Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reclassifying Squid Species in the BSAI and GOA, 31460-31470 [2018-14457]

Download as PDF 31460 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 130 / Friday, July 6, 2018 / Rules and Regulations III. Procedural Matters DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE A. Paperwork Reduction Act National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 8. This document does not contain new information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104–13. In addition, therefore, it does not contain any new or information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107–198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4). B. Congressional Review Act 9. The Commission will send a copy of this Report and Order to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A). IV. Ordering Clauses 10. Accordingly, it is ordered, pursuant to the authority contained in sections 1, 4(j), 214, 254, and 405 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(j), 214, 254, and 405 and § 1.429 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR 1.429, that this Order is adopted. 11. It is further ordered that, pursuant to the authority contained in sections 1, 4(j), 214, 254, and 405 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(j), 214, 254, and 405, and § 1.429 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR 1.429, the Petition for Reconsideration of the Commission’s Order, filed by Alaska Communications, is denied as discussed herein. 12. It is further ordered that, pursuant to the authority contained in § 1.103 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR 1.103, this Order shall be effective August 6, 2018. Federal Communications Commission. Marlene Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary. [FR Doc. 2018–14148 Filed 7–5–18; 8:45 am] sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES BILLING CODE 6712–01–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Jul 05, 2018 Jkt 244001 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 170714670–8561–02] RIN 0648–BH05 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Reclassifying Squid Species in the BSAI and GOA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: NMFS issues regulations to implement Amendment 117 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP), implement Amendment 106 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP), and update the species code tables for octopus. This final rule prohibits directed fishing for the squid species complex (squids) by Federally permitted groundfish fishermen, specifies a squid retention limit in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) groundfish fisheries consistent with the existing Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) squid retention limit, and makes minor corrections to the octopus species code tables. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the FMPs, and other applicable laws. DATES: Effective August 6, 2018. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of Amendment 117 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 106 to the GOA FMP, and the Environmental Assessment/ Regulatory Impact Review (collectively the ‘‘Analysis’’) prepared for this action may be obtained from www.regulations.gov. Electronic copies of the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analyses for the BSAI and GOA Groundfish Harvest Specifications for 2018 and 2019 may be obtained from www.regulations.gov. Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule may be submitted by mail to NMFS, Alaska Region, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99082–1668, Attn: Ellen Sebastian, Records Officer; in person at NMFS, Alaska Region, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK; by email to SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov; or by fax to (202) 395–5806. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Megan Mackey, (907) 586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Authority for Action NMFS manages the groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic zones of the BSAI and GOA under the BSAI FMP and GOA FMP (collectively the FMPs). The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the FMPs under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations implementing the FMPs appear at 50 CFR part 679. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries appear at 50 CFR part 600. This final rule implements Amendments 117/106 and updates the species code for octopus in several tables to 50 CFR part 679. The Council submitted Amendments 117/106 for review by the Secretary of Commerce, and the notice of availability of these amendments was published in the Federal Register on March 27, 2018, with comments invited through May 29, 2018 (83 FR 13117). NMFS published the proposed rule for this action on April 11, 2018 (83 FR 15538), with comments invited through May 11, 2018. NMFS received three comment letters from three members of the public. The comments are summarized and responded to under the heading ‘‘Comments and Responses’’ below. A detailed review of the provisions and rationale for this action is provided in the preamble to the proposed rule and is briefly summarized in this final rule. Background In June 2017, the Council voted unanimously to recommend FMP Amendments 117/106 to reclassify squids as non-target ecosystem component species, not in need of conservation and management. Squids are currently classified as target species in the FMPs, though as discussed below, squids are currently only caught incidental to other target fisheries. To implement FMP Amendments 117/106, NMFS implements regulations to prohibit directed fishing for squids by Federally permitted groundfish fishermen and to specify a squid retention limit in the GOA groundfish fisheries consistent with the existing BSAI squid retention limit. The following sections of this preamble describe (1) groundfish stock classification in FMPs and a brief E:\FR\FM\06JYR1.SGM 06JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 130 / Friday, July 6, 2018 / Rules and Regulations sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES history of this action; (2) the National Standards (NS) guidance for determining which species require conservation and management; (3) FMP Amendments 117/106; (4) the regulatory changes made by this final rule; and (5) the comments received and NMFS responses to those comments. Stock Classification in FMPs and a Brief History of This Action Among other requirements, FMPs must comply with the MagnusonStevens Act NS (16 U.S.C. 1851). Relevant to this final rule, the NS guidelines at 50 CFR 600.305(d)(11), (12) and (13) define three classifications for stocks in an FMP: (1) Target stocks in need of conservation and management that fishermen seek to catch; (2) non-target stocks in need of conservation and management that are caught incidentally during the pursuit of target stocks; and (3) ecosystem component (EC) species that do not require conservation and management, but may be listed in an FMP in order to achieve ecosystem management objectives. Squids are currently classified as target species in the FMPs and directed fishing for squids is allowed. For squid, NMFS annually establishes an overfishing level (OFL) that should not be exceeded, an allowable biological catch (ABC) that is the maximum permissible harvest amount, and a total allowable catch (TAC). These terms, and the process for establishing the OFL, ABC, and TAC for squids, are described in the preamble to the proposed rule and are not repeated here (April 11, 2018, 83 FR 15538). The TAC levels established annually for squids are too low to support a directed fishery in either the BSAI or GOA. Directed fishing for squids has been closed in the BSAI and GOA through the annual harvest specifications each year since 2011. Thus, squids are only harvested incidentally in fisheries targeting other species. Since 2010, the Council’s non-target committee, Plan Teams, and Scientific and Statistical Committee have recommended that the Council explore reclassifying squids as EC category species because they do not meet the target species category classification, there is no demand for squid, and squid have not been targeted or open to directed fishing in either the BSAI or GOA for many years (see Section 1.2 of the Analysis). Further, there is no conservation concern for squids because they are extremely short-lived and highly productive, the current fishing mortality is considered insignificant at a population level, and they are unlikely VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Jul 05, 2018 Jkt 244001 to be overfished in the absence of a directed fishery (see Section 3.2.5 of the Analysis). Determining Which Species Require Conservation and Management Section 302(h)(1) of the MagnusonStevens Act requires a regional fishery management council to prepare an FMP for each fishery under its authority that is in need of conservation and management. ‘‘Conservation and management’’ is defined in section 3(5) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The NS guidelines at § 600.305(c) (revised on October 18, 2016, 81 FR 71858), provide direction for determining which stocks will require conservation and management and provide direction to regional fishery management councils and NMFS for how to consider these factors in making this determination. Specifically, the guidelines direct regional fishery management councils and NMFS to consider a non-exhaustive list of ten factors when deciding whether stocks require conservation and management. Section 2.2.1 of the Analysis considers each of the 10 factors’ relevance to squids. The Analysis showed that squids are an important component of the marine ecosystem, particularly due to their importance as prey for marine mammals, fish and other squids. However, despite being classified as a target species, there are currently no directed fisheries for squids. Squids are not important to commercial, recreational, or subsistence users, and the fisheries for BSAI and GOA squids are not important to the National or regional economy. There are no developing fisheries for squids in the exclusive economic zone off Alaska nor in waters of the State of Alaska. In the absence of a directed fishery, squids are unlikely to become overfished because they are short-lived and highly productive, and current surveys are considered substantial underestimates of true squids biomass in both the BSAI and GOA. Therefore, maintaining squids in the FMPs for conservation and management is not likely to improve or maintain the condition of the stocks. Amendments 117/106 In June 2017, the Council recommended, and NMFS now implements, Amendments 117/106 to reclassify squids as EC category species in the FMPs. Based on a review of the scientific information, and after considering the revised NS guidelines, the Council and NMFS determined that squids are not in need of conservation and management, and that classifying PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 31461 squids in the EC category is an appropriate action. Though the Council determined, and NMFS concurs, that squids are not in need of conservation and management, squid population status and bycatch should be monitored to continually assess vulnerability of squids to the fishery given their importance in the ecosystem. Therefore, this final rule retains recordkeeping and reporting requirements for squid bycatch. This final rule prohibits directed fishing for squids to meet the intent of Amendments 117/106 that squids are not a target species complex. Because the definition of directed fishing at § 679.2 is based on a maximum retainable amount (MRA), this final rule specifies a retention limit for squids so that NMFS can implement the prohibition on directed fishing to meet the intent of Amendments 117/106. This Final Rule and the Anticipated Effects In addition to classifying squids as an EC category species in the FMPs under Amendments 117/106, NMFS issues regulations to limit and monitor the catch of squids. This final rule— • prohibits directed fishing for squids in the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries; • maintains recordkeeping and reporting requirements of squids in the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries, but modifies the pertinent regulations for clarity; • specifies a squids retention limit, or MRA, in the GOA Federal groundfish fisheries consistent with the existing BSAI squids MRA of 20 percent; and • revises the species code tables in the regulations to indicate octopus is a multi-species category by using the plural, octopuses. To prohibit directed fishing, this final rule revises §§ 679.20(i) and 679.22(i) to prohibit directed fishing for squids at all times in the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries. To clarify definitions and recordkeeping and reporting requirements, this final rule adds a definition for squids at § 679.2 and adds an instruction to § 679.5 to use the squids species code in Table 2c to 50 CFR part 679 (Table 2c) to record and report squid catch. These revisions maintain NMFS’ ability to monitor the catch, retention, and discard of squids. The MRA is the proportion or percentage of retained catch of a species closed for directed fishing (incidental catch species) to the retained catch of a species open for directed fishing (basis species). This final rule moves squids out of the basis species category and E:\FR\FM\06JYR1.SGM 06JYR1 31462 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 130 / Friday, July 6, 2018 / Rules and Regulations into the incidental catch species category consistent with the prohibition on directed fishing for squids under this final rule. In developing this final rule, the Council and NMFS considered a range of squids MRA percentages: 2 percent, 10 percent, and the current MRA of 20 percent. Section 4.6.2 of the Analysis discusses that a more constraining MRA is more likely to increase discards of dead squids rather than discourage targeting. There are no conservation concerns for squids. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is specifying an MRA for squids of 20 percent in the GOA groundfish fisheries consistent with the existing MRA for squids in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. This final rule corrects a minor technical inaccuracy in the species code for octopus. This correction does not affect existing reporting requirements. