Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2018 and 2019 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish, 8365-8390 [2018-03918]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations Dated: February 21, 2018. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is amended as follows: PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 648.90, add paragraph (a)(5)(i)(D)(1)(iii) effective March 1, 2018, through April 30, 2018. The addition reads as follows: ■ § 648.90 NE multispecies assessment, framework procedures and specifications, and flexible area action system. (a) * * * (5) * * * (i) * * * (D) * * * (1) * * * (iii) Emergency rule reducing the duration of southern windowpane flounder AM for non-groundfish vessels. Effective March 1, 2018, through April 30, 2018, the southern windowpane flounder AM is removed for all vessels fishing with trawl gear with a codend mesh size equal to or greater than 5 inches (12.7 cm) in other, non-specified sub-components of the fishery, including, but not limited to, exempted fisheries that occur in Federal waters and fisheries harvesting exempted species specified in § 648.80(b)(3). * * * * * [FR Doc. 2018–03899 Filed 2–26–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 170817779–8161–02] RIN 0648–XF636 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2018 and 2019 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; closures. AGENCY: NMFS announces final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications, SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 apportionments, 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 2018 and 2019 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, 2018, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2019. 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 2017 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the BSAI, dated November 2017, 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 website at http:// www.npfmc.org/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved it, under the MagnusonStevens Act. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600. The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify annually the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species category. The sum of all TAC for all groundfish species in the BSAI 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 2018 and 2019. NMFS also must specify apportionments of TAC, prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances, and prohibited species PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 8365 quota (PSQ) reserves established by § 679.21; seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC; American Fisheries Act allocations; Amendment 80 allocations; Community Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts established by § 679.20(b)(1)(ii); and acceptable biological catch (ABC) surpluses and reserves for CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperative for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 25 of this action satisfy these requirements. Section 679.20(c)(3)(i) further requires NMFS to consider public comment on the proposed harvest specifications and to publish final harvest specifications in the Federal Register. The proposed 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications for the groundfish fishery of the BSAI were published in the Federal Register on December 8, 2017 (82 FR 57906). Comments were invited and accepted through January 8, 2018. NMFS received no substantive comments on the proposed harvest specifications. NMFS consulted with the Council on the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications during the December 2017 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, in this final rule NMFS implements the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications as recommended by the Council. 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 2017, 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 2017 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries, E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES 8366 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations dated November 2017 (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 2017 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 2017 Plan Team meeting. In December 2017, 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 2018 or 2019 exceed the final 2018 or 2019 ABCs for any species or species group. 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 2017 SAFE report that was approved by the Council. Therefore, this final rule provides notice that the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) approves the final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications as recommended by the Council. The 2018 harvest specifications set in this final action will supersede the 2018 harvest specifications previously set in the final 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (82 FR 11826, February 27, 2017). The 2019 harvest specifications herein will be superseded in early 2019 when the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications are published. Pursuant to this final action, the 2018 harvest specifications therefore will apply for the remainder of the current year (2018), while the 2019 harvest specifications are projected only for the following year (2019) and will be superseded in early 2019 by the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications. Because this final action (published in early 2018) will be superseded in early 2019 by the publication of the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications, it is projected that this final action will implement the harvest specifications for the BSAI for approximately one year. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 Other Actions Affecting the 2018 and 2019 Harvest Specifications Amendment 117: Reclassify Squid as an Ecosystem Species In June 2017, the Council recommended for Secretarial review Amendment 117 to the FMP. Amendment 117 would reclassify squid in the FMP as an ‘‘Ecosystem Component Species,’’ which is a category of non-target species that are not in need of conservation and management. Currently, NMFS annually sets an OFL, ABC, and TAC for squid in the BSAI groundfish harvest specifications. Under Amendment 117, OFL, ABC, and TAC specifications would no longer be required. Proposed regulations to implement Amendment 117 would prohibit directed fishing for squid, require recordkeeping and reporting to monitor and report catch of squid species annually, and establish a squid maximum retainable amount when directed fishing for groundfish species at 20 percent to discourage retention, while allowing flexibility to prosecute groundfish fisheries. Further details will be available on publication of the proposed rule for Amendment 117. If Amendment 117 and its implementing regulations are approved by the Secretary, Amendment 117 and its implementing regulations are anticipated to be effective by 2019. Until Amendment 117 is effective, NMFS will continue to publish OFLs, ABCs, and TACs for squid in the BSAI groundfish harvest specifications. State of Alaska Guideline Harvest Levels The Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF), a regulatory body for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, established a guideline harvest level (GHL) in State of Alaska (State) waters between 164 and 167 degrees west longitude in the Bering Sea subarea (BS) equal to 6.4 percent of the Pacific cod ABC for the BS. The Council recommended that the final 2018 and 2019 Pacific cod TACs accommodate the State’s GHLs for Pacific cod in State waters in the BS. The Council and its Plan Team, SSC, and AP recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the BS not exceed the final ABC recommendations of 201,000 mt for 2018 and 170,000 mt for 2019. Accordingly, the Council recommended that the final 2018 and 2019 Pacific cod TACs in the BS account for State GHLs, and NMFS sets the final BS TAC at 6.4 percent less than the Pacific cod BS ABC. For 2018 and 2019, the BOF established a GHL in State waters in the PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Aleutian Islands subarea (AI) equal to 27 percent of the Pacific cod ABC for the AI. The Council recommended that the final 2018 and 2019 Pacific cod TACs accommodate the State’s GHLs for Pacific cod in State waters in the AI. The Council and its Plan Team, SSC, and AP recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the AI not exceed the final ABC recommendations of 21,500 mt. Accordingly, the Council recommended that the final 2018 and 2019 Pacific cod TACs in the AI account for State GHLs, and in this final rule NMFS sets the final AI TAC at 27 percent less than the final AI ABC. Changes From the Proposed 2018 and 2019 Harvest Specifications for the BSAI The Council’s recommendations for the proposed 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications (82 FR 57906, December 8, 2017) were based largely on information contained in the 2016 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 2017 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 2017 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 2017 SAFE report indicates biomass changes from the 2016 SAFE report for several groundfish species. The 2017 report was made available for public review during the public comment period for the proposed harvest specifications. At the December 2017 Council meeting, the SSC recommended the 2018 and 2019 ABCs for many species based on the best and most recent information contained in the 2017 SAFE reports. This recommendation resulted in an ABC sum total for all BSAI groundfish species in excess of 2 million mt for both 2018 and 2019. Based on increased fishing effort in 2017, the Council recommends final BS pollock TACs increase by 4,483 mt in 2018 and increase by 23,142 mt in 2019 compared to the proposed 2018 and 2019 BS pollock TACs. In terms of percentage, the largest increases in final 2018 TACs relative to the proposed 2018 TACs were for BSAI ‘‘other flatfish’’ and BSAI sharks, while the largest increases for 2019 also included E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations sablefish. The 2018 increases were to account for higher incidental catches of these species in 2017. Other increases in the final 2018 TACs relative to the proposed 2018 TACs included sablefish, Greenland turbot, Alaska plaice, BS Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, Central Aleutian and Western Aleutian (CAI/WAI) blackspotted and rougheye rockfish, shortraker rockfish, AI ‘‘other rockfish,’’ Eastern Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea (EAI/BS) Atka mackerel, skates, and sculpins. The 2018 increases were to account for higher interest in directed fishing or higher anticipated incidental catch needs. Decreases in final 2018 TACs compared to the proposed 2018 TACs were for Bogoslof pollock, BS Pacific cod, arrowtooth flounder, rock sole, flathead sole, EAI Pacific ocean perch, WAI Pacific ocean perch, BS/EAI blackspotted and rougheye rockfish, BS ‘‘other rockfish,’’ CAI Atka mackerel, WAI Atka mackerel, squids, and octopuses. As noted in the proposed 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications, the BS Pacific cod ABC and TAC proposed for 2018 and 2019 decreased based on the final 2017 stock assessment. The remaining 2018 decreases were to account for the increases to the TACs for the species listed above and 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 8367 upper limit for OY of 2.0 million mt. These changes are compared in Table 1A. Table 1 lists the Council’s recommended final 2018 OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ reserve allocations of the BSAI groundfish species or species groups; and Table 2 lists the Council’s recommended final 2019 OFL, ABC, TAC, ITAC, and CDQ reserve allocations of the BSAI groundfish species or species groups. NMFS concurs in these recommendations. These final 2018 and 2019 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 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 CDQ 3 OFL Pollock 4 ............................................. Pacific cod 5 ....................................... Sablefish ............................................ Yellowfin sole ..................................... Greenland turbot ................................ Arrowtooth flounder ........................... Kamchatka flounder ........................... Rock sole ........................................... Flathead sole 6 ................................... Alaska plaice ...................................... Other flatfish 7 .................................... Pacific ocean perch ........................... Northern rockfish ............................... Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish 8. Shortraker rockfish ............................. Other rockfish 9 .................................. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Atka mackerel .................................... Skates ................................................ Sculpins ............................................. Sharks ................................................ Squids ................................................ Octopuses .......................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 ABC TAC BS ........................ AI ......................... Bogoslof ............... BS ........................ AI ......................... BS ........................ AI ......................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BS ........................ AI ......................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BS ........................ EAI ....................... CAI ....................... WAI ...................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... 4,797,000 49,289 130,428 238,000 28,700 2,887 3,917 306,700 13,148 n/a n/a 76,757 11,347 147,300 79,862 41,170 17,591 51,675 n/a n/a n/a n/a 15,888 749 2,592,000 40,788 60,800 201,000 21,500 1,464 1,988 277,500 11,132 9,718 1,414 65,932 9,737 143,100 66,773 34,590 13,193 42,509 11,861 10,021 7,787 12,840 12,975 613 1,364,341 19,000 450 188,136 15,695 1,464 1,988 154,000 5,294 5,125 169 13,621 5,000 47,100 14,500 16,100 4,000 37,361 11,861 9,000 7,500 9,000 6,100 225 1,227,907 17,100 450 168,005 14,016 1,208 1,615 137,522 4,500 4,356 144 11,578 4,250 42,060 12,949 13,685 3,400 32,853 10,082 8,037 6,698 8,037 5,185 191 136,434 1,900 0 20,131 1,679 201 335 16,478 n/a 548 0 1,457 0 5,040 1,552 0 0 n/a 0 963 803 963 0 0 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 108,600 n/a n/a n/a 46,668 53,201 689 6,912 4,769 374 239 499 1,362 791 571 92,000 36,820 32,000 23,180 39,082 39,995 517 5,184 3,576 75 150 150 845 275 570 71,000 36,500 21,000 13,500 27,000 5,000 180 1,200 250 64 128 128 718 234 485 63,403 32,595 18,753 12,056 22,950 4,250 153 1,020 213 0 0 0 0 0 0 7,597 3,906 2,247 1,445 0 0 0 0 0 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 8368 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 1—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 ITAC 2 OFL Total ............................................ TAC 6,235,729 .............................. ABC 3,779,809 2,000,000 CDQ 3 1,791,308 196,081 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 subarea (BS) includes the Bogoslof District. 2 Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is put into a non-specified 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, blackspotted and 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 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 AI 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 to account for the 6.4 percent of the BS ABC for the State of Alaska’s (State) guideline harvest level in State waters of the BS. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set to account for the 27 percent of the AI ABC for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the AI. 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 blackspotted 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 2018 AND 2019 WITH PROPOSED 2018 AND 2019 TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH IN THE BSAI [Amounts are in metric tons] 2018 final TAC 2018 proposed TAC 2018 difference from proposed 2018 percentage difference from proposed 2019 proposed TAC 2019 final TAC 2019 difference from proposed 2019 percentage difference from proposed Species Area 1 Pollock .................................. BS ................. AI ................... Bogoslof ........ BS ................. AI ................... BS ................. AI ................... BSAI .............. BS ................. AI ................... BSAI .............. BSAI .............. BSAI .............. BSAI .............. BSAI .............. BSAI .............. BS ................. EAI ................ CAI ................ WAI ............... BSAI .............. BS/EAI ........... 1,364,341 19,000 450 188,136 15,695 1,464 1,988 154,000 5,125 169 13,621 5,000 47,100 14,500 16,100 4,000 11,861 9,000 7,500 9,000 6,100 75 1,359,858 19,000 500 194,936 15,695 1,274 1,735 154,000 4,375 125 14,000 5,000 50,100 15,500 13,000 2,500 11,000 9,900 7,500 12,000 5,000 100 4,483 0 ¥50 ¥6,800 0 190 253 0 750 44 ¥379 0 ¥3,000 ¥1,000 3,100 1,500 861 ¥900 0 ¥3,000 1,100 ¥25 0.3 0.0 ¥10.0 ¥3.5 0.0 14.9 14.6 0.0 17.1 35.2 ¥2.7 0.0 ¥6.0 ¥6.5 23.8 60.0 7.8 ¥9.1 0.0 ¥25.0 22.0 ¥25.0 1,383,000 19,000 500 159,120 15,695 2,061 2,798 156,000 5,125 169 14,000 5,000 49,100 16,500 16,252 4,000 11,499 9,715 7,549 9,117 6,500 75 1,359,858 19,000 500 194,936 15,695 1,274 1,735 154,000 4,375 125 14,000 5,000 50,100 15,500 13,000 2,500 11,000 9,900 7,500 12,000 5,000 100 23,142 0 0 ¥35,816 0 787 1,063 2,000 750 44 0 0 ¥1,000 1,000 3,252 1,500 499 ¥185 49 ¥2,883 1,500 ¥25 1.7 0.0 0.0 ¥18.4 0.0 61.8 61.3 1.3 17.1 35.2 0.0 0.0 ¥2.0 6.5 25.0 60.0 4.5 ¥1.9 0.7 ¥24.0 30.0 ¥25.0 CAI/WAI ........ BSAI .............. BS ................. AI ................... EAI/BS ........... CAI ................ WAI ............... BSAI .............. BSAI .............. BSAI .............. BSAI .............. 150 150 275 570 36,500 21,000 13,500 27,000 5,000 180 1,200 125 125 325 550 34,000 21,500 13,910 26,000 4,500 125 1,342 25 25 ¥50 20 2,500 ¥500 ¥410 1,000 500 55 ¥142 20.0 20.0 ¥15.4 3.6 7.4 ¥2.3 ¥2.9 3.8 11.1 44.0 ¥10.6 150 150 275 570 33,780 24,895 13,825 27,000 5,000 180 1,200 125 125 325 550 34,000 21,500 13,910 26,000 4,500 125 1,342 25 25 ¥50 20 ¥220 3,395 ¥85 1,000 500 55 ¥142 20.0 20.0 ¥15.4 3.6 ¥0.6 15.8 ¥0.6 3.8 11.1 44.0 ¥10.6 Pacific cod ............................ Sablefish ............................... Yellowfin sole ........................ Greenland turbot ................... Arrowtooth flounder .............. Kamchatka flounder .............. Rock sole .............................. Flathead sole ........................ Alaska plaice ......................... Other flatfish ......................... Pacific ocean perch .............. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Northern rockfish .................. Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish. Shortraker rockfish ................ Other rockfish ....................... Atka mackerel ....................... Skates ................................... Sculpins ................................ Sharks ................................... Squids ................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 8369 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 1A—COMPARISON OF FINAL 2018 AND 2019 WITH PROPOSED 2018 AND 2019—Continued TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH IN THE BSAI [Amounts are in metric tons] 2018 final TAC 2018 percentage difference from proposed 2018 difference from proposed 2018 proposed TAC 2019 percentage difference from proposed 2019 difference from proposed 2019 proposed TAC 2019 final TAC Species Area 1 Octopuses ............................. BSAI .............. 250 400 ¥150 ¥37.5 200 400 ¥200 ¥50.0 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 2019 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2019 Species Area ITAC 2 CDQ 3 OFL ABC TAC BS ........................ AI ......................... Bogoslof ............... BS ........................ AI ......................... BS ........................ AI ......................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BS ........................ AI ......................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... BS ........................ EAI ....................... CAI ....................... WAI ...................... BSAI .................... BSAI .................... 4,592,000 37,431 130,428 201,000 28,700 4,576 6,209 295,600 13,540 n/a n/a 75,084 12,022 136,000 78,036 38,800 17,591 50,098 n/a n/a n/a n/a 15,563 829 2,467,000 30,803 60,800 170,000 21,500 2,061 2,798 267,500 11,473 10,016 1,457 64,494 10,317 132,000 65,227 32,700 13,193 41,212 11,499 9,715 7,549 12,449 12,710 678 1,383,000 19,000 500 159,120 15,695 2,061 2,798 156,000 5,294 5,125 169 14,000 5,000 49,100 16,500 16,252 4,000 37,880 11,499 9,715 7,549 9,117 6,500 225 1,244,700 17,100 500 142,094 14,016 876 595 139,308 4,500 4,356 144 11,900 4,250 43,846 14,735 13,814 3,400 33,332 9,774 8,675 6,741 8,141 5,525 191 138,300 1,900 0 17,026 1,679 77 52 16,692 n/a 548 0 1,498 0 5,254 1,766 0 0 n/a 0 1,040 808 976 0 0 Skates ................................................ Sculpins ............................................. Sharks ................................................ Squids ................................................ Octopuses .......................................... BS/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 97,200 n/a n/a n/a 44,202 53,201 689 6,912 4,769 414 264 499 1,362 791 571 84,400 33,780 29,350 21,270 36,957 39,995 517 5,184 3,576 75 150 150 845 275 570 72,500 33,780 24,895 13,825 27,000 5,000 180 1,200 200 64 128 128 718 234 485 64,743 30,166 22,231 12,346 22,950 4,250 153 1,020 170 0 0 0 0 0 0 7,758 3,614 2,664 1,479 0 0 0 0 0 Total ............................................ .............................. 5,942,962 3,578,956 2,000,000 1,788,813 195,373 Pollock 4 ............................................. Pacific cod 5 ....................................... Sablefish ............................................ Yellowfin sole ..................................... Greenland turbot ................................ Arrowtooth flounder ........................... Kamchatka flounder ........................... Rock sole ........................................... Flathead sole 6 ................................... Alaska plaice ...................................... Other flatfish 7 .................................... Pacific ocean perch ........................... Northern rockfish ............................... Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish 8. Shortraker rockfish ............................. Other rockfish 9 .................................. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES 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 subarea (BS) includes the Bogoslof District. 2 Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is put into a non-specified 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, blackspotted and rougheye rockfish, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 8370 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations 4 Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual BS 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 AI 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 to account for the 6.4 percent of the BS ABC for the State of Alaska’s (State) guideline harvest level in State waters of the BS. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set to account for the 27 percent of the AI ABC for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the AI. 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 blackspotted 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 and pot gear allocation of sablefish, and Amendment 80 species, in a non-specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires that NMFS allocate 20 percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of sablefish for the fixed-gear sablefish CDQ reserve for each subarea. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires that NMFS allocate 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocations of sablefish in the BS and AI 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 TAC be allocated to the pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). Similarly, §§ 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and 679.31(a) require that 10 percent of the Aleutian Islands TAC be allocated to the pollock CDQ reserve. The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is allocated as an ICA pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(ii) because the Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock by regulation (§ 679.22(a)(7)(i)(B)). 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 BS 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 2017. During this 18-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 an 18-year average of 3.3 percent. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(ii), NMFS establishes a pollock ICA of 2,400 mt of the AI TAC after subtracting the 10percent 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 2017. During this 15-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 15-year average of 8 percent. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS allocates ICAs of 4,000 mt of flathead sole, 6,000 mt of rock sole, 4,000 mt of yellowfin sole, 10 mt of WAI Pacific ocean perch, 120 mt of CAI Pacific ocean perch, 100 mt of EAI Pacific ocean perch, 20 mt of WAI Atka mackerel, 75 mt of CAI Atka mackerel, and 800 mt of EAI and BS 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 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, blackspotted and rougheye rockfish, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ sharks, and octopuses by 15 percent of the TAC in 2018 and 2019. TABLE 3—FINAL 2018 AND 2019 APPORTIONMENT OF NON–SPECIFIED RESERVES TO ITAC CATEGORIES [Amounts are in metric tons] daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Species-area or subarea 2018 ITAC 2018 reserve amount 2018 final ITAC 2019 ITAC 2019 reserve amount 2019 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 ............................................... 128 64 128 234 485 153 213 22 11 22 41 85 27 37 150 75 150 275 570 180 250 128 64 128 234 485 153 340 22 11 22 41 85 27 60 150 75 150 275 570 180 400 Total ................................................. 1,405 245 1,650 1,532 268 1,800 VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations Allocation of Pollock TAC Under the American Fisheries Act (AFA) Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that the BS pollock TAC be apportioned as a DFA, after subtracting 10 percent for the CDQ program and 3.9 percent for the ICA, as follows: 50 percent to the inshore sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor (C/P) sector, and 10 percent to the mothership sector. In the BS, 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 TAC remaining in the AI 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 AI, the total A season apportionment of the TAC (including the AI directed fishery allocation, the CDQ allowance, and the ICA) may equal up to 40 percent of the ABC for AI pollock, 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 2018 and 2019 amounts. Section 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6) 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 pollock ABC. In Area 541, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 30 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific requirements regarding BS 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 8371 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 2018 and 2019 allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 20 through 25 list the AFA C/P and CV harvesting sideboard limits. The tables for the pollock allocations to the BS inshore pollock cooperatives and open access sector will be posted on the Alaska Region website at http:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Tables 4 and 5 also list seasonal apportionments of pollock and harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The harvest within the SCA, as defined at § 679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to no more than 28 percent of the annual pollock DFA before 12:00 noon, April 1, as provided in § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C). The A season pollock SCA harvest limit will be apportioned to each sector in proportion to each sector’s allocated percentage of the DFA. Tables 4 and 5 list these 2018 and 2019 amounts by sector. TABLE 4—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 A season DFA daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Bering Sea subarea TAC 1 .............................................................................. CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA1 .................................................................................................................. 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 ...................................................................................... 1,364,341 136,434 47,888 1,180,019 590,009 472,007 431,887 40,121 2,360 118,002 206,503 354,006 40,788 19,000 1,900 2,400 14,700 n/a 12,236 6,118 2,039 450 n/a 61,395 n/a 531,008 265,504 212,403 194,349 18,054 1,062 53,101 n/a n/a n/a n/a 760 1,200 14,355 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 2018 B season 1 SCA harvest limit 2 n/a 38,202 n/a 330,405 165,203 132,162 n/a n/a n/a 33,041 n/a 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 75,039 n/a 649,010 324,505 259,604 237,538 22,066 1,298 64,901 n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,140 1,200 345 n/a 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)(i) through (iii), the annual Aleutian Islands pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second for 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 up 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 noon, April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors shall be available for harvest only by AFA catcher vessels with catcher/processor sector endorsements delivering to listed catcher/processors, unless there is a C/P sector cooperative contract for the year. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 8372 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations 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 Pursuant to § 679.22(a)(7)(i)(B), the Bogoslof District is closed 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 2019 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2019 A season 1 2019 allocations Area and sector Bering Sea subarea TAC 1 .............................................................................. 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 ...................................................................................... A season DFA 1,383,000 138,300 48,543 1,196,157 598,078 478,463 437,793 40,669 2,392 119,616 209,327 358,847 30,803 19,000 1,900 2,400 14,700 n/a 9,241 4,620 1,540 500 n/a 62,235 n/a 538,271 269,135 215,308 197,007 18,301 1,077 53,827 n/a n/a n/a n/a 760 1,200 10,361 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a SCA harvest limit 2 n/a 38,724 n/a 334,924 167,462 133,970 n/a n/a n/a 33,492 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 2019 B season 1 B season DFA n/a 76,065 n/a 657,886 328,943 263,154 240,786 22,368 1,316 65,789 n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,140 1,200 4,339 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD 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)(i) through (iii), the annual Aleutian Islands pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (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 up 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 noon, April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors shall be available for harvest only by AFA catcher vessels with catcher/processor sector endorsements delivering to listed catcher/processors, unless there is a C/P sector cooperative contract for the year. 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 Pursuant to § 679.22(a)(7)(i)(B), the Bogoslof District is closed 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, ICAs for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and non-trawl gear sector, and the jig gear allocation (Tables 6 and 7). The percentage of the ITAC for Atka VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 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 BS Atka mackerel ITAC may be allocated to vessels using jig gear. The percent of this allocation is recommended annually by the Council PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 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 BS to the jig gear sector in 2018 and 2019. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel TAC into two equal E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations 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. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) and (ii) limits Atka mackerel catch within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located west of 178° W longitude to no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543, and equally divides the annual TAC between the A and B seasons as defined at § 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 8373 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 2018 and 2019 Atka mackerel seasonal and area allowances, and the sector allocations. One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2018 fishing year. The 2019 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, 2018. TABLE 6—FINAL 2018 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] 2018 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 ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... B ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... Non-CDQ TAC ....................................... ICA ......................................................... Jig 6 ........................................................ BSAI trawl limited access ...................... Amendment 80 sector ............................ Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea Central Aleutian District 5 36,500 3,906 1,953 n/a 1,953 n/a 32,595 800 159 3,164 1,582 n/a 1,582 n/a 28,472 14,236 n/a 14,236 n/a 21,000 2,247 1,124 674 1,124 674 18,753 75 0 1,868 934 560 934 560 16,885 8,443 5,066 8,443 5,066 Western Aleutian District 13,500 1,445 722 433 722 433 12,056 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 12,056 6,028 3,617 6,028 3,617 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 Steller sea lion 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 in Area 543. 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 the ICA. NMFS set the amount of this allocation for 2018 at 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 2019 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] 2019 allocation by area daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 TAC ........................................................ CDQ reserve .......................................... n/a ......................................................... Total ...................................................... A ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... B ............................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4700 Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea 5 Sfmt 4700 Central Aleutian District 5 33,780 3,614 1,807 n/a 1,807 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 24,895 2,664 1,332 799 1,332 27FER1 Western Aleutian District 5 13,825 1,479 740 444 740 8374 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 7—FINAL 2019 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] 2019 allocation by area Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 non-CDQ TAC ........................................ ICA ......................................................... Jig 6 ........................................................ BSAI trawl limited access ...................... Amendment 80 sectors 7 ........................ Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea 5 Critical Habitat ....................................... n/a ......................................................... Total ...................................................... Total ...................................................... Total ...................................................... A ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... B ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... Total ...................................................... A ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... B ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... Central Aleutian District 5 n/a 30,166 800 147 2,922 1,461 n/a 1,461 n/a 26,297 13,148 n/a 13,148 n/a 799 22,231 75 0 2,216 1,108 665 1,108 665 20,016 10,008 6,005 10,008 6,005 Western Aleutian District 5 444 12,346 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 12,346 6,173 3,704 6,173 3,704 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 Steller sea lion 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 in Area 543. 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 the ICA. NMFS set the amount of this allocation for 2019 at 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. 7 The 2019 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, 2018. NMFS will post 2019 Amendment 80 allocations when they become available in December 2018. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES 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. If the non-CDQ Pacific cod TAC is or will be reached in either the Bering Sea or the Aleutian Islands subareas, NMFS will prohibit non-CDQ directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea as provided in § 679.20(d)(1)(iii). Section 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) allocates 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); VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 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/Ps; 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 sector; 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 2018 and 2019, the Regional Administrator establishes an ICA of 400 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. One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2018 fishing year. The 2019 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, 2018. PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 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), 679.20(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 that sector’s 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 2017 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 2018 and 2019. 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. E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations Section 679.20(a)(7)(viii) requires specification of annual Pacific cod allocations for the Aleutian Islands nonCDQ ICA, non-CDQ DFA, CV Harvest Set-Aside, and Unrestricted Fishery, as well as the Bering Sea Trawl CV ASeason Sector Limitation. The CV Harvest Set-Aside is a portion of the AI Pacific cod TAC that is available for harvest by catcher vessels directed fishing for AI Pacific cod and delivering their catch for processing to an AI shoreside processor. The CV Harvest Set-Aside will be effective in a fishing year if certain notification and performance requirements are met. First, in accordance with § 679.20(a)(7)(viii)(D), NMFS must receive timely and complete notification of intent to process AI Pacific cod from either the City Manager of the City of Adak or the City Administrator for Atka prior to the start of that fishing year. Second, if the performance requirement in § 679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E)(4), which requires a set amount of the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside to be landed at Aleutian Islands shoreplants on or before February 28, 2018, is not met during that fishing year, then the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is lifted and the Bering Sea Trawl CV ASeason Sector Limitation is suspended for the remainder of that fishing year. For 2018, NMFS received prior to October 31, 2017, timely and complete notice from the City of Adak indicating an intent to process AI Pacific cod in 2018. Accordingly, the harvest limits in Table 9a will be in effect in 2018, subject to the requirements outlined in § 679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E)(4): If less than 1,000 mt of the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is landed at Aleutian 8375 Islands shoreplants on or before February 28, 2018, then for the remainder of the year the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is lifted and the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation is suspended. If the entire Aleutian Islands CV Harvest SetAside is fully harvested and delivered to Aleutian Islands shoreplants before March 15, 2018, then the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation will be suspended for the remainder of the fishing year. The CDQ and non-CDQ seasonal allowances by gear based on the 2018 and 2019 Pacific cod TACs are listed in Tables 8 and 9, and are based on the sector allocation percentages and seasonal allowances for Pacific cod set forth at § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) and (a)(7)(iv)(A); and the seasons for Pacific cod set forth at § 679.23(e)(5). TABLE 8—FINAL 2018 GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Gear sector 2018 share of gear sector total Percent 2018 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 48.7 188,136 20,131 168,005 15,695 1,679 14,016 4,018 182,021 110,669 400 110,269 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 88,324 Hook-and-line catcher vessel ≥60 ft LOA. 0.2 n/a 363 Pot catcher/processor ....................... 1.5 n/a 2,720 Pot catcher vessel ≥60 ft LOA .......... 8.4 n/a 15,235 Catcher vessel <60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Trawl catcher vessel ......................... 2 n/a 3,627 22.1 40,227 n/a AFA trawl catcher/processor ............. 2.3 4,186 n/a Amendment 80 .................................. 13.4 24,391 n/a Jig ...................................................... daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES BS TAC ............................................. BS CDQ ............................................ BS non-CDQ TAC ............................. AI TAC .............................................. AI CDQ .............................................. AI non-CDQ TAC .............................. Western Aleutian Island Limit ........... Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC 1 .............. Total hook-and-line/pot gear ............. Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 .................... Hook-and-line/pot sub-total ............... Hook-and-line catcher/processor ...... 1.4 2,548 n/a 2018 seasonal apportionment Seasons n/a see n/a n/a see n/a n/a n/a n/a see n/a Jan Jun Jan Amount .................................................... § 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 45,045 43,279 185 Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ................................. n/a .................................................... 178 1,387 1,333 7,770 7,465 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 1–Apr 30 .................................... Apr 30–Aug 31 ................................. Aug 31–Dec 31 ................................ 29,768 4,425 6,034 3,140 1,047 0 18,293 6,098 0 1,529 510 510 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 400 mt for 2018 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 8376 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 9—FINAL 2019 GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Gear sector 2019 share of gear sector total Percent 2019 share of sector total BS TAC ............................................. BS CDQ ............................................ BS non-CDQ TAC ............................. AI TAC .............................................. AI CDQ .............................................. AI non-CDQ TAC .............................. Western Aleutian Island Limit ........... Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC 1 .............. Total hook-and-line/pot gear ............. Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 .................... Hook-and-line/pot sub-total ............... Hook-and-line catcher/processor ...... n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 60.8 n/a n/a 48.7 159,120 17,026 142,094 15,695 1,679 14,016 4,018 156,110 94,915 400 94,515 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 75,705 Hook-and-line catcher vessel ≥60 ft LOA. 0.2 n/a 311 Pot catcher/processor ....................... 1.5 n/a 2,332 Pot catcher vessel ≥60 ft LOA .......... 8.4 n/a 13,058 Catcher vessel <60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Trawl catcher vessel ......................... 2 n/a 3,109 22.1 34,500 n/a AFA trawl catcher/processor ............. 2.3 3,591 n/a Amendment 80 .................................. 13.4 20,919 n/a Jig ...................................................... 1.4 2,186 n/a 2019 seasonal apportionment Seasons n/a see n/a n/a see n/a n/a n/a n/a see n/a Jan Jun Jan Amount .................................................... § 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 38,610 37,095 159 Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ................................. n/a .................................................... 152 1,189 1,143 6,660 6,398 n/a Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Apr 30 .................................... Apr 30–Aug 31 ................................. Aug 31–Dec 31 ................................ 