Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish, 11826-11852 [2017-03698]

Download as PDF 11826 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. 150916863–6211–02] RIN 0648–XF248 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Catcher Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. AGENCY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season apportionment of the 2017 Pacific cod total allowable catch allocated to catcher vessels using trawl gear in the BSAI. DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 23, 2017, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., April 1, 2017. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josh Keaton, 907–586–7228. NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679. The A season apportionment of the 2017 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) allocated to catcher vessels using trawl gear in the BSAI is 34,962 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (81 FR 14773, March 18, 2016) and inseason adjustment (82 FR 2916, January 10, 2017). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the A season apportionment of the 2017 Pacific cod TAC allocated to trawl catcher vessels sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 in the BSAI will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 34,000 mt and is setting aside the remaining 962 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the BSAI. After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip. Classification Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: February 23, 2017. Karen H. Abrams, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–03875 Filed 2–23–17; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Frm 00038 Fmt 4700 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 161020985–7181–02] RIN 0648–XE989 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; closures. AGENCY: NMFS announces final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2017 and 2018 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). DATES: Effective from 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 27, 2017, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2018. SUMMARY: This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the closure of directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels using trawl gear in the BSAI. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of February 22, 2017. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment. This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. PO 00000 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Sfmt 4700 Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of Decision (ROD), Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS, and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) 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 BSAI, dated November 2016, as well as the SAFE reports for previous years, are available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99510–2252, phone 907–271–2809, or from the Council’s Web site at http:// www.npfmc.org/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved it under the MagnusonStevens Act. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600. The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species category. The sum TAC for all groundfish species must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see § 679.20(a)(1)(i)(A)). This final rule specifies the TAC at 2.0 million mt for both 2017 and 2018. NMFS also must specify apportionments of TAC, as well as prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances and prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by § 679.21; seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC; Amendment 80 allocations; and Community Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts established by § 679.20(b)(1)(ii). The final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 26 of this action satisfy these requirements. Section 679.20(c)(3)(i) further requires NMFS to consider public comment on the proposed annual TACs (and apportionments thereof) and PSC allowances, and to publish final harvest specifications in the Federal Register. The proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications and PSC allowances for the groundfish fishery of the BSAI were published in the Federal Register on December 6, 2016 (81 FR 87863). Comments were invited and accepted through January 5, 2017. NMFS received one letter of comment on the proposed harvest specifications; this comment is summarized and responded to in the ‘‘Response to Comments’’ section of this rule. NMFS consulted with the Council on the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications during the December 2016 Council meeting in Anchorage, AK. After considering public comments, as well as biological and economic data that were available at the Council’s December meeting, NMFS implements the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications as recommended by the Council. Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Harvest Specifications The final ABC levels for Alaska groundfish are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 revised technical methods used to calculate stock biomass. In general, the development of ABCs and overfishing levels (OFLs) involves sophisticated statistical analyses of fish populations. The FMP specifies a series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts based on the level of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier 1 represents the highest level of information quality available, while Tier 6 represents the lowest. In December 2016, the Council, its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), and its Advisory Panel (AP) reviewed current biological and harvest information about the condition of the BSAI groundfish stocks. The Council’s BSAI Groundfish Plan Team (Plan Team) compiled and presented this information in the final 2016 SAFE report for the BSAI 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 BSAI ecosystem and the economic condition of groundfish fisheries off Alaska. NMFS notified the public of the comment period for these harvest specifications—and of the publication of the 2016 SAFE report— in the notice of proposed harvest specifications. From the data and analyses in the SAFE report, the Plan Team recommended an OFL and ABC for each species or species group at the November 2016 Plan Team meeting. In December 2016, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed the Plan Team’s recommendations. The final TAC recommendations were based on the ABCs as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the sum of all the TACs within the required OY range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million mt. As required by annual catch limit rules for all fisheries (74 FR 3178, January 16, 2009), none of the Council’s recommended TACs for 2017 or 2018 exceed the final 2017 or 2018 ABCs for any species or species group. The Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) approves the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications as recommended by the Council. NMFS finds that the Council’s recommended OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the preferred harvest strategy and the biological condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 2016 SAFE report that was approved by the Council. The 2017 harvest specifications set in this final action will supersede the 2017 harvest specifications previously set in PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 11827 the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (81 FR 14773, 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 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands for approximately one year. Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications The State of Alaska (State) manages separate Pacific cod fisheries in the Bering Sea subarea and the Aleutian Islands subarea. The State’s guideline harvest level (GHL) fisheries are conducted independently of the Federal groundfish fisheries under direct regulation of the State. GHLs are derived from the Pacific cod ABC for the Bering Sea subarea and the Aleutian Islands subarea, and the TAC for each subarea is set at an amount less than or equal to the amount available after the annual GHL percentage has been deducted from the ABC. The State’s GHLs for 2017 and 2018 are set equal to 6.4 percent of the Pacific cod ABC for the Bering Sea subarea and 27 percent of the Pacific cod ABC for the Aleutian Islands subarea. The Council and its Plan Team, Scientific and Statistical Committee, and Advisory Panel recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the Bering Sea subarea and the Aleutian Islands subarea not exceed the proposed ABC recommendations. Accordingly, the Council recommends setting the final 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs in the Bering Sea subarea and the Aleutian Islands subarea to account for State GHLs. NMFS has published the final rule to implement Amendment 113 (81 FR 84434, November 23, 2016). This rule sets aside a portion of the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod TAC for catcher vessels that directed fish for Aleutian Islands Pacific cod and then deliver the catch to Aleutian Islands shoreplants for processing. The set-aside applies only if specific notification and performance requirements are met. For 2017, NMFS has been notified that no shoreplants in E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 11828 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations the Aleutian Islands will be processing Pacific cod, and the set-aside is not in effect for 2017. For 2018, NMFS must be notified by October 31, 2017, that Aleutian Islands shoreplants intend to process Pacific cod for the 2018 setaside to apply for catcher vessels that directed fish for Aleutian Islands Pacific cod and then deliver the catch to Aleutian Islands shoreplants for processing. If NMFS receives such notification from either the city of Adak or the city of Atka, then NMFS will set aside a portion of the TAC for Aleutian Islands subarea Pacific cod in 2018 for catcher vessels that directed fish for Aleutian Islands Pacific cod and deliver to Aleutian Islands shoreplants for processing. Changes From the Proposed 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for the BSAI The Council’s recommendations for the proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87863, December 6, 2016) were based largely on information contained in the 2015 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries. Through the proposed harvest specifications, NMFS notified the public that these harvest specifications could change, as the Council would consider information contained in the final 2016 SAFE report; recommendations from the Plan Team, SSC, and AP committees; and public testimony when making its recommendations for final harvest specifications at the December 2016 Council meeting. NMFS further notified the public that, as required by the FMP and its implementing regulations, the sum of the TACs must be within the OY range of 1.4 million and 2.0 million mt. Information contained in the 2016 SAFE report indicates biomass changes from the 2015 SAFE report for several groundfish species. The 2016 report was made available for public review during the public comment period for the proposed harvest specifications. At the December 2016 Council meeting, the SSC recommended the 2017 and 2018 ABCs for many species based on the best and most recent information contained in the 2016 SAFE reports. This recommendation resulted in an ABC sum total for all BSAI groundfish species in excess of 2 million mt for both 2017 and 2018. Based on increased fishing effort in 2016, the Council recommends increasing Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands yellowfin sole TAC by 10,000 mt in 2017 and 2018. In terms of percentage, the largest increases in final TACs relative to the proposed TACs were for Bering Sea subarea Pacific Ocean perch and Bering Sea subarea Greenland turbot. These increases were to account for a higher interest in directed fishing than in 2016. Other increases in the final TACs relative to the proposed TACs included increases in Aleutian Islands subarea Pacific cod, sablefish, and Atka mackerel in all subareas. These increases were to account for higher interest in directed fishing or higher anticipated incidental catch needs. Decreases in final TACs compared to the proposed TACs were for rock sole, flathead sole, rougheye rockfish, and shortraker rockfish. The decreases were to account for the requirement not to exceed the 2.0 million mt OY limit on overall TAC in the BSAI. The changes to TACs between the proposed and final harvest specifications are based on the most recent scientific and economic information and are consistent with the FMP, regulatory obligations, and harvest strategy as described in the proposed harvest specifications, including the upper limit for OY of 2.0 million mt. These changes are compared in Table 1A. Table 1 lists the Council’s recommended final 2017 OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ reserve amounts of the BSAI groundfish species or species groups; and Table 2 lists the Council’s recommended final 2018 OFL, ABC, TAC, ITAC, and CDQ reserve amounts of the BSAI groundfish species or species groups. NMFS concurs in these recommendations. The final 2017 and 2018 TAC recommendations for the BSAI are within the OY range established for the BSAI and do not exceed the ABC for any species or species group. The apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and seasons is discussed below. TABLE 1—FINAL 2017 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2017 Species Area ITAC 2 OFL Pollock 4 .............................. Pacific cod 5 ........................ Sablefish ............................. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Yellowfin sole ...................... Greenland turbot ................. Arrowtooth flounder ............. Kamchatka flounder ............ Rock sole ............................ Flathead sole 6 .................... Alaska plaice ....................... Other flatfish 7 ..................... Pacific ocean perch ............ Northern rockfish ................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 BS ....................................... AI ........................................ Bogoslof ............................. BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... EAI ...................................... CAI ..................................... WAI ..................................... BSAI ................................... 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00040 ABC TAC 3,640,000 43,650 130,428 284,000 28,700 1,499 2,044 287,000 11,615 n/a n/a 76,100 10,360 159,700 81,654 42,800 17,591 53,152 n/a n/a n/a n/a 16,242 2,800,000 36,061 60,800 239,000 21,500 1,274 1,735 260,800 6,644 5,800 844 65,371 8,880 155,100 68,278 36,000 13,193 43,723 12,199 10,307 8,009 13,208 13,264 1,345,000 19,000 500 223,704 15,695 1,274 1,735 154,000 4,500 4,375 125 14,000 5,000 47,100 14,500 13,000 2,500 34,900 11,000 7,900 7,000 9,000 5,000 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 1,210,500 17,100 500 199,768 14,016 1,051 1,410 137,522 3,825 3,719 106 11,900 4,250 42,060 12,949 11,050 2,125 30,693 9,350 7,055 6,251 8,037 4,250 CDQ 3 134,500 1,900 0 23,936 1,679 175 293 16,478 n/a 468 0 1,498 0 5,040 1,552 0 0 n/a 0 845 749 963 0 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 11829 TABLE 1—FINAL 2017 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI 1—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2017 Species Area OFL Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish 8. ABC ITAC 2 TAC CDQ 3 BSAI ................................... 612 501 225 191 0 Skates ................................. Sculpins ............................... Sharks ................................. Squids ................................. Octopuses ........................... BS/EAI ................................ CAI/WAI .............................. BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BS/EAI ................................ CAI ..................................... WAI ..................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... n/a n/a 666 1,816 n/a n/a 102,700 n/a n/a n/a 49,063 56,582 689 6,912 4,769 306 195 499 1,362 791 571 87,200 34,890 30,330 21,980 41,144 42,387 517 5,184 3,576 100 125 125 875 325 550 65,000 34,500 18,000 12,500 26,000 4,500 125 1,342 400 85 106 106 744 276 468 58,045 30,809 16,074 11,163 22,100 3,825 106 1,141 340 0 0 0 0 0 0 6,955 3,692 1,926 1,338 0 0 0 0 0 Total ............................. ............................................. 5,110,344 4,013,993 2,000,000 1,791,566 197,031 Shortraker rockfish .............. Other rockfish 9 ................... Atka mackerel ..................... 1 These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District. 2 Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line or pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is put into a reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species, ITAC is the non-CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 5). 3 For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch), 10.7 percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). Aleutian Islands Greenland turbot, ‘‘other flatfish,’’ Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program. 4 Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual BS subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (3.9 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: inshore—50 percent; catcher/processor—40 percent; and motherships—10 percent. Under § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. 5 The BS Pacific cod TAC is set less than 6.4 percent of the Bering Sea subarea ABC to account for the State of Alaska’s (State) guideline harvest level in State waters of the Bering Sea subarea. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set less than 27 percent of the Aleutian Islands subarea ABC to account for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea. 6 ‘‘Flathead sole’’ includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering flounder). 7 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice. 8 ‘‘Rougheye rockfish’’ includes Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted). 9 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2 (BSAI = Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, BS = Bering Sea subarea, AI = Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI = Eastern Aleutian district, CAI = Central Aleutian district, WAI = Western Aleutian district.) TABLE 1A—COMPARISON OF FINAL 2017 AND 2018 WITH PROPOSED 2017 AND 2018 TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH IN THE BSAI [Amounts are in metric tons] 2017 final TAC 2017 proposed TAC 2017 difference from proposed 2017 percentage difference from proposed 2018 final TAC 2018 proposed TAC 2018 difference from proposed 2018 percentage difference from proposed Species Area 1 Pollock ...... BS ............. AI .............. Bogoslof .... BS ............. AI .............. BS ............. AI .............. BSAI .......... 1,345,000 19,000 500 223,704 15,695 1,274 1,735 154,000 1,340,643 19,000 500 238,680 12,839 1,052 1,423 144,000 4,357 0 0 ¥14,976 2,856 222 312 10,000 0.3 0.0 0.0 ¥6.3 22.2 21.1 21.9 6.9 1,345,000 19,000 500 223,704 15,695 1,274 1,735 154,000 1,340,643 19,000 500 238,680 12,839 1,052 1,423 144,000 4,357 0 0 ¥14,976 2,856 222 312 10,000 0.3 0.0 0.0 ¥6.3 22.2 21.1 21.9 6.9 BS ............. 4,375 2,673 1,702 63.7 4,375 2,673 1,702 63.7 AI .............. 125 200 ¥75 ¥37.5 125 200 ¥75 ¥37.5 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Pacific cod Sablefish ... Yellowfin sole. Greenland turbot. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 11830 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 1A—COMPARISON OF FINAL 2017 AND 2018 WITH PROPOSED 2017 AND 2018 TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH IN THE BSAI—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2017 final TAC 2017 percentage difference from proposed 2017 difference from proposed 2017 proposed TAC 2018 proposed TAC 2018 final TAC 2018 percentage difference from proposed 2018 difference from proposed Species Area 1 Arrowtooth flounder. Kamchatka flounder. Rock sole .. Flathead sole. Alaska plaice. Other flatfish. Pacific ocean perch. BSAI .......... 14,000 14,000 0 0.0 14,000 14,000 0 0.0 BSAI .......... 5,000 5,000 0 0.0 5,000 5,000 0 0.0 BSAI .......... BSAI .......... 47,100 14,500 57,100 21,000 ¥10,000 ¥6,500 ¥17.5 ¥31.0 47,100 14,500 57,100 21,000 ¥10,000 ¥6,500 ¥17.5 ¥31.0 BSAI .......... 13,000 14,500 ¥1,500 ¥10.3 13,000 14,500 ¥1,500 ¥10.3 BSAI .......... 2,500 2,500 0 0.0 2,500 2,500 0 0.0 BS ............. 11,000 7,953 3,047 38.3 11,000 7,953 3,047 38.3 EAI ............ CAI ............ WAI ........... BSAI .......... 7,900 7,000 9,000 5,000 7,537 7,000 9,000 4,500 363 0 0 500 4.8 0.0 0.0 11.1 7,900 7,000 9,000 5,000 7,537 7,000 9,000 4,500 363 0 0 500 4.8 0.0 0.0 11.1 100 100 0 0.0 100 100 0 0.0 125 125 200 200 ¥75 ¥75 ¥37.5 ¥37.5 125 125 200 200 ¥75 ¥75 ¥37.5 ¥37.5 325 325 0 0.0 325 325 0 0.0 550 34,500 550 28,500 0 6,000 0.0 21.1 550 34,000 550 28,500 0 5,500 0.0 19.3 18,000 12,500 26,000 4,500 125 1,342 400 16,000 10,500 26,000 4,500 125 1,500 400 2,000 2,000 0 0 0 ¥158 0 12.5 19.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 ¥10.5 0.0 18,500 12,500 26,000 4,500 125 1,342 400 16,000 10,500 26,000 4,500 125 1,500 400 2,500 2,000 0 0 0 ¥158 0 15.6 19.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 ¥10.5 0.0 2,000,000 2,000,000 0 0.0 2,000,000 2,000,000 0 0.0 Northern rockfish. BlackspottBS/EAI ...... ed and Rougheye rockfish. CAI/WAI .... Shortraker BSAI .......... rockfish. Other rock- BS ............. fish. AI .............. Atka mack- EAI/BS ...... erel. CAI ............ WAI ........... Skates ....... BSAI .......... Sculpins .... BSAI .......... Sharks ....... BSAI .......... Squid ......... BSAI .......... Octopuses BSAI .......... Total ... BSAI .......... 1 Bering Sea subarea (BS), Aleutian Islands subarea (AI), Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI), Eastern Aleutian District (EAI), Central Aleutian District (CAI), and Western Aleutian District (WAI). TABLE 2—FINAL 2018 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2018 Species Area ITAC 2 OFL Pollock 4 .............................. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Pacific cod 5 ........................ Sablefish ............................. Yellowfin sole ...................... Greenland turbot ................. Arrowtooth flounder ............. Kamchatka flounder ............ Rock sole ............................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 BS ....................................... AI ........................................ Bogoslof ............................. BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00042 ABC TAC 4,360,000 49,291 130,428 302,000 28,700 1,519 2,072 276,000 12,831 n/a n/a 67,023 10,700 147,300 2,979,000 40,788 97,428 255,000 21,500 1,291 1,758 250,800 10,864 9,484 1,380 58,633 9,200 143,100 1,345,000 19,000 500 223,704 15,695 1,274 1,735 154,000 4,500 4,375 125 14,000 5,000 47,100 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 1,210,500 17,100 500 199,768 14,016 541 369 137,522 3,825 3,719 106 11,900 4,250 42,060 CDQ 3 134,500 1,900 0 23,936 1,679 48 33 16,478 n/a 468 0 1,498 0 5,040 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 11831 TABLE 2—FINAL 2018 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI 1—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2018 Species Area OFL Flathead sole 6 .................... Alaska plaice ....................... Other flatfish 7 ..................... Pacific ocean perch ............ ABC ITAC 2 TAC CDQ 3 BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... EAI ...................................... CAI ..................................... WAI ..................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... 79,136 36,900 17,591 51,950 n/a n/a n/a n/a 15,854 750 66,164 32,100 13,193 42,735 11,924 10,074 7,828 12,909 12,947 614 14,500 13,000 2,500 34,900 11,000 7,900 7,000 9,000 5,000 225 12,949 11,050 2,125 30,693 9,350 7,055 6,251 8,037 4,250 191 1,552 0 0 n/a 0 845 749 963 0 0 Skates ................................. Sculpins ............................... Sharks ................................. Squids ................................. Octopuses ........................... EBS/EAI ............................. CAI/WAI .............................. BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... EAI/BS ................................ CAI ..................................... WAI ..................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... n/a n/a 666 1,816 n/a n/a 99,900 n/a n/a n/a 46,583 56,582 689 6,912 4,769 374 240 499 1,362 791 571 85,000 34,000 29,600 21,400 39,008 42,387 517 5,184 3,576 100 125 125 875 325 550 65,000 34,000 18,500 12,500 26,000 4,500 125 1,342 400 85 106 106 744 276 468 58,045 30,362 16,521 11,163 22,100 3,825 106 1,141 340 0 0 0 0 0 0 6,955 3,638 1,980 1,338 0 0 0 0 0 Total ............................. ............................................. 5,807,962 4,214,648 2,000,000 1,790,015 196,644 Northern rockfish ................. Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish 8. Shortraker rockfish .............. Other rockfish 9 ................... Atka mackerel ..................... 1 These sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District. 2 Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line or pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is put into a reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species, ITAC is the non-CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 5). 3 For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch), 10.7 percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). Aleutian Islands Greenland turbot, ‘‘other flatfish,’’ Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program. 4 Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual BS subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (3.9 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: Inshore—50 percent; catcher/processor—40 percent; and motherships—10 percent. Under § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. 5 The BS Pacific cod TAC is set less than 6.4 percent of the Bering Sea subarea ABC to account for the State of Alaska’s (State) guideline harvest level in State waters of the Bering Sea subarea. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set less than 27 percent of the Aleutian Island subarea ABC to account for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea. 6 ‘‘Flathead sole’’ includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering flounder). 7 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice. 8 ‘‘Rougheye rockfish’’ includes Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted). 9 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2 (BSAI = Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area, BS = Bering Sea subarea, AI = Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI = Eastern Aleutian district, CAI = Central Aleutian district, WAI = Western Aleutian district.) Groundfish Reserves and the Incidental Catch Allowance (ICA) for Pollock, Atka Mackerel, Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, Yellowfin Sole, and Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) requires NMFS to reserve 15 percent of the TAC for each target species, except for pollock, hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of sablefish, and Amendment 80 species, in a non-specified reserve. Section VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires that NMFS allocate 20 percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of sablefish for the fixed-gear sablefish CDQ reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires that NMFS allocate 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocations of sablefish and 10.7 percent of the Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder TACs to the respective CDQ reserves. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) requires that NMFS PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 allocate 10.7 percent of the TAC for Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod to the CDQ reserves. Sections 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) and 679.31(a) also require that 10 percent of the Bering Sea pollock TACs be allocated to the pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is allocated as an ICA pursuant to E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 11832 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations § 679.20(a)(5)(ii) because the Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock by regulation. With the exception of the hook-and-line or pot gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the regulations do not further apportion the CDQ allocations by gear. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS allocates a pollock ICA of 3.9 percent of the Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC after subtracting the 10 percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on NMFS’ examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2000 through 2016. During this 17-year period, the pollock incidental catch ranged from a low of 2.4 percent in 2006 to a high of 4.8 percent in 2014, with a 17-year average of 3.2 percent. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS establishes a pollock ICA of 2,400 mt of the Aleutian Islands subarea TAC after subtracting the 10-percent CDQ DFA. This allowance is based on NMFS’ examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2003 through 2016. During this 14-year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from a low of 5 percent in 2006 to a high of 17 percent in 2014, with a 14-year average of 8 percent. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS allocates ICAs of 4,000 mt of flathead sole, 5,000 mt of rock sole, 4,500 mt of yellowfin sole, 10 mt of Western Aleutian Islands (WAI) Pacific ocean perch, 60 mt of Central Aleutian Islands (CAI) Pacific ocean perch, 100 mt of Eastern Aleutian Islands (EAI) Pacific ocean perch, 20 mt of WAI Atka mackerel, 75 mt of CAI Atka mackerel, and 1,000 mt of EAI and Bering Sea subarea Atka mackerel TAC after subtracting the 10.7 percent CDQ reserve. These ICA allowances are based on NMFS’ examination of the incidental catch in other target fisheries from 2003 through 2016. The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified reserve by species or species group. Any amount of the reserve may be apportioned to a target species category that contributed to the non-specified reserves during the year, provided that such apportionments are consistent with § 679.20(a)(3) and do not result in overfishing (see § 679.20(b)(1)(i)). The Regional Administrator has determined that the ITACs specified for the species listed in Table 1 need to be supplemented from the non-specified reserve because U.S. fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch the full TAC allocations. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(b)(3), NMFS is apportioning the amounts shown in Table 3 from the non-specified reserve to increase the ITAC for shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ sharks, and octopuses by 15 percent of the TAC in 2017 and 2018. TABLE 3—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 APPORTIONMENT OF RESERVES TO ITAC CATEGORIES [Amounts are in metric tons] 2017 ITAC Species-area or subarea 2017 reserve amount 2017 final ITAC 2018 ITAC 2018 reserve amount 2018 final ITAC Shortraker rockfish—BSAI ....................... Rougheye rockfish—BS/EAI .................... Rougheye rockfish—CAI/WAI .................. Other rockfish—Bering Sea subarea ....... Other rockfish—Aleutian Islands subarea Sharks ...................................................... Octopuses ................................................ 106 85 106 276 468 106 340 19 15 19 49 82 19 60 125 100 125 325 550 125 400 106 85 106 276 468 106 340 19 15 19 49 82 19 60 125 100 125 325 550 125 400 Total .................................................. 1,487 263 1,750 1,487 263 1,750 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Allocation of Pollock TAC Under the American Fisheries Act (AFA) Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that the Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC be apportioned, after subtracting 10 percent for the CDQ program and 3.9 percent for the ICA, as a DFA as follows: 50 Percent to the inshore sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor (C/P) sector, and 10 percent to the mothership sector. In the Bering Sea subarea, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20–June 10), and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10–November 1) (§§ 679.20(a)(5)(i)(B)(1) and 679.23(e)(2)). The Aleutian Islands directed pollock fishery allocation to the Aleut Corporation is the amount of pollock remaining in the Aleutian Islands subarea after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and 2,400 mt for the ICA (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)). In the Aleutian Islands subarea, the total A season VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 apportionment of the TAC is less than or equal to 40 percent of the ABC and the remainder of the TAC is allocated to the B season (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(3)). Tables 4 and 5 list these 2017 and 2018 amounts. The Steller sea lion protection measure final rule (79 FR 70286, November 25, 2014) sets harvest limits for pollock in the A season (January 20 to June 10) in Areas 543, 542, and 541 (see § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6)). In Area 543, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. In Area 542, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 15 percent of the Aleutian Islands ABC. In Area 541, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 30 percent of the Aleutian Islands ABC. Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific requirements regarding Bering Sea subarea pollock allocations. First, it requires that 8.5 PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 percent of the pollock allocated to the C/P sector be available for harvest by AFA catcher vessels (CVs) with C/P sector endorsements, unless the Regional Administrator receives a cooperative contract that allows the distribution of harvest among AFA C/Ps and AFA CVs in a manner agreed to by all members. Second, AFA C/Ps not listed in the AFA are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the C/P sector. Tables 4 and 5 list the 2017 and 2018 allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 21 through 26 list the AFA C/P and CV harvesting sideboard limits. The tables for the pollock allocations to the Bering Sea subarea inshore pollock cooperatives and open access sector will be posted on the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Tables 4 and 5 also list seasonal apportionments of pollock and harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The harvest E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations within the SCA, as defined at § 679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to no more than 28 percent of the annual DFA before 12:00 noon, April 1, as provided in § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C). The A season pollock SCA harvest limit will be apportioned to each sector in proportion to each sector’s allocated percentage of 11833 the DFA. Tables 4 and 5 list these 2017 and 2018 amounts by sector. TABLE 4—FINAL 2017 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2017 A season 1 2017 allocations Area and sector TAC 1 Bering Sea subarea .............................................................................. CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA 1 ................................................................................................................. Total Bering Sea non-CDQ DFA ..................................................................... AFA Inshore ..................................................................................................... AFA Catcher/Processors 3 ............................................................................... Catch by C/Ps .......................................................................................... Catch by CVs 3 ......................................................................................... Unlisted C/P Limit 4 ................................................................................... AFA Motherships ............................................................................................. Excessive Harvesting Limit 5 ............................................................................ Excessive Processing Limit 6 ........................................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea ABC ......................................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea TAC 1 ....................................................................... CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA ................................................................................................................... Aleut Corporation ............................................................................................. Area harvest limit 7 541 .................................................................................... 542 ............................................................................................................ 543 ............................................................................................................ Bogoslof District ICA 8 ...................................................................................... 1,345,000 134,500 47,210 1,163,291 581,645 465,316 425,764 39,552 2,327 116,329 203,576 348,987 36,061 19,000 1,900 2,400 14,700 10,818 5,409 1,803 500 A season DFA n/a 60,525 n/a 523,481 261,740 209,392 191,594 17,798 1,047 52,348 n/a n/a n/a n/a 760 1,200 12,464 n/a n/a n/a n/a SCA harvest limit 2 n/a 37,660 n/a 325,721 162,861 130,289 n/a n/a n/a 32,572 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 2017 B season 1 B season DFA n/a 73,975 n/a 639,810 319,905 255,924 234,170 21,754 1,280 63,981 n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,140 1,200 2,236 n/a n/a n/a n/a 1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the Bering Sea subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (3.9 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector—50 percent, catcher/processor sector (C/P)—40 percent, and mothership sector—10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20–June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10–November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual Aleutian Islands pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the Aleutian Islands subarea, the A season is allocated less than or equal to 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the pollock directed fishery. 2 In the Bering Sea subarea, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C), no more than 28 percent of each sector’s annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels delivering to listed catcher/processors. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/ processors sector’s allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 of no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 of no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 of no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. 8 The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for ICA only and are not apportioned by season or sector. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 5—FINAL 2018 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2018 A season 1 2018 allocations Area and sector sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES TAC 1 Bering Sea subarea .............................................................................. CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA 1 ................................................................................................................. Total Bering Sea non-CDQ DFA ..................................................................... AFA Inshore ..................................................................................................... AFA Catcher/Processors 3 ............................................................................... Catch by C/Ps .......................................................................................... Catch by CVs 3 ......................................................................................... Unlisted C/P Limit 4 ................................................................................... AFA Motherships ............................................................................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 1,345,000 134,500 47,210 1,163,291 581,645 465,316 425,764 39,552 2,327 116,329 A season DFA n/a 60,525 n/a 523,481 261,740 209,392 191,594 17,798 1,047 52,348 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 SCA harvest limit 2 n/a 37,660 n/a 325,721 162,861 130,289 n/a n/a n/a 32,572 2018 B season 1 B season DFA n/a 73,975 n/a 639,810 319,905 255,924 234,170 21,754 1,280 63,981 11834 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 5—FINAL 2018 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2018 A season 1 2018 allocations Area and sector Excessive Harvesting Limit 5 ............................................................................ Excessive Processing Limit 6 ........................................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea ABC ......................................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea TAC 1 ....................................................................... CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA ................................................................................................................... Aleut Corporation ............................................................................................. Area harvest limit 7 541 .................................................................................... 542 ............................................................................................................ 543 ............................................................................................................ Bogoslof District ICA 8 ...................................................................................... 203,576 348,987 40,788 19,000 1,900 2,400 14,700 12,236 6,118 2,039 500 A season DFA n/a n/a n/a n/a 760 1,200 14,355 n/a n/a n/a n/a 2018 B season 1 SCA harvest limit 2 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a B season DFA n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,140 1,200 345 n/a n/a n/a n/a sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the Bering Sea subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (3.9 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector—50 percent, catcher/processor sector (C/P)—40 percent, and mothership sector—10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20–June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10–November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual Aleutian Islands pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the Aleutian Islands subarea, the A season is allocated less than or equal to 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the pollock directed fishery. 2 In the Bering Sea subarea, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C), no more than 28 percent of each sector’s annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels delivering to listed catcher/processors. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/ processors sector’s allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 of no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 of no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 of no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. 8 The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for ICA only and are not apportioned by season or sector. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TACs Section 679.20(a)(8) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and nontrawl gear sector (Tables 6 and 7). The percentage of the ITAC for Atka mackerel allocated to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is listed in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and in § 679.91. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 2 percent of the EAI and the Bering Sea subarea Atka mackerel ITAC may be allocated to vessels using jig gear. The percent of this allocation is recommended annually by the Council based on several criteria, including, among other criteria, the anticipated harvest capacity of the jig gear fleet. The Council recommended, and NMFS approves, a 0.5 percent allocation of the Atka VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 mackerel ITAC in the EAI and Bering Sea subarea to the jig gear sector in 2017 and 2018. This percentage is applied to the Atka mackerel TAC after subtracting the CDQ reserve and the ICA. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel TAC into two equal seasonal allowances. Section 679.23(e)(3) sets the first seasonal allowance for directed fishing with trawl gear from January 20 through June 10 (A season), and the second seasonal allowance from June 10 through December 31 (B season). Section 679.23(e)(4)(iii) applies Atka mackerel seasons to CDQ Atka mackerel trawl fishing. The ICA and jig gear allocations are not apportioned by season. Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) and (ii) limit Atka mackerel catch within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located west of 178° W longitude to no more than 60 percent of the annual PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 TACs in Areas 542 and 543, and equally divide the annual TAC between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3). Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires that the annual TAC in Area 543 will be no more than 65 percent of the ABC in Area 543. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(D) requires that any unharvested Atka mackerel A season allowance that is added to the B season be prohibited from being harvested within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located in Areas 541, 542, and 543. Tables 6 and 7 list these 2017 and 2018 Atka mackerel seasons, area allowances, and the sector allocations. The 2018 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017. E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 11835 TABLE 6—FINAL 2017 SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, CDQ RESERVE, INCIDENTAL CATCH ALLOWANCE, AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] 2017 allocation by area Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 TAC ................................................................. CDQ reserve ................................................... n/a .................................................................. Total ............................................................... A ..................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................ B ..................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................ n/a .................................................................. Total ............................................................... Total ............................................................... Total ............................................................... A ..................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................ B ..................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................ Total ............................................................... A ..................................................................... B ..................................................................... Total 6 ............................................................. A ..................