Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2019 and 2020 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish, 62815-62832 [2018-26389]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 180713633–8633–01] RIN 0648–XG356 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2019 and 2020 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications, apportionments, and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) management area. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2019 and 2020 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. DATES: Comments must be received by January 7, 2019. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2018–0089, by either of the following methods: • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20180089, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668. Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments if they are sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the comment period ends. All comments received are a part of the public record, and NMFS will post the comments for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 submitted voluntarily by the sender is publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS), Record of Decision (ROD), the annual Supplementary Information Reports (SIRs) to the Final EIS, and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) prepared for this action may be obtained from https:// www.regulations.gov or from the Alaska Region website at https:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. An updated 2019 SIR for the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications will be available from the same sources. The final 2017 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the BSAI, dated November 2017, is available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99501–2252, phone 907–271–2809, or from the Council’s website at https:// www.npfmc.org/. The 2018 SAFE report for the BSAI is available from the same source. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 implement the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved it, under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600. The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify annually the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species category. The sum of TACs for all groundfish species in the BSAI must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see § 679.20(a)(1)(i)(A)). Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires NMFS to publish proposed harvest specifications in the Federal Register and solicit public comments on proposed annual TACs and apportionments thereof, prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances, prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by § 679.21, seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC, American Fisheries Act allocations, Amendment PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 62815 80 allocations, Community Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts established by § 679.20(b)(1)(ii), and acceptable biological catch (ABC) surpluses and reserves for CDQ groups and Amendment 80 cooperatives for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The proposed harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 16 of this action satisfy these requirements. Under § 679.20(c)(3), NMFS will publish the final harvest specifications for 2019 and 2020 after (1) considering comments received within the comment period (see DATES), (2) consulting with the Council at its December 2018 meeting, (3) considering information presented in the 2019 SIR to the EIS that assesses the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS (see ADDRESSES), and (4) considering information presented in the final 2018 SAFE reports prepared for the 2019 and 2020 groundfish fisheries. Other Actions Affecting or Potentially Affecting the 2019 and 2020 Harvest Specifications Amendment 117: Reclassify Squid as an Ecosystem Species On July 6, 2018, NMFS published the final rule to implement Amendment 117 to the FMP (83 FR 31460). This rule reclassified squid in the FMP as an ‘‘Ecosystem Component’’ species, which is a category of non-target species that are not in need of conservation and management. Accordingly, NMFS will no longer set an Overfishing Level (OFL), ABC, and TAC for squid in the BSAI groundfish harvest specifications, beginning with the proposed 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications. Amendment 117 prohibits directed fishing for squid, while maintaining recordkeeping and reporting requirements for squid. Amendment 117 also establishes a squid maximum retainable amount when directed fishing for halibut and groundfish species at 20 percent to discourage targeting squid. Rulemaking To Prohibit Directed Fishing for American Fisheries Act (AFA) Sideboard Limits On August 16, 2018, NMFS published a proposed rule (83 FR 40733) that would modify regulations for the American Fisheries Act (AFA) Program participants subject to limits on the catch of specific species (sideboard limits) in the BSAI. Sideboard limits are intended to prevent AFA Program participants who benefit from receiving exclusive harvesting privileges in a particular fishery from shifting effort into other fisheries. E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 62816 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Specifically, the proposed rule would primarily establish regulations to prohibit directed fishing for sideboard limits for specific groundfish species or species groups, rather than prohibiting directed fishing for AFA sideboard limits through the BSAI annual harvest specifications. The proposed rule would streamline and simplify NMFS’s management of applicable groundfish sideboard limits. Currently, NMFS calculates numerous AFA Program sideboard limits as part of the annual BSAI groundfish harvest specifications process and publishes these sideboard limits in the Federal Register. Concurrently, NMFS prohibits directed fishing for the majority of the groundfish sideboard limits because most limits are too small to support directed fishing. Rather than continue this annual process, this action proposes to revise regulations to prohibit directed fishing in regulation for most