25,530 3,795 5,175 2,693 898 0 15,689 5,230 0 1,311 437 437 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 400 mt for 2019 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 9A—2018 AND 2019 BSAI A-SEASON PACIFIC COD ALLOCATIONS AND LIMITS IF THE NOTIFICATION AND PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS IN § 679.20(a)(7)(viii) ARE MET Amount (mt) 2018 and 2019 Allocations under Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES 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 1 .......................................................................................................... BS Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation ........................................................................................................................................... AI CV Harvest Set-Aside 2 ................................................................................................................................................................... AI Unrestricted Fishery 3 ...................................................................................................................................................................... 14,016 2,500 11,516 168,005 29,768 24,768 5,000 5,000 6,516 1 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 the BS Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation is suspended for the remainder of the fishing year because the performance requirements pursuant to § 679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E) were not met. 2 Prior to March 15, 2018, only catcher vessels that deliver their catch of AI Pacific cod to AI shoreplants for processing may directed fish for that portion of the AI Pacific cod non-CDQ DFA that is specified as the AI CV Harvest Set–Aside, unless lifted because the performance requirements pursuant to § 679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E) were not met. 3 Prior to March 15, 2018, vessels otherwise authorized to directed fish for Pacific cod in the AI may directed fish for that portion of the AI Pacific cod non-CDQ DFA that is specified as the AI Unrestricted Fishery. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 8377 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations Sablefish Gear Allocation Section 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 BS are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for hook-andline or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TAC for the AI 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 for each subarea. Also, § 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 or pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fisheries are limited to the 2018 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 2018 and 2019 gear allocations of the sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts. TABLE 10—FINAL 2018 AND 2019 GEAR SHARES AND CDQ RESERVE OF BSAI SABLEFISH TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Subarea and gear Percent of TAC Bering Sea: Trawl 1 ................... Hook-and-line/pot gear 2 ................. 2018 Share of TAC 2018 CDQ reserve 2018 ITAC 2019 Share of TAC 2019 ITAC 2019 CDQ reserve 50 732 622 55 1,031 876 77 50 732 586 146 n/a n/a n/a Total ............... Aleutian Islands: Trawl 1 ................... Hook-and-line/pot gear 2 ................. 100 1,464 1,208 201 1,031 876 77 25 497 422 37 700 595 52 75 1,491 1,193 298 n/a n/a n/a Total ............... 100 1,988 1,615 335 700 595 52 1 Except for the sablefish hook-and-line and pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the non-specific 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 Section 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 ITAC between the Amendment 80 sector and the 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. One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2018 fishing year. The 2019 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, 2018. Tables 11 and 12 list the 2018 and 2019 allocations of the Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs. TABLE 11—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 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Sector Eastern Aleutian District TAC .......................................................... CDQ ......................................................... ICA ........................................................... BSAI trawl limited access ........................ Amendment 80 ......................................... 9,000 963 100 794 7,143 Central Aleutian District Flathead sole Western Aleutian District 7,500 803 120 658 5,920 9,000 963 10 161 7,866 Rock sole Yellowfin sole BSAI BSAI BSAI 14,500 1,552 4,000 0 8,949 Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 47,100 5,040 6,000 0 36,060 154,000 16,478 4,000 18,351 115,171 8378 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 12—FINAL 2019 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 801 ....................................... Central Aleutian District 9,715 1,040 100 858 7,718 Flathead sole Western Aleutian District 7,549 808 120 662 5,959 9,117 976 10 163 7,969 Rock sole Yellowfin sole BSAI BSAI BSAI 16,500 1,766 4,000 0 10,735 49,100 5,254 6,000 0 37,846 156,000 16,692 4,000 19,065 116,243 1 The 2019 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, 2018. NMFS will publish 2019 Amendment 80 allocations when they become available in December 2018. Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Section 679.2 defines the ABC surplus for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole as the difference between the annual ABC and TAC for each species. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii) establishes ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The ABC surpluses and the ABC reserves are necessary to mitigate the operational variability, environmental conditions, and economic factors that may constrain the CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperatives from achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may set the ABC reserve at or below the ABC surplus for each species thus maintaining the TAC below ABC limits. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the ABC reserves will be allocated as CDQ ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. Section 679.31(b)(4) establishes the annual allocations of CDQ ABC reserves among the CDQ groups. 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 2018 and 2019 ABC surplus and ABC reserves for BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. TABLE 13—FINAL 2018 AND 2019 ABC SURPLUS, ABC RESERVES, 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] 2018 flathead sole Sector ABC .......................................................... TAC .......................................................... ABC surplus ............................................. ABC reserve ............................................. CDQ ABC reserve ................................... Amendment 80 ABC reserve ................... 66,773 14,500 52,273 52,273 5,593 46,680 2018 rock sole 2018 yellowfin sole 143,100 47,100 96,000 96,000 10,272 85,728 277,500 154,000 123,500 123,500 13,215 110,286 2019 1 flathead sole 65,227 16,500 48,727 48,727 5,214 43,513 2019 1 rock sole 132,000 49,100 82,900 82,900 8,870 74,030 2019 1 yellowfin sole 267,500 156,000 111,500 111,500 11,931 99,570 1 The 2019 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, 2018. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD 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 annual 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 the halibut PSC limit for the Amendment 80 sector, 745 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the BSAI trawl limited access sector, and 710 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the BSAI non-trawl sector. Section 679.21(b)(1)(iii)(A) and (B) authorize apportionment of the BSAI VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 non-trawl halibut PSC limit into PSC allowances among six fishery categories, and § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(A) and (B), (e)(3)(i)(B), and (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 PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 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 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations halibut IFQ for that vessel category and the IFQ regulatory area in which the vessel is operating (§ 679.7(f)(11)). The 2017 total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the BSAI was 46,868 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch mortality of 17 mt. The 2017 jig gear fishery harvested about 13 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 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 has not exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6) and if it is not a low Chinook salmon abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 60,000 Chinook salmon 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 and has not exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6) in a low abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 45,000 Chinook salmon 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 that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(D). VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 NMFS has determined that 2017 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 2018, the Chinook salmon PSC limit is 60,000 and is allocated to each AFA sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). The AFA sector Chinook salmon PSC limit allocations are seasonally apportioned with 70 percent of the allocation for the A season pollock fishery, and 30 percent of the allocation for the B season pollock fishery (§§ 679.21(f)(3)(i) and 679.23(e)(2)). Additionally, in 2018, 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 rules 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/sustainable fisheries/bycatch/default.htm. Section 679.21(g)(2)(i) specifies 700 fish as the 2018 and 2019 Chinook salmon PSC limit for the AI pollock fishery. Section 679.21(g)(2)(ii) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, as the AI 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 2018 and 2019 nonChinook salmon PSC limit for vessels using trawl gear from August 15 through October 14 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 2017 survey data, the red king crab mature female abundance is estimated at 18.5 million mature red king crabs, and the effective spawning biomass is estimated at 39.8 million lbs (18,042 mt). Based on the criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(i), the 2018 and 2019 PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 8379 trawl gear is 97,000 animals. This limit derives from the mature female abundance estimate 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 2017, 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 2017 survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) abundance is estimated at 344 million animals. Pursuant to criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(ii), the calculated 2018 and 2019 C. bairdi crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 830,000 animals in Zone 1, and 2,520,000 animals in Zone 2. The limit in Zone 1 is based on the abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 344 million animals, which is greater than 270 million animals and less than 400 million animals. The limit in Zone 2 is based on the abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 344 million animals, which is greater than 290 million animals and less than 400 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 2017 survey estimate of 8.182 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 9,120,539 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 2018 and 2019 herring biomass is 183,017 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 2018 and 2019 is 1,830 mt for all trawl gear as listed in Tables 14 and 15. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A) requires crab PSQ reserves to be subtracted from the total trawl gear crab PSC limits. The 2018 crab and halibut PSC limits E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 8380 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations 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 reserves, the Amendment 80 sector, and the BSAI trawl limited access sector 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 cooperative quota. Crab and halibut PSC cooperative quota assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives is not allocated to specific fishery categories. In 2018, there are no vessels in the Amendment 80 limited access sector and one Amendment 80 cooperative. The 2019 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, 2018. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(B) requires NMFS to apportion each trawl PSC limit for crab and herring 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 non-trawl 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 groundfish 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 establishing seasonal prohibited species apportionments on segments of the target groundfish industry. The Council recommended and NMFS approves the seasonal PSC apportionments in Tables 16 and 17 to maximize harvest among gear types, fisheries, and seasons while minimizing bycatch of PSC based on the above criteria. TABLE 14—FINAL 2018 AND 2019 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 1,830 97,000 9,120,539 830,000 2,520,000 CDQ PSQ reserve 2 710 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 315 n/a 10,379 975,898 88,810 269,640 Trawl PSC remaining after CDQ PSQ n/a n/a 86,621 8,144,641 741,190 2,250,360 Amendment 80 sector 3 1,745 n/a 43,293 4,003,091 312,115 532,660 BSAI trawl limited access fishery 745 n/a 26,489 2,617,688 348,285 1,053,394 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of zones. 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. 2 The TABLE 15—FINAL 2018 AND 2019 HERRING AND RED KING CRAB SAVINGS SUBAREA PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH ALLOWANCES FOR ALL TRAWL SECTORS Herring (mt) BSAI Fishery Categories Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 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 ........................................................................................ 80 39 5 5 9 1,662 30 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 24,250 Total trawl PSC ................................................................................................................................................ 1,830 97,000 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES 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 2017, the Council recommended and NMFS concurs 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. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 8381 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 16—FINAL 2018 AND 2018 PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR THE BSAI TRAWL LIMITED ACCESS SECTOR Prohibited species and area 1 Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI BSAI trawl limited access fisheries Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 C. opilio (animals) COBLZ C. bairdi (animals) Zone 1 Zone 2 Yellowfin sole ....................................................................... Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 2 ................................. Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/ sablefish ........................................................................... Rockfish April 15—December 31 ........................................ Pacific cod ............................................................................ Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 3 ................................. 150 0 23,338 0 2,467,662 0 293,234 0 1,005,879 0 0 4 391 200 0 0 2,954 197 0 4,076 105,182 40,768 0 0 50,816 4,235 0 849 42,424 4,243 Total BSAI trawl limited access PSC ........................... 745 26,489 2,617,688 348,285 1,053,395 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. 2 ‘‘Other TABLE 17—FINAL 2018 AND 2019 HALIBUT PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR NON–TRAWL FISHERIES Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Catcher/ processor Non-trawl fisheries Seasons Catcher vessel All non-trawl Pacific cod ........................................................ Non-Pacific cod non-trawl—Total .................... Groundfish pot and jig ..................................... Sablefish hook-and-line .................................... Total Pacific cod .............................................. January 1–June 10 ...................................... June 10–August 15 ...................................... August 15–December 31 ............................. May 1-December 31 ........................................ n/a .................................................................... n/a .................................................................... 648 388 162 98 n/a n/a n/a 13 9 2 2 n/a n/a n/a 661. n/a. n/a. n/a. 49. Exempt. 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. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES 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 2017 Pacific halibut stock assessment (December 2017), available on the IPHC website at www.iphc.int. The IPHC considered the 2017 Pacific halibut stock assessment at its January 2018 annual meeting when it set the 2018 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 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 scientific 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 PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 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). 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, including potential changes to the reference period (the period of data used for calculating the DMRs). Future DMRs, including the 2019 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. The new methodology will continue to ensure that NMFS is using DMRs that more accurately reflect halibut mortality, which will inform the different sectors of their estimated halibut mortality and E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 8382 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations allow specific sectors to respond with methods that could reduce mortality and, eventually, the DMR for that sector. At the December 2017 meeting, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed and concurred in the revised DMRs. For 2018 and 2019, the Council recommended and NMFS adopts the halibut DMRs derived from this revised process. The final 2018 and 2019 DMRs are unchanged from the DMRs proposed in the 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications (82 FR 57906, December 8, 2017). Table 18 lists the final 2018 and 2019 DMRs. TABLE 18—2018 AND 2019 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 ............................................................................. Hook-and-line ............................................................................. Pot .............................................................................................. All ................................................................................................ Mothership and catcher/processor ............................................. Catcher vessel ............................................................................ Catcher/processor ...................................................................... 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 § 679.20(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 or species group in that fishery category in the area specified by regulation for the remainder of the fishing year. Based on historic catch patterns and anticipated fishing activity, the Regional Administrator has determined that the groundfish allocation amounts in Table 19 will be necessary as incidental catch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2018 and 2019 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 100 84 60 8 17 9 19 as zero mt. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these sectors and species or species groups in the specified areas effective at 1200 hrs, A.l.t., February 27, 2018, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2019. 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 19 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, species, and fishery categories in the specified areas effective at 1200 hrs, A.l.t., February 27, 2018, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2019. TABLE 19—2018 AND 2018 DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1 [Groundfish and halibut amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in number of animals.] 2019 incidental catch allowance 2018 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 ......................... 450 2,400 570 800 500 2,400 570 800 Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish .... 75 75 ICA Pacific ocean perch ................ 100 100 ICA Atka mackerel ......................... 75 75 ICA Pacific ocean perch ................ ICA Atka mackerel ......................... 60 20 60 20 ICA Pacific ocean perch ................ Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish .... 10 150 10 150 Pacific ocean perch ....................... ‘‘Other rockfish’’ 2 ........................... ICA pollock ..................................... Northern rockfish ............................ Shortraker rockfish ......................... Skates ............................................ Sculpins .......................................... Sharks ............................................ 10,082 275 47,888 5,185 150 22,950 4,250 180 9,774 275 48,543 5,525 150 22,950 4,250 180 Central Aleutian District .................. Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access. Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Western Aleutian District ................ Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access. Western and Central Aleutian Districts. Bering Sea subarea ........................ All ................................................... All ................................................... Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands .... All ................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations 8383 TABLE 19—2018 AND 2018 DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1—Continued [Groundfish and halibut amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in number of animals.] Area 2018 incidental catch allowance 2019 incidental catch allowance Sector Species Hook-and-line and pot gear ........... Non-amendment 80 and CDQ ....... Squids ............................................ Octopuses ...................................... ICA Pacific cod .............................. ICA flathead sole ........................... ICA rock sole ................................. ICA yellowfin sole .......................... 1,020 250 400 4,000 6,000 4,000 1,020 200 400 4,000 6,000 4,000 Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish—halibut mortality, red king crab Zone 1, C. opilio COBLZ, C. bairdi Zone 1 and 2. Turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish—halibut mortality, red king crab Zone 1, C. opilio COBLZ, C. bairdi Zone 1 and 2. Rockfish—red king crab Zone 1 .... 0 0 0 0 0 0 Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access. BSAI trawl limited access .............. 1 Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679. rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and blackspotted/rougheye rockfish. 2 ‘‘Other Closures implemented under the final 2017 and 2018 BSAI harvest specifications for groundfish (82 FR 11826, February 27, 2017) remain effective under authority of these final 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications and until the date specified in those notices. Closures are posted at the following websites: 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 20 lists the 2018 and 2019 AFA C/P groundfish sideboard limits. Section 679.64(a)(1)(v) exempts AFA catcher/processors from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2018 and 2019 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 20. However, groundfish sideboard species that are delivered to listed AFA C/Ps by CVs will not be deducted from the 2018 and 2019 sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/Ps. TABLE 20—FINAL 2018 AND 2019 LISTED BSAI AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER/PROCESSOR GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Amounts are in metric tons] 1995–1997 Target species Area/season Retained catch Sablefish trawl ......... daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Atka mackerel .......... Rock sole ................. Greenland turbot ...... Arrowtooth flounder Kamchatka flounder Flathead sole ........... Alaska plaice ............ VerDate Sep<11>2014 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 ........................ 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 Total catch Ratio of retained catch to total catch 2018 ITAC available to trawl C/Ps 1 2018 AFA C/P sideboard limit 2019 ITAC available to trawl C/Ps* 1 2019 AFA C/P sideboard limit 8 0 n/a 497 145 n/a 0.016 0 0.115 622 422 9,377 10 0 1,078 876 595 11,116 14 0 1,278 n/a n/a 0.115 9,377 1,078 11,116 1,278 n/a n/a 0.2 6,028 1,206 6,173 1,235 n/a n/a 0.2 6,028 1,206 6,173 1,235 6,317 121 23 76 76 1,925 14 169,362 17,305 4,987 33,987 33,987 52,755 9,438 0.037 0.007 0.005 0.002 0.002 0.036 0.001 42,060 4,356 144 11,578 4,250 12,949 13,685 1,556 30 1 23 9 466 14 43,846 4,356 144 11,900 4,250 14,735 13,814 1,622 30 1 24 9 530 14 PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 8384 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 20—FINAL 2018 AND 2019 LISTED BSAI AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER/PROCESSOR GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 1995–1997 Target species Area/season Retained catch Other flatfish ............ Pacific ocean perch Northern rockfish ..... Shortraker rockfish ... Blackspotted/ Rougheye rockfish. Other rockfish .......... Skates ...................... Sculpins ................... Sharks ...................... Squids ...................... Octopuses ................ Total catch Ratio of retained catch to total catch 2018 ITAC available to trawl C/Ps 1 2018 AFA C/P sideboard limit 2019 ITAC available to trawl C/Ps* 1 2019 AFA C/P sideboard limit BSAI ........................ BS ........................... Eastern AI ............... Central AI ................ Western AI .............. BSAI ........................ BSAI ........................ BS/EAI .................... 3,058 12 125 3 54 91 50 50 52,298 4,879 6,179 5,698 13,598 13,040 2,811 2,811 0.058 0.002 0.02 0.001 0.004 0.007 0.018 0.018 3,400 10,082 8,037 6,698 8,037 5,185 150 75 197 20 161 7 32 36 3 1 3,400 9,774 8,675 6,741 8,141 5,525 150 75 197 20 174 7 33 39 3 1 CAI/WAI .................. BS ........................... AI ............................. BSAI ........................ BSAI ........................ BSAI ........................ BSAI ........................ BSAI ........................ 50 18 22 553 553 553 73 553 2,811 621 806 68,672 68,672 68,672 3,328 68,672 0.018 0.029 0.027 0.008 0.008 0.008 0.022 0.008 150 275 570 22,950 4,250 180 1,020 250 3 8 15 184 34 1 22 2 150 275 570 22,950 4,250 180 1,020 200 3 8 15 184 34 1 22 2 1 Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, and rock sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC for each species 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 caught by 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 21 that are caught by listed AFA C/Ps participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue against the 2018 and 2019 PSC sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/Ps. Section 679.21(b)(4)(iii), (e)(3)(v), and (e)(7) authorizes NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for listed AFA C/Ps once a 2018 or 2019 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 21 is reached. Pursuant to § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), halibut or crab PSC caught by listed AFA C/Ps while fishing for pollock will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/‘‘other species’’ fishery categories under § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv). TABLE 21—FINAL 2018 AND 2019 BSAI AFA LISTED CATCHER/PROCESSOR PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH SIDEBOARD LIMITS Ratio of PSC catch to total PSC PSC species and area 1 Halibut mortality BSAI .................................................................................................................. Red king crab zone 1 .................................................................................................................. C. opilio (COBLZ) ........................................................................................................................ C. bairdi Zone 1 ........................................................................................................................... C. bairdi Zone 2 ........................................................................................................................... 1 Refer n/a 0.007 0.153 0.140 0.050 2018 and 2019 PSC available to trawl vessels after subtraction of PSQ 2 n/a 86,621 8,144,641 741,190 2,250,360 2018 and 2019 AFA catcher/ processor sideboard limit 2 286 606 1,246,130 103,767 112,518 to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. 2 Halibut daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD 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) and (4) VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 establishes a formula for setting AFA CV groundfish and halibut and crab 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 CVs from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 the 2018 and 2019 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt. Tables 22 and 23 list the 2018 and 2019 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 2018 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations and 2019 sideboard limits listed in Table 22. Halibut and crab PSC limits listed in Table 23 that are caught by AFA CVs participating in any groundfish fishery for groundfish other than pollock will accrue against the 2018 and 2019 PSC sideboard limits for the AFA CVs. Section 679.21(b)(4)(iii), (e)(3)(v), and (e)(7) authorizes NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for AFA CVs once a 2018 or 2019 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 23 is reached. Pursuant to § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), the 8385 PSC that is caught by AFA CVs while fishing for pollock in the BSAI will accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/‘‘other species’’ fishery categories under § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv). TABLE 22—FINAL 2018 AND 2019 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL BSAI GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Amounts are in metric tons] Species/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 .............. Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish. Other rockfish ...................... daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Skates ................................. Sculpins ............................... Sharks ................................. Squids ................................. Octopuses ........................... Fishery by area/season Ratio of 1995– 1997 AFA CV catch to 1995– 1997 TAC 2018 initial TAC 1 2018 AFA catcher vessel sideboard limits 2019 initial TAC 1 2019 AFA catcher vessel sideboard limits BSAI Jan 1–Jun 10 ............ 0.0006 185 0 159 0 BSAI BSAI BSAI BSAI Jun 10–Dec 31 ......... Jan 1–Jun 10 ............ Sept 1–Dec 31 .......... ................................... 0.0006 0.0006 0.0006 0.0006 178 7,770 7,465 3,627 0 5 4 2 152 6,660 6,398 3,109 0 4 4 2 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 ................................... BS/EAI ................................ 0.8609 0.8609 0.8609 0.0906 0.0645 0.0032 29,768 4,425 6,034 622 422 16,298 25,627 3,809 5,195 56 27 52 25,530 3,795 5,175 876 595 15,083 21,979 3,267 4,455 79 38 48 0.0032 16,298 52 15,083 48 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 9,377 9,377 6,028 6,028 42,060 4,356 144 11,578 4,250 13,685 3,400 12,949 10,082 8,037 6,698 8,037 5,185 150 75 1 1 0 0 1,434 281 3 799 293 604 150 654 1,008 62 17 0 44 1 0 11,116 11,116 6,173 6,173 43,846 4,356 144 11,900 4,250 13,814 3,400 14,735 9,774 8,675 6,741 8,141 5,525 150 75 1 1 0 0 1,495 281 3 821 293 609 150 744 977 67 17 0 46 1 0 CAI/WAI .............................. BS ....................................... AI ........................................ BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... BSAI ................................... 0.0037 0.0048 0.0095 0.0541 0.0541 0.0541 0.3827 0.0541 150 275 570 22,950 4,250 180 1,020 250 1 1 5 1,242 230 10 390 14 150 275 570 22,950 4,250 180 1,020 200 1 1 5 1,242 230 10 390 11 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 for each species after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C). VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 8386 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 23—FINAL 2018 AND 2019 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR THE BSAI 1 AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit ratio PSC species and area 1 Target fishery category 2 Halibut ..................................... Pacific cod trawl ..................................................................... Pacific cod hook-and-line or pot ............................................ Yellowfin sole total ................................................................. Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 4 ................................... Greenland turbot/arrowtooth/sablefish 5 ................................. Rockfish .................................................................................. Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 6 ................................... n/a ........................................................................................... n/a ........................................................................................... n/a ........................................................................................... n/a ........................................................................................... Red king crab Zone 1 ............. C. opilio COBLZ ...................... C. bairdi Zone 1 ...................... C. bairdi Zone 2 ...................... n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 0.299 0.168 0.330 0.186 2018 and 2019 PSC limit after subtraction of PSQ reserves 3 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 86,621 8,144,641 741,190 2,250,360 2018 and 2019 AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit 3 887 2 101 228 0 2 5 25,900 1,368,300 244,593 418,567 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. trawl fishery categories are defined at § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv). 3 Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. 4 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth flounder. 5 Arrowtooth for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka flounder. 6 ‘‘Other species’’ for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses. 2 Target AFA Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel Sideboard Directed Fishing Closures Based on historical catch patterns, the Regional Administrator has determined that many of the AFA C/P and CV sideboard limits listed in Tables 24 and 25 are necessary as incidental catch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2018 and 2019 fishing years. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iv), the Regional Administrator establishes the sideboard limits listed in Tables 24 and 25 as DFAs. Because many of these DFAs will be reached before the end of 2018, 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 24, and prohibiting directed fishing by non-exempt AFA CVs for the species in the specified areas set out in Table 25. TABLE 24—FINAL 2018 AND 2019 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT LISTED CATCHER/PROCESSOR SIDEBOARD DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2018 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 ............................................... BS/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 ......................... Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish .... daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Other rockfish 3 ............................... Skates ............................................. Sculpins .......................................... Sharks ............................................. Squids ............................................. Octopuses ....................................... 1 Maximum VerDate Sep<11>2014 retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679. 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 2019 sideboard limit 10 0 1,556 30 1 23 9 14 197 466 20 161 7 32 36 3 1 3 8 15 184 34 1 25 2 14 0 1,622 30 1 24 9 14 197 530 20 174 7 33 39 3 1 3 8 15 184 34 1 22 2 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations 8387 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 blackspotted/rougheye rockfish. TABLE 25—FINAL 2018 AND 2019 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL SIDEBOARD DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2018 sideboard limit Species Area Gear types Pacific cod .......................................... 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 ........................................... BSAI ................................................... BSAI ................................................... 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 ............................. Blackspotted/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 ................................................... 2019 sideboard limit 0 0 9 2 8 2 0 56 27 104 2 0 281 3 799 293 501 150 654 1,434 1008 62 17 0 44 1 0 1 1 5 1,242 230 10 390 14 0 79 38 96 2 0 281 3 821 293 609 150 744 1,495 977 67 17 0 46 1 0 1 1 5 1,242 230 10 390 11 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 blackspotted/rougheye rockfish. 2 ‘‘Other daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Response to Comments NMFS received no substantive comments 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 letters received. 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 Order 12866. NMFS prepared an EIS that covers this action (see ADDRESSES) and made it available to the public on January 12, VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 13, 2007, NMFS issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the EIS. In January 2018, 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 2018 and 2019 groundfish harvest specifications. An SEIS should be prepared if (1) the agency makes substantial changes in the PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 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 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications, which were set according to the preferred harvest strategy in the EIS, does not constitute a substantial change in the action; and (2) there are no significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the action or its impacts. Additionally, the 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications will result in E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES 8388 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations environmental impacts within the scope of those analyzed and disclosed in the EIS. Therefore, supplemental National Environmental Policy Act documentation is not necessary to implement the 2018 and 2019 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. The required contents of a FRFA, as described in section 604, are: (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 8, 2017 (82 FR 57906). NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) to VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 accompany the proposed action, and included a summary in the proposed rule. The comment period closed on January 8, 2018. No comments were received on the IRFA or on the economic impacts of the rule more generally. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration did not file any comments on the proposed rule. The entities directly regulated by this action 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 gross receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. The estimated number of directly regulated small entities in 2016 include approximately 119 catcher vessels, five catcher/processors, and six CDQ groups. Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, Gulf of Alaska rockfish cooperatives, or BSAI Crab Rationalization Program cooperatives, and, since under the RFA the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the cooperative must meet the ‘‘under $11 million’’ threshold, the cooperatives are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. Thus, the estimate of 119 catcher vessels may be an overstatement of the number of small entities. Average gross revenues were $690,000 for small hook-and-line vessels, $1.25 million for small pot vessels, and $3.44 million for small trawl vessels. The average gross revenue for catcher/processor hook-and-line vessels was $2.90 million. The revenue data for other catcher/processors are not reported, due to confidentiality considerations. 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: PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 • 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: First, set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 3 at F 75%; set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 5 at F = 0.5M; and set spatially explicit TAC for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the BSAI. Second, 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: (No Action) 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 E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations although Alternatives 1 and 3 may have a smaller adverse economic impact on small entities than the preferred alternative, Alternatives 4 and 5 likely 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 2018 and 2019 would be 3,779,809 mt and 3,578,956 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, Division B, section 803(c), and the FMP, 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 based on 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. NMFS annually conducts at-sea stock surveys for different species, as well as statistical modeling, to estimate stock sizes and permissible harvest levels. Actual harvest rates or harvest amounts are a component of these estimates, but in and of themselves may not accurately portray stock sizes and conditions. Harvest rates are listed for each species category for each year in the SAFE report (see ADDRESSES). 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 of 1.4 million mt. 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 uncertain, and, assuming volume decreases would lead to price increases, it is unclear whether price increases would be sufficient to offset the volume decreases and to leave revenues unchanged for small entities. 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 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. The Plan Team review occurred in November 2017, and the Council considered and recommended the final harvest specifications in December 2017. Accordingly, NMFS’ review could not begin until after the December 2017 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 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (82 FR 11826, February 27, 2017). If implemented immediately, this rule would allow these fisheries to continue fishing because some of the new TACs implemented by this rule are higher than the TACs under which they are currently fishing. In addition, immediate effectiveness of this action is required to provide consistent management and conservation of fishery resources based on the best available scientific information. This is particularly pertinent for those species that have lower 2018 ABCs and TACs than those established in the 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (82 FR 11826, February 27, 2017). If implemented immediately, this rule would ensure that NMFS can properly manage those fisheries for which this rule sets lower 2018 ABCs and TACs, which are based on the most recent biological information on the condition of stocks, rather than managing species under the higher TACs set in the previous year’s harvest specifications. 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, thus undermining the intent of this rule. Predicting which fisheries may close is impossible PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 8389 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, for example by freeing up fishing vessels, which would allow them to move from closed fisheries to open ones and lead to an increase in the fishing capacity in those open fisheries, causing those open fisheries 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 limits. 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 24, 2018, which is the start of the 2018 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 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications will allow the sablefish IFQ fishery to begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. Finally, 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 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications and prohibited species bycatch allowances for the groundfish fisheries of the BSAI. This E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1 8390 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 39 / Tuesday, February 27, 2018 / Rules and Regulations daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES action is necessary to establish harvest limits and associated management measures for groundfish during the 2018 and 2019 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 amounts are provided in tables to assist the reader. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:04 Feb 26, 2018 Jkt 244001 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. PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 L. 108–447; Pub. L. 109–241; Pub. L. 109– 479. Dated: February 21, 2018. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2018–03918 Filed 2–26–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\27FER1.SGM 27FER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 39 (Tuesday, February 27, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 8365-8390]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-03918]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 170817779-8161-02]
RIN 0648-XF636


