf-wide). 2 The total for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas pollock ABC is 203,769 mt. After deducting 2.5 percent (5,094 mt) of that ABC for the State’s pollock GHL fishery, the remaining pollock ABC of 198,675 mt (for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas) is apportioned among four statistical areas (Areas 610, 620, 630, and 640). These apportionments are considered subarea ACLs, rather than ABCs, for specification and reapportionment purposes. The ACLs in Areas 610, 620, and 630 are further divided by season, as detailed in Table 3. In the West Yakutat (Area 640) and Southeast Outside (Area 650) Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided into seasonal allowances. 3 The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned 60 percent to the A season and 40 percent to the B season in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA. Pacific cod in the Eastern Regulatory Area is allocated 90 percent for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent for processing by the offshore component. Table 5 lists the final 2017 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments. 4 Sablefish is allocated to trawl and hook-and-line gear in 2017. Table 7 lists the final 2017 allocations of sablefish TACs. 5 ‘‘Shallow-water flatfish’’ means flatfish not including ‘‘deep-water flatfish,’’ flathead sole, rex sole, or arrowtooth flounder. 6 ‘‘Deep-water flatfish’’ means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deepsea sole. 7 ‘‘Pacific ocean perch’’ means Sebastes alutus. 8 ‘‘Northern rockfish’’ means Sebastes polyspinis. For management purposes the 4 mt apportionment of ABC to the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the ‘‘other rockfish’’ species group. 9 ‘‘Shortraker rockfish’’ means Sebastes borealis. 10 ‘‘Dusky rockfish’’ means Sebastes variabilis. 11 ‘‘Rougheye rockfish’’ means Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted). 12 ‘‘Demersal shelf rockfish’’ means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper), S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye). 13 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S. paucispinis (bocaccio), S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S. variegatus (harlequin), S. wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus (sharpchin), S. jordani (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergrey), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola (stripetail), S. miniatus (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA only, other rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinis. 14 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means other rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. The ‘‘other rockfish’’ species group in the SEO District only includes other rockfish. 15 ‘‘Big skate’’ means Raja binoculata. 16 ‘‘Longnose skate’’ means Raja rhina. 17 ‘‘Other skates’’ means Bathyraja spp. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 12038 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 2—FINAL 2018 OFLS, ABCS, AND TACS OF GROUNDFISH FOR THE WESTERN/CENTRAL/WEST YAKUTAT, WESTERN, CENTRAL, EASTERN REGULATORY AREAS, AND IN THE WEST YAKUTAT, SOUTHEAST OUTSIDE, AND GULFWIDE DISTRICTS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area 1 Species Pollock 2 ................................................................................... OFL ABC TAC Shumagin (610) ..................... Chirikof (620) ......................... Kodiak (630) .......................... WYK (640) ............................. W/C/WYK (subtotal) 2 ............. SEO (650) .............................. n/a n/a n/a n/a 182,204 13,226 33,701 76,249 37,818 5,791 157,496 9,920 33,701 76,249 37,818 5,791 153,559 9,920 Total ................................ 195,430 167,416 163,479 W ............................................ C ............................................ E ............................................. n/a n/a n/a 32,565 39,644 7,063 22,795 29,733 5,297 Total ................................ 94,188 79,272 57,825 ................................................................................ W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... E (WYK and SEO) (subtotal) n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,367 4,574 1,626 2,640 4,266 1,367 4,574 1,626 2,640 4,266 Total ................................ 12,045 10,207 10,207 Shallow-water flatfish 5 ............................................................ W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... Total ................................ n/a n/a n/a n/a 54,893 21,042 19,418 3,206 1,105 44,771 13,250 19,418 3,206 1,105 36,979 Deep-water flatfish 6 ................................................................ W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 257 3,488 3,047 2,590 257 3,488 3,047 2,590 Total ................................ 11,290 9,382 9,382 Rex sole .................................................................................. W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... Total ................................ n/a n/a n/a n/a 11,004 1,478 4,995 861 1,087 8,421 1,478 4,995 861 1,087 8,421 Arrowtooth flounder ................................................................. W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 25,747 98,895 34,273 11,595 14,500 75,000 6,900 6,900 Total ................................ 196,635 170,510 103,300 W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 11,282 20,677 2,998 872 8,650 15,400 2,998 872 Total ................................ 43,872 35,829 27,920 W ............................................ C ............................................ WYK ....................................... W/C/WYK ............................... SEO ....................................... n/a n/a n/a 25,252 2,032 2,627 16,347 2,733 21,707 1,747 2,627 16,347 2,733 21,707 1,747 Total ................................ 27,284 23,454 23,454 W ............................................ C ............................................ E ............................................. n/a n/a n/a 400 3,108 4 400 3,108 ........................ Total ................................ 4,175 3,512 3,508 W ............................................ C ............................................ E ............................................. n/a n/a n/a 38 301 947 38 301 947 Total ................................ 1,715 1,286 1,286 W ............................................ C ............................................ n/a n/a 146 3,499 146 3,499 Pacific cod 3 ............................................................................. Sablefish 4 Flathead sole ........................................................................... Pacific ocean perch 7 ............................................................... sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Northern rockfish 8 ................................................................... Shortraker Dusky rockfish 9 rockfish 10 VerDate Sep<11>2014 ................................................................ ..................................................................... 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 12039 TABLE 2—FINAL 2018 OFLS, ABCS, AND TACS OF GROUNDFISH FOR THE WESTERN/CENTRAL/WEST YAKUTAT, WESTERN, CENTRAL, EASTERN REGULATORY AREAS, AND IN THE WEST YAKUTAT, SOUTHEAST OUTSIDE, AND GULFWIDE DISTRICTS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area 1 Species OFL ABC TAC WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... n/a n/a 232 77 232 77 Total ................................ 4,837 3,954 3,954 W ............................................ C ............................................ E ............................................. n/a n/a n/a 104 702 512 104 702 512 Total ................................ 1,583 1,318 1,318 SEO ....................................... W ............................................ C ............................................ E ............................................. 357 n/a n/a n/a 227 291 988 682 227 291 988 682 Total ................................ 2,615 1,961 1,961 ................................................................... W and C ................................. WYK ....................................... SEO ....................................... n/a n/a n/a 1,534 574 3,665 1,534 574 200 Total ................................ 7,424 5,773 2,308 Atka mackerel .......................................................................... Big skate 15 .............................................................................. GW ......................................... W ............................................ C ............................................ E ............................................. 6,200 n/a n/a n/a 4,700 908 1,850 1,056 3,000 908 1,850 1,056 Total ................................ 5,086 3,814 3,814 W ............................................ C ............................................ E ............................................. n/a n/a n/a 61 2,513 632 61 2,513 632 Total ................................ 4,274 3,206 3,206 ......................................... ......................................... ......................................... ......................................... ......................................... 2,558 7,338 6,020 1,516 6,504 1,919 5,591 4,514 1,137 4,878 1,919 5,591 4,514 1,137 4,878 ................................................ 708,843 597,052 483,588 Rougheye and Blackspotted rockfish 11 .................................. rockfish 12 Demersal shelf ....................................................... Thornyhead rockfish ................................................................ Other rockfish 13 14 Longnose skate 16 ................................................................... Other skates 17 ........................................................................ Sculpins Sharks Squids Octopus sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Total ................................................................................. GW GW GW GW GW 1 Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2. (W=Western Gulf of Alaska; C=Central Gulf of Alaska; E=Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK=West Yakutat District; SEO=Southeast Outside District; GW=Gulf-wide). 2 The total for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas pollock ABC is 157,496 mt. After deducting 2.5 percent (3,937 mt) of that ABC for the State’s pollock GHL fishery, the remaining pollock ABC of 153,559 mt (for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas) is apportioned among four statistical areas (Areas 610, 620, 630, and 640). These apportionments are considered subarea ACLs, rather than ABCs, for specification and reapportionment purposes. The ACLs in Areas 610, 620, and 630 are further divided by season, as detailed in Table 3. In the West Yakutat (Area 640) and Southeast Outside (Area 650) Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided into seasonal allowances. 3 The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned 60 percent to the A season and 40 percent to the B season in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA. Pacific cod in the Eastern Regulatory Area is allocated 90 percent for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent for processing by the offshore component. Table 6 lists the final 2017 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments. 4 Sablefish is only allocated to trawl gear for 2018. Table 8 lists the final 2018 allocation of sablefish TACs to trawl gear. 5 ‘‘Shallow-water flatfish’’ means flatfish not including ‘‘deep-water flatfish,’’ flathead sole, rex sole, or arrowtooth flounder. 6 ‘‘Deep-water flatfish’’ means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deepsea sole. 7 ‘‘Pacific ocean perch’’ means Sebastes alutus. 8 ‘‘Northern rockfish’’ means Sebastes polyspinis. For management purposes the 4 mt apportionment of ABC to the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the ‘‘other rockfish’’ species group. 9 ‘‘Shortraker rockfish’’ means Sebastes borealis. 10 ‘‘Dusky rockfish’’ means Sebastes variabilis. 11 ‘‘Rougheye rockfish’’ means Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted). 12 ‘‘Demersal shelf rockfish’’ means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper), S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye). 13 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S. paucispinis (bocaccio), S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S. variegatus (harlequin), S. wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus (sharpchin), S. jordani (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergrey), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola (stripetail), S. miniatus (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA only, other rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinis. 14 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means other rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. The ‘‘other rockfish’’ species group in the SEO District only includes other rockfish. 15 ‘‘Big skate’’ means Raja binoculata. 16 ‘‘Longnose skate’’ means Raja rhina. 17 ‘‘Other skates’’ means Bathyraja spp. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 12040 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Apportionment of Reserves Section 679.20(b)(2) requires NMFS to set aside 20 percent of each TAC for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses in reserve for possible apportionment at a later date during the fishing year. For 2017 and 2018, NMFS proposed reapportionment of all the reserves in the proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications published in the Federal Register on December 6, 2016 (81 FR 87881). NMFS did not receive any public comments on the proposed reapportionments. For the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, NMFS reapportioned, as proposed, all the reserves for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses back into the original TAC limit from which the reserve was derived. This was done because NMFS expects, based on recent harvest patterns, that such reserves are not necessary and the entire TAC for each of these species will be caught. The TACs listed in Tables 1 and 2 reflect reapportionments of reserve amounts to the original TAC limit for these species and species groups; i.e., each proposed TAC for the above mentioned species categories contains the full TAC recommended by the Council. Apportionments of Pollock TAC Among Seasons and Regulatory Areas, and Allocations for Processing by Inshore and Offshore Components In the GOA, pollock is apportioned by season and area, and is further allocated for processing by inshore and offshore components. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B), the annual pollock TAC specified for the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA is apportioned into four equal seasonal allowances of 25 percent. As established by § 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to May 31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively. Pollock TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA are apportioned among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A). In the A and B seasons, the apportionments were in proportion to the distribution of pollock biomass based on the four most recent NMFS winter surveys. In the C and D seasons, the apportionments were in proportion to the distribution of pollock biomass based on the four most recent NMFS summer surveys. For 2017 and 2018, the Council recommended, and NMFS approved, following the apportionment methodology, which was used previously for the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications. This methodology averages the winter and summer distribution of pollock in the Central Regulatory Area for the A season instead of using the distribution based on only the winter surveys. The average is intended to reflect the best available information about migration patterns, distribution of pollock, and the performance of the fishery in the area during the A season for the 2017 and 2018 fishing years. For the A season, the apportionment is based on an adjusted estimate of the relative distribution of pollock biomass of approximately 5 percent, 72 percent, and 23 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. For the B season, the apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass at 5 percent, 82 percent, and 13 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. For the C and D seasons, the apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass at 41 percent, 26 percent, and 33 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. The pollock chapter of the 2016 SAFE report (see ADDRESSES) contains a comprehensive description of the apportionment process and reasons for the minor changes from past apportionments. Within any fishing year, the amount by which a seasonal allowance is underharvested or overharvested may be added to, or subtracted from, subsequent seasonal allowances for the Western and Central Regulatory Areas in a manner to be determined by the Regional Administrator (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The rollover amount is limited to 20 percent of the subsequent seasonal apportionment for the statistical area. Any unharvested pollock above the 20-percent limit could be further distributed to the other statistical areas, in proportion to the estimated biomass in the subsequent season in those statistical areas and in an amount no more than 20 percent of the seasonal TAC apportionment for the statistical area (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The pollock TACs in the WYK and SEO District of 7,492 mt and 9,920 mt, respectively, in 2017, and 5,791 mt and 9,920 mt, respectively, in 2018, are not allocated by season. Section 679.20(a)(6)(i) requires the allocation of 100 percent of the pollock TAC in all regulatory areas and all seasonal allowances to vessels catching pollock for processing by the inshore component after subtraction of amounts projected by the Regional Administrator to be caught by, or delivered to, the offshore component incidental to directed fishing for other groundfish species. Thus, the amount of pollock available for harvest by vessels harvesting pollock for processing by the offshore component is that amount that will be taken as incidental catch during directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock, up to the maximum retainable amounts allowed by § 679.20(e) and (f). At this time, these incidental catch amounts of pollock are unknown and will be determined during the fishing year during the course of fishing activities by the offshore component. Tables 3 and 4 list the final 2017 and 2018 seasonal biomass distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, area apportionments, and seasonal allowances. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown. TABLE 3—FINAL 2017 DISTRIBUTION OF POLLOCK IN THE WESTERN AND CENTRAL REGULATORY AREAS OF THE GOA; SEASONAL BIOMASS DISTRIBUTION, AREA APPORTIONMENTS; AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF ANNUAL TAC [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages are rounded to the nearest 0.01] sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Season 1 A (Jan 20–Mar 10) ....... B (Mar 10–May 31) ...... C (Aug 25–Oct 1) ......... D (Oct 1–Nov 1) ........... VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Shumagin (area 610) 2,232 2,232 19,569 19,569 Jkt 241001 Chirikof (area 620) 4.67% 4.67% 40.94% 40.94% PO 00000 Frm 00010 34,549 39,420 12,341 12,341 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 72.29% 82.48% 25.82% 25.82% Kodiak (area 630) 11,014 6,143 15,886 15,886 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 23.04% 12.85% 33.24% 33.24% Total 2 47,796 47,796 47,796 47,796 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 12041 TABLE 3—FINAL 2017 DISTRIBUTION OF POLLOCK IN THE WESTERN AND CENTRAL REGULATORY AREAS OF THE GOA; SEASONAL BIOMASS DISTRIBUTION, AREA APPORTIONMENTS; AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF ANNUAL TAC—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages are rounded to the nearest 0.01] Annual Total .......... 43,602 ........................ 98,652 ........................ 48,929 ........................ 191,183 1 As established by § 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to May 31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown in this table. 2 The WYK and SEO District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table. TABLE 4—FINAL 2018 DISTRIBUTION OF POLLOCK IN THE WESTERN AND CENTRAL REGULATORY AREAS OF THE GOA; SEASONAL BIOMASS DISTRIBUTION, AREA APPORTIONMENTS; AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF ANNUAL TAC [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages are rounded to the nearest 0.01] Season 1 Shumagin (area 610) Chirikof (area 620) Kodiak (area 630) Total 2 A (Jan 20–Mar 10) ....... B (Mar 10–May 31) ...... C (Aug 25–Oct 1) ......... D (Oct 1–Nov 1) ........... 1,725 1,725 15,125 15,125 4.67% 4.67% 40.94% 40.94% 26,704 30,469 9,538 9,538 72.29% 82.48% 25.82% 25.82% 8,513 4,748 12,278 12,278 23.04% 12.85% 33.24% 33.24% 36,942 36,942 36,942 36,942 Annual Total .......... 33,701 ........................ 76,249 ........................ 37,818 ........................ 147,768 1 As established by § 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to May 31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown in this table. 2 The WYK and SEO District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Annual and Seasonal Apportionments of Pacific Cod TAC Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(12)(i), NMFS allocates the Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA among gear and operational sectors. NMFS also allocates the 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs annually between the inshore (90 percent) and offshore (10 percent) components in the Eastern GOA (§ 679.20(a)(6)(ii)). In the Central GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is apportioned seasonally first to vessels using jig gear, and then among catcher vessels (CVs) less than 50 feet in length overall using hook-and-line gear, CVs equal to or greater than 50 feet in length overall using hook-and-line gear, catcher/processors (C/Ps) using hookand-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, C/ Ps using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear (§ 679.20(a)(12)(i)(B)). In the Western GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is apportioned seasonally first to vessels using jig gear, and then among CVs using hook-and-line gear, C/Ps using hook-and-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, C/Ps using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear (§ 679.20(a)(12)(i)(A)). The overall seasonal apportionments in the Western and Central GOA are 60 percent of the annual TAC to the A season and 40 percent of the annual TAC to the B season. Under § 679.20(a)(12)(ii), any overage or underage of the Pacific cod allowance VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 from the A season will be subtracted from, or added to, the subsequent B season allowance. In addition, any portion of the hook-and-line, trawl, pot, or jig sector allocations that NMFS determines is likely to go unharvested by a sector may be reapportioned to other sectors for harvest during the remainder of the fishery year in accordance with § 679.20(a)(12)(ii). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(12)(i)(A) and (B), a portion of the annual Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central GOA will be allocated to vessels with a Federal Fisheries Permit (FFP) that use jig gear before TAC is apportioned among other non-jig sectors. In accordance with the FMP, the annual jig sector allocations may increase to up to 6 percent of the annual Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs, depending on the annual performance of the jig sector (see Table 1 of Amendment 83 to the FMP for a detailed discussion of the jig sector allocation process (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011)). Jig sector allocation increases are established for a minimum of 2 years. NMFS has evaluated the 2016 harvest performance of the jig sector in the Western and Central GOA, and is establishing the 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod apportionments to this sector as follows. NMFS allocates the jig sector 2.5 percent of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Western GOA. This is a decrease PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 from the 2016 jig sector allocation because in both 2015 and 2016 this sector harvested less than its initial annual allocation. The 2017 and 2018 allocations include a base allocation of 1.5 percent, and an additional 1.0 percent because this sector harvested greater than 90 percent of its initial 2014 annual allocation. Since 2012, the jig sector in the Western GOA has received two separate increases to its annual allocation, for a total of 3.5 percent. This percentage is decreased by 1 percent for 2017 and 2018 due to the jig sector’s 2016 harvest performance, in which 5 percent of the Western GOA jig allocation was harvested. Annual jig sector allocation increases or decreases occur in 1 percent increments; so if the Western GOA jig sector catches less than 90 percent of its 2017 annual allocation, it will be subject to another 1 percent decrease in 2018. NMFS allocates the jig sector 1.0 percent of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Central GOA. This is the same percent as the 2016 jig sector allocation because in 2016 this sector harvested less than 90 percent of the initial 2016 allocation. The 2017 and 2018 allocations consist of a base allocation of 1.0 percent, and no additional performance increase in the Central GOA. Tables 5 and 6 list the seasonal apportionments and allocations of the 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs. E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 12042 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 5—FINAL 2017 SEASONAL APPORTIONMENTS AND ALLOCATION OF PACIFIC COD TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH AMOUNTS IN THE GOA; ALLOCATIONS FOR THE WESTERN GOA AND CENTRAL GOA SECTORS AND THE EASTERN GOA INSHORE AND OFFSHORE PROCESSING COMPONENTS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages to the nearest 0.01. Seasonal allowances may not total precisely to annual allocation amount] A season Annual allocation (mt) Regulatory area and sector Western GOA: Jig (2.5% of TAC) ......................................................... Hook-and-line CV ......................................................... Hook-and-line C/P ........................................................ Trawl CV ....................................................................... Trawl C/P ...................................................................... All Pot CV and Pot C/P ................................................ Sector percentage of annual non-jig TAC B season Seasonal allowances (mt) Sector percentage of annual non-jig TAC Seasonal allowances (mt) 635 347 4,904 9,511 594 9,412 N/A 0.70 10.90 27.70 0.90 19.80 381 173 2,700 6,861 223 4,904 N/A 0.70 8.90 10.70 1.50 18.20 254 173 2,204 2,650 372 4,508 Total ....................................................................... Central GOA: Jig (1.0% of TAC) ......................................................... Hook-and-line <50 CV .................................................. Hook-and-line ≥50 CV .................................................. Hook-and-line C/P ........................................................ Trawl CV 1 ..................................................................... Trawl C/P ...................................................................... All Pot CV and Pot C/P ................................................ 25,404 60.00 15,242 40.00 10,161 331 4,790 2,200 1,674 13,641 1,377 9,121 N/A 9.32 5.61 4.11 21.14 2.00 17.83 199 3,056 1,840 1,347 6,933 657 5,849 N/A 5.29 1.10 1.00 20.45 2.19 9.97 133 1,734 360 327 6,708 720 3,272 Total ....................................................................... 33,135 60.00 19,881 40.00 13,254 Eastern GOA ........................................................................ ........................ 5,903 Inshore (90% of Annual TAC) 5,313 Offshore (10% of Annual TAC) 590 1 Trawl vessels participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives receive 3.81 percent, or 1,262 mt, of the annual Central GOA TAC (see Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679), which is deducted from the Trawl CV B season allowance (see Table 12). TABLE 6—FINAL 2018 SEASONAL APPORTIONMENTS AND ALLOCATION OF PACIFIC COD TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH AMOUNTS IN THE GOA; ALLOCATIONS FOR THE WESTERN GOA AND CENTRAL GOA SECTORS AND THE EASTERN GOA INSHORE AND OFFSHORE PROCESSING COMPONENTS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages to the nearest 0.01. Seasonal allowances may not total precisely to annual allocation amount] A season Annual allocation (mt) Regulatory area and sector sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Western GOA: Jig (2.5% of TAC) ......................................................... Hook-and-line CV ......................................................... Hook-and-line C/P ........................................................ Trawl CV ....................................................................... Trawl C/P ...................................................................... All Pot CV and Pot C/P ................................................ Sector percentage of annual non-jig TAC B season Seasonal allowances (mt) Sector percentage of annual non-jig TAC Seasonal allowances (mt) 570 311 4,400 8,534 533 8,445 N/A 0.70 10.90 27.70 0.90 19.80 342 156 2,422 6,156 200 4,400 N/A 0.70 8.90 10.70 1.50 18.20 228 156 1,978 2,378 333 4,045 Total ....................................................................... Central GOA: Jig (1.0% of TAC) ......................................................... Hook-and-line <50 CV .................................................. Hook-and-line ≥50 CV .................................................. Hook-and-line C/P ........................................................ Trawl CV 1 ..................................................................... Trawl C/P ...................................................................... All Pot CV and Pot C/P ................................................ 22,795 60.00 13,677 40.00 9,118 297 4,298 1,974 1,502 12,241 1,236 8,185 N/A 9.32 5.61 4.11 21.14 2.00 17.83 178 2,742 1,651 1,209 6,221 590 5,248 N/A 5.29 1.10 1.00 20.45 2.19 9.97 119 1,556 323 294 6,019 646 2,936 Total ....................................................................... 29,733 60.00 17,840 40.00 11,893 Eastern GOA ........................................................................ ........................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4701 Inshore (90% of Annual TAC) Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 Offshore (10% of Annual TAC) 12043 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 6—FINAL 2018 SEASONAL APPORTIONMENTS AND ALLOCATION OF PACIFIC COD TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH AMOUNTS IN THE GOA; ALLOCATIONS FOR THE WESTERN GOA AND CENTRAL GOA SECTORS AND THE EASTERN GOA INSHORE AND OFFSHORE PROCESSING COMPONENTS—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages to the nearest 0.01. Seasonal allowances may not total precisely to annual allocation amount] A season Annual allocation (mt) Regulatory area and sector Sector percentage of annual non-jig TAC 5,297 B season Seasonal allowances (mt) Sector percentage of annual non-jig TAC 4,768 Seasonal allowances (mt) 530 1 Trawl vessels participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives receive 3.81 percent, or 1,133 mt, of the annual Central GOA TAC (see Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679), which is deducted from the Trawl CV B season allowance (see Table 13). Allocations of the Sablefish TACs Amounts to Vessels Using Hook-andLine and Trawl Gear Section 679.20(a)(4)(i) and (ii) require allocations of sablefish TACs for each of the regulatory areas and districts to hook-and-line and trawl gear. In the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, 80 percent of each TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear, and 20 percent of each TAC is allocated to trawl gear. In the Eastern Regulatory Area, which is comprised of the WYK and SEO Districts, 95 percent of the TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear, and 5 percent is allocated to trawl gear. The trawl gear allocation in the Eastern Regulatory Area may only be used to support incidental catch of sablefish in directed trawl fisheries for other target species (§ 679.20(a)(4)(i)). In recognition of the prohibition against trawl gear in the SEO District of the Eastern Regulatory Area, the Council recommended and NMFS approves the allocation of 5 percent of the Eastern Regulatory Area sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the WYK District, making the remainder of the WYK sablefish TAC available to vessels using hook-and-line gear. NMFS allocates 100 percent of the sablefish TAC in the SEO District to vessels using hook-and-line gear. This action results in a 2017 allocation of 211 mt to trawl gear and 1,394 mt to hookand-line gear in the WYK District, a 2017 allocation of 2,606 mt to hook-andline gear in the SEO District, and a 2018 allocation of 213 mt to trawl gear in the WYK District. Table 7 lists the allocations of the 2017 sablefish TACs to hook-and-line and trawl gear. Table 8 lists the allocations of the 2018 sablefish TACs to trawl gear. The Council recommended that a trawl sablefish TAC be established for two years so that retention of incidental catch of sablefish by trawl gear could commence in January in the second year of the groundfish harvest specifications. Both the 2017 and 2018 trawl allocations are specified in these final harvest specifications, in Tables 7 and 8, respectively. The Council also recommended that the hook-and-line sablefish TAC be established annually to ensure that this IFQ fishery is conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery and is based on recent sablefish survey information. Since there is an annual assessment for sablefish and since the final harvest specifications are expected to be published before the IFQ season begins on March 11, 2017, the Council recommended that the hook-and-line sablefish TAC be set on an annual basis, rather than for two years, so that the best scientific information available could be considered in establishing the sablefish ABCs and TACs. Accordingly, while the 2017 hook-and-line allocations are specified in Table 7, the 2018 hook-and-line allocations will be specified in the 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications. With the exception of the trawl allocations that were provided to the Central GOA Rockfish Program (Rockfish Program) cooperatives (see Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679), directed fishing for sablefish with trawl gear is closed during the fishing year. Also, fishing for groundfish with trawl gear is prohibited prior to January 20. Therefore, it is not likely that the sablefish allocation to trawl gear would be reached before the effective date of the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications. TABLE 7—FINAL 2017 SABLEFISH TAC SPECIFICATIONS IN THE GOA AND ALLOCATIONS TO HOOK-AND-LINE AND TRAWL GEAR [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area/district TAC Hook-and-line allocation Trawl allocation 1,349 4,514 1,605 2,606 1,079 3,611 1,394 2,606 270 903 211 0 Total ...................................................................................... sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Western ........................................................................................ Central ......................................................................................... West Yakutat1 .............................................................................. Southeast Outside ....................................................................... 10,074 8,691 1,383 1 The trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat and Southeast Outside combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 12044 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 8—FINAL 2018 SABLEFISH TAC SPECIFICATIONS IN THE GOA AND ALLOCATION TO TRAWL GEAR1 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area/district TAC Hook-and-line allocation Trawl allocation Western ........................................................................................ Central ......................................................................................... West Yakutat 2 ............................................................................. Southeast Outside ....................................................................... 1,367 4,574 1,626 2,640 n/a n/a n/a n/a 273 915 213 0 Total ...................................................................................... 10,207 n/a 1,402 1 The Council recommended that 2018 harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota fisheries be specified in the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications. 2 The trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat and Southeast Outside combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District. Demersal Shelf Rockfish (DSR) The recommended 2017 and 2018 DSR TAC is 227 mt, and management of DSR is delegated to the State. The Alaska Board of Fisheries has apportioned the annual SEO District DSR TACs between the commercial fishery (84 percent) and the sport fishery (16 percent) after deductions were made for anticipated subsistence harvests (7 mt). This results in 2017 and 2018 allocations of 185 mt to the commercial fishery and 35 mt to the sport fishery. The State deducts estimates of incidental catch of DSR in the commercial halibut fishery and preseason ‘‘test fishery’’ DSR mortality from the DSR commercial fishery allocation. In 2016, this resulted in 29 mt being available for the directed commercial DSR fishery apportioned in one DSR district. The State estimated that there was not sufficient DSR TAC available to have orderly fisheries in the three other DSR districts. DSR harvest in the halibut fishery is linked to the annual halibut catch limits; therefore, the State can only estimate potential DSR incidental catch because halibut catch limits are established by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). Federally permitted CVs using hook-and-line or jig gear fishing for groundfish and Pacific halibut in the SEO District of the GOA are required to retain all DSR (§ 679.20(j)). sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Apportionments to the Rockfish Program These final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications for the GOA include the fishery cooperative allocations and sideboard limitations established by the Rockfish Program. Program participants are primarily trawl CVs and trawl C/Ps, with limited participation by vessels using longline gear. The Rockfish Program assigns quota share and cooperative quota to participants for primary (Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, and dusky rockfish) and secondary species (Pacific cod, rougheye rockfish, sablefish, shortraker rockfish, and thornyhead rockfish); allows a participant holding a license limitation program (LLP) license with rockfish quota share to form a rockfish cooperative with other persons; and allows holders of C/P LLP licenses to opt out of the fishery. The Rockfish Program also has an entry level fishery for rockfish primary species for vessels using longline gear. Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear. Under the Rockfish Program, rockfish primary species in the Central GOA are allocated to participants after deducting for incidental catch needs in other directed groundfish fisheries (§ 679.81(a)(2)). Participants in the Rockfish Program also receive a portion of the Central GOA TAC of specific secondary species. In addition to groundfish species, the Rockfish Program allocates a portion of the halibut PSC limit (191 mt) from the third season deep-water species fishery allowance for the GOA trawl fisheries to Rockfish Program participants (§ 679.81(d) and Table 28d to 50 CFR part 679). Rockfish Program sideboards and halibut PSC limits are discussed below. Also, the Rockfish Program establishes sideboard limits to restrict the ability of harvesters operating under the Rockfish Program to increase their participation in other, non-Rockfish Program fisheries. These restrictions are discussed in a subsequent section titled ‘‘Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and Halibut PSC Limitations.’’ Section 679.81(a)(2)(ii) and Table 28e to 50 CFR part 679 requires allocations of 5 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 5 mt of northern rockfish, and 50 mt of dusky rockfish to the entry level longline fishery in 2017 and 2018. The allocation for the entry level longline fishery may increase incrementally each year if the catch exceeds 90 percent of the allocation of a species. The incremental increase in the allocation would continue each year until it is the maximum percent of the TAC for that species. In 2016, the dusky rockfish catch exceeded 90 percent of that species’ allocation. Therefore, NMFS is increasing the entry level longline fishery 2017 and 2018 allocations of dusky rockfish to 50 mt in the Central GOA. The catch of the other two species, Pacific ocean perch and northern rockfish, did not attain the 90 percent threshold, and those allocations remain at 5 mt each. The remainder of the TACs for the rockfish primary species would be allocated to the CV and C/P cooperatives. Table 9 lists the allocations of the 2017 and 2018 TACs for each rockfish primary species to the entry level longline fishery, the incremental increase for future years, and the maximum percent of the TAC for the entry level longline fishery. TABLE 9—FINAL 2017 AND INITIAL 2018 ALLOCATIONS OF ROCKFISH PRIMARY SPECIES TO THE ENTRY LEVEL LONGLINE FISHERY IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF ALASKA Rockfish primary species 2017 and 2018 allocations Incremental increase in 2018 if > 90% of 2017 allocation is harvested Pacific ocean perch ................ Northern rockfish .................... 5 metric tons .......................... 5 metric tons .......................... 5 metric tons ........................................................................... 5 metric tons ........................................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 Up to maximum % of TAC 1 2 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 12045 TABLE 9—FINAL 2017 AND INITIAL 2018 ALLOCATIONS OF ROCKFISH PRIMARY SPECIES TO THE ENTRY LEVEL LONGLINE FISHERY IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF ALASKA—Continued Rockfish primary species 2017 and 2018 allocations Incremental increase in 2018 if > 90% of 2017 allocation is harvested Dusky rockfish ........................ 50 metric tons ........................ 20 metric tons ......................................................................... Section 679.81(a)(2) requires allocations of the rockfish primary species among various sectors of the Rockfish Program. Tables 10 and 11 list the final 2017 and 2018 allocations of rockfish primary species in the Central GOA to the entry level longline fishery, and CV and C/P cooperatives in the Rockfish Program. NMFS also is setting aside incidental catch amounts (ICAs) for other directed fisheries in the Central GOA of 2,000 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 300 mt of northern rockfish, and 250 mt of dusky rockfish. These amounts are based on recent average incidental catches in the Central GOA by other groundfish fisheries. Allocations among vessels belonging to CV or C/P cooperatives are not included in these final harvest specifications. Rockfish Program applications for CV cooperatives and C/ Up to maximum % of TAC 5 P cooperatives are not due to NMFS until March 1 of each calendar year; therefore, NMFS cannot calculate 2017 and 2018 allocations in conjunction with these final harvest specifications. NMFS will post these allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaska fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/central-goarockfish-program when they become available after March 1. TABLE 10—FINAL 2017 ALLOCATIONS OF ROCKFISH PRIMARY SPECIES IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF ALASKA TO THE ENTRY LEVEL LONGLINE FISHERY AND ROCKFISH COOPERATIVES IN THE ROCKFISH PROGRAM [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Rockfish primary species Incidental catch allowance TAC TAC minus ICA Allocation to the entry level longline 1 fishery Allocation to the rockfish cooperatives 2 Pacific ocean perch ............................................................. Northern rockfish .................................................................. Dusky rockfish ...................................................................... 16,671 3,354 3,786 2,000 300 250 14,671 3,054 3,536 5 5 50 14,666 3,049 3,486 Total .............................................................................. 23,811 2,550 21,261 60 21,201 1 Longline 2 Rockfish gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear. cooperatives include vessels in CV and C/P cooperatives. TABLE 11—FINAL 2018 ALLOCATIONS OF ROCKFISH PRIMARY SPECIES IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF ALASKA TO THE ENTRY LEVEL LONGLINE FISHERY AND ROCKFISH COOPERATIVES IN THE ROCKFISH PROGRAM [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Rockfish primary species Incidental catch allowance TAC TAC minus ICA Allocation to the entry level longline 1 fishery Allocation to the Rockfish cooperatives 2 Pacific ocean perch ............................................................. Northern rockfish .................................................................. Dusky rockfish ...................................................................... 16,347 3,108 3,499 2,000 300 250 14,347 2,808 3,249 5 5 50 14,342 2,803 3,199 Total .............................................................................. 