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................ B ..................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................ Total 6 ............................................................. A ..................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................ B ..................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................ Non-CDQ TAC ................................................ ICA .................................................................. Jig 6 ................................................................. BSAI trawl limited access ............................... Amendment 80 sectors ................................... Alaska Groundfish Cooperative ...................... Alaska Seafood Cooperative .......................... Eastern Aleutian District/ Bering Sea 34,500 3,692 1,846 n/a 1,846 n/a 30,809 1,000 149 2,966 1,483 n/a 1,483 n/a 26,694 13,347 13,347 15,096 7,548 n/a 7,548 n/a 11,598 5,799 n/a 5,799 n/a Central Aleutian District 5 18,000 1,926 963 578 963 578 16,074 75 0 1,600 800 480 800 480 14,399 7,200 7,200 8,552 4,276 2,566 4,276 2,566 5,847 2,924 1,754 2,924 1,754 Western Aleutian District 12,500 1,338 669 401 669 401 11,163 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 11,143 5,571 5,571 6,853 3,427 2,056 3,427 2,056 4,290 2,145 1,287 2,145 1,287 1 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 2 Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 3 The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4 Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31. 5 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to be caught inside of critical habitat; section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3); and section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC. 6 Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 7—FINAL 2018 SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, CDQ RESERVE, INCIDENTAL CATCH ALLOWANCE, AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATION OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] 2018 allocation by area Season 2 3 4 TAC ................................................................. CDQ reserve ................................................... sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Sector 1 n/a .................................................................. Total ............................................................... A ..................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................ B ..................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................ n/a .................................................................. Total ............................................................... Total ............................................................... Total ............................................................... A ..................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................ B ..................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................ non-CDQ TAC ................................................. ICA .................................................................. Jig 6 ................................................................. BSAI trawl limited access ............................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Eastern Aleutian District/ Bering Sea 5 34,000 3,638 1,819 n/a 1,819 n/a 30,362 1,000 147 2,922 1,461 n/a 1,461 n/a E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Central Aleutian District 5 18,500 1,980 990 594 990 594 16,521 75 0 1,645 822 493 822 493 Western Aleutian District 5 12,500 1,338 669 401 669 401 11,163 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 11836 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 7—FINAL 2018 SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, CDQ RESERVE, INCIDENTAL CATCH ALLOWANCE, AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATION OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2018 allocation by area Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 Amendment 80 sectors 7 ................................. Total ............................................................... A ..................................................................... B ..................................................................... Eastern Aleutian District/ Bering Sea 5 26,294 13,147 13,147 Central Aleutian District 5 14,801 7,400 7,400 Western Aleutian District 5 11,143 5,571 5,571 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 1 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 2 Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 3 The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4 Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31. 5 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to be caught inside of critical habitat; section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3); and section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC. 6 Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. 7 The 2018 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017. NMFS will post 2018 Amendment 80 allocations when they become available in December 2017. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC The Council separated Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands subarea OFLs, ABCs, and TACs for Pacific cod in 2014 (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014). Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) allocates 10.7 percent of the Bering Sea TAC and Aleutian Islands TAC to the CDQ program. After CDQ allocations have been deducted from the respective Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pacific cod TACs, the remaining Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pacific cod TACs are combined for calculating further BSAI Pacific cod sector allocations. However, if the nonCDQ Pacific cod TAC is or will be reached in either the Bering Sea or Aleutian Islands subareas, NMFS will prohibit non-CDQ directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea as provided in § 679.20(d)(1)(iii). Sections 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) allocate to the non-CDQ sectors the Pacific cod TAC in the combined BSAI TAC, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ program, as follows: 1.4 Percent to vessels using jig gear; 2.0 percent to hook-and-line or pot CVs less than 60 ft (18.3 m) length overall (LOA); 0.2 percent to hook-and-line CVs greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA; 48.7 percent to hook-and-line C/P; 8.4 percent to pot CVs greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA; 1.5 percent to pot C/Ps; 2.3 percent to AFA trawl C/Ps; 13.4 percent to Amendment 80 trawl C/Ps; and 22.1 percent to trawl CVs. The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. For 2017 and 2018, the Regional Administrator establishes an ICA of 500 mt based on anticipated incidental catch by these sectors in other fisheries. The ITAC allocation of Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 sector is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017. The Pacific cod ITAC is apportioned into seasonal allowances to disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see §§ 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B), (a)(7)(iv)(A), and 679.23(e)(5)). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(B) and (C), any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance for any sector, except the jig sector, will become available at the beginning of the next seasonal allowance. Section 679.20(a)(7)(vii) requires the Regional Administrator to establish an Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit based on Pacific cod abundance in Area 543. Based on the 2016 stock assessment, the Regional Administrator determined the Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit to be 25.6 percent of the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod TAC for 2017 and 2018. NMFS will first subtract the State GHL Pacific cod amount from the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod ABC. Then NMFS will determine the harvest limit in Area 543 by multiplying the percentage of PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Pacific cod estimated in Area 543 by the remaining ABC for Aleutian Islands Pacific cod. Based on these calculations, the Area 543 harvest limit is 4,018 mt. Section 679.20(a)(7)(viii) requires specification of the 2018 Pacific cod allocations for the Aleutian Islands ICA, DFA, CV Harvest Set-Aside, and Unrestricted Fishery, as well as the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation. If NMFS receives notification of intent to process Aleutian Islands subarea Pacific Cod from either the city of Adak or the city of Atka, the harvest limits in Table 9a will be in effect in 2018. Notification of intent to process Aleutian Islands subarea Pacific cod must be postmarked by October 31, 2017, and submitted electronically to NMFS by October 31, 2017. In addition to the notification requirement, § 679.20(a)(7)(viii) also contains specific performance requirements that (1) if less than 1,000 mt of the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is delivered to Aleutian Islands shoreplants by February 28, 2018, the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is lifted and the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation is suspended and (2) if the entire Aleutian Islands CV Harvest SetAside is fully harvested and delivered to Aleutian Islands shoreplants before March 15, 2018, the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation is suspended. The CDQ and non-CDQ seasonal allowances by gear based on the 2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs are listed in Tables 8 and 9, and are based on the E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations sector allocation percentages and seasonal allowances for Pacific cod set forth at §§ 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) and 11837 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(A) and the seasons for Pacific cod set forth at § 679.23(e)(5). TABLE 8—FINAL 2017 GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] 2017 share of gear sector total 2017 share of sector total n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 100 60.8 n/a n/a 48.7 ........................ 0.2 223,704 23,936 199,768 15,695 1,679 14,016 4,018 213,783 129,980 500 129,480 n/a ........................ n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 103,712 ........................ 426 n/a see n/a n/a see n/a n/a n/a n/a see n/a Jan Jun Jan .................................................... § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) .................... .................................................... .................................................... § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) .................... .................................................... .................................................... .................................................... .................................................... § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(B) ................... .................................................... 1-Jun 10 .................................... 10–Dec 31 ................................. 1–Jun 10 ................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 52,893 50,819 217 ........................ 1.5 ........................ 8.4 ........................ 2 ........................ n/a ........................ n/a ........................ n/a ........................ 3,194 ........................ 17,889 ........................ 4,259 Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ................................. n/a .................................................... 209 1,629 1,565 9,123 8,765 n/a 22.1 ........................ ........................ 2.3 ........................ ........................ 13.4 ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ 1.4 ........................ ........................ 47,246 ........................ ........................ 4,917 ........................ ........................ 28,647 ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ 2,993 ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ 4,522 ........................ ........................ 24,125 ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Apr 30 .................................... Apr 30–Aug 31 ................................. Aug 31–Dec 31 ................................ 34,962 5,197 7,087 3,688 1,229 0 21,485 7,162 0 3,392 1,131 0 18,094 6,031 0 1,796 599 599 Gear sector Percent BS TAC ............................................. BS CDQ ............................................ BS non-CDQ TAC ............................. AI TAC .............................................. AI CDQ .............................................. AI non-CDQ TAC .............................. Western Aleutian Island Limit ........... Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC1 .............. Total hook-and-line/pot gear ............. Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 .................... Hook-and-line/pot sub-total ............... Hook-and-line catcher/processor ...... Hook-and-line catcher vessel > 60 ft LOA. Pot catcher/processor ....................... Pot catcher vessel ≥ 60 ft LOA ........ Catcher vessel < 60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Trawl catcher vessel ......................... AFA trawl catcher/processor ............. Amendment 80 .................................. Alaska Groundfish Cooperative ........ Alaska Seafood Cooperative ............ Jig ...................................................... 2017 seasonal apportionment Seasons Amount 1 The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of CDQ. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea may be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains. 2 The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 500 mt for 2017 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 9—FINAL 2018 GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Gear sector BS TAC ............................................. BS CDQ ............................................ BS non-CDQ TAC ............................. AI TAC .............................................. AI CDQ .............................................. AI non-CDQ TAC .............................. Western Aleutian Island Limit ........... Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC 1 .............. Total hook-and-line/pot gear ............. Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 .................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 2018 share of gear sector total Percent Jkt 241001 2018 share of sector total 223,704 23,936 199,768 15,695 1,679 14,016 4,018 213,783 129,980 500 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 60.8 n/a PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2018 seasonal apportionment Seasons n/a see n/a n/a see n/a n/a n/a n/a see .................................................... § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) .................... .................................................... .................................................... § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) .................... .................................................... .................................................... .................................................... .................................................... § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(B) ................... E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Amount n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 11838 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 9—FINAL 2018 GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2018 share of gear sector total 2018 share of sector total n/a 48.7 ........................ 0.2 129,480 n/a ........................ n/a n/a 103,712 ........................ 426 n/a Jan Jun Jan .................................................... 1–Jun 10 ................................... 10–Dec 31 ................................. 1–Jun 10 ................................... n/a 52,893 50,819 217 ........................ 1.5 ........................ 8.4 ........................ 2 ........................ n/a ........................ n/a ........................ n/a ........................ 3,194 ........................ 17,889 ........................ 4,259 Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ................................. n/a .................................................... 209 1,629 1,565 9,123 8,765 n/a 22.1 ........................ 2.3 ........................ ........................ 13.4 ........................ ........................ 1.4 ........................ ........................ 47,246 ........................ 4,917 ........................ ........................ 28,647 ........................ ........................ 2,993 ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ ........................ Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Apr 30 .................................... Apr 30–Aug 31 ................................. Aug 31–Dec 31 ................................ 34,962 7,087 3,688 1,229 0 21,485 7,162 0 1,796 599 599 Gear sector Percent Hook-and-line/pot sub-total ............... Hook-and-line catcher/processor ...... Hook-and-line catcher vessel ≥ 60 ft LOA. Pot catcher/processor ....................... Pot catcher vessel > 60 ft LOA ........ Catcher vessel < 60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Trawl catcher vessel ......................... AFA trawl catcher/processor ............. Amendment 80 .................................. Jig ...................................................... 2018 seasonal apportionment Seasons Amount 1 The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of CDQ. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea may be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains. 2 The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 500 mt for 2018 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 9a—2018 BSAI A—SEASON PACIFIC COD LIMITS IF ALEUTIAN ISLANDS SHOREPLANTS INTEND TO PROCESS PACIFIC COD 1 2018 Allocations under Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside AI non-CDQ TAC .................. AI ICA ................................... AI DFA .................................. BS non-CDQ TAC ................ BSAI Trawl CV A-Season Allocation .............................. BSAI Trawl CV A-Season Allocation minus Sector Limitation 2 ............................... BS Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation ..................... AI CV Harvest Set-Aside ...... AI Unrestricted Fishery ......... Amount (mt) 14,016 2,500 11,516 199,768 34,962 29,962 5,000 5,000 6,516 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 1 These allocations will apply in 2018 only if NMFS receives notice of intent to process Aleutian Islands subarea Pacific cod by October 31, 2017, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(7)(viii) and if the performance requirements set forth in § 679.20(a)(7)(viii) are likewise met. 2 This is the amount of the BSAI trawl CV Aseason allocation that may be harvested in the Bering Sea prior to March 21, 2018, unless modified because the performance requirements were not met. Sablefish Gear Allocation Sections 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) require allocation of the sablefish TAC for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands subareas between trawl and hook-andline or pot gear sectors. Gear allocations of the TAC for the Bering Sea subarea are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TAC for the Aleutian Islands subarea are 25 percent for trawl gear and 75 percent for hookand-line or pot gear. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires NMFS to apportion 20 percent of the hook-andline or pot gear allocation of sablefish to the CDQ reserve. Additionally, § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D)(1) requires that 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocation of sablefish from the non-specified reserves, established under § 679.20(b)(1)(i), be assigned to the CDQ reserve. The Council recommended that only trawl sablefish TAC be established biennially. The harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear and pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fisheries are limited to the 2017 fishing year to ensure those fisheries are conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery. Concurrent sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries reduce the potential for discards of halibut and sablefish in those fisheries. The sablefish IFQ fisheries remain closed at the beginning of each fishing year until the final harvest specifications for the sablefish IFQ fisheries are in effect. Table 10 lists the 2017 and 2018 gear allocations of the sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts. TABLE 10—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 GEAR SHARES AND CDQ RESERVE OF BSAI SABLEFISH TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Subarea and gear Percent of TAC Bering Sea: Trawl 1 ................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:08 Feb 24, 2017 2017 Share of TAC 50 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 2017 ITAC 637 Frm 00050 Fmt 4700 541 Sfmt 4700 2017 CDQ reserve 2018 Share of TAC 48 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 637 27FER1 2018 ITAC 541 2018 CDQ reserve 48 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 11839 TABLE 10–FINAL 2017 AND 2018 GEAR SHARES AND CDQ RESERVE OF BSAI SABLEFISH TACS—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] Subarea and gear Percent of TAC Hook-and-line/pot gear 2 ..... Total ............................. Aleutian Islands: Trawl 1 ................................. Hook-and-line/pot gear 2 ..... Total ............................. 2017 Share of TAC 2017 CDQ reserve 2017 ITAC 2018 Share of TAC 2018 ITAC 2018 CDQ reserve 50 100 637 1,274 510 1,051 127 175 n/a 637 n/a 541 n/a 48 25 75 100 434 1,301 1,735 369 1,041 1,410 33 260 293 434 n/a 434 369 n/a 369 33 n/a 33 1 Except for the sablefish hook-and-line or pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the nonspecified reserve (§ 679.20(b)(1)(i)). The ITAC is the remainder of the TAC after the subtracting these reserves. 2 For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, 20 percent of the allocated TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B)). The Council recommended that specifications for the hook-and-line gear sablefish IFQ fisheries be limited to one year. Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Allocation of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACs Sections 679.20(a)(10)(i) and (ii) require that NMFS allocate Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TAC between the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ reserve and an ICA for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels using non-trawl gear. The allocation of the ITAC for Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole to the Amendment 80 sector is established in accordance with Tables 33 and 34 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017. Tables 11 and 12 list the 2017 and 2018 allocations of the Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs. TABLE 11—FINAL 2017 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA (CDQ) RESERVES, INCIDENTAL CATCH AMOUNTS (ICAS), AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS PACIFIC OCEAN PERCH, AND BSAI FLATHEAD SOLE, ROCK SOLE, AND YELLOWFIN SOLE TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Pacific ocean perch Sector Eastern Aleutian District TAC .......................................................... CDQ ......................................................... ICA ........................................................... BSAI trawl limited access ........................ Amendment 80 ......................................... Alaska Groundfish Cooperative ............... Alaska Seafood Cooperative ................... Central Aleutian District 7,900 845 100 695 6,259 3,319 2,940 Flathead sole Western Aleutian District 7,000 749 60 619 5,572 2,954 2,617 9,000 963 10 161 7,866 4,171 3,695 Rock sole Yellowfin sole BSAI BSAI BSAI 14,500 1,552 4,000 0 8,949 918 8,031 47,100 5,040 5,000 0 37,060 9,168 27,893 154,000 16,478 4,500 18,151 114,871 45,638 69,233 Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 12—FINAL 2018 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA (CDQ) RESERVES, INCIDENTAL CATCH AMOUNTS (ICAS), AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS PACIFIC OCEAN PERCH, AND BSAI FLATHEAD SOLE, ROCK SOLE, AND YELLOWFIN SOLE TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Pacific ocean perch sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Sector Eastern Aleutian District TAC .......................................................... CDQ ......................................................... ICA ........................................................... BSAI trawl limited access ........................ Amendment 80 1 ...................................... 7,900 845 100 695 6,259 Central Aleutian District Flathead sole Western Aleutian District 7,000 749 60 619 5,572 9,000 963 10 161 7,866 Rock sole Yellowfin sole BSAI BSAI BSAI 14,500 1,552 4,000 0 8,949 47,100 5,040 5,000 0 37,060 154,000 16,478 4,500 18,151 114,871 1 The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017. NMFS will publish 2018 Amendment 80 allocations when they become available in December 2017. Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 11840 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Section 679.2 defines the ABC surplus for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole as the difference between the annual ABC and TAC for each species. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii) establishes ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The ABC surpluses and the ABC reserves are necessary to mitigate the operational variability, environmental conditions, and economic factors that may constrain the CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperatives from achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may set the ABC reserve at or below the ABC surplus for each species thus maintaining the TAC below ABC limits. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the ABC reserves will be allocated as CDQ reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The Amendment 80 ABC reserves shall be the ABC reserves minus the CDQ ABC reserves. Section 679.91(i)(2) establishes each Amendment 80 cooperative ABC reserve to be the ratio of each cooperatives’ quota share units and the total Amendment 80 quota share units, multiplied by the Amendment 80 ABC reserve for each respective species. Table 13 lists the 2017 and 2018 ABC surplus and ABC reserves for BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. TABLE 13—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 ABC SURPLUS, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA (CDQ) ABC RESERVES, AND AMENDMENT 80 ABC RESERVES IN THE BSAI FOR FLATHEAD SOLE, ROCK SOLE, AND YELLOWFIN SOLE [Amounts are in metric tons] 2017 Flathead sole Sector ABC .......................................................... TAC .......................................................... ABC surplus ............................................. ABC reserve ............................................. CDQ ABC reserve ................................... Amendment 80 ABC reserve ................... Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for 20171 Alaska Seafood Cooperative for 20171 ... 68,278 14,500 53,778 53,778 5,754 48,024 4,926 43,098 2017 Rock sole 2017 Yellowfin sole 155,100 47,100 108,000 108,000 11,556 96,444 23,857 72,587 260,800 154,000 106,800 106,800 11,428 95,372 37,891 57,481 2018 Flathead sole 66,164 14,500 51,664 51,664 5,528 46,136 n/a n/a 2018 Rock sole 143,100 47,100 96,000 96,000 10,272 85,728 n/a n/a 2018 Yellowfin sole 250,800 154,000 96,800 96,800 10,358 86,442 n/a n/a 1 The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES PSC Limits for Halibut, Salmon, Crab, and Herring Section 679.21(b), (e), (f), and (g) sets forth the BSAI PSC limits. Pursuant to § 679.21(b)(1), the 2017 and 2018 BSAI halibut PSC limits total 3,515 mt. Section 679.21(b)(1) allocates 315 mt of the halibut PSC limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program, 1,745 mt of halibut PSC limit for the Amendment 80 sector, 745 mt of halibut PSC limit for the BSAI trawl limited access sector, and 710 mt of halibut PSC limit for the BSAI non-trawl sector. Section 679.21(b)(1)(iii)(A) and (B) authorizes apportionment of the nontrawl halibut PSC limit into PSC allowances among six fishery categories, and §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(A) and (B), 679.21(e)(3)(i)(B), and 679.21(e)(3)(iv) require apportionment of the BSAI trawl limited access halibut and crab PSC limits into PSC allowances among seven fishery categories. Tables 15 and 16 list the fishery PSC allowances for the trawl fisheries, and Table 17 lists the fishery PSC allowances for the non-trawl fisheries. Pursuant to Section 3.6 of the FMP, the Council recommends, and NMFS agrees, that certain specified non-trawl fisheries be exempt from the halibut PSC limit. As in past years, after consultation with the Council, NMFS exempts pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories from halibut bycatch VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 restrictions for the following reasons: (1) The pot gear fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality; (2) NMFS estimates halibut mortality for the jig gear fleet to be negligible because of the small size of the fishery and the selectivity of the gear; and (3) the sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality because the IFQ program requires legal-size halibut to be retained by vessels using hook-and-line gear if a halibut IFQ permit holder or a hired master is aboard and is holding unused halibut IFQ (§ 679.7(f)(11)). The 2016 total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the BSAI was 46,578 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch mortality of 2 mt. The 2016 jig gear fishery harvested about 47 mt of groundfish. Most vessels in the jig gear fleet are exempt from observer coverage requirements. As a result, observer data are not available on halibut bycatch in the jig gear fishery. However, as mentioned above, NMFS estimates a negligible amount of halibut bycatch mortality because of the selective nature of jig gear and the low mortality rate of halibut caught with jig gear and released. Under § 679.21(f)(2), NMFS annually allocates portions of either 33,318, 45,000, 47,591, or 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limits among the AFA sectors, depending on past bycatch performance, on whether Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 agreements (IPAs) are formed, and on whether NMFS determines it is a low Chinook salmon abundance year. NMFS will determine that it is a low Chinook salmon abundance year when abundance of Chinook salmon in western Alaska is less than or equal to 250,000 Chinook salmon. The State of Alaska provides to NMFS an estimate of Chinook salmon abundance using the 3System Index for western Alaska based on the Kuskokwim, Unalakleet, and Upper Yukon aggregate stock grouping. If an AFA sector participates in an approved IPA and it is not a low Chinook salmon abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 60,000 PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). If no IPA is approved, or if the sector has exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6), and it is not a low abundance year, NMFS will allocate a portion of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(C). If an AFA sector participates in an approved IPA in a low abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 45,000 PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). If no IPA is approved, or if the sector has exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6), in a low abundance year, NMFS will allocate a portion of the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit to E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(D). NMFS has determined that 2016 was not a low Chinook salmon abundance year based on the State of Alaska’s estimate that Chinook salmon abundance in western Alaska is greater than 250,000 Chinook salmon. Therefore, in 2017, the Chinook salmon PSC limit is 60,000, and the AFA sector Chinook salmon allocations are seasonally allocated with 70 percent of the allocation for the A season pollock fishery, and 30 percent of the allocation for the B season pollock fishery as stated in § 679.21(f)(3)(i). Allocations of the Chinook salmon PSC limit of 60,000 to each AFA sector are specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). Additionally, in 2017, the Chinook salmon bycatch performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6) is 47,591 Chinook salmon, allocated to each sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(C). The basis for these PSC limits is described in detail in the final rule implementing management measures for Amendment 91 (75 FR 53026, August 30, 2010) and Amendment 110 (81 FR 37534, June 10, 2016). NMFS publishes the approved IPAs, allocations, and reports at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/ sustainablefisheries/bycatch/ default.htm. Section 679.21(g)(2)(i) specifies 700 fish as the 2017 and 2018 Chinook salmon PSC limit for the Aleutian Islands subarea pollock fishery. Section 679.21(g)(2)(ii) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, as the Aleutian Islands subarea PSQ reserve for the CDQ program and allocates the remaining 647 Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries. Section 679.21(f)(14)(i) specifies 42,000 fish as the 2017 and 2018 nonChinook salmon PSC limit in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area (CVOA). Section 679.21(f)(14)(ii) allocates 10.7 percent, or 4,494 nonChinook salmon, in the CVOA as the PSQ reserve for the CDQ program, and allocates the remaining 37,506 nonChinook salmon in the CVOA as the PSC limit for the non-CDQ fisheries. PSC limits for crab and herring are specified annually based on abundance and spawning biomass. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(1) allocates 10.7 percent from each trawl gear PSC limit specified for crab as a PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program. Based on the 2016 survey data, the red king crab mature female abundance is estimated to be at 22.8 million mature red king crabs, and the effective VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 spawning biomass is estimated at 42.2 million lbs (19,148 mt). Based on the criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(i), the 2017 and 2018 PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl gear is 97,000 animals. This limit derives from the mature female abundance of more than 8.4 million mature king crab and the effective spawning biomass estimate of more than 14.5 million lbs (6,477 mt) but less than 55 million lbs (24,948 mt). Section 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2) establishes criteria under which NMFS must specify an annual red king crab bycatch limit for the Red King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS). The regulations limit the RKCSS red king crab bycatch limit to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC limit, based on the need to optimize the groundfish harvest relative to red king crab bycatch. In December 2016, the Council recommended and NMFS concurs that the red king crab bycatch limit be equal to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC limit within the RKCSS (Table 15). Based on 2016 survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) abundance is estimated at 285 million animals. Pursuant to criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(ii), the calculated 2017 and 2018 C. bairdi crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 830,000 animals in Zone 1, and 2,070,000 animals in Zone 2. The limit in Zone 1 is based on the abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 285 million animals, which is greater than 270 million and less than 400 million animals. The limit in Zone 2 is based on the abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 285 million animals, which is greater than 175 million animals and less than 290 million animals. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(iii), the PSC limit for snow crab (C. opilio) is based on total abundance as indicated by the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey. The C. opilio crab PSC limit is set at 0.1133 percent of the Bering Sea abundance index minus 150,000 crab. Based on the 2016 survey estimate of 8.169 billion animals, which is above the minimum PSC limit of 4.5 million and below the maximum PSC limit of 13 million animals, the calculated C. opilio crab PSC limit is 9,105,477 animals. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(v), the PSC limit of Pacific herring caught while conducting any trawl operation for BSAI groundfish is 1 percent of the annual eastern Bering Sea herring biomass. The best estimate of 2017 and 2018 herring biomass is 201,278 mt. This amount was developed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game based on biomass for spawning aggregations. Therefore, the herring PSC limit for 2017 and 2018 is PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 11841 2,013 mt for all trawl gear as listed in Tables 14 and 15. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(1) requires crab PSQ reserves to be subtracted from the total trawl crab PSC limits. The 2017 PSC limits assigned to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors are specified in Table 35 to 50 CFR part 679. The resulting allocations of PSC limit to CDQ PSQ, the Amendment 80 sector, and the BSAI trawl limited access fisheries are listed in Table 14. Pursuant to § 679.21(b)(1)(i), 679.21(e)(3)(vi) and § 679.91(d) through (f), crab and halibut trawl PSC limits assigned to the Amendment 80 sector are then further allocated to Amendment 80 cooperatives as PSC cooperative quota as listed in Table 18. PSC cooperative quota assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives is not allocated to specific fishery categories. In 2017, there are no vessels in the Amendment 80 limited access sector. The 2018 PSC allocations between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(B) requires NMFS to apportion each trawl PSC limit not assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives into PSC bycatch allowances for seven specified fishery categories in § 679.21(e)(3)(iv). Section 679.21(b)(2) and (e)(5) authorizes NMFS, after consulting with the Council, to establish seasonal apportionments of PSC amounts for the BSAI trawl limited access and Amendment 80 limited access sectors in order to maximize the ability of the fleet to harvest the available groundfish TAC and to minimize bycatch. The factors to be considered are (1) seasonal distribution of prohibited species, (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to prohibited species distribution, (3) PSC bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relevant to prohibited species biomass and expected catches of target species, (4) expected variations in bycatch rates throughout the year, (5) expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons, (6) expected start of fishing effort, and (7) economic effects of seasonal PSC apportionments on industry sectors. The Council recommended and NMFS approves the seasonal PSC apportionments in Tables 15 and 16 to maximize harvest among gear types, fisheries, and seasons while minimizing bycatch of PSC based on the above criteria. E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 11842 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 14—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 APPORTIONMENT OF PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH ALLOWANCES TO NON-TRAWL GEAR, THE CDQ PROGRAM, AMENDMENT 80, AND THE BSAI TRAWL LIMITED ACCESS SECTORS PSC species and area 1 Total PSC Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI ...................... Herring (mt) BSAI .................................... Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 .............. C. opilio (animals) COBLZ ....................... C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 1 ............... C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 2 ............... Non-trawl PSC 3,515 2,013 97,000 9,105,477 830,000 2,070,000 CDQ PSQ reserve 2 710 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 315 n/a 10,379 974,286 88,810 221,490 Trawl PSC remaining after CDQ PSQ Amendment 80 sector 3 n/a n/a 86,621 8,131,191 741,190 1,848,510 BSAI trawl limited access fishery 1,745 n/a 43,293 3,996,480 312,115 437,542 745 n/a 26,489 2,613,365 348,285 865,288 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of zones. PSQ reserve for crab species is 10.7 percent of each crab PSC limit. Amendment 80 program reduced apportionment of the trawl PSC limits for crab below the total PSC limit. These reductions are not apportioned to other gear types or sectors. 2 The 3 The TABLE 15—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 HERRING AND RED KING CRAB SAVINGS SUBAREA PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH ALLOWANCES FOR ALL TRAWL SECTORS Herring (mt) BSAI Fishery categories Yellowfin sole ........................................................................................................................................................... Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 1 .................................................................................................................... Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/sablefish ..................................................................... Rockfish ................................................................................................................................................................... Pacific cod ............................................................................................................................................................... Midwater trawl pollock ............................................................................................................................................. Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 2 3 .................................................................................................................. Red king crab savings subarea non-pelagic trawl gear 4 ........................................................................................ Total trawl PSC ........................................................................................................................................................ Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 100 43 5 5 10 1,800 50 n/a 2,013 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 24,250 97,000 1 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 2 Pollock other than pelagic trawl pollock, Atka mackerel, and ‘‘other species’’ fishery category. 3 ‘‘Other species’’ for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses. 4 In December 2016, the Council recommended that the red king crab bycatch limit for non-pelagic trawl fisheries within the RKCSS be limited to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance (see § 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2)). Note: Species apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 16—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR THE BSAI TRAWL LIMITED ACCESS SECTOR Prohibited species and area 1 BSAI trawl limited access fisheries Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Yellowfin sole ....................................................................... Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 2 ................................. Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/ sablefish ........................................................................... Rockfish April 15—December 31 ........................................ Pacific cod ............................................................................ Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 3 ................................. Total BSAI trawl limited access PSC .................................. Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 C. opilio (animals) COBLZ C. bairdi (animals) Zone 1 Zone 2 150 0 23,338 0 2,463,587 0 293,234 0 826,258 0 0 4 391 200 745 0 0 2,954 197 26,489 0 4,069 105,008 40,701 2,613,365 0 0 50,816 4,235 348,285 0 697 34,848 3,485 865,288 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. flatfish’’ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 3 ‘‘Other species’’ for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 2 ‘‘Other TABLE 17—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 HALIBUT PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR NON-TRAWL FISHERIES Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Catcher/ processor Non-trawl fisheries Seasons Pacific cod ....................................................... Total Pacific cod ............................................. January 1–June 10 .................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 648 388 27FER1 Catcher vessel All non-trawl 13 9 661 n/a Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 11843 TABLE 17—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 HALIBUT PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR NON-TRAWL FISHERIES— Continued Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Catcher/ processor Non-trawl fisheries Seasons Non-Pacific cod non-trawl-Total ...................... Groundfish pot and jig ..................................... Sablefish hook-and-line ................................... Total for all non-trawl PSC .............................. June 10–August 15 ................................. August 15–December 31 ........................ May 1-December 31 ....................................... n/a ................................................................... n/a ................................................................... n/a ................................................................... Catcher vessel 162 98 n/a n/a n/a n/a All non-trawl 2 2 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 49 Exempt Exempt 710 Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 18—FINAL 2017 PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCE FOR THE BSAI AMENDMENT 80 COOPERATIVES Prohibited species and zones 1 Cooperative Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Alaska Groundfish Cooperative ........................................... Alaska Seafood Cooperative ............................................... Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 474 1,271 C. opilio (animals) COBLZ 12,459 30,834 1,258,109 2,738,371 C. bairdi (animals) Zone 1 82,136 229,979 Zone 2 112,839 324,703 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of zones. Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Estimates of Halibut Biomass and Stock Condition The International Pacific Halibut Commission (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 BSAI stock assessment process. The DMR methodology and findings are included as an appendix to the annual BSAI 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 Plan Team, SSC, and the Council. A summary of the revised methodology is included in the BSAI proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87863, 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 that could provide more recent and accurate data and could improve the accuracy of estimation and progress on methodology. At the December 2016 meeting, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed and concurred in the revised DMR estimation methodology proposed by the working group. The Council recommended the halibut DMRs derived from this process for 2017 and 2018. The final calculation of the DMRs changed 1 percent from the proposed DMRs for two sectors (hook-and-line catcher vessel and pot sectors). Table 19 lists the proposed 2017 and 2018 DMRs. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES TABLE 19—2017 AND 2018 PACIFIC HALIBUT DISCARD MORTALITY RATES FOR THE BSAI Halibut discard mortality rate (percent) Gear Sector Pelagic trawl ............................................................................... Non-pelagic trawl ........................................................................ Non-pelagic trawl ........................................................................ Hook-and-line ............................................................................. All ................................................................................................ Mothership and catcher/processor ............................................. Catcher vessel ............................................................................ Catcher/processor ...................................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 100 85 52 8 11844 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 19—2017 AND 2018 PACIFIC HALIBUT DISCARD MORTALITY RATES FOR THE BSAI—Continued Halibut discard mortality rate (percent) Gear Sector Hook-and-line ............................................................................. Pot .............................................................................................. Catcher vessel ............................................................................ All ................................................................................................ Directed Fishing Closures In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator may establish a DFA for a species or species group if the Regional Administrator determines that any allocation or apportionment of a target species has been or will be reached. If the Regional Administrator establishes a DFA, and that allowance is or will be reached before the end of the fishing year, NMFS will prohibit directed fishing for that species or species group in the specified subarea, regulatory area, or district (see § 697.20(d)(1)(iii)). Similarly, pursuant to §§ 679.21(b)(4) and (e)(7), if the Regional Administrator determines that a fishery category’s bycatch allowance of halibut, red king crab, C. bairdi crab, or C. opilio crab for a specified area has been reached, the Regional Administrator will prohibit directed fishing for each species in that category in the specified area. Based on historic catch patterns and anticipated fishing activity, the Regional Administrator has determined that the groundfish allocation amounts in Table 20 will be necessary as incidental catch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2017 and 2018 fishing years. Consequently, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator establishes the DFA for the species and species groups in Table 20 as zero. Therefore, in accordance 14 6 with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these sectors and species in the specified areas effective at 1200 hrs, A.l.t., February 27, 2017, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2018. Also, for the BSAI trawl limited access sector, bycatch allowances of halibut, red king crab, C. bairdi crab, and C. opilio crab listed in Table 20 are insufficient to support directed fisheries. Therefore, in accordance with §§ 679.21(b)(4)(i) and (e)(7), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these sectors and fishery categories in the specified areas effective at 1200 hrs, A.l.t., February 27, 2017, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2018. TABLE 20—2017 AND 2018 DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1 [Groundfish and halibut amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in number of animals.] 2018 Incidental catch allowance 2017 Incidental catch allowance Area Sector Species Bogoslof District .............................. Aleutian Islands subarea ................ All ................................................... All ................................................... Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea. Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea. Eastern Aleutian District ................. Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access. All ................................................... Pollock ............................................ ICA pollock ..................................... ‘‘Other rockfish’’ 2 ........................... ICA Atka mackerel ......................... 500 2,400 550 1,000 500 2,400 550 1,000 Rougheye rockfish ......................... 100 100 ICA Pacific ocean perch ................ 100 100 ICA Atka mackerel ......................... ICA Pacific ocean perch ................ ICA Atka mackerel ......................... ICA Pacific ocean perch ................ Rougheye rockfish ......................... 75 60 20 10 125 75 60 20 10 125 Pacific ocean perch ....................... ‘‘Other rockfish’’ 2 ........................... ICA pollock ..................................... Northern rockfish ............................ Shortraker rockfish ......................... Skates ............................................ Sculpins .......................................... Sharks ............................................ Squids ............................................ Octopuses ...................................... ICA Pacific cod .............................. ICA flathead sole ........................... ICA rock sole ................................. ICA yellowfin sole .......................... 9,350 325 47,210 4,250 125 22,100 3,825 125 1,275 400 500 4,000 5,000 4,500 9,350 325 47,210 4,250 125 22,100 3,825 125 1,275 400 500 4,000 5,000 4,500 Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish—halibut mortality, red king crab Zone 1, C. opilio COBLZ, C. bairdi Zone 1 and 2. 0 0 Central Aleutian District .................. Western Aleutian District ................ Western and Central Aleutian Districts. Bering Sea subarea ........................ sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands .... Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access. Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access. Non-amendment 80, CDQ and BSAI trawl limited access. All ................................................... All ................................................... All ................................................... Hook-and-line and pot gear ........... Non-amendment 80 and CDQ ....... Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access. BSAI trawl limited access .............. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 11845 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 20—2017 AND 2018 DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1—Continued [Groundfish and halibut amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in number of animals.] Area Sector 2017 Incidental catch allowance Species Turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish—halibut mortality, red king crab Zone 1, C. opilio COBLZ, C. bairdi Zone 1 and 2. Rockfish—red king crab Zone 1 .... 2018 Incidental catch allowance 0 0 0 0 1 Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679. 2 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. Closures implemented under the final 2016 and 2017 BSAI harvest specifications for groundfish (81 FR 14773, March 18, 2016) remain effective under authority of these final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications, and are posted at the following Web sites: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/cm/ info_bulletins/ and http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries_ reports/reports/. While these closures are in effect, the maximum retainable amounts at § 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. Listed AFA Catcher/Processor Sideboard Limits Pursuant to § 679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is responsible for restricting the ability of listed AFA C/ Ps to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the pollock directed fishery. These restrictions are set out as ‘‘sideboard’’ limits on catch. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Table 21 lists the 2017 and 2018 AFA C/P sideboard limits. Section 679.64(a)(1)(v) exempts AFA catcher/processors from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2017 and 2018 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt. All harvest of groundfish sideboard species by listed AFA C/Ps, whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be deducted from the sideboard limits in Table 21. However, groundfish sideboard species that are delivered to listed AFA C/Ps by CVs will not be deducted from the 2017 and 2018 sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/Ps. TABLE 21—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 LISTED BSAI AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER/PROCESSOR GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Amounts are in metric tons] 1995–1997 Target species Sablefish trawl ....................... Atka mackerel ........................ Rock sole ............................... Greenland turbot ................... sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Arrowtooth flounder ............... Kamchatka flounder .............. Flathead sole ......................... Alaska plaice ......................... Other flatfish .......................... Pacific ocean perch ............... Northern rockfish ................... Shortraker rockfish ................ Rougheye rockfish ................. Other rockfish ........................ Skates .................................... Sculpins ................................. Sharks ................................... Squids .................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 Area/season Retained catch BS .......................................... AI ........................................... Central AI A season 2 ............ Central AI B season 2 ............ Western AI A season 2 .......... Western AI B season 2 .......... BSAI ...................................... BS .......................................... AI ........................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... BS .......................................... Eastern AI ............................. Central AI .............................. Western AI ............................ BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... EBS/EAI ................................ CAI/WAI ................................. BS .......................................... AI ........................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... BSAI ...................................... 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Total catch 8 0 n/a n/a n/a n/a 6,317 121 23 76 76 1,925 14 3,058 12 125 3 54 91 50 50 50 18 22 553 553 553 73 Frm 00057 Fmt 4700 497 145 n/a n/a n/a n/a 169,362 17,305 4,987 33,987 33,987 52,755 9,438 52,298 4,879 6,179 5,698 13,598 13,040 2,811 2,811 2,811 621 806 68,672 68,672 68,672 3,328 Sfmt 4700 Ratio of retained catch to total catch 0.016 0 0.115 0.115 0.2 0.2 0.037 0.007 0.005 0.002 0.002 0.036 0.001 0.058 0.002 0.02 0.001 0.004 0.007 0.018 0.018 0.018 0.029 0.027 0.008 0.008 0.008 0.022 2017 ITAC available to trawl C/Ps 1 2017 AFA C/P sideboard limit 541 369 15,405 15,405 5,582 5,582 42,060 3,719 106 11,900 4,250 12,949 11,050 2,125 9,350 7,055 6,251 8,037 4,250 125 100 125 325 550 22,100 3,825 125 1,141 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 9 0 1,772 1,772 1,116 1,116 1,556 26 1 24 9 466 11 123 19 141 6 32 30 2 2 2 9 15 177 31 1 25 2018 ITAC available to trawl C/Ps 1 541 369 15,405 15,405 5,582 5,582 42,060 3,719 106 11,900 4,250 12,949 11,050 2,125 9,350 7,055 6,251 8,037 4,250 125 100 125 325 550 22,100 3,825 125 1,141 2018 AFA C/P sideboard limit 9 0 1,772 1,772 1,116 1,116 1,556 26 1 24 9 466 11 123 19 141 6 32 30 2 2 2 9 15 177 31 1 25 11846 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 21—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 LISTED BSAI AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER/PROCESSOR GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 1995–1997 Target species Octopuses ............................. Area/season Retained catch BSAI ...................................... Total catch 553 68,672 Ratio of retained catch to total catch 2017 ITAC available to trawl C/Ps 1 0.008 2017 AFA C/P sideboard limit 400 2018 ITAC available to trawl C/Ps 1 3 2018 AFA C/P sideboard limit 400 3 1 Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, and rock sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C). 2 The seasonal apportionment of Atka mackerel in the open access fishery is 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. Listed AFA catcher/processors are limited to harvesting no more than zero in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea, 20 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Western Aleutian District, and 11.5 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Central Aleutian District. Section 679.64(a)(2) and Tables 40 and 41 of 50 CFR part 679 establish a formula for calculating PSC sideboard limits for halibut and crab for listed AFA C/Ps. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). PSC species listed in Table 22 that are caught by listed AFA C/Ps participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue against the 2017 and 2018 PSC sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/Ps. Sections 679.21(b)(4)(iii) and (e)(3)(v) authorize NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for listed AFA C/Ps once a 2017 or 2018 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 22 is reached. Pursuant to §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), crab or halibut PSC caught by listed AFA C/Ps while fishing for pollock will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/ Atka mackerel/‘‘other species’’ fishery categories under §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv). TABLE 22—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 BSAI AFA LISTED CATCHER/PROCESSOR PROHIBITED SPECIES SIDEBOARD LIMITS PSC species and Ratio of PSC catch to total PSC area 1 Halibut mortality BSAI ................................................................................................ Red king crab zone 1 ................................................................................................ C. opilio (COBLZ) ...................................................................................................... C. bairdi Zone 1 ......................................................................................................... C. bairdi Zone 2 ......................................................................................................... 1 Refer 2017 and 2018 PSC available to trawl vessels after subtraction of PSQ 2 n/a 0.007 0.153 0.14 0.05 n/a 86,621 8,131,191 741,190 1,848,510 2017 and 2018 AFA catcher/ processor sideboard limit 2 286 606 1,244,072 103,767 92,426 to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. 2 Halibut sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES AFA Catcher Vessel Sideboard Limits Pursuant to § 679.64(b), the Regional Administrator is responsible for restricting the ability of AFA CVs to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the pollock directed fishery. Section 679.64(b)(3)–(4) establishes a formula for setting AFA CV groundfish and PSC sideboard limits for the BSAI. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Section 679.64(b)(6) exempts AFA catcher vessels from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2017 and 2018 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt. Tables 23 and 24 list the 2017 and 2018 AFA CV sideboard limits. All catch of groundfish sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA CVs, whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be deducted from the 2017 and 2018 sideboard limits listed in Table 23. Halibut and crab PSC limits listed in Table 24 that are caught by AFA CVs participating in any groundfish fishery PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 for groundfish other than pollock will accrue against the 2017 and 2018 PSC sideboard limits for the AFA CVs. Sections 679.21(d)(7) and 679.21(e)(3)(v) authorize NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for AFA CVs once a 2016 or 2017 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 24 is reached. Pursuant to §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), the PSC that is caught by AFA CVs while fishing for pollock in the BSAI will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for either the midwater pollock or the pollock/ Atka mackerel/‘‘other species’’ fishery categories under § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv). E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 11847 TABLE 23—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL BSAI GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Amounts are in metric tons] Species/gear Pacific cod/Jig gear ............. Pacific cod/Hook-and-line CV ≥ 60 feet LOA. Pacific cod pot gear CV ...... Pacific cod CV ≤ 60 feet LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Pacific cod trawl gear CV ... Sablefish trawl gear ............ Atka mackerel ..................... Rock sole ............................ Greenland turbot ................. Arrowtooth flounder ............. Kamchatka flounder ............ Alaska plaice ....................... Other flatfish ........................ Flathead sole ...................... Pacific ocean perch ............ Northern rockfish ................. Shortraker rockfish .............. Rougheye rockfish .............. Other rockfish ...................... Skates ................................. Sculpins ............................... Sharks ................................. Squids ................................. Octopuses ........................... Ratio of 1995– 1997 AFA CV catch to 1995– 1997 TAC Fishery by area/season BSAI BSAI BSAI BSAI BSAI BSAI 2017 initial TAC 1 2017 AFA catcher vessel sideboard limits 2018 initial TAC 1 2018 AFA catcher vessel sideboard limits ................................... Jan 1–Jun 10 ............ Jun 10–Dec 31 ......... Jan 1–Jun 10 ............ Sept 1–Dec 31 .......... ................................... 0 0.0006 0.0006 0.0006 0.0006 0.0006 n/a 217 209 9,123 8,765 4,259 0 0 0 5 5 3 n/a 217 209 9,123 8,765 4,259 0 0 0 5 5 3 BSAI Jan 20–Apr 1 ............ BSAI Apr 1–Jun 10 ............ BSAI Jun 10–Nov 1 ........... BS ....................................... AI ........................................ Eastern AI/BS Jan 1–Jun 10. Eastern AI/BS Jun 10–Nov 1. Central AI Jan 1–Jun 10 .... Central AI Jun 10–Nov 1 .... Western AI Jan 1–Jun 10 .. Western AI Jun 10–Nov 1 .. BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BS ....................................... BS ....................................... Eastern AI .......................... Central AI ........................... Western AI ......................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... EBS/EAI ............................. CAI/WAI .............................. BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... 0.8609 0.8609 0.8609 0.0906 0.0645 0.0032 34,962 5,197 7,087 541 369 15,405 30,099 4,474 6,101 49 24 49 34,962 5,197 7,087 541 369 15,405 30,099 4,474 6,101 49 24 49 0.0032 15,405 49 15,405 49 0.0001 0.0001 0 0 0.0341 0.0645 0.0205 0.069 0.069 0.0441 0.0441 0.0505 0.1 0.0077 0.0025 0 0.0084 0.0037 0.0037 0.0037 0.0048 0.0095 0.0541 0.0541 0.0541 0.3827 0.0541 8,037 8,037 5,582 5,582 42,060 3,719 106 11,900 4,250 11,050 2,125 1,294 9,350 7,055 6,251 8,037 4,250 125 100 125 325 550 22,100 3,825 125 1,141 400 1 1 0 0 1,434 240 2 821 293 487 94 65 935 54 16 0 36 0 0 0 2 5 1,196 207 7 437 22 8,037 8,037 5,582 5,582 42,060 3,719 106 11,900 4,250 11,050 2,125 1,294 9,350 7,055 6,251 8,037 4,250 125 100 125 325 550 22,100 3,825 125 1,141 400 1 1 0 0 1,434 240 2 821 293 487 94 65 935 54 16 0 36 0 0 0 2 5 1,196 207 7 437 22 1 Aleutians Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, Pacific cod, and rock sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC of that species after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C). TABLE 24—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR THE BSAI 1 AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit ratio Target fishery category 2 Halibut ............................................................. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES PSC species and area 1 2017 and 2018 PSC limit after subtraction of PSQ reserves 3 2017 and 2018 AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit 3 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 0.299 0.168 0.33 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 86,621 8,131,191 741,190 887 2 101 228 0 2 5 25,900 1,366,040 244,593 Pacific cod trawl ............................................. Pacific cod hook-and-line or pot .................... Yellowfin sole total ......................................... Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 4 ........... Greenland turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish 5 ......... Rockfish .......................................................... Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 6 ........... n/a .................................................................. n/a .................................................................. n/a .................................................................. Red king crab Zone 1 ..................................... C. opilio COBLZ .............................................. C. bairdi Zone 1 .............................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 11848 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 24—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR THE BSAI 1—Continued AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit ratio PSC species and area 1 Target fishery category 2 C. bairdi Zone 2 .............................................. 2017 and 2018 PSC limit after subtraction of PSQ reserves 3 2017 and 2018 AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit 3 0.186 1,848,510 343,823 n/a .................................................................. 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. trawl fishery categories for halibut PSC limits are defined at § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B). amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. 4 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 5 Arrowtooth for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka flounder. 6 ‘‘Other species’’ for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses. 2 Target 3 Halibut AFA Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel Sideboard Directed Fishing Closures Based on historical catch patterns, the Regional Administrator has determined that many of the AFA C/P and CV sideboard limits listed in Tables 25 and 26 are necessary as incidental catch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2017 and 2018 fishing years. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iv), the Regional Administrator establishes the sideboard limits listed in Tables 25 and 26 as DFAs. Because many of these DFAs will be reached before the end of 2017, the Regional Administrator has determined, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), that NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing by listed AFA C/Ps for the species in the specified areas set out in Table 25, and directed fishing by nonexempt AFA CVs for the species in the specified areas set out in Table 26. TABLE 25—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT LISTED CATCHER/PROCESSOR SIDEBOARD DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2017 sideboard limit Species Area Gear types Sablefish trawl ................................ BS .................................................. AI .................................................... BSAI ............................................... BS .................................................. AI .................................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BS .................................................. Eastern AI ...................................... Central AI ....................................... Western AI ..................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... EBS/EAI ......................................... CAI/WAI ......................................... BS .................................................. AI .................................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... trawl ................................................ trawl ................................................ all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... Rock sole ........................................ Greenland turbot ............................. Arrowtooth flounder ........................ Kamchatka flounder ........................ Alaska plaice .................................. Other flatfish 2 ................................. Flathead sole .................................. Pacific ocean perch ........................ Northern rockfish ............................ Shortraker rockfish ......................... Rougheye rockfish .......................... Other rockfish 3 ............................... Skates ............................................. Sculpins .......................................... Sharks ............................................. Squids ............................................. Octopuses ....................................... 1 Maximum 9 0 1,556 26 1 24 9 11 123 466 19 141 6 32 30 2 2 2 9 15 177 31 1 25 3 9 0 1,556 26 1 24 9 11 123 466 19 141 6 32 30 2 2 2 9 15 177 31 1 25 3 retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679. flatfish’’ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut, Alaska plaice, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 3 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. 2 ‘‘Other sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 2018 sideboard limit VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 11849 TABLE 26—FINAL 2017 AND 2018 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL SIDEBOARD DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2017 sideboard limit Species Area Gear types Pacific cod ...................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... hook-and-line CV ≥60 feet LOA .... pot CV ≥60 feet LOA ..................... hook-and-line or pot CV <60 feet LOA. jig .................................................... trawl ................................................ trawl ................................................ all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... all .................................................... Sablefish ......................................... Atka mackerel ................................. Greenland turbot ............................. Arrowtooth flounder ........................ Kamchatka flounder ........................ Alaska plaice .................................. Other flatfish 2 ................................. Flathead sole .................................. Rock sole ........................................ Pacific ocean perch ........................ Northern rockfish ............................ Shortraker rockfish ......................... Rougheye rockfish .......................... Other rockfish 3 ............................... Skates ............................................. Sculpins .......................................... Sharks ............................................. Squids ............................................. Octopuses ....................................... BSAI ............................................... BS .................................................. AI .................................................... Eastern AI/BS ................................ Central AI ....................................... Western AI ..................................... BS .................................................. AI .................................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BS .................................................. Eastern AI ...................................... Central AI ....................................... Western AI ..................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BS/EAI ............................................ CAI/WAI ......................................... BS .................................................. AI .................................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... BSAI ............................................... 2018 sideboard limit 0 10 3 0 10 3 0 49 24 98 2 0 240 2 821 293 487 94 65 1,434 935 54 16 0 36 0 0 0 2 5 1,196 207 7 437 22 0 49 24 98 2 0 240 2 821 293 487 94 65 1,434 935 54 16 0 36 0 0 0 2 5 1,196 207 7 437 22 1 Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679. flatfish’’ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut, Alaska plaice, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 3 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 2 ‘‘Other Response to Comments NMFS received 1 letter with 1 substantive comment during the public comment period for the proposed BSAI groundfish harvest specifications. No changes were made to the final rule in response to the comment letter received. NMFS’ response to public comment on the proposed BSAI groundfish harvest specifications is provided below. Comment 1: NMFS must manage halibut under their own FMP pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act to properly conserve and manage Pacific halibut and prevent overfishing. The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires every fishery management council to develop an FMP for each fishery under its authority that requires conservation and management. NMFS has failed to establish required status determination criteria for halibut stocks that are caught as non-target stocks in the groundfish fishery before finalizing harvest specifications for the groundfish fishery. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 The groundfish FMP does not establish criteria to assess whether the halibut stock is overfished or subject to overfishing. Although the IPHC assesses halibut stock populations every year, the IPHC has also never developed objective criteria to measure the status of halibut populations. As a result, there is no way for NMFS to ensure that halibut bycatch management measures it implements through the harvest specification process will prevent overfishing or rebuild an overfished halibut stock without first determining whether the halibut stock is overfished or whether the non-target catch of halibut amounts to overfishing. To protect halibut populations for the future and to meet its obligations under the Magnuson-Stevens Act to prevent overfishing, NMFS must establish an FMP for halibut that includes objective criteria to monitor the status of halibut stocks and identify when the halibut PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 stock is overfished or subject to overfishing. Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment as outside the scope of this action. NMFS manages groundfish fisheries and prohibited species under the FMP. The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify the TAC for each groundfish target species category. NMFS also must specify PSC allowances and PSQ reserves as established pursuant to 50 CFR 679.21. NMFS implements these requirements through the annual harvest specifications. The limits set forth in the harvest specifications are based on the most recent scientific and economic information and are consistent with the FMP, regulatory obligations, and harvest strategy, which was described in the proposed harvest specifications (81 FR 87863, December 6, 2016). E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 11850 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES In the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, NMFS and the Council manage halibut as prohibited species. The PSC limits for halibut are set by regulation (see 50 CFR 679.21). NMFS and the Council also must manage halibut bycatch in accordance with the Magnuson-Steven Act and the National Standards therein. NMFS and the Council are committed to minimizing halibut bycatch in the BSAI consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act obligations to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable and to achieve, on a continuing basis, optimum yield from the groundfish fisheries. The halibut PSC limits reflect that NMFS and the Council balance the requirement to minimize halibut bycatch to the extent practicable, consistent with National Standard 9, with the requirement to achieve optimum yield in the groundfish fishery, consistent with National Standard 1. NMFS and the Council have appropriately balanced obligations under National Standard 1 and National Standard 9 to minimize halibut PSC in the commercial groundfish fisheries to the extent practicable, while preserving the potential for the groundfish sectors to fully harvest the groundfish TACs assigned to the trawl and non-trawl sectors. The current halibut PSC limits have decreased halibut PSC use. In the BSAI, the current halibut PSC is 1,142 mt less than in 2014, an overall reduction of 39 percent. The Council and NMFS will continue to evaluate the need to implement additional measures to minimize halibut bycatch in the BSAI groundfish fisheries consistent with Magnuson-Stevens Act obligations. Such measures, however, will have to be implemented through the Council process. A detailed description of the Council process may be found at http:// www.npfmc.org/overview/. Classification NMFS has determined that these final harvest specifications are consistent with the FMP and with the MagnusonStevens Act and other applicable laws. This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563. NMFS prepared an EIS that covers this action (see ADDRESSES) and made it available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 13, 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 ADDRESSES). The EIS analyzes the environmental consequences of the groundfish harvest specifications and alternative harvest strategies on resources in the action area. The EIS found no significant environmental consequences of this action and its alternatives. The SIR evaluates the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS (SEIS) for the 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 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 NEPA 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). The following constitutes the FRFA prepared in the final action. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 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 which affect the impact on small entities was rejected. A description of this action, its purpose, and its legal basis are included 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 87863). NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) to accompany the proposed action, and included a summary in the proposed rule. The comment period closed on January 5, 2017. No comments were received on the IRFA. 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 are those that harvest groundfish in the exclusive economic zone of the BSAI and in parallel fisheries within State waters. These include entities operating catcher vessels and catcher/ processors within the action area and entities receiving direct allocations of groundfish. 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. The estimated directly regulated small entities in 2015 include approximately 152 catcher vessels, four catcher/ processors, and six CDQ groups. Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, Gulf of Alaska rockfish cooperatives, or BSAI E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Crab Rationalization Program cooperatives, and, since under the RFA it is the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the cooperative that must meet the ‘‘under $11 million’’ threshold, they are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. Thus, the estimate of 152 catcher vessels may be an overstatement of the number of small entities. Average gross revenues were $520,000 for small hook-and-line vessels, $1.29 million for small pot vessels, and $2.99 million for small trawl vessels. Revenue data for catcher/ processors is confidential; however, in 2015, NMFS estimates that there were four catcher/processor small entities with gross receipts less than $11 million. This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting requirements. The significant alternatives were those considered as alternative harvest strategies when the Council selected its preferred harvest strategy (Alternative 2) in December 2006. These included the following: • Alternative 1: Set TAC to produce fishing mortality rates, F, that are equal to maxFABC, unless the sum of the TAC is constrained by the OY established in the fishery management plans. This is equivalent to setting TAC to produce harvest levels equal to the maximum permissible ABC, as constrained by OY. The term ‘‘maxFABC’’ refers to the maximum permissible value of FABC under Amendment 56 to the BSAI and Gulf of Alaska 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, TAC would be set to produce harvest levels equal to the most recent 5-year average actual fishing mortality rates. For stocks with insufficient scientific information, TAC would be set equal to the most recent 5-year average actual catch. This alternative recognizes that for some stocks, catches may fall well below ABC, and recent average F may provide a better indicator of actual F than FABC does. • Alternative 4: (1) Set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 3 at F75%. Set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 5 at F=0.5M. Set spatially explicit TAC for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 BSAI. (2) Taking the rockfish TAC as calculated above, reduce all other TAC by a proportion that does not vary across species, so that the sum of all TAC, including rockfish TAC, is equal to the lower bound of the area OY (1,400,000 mt in the BSAI). This alternative sets conservative and spatially explicit TAC for rockfish species that are long-lived and late to mature, and sets conservative TAC for the other groundfish species. • Alternative 5: Set TAC at zero. Alternative 2 is the preferred alternative chosen by the Council: Set TAC that fall within the range of ABC recommended through the Council harvest specifications process and TACs recommended by the Council. Under this scenario, F is set equal to a constant fraction of maxFABC. The recommended fractions of maxFABC may vary among species or stocks, based on other considerations unique to each. This is the method for determining TAC that has been used in the past. Alternatives 1, 3, 4, and 5 do not meet the objectives of this action, 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 of Commerce did so in 2007. Alternative 1 would lead to TAC limits whose sum exceeds the fishery OY, which is set out in statute and the FMP. As shown in Table 1 and Table 2, the sum of ABCs in 2017 and 2018 would be 4,013,993 mt and 4,214,648 mt, respectively. Both of these are substantially in excess of the fishery OY for the BSAI. This result would be inconsistent with the objectives of this action, in that it would violate the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, Public Law 108–199, Section 803(c), and the FMP for the BSAI groundfish fishery, which both set a 2 million mt maximum harvest for BSAI groundfish. Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 years’ worth of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for the most recent 5 years’ worth of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). This alternative is also inconsistent with the objectives of this action because it does not take into account the most recent biological information for this fishery. Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all species to reduce TAC from the upper end of the OY range in the BSAI to its lower end. This result would lead to significant reductions in harvests of PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 11851 species by small entities. While reductions of this size could be associated with offsetting price increases, the size of these increases is very uncertain, and NMFS has no confidence that they would be sufficient to offset the volume decreases and leave revenues unchanged. Thus, this action would have an adverse economic impact on small entities, compared to the preferred alternative. Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, may also address conservation issues, but would have a significant adverse economic impact on small entities. Impacts on marine mammals resulting from fishing activities conducted under this rule are discussed in the EIS (see ADDRESSES). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness for this rule because delaying this rule is contrary to the public interest. Plan Team review occurred in November 2016, and the Council considered and recommended the final harvest specifications in December 2016. Accordingly, NMFS’ review could not begin until after the December 2016 Council meeting, and after the public had time to comment on the proposed action. If this rule’s effectiveness is delayed, fisheries that might otherwise remain open under these rules may prematurely close based on the lower TACs established in the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (81 FR 14773, March 18, 2016). If implemented immediately, this rule would allow these fisheries to continue fishing without the industry worrying about a potential closure because some TAC limits are higher than the ones under which they are currently fishing. Certain fisheries, such as those for pollock and Pacific cod, are intensive, fast-paced fisheries. Other fisheries, such as those for flatfish, rockfish, skates, sculpins, sharks, and octopuses, are critical as directed fisheries and as incidental catch in other fisheries. U.S. fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch the TAC allocations in these fisheries. Any delay in allocating the final TAC limits in these fisheries would cause confusion in the industry and potential economic harm through unnecessary discards. Determining which fisheries may close is impossible because these fisheries are affected by several factors that cannot be predicted in advance, including fishing effort, weather, movement of fishery stocks, and market price. Furthermore, the closure of one fishery has a cascading effect on other fisheries by freeing up E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 11852 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 37 / Monday, February 27, 2017 / Rules and Regulations sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES fishing vessels, allowing them to move from closed fisheries to open ones, increasing the fishing capacity in those open fisheries, and causing them to close at an accelerated pace. Additionally, in fisheries subject to declining sideboards, delaying this rule’s effectiveness could allow some vessels to inadvertently reach or exceed their new sideboard levels. Because sideboards are intended to protect traditional fisheries in other sectors, allowing one sector to exceed its new sideboards by delaying this rule’s effectiveness would effectively reduce the available catch for sectors without sideboard limits. Moreover, the new TAC and sideboard limits protect the fisheries from being overfished. Thus, the delay is contrary to the public interest in protecting traditional fisheries and fish stocks. If the final harvest specifications are not effective by March 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. Delayed effectiveness of this action would result in confusion for sablefish harvesters and economic harm from unnecessary discard of sablefish that are caught along with Pacific halibut, as both hookand-line sablefish and Pacific halibut are managed under the same IFQ program. Immediate effectiveness of the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications will allow the sablefish IFQ fishery to begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. Also, immediate effectiveness of this action will ensure consistent management and conservation of fishery resources based upon the best available scientific information, particularly for those species that have lower 2017 ABC and TAC limits than those established in the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (81 FR 14773, March 18, 2016). Immediate effectiveness also would provide the fishing industry the earliest possible opportunity to plan and conduct its fishing operations with respect to new information about TAC limits. Therefore, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). Small Entity Compliance Guide This final rule is a plain language guide to assist small entities in complying with this final rule as required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This final rule’s primary purpose is to announce the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications and prohibited species bycatch allowances for the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:46 Feb 24, 2017 Jkt 241001 groundfish fisheries of the BSAI. 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 directly affects all fishermen who participate in the BSAI fisheries. The specific amounts of OFL, ABC, TAC, and PSC are provided in tables to assist the reader. NMFS will announce closures of directed fishing in the Federal Register and information bulletins released by the Alaska Region. Affected fishermen should keep themselves informed of such closures. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540(f); 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105–277; Pub. L. 106– 31; Pub. L. 106–554; Pub. L. 108–199; Pub. L. 108–447; Pub. L. 109–241; Pub. L. 109– 479. Dated: February 21, 2017. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–03698 Filed 2–24–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 150818742–6210–02] RIN 0648–XF244 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pacific Cod by Vessels Using Pot Gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. AGENCY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the A season allowance of the 2017 Pacific cod total allowable catch apportioned to vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 23, 2017, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679. Regulations governing sideboard protections for GOA groundfish fisheries appear at subpart B of 50 CFR part 680. The A season allowance of the 2017 Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) apportioned to vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA is 5,849 metric tons (mt), as established by the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (81 FR 14740, March 18, 2016) and inseason adjustment (81 FR 95063, December 27, 2016). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) has determined that the A season allowance of the 2017 Pacific cod TAC apportioned to vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 5,839 mt and is setting aside the remaining 10 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip. Classification This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the directed fishing closure of Pacific cod for vessels using pot gear in the Central Regulatory Area of the GOA. E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 37 (Monday, February 27, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11826-11852]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-03698]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 161020985-7181-02]
RIN 0648-XE989