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands; 2018 and 2019 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 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications, 
apportionments, 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 2018 and 2019 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, 2018, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2019.

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 
2017 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the 
groundfish resources of the BSAI, dated November 2017, 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 
website at http://www.npfmc.org/.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 
implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The 
Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved it, under the Magnuson-
Stevens Act. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear 
at 50 CFR part 600.
    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after 
consultation with the Council, to specify annually the total allowable 
catch (TAC) for each target species category. The sum of all TAC for 
all groundfish species in the BSAI 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 2018 and 2019. NMFS also must specify apportionments of 
TAC, prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances, and prohibited species 
quota (PSQ) reserves established by Sec.  679.21; seasonal allowances 
of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC; American Fisheries Act 
allocations; Amendment 80 allocations; Community Development Quota 
(CDQ) reserve amounts established by Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(ii); and 
acceptable biological catch (ABC) surpluses and reserves for CDQ groups 
and the Amendment 80 cooperative for flathead sole, rock sole, and 
yellowfin sole. The final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 
through 25 of this action satisfy these requirements.
    Section 679.20(c)(3)(i) further requires NMFS to consider public 
comment on the proposed harvest specifications and to publish final 
harvest specifications in the Federal Register. The proposed 2018 and 
2019 harvest specifications for the groundfish fishery of the BSAI were 
published in the Federal Register on December 8, 2017 (82 FR 57906). 
Comments were invited and accepted through January 8, 2018. NMFS 
received no substantive comments on the proposed harvest 
specifications. NMFS consulted with the Council on the final 2018 and 
2019 harvest specifications during the December 2017 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, in this final rule NMFS implements the final 2018 and 2019 
harvest specifications as recommended by the Council.