22,954 2,550 20,404 60 20,344 1 Longline 2 Rockfish gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear. cooperatives include vessels in CV and C/P cooperatives. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Section 679.81(c) and Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679 requires allocations of rockfish secondary species to CV and C/P cooperatives in the Central GOA. CV cooperatives receive allocations of VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 Pacific cod, sablefish from the trawl gear allocation, and thornyhead rockfish. C/P cooperatives receive allocations of sablefish from the trawl allocation, rougheye rockfish, shortraker rockfish, PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 and thornyhead rockfish. Tables 12 and 13 list the apportionments of the 2017 and 2018 TACs of rockfish secondary species in the Central GOA to CV and C/P cooperatives. E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 12046 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 12—FINAL 2017 APPORTIONMENTS OF ROCKFISH SECONDARY SPECIES IN THE CENTRAL GOA TO CATCHER VESSEL AND CATCHER/PROCESSOR COOPERATIVES [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Catcher vessel cooperatives Annual Central GOA TAC Rockfish secondary species Pacific cod ............................................................................ Sablefish .............................................................................. Shortraker rockfish ............................................................... Rougheye rockfish ............................................................... Thornyhead rockfish ............................................................ Catcher/processor cooperatives Percentage of TAC Apportionment (mt) Percentage of TAC Apportionment (mt) 3.81 6.78 0.00 0.00 7.84 1,262 306 ........................ ........................ 77 0.00 3.51 40.00 58.87 26.50 ........................ 158 120 416 262 33,135 4,514 301 706 988 TABLE 13—FINAL 2018 APPORTIONMENTS OF ROCKFISH SECONDARY SPECIES IN THE CENTRAL GOA TO CATCHER VESSEL AND CATCHER/PROCESSOR COOPERATIVES [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Catcher vessel cooperatives Annual Central GOA TAC Rockfish secondary species Pacific cod ............................................................................ Sablefish .............................................................................. Shortraker rockfish ............................................................... Rougheye rockfish ............................................................... Thornyhead rockfish ............................................................ sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Halibut PSC Limits Section 679.21(d) establishes the annual halibut PSC limit apportionments to trawl and hook-andline gear, and authorizes the establishment of apportionments for pot gear. In December 2016, the Council recommended halibut PSC limits of 1,706 mt for trawl gear, 257 mt for hookand-line gear, and 9 mt for the DSR fishery in the SEO District for both 2017 and 2018. The DSR fishery in the SEO District is defined at § 679.21(d)(2)(ii)(A). This fishery is apportioned 9 mt of the halibut PSC limit in recognition of its small-scale harvests of groundfish (§ 679.21(d)(2)(i)(A)). NMFS estimates low halibut bycatch in the DSR fishery because (1) the duration of the DSR fisheries and the gear soak times are short, (2) the DSR fishery occurs in the winter when less overlap occurs in the distribution of DSR and halibut, and (3) the directed commercial DSR fishery has a low DSR TAC. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game sets the commercial GHL for the DSR fishery after deducting the following: (1) Estimates of DSR incidental catch in all fisheries (including halibut and subsistence); and (2) the allocation to the DSR sport fish fishery. Of the 231 mt TAC for DSR in 2016, 188 mt were available for the DSR commercial VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 Percentage of TAC Apportionment (mt) Percentage of TAC Apportionment (mt) 3.81 6.78 0.00 0.00 7.84 1,133 310 ........................ ........................ 77 0.00 3.51 40.00 58.87 26.50 ........................ 161 120 413 262 29,733 4,574 301 702 988 directed fishery, of which 8 mt were harvested. The FMP authorizes the Council to exempt specific gear from the halibut PSC limits. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, exempts pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-andline gear fishery categories from the non-trawl halibut PSC limit for 2017 and 2018. The Council recommended, and NMFS approves, these exemptions because: (1) The pot gear fisheries have low annual halibut bycatch mortality, (2) IFQ program regulations prohibit discard of halibut if any halibut IFQ permit holder on board a catcher vessel holds unused halibut IFQ (§ 679.7(f)(11)), (3) some sablefish IFQ fishermen hold halibut IFQ permits and are therefore required to retain the halibut they catch while fishing sablefish IFQ, and (4) NMFS estimates negligible halibut mortality for the jig gear fisheries. NMFS estimates that halibut mortality is negligible in the jig gear fisheries given the small amount of groundfish harvested by jig gear, the selective nature of jig gear, and the high survival rates of halibut caught and released with jig gear. The best available information on estimated halibut bycatch consists of data collected by fisheries observers during 2016. The calculated halibut bycatch mortality through December 31, 2016, is 1,336 mt for trawl gear and 241 mt for hook-and-line gear for a total PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4701 Catcher/processor cooperatives Sfmt 4700 halibut mortality of 1,577 mt. This halibut mortality was calculated using groundfish and halibut catch data from the NMFS Alaska Region’s catch accounting system. This accounting system contains historical and recent catch information compiled from each Alaska groundfish fishery. Section 679.21(d)(4)(i) and (ii) authorizes NMFS to seasonally apportion the halibut PSC limits after consultation with the Council. The FMP and regulations require the Council and NMFS to consider the following information in seasonally apportioning halibut PSC limits: (1) Seasonal distribution of halibut; (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to halibut distribution; (3) expected halibut bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relative to changes in halibut biomass and expected catch of target groundfish species; (4) expected bycatch rates on a seasonal basis; (5) expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons; (6) expected actual start of fishing effort; and (7) economic effects of establishing seasonal halibut allocations on segments of the target groundfish industry. The Council considered information from the 2016 SAFE report, NMFS catch data, State of Alaska catch data, IPHC stock assessment and mortality data, and public testimony when apportioning the halibut PSC limits. NMFS concurs with the Council’s recommendations listed in E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Table 14, which show the final 2017 and 2018 Pacific halibut PSC limits, allowances, and apportionments. Section 679.21(d)(4)(iii) and (iv) specify that any underages or overages of a seasonal apportionment of a PSC 12047 limit will be added to or deducted from the next respective seasonal apportionment within the fishing year. TABLE 14—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 PACIFIC HALIBUT PSC LIMITS, ALLOWANCES, AND APPORTIONMENTS [Values are in metric tons] Hook-and-line gear 1 Trawl gear Other than DSR Season Percent DSR Amount Season Percent Amount January 20–April 1 ....... 27.5 469 January 1–June 10 ...... 86 221 April 1–July 1 ................ July 1–September 1 ..... 20 30 341 512 2 12 September 1–October 1 October 1–December 31. 7.5 15 128 256 June 10–September 1 September 1–December 31. ...................................... ...................................... Total ....................... .................. 1,706 ...................................... Season Amount 5 31 January 1–December 31. ...................................... ...................................... 9 .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. ...................................... ...................................... .................. .................. .................. 257 ...................................... 9 1 The Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limit for hook-and-line gear is allocated to the demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) fishery and fisheries other than DSR. The hook-and-line sablefish IFQ fishery is exempt from halibut PSC limits, as are pot and jig gear for all groundfish fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Section 679.21(d)(3)(ii) authorizes further apportionment of the trawl halibut PSC limit to trawl fishery categories listed in § 679.21(d)(3)(iii). The annual apportionments are based on each category’s proportional share of the anticipated halibut bycatch mortality during the fishing year and optimization of the total amount of groundfish harvest under the halibut PSC limit. The fishery categories for the trawl halibut PSC limits are: (1) A deepwater species fishery, composed of sablefish, rockfish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, and arrowtooth flounder; and (2) a shallow-water species fishery, composed of pollock, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Atka mackerel, skates, and ‘‘other species’’ (sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses). NMFS will combine available trawl halibut PSC limit apportionments in the second season deep-water and shallowwater fisheries for use in either fishery from May 15 through June 30 (§ 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(D). This is intended to maintain groundfish harvest while minimizing halibut bycatch by these sectors to the extent practicable. This provides the deep-water and shallowwater trawl fisheries additional flexibility and the incentive to participate in fisheries at times of the year that may have lower halibut PSC rates relative to other times of the year. Table 15 lists the final 2017 and 2018 apportionments of halibut PSC trawl limits between the trawl gear deepwater and shallow-water species fishery categories. Table 28d to 50 CFR part 679 specifies the amount of the trawl halibut PSC limit that is assigned to the CV and C/P sectors that are participating in the Rockfish Program. This includes 117 mt of halibut PSC limit to the CV sector and 74 mt of halibut PSC limit to the C/P sector. These amounts are allocated from the trawl deep-water species fishery’s halibut PSC third seasonal apportionment. Section 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(B) limits the amount of the halibut PSC limit allocated to Rockfish Program participants that could be reapportioned to the general GOA trawl fisheries during the current fishing year to no more than 55 percent of the unused annual halibut PSC apportioned to Rockfish Program participants. The remainder of the unused Rockfish Program halibut PSC limit is unavailable for use by vessels directed fishing with trawl gear for the remainder of the fishing year (§ 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(C)). TABLE 15—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 APPORTIONMENT OF PACIFIC HALIBUT PSC TRAWL LIMITS BETWEEN THE TRAWL GEAR DEEP-WATER SPECIES FISHERY AND THE SHALLOW-WATER SPECIES FISHERY CATEGORIES [Values are in metric tons] Season Shallow-water Deep-water 1 Total sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 January 20–April 1 ...................................................................................................................... April 1–July 1 ............................................................................................................................... July 1–September 1 .................................................................................................................... September 1–October 1 .............................................................................................................. 384 85 171 128 85 ................... 256 ................. 341 ................. Any remainder 469 341 512 128 Subtotal January 20–October 1 ........................................................................................... October 1–December 31 2 ........................................................................................................... 768 ........................ 682 ................. ........................ 1,450 256 Total ...................................................................................................................................... ........................ ........................ 1,706 1 Vessels participating in cooperatives in the Central GOA Rockfish Program will receive 191 mt of the third season (July 1 through September 1) deep-water species fishery halibut PSC apportionment. 2 There is no apportionment between trawl shallow-water and deep-water species fishery categories during the fifth season (October 1 through December 31). VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 12048 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Section 679.21(d)(2)(i)(B) requires that the ‘‘other hook-and-line fishery’’ halibut PSC limit apportionment to vessels using hook-and-line gear must be apportioned between CVs and C/Ps in accordance with § 679.21(d)(2)(iii) in conjunction with these harvest specifications. A comprehensive description and example of the calculations necessary to apportion the ‘‘other hook-and-line fishery’’ halibut PSC limit between the hook-and-line CV and C/P sectors were included in the proposed rule to implement Amendment 83 to the FMP (76 FR 44700, July 26, 2011) and are not repeated here. Pursuant to § 679.21(d)(2)(iii), the hook-and-line halibut PSC limit is apportioned between the CV and C/P sectors in proportion to the total Western and Central GOA Pacific cod allocations, which vary annually based on the proportion of the Pacific cod biomass. Pacific cod is apportioned among these two management areas based on the percentage of overall biomass per area, as calculated in the 2016 Pacific cod stock assessment. Updated information in the final 2016 SAFE report describes this distributional calculation, which is based on allocating ABC among regulatory areas on the basis of the three most recent stock surveys. For 2017 and 2018, the distribution of the total GOA Pacific cod ABC is 41 percent to the Western GOA, 50 percent to the Central GOA, and 9 percent to the Eastern GOA. Therefore, the calculations made in accordance with § 679.21(d)(2)(iii) incorporate the most recent information on GOA Pacific cod distribution with respect to establishing the annual halibut PSC limits for the CV and C/P hook-and-line sectors. The annual halibut PSC limits are divided into three seasonal apportionments, using seasonal percentages of 86 percent, 2 percent, and 12 percent. For 2017 and 2018, NMFS apportions halibut PSC limits of 129 mt and 128 mt to the hook-and-line CV and hook-andline C/P sectors, respectively. Table 16 lists the final 2017 and 2018 apportionments of halibut PSC limits between the hook-and-line CV and hook-and-line C/P sectors. No later than November 1 of each year, NMFS will calculate the projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit by either of the hook-and-line sectors for the remainder of the year. The projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit is made available to the other hook-andline sector for the remainder of that fishing year if NMFS determines that an additional amount of halibut PSC is necessary for that sector to continue its directed fishing operations (§ 679.21(d)(2)(iii)(C)). TABLE 16—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 APPORTIONMENTS OF THE ‘‘OTHER HOOK-AND-LINE FISHERIES’’ ANNUAL HALIBUT PSC ALLOWANCE BETWEEN THE HOOK-AND-LINE GEAR CATCHER VESSEL AND CATCHER/PROCESSOR SECTORS [Values are in metric tons] ‘‘Other than DSR’’ allowance Hook-and-line sector Sector annual amount 257 ........................ Catcher Vessel ............................. 129 Catcher/Processor ........................ Seasonal percentage Sector seasonal amount 128 Season The IPHC annually assesses the abundance and potential yield of the Pacific halibut stock using all available data from the commercial and sport fisheries, other removals, and scientific surveys. Additional information on the Pacific halibut stock assessment may be found in the IPHC’s 2016 Pacific halibut stock assessment (December 2016), available on the IPHC Web site at www.iphc.int. The IPHC considered the 2016 Pacific halibut stock assessment at its January 2017 annual meeting when it set the 2017 commercial halibut fishery catch limits. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Halibut Discard Mortality Rates To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut incidental catch rates, halibut discard mortality rates (DMRs), and estimates of groundfish catch to project when a fishery’s halibut bycatch mortality allowance or seasonal VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 86 2 12 111 3 15 January 1–June 10 ....................... June 10–September 1 .................. September 1–December 31 ......... Estimates of Halibut Biomass and Stock Condition January 1–June 10 ....................... June 10–September 1 .................. September 1–December 31 ......... 86 2 12 110 3 15 apportionment is reached. Halibut incidental catch rates are based on observers’ estimates of halibut incidental catch in the groundfish fishery. DMRs are estimates of the proportion of incidentally caught halibut that do not survive after being returned to the sea. The cumulative halibut mortality that accrues to a particular halibut PSC limit is the product of a DMR multiplied by the estimated halibut PSC. DMRs are estimated using the best information available in conjunction with the annual GOA stock assessment process. The DMR methodology and findings are included as an appendix to the annual GOA groundfish SAFE report. In 2016, the DMR estimation methodology underwent revisions per the Council’s directive. An interagency halibut working group (IPHC, Council, and NMFS staff) developed improved estimation methods that have undergone review by the GOA Plan Team, SSC, and the Council. A summary of the revised methodology is PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 contained in the GOA proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87881, December 6, 2016), and the comprehensive discussion of the working group’s statistical methodology is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). While the DMR working group’s revised methodology is intended to improve estimation accuracy, as well as transparency and transferability in the methodology used, for calculating DMRs, the working group will continue to consider improvements to the methodology used to calculate halibut mortality. Future DMRs, including the 2018 DMRs, may change based on an additional year of observer sampling, which could provide more recent and accurate data and which could improve the accuracy of estimation and progress on methodology. At the December 2016 meeting, the SSC, AP, and Council concurred with the revised DMR estimation methodology. The Council recommended adopting the halibut E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations DMRs derived from that process for 2017 and 2018, with no changes except a minor increase in the rate assigned to non-pelagic trawl catcher vessels that do not participate in the Rockfish Program (a two percent increase) and a decrease in the rate assigned to non-pelagic trawl catcher vessels that do participate in the Rockfish Program (an eighteen percent decrease). These changes reflect 12049 corrections that were made in programming code associated with calculating the DMRs for the trawl gear categories. Table 17 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 DMRs. TABLE 17—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 HALIBUT DISCARD MORTALITY RATES FOR VESSELS FISHING IN THE GULF OF ALASKA [Values are percent of halibut assumed to be dead] Gear Sector Groundfish fishery Pelagic trawl ............................ Catcher vessel ......................................................................... Catcher/processor .................................................................... Catcher vessel ......................................................................... Catcher vessel ......................................................................... Mothership and catcher/processor ........................................... Catcher/processor .................................................................... Catcher vessel ......................................................................... Catcher vessel and catcher/processor .................................... All ............................................ All ............................................ Rockfish Program ................... All others ................................. All ............................................ All ............................................ All ............................................ All ............................................ Non-pelagic trawl ..................... Hook-and-line .......................... Pot ........................................... sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limits Amendment 93 to the FMP (77 FR 42629, July 20, 2012) established separate Chinook salmon PSC limits in the Western and Central GOA in the directed pollock fishery. These limits require NMFS to close the pollock directed fishery in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA if the applicable limit is reached (§ 679.21(h)(8)). The annual Chinook salmon PSC limits in the pollock directed fishery of 6,684 salmon in the Western GOA and 18,316 salmon in the Central GOA are set at § 679.21(h)(2)(i) and (ii). In addition, all salmon (regardless of species) taken in the pollock directed fisheries in the Western and Central GOA must be retained until the manager of a shoreside processor or stationary floating processor has accurately recorded the number of salmon by species in the eLandings atsea production report or eLandings groundfish landing report. If an observer is present at the processing facility that takes delivery of the catch, then the observer is provided an opportunity to count the number of salmon and to collect any scientific data or biological samples from the salmon (§ 679.21(h)(6)). Amendment 97 to the FMP (79 FR 71350, December 2, 2014) established an initial annual PSC limit of 7,500 Chinook salmon for the non-pollock groundfish fisheries. This limit is apportioned among three sectors: 3,600 Chinook salmon to trawl C/Ps; 1,200 Chinook salmon to trawl CVs participating in the Rockfish Program; and 2,700 Chinook salmon to trawl CVs not participating in the Rockfish Program that are fishing for groundfish species other than pollock VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 (§ 679.21(h)(4)). NMFS will monitor the Chinook salmon PSC in the non-pollock GOA groundfish fisheries and close an applicable sector if it reaches its Chinook salmon PSC limit. The Chinook salmon PSC limit for two sectors, trawl C/Ps and trawl CVs not participating in the Rockfish Program, may be increased in subsequent years based on the performance of these two sectors and their ability to minimize their use of their respective Chinook salmon PSC limits. If either or both of these two sectors limits its use of Chinook salmon PSC to a specified threshold amount in 2016, that sector will receive an incremental increase to its 2017 Chinook salmon PSC limit (§ 679.21(h)(4)). In 2016, the trawl C/P sector did not exceed 3,120 Chinook salmon PSC; therefore, the 2017 trawl C/ Ps Chinook salmon PSC limit will be 4,080 Chinook salmon. In 2016, the Non-Rockfish Program CV sector did not exceed 2,340 Chinook salmon PSC; therefore, the 2017 Non-Rockfish Program CV sector limit will be 3,060 Chinook salmon. As described earlier in this preamble, Amendment 103 to the FMP became effective in 2016. The regulations associated with Amendment 103 authorize NMFS to use inseason management actions to reapportion unused Chinook salmon PSC limits among the pollock and non-pollock sectors. NMFS did not exercise this authority in 2016, as none of the trawl sectors needed reapportionments. NMFS may use this authority in 2017 and 2018 for inseason management actions if a trawl sector needs reapportionment of unused Chinook salmon PSC limits. PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 Halibut discard mortality rate (percent) 100 100 67 65 85 11 12 10 American Fisheries Act (AFA) Catcher/ Processor and Catcher Vessel Groundfish Harvest and PSC Limits Section 679.64 establishes groundfish harvesting and processing sideboard limitations on AFA C/Ps and CVs in the GOA. These sideboard limits are necessary to protect the interests of fishermen and processors who do not directly benefit from the AFA from those fishermen and processors who receive exclusive harvesting and processing privileges under the AFA. Section 679.7(k)(1)(ii) prohibits listed AFA C/Ps and C/Ps designated on a listed AFA C/P permit from harvesting any species of groundfish in the GOA. Additionally, § 679.7(k)(1)(iv) prohibits listed AFA C/Ps and C/Ps designated on a listed AFA C/P permit from processing any pollock harvested in a directed pollock fishery in the GOA and any groundfish harvested in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA. AFA CVs that are less than 125 ft (38.1 meters) length overall, have annual landings of pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands less than 5,100 mt, and have made at least 40 GOA groundfish landings from 1995 through 1997 are exempt from GOA sideboard limits under § 679.64(b)(2)(ii). Sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA are based on their traditional harvest levels of TAC in groundfish fisheries covered by the FMP. Section 679.64(b)(3)(iv) establishes the groundfish sideboard limitations in the GOA based on the aggregate retained catch of non-exempt AFA CVs of each sideboard species from 1995 through 1997 divided by the sum of the TACs for that species or species group available to CVs over the same period. E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 12050 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Tables 18 and 19 list the final 2017 and 2018 groundfish sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs. NMFS will deduct all targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA CVs from the sideboard limits listed in Tables 18 and 19. TABLE 18—FINAL 2017 GOA NON-EXEMPT AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL (CV) GROUNDFISH HARVEST SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Apportionments by season/gear Area/component Pollock ........................... A Season—January 20–March 10 ............ Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. WYK (640) .................... SEO (650) .................... W .................................. C ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E inshore ...................... E offshore ..................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... SEO .............................. W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... C ................................... E ................................... Gulfwide ....................... W .................................. C ................................... B Season—March 10–May 31 .................. C Season—August 25–October 1 ............. D Season—October 1–November 1 ......... Annual ....................................................... Pacific cod ..................... A Season 1—January 1–June 10 .............. B Season 2—September 1–December 31 Annual ....................................................... Sablefish ....................... Annual, trawl gear ..................................... Annual ....................................................... Shallow-water flatfish .... Annual ....................................................... Deep-water flatfish ........ Rex sole ........................ Annual ....................................................... Arrowtooth flounder ....... Annual ....................................................... Flathead sole ................ Annual ....................................................... Pacific ocean perch ...... Annual ....................................................... Northern rockfish ........... Annual ....................................................... Shortraker rockfish ........ Annual ....................................................... Dusky rockfish ............... Annual ....................................................... Rougheye rockfish ........ sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Ratio of 1995– 1997 nonexempt AFA CV catch to 1995–1997 TAC Annual ....................................................... Demersal shelf rockfish Thornyhead rockfish ..... Annual ....................................................... Annual ....................................................... Other rockfish ................ Annual ....................................................... Atka mackerel ............... Big skates ..................... Annual ....................................................... Annual ....................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:50 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 0.6047 0.1167 0.2028 0.6047 0.1167 0.2028 0.6047 0.1167 0.2028 0.6047 0.1167 0.2028 0.3495 0.3495 0.1331 0.0692 0.1331 0.0692 0.0079 0.0078 0.0000 0.0642 0.0433 0.0156 0.0587 0.0126 0.0000 0.0647 0.0128 0.0007 0.0384 0.0029 0.0021 0.0280 0.0002 0.0036 0.0213 0.0009 0.0023 0.0748 0.0466 0.0003 0.0277 0.0000 0.0218 0.0110 0.0001 0.0000 0.0067 0.0000 0.0237 0.0124 0.0020 0.0280 0.0280 0.0280 0.1699 0.0000 0.0309 0.0063 0.0063 27FER2 Final 2017 TACs 2,232 34,549 11,014 2,232 39,420 6,143 19,569 12,341 15,886 19,569 12,341 15,886 7,492 9,920 15,242 19,881 10,161 13,254 5,313 590 270 903 211 13,250 19,306 4,287 256 3,454 5,582 1,459 4,930 1,922 14,500 75,000 13,800 8,650 15,400 3,806 2,679 16,671 4,568 432 3,354 38 301 947 158 3,786 334 105 706 516 227 291 988 682 1,534 774 3,000 908 1,850 Final 2017 non-exempt AFA CV sideboard limit 1,350 4,032 2,234 1,350 4,600 1,246 11,834 1,440 3,222 11,834 1,440 3,222 2,618 3,467 2,029 1,376 1,352 917 42 5 ........................ 58 9 207 1,133 54 ........................ 223 71 1 189 6 30 2,100 3 31 328 3 6 1,247 213 0 93 ........................ 7 10 0 ........................ 2 ........................ 17 6 0 8 28 19 261 ........................ 93 6 12 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 12051 TABLE 18—FINAL 2017 GOA NON-EXEMPT AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL (CV) GROUNDFISH HARVEST SIDEBOARD LIMITS—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Apportionments by season/gear Longnose skates ........... Annual ....................................................... Other skates .................. Sculpins ......................... Sharks ........................... Squids ........................... Octopuses ..................... Annual Annual Annual Annual Annual 1 The 2 The Area/component ....................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... Ratio of 1995– 1997 nonexempt AFA CV catch to 1995–1997 TAC E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... Gulfwide ....................... Gulfwide ....................... Gulfwide ....................... Gulfwide ....................... Gulfwide ....................... 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 Final 2017 TACs 1,056 61 2,513 632 1,919 5,591 4,514 1,137 4,878 Final 2017 non-exempt AFA CV sideboard limit 7 0 16 4 12 35 28 7 31 Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. TABLE 19—FINAL 2018 GOA NON-EXEMPT AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL (CV) GROUNDFISH HARVEST SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Apportionments by season/gear Area/component Pollock ........................... A Season—January 20–March 10 ............ Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. WYK (640) .................... SEO (650) .................... W .................................. C ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E inshore ...................... E offshore ..................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... B—Season March 10–May 31 .................. C Season—August 25–October 1 ............. D Season—October 1–November 1 ......... Annual ....................................................... Pacific cod ..................... A Season 1—January 1–June 10 .............. B Season 2—September 1–December 31 Annual ....................................................... Sablefish ....................... Annual, trawl gear ..................................... Shallow-water flatfish .... Annual ....................................................... Deep-water flatfish ........ Annual ....................................................... Rex sole ........................ sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Ratio of 1995– 1997 nonexempt AFA CV catch to 1995–1997 TAC Annual ....................................................... Arrowtooth flounder ....... Annual ....................................................... Flathead sole ................ Annual ....................................................... Pacific ocean perch ...... Annual ....................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 0.6047 0.1167 0.2028 0.6047 0.1167 0.2028 0.6047 0.1167 0.2028 0.6047 0.1167 0.2028 0.3495 0.3495 0.1331 0.0692 0.1331 0.0692 0.0079 0.0078 0.0000 0.0642 0.0433 0.0156 0.0587 0.0126 0.0000 0.0647 0.0128 0.0007 0.0384 0.0029 0.0021 0.0280 0.0002 0.0036 0.0213 0.0009 0.0023 0.0748 0.0466 27FER2 Final 2018 TACs 1,725 26,704 8,513 1,725 30,469 4,748 15,125 9,538 12,278 15,125 9,538 12,278 5,791 9,920 13,677 17,840 9,118 11,893 4,768 530 273 915 213 13,250 19,418 4,311 257 3,488 5,637 1,478 4,995 1,948 14,500 75,000 13,800 8,650 15,400 3,870 2,627 16,347 4,480 Final 2018 non-exempt AFA CV sideboard limit 1,043 3,116 1,726 1,043 3,556 963 9,146 1,113 2,490 9,146 1,113 2,490 2,024 3,467 1,820 1,235 1,214 823 38 4 ........................ 59 9 207 1,140 54 ........................ 226 72 1 192 6 30 2,100 3 31 30 3 6 1,223 209 12052 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 19—FINAL 2018 GOA NON-EXEMPT AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL (CV) GROUNDFISH HARVEST SIDEBOARD LIMITS—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Apportionments by season/gear Area/component Northern rockfish ........... Annual ....................................................... Shortraker rockfish ........ Annual ....................................................... Dusky rockfish ............... Annual ....................................................... Rougheye rockfish ........ Annual ....................................................... Demersal shelf rockfish Thornyhead rockfish ..... Annual ....................................................... Annual ....................................................... Other rockfish ................ Annual ....................................................... Atka mackerel ............... Big skates ..................... Annual ....................................................... Annual ....................................................... Longnose skates ........... Annual ....................................................... Other skates .................. Sculpins ......................... Sharks ........................... Squids ........................... Octopuses ..................... Annual Annual Annual Annual Annual Ratio of 1995– 1997 nonexempt AFA CV catch to 1995–1997 TAC W .................................. C ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... SEO .............................. W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W/C .............................. E ................................... Gulfwide ....................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... Gulfwide ....................... Gulfwide ....................... Gulfwide ....................... Gulfwide ....................... Gulfwide ....................... 1 The 2 The ....................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... 0.0003 0.0277 0.0000 0.0218 0.0110 0.0001 0.0000 0.0067 0.0000 0.0237 0.0124 0.0020 0.0280 0.0280 0.0280 0.1699 0.0000 0.0309 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 0.0063 Final 2018 TACs 400 3,108 38 301 947 146 3,499 309 104 702 512 227 291 988 682 1,534 774 3,000 908 1,850 1,056 61 2,513 632 1,919 5,591 4,514 1,137 4,878 Final 2018 non-exempt AFA CV sideboard limit 0 86 ........................ 7 10 0 ........................ 2 ........................ 17 6 0 8 28 19 261 ........................ 93 6 12 7 0 16 4 12 35 28 7 31 Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. Non-Exempt AFA Catcher Vessel Halibut PSC Limits The halibut PSC sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA are based on the aggregate retained groundfish catch by non-exempt AFA CVs in each PSC target category from 1995 through 1997 divided by the retained catch of all vessels in that fishery from 1995 through 1997 (§ 679.64(b)(4)(ii)). Table 20 lists the final 2017 and 2018 non-exempt AFA CV halibut PSC limits for vessels using trawl gear in the GOA, respectively. TABLE 20—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 NON-EXEMPT AFA CV HALIBUT PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH (PSC) LIMITS FOR VESSELS USING TRAWL GEAR IN THE GOA [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Ratio of 1995– 1997 nonexempt AFA CV retained catch to total retained catch 2017 and 2018 PSC limit 2017 and 2018 non-exempt AFA CV PSC limit Season dates Target fishery 1 .................................... January 20–April 1 .................................... 2 .................................... sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Season April 1–July 1 ............................................. 3 .................................... July 1–September 1 .................................. 4 .................................... September 1–October 1 ............................ 5 .................................... October 1–December 31 ........................... shallow-water ............... deep-water ................... shallow-water ............... deep-water ................... shallow-water ............... deep-water ................... shallow-water ............... deep-water ................... all targets ...................... 0.340 0.070 0.340 0.070 0.340 0.070 0.340 0.070 0.205 384 85 85 256 171 341 128 0 256 131 6 29 18 58 24 44 0 52 Total ....................... .................................................................... ....................................... ........................ 1,706 362 VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Non-AFA Crab Vessel Groundfish Harvest Limitations Section 680.22 establishes groundfish catch limits for vessels with a history of participation in the Bering Sea snow crab fishery to prevent these vessels from using the increased flexibility provided by the Crab Rationalization Program to expand their level of participation in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Sideboard limits restrict these vessels’ catch to their collective historical landings in each GOA groundfish fishery (except the fixed-gear sablefish fishery). Sideboard limits also apply to catch made using an LLP license derived from the history of a restricted vessel, even if that LLP license is used on another vessel. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of Amendments 18 and 19 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP) (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005), Amendment 34 to the Crab FMP 12053 (76 FR 35772, June 20, 2011), Amendment 83 to the GOA FMP (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011), and Amendment 45 to the Crab FMP (80 FR 28539, May 19, 2015). Tables 21 and 22 list the final 2017 and 2018 groundfish sideboard limitations for non-AFA crab vessels. All targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by non-AFA crab vessels or associated LLP licenses will be deducted from these sideboard limits. TABLE 21—FINAL 2017 GOA NON-AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CRAB VESSEL GROUNDFISH HARVEST SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Species Season/gear Area/component/gear Pollock ........................... A Season—January 20–March 10 ............ Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. WYK (640) .................... SEO (650) .................... WG Jig ......................... WG Hook-and-line CV WG Pot CV .................. WG Pot C/P ................. WG Trawl CV ............... CG Jig .......................... CG Hook-and-line CV .. CG Pot CV ................... CG Pot C/P .................. CG Trawl CV ................ WG Jig ......................... WG Hook-and-line CV WG Pot CV .................. WG Pot C/P ................. WG Trawl CV ............... CG Jig .......................... CG Hook-and-line CV .. CG Pot CV ................... CG Pot C/P .................. CG Trawl CV ................ EG inshore ................... EG offshore .................. W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... B Season—March 10–May 31 .................. C Season—August 25–October 1 ............. D Season—October 1–November 1 ......... Annual ....................................................... Pacific cod ..................... A Season—January 1–June 10 1 .............. B Season 2 ................................................. Jig Gear: June 10–December 31 .............. All other gears: .......................................... September 1–December 31 ...................... Annual ....................................................... Sablefish ....................... Annual, trawl gear ..................................... Shallow-water flatfish .... sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Ratio of 1996–2000 non-AFA crab vessel catch to 1996–2000 total harvest Annual ....................................................... Deep-water flatfish ........ Annual ....................................................... Rex sole ........................ Annual ....................................................... Arrowtooth flounder ....... Annual ....................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 0.0098 0.0031 0.0002 0.0098 0.0031 0.0002 0.0098 0.0031 0.0002 0.0098 0.0031 0.0002 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0004 0.0997 0.0078 0.0007 0.0000 0.0001 0.0474 0.0136 0.0012 0.0000 0.0004 0.0997 0.0078 0.0007 0.0000 0.0001 0.0474 0.0136 0.0012 0.0110 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0059 0.0001 0.0000 0.0035 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0004 0.0001 27FER2 Final 2017 TACs 2,232 34,549 11,014 2,232 39,420 6,143 19,569 12,341 15,886 19,569 12,341 15,886 7,492 9,920 15,242 15,242 15,242 15,242 15,242 19,881 19,881 19,881 19,881 19,881 10,161 10,161 10,161 10,161 10,161 13,254 13,254 13,254 13,254 13,254 5,313 590 270 903 211 13,250 19,306 4,287 256 3,454 5,582 1,459 4,930 1,922 14,500 75,000 Final 2017 non-AFA crab vessel sideboard limit 22 107 2 22 122 1 192 38 3 192 38 3 ........................ ........................ 6 1,520 119 11 ........................ 2 942 270 24 ........................ 4 1,013 79 7 ........................ 1 628 180 16 58 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 78 2 ........................ 1 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 6 8 12054 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 21—FINAL 2017 GOA NON-AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CRAB VESSEL GROUNDFISH HARVEST SIDEBOARD LIMITS— Continued [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Species Season/gear Flathead sole ................ Annual ....................................................... Pacific ocean perch ...... Annual ....................................................... Northern rockfish ........... Annual ....................................................... Shortraker rockfish ........ Annual ....................................................... Dusky rockfish ............... Annual ....................................................... Rougheye rockfish ........ Annual ....................................................... Demersal shelf rockfish Thornyhead rockfish ..... Annual ....................................................... Annual ....................................................... Other rockfish ................ Annual ....................................................... Atka mackerel ............... Big skate ....................... Annual ....................................................... Annual ....................................................... Longnose skate ............. Annual ....................................................... Other skates .................. Sculpins ......................... Sharks ........................... Squids ........................... Octopuses ..................... Annual Annual Annual Annual Annual 1 The 2 The Area/component/gear ....................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... Ratio of 1996–2000 non-AFA crab vessel catch to 1996–2000 total harvest E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... SEO .............................. W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W/C .............................. E ................................... Gulfwide ....................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... Gulfwide ....................... Gulfwide ....................... Gulfwide ....................... Gulfwide ....................... Gulfwide ....................... 0.0000 0.0002 0.0004 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0005 0.0000 0.0013 0.0012 0.0009 0.0017 0.0000 0.0000 0.0067 0.0047 0.0008 0.0000 0.0047 0.0066 0.0045 0.0033 0.0000 0.0000 0.0392 0.0159 0.0000 0.0392 0.0159 0.0000 0.0176 0.0176 0.0176 0.0176 0.0176 Final 2017 TACs 13,800 8,650 15,400 3,806 2,679 16,671 4,568 432 3,354 38 301 947 158 3,786 334 105 706 516 227 291 988 682 1,534 774 3,000 908 1,850 1,056 61 2,513 632 1,919 5,591 4,514 1,137 4,878 Final 2017 non-AFA crab vessel sideboard limit ........................ 