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Comments and Responses NMFS received three unique comments from three members of the public on the proposed rule. Comment 1: Squid is a target species in many market sectors. This regulation is not science based and demonstrates willful mismanagement of the Federal public trust. Do not enact these changes. Response: While there are markets for squids in some places, squids have limited economic value relative to many of the BSAI and GOA groundfish and therefore are not targeted by commercial, recreational, or subsistence fishery participants. In addition, the preamble to the proposed rule (83 FR 15538, April 11, 2018), and the Analysis state that squids are closed to directed fishing and therefore are not directly targeted in the North Pacific groundfish fisheries. This final rule was developed after considering the best available scientific information provided in the Analysis prepared by the Council and NMFS. Specifically, the Analysis examined the biological, economic, and management implications of classifying squids in the EC category. The Analysis describes that there are no conservation concerns for squids. Squids are shortlived and highly productive. Bottom trawl surveys are considered substantial underestimates of true squid biomass in both the BSAI and GOA. Fishing related mortality is extremely low compared with the estimated predation mortality in food web models. In the absence of a directed fishery, squids are very unlikely to become overfished. Therefore, based on the best scientific information available, NMFS determined that squids are not in need of conservation and management and VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Jul 05, 2018 Jkt 244001 that classifying squids in the EC category is an appropriate action. Comment 2: The squids retention limit should be zero. Response: Although squids do not require conservation and management, it is still appropriate to take measures to minimize squids bycatch to the extent practicable. This is consistent with NS 9, which requires that management measures, to the extent practicable, minimize bycatch and to the extent bycatch cannot be avoided, minimize bycatch mortality, and the Council’s long-standing practice of minimizing the bycatch of species such as forage fish and grenadiers that are important to the ecosystem but that do not require conservation and management. The preferred alternative maintains the current MRA of 20 percent, rather than imposing a more stringent MRA because a more restrictive MRA does not appear necessary. As noted in the response to Comment 1 above, there are no conservation concerns for squids. Further, Section 4.6.2 of the Analysis discusses that a more constraining MRA is more likely to increase discards of dead squids rather than discourage targeting. Therefore, a retention limit of zero would be unnecessarily constraining and would not be likely to benefit squids. Comment 3: One commenter expressed support for this action and noted this action provides operational relief to the owners and operators of trawl catcher vessels that may be constrained by a squid OFL in the Bering Sea pollock fishery. Response: NMFS acknowledges the comment. Changes From the Proposed Rule No changes were made from the proposed rule. Classification The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS has determined that this final rule is necessary to properly classify squids in the FMPs based on the best available scientific information, and is consistent with Amendment 117 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 106 to the GOA FMP, other provisions of the MagnusonStevens Act, and other applicable laws. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866. Small Entity Compliance Guide Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for which an agency is required to prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis, the agency shall PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 publish one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule, and shall designate such publications as ‘‘small entity compliance guides.’’ The preamble to the proposed rule and this final rule serve as the small entity compliance guide. This action does not require any additional compliance from small entities that is not described in the preambles. Copies of the proposed rule and this final rule are available from the NMFS website at https:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) An RIR was prepared to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives. A copy of this analysis is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The Council recommended Amendments 117/106 based on those measures that maximized net benefits to the Nation. Specific aspects of the economic analysis related to the impact of this final rule on small entities are discussed below. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) This section contains the FRFA for this final rule. Section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires that, when an agency promulgates a final rule under section 553 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code, after being required by that section or any other law to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking, the agency shall prepare a FRFA. Section 604 describes the required contents of a FRFA: (1) A statement of the need for and objectives of the rule; (2) a statement of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the IRFA, 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 (SBA) in response to the proposed rule, and a detailed statement of any changes 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 that 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 E:\FR\FM\06JYR1.SGM 06JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 130 / Friday, July 6, 2018 / Rules and Regulations small entities in the groundfish fisheries off Alaska because some of these vessels are affiliated through common ownership or membership in a cooperative, and the affiliated vessels together would exceed the $11.0 million annual gross receipts threshold for small entities. The only potential adverse economic impact that has been identified for this final rule is that vessel owners or operators who may wish to conduct directed fishing for squids in the future, and who wish to retain more squids than allowed under the 20 percent MRA, will not be able to do so. This potential adverse impact will not affect any current participants relative to Public and Chief Counsel for Advocacy opportunities available to them in Comments on the Proposed Rule recent years, because directed fishing NMFS published the proposed rule on for squid has been closed in the BSAI April 11, 2018. An IRFA was prepared and GOA since 2011. Therefore, no and summarized in the ‘‘Classification’’ current participants will lose an section of the preamble to the proposed economic opportunity that is available rule. The comment period closed on to them today or has been available to May 11, 2018, for the proposed rule and them in recent years. on May 29, 2018, for the notice of The degree to which this final rule availability for the amendments. NMFS could limit current fishery permit received three unique comments from holders’ future economic activity in the three members of the public on the BSAI or GOA could be viewed as an proposed rule and Amendments 117/ adverse impact of this final rule. This 106. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of adverse economic impact could affect the SBA did not file any comments on any future participant in these the proposed rule. groundfish fisheries. Therefore, all NMFS received no comments fishing vessels currently participating in specifically on the IRFA. However, one the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries of the comments supported the action that are small entities could be because it provides operational relief to adversely impacted by this final rule in the owners and operators of trawl the future. However, based on the very catcher vessels. limited number of vessel operators who have expressed interest in conducting Number and Description of Small directed fishing for squids in the past, Entities Regulated by This Final Rule the actual number of small entities that This final rule directly regulates any will be adversely impacted by this final vessel operator harvesting squids in the rule is likely zero or very few. Vessel Federally managed groundfish fisheries operators may continue to catch and in the BSAI and GOA. The thresholds retain squids in the BSAI and GOA applied to determine if an entity or groundfish fisheries as long as they group of entities are ‘‘small’’ under the maintain their catch within the 20 RFA depend on the industry percent MRA. classification for the entity or entities. For operators of vessels currently Businesses classified as primarily participating in these fisheries, the engaged in commercial fishing are economic impacts of this final rule are considered small entities if they have primarily beneficial or neutral. combined annual gross receipts not in Removing squids from the BSAI target excess of $11.0 million for all affiliated species category will remove the squids operations worldwide (81 FR 4469; TAC from inclusion in the 2 million mt January 26, 2016). The most recent optimum yield (OY) cap in the BSAI. estimates of the number of fishing The amount of the OY cap that has been vessels participating in the BSAI and reserved for squids will be available to GOA groundfish fisheries that are small increase the TAC limit or limits for entities are provided in Table 2 in the other BSAI target species. This effect IRFAs for the BSAI and GOA annual will benefit participants in the BSAI harvest specifications for 2018 and 2019 fisheries that experience TAC increases (see ADDRESSES). In 2016, there were 119 relative to what the TACs would have catcher vessels and 5 catcher/processors been without this final rule. Some of the in the BSAI, and 920 catcher vessels and entities that experience benefits from increased TACs in the future may be 3 catcher/processors in the GOA. These estimates likely overstate the number of small entities. The effects on target sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 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 this 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 final rule and the need for and objectives of the rule are contained in the preamble to this final rule and the preamble to the proposed rule (83 FR 15538, April 11, 2018), and are not repeated here. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Jul 05, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 31463 species TACs will be neutral for the GOA fisheries, as the OY has not constrained TACs in the GOA to date. Therefore, removing the squids TAC in the GOA will not allow for an increase in the TAC for another target species. For participants in the Bering Sea pollock fishery, moving squids from the target species category to the EC category will remove the squid OFL as a potential constraint for the Bering Sea pollock fishery, thereby increasing the flexibility of the Bering Sea pollock fishery participants to focus on minimizing the bycatch of salmon and other PSC in the pollock fisheries. Removing this constraint will reduce the costs associated with trying to simultaneously minimize the catch of squid and the catch of salmon and other PSC. However, none of the directly regulated entities in the Bering Sea pollock fishery are considered small entities because all of them are affiliated through either ownership or membership in a cooperative and, when considered together, have annual gross receipts that exceed $11.0 million annually. Recordkeeping, Reporting, and Other Compliance Requirements Under this final rule, requirements for recording and reporting the catch, discard, and production of squid in logbooks or on catch or production reports will be maintained as they are in existing regulations. This final rule makes only minor modifications to clarify the recordkeeping and reporting requirements in § 679.5, Table 2a to 50 CFR part 679, and Table 2c to 50 CFR part 679. Therefore, moving squids from the target species category to the EC category will not change recordkeeping and reporting costs for fishery participants or impose any additional or new costs on participants. Description of Significant Alternatives That Minimize Adverse Impacts on Small Entities The Council and NMFS considered three alternatives. Among the three alternatives, Alternative 2 Option 3 (the preferred alternative) provides the most economic benefits to current participants in the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries. The primary economic benefit of this final rule is to reduce the potential constraints imposed by the OFLs, ABCs, and TACs for squids on BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries. Among the three options considered for the squids MRA (20 percent, 10 percent, and 2 percent), the 20 percent MRA that was selected minimizes the economic impact on any fishing vessel that is a small entity E:\FR\FM\06JYR1.SGM 06JYR1 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 31464 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 130 / Friday, July 6, 2018 / Rules and Regulations because it provides the greatest opportunity to retain squid as catch in other groundfish fisheries. Alternative 1 is the no action alternative and would have continued to classify squids as target species in the FMPs. OFLs, ABCs, and TACs would have continued to be set for squids as a species group in both the BSAI and GOA. Relative to Alternative 2, Alternative 1 could be considered less beneficial to small entities because all catch specifications would need to be maintained, and current constraints on the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries would continue. However, Alternative 2 (this final rule) could be considered more restrictive to small entities than Alternative 1 if the prohibition on directed fishing for squids under this final rule limits future participants’ ability to conduct directed fishing for squids more so than would have occurred under the status quo. Alternative 1 would have allowed NMFS to determine annually whether to open a directed fishery for squids. Alternative 2 classifies squids in the BSAI and GOA in the EC category and implements a regulation prohibiting directed fishing for squids that could only be revised through subsequent rulemaking. However, the Council recommended and NMFS concurs that the benefits of this final rule to current fishery participants, including small entities, outweigh the potential future adverse impacts of the prohibition against directed fishing for squids. In addition, this provision can be reevaluated by the Council and NMFS in the future if fishery participants want to develop directed fisheries for squids. Alternative 3 would have classified squids in the FMPs as ‘‘non-target’’ species, in which case OFLs and ABCs would still have been established but TAC would no longer be specified. Relative to Alternative 2, Alternative 3 would have been less beneficial to small entities because certain catch specifications and their associated fishery constraints would still need to be maintained. When comparing Alternatives 1 and 3, Alternative 3 would have removed the requirement for setting TACs; however, the current potential constraints on other groundfish fisheries if an OFL or ABC for squids were achieved would continue. Therefore Alternative 3 would have been only slightly more beneficial than Alternative 1 to small entities. Collection-of-Information Requirements This final rule refers to collection-ofinformation (‘‘recordkeeping and reporting’’) requirements approved by the Office of Management and Budget VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Jul 05, 2018 Jkt 244001 (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The relevant information collections are approved under OMB Control Number 0648–0213 (Alaska Region Logbook Family of Forms) and OMB Control Number 0648–0515 (Alaska Interagency Electronic Reporting System). This final rule makes minor revisions to these information collection requirements to clarify the location of the species code for squids in the tables to 50 CFR part 679. These revisions do not change the public reporting burden of the approved information collections or require revisions to the currently approved supporting statements for these collections. Send comments on these or any other aspects of the collection of information to NMFS Alaska Region at the ADDRESSES above, by email to OIRA_ Submission@omb.eop.gov, or by fax to (202) 395–5806. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, and no person shall be subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number. All currently approved NOAA collections of information may be viewed at https://www.cio.noaa.gov/ services_programs/prasubs.html. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679 Alaska, Fisheries, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Dated: June 29, 2018. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regualtory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 50 CFR part 679 as follows: PART 679—FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA 1. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 108–447; Pub. L. 111–281. 2. In § 679.2, add a definition for ‘‘Squids’’ in alphabetical order to read as follows: ■ § 679.2 Definitions. * * * * * Squids (see Table 2c to this part and § 679.20(i)). * * * * * ■ 3. In § 679.5, revise paragraph (a)(3) introductory text and paragraphs PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (c)(3)(vi)(F) and (c)(4)(vi)(E) to read as follows: § 679.5 (R&R). Recordkeeping and reporting (a) * * * (3) Fish to be recorded and reported. The operator or manager must record and report the following information (see paragraphs (a)(3)(i) through (iv) of this section) for all groundfish (see Table 2a to this part), prohibited species (see Table 2b to this part), forage fish (see Table 2c to this part), grenadiers (see Table 2c to this part), and squids (see Table 2c to this part). The operator or manager may record and report the following information (see paragraphs (a)(3)(i) through (iv) of this section) for non-groundfish (see Table 2d to this part): * * * * * (c) * * * (3) * * * (vi) * * * (F) Species codes. The operator must record and report required information for all groundfish (see Table 2a to this part), prohibited species (see Table 2b to this part), forage fish (see Table 2c to this part), grenadiers (see Table 2c to this part), and squids (see Table 2c to this part). The operator may record and report information for non-groundfish (see Table 2d to this part). * * * * * (4) * * * (vi) * * * (E) Species codes. The operator must record and report required information for all groundfish (see Table 2a to this part), prohibited species (see Table 2b to this part), forage fish (see Table 2c to this part), grenadiers (see Table 2c to this part), and squids (see Table 2c to this part). The operator may record and report information for non-groundfish (see Table 2d to this part). * * * * * ■ 4. In § 679.20, revise paragraph (b)(2) introductory text, paragraph (i) subject heading, and paragraphs (i)(3) through (5) to read as follows: § 679.20 General limitations. * * * * * (b) * * * (2) GOA. Initial reserves are established for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, octopuses, sharks, and sculpins, which are equal to 20 percent of the TACs for these species or species groups. * * * * * (i) Forage fish, grenadiers, and squids. * * * * * (3) Closure to directed fishing. Directed fishing for forage fish, E:\FR\FM\06JYR1.SGM 06JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 130 / Friday, July 6, 2018 / Rules and Regulations grenadiers, and squids is prohibited at all times in the BSAI and GOA. (4) Limits on sale, barter, trade, and processing. The sale, barter, trade, or processing of forage fish, grenadiers, and squids is prohibited, except as provided in paragraph (i)(5) of this section. (5) Allowable fishmeal production. Retained catch of forage fish, grenadiers, or squids not exceeding the maximum retainable amount may be processed into fishmeal for sale, barter, or trade. * * * * * ■ 5. In § 679.22, revise paragraph (i) to read as follows: § 679.22 31465 Closures. * * * * * (i) Forage fish, grenadiers, and squids closures. See § 679.20(i)(3). 6. Revise Table 2a to part 679 to read as follows: ■ TABLE 2a TO PART 679—SPECIES CODES: FMP GROUNDFISH sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Species description Code Atka mackerel (greenling) .................................................................................................................................................................... Flatfish, miscellaneous (flatfish species without separate codes) ...................................................................................................... FLOUNDER: Alaska plaice ................................................................................................................................................................................ Arrowtooth .................................................................................................................................................................................... Bering ........................................................................................................................................................................................... Kamchatka .................................................................................................................................................................................... Starry ............................................................................................................................................................................................ Octopuses ............................................................................................................................................................................................ Pacific cod ........................................................................................................................................................................................... Pollock ................................................................................................................................................................................................. ROCKFISH: Aurora (Sebastes aurora) ............................................................................................................................................................. Black (BSAI) (S. melanops) ......................................................................................................................................................... Blackgill (S. melanostomus) ......................................................................................................................................................... Blue (BSAI) (S. mystinus) ............................................................................................................................................................ Bocaccio (S. paucispinis) ............................................................................................................................................................. Canary (S. pinniger) ..................................................................................................................................................................... Chilipepper (S. goodei) ................................................................................................................................................................. China (S. nebulosus) .................................................................................................................................................................... Copper (S. caurinus) .................................................................................................................................................................... Darkblotched (S. crameri) ............................................................................................................................................................ Dusky (S. variabilis) ...................................................................................................................................................................... Greenstriped (S. elongatus) ......................................................................................................................................................... Harlequin (S. variegatus) .............................................................................................................................................................. Northern (S. polyspinis) ................................................................................................................................................................ Pacific Ocean Perch (S. alutus) ................................................................................................................................................... Pygmy (S. wilsoni) ........................................................................................................................................................................ Quillback (S. maliger) ................................................................................................................................................................... Redbanded (S. babcocki) ............................................................................................................................................................. Redstripe (S. proriger) .................................................................................................................................................................. Rosethorn (S. helvomaculatus) .................................................................................................................................................... Rougheye (S. aleutianus) ............................................................................................................................................................. Sharpchin (S. zacentrus) .............................................................................................................................................................. Shortbelly (S. jordani) ................................................................................................................................................................... Shortraker (S. borealis) ................................................................................................................................................................ Silvergray (S. brevispinis) ............................................................................................................................................................. Splitnose (S. diploproa) ................................................................................................................................................................ Stripetail (S. saxicola) ................................................................................................................................................................... Thornyhead (all Sebastolobus species) ....................................................................................................................................... Tiger (S. nigrocinctus) .................................................................................................................................................................. Vermilion (S. miniatus) ................................................................................................................................................................. Widow (S. entomelas) .................................................................................................................................................................. Yelloweye (S. ruberrimus) ............................................................................................................................................................ Yellowmouth (S. reedi) ................................................................................................................................................................. Yellowtail (S. flavidus) .................................................................................................................................................................. Sablefish (blackcod) ............................................................................................................................................................................ Sculpins ............................................................................................................................................................................................... SHARKS: Other (if salmon, spiny dogfish or Pacific sleeper shark—use specific species code) ............................................................... Pacific sleeper .............................................................................................................................................................................. Salmon .......................................................................................................................................................................................... Spiny dogfish ................................................................................................................................................................................ SKATES: Alaska (Bathyraja parmifera) ........................................................................................................................................................ Aleutian (B. aleutica) .................................................................................................................................................................... Whiteblotched (B. maculate) ........................................................................................................................................................ Big (Raja binoculata) .................................................................................................................................................................... Longnose (R. rhina) ...................................................................................................................................................................... Other (if Alaska, Aleutian, whiteblotched, big, or longnose skate—use specific species code) ................................................. SOLE: Butter ............................................................................................................................................................