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 2017, 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 2017 SAFE report 
for the BSAI groundfish fisheries,

[[Page 8366]]

dated November 2017 (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 2017 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 2017 Plan Team meeting.
    In December 2017, 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 2018 or 2019 exceed the final 2018 
or 2019 ABCs for any species or species group. 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 2017 SAFE report that was approved by the 
Council. Therefore, this final rule provides notice that the Secretary 
of Commerce (Secretary) approves the final 2018 and 2019 harvest 
specifications as recommended by the Council.
    The 2018 harvest specifications set in this final action will 
supersede the 2018 harvest specifications previously set in the final 
2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (82 FR 11826, February 27, 2017). 
The 2019 harvest specifications herein will be superseded in early 2019 
when the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications are published. 
Pursuant to this final action, the 2018 harvest specifications 
therefore will apply for the remainder of the current year (2018), 
while the 2019 harvest specifications are projected only for the 
following year (2019) and will be superseded in early 2019 by the final 
2019 and 2020 harvest specifications. Because this final action 
(published in early 2018) will be superseded in early 2019 by the 
publication of the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications, it is 
projected that this final action will implement the harvest 
specifications for the BSAI for approximately one year.

Other Actions Affecting the 2018 and 2019 Harvest Specifications

Amendment 117: Reclassify Squid as an Ecosystem Species

    In June 2017, the Council recommended for Secretarial review 
Amendment 117 to the FMP. Amendment 117 would reclassify squid in the 
FMP as an ``Ecosystem Component Species,'' which is a category of non-
target species that are not in need of conservation and management. 
Currently, NMFS annually sets an OFL, ABC, and TAC for squid in the 
BSAI groundfish harvest specifications. Under Amendment 117, OFL, ABC, 
and TAC specifications would no longer be required. Proposed 
regulations to implement Amendment 117 would prohibit directed fishing 
for squid, require recordkeeping and reporting to monitor and report 
catch of squid species annually, and establish a squid maximum 
retainable amount when directed fishing for groundfish species at 20 
percent to discourage retention, while allowing flexibility to 
prosecute groundfish fisheries. Further details will be available on 
publication of the proposed rule for Amendment 117. If Amendment 117 
and its implementing regulations are approved by the Secretary, 
Amendment 117 and its implementing regulations are anticipated to be 
effective by 2019. Until Amendment 117 is effective, NMFS will continue 
to publish OFLs, ABCs, and TACs for squid in the BSAI groundfish 
harvest specifications.