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands; 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for 
Groundfish

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

ACTION: Final rule; closures.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS announces final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications and 
prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fishery of the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is 
necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2017 
and 2018 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of 
the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). The intended effect of this 
action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI 
in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

DATES: Effective from 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 
27, 2017, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest 
Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of 
Decision (ROD), Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS, and 
the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) 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 BSAI, dated November 2016, as well as the 
SAFE reports for previous years, are available from the North Pacific 
Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, 
Anchorage, AK 99510-2252, phone 907-271-2809, or from the Council's Web 
site at http://www.npfmc.org/.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679

[[Page 11827]]

implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The 
Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved it under the Magnuson-
Stevens Act. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear 
at 50 CFR part 600.
    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after 
consultation with the Council, to specify the total allowable catch 
(TAC) for each target species category. The sum TAC for all groundfish 
species must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 1.4 million to 
2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see Sec.  679.20(a)(1)(i)(A)). This final 
rule specifies the TAC at 2.0 million mt for both 2017 and 2018. NMFS 
also must specify apportionments of TAC, as well as prohibited species 
catch (PSC) allowances and prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves 
established by Sec.  679.21; seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific 
cod, and Atka mackerel TAC; Amendment 80 allocations; and Community 
Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts established by Sec.  
679.20(b)(1)(ii). The final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 
1 through 26 of this action satisfy these requirements.
    Section 679.20(c)(3)(i) further requires NMFS to consider public 
comment on the proposed annual TACs (and apportionments thereof) and 
PSC allowances, and to publish final harvest specifications in the 
Federal Register. The proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications and 
PSC allowances for the groundfish fishery of the BSAI were published in 
the Federal Register on December 6, 2016 (81 FR 87863). Comments were 
invited and accepted through January 5, 2017. NMFS received one letter 
of comment on the proposed harvest specifications; this comment is 
summarized and responded to in the ``Response to Comments'' section of 
this rule. NMFS consulted with the Council on the final 2017 and 2018 
harvest specifications during the December 2016 Council meeting in 
Anchorage, AK. After considering public comments, as well as biological 
and economic data that were available at the Council's December 
meeting, NMFS implements the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications 
as recommended by the Council.

Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Harvest Specifications

    The final ABC levels for Alaska groundfish are based on the best 
available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected 
biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, 
and revised technical methods used to calculate stock biomass. In 
general, the development of ABCs and overfishing levels (OFLs) involves 
sophisticated statistical analyses of fish populations. The FMP 
specifies a series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts based on 
the level of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier 
1 represents the highest level of information quality available, while 
Tier 6 represents the lowest.
    In December 2016, the Council, its Scientific and Statistical 
Committee (SSC), and its Advisory Panel (AP) reviewed current 
biological and harvest information about the condition of the BSAI 
groundfish stocks. The Council's BSAI Groundfish Plan Team (Plan Team) 
compiled and presented this information in the final 2016 SAFE report 
for the BSAI 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 BSAI ecosystem 
and the economic condition of groundfish fisheries off Alaska. NMFS 
notified the public of the comment period for these harvest 
specifications--and of the publication of the 2016 SAFE report--in the 
notice of proposed harvest specifications. From the data and analyses 
in the SAFE report, the Plan Team recommended an OFL and ABC for each 
species or species group at the November 2016 Plan Team meeting.
    In December 2016, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed the Plan Team's 
recommendations. The final TAC recommendations were based on the ABCs 
as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, 
including maintaining the sum of all the TACs within the required OY 
range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million mt. As required by annual catch 
limit rules for all fisheries (74 FR 3178, January 16, 2009), none of 
the Council's recommended TACs for 2017 or 2018 exceed the final 2017 
or 2018 ABCs for any species or species group. The Secretary of 
Commerce (Secretary) approves the final 2017 and 2018 harvest 
specifications as recommended by the Council. NMFS finds that the 
Council's recommended OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the 
preferred harvest strategy and the biological condition of groundfish 
stocks as described in the 2016 SAFE report that was approved by the 
Council.
    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 14773, 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 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands for 
approximately one year.

Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2017 and 2018 Harvest 
Specifications

    The State of Alaska (State) manages separate Pacific cod fisheries 
in the Bering Sea subarea and the Aleutian Islands subarea. The State's 
guideline harvest level (GHL) fisheries are conducted independently of 
the Federal groundfish fisheries under direct regulation of the State. 
GHLs are derived from the Pacific cod ABC for the Bering Sea subarea 
and the Aleutian Islands subarea, and the TAC for each subarea is set 
at an amount less than or equal to the amount available after the 
annual GHL percentage has been deducted from the ABC. The State's GHLs 
for 2017 and 2018 are set equal to 6.4 percent of the Pacific cod ABC 
for the Bering Sea subarea and 27 percent of the Pacific cod ABC for 
the Aleutian Islands subarea. The Council and its Plan Team, Scientific 
and Statistical Committee, and Advisory Panel recommended that the sum 
of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the Bering Sea 
subarea and the Aleutian Islands subarea not exceed the proposed ABC 
recommendations. Accordingly, the Council recommends setting the final 
2017 and 2018 Pacific cod TACs in the Bering Sea subarea and the 
Aleutian Islands subarea to account for State GHLs.
    NMFS has published the final rule to implement Amendment 113 (81 FR 
84434, November 23, 2016). This rule sets aside a portion of the 
Aleutian Islands Pacific cod TAC for catcher vessels that directed fish 
for Aleutian Islands Pacific cod and then deliver the catch to Aleutian 
Islands shoreplants for processing. The set-aside applies only if 
specific notification and performance requirements are met. For 2017, 
NMFS has been notified that no shoreplants in

[[Page 11828]]

the Aleutian Islands will be processing Pacific cod, and the set-aside 
is not in effect for 2017. For 2018, NMFS must be notified by October 
31, 2017, that Aleutian Islands shoreplants intend to process Pacific 
cod for the 2018 set-aside to apply for catcher vessels that directed 
fish for Aleutian Islands Pacific cod and then deliver the catch to 
Aleutian Islands shoreplants for processing. If NMFS receives such 
notification from either the city of Adak or the city of Atka, then 
NMFS will set aside a portion of the TAC for Aleutian Islands subarea 
Pacific cod in 2018 for catcher vessels that directed fish for Aleutian 
Islands Pacific cod and deliver to Aleutian Islands shoreplants for 
processing.

Changes From the Proposed 2017 and 2018 Harvest Specifications for the 
BSAI

    The Council's recommendations for the proposed 2017 and 2018 
harvest specifications (81 FR 87863, December 6, 2016) were based 
largely on information contained in the 2015 SAFE report for the BSAI 
groundfish fisheries. Through the proposed harvest specifications, NMFS 
notified the public that these harvest specifications could change, as 
the Council would consider information contained in the final 2016 SAFE 
report; recommendations from the Plan Team, SSC, and AP committees; and 
public testimony when making its recommendations for final harvest 
specifications at the December 2016 Council meeting. NMFS further 
notified the public that, as required by the FMP and its implementing 
regulations, the sum of the TACs must be within the OY range of 1.4 
million and 2.0 million mt.
    Information contained in the 2016 SAFE report indicates biomass 
changes from the 2015 SAFE report for several groundfish species. The 
2016 report was made available for public review during the public 
comment period for the proposed harvest specifications. At the December 
2016 Council meeting, the SSC recommended the 2017 and 2018 ABCs for 
many species based on the best and most recent information contained in 
the 2016 SAFE reports. This recommendation resulted in an ABC sum total 
for all BSAI groundfish species in excess of 2 million mt for both 2017 
and 2018.
    Based on increased fishing effort in 2016, the Council recommends 
increasing Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands yellowfin sole TAC by 10,000 
mt in 2017 and 2018. In terms of percentage, the largest increases in 
final TACs relative to the proposed TACs were for Bering Sea subarea 
Pacific Ocean perch and Bering Sea subarea Greenland turbot. These 
increases were to account for a higher interest in directed fishing 
than in 2016. Other increases in the final TACs relative to the 
proposed TACs included increases in Aleutian Islands subarea Pacific 
cod, sablefish, and Atka mackerel in all subareas. These increases were 
to account for higher interest in directed fishing or higher 
anticipated incidental catch needs.
    Decreases in final TACs compared to the proposed TACs were for rock 
sole, flathead sole, rougheye rockfish, and shortraker rockfish. The 
decreases were to account for the requirement not to exceed the 2.0 
million mt OY limit on overall TAC in the BSAI.
    The changes to TACs between the proposed and final harvest 
specifications are based on the most recent scientific and economic 
information and are consistent with the FMP, regulatory obligations, 
and harvest strategy as described in the proposed harvest 
specifications, including the upper limit for OY of 2.0 million mt. 
These changes are compared in Table 1A.
    Table 1 lists the Council's recommended final 2017 OFL, ABC, TAC, 
initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ reserve amounts of the BSAI groundfish 
species or species groups; and Table 2 lists the Council's recommended 
final 2018 OFL, ABC, TAC, ITAC, and CDQ reserve amounts of the BSAI 
groundfish species or species groups. NMFS concurs in these 
recommendations. The final 2017 and 2018 TAC recommendations for the 
BSAI are within the OY range established for the BSAI and do not exceed 
the ABC for any species or species group. The apportionment of TAC 
amounts among fisheries and seasons is discussed below.

    Table 1--Final 2017 Overfishing Level (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC), Total Allowable Catch (TAC), Initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ Reserve
                                                        Allocation of Groundfish in the BSAI \1\
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                               2017
                  Species                               Area             -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                OFL             ABC             TAC          ITAC \2\         CDQ \3\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \4\...............................  BS..........................       3,640,000       2,800,000       1,345,000       1,210,500         134,500
                                            AI..........................          43,650          36,061          19,000          17,100           1,900
                                            Bogoslof....................         130,428          60,800             500             500               0
Pacific cod \5\...........................  BS..........................         284,000         239,000         223,704         199,768          23,936
                                            AI..........................          28,700          21,500          15,695          14,016           1,679
Sablefish.................................  BS..........................           1,499           1,274           1,274           1,051             175
                                            AI..........................           2,044           1,735           1,735           1,410             293
Yellowfin sole............................  BSAI........................         287,000         260,800         154,000         137,522          16,478
Greenland turbot..........................  BSAI........................          11,615           6,644           4,500           3,825             n/a
                                            BS..........................             n/a           5,800           4,375           3,719             468
                                            AI..........................             n/a             844             125             106               0
Arrowtooth flounder.......................  BSAI........................          76,100          65,371          14,000          11,900           1,498
Kamchatka flounder........................  BSAI........................          10,360           8,880           5,000           4,250               0
Rock sole.................................  BSAI........................         159,700         155,100          47,100          42,060           5,040
Flathead sole \6\.........................  BSAI........................          81,654          68,278          14,500          12,949           1,552
Alaska plaice.............................  BSAI........................          42,800          36,000          13,000          11,050               0
Other flatfish \7\........................  BSAI........................          17,591          13,193           2,500           2,125               0
Pacific ocean perch.......................  BSAI........................          53,152          43,723          34,900          30,693             n/a
                                            BS..........................             n/a          12,199          11,000           9,350               0
                                            EAI.........................             n/a          10,307           7,900           7,055             845
                                            CAI.........................             n/a           8,009           7,000           6,251             749
                                            WAI.........................             n/a          13,208           9,000           8,037             963
Northern rockfish.........................  BSAI........................          16,242          13,264           5,000           4,250               0

[[Page 11829]]

 
Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish \8\....  BSAI........................             612             501             225             191               0
                                            BS/EAI......................             n/a             306             100              85               0
                                            CAI/WAI.....................             n/a             195             125             106               0
Shortraker rockfish.......................  BSAI........................             666             499             125             106               0
Other rockfish \9\........................  BSAI........................           1,816           1,362             875             744               0
                                            BS..........................             n/a             791             325             276               0
                                            AI..........................             n/a             571             550             468               0
Atka mackerel.............................  BSAI........................         102,700          87,200          65,000          58,045           6,955
                                            BS/EAI......................             n/a          34,890          34,500          30,809           3,692
                                            CAI.........................             n/a          30,330          18,000          16,074           1,926
                                            WAI.........................             n/a          21,980          12,500          11,163           1,338
Skates....................................  BSAI........................          49,063          41,144          26,000          22,100               0
Sculpins..................................  BSAI........................          56,582          42,387           4,500           3,825               0
Sharks....................................  BSAI........................             689             517             125             106               0
Squids....................................  BSAI........................           6,912           5,184           1,342           1,141               0
Octopuses.................................  BSAI........................           4,769           3,576             400             340               0
                                                                         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.................................  ............................       5,110,344       4,013,993       2,000,000       1,791,566         197,031
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these
  harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District.
\2\ Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line or pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is put
  into a reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species,
  ITAC is the non-CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 5).
\3\ For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch), 10.7
  percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC
  allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea
  Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). Aleutian Islands Greenland
  turbot, ``other flatfish,'' Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ``other
  rockfish,'' skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program.
\4\ Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual BS subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and
  second for the incidental catch allowance (3.9 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: inshore--50
  percent; catcher/processor--40 percent; and motherships--10 percent. Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock
  TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,400 mt), is
  allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery.
\5\ The BS Pacific cod TAC is set less than 6.4 percent of the Bering Sea subarea ABC to account for the State of Alaska's (State) guideline harvest
  level in State waters of the Bering Sea subarea. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set less than 27 percent of the Aleutian Islands subarea ABC to account for
  the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea.
\6\ ``Flathead sole'' includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering flounder).
\7\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin
  sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice.
\8\ ``Rougheye rockfish'' includes Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted).
\9\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and
  rougheye rockfish.
Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   679.2 (BSAI = Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, BS = Bering Sea subarea, AI =
  Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI = Eastern Aleutian district, CAI = Central Aleutian district, WAI = Western Aleutian district.)


                        Table 1A--Comparison of Final 2017 and 2018 With Proposed 2017 and 2018 Total Allowable Catch in the BSAI
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                             2017                                                2018
                                                                   2017         2017      percentage                   2018         2018      percentage
            Species                 Area \1\       2017 final    proposed    difference   difference   2018 final    proposed    difference   difference
                                                      TAC          TAC          from         from         TAC          TAC          from         from
                                                                              proposed     proposed                               proposed     proposed
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock.......................  BS..............    1,345,000    1,340,643        4,357          0.3    1,345,000    1,340,643        4,357          0.3
                                AI..............       19,000       19,000            0          0.0       19,000       19,000            0          0.0
                                Bogoslof........          500          500            0          0.0          500          500            0          0.0
Pacific cod...................  BS..............      223,704      238,680      -14,976         -6.3      223,704      238,680      -14,976         -6.3
                                AI..............       15,695       12,839        2,856         22.2       15,695       12,839        2,856         22.2
Sablefish.....................  BS..............        1,274        1,052          222         21.1        1,274        1,052          222         21.1
                                AI..............        1,735        1,423          312         21.9        1,735        1,423          312         21.9
Yellowfin sole................  BSAI............      154,000      144,000       10,000          6.9      154,000      144,000       10,000          6.9
Greenland turbot..............  BS..............        4,375        2,673        1,702         63.7        4,375        2,673        1,702         63.7
                                AI..............          125          200          -75        -37.5          125          200          -75        -37.5

[[Page 11830]]

 
Arrowtooth flounder...........  BSAI............       14,000       14,000            0          0.0       14,000       14,000            0          0.0
Kamchatka flounder............  BSAI............        5,000        5,000            0          0.0        5,000        5,000            0          0.0
Rock sole.....................  BSAI............       47,100       57,100      -10,000        -17.5       47,100       57,100      -10,000        -17.5
Flathead sole.................  BSAI............       14,500       21,000       -6,500        -31.0       14,500       21,000       -6,500        -31.0
Alaska plaice.................  BSAI............       13,000       14,500       -1,500        -10.3       13,000       14,500       -1,500        -10.3
Other flatfish................  BSAI............        2,500        2,500            0          0.0        2,500        2,500            0          0.0
Pacific ocean perch...........  BS..............       11,000        7,953        3,047         38.3       11,000        7,953        3,047         38.3
                                EAI.............        7,900        7,537          363          4.8        7,900        7,537          363          4.8
                                CAI.............        7,000        7,000            0          0.0        7,000        7,000            0          0.0
                                WAI.............        9,000        9,000            0          0.0        9,000        9,000            0          0.0
Northern rockfish.............  BSAI............        5,000        4,500          500         11.1        5,000        4,500          500         11.1
Blackspotted and Rougheye       BS/EAI..........          100          100            0          0.0          100          100            0          0.0
 rockfish.
                                CAI/WAI.........          125          200          -75        -37.5          125          200          -75        -37.5
Shortraker rockfish...........  BSAI............          125          200          -75        -37.5          125          200          -75        -37.5
Other rockfish................  BS..............          325          325            0          0.0          325          325            0          0.0
                                AI..............          550          550            0          0.0          550          550            0          0.0
Atka mackerel.................  EAI/BS..........       34,500       28,500        6,000         21.1       34,000       28,500        5,500         19.3
                                CAI.............       18,000       16,000        2,000         12.5       18,500       16,000        2,500         15.6
                                WAI.............       12,500       10,500        2,000         19.0       12,500       10,500        2,000         19.0
Skates........................  BSAI............       26,000       26,000            0          0.0       26,000       26,000            0          0.0
Sculpins......................  BSAI............        4,500        4,500            0          0.0        4,500        4,500            0          0.0
Sharks........................  BSAI............          125          125            0          0.0          125          125            0          0.0
Squid.........................  BSAI............        1,342        1,500         -158        -10.5        1,342        1,500         -158        -10.5
Octopuses.....................  BSAI............          400          400            0          0.0          400          400            0          0.0
                               -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.....................  BSAI............    2,000,000    2,000,000            0          0.0    2,000,000    2,000,000            0          0.0
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Bering Sea subarea (BS), Aleutian Islands subarea (AI), Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI), Eastern Aleutian District (EAI),
  Central Aleutian District (CAI), and Western Aleutian District (WAI).


    Table 2--Final 2018 Overfishing Level (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC), Total Allowable Catch (TAC), Initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ Reserve
                                                        Allocation of Groundfish in the BSAI \1\
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                               2018
                  Species                               Area             -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                OFL             ABC             TAC          ITAC \2\         CDQ \3\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \4\...............................  BS..........................       4,360,000       2,979,000       1,345,000       1,210,500         134,500
                                            AI..........................          49,291          40,788          19,000          17,100           1,900
                                            Bogoslof....................         130,428          97,428             500             500               0
Pacific cod \5\...........................  BS..........................         302,000         255,000         223,704         199,768          23,936
                                            AI..........................          28,700          21,500          15,695          14,016           1,679
Sablefish.................................  BS..........................           1,519           1,291           1,274             541              48
                                            AI..........................           2,072           1,758           1,735             369              33
Yellowfin sole............................  BSAI........................         276,000         250,800         154,000         137,522          16,478
Greenland turbot..........................  BSAI........................          12,831          10,864           4,500           3,825             n/a
                                            BS..........................             n/a           9,484           4,375           3,719             468
                                            AI..........................             n/a           1,380             125             106               0
Arrowtooth flounder.......................  BSAI........................          67,023          58,633          14,000          11,900           1,498
Kamchatka flounder........................  BSAI........................          10,700           9,200           5,000           4,250               0
Rock sole.................................  BSAI........................         147,300         143,100          47,100          42,060           5,040

[[Page 11831]]

 
Flathead sole \6\.........................  BSAI........................          79,136          66,164          14,500          12,949           1,552
Alaska plaice.............................  BSAI........................          36,900          32,100          13,000          11,050               0
Other flatfish \7\........................  BSAI........................          17,591          13,193           2,500           2,125               0
Pacific ocean perch.......................  BSAI........................          51,950          42,735          34,900          30,693             n/a
                                            BS..........................             n/a          11,924          11,000           9,350               0
                                            EAI.........................             n/a          10,074           7,900           7,055             845
                                            CAI.........................             n/a           7,828           7,000           6,251             749
                                            WAI.........................             n/a          12,909           9,000           8,037             963
Northern rockfish.........................  BSAI........................          15,854          12,947           5,000           4,250               0
Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish \8\....  BSAI........................             750             614             225             191               0
                                            EBS/EAI.....................             n/a             374             100              85               0
                                            CAI/WAI.....................             n/a             240             125             106               0
Shortraker rockfish.......................  BSAI........................             666             499             125             106               0
Other rockfish \9\........................  BSAI........................           1,816           1,362             875             744               0
                                            BS..........................             n/a             791             325             276               0
                                            AI..........................             n/a             571             550             468               0
Atka mackerel.............................  BSAI........................          99,900          85,000          65,000          58,045           6,955
                                            EAI/BS......................             n/a          34,000          34,000          30,362           3,638
                                            CAI.........................             n/a          29,600          18,500          16,521           1,980
                                            WAI.........................             n/a          21,400          12,500          11,163           1,338
Skates....................................  BSAI........................          46,583          39,008          26,000          22,100               0
Sculpins..................................  BSAI........................          56,582          42,387           4,500           3,825               0
Sharks....................................  BSAI........................             689             517             125             106               0
Squids....................................  BSAI........................           6,912           5,184           1,342           1,141               0
Octopuses.................................  BSAI........................           4,769           3,576             400             340               0
                                                                         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.................................  ............................       5,807,962       4,214,648       2,000,000       1,790,015         196,644
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these
  harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District.
\2\ Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line or pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is put
  into a reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species,
  ITAC is the non-CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 5).
\3\ For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch), 10.7
  percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC
  allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea
  Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). Aleutian Islands Greenland
  turbot, ``other flatfish,'' Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ``other
  rockfish,'' skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program.
\4\ Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual BS subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and
  second for the incidental catch allowance (3.9 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: Inshore--50
  percent; catcher/processor--40 percent; and motherships--10 percent. Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock
  TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,400 mt), is
  allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery.
\5\ The BS Pacific cod TAC is set less than 6.4 percent of the Bering Sea subarea ABC to account for the State of Alaska's (State) guideline harvest
  level in State waters of the Bering Sea subarea. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set less than 27 percent of the Aleutian Island subarea ABC to account for
  the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea.
\6\ ``Flathead sole'' includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering flounder).
\7\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin
  sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice.
\8\ ``Rougheye rockfish'' includes Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted).
\9\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and
  rougheye rockfish.
Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   679.2 (BSAI = Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area, BS = Bering Sea subarea, AI =
  Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI = Eastern Aleutian district, CAI = Central Aleutian district, WAI = Western Aleutian district.)

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

    Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) requires NMFS to reserve 15 percent of the 
TAC for each target species, except for pollock, hook-and-line or pot 
gear allocation of sablefish, and Amendment 80 species, in a non-
specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires that NMFS 
allocate 20 percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of 
sablefish for the fixed-gear sablefish CDQ reserve. Section 
679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires that NMFS allocate 7.5 percent of the 
trawl gear allocations of sablefish and 10.7 percent of the Bering Sea 
Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder TACs to the respective CDQ 
reserves. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) requires that NMFS allocate 10.7 
percent of the TAC for Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean 
perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod to the 
CDQ reserves. Sections 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) and 679.31(a) also require 
that 10 percent of the Bering Sea pollock TACs be allocated to the 
pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). The entire Bogoslof 
District pollock TAC is allocated as an ICA pursuant to

[[Page 11832]]

Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(ii) because the Bogoslof District is closed to 
directed fishing for pollock by regulation. With the exception of the 
hook-and-line or pot gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the regulations do not 
further apportion the CDQ allocations by gear.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS allocates a pollock 
ICA of 3.9 percent of the Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC after 
subtracting the 10 percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on 
NMFS' examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the 
incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock 
from 2000 through 2016. During this 17-year period, the pollock 
incidental catch ranged from a low of 2.4 percent in 2006 to a high of 
4.8 percent in 2014, with a 17-year average of 3.2 percent. Pursuant to 
Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS establishes a pollock 
ICA of 2,400 mt of the Aleutian Islands subarea TAC after subtracting 
the 10-percent CDQ DFA. This allowance is based on NMFS' examination of 
the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ 
vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2003 through 2016. 
During this 14-year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from 
a low of 5 percent in 2006 to a high of 17 percent in 2014, with a 14-
year average of 8 percent.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS allocates ICAs of 
4,000 mt of flathead sole, 5,000 mt of rock sole, 4,500 mt of yellowfin 
sole, 10 mt of Western Aleutian Islands (WAI) Pacific ocean perch, 60 
mt of Central Aleutian Islands (CAI) Pacific ocean perch, 100 mt of 
Eastern Aleutian Islands (EAI) Pacific ocean perch, 20 mt of WAI Atka 
mackerel, 75 mt of CAI Atka mackerel, and 1,000 mt of EAI and Bering 
Sea subarea Atka mackerel TAC after subtracting the 10.7 percent CDQ 
reserve. These ICA allowances are based on NMFS' examination of the 
incidental catch in other target fisheries from 2003 through 2016.
    The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified 
reserve by species or species group. Any amount of the reserve may be 
apportioned to a target species category that contributed to the non-
specified reserves during the year, provided that such apportionments 
are consistent with Sec.  679.20(a)(3) and do not result in overfishing 
(see Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(i)). The Regional Administrator has determined 
that the ITACs specified for the species listed in Table 1 need to be 
supplemented from the non-specified reserve because U.S. fishing 
vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch the full TAC 
allocations. Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  679.20(b)(3), NMFS is 
apportioning the amounts shown in Table 3 from the non-specified 
reserve to increase the ITAC for shortraker rockfish, rougheye 
rockfish, ``other rockfish,'' sharks, and octopuses by 15 percent of 
the TAC in 2017 and 2018.

                                        Table 3--Final 2017 and 2018 Apportionment of Reserves To ITAC Categories
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                           2017 reserve     2017 final                     2018 reserve     2018 final
                 Species-area or subarea                     2017 ITAC        amount           ITAC          2018 ITAC        amount           ITAC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shortraker rockfish--BSAI...............................             106              19             125             106              19             125
Rougheye rockfish--BS/EAI...............................              85              15             100              85              15             100
Rougheye rockfish--CAI/WAI..............................             106              19             125             106              19             125
Other rockfish--Bering Sea subarea......................             276              49             325             276              49             325
Other rockfish--Aleutian Islands subarea................             468              82             550             468              82             550
Sharks..................................................             106              19             125             106              19             125
Octopuses...............................................             340              60             400             340              60             400
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................................           1,487             263           1,750           1,487             263           1,750
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that the Bering Sea subarea 
pollock TAC be apportioned, after subtracting 10 percent for the CDQ 
program and 3.9 percent for the ICA, as a DFA as follows: 50 Percent to 
the inshore sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor (C/P) sector, 
and 10 percent to the mothership sector. In the Bering Sea subarea, 45 
percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10), 
and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10-
November 1) (Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(i)(B)(1) and 679.23(e)(2)). The 
Aleutian Islands directed pollock fishery allocation to the Aleut 
Corporation is the amount of pollock remaining in the Aleutian Islands 
subarea after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and 
2,400 mt for the ICA (Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)). In the Aleutian 
Islands subarea, the total A season apportionment of the TAC is less 
than or equal to 40 percent of the ABC and the remainder of the TAC is 
allocated to the B season (Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(3)). Tables 4 and 
5 list these 2017 and 2018 amounts.
    The Steller sea lion protection measure final rule (79 FR 70286, 
November 25, 2014) sets harvest limits for pollock in the A season 
(January 20 to June 10) in Areas 543, 542, and 541 (see Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6)). In Area 543, the A season pollock harvest 
limit is no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. In 
Area 542, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 15 percent 
of the Aleutian Islands ABC. In Area 541, the A season pollock harvest 
limit is no more than 30 percent of the Aleutian Islands ABC.
    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific 
requirements regarding Bering Sea subarea pollock allocations. First, 
it requires that 8.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the C/P sector 
be available for harvest by AFA catcher vessels (CVs) with C/P sector 
endorsements, unless the Regional Administrator receives a cooperative 
contract that allows the distribution of harvest among AFA C/Ps and AFA 
CVs in a manner agreed to by all members. Second, AFA C/Ps not listed 
in the AFA are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the 
pollock allocated to the C/P sector. Tables 4 and 5 list the 2017 and 
2018 allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 21 through 26 list the AFA C/P 
and CV harvesting sideboard limits. The tables for the pollock 
allocations to the Bering Sea subarea inshore pollock cooperatives and 
open access sector will be posted on the Alaska Region Web site at 
http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.
    Tables 4 and 5 also list seasonal apportionments of pollock and 
harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The 
harvest

[[Page 11833]]

within the SCA, as defined at Sec.  679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to no 
more than 28 percent of the annual DFA before 12:00 noon, April 1, as 
provided in Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(i)(C). The A season pollock SCA harvest 
limit will be apportioned to each sector in proportion to each sector's 
allocated percentage of the DFA. Tables 4 and 5 list these 2017 and 
2018 amounts by sector.

