Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2017-2018 Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments, 48656-48667 [2017-22695]

Download as PDF 48656 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 201 / Thursday, October 19, 2017 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 160808696–7010–02] RIN 0648–BH20 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2017–2018 Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; inseason adjustments to biennial groundfish management measures. AGENCY: This final rule announces inseason changes to management measures in the Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. This action, which is authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (PCGFMP), is intended to allow fisheries to access more abundant groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted stocks. DATES: This final rule is effective October 19, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen Palmigiano, phone: 206–526– 4491, fax: 206–526–6736, or email: karen.palmigiano@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Electronic Access This rule is accessible via the Internet at the Office of the Federal Register Web site at https://www.federalregister.gov. Background information and documents are available at the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Web site at http://www.pcouncil.org/. rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES Background The PCGFMP and its implementing regulations at title 50 in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 660, subparts C through G, regulate fishing for over 90 species of groundfish off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. Groundfish specifications and management measures are developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), and are implemented by NMFS. The final rule to implement the 2017– 2018 harvest specifications and management measures for most species of the Pacific coast groundfish fishery VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:12 Oct 18, 2017 Jkt 244001 was published on February 7, 2017 (82 FR 9634). The Council, in coordination with Pacific Coast Treaty Indian Tribes and the States of Washington, Oregon, and California, recommended three changes to current groundfish management measures at its September 11–18, 2017 meeting. The changes the Council recommended include: (1) Increasing the sablefish trip limits in the limited entry fixed gear (LEFG) and open access (OA) sablefish daily trip limit (DTL) fisheries north of 36° North latitude (N. lat.), (2) adding a reference to the current lingcod size limits in the trip limit table for the trawl fishery, and (3) implementing depth restrictions in the California recreational fishery. LEFG and OA Sablefish DTL Fisheries North of 36° N. Lat. To increase harvest opportunities for LEFG and OA sablefish DTL fisheries north of 36° N. lat., the Council recommended increases to sablefish trip limits for all remaining periods in 2017. Trip limits for LEFG and OA sablefish DTL fisheries have been designated at 50 CFR 660.60(c)(1)(i) and in Section 6.2.1 of the PCGFMP as routine management measures. Sablefish are distributed coastwide with harvest specifications split north and south of 36° N. lat. Trip limit increases, for species such as sablefish, are intended to increase attainment of the non-trawl harvest guideline (HG). To assist the Council in evaluating the increases to sablefish trip limits, the Groundfish Management Team (GMT) made model-based landings projections for the LEFG and OA sablefish DTL fisheries north of 36° N. lat. for the remainder of this year. These projections were based on the most recent information available. The model predicts harvest of 76 percent (194 mt) of the LEFG harvest guideline (HG) (258 mt) and harvest of 77 percent (326 mt) of the OA sablefish DTL fishery HG (425 mt) under the current limits through the end of the year. With the recommended increase in sablefish trip limits, the projected harvest is 80 percent (206.9 mt) of the LEFG HG (258 mt) and 88 percent (374 mt) of the OA sablefish DTL fishery HG (425 mt) through the end of the year. This increase in trip limits does not change projected impacts to co-occurring overfished species from those anticipated in the 2017–18 harvest specifications and management measures, as the projected impacts to those species assume that the entire sablefish ACL is harvested. Finally, projections for the LEFG sablefish fisheries south of 36° N. lat. are similar to levels anticipated in the PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2017–18 harvest specifications and management measures, and no requests were made by industry for changes; therefore, no inseason actions were considered. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing, by modifying Tables 2 (North and South) to part 660, subpart E, trip limit changes for the LEFG sablefish DTL fisheries north of 36° N. lat. The trip limits for sablefish in the LEFG fishery north of 36° N. lat. increase from ‘‘1,100 lb (499 kg) per week, not to exceed 3,300 lb (1,497 kg) per two months’’ to ‘‘1,500 lb (680 kg) per week, not to exceed 4,500 lb (2,041 kg) per two months’’ beginning in period 5 through the end of the year. The Council also recommended and NMFS is implementing, by modifying Tables 3 (North and South) to part 660, subpart F, trip limits for sablefish in the OA sablefish DTL fishery north of 36° N. lat., an increase from ‘‘300 lb (136 kg) per day, or one landing per week of up to 1,000 lb (454 kg), not to exceed 2,000 lb (907 kg) per two months’’ to ‘‘300 lb (136 kg) per day, or one landing per week of up to 1,300 lb (590 kg), not to exceed 2,600 lb (1,179 kg) per two months’’ beginning in period 5 through the end of the year. Clarification on Lingcod Size Limits for the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program At the September Council meeting, members of the Enforcement Consultants (EC) noted confusion with regards to size limits for lingcod, an IFQ species, caught with trawl gear in the Shorebased IFQ Program north and south of 42° N. lat. Currently, lingcod size limits apply, per regulations at § 660.60(h)(5)(ii)(B)(2). However, members of the EC and the public have commented that it can be difficult to find the regulations, and that they could be misinterpreted. Therefore, the Council recommended that NMFS include a reference to the current lingcod size limits (22 inches for north of 42° N. lat. and 24 inches for south of 42° N. lat.) in Tables 1 (North and South), part 660, subpart D. However, Tables 1 (North and South) do not provide any information regarding IFQ species (e.g. size limits, landing limits, vessel limits, etc.). These tables describe rockfish conservation areas for vessels using groundfish trawl gear and incidental landing allowances for nonIFQ species (for vessels registered to a limited entry trawl permit and using groundfish trawl or groundfish nontrawl gears to harvest IFQ species). NMFS thought it might cause confusion to intermingle IFQ species size limits in the tables that describe non-IFQ species E:\FR\FM\19OCR1.SGM 19OCR1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 201 / Thursday, October 19, 2017 / Rules and Regulations rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES trip limits and trawl rockfish conservation area boundaries. However, consistent with the intent to clarify the applicable size limits for lingcod harvested in the Shorebased IFQ Program, NMFS is clarifying regulations at § 660.60(h)(5)(ii)(B)(2). Size limits are designated as routine management measures at § 660.60(c)(1)(i) and in Section 6.2.1 of the PCGFMP. Based on the reasons stated above, instead of including a reference to lingcod size limits in Tables 1 (North and South), NMFS is making clarifying edits to existing regulations at § 660.60(h)(5)(ii)(B), which is the section of the regulations describing weight conversions and size limits for the Shorebased IFQ Program. The change to the regulations includes a clear reference to the lingcod size limits for north and south of 42° N. lat. for the Shorebased IFQ Program for both the whole fish and fish with the head removed. California Recreational Fishery Management Measures In June 2016, the Council recommended Oregon and California recreational groundfish regulations for 2017 and 2018. At that time, management measures were anticipated to keep recreational catch within HGs and targets. However, recently, recreational fisheries in both Oregon and California have experienced higher than expected mortality for certain species. These species include black rockfish and cabezon in Oregon only, as well as yelloweye rockfish in both Oregon and California. The higher mortality has likely been the result of more favorable weather conditions experienced over the past few months, as well as increased fishing for groundfish due to a decline in salmon harvest opportunities due to the status of salmon stocks. Because of these factors, effort and impacts have been higher than originally projected, and will approach and/or exceed relevant state HGs. The state of Oregon has recently taken action through their state processes to address the higher than anticipated harvest in their recreational fisheries. California, however, relies on modifications to the federal regulations to address their higher than anticipated harvest. Inseason changes to depth restrictions for the California recreational fishery are designated at § 660.60(c)(3)(i) and in Section 6.2.1 of the PCGFMP as routine management measures. At the September Council meeting, the GMT was informed that California was experiencing higher than projected recreational harvest of yelloweye VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:12 Oct 18, 2017 Jkt 244001 rockfish. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) stated in their report (September 2017 Council Meeting, Agenda Item E.10.a, Supplemental CDFW Report 1) that information through September 10, 2017 suggested that, without intervention to reduce encounters, the California recreational harvest of yelloweye rockfish would exceed the state’s HG by 15 percent, or almost 0.6 mt over their 3.9 mt HG. Based on this new information, the GMT conducted modelbased runs for two alternative season structures that included depth-based area closures for October-December. The model determined that by restricting the depths at which fishing may occur, CDFW could reduce the projected impacts to yelloweye rockfish by 0.3– 0.4 mt. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing, through modifications to regulations at § 660.360(c)(3)(i)(A)(1) through (4), more restrictive depth closures for 4 of the 5 California recreational fishery management areas. The Council did not recommend a change for the Southern Management Area (south of 34°27′ N. lat.) at this time, which is already restricted to waters deeper than the 60 fm depth contour. Under the current regulations, recreational fishing is restricted by depth in the Northern and Mendocino Management Areas during May through October 31; with all depths open for November and December. With the implementation of this rule, recreational fishing in this management area will be restricted from mid-October through the end of the year to shoreward of the 20 fm depth contour. Additionally, recreational fishing is currently restricted to shoreward of the 40 fm depth contour in the San Francisco Management Area and the 50 fm depth contour in the Central Management Area. Through this rule, recreational fishing will be further restricted between October 16 and December 31 in these areas. Beginning October 16 in the San Francisco Management Area, recreational fishing will be prohibited seaward of the 30 fm depth contour and the 40 fm depth contour in the Central Management Area. More restrictive depth restrictions are intended to allow some recreational fishing to continue to occur while reducing catch of overfished yelloweye rockfish and keeping projected total catch through the end of the year below the ACL. According to the most recent data, even taking into account the overages in Oregon and California, there is an approximately 1.3 mt residual amount of yelloweye rockfish from the PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48657 off-the-top deductions that were made through the biennial specifications process, including 0.4 mt that was not allocated at the beginning of the biennium, 0.9 mt from research which is projected to go unused, and 0.3 mt from incidental open access that is projected to go unused. Therefore, even if California takes an additional 0.6 mt over their 3.9 mt allocation, there is an extremely low risk of exceeding the ACL. Classification This final rule makes routine inseason adjustments to groundfish fishery management measures, based on the best available information, consistent with the PCGFMP and its implementing regulations. This action is taken under the authority of 50 CFR 660.60(c) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. The aggregate data upon which these actions are based are available for public inspection at the Office of the Administrator, West Coast Region, NMFS, during business hours. NMFS finds good cause to waive prior public notice and comment on the revisions to groundfish management measures under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) because notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Also, for the same reasons, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30day delay in effectiveness pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), so that this final rule may become effective October 19, 2017. The adjustments to management measures in this document affect commercial fisheries in Washington, Oregon and California and recreational fisheries in California. No aspect of this action is controversial, and changes of this nature were anticipated in the biennial harvest specifications and management measures established through a notice and comment rulemaking for 2017–18. Accordingly, for the reasons stated below, NMFS finds good cause to waive prior notice and comment and to waive the delay in effectiveness. LEFG and OAFG DTL Sablefish Fisheries North of 36° N. Lat. At its September 2017 Council meeting, the Council recommended an increase to LEFG and OA sablefish north of 36° N. lat. trip limits be implemented as quickly as possible to allow harvest of sablefish to approach but not exceed the 2017 ACL. There was not sufficient time after that meeting to undergo proposed and final rulemaking before this action needs to be in effect. Affording the time necessary for prior E:\FR\FM\19OCR1.SGM 19OCR1 48658 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 201 / Thursday, October 19, 2017 / Rules and Regulations notice and opportunity for public comment would prevent NMFS from managing the LEFG and OA fixed gear sablefish DTL fishery using the best available science to approach, without exceeding, the ACLs for federally managed species in accordance with the PCGFMP and applicable law. These increases to trip limits must be implemented as quickly as possible during the two-month cumulative limit period to allow LEFG and OAFG fishermen an opportunity to harvest higher limits for sablefish without exceeding the ACL north of 36° N. lat. It is in the public interest for fishermen to have an opportunity to harvest the sablefish ACL north of 36° N. lat. because the sablefish fishery contributes revenue to the coastal communities of Washington, Oregon, and California. This action, if implemented quickly, is anticipated to allow catch of sablefish through the end of the year to approach but not exceed the ACL, and allows harvest as intended by the Council, consistent with the best scientific information available. rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES Clarification on Lingcod Size Limits for the Shorebased IFQ Program At its September Council meeting, the Council recommended NMFS include a reference to the lingcod size limits for north and south of 42° N. lat. in the trip limit tables for the limited entry trawl fishery, Tables 1 (North and South). After additional consideration, NMFS is clarifying existing regulations instead of adding a reference to the trip limit tables for the reasons mentioned in the above section. There was not sufficient time after the Council meeting to undergo proposed and final rulemaking before this action needs to be in effect. Affording the time necessary for prior notice and opportunity for public comment would not be in the public interest for fishermen or the public. Fisherman knowing and abiding by the correct size limits in regulation protects small and juvenile fish and prevents unintended impacts to the stock. This action, if implemented quickly, is anticipated to make the lingcod size limits clearer for fishermen and the VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:12 Oct 18, 2017 Jkt 244001 NOAA Office of Law Enforcement as well as state enforcement agencies, which will help them to abide by all federal size limits for lingcod, and is consistent with the best scientific information available. California Recreational Fishery Management Measures At its September Council meeting, the Council recommended changes to the depth restrictions for recreational fishery management areas off of California