State of Alaska Guideline Harvest Levels

    The Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF), a regulatory body for the 
Alaska Department of Fish and Game, established a guideline harvest 
level (GHL) in State of Alaska (State) waters between 164 and 167 
degrees west longitude in the Bering Sea subarea (BS) equal to 6.4 
percent of the Pacific cod ABC for the BS. The Council recommended that 
the final 2018 and 2019 Pacific cod TACs accommodate the State's GHLs 
for Pacific cod in State waters in the BS. The Council and its Plan 
Team, SSC, and AP recommended that the sum of all State and Federal 
water Pacific cod removals from the BS not exceed the final ABC 
recommendations of 201,000 mt for 2018 and 170,000 mt for 2019. 
Accordingly, the Council recommended that the final 2018 and 2019 
Pacific cod TACs in the BS account for State GHLs, and NMFS sets the 
final BS TAC at 6.4 percent less than the Pacific cod BS ABC.
    For 2018 and 2019, the BOF established a GHL in State waters in the 
Aleutian Islands subarea (AI) equal to 27 percent of the Pacific cod 
ABC for the AI. The Council recommended that the final 2018 and 2019 
Pacific cod TACs accommodate the State's GHLs for Pacific cod in State 
waters in the AI. The Council and its Plan Team, SSC, and AP 
recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod 
removals from the AI not exceed the final ABC recommendations of 21,500 
mt. Accordingly, the Council recommended that the final 2018 and 2019 
Pacific cod TACs in the AI account for State GHLs, and in this final 
rule NMFS sets the final AI TAC at 27 percent less than the final AI 
ABC.

Changes From the Proposed 2018 and 2019 Harvest Specifications for the 
BSAI

    The Council's recommendations for the proposed 2018 and 2019 
harvest specifications (82 FR 57906, December 8, 2017) were based 
largely on information contained in the 2016 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 2017 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 2017 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 2017 SAFE report indicates biomass 
changes from the 2016 SAFE report for several groundfish species. The 
2017 report was made available for public review during the public 
comment period for the proposed harvest specifications. At the December 
2017 Council meeting, the SSC recommended the 2018 and 2019 ABCs for 
many species based on the best and most recent information contained in 
the 2017 SAFE reports. This recommendation resulted in an ABC sum total 
for all BSAI groundfish species in excess of 2 million mt for both 2018 
and 2019.
    Based on increased fishing effort in 2017, the Council recommends 
final BS pollock TACs increase by 4,483 mt in 2018 and increase by 
23,142 mt in 2019 compared to the proposed 2018 and 2019 BS pollock 
TACs. In terms of percentage, the largest increases in final 2018 TACs 
relative to the proposed 2018 TACs were for BSAI ``other flatfish'' and 
BSAI sharks, while the largest increases for 2019 also included

[[Page 8367]]

sablefish. The 2018 increases were to account for higher incidental 
catches of these species in 2017. Other increases in the final 2018 
TACs relative to the proposed 2018 TACs included sablefish, Greenland 
turbot, Alaska plaice, BS Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, 
Central Aleutian and Western Aleutian (CAI/WAI) blackspotted and 
rougheye rockfish, shortraker rockfish, AI ``other rockfish,'' Eastern 
Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea (EAI/BS) Atka mackerel, skates, and 
sculpins. The 2018 increases were to account for higher interest in 
directed fishing or higher anticipated incidental catch needs.
    Decreases in final 2018 TACs compared to the proposed 2018 TACs 
were for Bogoslof pollock, BS Pacific cod, arrowtooth flounder, rock 
sole, flathead sole, EAI Pacific ocean perch, WAI Pacific ocean perch, 
BS/EAI blackspotted and rougheye rockfish, BS ``other rockfish,'' CAI 
Atka mackerel, WAI Atka mackerel, squids, and octopuses. As noted in 
the proposed 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications, the BS Pacific cod 
ABC and TAC proposed for 2018 and 2019 decreased based on the final 
2017 stock assessment. The remaining 2018 decreases were to account for 
the increases to the TACs for the species listed above and 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 2018 OFL, ABC, TAC, 
initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ reserve allocations of the BSAI groundfish 
species or species groups; and Table 2 lists the Council's recommended 
final 2019 OFL, ABC, TAC, ITAC, and CDQ reserve allocations of the BSAI 
groundfish species or species groups. NMFS concurs in these 
recommendations. These final 2018 and 2019 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 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..........................       4,797,000       2,592,000       1,364,341       1,227,907         136,434
                                            AI..........................          49,289          40,788          19,000          17,100           1,900
                                            Bogoslof....................         130,428          60,800             450             450               0
Pacific cod \5\...........................  BS..........................         238,000         201,000         188,136         168,005          20,131
                                            AI..........................          28,700          21,500          15,695          14,016           1,679
Sablefish.................................  BS..........................           2,887           1,464           1,464           1,208             201
                                            AI..........................           3,917           1,988           1,988           1,615             335
Yellowfin sole............................  BSAI........................         306,700         277,500         154,000         137,522          16,478
Greenland turbot..........................  BSAI........................          13,148          11,132           5,294           4,500             n/a
                                            BS..........................             n/a           9,718           5,125           4,356             548
                                            AI..........................             n/a           1,414             169             144               0
Arrowtooth flounder.......................  BSAI........................          76,757          65,932          13,621          11,578           1,457
Kamchatka flounder........................  BSAI........................          11,347           9,737           5,000           4,250               0
Rock sole.................................  BSAI........................         147,300         143,100          47,100          42,060           5,040
Flathead sole \6\.........................  BSAI........................          79,862          66,773          14,500          12,949           1,552
Alaska plaice.............................  BSAI........................          41,170          34,590          16,100          13,685               0
Other flatfish \7\........................  BSAI........................          17,591          13,193           4,000           3,400               0
Pacific ocean perch.......................  BSAI........................          51,675          42,509          37,361          32,853             n/a
                                            BS..........................             n/a          11,861          11,861          10,082               0
                                            EAI.........................             n/a          10,021           9,000           8,037             963
                                            CAI.........................             n/a           7,787           7,500           6,698             803
                                            WAI.........................             n/a          12,840           9,000           8,037             963
Northern rockfish.........................  BSAI........................          15,888          12,975           6,100           5,185               0
Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish \8\....  BSAI........................             749             613             225             191               0
                                            BS/EAI......................             n/a             374              75              64               0
                                            CAI/WAI.....................             n/a             239             150             128               0
Shortraker rockfish.......................  BSAI........................             666             499             150             128               0
Other rockfish \9\........................  BSAI........................           1,816           1,362             845             718               0
                                            BS..........................             n/a             791             275             234               0
                                            AI..........................             n/a             571             570             485               0
Atka mackerel.............................  BSAI........................         108,600          92,000          71,000          63,403           7,597
                                            BS/EAI......................             n/a          36,820          36,500          32,595           3,906
                                            CAI.........................             n/a          32,000          21,000          18,753           2,247
                                            WAI.........................             n/a          23,180          13,500          12,056           1,445
Skates....................................  BSAI........................          46,668          39,082          27,000          22,950               0
Sculpins..................................  BSAI........................          53,201          39,995           5,000           4,250               0
Sharks....................................  BSAI........................             689             517             180             153               0
Squids....................................  BSAI........................           6,912           5,184           1,200           1,020               0
Octopuses.................................  BSAI........................           4,769           3,576             250             213               0
                                                                         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 8368]]

 
    Total.................................  ............................       6,235,729       3,779,809       2,000,000       1,791,308         196,081
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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 subarea (BS) includes the Bogoslof District.
\2\ Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is
  put into a non-specified 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, blackspotted and 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 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 AI 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 to account for the 6.4 percent of the BS ABC for the State of Alaska's (State) guideline harvest level in State waters
  of the BS. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set to account for the 27 percent of the AI ABC for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the AI.
\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
  blackspotted 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 2018 and 2019 With Proposed 2018 and 2019
                                                            Total Allowable Catch in the BSAI
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                            2018                                                 2019
                                                                  2018         2018      percentage                    2019         2019      percentage
           Species                 Area \1\       2018 final    proposed    difference   difference    2019 final    proposed    difference   difference
                                                     TAC          TAC          from         from          TAC          TAC          from         from
                                                                             proposed     proposed                                proposed     proposed
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock......................  BS..............    1,364,341    1,359,858        4,483          0.3     1,383,000    1,359,858       23,142          1.7
                               AI..............       19,000       19,000            0          0.0        19,000       19,000            0          0.0
                               Bogoslof........          450          500          -50        -10.0           500          500            0          0.0
Pacific cod..................  BS..............      188,136      194,936       -6,800         -3.5       159,120      194,936      -35,816        -18.4
                               AI..............       15,695       15,695            0          0.0        15,695       15,695            0          0.0
Sablefish....................  BS..............        1,464        1,274          190         14.9         2,061        1,274          787         61.8
                               AI..............        1,988        1,735          253         14.6         2,798        1,735        1,063         61.3
Yellowfin sole...............  BSAI............      154,000      154,000            0          0.0       156,000      154,000        2,000          1.3
Greenland turbot.............  BS..............        5,125        4,375          750         17.1         5,125        4,375          750         17.1
                               AI..............          169          125           44         35.2           169          125           44         35.2
Arrowtooth flounder..........  BSAI............       13,621       14,000         -379         -2.7        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       50,100       -3,000         -6.0        49,100       50,100       -1,000         -2.0
Flathead sole................  BSAI............       14,500       15,500       -1,000         -6.5        16,500       15,500        1,000          6.5
Alaska plaice................  BSAI............       16,100       13,000        3,100         23.8        16,252       13,000        3,252         25.0
Other flatfish...............  BSAI............        4,000        2,500        1,500         60.0         4,000        2,500        1,500         60.0
Pacific ocean perch..........  BS..............       11,861       11,000          861          7.8        11,499       11,000          499          4.5
                               EAI.............        9,000        9,900         -900         -9.1         9,715        9,900         -185         -1.9
                               CAI.............        7,500        7,500            0          0.0         7,549        7,500           49          0.7
                               WAI.............        9,000       12,000       -3,000        -25.0         9,117       12,000       -2,883        -24.0
Northern rockfish............  BSAI............        6,100        5,000        1,100         22.0         6,500        5,000        1,500         30.0
Blackspotted/Rougheye          BS/EAI..........           75          100          -25        -25.0            75          100          -25        -25.0
 rockfish.
                               CAI/WAI.........          150          125           25         20.0           150          125           25         20.0
Shortraker rockfish..........  BSAI............          150          125           25         20.0           150          125           25         20.0
Other rockfish...............  BS..............          275          325          -50        -15.4           275          325          -50        -15.4
                               AI..............          570          550           20          3.6           570          550           20          3.6
Atka mackerel................  EAI/BS..........       36,500       34,000        2,500          7.4        33,780       34,000         -220         -0.6
                               CAI.............       21,000       21,500         -500         -2.3        24,895       21,500        3,395         15.8
                               WAI.............       13,500       13,910         -410         -2.9        13,825       13,910          -85         -0.6
Skates.......................  BSAI............       27,000       26,000        1,000          3.8        27,000       26,000        1,000          3.8
Sculpins.....................  BSAI............        5,000        4,500          500         11.1         5,000        4,500          500         11.1
Sharks.......................  BSAI............          180          125           55         44.0           180          125           55         44.0
Squids.......................  BSAI............        1,200        1,342         -142        -10.6         1,200        1,342         -142        -10.6

[[Page 8369]]

 
Octopuses....................  BSAI............          250          400         -150        -37.5           200          400         -200        -50.0
                                                --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    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 2019 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]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                               2019
                  Species                               Area             -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                OFL             ABC             TAC          ITAC \2\         CDQ \3\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \4\...............................  BS..........................       4,592,000       2,467,000       1,383,000       1,244,700         138,300
                                            AI..........................          37,431          30,803          19,000          17,100           1,900
                                            Bogoslof....................         130,428          60,800             500             500               0
Pacific cod \5\...........................  BS..........................         201,000         170,000         159,120         142,094          17,026
                                            AI..........................          28,700          21,500          15,695          14,016           1,679
Sablefish.................................  BS..........................           4,576           2,061           2,061             876              77
                                            AI..........................           6,209           2,798           2,798             595              52
Yellowfin sole............................  BSAI........................         295,600         267,500         156,000         139,308          16,692
Greenland turbot..........................  BSAI........................          13,540          11,473           5,294           4,500             n/a
                                            BS..........................             n/a          10,016           5,125           4,356             548
                                            AI..........................             n/a           1,457             169             144               0
Arrowtooth flounder.......................  BSAI........................          75,084          64,494          14,000          11,900           1,498
Kamchatka flounder........................  BSAI........................          12,022          10,317           5,000           4,250               0
Rock sole.................................  BSAI........................         136,000         132,000          49,100          43,846           5,254
Flathead sole \6\.........................  BSAI........................          78,036          65,227          16,500          14,735           1,766
Alaska plaice.............................  BSAI........................          38,800          32,700          16,252          13,814               0
Other flatfish \7\........................  BSAI........................          17,591          13,193           4,000           3,400               0
Pacific ocean perch.......................  BSAI........................          50,098          41,212          37,880          33,332             n/a
                                            BS..........................             n/a          11,499          11,499           9,774               0
                                            EAI.........................             n/a           9,715           9,715           8,675           1,040
                                            CAI.........................             n/a           7,549           7,549           6,741             808
                                            WAI.........................             n/a          12,449           9,117           8,141             976
Northern rockfish.........................  BSAI........................          15,563          12,710           6,500           5,525               0
Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish \8\....  BSAI........................             829             678             225             191               0
                                            BS/EAI......................             n/a             414              75              64               0
                                            CAI/WAI.....................             n/a             264             150             128               0
Shortraker rockfish.......................  BSAI........................             666             499             150             128               0
Other rockfish \9\........................  BSAI........................           1,816           1,362             845             718               0
                                            BS..........................             n/a             791             275             234               0
                                            AI..........................             n/a             571             570             485               0
Atka mackerel.............................  BSAI........................          97,200          84,400          72,500          64,743           7,758
                                            EAI/BS......................             n/a          33,780          33,780          30,166           3,614
                                            CAI.........................             n/a          29,350          24,895          22,231           2,664
                                            WAI.........................             n/a          21,270          13,825          12,346           1,479
Skates....................................  BSAI........................          44,202          36,957          27,000          22,950               0
Sculpins..................................  BSAI........................          53,201          39,995           5,000           4,250               0
Sharks....................................  BSAI........................             689             517             180             153               0
Squids....................................  BSAI........................           6,912           5,184           1,200           1,020               0
Octopuses.................................  BSAI........................           4,769           3,576             200             170               0
                                                                         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.................................  ............................       5,942,962       3,578,956       2,000,000       1,788,813         195,373
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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 subarea (BS) includes the Bogoslof District.
\2\ Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is
  put into a non-specified 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, blackspotted and rougheye rockfish,
  ``other rockfish,'' skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program.

[[Page 8370]]

 
\4\ Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual BS 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 AI 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 to account for the 6.4 percent of the BS ABC for the State of Alaska's (State) guideline harvest level in State waters
  of the BS. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set to account for the 27 percent of the AI ABC for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the AI.
\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
  blackspotted 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 and pot 
gear allocation of sablefish, and Amendment 80 species, in a non-
specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires that NMFS 
allocate 20 percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of 
sablefish for the fixed-gear sablefish CDQ reserve for each subarea. 
Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires that NMFS allocate 7.5 percent of 
the trawl gear allocations of sablefish in the BS and AI 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 TAC be 
allocated to the pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). 
Similarly, Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and 679.31(a) require 
that 10 percent of the Aleutian Islands TAC be allocated to the pollock 
CDQ reserve. The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is allocated as 
an ICA pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(ii) because the Bogoslof District 
is closed to directed fishing for pollock by regulation (Sec.  
679.22(a)(7)(i)(B)). 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 BS 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 2017. 
During this 18-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 an 
18-year average of 3.3 percent. Pursuant to Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(ii), NMFS establishes a pollock ICA of 2,400 mt 
of the AI 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 2017. During this 15-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 15-year average of 8 percent.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS allocates ICAs of 
4,000 mt of flathead sole, 6,000 mt of rock sole, 4,000 mt of yellowfin 
sole, 10 mt of WAI Pacific ocean perch, 120 mt of CAI Pacific ocean 
perch, 100 mt of EAI Pacific ocean perch, 20 mt of WAI Atka mackerel, 
75 mt of CAI Atka mackerel, and 800 mt of EAI and BS 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 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, blackspotted and 
rougheye rockfish, ``other rockfish,'' sharks, and octopuses by 15 
percent of the TAC in 2018 and 2019.