    Table 4--Final 2017 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed
                                          Fishing Allowances (DFA) \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         2017 A season \1\        2017  B season
                                                       2017      --------------------------------       \1\
                 Area and sector                    allocations                     SCA harvest  ---------------
                                                                   A season DFA      limit \2\     B season DFA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea subarea TAC \1\......................       1,345,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................         134,500          60,525          37,660          73,975
ICA \1\.........................................          47,210             n/a             n/a             n/a
Total Bering Sea non-CDQ DFA....................       1,163,291         523,481         325,721         639,810
AFA Inshore.....................................         581,645         261,740         162,861         319,905
AFA Catcher/Processors \3\......................         465,316         209,392         130,289         255,924
    Catch by C/Ps...............................         425,764         191,594             n/a         234,170
    Catch by CVs \3\............................          39,552          17,798             n/a          21,754
    Unlisted C/P Limit \4\......................           2,327           1,047             n/a           1,280
AFA Motherships.................................         116,329          52,348          32,572          63,981
Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\..................         203,576             n/a             n/a             n/a
Excessive Processing Limit \6\..................         348,987             n/a             n/a             n/a
Aleutian Islands subarea ABC....................          36,061             n/a             n/a             n/a
Aleutian Islands subarea TAC \1\................          19,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................           1,900             760             n/a           1,140
ICA.............................................           2,400           1,200             n/a           1,200
Aleut Corporation...............................          14,700          12,464             n/a           2,236
Area harvest limit \7\ 541......................          10,818             n/a             n/a             n/a
    542.........................................           5,409             n/a             n/a             n/a
    543.........................................           1,803             n/a             n/a             n/a
Bogoslof District ICA \8\.......................             500             n/a             n/a             n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the Bering Sea subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10
  percent) and the ICA (3.9 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector--50 percent, catcher/
  processor sector (C/P)--40 percent, and mothership sector--10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 45 percent
  of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B
  season (June 10-November 1). Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual Aleutian Islands pollock
  TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,400
  mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the Aleutian Islands subarea,
  the A season is allocated less than or equal to 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the
  remainder of the pollock directed fishery.
\2\ In the Bering Sea subarea, pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(C), no more than 28 percent of each sector's
  annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1.
\3\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/
  processors shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels delivering to listed catcher/
  processors.
\4\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting
  not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processors sector's allocation of pollock.
\5\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\6\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\7\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in
  Area 541 of no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 of no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 of no more than 5
  percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC.
\8\ The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The
  amounts specified are for ICA only and are not apportioned by season or sector.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


    Table 5--Final 2018 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed
                                          Fishing Allowances (DFA) \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         2018 A season \1\        2018  B season
                                                       2018      --------------------------------       \1\
                 Area and sector                    allocations                     SCA harvest  ---------------
                                                                   A season DFA      limit \2\     B season DFA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea subarea TAC \1\......................       1,345,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................         134,500          60,525          37,660          73,975
ICA \1\.........................................          47,210             n/a             n/a             n/a
Total Bering Sea non-CDQ DFA....................       1,163,291         523,481         325,721         639,810
AFA Inshore.....................................         581,645         261,740         162,861         319,905
AFA Catcher/Processors \3\......................         465,316         209,392         130,289         255,924
    Catch by C/Ps...............................         425,764         191,594             n/a         234,170
    Catch by CVs \3\............................          39,552          17,798             n/a          21,754
    Unlisted C/P Limit \4\......................           2,327           1,047             n/a           1,280
AFA Motherships.................................         116,329          52,348          32,572          63,981

[[Page 11834]]

 
Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\..................         203,576             n/a             n/a             n/a
Excessive Processing Limit \6\..................         348,987             n/a             n/a             n/a
Aleutian Islands subarea ABC....................          40,788             n/a             n/a             n/a
Aleutian Islands subarea TAC \1\................          19,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................           1,900             760             n/a           1,140
ICA.............................................           2,400           1,200             n/a           1,200
Aleut Corporation...............................          14,700          14,355             n/a             345
Area harvest limit \7\ 541......................          12,236             n/a             n/a             n/a
    542.........................................           6,118             n/a             n/a             n/a
    543.........................................           2,039             n/a             n/a             n/a
Bogoslof District ICA \8\.......................             500             n/a             n/a             n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the Bering Sea subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10
  percent) and the ICA (3.9 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector--50 percent, catcher/
  processor sector (C/P)--40 percent, and mothership sector--10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 45 percent
  of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B
  season (June 10-November 1). Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual Aleutian Islands pollock
  TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,400
  mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the Aleutian Islands subarea,
  the A season is allocated less than or equal to 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the
  remainder of the pollock directed fishery.
\2\ In the Bering Sea subarea, pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(C), no more than 28 percent of each sector's
  annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1.
\3\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/
  processors shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels delivering to listed catcher/
  processors.
\4\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting
  not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processors sector's allocation of pollock.
\5\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\6\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\7\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in
  Area 541 of no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 of no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 of no more than 5
  percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC.
\8\ The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The
  amounts specified are for ICA only and are not apportioned by season or sector.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TACs

    Section 679.20(a)(8) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs to the 
Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors, after subtracting 
the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs for the BSAI trawl 
limited access sector and non-trawl gear sector (Tables 6 and 7). The 
percentage of the ITAC for Atka mackerel allocated to the Amendment 80 
and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is listed in Table 33 to 50 CFR 
part 679 and in Sec.  679.91. Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 
2 percent of the EAI and the Bering Sea subarea Atka mackerel ITAC may 
be allocated to vessels using jig gear. The percent of this allocation 
is recommended annually by the Council based on several criteria, 
including, among other criteria, the anticipated harvest capacity of 
the jig gear fleet. The Council recommended, and NMFS approves, a 0.5 
percent allocation of the Atka mackerel ITAC in the EAI and Bering Sea 
subarea to the jig gear sector in 2017 and 2018. This percentage is 
applied to the Atka mackerel TAC after subtracting the CDQ reserve and 
the ICA.
    Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel TAC into 
two equal seasonal allowances. Section 679.23(e)(3) sets the first 
seasonal allowance for directed fishing with trawl gear from January 20 
through June 10 (A season), and the second seasonal allowance from June 
10 through December 31 (B season). Section 679.23(e)(4)(iii) applies 
Atka mackerel seasons to CDQ Atka mackerel trawl fishing. The ICA and 
jig gear allocations are not apportioned by season.
    Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) and (ii) limit Atka mackerel 
catch within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in 
Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located west of 178[deg] W longitude to 
no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543, and 
equally divide the annual TAC between the A and B seasons as defined at 
Sec.  679.23(e)(3). Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires that the 
annual TAC in Area 543 will be no more than 65 percent of the ABC in 
Area 543. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(D) requires that any unharvested 
Atka mackerel A season allowance that is added to the B season be 
prohibited from being harvested within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller 
sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located in 
Areas 541, 542, and 543.
    Tables 6 and 7 list these 2017 and 2018 Atka mackerel seasons, area 
allowances, and the sector allocations. The 2018 allocations for Atka 
mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited 
access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for 
participation in the program by November 1, 2017.

[[Page 11835]]



 Table 6--Final 2017 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch Allowance, and
                             Amendment 80 Allocations of the BSAI ATKA Mackerel TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              2017 allocation by area
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                      Eastern
              Sector \1\                   Season \2\ \3\ \4\        Aleutian         Central         Western
                                                                     District/       Aleutian        Aleutian
                                                                    Bering Sea     District \5\      District
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC...................................  n/a.....................          34,500          18,000          12,500
CDQ reserve...........................  Total...................           3,692           1,926           1,338
                                        A.......................           1,846             963             669
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             578             401
                                        B.......................           1,846             963             669
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             578             401
Non-CDQ TAC...........................  n/a.....................          30,809          16,074          11,163
ICA...................................  Total...................           1,000              75              20
Jig \6\...............................  Total...................             149               0               0
BSAI trawl limited access.............  Total...................           2,966           1,600               0
                                        A.......................           1,483             800               0
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             480               0
                                        B.......................           1,483             800               0
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             480               0
Amendment 80 sectors..................  Total...................          26,694          14,399          11,143
                                        A.......................          13,347           7,200           5,571
                                        B.......................          13,347           7,200           5,571
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative.........  Total \6\...............          15,096           8,552           6,853
                                        A.......................           7,548           4,276           3,427
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a           2,566           2,056
                                        B.......................           7,548           4,276           3,427
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a           2,566           2,056
Alaska Seafood Cooperative............  Total \6\...............          11,598           5,847           4,290
                                        A.......................           5,799           2,924           2,145
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a           1,754           1,287
                                        B.......................           5,799           2,924           2,145
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a           1,754           1,287
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear
  allocation, and ICAs, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC
  for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50
  CFR part 679 and Sec.   679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see
  Sec.  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31).
\2\ Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel
  fishery.
\3\ The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season.
\4\ Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from
  January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31.
\5\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to
  be caught inside of critical habitat; section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs
  between the A and B seasons as defined at Sec.   679.23(e)(3); and section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the
  TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC.
\6\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea
  subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation
  is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


 Table 7--Final 2018 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch Allowance, and
                              Amendment 80 Allocation of the BSAI ATKA Mackerel TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              2018 allocation by area
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                      Eastern
              Sector \1\                   Season \2\ \3\ \4\        Aleutian         Central         Western
                                                                     District/       Aleutian        Aleutian
                                                                  Bering Sea \5\   District \5\    District \5\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC...................................  n/a.....................          34,000          18,500          12,500
CDQ reserve...........................  Total...................           3,638           1,980           1,338
                                        A.......................           1,819             990             669
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             594             401
                                        B.......................           1,819             990             669
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             594             401
non-CDQ TAC...........................  n/a.....................          30,362          16,521          11,163
ICA...................................  Total...................           1,000              75              20
Jig \6\...............................  Total...................             147               0               0
BSAI trawl limited access.............  Total...................           2,922           1,645               0
                                        A.......................           1,461             822               0
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             493               0
                                        B.......................           1,461             822               0
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             493               0

[[Page 11836]]

 
Amendment 80 sectors \7\..............  Total...................          26,294          14,801          11,143
                                        A.......................          13,147           7,400           5,571
                                        B.......................          13,147           7,400           5,571
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear
  allocation, and ICAs, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC
  for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50
  CFR part 679 and Sec.   679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see
  Sec.  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31).
\2\ Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel
  fishery.
\3\ The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season.
\4\ Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from
  January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31.
\5\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1[hairsp])(i[hairsp]) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas
  542 and 543 to be caught inside of critical habitat; section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1[hairsp])(ii[hairsp])
  equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at Sec.   679.23(e)(3); and section
  679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC.
\6\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea
  subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation
  is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season.
\7\ The 2018 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access
  sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1,
  2017. NMFS will post 2018 Amendment 80 allocations when they become available in December 2017.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC

    The Council separated Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands subarea OFLs, 
ABCs, and TACs for Pacific cod in 2014 (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014). 
Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) allocates 10.7 percent of the Bering Sea 
TAC and Aleutian Islands TAC to the CDQ program. After CDQ allocations 
have been deducted from the respective Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
Pacific cod TACs, the remaining Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pacific 
cod TACs are combined for calculating further BSAI Pacific cod sector 
allocations. However, if the non-CDQ Pacific cod TAC is or will be 
reached in either the Bering Sea or Aleutian Islands subareas, NMFS 
will prohibit non-CDQ directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea 
as provided in Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii).
    Sections 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) allocate to the non-CDQ sectors 
the Pacific cod TAC in the combined BSAI TAC, after subtracting 10.7 
percent for the CDQ program, as follows: 1.4 Percent to vessels using 
jig gear; 2.0 percent to hook-and-line or pot CVs less than 60 ft (18.3 
m) length overall (LOA); 0.2 percent to hook-and-line CVs greater than 
or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA; 48.7 percent to hook-and-line C/P; 8.4 
percent to pot CVs greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA; 1.5 
percent to pot C/Ps; 2.3 percent to AFA trawl C/Ps; 13.4 percent to 
Amendment 80 trawl C/Ps; and 22.1 percent to trawl CVs. The ICA for the 
hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate 
portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot 
sectors. For 2017 and 2018, the Regional Administrator establishes an 
ICA of 500 mt based on anticipated incidental catch by these sectors in 
other fisheries.
    The ITAC allocation of Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 sector is 
established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and Sec.  679.91. The 2018 
allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives 
and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until 
eligible participants apply for participation in the program by 
November 1, 2017.
    The Pacific cod ITAC is apportioned into seasonal allowances to 
disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see 
Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(i)(B), (a)(7)(iv)(A), and 679.23(e)(5)). In 
accordance with Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(iv)(B) and (C), any unused portion 
of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance for any sector, except the jig 
sector, will become available at the beginning of the next seasonal 
allowance.
    Section 679.20(a)(7)(vii) requires the Regional Administrator to 
establish an Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit based on Pacific cod 
abundance in Area 543. Based on the 2016 stock assessment, the Regional 
Administrator determined the Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit to be 
25.6 percent of the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod TAC for 2017 and 2018. 
NMFS will first subtract the State GHL Pacific cod amount from the 
Aleutian Islands Pacific cod ABC. Then NMFS will determine the harvest 
limit in Area 543 by multiplying the percentage of Pacific cod 
estimated in Area 543 by the remaining ABC for Aleutian Islands Pacific 
cod. Based on these calculations, the Area 543 harvest limit is 4,018 
mt.
    Section 679.20(a)(7)(viii) requires specification of the 2018 
Pacific cod allocations for the Aleutian Islands ICA, DFA, CV Harvest 
Set-Aside, and Unrestricted Fishery, as well as the Bering Sea Trawl CV 
A-Season Sector Limitation. If NMFS receives notification of intent to 
process Aleutian Islands subarea Pacific Cod from either the city of 
Adak or the city of Atka, the harvest limits in Table 9a will be in 
effect in 2018. Notification of intent to process Aleutian Islands 
subarea Pacific cod must be postmarked by October 31, 2017, and 
submitted electronically to NMFS by October 31, 2017. In addition to 
the notification requirement, Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(viii) also contains 
specific performance requirements that (1) if less than 1,000 mt of the 
Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is delivered to Aleutian Islands 
shoreplants by February 28, 2018, the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-
Aside is lifted and the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation 
is suspended and (2) if the entire Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-
Aside is fully harvested and delivered to Aleutian Islands shoreplants 
before March 15, 2018, the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector 
Limitation is suspended.
    The CDQ and non-CDQ seasonal allowances by gear based on the 2017 
and 2018 Pacific cod TACs are listed in Tables 8 and 9, and are based 
on the

[[Page 11837]]

sector allocation percentages and seasonal allowances for Pacific cod 
set forth at Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) and 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(A) and 
the seasons for Pacific cod set forth at Sec.  679.23(e)(5).

               Table 8--Final 2017 Gear Shares and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI Pacific COD TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 2017 share of                     2017 seasonal apportionment
          Gear sector               Percent       gear sector    2017 share of ---------------------------------
                                                     total       sector total        Seasons          Amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BS TAC........................             n/a         223,704             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
BS CDQ........................             n/a          23,936             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
BS non-CDQ TAC................             n/a         199,768             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI TAC........................             n/a          15,695             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI CDQ........................             n/a           1,679             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
AI non-CDQ TAC................             n/a          14,016             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Western Aleutian Island Limit.             n/a           4,018             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC\1\.....             100         213,783             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total hook-and-line/pot gear..            60.8         129,980             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line/pot ICA \2\.....             n/a             500             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(ii
                                                                                 )(B).
Hook-and-line/pot sub-total...             n/a         129,480             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line catcher/                    48.7             n/a         103,712  Jan 1-Jun 10....          52,893
 processor.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...          50,819
Hook-and-line catcher vessel               0.2             n/a             426  Jan 1-Jun 10....             217
  60 ft LOA.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...             209
Pot catcher/processor.........             1.5             n/a           3,194  Jan 1-Jun 10....           1,629
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Sept 1-Dec 31...           1,565
Pot catcher vessel >= 60 ft                8.4             n/a          17,889  Jan 1-Jun 10....           9,123
 LOA.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Sept 1-Dec 31...           8,765
Catcher vessel < 60 ft LOA                   2             n/a           4,259  n/a.............             n/a
 using hook-and-line or pot
 gear.
Trawl catcher vessel..........            22.1          47,246             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          34,962
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           5,197
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....           7,087
AFA trawl catcher/processor...             2.3           4,917             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           3,688
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           1,229
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....               0
Amendment 80..................            13.4          28,647             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          21,485
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           7,162
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....               0
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative.             n/a             n/a           4,522  Jan 20-Apr 1....           3,392
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           1,131
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...               0
Alaska Seafood Cooperative....             n/a             n/a          24,125  Jan 20-Apr 1....          18,094
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           6,031
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...               0
Jig...........................             1.4           2,993             n/a  Jan 1-Apr 30....           1,796
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 30-Aug 31...             599
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Aug 31-Dec 31...             599
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI
  Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of CDQ. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached,
  then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea may be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains.
\2\ The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC
  allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 500 mt for 2017
  based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


               Table 9--Final 2018 Gear Shares and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI Pacific COD TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 2018 share of                     2018 seasonal apportionment
          Gear sector               Percent       gear sector    2018 share of ---------------------------------
                                                     total       sector total        Seasons          Amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BS TAC........................             n/a         223,704             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
BS CDQ........................             n/a          23,936             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
BS non-CDQ TAC................             n/a         199,768             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI TAC........................             n/a          15,695             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI CDQ........................             n/a           1,679             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
AI non-CDQ TAC................             n/a          14,016             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Western Aleutian Island Limit.             n/a           4,018             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC \1\....             n/a         213,783             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total hook-and-line/pot gear..            60.8         129,980             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line/pot ICA \2\.....             n/a             500             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(ii
                                                                                 )(B).

[[Page 11838]]

 
Hook-and-line/pot sub-total...             n/a         129,480             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line catcher/                    48.7             n/a         103,712  Jan 1-Jun 10....          52,893
 processor.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...          50,819
Hook-and-line catcher vessel               0.2             n/a             426  Jan 1-Jun 10....             217
 >= 60 ft LOA.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...             209
Pot catcher/processor.........             1.5             n/a           3,194  Jan 1-Jun 10....           1,629
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Sept 1-Dec 31...           1,565
Pot catcher vessel              8.4             n/a          17,889  Jan 1-Jun 10....           9,123
 60 ft LOA.
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Sept 1-Dec 31...           8,765
Catcher vessel < 60 ft LOA                   2             n/a           4,259  n/a.............             n/a
 using hook-and-line or pot
 gear.
Trawl catcher vessel..........            22.1          47,246             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          34,962
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....           7,087
AFA trawl catcher/processor...             2.3           4,917             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           3,688
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           1,229
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Nov 1....               0
Amendment 80..................            13.4          28,647             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          21,485
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 1-Jun 10....           7,162
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Jun 10-Dec 31...               0
Jig...........................             1.4           2,993             n/a  Jan 1-Apr 30....           1,796
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Apr 30-Aug 31...             599
                                ..............  ..............  ..............  Aug 31-Dec 31...             599
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI
  Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of CDQ. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached,
  then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea may be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains.
\2\ The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC
  allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 500 mt for 2018
  based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


  Table 9a--2018 BSAI A--Season Pacific Cod Limits if Aleutian Islands
              Shoreplants Intend To Process Pacific Cod \1\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 2018 Allocations under Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-
                          Aside                             Amount (mt)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
AI non-CDQ TAC..........................................          14,016
AI ICA..................................................           2,500
AI DFA..................................................          11,516
BS non-CDQ TAC..........................................         199,768
BSAI Trawl CV A-Season Allocation.......................          34,962
BSAI Trawl CV A-Season Allocation minus Sector                    29,962
 Limitation \2\.........................................
BS Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation..................           5,000
AI CV Harvest Set-Aside.................................           5,000
AI Unrestricted Fishery.................................           6,516
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ These allocations will apply in 2018 only if NMFS receives notice of
  intent to process Aleutian Islands subarea Pacific cod by October 31,
  2017, pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(7)(viii) and if the performance
  requirements set forth in Sec.   679.20(a)(7)(viii) are likewise met.
\2\ This is the amount of the BSAI trawl CV A-season allocation that may
  be harvested in the Bering Sea prior to March 21, 2018, unless
  modified because the performance requirements were not met.

Sablefish Gear Allocation

    Sections 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) require allocation of the 
sablefish TAC for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands subareas between 
trawl and hook-and-line or pot gear sectors. Gear allocations of the 
TAC for the Bering Sea subarea are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 
percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TAC for 
the Aleutian Islands subarea are 25 percent for trawl gear and 75 
percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) 
requires NMFS to apportion 20 percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear 
allocation of sablefish to the CDQ reserve. Additionally, Sec.  
679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D)(1) requires that 7.5 percent of the trawl gear 
allocation of sablefish from the non-specified reserves, established 
under Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(i), be assigned to the CDQ reserve. The 
Council recommended that only trawl sablefish TAC be established 
biennially. The harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear and 
pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fisheries are limited 
to the 2017 fishing year to ensure those fisheries are conducted 
concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery. Concurrent sablefish and 
halibut IFQ fisheries reduce the potential for discards of halibut and 
sablefish in those fisheries. The sablefish IFQ fisheries remain closed 
at the beginning of each fishing year until the final harvest 
specifications for the sablefish IFQ fisheries are in effect. Table 10 
lists the 2017 and 2018 gear allocations of the sablefish TAC and CDQ 
reserve amounts.

                                    Table 10--Final 2017 and 2018 Gear Shares and CDQ Reserve of BSAI Sablefish TACS
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Percent  of   2017 Share                   2017 CDQ     2018 Share                   2018 CDQ
                   Subarea and gear                          TAC         of TAC       2017 ITAC      reserve       of TAC       2018 ITAC      reserve
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea:
    Trawl \1\.........................................            50           637           541            48           637           541            48

[[Page 11839]]

 
    Hook-and-line/pot gear \2\........................            50           637           510           127           n/a           n/a           n/a
        Total.........................................           100         1,274         1,051           175           637           541            48
Aleutian Islands:
    Trawl \1\.........................................            25           434           369            33           434           369            33
    Hook-and-line/pot gear \2\........................            75         1,301         1,041           260           n/a           n/a           n/a
        Total.........................................           100         1,735         1,410           293           434           369            33
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Except for the sablefish hook-and-line or pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the nonspecified reserve (Sec.
  679.20(b)(1)(i)). The ITAC is the remainder of the TAC after the subtracting these reserves.
\2\ For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, 20 percent of the allocated TAC is reserved for use by
  CDQ participants (Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B)). The Council recommended that specifications for the hook-and-line gear sablefish IFQ fisheries be
  limited to one year.
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

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

    Sections 679.20(a)(10)(i) and (ii) require that NMFS allocate 
Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock 
sole, and yellowfin sole TAC between the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI 
trawl limited access sector, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ 
reserve and an ICA for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels 
using non-trawl gear. The allocation of the ITAC for Aleutian Islands 
Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin 
sole to the Amendment 80 sector is established in accordance with 
Tables 33 and 34 to 50 CFR part 679 and Sec.  679.91.
    The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 
cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be 
known until eligible participants apply for participation in the 
program by November 1, 2017. Tables 11 and 12 list the 2017 and 2018 
allocations of the Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI 
flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs.

 Table 11--Final 2017 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment 80 Allocations of the Aleutian Islands
                                     Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACS
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        Pacific ocean perch                Flathead sole     Rock sole    Yellowfin sole
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         Sector                               Eastern         Central         Western
                                                             Aleutian        Aleutian        Aleutian          BSAI            BSAI            BSAI
                                                             District        District        District
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC.....................................................           7,900           7,000           9,000          14,500          47,100         154,000
CDQ.....................................................             845             749             963           1,552           5,040          16,478
ICA.....................................................             100              60              10           4,000           5,000           4,500
BSAI trawl limited access...............................             695             619             161               0               0          18,151
Amendment 80............................................           6,259           5,572           7,866           8,949          37,060         114,871
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative...........................           3,319           2,954           4,171             918           9,168          45,638
Alaska Seafood Cooperative..............................           2,940           2,617           3,695           8,031          27,893          69,233
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


 Table 12--Final 2018 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment 80 Allocations of the Aleutian Islands
                                     Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACS
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        Pacific ocean perch                Flathead sole     Rock sole    Yellowfin sole
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         Sector                               Eastern         Central         Western
                                                             Aleutian        Aleutian        Aleutian          BSAI            BSAI            BSAI
                                                             District        District        District
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC.....................................................           7,900           7,000           9,000          14,500          47,100         154,000
CDQ.....................................................             845             749             963           1,552           5,040          16,478
ICA.....................................................             100              60              10           4,000           5,000           4,500
BSAI trawl limited access...............................             695             619             161               0               0          18,151
Amendment 80 \1\........................................           6,259           5,572           7,866           8,949          37,060         114,871
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until
  eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017. NMFS will publish 2018 Amendment 80 allocations when they become
  available in December 2017.
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


[[Page 11840]]

    Section 679.2 defines the ABC surplus for flathead sole, rock sole, 
and yellowfin sole as the difference between the annual ABC and TAC for 
each species. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii) establishes ABC reserves for 
flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The ABC surpluses and the 
ABC reserves are necessary to mitigate the operational variability, 
environmental conditions, and economic factors that may constrain the 
CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperatives from achieving, on a 
continuing basis, the optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. 
NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may set the ABC reserve at 
or below the ABC surplus for each species thus maintaining the TAC 
below ABC limits. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the ABC reserves 
will be allocated as CDQ reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and 
yellowfin sole. The Amendment 80 ABC reserves shall be the ABC reserves 
minus the CDQ ABC reserves. Section 679.91(i)(2) establishes each 
Amendment 80 cooperative ABC reserve to be the ratio of each 
cooperatives' quota share units and the total Amendment 80 quota share 
units, multiplied by the Amendment 80 ABC reserve for each respective 
species. Table 13 lists the 2017 and 2018 ABC surplus and ABC reserves 
for BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole.

 Table 13--Final 2017 and 2018 ABC Surplus, Community Development Quota (CDQ) ABC Reserves, and Amendment 80 ABC Reserves in the BSAI for Flathead Sole,
                                                              Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           2017 Flathead                  2017 Yellowfin   2018 Flathead                  2018 Yellowfin
                         Sector                                sole       2017 Rock sole       sole            sole       2018 Rock sole       sole
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ABC.....................................................          68,278         155,100         260,800          66,164         143,100         250,800
TAC.....................................................          14,500          47,100         154,000          14,500          47,100         154,000
ABC surplus.............................................          53,778         108,000         106,800          51,664          96,000          96,800
ABC reserve.............................................          53,778         108,000         106,800          51,664          96,000          96,800
CDQ ABC reserve.........................................           5,754          11,556          11,428           5,528          10,272          10,358
Amendment 80 ABC reserve................................          48,024          96,444          95,372          46,136          85,728          86,442
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative for 2017\1\...............           4,926          23,857          37,891             n/a             n/a             n/a
Alaska Seafood Cooperative for 2017\1\..................          43,098          72,587          57,481             n/a             n/a             n/a
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 2018 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until
  eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2017.