be implemented as soon as possible to prevent further exceedance of the state HG for yelloweye rockfish (3.9 mt) while still providing recreational fishing opportunity to that sector. There was not sufficient time after that meeting to undergo proposed and final rulemaking before this action needs to be in effect. Affording the time necessary for prior notice and opportunity for public comment would prevent NMFS and California from managing the California recreational sector using the best available science to address exceedance of the State’s yelloweye rockfish HG, keep catch through the end of the year within the rebuilding ACL, while allowing harvest opportunites as intended by the Council and in accordance with the PCGFMP and applicable law. These depth-based restrictions will move vessels to shallower waters where they are less likely to encounter yelloweye rockfish, while also providing the recreational fishing opportunity that benefits local communities. It is in the public interest in California to allow the recreational fishery to remain open for the remainder of the year. Recreational fishing in California contributes revenue to the coastal communities of that state, and closing the fishery for the remainder of the year would cause adverse economic impacts to those communities. This action, if implemented quickly, is anticipated to provide recreational fishing opportunity for the duration of the year, keep the yelloweye rockfish harvest within the federal ACL, and is consistent with the best scientific information available. PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660 Fisheries, Fishing, and Indian fisheries. Dated: October 16, 2017. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended as follows: PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq. 2. In § 660.60, paragraphs (h)(5)(ii)(B) introductory text, (h)(5)(ii)(B)(2) introductory text, and (h)(5)(ii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii) are revised to read as follows: ■ § 660.60 Specifications and management measures. * * * * * (h) * * * (5) * * * (ii) * * * (B) Shorebased IFQ Program. For vessels landing sorted catch, the weight conversions for purposes of applying QP and size limits are provided in paragraphs (h)(5)(ii)(B)(2)(i) through (iii) of this section. * * * * * (2) Lingcod. The following conversions and size limits apply: (i) The minimum size limit for lingcod North of 42° N. lat. is 22 inches (56 cm) total length for whole fish, which corresponds to 18 inches (46 cm) with the head removed. (ii) The minimum size limit for lingcod South of 42° N. lat. is 24 inches (61 cm) total length for whole fish, which corresponds to 19.5 inches (49.5 cm) with the head removed. * * * * * ■ 3. Table 2 (North) and Table 2 (South) to part 660, subpart E are revised to read as follows: BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\19OCR1.SGM 19OCR1 48659 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 201 / Thursday, October 19, 2017 / Rules and Regulations § le 2 (North) to Part 660, Subpart E -- Non-Trawl Rockfish Conservation Areas and Trip Limits for Limited Entry Fixed Gear rth of 40°1 0' N. lat. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~==::~ JAN-FEB MAR-APR MAY-JUN JuLTuri 1 1 SEP-OCT ~ ~DEC 10132017 Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) 11 : 1 North of 46' 16' N. lat. 2 46,16' N.lat.- 42'00' N.lat. 4iOO' N.lat.- 40,10' N.lat. shoreline- 100 fm line 11 30 fm line11 - 100 fm line 11 30 fm line11 - 100 fm line 11 See §§660.60 and 660.230 for additional gear, trip limit and conservation area requirements and restrictions. See §§660.70-660.74 and §§660.76-660.79 for conservation area descriptions and coordinates (including RCAs, YRCAs, CCAs, Farallon Islands, Cordell Banks, and EFHCAs). State trip limits and seasons may be more restricti~.e than Federal trip limits or seasons, particularly in waters off Oregon and California. 21 4 Minor Slope Rockfish & Darkblotched 4,000 lb/2 months rockfish 1,BOO lb/2 months 5 Pacific ocean perch 1,125 lb/week, not to exceed 3,3751b/2 months Sablefish 6 1,500 Ibs/week, not to exceed 4,500 lbs/2 months 1,100 lb/week, not to exceed 3,300 lb/2 months 10,000 lb/2 months 7 Longspine thornyhead I 2,000 lb/2 months 8 Shortspine thornyhead 9 "10 ~Dover sole, arrowtooth flounder, 2,500 lb/ 2 months -1 )> 5,000 lb/ month _g_ petrale sole, English sole, starry 12 South of 42° N. lat., when fishing for "other flatfish," vessels using hook-and-line gear with no more than 12 hooks per line, using hooks no larger than "Number 2" hooks, which measure 0.44 in (11 mm) point to shank, and up to two 1 lb (0.45 kg) weights per line, are not subject to the RCAs. T3 flounder, Other Flatfish 31 T4 15 Whiting 200 lb/ month z 1,000 lb/ month 17 Yellowtail rockfish 18 Canary rockfish 300 lb/2 months 0 ..., CLOSED 19 Yelloweye rockfish ...... 20 Minor Nearshore Rockfish & Black North of 42°00' N. lat. 21 5,000 lb/2 months, no more than 1,200 lb of which may be species other than black rockfish or blue/deacon rockfish 41 8,500 lb/2 months, no more than 1,200 lb of 4iOO' N.lat.- 40,10' N.lat. which may be species other than black rockfish 7,000 lb/2 months, no more than 1,200 lb of which may be species other than black rockfish 200 lb/2 months 23 Lingcod 51 1 24 Pacific cod 1.200 lb/2 months 200,000 lb/2 months 1 150.000 lb/2 months VerDate Sep<11>2014 1 700 lb/1400 lb/ month 1 month Cabezon in Oregon and 14:12 Oct 18, 2017 I 100,000 lb/2 months Unlimited 26 Longnose skate 27 Other California 1,400 lb/ bimonthly 1,000 lb/2 months 25 Spinydogfish Fish 81& I Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Unlimited Frm 00051 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19OCR1.SGM 19OCR1 ER19OC17.000</GPH> 22 - ::::r rockfish rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES r- m 10,000 lb/ trip 21 16 Minor Shelf Rockfish , Shortbelly, & Widow rockfish m VerDate Sep<11>2014 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 201 / Thursday, October 19, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 14:12 Oct 18, 2017 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19OCR1.SGM 19OCR1 ER19OC17.001</GPH> rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES 48660 48661 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 201 / Thursday, October 19, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Table 2 (South) to Part 660, Subpart E -- Non-Trawl RockfiSh Conservation Areas and Trip Limits for Limited Entry Fixed Gear South of40"10' N. lat. Other limits and requirements apply-- Read §§660.1 0 through 660.399 before using this table MAY-JUN JAN-FEB I MAR-APR I I Rockfish Conservation kea (RCA) 11: I I 1 40.10' N. lat.- 34.27' N. lat. 2 I JUL-AUG I SEP-OCT 10132017 NOV-DEC I I 40 fm line 11 -125 fm line 11 South of 34.27' N. lat. 75 fm line 11 - 150 fm line 11 (also applies around islands) See §§660.60 and 660.230 for additional gear, trip lirrit and conservation area requirements and restrictions. See §§660.70-660.74 and §§660.76-660.79 for conservation area descriptions and coordinates (including RCAs, YRCAs, CCAs, Farallon Islands, Cordell Banks, and EFHCAs). State trip limits and seasons may be more restricti;e than Federal trip limits or seasons, particulariy in waters off Oregon and California. 3 Minor Slope rockfish 21 & Darkblotched rockfish 40,000 lb/2 months, of which no more than 1,375 lb may be blackgill rockfish 4 Splitnose rockfish I 40,000 lb/2 months, of which no more than 1,600 lb may be blackgill rockfish 40,000 lb/2 months ~ Sable fish 6 40.10' N. lat.- 36.00' N. lat. 1,125 lb/week, not to exceed 3,3751b/2 months 7 South of 36.00' N. lat. 8 Longspine thornyhead 9 Shortspine thornyhead I 10 2,500 lb/2 months 3,000 lb/2 months -1 5,000 lb/ month South of 4i N. lat., when fishing for "other flatfish," vessels using hook-and-line gear with no more than 12 hooks per line, using hooks no larger than "Number 2" hooks, which measure 0.44 in (11 mm) point to shank, and up to two 1 lb (0.45 kg) weights per line, are not subject to the RCAs. petrale sole, English sole, starry 15 31 16 flounder, Other Flatfish - I 2,000 lb/2 months South of 34.27' N. lat. 13 Dover sole, arrowtooth flounder, 14 2,000 lb/ week 10,000 lb/2 months 40.10' N. lat.- 34.27' N. lat. 11 12 1,500 lbs/week, not to exceed 4,500 lbs/2 months 1,100 lb/week, not to exceed 3,300 lb/2 months 17 18 Whiting 10,000 lb/ trip 19 Minor Shelf Rockfish21, Shortbelly rockfish, Widow rockfish (including Chilipepper between 40"10' - 34.27' N. lat.) 40.10' N. lat.- 34.27' N. lat. 21 22 Chilipepper 40.10' N. lat.