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Jul 05, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\06JYR1.SGM 06JYR1 193 120 133 121 116 117 129 870 110 270 185 142 177 167 137 146 178 149 138 159 172 135 176 136 141 179 147 153 158 150 151 166 181 152 157 182 183 143 148 184 156 145 175 155 710 160 689 692 690 691 703 704 705 702 701 700 126 31466 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 130 / Friday, July 6, 2018 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 2a TO PART 679—SPECIES CODES: FMP GROUNDFISH—Continued Species description Code Dover ............................................................................................................................................................................................ English .......................................................................................................................................................................................... Flathead ........................................................................................................................................................................................ Petrale .......................................................................................................................................................................................... Rex ............................................................................................................................................................................................... Rock .............................................................................................................................................................................................. Sand ............................................................................................................................................................................................. Yellowfin ....................................................................................................................................................................................... Turbot, Greenland ........................................................................................................................................................................ 124 128 122 131 125 123 132 127 134 7. Revise Table 2c to part 679 to read as follows: ■ TABLE 2c TO PART 679—SPECIES CODES: FMP FORAGE FISH SPECIES (ALL SPECIES OF THE FOLLOWING FAMILIES), GRENADIER SPECIES, AND SQUIDS. Species identification Code FORAGE FISH: Bristlemouths, lightfishes, and anglemouths (family Gonostomatidae) ....................................................................................... Capelin smelt (family Osmeridae) ................................................................................................................................................ Deep-sea smelts (family Bathylagidae) ........................................................................................................................................ Eulachon smelt (family Osmeridae) ............................................................................................................................................. Gunnels (family Pholidae) ............................................................................................................................................................ Krill (order Euphausiacea) ............................................................................................................................................................ Lanternfishes (family Myctophidae) .............................................................................................................................................. Pacific Sand fish (family Trichodontidae) ..................................................................................................................................... Pacific Sand lance (family Ammodytidae) .................................................................................................................................... Pricklebacks, war-bonnets, eelblennys, cockscombs and Shannys (family Stichaeidae) ........................................................... Surf smelt (family Osmeridae) ...................................................................................................................................................... GRENADIERS: Giant Grenadiers (Albatrossia pectoralis) .................................................................................................................................... Other Grenadiers .......................................................................................................................................................................... SQUID: Squids ........................................................................................................................................................................................... 8. Revise Table 10 to part 679 to read as follows: sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES ■ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jul 05, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\06JYR1.SGM 06JYR1 209 516 773 511 207 800 772 206 774 208 515 214 213 875 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES VerDate Sep<11>2014 Jkt 244001 BASIS SPECIES Code Species Pollock PO 00000 Pacific cod DW Flat (2) Rex sole INCIDENTAL CATCH SPECIES (for DSR caught on catcher vessels in the SEO, see§ 679.20 G)") DSR Grenadiers Squids Aggregated (12) SEO Skates Other sw ArrowSR!RE Flathead Aggregated Atka forage (10) species Flat Sablefish rockfish(7) ERA (C/Ps fish<9J sole tooth mackerel (1) (3) (6) only) (5) Frm 00027 110 121 122 125 136 Fmt 4700 141 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\06JYR1.SGM 143 152/ 151 193 270 710 Pacific cod Arrowtooth Flathead sole Rex sole Northern ockfish Pacific ocean perch Thornyhead Shortraker/ ougheye (l) Atka mackerel Pollock Sablefish Flatfish, deep-watel2l Flatfish, shallowwater(3) Rockfish, other \4 J 172 fo~sky 06JYR1 ckfish Rockfish, DSR-SEO ('J Skates\'"! Other species (6) Aggregated amount of non-groundfish species<ll) 20 5 20 20 n/a(9) 2 2 2 2 5 5 5 5 20 20 20 20 8 20 1 20 20 20 20 8 8 8 1 20 2 5 20 8 20 20 20 20 7 1 20 2 5 20 8 15 7 I 20 2 5 20 8 7 15 n/a 1 20 2 5 20 8 1 (JJ 10 10 1 1 n/a 20 20 20 2 2 2 2 5 5 5 5 20 20 20 20 8 8 8 7 5 5 15 15 35 1 5 (1) 10 20 2 5 20 8 20 35 7 15 7 1 20 2 5 20 8 7 7 5 5 15 15 (1) 35 7 15 7 20 35 7 15 20 20 35 7 20 20 20 35 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 35 35 35 35 n/a n/a 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 n/a 20 20 20 20 20 5 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 n/a 1 20 20 20 20 20 n/a 35 35 n/a 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 n/a 20 20 35 I 1 0 7 7 (1) 7 7 10 0 I 8 20 20 20 20 20 20 35 7 15 7 1 20 2 5 20 8 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 35 35 35 7 7 n/a (JJ 10 10 20 20 20 2 2 2 5 n/a 20 20 1 15 5 5 5 n/a 8 8 8 20 20 20 20 20 20 35 1 5 10 20 2 5 20 8 1 (1) (1) 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 130 / Friday, July 6, 2018 / Rules and Regulations 16:23 Jul 05, 2018 Table 10 to Part 679-Gulf of Alaska Retainable Percentages. 31467 ER06JY18.001</GPH> sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 31468 VerDate Sep<11>2014 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\06JYR1.SGM 06JYR1 5 6 ER06JY18.002</GPH> Demersal shelf rockfish (DSR) Other species S. pinniger (canary)(146) S. nebulosus (china)(149) S. caurinus (copper)(138) S. maliger (quillback)(14 7) S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn)(150) S. niwocinctus (tiger)(148) S. ruberrimus (yelloweye)(l45) DSR-SEO =Demersal shelf rockfish in the Southeast Outside District (SEO). Catcher vessels in the SEO have full retention of DSR (see § 679.20(j)). Sculpins (160) I Octopuses (870) I Sharks (689) Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 130 / Friday, July 6, 2018 / Rules and Regulations 16:23 Jul 05, 2018 Notes to Table 10 to Part 679 1 Shortrak:er/rougheye rockfish Sebastes borealis (shortrak:er) (152) SR/RE S. aleutianus (rougheye) (151) SR/REERA Shortrak:er/rougheye rockfish in the Eastern Regulatory Area (ERA). Where an MRA is not indicated, use the MRA for SR/RE included under Aggregated Rockfish Deep-water flatfish Dover sole (124), Greenland turbot (134), Kamchatka flounder (117), and deep-sea sole 2 Shallow-water Flatfish not including deep-water flatfish, flathead sole (122), rex sole (125), or arrowtooth flounder (121) 3 flatfish 4 Other rockfish Western Regulatory Area means other rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish Central Regulatory Area West Y ak:utat District Southeast Outside District means other rockfish Other rockfish S. aurara(aurora)(l85) S. variegates (harlequin)(176) S. brevispinis (silvergrey)(157) S. melanostomus S. wilsoni (pygmy)(179) S. diploproa (splitnose)(182) (blackgill)(177) S. babcocki (redbanded)(153) S. saxicola (stripetai1)(183) S. paucispinis (bocaccio )(13 7) S. proriger (redstripe)(158) S. miniatus (vermilion)(184) S. goodei (chilipepper)(178) S. crameri S. zacentrus (sharpchin)(166) S. reedi (yellowmouth)(l75) (darkblotch)(159) S. elongatus S. jordani (shortbelly)(181) (greenstriped)( 13 5) S. entomelas (widow)(156) S. flavidus (yellowtai1)(155) In the Eastern Regulatory Area only, Other rockfish also includes S. polyspinis (northern)(l36) sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES Aggregated rockfish Jkt 244001 Aggregated rockfish (see § 679.2) means any species of the genera Sebastes or Sebastolobus except Sebastes ciliates (dark rockfish), Sebastes melanops (black rockfish), and Sebastes mystinus (blue rockfish), except in: PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\06JYR1.SGM 06JYR1 Southeast Outside District where DSR is a separate species group for those species marked with an MRA Eastern Regulatory Area where SRIRE is a separate species group for those species marked with an MRA Not applicable 8 n!a Notes to Table 10 to Part 679 Aggregated forage Bristlemouths, lightfishes, and anglemouths (family Gonostomatidae) 209 9 fish (all species of Cape lin smelt (family Osmeridae) 516 the following taxa) Deep-sea smelts (family Bathylaf!.idae) 773 511 Eulachon smelt (family Osmeridae) 207 Gunnels (family Pholidae) Krill (order Euphausiacea) 800 Latemfishes (family Myctophidae) 772 206 Pacific Sand fish (family Trichodontidae) 774 Pacific Sand lance (family Ammodytidae) Pricklebacks, war-bonnets, eelblennys, cockscombs and shannys (family 208 Stichaeidae) Surf smelt (family Osmeridae) 515 Alaska (Bathyraja. Parm!fera) 703 10 Skates Species and Groups Aleutian (B. aleutica) 704 Whiteblotched (Raja binoculata) 705 Big Skates (Raja binoculata) 702 Longnose Skates (R. rhina) 701 700 Other Skates (Rathyraja and Raja spp.) 11 Aggregated nonAll legally retained species of fish and shellfish, including IFQ halibut, that are not listed as FMP groundfish in Tables 2a and 2c to this groundfish part. 12 Grenadiers Giant grenadiers (Albatrossia pectoralis) 214 Other grenadiers (all grenadiers that are not Giant grenadiers) 213 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 130 / Friday, July 6, 2018 / Rules and Regulations 16:23 Jul 05, 2018 9. Revise Table 11 to part 679 to read as follows: ■ VerDate Sep<11>2014 7 31469 ER06JY18.003</GPH> sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with RULES 31470 BASIS SPECIES ~ode Species 110 121 117 PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\06JYR1.SGM Pacific cod Arrowtooth Kamchatka Flathead 122 sole 123 Rock sole Yellowfm 127 sole Alaska 133 Plaice Greenland 134 turbot 136 Northern Pacific 141 Ocean perch 152/ Shortraker/ 151 Rougheye Atka 193 mackerel 270 Pollock 710 Sablefish Other flatfish" Other rockfish' Other species4 Aggregated amount non-groundfish species" Pacific Atka !Alaska ArrowPollock cod mackerel plaice tooth Kamchatka 20 20 20 na' 20 20 20 20 20 20 35 20 20 20 na 20 20 20 35 35 35 35 20 20 20 35 35 35 35 35 20 20 20 35 35 35 na 35 20 20 20 na 35 35 35 35 20 20 20 20 35 35 20 20 20 20 20 35 35 20 20 20 20 35 20 20 20 20 20 20 na na 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 na 35 20 INCIDENTAL CATCH SPECIES GreenYellow ShortAggregated Grenadiers SableAggregated ~quids Other Other Rock Flathead (7) fin land raker/ forage 7 2 1 6 4 flatfish sole sole fish rockfish species sole rougheye fish 7 turbot 20 20 20 20 I I 2 5 20 2 20 8 20 20 20 20 I 2 20 2 7 8 5 3 20 20 I 2 2 8 5 3 20 20 7 20 na 35 15 7 15 20 2 20 8 na 35 1 I 2 15 20 2 20 8 35 35 1 I 2 5 20 2 20 8 35 35 1 I 2 5 20 2 20 8 20 20 20 na 15 7 15 20 2 20 8 20 20 20 20 35 15 7 15 20 2 20 8 35 20 20 20 20 35 15 7 15 20 2 20 8 35 35 20 20 20 20 35 15 na 5 20 2 20 8 20 35 35 20 20 20 20 1 1 2 5 20 2 20 8 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 35 20 20 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 20 20 35 20 20 20 20 20 20 35 20 20 I 35 1 35 I na I 20 20 20 20 35 20 20 I 5 15 5 15 5 20 20 20 20 20 2 2 2 2 2 20 20 20 20 I 2 7 2 7 2 na 8 8 8 8 8 20 20 35 35 20 20 20 20 I I 2 5 20 2 20 8 35 na 35 15 06JYR1 Sablefish: for fixed gear restrictions, see § 679.7(t)(3)(ii) and (t)(ll ). Other flatfish includes all flatfish species, except for Pacific halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfm sole, Alaska plaice, arrowtooth flounder and Kamchatka flounder. 3 Other rockfish includes all "rockfish" as defmed at § 679 .2, except for Pacific ocean perch; and northern, shortraker, and rough eye rockfish. 4 The Other species includes sculpins, sharks, skates, and octopuses. 5 na = not applicable 6 Aggregated rockfish includes all "rockfish" as defmed at § 679 .2, except shortraker and rougheye rockfish. 7 Forage fish, grenadiers, and squids are all defmed at Table 2c to this part. 8 All legally retained species of fish and shellfish, including CDQ halibut and IFQ halibut that are not listed as FMP groundfish in Tables 2a and 2c to this part. 2 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 130 / Friday, July 6, 2018 / Rules and Regulations Jkt 244001 [FR Doc. 2018–14457 Filed 7–5–18; 8:45 am] 16:23 Jul 05, 2018 BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 ER06JY18.004</GPH> Table 11 to Part 679-BSAI Retainable Percentages.