PSC Limits for Halibut, Salmon, Crab, and Herring

    Section 679.21(b), (e), (f), and (g) sets forth the BSAI PSC 
limits. Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(b)(1), the 2017 and 2018 BSAI halibut 
PSC limits total 3,515 mt. Section 679.21(b)(1) allocates 315 mt of the 
halibut PSC limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ 
program, 1,745 mt of halibut PSC limit for the Amendment 80 sector, 745 
mt of halibut PSC limit for the BSAI trawl limited access sector, and 
710 mt of halibut PSC limit for the BSAI non-trawl sector.
    Section 679.21(b)(1)(iii)(A) and (B) authorizes apportionment of 
the non-trawl halibut PSC limit into PSC allowances among six fishery 
categories, and Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(A) and (B), 
679.21(e)(3)(i)(B), and 679.21(e)(3)(iv) require apportionment of the 
BSAI trawl limited access halibut and crab PSC limits into PSC 
allowances among seven fishery categories. Tables 15 and 16 list the 
fishery PSC allowances for the trawl fisheries, and Table 17 lists the 
fishery PSC allowances for the non-trawl fisheries.
    Pursuant to Section 3.6 of the FMP, the Council recommends, and 
NMFS agrees, that certain specified non-trawl fisheries be exempt from 
the halibut PSC limit. As in past years, after consultation with the 
Council, NMFS exempts pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-
and-line gear fishery categories from halibut bycatch restrictions for 
the following reasons: (1) The pot gear fisheries have low halibut 
bycatch mortality; (2) NMFS estimates halibut mortality for the jig 
gear fleet to be negligible because of the small size of the fishery 
and the selectivity of the gear; and (3) the sablefish and halibut IFQ 
fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality because the IFQ program 
requires legal-size halibut to be retained by vessels using hook-and-
line gear if a halibut IFQ permit holder or a hired master is aboard 
and is holding unused halibut IFQ (Sec.  679.7(f)(11)).
    The 2016 total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the 
BSAI was 46,578 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch mortality of 2 
mt. The 2016 jig gear fishery harvested about 47 mt of groundfish. Most 
vessels in the jig gear fleet are exempt from observer coverage 
requirements. As a result, observer data are not available on halibut 
bycatch in the jig gear fishery. However, as mentioned above, NMFS 
estimates a negligible amount of halibut bycatch mortality because of 
the selective nature of jig gear and the low mortality rate of halibut 
caught with jig gear and released.
    Under Sec.  679.21(f)(2), NMFS annually allocates portions of 
either 33,318, 45,000, 47,591, or 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limits 
among the AFA sectors, depending on past bycatch performance, on 
whether Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreements (IPAs) are 
formed, and on whether NMFS determines it is a low Chinook salmon 
abundance year. NMFS will determine that it is a low Chinook salmon 
abundance year when abundance of Chinook salmon in western Alaska is 
less than or equal to 250,000 Chinook salmon. The State of Alaska 
provides to NMFS an estimate of Chinook salmon abundance using the 3-
System Index for western Alaska based on the Kuskokwim, Unalakleet, and 
Upper Yukon aggregate stock grouping.
    If an AFA sector participates in an approved IPA and it is not a 
low Chinook salmon abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of 
the 60,000 PSC limit to that sector as specified in Sec.  
679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). If no IPA is approved, or if the sector has 
exceeded its performance standard under Sec.  679.21(f)(6), and it is 
not a low abundance year, NMFS will allocate a portion of the 47,591 
Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as specified in Sec.  
679.21(f)(3)(iii)(C). If an AFA sector participates in an approved IPA 
in a low abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 
45,000 PSC limit to that sector as specified in Sec.  
679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). If no IPA is approved, or if the sector has 
exceeded its performance standard under Sec.  679.21(f)(6), in a low 
abundance year, NMFS will allocate a portion of the 33,318 Chinook 
salmon PSC limit to

[[Page 11841]]

that sector as specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(D).
    NMFS has determined that 2016 was not a low Chinook salmon 
abundance year based on the State of Alaska's estimate that Chinook 
salmon abundance in western Alaska is greater than 250,000 Chinook 
salmon. Therefore, in 2017, the Chinook salmon PSC limit is 60,000, and 
the AFA sector Chinook salmon allocations are seasonally allocated with 
70 percent of the allocation for the A season pollock fishery, and 30 
percent of the allocation for the B season pollock fishery as stated in 
Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(i). Allocations of the Chinook salmon PSC limit of 
60,000 to each AFA sector are specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). 
Additionally, in 2017, the Chinook salmon bycatch performance standard 
under Sec.  679.21(f)(6) is 47,591 Chinook salmon, allocated to each 
sector as specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(C).
    The basis for these PSC limits is described in detail in the final 
rule implementing management measures for Amendment 91 (75 FR 53026, 
August 30, 2010) and Amendment 110 (81 FR 37534, June 10, 2016). NMFS 
publishes the approved IPAs, allocations, and reports at http://
alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/bycatch/default.htm.
    Section 679.21(g)(2)(i) specifies 700 fish as the 2017 and 2018 
Chinook salmon PSC limit for the Aleutian Islands subarea pollock 
fishery. Section 679.21(g)(2)(ii) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook 
salmon, as the Aleutian Islands subarea PSQ reserve for the CDQ program 
and allocates the remaining 647 Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ 
fisheries.
    Section 679.21(f)(14)(i) specifies 42,000 fish as the 2017 and 2018 
non-Chinook salmon PSC limit in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area 
(CVOA). Section 679.21(f)(14)(ii) allocates 10.7 percent, or 4,494 non-
Chinook salmon, in the CVOA as the PSQ reserve for the CDQ program, and 
allocates the remaining 37,506 non-Chinook salmon in the CVOA as the 
PSC limit for the non-CDQ fisheries.
    PSC limits for crab and herring are specified annually based on 
abundance and spawning biomass. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(1) allocates 
10.7 percent from each trawl gear PSC limit specified for crab as a PSQ 
reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program.
    Based on the 2016 survey data, the red king crab mature female 
abundance is estimated to be at 22.8 million mature red king crabs, and 
the effective spawning biomass is estimated at 42.2 million lbs (19,148 
mt). Based on the criteria set out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(i), the 2017 
and 2018 PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl gear is 97,000 
animals. This limit derives from the mature female abundance of more 
than 8.4 million mature king crab and the effective spawning biomass 
estimate of more than 14.5 million lbs (6,477 mt) but less than 55 
million lbs (24,948 mt).
    Section 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2) establishes criteria under which 
NMFS must specify an annual red king crab bycatch limit for the Red 
King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS). The regulations limit the RKCSS red 
king crab bycatch limit to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC limit, 
based on the need to optimize the groundfish harvest relative to red 
king crab bycatch. In December 2016, the Council recommended and NMFS 
concurs that the red king crab bycatch limit be equal to 25 percent of 
the red king crab PSC limit within the RKCSS (Table 15).
    Based on 2016 survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) 
abundance is estimated at 285 million animals. Pursuant to criteria set 
out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(ii), the calculated 2017 and 2018 C. bairdi 
crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 830,000 animals in Zone 1, and 
2,070,000 animals in Zone 2. The limit in Zone 1 is based on the 
abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 285 million animals, which is 
greater than 270 million and less than 400 million animals. The limit 
in Zone 2 is based on the abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 285 
million animals, which is greater than 175 million animals and less 
than 290 million animals.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(iii), the PSC limit for snow crab 
(C. opilio) is based on total abundance as indicated by the NMFS annual 
bottom trawl survey. The C. opilio crab PSC limit is set at 0.1133 
percent of the Bering Sea abundance index minus 150,000 crab. Based on 
the 2016 survey estimate of 8.169 billion animals, which is above the 
minimum PSC limit of 4.5 million and below the maximum PSC limit of 13 
million animals, the calculated C. opilio crab PSC limit is 9,105,477 
animals.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(v), the PSC limit of Pacific herring 
caught while conducting any trawl operation for BSAI groundfish is 1 
percent of the annual eastern Bering Sea herring biomass. The best 
estimate of 2017 and 2018 herring biomass is 201,278 mt. This amount 
was developed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game based on 
biomass for spawning aggregations. Therefore, the herring PSC limit for 
2017 and 2018 is 2,013 mt for all trawl gear as listed in Tables 14 and 
15.
    Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(1) requires crab PSQ reserves to be 
subtracted from the total trawl crab PSC limits. The 2017 PSC limits 
assigned to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors are 
specified in Table 35 to 50 CFR part 679. The resulting allocations of 
PSC limit to CDQ PSQ, the Amendment 80 sector, and the BSAI trawl 
limited access fisheries are listed in Table 14. Pursuant to Sec.  
679.21(b)(1)(i), 679.21(e)(3)(vi) and Sec.  679.91(d) through (f), crab 
and halibut trawl PSC limits assigned to the Amendment 80 sector are 
then further allocated to Amendment 80 cooperatives as PSC cooperative 
quota as listed in Table 18. PSC cooperative quota assigned to 
Amendment 80 cooperatives is not allocated to specific fishery 
categories. In 2017, there are no vessels in the Amendment 80 limited 
access sector. The 2018 PSC allocations between Amendment 80 
cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be 
known until eligible participants apply for participation in the 
program by November 1, 2017. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(B) requires NMFS 
to apportion each trawl PSC limit not assigned to Amendment 80 
cooperatives into PSC bycatch allowances for seven specified fishery 
categories in Sec.  679.21(e)(3)(iv).
    Section 679.21(b)(2) and (e)(5) authorizes NMFS, after consulting 
with the Council, to establish seasonal apportionments of PSC amounts 
for the BSAI trawl limited access and Amendment 80 limited access 
sectors in order to maximize the ability of the fleet to harvest the 
available groundfish TAC and to minimize bycatch. The factors to be 
considered are (1) seasonal distribution of prohibited species, (2) 
seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to 
prohibited species distribution, (3) PSC bycatch needs on a seasonal 
basis relevant to prohibited species biomass and expected catches of 
target species, (4) expected variations in bycatch rates throughout the 
year, (5) expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons, (6) 
expected start of fishing effort, and (7) economic effects of seasonal 
PSC apportionments on industry sectors. The Council recommended and 
NMFS approves the seasonal PSC apportionments in Tables 15 and 16 to 
maximize harvest among gear types, fisheries, and seasons while 
minimizing bycatch of PSC based on the above criteria.

[[Page 11842]]



 Table 14--Final 2017 and 2018 Apportionment of Prohibited Species Catch Allowances to Non-Trawl Gear, the CDQ Program, Amendment 80, and the BSAI Trawl
                                                                 Limited Access Sectors
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                             Trawl PSC                      BSAI trawl
                PSC species and area \1\                     Total PSC     Non-trawl PSC      CDQ PSQ        remaining     Amendment 80   limited access
                                                                                            reserve \2\    after CDQ PSQ    sector \3\        fishery
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI.............................           3,515             710             315             n/a           1,745             745
Herring (mt) BSAI.......................................           2,013             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a
Red king crab (animals) Zone 1..........................          97,000             n/a          10,379          86,621          43,293          26,489
C. opilio (animals) COBLZ...............................       9,105,477             n/a         974,286       8,131,191       3,996,480       2,613,365
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 1.........................         830,000             n/a          88,810         741,190         312,115         348,285
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 2.........................       2,070,000             n/a         221,490       1,848,510         437,542         865,288
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of zones.
\2\ The PSQ reserve for crab species is 10.7 percent of each crab PSC limit.
\3\ The Amendment 80 program reduced apportionment of the trawl PSC limits for crab below the total PSC limit. These reductions are not apportioned to
  other gear types or sectors.


 Table 15--Final 2017 and 2018 Herring and Red King Crab Savings Subarea
        Prohibited Species Catch Allowances for All Trawl Sectors
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           Red king crab
           Fishery categories              Herring (mt)   (animals) Zone
                                               BSAI              1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yellowfin sole..........................             100             n/a
Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish                43             n/a
 \1\....................................
Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/                  5             n/a
 Kamchatka flounder/sablefish...........
Rockfish................................               5             n/a
Pacific cod.............................              10             n/a
Midwater trawl pollock..................           1,800             n/a
Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 2 3.              50             n/a
Red king crab savings subarea non-                   n/a          24,250
 pelagic trawl gear 4...................
Total trawl PSC.........................           2,013          97,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species,
  except for halibut (a prohibited species), arrowtooth flounder,
  flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and
  yellowfin sole.
\2\ Pollock other than pelagic trawl pollock, Atka mackerel, and ``other
  species'' fishery category.
\3\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins,
  sharks, squids, and octopuses.
\4\ In December 2016, the Council recommended that the red king crab
  bycatch limit for non-pelagic trawl fisheries within the RKCSS be
  limited to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance (see Sec.
  679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2)).
Note: Species apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


  Table 16--Final 2017 and 2018 Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowances for the BSAI Trawl Limited Access Sector
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          Prohibited species and area \1\
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    BSAI trawl limited access         Halibut      Red king crab     C. opilio          C. bairdi (animals)
            fisheries             mortality (mt)  (animals) Zone     (animals)   -------------------------------
                                       BSAI              1             COBLZ          Zone 1          Zone 2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yellowfin sole..................             150          23,338       2,463,587         293,234         826,258
Rock sole/flathead sole/other                  0               0               0               0               0
 flatfish \2\...................
Greenland turbot/arrowtooth                    0               0               0               0               0
 flounder/Kamchatka flounder/
 sablefish......................
Rockfish April 15--December 31..               4               0           4,069               0             697
Pacific cod.....................             391           2,954         105,008          50,816          34,848
Pollock/Atka mackerel/other                  200             197          40,701           4,235           3,485
 species \3\....................
Total BSAI trawl limited access              745          26,489       2,613,365         348,285         865,288
 PSC............................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited
  species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth
  flounder.
\3\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


       Table 17--Final 2017 and 2018 Halibut Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowances for Non-Trawl Fisheries
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Catcher/
        Non-trawl fisheries                Seasons           processor    Catcher vessel       All non-trawl
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod.......................  Total Pacific cod...             648              13  661
                                       January 1-June 10             388               9  n/a

[[Page 11843]]

 
                                       June 10-August 15             162               2  n/a
                                       August 15-                     98               2  n/a
                                        December 31.
Non-Pacific cod non-trawl-Total...  May 1-December 31...             n/a             n/a  49
Groundfish pot and jig............  n/a.................             n/a             n/a  Exempt
Sablefish hook-and-line...........  n/a.................             n/a             n/a  Exempt
Total for all non-trawl PSC.......  n/a.................             n/a             n/a  710
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


        Table 18--Final 2017 Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowance for the BSAI Amendment 80 Cooperatives
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Prohibited species and zones \1\
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Cooperative                Halibut      Red king crab     C. opilio          C. bairdi (animals)
                                  mortality (mt)  (animals) Zone     (animals)   -------------------------------
                                       BSAI              1             COBLZ          Zone 1          Zone 2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alaska Groundfish Cooperative...             474          12,459       1,258,109          82,136         112,839
Alaska Seafood Cooperative......           1,271          30,834       2,738,371         229,979         324,703
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of zones.
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Estimates of Halibut Biomass and Stock Condition

    The International Pacific Halibut Commission (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 BSAI stock assessment process. 
The DMR methodology and findings are included as an appendix to the 
annual BSAI 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 Plan Team, SSC, and the Council. A summary 
of the revised methodology is included in the BSAI proposed 2017 and 
2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87863, 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 that could provide more recent and accurate 
data and could improve the accuracy of estimation and progress on 
methodology.
    At the December 2016 meeting, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed and 
concurred in the revised DMR estimation methodology proposed by the 
working group. The Council recommended the halibut DMRs derived from 
this process for 2017 and 2018. The final calculation of the DMRs 
changed 1 percent from the proposed DMRs for two sectors (hook-and-line 
catcher vessel and pot sectors). Table 19 lists the proposed 2017 and 
2018 DMRs.

 Table 19--2017 and 2018 Pacific Halibut Discard Mortality Rates for the
                                  BSAI
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Halibut
                                                              discard
               Gear                        Sector         mortality rate
                                                             (percent)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pelagic trawl.....................  All.................             100
Non-pelagic trawl.................  Mothership and                    85
                                     catcher/processor.
Non-pelagic trawl.................  Catcher vessel......              52
Hook-and-line.....................  Catcher/processor...               8

[[Page 11844]]

 
Hook-and-line.....................  Catcher vessel......              14
Pot...............................  All.................               6
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Directed Fishing Closures

    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional 
Administrator may establish a DFA for a species or species group if the 
Regional Administrator determines that any allocation or apportionment 
of a target species has been or will be reached. If the Regional 
Administrator establishes a DFA, and that allowance is or will be 
reached before the end of the fishing year, NMFS will prohibit directed 
fishing for that species or species group in the specified subarea, 
regulatory area, or district (see Sec.  697.20(d)(1)(iii)). Similarly, 
pursuant to Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(4) and (e)(7), if the Regional 
Administrator determines that a fishery category's bycatch allowance of 
halibut, red king crab, C. bairdi crab, or C. opilio crab for a 
specified area has been reached, the Regional Administrator will 
prohibit directed fishing for each species in that category in the 
specified area.
    Based on historic catch patterns and anticipated fishing activity, 
the Regional Administrator has determined that the groundfish 
allocation amounts in Table 20 will be necessary as incidental catch to 
support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2017 and 2018 
fishing years. Consequently, in accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), 
the Regional Administrator establishes the DFA for the species and 
species groups in Table 20 as zero. Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  
679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these 
sectors and species in the specified areas effective at 1200 hrs, 
A.l.t., February 27, 2017, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2018. 
Also, for the BSAI trawl limited access sector, bycatch allowances of 
halibut, red king crab, C. bairdi crab, and C. opilio crab listed in 
Table 20 are insufficient to support directed fisheries. Therefore, in 
accordance with Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(4)(i) and (e)(7), NMFS is 
prohibiting directed fishing for these sectors and fishery categories 
in the specified areas effective at 1200 hrs, A.l.t., February 27, 
2017, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2018.

                              Table 20--2017 and 2018 Directed Fishing Closures \1\
           [Groundfish and halibut amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in number of animals.]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                       2017            2018
                                                                                    Incidental      Incidental
               Area                         Sector                Species              catch           catch
                                                                                     allowance       allowance
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bogoslof District.................  All..................  Pollock..............             500             500
Aleutian Islands subarea..........  All..................  ICA pollock..........           2,400           2,400
                                                           ``Other rockfish''                550             550
                                                            \2\.
Eastern Aleutian District/Bering    Non-amendment 80,      ICA Atka mackerel....           1,000           1,000
 Sea.                                CDQ, and BSAI trawl
                                     limited access.
Eastern Aleutian District/Bering    All..................  Rougheye rockfish....             100             100
 Sea.
Eastern Aleutian District.........  Non-amendment 80,      ICA Pacific ocean                 100             100
                                     CDQ, and BSAI trawl    perch.
                                     limited access.
Central Aleutian District.........  Non-amendment 80,      ICA Atka mackerel....              75              75
                                     CDQ, and BSAI trawl   ICA Pacific ocean                  60              60
                                     limited access.        perch.
Western Aleutian District.........  Non-amendment 80, CDQ  ICA Atka mackerel....              20              20
                                     and BSAI trawl        ICA Pacific ocean                  10              10
                                     limited access.        perch.
Western and Central Aleutian        All..................  Rougheye rockfish....             125             125
 Districts.
Bering Sea subarea................  All..................  Pacific ocean perch..           9,350           9,350
                                                           ``Other rockfish''                325             325
                                                            \2\.
                                                           ICA pollock..........          47,210          47,210
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands...  All..................  Northern rockfish....           4,250           4,250
                                                           Shortraker rockfish..             125             125
                                                           Skates...............          22,100          22,100
                                                           Sculpins.............           3,825           3,825
                                                           Sharks...............             125             125
                                                           Squids...............           1,275           1,275
                                                           Octopuses............             400             400
                                    Hook-and-line and pot  ICA Pacific cod......             500             500
                                     gear.
                                    Non-amendment 80 and   ICA flathead sole....           4,000           4,000
                                     CDQ.
                                                           ICA rock sole........           5,000           5,000
                                    Non-amendment 80,      ICA yellowfin sole...           4,500           4,500
                                     CDQ, and BSAI trawl
                                     limited access.
                                    BSAI trawl limited     Rock sole/flathead                  0               0
                                     access.                sole/other flatfish--
                                                            halibut mortality,
                                                            red king crab Zone
                                                            1, C. opilio COBLZ,
                                                            C. bairdi Zone 1 and
                                                            2.

[[Page 11845]]

 
                                                           Turbot/arrowtooth/                  0               0
                                                            sablefish--halibut
                                                            mortality, red king
                                                            crab Zone 1, C.
                                                            opilio COBLZ, C.
                                                            bairdi Zone 1 and 2.
                                                           Rockfish--red king                  0               0
                                                            crab Zone 1.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679.
\2\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern
  rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish.

    Closures implemented under the final 2016 and 2017 BSAI harvest 
specifications for groundfish (81 FR 14773, March 18, 2016) remain 
effective under authority of these final 2017 and 2018 harvest 
specifications, and are posted at the following Web sites: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/cm/info_bulletins/ and http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries_reports/reports/. While these 
closures are in effect, the maximum retainable amounts at Sec.  
679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a fishing trip. These 
closures to directed fishing are in addition to closures and 
prohibitions found at 50 CFR part 679.

Listed AFA Catcher/Processor Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is 
responsible for restricting the ability of listed AFA C/Ps to engage in 
directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect 
participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects 
resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the pollock 
directed fishery. These restrictions are set out as ``sideboard'' 
limits on catch. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in 
detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA 
(67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, 
September 14, 2007). Table 21 lists the 2017 and 2018 AFA C/P sideboard 
limits. Section 679.64(a)(1)(v) exempts AFA catcher/processors from a 
yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2017 and 2018 aggregate ITAC 
of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl 
limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt.
    All harvest of groundfish sideboard species by listed AFA C/Ps, 
whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be deducted from 
the sideboard limits in Table 21. However, groundfish sideboard species 
that are delivered to listed AFA C/Ps by CVs will not be deducted from 
the 2017 and 2018 sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/Ps.

                     Table 21--Final 2017 and 2018 Listed BSAI American Fisheries Act Catcher/Processor Groundfish Sideboard Limits
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                             1995-1997
                                                              ---------------------------------------  2017 ITAC                 2018 ITAC
                                                                                           Ratio of    available   2017 AFA C/   available   2018 AFA C/
           Target species                   Area/season          Retained                  retained   to trawl C/  P sideboard  to trawl C/  P sideboard
                                                                  catch     Total catch    catch to      Ps \1\       limit        Ps \1\       limit
                                                                                         total catch
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish trawl.....................  BS.....................            8          497        0.016          541            9          541            9
                                      AI.....................            0          145            0          369            0          369            0
Atka mackerel.......................  Central AI A season \2\          n/a          n/a        0.115       15,405        1,772       15,405        1,772
                                      Central AI B season \2\          n/a          n/a        0.115       15,405        1,772       15,405        1,772
                                      Western AI A season \2\          n/a          n/a          0.2        5,582        1,116        5,582        1,116
                                      Western AI B season \2\          n/a          n/a          0.2        5,582        1,116        5,582        1,116
Rock sole...........................  BSAI...................        6,317      169,362        0.037       42,060        1,556       42,060        1,556
Greenland turbot....................  BS.....................          121       17,305        0.007        3,719           26        3,719           26
                                      AI.....................           23        4,987        0.005          106            1          106            1
Arrowtooth flounder.................  BSAI...................           76       33,987        0.002       11,900           24       11,900           24
Kamchatka flounder..................  BSAI...................           76       33,987        0.002        4,250            9        4,250            9
Flathead sole.......................  BSAI...................        1,925       52,755        0.036       12,949          466       12,949          466
Alaska plaice.......................  BSAI...................           14        9,438        0.001       11,050           11       11,050           11
Other flatfish......................  BSAI...................        3,058       52,298        0.058        2,125          123        2,125          123
Pacific ocean perch.................  BS.....................           12        4,879        0.002        9,350           19        9,350           19
                                      Eastern AI.............          125        6,179         0.02        7,055          141        7,055          141
                                      Central AI.............            3        5,698        0.001        6,251            6        6,251            6
                                      Western AI.............           54       13,598        0.004        8,037           32        8,037           32
Northern rockfish...................  BSAI...................           91       13,040        0.007        4,250           30        4,250           30
Shortraker rockfish.................  BSAI...................           50        2,811        0.018          125            2          125            2
Rougheye rockfish...................  EBS/EAI................           50        2,811        0.018          100            2          100            2
                                      CAI/WAI................           50        2,811        0.018          125            2          125            2
Other rockfish......................  BS.....................           18          621        0.029          325            9          325            9
                                      AI.....................           22          806        0.027          550           15          550           15
Skates..............................  BSAI...................          553       68,672        0.008       22,100          177       22,100          177
Sculpins............................  BSAI...................          553       68,672        0.008        3,825           31        3,825           31
Sharks..............................  BSAI...................          553       68,672        0.008          125            1          125            1
Squids..............................  BSAI...................           73        3,328        0.022        1,141           25        1,141           25

[[Page 11846]]

 
Octopuses...........................  BSAI...................          553       68,672        0.008          400            3          400            3
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, and rock sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC after the
  subtraction of the CDQ reserve under Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C).
\2\ The seasonal apportionment of Atka mackerel in the open access fishery is 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. Listed AFA
  catcher/processors are limited to harvesting no more than zero in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea, 20 percent of the annual ITAC
  specified for the Western Aleutian District, and 11.5 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Central Aleutian District.