- 34.27' N. lat. Chilipepper included under minor shelf rockfish, shortbelly and widow rockfish limits-- See above 23 24 25 Canary rockfish 2,000 lb/2 months, this opportunity only available seaward of the non-trawl RCA South of 34.27' N. lat. 300 lb/2 months 26 Yelloweye rockfish 27 Cowcod r- I\) en 0 c ..... - ::::r CLOSED 28 Bronzespotted rockfish m m Minor shelf rockfish, shortbelly, widow rockfish, & chilipepper: 2,500 lb/2 months, of which no more than 500 lb may be any species other than chilipepper. 4,000 lb/2 CLOSED 4,000 lb/2 months South of 34.27' N. lat. months 20 )> CLOSED CLOSED 29 Bocaccio 30 40.10' N. lat.- 34.27' N. lat. 31 South of 34.27' N. lat. 1,000 lb/2 months 1,500 lb/2 months CLOSED 1,500 lb/2 months 32 Minor Nearshore Rockfish & Black rockfish - 33 Shallow nearshore 1,200 lb/2 months CLOSED 1,200 lb/2 months 34 Deeper nearshore 1,000 lb/2 months CLOSED 1,000 lb/2 months 35 1,500 lb/2 months CLOSED 1,500 lb/2 months 200 lb/2 months CLOSED California Scorpionfish 36 Lingcod 41 rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES 37 Pacific cod 38 Spiny dogfish 200,000 lb/2 months BOO lb/2 months months 39 Long nose skate 40 Other Fish 61 & Cabezon VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:12 Oct 18, 2017 Jkt 244001 1,200 lb/ bimonthly I 1,000 lb/2 months 150,000 lb/2 I lb~ 600 1300 lb/ month month 100,000 lb/2 months Unlimited Unlimited PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19OCR1.SGM 19OCR1 ER19OC17.002</GPH> - Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 201 / Thursday, October 19, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 4. Table 3 (North) and Table 3 (South) to part 660, subpart F are revised to read rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES ■ VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:12 Oct 18, 2017 Jkt 244001 as follows: PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\19OCR1.SGM 19OCR1 ER19OC17.003</GPH> 48662 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 201 / Thursday, October 19, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 48663 Table 3 (North) to Part 660, Subpart F -- Non-Trawl RockfiSh Conservation Areas and Trip Limits for Open Access Gears North of 40.10' N. lat. Other limits and requirements apply- Read §§660.1 0 through 660.399 before using this table JAN-FEB I Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA)11 : MAR-APR I I I 10/04/2017 IWW-JUN I JUL-AUG I I I I I I NOV-DEC I SEP-OCT I shoreline - 100 fm line 11 North of 46.16' N. lat. 6.16' N.lat.- 4ioo· N.lat. 301m line11 -100fm line11 ioo· N.lat.- 40.10' N.lat. 301m line11 -100fm line11 See §§660.60, 660.330 and 660.333 for additional gear, trip limit and conservation area requirements and restrictions. See §§660.70660.74 and §§660.76-660.79 for conservation area descriptions and coordinates (including RCAs, YRCAs, CCAs, Farallon Islands, Cordell Banks, and EFHCAs). State trip limits and seasons may be more restricti\.e than Federal trip limits or seasons, particular1y in waters off Oregon and California. 4 Minor Slope Rockfish'1 & Darkblotched rockfish 5 Pacific ocean perch Per trip, no more than 25% of weight of the sablefish landed 100 lb/ month 300 lb/ day, or 1 landing per weekofupto 1,000 lb, notto exceed 2,000 lb/2 months Sable fish 6 300 lb/day, or 1 landing per 300 lb/day, or 1 landing 300 lb/ day, or 1 landing per week of up weekofupto per week of up to 1,300 to 1,000 lb, notto exceed 2,000 lb/2 900 lb, not to lbs, not to exceed 2,600 months exceed 1,800 lbs/2 months lb/2 months Shortpine thornyheads and longspine hornyheads CLOSED 3,000 lb/ month, no more than 300 lb of which may be species other than Pacific sanddabs. Dover sole, arrowtooth flounder, petrale sole, English sole, starry flounder, Other Flatfish31 ~ 13 South of 42" N. lat., when fishing for "Other Flatfish," vessels using hook-and-line gear with no more than 12 hooks per line, using hooks no larger than "Number 2" hooks, which measure 0.44 in (11 mm) point to shank, and up to two 1 lb (0.45 kg) weights per line are not subject to the RCAs. 14 Whiting -1 OJ r- m 300 lb/ month Minor Shelf Rockfish 21, Shortbelly 15 rockfish, & Widow rockfish ,. 200 lb/ month ellowtail rockfish w 500 lb/ month 17 Canary rockfish 150 lb/ 2 months 18 Yelloweye rockfish CLOSED 20 5,000 lb/2 months, no more than 1,200 lb of which may be species other than black rockfish North of 42" 00' N. lat. 21 42"00' N.lat. -40.10' N.lat. 8,500 lb/2 months, no more than 1,200 lb of which may be species other than black rockfish 600 lb/ month I 700 lb/ month I ~00 lb/ 200 lb/ month 1 month 1,000 lb/ 2 months 23 Pacific cod 200,000 lb/ 2 months 24 Spiny dogfish 150.000 lb/ 2 months I 100,000 lb/2 months Unlimited 25 Longnose skate 26 0 ::::r 7,000 lb/2 months, no more than 1,200 lb of which may be species other than black rockfish 100 lb/ month 22 Lingcod 51 ... z 19 Minor Nearshore Rockfish & Black rockfish Other Fish61 & Cabazon in Oregon and California Unlimited SALMON TROLL (subject to RCAs v.hen retaining all species of groundfish, except for yellov.tail rockfish and lingcod, as described belo~ rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES 28 North VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:12 Oct 18, 2017 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19OCR1.SGM 19OCR1 ER19OC17.004</GPH> Salmon trollers may retain and land up to 1 lb of yellowtail rockfish for every 2 lbs of salmon landed, with a cumulative limit of 200 lb/month, both within and outside of the RCA. This limit is within the 200 lb per month combined limit for minor shelf rockfish, widow rockfish and yellowtail rockfish, and not in addition to that limit. Salmon trollers may retain and land up to 1 lingcod per 15 Chinook per trip, plus 1 lingcod per trip, up to a trip limit of 10 lingcod, on a trip where any fishing occurs within the RCA. This limit only applies during times when lingcod retention is aiiOINed, and is not "CLOSED." This limit is within the per month limit for lingcod described in the table abo\e, and not in addition to that limit. All groundfish species are subject to the open access limits, seasons, size limits and RCA restrictions listed in the table above, unless otherwise stated here. 48664 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 201 / Thursday, October 19, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Table 3 (North). Continued 29 PINK SHRIMP NON-GROUNDFISH TRAWL (not subject to RCAs) Effective April 1 -October 31: Groundfish: 500 lblday, multiplied by the number of days of the trip, not to exceed 1,500 lb/trip. The following sublimits also apply and are counted toward the O\erall500 lb/day and 1,500 lb/trip groundfish limits: lingcod 300 lb/month (minimum 24 inch size limit); sablefish 2,000 lblmonth; canary, thomyheads and yelloweye rockfish are PROHIBITED. All other groundfish species taken are managed under the O\Erall 500 lblday and 1,500 lbltrip groundfish limits. Landings of these species count toward the per day and per trip groundfish limits and do not ha\E species-specific limits. The amount of groundfish landed may not exceed the amount of pink shrimp landed. 30 North limits for Minor Slope Rockfish. 3/ "Other flatfish" are defined a .11 and include butter sole, curlfin sole, flathead sole, Pacific sanddab, rex sole, rock sole, and sand sole. 41 For black rockfish north of Cape Alava (48.09.50' N. lat.), and between Destruction Is. (4r40' N. lat.) and Leadbetter Pnt. (46.38.17' N. lat.), VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:12 Oct 18, 2017 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19OCR1.SGM 19OCR1 ER19OC17.005</GPH> rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES there is an additional limit of 100 lbs or 30 percent by weight of all fish on board, whichever is greater, per vessel, per fishing trip. 48665 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 201 / Thursday, October 19, 2017 / Rules and Regulations Table 3 (South) to Part 660, Subpart F -- Non-Trawl RockfiSh Conservation Areas and Trip Limits for Open Access Gears South of 40°10' N. lat. lilF'" '· "': - '· '"' ,,,. d §§660.1 0 through 660.399 before using this table JAN-FEB MAR-APR I MAY-JUN I I 11. I I JUL-AUG I I 10/04/2017 I I SEP-OCT NOV-DEC 40 fm line 11 - 125 fm line 11 75 fm line 11 -150 fm line11(also applies around islands) South of 34 27' N. lat. See §§660.60 and 660.230 for additional gear, trip limit and conservation area requirements and restrictions. See §§660.70-660.74 and §§660.76.060.79 for conservation area descriptions and coordinates (including RCAs, YRCAs, CCAs, Farallon Islands, Cordell Banks, and EFHCAs). State trip limits and seasons may be more restrictiw than Federal trip limits or seasons, particular1y in waters off Oregon and California. Minor Slope Rockfish 21 & Darkblotched rockfish 10,000 lb/2 months, of which no more than 475 lb may be blackgill rockfish 200 lb/ month Splitnose rockfish Sable fish 40. 