2 6 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 0 ........................ 0 0 1 0 ........................ ........................ 1 3 0 ........................ 1 7 3 5 ........................ ........................ 36 29 ........................ 2 40 ........................ 34 98 79 20 86 Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. TABLE 22—FINAL 2018 GOA NON-AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CRAB VESSEL GROUNDFISH HARVEST SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Season/gear Area/component/gear Pollock ........................... A Season—January 20–March 10 ............ Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. WYK (640) .................... SEO (650) .................... WG Jig ......................... WG Hook-and-line CV B Season—March 10–May 31 .................. C Season—August 25–October 1 ............. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Ratio of 1996–2000 non-AFA crab vessel catch to 1996–2000 total harvest D Season—October 1–November 1 ......... Annual ....................................................... Pacific cod ..................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 A Season 1—January 1–June 10 .............. 21:50 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 0.0098 0.0031 0.0002 0.0098 0.0031 0.0002 0.0098 0.0031 0.0002 0.0098 0.0031 0.0002 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0004 27FER2 Final 2018 TACs 1,725 26,704 8,513 1,725 30,469 4,748 15,125 9,538 12,278 15,125 9,538 12,278 5,791 9,920 13,677 13,677 Final 2018 non-AFA crab vessel sideboard limit 17 83 2 17 94 1 148 30 2 148 30 2 ........................ ........................ ........................ 5 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 12055 TABLE 22—FINAL 2018 GOA NON-AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CRAB VESSEL GROUNDFISH HARVEST SIDEBOARD LIMITS— Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Season/gear Area/component/gear B Season 2—Jig Gear: June 10–December 31; All other gears: September 1– December 31. Annual ....................................................... Annual, trawl gear ..................................... Shallow-water flatfish .... Annual ....................................................... Deep-water flatfish ........ Annual ....................................................... Rex sole ........................ Annual ....................................................... Arrowtooth flounder ....... Annual ....................................................... Flathead sole ................ Annual ....................................................... Pacific ocean perch ...... Annual ....................................................... Northern rockfish ........... Annual ....................................................... Shortraker rockfish ........ Annual ....................................................... Dusky rockfish ............... Annual ....................................................... Rougheye rockfish ........ Annual ....................................................... Demersal shelf rockfish Thornyhead rockfish ..... sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Sablefish ....................... Annual ....................................................... Annual ....................................................... Other rockfish ................ Annual ....................................................... Atka mackerel ............... Big skate ....................... Annual ....................................................... Annual ....................................................... Longnose skate ............. Annual ....................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00025 Ratio of 1996–2000 non-AFA crab vessel catch to 1996–2000 total harvest WG Pot CV .................. WG Pot C/P ................. WG Trawl CV ............... CG Jig .......................... CG Hook-and-line CV .. CG Pot CV ................... CG Pot C/P .................. CG Trawl CV ................ WG Jig ......................... WG Hook-and-line CV WG Pot CV .................. WG Pot C/P ................. WG Trawl CV ............... CG Jig .......................... CG Hook-and-line CV .. CG Pot CV ................... CG Pot C/P .................. CG Trawl CV ................ E inshore ...................... E offshore ..................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... SEO .............................. W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W/C .............................. E ................................... Gulfwide ....................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... W .................................. C ................................... E ................................... Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 0.0997 0.0078 0.0007 0.0000 0.0001 0.0474 0.0136 0.0012 0.0000 0.0004 0.0997 0.0078 0.0007 0.0000 0.0001 0.0474 0.0136 0.0012 0.0110 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0059 0.0001 0.0000 0.0035 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0004 0.0001 0.0000 0.0002 0.0004 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000 0.0005 0.0000 0.0013 0.0012 0.0009 0.0017 0.0000 0.0000 0.0067 0.0047 0.0008 0.0000 0.0047 0.0066 0.0045 0.0033 0.0000 0.0000 0.0392 0.0159 0.0000 0.0392 0.0159 0.0000 27FER2 Final 2018 TACs 13,677 13,677 13,677 17,840 17,840 17,840 17,840 17,840 9,118 9,118 9,118 9,118 9,118 11,893 11,893 11,893 11,893 11,893 4,768 530 273 915 213 13,250 19,418 4,311 257 3,488 5,637 1,478 4,995 1,948 14,500 75,000 13,800 8,650 15,400 3,870 2,627 16,347 4,480 400 3,108 38 301 947 146 3,499 309 104 702 512 227 291 988 682 1,534 774 3,000 908 1,850 1,056 61 2,513 632 Final 2018 non-AFA crab vessel sideboard limit 1,364 107 10 ........................ 2 846 243 21 ........................ 4 909 71 6 ........................ 1 564 162 14 52 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 78 2 ........................ 1 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 6 8 ........................ 2 6 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 0 ........................ 0 0 1 0 ........................ ........................ 1 3 0 ........................ 1 7 3 5 ........................ ........................ 36 29 ........................ 2 40 ........................ 12056 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 22—FINAL 2018 GOA NON-AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CRAB VESSEL GROUNDFISH HARVEST SIDEBOARD LIMITS— Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Season/gear Other skates .................. Sculpins ......................... Sharks ........................... Squids ........................... Octopuses ..................... 1 The 2 The Annual Annual Annual Annual Annual Area/component/gear ....................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... Gulfwide Gulfwide Gulfwide Gulfwide Gulfwide Ratio of 1996–2000 non-AFA crab vessel catch to 1996–2000 total harvest ....................... ....................... ....................... ....................... ....................... 0.0176 0.0176 0.0176 0.0176 0.0176 Final 2018 TACs Final 2018 non-AFA crab vessel sideboard limit 1,919 5,591 4,514 1,137 4,878 34 98 79 20 86 Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and Halibut PSC Limitations The Rockfish Program establishes three classes of sideboard provisions: CV groundfish sideboard restrictions, C/ P rockfish sideboard restrictions, and C/ P opt-out vessel sideboard restrictions. These sideboards are intended to limit the ability of rockfish harvesters to expand into other fisheries. CVs participating in the Rockfish Program may not participate in directed fishing for dusky rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and northern rockfish in the West Yakutat District and Western GOA from July 1 through July 31. Also, CVs may not participate in directed fishing for arrowtooth flounder, deep-water flatfish, and rex sole in the GOA from July 1 through July 31 (§ 679.82(d)(3)– (4)). C/Ps participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives are restricted by rockfish and halibut PSC sideboard limits. These C/Ps are prohibited from directed fishing for dusky rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and northern rockfish in the West Yakutat District and Western GOA from July 1 through July 31 (§ 679.82(e)(2)). Holders of C/Pdesignated LLP licenses that opt out of participating in a Rockfish Program cooperative will be able to access that portion of each sideboard limit that is not assigned to rockfish cooperatives. Tables 23 and 24 list the final 2017 and 2018 Rockfish Program C/P sideboard limits in the West Yakutat District and the Western GOA. Due to confidentiality requirements associated with fisheries data, the sideboard limits for the West Yakutat District are not displayed. TABLE 23—FINAL 2017 ROCKFISH PROGRAM SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR THE WEST YAKUTAT DISTRICT AND WESTERN GOA BY FISHERY FOR THE CATCHER/PROCESSOR SECTOR [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area Fishery C/P sector (% of TAC) Final 2017 TACs Western GOA ............................................. Dusky rockfish ............................................ Pacific ocean perch .................................... Northern rockfish ........................................ Dusky rockfish ............................................ Pacific ocean perch .................................... 72.3 .................. 50.6 .................. 74.3 .................. Confidential 1 .... Confidential 1 .... 158 ................... 2,679 ................ 432 ................... 251 ................... 2,786 ................ West Yakutat District .................................. 1 Not Final 2017 C/P limit 114. 1,356. 321. Confidential.1 Confidential.1 released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data, as established by NMFS and the State of Alaska. TABLE 24—FINAL 2018 ROCKFISH PROGRAM SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR THE WEST YAKUTAT DISTRICT AND WESTERN GOA BY FISHERY FOR THE CATCHER/PROCESSOR SECTOR [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area Fishery C/P sector (% of TAC) Final 2018 TACs Western GOA ............................................. Dusky rockfish ............................................ Pacific ocean perch .................................... Northern rockfish ........................................ Dusky rockfish ............................................ Pacific ocean perch .................................... 72.3 .................. 50.6 .................. 74.3 .................. Confidential 1 .... Confidential 1 .... 146 ................... 2,627 ................ 400 ................... 232 ................... 2,733 ................ West Yakutat District .................................. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 1 Not Final 2018 C/P limit 106. 1,329. 297. Confidential.1 Confidential.1 released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data, as established by NMFS and the State of Alaska. Under the Rockfish Program, the C/P sector is subject to halibut PSC sideboard limits for the trawl deepwater and shallow-water species fisheries from July 1 through July 31. No halibut PSC sideboard limits apply to VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 the CV sector, as vessels participating in cooperatives receive a portion of the annual halibut PSC limit. C/Ps that opt out of the Rockfish Program are able to access that portion of the deep-water and shallow-water halibut PSC PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 sideboard limit not assigned to C/P rockfish cooperatives. The sideboard provisions for C/Ps that elect to opt out of participating in a rockfish cooperative are described in § 679.82(c), (e), and (f). Sideboard limits are linked to the catch E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 12057 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations history of specific vessels that may choose to opt out. After March 1, NMFS will determine which C/Ps have optedout of the Rockfish Program in 2017, and NMFS will know the ratios and amounts used to calculate opt-out sideboard ratios. NMFS will then calculate any applicable opt-out sideboards and post these allocations on the Alaska Region Web site at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainable fisheries/rockfish/. Table 25 lists the 2017 and 2018 Rockfish Program halibut PSC limits for the C/P sector. TABLE 25—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 ROCKFISH PROGRAM HALIBUT MORTALITY LIMITS FOR THE CATCHER/PROCESSOR SECTOR (Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton) Sector Shallow-water species fishery halibut PSC sideboard ratio (percent) Deep-water species fishery halibut PSC sideboard ratio (percent) 2017 and 2018 halibut mortality limit (mt) Annual shallow-water species fishery halibut PSC sideboard limit (mt) Annual deepwater species fishery halibut PSC sideboard limit (mt) Catcher/processor ................................................................ 0.10 2.50 1,706 2 43 Amendment 80 Program Groundfish and PSC Sideboard Limits Amendment 80 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (Amendment 80 Program) established a limited access privilege program for the non-AFA trawl C/P sector. The Amendment 80 Program established groundfish and halibut PSC catch limits for Amendment 80 Program participants to limit the ability of participants eligible for the Amendment 80 Program to expand their harvest efforts in the GOA. Section 679.92 establishes groundfish harvesting sideboard limits on all Amendment 80 program vessels, other than the F/V Golden Fleece, to amounts no greater than the limits listed in Table 37 to 50 CFR part 679. Under § 679.92(d), the F/V Golden Fleece is prohibited from directed fishing for pollock, Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, dusky rockfish, and northern rockfish in the GOA. Groundfish sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels operating in the GOA are based on their average aggregate harvests from 1998 through 2004. Tables 26 and 27 list the final 2017 and 2018 groundfish sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels. NMFS will deduct all targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by Amendment 80 Program vessels from the sideboard limits in Tables 26 and 27. TABLE 26—FINAL 2017 GOA GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR AMENDMENT 80 PROGRAM VESSELS [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Species Apportionments and allocations by season Area Pollock ........................... A Season—January 20–February 25 ........ Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. Shumagin (610) ............ Chirikof (620) ................ Kodiak (630) ................. WYK (640) .................... W .................................. C ................................... W .................................. C ................................... WYK ............................. W .................................. WYK ............................. W .................................. W .................................. WYK ............................. B Season—March 10–May 31 .................. C Season—August 25–September 15 ...... D Season—October 1–November 1 ......... Pacific cod ..................... Annual ....................................................... A Season 1—January 1–June 10 .............. B Season 2—September 1–December 31 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Ratio of Amendment 80 sector vessels 1998– 2004 catch to TAC Pacific ocean perch ...... Annual ....................................................... Annual ....................................................... Northern rockfish ........... Dusky rockfish ............... Annual ....................................................... Annual ....................................................... 1 The 2 The 0.003 0.002 0.002 0.003 0.002 0.002 0.003 0.002 0.002 0.003 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.020 0.044 0.020 0.044 0.034 0.994 0.961 1.000 0.764 0.896 Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 2017 TAC (mt) 2,232 34,549 11,014 2,232 39,420 6,143 19,569 12,341 15,886 19,569 12,341 15,886 7,492 15,242 19,881 10,161 13,254 5,903 2,679 2,786 432 158 251 2017 Amendment 80 vessel sideboards (mt) 7 69 22 7 79 12 59 25 32 59 25 32 15 305 875 203 583 201 2,663 2,677 432 121 225 12058 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 27—FINAL 2018 GOA GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR AMENDMENT 80 PROGRAM VESSELS [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Ratio of Amendment 80 sector vessels 1998–2004 catch to TAC Species Apportionments and allocations by season Area Pollock ................................... A Season—January 20–February 25. Shumagin (610) .................... Chirikof (620) ........................ Kodiak (630) ......................... Shumagin (610) .................... Chirikof (620) ........................ Kodiak (630) ......................... Shumagin (610) .................... Chirikof (620) ........................ Kodiak (630) ......................... Shumagin (610) .................... Chirikof (620) ........................ Kodiak (630) ......................... WYK (640) ............................ W .......................................... C ........................................... W .......................................... C ........................................... WYK ...................................... W .......................................... WYK ...................................... W .......................................... W .......................................... WYK ...................................... B Season—March 10–May 31. C Season—August 25–September 15. D Season—October 1–November 1. Pacific ocean perch ............... Annual ................................... A Season 1—January 1–June 10. B Season 2—September 1– December 31. Annual ................................... Annual ................................... Northern rockfish ................... Dusky rockfish ....................... Annual ................................... Annual ................................... Pacific cod ............................. 1 The 2 The 0.003 0.002 0.002 0.003 0.002 0.002 0.003 0.002 0.002 0.003 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.020 0.044 0.020 0.044 0.034 0.994 0.961 1.000 0.764 0.896 2018 TAC (mt) 2018 Amendment 80 vessel sideboards (mt) 1,725 26,704 8,513 1,725 30,469 4,748 15,125 9,538 12,278 15,125 9,538 12,278 5,791 13,677 17,840 9,118 11,893 5,297 2,627 2,733 400 146 232 5 53 17 5 61 9 45 19 25 45 19 25 12 274 785 182 523 180 2,611 2,626 400 112 208 Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. The PSC sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels in the GOA are based on the historic use of halibut PSC by Amendment 80 Program vessels in each PSC target category from 1998 through 2004. These values are slightly lower than the average historic use to accommodate two factors: Allocation of halibut PSC cooperative quota under the Rockfish Program and the exemption of the F/V Golden Fleece from this restriction (§ 679.92(b)(2)). Table 28 lists the final 2017 and 2018 halibut PSC limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels. These tables incorporate the maximum percentages of the halibut PSC sideboard limits that may be used by Amendment 80 Program vessels as contained in Table 38 to 50 CFR part 679. Any residual amount of a seasonal Amendment 80 sideboard halibut PSC limit may carry forward to the next season limit (§ 679.92(b)(2)). TABLE 28—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 HALIBUT PSC LIMITS FOR AMENDMENT 80 PROGRAM VESSELS IN THE GOA [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Historic Amendment 80 use of the annual halibut PSC limit catch (ratio) Season dates Target fishery 1 ........................ January 20–April 1 .................... 2 ........................ April 1–July 1 ............................ 3 ........................ July 1–September 1 .................. 4 ........................ September 1–October 1 ........... 5 ........................ sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Season October 1–December 31 .......... ................................................... ................................................... 2017 and 2018 Amendment 80 vessel PSC limit 0.0048 0.0115 0.0189 0.1072 0.0146 0.0521 0.0074 0.0014 0.0227 0.0371 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 8 20 32 183 25 89 13 2 39 63 ............................ ............................ 474 shallow-water ............................ deep-water ................................ shallow-water ............................ deep-water ................................ shallow-water ............................ deep-water ................................ shallow-water ............................ deep-water ................................ shallow-water ............................ deep-water ................................ Total .......... 2017 and 2018 annual PSC limit (mt) Directed Fishing Closures Pursuant to § 679.20(d)(1)(i), if the Regional Administrator determines (1) VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 that any allocation or apportionment of a target species or species group allocated or apportioned to a fishery PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 will be reached; or (2) with respect to pollock and Pacific cod, that an allocation or apportionment to an E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations inshore or offshore component or sector allocation will be reached, then the Regional Administrator may establish a directed fishing allowance (DFA) for that species or species group. 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 GOA subarea, regulatory area, or district (§ 679.20(d)(1)(iii)). The Regional Administrator has determined that the TACs for the 12059 species listed in Table 29 are necessary to account for the incidental catch of these species in other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2017 and 2018 fishing years. TABLE 29—2017 AND 2018 DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES IN THE GOA [Amounts for incidental catch in other directed fisheries are in metric tons] Incidental catch amount and year (if amounts differ by year) Target Area/component/gear Pollock ............................................................................ Sablefish 2 ...................................................................... Pacific cod ...................................................................... all/offshore ..................................................................... all/trawl .......................................................................... Western, catcher/processor, trawl ................................. Central, catcher/processor, trawl .................................. all ................................................................................... all ................................................................................... all ................................................................................... all ................................................................................... all ................................................................................... all ................................................................................... all ................................................................................... all ................................................................................... all ................................................................................... all ................................................................................... all ................................................................................... Shortraker rockfish 2 ....................................................... Rougheye rockfish 2 ....................................................... Thornyhead rockfish 2 .................................................... Other rockfish ................................................................. Atka mackerel ................................................................ Big skate ........................................................................ Longnose skate .............................................................. Other skates ................................................................... Sharks ............................................................................ Squids ............................................................................ Octopuses ...................................................................... 1 Pollock not applicable.1 1,383 (2017), 1,402 (2018). 594 (2017), 528 (2018). 1,377 (2017), 1,236 (2018). 1,286. 1,327 (2017), 1,318 (2018). 1,961. 2,308. 3,000. 3,814. 3,206. 1,919. 4,514. 1,137. 4,878. is closed to directed fishing in the GOA by the offshore component under § 679.20(a)(6)(i). not applicable to participants in cooperatives conducted under the Central GOA Rockfish Program. 2 Closures Consequently, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator establishes the DFA for the species or species groups listed in Table 29 as zero mt. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for those species, areas, gear types, and components in the GOA listed in Table 29. These closures will remain in effect through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2018. Section 679.64(b)(5) provides for management of AFA CV groundfish harvest limits and PSC bycatch limits using directed fishing closures and PSC closures according to procedures set out at §§ 679.20(d)(1)(iv), 679.21(d)(6), and 679.21(e)(3)(v). The Regional Administrator has determined that, in addition to the closures listed above, many of the non-exempt AFA CV sideboard limits listed in Tables 18 and 19 are necessary as incidental catch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2017 and 2018 fishing years. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iv), the Regional Administrator sets the DFAs for the species and species groups in Table 30 at zero mt. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing by nonexempt AFA CVs in the GOA for the species and specified areas listed in Table 30. These closures will remain in effect through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2018. TABLE 30—2017 AND 2018 NON-EXEMPT AFA CV SIDEBOARD DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES FOR ALL GEAR TYPES IN THE GOA [Amounts for incidental catch in other directed fisheries are in metric tons] Regulatory area/district Pacific cod ........................................................... sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Species Eastern ............................................................... Shallow-water flatfish .......................................... Deep-water flatfish .............................................. Rex sole .............................................................. Arrowtooth flounder ............................................. Flathead sole ....................................................... Pacific ocean perch ............................................. Northern rockfish ................................................. Dusky rockfish ..................................................... Demersal shelf rockfish ....................................... Sculpins ............................................................... Squids .................................................................. Eastern ............................................................... Western .............................................................. Eastern and Western ......................................... Eastern and Western ......................................... Eastern and Western ......................................... Western .............................................................. Western .............................................................. Entire GOA ........................................................ SEO District ....................................................... Entire GOA ........................................................ Entire GOA ........................................................ Section 680.22 provides for the management of non-AFA crab vessel VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 sideboards using directed fishing closures in accordance with PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 Incidental catch amount 42 (inshore) and 5 (offshore) [2017]. 38 (inshore) and 4 (offshore) [2018]. 54 in 2017, 49 in 2018. 0. 6 and 1 (2017), 5 and 1 (2018). 3 and 30. 3 and 31. 6. 0. 2. 0. 35. 7. § 680.22(e)(2) and (3). The Regional Administrator has determined that the E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 12060 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations non-AFA crab vessel sideboards listed in Tables 21 and 22 are insufficient to support a directed fishery and has set the sideboard DFA at zero mt, with the exception of Pacific cod pot CV sector apportionments in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. Therefore, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing by non-AFA crab vessels in the GOA for all species and species groups listed in Tables 21 and 22, with the exception of the Pacific cod pot CV sector apportionments in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. Closures implemented under the 2016 and 2017 GOA harvest specifications for groundfish (81 FR 14740, March 18, 2016) remain effective under authority of these final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, and are posted at the following Web site: http://alaska fisheries.noaa.gov/infobulletins/search. 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 closures and prohibitions found at 50 CFR part 679. NMFS may implement other closures during the 2017 and 2018 fishing years as necessary for effective conservation and management. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Comments and Responses NMFS did not receive any comments about the proposed harvest specifications. Classification NMFS has determined that these final harvest specifications are consistent with the FMP and with the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management 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 for this action (see ADDRESSES) and made it available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 13, 2007, NMFS issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the EIS. In January 2017, 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 preferred alternative is a harvest strategy in which TACs are set at a level that falls within the range of ABCs recommended by the VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 Council’s SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve the OY specified in the FMP. The SIR evaluates the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS (SEIS) for the 2017 and 2018 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 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, which were set according to the preferred harvest strategy in the EIS, do not constitute a substantial 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 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications will result in environmental impacts within the scope of those analyzed and disclosed in the EIS. Therefore, supplemental National Environmental Policy Act documentation is not necessary to implement the 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications. Section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 604) requires that, when an agency promulgates a final rule under section 553 of Title 5 of the United States Code, after being required by that section, or any other law, to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking, the agency shall prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA). Section 604 describes the required contents of a FRFA: (1) A statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule; (2) a statement of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, a statement of the assessment of the agency of such issues, and a statement of any changes made in the proposed rule as a result of such comments; (3) the response of the agency to any comments filed by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration in response to the proposed rule, and a detailed statement of any change made to the proposed rule in the final rule as a result of the comments; (4) a description of and an estimate of the number of small entities to which the rule will apply or an explanation of why no such estimate is available; (5) a description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements of PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 the rule, including an estimate of the classes of small entities which will be subject to the requirement and the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the report or record; and (6) a description of the steps the agency has taken to minimize the significant economic impact on small entities consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes, including a statement of the factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the alternative adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other significant alternatives to the rule considered by the agency that affect the impact on small entities was rejected. 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 6, 2016 (81 FR 87881). NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) to accompany this action, and included a summary in the proposed rule. The comment period closed on January 5, 2017. No comments were received on the IRFA or the economic impacts of the rule more generally. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration did not file any comments on the proposed rule. The entities directly regulated by this action include: (1) Entities operating vessels with groundfish FFPs catching FMP groundfish in Federal waters; (2) all entities operating vessels, regardless of whether they hold groundfish FFPs, catching FMP groundfish in the Statewaters parallel fisheries; and (3) all entities operating vessels fishing for halibut inside three miles of the shore (whether or not they have FFPs). For RFA purposes only, NMFS has established a small business size standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. Based on data from 2015 fishing activity, there were 969 individual catcher vessel entities with gross revenues meeting small entity criteria. Of these entities, 827 used hook-andline gear, 115 used pot gear, and 30 used trawl gear (some of these entities used more than one gear type, thus the counts of entities using the different gear types E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations do not sum to the total number of entities above). Three individual catcher/processors met the small entity criterion; two used hook-and-line gear, and one used trawl gear. Catcher/ processor gross revenues were not reported for confidentiality reasons; however, hook-and-line small entities had average gross revenues of $350,000, small pot entities had average gross revenues of $760,000, and small trawl entities had average gross revenues of $1.85 million. Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, of GOA rockfish cooperatives, or of Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab rationalization cooperatives, and, therefore, under the RFA it is the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the cooperative that must meet the threshold. Vessels that participate in these cooperatives are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. These relationships are accounted for, along with corporate affiliations among vessels, to the extent that they are known, in the estimated number of small entities. If affiliations exist of which NMFS is unaware, or if entities had non-fishing revenue sources, the estimates above may overstate the number of directly regulated small entities. This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting requirements. NMFS considered alternative harvest strategies when choosing the preferred harvest strategy (Alternative 2) in December 2006. These included the following: • Alternative 1: Set TACs to produce fishing mortality rates, F, that are equal to maxFABC, unless the sum of the TACs is constrained by the OY established in the fishery management plans. This is equivalent to setting TACs to produce harvest levels equal to the maximum permissible ABCs, as constrained by OY. The term ‘‘maxFABC’’ refers to the maximum permissible value of FABC under Amendment 56 to the BSAI and GOA groundfish fishery management plans. Historically, the TAC has been set at or below the ABC; therefore, this 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, TACs would be set to produce harvest levels VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 equal to the most recent 5-year average actual fishing mortality rates. For stocks with insufficient scientific information, TACs 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 ABCs, and recent average F may provide a better indicator of actual F than FABC does. • Alternative 4: (1) Set TACs for rockfish species in Tier 3 at F75%. Set TACs for rockfish species in Tier 5 at F = 0.5M. Set spatially explicit TACs for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the GOA. (2) Taking the rockfish TACs as calculated above, reduce all other TACs by a proportion that does not vary across species, so that the sum of all TACs, including rockfish TACs, is equal to the lower bound of the area OY (116,000 mt in the GOA). This alternative sets conservative and spatially explicit TACs for rockfish species that are long-lived and late to mature and sets conservative TACs for the other groundfish species. • Alternative 5: (No Action) Set TACs at zero. These four alternatives (1, 3, 4, and 5) do not meet the objectives of this action, and although Alternatives 1 and 3 may have a smaller adverse economic impact on small entities than the preferred alternative, Alternatives 4 and 5 would have a significant adverse economic impact on small entities. The Council rejected these alternatives as harvest strategies in 2006, and the Secretary did so in 2007. Alternative 2 is the preferred alternative chosen by the Council: Set TACs that fall within the range of ABCs 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 TACs that has been used in the past. Alternative 2 selected harvest rates that will allow fishermen to harvest stocks at the level of ABCs, unless total harvests are constrained by the upper bound of the GOA OY of 800,000 mt. The sums of ABCs in 2017 and 2018 are 667,877 mt and 597,052 mt, respectively. The sums of the TACs in 2017 and 2018 are 535,863 mt and 483,588 mt, respectively. Thus, although the sum of ABCs in each year is less than 800,000 mt, the sums of the TACs in each year are less than the sums of the ABCs. In most cases, the Council has set TACs equal to ABCs. The divergence PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 12061 between aggregate TACs and aggregate ABCs reflects a variety of special species- and fishery-specific circumstances: • Pacific cod TACs are set equal to 70 percent in the Western GOA and 75 percent in the Central and Eastern GOA of the Pacific cod ABCs in each year to account for the GHL set by the State for its GHL Pacific cod fisheries (30 percent of the Western GOA ABC and 25 percent of the Central and Eastern GOA ABCs). Thus, the difference between the Federal TACs and ABCs does not actually reflect a Pacific cod harvest below the Pacific cod ABC, as the balance is available for the State’s cod GHL fisheries. • Shallow-water flatfish and flathead sole TACs are set below ABCs in the Western Regulatory Area. Arrowtooth flounder TACs are set below ABC in all GOA regulatory areas. Catches of these flatfish species rarely, if ever, approach the proposed ABCs or TACs. Important trawl fisheries in the GOA take halibut PSC, and are constrained by limits on the allowable halibut PSC mortality. These limits may force the closure of trawl fisheries before they have harvested the available groundfish ABC. Thus, actual harvests of groundfish in the GOA routinely fall short of some ABCs and TACs. Markets can also constrain harvests below the TACs, as has been the case with arrowtooth flounder, in the past. These TACs are set to allow for increased harvest opportunities for these targets while conserving the halibut PSC limit for use in other, more fully utilized, fisheries. • The other rockfish TAC is set below the ABC in the Southeast Outside District based on several factors. In addition to conservation concerns for the rockfish species in this group, there is a regulatory prohibition against using trawl gear east of 140° W. longitude. Because most species of other rockfish are caught exclusively with trawl gear, the catch of such species with other gear types, such as hook-and-line, is low. The commercial catch of other rockfish in the Eastern Regulatory Area, which includes the West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts, has ranged from approximately 70 mt to 248 mt per year over the last decade. • The GOA-wide Atka mackerel TAC is set below the ABC. The estimates of survey biomass continue to be unreliable in the GOA. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS agrees that the Atka mackerel TAC in the GOA be set at an amount to support incidental catch in other directed fisheries. Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 years of E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES2 12062 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for the most recent 5 years of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). This alternative is inconsistent with the objectives of this action because it does not take account of the most recent biological information for this fishery. Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all species to reduce TACs from the upper end of the OY range in the GOA to its lower end of 116,000 mt. Overall, this alternative would reduce 2017 TACs by about 80 percent. This would lead to significant reductions in harvests of species by small entities. While production declines in the GOA would undoubtedly be associated with price increases in the GOA, these increases would still be constrained by the availability of substitutes, and are very unlikely to offset revenue declines from smaller production. Thus, this action would have a detrimental economic impact on small entities. 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 and SIR (see ADDRESSES). 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 would be contrary to the public interest. The Plan Team review occurred in November 2016, and the Council considered and recommended the final harvest specifications in December 2016. Accordingly, NMFS’ review could not begin until January 2017. For all fisheries not currently closed because the TACs established under the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (81 FR 14740, March 18, 2016) were not reached, it is possible that they would be closed prior to the expiration of a 30day delayed effectiveness period because their TACs could be reached within that period. If implemented immediately, this rule would allow these fisheries to continue because some of the new TACs implemented by this rule are higher than the ones under which they are currently fishing. Certain fisheries, such as those for pollock and Pacific cod, are intensive, VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 fast-paced fisheries. Other fisheries, such as those for sablefish, flatfish, rockfish, Atka mackerel, skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, 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 many of these fisheries. If this rule allowed for a 30-day delay in effectiveness and if a TAC were reached during those 30 days, NMFS would close directed fishing or prohibit retention for the applicable species. Any delay in allocating the final TACs in these fisheries would cause confusion to the industry and potential economic harm through unnecessary discards, thus undermining the intent of this rule. Waiving the 30-day delay allows NMFS to prevent economic loss to fishermen that could otherwise occur should the 2017 TACs (set under the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications) be reached. 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. In fisheries subject to declining sideboard limits, a failure to implement the updated sideboard limits before initial season’s end could deny the intended economic protection to the non-sideboarded sectors. Conversely, in fisheries with increasing sideboard limits, economic benefit could be denied to the sideboard limited sectors. If the final harvest specifications are not effective by March 11, 2017, which is the start of the 2017 Pacific halibut season as specified by the IPHC, the hook-and-line sablefish fishery will not begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. This would result in confusion for the industry 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 2017 and 2018 harvest PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 9990 specifications will allow the sablefish IFQ fishery to begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. In addition, the 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 for those species that have lower 2017 ABCs and TACs than those established in the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (81 FR 14740, March 18, 2016). 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 TACs. 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 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications and prohibited species bycatch allowances for the groundfish fisheries of the GOA. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits and associated management measures for groundfish during the 2017 and 2018 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the FMP. This action affects all fishermen who participate in the GOA 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), 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 21, 2017. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–03697 Filed 2–24–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\27FER2.SGM 27FER2