AFA Program groundfish sideboard limits. NMFS would no longer calculate and publish AFA Program sideboard limit amounts for most groundfish species in the annual BSAI harvest specifications. If the final rulemaking implementing these changes is effective prior to the publication of the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications, NMFS would no longer publish the majority of the sideboard limits contained in Tables 13 and 15 of this proposed action. State of Alaska Guideline Harvest Levels For 2019 and 2020, the Board of Fisheries (BOF) for the State of Alaska (State) established the guideline harvest level (GHL) for vessels using pot gear in State waters in the Bering Sea subarea (BS) equal to 8 percent of the Pacific cod ABC in the BS. Also, for 2019 and 2020, the BOF established an additional GHL for vessels using jig gear in State waters in the BS equal to 45 mt of Pacific cod. The Council and its BSAI Groundfish Plan Team (Plan Team), Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), and Advisory Panel (AP) recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the BS not exceed the proposed ABC recommendations of 170,000 mt. Accordingly, the Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, that the 2019 and 2020 Pacific cod TACs in the BS account for the State’s GHLs for Pacific cod caught in State waters in the BS. Also, the BOF approved a one percent annual increase in the BS GHL, up to 15 percent of the Pacific cod ABC in the BS, if 90 percent of the GHL is harvested by November 15 of the preceding year. If 90 percent of the 2019 BS GHL is not harvested by November 15, 2019, the 2020 GHL will remain at 8 percent. If, VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 however, 90 percent of the 2019 BS GHL is harvested by November 15, 2019, the 2020 GHL will increase by 1 percent to 9 percent of the 2020 Pacific cod ABC in the BS, and the 2020 BS TAC will decrease to account for the increased BS GHL. For 2019 and 2020, the BOF established a GHL in State waters in the Aleutian Islands subarea (AI) equal to 31 percent of the Pacific cod ABC for the AI. The Council and its Plan Team, SSC, and AP recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the AI not exceed the proposed ABC recommendations of 21,500 mt. Accordingly, the Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, that the 2019 and 2020 Pacific cod TACs in the AI account for the State’s GHL for Pacific cod caught in State waters in the AI. Proposed ABC and TAC Harvest Specifications At the October 2018 Council meeting, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed the most recent biological and harvest information on the condition of the BSAI groundfish stocks. This information was compiled by the Plan Team and presented in the final 2017 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries, dated November 2017 (see ADDRESSES). The final 2018 SAFE report will be available from the same source. The only changes to the proposed 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications from the final 2019 harvest specifications published in February 2018 (83 FR 8365, February 27, 2018) are associated with squid OFL, ABC, and TAC; BS pollock TAC; and Pacific cod TACs. Consistent with the final approval of Amendment 117 and the reclassification of squid as an ecosystem component species (83 FR 31460), the 2019 harvest specifications include the removal of the squid OFL (6,912 mt), squid ABC (5,184 mt), and squid TAC (1,200 mt) in the BSAI. The Council recommended, and NMFS includes in these proposed specifications, a corresponding 1,200 mt increase in the BS pollock TAC. The net increase of the BS pollock TAC equals the decrease of the squid TAC. As discussed earlier in this preamble, the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs were reduced to account for the increases in the BS and AI Pacific cod GHLs. This reduced the 2019 and 2020 BS Pacific cod TAC from 159,120 mt to 156,355 mt, and the AI Pacific cod TAC from 15,695 mt to 14,835 mt. Therefore, the sum of the 2019 and 2020 proposed TACs decreased from 2.0 million mt to 1,996,375 mt. The proposed 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications are based on the final PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 2019 harvest specifications published in February 2018, which were set after consideration of the most recent 2017 SAFE report, and are based on the initial survey data that were presented at the September 2018 Plan Team meeting. These proposed 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications are subject to change in the final harvest specifications to be published by NMFS following the Council’s December 2018 meeting. In November 2018, the Plan Team will update the 2017 SAFE report to include new information collected during 2018, such as NMFS stock surveys, revised stock assessments, and catch data. The Plan Team will compile this information and present the draft 2018 SAFE report at the December 2018 Council meeting. At that meeting, the SSC and the Council will review the 2018 SAFE report, and the Council will approve the 2018 SAFE report. The Council will consider information contained in the 2018 SAFE report, recommendations from the November 2018 Plan Team meeting and December 2018 SSC and AP meetings, public testimony, and relevant written comments in making its recommendations for the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications. In previous years, the most significant changes (relative to the amount of assessed tonnage of fish) to the OFLs and ABCs from the proposed to the final harvest specifications have been based on the most recent NMFS stock surveys. These surveys provide updated estimates of stock biomass and spatial distribution, and changes to the models or the models’ results used for producing stock assessments. Any changes to models used in stock assessments will be recommended by the Plan Team in November 2018 and then included in the final 2018 SAFE report. Model changes can result in changes to final OFLs, ABCs, and TACs. The final 2018 SAFE report will include the most recent information, such as catch data. The final harvest specification amounts for these stocks are not expected to vary greatly from the proposed harvest specification amounts published here. If the 2018 SAFE