10' N. lat.- 36.00' N. lat. 7 10,000 lb/2 months, of which no more than 550 lb may be blackgill rockfish 300 lb/ day, or 1 300 lb/day, or 1 landing per landing per 300 lb/day, or 1 landing 300 lb/ day, or 1 landing per week of up week of up to week of up to per week of up to 1,300 to 1,000 lb, not to exceed 2,000 lb/2 lbs, not to exceed 2,600 1,000 lb, not to 900 lb, not to months exceed 2,000 exceed 1,800 lbs/2 months lb/2 months lb/2 months 300 lb/ day, or 1 landing per week of up to 1,600 lb, not to exceed 3,200 lb/ 2 months South of 36.00' N. lat. -1 )> Shortpine thornyheads and longspine hornyheads CLOSED 40" 10' N. lat.- 34.27' N. lat. m 50 lb/ day, no more than 1,000 lb/2 months South of 34.27' N. lat. 3,000 lb/ month, no more than 300 lb of which may be species other than Pacific sanddabs. Dover sole, arrowtooth flounder, petrale sole, English sole, starry South of 42° N. lat., when fishing for "other flatfish," vessels using hook-and-line gear with no more than 12 hooks per line, using hooks no larger than "Number 2" hooks, which measure 0.44 in (11 mm) point to shank, and up to two 1 lb (0.45 kg) weights per line are not subject to the RCAs. flounder, Other Flatfish31 Minor Shelf Rockfish21, Shortbelly, Widow rockfish and Chilipepper 40. 10' N. lat.- 34.27' N. lat. 0 South of 34.27' N. lat. 400 lb/2 months 1,500 lb/2 months m w en 300 lb/ month Whiting r- 400 Ib/ 2 months 0 1,500 lb/2 months c CLOSED 1 Canary rockfish ~v·u~~~h Cowcod ..... - 150 lb/2 months CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED Bronzespotted rockfish ::::r 500 lb/2 months CLOSED sao Ib/ 2 months 27 Shallow nearshore 1,200 lb/2 months CLOSED 1,200 lb/2 months Deeper nearshore 1,000 lb/2 months CLOSED 1,000 lb/2 months California scorpionfish 1,500 lb/2 months CLOSED 1,500 lb/ 2 months 100 lb/ month CLOSED Bocaccio Minor Nearshore Rockfish & Black rockfish 30 Lingcod 41 31 Pacific cod 200,000 lb/2 months 150,000 lb/2 months 33 Longnose skate 34 Other Fish51 & Cabezon 14:12 Oct 18, 2017 400 lb/ month 150 lb/ month Jkt 244001 100,000 lb/2 months Unlimited Unlimited PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\19OCR1.SGM 19OCR1 ER19OC17.006</GPH> VerDate Sep<11>2014 600 lb/ month 1,000 lb/2 months 32 Spiny dogfish rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES 400 lb/ month Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 201 / Thursday, October 19, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 5. In § 660.360, paragraphs (c)(3)(i)(A)(1) through (4) are revised to read as follows: ■ § 660.360 Recreational fishery— management measures. rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES * * * * * (c) * * * (3) * * * (i) * * * (A) * * * (1) Between 42° N. lat. (California/ Oregon border) and 40°10′ N. lat. (Northern Management Area), recreational fishing for all groundfish (except petrale sole, starry flounder, and ‘‘other flatfish’’ as specified in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section) is prohibited seaward of the 30 fm (55 m) depth contour along the mainland coast and along islands and offshore seamounts from May 1 through October 15 (shoreward of 30 fm is open); is prohibited seaward of the 20 fm (37 m) depth contour along the mainland coast and along islands and offshore seamounts from October 16 through December 31 (shoreward of 20 fm is VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:12 Oct 18, 2017 Jkt 244001 open); and is closed entirely from January 1 through April 30. Coordinates for the boundary line approximating the 20 (37 m) and 30 fm (55 m) depth contours are listed in § 660.71. (2) Between 40°10′ N. lat. and 38°57.50′ N. lat. (Mendocino Management Area), recreational fishing for all groundfish (except petrale sole, starry flounder, and ‘‘other flatfish’’ as specified in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section) is prohibited seaward of the 20 fm (37 m) depth contour along the mainland coast and along islands and offshore seamounts from May 1 through December 31 (shoreward of 20 fm is open), and is closed entirely from January 1 through April 30. Coordinates for the boundary line approximating the 20 fm depth contour are listed in § 660.71. (3) Between 38°57.50′ N. lat. and 37°11′ N. lat. (San Francisco Management Area), recreational fishing for all groundfish (except petrale sole, starry flounder, and ‘‘other flatfish’’ as specified in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section) is prohibited seaward of the PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 boundary line approximating the 40 fm (73 m) depth contour along the mainland coast and along islands and offshore seamounts from April 15 through October 15; is prohibited seaward of the boundary line approximating the 30 fm (55 m) depth contour along the mainland coast and along islands and offshore seamounts from October 16 through December 31, and is closed entirely from January 1 through April 14. Closures around Cordell Banks (see paragraph (c)(3)(i)(C) of this section) also apply in this area. Coordinates for the boundary line approximating the 30 (55 m) and 40 fm (73 m) depth contours are listed in § 660.71. (4) Between 37°11′ N. lat. and 34°27′ N. lat. (Central Management Area), recreational fishing for all groundfish (except petrale sole, starry flounder, and ‘‘other flatfish’’ as specified in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section) is prohibited seaward of a boundary line approximating the 50 fm (91 m) depth contour along the mainland coast and along islands and offshore seamounts E:\FR\FM\19OCR1.SGM 19OCR1 ER19OC17.007</GPH> 48666 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 201 / Thursday, October 19, 2017 / Rules and Regulations from April 1 through October 15; is prohibited seaward of a boundary line approximating the 40 fm (73 m) depth contour along the mainland coast and along islands and offshore seamounts from October 16 through December 31and is closed entirely from January 1 through March 31 (i.e., prohibited seaward of the shoreline). Coordinates for the boundary line approximating the 40 fm (73 m) depth contour are specified at § 660.71 and the 50 fm (91 m) depth contour are specified in § 660.72. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2017–22695 Filed 10–18–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–C DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 160920866–7167–02] RIN 0648–XF761 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Shortraker Rockfish in the Western 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 retention of shortraker rockfish in the Western Regulatory Area of the Gulf of Alaska rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:12 Oct 18, 2017 Jkt 244001 (GOA). This action is necessary because the 2017 total allowable catch of shortraker rockfish in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA has been reached. DATES: Effective 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), October 16, 2017, through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Josh Keaton, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 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. The 2017 total allowable catch (TAC) of shortraker rockfish in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA is 38 metric tons (mt) as established by the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (82 FR 12032, February 27, 2017). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(2), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that the 2017 TAC of shortraker rockfish in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA has been reached. Therefore, NMFS is requiring that shortraker rockfish in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA be treated as prohibited species in accordance with § 679.21(b). PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 48667 Classification This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The 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 prohibiting the retention of shortraker rockfish in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of October 10, 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 679.21 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: October 16, 2017. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–22704 Filed 10–16–17; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\19OCR1.SGM 19OCR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 201 (Thursday, October 19, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 48656-48667]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-22695]