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 37 (Monday, February 27, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 12032-12062]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-03697]



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Vol. 82

Monday,

No. 37

February 27, 2017

Part II





Department of Commerce





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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration





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50 CFR Part 679





Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; 
Final 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 82 , No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / 
Rules and Regulations

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 160920866-7167-02]
RIN 0648-XE904


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of 
Alaska; Final 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish

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

ACTION: Final rule; harvest specifications and closures.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, 
apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for 
the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is 
necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2017 
and 2018 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of 
the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. The 
intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish 
resources in the GOA in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act.

DATES: Harvest specifications and closures are effective at 1200 hours, 
Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 27, 2017, through 2400 hrs, 
A.l.t., December 31, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Final Alaska Groundfish Harvest 
Specifications Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of Decision 
(ROD), and the Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS 
prepared for this action are available from http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The final 2016 Stock Assessment and Fishery 
Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the GOA, dated 
November 2016, is 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: Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the GOA groundfish fisheries in 
the exclusive economic zone of the GOA under the Fishery Management 
Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). The Council prepared 
the FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations 
governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the FMP appear at 50 CFR 
parts 600, 679, and 680.
    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after 
consultation with the Council, to specify the total allowable catch 
(TAC) for each target species, the sum of which must be within the 
optimum yield (OY) range of 116,000 to 800,000 metric tons (mt) (50 CFR 
679.20(a)(1)(i)(B)). Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires NMFS to 
publish and solicit public comment on proposed annual TACs, Pacific 
halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limits, and seasonal allowances 
of pollock and Pacific cod. Upon consideration of public comment 
received under Sec.  679.20(c)(1), NMFS must publish notice of final 
harvest specifications for up to two fishing years as annual TACs, per 
Sec.  679.20(c)(3)(ii). The final harvest specifications set forth in 
Tables 1 through 30 of this document reflect the outcome of this 
process, as required at Sec.  679.20(c).
    The proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications for groundfish of 
the GOA and Pacific halibut PSC limits were published in the Federal 
Register on December 6, 2016 (81 FR 87881). Comments were invited and 
accepted through January 5, 2017. NMFS did not receive any comments on 
the proposed harvest specifications. In December 2016, NMFS consulted 
with the Council regarding the 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications. 
After considering public testimony, as well as biological and economic 
data that were available at the Council's December 2016 meeting, NMFS 
is implementing the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, as 
recommended by the Council. For 2017, the sum of the TAC amounts is 
535,863 mt. For 2018, the sum of the TAC amounts is 483,588 mt.

Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2017 and 2018 Harvest 
Specifications

Amendment 103: Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limit 
Reapportionment Provisions for Trawl Sectors in the Western and Central 
GOA

    In December 2015, the Council recommended for Secretary of Commerce 
(Secretary) review Amendment 103 to the FMP to reapportion unused 
Chinook salmon PSC limits among the GOA pollock and non-pollock trawl 
sectors. Amendment 103 allows NMFS to reapportion the Chinook salmon 
PSC limits established by Amendments 93 and 97 to the FMP to prevent or 
limit fishery closures due to attainment of sector-specific Chinook 
salmon PSC limits, while maintaining the annual, combined 32,500 
Chinook salmon PSC limit for all sectors. The Secretary approved 
Amendment 103 on August 24, 2016. The final rule implementing Amendment 
103 published on September 12, 2016, (81 FR 62659) and became effective 
on October 12, 2016.

Amendment 101: Authorize Longline Pot Gear for Use in the Sablefish IFQ 
Fishery in the GOA

    In April 2015, the Council recommended for Secretarial review 
Amendment 101 to the FMP for the sablefish individual fishing quota 
(IFQ) fisheries in the GOA. Amendment 101 authorizes the use of 
longline pot gear in the GOA sablefish IFQ fishery. The objective of 
that amendment is to increase efficiency in harvesting sablefish IFQ 
and decrease the depredation of sablefish caught on hook-and-line gear 
by whales. The Secretary approved Amendment 101 on November 4, 2016. 
NMFS issued a final rule to implement Amendment 101 to the FMP for the 
sablefish individual fishing quota (IFQ) fisheries in the GOA on 
December 28, 2016 (81 FR 95435). The effective date of this final rule 
has been temporarily stayed in accordance with the memorandum of 
January 20, 2017, from the Assistant to the President and Chief of 
Staff, entitled ``Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,'' published in the 
Federal Register on January 24, 2017. While the effective date of the 
final rule is currently delayed (see 82 FR 8810, January 31, 2017), 
NMFS advises the public that the date of the stay, and therefore the 
effective date of the final rule, may change in the future.

Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Specifications

    In December 2016, the Council, its Advisory Panel (AP), and its 
Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) reviewed the most recent 
biological and harvest information about the condition of groundfish 
stocks in the GOA. This information was compiled by the Council's GOA 
Groundfish Plan Team and was presented in the draft 2016 SAFE report 
for the GOA groundfish fisheries, dated November 2016 (see ADDRESSES). 
The SAFE report contains a review of the latest scientific analyses and 
estimates of each species' biomass and other biological parameters, as 
well as summaries of the available information on the GOA ecosystem and 
the economic condition of the

[[Page 12033]]

groundfish fisheries off Alaska. From these data and analyses, the Plan 
Team estimates an overfishing level (OFL) and ABC for each species or 
species group. The 2016 report was made available for public review 
during the public comment period for the proposed harvest 
specifications.
    In previous years, the greatest changes from the proposed to the 
final harvest specifications have been based on recent NMFS stock 
surveys, which provide updated estimates of stock biomass and spatial 
distribution, and changes to the models used for producing stock 
assessments. At the November 2016 Plan Team meeting, NMFS scientists 
presented updated and new survey results, changes to stock assessment 
models, and accompanying stock assessment estimates for all groundfish 
species and species groups that are included in the final 2016 SAFE 
report. The SSC reviewed this information at the December 2016 Council 
meeting. Changes from the proposed to the final 2017 and 2018 harvest 
specifications are discussed below.
    The final 2017 and 2018 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are based on the best 
available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected 
biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, 
and revised methods used to calculate stock biomass. The FMP specifies 
the formulas, or tiers, to be used to compute OFLs and ABCs. The 
formulas applicable to a particular stock or stock complex are 
determined by the level of reliable information available to fisheries 
scientists. This information is categorized into a successive series of 
six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts, with Tier 1 representing the 
highest level of information quality available and Tier 6 representing 
the lowest level of information quality available. The Plan Team used 
the FMP tier structure to calculate OFL and ABC amounts for each 
groundfish species. The SSC adopted the final 2017 and 2018 OFLs and 
ABCs recommended by the Plan Team for all groundfish species, with the 
exception of an adjustment to the sablefish OFLs. The Council adopted 
the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations and the AP's TAC recommendations. 
The final TAC recommendations were based on the ABCs as adjusted for 
other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including 
maintaining the sum of all TACs within the required OY range of 116,000 
to 800,000 mt.
    The Council recommended 2017 and 2018 TACs that are equal to ABCs 
for pollock, sablefish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, Pacific ocean 
perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, dusky rockfish, rougheye 
rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, thornyhead rockfish, big skate, 
longnose skate, other skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses 
in the GOA. The Council recommended TACs for 2017 and 2018 that are 
less than the ABCs for Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish in the 
Western GOA, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole in the Western and 
Central GOA, ``other rockfish'' in the Southeast Outside (SEO) 
District, and Atka mackerel. The Pacific cod TACs are set to 
accommodate the State of Alaska's (State's) guideline harvest levels 
(GHLs) for Pacific cod so that the ABCs are not exceeded. The shallow-
water flatfish, arrowtooth flounder, and flathead sole TACs are set to 
allow for increased harvest opportunities for these target species 
while conserving the halibut PSC limit for use in other, more fully 
utilized fisheries. The ``other rockfish'' TAC in the SEO District is 
set to reduce the amount of discards of the species in that complex. 
The Atka mackerel TAC is set to accommodate incidental catch amounts in 
other fisheries.
    The final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications approved by the 
Secretary are unchanged from those recommended by the Council and are 
consistent with the preferred harvest strategy alternative in the EIS 
(see ADDRESSES). NMFS finds that the Council's recommended OFLs, ABCs, 
and TACs are consistent with the biological condition of the groundfish 
stocks as described in the final 2016 SAFE report. NMFS also finds that 
the Council's recommendations for OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent 
with the biological condition of groundfish stocks as adjusted for 
other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including 
maintaining the total TAC within the OY range. NMFS reviewed the 
Council's recommended TAC specifications and apportionments, and NMFS 
approves these harvest specifications under 50 CFR 679.20(c)(3)(ii). 
The apportionment of TAC amounts among gear types and sectors, 
processing sectors, and seasons is discussed below.
    Tables 1 and 2 list the final 2017 and 2018 OFLs, ABCs, TACs, and 
area apportionments of groundfish in the GOA. The sums of the 2017 and 
2018 ABCs are 667,877 mt and 597,052 mt, respectively, which are lower 
in 2017 and 2018 than the 2016 ABC sum of 727,684 mt (81 FR 14740, 
March 18, 2016). The 2017 harvest specifications set in this final 
action will supersede the 2017 harvest specifications previously set in 
the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (81 FR 14740, March 18, 
2016). The 2018 harvest specifications herein will be superseded in 
early 2018 when the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications are 
published. Pursuant to this final action, the 2017 harvest 
specifications therefore will apply for the remainder of the current 
year (2017), while the 2018 harvest specifications are projected only 
for the following year (2018) and will be superseded in early 2018 by 
the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications. Because this final 
action (published in early 2017) will be superseded in early 2018 by 
the publication of the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications, it 
is projected that this final action will implement the harvest 
specifications for the Gulf of Alaska for approximately one year.

Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts

    NMFS' apportionment of groundfish species is based on the 
distribution of biomass among the regulatory areas over which NMFS 
manages the species. Additional regulations govern the apportionment of 
pollock, Pacific cod, and sablefish. Additional detail on the 
apportionment of pollock, Pacific cod, and sablefish are described 
below.
    The ABC for the pollock stock in the combined Western, Central, and 
West Yakutat Regulatory Areas (W/C/WYK) includes the amount for the GHL 
established by the State for the Prince William Sound (PWS) pollock 
fishery. The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and Council have recommended that the 
sum of all State and Federal water pollock removals from the GOA not 
exceed ABC recommendations. For 2017 and 2018, the SSC recommended and 
the Council approved the W/C/WYK pollock ABC, including the amount to 
account for the State's PWS GHL. At the November 2016 Plan Team 
meeting, State fisheries managers recommended setting the PWS GHL at 
2.5 percent of the annual W/C/WYK pollock ABC. For 2017, this yields a 
PWS pollock GHL of 5,094 mt, a decrease of 1,264 mt from the 2016 PWS 
GHL of 6,358 mt. For 2018, the PWS pollock GHL is 3,937 mt, a decrease 
of 2,421 mt from the 2016 PWS pollock GHL. After the GHL reductions, 
the 2017 and 2018 pollock ABC for the combined W/C/WYK areas is then 
apportioned between four statistical areas (Areas 610, 620, 630, and 
640) as both ABCs and TACs, as described below and detailed in Tables 1 
and 2. The total ABCs and TACs for the four statistical areas, plus the 
State GHL, do not exceed the combined W/C/WYK ABC.
    Apportionments of pollock to the W/C/WYK management areas are

[[Page 12034]]

considered to be ``apportionments of annual catch limits (ACLs)'' 
rather than ``ABCs.'' This more accurately reflects that such 
apportionments address management, rather than biological or 
conservation, concerns. In addition, apportionments of the ACL in this 
manner allow NMFS to balance any transfer of TAC from one area to 
another pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B) to ensure that the area-
wide ACL and ABC are not exceeded.
    NMFS establishes pollock TACs in the Western, Central, West Yakutat 
Regulatory Areas, and the Southeast Outside District of the GOA (see 
Tables 1 and 2). NMFS also establishes seasonal apportionments of the 
annual pollock TAC in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the 
GOA among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630. These apportionments are 
divided equally among each of the following four seasons: The A season 
(January 20 through March 10), the B season (March 10 through May 31), 
the C season (August 25 through October 1), and the D season (October 1 
through November 1) (Sec.  679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), and Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A) and (B)). Additional detail is provided below; 
Tables 3 and 4 list these amounts.
    The 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs are set to accommodate the 
State's GHL for Pacific cod in State waters in the Western and Central 
Regulatory Areas, as well as in PWS. The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and 
Council recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific 
cod removals from the GOA not exceed ABC recommendations. Accordingly, 
the Council set the 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs in the Western, 
Central, and Eastern Regulatory Areas to account for State GHLs. 
Therefore, the 2017 Pacific cod TACs are less than the ABCs by the 
following amounts: (1) Western GOA, 10,887 mt; (2) Central GOA, 11,045 
mt; and (3) Eastern GOA, 1,968 mt. The 2018 Pacific cod TACs are less 
than the ABCs by the following amounts: (1) Western GOA, 9,770 mt; (2) 
Central GOA, 9,911 mt; and (3) Eastern GOA, 1,766 mt. These amounts 
reflect the State's 2017 and 2018 GHLs in these areas, which are 30 
percent of the Western GOA ABC and 25 percent of the Eastern and 
Central ABCs.
    NMFS establishes seasonal apportionments of the annual Pacific cod 
TAC in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. Sixty percent of the 
annual TAC is apportioned to the A season for hook-and-line, pot, and 
jig gear from January 1 through June 10, and for trawl gear from 
January 20 through June 10. Forty percent of the annual TAC is 
apportioned to the B season for hook-and-line, pot, and jig gear from 
September 1 through December 31, and for trawl gear from September 1 
through November 1 (Sec. Sec.  679.23(d)(3) and 679.20(a)(12)). The 
Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs are allocated among various 
gear and operational sectors. The Pacific cod sector apportionments are 
discussed in detail in a subsequent section of this preamble.
    The Council's recommendation for sablefish area apportionments 
takes into account the prohibition on the use of trawl gear in the SEO 
District of the Eastern Regulatory Area and makes available 5 percent 
of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area ABCs to trawl gear for use as 
incidental catch in other groundfish fisheries in the WYK District 
(Sec.  679.20(a)(4)(i)). Tables 7 and 8 list the final 2017 and 2018 
allocations of sablefish TAC to hook-and-line and trawl gear in the 
GOA.