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 130 (Friday, July 6, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 31460-31470]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-14457]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 170714670-8561-02]
RIN 0648-BH05


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; 
Reclassifying Squid Species in the BSAI and GOA

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: NMFS issues regulations to implement Amendment 117 to the 
Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian 
Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP), implement Amendment 106 to the 
Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP), 
and update the species code tables for octopus. This final rule 
prohibits directed fishing for the squid species complex (squids) by 
Federally permitted groundfish fishermen, specifies a squid retention 
limit in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) groundfish fisheries consistent with 
the existing Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) 
squid retention limit, and makes minor corrections to the octopus 
species code tables. This action is intended to promote the goals and 
objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management 
Act, the FMPs, and other applicable laws.

DATES: Effective August 6, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of Amendment 117 to the BSAI FMP, 
Amendment 106 to the GOA FMP, and the Environmental Assessment/
Regulatory Impact Review (collectively the ``Analysis'') prepared for 
this action may be obtained from www.regulations.gov.
    Electronic copies of the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analyses 
for the BSAI and GOA Groundfish Harvest Specifications for 2018 and 
2019 may be obtained from www.regulations.gov.
    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
final rule may be submitted by mail to NMFS, Alaska Region, P.O. Box 
21668, Juneau, AK 99082-1668, Attn: Ellen Sebastian, Records Officer; 
in person at NMFS, Alaska Region, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, 
Juneau, AK; by email to [email protected]; or by fax to (202) 
395-5806.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Megan Mackey, (907) 586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Authority for Action

    NMFS manages the groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic 
zones of the BSAI and GOA under the BSAI FMP and GOA FMP (collectively 
the FMPs). The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) 
prepared the FMPs under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1801 
et seq. Regulations implementing the FMPs appear at 50 CFR part 679. 
General regulations governing U.S. fisheries appear at 50 CFR part 600.
    This final rule implements Amendments 117/106 and updates the 
species code for octopus in several tables to 50 CFR part 679. The 
Council submitted Amendments 117/106 for review by the Secretary of 
Commerce, and the notice of availability of these amendments was 
published in the Federal Register on March 27, 2018, with comments 
invited through May 29, 2018 (83 FR 13117). NMFS published the proposed 
rule for this action on April 11, 2018 (83 FR 15538), with comments 
invited through May 11, 2018. NMFS received three comment letters from 
three members of the public. The comments are summarized and responded 
to under the heading ``Comments and Responses'' below.
    A detailed review of the provisions and rationale for this action 
is provided in the preamble to the proposed rule and is briefly 
summarized in this final rule.

Background

    In June 2017, the Council voted unanimously to recommend FMP 
Amendments 117/106 to reclassify squids as non-target ecosystem 
component species, not in need of conservation and management. Squids 
are currently classified as target species in the FMPs, though as 
discussed below, squids are currently only caught incidental to other 
target fisheries. To implement FMP Amendments 117/106, NMFS implements 
regulations to prohibit directed fishing for squids by Federally 
permitted groundfish fishermen and to specify a squid retention limit 
in the GOA groundfish fisheries consistent with the existing BSAI squid 
retention limit. The following sections of this preamble describe (1) 
groundfish stock classification in FMPs and a brief

[[Page 31461]]

history of this action; (2) the National Standards (NS) guidance for 
determining which species require conservation and management; (3) FMP 
Amendments 117/106; (4) the regulatory changes made by this final rule; 
and (5) the comments received and NMFS responses to those comments.