                                 Table 3--Final 2018 and 2019 Apportionment of Non-Specified Reserves to ITAC Categories
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                          2018 reserve                                     2019 reserve     2019 final
                Species-area or subarea                     2018 ITAC        amount      2018 final ITAC     2019 ITAC        amount           ITAC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shortraker rockfish-BSAI...............................             128              22             150              128              22             150
Rougheye rockfish-BS/EAI...............................              64              11              75               64              11              75
Rougheye rockfish-CAI/WAI..............................             128              22             150              128              22             150
Other rockfish-Bering Sea subarea......................             234              41             275              234              41             275
Other rockfish-Aleutian Islands subarea................             485              85             570              485              85             570
Sharks.................................................             153              27             180              153              27             180
Octopuses..............................................             213              37             250              340              60             400
                                                        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total..............................................           1,405             245           1,650            1,532             268           1,800
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 8371]]

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

    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that the BS pollock TAC be 
apportioned as a DFA, after subtracting 10 percent for the CDQ program 
and 3.9 percent for the ICA, as follows: 50 percent to the inshore 
sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor (C/P) sector, and 10 
percent to the mothership sector. In the BS, 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 TAC remaining in the AI 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 AI, the total A season apportionment 
of the TAC (including the AI directed fishery allocation, the CDQ 
allowance, and the ICA) may equal up to 40 percent of the ABC for AI 
pollock, 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 2018 and 
2019 amounts.
    Section 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6) 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 pollock ABC. In Area 541, the A season 
pollock harvest limit is no more than 30 percent of the Aleutian 
Islands pollock ABC.
    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific 
requirements regarding BS 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 2018 and 2019 
allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 20 through 25 list the AFA C/P and 
CV harvesting sideboard limits. The tables for the pollock allocations 
to the BS inshore pollock cooperatives and open access sector will be 
posted on the Alaska Region website at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.
    Tables 4 and 5 also list seasonal apportionments of pollock and 
harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The 
harvest within the SCA, as defined at Sec.  679.22(a)(7)(vii), is 
limited to no more than 28 percent of the annual pollock 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 2018 and 2019 amounts by sector.

    Table 4--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\......................       1,364,341             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................         136,434          61,395          38,202          75,039
ICA\1\..........................................          47,888             n/a             n/a             n/a
Total Bering Sea non-CDQ DFA....................       1,180,019         531,008         330,405         649,010
AFA Inshore.....................................         590,009         265,504         165,203         324,505
AFA Catcher/Processors \3\......................         472,007         212,403         132,162         259,604
    Catch by C/Ps...............................         431,887         194,349             n/a         237,538
    Catch by CVs \3\............................          40,121          18,054             n/a          22,066
    Unlisted C/P Limit \4\......................           2,360           1,062             n/a           1,298
AFA Motherships.................................         118,002          53,101          33,041          64,901
Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\..................         206,503             n/a             n/a             n/a
Excessive Processing Limit \6\..................         354,006             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\..........................             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a
    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\.......................             450             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)(i) through (iii), the annual Aleutian
  Islands pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second for 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 up 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 noon, April 1.
\3\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors
  shall be available for harvest only by AFA catcher vessels with catcher/processor sector endorsements
  delivering to listed catcher/processors, unless there is a C/P sector cooperative contract for the year.

[[Page 8372]]

 
\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\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.22(a)(7)(i)(B), the Bogoslof District is closed 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 2019 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed
                                          Fishing Allowances (DFA) \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         2019 A season \1\         2019 B season
                                                       2019      --------------------------------       \1\
                 Area and sector                    allocations                     SCA harvest  ---------------
                                                                   A season DFA      limit \2\     B season DFA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea subarea TAC \1\......................       1,383,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................         138,300          62,235          38,724          76,065
ICA \1\.........................................          48,543             n/a             n/a             n/a
Total Bering Sea non-CDQ DFA....................       1,196,157         538,271         334,924         657,886
AFA Inshore.....................................         598,078         269,135         167,462         328,943
AFA Catcher/Processors \3\......................         478,463         215,308         133,970         263,154
    Catch by C/Ps...............................         437,793         197,007             n/a         240,786
    Catch by CVs \3\............................          40,669          18,301             n/a          22,368
    Unlisted C/P Limit \4\......................           2,392           1,077             n/a           1,316
AFA Motherships.................................         119,616          53,827          33,492          65,789
Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\..................         209,327             n/a             n/a             n/a
Excessive Processing Limit \6\..................         358,847             n/a             n/a             n/a
Aleutian Islands subarea ABC....................          30,803             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          10,361             n/a           4,339
Area harvest limit \7\..........................             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a
    541.........................................           9,241             n/a             n/a             n/a
    542.........................................           4,620             n/a             n/a             n/a
    543.........................................           1,540             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)(i) through (iii), the annual Aleutian
  Islands pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (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 up 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 noon, April 1.
\3\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors
  shall be available for harvest only by AFA catcher vessels with catcher/processor sector endorsements
  delivering to listed catcher/processors, unless there is a C/P sector cooperative contract for the year.
\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\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.22(a)(7)(i)(B), the Bogoslof District is closed 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, ICAs for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and 
non-trawl gear sector, and the jig gear allocation (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 BS 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 BS to the 
jig gear sector in 2018 and 2019.
    Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel TAC into 
two equal

[[Page 8373]]

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.
    Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) and (ii) limits Atka mackerel 
catch within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in 
Table 6 to 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 divides the annual TAC between the A and B seasons as defined 
at Sec.  679.23(e)(3). Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires 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 2018 and 2019 Atka mackerel seasonal and 
area allowances, and the sector allocations. One Amendment 80 
cooperative has formed for the 2018 fishing year. The 2019 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, 2018.

 Table 6--Final 2018 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]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         2018 allocation by area
                                                        --------------------------------------------------------
            Sector \1\              Season \2\ \3\ \4\    Eastern Aleutian
                                                          District/Bering    Central Aleutian   Western Aleutian
                                                                Sea            District \5\         District
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC..............................  n/a.................             36,500             21,000             13,500
CDQ reserve......................  Total...............              3,906              2,247              1,445
                                   A...................              1,953              1,124                722
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                674                433
                                   B...................              1,953              1,124                722
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                674                433
Non-CDQ TAC......................  n/a.................             32,595             18,753             12,056
ICA..............................  Total...............                800                 75                 20
Jig \6\..........................  Total...............                159                  0                  0
BSAI trawl limited access........  Total...............              3,164              1,868                  0
                                   A...................              1,582                934                  0
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                560                  0
                                   B...................              1,582                934                  0
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                560                  0
Amendment 80 sector..............  Total...............             28,472             16,885             12,056
                                   A...................             14,236              8,443              6,028
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a              5,066              3,617
                                   B...................             14,236              8,443              6,028
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a              5,066              3,617
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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 Steller sea lion 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 in Area 543.
\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 the ICA. NMFS set the amount of
  this allocation for 2018 at 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 2019 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]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         2019 allocation by area
                                                        --------------------------------------------------------
            Sector \1\              Season \2\ \3\ \4\    Eastern Aleutian
                                                          District/Bering    Central Aleutian   Western Aleutian
                                                              Sea \5\          District \5\       District \5\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC..............................  n/a.................             33,780             24,895             13,825
CDQ reserve......................  Total...............              3,614              2,664              1,479
                                   A...................              1,807              1,332                740
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                799                444
                                   B...................              1,807              1,332                740

[[Page 8374]]

 
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                799                444
non-CDQ TAC......................  n/a.................             30,166             22,231             12,346
ICA..............................  Total...............                800                 75                 20
Jig \6\..........................  Total...............                147                  0                  0
BSAI trawl limited access........  Total...............              2,922              2,216                  0
                                   A...................              1,461              1,108                  0
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                665                  0
                                   B...................              1,461              1,108                  0
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                665                  0
Amendment 80 sectors \7\.........  Total...............             26,297             20,016             12,346
                                   A...................             13,148             10,008              6,173
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a              6,005              3,704
                                   B...................             13,148             10,008              6,173
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a              6,005              3,704
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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 Steller sea lion 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 in Area 543.
\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 the ICA. NMFS set the amount of
  this allocation for 2019 at 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season.
\7\ The 2019 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,
  2018. NMFS will post 2019 Amendment 80 allocations when they become available in December 2018.
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. If the non-CDQ Pacific cod TAC is or will be reached in 
either the Bering Sea or the 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).
    Section 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) allocates 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/Ps; 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 sector; 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 2018 and 2019, the Regional Administrator establishes an 
ICA of 400 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. One 
Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2018 fishing year. The 2019 
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, 2018.
    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), 679.20(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 that sector's 
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 2017 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 2018 and 2019. 
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.

[[Page 8375]]

    Section 679.20(a)(7)(viii) requires specification of annual Pacific 
cod allocations for the Aleutian Islands non-CDQ ICA, non-CDQ DFA, CV 
Harvest Set-Aside, and Unrestricted Fishery, as well as the Bering Sea 
Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation. The CV Harvest Set-Aside is a 
portion of the AI Pacific cod TAC that is available for harvest by 
catcher vessels directed fishing for AI Pacific cod and delivering 
their catch for processing to an AI shoreside processor. The CV Harvest 
Set-Aside will be effective in a fishing year if certain notification 
and performance requirements are met. First, in accordance with Sec.  
679.20(a)(7)(viii)(D), NMFS must receive timely and complete 
notification of intent to process AI Pacific cod from either the City 
Manager of the City of Adak or the City Administrator for Atka prior to 
the start of that fishing year. Second, if the performance requirement 
in Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E)(4), which requires a set amount of the 
Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside to be landed at Aleutian Islands 
shoreplants on or before February 28, 2018, is not met during that 
fishing year, then the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is lifted 
and the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation is suspended for 
the remainder of that fishing year.
    For 2018, NMFS received prior to October 31, 2017, timely and 
complete notice from the City of Adak indicating an intent to process 
AI Pacific cod in 2018. Accordingly, the harvest limits in Table 9a 
will be in effect in 2018, subject to the requirements outlined in 
Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E)(4): If less than 1,000 mt of the Aleutian 
Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is landed at Aleutian Islands shoreplants 
on or before February 28, 2018, then for the remainder of the year the 
Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is lifted and the Bering Sea 
Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation is suspended. If the entire 
Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is fully harvested and delivered 
to Aleutian Islands shoreplants before March 15, 2018, then the Bering 
Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation will be suspended for the 
remainder of the fishing year.
    The CDQ and non-CDQ seasonal allowances by gear based on the 2018 
and 2019 Pacific cod TACs are listed in Tables 8 and 9, and are based 
on the sector allocation percentages and seasonal allowances for 
Pacific cod set forth at Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) and (a)(7)(iv)(A); 
and the seasons for Pacific cod set forth at Sec.  679.23(e)(5).

               Table 8--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         188,136             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
BS CDQ........................             n/a          20,131             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
BS non-CDQ TAC................             n/a         168,005             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         182,021             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total hook-and-line/pot gear..            60.8         110,669             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line/pot ICA \2\.....             n/a             400             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(ii
                                                                                 )(B).
Hook-and-line/pot sub-total...             n/a         110,269             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line catcher/                    48.7             n/a          88,324  Jan 1-Jun 10....          45,045
 processor.
                                                                                Jun 10-Dec 31...          43,279
Hook-and-line catcher vessel               0.2             n/a             363  Jan 1-Jun 10....             185
 [gteqt]60 ft LOA.
                                                                                Jun 10-Dec 31...             178
Pot catcher/processor.........             1.5             n/a           2,720  Jan 1-Jun 10....           1,387
                                                                                Sept 1-Dec 31...           1,333
Pot catcher vessel [gteqt]60               8.4             n/a          15,235  Jan 1-Jun 10....           7,770
 ft LOA.
                                                                                Sept 1-Dec 31...           7,465
Catcher vessel <60 ft LOA                    2             n/a           3,627  n/a.............             n/a
 using hook-and-line or pot
 gear.
Trawl catcher vessel..........            22.1          40,227             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          29,768
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           4,425
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....           6,034
AFA trawl catcher/processor...             2.3           4,186             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           3,140
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           1,047
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....               0
Amendment 80..................            13.4          24,391             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          18,293
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           6,098
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....               0
Jig...........................             1.4           2,548             n/a  Jan 1-Apr 30....           1,529
                                                                                Apr 30-Aug 31...             510
                                                                                Aug 31-Dec 31...             510
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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 400 mt for 2018
  based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


[[Page 8376]]


               Table 9--Final 2019 Gear Shares and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI Pacific Cod TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 2019 share of                     2019 seasonal apportionment
          Gear sector               Percent       gear sector    2019 share of ---------------------------------
                                                     total       sector total        Seasons          Amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BS TAC........................             n/a         159,120             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
BS CDQ........................             n/a          17,026             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
BS non-CDQ TAC................             n/a         142,094             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         156,110             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total hook-and-line/pot gear..            60.8          94,915             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line/pot ICA \2\.....             n/a             400             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(ii
                                                                                 )(B).
Hook-and-line/pot sub-total...             n/a          94,515             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line catcher/                    48.7             n/a          75,705  Jan 1-Jun 10....          38,610
 processor.
                                                                                Jun 10-Dec 31...          37,095
Hook-and-line catcher vessel               0.2             n/a             311  Jan 1-Jun 10....             159
 [gteqt]60 ft LOA.
                                                                                Jun 10-Dec 31...             152
Pot catcher/processor.........             1.5             n/a           2,332  Jan 1-Jun 10....           1,189
                                                                                Sept 1-Dec 31...           1,143
Pot catcher vessel [gteqt]60               8.4             n/a          13,058  Jan 1-Jun 10....           6,660
 ft LOA.
                                                                                Sept 1-Dec 31...           6,398
Catcher vessel <60 ft LOA                    2             n/a           3,109  n/a.............             n/a
 using hook-and-line or pot
 gear.
Trawl catcher vessel..........            22.1          34,500             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          25,530
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           3,795
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....           5,175
AFA trawl catcher/processor...             2.3           3,591             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           2,693
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....             898
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....               0
Amendment 80..................            13.4          20,919             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          15,689
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           5,230
                                                                                Jun 10-Dec 31...               0
Jig...........................             1.4           2,186             n/a  Jan 1-Apr 30....           1,311
                                                                                Apr 30-Aug 31...             437
                                                                                Aug 31-Dec 31...             437
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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 400 mt for 2019
  based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


Table 9a--2018 and 2019 BSAI A-Season Pacific Cod Allocations and Limits
        if the Notification and Performance Requirements in Sec.
                       679.20(a)(7)(viii) Are Met
------------------------------------------------------------------------
   2018 and 2019 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..........................................         168,005
BSAI Trawl CV A-Season Allocation.......................          29,768
BSAI Trawl CV A-Season Allocation minus Sector                    24,768
 Limitation \1\.........................................
BS Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation..................           5,000
AI CV Harvest Set-Aside \2\.............................           5,000
AI Unrestricted Fishery \3\.............................           6,516
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ 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 the BS
  Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation is suspended for the remainder of
  the fishing year because the performance requirements pursuant to Sec.
    679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E) were not met.
\2\ Prior to March 15, 2018, only catcher vessels that deliver their
  catch of AI Pacific cod to AI shoreplants for processing may directed
  fish for that portion of the AI Pacific cod non-CDQ DFA that is
  specified as the AI CV Harvest Set-Aside, unless lifted because the
  performance requirements pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E) were
  not met.
\3\ Prior to March 15, 2018, vessels otherwise authorized to directed
  fish for Pacific cod in the AI may directed fish for that portion of
  the AI Pacific cod non-CDQ DFA that is specified as the AI
  Unrestricted Fishery.


[[Page 8377]]

Sablefish Gear Allocation

    Section 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 BS are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for hook-
and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TAC for the AI 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 for each subarea. Also, 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 or pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota 
(IFQ) fisheries are limited to the 2018 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 2018 and 2019 gear allocations of the 
sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts.