Changes From the Proposed 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications in the 
GOA

    In October 2016, the Council's recommendations for the proposed 
2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87881, December 6, 2016) 
were based largely on information contained in the final 2015 SAFE 
report for the GOA groundfish fisheries, dated November 2015. The final 
2015 SAFE report for the GOA is available from the Council (see 
ADDRESSES). The Council proposed that the final OFLs, ABCs, and TACs 
established for the 2017 groundfish fisheries (81 FR 14740, March 18, 
2016) be used for the proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, 
pending completion and review of the final 2016 SAFE report at its 
December 2016 meeting.
    As described previously, the SSC adopted the final 2017 and 2018 
OFLs and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team, except for the sablefish 
OFL. The SSC deducted the amount calculated for whale depredation from 
the sablefish OFL. The Council adopted the SSC's OFL and ABC 
recommendations and the AP's TAC recommendations for 2017 and 2018. The 
final 2017 ABCs are higher than the proposed 2017 ABCs published in the 
proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87881, December 6, 
2016) for Pacific cod, sablefish, shallow-water flatfish, deep-water 
flatfish, rex sole, flathead sole, northern rockfish, and rougheye 
rockfish. The final 2017 ABCs are lower than the proposed 2017 and 2018 
ABCs for pollock, arrowtooth flounder, Pacific ocean perch, dusky 
rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, and squids.
    The final 2018 ABCs are higher than the proposed ABCs for 
sablefish, shallow-water flatfish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, and 
flathead sole. The final 2018 ABCs are lower than the proposed ABCs for 
pollock, Pacific cod, arrowtooth flounder, Pacific ocean perch, 
northern rockfish, dusky rockfish, rougheye rockfish, demersal shelf 
rockfish, and squids. For the remaining target species, the Council 
recommended the final 2017 and 2018 ABCs that are the same as the 
proposed 2017 and 2018 ABCs.
    Additional information explaining the changes between the proposed 
and final ABCs is included in the final 2016 SAFE report, which was not 
available when the Council made its proposed ABC and TAC 
recommendations in October 2016. At that time, the most recent stock 
assessment information was contained in the final 2015 SAFE report. The 
final 2016 SAFE report contains the best and most recent scientific 
information on the condition of the groundfish stocks, as previously 
discussed in this preamble, and is available for review (see 
ADDRESSES). The Council considered the final 2016 SAFE report in 
December 2016 when it made recommendations for the final 2017 and 2018 
harvest specifications. In the GOA, the total final 2017 TAC amount is 
535,863 mt, a decrease of 7 percent from the total proposed 2017 TAC 
amount of 573,872 mt. The total final 2018 TAC amount is 483,588 mt, a 
decrease of 16 percent from the total proposed 2018 TAC amount of 
573,872 mt. Table 1a summarizes the difference between the proposed and 
final TACs. Annual stock assessments incorporate a variety of new or 
revised inputs, such as survey data or catch information, as well as 
changes to the statistical models used to estimate a species' biomass 
and population trend. In 2016, most stocks were not directly surveyed, 
as the GOA trawl survey is conducted every other year. Thus, most 
changes to biomass and ABC estimates are based on fishery catch updates 
to species' assessment models. Some species, such as pollock and 
sablefish, have additional surveys conducted on an annual basis, which 
result in additional data being available for the assessments for these 
stocks.
    Based on changes in the estimates of overall biomass made by stock 
assessment scientists for 2017 and 2018, as compared to the estimates 
previously made for 2015 and 2016, the greatest TAC percentage 
increases are for sablefish, shallow-water flatfish, rex sole, and Atka 
mackerel. One notable increase includes that made for sablefish. The 
increase in the sablefish ABC and TAC is a result of the inclusion of 
new catch, abundance, and age datasets, as well as adjustments to

[[Page 12035]]

the sablefish assessment model. Another notable increase between the 
proposed and final TACs includes the 2017 and 2018 TACs for Atka 
mackerel, which increased because of public interest in additional 
opportunities to catch and retain Atka mackerel. The AP recommended, 
and the Council adopted, this increase.
    Based on changes in the estimates of biomass, the greatest decrease 
in TACs is for pollock. The pollock assessment model incorporated 2016 
survey data, as well as changes to the model. A notable model change 
included using a random-effects model to calculate the weight-at-age of 
pollock, rather than a 5-year average weight-at-age. This change 
resulted in a downward calculation of biomass and ABC, with additional 
declines expected in the short-term.
    For all other species and species groups, changes from the proposed 
2017 TACs to the final 2017 TACs are within a range of plus or minus 4 
percent. The changes from the proposed 2018 TACs to the final 2018 TACs 
are within a range of plus or minus 8 percent. These TAC changes 
correspond to associated changes in the ABCs and TACs, as recommended 
by the SSC, AP, and Council.
    Detailed information providing the basis for the changes described 
above is contained in the final 2016 SAFE report. The final TACs are 
based on the best scientific information available. These TACs are 
specified in compliance with the harvest strategy described in the 
proposed and final rules for the 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications. 
The changes in TACs between the proposed rule and this final rule are 
compared in Table 1a.

                                Table 1a--Comparison of Proposed and Final 2017 and 2018 GOA Total Allowable Catch Limits
                                              [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentage]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            2017 Final                                      2018 Final
                 Species                   2017 and 2018  2017 Final TAC    minus 2017      Percentage    2018 Final TAC    minus 2018      Percentage
                                           proposed TAC                    proposed TAC     difference                     proposed TAC     difference
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock.................................         254,200         208,595         -45,605             -18         163,479         -90,721             -36
Pacific cod.............................          62,150          64,442           2,292               4          57,825          -4,325              -7
Sablefish...............................           8,307          10,074           1,767              21          10,207           1,900              23
Shallow-water flatfish..................          34,855          36,843           1,988               6          36,979           2,124               6
Deep-water flatfish.....................           9,281           9,292              11               0           9,382             101               1
Rex sole................................           7,507           8,311             804              11           8,421             914              12
Arrowtooth flounder.....................         103,300         103,300               0               0         103,300               0               0
Flathead sole...........................          27,850          27,856               6               0          27,920              70               0
Pacific ocean perch.....................          24,189          23,918            -271              -1          23,454            -735              -3
Northern rockfish.......................           3,768           3,786              18               0           3,508            -260              -7
Shortraker rockfish.....................            1286           1,286               0               0            1286               0               0
Dusky rockfish..........................           4,284           4,278              -6               0           3,954            -330              -8
Rougheye rockfish.......................           1,325           1,327               2               0           1,318              -7              -1
Demersal shelf rockfish.................             231             227              -4              -2             227              -4              -2
Thornyhead rockfish.....................           1,961           1,961               0               0           1,961               0               0
Other rockfish..........................           2,308           2,308               0               0           2,308               0               0
Atka mackerel...........................           2,000           3,000           1,000              50           3,000           1,000              50
Big skate...............................           3,814           3,814               0               0           3,814               0               0
Longnose skate..........................           3,206           3,206               0               0           3,206               0               0
Other skates............................           1,919           1,919               0               0           1,919               0               0
Sculpins................................           5,591           5,591               0               0           5,591               0               0
Sharks..................................           4,514           4,514               0               0           4,514               0               0
Squids..................................           1,148           1,137             -11              -1           1,137             -11              -1
Octopuses...............................           4,878           4,878               0               0           4,878               0               0
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................         573,872         535,863         -38,009              -7         483,588         -90,284             -16
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The final 2017 and 2018 TAC recommendations for the GOA are within 
the OY range established for the GOA and do not exceed the ABC for any 
species or species group. Tables 1 and 2 list the final OFL, ABC, and 
TAC amounts for GOA groundfish for 2017 and 2018, respectively.

 Table 1--Final 2017 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs of Groundfish for the Western/Central/West Yakutat, Western, Central,
   Eastern Regulatory Areas, and in the West Yakutat, Southeast Outside, and Gulfwide Districts of the Gulf of
                                                     Alaska
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Species                         Area \1\                OFL             ABC             TAC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \2\...........................  Shumagin (610)..........             n/a          43,602          43,602
                                        Chirikof (620)..........             n/a          98,652          98,652
                                        Kodiak (630)............             n/a          48,929          48,929
                                        WYK (640)...............             n/a           7,492           7,492
                                        W/C/WYK (subtotal) \2\..         235,807         203,769         198,675
                                        SEO (650)...............          13,226           9,920           9,920
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................         249,033         213,689         208,595
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod \3\.......................  W.......................             n/a          36,291          25,404
                                        C.......................             n/a          44,180          33,135

[[Page 12036]]

 
                                        E.......................             n/a           7,871           5,903
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................         105,378          88,342          64,442
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish \4\.........................  W.......................             n/a           1,349           1,349
                                        C.......................             n/a           4,514           4,514
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           1,605           1,605
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           2,606           2,606
                                        E (WYK and SEO)                      n/a           4,211           4,211
                                         (subtotal).
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          11,885          10,074          10,074
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shallow-water flatfish \5\............  W.......................             n/a          20,921          13,250
                                        C.......................             n/a          19,306          19,306
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           3,188           3,188
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,099           1,099
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          54,583          44,514          36,843
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deep-water flatfish \6\...............  W.......................             n/a             256             256
                                        C.......................             n/a           3,454           3,454
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           3,017           3,017
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           2,565           2,565
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          11,182           9,292           9,292
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rex sole..............................  W.......................             n/a           1,459           1,459
                                        C.......................             n/a           4,930           4,930
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             850             850
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,072           1,072
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          10,860           8,311           8,311
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arrowtooth flounder...................  W.......................             n/a          28,100          14,500
                                        C.......................             n/a         107,934          75,000
                                        WYK.....................             n/a          37,405           6,900
                                        SEO.....................  ..............          12,654           6,900
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................         219,327         186,093         103,300
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flathead sole.........................  W.......................             n/a          11,098           8,650
                                        C.......................             n/a          20,339          15,400
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           2,949           2,949
                                        SEO.....................             n/a             857             857
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          43,128          35,243          27,856
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch \7\...............  W.......................             n/a           2,679           2,679
                                        C.......................             n/a          16,671          16,671
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           2,786           2,786
                                        W/C/WYK subtotal........          25,753          22,136          22,136
                                        SEO.....................           2,073           1,782           1,782
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          27,826          23,918          23,918
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Northern rockfish \8\.................  W.......................             n/a             432             432
                                        C.......................             n/a           3,354           3,354
                                        E.......................             n/a               4
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           4,522           3,790           3,786
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shortraker rockfish \9\...............  W.......................             n/a              38              38
                                        C.......................             n/a             301             301
                                        E.......................             n/a             947             947
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           1,715           1,286           1,286
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dusky rockfish \10\...................  W.......................             n/a             158             158
                                        C.......................             n/a           3,786           3,786
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             251             251
                                        SEO.....................             n/a              83              83
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           5,233           4,278           4,278
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rougheye and Blackspotted rockfish      W.......................             n/a             105             105
 \11\.
                                        C.......................             n/a             706             706
                                        E.......................             n/a             516             516
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------

[[Page 12037]]

 
                                           Total................           1,594           1,327           1,327
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Demersal shelf rockfish \12\..........  SEO.....................             357             227             227
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thornyhead rockfish...................  W.......................             n/a             291             291
                                        C.......................             n/a             988             988
                                        E.......................             n/a             682             682
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           2,615           1,961           1,961
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other rockfish 13 14..................  W and C.................             n/a           1,534           1,534
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             574             574
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           3,665             200
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           7,424           5,773           2,308
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atka mackerel.........................  GW......................           6,200           4,700           3,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Big skate \15\........................  W.......................             n/a             908             908
                                        C.......................             n/a           1,850           1,850
                                        E.......................             n/a           1,056           1,056
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           5,086           3,814           3,814
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Longnose skate \16\...................  W.......................             n/a              61              61
                                        C.......................             n/a           2,513           2,513
                                        E.......................             n/a             632             632
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           4,274           3,206           3,206
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other skates \17\.....................  GW......................           2,558           1,919           1,919
Sculpins..............................  GW......................           7,338           5,591           5,591
Sharks................................  GW......................           6,020           4,514           4,514
Squids................................  GW......................           1,516           1,137           1,137
Octopus...............................  GW......................           6,504           4,878           4,878
                                       -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.............................  ........................         796,158         667,877         535,863
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   679.2. (W=Western Gulf of Alaska; C=Central Gulf of
  Alaska; E=Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK=West Yakutat District; SEO=Southeast Outside District; GW=Gulf-wide).
\2\ The total for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas pollock ABC is 203,769 mt. After deducting 2.5 percent (5,094 mt)
  of that ABC for the State's pollock GHL fishery, the remaining pollock ABC of 198,675 mt (for the W/C/WYK
  Regulatory Areas) is apportioned among four statistical areas (Areas 610, 620, 630, and 640). These
  apportionments are considered subarea ACLs, rather than ABCs, for specification and reapportionment purposes.
  The ACLs in Areas 610, 620, and 630 are further divided by season, as detailed in Table 3. In the West Yakutat
  (Area 640) and Southeast Outside (Area 650) Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided
  into seasonal allowances.
\3\ The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned 60 percent to the A season and 40 percent to the B season in the
  Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA. Pacific cod in the Eastern Regulatory Area is allocated 90
  percent for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent for processing by the offshore component. Table
  5 lists the final 2017 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments.
\4\ Sablefish is allocated to trawl and hook-and-line gear in 2017. Table 7 lists the final 2017 allocations of
  sablefish TACs.
\5\ ``Shallow-water flatfish'' means flatfish not including ``deep-water flatfish,'' flathead sole, rex sole, or
  arrowtooth flounder.
\6\ ``Deep-water flatfish'' means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deepsea sole.
\7\ ``Pacific ocean perch'' means Sebastes alutus.
\8\ ``Northern rockfish'' means Sebastes polyspinis. For management purposes the 4 mt apportionment of ABC to
  the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the ``other rockfish'' species group.
\9\ ``Shortraker rockfish'' means Sebastes borealis.
\10\ ``Dusky rockfish'' means Sebastes variabilis.
\11\ ``Rougheye rockfish'' means Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted).
\12\ ``Demersal shelf rockfish'' means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper),
  S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye).
\13\ ``Other rockfish'' means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S. paucispinis (bocaccio),
  S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S. variegatus (harlequin), S.
  wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus (sharpchin), S. jordani
  (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergrey), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola (stripetail), S. miniatus
  (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA
  only, other rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinis.
\14\ ``Other rockfish'' in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means other
  rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. The ``other rockfish'' species group in the SEO District only includes
  other rockfish.
\15\ ``Big skate'' means Raja binoculata.
\16\ ``Longnose skate'' means Raja rhina.
\17\ ``Other skates'' means Bathyraja spp.


[[Page 12038]]


 Table 2--Final 2018 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs of Groundfish for the Western/Central/West Yakutat, Western, Central,
   Eastern Regulatory Areas, and in the West Yakutat, Southeast Outside, and Gulfwide Districts of the Gulf of
                                                     Alaska
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Species                         Area \1\                OFL             ABC             TAC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \2\...........................  Shumagin (610)..........             n/a          33,701          33,701
                                        Chirikof (620)..........             n/a          76,249          76,249
                                        Kodiak (630)............             n/a          37,818          37,818
                                        WYK (640)...............             n/a           5,791           5,791
                                        W/C/WYK (subtotal) \2\..         182,204         157,496         153,559
                                        SEO (650)...............          13,226           9,920           9,920
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................         195,430         167,416         163,479
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod \3\.......................  W.......................             n/a          32,565          22,795
                                        C.......................             n/a          39,644          29,733
                                        E.......................             n/a           7,063           5,297
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          94,188          79,272          57,825
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish \4\.........................  W.......................             n/a           1,367           1,367
                                        C.......................             n/a           4,574           4,574
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           1,626           1,626
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           2,640           2,640
                                        E (WYK and SEO)                      n/a           4,266           4,266
                                         (subtotal).
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          12,045          10,207          10,207
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shallow-water flatfish \5\............  W.......................             n/a          21,042          13,250
                                        C.......................             n/a          19,418          19,418
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           3,206           3,206
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,105           1,105
                                           Total................          54,893          44,771          36,979
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deep-water flatfish \6\...............  W.......................             n/a             257             257
                                        C.......................             n/a           3,488           3,488
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           3,047           3,047
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           2,590           2,590
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          11,290           9,382           9,382
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rex sole..............................  W.......................             n/a           1,478           1,478
                                        C.......................             n/a           4,995           4,995
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             861             861
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,087           1,087
                                           Total................          11,004           8,421           8,421
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arrowtooth flounder...................  W.......................             n/a          25,747          14,500
                                        C.......................             n/a          98,895          75,000
                                        WYK.....................             n/a          34,273           6,900
                                        SEO.....................             n/a          11,595           6,900
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................         196,635         170,510         103,300
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Flathead sole.........................  W.......................             n/a          11,282           8,650
                                        C.......................             n/a          20,677          15,400
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           2,998           2,998
                                        SEO.....................             n/a             872             872
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          43,872          35,829          27,920
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch \7\...............  W.......................             n/a           2,627           2,627
                                        C.......................             n/a          16,347          16,347
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           2,733           2,733
                                        W/C/WYK.................          25,252          21,707          21,707
                                        SEO.....................           2,032           1,747           1,747
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          27,284          23,454          23,454
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Northern rockfish \8\.................  W.......................             n/a             400             400
                                        C.......................             n/a           3,108           3,108
                                        E.......................             n/a               4  ..............
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           4,175           3,512           3,508
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shortraker rockfish \9\...............  W.......................             n/a              38              38
                                        C.......................             n/a             301             301
                                        E.......................             n/a             947             947
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           1,715           1,286           1,286
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dusky rockfish \10\...................  W.......................             n/a             146             146
                                        C.......................             n/a           3,499           3,499

[[Page 12039]]

 
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             232             232
                                        SEO.....................             n/a              77              77
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           4,837           3,954           3,954
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rougheye and Blackspotted rockfish      W.......................             n/a             104             104
 \11\.
                                        C.......................             n/a             702             702
                                        E.......................             n/a             512             512
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           1,583           1,318           1,318
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Demersal shelf rockfish \12\..........  SEO.....................             357             227             227
Thornyhead rockfish...................  W.......................             n/a             291             291
                                        C.......................             n/a             988             988
                                        E.......................             n/a             682             682
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           2,615           1,961           1,961
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other rockfish 13 14..................  W and C.................             n/a           1,534           1,534
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             574             574
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           3,665             200
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           7,424           5,773           2,308
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atka mackerel.........................  GW......................           6,200           4,700           3,000
Big skate \15\........................  W.......................             n/a             908             908
                                        C.......................             n/a           1,850           1,850
                                        E.......................             n/a           1,056           1,056
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           5,086           3,814           3,814
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Longnose skate \16\...................  W.......................             n/a              61              61
                                        C.......................             n/a           2,513           2,513
                                        E.......................             n/a             632             632
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           4,274           3,206           3,206
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other skates \17\.....................  GW......................           2,558           1,919           1,919
Sculpins                                GW......................           7,338           5,591           5,591
Sharks                                  GW......................           6,020           4,514           4,514
Squids                                  GW......................           1,516           1,137           1,137
Octopus                                 GW......................           6,504           4,878           4,878
                                       -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.............................  ........................         708,843         597,052         483,588
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   679.2. (W=Western Gulf of Alaska; C=Central Gulf of
  Alaska; E=Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK=West Yakutat District; SEO=Southeast Outside District; GW=Gulf-wide).
\2\ The total for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas pollock ABC is 157,496 mt. After deducting 2.5 percent (3,937 mt)
  of that ABC for the State's pollock GHL fishery, the remaining pollock ABC of 153,559 mt (for the W/C/WYK
  Regulatory Areas) is apportioned among four statistical areas (Areas 610, 620, 630, and 640). These
  apportionments are considered subarea ACLs, rather than ABCs, for specification and reapportionment purposes.
  The ACLs in Areas 610, 620, and 630 are further divided by season, as detailed in Table 3. In the West Yakutat
  (Area 640) and Southeast Outside (Area 650) Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided
  into seasonal allowances.
\3\ The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned 60 percent to the A season and 40 percent to the B season in the
  Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA. Pacific cod in the Eastern Regulatory Area is allocated 90
  percent for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent for processing by the offshore component. Table
  6 lists the final 2017 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments.
\4\ Sablefish is only allocated to trawl gear for 2018. Table 8 lists the final 2018 allocation of sablefish
  TACs to trawl gear.
\5\ ``Shallow-water flatfish'' means flatfish not including ``deep-water flatfish,'' flathead sole, rex sole, or
  arrowtooth flounder.
\6\ ``Deep-water flatfish'' means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deepsea sole.
\7\ ``Pacific ocean perch'' means Sebastes alutus.
\8\ ``Northern rockfish'' means Sebastes polyspinis. For management purposes the 4 mt apportionment of ABC to
  the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the ``other rockfish'' species group.
\9\ ``Shortraker rockfish'' means Sebastes borealis.
\10\ ``Dusky rockfish'' means Sebastes variabilis.
\11\ ``Rougheye rockfish'' means Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted).
\12\ ``Demersal shelf rockfish'' means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper),
  S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye).
\13\ ``Other rockfish'' means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S. paucispinis (bocaccio),
  S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S. variegatus (harlequin), S.
  wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus (sharpchin), S. jordani
  (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergrey), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola (stripetail), S. miniatus
  (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA
  only, other rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinis.
\14\ ``Other rockfish'' in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means other
  rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. The ``other rockfish'' species group in the SEO District only includes
  other rockfish.
\15\ ``Big skate'' means Raja binoculata.
\16\ ``Longnose skate'' means Raja rhina.
\17\ ``Other skates'' means Bathyraja spp.


[[Page 12040]]

Apportionment of Reserves

    Section 679.20(b)(2) requires NMFS to set aside 20 percent of each 
TAC for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, sculpins, sharks, squids, and 
octopuses in reserve for possible apportionment at a later date during 
the fishing year. For 2017 and 2018, NMFS proposed reapportionment of 
all the reserves in the proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications 
published in the Federal Register on December 6, 2016 (81 FR 87881). 
NMFS did not receive any public comments on the proposed 
reapportionments. For the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, 
NMFS reapportioned, as proposed, all the reserves for pollock, Pacific 
cod, flatfish, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses back into the 
original TAC limit from which the reserve was derived. This was done 
because NMFS expects, based on recent harvest patterns, that such 
reserves are not necessary and the entire TAC for each of these species 
will be caught. The TACs listed in Tables 1 and 2 reflect 
reapportionments of reserve amounts to the original TAC limit for these 
species and species groups; i.e., each proposed TAC for the above 
mentioned species categories contains the full TAC recommended by the 
Council.

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

    In the GOA, pollock is apportioned by season and area, and is 
further allocated for processing by inshore and offshore components. 
Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B), the annual pollock TAC specified 
for the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA is apportioned 
into four equal seasonal allowances of 25 percent. As established by 
Sec.  679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season 
allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to May 
31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively.
    Pollock TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA 
are apportioned among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, pursuant to 
Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A). In the A and B seasons, the apportionments 
were in proportion to the distribution of pollock biomass based on the 
four most recent NMFS winter surveys. In the C and D seasons, the 
apportionments were in proportion to the distribution of pollock 
biomass based on the four most recent NMFS summer surveys. For 2017 and 
2018, the Council recommended, and NMFS approved, following the 
apportionment methodology, which was used previously for the 2016 and 
2017 harvest specifications. This methodology averages the winter and 
summer distribution of pollock in the Central Regulatory Area for the A 
season instead of using the distribution based on only the winter 
surveys. The average is intended to reflect the best available 
information about migration patterns, distribution of pollock, and the 
performance of the fishery in the area during the A season for the 2017 
and 2018 fishing years. For the A season, the apportionment is based on 
an adjusted estimate of the relative distribution of pollock biomass of 
approximately 5 percent, 72 percent, and 23 percent in Statistical 
Areas 610, 620, and 630, respectively. For the B season, the 
apportionment is based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass 
at 5 percent, 82 percent, and 13 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, 
and 630, respectively. For the C and D seasons, the apportionment is 
based on the relative distribution of pollock biomass at 41 percent, 26 
percent, and 33 percent in Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630, 
respectively. The pollock chapter of the 2016 SAFE report (see 
ADDRESSES) contains a comprehensive description of the apportionment 
process and reasons for the minor changes from past apportionments.
    Within any fishing year, the amount by which a seasonal allowance 
is underharvested or overharvested may be added to, or subtracted from, 
subsequent seasonal allowances for the Western and Central Regulatory 
Areas in a manner to be determined by the Regional Administrator (Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The rollover amount is limited to 20 percent of 
the subsequent seasonal apportionment for the statistical area. Any 
unharvested pollock above the 20-percent limit could be further 
distributed to the other statistical areas, in proportion to the 
estimated biomass in the subsequent season in those statistical areas 
and in an amount no more than 20 percent of the seasonal TAC 
apportionment for the statistical area (Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The 
pollock TACs in the WYK and SEO District of 7,492 mt and 9,920 mt, 
respectively, in 2017, and 5,791 mt and 9,920 mt, respectively, in 
2018, are not allocated by season.
    Section 679.20(a)(6)(i) requires the allocation of 100 percent of 
the pollock TAC in all regulatory areas and all seasonal allowances to 
vessels catching pollock for processing by the inshore component after 
subtraction of amounts projected by the Regional Administrator to be 
caught by, or delivered to, the offshore component incidental to 
directed fishing for other groundfish species. Thus, the amount of 
pollock available for harvest by vessels harvesting pollock for 
processing by the offshore component is that amount that will be taken 
as incidental catch during directed fishing for groundfish species 
other than pollock, up to the maximum retainable amounts allowed by 
Sec.  679.20(e) and (f). At this time, these incidental catch amounts 
of pollock are unknown and will be determined during the fishing year 
during the course of fishing activities by the offshore component.
    Tables 3 and 4 list the final 2017 and 2018 seasonal biomass 
distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, 
area apportionments, and seasonal allowances. The amounts of pollock 
for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown.

 Table 3--Final 2017 Distribution of Pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA; Seasonal Biomass Distribution, Area Apportionments;
                                                          and Seasonal Allowances of Annual TAC
                             [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages are rounded to the nearest 0.01]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Season \1\                       Shumagin (area 610)
                                                Chirikof (area 620)
                                                 Kodiak (area 630)           Total \2\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A (Jan 20-Mar 10).......................           2,232           4.67%          34,549          72.29%          11,014          23.04%          47,796
B (Mar 10-May 31).......................           2,232           4.67%          39,420          82.48%           6,143          12.85%          47,796
C (Aug 25-Oct 1)........................          19,569          40.94%          12,341          25.82%          15,886          33.24%          47,796
D (Oct 1-Nov 1).........................          19,569          40.94%          12,341          25.82%          15,886          33.24%          47,796
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 12041]]

 
    Annual Total........................          43,602  ..............          98,652  ..............          48,929  ..............         191,183
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ As established by Sec.   679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to
  May 31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore
  components are not shown in this table.
\2\ The WYK and SEO District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table.


 Table 4--Final 2018 Distribution of Pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA; Seasonal Biomass Distribution, Area Apportionments;
                                                          and Seasonal Allowances of Annual TAC
                             [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages are rounded to the nearest 0.01]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Season \1\                       Shumagin (area 610)
                                                Chirikof (area 620)
                                                 Kodiak (area 630)           Total \2\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A (Jan 20-Mar 10).......................           1,725           4.67%          26,704          72.29%           8,513          23.04%          36,942
B (Mar 10-May 31).......................           1,725           4.67%          30,469          82.48%           4,748          12.85%          36,942
C (Aug 25-Oct 1)........................          15,125          40.94%           9,538          25.82%          12,278          33.24%          36,942
D (Oct 1-Nov 1).........................          15,125          40.94%           9,538          25.82%          12,278          33.24%          36,942
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Annual Total........................          33,701  ..............          76,249  ..............          37,818  ..............         147,768
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ As established by Sec.   679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to
  May 31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore
  components are not shown in this table.
\2\ The WYK and SEO District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table.

Annual and Seasonal Apportionments of Pacific Cod TAC

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i), NMFS allocates the Pacific cod 
TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA among gear 
and operational sectors. NMFS also allocates the 2017 and 2018 Pacific 
cod TACs annually between the inshore (90 percent) and offshore (10 
percent) components in the Eastern GOA (Sec.  679.20(a)(6)(ii)). In the 
Central GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is apportioned seasonally first to 
vessels using jig gear, and then among catcher vessels (CVs) less than 
50 feet in length overall using hook-and-line gear, CVs equal to or 
greater than 50 feet in length overall using hook-and-line gear, 
catcher/processors (C/Ps) using hook-and-line gear, CVs using trawl 
gear, C/Ps using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear (Sec.  
679.20(a)(12)(i)(B)). In the Western GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is 
apportioned seasonally first to vessels using jig gear, and then among 
CVs using hook-and-line gear, C/Ps using hook-and-line gear, CVs using 
trawl gear, C/Ps using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear (Sec.  
679.20(a)(12)(i)(A)). The overall seasonal apportionments in the 
Western and Central GOA are 60 percent of the annual TAC to the A 
season and 40 percent of the annual TAC to the B season.
    Under Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(ii), any overage or underage of the 
Pacific cod allowance from the A season will be subtracted from, or 
added to, the subsequent B season allowance. In addition, any portion 
of the hook-and-line, trawl, pot, or jig sector allocations that NMFS 
determines is likely to go unharvested by a sector may be reapportioned 
to other sectors for harvest during the remainder of the fishery year 
in accordance with Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(ii).
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i)(A) and (B), a portion of the 
annual Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central GOA will be 
allocated to vessels with a Federal Fisheries Permit (FFP) that use jig 
gear before TAC is apportioned among other non-jig sectors. In 
accordance with the FMP, the annual jig sector allocations may increase 
to up to 6 percent of the annual Western and Central GOA Pacific cod 
TACs, depending on the annual performance of the jig sector (see Table 
1 of Amendment 83 to the FMP for a detailed discussion of the jig 
sector allocation process (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011)). Jig sector 
allocation increases are established for a minimum of 2 years. NMFS has 
evaluated the 2016 harvest performance of the jig sector in the Western 
and Central GOA, and is establishing the 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod 
apportionments to this sector as follows.
    NMFS allocates the jig sector 2.5 percent of the annual Pacific cod 
TAC in the Western GOA. This is a decrease from the 2016 jig sector 
allocation because in both 2015 and 2016 this sector harvested less 
than its initial annual allocation. The 2017 and 2018 allocations 
include a base allocation of 1.5 percent, and an additional 1.0 percent 
because this sector harvested greater than 90 percent of its initial 
2014 annual allocation. Since 2012, the jig sector in the Western GOA 
has received two separate increases to its annual allocation, for a 
total of 3.5 percent. This percentage is decreased by 1 percent for 
2017 and 2018 due to the jig sector's 2016 harvest performance, in 
which 5 percent of the Western GOA jig allocation was harvested. Annual 
jig sector allocation increases or decreases occur in 1 percent 
increments; so if the Western GOA jig sector catches less than 90 
percent of its 2017 annual allocation, it will be subject to another 1 
percent decrease in 2018.
    NMFS allocates the jig sector 1.0 percent of the annual Pacific cod 
TAC in the Central GOA. This is the same percent as the 2016 jig sector 
allocation because in 2016 this sector harvested less than 90 percent 
of the initial 2016 allocation. The 2017 and 2018 allocations consist 
of a base allocation of 1.0 percent, and no additional performance 
increase in the Central GOA. Tables 5 and 6 list the seasonal 
apportionments and allocations of the 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs.