    Section 679.64(a)(2) and Tables 40 and 41 of 50 CFR part 679 
establish a formula for calculating PSC sideboard limits for halibut 
and crab for listed AFA C/Ps. The basis for these sideboard limits is 
described in detail in the final rules implementing the major 
provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 
(72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007).
    PSC species listed in Table 22 that are caught by listed AFA C/Ps 
participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue 
against the 2017 and 2018 PSC sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/Ps. 
Sections 679.21(b)(4)(iii) and (e)(3)(v) authorize NMFS to close 
directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for listed AFA C/Ps 
once a 2017 or 2018 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 22 is reached.
    Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), crab 
or halibut PSC caught by listed AFA C/Ps while fishing for pollock will 
accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for either the 
midwater pollock or the pollock/Atka mackerel/``other species'' fishery 
categories under Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv).

       Table 22--Final 2017 and 2018 BSAI AFA Listed Catcher/Processor Prohibited Species Sideboard Limits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            2017 and 2018 PSC  2017 and 2018 AFA
                                                            Ratio of PSC       available to         catcher/
                PSC species and area \1\                   catch to total     trawl vessels        processor
                                                                PSC         after subtraction   sideboard limit
                                                                                of PSQ \2\            \2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut mortality BSAI.................................                n/a                n/a                286
Red king crab zone 1...................................              0.007             86,621                606
C. opilio (COBLZ)......................................              0.153          8,131,191          1,244,072
C. bairdi Zone 1.......................................               0.14            741,190            103,767
C. bairdi Zone 2.......................................               0.05          1,848,510             92,426
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals.

AFA Catcher Vessel Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.64(b), the Regional Administrator is 
responsible for restricting the ability of AFA CVs to engage in 
directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect 
participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects 
resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the pollock 
directed fishery. Section 679.64(b)(3)-(4) establishes a formula for 
setting AFA CV groundfish and PSC sideboard limits for the BSAI. The 
basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final 
rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, 
December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). 
Section 679.64(b)(6) exempts AFA catcher vessels from a yellowfin sole 
sideboard limit because the 2017 and 2018 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin 
sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access 
sector is greater than 125,000 mt. Tables 23 and 24 list the 2017 and 
2018 AFA CV sideboard limits.
    All catch of groundfish sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA 
CVs, whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be deducted 
from the 2017 and 2018 sideboard limits listed in Table 23.
    Halibut and crab PSC limits listed in Table 24 that are caught by 
AFA CVs participating in any groundfish fishery for groundfish other 
than pollock will accrue against the 2017 and 2018 PSC sideboard limits 
for the AFA CVs. Sections 679.21(d)(7) and 679.21(e)(3)(v) authorize 
NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for 
AFA CVs once a 2016 or 2017 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 24 is 
reached. Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), 
the PSC that is caught by AFA CVs while fishing for pollock in the BSAI 
will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for 
either the midwater pollock or the pollock/Atka mackerel/``other 
species'' fishery categories under Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and 
(e)(3)(iv).

[[Page 11847]]



                          Table 23--Final 2017 and 2018 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel BSAI Groundfish Sideboard Limits
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                          Ratio of 1995-                     2017 AFA                        2018 AFA
                                                                            1997 AFA CV    2017 initial   catcher vessel   2018 initial   catcher vessel
               Species/gear                    Fishery by area/season     catch to 1995-      TAC \1\        sideboard        TAC \1\        sideboard
                                                                             1997 TAC                         limits                          limits
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod/Jig gear......................  BSAI........................               0             n/a               0             n/a               0
Pacific cod/Hook-and-line CV >= 60 feet     BSAI Jan 1-Jun 10...........          0.0006             217               0             217               0
 LOA.                                       BSAI Jun 10-Dec 31..........          0.0006             209               0             209               0
Pacific cod pot gear CV...................  BSAI Jan 1-Jun 10...........          0.0006           9,123               5           9,123               5
                                            BSAI Sept 1-Dec 31..........          0.0006           8,765               5           8,765               5
Pacific cod CV <= 60 feet LOA using hook-   BSAI........................          0.0006           4,259               3           4,259               3
 and-line or pot gear.
Pacific cod trawl gear CV.................  BSAI Jan 20-Apr 1...........          0.8609          34,962          30,099          34,962          30,099
                                            BSAI Apr 1-Jun 10...........          0.8609           5,197           4,474           5,197           4,474
                                            BSAI Jun 10-Nov 1...........          0.8609           7,087           6,101           7,087           6,101
Sablefish trawl gear......................  BS..........................          0.0906             541              49             541              49
                                            AI..........................          0.0645             369              24             369              24
Atka mackerel.............................  Eastern AI/BS Jan 1-Jun 10..          0.0032          15,405              49          15,405              49
                                            Eastern AI/BS Jun 10-Nov 1..          0.0032          15,405              49          15,405              49
                                            Central AI Jan 1-Jun 10.....          0.0001           8,037               1           8,037               1
                                            Central AI Jun 10-Nov 1.....          0.0001           8,037               1           8,037               1
                                            Western AI Jan 1-Jun 10.....               0           5,582               0           5,582               0
                                            Western AI Jun 10-Nov 1.....               0           5,582               0           5,582               0
Rock sole.................................  BSAI........................          0.0341          42,060           1,434          42,060           1,434
Greenland turbot..........................  BS..........................          0.0645           3,719             240           3,719             240
                                            AI..........................          0.0205             106               2             106               2
Arrowtooth flounder.......................  BSAI........................           0.069          11,900             821          11,900             821
Kamchatka flounder........................  BSAI........................           0.069           4,250             293           4,250             293
Alaska plaice.............................  BSAI........................          0.0441          11,050             487          11,050             487
Other flatfish............................  BSAI........................          0.0441           2,125              94           2,125              94
Flathead sole.............................  BS..........................          0.0505           1,294              65           1,294              65
Pacific ocean perch.......................  BS..........................             0.1           9,350             935           9,350             935
                                            Eastern AI..................          0.0077           7,055              54           7,055              54
                                            Central AI..................          0.0025           6,251              16           6,251              16
                                            Western AI..................               0           8,037               0           8,037               0
Northern rockfish.........................  BSAI........................          0.0084           4,250              36           4,250              36
Shortraker rockfish.......................  BSAI........................          0.0037             125               0             125               0
Rougheye rockfish.........................  EBS/EAI.....................          0.0037             100               0             100               0
                                            CAI/WAI.....................          0.0037             125               0             125               0
Other rockfish............................  BS..........................          0.0048             325               2             325               2
                                            AI..........................          0.0095             550               5             550               5
Skates....................................  BSAI........................          0.0541          22,100           1,196          22,100           1,196
Sculpins..................................  BSAI........................          0.0541           3,825             207           3,825             207
Sharks....................................  BSAI........................          0.0541             125               7             125               7
Squids....................................  BSAI........................          0.3827           1,141             437           1,141             437
Octopuses.................................  BSAI........................          0.0541             400              22             400              22
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Aleutians Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, Pacific cod, and rock sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC
  of that species after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C).


  Table 24--Final 2017 and 2018 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Prohibited Species Catch Sideboard Limits
                                                for the BSAI \1\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   2017 and 2018
                                                                    AFA catcher      PSC limit     2017 and 2018
                                         Target fishery category    vessel PSC         after        AFA catcher
       PSC species and area \1\                    \2\               sideboard    subtraction of    vessel PSC
                                                                    limit ratio    PSQ reserves      sideboard
                                                                                        \3\          limit \3\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut...............................  Pacific cod trawl.......             n/a             n/a             887
                                        Pacific cod hook-and-                n/a             n/a               2
                                         line or pot.
                                        Yellowfin sole total....             n/a             n/a             101
                                        Rock sole/flathead sole/             n/a             n/a             228
                                         other flatfish \4\.
                                        Greenland turbot/                    n/a             n/a               0
                                         arrowtooth/sablefish
                                         \5\.
                                        Rockfish................             n/a             n/a               2
                                        Pollock/Atka mackerel/               n/a             n/a               5
                                         other species \6\.
Red king crab Zone 1..................  n/a.....................           0.299          86,621          25,900
C. opilio COBLZ.......................  n/a.....................           0.168       8,131,191       1,366,040
C. bairdi Zone 1......................  n/a.....................            0.33         741,190         244,593

[[Page 11848]]

 
C. bairdi Zone 2......................  n/a.....................           0.186       1,848,510         343,823
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ Target trawl fishery categories for halibut PSC limits are defined at Sec.   679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B).
\3\ Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals.
\4\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited
  species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth
  flounder.
\5\ Arrowtooth for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka flounder.
\6\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses.

AFA Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel Sideboard Directed Fishing 
Closures

    Based on historical catch patterns, the Regional Administrator has 
determined that many of the AFA C/P and CV sideboard limits listed in 
Tables 25 and 26 are necessary as incidental catch to support other 
anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2017 and 2018 fishing years. 
In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iv), the Regional Administrator 
establishes the sideboard limits listed in Tables 25 and 26 as DFAs. 
Because many of these DFAs will be reached before the end of 2017, the 
Regional Administrator has determined, in accordance with Sec.  
679.20(d)(1)(iii), that NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing by listed 
AFA C/Ps for the species in the specified areas set out in Table 25, 
and directed fishing by non-exempt AFA CVs for the species in the 
specified areas set out in Table 26.

    Table 25--Final 2017 and 2018 American Fisheries Act Listed Catcher/Processor Sideboard Directed Fishing
                                                  Closures \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  2017 sideboard  2018 sideboard
              Species                        Area                Gear types            limit           limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish trawl...................  BS...................  trawl................               9               9
                                    AI...................  trawl................               0               0
Rock sole.........................  BSAI.................  all..................           1,556           1,556
Greenland turbot..................  BS...................  all..................              26              26
                                    AI...................  all..................               1               1
Arrowtooth flounder...............  BSAI.................  all..................              24              24
Kamchatka flounder................  BSAI.................  all..................               9               9
Alaska plaice.....................  BSAI.................  all..................              11              11
Other flatfish \2\................  BSAI.................  all..................             123             123
Flathead sole.....................  BSAI.................  all..................             466             466
Pacific ocean perch...............  BS...................  all..................              19              19
                                    Eastern AI...........  all..................             141             141
                                    Central AI...........  all..................               6               6
                                    Western AI...........  all..................              32              32
Northern rockfish.................  BSAI.................  all..................              30              30
Shortraker rockfish...............  BSAI.................  all..................               2               2
Rougheye rockfish.................  EBS/EAI..............  all..................               2               2
                                    CAI/WAI..............  all..................               2               2
Other rockfish \3\................  BS...................  all..................               9               9
                                    AI...................  all..................              15              15
Skates............................  BSAI.................  all..................             177             177
Sculpins..........................  BSAI.................  all..................              31              31
Sharks............................  BSAI.................  all..................               1               1
Squids............................  BSAI.................  all..................              25              25
Octopuses.........................  BSAI.................  all..................               3               3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679.
\2\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut, Alaska plaice, flathead sole,
  Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder.
\3\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern
  rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish.


[[Page 11849]]


   Table 26--Final 2017 and 2018 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Sideboard Directed Fishing Closures \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  2017 sideboard  2018 sideboard
              Species                        Area                Gear types            limit           limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod.......................  BSAI.................  hook-and-line CV >=60               0               0
                                                            feet LOA.
                                    BSAI.................  pot CV >=60 feet LOA.              10              10
                                    BSAI.................  hook-and-line or pot                3               3
                                                            CV <60 feet LOA.
                                    BSAI.................  jig..................               0               0
Sablefish.........................  BS...................  trawl................              49              49
                                    AI...................  trawl................              24              24
Atka mackerel.....................  Eastern AI/BS........  all..................              98              98
                                    Central AI...........  all..................               2               2
                                    Western AI...........  all..................               0               0
Greenland turbot..................  BS...................  all..................             240             240
                                    AI...................  all..................               2               2
Arrowtooth flounder...............  BSAI.................  all..................             821             821
Kamchatka flounder................  BSAI.................  all..................             293             293
Alaska plaice.....................  BSAI.................  all..................             487             487
Other flatfish \2\................  BSAI.................  all..................              94              94
Flathead sole.....................  BSAI.................  all..................              65              65
Rock sole.........................  BSAI.................  all..................           1,434           1,434
Pacific ocean perch...............  BS...................  all..................             935             935
                                    Eastern AI...........  all..................              54              54
                                    Central AI...........  all..................              16              16
                                    Western AI...........  all..................               0               0
Northern rockfish.................  BSAI.................  all..................              36              36
Shortraker rockfish...............  BSAI.................  all..................               0               0
Rougheye rockfish.................  BS/EAI...............  all..................               0               0
                                    CAI/WAI..............  all..................               0               0
Other rockfish \3\................  BS...................  all..................               2               2
                                    AI...................  all..................               5               5
Skates............................  BSAI.................  all..................           1,196           1,196
Sculpins..........................  BSAI.................  all..................             207             207
Sharks............................  BSAI.................  all..................               7               7
Squids............................  BSAI.................  all..................             437             437
Octopuses.........................  BSAI.................  all..................              22              22
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679.
\2\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut, Alaska plaice, flathead sole,
  Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder.
\3\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern
  rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and rougheye rockfish.

Response to Comments
    NMFS received 1 letter with 1 substantive comment during the public 
comment period for the proposed BSAI groundfish harvest specifications. 
No changes were made to the final rule in response to the comment 
letter received. NMFS' response to public comment on the proposed BSAI 
groundfish harvest specifications is provided below.
    Comment 1: NMFS must manage halibut under their own FMP pursuant to 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act to properly conserve and manage Pacific 
halibut and prevent overfishing. The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires 
every fishery management council to develop an FMP for each fishery 
under its authority that requires conservation and management. NMFS has 
failed to establish required status determination criteria for halibut 
stocks that are caught as non-target stocks in the groundfish fishery 
before finalizing harvest specifications for the groundfish fishery. 
The groundfish FMP does not establish criteria to assess whether the 
halibut stock is overfished or subject to overfishing. Although the 
IPHC assesses halibut stock populations every year, the IPHC has also 
never developed objective criteria to measure the status of halibut 
populations. As a result, there is no way for NMFS to ensure that 
halibut bycatch management measures it implements through the harvest 
specification process will prevent overfishing or rebuild an overfished 
halibut stock without first determining whether the halibut stock is 
overfished or whether the non-target catch of halibut amounts to 
overfishing. To protect halibut populations for the future and to meet 
its obligations under the Magnuson-Stevens Act to prevent overfishing, 
NMFS must establish an FMP for halibut that includes objective criteria 
to monitor the status of halibut stocks and identify when the halibut 
stock is overfished or subject to overfishing.
    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment as outside the scope of 
this action. NMFS manages groundfish fisheries and prohibited species 
under the FMP. The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, 
after consultation with the Council, to specify the TAC for each 
groundfish target species category. NMFS also must specify PSC 
allowances and PSQ reserves as established pursuant to 50 CFR 679.21. 
NMFS implements these requirements through the annual harvest 
specifications. The limits set forth in the harvest specifications are 
based on the most recent scientific and economic information and are 
consistent with the FMP, regulatory obligations, and harvest strategy, 
which was described in the proposed harvest specifications (81 FR 
87863, December 6, 2016).

[[Page 11850]]

    In the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, NMFS and the Council manage 
halibut as prohibited species. The PSC limits for halibut are set by 
regulation (see 50 CFR 679.21). NMFS and the Council also must manage 
halibut bycatch in accordance with the Magnuson-Steven Act and the 
National Standards therein. NMFS and the Council are committed to 
minimizing halibut bycatch in the BSAI consistent with Magnuson-Stevens 
Act obligations to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable and to 
achieve, on a continuing basis, optimum yield from the groundfish 
fisheries. The halibut PSC limits reflect that NMFS and the Council 
balance the requirement to minimize halibut bycatch to the extent 
practicable, consistent with National Standard 9, with the requirement 
to achieve optimum yield in the groundfish fishery, consistent with 
National Standard 1. NMFS and the Council have appropriately balanced 
obligations under National Standard 1 and National Standard 9 to 
minimize halibut PSC in the commercial groundfish fisheries to the 
extent practicable, while preserving the potential for the groundfish 
sectors to fully harvest the groundfish TACs assigned to the trawl and 
non-trawl sectors.
    The current halibut PSC limits have decreased halibut PSC use. In 
the BSAI, the current halibut PSC is 1,142 mt less than in 2014, an 
overall reduction of 39 percent. The Council and NMFS will continue to 
evaluate the need to implement additional measures to minimize halibut 
bycatch in the BSAI groundfish fisheries consistent with Magnuson-
Stevens Act obligations. Such measures, however, will have to be 
implemented through the Council process. A detailed description of the 
Council process may be found at http://www.npfmc.org/overview/.
Classification
    NMFS has determined that these final harvest specifications are 
consistent with the FMP and with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other 
applicable laws.
    This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from 
review under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563.
    NMFS prepared an EIS that covers this action (see ADDRESSES) and 
made it available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On 
February 13, 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 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 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 NEPA 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). The following constitutes the FRFA prepared in the 
final action.
    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 which 
affect the impact on small entities was rejected.
    A description of this action, its purpose, and its legal basis are 
included 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 87863). 
NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) to 
accompany the proposed action, and included a summary in the proposed 
rule. The comment period closed on January 5, 2017. No comments were 
received on the IRFA. 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 are those that 
harvest groundfish in the exclusive economic zone of the BSAI and in 
parallel fisheries within State waters. These include entities 
operating catcher vessels and catcher/processors within the action area 
and entities receiving direct allocations of groundfish.
    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.
    The estimated directly regulated small entities in 2015 include 
approximately 152 catcher vessels, four catcher/processors, and six CDQ 
groups. Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock 
cooperatives, Gulf of Alaska rockfish cooperatives, or BSAI

[[Page 11851]]

Crab Rationalization Program cooperatives, and, since under the RFA it 
is the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the 
cooperative that must meet the ``under $11 million'' threshold, they 
are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. 
Thus, the estimate of 152 catcher vessels may be an overstatement of 
the number of small entities. Average gross revenues were $520,000 for 
small hook-and-line vessels, $1.29 million for small pot vessels, and 
$2.99 million for small trawl vessels. Revenue data for catcher/
processors is confidential; however, in 2015, NMFS estimates that there 
were four catcher/processor small entities with gross receipts less 
than $11 million.
    This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting 
requirements.
    The significant alternatives were those considered as alternative 
harvest strategies when the Council selected its preferred harvest 
strategy (Alternative 2) in December 2006. These included the 
following:
     Alternative 1: Set TAC to produce fishing mortality rates, 
F, that are equal to maxFABC, unless the sum of the TAC is constrained 
by the OY established in the fishery management plans. This is 
equivalent to setting TAC to produce harvest levels equal to the 
maximum permissible ABC, as constrained by OY. The term ``maxFABC'' 
refers to the maximum permissible value of FABC under Amendment 56 to 
the BSAI and Gulf of Alaska 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, TAC would be set to produce harvest levels equal to the 
most recent 5-year average actual fishing mortality rates. For stocks 
with insufficient scientific information, TAC would be set equal to the 
most recent 5-year average actual catch. This alternative recognizes 
that for some stocks, catches may fall well below ABC, and recent 
average F may provide a better indicator of actual F than FABC does.
     Alternative 4: (1) Set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 3 
at F75%. Set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 5 at F=0.5M. Set 
spatially explicit TAC for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the 
BSAI. (2) Taking the rockfish TAC as calculated above, reduce all other 
TAC by a proportion that does not vary across species, so that the sum 
of all TAC, including rockfish TAC, is equal to the lower bound of the 
area OY (1,400,000 mt in the BSAI). This alternative sets conservative 
and spatially explicit TAC for rockfish species that are long-lived and 
late to mature, and sets conservative TAC for the other groundfish 
species.
     Alternative 5: Set TAC at zero.
    Alternative 2 is the preferred alternative chosen by the Council: 
Set TAC that fall within the range of ABC recommended through the 
Council harvest specifications process and TACs recommended by the 
Council. Under this scenario, F is set equal to a constant fraction of 
maxFABC. The recommended fractions of maxFABC may vary among species or 
stocks, based on other considerations unique to each. This is the 
method for determining TAC that has been used in the past.
    Alternatives 1, 3, 4, and 5 do not meet the objectives of this 
action, 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 of Commerce did so in 2007. 
Alternative 1 would lead to TAC limits whose sum exceeds the fishery 
OY, which is set out in statute and the FMP. As shown in Table 1 and 
Table 2, the sum of ABCs in 2017 and 2018 would be 4,013,993 mt and 
4,214,648 mt, respectively. Both of these are substantially in excess 
of the fishery OY for the BSAI. This result would be inconsistent with 
the objectives of this action, in that it would violate the 
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, Public Law 108-199, Section 
803(c), and the FMP for the BSAI groundfish fishery, which both set a 2 
million mt maximum harvest for BSAI groundfish.
    Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 
years' worth of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or for 
the most recent 5 years' worth of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 
through 6). This alternative is also inconsistent with the objectives 
of this action because it does not take into account the most recent 
biological information for this fishery.
    Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all 
species to reduce TAC from the upper end of the OY range in the BSAI to 
its lower end. This result would lead to significant reductions in 
harvests of species by small entities. While reductions of this size 
could be associated with offsetting price increases, the size of these 
increases is very uncertain, and NMFS has no confidence that they would 
be sufficient to offset the volume decreases and leave revenues 
unchanged. Thus, this action would have an adverse economic impact on 
small entities, compared to the preferred alternative.
    Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, may also 
address conservation issues, but would have a significant adverse 
economic impact on small entities.
    Impacts on marine mammals resulting from fishing activities 
conducted under this rule are discussed in the EIS (see ADDRESSES).
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness for this rule because delaying this rule is contrary to 
the public interest. Plan Team review occurred in November 2016, and 
the Council considered and recommended the final harvest specifications 
in December 2016. Accordingly, NMFS' review could not begin until after 
the December 2016 Council meeting, and after the public had time to 
comment on the proposed action. If this rule's effectiveness is 
delayed, fisheries that might otherwise remain open under these rules 
may prematurely close based on the lower TACs established in the final 
2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (81 FR 14773, March 18, 2016). If 
implemented immediately, this rule would allow these fisheries to 
continue fishing without the industry worrying about a potential 
closure because some TAC limits are higher than the ones under which 
they are currently fishing. Certain fisheries, such as those for 
pollock and Pacific cod, are intensive, fast-paced fisheries. Other 
fisheries, such as those for flatfish, rockfish, skates, sculpins, 
sharks, and octopuses, are critical as directed fisheries and as 
incidental catch in other fisheries. U.S. fishing vessels have 
demonstrated the capacity to catch the TAC allocations in these 
fisheries. Any delay in allocating the final TAC limits in these 
fisheries would cause confusion in the industry and potential economic 
harm through unnecessary discards. Determining which fisheries may 
close is impossible because these fisheries are affected by several 
factors that cannot be predicted in advance, including fishing effort, 
weather, movement of fishery stocks, and market price. Furthermore, the 
closure of one fishery has a cascading effect on other fisheries by 
freeing up

[[Page 11852]]

fishing vessels, allowing them to move from closed fisheries to open 
ones, increasing the fishing capacity in those open fisheries, and 
causing them to close at an accelerated pace.
    Additionally, in fisheries subject to declining sideboards, 
delaying this rule's effectiveness could allow some vessels to 
inadvertently reach or exceed their new sideboard levels. Because 
sideboards are intended to protect traditional fisheries in other 
sectors, allowing one sector to exceed its new sideboards by delaying 
this rule's effectiveness would effectively reduce the available catch 
for sectors without sideboard limits. Moreover, the new TAC and 
sideboard limits protect the fisheries from being overfished. Thus, the 
delay is contrary to the public interest in protecting traditional 
fisheries and fish stocks.
    If the final harvest specifications are not effective by March 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. Delayed 
effectiveness of this action would result in confusion for sablefish 
harvesters and economic harm from unnecessary discard of sablefish that 
are caught along with Pacific halibut, as both hook-and-line sablefish 
and Pacific halibut are managed under the same IFQ program. Immediate 
effectiveness of the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications will 
allow the sablefish IFQ fishery to begin concurrently with the Pacific 
halibut IFQ season. Also, immediate effectiveness of this action will 
ensure consistent management and conservation of fishery resources 
based upon the best available scientific information, particularly for 
those species that have lower 2017 ABC and TAC limits than those 
established in the 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications (81 FR 14773, 
March 18, 2016). Immediate effectiveness also would provide the fishing 
industry the earliest possible opportunity to plan and conduct its 
fishing operations with respect to new information about TAC limits. 
Therefore, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).
Small Entity Compliance Guide
    This final rule is a plain language guide to assist small entities 
in complying with this final rule as required by the Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This final rule's primary 
purpose is to announce the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications 
and prohibited species bycatch allowances for the groundfish fisheries 
of the BSAI. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits and 
associated management measures for groundfish during the 2017 and 2018 
fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the FMP. 
This action directly affects all fishermen who participate in the BSAI 
fisheries. The specific amounts of OFL, ABC, TAC, and PSC are provided 
in tables to assist the reader. NMFS will announce closures of directed 
fishing in the Federal Register and information bulletins released by 
the Alaska Region. Affected fishermen should keep themselves informed 
of such closures.

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

    Dated: February 21, 2017.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-03698 Filed 2-24-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P