                                    Table 10--Final 2018 and 2019 Gear Shares and CDQ Reserve of BSAI Sablefish TACS
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           2018 Share of                     2018 CDQ      2019 Share of                     2019 CDQ
            Subarea and gear              Percent of TAC        TAC          2018 ITAC        reserve           TAC          2019 ITAC        reserve
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea:
    Trawl \1\...........................              50             732             622              55           1,031             876              77
    Hook-and-line/pot gear \2\..........              50             732             586             146             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...........................             100           1,464           1,208             201           1,031             876              77
Aleutian Islands:
    Trawl \1\...........................              25             497             422              37             700             595              52
    Hook-and-line/pot gear \2\..........              75           1,491           1,193             298             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...........................             100           1,988           1,615             335             700             595              52
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Except for the sablefish hook-and-line and pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the non-specific 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

    Section 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 ITAC between the Amendment 80 sector and the 
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.
    One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2018 fishing year. 
The 2019 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, 2018. Tables 11 and 12 list the 2018 and 2019 
allocations of the Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI 
flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs.

 Table 11--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.....................................................           9,000           7,500           9,000          14,500          47,100         154,000
CDQ.....................................................             963             803             963           1,552           5,040          16,478
ICA.....................................................             100             120              10           4,000           6,000           4,000
BSAI trawl limited access...............................             794             658             161               0               0          18,351
Amendment 80............................................           7,143           5,920           7,866           8,949          36,060         115,171
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


[[Page 8378]]


 Table 12--Final 2019 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.....................................................           9,715           7,549           9,117          16,500          49,100         156,000
CDQ.....................................................           1,040             808             976           1,766           5,254          16,692
ICA.....................................................             100             120              10           4,000           6,000           4,000
BSAI trawl limited access...............................             858             662             163               0               0          19,065
Amendment 80\1\.........................................           7,718           5,959           7,969          10,735          37,846         116,243
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 2019 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, 2018. NMFS will publish 2019 Amendment 80 allocations when they become
  available in December 2018.
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    Section 679.2 defines the ABC surplus for flathead sole, rock sole, 
and yellowfin sole as the difference between the annual ABC and TAC for 
each species. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii) establishes ABC reserves for 
flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The ABC surpluses and the 
ABC reserves are necessary to mitigate the operational variability, 
environmental conditions, and economic factors that may constrain the 
CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperatives from achieving, on a 
continuing basis, the optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. 
NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may set the ABC reserve at 
or below the ABC surplus for each species thus maintaining the TAC 
below ABC limits. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the ABC reserves 
will be allocated as CDQ ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and 
yellowfin sole. Section 679.31(b)(4) establishes the annual allocations 
of CDQ ABC reserves among the CDQ groups. 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 2018 and 2019 
ABC surplus and ABC reserves for BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and 
yellowfin sole.

 Table 13--Final 2018 and 2019 ABC Surplus, ABC Reserves, 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]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           2018 flathead                  2018 yellowfin     2019 \1\      2019 \1\ rock     2019 \1\
                         Sector                                sole       2018 rock sole       sole        flathead sole       sole       yellowfin sole
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ABC.....................................................          66,773         143,100         277,500          65,227         132,000         267,500
TAC.....................................................          14,500          47,100         154,000          16,500          49,100         156,000
ABC surplus.............................................          52,273          96,000         123,500          48,727          82,900         111,500
ABC reserve.............................................          52,273          96,000         123,500          48,727          82,900         111,500
CDQ ABC reserve.........................................           5,593          10,272          13,215           5,214           8,870          11,931
Amendment 80 ABC reserve................................          46,680          85,728         110,286          43,513          74,030          99,570
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 2019 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, 2018.

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 annual 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 the halibut PSC limit for the Amendment 80 sector, 
745 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the BSAI trawl limited access 
sector, and 710 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the BSAI non-trawl 
sector.
    Section 679.21(b)(1)(iii)(A) and (B) authorize apportionment of the 
BSAI non-trawl halibut PSC limit into PSC allowances among six fishery 
categories, and Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(A) and (B), (e)(3)(i)(B), and 
(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

[[Page 8379]]

halibut IFQ for that vessel category and the IFQ regulatory area in 
which the vessel is operating (Sec.  679.7(f)(11)).
    The 2017 total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the 
BSAI was 46,868 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch mortality of 17 
mt. The 2017 jig gear fishery harvested about 13 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 has not 
exceeded its performance standard under Sec.  679.21(f)(6) and if it is 
not a low Chinook salmon abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a 
portion of the 60,000 Chinook salmon 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 and has not exceeded its performance standard under 
Sec.  679.21(f)(6) in a low abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a 
portion of the 45,000 Chinook salmon 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 that sector as specified in 
Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(D).
    NMFS has determined that 2017 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 2018, the Chinook salmon PSC limit is 60,000 and 
is allocated to each AFA sector as specified in Sec.  
679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). The AFA sector Chinook salmon PSC limit 
allocations are seasonally apportioned with 70 percent of the 
allocation for the A season pollock fishery, and 30 percent of the 
allocation for the B season pollock fishery (Sec. Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(i) 
and 679.23(e)(2)). Additionally, in 2018, 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 
rules 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 2018 and 2019 
Chinook salmon PSC limit for the AI pollock fishery. Section 
679.21(g)(2)(ii) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, as the AI 
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 2018 and 2019 
non-Chinook salmon PSC limit for vessels using trawl gear from August 
15 through October 14 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 2017 survey data, the red king crab mature female 
abundance is estimated at 18.5 million mature red king crabs, and the 
effective spawning biomass is estimated at 39.8 million lbs (18,042 
mt). Based on the criteria set out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(i), the 2018 
and 2019 PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl gear is 97,000 
animals. This limit derives from the mature female abundance estimate 
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 2017, 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 2017 survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) 
abundance is estimated at 344 million animals. Pursuant to criteria set 
out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(ii), the calculated 2018 and 2019 C. bairdi 
crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 830,000 animals in Zone 1, and 
2,520,000 animals in Zone 2. The limit in Zone 1 is based on the 
abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 344 million animals, which is 
greater than 270 million animals and less than 400 million animals. The 
limit in Zone 2 is based on the abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 344 
million animals, which is greater than 290 million animals and less 
than 400 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 2017 survey estimate of 8.182 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 9,120,539 
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 2018 and 2019 herring biomass is 183,017 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 
2018 and 2019 is 1,830 mt for all trawl gear as listed in Tables 14 and 
15.
    Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A) requires crab PSQ reserves to be 
subtracted from the total trawl gear crab PSC limits. The 2018 crab and 
halibut PSC limits

[[Page 8380]]

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 reserves, the Amendment 80 sector, and the BSAI 
trawl limited access sector are listed in Table 14. Pursuant to 
Sec. Sec.  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 
cooperative quota. Crab and halibut PSC cooperative quota assigned to 
Amendment 80 cooperatives is not allocated to specific fishery 
categories. In 2018, there are no vessels in the Amendment 80 limited 
access sector and one Amendment 80 cooperative. The 2019 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, 2018. Section 
679.21(e)(3)(i)(B) requires NMFS to apportion each trawl PSC limit for 
crab and herring 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 non-trawl 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 groundfish 
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 
establishing seasonal prohibited species apportionments on segments of 
the target groundfish industry. The Council recommended and NMFS 
approves the seasonal PSC apportionments in Tables 16 and 17 to 
maximize harvest among gear types, fisheries, and seasons while 
minimizing bycatch of PSC based on the above criteria.

 Table 14--Final 2018 and 2019 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.......................................           1,830             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...............................       9,120,539             n/a         975,898       8,144,641       4,003,091       2,617,688
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 1.........................         830,000             n/a          88,810         741,190         312,115         348,285
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 2.........................       2,520,000             n/a         269,640       2,250,360         532,660       1,053,394
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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 2018 and 2019 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..........................              80             n/a
Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish                39             n/a
 \1\....................................
Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/                  5             n/a
 Kamchatka flounder/sablefish...........
Rockfish................................               5             n/a
Pacific cod.............................               9             n/a
Midwater trawl pollock..................           1,662             n/a
Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species \2\               30             n/a
 \3\....................................
Red king crab savings subarea non-                   n/a          24,250
 pelagic trawl gear \4\.................
                                         -------------------------------
    Total trawl PSC.....................           1,830          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 2017, the Council recommended and NMFS concurs 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.


[[Page 8381]]


                   Table 16--Final 2018 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       2,467,662         293,234       1,005,879
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           4,076               0             849
Pacific cod.....................             391           2,954         105,182          50,816          42,424
Pollock/Atka mackerel/other                  200             197          40,768           4,235           4,243
 species \3\....................
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total BSAI trawl limited                 745          26,489       2,617,688         348,285       1,053,395
     access PSC.................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited
  species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth
  flounder.
\3\ ``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 2018 and 2019 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.
                                      June 10-August 15               162               2  n/a.
                                      August 15-December               98               2  n/a.
                                    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.

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 2017 Pacific 
halibut stock assessment (December 2017), available on the IPHC website 
at www.iphc.int. The IPHC considered the 2017 Pacific halibut stock 
assessment at its January 2018 annual meeting when it set the 2018 
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 scientific 
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). 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, 
including potential changes to the reference period (the period of data 
used for calculating the DMRs). Future DMRs, including the 2019 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. The new methodology will 
continue to ensure that NMFS is using DMRs that more accurately reflect 
halibut mortality, which will inform the different sectors of their 
estimated halibut mortality and

[[Page 8382]]

allow specific sectors to respond with methods that could reduce 
mortality and, eventually, the DMR for that sector.
    At the December 2017 meeting, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed and 
concurred in the revised DMRs. For 2018 and 2019, the Council 
recommended and NMFS adopts the halibut DMRs derived from this revised 
process. The final 2018 and 2019 DMRs are unchanged from the DMRs 
proposed in the 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications (82 FR 57906, 
December 8, 2017). Table 18 lists the final 2018 and 2019 DMRs.

 Table 18--2018 and 2019 Pacific Halibut Discard Mortality Rates for the
                                  BSAI
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Halibut
                                                              discard
               Gear                        Sector         mortality rate
                                                             (percent)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pelagic trawl.....................  All.................             100
Non-pelagic trawl.................  Mothership and                    84
                                     catcher/processor.
Non-pelagic trawl.................  Catcher vessel......              60
Hook-and-line.....................  Catcher/processor...               8
Hook-and-line.....................  Catcher vessel......              17
Pot...............................  All.................               9
------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.  679.20(d)(1)(iii)). Similarly, 
pursuant to 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 or species group in that 
fishery category in the area specified by regulation for the remainder 
of the fishing year.
    Based on historic catch patterns and anticipated fishing activity, 
the Regional Administrator has determined that the groundfish 
allocation amounts in Table 19 will be necessary as incidental catch to 
support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2018 and 2019 
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 19 as zero mt. Therefore, in accordance with 
Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these 
sectors and species or species groups in the specified areas effective 
at 1200 hrs, A.l.t., February 27, 2018, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., 
December 31, 2019. 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 19 are insufficient to support directed 
fisheries. Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  679.21(b)(4)(i) and 
(e)(7), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these sectors, 
species, and fishery categories in the specified areas effective at 
1200 hrs, A.l.t., February 27, 2018, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 
31, 2019.

                              Table 19--2018 and 2018 Directed Fishing Closures \1\
           [Groundfish and halibut amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in number of animals.]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                       2018            2019
                                                                                    incidental      incidental
               Area                         Sector                Species              catch           catch
                                                                                     allowance       allowance
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bogoslof District.................  All..................  Pollock..............             450             500
Aleutian Islands subarea..........  All..................  ICA pollock..........           2,400           2,400
                                                           ``Other rockfish''                570             570
                                                            \2\.
Eastern Aleutian District/Bering    Non-amendment 80,      ICA Atka mackerel....             800             800
 Sea.                                CDQ, and BSAI trawl
                                     limited access.
Eastern Aleutian District/Bering    All..................  Blackspotted/Rougheye              75              75
 Sea.                                                       rockfish.
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
                                     limited access.
                                                           ICA Pacific ocean                  60              60
                                                            perch.
Western Aleutian District.........  Non-amendment 80,      ICA Atka mackerel....              20              20
                                     CDQ, and BSAI trawl
                                     limited access.
                                                           ICA Pacific ocean                  10              10
                                                            perch.
Western and Central Aleutian        All..................  Blackspotted/Rougheye             150             150
 Districts.                                                 rockfish.
Bering Sea subarea................  All..................  Pacific ocean perch..          10,082           9,774
                                                           ``Other rockfish''                275             275
                                                            \2\.
                                                           ICA pollock..........          47,888          48,543
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands...  All..................  Northern rockfish....           5,185           5,525
                                                           Shortraker rockfish..             150             150
                                                           Skates...............          22,950          22,950
                                                           Sculpins.............           4,250           4,250
                                                           Sharks...............             180             180

[[Page 8383]]

 
                                                           Squids...............           1,020           1,020
                                                           Octopuses............             250             200
                                    Hook-and-line and pot  ICA Pacific cod......             400             400
                                     gear.
                                    Non-amendment 80 and   ICA flathead sole....           4,000           4,000
                                     CDQ.
                                                           ICA rock sole........           6,000           6,000
                                    Non-amendment 80,      ICA yellowfin sole...           4,000           4,000
                                     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.
                                                           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 blackspotted/rougheye rockfish.

    Closures implemented under the final 2017 and 2018 BSAI harvest 
specifications for groundfish (82 FR 11826, February 27, 2017) remain 
effective under authority of these final 2018 and 2019 harvest 
specifications and until the date specified in those notices. Closures 
are posted at the following websites: 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 20 lists the 2018 and 2019 AFA C/P groundfish sideboard 
limits. Section 679.64(a)(1)(v) exempts AFA catcher/processors from a 
yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2018 and 2019 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 20. However, groundfish sideboard species 
that are delivered to listed AFA C/Ps by CVs will not be deducted from 
the 2018 and 2019 sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/Ps.

                                         Table 20--Final 2018 and 2019 Listed BSAI American Fisheries Act Catcher/Processor Groundfish Sideboard Limits
                                                                                  [Amounts are in metric tons]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                     1995-1997
                                                                                 ------------------------------------------------    2018 ITAC     2018 AFA C/P      2019 ITAC     2019 AFA C/P
                Target species                             Area/season                                               Ratio of      available to      sideboard     available to      sideboard
                                                                                  Retained catch    Total catch   retained catch  trawl C/Ps \1\       limit        trawl C/Ps*        limit
                                                                                                                  to total catch                                        \1\
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish trawl...............................  BS..............................               8             497           0.016             622              10             876              14
                                                AI..............................               0             145               0             422               0             595               0
Atka mackerel.................................  Central AI A season \2\.........             n/a             n/a           0.115           9,377           1,078          11,116           1,278
                                                Central AI B season \2\.........             n/a             n/a           0.115           9,377           1,078          11,116           1,278
                                                Western AI A season \2\.........             n/a             n/a             0.2           6,028           1,206           6,173           1,235
                                                Western AI B season \2\.........             n/a             n/a             0.2           6,028           1,206           6,173           1,235
Rock sole.....................................  BSAI............................           6,317         169,362           0.037          42,060           1,556          43,846           1,622
Greenland turbot..............................  BS..............................             121          17,305           0.007           4,356              30           4,356              30
                                                AI..............................              23           4,987           0.005             144               1             144               1
Arrowtooth flounder...........................  BSAI............................              76          33,987           0.002          11,578              23          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          14,735             530
Alaska plaice.................................  BSAI............................              14           9,438           0.001          13,685              14          13,814              14

[[Page 8384]]

 
Other flatfish................................  BSAI............................           3,058          52,298           0.058           3,400             197           3,400             197
Pacific ocean perch...........................  BS..............................              12           4,879           0.002          10,082              20           9,774              20
                                                Eastern AI......................             125           6,179            0.02           8,037             161           8,675             174
                                                Central AI......................               3           5,698           0.001           6,698               7           6,741               7
                                                Western AI......................              54          13,598           0.004           8,037              32           8,141              33
Northern rockfish.............................  BSAI............................              91          13,040           0.007           5,185              36           5,525              39
Shortraker rockfish...........................  BSAI............................              50           2,811           0.018             150               3             150               3
Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish................  BS/EAI..........................              50           2,811           0.018              75               1              75               1
                                                CAI/WAI.........................              50           2,811           0.018             150               3             150               3
Other rockfish................................  BS..............................              18             621           0.029             275               8             275               8
                                                AI..............................              22             806           0.027             570              15             570              15
Skates........................................  BSAI............................             553          68,672           0.008          22,950             184          22,950             184
Sculpins......................................  BSAI............................             553          68,672           0.008           4,250              34           4,250              34
Sharks........................................  BSAI............................             553          68,672           0.008             180               1             180               1
Squids........................................  BSAI............................              73           3,328           0.022           1,020              22           1,020              22
Octopuses.....................................  BSAI............................             553          68,672           0.008             250               2             200               2
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, and rock sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC for each species 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 caught by 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 21 that are caught by listed AFA C/Ps 
participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue 
against the 2018 and 2019 PSC sideboard limits for the listed AFA C/Ps. 
Section 679.21(b)(4)(iii), (e)(3)(v), and (e)(7) authorizes NMFS to 
close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for listed AFA 
C/Ps once a 2018 or 2019 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 21 is 
reached.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), halibut or 
crab PSC caught by listed AFA C/Ps while fishing for pollock will 
accrue against the bycatch allowances annually specified for the 
pollock/Atka mackerel/``other species'' fishery categories under Sec.  
679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv).