Stock Classification in FMPs and a Brief History of This Action

    Among other requirements, FMPs must comply with the Magnuson-
Stevens Act NS (16 U.S.C. 1851). Relevant to this final rule, the NS 
guidelines at 50 CFR 600.305(d)(11), (12) and (13) define three 
classifications for stocks in an FMP: (1) Target stocks in need of 
conservation and management that fishermen seek to catch; (2) non-
target stocks in need of conservation and management that are caught 
incidentally during the pursuit of target stocks; and (3) ecosystem 
component (EC) species that do not require conservation and management, 
but may be listed in an FMP in order to achieve ecosystem management 
objectives.
    Squids are currently classified as target species in the FMPs and 
directed fishing for squids is allowed. For squid, NMFS annually 
establishes an overfishing level (OFL) that should not be exceeded, an 
allowable biological catch (ABC) that is the maximum permissible 
harvest amount, and a total allowable catch (TAC). These terms, and the 
process for establishing the OFL, ABC, and TAC for squids, are 
described in the preamble to the proposed rule and are not repeated 
here (April 11, 2018, 83 FR 15538). The TAC levels established annually 
for squids are too low to support a directed fishery in either the BSAI 
or GOA. Directed fishing for squids has been closed in the BSAI and GOA 
through the annual harvest specifications each year since 2011. Thus, 
squids are only harvested incidentally in fisheries targeting other 
species.
    Since 2010, the Council's non-target committee, Plan Teams, and 
Scientific and Statistical Committee have recommended that the Council 
explore reclassifying squids as EC category species because they do not 
meet the target species category classification, there is no demand for 
squid, and squid have not been targeted or open to directed fishing in 
either the BSAI or GOA for many years (see Section 1.2 of the 
Analysis). Further, there is no conservation concern for squids because 
they are extremely short-lived and highly productive, the current 
fishing mortality is considered insignificant at a population level, 
and they are unlikely to be overfished in the absence of a directed 
fishery (see Section 3.2.5 of the Analysis).

Determining Which Species Require Conservation and Management

    Section 302(h)(1) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act requires a regional 
fishery management council to prepare an FMP for each fishery under its 
authority that is in need of conservation and management. 
``Conservation and management'' is defined in section 3(5) of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act. The NS guidelines at Sec.  600.305(c) (revised on 
October 18, 2016, 81 FR 71858), provide direction for determining which 
stocks will require conservation and management and provide direction 
to regional fishery management councils and NMFS for how to consider 
these factors in making this determination. Specifically, the 
guidelines direct regional fishery management councils and NMFS to 
consider a non-exhaustive list of ten factors when deciding whether 
stocks require conservation and management.
    Section 2.2.1 of the Analysis considers each of the 10 factors' 
relevance to squids. The Analysis showed that squids are an important 
component of the marine ecosystem, particularly due to their importance 
as prey for marine mammals, fish and other squids. However, despite 
being classified as a target species, there are currently no directed 
fisheries for squids. Squids are not important to commercial, 
recreational, or subsistence users, and the fisheries for BSAI and GOA 
squids are not important to the National or regional economy. There are 
no developing fisheries for squids in the exclusive economic zone off 
Alaska nor in waters of the State of Alaska. In the absence of a 
directed fishery, squids are unlikely to become overfished because they 
are short-lived and highly productive, and current surveys are 
considered substantial underestimates of true squids biomass in both 
the BSAI and GOA. Therefore, maintaining squids in the FMPs for 
conservation and management is not likely to improve or maintain the 
condition of the stocks.

Amendments 117/106

    In June 2017, the Council recommended, and NMFS now implements, 
Amendments 117/106 to reclassify squids as EC category species in the 
FMPs. Based on a review of the scientific information, and after 
considering the revised NS guidelines, the Council and NMFS determined 
that squids are not in need of conservation and management, and that 
classifying squids in the EC category is an appropriate action.
    Though the Council determined, and NMFS concurs, that squids are 
not in need of conservation and management, squid population status and 
bycatch should be monitored to continually assess vulnerability of 
squids to the fishery given their importance in the ecosystem. 
Therefore, this final rule retains recordkeeping and reporting 
requirements for squid bycatch. This final rule prohibits directed 
fishing for squids to meet the intent of Amendments 117/106 that squids 
are not a target species complex. Because the definition of directed 
fishing at Sec.  679.2 is based on a maximum retainable amount (MRA), 
this final rule specifies a retention limit for squids so that NMFS can 
implement the prohibition on directed fishing to meet the intent of 
Amendments 117/106.

This Final Rule and the Anticipated Effects

    In addition to classifying squids as an EC category species in the 
FMPs under Amendments 117/106, NMFS issues regulations to limit and 
monitor the catch of squids. This final rule--
     prohibits directed fishing for squids in the BSAI and GOA 
groundfish fisheries;
     maintains recordkeeping and reporting requirements of 
squids in the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries, but modifies the 
pertinent regulations for clarity;
     specifies a squids retention limit, or MRA, in the GOA 
Federal groundfish fisheries consistent with the existing BSAI squids 
MRA of 20 percent; and
     revises the species code tables in the regulations to 
indicate octopus is a multi-species category by using the plural, 
octopuses.
    To prohibit directed fishing, this final rule revises Sec. Sec.  
679.20(i) and 679.22(i) to prohibit directed fishing for squids at all 
times in the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries.
    To clarify definitions and recordkeeping and reporting 
requirements, this final rule adds a definition for squids at Sec.  
679.2 and adds an instruction to Sec.  679.5 to use the squids species 
code in Table 2c to 50 CFR part 679 (Table 2c) to record and report 
squid catch. These revisions maintain NMFS' ability to monitor the 
catch, retention, and discard of squids.
    The MRA is the proportion or percentage of retained catch of a 
species closed for directed fishing (incidental catch species) to the 
retained catch of a species open for directed fishing (basis species). 
This final rule moves squids out of the basis species category and

[[Page 31462]]

into the incidental catch species category consistent with the 
prohibition on directed fishing for squids under this final rule.
    In developing this final rule, the Council and NMFS considered a 
range of squids MRA percentages: 2 percent, 10 percent, and the current 
MRA of 20 percent. Section 4.6.2 of the Analysis discusses that a more 
constraining MRA is more likely to increase discards of dead squids 
rather than discourage targeting. There are no conservation concerns 
for squids. Therefore, the Council recommended and NMFS is specifying 
an MRA for squids of 20 percent in the GOA groundfish fisheries 
consistent with the existing MRA for squids in the BSAI groundfish 
fisheries.
    This final rule corrects a minor technical inaccuracy in the 
species code for octopus. This correction does not affect existing 
reporting requirements.

Comments and Responses

    NMFS received three unique comments from three members of the 
public on the proposed rule.
    Comment 1: Squid is a target species in many market sectors. This 
regulation is not science based and demonstrates willful mismanagement 
of the Federal public trust. Do not enact these changes.
    Response: While there are markets for squids in some places, squids 
have limited economic value relative to many of the BSAI and GOA 
groundfish and therefore are not targeted by commercial, recreational, 
or subsistence fishery participants. In addition, the preamble to the 
proposed rule (83 FR 15538, April 11, 2018), and the Analysis state 
that squids are closed to directed fishing and therefore are not 
directly targeted in the North Pacific groundfish fisheries. This final 
rule was developed after considering the best available scientific 
information provided in the Analysis prepared by the Council and NMFS. 
Specifically, the Analysis examined the biological, economic, and 
management implications of classifying squids in the EC category. The 
Analysis describes that there are no conservation concerns for squids. 
Squids are short-lived and highly productive. Bottom trawl surveys are 
considered substantial underestimates of true squid biomass in both the 
BSAI and GOA. Fishing related mortality is extremely low compared with 
the estimated predation mortality in food web models. In the absence of 
a directed fishery, squids are very unlikely to become overfished. 
Therefore, based on the best scientific information available, NMFS 
determined that squids are not in need of conservation and management 
and that classifying squids in the EC category is an appropriate 
action.
    Comment 2: The squids retention limit should be zero.
    Response: Although squids do not require conservation and 
management, it is still appropriate to take measures to minimize squids 
bycatch to the extent practicable. This is consistent with NS 9, which 
requires that management measures, to the extent practicable, minimize 
bycatch and to the extent bycatch cannot be avoided, minimize bycatch 
mortality, and the Council's long-standing practice of minimizing the 
bycatch of species such as forage fish and grenadiers that are 
important to the ecosystem but that do not require conservation and 
management. The preferred alternative maintains the current MRA of 20 
percent, rather than imposing a more stringent MRA because a more 
restrictive MRA does not appear necessary. As noted in the response to 
Comment 1 above, there are no conservation concerns for squids. 
Further, Section 4.6.2 of the Analysis discusses that a more 
constraining MRA is more likely to increase discards of dead squids 
rather than discourage targeting. Therefore, a retention limit of zero 
would be unnecessarily constraining and would not be likely to benefit 
squids.
    Comment 3: One commenter expressed support for this action and 
noted this action provides operational relief to the owners and 
operators of trawl catcher vessels that may be constrained by a squid 
OFL in the Bering Sea pollock fishery.
    Response: NMFS acknowledges the comment.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    No changes were made from the proposed rule.