[[Page 48656]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 160808696-7010-02]
RIN 0648-BH20


Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2017-2018 Biennial Specifications and 
Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments

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

ACTION: Final rule; inseason adjustments to biennial groundfish 
management measures.

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SUMMARY: This final rule announces inseason changes to management 
measures in the Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries. This action, which 
is authorized by the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan 
(PCGFMP), is intended to allow fisheries to access more abundant 
groundfish stocks while protecting overfished and depleted stocks.

DATES: This final rule is effective October 19, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen Palmigiano, phone: 206-526-4491, 
fax: 206-526-6736, or email: karen.palmigiano@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

    This rule is accessible via the Internet at the Office of the 
Federal Register Web site at https://www.federalregister.gov. 
Background information and documents are available at the Pacific 
Fishery Management Council's Web site at http://www.pcouncil.org/.

Background

    The PCGFMP and its implementing regulations at title 50 in the Code 
of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 660, subparts C through G, regulate 
fishing for over 90 species of groundfish off the coasts of Washington, 
Oregon, and California. Groundfish specifications and management 
measures are developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council 
(Council), and are implemented by NMFS.
    The final rule to implement the 2017-2018 harvest specifications 
and management measures for most species of the Pacific coast 
groundfish fishery was published on February 7, 2017 (82 FR 9634).
    The Council, in coordination with Pacific Coast Treaty Indian 
Tribes and the States of Washington, Oregon, and California, 
recommended three changes to current groundfish management measures at 
its September 11-18, 2017 meeting. The changes the Council recommended 
include: (1) Increasing the sablefish trip limits in the limited entry 
fixed gear (LEFG) and open access (OA) sablefish daily trip limit (DTL) 
fisheries north of 36[deg] North latitude (N. lat.), (2) adding a 
reference to the current lingcod size limits in the trip limit table 
for the trawl fishery, and (3) implementing depth restrictions in the 
California recreational fishery.

LEFG and OA Sablefish DTL Fisheries North of 36[deg] N. Lat.

    To increase harvest opportunities for LEFG and OA sablefish DTL 
fisheries north of 36[deg] N. lat., the Council recommended increases 
to sablefish trip limits for all remaining periods in 2017. Trip limits 
for LEFG and OA sablefish DTL fisheries have been designated at 50 CFR 
660.60(c)(1)(i) and in Section 6.2.1 of the PCGFMP as routine 
management measures.
    Sablefish are distributed coastwide with harvest specifications 
split north and south of 36[deg] N. lat. Trip limit increases, for 
species such as sablefish, are intended to increase attainment of the 
non-trawl harvest guideline (HG).
    To assist the Council in evaluating the increases to sablefish trip 
limits, the Groundfish Management Team (GMT) made model-based landings 
projections for the LEFG and OA sablefish DTL fisheries north of 
36[deg] N. lat. for the remainder of this year. These projections were 
based on the most recent information available. The model predicts 
harvest of 76 percent (194 mt) of the LEFG harvest guideline (HG) (258 
mt) and harvest of 77 percent (326 mt) of the OA sablefish DTL fishery 
HG (425 mt) under the current limits through the end of the year. With 
the recommended increase in sablefish trip limits, the projected 
harvest is 80 percent (206.9 mt) of the LEFG HG (258 mt) and 88 percent 
(374 mt) of the OA sablefish DTL fishery HG (425 mt) through the end of 
the year. This increase in trip limits does not change projected 
impacts to co-occurring overfished species from those anticipated in 
the 2017-18 harvest specifications and management measures, as the 
projected impacts to those species assume that the entire sablefish ACL 
is harvested. Finally, projections for the LEFG sablefish fisheries 
south of 36[deg] N. lat. are similar to levels anticipated in the 2017-
18 harvest specifications and management measures, and no requests were 
made by industry for changes; therefore, no inseason actions were 
considered. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is 
implementing, by modifying Tables 2 (North and South) to part 660, 
subpart E, trip limit changes for the LEFG sablefish DTL fisheries 
north of 36[deg] N. lat. The trip limits for sablefish in the LEFG 
fishery north of 36[deg] N. lat. increase from ``1,100 lb (499 kg) per 
week, not to exceed 3,300 lb (1,497 kg) per two months'' to ``1,500 lb 
(680 kg) per week, not to exceed 4,500 lb (2,041 kg) per two months'' 
beginning in period 5 through the end of the year.
    The Council also recommended and NMFS is implementing, by modifying 
Tables 3 (North and South) to part 660, subpart F, trip limits for 
sablefish in the OA sablefish DTL fishery north of 36[deg] N. lat., an 
increase from ``300 lb (136 kg) per day, or one landing per week of up 
to 1,000 lb (454 kg), not to exceed 2,000 lb (907 kg) per two months'' 
to ``300 lb (136 kg) per day, or one landing per week of up to 1,300 lb 
(590 kg), not to exceed 2,600 lb (1,179 kg) per two months'' beginning 
in period 5 through the end of the year.