[[Page 12042]]



 Table 5--Final 2017 Seasonal Apportionments and Allocation of Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts in the
GOA; Allocations for the Western GOA and Central GOA Sectors and the Eastern GOA Inshore and Offshore Processing
                                                   Components
 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages to the nearest 0.01. Seasonal allowances may not
                                  total precisely to annual allocation amount]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             A season                        B season
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Annual          Sector                          Sector
   Regulatory area and sector       allocation     percentage of     Seasonal      percentage of     Seasonal
                                       (mt)       annual non-jig    allowances    annual non-jig    allowances
                                                        TAC            (mt)             TAC            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western GOA:
    Jig (2.5% of TAC)...........             635             N/A             381             N/A             254
    Hook-and-line CV............             347            0.70             173            0.70             173
    Hook-and-line C/P...........           4,904           10.90           2,700            8.90           2,204
    Trawl CV....................           9,511           27.70           6,861           10.70           2,650
    Trawl C/P...................             594            0.90             223            1.50             372
    All Pot CV and Pot C/P......           9,412           19.80           4,904           18.20           4,508
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...................          25,404           60.00          15,242           40.00          10,161
Central GOA:
    Jig (1.0% of TAC)...........             331             N/A             199             N/A             133
    Hook-and-line <50 CV........           4,790            9.32           3,056            5.29           1,734
    Hook-and-line >=50 CV.......           2,200            5.61           1,840            1.10             360
    Hook-and-line C/P...........           1,674            4.11           1,347            1.00             327
    Trawl CV \1\................          13,641           21.14           6,933           20.45           6,708
    Trawl C/P...................           1,377            2.00             657            2.19             720
    All Pot CV and Pot C/P......           9,121           17.83           5,849            9.97           3,272
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...................          33,135           60.00          19,881           40.00          13,254
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eastern GOA.....................  ..............    Inshore (90% of Annual TAC)
                                   Offshore (10% of Annual TAC)
                                           5,903               5,313
                                                590
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Trawl vessels participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives receive 3.81 percent, or 1,262 mt, of the
  annual Central GOA TAC (see Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679), which is deducted from the Trawl CV B season
  allowance (see Table 12).


 Table 6--Final 2018 Seasonal Apportionments and Allocation of Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts in the
GOA; Allocations for the Western GOA and Central GOA Sectors and the Eastern GOA Inshore and Offshore Processing
                                                   Components
 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages to the nearest 0.01. Seasonal allowances may not
                                  total precisely to annual allocation amount]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             A season                        B season
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Annual          Sector                          Sector
   Regulatory area and sector       allocation     percentage of     Seasonal      percentage of     Seasonal
                                       (mt)       annual non-jig    allowances    annual non-jig    allowances
                                                        TAC            (mt)             TAC            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western GOA:
    Jig (2.5% of TAC)...........             570             N/A             342             N/A             228
    Hook-and-line CV............             311            0.70             156            0.70             156
    Hook-and-line C/P...........           4,400           10.90           2,422            8.90           1,978
    Trawl CV....................           8,534           27.70           6,156           10.70           2,378
    Trawl C/P...................             533            0.90             200            1.50             333
    All Pot CV and Pot C/P......           8,445           19.80           4,400           18.20           4,045
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...................          22,795           60.00          13,677           40.00           9,118
Central GOA:
    Jig (1.0% of TAC)...........             297             N/A             178             N/A             119
    Hook-and-line <50 CV........           4,298            9.32           2,742            5.29           1,556
    Hook-and-line >=50 CV.......           1,974            5.61           1,651            1.10             323
    Hook-and-line C/P...........           1,502            4.11           1,209            1.00             294
    Trawl CV \1\................          12,241           21.14           6,221           20.45           6,019
    Trawl C/P...................           1,236            2.00             590            2.19             646
    All Pot CV and Pot C/P......           8,185           17.83           5,248            9.97           2,936
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...................          29,733           60.00          17,840           40.00          11,893
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eastern GOA.....................  ..............    Inshore (90% of Annual TAC)
                                   Offshore (10% of Annual TAC)
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 12043]]

 
                                           5,297               4,768
                                                530
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Trawl vessels participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives receive 3.81 percent, or 1,133 mt, of the
  annual Central GOA TAC (see Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679), which is deducted from the Trawl CV B season
  allowance (see Table 13).

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

    Section 679.20(a)(4)(i) and (ii) require allocations of sablefish 
TACs for each of the regulatory areas and districts to hook-and-line 
and trawl gear. In the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, 80 percent 
of each TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear, and 20 percent of each 
TAC is allocated to trawl gear. In the Eastern Regulatory Area, which 
is comprised of the WYK and SEO Districts, 95 percent of the TAC is 
allocated to hook-and-line gear, and 5 percent is allocated to trawl 
gear. The trawl gear allocation in the Eastern Regulatory Area may only 
be used to support incidental catch of sablefish in directed trawl 
fisheries for other target species (Sec.  679.20(a)(4)(i)).
    In recognition of the prohibition against trawl gear in the SEO 
District of the Eastern Regulatory Area, the Council recommended and 
NMFS approves the allocation of 5 percent of the Eastern Regulatory 
Area sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the WYK District, making the 
remainder of the WYK sablefish TAC available to vessels using hook-and-
line gear. NMFS allocates 100 percent of the sablefish TAC in the SEO 
District to vessels using hook-and-line gear. This action results in a 
2017 allocation of 211 mt to trawl gear and 1,394 mt to hook-and-line 
gear in the WYK District, a 2017 allocation of 2,606 mt to hook-and-
line gear in the SEO District, and a 2018 allocation of 213 mt to trawl 
gear in the WYK District. Table 7 lists the allocations of the 2017 
sablefish TACs to hook-and-line and trawl gear. Table 8 lists the 
allocations of the 2018 sablefish TACs to trawl gear.
    The Council recommended that a trawl sablefish TAC be established 
for two years so that retention of incidental catch of sablefish by 
trawl gear could commence in January in the second year of the 
groundfish harvest specifications. Both the 2017 and 2018 trawl 
allocations are specified in these final harvest specifications, in 
Tables 7 and 8, respectively.
    The Council also recommended that the hook-and-line sablefish TAC 
be established annually to ensure that this IFQ fishery is conducted 
concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery and is based on recent 
sablefish survey information. Since there is an annual assessment for 
sablefish and since the final harvest specifications are expected to be 
published before the IFQ season begins on March 11, 2017, the Council 
recommended that the hook-and-line sablefish TAC be set on an annual 
basis, rather than for two years, so that the best scientific 
information available could be considered in establishing the sablefish 
ABCs and TACs. Accordingly, while the 2017 hook-and-line allocations 
are specified in Table 7, the 2018 hook-and-line allocations will be 
specified in the 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications.
    With the exception of the trawl allocations that were provided to 
the Central GOA Rockfish Program (Rockfish Program) cooperatives (see 
Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679), directed fishing for sablefish with 
trawl gear is closed during the fishing year. Also, fishing for 
groundfish with trawl gear is prohibited prior to January 20. 
Therefore, it is not likely that the sablefish allocation to trawl gear 
would be reached before the effective date of the final 2017 and 2018 
harvest specifications.

                 Table 7--Final 2017 Sablefish TAC Specifications in the GOA and Allocations to
                                          Hook-and-Line and Trawl Gear
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Hook-and-line
            Area/district                        TAC                   allocation            Trawl allocation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western..............................                    1,349                    1,079                      270
Central..............................                    4,514                    3,611                      903
West Yakutat\1\......................                    1,605                    1,394                      211
Southeast Outside....................                    2,606                    2,606                        0
                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total............................                   10,074                    8,691                    1,383
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat
  and Southeast Outside combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District.


[[Page 12044]]


           Table 8--Final 2018 Sablefish TAC Specifications in the GOA and Allocation to Trawl Gear\1\
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Hook-and-line
            Area/district                        TAC                   allocation            Trawl allocation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western..............................                    1,367                      n/a                      273
Central..............................                    4,574                      n/a                      915
West Yakutat \2\.....................                    1,626                      n/a                      213
Southeast Outside....................                    2,640                      n/a                        0
                                      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total............................                   10,207                      n/a                    1,402
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Council recommended that 2018 harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear sablefish Individual
  Fishing Quota fisheries be specified in the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications.
\2\ The trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat
  and Southeast Outside combined) sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District.

Demersal Shelf Rockfish (DSR)

    The recommended 2017 and 2018 DSR TAC is 227 mt, and management of 
DSR is delegated to the State. The Alaska Board of Fisheries has 
apportioned the annual SEO District DSR TACs between the commercial 
fishery (84 percent) and the sport fishery (16 percent) after 
deductions were made for anticipated subsistence harvests (7 mt). This 
results in 2017 and 2018 allocations of 185 mt to the commercial 
fishery and 35 mt to the sport fishery.
    The State deducts estimates of incidental catch of DSR in the 
commercial halibut fishery and pre-season ``test fishery'' DSR 
mortality from the DSR commercial fishery allocation. In 2016, this 
resulted in 29 mt being available for the directed commercial DSR 
fishery apportioned in one DSR district. The State estimated that there 
was not sufficient DSR TAC available to have orderly fisheries in the 
three other DSR districts. DSR harvest in the halibut fishery is linked 
to the annual halibut catch limits; therefore, the State can only 
estimate potential DSR incidental catch because halibut catch limits 
are established by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). 
Federally permitted CVs using hook-and-line or jig gear fishing for 
groundfish and Pacific halibut in the SEO District of the GOA are 
required to retain all DSR (Sec.  679.20(j)).

Apportionments to the Rockfish Program

    These final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications for the GOA 
include the fishery cooperative allocations and sideboard limitations 
established by the Rockfish Program. Program participants are primarily 
trawl CVs and trawl C/Ps, with limited participation by vessels using 
longline gear. The Rockfish Program assigns quota share and cooperative 
quota to participants for primary (Pacific ocean perch, northern 
rockfish, and dusky rockfish) and secondary species (Pacific cod, 
rougheye rockfish, sablefish, shortraker rockfish, and thornyhead 
rockfish); allows a participant holding a license limitation program 
(LLP) license with rockfish quota share to form a rockfish cooperative 
with other persons; and allows holders of C/P LLP licenses to opt out 
of the fishery. The Rockfish Program also has an entry level fishery 
for rockfish primary species for vessels using longline gear. Longline 
gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear.
    Under the Rockfish Program, rockfish primary species in the Central 
GOA are allocated to participants after deducting for incidental catch 
needs in other directed groundfish fisheries (Sec.  679.81(a)(2)). 
Participants in the Rockfish Program also receive a portion of the 
Central GOA TAC of specific secondary species. In addition to 
groundfish species, the Rockfish Program allocates a portion of the 
halibut PSC limit (191 mt) from the third season deep-water species 
fishery allowance for the GOA trawl fisheries to Rockfish Program 
participants (Sec.  679.81(d) and Table 28d to 50 CFR part 679). 
Rockfish Program sideboards and halibut PSC limits are discussed below.
    Also, the Rockfish Program establishes sideboard limits to restrict 
the ability of harvesters operating under the Rockfish Program to 
increase their participation in other, non-Rockfish Program fisheries. 
These restrictions are discussed in a subsequent section titled 
``Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and Halibut PSC Limitations.''
    Section 679.81(a)(2)(ii) and Table 28e to 50 CFR part 679 requires 
allocations of 5 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 5 mt of northern rockfish, 
and 50 mt of dusky rockfish to the entry level longline fishery in 2017 
and 2018. The allocation for the entry level longline fishery may 
increase incrementally each year if the catch exceeds 90 percent of the 
allocation of a species. The incremental increase in the allocation 
would continue each year until it is the maximum percent of the TAC for 
that species. In 2016, the dusky rockfish catch exceeded 90 percent of 
that species' allocation. Therefore, NMFS is increasing the entry level 
longline fishery 2017 and 2018 allocations of dusky rockfish to 50 mt 
in the Central GOA. The catch of the other two species, Pacific ocean 
perch and northern rockfish, did not attain the 90 percent threshold, 
and those allocations remain at 5 mt each. The remainder of the TACs 
for the rockfish primary species would be allocated to the CV and C/P 
cooperatives. Table 9 lists the allocations of the 2017 and 2018 TACs 
for each rockfish primary species to the entry level longline fishery, 
the incremental increase for future years, and the maximum percent of 
the TAC for the entry level longline fishery.

Table 9--Final 2017 and Initial 2018 Allocations of Rockfish Primary Species to the Entry Level Longline Fishery
                                          in the Central Gulf of Alaska
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Incremental increase in 2018
       Rockfish primary species              2017 and 2018        if > 90% of 2017 allocation    Up to maximum %
                                              allocations                 is harvested               of TAC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch..................  5 metric tons...........  5 metric tons................                 1
Northern rockfish....................  5 metric tons...........  5 metric tons................                 2

[[Page 12045]]

 
Dusky rockfish.......................  50 metric tons..........  20 metric tons...............                 5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 679.81(a)(2) requires allocations of the rockfish primary 
species among various sectors of the Rockfish Program. Tables 10 and 11 
list the final 2017 and 2018 allocations of rockfish primary species in 
the Central GOA to the entry level longline fishery, and CV and C/P 
cooperatives in the Rockfish Program. NMFS also is setting aside 
incidental catch amounts (ICAs) for other directed fisheries in the 
Central GOA of 2,000 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 300 mt of northern 
rockfish, and 250 mt of dusky rockfish. These amounts are based on 
recent average incidental catches in the Central GOA by other 
groundfish fisheries.
    Allocations among vessels belonging to CV or C/P cooperatives are 
not included in these final harvest specifications. Rockfish Program 
applications for CV cooperatives and C/P cooperatives are not due to 
NMFS until March 1 of each calendar year; therefore, NMFS cannot 
calculate 2017 and 2018 allocations in conjunction with these final 
harvest specifications. NMFS will post these allocations on the Alaska 
Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/central-goa-rockfish-program when they become available after March 1.

  Table 10--Final 2017 Allocations of Rockfish Primary Species in the Central Gulf of Alaska to the Entry Level
                       Longline Fishery and Rockfish Cooperatives in the Rockfish Program
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Allocation to   Allocation to
                                                    Incidental                       the entry     the rockfish
    Rockfish primary species            TAC            catch       TAC minus ICA  level longline   cooperatives
                                                     allowance                      \1\ fishery         \2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch.............          16,671           2,000          14,671               5          14,666
Northern rockfish...............           3,354             300           3,054               5           3,049
Dusky rockfish..................           3,786             250           3,536              50           3,486
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................          23,811           2,550          21,261              60          21,201
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear.
\2\ Rockfish cooperatives include vessels in CV and C/P cooperatives.


  Table 11--Final 2018 Allocations of Rockfish Primary Species in the Central Gulf of Alaska to the Entry Level
                       Longline Fishery and Rockfish Cooperatives in the Rockfish Program
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Allocation to   Allocation to
                                                    Incidental                       the entry     the Rockfish
    Rockfish primary species            TAC            catch       TAC minus ICA  level longline   cooperatives
                                                     allowance                      \1\ fishery         \2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch.............          16,347           2,000          14,347               5          14,342
Northern rockfish...............           3,108             300           2,808               5           2,803
Dusky rockfish..................           3,499             250           3,249              50           3,199
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................          22,954           2,550          20,404              60          20,344
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear.
\2\ Rockfish cooperatives include vessels in CV and C/P cooperatives.

    Section 679.81(c) and Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679 requires 
allocations of rockfish secondary species to CV and C/P cooperatives in 
the Central GOA. CV cooperatives receive allocations of Pacific cod, 
sablefish from the trawl gear allocation, and thornyhead rockfish. C/P 
cooperatives receive allocations of sablefish from the trawl 
allocation, rougheye rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and thornyhead 
rockfish. Tables 12 and 13 list the apportionments of the 2017 and 2018 
TACs of rockfish secondary species in the Central GOA to CV and C/P 
cooperatives.

[[Page 12046]]



   Table 12--Final 2017 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA to Catcher Vessel and
                                         Catcher/Processor Cooperatives
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Catcher vessel cooperatives   Catcher/processor cooperatives
                                  Annual Central ---------------------------------------------------------------
   Rockfish secondary species         GOA TAC      Percentage of   Apportionment   Percentage of   Apportionment
                                                        TAC            (mt)             TAC            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod.....................          33,135            3.81           1,262            0.00  ..............
Sablefish.......................           4,514            6.78             306            3.51             158
Shortraker rockfish.............             301            0.00  ..............           40.00             120
Rougheye rockfish...............             706            0.00  ..............           58.87             416
Thornyhead rockfish.............             988            7.84              77           26.50             262
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


   Table 13--Final 2018 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA to Catcher Vessel and
                                         Catcher/Processor Cooperatives
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Catcher vessel cooperatives   Catcher/processor cooperatives
                                  Annual Central ---------------------------------------------------------------
   Rockfish secondary species         GOA TAC      Percentage of   Apportionment   Percentage of   Apportionment
                                                        TAC            (mt)             TAC            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod.....................          29,733            3.81           1,133            0.00  ..............
Sablefish.......................           4,574            6.78             310            3.51             161
Shortraker rockfish.............             301            0.00  ..............           40.00             120
Rougheye rockfish...............             702            0.00  ..............           58.87             413
Thornyhead rockfish.............             988            7.84              77           26.50             262
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Halibut PSC Limits

    Section 679.21(d) establishes the annual halibut PSC limit 
apportionments to trawl and hook-and-line gear, and authorizes the 
establishment of apportionments for pot gear. In December 2016, the 
Council recommended halibut PSC limits of 1,706 mt for trawl gear, 257 
mt for hook-and-line gear, and 9 mt for the DSR fishery in the SEO 
District for both 2017 and 2018.
    The DSR fishery in the SEO District is defined at Sec.  
679.21(d)(2)(ii)(A). This fishery is apportioned 9 mt of the halibut 
PSC limit in recognition of its small-scale harvests of groundfish 
(Sec.  679.21(d)(2)(i)(A)). NMFS estimates low halibut bycatch in the 
DSR fishery because (1) the duration of the DSR fisheries and the gear 
soak times are short, (2) the DSR fishery occurs in the winter when 
less overlap occurs in the distribution of DSR and halibut, and (3) the 
directed commercial DSR fishery has a low DSR TAC. The Alaska 
Department of Fish and Game sets the commercial GHL for the DSR fishery 
after deducting the following: (1) Estimates of DSR incidental catch in 
all fisheries (including halibut and subsistence); and (2) the 
allocation to the DSR sport fish fishery. Of the 231 mt TAC for DSR in 
2016, 188 mt were available for the DSR commercial directed fishery, of 
which 8 mt were harvested.
    The FMP authorizes the Council to exempt specific gear from the 
halibut PSC limits. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, exempts 
pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery 
categories from the non-trawl halibut PSC limit for 2017 and 2018. The 
Council recommended, and NMFS approves, these exemptions because: (1) 
The pot gear fisheries have low annual halibut bycatch mortality, (2) 
IFQ program regulations prohibit discard of halibut if any halibut IFQ 
permit holder on board a catcher vessel holds unused halibut IFQ (Sec.  
679.7(f)(11)), (3) some sablefish IFQ fishermen hold halibut IFQ 
permits and are therefore required to retain the halibut they catch 
while fishing sablefish IFQ, and (4) NMFS estimates negligible halibut 
mortality for the jig gear fisheries. NMFS estimates that halibut 
mortality is negligible in the jig gear fisheries given the small 
amount of groundfish harvested by jig gear, the selective nature of jig 
gear, and the high survival rates of halibut caught and released with 
jig gear.
    The best available information on estimated halibut bycatch 
consists of data collected by fisheries observers during 2016. The 
calculated halibut bycatch mortality through December 31, 2016, is 
1,336 mt for trawl gear and 241 mt for hook-and-line gear for a total 
halibut mortality of 1,577 mt. This halibut mortality was calculated 
using groundfish and halibut catch data from the NMFS Alaska Region's 
catch accounting system. This accounting system contains historical and 
recent catch information compiled from each Alaska groundfish fishery.
    Section 679.21(d)(4)(i) and (ii) authorizes NMFS to seasonally 
apportion the halibut PSC limits after consultation with the Council. 
The FMP and regulations require the Council and NMFS to consider the 
following information in seasonally apportioning halibut PSC limits: 
(1) Seasonal distribution of halibut; (2) seasonal distribution of 
target groundfish species relative to halibut distribution; (3) 
expected halibut bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relative to changes 
in halibut biomass and expected catch of target groundfish species; (4) 
expected bycatch rates on a seasonal basis; (5) expected changes in 
directed groundfish fishing seasons; (6) expected actual start of 
fishing effort; and (7) economic effects of establishing seasonal 
halibut allocations on segments of the target groundfish industry. The 
Council considered information from the 2016 SAFE report, NMFS catch 
data, State of Alaska catch data, IPHC stock assessment and mortality 
data, and public testimony when apportioning the halibut PSC limits. 
NMFS concurs with the Council's recommendations listed in

[[Page 12047]]

Table 14, which show the final 2017 and 2018 Pacific halibut PSC 
limits, allowances, and apportionments.
    Section 679.21(d)(4)(iii) and (iv) specify that any underages or 
overages of a seasonal apportionment of a PSC limit will be added to or 
deducted from the next respective seasonal apportionment within the 
fishing year.

                                Table 14--Final 2017 and 2018 Pacific Halibut PSC Limits, Allowances, and Apportionments
                                                               [Values are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Trawl gear                                                             Hook-and-line gear \1\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  Other than DSR                                    DSR
                Season                    Percent     Amount   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                          Season             Percent     Amount              Season             Amount
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 20-April 1....................        27.5         469  January 1-June 10........          86         221  January 1-December 31....           9
April 1-July 1........................          20         341  June 10-September 1......           2           5  .........................  ..........
July 1-September 1....................          30         512  September 1-December 31..          12          31  .........................  ..........
September 1-October 1.................         7.5         128  .........................  ..........  ..........  .........................  ..........
October 1-December 31.................          15         256  .........................  ..........  ..........  .........................  ..........
                                       -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.............................  ..........       1,706  .........................  ..........         257  .........................           9
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limit for hook-and-line gear is allocated to the demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) fishery and
  fisheries other than DSR. The hook-and-line sablefish IFQ fishery is exempt from halibut PSC limits, as are pot and jig gear for all groundfish
  fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    Section 679.21(d)(3)(ii) authorizes further apportionment of the 
trawl halibut PSC limit to trawl fishery categories listed in Sec.  
679.21(d)(3)(iii). The annual apportionments are based on each 
category's proportional share of the anticipated halibut bycatch 
mortality during the fishing year and optimization of the total amount 
of groundfish harvest under the halibut PSC limit. The fishery 
categories for the trawl halibut PSC limits are: (1) A deep-water 
species fishery, composed of sablefish, rockfish, deep-water flatfish, 
rex sole, and arrowtooth flounder; and (2) a shallow-water species 
fishery, composed of pollock, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, 
flathead sole, Atka mackerel, skates, and ``other species'' (sculpins, 
sharks, squids, and octopuses).
    NMFS will combine available trawl halibut PSC limit apportionments 
in the second season deep-water and shallow-water fisheries for use in 
either fishery from May 15 through June 30 (Sec.  679.21(d)(4)(iii)(D). 
This is intended to maintain groundfish harvest while minimizing 
halibut bycatch by these sectors to the extent practicable. This 
provides the deep-water and shallow-water trawl fisheries additional 
flexibility and the incentive to participate in fisheries at times of 
the year that may have lower halibut PSC rates relative to other times 
of the year.
    Table 15 lists the final 2017 and 2018 apportionments of halibut 
PSC trawl limits between the trawl gear deep-water and shallow-water 
species fishery categories.
    Table 28d to 50 CFR part 679 specifies the amount of the trawl 
halibut PSC limit that is assigned to the CV and C/P sectors that are 
participating in the Rockfish Program. This includes 117 mt of halibut 
PSC limit to the CV sector and 74 mt of halibut PSC limit to the C/P 
sector. These amounts are allocated from the trawl deep-water species 
fishery's halibut PSC third seasonal apportionment.
    Section 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(B) limits the amount of the halibut PSC 
limit allocated to Rockfish Program participants that could be re-
apportioned to the general GOA trawl fisheries during the current 
fishing year to no more than 55 percent of the unused annual halibut 
PSC apportioned to Rockfish Program participants. The remainder of the 
unused Rockfish Program halibut PSC limit is unavailable for use by 
vessels directed fishing with trawl gear for the remainder of the 
fishing year (Sec.  679.21(d)(4)(iii)(C)).

  Table 15--Final 2017 and 2018 Apportionment of Pacific Halibut PSC Trawl Limits Between the Trawl Gear Deep-
                     Water Species Fishery and the Shallow-Water Species Fishery Categories
                                           [Values are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Season                      Shallow-water            Deep-water \1\                 Total
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 20-April 1..........................             384  85................................             469
April 1-July 1..............................              85  256...............................             341
July 1-September 1..........................             171  341...............................             512
September 1-October 1.......................             128  Any remainder.....................             128
                                             -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Subtotal January 20-October 1...........             768  682...............................           1,450
October 1-December 31 \2\...................  ..............  ..................................             256
                                             -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...................................  ..............  ..................................           1,706
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Vessels participating in cooperatives in the Central GOA Rockfish Program will receive 191 mt of the third
  season (July 1 through September 1) deep-water species fishery halibut PSC apportionment.
\2\ There is no apportionment between trawl shallow-water and deep-water species fishery categories during the
  fifth season (October 1 through December 31).


[[Page 12048]]

    Section 679.21(d)(2)(i)(B) requires that the ``other hook-and-line 
fishery'' halibut PSC limit apportionment to vessels using hook-and-
line gear must be apportioned between CVs and C/Ps in accordance with 
Sec.  679.21(d)(2)(iii) in conjunction with these harvest 
specifications. A comprehensive description and example of the 
calculations necessary to apportion the ``other hook-and-line fishery'' 
halibut PSC limit between the hook-and-line CV and C/P sectors were 
included in the proposed rule to implement Amendment 83 to the FMP (76 
FR 44700, July 26, 2011) and are not repeated here.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(d)(2)(iii), the hook-and-line halibut PSC 
limit is apportioned between the CV and C/P sectors in proportion to 
the total Western and Central GOA Pacific cod allocations, which vary 
annually based on the proportion of the Pacific cod biomass. Pacific 
cod is apportioned among these two management areas based on the 
percentage of overall biomass per area, as calculated in the 2016 
Pacific cod stock assessment. Updated information in the final 2016 
SAFE report describes this distributional calculation, which is based 
on allocating ABC among regulatory areas on the basis of the three most 
recent stock surveys. For 2017 and 2018, the distribution of the total 
GOA Pacific cod ABC is 41 percent to the Western GOA, 50 percent to the 
Central GOA, and 9 percent to the Eastern GOA. Therefore, the 
calculations made in accordance with Sec.  679.21(d)(2)(iii) 
incorporate the most recent information on GOA Pacific cod distribution 
with respect to establishing the annual halibut PSC limits for the CV 
and C/P hook-and-line sectors. The annual halibut PSC limits are 
divided into three seasonal apportionments, using seasonal percentages 
of 86 percent, 2 percent, and 12 percent.
    For 2017 and 2018, NMFS apportions halibut PSC limits of 129 mt and 
128 mt to the hook-and-line CV and hook-and-line C/P sectors, 
respectively. Table 16 lists the final 2017 and 2018 apportionments of 
halibut PSC limits between the hook-and-line CV and hook-and-line C/P 
sectors.
    No later than November 1 of each year, NMFS will calculate the 
projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit by either of the hook-and-
line sectors for the remainder of the year. The projected unused amount 
of halibut PSC limit is made available to the other hook-and-line 
sector for the remainder of that fishing year if NMFS determines that 
an additional amount of halibut PSC is necessary for that sector to 
continue its directed fishing operations (Sec.  679.21(d)(2)(iii)(C)).