Classification

    The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS has determined that this 
final rule is necessary to properly classify squids in the FMPs based 
on the best available scientific information, and is consistent with 
Amendment 117 to the BSAI FMP, Amendment 106 to the GOA FMP, other 
provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws.
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for the 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.

Small Entity Compliance Guide

    Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness 
Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for 
which an agency is required to prepare a final regulatory flexibility 
analysis, the agency shall publish one or more guides to assist small 
entities in complying with the rule, and shall designate such 
publications as ``small entity compliance guides.'' The preamble to the 
proposed rule and this final rule serve as the small entity compliance 
guide. This action does not require any additional compliance from 
small entities that is not described in the preambles. Copies of the 
proposed rule and this final rule are available from the NMFS website 
at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

Regulatory Impact Review (RIR)

    An RIR was prepared to assess the costs and benefits of available 
regulatory alternatives. A copy of this analysis is available from NMFS 
(see ADDRESSES). The Council recommended Amendments 117/106 based on 
those measures that maximized net benefits to the Nation. Specific 
aspects of the economic analysis related to the impact of this final 
rule on small entities are discussed below.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA)

    This section contains the FRFA for this final rule. Section 604 of 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires that, when an agency 
promulgates a final rule under section 553 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code, 
after being required by that section or any other law to publish a 
general notice of proposed rulemaking, the agency shall prepare a FRFA. 
Section 604 describes the required contents of a FRFA: (1) A statement 
of the need for and objectives of the rule; (2) a statement of the 
significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the 
IRFA, 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 (SBA) 
in response to the proposed rule, and a detailed statement of any 
changes 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 that 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

[[Page 31463]]

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 this 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 final rule and the need for and objectives of 
the rule are contained in the preamble to this final rule and the 
preamble to the proposed rule (83 FR 15538, April 11, 2018), and are 
not repeated here.
Public and Chief Counsel for Advocacy Comments on the Proposed Rule
    NMFS published the proposed rule on April 11, 2018. An IRFA was 
prepared and summarized in the ``Classification'' section of the 
preamble to the proposed rule. The comment period closed on May 11, 
2018, for the proposed rule and on May 29, 2018, for the notice of 
availability for the amendments. NMFS received three unique comments 
from three members of the public on the proposed rule and Amendments 
117/106. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA did not file any 
comments on the proposed rule.
    NMFS received no comments specifically on the IRFA. However, one of 
the comments supported the action because it provides operational 
relief to the owners and operators of trawl catcher vessels.
Number and Description of Small Entities Regulated by This Final Rule
    This final rule directly regulates any vessel operator harvesting 
squids in the Federally managed groundfish fisheries in the BSAI and 
GOA. The thresholds applied to determine if an entity or group of 
entities are ``small'' under the RFA depend on the industry 
classification for the entity or entities. Businesses classified as 
primarily engaged in commercial fishing are considered small entities 
if they have combined annual gross receipts not in excess of $11.0 
million for all affiliated operations worldwide (81 FR 4469; January 
26, 2016). The most recent estimates of the number of fishing vessels 
participating in the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries that are small 
entities are provided in Table 2 in the IRFAs for the BSAI and GOA 
annual harvest specifications for 2018 and 2019 (see ADDRESSES). In 
2016, there were 119 catcher vessels and 5 catcher/processors in the 
BSAI, and 920 catcher vessels and 3 catcher/processors in the GOA. 
These estimates likely overstate the number of small entities in the 
groundfish fisheries off Alaska because some of these vessels are 
affiliated through common ownership or membership in a cooperative, and 
the affiliated vessels together would exceed the $11.0 million annual 
gross receipts threshold for small entities.
    The only potential adverse economic impact that has been identified 
for this final rule is that vessel owners or operators who may wish to 
conduct directed fishing for squids in the future, and who wish to 
retain more squids than allowed under the 20 percent MRA, will not be 
able to do so. This potential adverse impact will not affect any 
current participants relative to opportunities available to them in 
recent years, because directed fishing for squid has been closed in the 
BSAI and GOA since 2011. Therefore, no current participants will lose 
an economic opportunity that is available to them today or has been 
available to them in recent years.
    The degree to which this final rule could limit current fishery 
permit holders' future economic activity in the BSAI or GOA could be 
viewed as an adverse impact of this final rule. This adverse economic 
impact could affect any future participant in these groundfish 
fisheries. Therefore, all fishing vessels currently participating in 
the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries that are small entities could be 
adversely impacted by this final rule in the future. However, based on 
the very limited number of vessel operators who have expressed interest 
in conducting directed fishing for squids in the past, the actual 
number of small entities that will be adversely impacted by this final 
rule is likely zero or very few. Vessel operators may continue to catch 
and retain squids in the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries as long as 
they maintain their catch within the 20 percent MRA.
    For operators of vessels currently participating in these 
fisheries, the economic impacts of this final rule are primarily 
beneficial or neutral. Removing squids from the BSAI target species 
category will remove the squids TAC from inclusion in the 2 million mt 
optimum yield (OY) cap in the BSAI. The amount of the OY cap that has 
been reserved for squids will be available to increase the TAC limit or 
limits for other BSAI target species. This effect will benefit 
participants in the BSAI fisheries that experience TAC increases 
relative to what the TACs would have been without this final rule. Some 
of the entities that experience benefits from increased TACs in the 
future may be small entities. The effects on target species TACs will 
be neutral for the GOA fisheries, as the OY has not constrained TACs in 
the GOA to date. Therefore, removing the squids TAC in the GOA will not 
allow for an increase in the TAC for another target species.
    For participants in the Bering Sea pollock fishery, moving squids 
from the target species category to the EC category will remove the 
squid OFL as a potential constraint for the Bering Sea pollock fishery, 
thereby increasing the flexibility of the Bering Sea pollock fishery 
participants to focus on minimizing the bycatch of salmon and other PSC 
in the pollock fisheries. Removing this constraint will reduce the 
costs associated with trying to simultaneously minimize the catch of 
squid and the catch of salmon and other PSC. However, none of the 
directly regulated entities in the Bering Sea pollock fishery are 
considered small entities because all of them are affiliated through 
either ownership or membership in a cooperative and, when considered 
together, have annual gross receipts that exceed $11.0 million 
annually.
Recordkeeping, Reporting, and Other Compliance Requirements
    Under this final rule, requirements for recording and reporting the 
catch, discard, and production of squid in logbooks or on catch or 
production reports will be maintained as they are in existing 
regulations. This final rule makes only minor modifications to clarify 
the recordkeeping and reporting requirements in Sec.  679.5, Table 2a 
to 50 CFR part 679, and Table 2c to 50 CFR part 679. Therefore, moving 
squids from the target species category to the EC category will not 
change recordkeeping and reporting costs for fishery participants or 
impose any additional or new costs on participants.
Description of Significant Alternatives That Minimize Adverse Impacts 
on Small Entities
    The Council and NMFS considered three alternatives. Among the three 
alternatives, Alternative 2 Option 3 (the preferred alternative) 
provides the most economic benefits to current participants in the BSAI 
and GOA groundfish fisheries. The primary economic benefit of this 
final rule is to reduce the potential constraints imposed by the OFLs, 
ABCs, and TACs for squids on BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries. Among 
the three options considered for the squids MRA (20 percent, 10 
percent, and 2 percent), the 20 percent MRA that was selected minimizes 
the economic impact on any fishing vessel that is a small entity

[[Page 31464]]

because it provides the greatest opportunity to retain squid as catch 
in other groundfish fisheries.
    Alternative 1 is the no action alternative and would have continued 
to classify squids as target species in the FMPs. OFLs, ABCs, and TACs 
would have continued to be set for squids as a species group in both 
the BSAI and GOA. Relative to Alternative 2, Alternative 1 could be 
considered less beneficial to small entities because all catch 
specifications would need to be maintained, and current constraints on 
the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries would continue. However, 
Alternative 2 (this final rule) could be considered more restrictive to 
small entities than Alternative 1 if the prohibition on directed 
fishing for squids under this final rule limits future participants' 
ability to conduct directed fishing for squids more so than would have 
occurred under the status quo. Alternative 1 would have allowed NMFS to 
determine annually whether to open a directed fishery for squids.
    Alternative 2 classifies squids in the BSAI and GOA in the EC 
category and implements a regulation prohibiting directed fishing for 
squids that could only be revised through subsequent rulemaking. 
However, the Council recommended and NMFS concurs that the benefits of 
this final rule to current fishery participants, including small 
entities, outweigh the potential future adverse impacts of the 
prohibition against directed fishing for squids. In addition, this 
provision can be re-evaluated by the Council and NMFS in the future if 
fishery participants want to develop directed fisheries for squids.
    Alternative 3 would have classified squids in the FMPs as ``non-
target'' species, in which case OFLs and ABCs would still have been 
established but TAC would no longer be specified. Relative to 
Alternative 2, Alternative 3 would have been less beneficial to small 
entities because certain catch specifications and their associated 
fishery constraints would still need to be maintained. When comparing 
Alternatives 1 and 3, Alternative 3 would have removed the requirement 
for setting TACs; however, the current potential constraints on other 
groundfish fisheries if an OFL or ABC for squids were achieved would 
continue. Therefore Alternative 3 would have been only slightly more 
beneficial than Alternative 1 to small entities.