Clarification on Lingcod Size Limits for the Shorebased Individual 
Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program

    At the September Council meeting, members of the Enforcement 
Consultants (EC) noted confusion with regards to size limits for 
lingcod, an IFQ species, caught with trawl gear in the Shorebased IFQ 
Program north and south of 42[deg] N. lat. Currently, lingcod size 
limits apply, per regulations at Sec.  660.60(h)(5)(ii)(B)(2). However, 
members of the EC and the public have commented that it can be 
difficult to find the regulations, and that they could be 
misinterpreted. Therefore, the Council recommended that NMFS include a 
reference to the current lingcod size limits (22 inches for north of 
42[deg] N. lat. and 24 inches for south of 42[deg] N. lat.) in Tables 1 
(North and South), part 660, subpart D. However, Tables 1 (North and 
South) do not provide any information regarding IFQ species (e.g. size 
limits, landing limits, vessel limits, etc.). These tables describe 
rockfish conservation areas for vessels using groundfish trawl gear and 
incidental landing allowances for non-IFQ species (for vessels 
registered to a limited entry trawl permit and using groundfish trawl 
or groundfish non-trawl gears to harvest IFQ species). NMFS thought it 
might cause confusion to intermingle IFQ species size limits in the 
tables that describe non-IFQ species

[[Page 48657]]

trip limits and trawl rockfish conservation area boundaries. However, 
consistent with the intent to clarify the applicable size limits for 
lingcod harvested in the Shorebased IFQ Program, NMFS is clarifying 
regulations at Sec.  660.60(h)(5)(ii)(B)(2).
    Size limits are designated as routine management measures at Sec.  
660.60(c)(1)(i) and in Section 6.2.1 of the PCGFMP. Based on the 
reasons stated above, instead of including a reference to lingcod size 
limits in Tables 1 (North and South), NMFS is making clarifying edits 
to existing regulations at Sec.  660.60(h)(5)(ii)(B), which is the 
section of the regulations describing weight conversions and size 
limits for the Shorebased IFQ Program. The change to the regulations 
includes a clear reference to the lingcod size limits for north and 
south of 42[deg] N. lat. for the Shorebased IFQ Program for both the 
whole fish and fish with the head removed.

California Recreational Fishery Management Measures

    In June 2016, the Council recommended Oregon and California 
recreational groundfish regulations for 2017 and 2018. At that time, 
management measures were anticipated to keep recreational catch within 
HGs and targets. However, recently, recreational fisheries in both 
Oregon and California have experienced higher than expected mortality 
for certain species. These species include black rockfish and cabezon 
in Oregon only, as well as yelloweye rockfish in both Oregon and 
California. The higher mortality has likely been the result of more 
favorable weather conditions experienced over the past few months, as 
well as increased fishing for groundfish due to a decline in salmon 
harvest opportunities due to the status of salmon stocks. Because of 
these factors, effort and impacts have been higher than originally 
projected, and will approach and/or exceed relevant state HGs. The 
state of Oregon has recently taken action through their state processes 
to address the higher than anticipated harvest in their recreational 
fisheries. California, however, relies on modifications to the federal 
regulations to address their higher than anticipated harvest. Inseason 
changes to depth restrictions for the California recreational fishery 
are designated at Sec.  660.60(c)(3)(i) and in Section 6.2.1 of the 
PCGFMP as routine management measures.
    At the September Council meeting, the GMT was informed that 
California was experiencing higher than projected recreational harvest 
of yelloweye rockfish. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife 
(CDFW) stated in their report (September 2017 Council Meeting, Agenda 
Item E.10.a, Supplemental CDFW Report 1) that information through 
September 10, 2017 suggested that, without intervention to reduce 
encounters, the California recreational harvest of yelloweye rockfish 
would exceed the state's HG by 15 percent, or almost 0.6 mt over their 
3.9 mt HG. Based on this new information, the GMT conducted model-based 
runs for two alternative season structures that included depth-based 
area closures for October-December. The model determined that by 
restricting the depths at which fishing may occur, CDFW could reduce 
the projected impacts to yelloweye rockfish by 0.3-0.4 mt.
    Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is implementing, 
through modifications to regulations at Sec.  660.360(c)(3)(i)(A)(1) 
through (4), more restrictive depth closures for 4 of the 5 California 
recreational fishery management areas. The Council did not recommend a 
change for the Southern Management Area (south of 34[deg]27' N. lat.) 
at this time, which is already restricted to waters deeper than the 60 
fm depth contour.
    Under the current regulations, recreational fishing is restricted 
by depth in the Northern and Mendocino Management Areas during May 
through October 31; with all depths open for November and December. 
With the implementation of this rule, recreational fishing in this 
management area will be restricted from mid-October through the end of 
the year to shoreward of the 20 fm depth contour. Additionally, 
recreational fishing is currently restricted to shoreward of the 40 fm 
depth contour in the San Francisco Management Area and the 50 fm depth 
contour in the Central Management Area. Through this rule, recreational 
fishing will be further restricted between October 16 and December 31 
in these areas. Beginning October 16 in the San Francisco Management 
Area, recreational fishing will be prohibited seaward of the 30 fm 
depth contour and the 40 fm depth contour in the Central Management 
Area.
    More restrictive depth restrictions are intended to allow some 
recreational fishing to continue to occur while reducing catch of 
overfished yelloweye rockfish and keeping projected total catch through 
the end of the year below the ACL. According to the most recent data, 
even taking into account the overages in Oregon and California, there 
is an approximately 1.3 mt residual amount of yelloweye rockfish from 
the off-the-top deductions that were made through the biennial 
specifications process, including 0.4 mt that was not allocated at the 
beginning of the biennium, 0.9 mt from research which is projected to 
go unused, and 0.3 mt from incidental open access that is projected to 
go unused. Therefore, even if California takes an additional 0.6 mt 
over their 3.9 mt allocation, there is an extremely low risk of 
exceeding the ACL.

Classification

    This final rule makes routine inseason adjustments to groundfish 
fishery management measures, based on the best available information, 
consistent with the PCGFMP and its implementing regulations.
    This action is taken under the authority of 50 CFR 660.60(c) and is 
exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
    The aggregate data upon which these actions are based are available 
for public inspection at the Office of the Administrator, West Coast 
Region, NMFS, during business hours.
    NMFS finds good cause to waive prior public notice and comment on 
the revisions to groundfish management measures under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) 
because notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the 
public interest. Also, for the same reasons, NMFS finds good cause to 
waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), 
so that this final rule may become effective October 19, 2017. The 
adjustments to management measures in this document affect commercial 
fisheries in Washington, Oregon and California and recreational 
fisheries in California. No aspect of this action is controversial, and 
changes of this nature were anticipated in the biennial harvest 
specifications and management measures established through a notice and 
comment rulemaking for 2017-18.
    Accordingly, for the reasons stated below, NMFS finds good cause to 
waive prior notice and comment and to waive the delay in effectiveness.

LEFG and OAFG DTL Sablefish Fisheries North of 36[deg] N. Lat.

    At its September 2017 Council meeting, the Council recommended an 
increase to LEFG and OA sablefish north of 36[deg] N. lat. trip limits 
be implemented as quickly as possible to allow harvest of sablefish to 
approach but not exceed the 2017 ACL. There was not sufficient time 
after that meeting to undergo proposed and final rulemaking before this 
action needs to be in effect. Affording the time necessary for prior

[[Page 48658]]

notice and opportunity for public comment would prevent NMFS from 
managing the LEFG and OA fixed gear sablefish DTL fishery using the 
best available science to approach, without exceeding, the ACLs for 
federally managed species in accordance with the PCGFMP and applicable 
law. These increases to trip limits must be implemented as quickly as 
possible during the two-month cumulative limit period to allow LEFG and 
OAFG fishermen an opportunity to harvest higher limits for sablefish 
without exceeding the ACL north of 36[deg] N. lat.
    It is in the public interest for fishermen to have an opportunity 
to harvest the sablefish ACL north of 36[deg] N. lat. because the 
sablefish fishery contributes revenue to the coastal communities of 
Washington, Oregon, and California. This action, if implemented 
quickly, is anticipated to allow catch of sablefish through the end of 
the year to approach but not exceed the ACL, and allows harvest as 
intended by the Council, consistent with the best scientific 
information available.