    Table 16--Final 2017 and 2018 Apportionments of the ``other hook-and-line fisheries'' Annual Halibut PSC
              Allowance between the Hook-and-Line Gear Catcher Vessel and Catcher/Processor Sectors
                                           [Values are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Sector
    ``Other than DSR''        Hook-and-line     Sector annual        Season          Seasonal        seasonal
         allowance                sector           amount                           percentage        amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
257.......................  Catcher Vessel...             129  January 1-June 10              86             111
                                                               June 10-September               2               3
                                                                1.
                                                               September 1-                   12              15
                                                                December 31.
                            Catcher/Processor             128
                                                               January 1-June 10              86             110
                                                               June 10-September               2               3
                                                                1.
                                                               September 1-                   12              15
                                                                December 31.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Estimates of Halibut Biomass and Stock Condition

    The IPHC annually assesses the abundance and potential yield of the 
Pacific halibut stock using all available data from the commercial and 
sport fisheries, other removals, and scientific surveys. Additional 
information on the Pacific halibut stock assessment may be found in the 
IPHC's 2016 Pacific halibut stock assessment (December 2016), available 
on the IPHC Web site at www.iphc.int. The IPHC considered the 2016 
Pacific halibut stock assessment at its January 2017 annual meeting 
when it set the 2017 commercial halibut fishery catch limits.

Halibut Discard Mortality Rates

    To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, 
the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut incidental catch 
rates, halibut discard mortality rates (DMRs), and estimates of 
groundfish catch to project when a fishery's halibut bycatch mortality 
allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. Halibut incidental 
catch rates are based on observers' estimates of halibut incidental 
catch in the groundfish fishery. DMRs are estimates of the proportion 
of incidentally caught halibut that do not survive after being returned 
to the sea. The cumulative halibut mortality that accrues to a 
particular halibut PSC limit is the product of a DMR multiplied by the 
estimated halibut PSC. DMRs are estimated using the best information 
available in conjunction with the annual GOA stock assessment process. 
The DMR methodology and findings are included as an appendix to the 
annual GOA groundfish SAFE report.
    In 2016, the DMR estimation methodology underwent revisions per the 
Council's directive. An interagency halibut working group (IPHC, 
Council, and NMFS staff) developed improved estimation methods that 
have undergone review by the GOA Plan Team, SSC, and the Council. A 
summary of the revised methodology is contained in the GOA proposed 
2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87881, December 6, 2016), 
and the comprehensive discussion of the working group's statistical 
methodology is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). While the 
DMR working group's revised methodology is intended to improve 
estimation accuracy, as well as transparency and transferability in the 
methodology used, for calculating DMRs, the working group will continue 
to consider improvements to the methodology used to calculate halibut 
mortality. Future DMRs, including the 2018 DMRs, may change based on an 
additional year of observer sampling, which could provide more recent 
and accurate data and which could improve the accuracy of estimation 
and progress on methodology.
    At the December 2016 meeting, the SSC, AP, and Council concurred 
with the revised DMR estimation methodology. The Council recommended 
adopting the halibut

[[Page 12049]]

DMRs derived from that process for 2017 and 2018, with no changes 
except a minor increase in the rate assigned to non-pelagic trawl 
catcher vessels that do not participate in the Rockfish Program (a two 
percent increase) and a decrease in the rate assigned to non-pelagic 
trawl catcher vessels that do participate in the Rockfish Program (an 
eighteen percent decrease). These changes reflect corrections that were 
made in programming code associated with calculating the DMRs for the 
trawl gear categories. Table 17 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 DMRs.

     Table 17--Final 2017 and 2018 Halibut Discard Mortality Rates for Vessels Fishing in the Gulf of Alaska
                               [Values are percent of halibut assumed to be dead]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Halibut
                                                                                                      discard
                 Gear                               Sector                 Groundfish fishery     mortality rate
                                                                                                     (percent)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pelagic trawl.........................  Catcher vessel................  All.....................             100
                                        Catcher/processor.............  All.....................             100
Non-pelagic trawl.....................  Catcher vessel................  Rockfish Program........              67
                                        Catcher vessel................  All others..............              65
                                        Mothership and catcher/         All.....................              85
                                         processor.
Hook-and-line.........................  Catcher/processor.............  All.....................              11
                                        Catcher vessel................  All.....................              12
Pot...................................  Catcher vessel and catcher/     All.....................              10
                                         processor.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limits

    Amendment 93 to the FMP (77 FR 42629, July 20, 2012) established 
separate Chinook salmon PSC limits in the Western and Central GOA in 
the directed pollock fishery. These limits require NMFS to close the 
pollock directed fishery in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of 
the GOA if the applicable limit is reached (Sec.  679.21(h)(8)). The 
annual Chinook salmon PSC limits in the pollock directed fishery of 
6,684 salmon in the Western GOA and 18,316 salmon in the Central GOA 
are set at Sec.  679.21(h)(2)(i) and (ii). In addition, all salmon 
(regardless of species) taken in the pollock directed fisheries in the 
Western and Central GOA must be retained until the manager of a 
shoreside processor or stationary floating processor has accurately 
recorded the number of salmon by species in the eLandings at-sea 
production report or eLandings groundfish landing report. If an 
observer is present at the processing facility that takes delivery of 
the catch, then the observer is provided an opportunity to count the 
number of salmon and to collect any scientific data or biological 
samples from the salmon (Sec.  679.21(h)(6)).
    Amendment 97 to the FMP (79 FR 71350, December 2, 2014) established 
an initial annual PSC limit of 7,500 Chinook salmon for the non-pollock 
groundfish fisheries. This limit is apportioned among three sectors: 
3,600 Chinook salmon to trawl C/Ps; 1,200 Chinook salmon to trawl CVs 
participating in the Rockfish Program; and 2,700 Chinook salmon to 
trawl CVs not participating in the Rockfish Program that are fishing 
for groundfish species other than pollock (Sec.  679.21(h)(4)). NMFS 
will monitor the Chinook salmon PSC in the non-pollock GOA groundfish 
fisheries and close an applicable sector if it reaches its Chinook 
salmon PSC limit.
    The Chinook salmon PSC limit for two sectors, trawl C/Ps and trawl 
CVs not participating in the Rockfish Program, may be increased in 
subsequent years based on the performance of these two sectors and 
their ability to minimize their use of their respective Chinook salmon 
PSC limits. If either or both of these two sectors limits its use of 
Chinook salmon PSC to a specified threshold amount in 2016, that sector 
will receive an incremental increase to its 2017 Chinook salmon PSC 
limit (Sec.  679.21(h)(4)). In 2016, the trawl C/P sector did not 
exceed 3,120 Chinook salmon PSC; therefore, the 2017 trawl C/Ps Chinook 
salmon PSC limit will be 4,080 Chinook salmon. In 2016, the Non-
Rockfish Program CV sector did not exceed 2,340 Chinook salmon PSC; 
therefore, the 2017 Non-Rockfish Program CV sector limit will be 3,060 
Chinook salmon.
    As described earlier in this preamble, Amendment 103 to the FMP 
became effective in 2016. The regulations associated with Amendment 103 
authorize NMFS to use inseason management actions to reapportion unused 
Chinook salmon PSC limits among the pollock and non-pollock sectors. 
NMFS did not exercise this authority in 2016, as none of the trawl 
sectors needed reapportionments. NMFS may use this authority in 2017 
and 2018 for inseason management actions if a trawl sector needs 
reapportionment of unused Chinook salmon PSC limits.

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

    Section 679.64 establishes groundfish harvesting and processing 
sideboard limitations on AFA C/Ps and CVs in the GOA. These sideboard 
limits are necessary to protect the interests of fishermen and 
processors who do not directly benefit from the AFA from those 
fishermen and processors who receive exclusive harvesting and 
processing privileges under the AFA. Section 679.7(k)(1)(ii) prohibits 
listed AFA C/Ps and C/Ps designated on a listed AFA C/P permit from 
harvesting any species of groundfish in the GOA. Additionally, Sec.  
679.7(k)(1)(iv) prohibits listed AFA C/Ps and C/Ps designated on a 
listed AFA C/P permit from processing any pollock harvested in a 
directed pollock fishery in the GOA and any groundfish harvested in 
Statistical Area 630 of the GOA.
    AFA CVs that are less than 125 ft (38.1 meters) length overall, 
have annual landings of pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
less than 5,100 mt, and have made at least 40 GOA groundfish landings 
from 1995 through 1997 are exempt from GOA sideboard limits under Sec.  
679.64(b)(2)(ii). Sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA 
are based on their traditional harvest levels of TAC in groundfish 
fisheries covered by the FMP. Section 679.64(b)(3)(iv) establishes the 
groundfish sideboard limitations in the GOA based on the aggregate 
retained catch of non-exempt AFA CVs of each sideboard species from 
1995 through 1997 divided by the sum of the TACs for that species or 
species group available to CVs over the same period.

[[Page 12050]]

    Tables 18 and 19 list the final 2017 and 2018 groundfish sideboard 
limits for non-exempt AFA CVs. NMFS will deduct all targeted or 
incidental catch of sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA CVs from 
the sideboard limits listed in Tables 18 and 19.

   Table 18--Final 2017 GOA Non-Exempt American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel (CV) Groundfish Harvest Sideboard
                                                     Limits
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Ratio of 1995-
                                                                        1997 non-                 Final 2017 non-
            Species             Apportionments by   Area/component   exempt AFA  CV   Final 2017   exempt AFA CV
                                   season/gear                       catch to  1995-     TACs        sideboard
                                                                        1997 TAC                       limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock.......................  A Season--January  Shumagin (610)..          0.6047        2,232           1,350
                                 20-March 10.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..          0.1167       34,549           4,032
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.2028       11,014           2,234
                                B Season--March    Shumagin (610)..          0.6047        2,232           1,350
                                 10-May 31.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..          0.1167       39,420           4,600
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.2028        6,143           1,246
                                C Season--August   Shumagin (610)..          0.6047       19,569          11,834
                                 25-October 1.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..          0.1167       12,341           1,440
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.2028       15,886           3,222
                                D Season--October  Shumagin (610)..          0.6047       19,569          11,834
                                 1-November 1.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..          0.1167       12,341           1,440
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.2028       15,886           3,222
                                Annual...........  WYK (640).......          0.3495        7,492           2,618
                                                   SEO (650).......          0.3495        9,920           3,467
Pacific cod...................  A Season \1\--     W...............          0.1331       15,242           2,029
                                 January 1-June
                                 10.
                                                   C...............          0.0692       19,881           1,376
                                B Season \2\--     W...............          0.1331       10,161           1,352
                                 September 1-
                                 December 31.
                                                   C...............          0.0692       13,254             917
                                Annual...........  E inshore.......          0.0079        5,313              42
                                                   E offshore......          0.0078          590               5
Sablefish.....................  Annual, trawl      W...............          0.0000          270  ..............
                                 gear.
                                                   C...............          0.0642          903              58
                                                   E...............          0.0433          211               9
                                Annual...........  W...............          0.0156       13,250             207
Shallow-water flatfish........                     C...............          0.0587       19,306           1,133
                                                   E...............          0.0126        4,287              54
                                Annual...........  W...............          0.0000          256  ..............
Deep-water flatfish...........                     C...............          0.0647        3,454             223
                                                   E...............          0.0128        5,582              71
Rex sole......................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0007        1,459               1
                                                   C...............          0.0384        4,930             189
                                                   E...............          0.0029        1,922               6
Arrowtooth flounder...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0021       14,500              30
                                                   C...............          0.0280       75,000           2,100
                                                   E...............          0.0002       13,800               3
Flathead sole.................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0036        8,650              31
                                                   C...............          0.0213       15,400             328
                                                   E...............          0.0009        3,806               3
Pacific ocean perch...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0023        2,679               6
                                                   C...............          0.0748       16,671           1,247
                                                   E...............          0.0466        4,568             213
Northern rockfish.............  Annual...........  W...............          0.0003          432               0
                                                   C...............          0.0277        3,354              93
Shortraker rockfish...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0000           38  ..............
                                                   C...............          0.0218          301               7
                                                   E...............          0.0110          947              10
Dusky rockfish................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0001          158               0
                                                   C...............          0.0000        3,786  ..............
                                                   E...............          0.0067          334               2
Rougheye rockfish.............  Annual...........  W...............          0.0000          105  ..............
                                                   C...............          0.0237          706              17
                                                   E...............          0.0124          516               6
Demersal shelf rockfish.......  Annual...........  SEO.............          0.0020          227               0
Thornyhead rockfish...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0280          291               8
                                                   C...............          0.0280          988              28
                                                   E...............          0.0280          682              19
Other rockfish................  Annual...........  C...............          0.1699        1,534             261
                                                   E...............          0.0000          774  ..............
Atka mackerel.................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0309        3,000              93
Big skates....................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0063          908               6
                                                   C...............          0.0063        1,850              12

[[Page 12051]]

 
                                                   E...............          0.0063        1,056               7
Longnose skates...............  Annual...........  W...............          0.0063           61               0
                                                   C...............          0.0063        2,513              16
                                                   E...............          0.0063          632               4
Other skates..................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0063        1,919              12
Sculpins......................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0063        5,591              35
Sharks........................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0063        4,514              28
Squids........................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0063        1,137               7
Octopuses.....................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0063        4,878              31
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.


   Table 19--Final 2018 GOA Non-Exempt American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel (CV) Groundfish Harvest Sideboard
                                                     Limits
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Ratio of 1995-
                                                                        1997 non-                 Final 2018 non-
            Species             Apportionments by   Area/component   exempt AFA  CV   Final 2018   exempt AFA CV
                                   season/gear                       catch to  1995-     TACs        sideboard
                                                                        1997 TAC                       limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock.......................  A Season--January  Shumagin (610)..          0.6047        1,725           1,043
                                 20-March 10.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..          0.1167       26,704           3,116
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.2028        8,513           1,726
                                B--Season March    Shumagin (610)..          0.6047        1,725           1,043
                                 10-May 31.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..          0.1167       30,469           3,556
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.2028        4,748             963
                                C Season--August   Shumagin (610)..          0.6047       15,125           9,146
                                 25-October 1.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..          0.1167        9,538           1,113
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.2028       12,278           2,490
                                D Season--October  Shumagin (610)..          0.6047       15,125           9,146
                                 1-November 1.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..          0.1167        9,538           1,113
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.2028       12,278           2,490
                                Annual...........  WYK (640).......          0.3495        5,791           2,024
                                                   SEO (650).......          0.3495        9,920           3,467
Pacific cod...................  A Season \1\--     W...............          0.1331       13,677           1,820
                                 January 1-June
                                 10.
                                                   C...............          0.0692       17,840           1,235
                                B Season \2\--     W...............          0.1331        9,118           1,214
                                 September 1-
                                 December 31.
                                                   C...............          0.0692       11,893             823
                                Annual...........  E inshore.......          0.0079        4,768              38
                                                   E offshore......          0.0078          530               4
Sablefish.....................  Annual, trawl      W...............          0.0000          273  ..............
                                 gear.
                                                   C...............          0.0642          915              59
                                                   E...............          0.0433          213               9
Shallow-water flatfish........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0156       13,250             207
                                                   C...............          0.0587       19,418           1,140
                                                   E...............          0.0126        4,311              54
Deep-water flatfish...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0000          257  ..............
                                                   C...............          0.0647        3,488             226
                                                   E...............          0.0128        5,637              72
Rex sole......................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0007        1,478               1
                                                   C...............          0.0384        4,995             192
                                                   E...............          0.0029        1,948               6
Arrowtooth flounder...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0021       14,500              30
                                                   C...............          0.0280       75,000           2,100
                                                   E...............          0.0002       13,800               3
Flathead sole.................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0036        8,650              31
                                                   C...............          0.0213       15,400              30
                                                   E...............          0.0009        3,870               3
Pacific ocean perch...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0023        2,627               6
                                                   C...............          0.0748       16,347           1,223
                                                   E...............          0.0466        4,480             209

[[Page 12052]]

 
Northern rockfish.............  Annual...........  W...............          0.0003          400               0
                                                   C...............          0.0277        3,108              86
Shortraker rockfish...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0000           38  ..............
                                                   C...............          0.0218          301               7
                                                   E...............          0.0110          947              10
Dusky rockfish................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0001          146               0
                                                   C...............          0.0000        3,499  ..............
                                                   E...............          0.0067          309               2
Rougheye rockfish.............  Annual...........  W...............          0.0000          104  ..............
                                                   C...............          0.0237          702              17
                                                   E...............          0.0124          512               6
Demersal shelf rockfish.......  Annual...........  SEO.............          0.0020          227               0
Thornyhead rockfish...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0280          291               8
                                                   C...............          0.0280          988              28
                                                   E...............          0.0280          682              19
Other rockfish................  Annual...........  W/C.............          0.1699        1,534             261
                                                   E...............          0.0000          774  ..............
Atka mackerel.................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0309        3,000              93
Big skates....................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0063          908               6
                                                   C...............          0.0063        1,850              12
                                                   E...............          0.0063        1,056               7
Longnose skates...............  Annual...........  W...............          0.0063           61               0
                                                   C...............          0.0063        2,513              16
                                                   E...............          0.0063          632               4
Other skates..................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0063        1,919              12
Sculpins......................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0063        5,591              35
Sharks........................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0063        4,514              28
Squids........................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0063        1,137               7
Octopuses.....................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0063        4,878              31
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

Non-Exempt AFA Catcher Vessel Halibut PSC Limits

    The halibut PSC sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA 
are based on the aggregate retained groundfish catch by non-exempt AFA 
CVs in each PSC target category from 1995 through 1997 divided by the 
retained catch of all vessels in that fishery from 1995 through 1997 
(Sec.  679.64(b)(4)(ii)). Table 20 lists the final 2017 and 2018 non-
exempt AFA CV halibut PSC limits for vessels using trawl gear in the 
GOA, respectively.

 Table 20--Final 2017 and 2018 Non-Exempt AFA CV Halibut Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) Limits for Vessels Using
                                              Trawl Gear in the GOA
                                   [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Ratio of 1995-
                                                                        1997 non-
                                                                     exempt AFA  CV    2017 and    2017 and 2018
            Season                 Season dates     Target fishery      retained      2018  PSC     non-exempt
                                                                     catch to total     limit       AFA CV PSC
                                                                         retained                      limit
                                                                          catch
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.............................  January 20-April   shallow-water...           0.340          384             131
                                 1.
                                                   deep-water......           0.070           85               6
2.............................  April 1-July 1...  shallow-water...           0.340           85              29
                                                   deep-water......           0.070          256              18
3.............................  July 1-September   shallow-water...           0.340          171              58
                                 1.
                                                   deep-water......           0.070          341              24
4.............................  September 1-       shallow-water...           0.340          128              44
                                 October 1.
                                                   deep-water......           0.070            0               0
5.............................  October 1-         all targets.....           0.205          256              52
                                 December 31.
                                                                    --------------------------------------------
    Total.....................  .................  ................  ..............        1,706             362
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 12053]]

Non-AFA Crab Vessel Groundfish Harvest Limitations

    Section 680.22 establishes groundfish catch limits for vessels with 
a history of participation in the Bering Sea snow crab fishery to 
prevent these vessels from using the increased flexibility provided by 
the Crab Rationalization Program to expand their level of participation 
in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Sideboard limits restrict these 
vessels' catch to their collective historical landings in each GOA 
groundfish fishery (except the fixed-gear sablefish fishery). Sideboard 
limits also apply to catch made using an LLP license derived from the 
history of a restricted vessel, even if that LLP license is used on 
another vessel.
    The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the 
final rules implementing the major provisions of Amendments 18 and 19 
to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and 
Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP) (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005), Amendment 34 to 
the Crab FMP (76 FR 35772, June 20, 2011), Amendment 83 to the GOA FMP 
(76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011), and Amendment 45 to the Crab FMP (80 
FR 28539, May 19, 2015).
    Tables 21 and 22 list the final 2017 and 2018 groundfish sideboard 
limitations for non-AFA crab vessels. All targeted or incidental catch 
of sideboard species made by non-AFA crab vessels or associated LLP 
licenses will be deducted from these sideboard limits.

       Table 21--Final 2017 GOA Non-American Fisheries Act Crab Vessel Groundfish Harvest Sideboard Limits
                                   [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Ratio of  1996-
                                                                      2000  non-AFA                 Final 2017
                                                    Area/component/   crab  vessel    Final 2017   non-AFA  crab
            Species                Season/gear           gear        catch  to 1996-     TACs         vessel
                                                                       2000  total                   sideboard
                                                                         harvest                       limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock.......................  A Season--January  Shumagin (610)..          0.0098        2,232              22
                                 20-March 10.      Chirikof (620)..          0.0031       34,549             107
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.0002       11,014               2
                                B Season--March    Shumagin (610)..          0.0098        2,232              22
                                 10-May 31.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..          0.0031       39,420             122
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.0002        6,143               1
                                C Season--August   Shumagin (610)..          0.0098       19,569             192
                                 25-October 1.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..          0.0031       12,341              38
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.0002       15,886               3
                                D Season--October  Shumagin (610)..          0.0098       19,569             192
                                 1-November 1.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..          0.0031       12,341              38
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.0002       15,886               3
                                Annual...........  WYK (640).......          0.0000        7,492  ..............
                                                   SEO (650).......          0.0000        9,920  ..............
Pacific cod...................  A Season--January  WG Jig..........          0.0000       15,242
                                 1-June 10 \1\.
                                                   WG Hook-and-line          0.0004       15,242               6
                                                    CV.
                                                   WG Pot CV.......          0.0997       15,242           1,520
                                                   WG Pot C/P......          0.0078       15,242             119
                                                   WG Trawl CV.....          0.0007       15,242              11
                                                   CG Jig..........          0.0000       19,881  ..............
                                                   CG Hook-and-line          0.0001       19,881               2
                                                    CV.
                                                   CG Pot CV.......          0.0474       19,881             942
                                                   CG Pot C/P......          0.0136       19,881             270
                                                   CG Trawl CV.....          0.0012       19,881              24
                                B Season \2\.....  WG Jig..........          0.0000       10,161  ..............
                                Jig Gear: June 10- WG Hook-and-line          0.0004       10,161               4
                                 December 31.       CV.
                                All other gears:.  WG Pot CV.......          0.0997       10,161           1,013
                                September 1-       WG Pot C/P......          0.0078       10,161              79
                                 December 31.
                                                   WG Trawl CV.....          0.0007       10,161               7
                                                   CG Jig..........          0.0000       13,254  ..............
                                                   CG Hook-and-line          0.0001       13,254               1
                                                    CV.
                                                   CG Pot CV.......          0.0474       13,254             628
                                                   CG Pot C/P......          0.0136       13,254             180
                                                   CG Trawl CV.....          0.0012       13,254              16
                                Annual...........  EG inshore......          0.0110        5,313              58
                                                   EG offshore.....          0.0000          590  ..............
Sablefish.....................  Annual, trawl      W...............          0.0000          270  ..............
                                 gear.
                                                   C...............          0.0000          903  ..............
                                                   E...............          0.0000          211  ..............
Shallow-water flatfish........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0059       13,250              78
                                                   C...............          0.0001       19,306               2
                                                   E...............          0.0000        4,287  ..............
Deep-water flatfish...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0035          256               1
                                                   C...............          0.0000        3,454  ..............
                                                   E...............          0.0000        5,582  ..............
Rex sole......................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0000        1,459  ..............
                                                   C...............          0.0000        4,930  ..............
                                                   E...............          0.0000        1,922  ..............
Arrowtooth flounder...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0004       14,500               6
                                                   C...............          0.0001       75,000               8

[[Page 12054]]

 
                                                   E...............          0.0000       13,800  ..............
Flathead sole.................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0002        8,650               2
                                                   C...............          0.0004       15,400               6
                                                   E...............          0.0000        3,806  ..............
Pacific ocean perch...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0000        2,679  ..............
                                                   C...............          0.0000       16,671  ..............
                                                   E...............          0.0000        4,568  ..............
Northern rockfish.............  Annual...........  W...............          0.0005          432               0
                                                   C...............          0.0000        3,354  ..............
Shortraker rockfish...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0013           38               0
                                                   C...............          0.0012          301               0
                                                   E...............          0.0009          947               1
Dusky rockfish................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0017          158               0
                                                   C...............          0.0000        3,786  ..............
                                                   E...............          0.0000          334  ..............
Rougheye rockfish.............  Annual...........  W...............          0.0067          105               1
                                                   C...............          0.0047          706               3
                                                   E...............          0.0008          516               0
Demersal shelf rockfish.......  Annual...........  SEO.............          0.0000          227  ..............
Thornyhead rockfish...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0047          291               1
                                                   C...............          0.0066          988               7
                                                   E...............          0.0045          682               3
Other rockfish................  Annual...........  W/C.............          0.0033        1,534               5
                                                   E...............          0.0000          774  ..............
Atka mackerel.................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0000        3,000  ..............
Big skate.....................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0392          908              36
                                                   C...............          0.0159        1,850              29
                                                   E...............          0.0000        1,056  ..............
Longnose skate................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0392           61               2
                                                   C...............          0.0159        2,513              40
                                                   E...............          0.0000          632  ..............
Other skates..................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0176        1,919              34
Sculpins......................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0176        5,591              98
Sharks........................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0176        4,514              79
Squids........................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0176        1,137              20
Octopuses.....................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0176        4,878              86
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.


       Table 22--Final 2018 GOA Non-American Fisheries Act Crab Vessel Groundfish Harvest Sideboard Limits
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Ratio of  1996-
                                                                      2000 non-AFA                Final 2018 non-
                                                    Area/component/    crab vessel    Final 2018     AFA crab
            Species                Season/gear           gear        catch to  1996-     TACs         vessel
                                                                       2000 total                    sideboard
                                                                         harvest                       limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock.......................  A Season--January  Shumagin (610)..          0.0098        1,725              17
                                 20-March 10.      Chirikof (620)..          0.0031       26,704              83
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.0002        8,513               2
                                B Season--March    Shumagin (610)..          0.0098        1,725              17
                                 10-May 31.        Chirikof (620)..          0.0031       30,469              94
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.0002        4,748               1
                                C Season--August   Shumagin (610)..          0.0098       15,125             148
                                 25-October 1.     Chirikof (620)..          0.0031        9,538              30
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.0002       12,278               2
                                D Season--October  Shumagin (610)..          0.0098       15,125             148
                                 1-November 1.     Chirikof (620)..          0.0031        9,538              30
                                                   Kodiak (630)....          0.0002       12,278               2
                                Annual...........  WYK (640).......          0.0000        5,791  ..............
                                                   SEO (650).......          0.0000        9,920  ..............
Pacific cod...................  A Season \1\--     WG Jig..........          0.0000       13,677  ..............
                                 January 1-June    WG Hook-and-line          0.0004       13,677               5
                                 10.                CV.

[[Page 12055]]

 
                                                   WG Pot CV.......          0.0997       13,677           1,364
                                                   WG Pot C/P......          0.0078       13,677             107
                                                   WG Trawl CV.....          0.0007       13,677              10
                                                   CG Jig..........          0.0000       17,840  ..............
                                                   CG Hook-and-line          0.0001       17,840               2
                                                    CV.
                                                   CG Pot CV.......          0.0474       17,840             846
                                                   CG Pot C/P......          0.0136       17,840             243
                                                   CG Trawl CV.....          0.0012       17,840              21
                                B Season \2\--Jig  WG Jig..........          0.0000        9,118  ..............
                                 Gear: June 10-    WG Hook-and-line          0.0004        9,118               4
                                 December 31; All   CV.                      0.0997        9,118             909
                                 other gears:      WG Pot CV.......          0.0078        9,118              71
                                 September 1-      WG Pot C/P......
                                 December 31.
                                                   WG Trawl CV.....          0.0007        9,118               6
                                                   CG Jig..........          0.0000       11,893  ..............
                                                   CG Hook-and-line          0.0001       11,893               1
                                                    CV.
                                                   CG Pot CV.......          0.0474       11,893             564
                                                   CG Pot C/P......          0.0136       11,893             162
                                                   CG Trawl CV.....          0.0012       11,893              14
                                Annual...........  E inshore.......          0.0110        4,768              52
                                                   E offshore......          0.0000          530  ..............
Sablefish.....................  Annual, trawl      W...............          0.0000          273  ..............
                                 gear.
                                                   C...............          0.0000          915  ..............
                                                   E...............          0.0000          213  ..............
Shallow-water flatfish........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0059       13,250              78
                                                   C...............          0.0001       19,418               2
                                                   E...............          0.0000        4,311  ..............
Deep-water flatfish...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0035          257               1
                                                   C...............          0.0000        3,488  ..............
                                                   E...............          0.0000        5,637  ..............
Rex sole......................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0000        1,478  ..............
                                                   C...............          0.0000        4,995  ..............
                                                   E...............          0.0000        1,948  ..............
Arrowtooth flounder...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0004       14,500               6
                                                   C...............          0.0001       75,000               8
                                                   E...............          0.0000       13,800  ..............
Flathead sole.................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0002        8,650               2
                                                   C...............          0.0004       15,400               6
                                                   E...............          0.0000        3,870  ..............
Pacific ocean perch...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0000        2,627  ..............
                                                   C...............          0.0000       16,347  ..............
                                                   E...............          0.0000        4,480  ..............
Northern rockfish.............  Annual...........  W...............          0.0005          400               0
                                                   C...............          0.0000        3,108  ..............
Shortraker rockfish...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0013           38               0
                                                   C...............          0.0012          301               0
                                                   E...............          0.0009          947               1
Dusky rockfish................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0017          146               0
                                                   C...............          0.0000        3,499  ..............
                                                   E...............          0.0000          309  ..............
Rougheye rockfish.............  Annual...........  W...............          0.0067          104               1
                                                   C...............          0.0047          702               3
                                                   E...............          0.0008          512               0
Demersal shelf rockfish.......  Annual...........  SEO.............          0.0000          227  ..............
Thornyhead rockfish...........  Annual...........  W...............          0.0047          291               1
                                                   C...............          0.0066          988               7
                                                   E...............          0.0045          682               3
Other rockfish................  Annual...........  W/C.............          0.0033        1,534               5
                                                   E...............          0.0000          774  ..............
Atka mackerel.................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0000        3,000  ..............
Big skate.....................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0392          908              36
                                                   C...............          0.0159        1,850              29
                                                   E...............          0.0000        1,056  ..............
Longnose skate................  Annual...........  W...............          0.0392           61               2
                                                   C...............          0.0159        2,513              40
                                                   E...............          0.0000          632  ..............