Collection-of-Information Requirements

    This final rule refers to collection-of-information 
(``recordkeeping and reporting'') requirements approved by the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). 
The relevant information collections are approved under OMB Control 
Number 0648-0213 (Alaska Region Logbook Family of Forms) and OMB 
Control Number 0648-0515 (Alaska Interagency Electronic Reporting 
System). This final rule makes minor revisions to these information 
collection requirements to clarify the location of the species code for 
squids in the tables to 50 CFR part 679. These revisions do not change 
the public reporting burden of the approved information collections or 
require revisions to the currently approved supporting statements for 
these collections.
    Send comments on these or any other aspects of the collection of 
information to NMFS Alaska Region at the ADDRESSES above, by email to 
[email protected], or by fax to (202) 395-5806.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, and no person shall be subject to penalty for 
failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the 
requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays 
a currently valid OMB control number. All currently approved NOAA 
collections of information may be viewed at https://www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prasubs.html.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679

    Alaska, Fisheries, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: June 29, 2018.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regualtory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 50 CFR part 
679 as follows:

PART 679--FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA

0
1. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; 
Pub. L. 108-447; Pub. L. 111-281.

0
2. In Sec.  679.2, add a definition for ``Squids'' in alphabetical 
order to read as follows:


Sec.  679.2   Definitions.

* * * * *
    Squids (see Table 2c to this part and Sec.  679.20(i)).
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  679.5, revise paragraph (a)(3) introductory text and 
paragraphs (c)(3)(vi)(F) and (c)(4)(vi)(E) to read as follows:


Sec.  679.5   Recordkeeping and reporting (R&R).

    (a) * * *
    (3) Fish to be recorded and reported. The operator or manager must 
record and report the following information (see paragraphs (a)(3)(i) 
through (iv) of this section) for all groundfish (see Table 2a to this 
part), prohibited species (see Table 2b to this part), forage fish (see 
Table 2c to this part), grenadiers (see Table 2c to this part), and 
squids (see Table 2c to this part). The operator or manager may record 
and report the following information (see paragraphs (a)(3)(i) through 
(iv) of this section) for non-groundfish (see Table 2d to this part):
* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (vi) * * *
    (F) Species codes. The operator must record and report required 
information for all groundfish (see Table 2a to this part), prohibited 
species (see Table 2b to this part), forage fish (see Table 2c to this 
part), grenadiers (see Table 2c to this part), and squids (see Table 2c 
to this part). The operator may record and report information for non-
groundfish (see Table 2d to this part).
* * * * *
    (4) * * *
    (vi) * * *
    (E) Species codes. The operator must record and report required 
information for all groundfish (see Table 2a to this part), prohibited 
species (see Table 2b to this part), forage fish (see Table 2c to this 
part), grenadiers (see Table 2c to this part), and squids (see Table 2c 
to this part). The operator may record and report information for non-
groundfish (see Table 2d to this part).
* * * * *

0
4. In Sec.  679.20, revise paragraph (b)(2) introductory text, 
paragraph (i) subject heading, and paragraphs (i)(3) through (5) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  679.20   General limitations.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) GOA. Initial reserves are established for pollock, Pacific cod, 
flatfish, octopuses, sharks, and sculpins, which are equal to 20 
percent of the TACs for these species or species groups.
* * * * *
    (i) Forage fish, grenadiers, and squids.
* * * * *
    (3) Closure to directed fishing. Directed fishing for forage fish,

[[Page 31465]]

grenadiers, and squids is prohibited at all times in the BSAI and GOA.
    (4) Limits on sale, barter, trade, and processing. The sale, 
barter, trade, or processing of forage fish, grenadiers, and squids is 
prohibited, except as provided in paragraph (i)(5) of this section.
    (5) Allowable fishmeal production. Retained catch of forage fish, 
grenadiers, or squids not exceeding the maximum retainable amount may 
be processed into fishmeal for sale, barter, or trade.
* * * * *

0
5. In Sec.  679.22, revise paragraph (i) to read as follows:


Sec.  679.22   Closures.

* * * * *
    (i) Forage fish, grenadiers, and squids closures. See Sec.  
679.20(i)(3).

0
6. Revise Table 2a to part 679 to read as follows:

           Table 2a to Part 679--Species Codes: FMP Groundfish
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Species description                         Code
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atka mackerel (greenling)...............................             193
Flatfish, miscellaneous (flatfish species without                    120
 separate codes)........................................
FLOUNDER:
    Alaska plaice.......................................             133
    Arrowtooth..........................................             121
    Bering..............................................             116
    Kamchatka...........................................             117
    Starry..............................................             129
Octopuses...............................................             870
Pacific cod.............................................             110
Pollock.................................................             270
ROCKFISH:
    Aurora (Sebastes aurora)............................             185
    Black (BSAI) (S. melanops)..........................             142
    Blackgill (S. melanostomus).........................             177
    Blue (BSAI) (S. mystinus)...........................             167
    Bocaccio (S. paucispinis)...........................             137
    Canary (S. pinniger)................................             146
    Chilipepper (S. goodei).............................             178
    China (S. nebulosus)................................             149
    Copper (S. caurinus)................................             138
    Darkblotched (S. crameri)...........................             159
    Dusky (S. variabilis)...............................             172
    Greenstriped (S. elongatus).........................             135
    Harlequin (S. variegatus)...........................             176
    Northern (S. polyspinis)............................             136
    Pacific Ocean Perch (S. alutus).....................             141
    Pygmy (S. wilsoni)..................................             179
    Quillback (S. maliger)..............................             147
    Redbanded (S. babcocki).............................             153
    Redstripe (S. proriger).............................             158
    Rosethorn (S. helvomaculatus).......................             150
    Rougheye (S. aleutianus)............................             151
    Sharpchin (S. zacentrus)............................             166
    Shortbelly (S. jordani).............................             181
    Shortraker (S. borealis)............................             152
    Silvergray (S. brevispinis).........................             157
    Splitnose (S. diploproa)............................             182
    Stripetail (S. saxicola)............................             183
    Thornyhead (all Sebastolobus species)...............             143
    Tiger (S. nigrocinctus).............................             148
    Vermilion (S. miniatus).............................             184
    Widow (S. entomelas)................................             156
    Yelloweye (S. ruberrimus)...........................             145
    Yellowmouth (S. reedi)..............................             175
    Yellowtail (S. flavidus)............................             155
Sablefish (blackcod)....................................             710
Sculpins................................................             160
SHARKS:
    Other (if salmon, spiny dogfish or Pacific sleeper               689
     shark--use specific species code)..................
    Pacific sleeper.....................................             692
    Salmon..............................................             690
    Spiny dogfish.......................................             691
SKATES:
    Alaska (Bathyraja parmifera)........................             703
    Aleutian (B. aleutica)..............................             704
    Whiteblotched (B. maculate).........................             705
    Big (Raja binoculata)...............................             702
    Longnose (R. rhina).................................             701
    Other (if Alaska, Aleutian, whiteblotched, big, or               700
     longnose skate--use specific species code).........
SOLE:
    Butter..............................................             126

[[Page 31466]]

 
    Dover...............................................             124
    English.............................................             128
    Flathead............................................             122
    Petrale.............................................             131
    Rex.................................................             125
    Rock................................................             123
    Sand................................................             132
    Yellowfin...........................................             127
    Turbot, Greenland...................................             134
------------------------------------------------------------------------


0
7. Revise Table 2c to part 679 to read as follows:

    Table 2c to Part 679--Species Codes: FMP Forage Fish Species (All
   Species of the Following Families), Grenadier Species, and Squids.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Species identification                        Code
------------------------------------------------------------------------
FORAGE FISH:
    Bristlemouths, lightfishes, and anglemouths (family              209
     Gonostomatidae)....................................
    Capelin smelt (family Osmeridae)....................             516
    Deep-sea smelts (family Bathylagidae)...............             773
    Eulachon smelt (family Osmeridae)...................             511
    Gunnels (family Pholidae)...........................             207
    Krill (order Euphausiacea)..........................             800
    Lanternfishes (family Myctophidae)..................             772
    Pacific Sand fish (family Trichodontidae)...........             206
    Pacific Sand lance (family Ammodytidae).............             774
    Pricklebacks, war-bonnets, eelblennys, cockscombs                208
     and Shannys (family Stichaeidae)...................
    Surf smelt (family Osmeridae).......................             515
GRENADIERS:
    Giant Grenadiers (Albatrossia pectoralis)...........             214
    Other Grenadiers....................................             213
SQUID:
    Squids..............................................             875
------------------------------------------------------------------------


0
8. Revise Table 10 to part 679 to read as follows:

[[Page 31467]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR06JY18.001


[[Page 31468]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR06JY18.002


[[Page 31469]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR06JY18.003


0
9. Revise Table 11 to part 679 to read as follows:

[[Page 31470]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR06JY18.004

[FR Doc. 2018-14457 Filed 7-5-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P