    Table 21--Final 2018 and 2019 BSAI AFA Listed Catcher/Processor Prohibited Species Catch Sideboard Limits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   2018 and 2019
                                                                                   PSC available   2018 and 2019
                                                                   Ratio of PSC      to trawl      AFA catcher/
                    PSC species and area \1\                      catch to total   vessels after     processor
                                                                        PSC       subtraction of     sideboard
                                                                                      PSQ \2\        limit \2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut mortality BSAI..........................................             n/a             n/a             286
Red king crab zone 1............................................           0.007          86,621             606
C. opilio (COBLZ)...............................................           0.153       8,144,641       1,246,130
C. bairdi Zone 1................................................           0.140         741,190         103,767
C. bairdi Zone 2................................................           0.050       2,250,360         112,518
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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) and (4) establishes a formula 
for setting AFA CV groundfish and halibut and crab 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 CVs from a 
yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2018 and 2019 aggregate ITAC 
of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl 
limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt. Tables 22 and 23 list 
the 2018 and 2019 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 2018

[[Page 8385]]

and 2019 sideboard limits listed in Table 22.
    Halibut and crab PSC limits listed in Table 23 that are caught by 
AFA CVs participating in any groundfish fishery for groundfish other 
than pollock will accrue against the 2018 and 2019 PSC sideboard limits 
for the AFA CVs. Section 679.21(b)(4)(iii), (e)(3)(v), and (e)(7) 
authorizes NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than 
pollock for AFA CVs once a 2018 or 2019 PSC sideboard limit listed in 
Table 23 is reached. Pursuant to 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 the pollock/Atka mackerel/``other species'' fishery 
categories under Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv).

                          Table 22--Final 2018 and 2019 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel BSAI Groundfish Sideboard Limits
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                          Ratio of 1995-                     2018 AFA                        2019 AFA
                                                                            1997 AFA CV    2018 initial   catcher vessel   2019 initial   catcher vessel
               Species/gear                    Fishery by area/season     catch to 1995-      TAC \1\        sideboard        TAC \1\        sideboard
                                                                             1997 TAC                         limits                          limits
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod/Hook-and-line CV [gteqt]60      BSAI Jan 1-Jun 10...........          0.0006             185               0             159               0
 feet LOA.
                                            BSAI Jun 10-Dec 31..........          0.0006             178               0             152               0
Pacific cod pot gear CV...................  BSAI Jan 1-Jun 10...........          0.0006           7,770               5           6,660               4
                                            BSAI Sept 1-Dec 31..........          0.0006           7,465               4           6,398               4
Pacific cod CV <=60 feet LOA using hook-    BSAI........................          0.0006           3,627               2           3,109               2
 and-line or pot gear.
Pacific cod trawl gear CV.................  BSAI Jan 20-Apr 1...........          0.8609          29,768          25,627          25,530          21,979
                                            BSAI Apr 1-Jun 10...........          0.8609           4,425           3,809           3,795           3,267
                                            BSAI Jun 10-Nov 1...........          0.8609           6,034           5,195           5,175           4,455
Sablefish trawl gear......................  BS..........................          0.0906             622              56             876              79
                                            AI..........................          0.0645             422              27             595              38
Atka mackerel.............................  Eastern AI/BS Jan 1-Jun 10..          0.0032          16,298              52          15,083              48
                                            Eastern AI/BS Jun 10-Nov 1..          0.0032          16,298              52          15,083              48
                                            Central AI Jan 1-Jun 10.....          0.0001           9,377               1          11,116               1
                                            Central AI Jun 10-Nov 1.....          0.0001           9,377               1          11,116               1
                                            Western AI Jan 1-Jun 10.....               0           6,028               0           6,173               0
                                            Western AI Jun 10-Nov 1.....               0           6,028               0           6,173               0
Rock sole.................................  BSAI........................          0.0341          42,060           1,434          43,846           1,495
Greenland turbot..........................  BS..........................          0.0645           4,356             281           4,356             281
                                            AI..........................          0.0205             144               3             144               3
Arrowtooth flounder.......................  BSAI........................           0.069          11,578             799          11,900             821
Kamchatka flounder........................  BSAI........................           0.069           4,250             293           4,250             293
Alaska plaice.............................  BSAI........................          0.0441          13,685             604          13,814             609
Other flatfish............................  BSAI........................          0.0441           3,400             150           3,400             150
Flathead sole.............................  BS..........................          0.0505          12,949             654          14,735             744
Pacific ocean perch.......................  BS..........................             0.1          10,082           1,008           9,774             977
                                            Eastern AI..................          0.0077           8,037              62           8,675              67
                                            Central AI..................          0.0025           6,698              17           6,741              17
                                            Western AI..................               0           8,037               0           8,141               0
Northern rockfish.........................  BSAI........................          0.0084           5,185              44           5,525              46
Shortraker rockfish.......................  BSAI........................          0.0037             150               1             150               1
Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish............  BS/EAI......................          0.0037              75               0              75               0
                                            CAI/WAI.....................          0.0037             150               1             150               1
Other rockfish............................  BS..........................          0.0048             275               1             275               1
                                            AI..........................          0.0095             570               5             570               5
Skates....................................  BSAI........................          0.0541          22,950           1,242          22,950           1,242
Sculpins..................................  BSAI........................          0.0541           4,250             230           4,250             230
Sharks....................................  BSAI........................          0.0541             180              10             180              10
Squids....................................  BSAI........................          0.3827           1,020             390           1,020             390
Octopuses.................................  BSAI........................          0.0541             250              14             200              11
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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
  for each species after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C).


[[Page 8386]]


  Table 23--Final 2018 and 2019 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Prohibited Species Catch Sideboard Limits
                                                for the BSAI \1\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   2018 and 2019
                                                                    AFA catcher      PSC limit     2018 and 2019
                                                                    vessel PSC         after        AFA catcher
      PSC species and area \1\       Target fishery category \2\     sideboard    subtraction of    vessel PSC
                                                                    limit ratio    PSQ reserves      sideboard
                                                                                        \3\          limit \3\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut............................  Pacific cod trawl..........             n/a             n/a             887
                                     Pacific cod hook-and-line               n/a             n/a               2
                                      or pot.
                                     Yellowfin sole total.......             n/a             n/a             101
                                     Rock sole/flathead sole/                n/a             n/a             228
                                      other flatfish \4\.
                                     Greenland turbot/arrowtooth/            n/a             n/a               0
                                      sablefish \5\.
                                     Rockfish...................             n/a             n/a               2
                                     Pollock/Atka mackerel/other             n/a             n/a               5
                                      species \6\.
Red king crab Zone 1...............  n/a........................           0.299          86,621          25,900
C. opilio COBLZ....................  n/a........................           0.168       8,144,641       1,368,300
C. bairdi Zone 1...................  n/a........................           0.330         741,190         244,593
C. bairdi Zone 2...................  n/a........................           0.186       2,250,360         418,567
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ Target trawl fishery categories are defined at Sec.   679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv).
\3\ Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals.
\4\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited
  species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Kamchatka flounder, and arrowtooth
  flounder.
\5\ Arrowtooth for PSC monitoring includes Kamchatka flounder.
\6\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, squids, and octopuses.

AFA Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel Sideboard Directed Fishing 
Closures

    Based on historical catch patterns, the Regional Administrator has 
determined that many of the AFA C/P and CV sideboard limits listed in 
Tables 24 and 25 are necessary as incidental catch to support other 
anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2018 and 2019 fishing years. 
In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iv), the Regional Administrator 
establishes the sideboard limits listed in Tables 24 and 25 as DFAs. 
Because many of these DFAs will be reached before the end of 2018, 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 24, 
and prohibiting directed fishing by non-exempt AFA CVs for the species 
in the specified areas set out in Table 25.

    Table 24--Final 2018 and 2019 American Fisheries Act Listed Catcher/Processor Sideboard Directed Fishing
                                                  Closures \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  2018 sideboard  2019 sideboard
              Species                        Area                Gear types            limit           limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish trawl...................  BS...................  trawl................              10              14
                                    AI...................  trawl................               0               0
Rock sole.........................  BSAI.................  all..................           1,556           1,622
Greenland turbot..................  BS...................  all..................              30              30
                                    AI...................  all..................               1               1
Arrowtooth flounder...............  BSAI.................  all..................              23              24
Kamchatka flounder................  BSAI.................  all..................               9               9
Alaska plaice.....................  BSAI.................  all..................              14              14
Other flatfish \2\................  BSAI.................  all..................             197             197
Flathead sole.....................  BSAI.................  all..................             466             530
Pacific ocean perch...............  BS...................  all..................              20              20
                                    Eastern AI...........  all..................             161             174
                                    Central AI...........  all..................               7               7
                                    Western AI...........  all..................              32              33
Northern rockfish.................  BSAI.................  all..................              36              39
Shortraker rockfish...............  BSAI.................  all..................               3               3
Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish....  BS/EAI...............  all..................               1               1
                                    CAI/WAI..............  all..................               3               3
Other rockfish \3\................  BS...................  all..................               8               8
                                    AI...................  all..................              15              15
Skates............................  BSAI.................  all..................             184             184
Sculpins..........................  BSAI.................  all..................              34              34
Sharks............................  BSAI.................  all..................               1               1
Squids............................  BSAI.................  all..................              25              22
Octopuses.........................  BSAI.................  all..................               2               2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679.

[[Page 8387]]

 
\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 blackspotted/rougheye rockfish.


   Table 25--Final 2018 and 2019 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Sideboard Directed Fishing Closures \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  2018 sideboard  2019 sideboard
              Species                        Area                Gear types            limit           limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod.......................  BSAI.................  hook-and-line CV                    0               0
                                                            [gteqt]60 feet LOA.
                                    BSAI.................  pot CV [gteqt]60 feet               9               8
                                                            LOA.
                                    BSAI.................  hook-and-line or pot                2               2
                                                            CV <=60 feet LOA.
                                    BSAI.................  jig..................               0               0
Sablefish.........................  BS...................  trawl................              56              79
                                    AI...................  trawl................              27              38
Atka mackerel.....................  Eastern AI/BS........  all..................             104              96
                                    Central AI...........  all..................               2               2
                                    Western AI...........  all..................               0               0
Greenland turbot..................  BS...................  all..................             281             281
                                    AI...................  all..................               3               3
Arrowtooth flounder...............  BSAI.................  all..................             799             821
Kamchatka flounder................  BSAI.................  all..................             293             293
Alaska plaice.....................  BSAI.................  all..................             501             609
Other flatfish \2\................  BSAI.................  all..................             150             150
Flathead sole.....................  BSAI.................  all..................             654             744
Rock sole.........................  BSAI.................  all..................           1,434           1,495
Pacific ocean perch...............  BS...................  all..................            1008             977
                                    Eastern AI...........  all..................              62              67
                                    Central AI...........  all..................              17              17
                                    Western AI...........  all..................               0               0
Northern rockfish.................  BSAI.................  all..................              44              46
Shortraker rockfish...............  BSAI.................  all..................               1               1
Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish....  BS/EAI...............  all..................               0               0
                                    CAI/WAI..............  all..................               1               1
Other rockfish \3\................  BS...................  all..................               1               1
                                    AI...................  all..................               5               5
Skates............................  BSAI.................  all..................           1,242           1,242
Sculpins..........................  BSAI.................  all..................             230             230
Sharks............................  BSAI.................  all..................              10              10
Squids............................  BSAI.................  all..................             390             390
Octopuses.........................  BSAI.................  all..................              14              11
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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 blackspotted/rougheye rockfish.

Response to Comments

    NMFS received no substantive comments 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 letters 
received.

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 Order 12866.
    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 2018, 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 2018 and 2019 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 2018 and 2019 harvest 
specifications, which were set according to the preferred harvest 
strategy in the EIS, does not constitute a substantial change in the 
action; and (2) there are no significant new circumstances or 
information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the 
action or its impacts. Additionally, the 2018 and 2019 harvest 
specifications will result in

[[Page 8388]]

environmental impacts within the scope of those analyzed and disclosed 
in the EIS. Therefore, supplemental National Environmental Policy Act 
documentation is not necessary to implement the 2018 and 2019 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.
    The required contents of a FRFA, as described in section 604, are: 
(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 8, 2017 (82 FR 57906). 
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 8, 2018. No comments were 
received on the IRFA or on the economic impacts of the rule more 
generally. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration did not file any comments on the proposed rule.
    The entities directly regulated by this action 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 gross receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its 
affiliated operations worldwide.
    The estimated number of directly regulated small entities in 2016 
include approximately 119 catcher vessels, five catcher/processors, and 
six CDQ groups. Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore 
pollock cooperatives, Gulf of Alaska rockfish cooperatives, or BSAI 
Crab Rationalization Program cooperatives, and, since under the RFA the 
aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the 
cooperative must meet the ``under $11 million'' threshold, the 
cooperatives are considered to be large entities within the meaning of 
the RFA. Thus, the estimate of 119 catcher vessels may be an 
overstatement of the number of small entities. Average gross revenues 
were $690,000 for small hook-and-line vessels, $1.25 million for small 
pot vessels, and $3.44 million for small trawl vessels. The average 
gross revenue for catcher/processor hook-and-line vessels was $2.90 
million. The revenue data for other catcher/processors are not 
reported, due to confidentiality considerations.
    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: First, set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 
3 at F 75%; set TAC for rockfish species in Tier 5 at F = 0.5M; and set 
spatially explicit TAC for shortraker and rougheye rockfish in the 
BSAI. Second, 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: (No Action) 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

[[Page 8389]]

although Alternatives 1 and 3 may have a smaller adverse economic 
impact on small entities than the preferred alternative, Alternatives 4 
and 5 likely 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 2018 and 2019 would be 3,779,809 mt 
and 3,578,956 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, Division B, section 803(c), and the FMP, 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 
based on 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. NMFS annually 
conducts at-sea stock surveys for different species, as well as 
statistical modeling, to estimate stock sizes and permissible harvest 
levels. Actual harvest rates or harvest amounts are a component of 
these estimates, but in and of themselves may not accurately portray 
stock sizes and conditions. Harvest rates are listed for each species 
category for each year in the SAFE report (see ADDRESSES).
    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 of 1.4 million mt. 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 uncertain, and, assuming volume decreases 
would lead to price increases, it is unclear whether price increases 
would be sufficient to offset the volume decreases and to leave 
revenues unchanged for small entities. 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. The Plan Team review occurred in November 2017, 
and the Council considered and recommended the final harvest 
specifications in December 2017. Accordingly, NMFS' review could not 
begin until after the December 2017 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 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (82 FR 
11826, February 27, 2017). If implemented immediately, this rule would 
allow these fisheries to continue fishing because some of the new TACs 
implemented by this rule are higher than the TACs under which they are 
currently fishing.
    In addition, immediate effectiveness of this action is required to 
provide consistent management and conservation of fishery resources 
based on the best available scientific information. This is 
particularly pertinent for those species that have lower 2018 ABCs and 
TACs than those established in the 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications 
(82 FR 11826, February 27, 2017). If implemented immediately, this rule 
would ensure that NMFS can properly manage those fisheries for which 
this rule sets lower 2018 ABCs and TACs, which are based on the most 
recent biological information on the condition of stocks, rather than 
managing species under the higher TACs set in the previous year's 
harvest specifications.
    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, thus 
undermining the intent of this rule. Predicting 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, for 
example by freeing up fishing vessels, which would allow them to move 
from closed fisheries to open ones and lead to an increase in the 
fishing capacity in those open fisheries, causing those open fisheries 
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 limits. 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 24, 
2018, which is the start of the 2018 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 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications will 
allow the sablefish IFQ fishery to begin concurrently with the Pacific 
halibut IFQ season.
    Finally, 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 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications 
and prohibited species bycatch allowances for the groundfish fisheries 
of the BSAI. This

[[Page 8390]]

action is necessary to establish harvest limits and associated 
management measures for groundfish during the 2018 and 2019 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 amounts 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, 2018.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-03918 Filed 2-26-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P