[[Page 12056]]

 
Other skates..................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0176        1,919              34
Sculpins......................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0176        5,591              98
Sharks........................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0176        4,514              79
Squids........................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0176        1,137              20
Octopuses.....................  Annual...........  Gulfwide........          0.0176        4,878              86
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and Halibut PSC Limitations

    The Rockfish Program establishes three classes of sideboard 
provisions: CV groundfish sideboard restrictions, C/P rockfish 
sideboard restrictions, and C/P opt-out vessel sideboard restrictions. 
These sideboards are intended to limit the ability of rockfish 
harvesters to expand into other fisheries.
    CVs participating in the Rockfish Program may not participate in 
directed fishing for dusky rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and northern 
rockfish in the West Yakutat District and Western GOA from July 1 
through July 31. Also, CVs may not participate in directed fishing for 
arrowtooth flounder, deep-water flatfish, and rex sole in the GOA from 
July 1 through July 31 (Sec.  679.82(d)(3)-(4)).
    C/Ps participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives are restricted 
by rockfish and halibut PSC sideboard limits. These C/Ps are prohibited 
from directed fishing for dusky rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and 
northern rockfish in the West Yakutat District and Western GOA from 
July 1 through July 31 (Sec.  679.82(e)(2)). Holders of C/P-designated 
LLP licenses that opt out of participating in a Rockfish Program 
cooperative will be able to access that portion of each sideboard limit 
that is not assigned to rockfish cooperatives. Tables 23 and 24 list 
the final 2017 and 2018 Rockfish Program C/P sideboard limits in the 
West Yakutat District and the Western GOA. Due to confidentiality 
requirements associated with fisheries data, the sideboard limits for 
the West Yakutat District are not displayed.

 Table 23--Final 2017 Rockfish Program Sideboard Limits for the West Yakutat District and Western GOA by Fishery
                                        for the Catcher/Processor Sector
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  C/P sector  (% of
             Area                  Fishery              TAC)             Final 2017 TACs    Final 2017 C/P limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western GOA..................  Dusky rockfish.  72.3................  158.................  114.
                               Pacific ocean    50.6................  2,679...............  1,356.
                                perch.
                               Northern         74.3................  432.................  321.
                                rockfish.
West Yakutat District........  Dusky rockfish.  Confidential \1\....  251.................  Confidential.\1\
                               Pacific ocean    Confidential \1\....  2,786...............  Confidential.\1\
                                perch.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Not released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data, as established by NMFS
  and the State of Alaska.


 Table 24--Final 2018 Rockfish Program Sideboard Limits for the West Yakutat District and Western GOA by Fishery
                                        for the Catcher/Processor Sector
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  C/P sector  (% of
             Area                  Fishery              TAC)             Final 2018 TACs    Final 2018 C/P limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western GOA..................  Dusky rockfish.  72.3................  146.................  106.
                               Pacific ocean    50.6................  2,627...............  1,329.
                                perch.
                               Northern         74.3................  400.................  297.
                                rockfish.
West Yakutat District........  Dusky rockfish.  Confidential \1\....  232.................  Confidential.\1\
                               Pacific ocean    Confidential \1\....  2,733...............  Confidential.\1\
                                perch.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Not released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data, as established by NMFS
  and the State of Alaska.

    Under the Rockfish Program, the C/P sector is subject to halibut 
PSC sideboard limits for the trawl deep-water and shallow-water species 
fisheries from July 1 through July 31. No halibut PSC sideboard limits 
apply to the CV sector, as vessels participating in cooperatives 
receive a portion of the annual halibut PSC limit. C/Ps that opt out of 
the Rockfish Program are able to access that portion of the deep-water 
and shallow-water halibut PSC sideboard limit not assigned to C/P 
rockfish cooperatives. The sideboard provisions for C/Ps that elect to 
opt out of participating in a rockfish cooperative are described in 
Sec.  679.82(c), (e), and (f). Sideboard limits are linked to the catch

[[Page 12057]]

history of specific vessels that may choose to opt out. After March 1, 
NMFS will determine which C/Ps have opted-out of the Rockfish Program 
in 2017, and NMFS will know the ratios and amounts used to calculate 
opt-out sideboard ratios. NMFS will then calculate any applicable opt-
out sideboards and post these allocations on the Alaska Region Web site 
at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/rockfish/. 
Table 25 lists the 2017 and 2018 Rockfish Program halibut PSC limits 
for the C/P sector.

                        Table 25--Final 2017 and 2018 Rockfish Program Halibut Mortality Limits for the Catcher/Processor Sector
                                                     (Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                      Shallow-water      Deep-water                     Annual shallow-    Annual deep-
                                                                     species fishery  species fishery   2017 and 2018    water species    water species
                               Sector                                  halibut PSC      halibut PSC        halibut      fishery halibut  fishery halibut
                                                                     sideboard ratio  sideboard ratio  mortality limit   PSC sideboard    PSC sideboard
                                                                        (percent)        (percent)           (mt)          limit (mt)       limit (mt)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catcher/processor..................................................            0.10             2.50            1,706                2               43
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Amendment 80 Program Groundfish and PSC Sideboard Limits

    Amendment 80 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (Amendment 80 Program) 
established a limited access privilege program for the non-AFA trawl C/
P sector. The Amendment 80 Program established groundfish and halibut 
PSC catch limits for Amendment 80 Program participants to limit the 
ability of participants eligible for the Amendment 80 Program to expand 
their harvest efforts in the GOA.
    Section 679.92 establishes groundfish harvesting sideboard limits 
on all Amendment 80 program vessels, other than the F/V Golden Fleece, 
to amounts no greater than the limits listed in Table 37 to 50 CFR part 
679. Under Sec.  679.92(d), the F/V Golden Fleece is prohibited from 
directed fishing for pollock, Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, dusky 
rockfish, and northern rockfish in the GOA.
    Groundfish sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels 
operating in the GOA are based on their average aggregate harvests from 
1998 through 2004. Tables 26 and 27 list the final 2017 and 2018 
groundfish sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels. NMFS will 
deduct all targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by 
Amendment 80 Program vessels from the sideboard limits in Tables 26 and 
27.

              Table 26--Final 2017 GOA Groundfish Sideboard Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels
                                   [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        Ratio of
                                  Apportionments                      Amendment 80                2017 Amendment
            Species              and allocations         Area        sector vessels    2017 TAC      80 vessel
                                    by season                           1998-2004        (mt)       sideboards
                                                                      catch to TAC                     (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock.......................  A Season--January  Shumagin (610)..           0.003        2,232               7
                                 20-February 25.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..           0.002       34,549              69
                                                   Kodiak (630)....           0.002       11,014              22
                                B Season--March    Shumagin (610)..           0.003        2,232               7
                                 10-May 31.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..           0.002       39,420              79
                                                   Kodiak (630)....           0.002        6,143              12
                                C Season--August   Shumagin (610)..           0.003       19,569              59
                                 25-September 15.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..           0.002       12,341              25
                                                   Kodiak (630)....           0.002       15,886              32
                                D Season--October  Shumagin (610)..           0.003       19,569              59
                                 1-November 1.
                                                   Chirikof (620)..           0.002       12,341              25
                                                   Kodiak (630)....           0.002       15,886              32
                                Annual...........  WYK (640).......           0.002        7,492              15
Pacific cod...................  A Season \1\--     W...............           0.020       15,242             305
                                 January 1-June
                                 10.
                                                   C...............           0.044       19,881             875
                                B Season \2\--     W...............           0.020       10,161             203
                                 September 1-
                                 December 31.
                                                   C...............           0.044       13,254             583
                                Annual...........  WYK.............           0.034        5,903             201
Pacific ocean perch...........  Annual...........  W...............           0.994        2,679           2,663
                                                   WYK.............           0.961        2,786           2,677
Northern rockfish.............  Annual...........  W...............           1.000          432             432
Dusky rockfish................  Annual...........  W...............           0.764          158             121
                                                   WYK.............           0.896          251             225
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.


[[Page 12058]]


              Table 27--Final 2018 GOA Groundfish Sideboard Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels
                                   [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Ratio of
                                Apportionments                     Amendment 80                   2018 Amendment
           Species              and allocations        Area       sector vessels   2018 TAC (mt)     80 vessel
                                   by season                         1998-2004                      sideboards
                                                                   catch to TAC                        (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock......................  A Season--        Shumagin (610).           0.003           1,725               5
                                January 20-      Chirikof (620).           0.002          26,704              53
                                February 25.     Kodiak (630)...           0.002           8,513              17
                               B Season--March   Shumagin (610).           0.003           1,725               5
                                10-May 31.       Chirikof (620).           0.002          30,469              61
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002           4,748               9
                               C Season--August  Shumagin (610).           0.003          15,125              45
                                25-September 15. Chirikof (620).           0.002           9,538              19
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002          12,278              25
                               D Season--        Shumagin (610).           0.003          15,125              45
                                October 1-       Chirikof (620).           0.002           9,538              19
                                November 1.      Kodiak (630)...           0.002          12,278              25
                               Annual..........  WYK (640)......           0.002           5,791              12
Pacific cod..................  A Season \1\--    W..............           0.020          13,677             274
                                January 1-June   C..............           0.044          17,840             785
                                10.
                               B Season \2\--    W..............           0.020           9,118             182
                                September 1-     C..............           0.044          11,893             523
                                December 31.
                               Annual..........  WYK............           0.034           5,297             180
Pacific ocean perch..........  Annual..........  W..............           0.994           2,627           2,611
                                                 WYK............           0.961           2,733           2,626
Northern rockfish............  Annual..........  W..............           1.000             400             400
Dusky rockfish...............  Annual..........  W..............           0.764             146             112
                                                 WYK............           0.896             232             208
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

    The PSC sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels in the 
GOA are based on the historic use of halibut PSC by Amendment 80 
Program vessels in each PSC target category from 1998 through 2004. 
These values are slightly lower than the average historic use to 
accommodate two factors: Allocation of halibut PSC cooperative quota 
under the Rockfish Program and the exemption of the F/V Golden Fleece 
from this restriction (Sec.  679.92(b)(2)). Table 28 lists the final 
2017 and 2018 halibut PSC limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels. 
These tables incorporate the maximum percentages of the halibut PSC 
sideboard limits that may be used by Amendment 80 Program vessels as 
contained in Table 38 to 50 CFR part 679. Any residual amount of a 
seasonal Amendment 80 sideboard halibut PSC limit may carry forward to 
the next season limit (Sec.  679.92(b)(2)).

          Table 28--Final 2017 and 2018 Halibut PSC Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels in the GOA
                                   [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Historic
                                                            Amendment 80 use
                                                              of the annual     2017 and 2018     2017 and 2018
        Season            Season dates     Target fishery      halibut PSC    annual PSC limit    Amendment 80
                                                               limit catch          (mt)        vessel PSC limit
                                                                 (ratio)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.....................  January 20-April  shallow-water...            0.0048             1,706                 8
                         1.
                                          deep-water......            0.0115             1,706                20
2.....................  April 1-July 1..  shallow-water...            0.0189             1,706                32
                                          deep-water......            0.1072             1,706               183
3.....................  July 1-September  shallow-water...            0.0146             1,706                25
                         1.
                                          deep-water......            0.0521             1,706                89
4.....................  September 1-      shallow-water...            0.0074             1,706                13
                         October 1.
                                          deep-water......            0.0014             1,706                 2
5.....................  October 1-        shallow-water...            0.0227             1,706                39
                         December 31.
                                          deep-water......            0.0371             1,706                63
                                                           -----------------------------------------------------
    Total.............  ................  ................  ................  ................               474
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Directed Fishing Closures

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), if the Regional Administrator 
determines (1) that any allocation or apportionment of a target species 
or species group allocated or apportioned to a fishery will be reached; 
or (2) with respect to pollock and Pacific cod, that an allocation or 
apportionment to an

[[Page 12059]]

inshore or offshore component or sector allocation will be reached, 
then the Regional Administrator may establish a directed fishing 
allowance (DFA) for that species or species group. 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 GOA subarea, 
regulatory area, or district (Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii)).
    The Regional Administrator has determined that the TACs for the 
species listed in Table 29 are necessary to account for the incidental 
catch of these species in other anticipated groundfish fisheries for 
the 2017 and 2018 fishing years.

                          Table 29--2017 and 2018 Directed Fishing Closures in the GOA
                  [Amounts for incidental catch in other directed fisheries are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    Incidental catch amount and year (if amounts
               Target                      Area/component/gear                     differ by year)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock.............................  all/offshore................  not applicable.\1\
Sablefish \2\.......................  all/trawl...................  1,383 (2017), 1,402 (2018).
Pacific cod.........................  Western, catcher/processor,   594 (2017), 528 (2018).
                                       trawl.                       1,377 (2017), 1,236 (2018).
                                      Central, catcher/processor,
                                       trawl.
Shortraker rockfish \2\.............  all.........................  1,286.
Rougheye rockfish \2\...............  all.........................  1,327 (2017), 1,318 (2018).
Thornyhead rockfish \2\.............  all.........................  1,961.
Other rockfish......................  all.........................  2,308.
Atka mackerel.......................  all.........................  3,000.
Big skate...........................  all.........................  3,814.
Longnose skate......................  all.........................  3,206.
Other skates........................  all.........................  1,919.
Sharks..............................  all.........................  4,514.
Squids..............................  all.........................  1,137.
Octopuses...........................  all.........................  4,878.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pollock is closed to directed fishing in the GOA by the offshore component under Sec.   679.20(a)(6)(i).
\2\ Closures not applicable to participants in cooperatives conducted under the Central GOA Rockfish Program.

    Consequently, in accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the 
Regional Administrator establishes the DFA for the species or species 
groups listed in Table 29 as zero mt. Therefore, in accordance with 
Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for those 
species, areas, gear types, and components in the GOA listed in Table 
29. These closures will remain in effect through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., 
December 31, 2018.
    Section 679.64(b)(5) provides for management of AFA CV groundfish 
harvest limits and PSC bycatch limits using directed fishing closures 
and PSC closures according to procedures set out at Sec. Sec.  
679.20(d)(1)(iv), 679.21(d)(6), and 679.21(e)(3)(v). The Regional 
Administrator has determined that, in addition to the closures listed 
above, many of the non-exempt AFA CV sideboard limits listed in Tables 
18 and 19 are necessary as incidental catch to support other 
anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2017 and 2018 fishing years. 
In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iv), the Regional Administrator 
sets the DFAs for the species and species groups in Table 30 at zero 
mt. Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is 
prohibiting directed fishing by non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA for the 
species and specified areas listed in Table 30. These closures will 
remain in effect through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2018.

   Table 30--2017 and 2018 Non-Exempt AFA CV Sideboard Directed Fishing Closures for All Gear Types in the GOA
                  [Amounts for incidental catch in other directed fisheries are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Regulatory area/
            Species                     district                         Incidental catch amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod....................  Eastern...............  42 (inshore) and 5 (offshore) [2017].
                                                         38 (inshore) and 4 (offshore) [2018].
Shallow-water flatfish.........  Eastern...............  54 in 2017, 49 in 2018.
Deep-water flatfish............  Western...............  0.
Rex sole.......................  Eastern and Western...  6 and 1 (2017), 5 and 1 (2018).
Arrowtooth flounder............  Eastern and Western...  3 and 30.
Flathead sole..................  Eastern and Western...  3 and 31.
Pacific ocean perch............  Western...............  6.
Northern rockfish..............  Western...............  0.
Dusky rockfish.................  Entire GOA............  2.
Demersal shelf rockfish........  SEO District..........  0.
Sculpins.......................  Entire GOA............  35.
Squids.........................  Entire GOA............  7.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 680.22 provides for the management of non-AFA crab vessel 
sideboards using directed fishing closures in accordance with Sec.  
680.22(e)(2) and (3). The Regional Administrator has determined that 
the

[[Page 12060]]

non-AFA crab vessel sideboards listed in Tables 21 and 22 are 
insufficient to support a directed fishery and has set the sideboard 
DFA at zero mt, with the exception of Pacific cod pot CV sector 
apportionments in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. Therefore, 
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing by non-AFA crab vessels in the GOA 
for all species and species groups listed in Tables 21 and 22, with the 
exception of the Pacific cod pot CV sector apportionments in the 
Western and Central Regulatory Areas.
    Closures implemented under the 2016 and 2017 GOA harvest 
specifications for groundfish (81 FR 14740, March 18, 2016) remain 
effective under authority of these final 2017 and 2018 harvest 
specifications, and are posted at the following Web site: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/infobulletins/search. 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 at 50 CFR 
part 679. NMFS may implement other closures during the 2017 and 2018 
fishing years as necessary for effective conservation and management.

Comments and Responses

    NMFS did not receive any comments about the proposed harvest 
specifications.

Classification

    NMFS has determined that these final harvest specifications are 
consistent with the FMP and with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management 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 for this action (see ADDRESSES) and made it 
available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 
13, 2007, NMFS issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the EIS. In 
January 2017, 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 preferred alternative is a harvest strategy in which 
TACs are set at a level that falls within the range of ABCs recommended 
by the Council's SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve the OY specified 
in the FMP. The SIR evaluates the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS 
(SEIS) for the 2017 and 2018 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 2017 and 2018 harvest 
specifications, which were set according to the preferred harvest 
strategy in the EIS, do not constitute a substantial 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 2017 and 2018 harvest 
specifications will result in environmental impacts within the scope of 
those analyzed and disclosed in the EIS. Therefore, supplemental 
National Environmental Policy Act documentation is not necessary to 
implement the 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications.
    Section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 604) 
requires that, when an agency promulgates a final rule under section 
553 of Title 5 of the United States Code, after being required by that 
section, or any other law, to publish a general notice of proposed 
rulemaking, the agency shall prepare a final regulatory flexibility 
analysis (FRFA).
    Section 604 describes the required contents of a FRFA: (1) A 
statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule; (2) a statement 
of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to 
the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, a statement of the 
assessment of the agency of such issues, and a statement of any changes 
made in the proposed rule as a result of such comments; (3) the 
response of the agency to any comments filed by the Chief Counsel for 
Advocacy of the Small Business Administration in response to the 
proposed rule, and a detailed statement of any change made to the 
proposed rule in the final rule as a result of the comments; (4) a 
description of and an estimate of the number of small entities to which 
the rule will apply or an explanation of why no such estimate is 
available; (5) a description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping, 
and other compliance requirements of the rule, including an estimate of 
the classes of small entities which will be subject to the requirement 
and the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the 
report or record; and (6) a description of the steps the agency has 
taken to minimize the significant economic impact on small entities 
consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes, including 
a statement of the factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the 
alternative adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other 
significant alternatives to the rule considered by the agency that 
affect the impact on small entities was rejected.
    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 6, 2016 (81 FR 87881). 
NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) to 
accompany this action, and included a summary in the proposed rule. The 
comment period closed on January 5, 2017. No comments were received on 
the IRFA or the economic impacts of the rule more generally. The Chief 
Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration did not file 
any comments on the proposed rule.
    The entities directly regulated by this action include: (1) 
Entities operating vessels with groundfish FFPs catching FMP groundfish 
in Federal waters; (2) all entities operating vessels, regardless of 
whether they hold groundfish FFPs, catching FMP groundfish in the 
State-waters parallel fisheries; and (3) all entities operating vessels 
fishing for halibut inside three miles of the shore (whether or not 
they have FFPs).
    For RFA purposes only, NMFS has established a small business size 
standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary 
industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily 
engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a 
small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not 
dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has 
combined annual receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its 
affiliated operations worldwide.
    Based on data from 2015 fishing activity, there were 969 individual 
catcher vessel entities with gross revenues meeting small entity 
criteria. Of these entities, 827 used hook-and-line gear, 115 used pot 
gear, and 30 used trawl gear (some of these entities used more than one 
gear type, thus the counts of entities using the different gear types

[[Page 12061]]

do not sum to the total number of entities above). Three individual 
catcher/processors met the small entity criterion; two used hook-and-
line gear, and one used trawl gear. Catcher/processor gross revenues 
were not reported for confidentiality reasons; however, hook-and-line 
small entities had average gross revenues of $350,000, small pot 
entities had average gross revenues of $760,000, and small trawl 
entities had average gross revenues of $1.85 million.
    Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock 
cooperatives, of GOA rockfish cooperatives, or of Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands crab rationalization cooperatives, and, therefore, 
under the RFA it is the aggregate gross receipts of all participating 
members of the cooperative that must meet the threshold. Vessels that 
participate in these cooperatives are considered to be large entities 
within the meaning of the RFA. These relationships are accounted for, 
along with corporate affiliations among vessels, to the extent that 
they are known, in the estimated number of small entities. If 
affiliations exist of which NMFS is unaware, or if entities had non-
fishing revenue sources, the estimates above may overstate the number 
of directly regulated small entities.
    This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting 
requirements.
    NMFS considered alternative harvest strategies when choosing the 
preferred harvest strategy (Alternative 2) in December 2006. These 
included the following:
     Alternative 1: Set TACs to produce fishing mortality 
rates, F, that are equal to maxFABC, unless the sum of the TACs is 
constrained by the OY established in the fishery management plans. This 
is equivalent to setting TACs to produce harvest levels equal to the 
maximum permissible ABCs, as constrained by OY. The term ``maxFABC'' 
refers to the maximum permissible value of FABC under Amendment 56 to 
the BSAI and GOA groundfish fishery management plans. Historically, the 
TAC has been set at or below the ABC; therefore, this 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, TACs 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, TACs 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 ABCs, and 
recent average F may provide a better indicator of actual F than FABC 
does.
     Alternative 4: (1) Set TACs for rockfish species in Tier 3 
at F75%. Set TACs for rockfish species in Tier 5 at F = 0.5M. Set 
spatially explicit TACs for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the 
GOA. (2) Taking the rockfish TACs as calculated above, reduce all other 
TACs by a proportion that does not vary across species, so that the sum 
of all TACs, including rockfish TACs, is equal to the lower bound of 
the area OY (116,000 mt in the GOA). This alternative sets conservative 
and spatially explicit TACs for rockfish species that are long-lived 
and late to mature and sets conservative TACs for the other groundfish 
species.
     Alternative 5: (No Action) Set TACs at zero.
    These four alternatives (1, 3, 4, and 5) do not meet the objectives 
of this action, and although Alternatives 1 and 3 may have a smaller 
adverse economic impact on small entities than the preferred 
alternative, Alternatives 4 and 5 would have a significant adverse 
economic impact on small entities. The Council rejected these 
alternatives as harvest strategies in 2006, and the Secretary did so in 
2007.
    Alternative 2 is the preferred alternative chosen by the Council: 
Set TACs that fall within the range of ABCs 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 TACs that has been used in the past.
    Alternative 2 selected harvest rates that will allow fishermen to 
harvest stocks at the level of ABCs, unless total harvests are 
constrained by the upper bound of the GOA OY of 800,000 mt. The sums of 
ABCs in 2017 and 2018 are 667,877 mt and 597,052 mt, respectively. The 
sums of the TACs in 2017 and 2018 are 535,863 mt and 483,588 mt, 
respectively. Thus, although the sum of ABCs in each year is less than 
800,000 mt, the sums of the TACs in each year are less than the sums of 
the ABCs.
    In most cases, the Council has set TACs equal to ABCs. The 
divergence between aggregate TACs and aggregate ABCs reflects a variety 
of special species- and fishery-specific circumstances:
     Pacific cod TACs are set equal to 70 percent in the 
Western GOA and 75 percent in the Central and Eastern GOA of the 
Pacific cod ABCs in each year to account for the GHL set by the State 
for its GHL Pacific cod fisheries (30 percent of the Western GOA ABC 
and 25 percent of the Central and Eastern GOA ABCs). Thus, the 
difference between the Federal TACs and ABCs does not actually reflect 
a Pacific cod harvest below the Pacific cod ABC, as the balance is 
available for the State's cod GHL fisheries.
     Shallow-water flatfish and flathead sole TACs are set 
below ABCs in the Western Regulatory Area. Arrowtooth flounder TACs are 
set below ABC in all GOA regulatory areas. Catches of these flatfish 
species rarely, if ever, approach the proposed ABCs or TACs. Important 
trawl fisheries in the GOA take halibut PSC, and are constrained by 
limits on the allowable halibut PSC mortality. These limits may force 
the closure of trawl fisheries before they have harvested the available 
groundfish ABC. Thus, actual harvests of groundfish in the GOA 
routinely fall short of some ABCs and TACs. Markets can also constrain 
harvests below the TACs, as has been the case with arrowtooth flounder, 
in the past. These TACs are set to allow for increased harvest 
opportunities for these targets while conserving the halibut PSC limit 
for use in other, more fully utilized, fisheries.
     The other rockfish TAC is set below the ABC in the 
Southeast Outside District based on several factors. In addition to 
conservation concerns for the rockfish species in this group, there is 
a regulatory prohibition against using trawl gear east of 140[deg] W. 
longitude. Because most species of other rockfish are caught 
exclusively with trawl gear, the catch of such species with other gear 
types, such as hook-and-line, is low. The commercial catch of other 
rockfish in the Eastern Regulatory Area, which includes the West 
Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts, has ranged from approximately 
70 mt to 248 mt per year over the last decade.
     The GOA-wide Atka mackerel TAC is set below the ABC. The 
estimates of survey biomass continue to be unreliable in the GOA. 
Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS agrees that the Atka 
mackerel TAC in the GOA be set at an amount to support incidental catch 
in other directed fisheries.
    Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 
years of

[[Page 12062]]

harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for the most recent 
5 years of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). This 
alternative is inconsistent with the objectives of this action because 
it does not take account of the most recent biological information for 
this fishery.
    Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all 
species to reduce TACs from the upper end of the OY range in the GOA to 
its lower end of 116,000 mt. Overall, this alternative would reduce 
2017 TACs by about 80 percent. This would lead to significant 
reductions in harvests of species by small entities. While production 
declines in the GOA would undoubtedly be associated with price 
increases in the GOA, these increases would still be constrained by the 
availability of substitutes, and are very unlikely to offset revenue 
declines from smaller production. Thus, this action would have a 
detrimental economic impact on small entities.
    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 and SIR (see 
ADDRESSES).
    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 would be 
contrary to the public interest. The Plan Team review occurred in 
November 2016, and the Council considered and recommended the final 
harvest specifications in December 2016. Accordingly, NMFS' review 
could not begin until January 2017. For all fisheries not currently 
closed because the TACs established under the final 2016 and 2017 
harvest specifications (81 FR 14740, March 18, 2016) were not reached, 
it is possible that they would be closed prior to the expiration of a 
30-day delayed effectiveness period because their TACs could be reached 
within that period. If implemented immediately, this rule would allow 
these fisheries to continue because some of the new TACs implemented by 
this rule 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 
sablefish, flatfish, rockfish, Atka mackerel, skates, sculpins, sharks, 
squids, 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 many of these 
fisheries. If this rule allowed for a 30-day delay in effectiveness and 
if a TAC were reached during those 30 days, NMFS would close directed 
fishing or prohibit retention for the applicable species. Any delay in 
allocating the final TACs in these fisheries would cause confusion to 
the industry and potential economic harm through unnecessary discards, 
thus undermining the intent of this rule. Waiving the 30-day delay 
allows NMFS to prevent economic loss to fishermen that could otherwise 
occur should the 2017 TACs (set under the 2016 and 2017 harvest 
specifications) be reached. 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.
    In fisheries subject to declining sideboard limits, a failure to 
implement the updated sideboard limits before initial season's end 
could deny the intended economic protection to the non-sideboarded 
sectors. Conversely, in fisheries with increasing sideboard limits, 
economic benefit could be denied to the sideboard limited sectors.
    If the final harvest specifications are not effective by March 11, 
2017, which is the start of the 2017 Pacific halibut season as 
specified by the IPHC, the hook-and-line sablefish fishery will not 
begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. This would 
result in confusion for the industry 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 2017 and 2018 
harvest specifications will allow the sablefish IFQ fishery to begin 
concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season.
    In addition, the 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 for those species that have lower 2017 ABCs and TACs 
than those established in the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (81 
FR 14740, March 18, 2016). 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 TACs. 
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 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications 
and prohibited species bycatch allowances for the groundfish fisheries 
of the GOA. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits and 
associated management measures for groundfish during the 2017 and 2018 
fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the FMP. 
This action affects all fishermen who participate in the GOA 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), 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 21, 2017.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-03697 Filed 2-24-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P