Clarification on Lingcod Size Limits for the Shorebased IFQ Program

    At its September Council meeting, the Council recommended NMFS 
include a reference to the lingcod size limits for north and south of 
42[deg] N. lat. in the trip limit tables for the limited entry trawl 
fishery, Tables 1 (North and South). After additional consideration, 
NMFS is clarifying existing regulations instead of adding a reference 
to the trip limit tables for the reasons mentioned in the above 
section. There was not sufficient time after the Council meeting to 
undergo proposed and final rulemaking before this action needs to be in 
effect. Affording the time necessary for prior notice and opportunity 
for public comment would not be in the public interest for fishermen or 
the public. Fisherman knowing and abiding by the correct size limits in 
regulation protects small and juvenile fish and prevents unintended 
impacts to the stock. This action, if implemented quickly, is 
anticipated to make the lingcod size limits clearer for fishermen and 
the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement as well as state enforcement 
agencies, which will help them to abide by all federal size limits for 
lingcod, and is consistent with the best scientific information 
available.

California Recreational Fishery Management Measures

    At its September Council meeting, the Council recommended changes 
to the depth restrictions for recreational fishery management areas off 
of California be implemented as soon as possible to prevent further 
exceedance of the state HG for yelloweye rockfish (3.9 mt) while still 
providing recreational fishing opportunity to that sector. There was 
not sufficient time after that meeting to undergo proposed and final 
rulemaking before this action needs to be in effect. Affording the time 
necessary for prior notice and opportunity for public comment would 
prevent NMFS and California from managing the California recreational 
sector using the best available science to address exceedance of the 
State's yelloweye rockfish HG, keep catch through the end of the year 
within the rebuilding ACL, while allowing harvest opportunites as 
intended by the Council and in accordance with the PCGFMP and 
applicable law. These depth-based restrictions will move vessels to 
shallower waters where they are less likely to encounter yelloweye 
rockfish, while also providing the recreational fishing opportunity 
that benefits local communities.
    It is in the public interest in California to allow the 
recreational fishery to remain open for the remainder of the year. 
Recreational fishing in California contributes revenue to the coastal 
communities of that state, and closing the fishery for the remainder of 
the year would cause adverse economic impacts to those communities. 
This action, if implemented quickly, is anticipated to provide 
recreational fishing opportunity for the duration of the year, keep the 
yelloweye rockfish harvest within the federal ACL, and is consistent 
with the best scientific information available.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, and Indian fisheries.


    Dated: October 16, 2017.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended 
as follows:

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 
U.S.C. 7001 et seq.

0
2. In Sec.  660.60, paragraphs (h)(5)(ii)(B) introductory text, 
(h)(5)(ii)(B)(2) introductory text, and (h)(5)(ii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii) 
are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  660.60  Specifications and management measures.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (5) * * *
    (ii) * * *
    (B) Shorebased IFQ Program. For vessels landing sorted catch, the 
weight conversions for purposes of applying QP and size limits are 
provided in paragraphs (h)(5)(ii)(B)(2)(i) through (iii) of this 
section.
* * * * *
    (2) Lingcod. The following conversions and size limits apply:
    (i) The minimum size limit for lingcod North of 42[deg] N. lat. is 
22 inches (56 cm) total length for whole fish, which corresponds to 18 
inches (46 cm) with the head removed.
    (ii) The minimum size limit for lingcod South of 42[deg] N. lat. is 
24 inches (61 cm) total length for whole fish, which corresponds to 
19.5 inches (49.5 cm) with the head removed.
* * * * *

0
3. Table 2 (North) and Table 2 (South) to part 660, subpart E are 
revised to read as follows:

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4. Table 3 (North) and Table 3 (South) to part 660, subpart F are 
revised to read as follows:

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5. In Sec.  660.360, paragraphs (c)(3)(i)(A)(1) through (4) are revised 
to read as follows:


Sec.  660.360  Recreational fishery--management measures.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (A) * * *
    (1) Between 42[deg] N. lat. (California/Oregon border) and 
40[deg]10' N. lat. (Northern Management Area), recreational fishing for 
all groundfish (except petrale sole, starry flounder, and ``other 
flatfish'' as specified in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section) is 
prohibited seaward of the 30 fm (55 m) depth contour along the mainland 
coast and along islands and offshore seamounts from May 1 through 
October 15 (shoreward of 30 fm is open); is prohibited seaward of the 
20 fm (37 m) depth contour along the mainland coast and along islands 
and offshore seamounts from October 16 through December 31 (shoreward 
of 20 fm is open); and is closed entirely from January 1 through April 
30. Coordinates for the boundary line approximating the 20 (37 m) and 
30 fm (55 m) depth contours are listed in Sec.  660.71.
    (2) Between 40[deg]10' N. lat. and 38[deg]57.50' N. lat. (Mendocino 
Management Area), recreational fishing for all groundfish (except 
petrale sole, starry flounder, and ``other flatfish'' as specified in 
paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section) is prohibited seaward of the 20 
fm (37 m) depth contour along the mainland coast and along islands and 
offshore seamounts from May 1 through December 31 (shoreward of 20 fm 
is open), and is closed entirely from January 1 through April 30. 
Coordinates for the boundary line approximating the 20 fm depth contour 
are listed in Sec.  660.71.
    (3) Between 38[deg]57.50' N. lat. and 37[deg]11' N. lat. (San 
Francisco Management Area), recreational fishing for all groundfish 
(except petrale sole, starry flounder, and ``other flatfish'' as 
specified in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section) is prohibited 
seaward of the boundary line approximating the 40 fm (73 m) depth 
contour along the mainland coast and along islands and offshore 
seamounts from April 15 through October 15; is prohibited seaward of 
the boundary line approximating the 30 fm (55 m) depth contour along 
the mainland coast and along islands and offshore seamounts from 
October 16 through December 31, and is closed entirely from January 1 
through April 14. Closures around Cordell Banks (see paragraph 
(c)(3)(i)(C) of this section) also apply in this area. Coordinates for 
the boundary line approximating the 30 (55 m) and 40 fm (73 m) depth 
contours are listed in Sec.  660.71.
    (4) Between 37[deg]11' N. lat. and 34[deg]27' N. lat. (Central 
Management Area), recreational fishing for all groundfish (except 
petrale sole, starry flounder, and ``other flatfish'' as specified in 
paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section) is prohibited seaward of a 
boundary line approximating the 50 fm (91 m) depth contour along the 
mainland coast and along islands and offshore seamounts

[[Page 48667]]

from April 1 through October 15; is prohibited seaward of a boundary 
line approximating the 40 fm (73 m) depth contour along the mainland 
coast and along islands and offshore seamounts from October 16 through 
December 31and is closed entirely from January 1 through March 31 
(i.e., prohibited seaward of the shoreline). Coordinates for the 
boundary line approximating the 40 fm (73 m) depth contour are 
specified at Sec.  660.71 and the 50 fm (91 m) depth contour are 
specified in Sec.  660.72.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2017-22695 Filed 10-18-17; 8:45 am]
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