report indicates that the stock biomass trend is increasing for a species, then the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications may reflect an increase from the proposed harvest specifications. Conversely, if the 2018 SAFE report indicates that the stock biomass trend is decreasing for a species, then the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications may reflect a decrease from the proposed harvest specifications. In addition to changes driven by biomass E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules trends, there may be changes in TACs due to the sum of ABCs exceeding 2 million mt. Since the regulations require TACs to be set to an OY between 1.4 and 2 million mt, the Council may be required to recommend TACs that are lower than the ABCs recommended by the Plan Team and the SSC, if setting TACs equal to ABCs would cause total TACs to exceed an OY of 2 million mt. Generally, total ABCs greatly exceed 2 million mt in years with a large pollock biomass. For both 2019 and 2020, NMFS anticipates that the sum of the ABCs will exceed 2 million mt. NMFS expects that the final total TAC for the BSAI for both 2019 and 2020 will equal 2 million mt each year. The proposed OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised technical methods used to calculate stock biomass. The FMP specifies a series of six tiers to define OFLs and ABCs based on the level of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier 1 represents the highest level of information quality available, while Tier 6 represents the lowest. In October 2018, the SSC adopted the proposed 2019 and 2020 OFLs and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team for all groundfish species. The Council adopted the SSC’s OFL and ABC recommendations. These amounts are unchanged from the final 2019 harvest specifications published in the Federal Register on February 27, 2018 (83 FR 8365), with the exception of the removal of the squid OFL and ABC. The Council adopted the AP’s TAC recommendations, including the 1,200 mt increase in the BS pollock TAC because of the removal of the 2019 squid TAC of 1,200 mt. For 2019 and 2020, the Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, the OFLs, ABCs, and TACs listed in Table 1. The proposed ABCs reflect harvest amounts that are less than the specified OFLs. The sum of the proposed 2019 and 2020 ABCs for all assessed groundfish is 3,573,772 mt. The sum of the proposed TACs is 1,996,375 mt, which accounts for the increases in the BS and AI Pacific cod GHLs and subsequent reductions of the proposed BS and AI Pacific cod TACs. As discussed above, NMFS expects that the final total BSAI TAC for both 2019 and 2020 will equal 2 million mt each year. Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts The Council recommended proposed TACs for 2019 and 2020 Aleutian Islands sablefish, BS sablefish, BS and Eastern Aleutian Islands Atka mackerel, BS Pacific ocean perch, Central Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, and Eastern Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch that are equal to the proposed ABCs. The Council recommended proposed 62817 TACs less than the respective proposed ABCs for all other species. Section 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(1) requires the AI pollock TAC to be set at 19,000 mt when the AI pollock ABC equals or exceeds 19,000 mt. The Bogoslof pollock TAC is set to accommodate incidental catch amounts. TACs are set so that the sum of the overall TAC does not exceed the BSAI OY. The proposed groundfish OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are subject to change pending the completion of the final 2018 SAFE report and the Council’s recommendations for the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications during its December 2018 meeting. These proposed amounts are consistent with the biological condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 2018 SAFE report, and have been adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations. Pursuant to Section 3.2.3.4.1 of the FMP, the Council could recommend adjusting the final TACs if ‘‘warranted on the basis of bycatch considerations, management uncertainty, or socioeconomic considerations; or if required in order to cause the sum of the TACs to fall within the OY range.’’ Table 1 lists the proposed 2019 and 2020 OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ amounts for groundfish for the BSAI. The proposed apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and seasons is discussed below. TABLE 1—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Proposed 2019 and 2020 Species Area Pollock 4 ................................................... Pacific cod 5 ............................................. Sablefish .................................................. khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Yellowfin sole ........................................... Greenland turbot ...................................... Arrowtooth flounder ................................. Kamchatka flounder ................................. Rock sole 6 ............................................... Flathead sole 7 ......................................... Alaska plaice ........................................... Other flatfish 8 .......................................... Pacific Ocean perch ................................ Northern rockfish ..................................... Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish 9 .... VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 BS .................. AI ................... Bogoslof ......... BS .................. AI ................... BS .................. AI ................... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BS .................. AI ................... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BS .................. EAI ................. CAI ................. WAI ................ BSAI ............... BSAI ............... EBS/EAI ......... PO 00000 Frm 00082 ITAC 2 OFL ABC TAC 4,592,000 37,431 130,428 201,000 28,700 4,576 6,209 295,600 13,540 n/a n/a 75,084 12,022 136,000 78,036 38,800 17,591 50,098 n/a n/a n/a n/a 15,563 829 n/a 2,467,000 30,803 60,800 170,000 21,500 2,061 2,798 267,500 11,473 7,016 1,457 64,494 7,317 132,000 65,227 32,700 13,193 41,212 11,499 9,715 7,549 12,449 12,710 678 414 1,384,200 19,000 500 156,355 14,835 2,061 2,798 156,000 5,294 5,125 169 14,000 5,000 49,100 16,500 16,252 4,000 37,880 11,499 9,715 7,549 9,117 6,500 225 75 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 1,245,780 17,100 500 139,625 13,248 876 595 139,308 4,500 4,356 144 11,900 4,250 43,846 14,735 13,814 3,400 33,332 9,774 8,675 6,741 8,141 5,525 191 64 CDQ 3 4 138,420 1,900 ........................ 16,730 1,587 77 52 16,692 n/a 548 ........................ 1,498 ........................ 5,254 1,766 ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ 1,040 808 976 ........................ ........................ ........................ 62818 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules TABLE 1—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI 1— Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] Proposed 2019 and 2020 Species Area OFL ABC ITAC 2 TAC CDQ 3 4 Skates ...................................................... Sculpins ................................................... Sharks ...................................................... Octopuses ................................................ CAI/WAI ......... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BS .................. AI ................... BSAI ............... EAI/BS ........... CAI ................. WAI ................ BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... n/a 666 1,816 n/a n/a 97,200 n/a n/a n/a 44,202 53,201 689 4,769 264 499 1,362 791 571 84,400 33,780 29,350 21,270 36,957 39,995 517 3,576 150 150 845 275 570 72,500 33,780 24,895 13,825 27,000 5,000 180 200 128 128 718 234 485 64,743 30,166 22,231 12,346 22,950 4,250 153 170 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 7,758 3,614 2,664 1,479 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ Total .................................................. ........................ 5,936,050 3,573,772 1,996,375 1,785,636 195,105 Shortraker rockfish ................................... Other rockfish 10 ....................................... Atka mackerel .......................................... 1 These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the BS includes the Bogoslof District. 2 Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod), 15 percent of each TAC is put into a non-specified reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species, ITAC is the non-CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnote 3 and 4). 3 For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, Pacific cod, rock sole, yellowfin sole, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch), 10.7 percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC is allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC is allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea Greenland turbot and BSAI arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). The 2019 hook-and-line or pot gear portion of the sablefish ITAC and CDQ reserve will not be specified until the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications. Aleutian Islands Greenland turbot, ‘‘other flatfish,’’ Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, Kamchatka flounder, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, blackspotted and rougheye rockfish, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ octopuses, skates, sculpins, and sharks are not allocated to the CDQ Program. 4 Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual BS pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (3.9 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: Inshore—50 percent; catcher/processor—40 percent; and motherships—10 percent. Under § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual AI subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery. 5 The BS Pacific cod TAC is set to account for the 8 percent of the BS ABC for the State of Alaska’s (State) guideline harvest level in State waters of the BS. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set to account for 31 percent of the AI ABC for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the AI. 6 ‘‘Rock sole’’ includes Lepidopsetta polyxystra (Northern rock sole) and Lepidopsetta bilineata (Southern rock sole). 7 ‘‘Flathead sole’’ includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering flounder). 8 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice. 9 ‘‘Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish’’ includes Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted) and Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye). 10 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern, shortraker, and rougheye rockfish. Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2 (BSAI = Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area, BS = Bering Sea subarea, AI = Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI = Eastern Aleutian district, CAI = Central Aleutian district, WAI = Western Aleutian district). khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Groundfish Reserves and the Incidental Catch Allowance (ICA) for Pollock, Atka Mackerel, Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, Yellowfin Sole, and AI Pacific Ocean Perch Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) requires NMFS to reserve 15 percent of the TAC for each target species category, except for pollock, hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish, and Amendment 80 species, in a non-specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires NMFS to allocate 20 percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of sablefish to the fixed gear sablefish CDQ reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires NMFS to allocate 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocation of sablefish and VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 10.7 percent of BS Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder TACs to the respective CDQ reserves. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) requires NMFS to allocate 10.7 percent of the TACs for Atka mackerel, AI Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod to the respective CDQ reserves. Sections 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) and 679.31(a) require allocation of 10 percent of the BS pollock TAC to the pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). Sections 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and 679.31(a) require 10 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock TAC be allocated to the pollock CDQ DFA. The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is allocated as an ICA pursuant to PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 § 679.20(a)(5)(ii) because the Bogoslof Area is closed to directed fishing for pollock by regulation (§ 679.22(a)(7)(i)(B)). With the exception of the hook-and-line or pot gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the regulations do not further apportion the CDQ reserves by gear. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS proposes a pollock ICA of 3.9 percent or 48,585 mt of the BS pollock TAC after subtracting the 10 percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on NMFS’ examination of the pollock incidentally retained and discarded catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2000 through 2018. E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules During this 19-year period, the pollock incidental catch ranged from a low of 2.2 percent in 2006 to a high of 4.6 percent in 2014, with a 19-year average of 3 percent. Pursuant to §§ 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS proposes a pollock ICA of 14 percent or 2,400 mt of the AI pollock TAC after subtracting the 10-percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on NMFS’ examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2003 through 2018. During this 16-year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from a low of 5 percent in 2006 to a high of 17 percent in 2014, with a 16-year average of 8 percent. Pursuant to §§ 679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS proposes ICAs of 4,000 mt of flathead sole, 6,000 mt of rock sole, 4,000 mt of yellowfin sole, 10 mt of Western Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 60 mt of Central Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 100 mt of Eastern Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 20 mt of Western Aleutian District Atka mackerel, 75 mt of Central Aleutian District Atka mackerel, and 800 mt of Eastern Aleutian District and BS Atka mackerel after subtracting the 10.7 percent CDQ reserve. These ICAs are based on NMFS’ examination of the average incidental retained and discarded catch in other target fisheries from 2003 through 2018. The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified reserve by species or species group. Any amount of the reserve may be apportioned to a target species that contributed to the non-specified reserve during the year, provided that such apportionments are consistent with § 679.20(a)(3) and do not result in overfishing (see § 679.20(b)(1)(i)). Allocations of Pollock TAC Under the American Fisheries Act (AFA) Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that BS pollock TAC be apportioned as a DFA, after subtracting 10 percent for the CDQ Program and 3.9 percent for the ICA, as follows: 50 percent to the inshore sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor sector, and 10 percent to the mothership sector. In the BS, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20 to June 10), and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10 to November 1) (§§ 679.20(a)(5)(i)(B)(1) and 679.23(e)(2)). The AI directed pollock fishery allocation to the Aleut Corporation is the amount of pollock TAC remaining in the AI after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 percent), and 2,400 mt for the ICA (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)). In the AI, the total A season apportionment of the pollock TAC (including the AI directed fishery allocation, the CDQ allowance, and the ICA) may equal up to 40 percent of the ABC for AI pollock, and the remainder of the pollock TAC is allocated to the B season (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(3)). Table 2 lists these proposed 2019 and 2020 amounts. Section 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6) sets harvest limits for pollock in the A season (January 20 to June 10) in Areas 543, 542, and 541. In Area 543, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. In Area 542, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 15 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. In Area 541, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 30 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) includes several specific requirements regarding BS pollock allocations. First, it requires that 8.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the catcher/processor sector be available for harvest by AFA catcher 62819 vessels with catcher/processor sector endorsements, unless the Regional Administrator receives a cooperative contract that allows the distribution of harvest among AFA catcher/processors and AFA catcher vessels in a manner agreed to by all members. Second, AFA catcher/processors not listed in the AFA are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the catcher/processor sector. Table 2 lists the proposed 2019 and 2020 allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 13 through 16 list the AFA catcher/ processor and catcher vessel harvesting sideboard limits. The BS inshore pollock cooperative and open access sector allocations are based on the submission of AFA inshore cooperative applications due to NMFS on December 1 of each calendar year. Because AFA inshore cooperative applications for 2019 have not been submitted to NMFS, and NMFS therefore cannot calculate 2019 allocations, NMFS has not included inshore cooperative tables in these proposed harvest specifications. NMFS will post 2019 AFA inshore pollock cooperative and open access sector allocations on the Alaska Region website at https:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2019, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date. Table 2 also lists proposed seasonal apportionments of pollock and harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The harvest of pollock within the SCA, as defined at § 679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to no more than 28 percent of the DFA before 12:00 noon, April 1, as provided in § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C). The A season pollock SCA harvest limit will be apportioned to each sector in proportion to each sector’s allocated percentage of the DFA. Table 2 lists these proposed 2019 and 2020 amounts by sector. TABLE 2—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2019 and 2020 allocations khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Area and sector Bering Sea subarea TAC ................................................................................ CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA 1 ................................................................................................................. AFA Inshore ..................................................................................................... AFA Catcher/Processors 3 ............................................................................... Catch by C/Ps .......................................................................................... Catch by C/Vs 3 ........................................................................................ Unlisted C/P Limit 4 ............................................................................ AFA Motherships ............................................................................................. Excessive Harvesting Limit 5 ............................................................................ Excessive Processing Limit 6 ........................................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 1,384,200 138,420 48,585 598,597 478,878 438,173 40,705 2,394 119,719 209,509 359,158 A season1 A season DFA n/a 62,289 n/a 269,369 215,495 197,178 18,317 1,077 53,874 n/a n/a E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 B season 1 SCA harvest limit 2 n/a 38,758 n/a 167,607 134,086 n/a n/a n/a 33,521 n/a n/a B season DFA n/a 76,131 n/a 329,229 263,383 240,995 22,388 1,317 65,846 n/a n/a 62820 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules TABLE 2—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2019 and 2020 allocations Area and sector Total Bering Sea DFA (non-CDQ) ................................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea ABC ......................................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea TAC ......................................................................... CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA ................................................................................................................... Aleut Corporation ............................................................................................. Area harvest limit 7 ........................................................................................... Area 541 harvest limit 7 .................................................................................... Area 542 harvest limit 7 .................................................................................... Area 543 harvest limit 7 .................................................................................... Bogoslof District ICA 8 ...................................................................................... A season1 A season DFA 1,197,195 30,803 19,000 1,900 2,400 14,700 n/a 9,241 4,620 1,540 500 538,738 n/a n/a 760 1,200 7,361 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a B season 1 SCA harvest limit 2 335,214 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a B season DFA 658,457 n/a n/a 1,140 1,200 4,339 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (3.9 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector—50 percent, catcher/processor sector (C/Ps)—40 percent, and mothership sector—10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20–June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10–November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) through (iii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second for the ICA (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is allocated up to 40 percent of the ABC, and the B season is allocated the remainder of the directed pollock fishery. 2 In the Bering Sea subarea, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(c), no more than 28 percent of each sector’s annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before noon, April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed C/Ps shall be available for harvest only by AFA catcher vessels (CVs) with CP endorsements delivering to listed CPs, unless there is a C/P sector cooperative for the year. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted C/Ps are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the C/Ps sector’s allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. 8 Pursuant to § 679.22(a)(7)(i)(B), the Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for incidental catch only and are not apportioned by season or sector. khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TACs Section 679.20(a)(8) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, ICAs for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and non-trawl gear sectors, and the jig gear allocation (Table 3). The percentage of the ITAC for Atka mackerel allocated to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is listed in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and in § 679.91. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea Atka mackerel TAC may be allocated to vessels using jig gear. The percent of this allocation is recommended annually by the Council based on several criteria, including the anticipated harvest capacity of the jig gear fleet. The Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, a 0.5 percent allocation of the Atka mackerel TAC in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea to jig gear in 2019 and 2020. This percentage is applied to the TAC after subtracting the CDQ reserve. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel TAC into two equal seasonal allowances. Section 679.23(e)(3) sets the first seasonal allowance for directed fishing with trawl gear from January 20 through June 10 (A season), and the second seasonal allowance from June 10 through December 31 (B season). Section 679.23(e)(4)(iii) applies Atka mackerel seasons to trawl CDQ Atka mackerel fishing. The ICA and jig gear allocations are not apportioned by season. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) and (ii) limits Atka mackerel catch within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located west of 178° W longitude to no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543, and equally divides the annual TAC between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3). Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires that the annual TAC in Area 543 will be no more than 65 percent of the ABC in Area 543. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(D) requires that any unharvested Atka mackerel A season allowance that is added to the B PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 season be prohibited from being harvested within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located in Areas 541, 542, and 543. Table 3 lists the proposed 2019 and 2020 Atka mackerel season allowances, area allowances, and the sector allocations. One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2019 fishing year. Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of the cooperative, no allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required. The 2020 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2019. NMFS will post 2020 Amendment 80 cooperatives and Amendment 80 limited access sector allocations on the Alaska Region website at https:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2020, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date. E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 62821 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules TABLE 3—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, CDQ RESERVE, INCIDENTAL CATCH ALLOWANCE, AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] 2019 and 2020 allocation by area Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 TAC ........................................................ CDQ reserve .......................................... n/a ......................................................... Total ...................................................... A ............................................................ Critical habitat 5 ..................................... B ............................................................ Critical habitat 5 ..................................... n/a ......................................................... Total ...................................................... Total ...................................................... Total ...................................................... A ............................................................ Critical habitat 5 ..................................... B ............................................................ Critical habitat 5 ..................................... Total ...................................................... A ............................................................ Critical habitat 5 ..................................... B ............................................................ Critical habitat 5 ..................................... non-CDQ TAC ........................................ Jig 6 ........................................................ ICA ......................................................... BSAI trawl limited access ...................... Amendment 80 ....................................... Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea 33,780 3,614 1,807 n/a 1,807 n/a 30,166 151 800 2,921 1,461 n/a 1,461 n/a 26,293 13,147 n/a 13,147 n/a Central Aleutian District 5 Western Aleutian District 5 24,895 2,664 1,332 799 1,332 799 22,231 .............................. 75 2,216 1,108 665 1,108 665 19,941 9,970 5,982 9,970 5,982 13,825 1,479 740 444 740 444 12,346 .............................. 20 .............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. 12,326 6,163 3,698 6,163 3,698 1 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, ICAs, and the jig gear allocation, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 2 Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 3 The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4 Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 7, and the B season from June 10 to December 31. 5 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to be caught inside of Steller sea lion critical habitat; § 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3); and § 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC in Area 543. 6 Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtraction of the CDQ reserve. The amount of this allocation for 2019 and 2020 is proposed at 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC The Council separated Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands subarea OFLs, ABCs, and TACs for Pacific cod in 2014 (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014). Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) allocates 10.7 percent of the BS TAC and the AI TAC to the CDQ Program. After CDQ allocations have been deducted from the respective BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, the remaining BS and AI Pacific cod TACs are combined for calculating further BSAI Pacific cod sector allocations. If the non-CDQ Pacific cod TAC is or will be reached in either the BS or the AI subareas, NMFS will prohibit non-CDQ directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea, as provided in § 679.20(d)(1)(iii). Section 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) allocates to the non-CDQ sectors the combined BSAI Pacific cod TAC, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ Program, as follows: 1.4 percent to vessels using jig gear, 2.0 percent to hook-and-line or pot catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) length overall (LOA), 0.2 percent to hook-and-line catcher VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 vessels greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA, 48.7 percent to hook-andline catcher/processors, 8.4 percent to pot catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA, 1.5 percent to pot catcher/processors, 2.3 percent to AFA trawl catcher/processors, 13.4 percent to the Amendment 80 sector, and 22.1 percent to trawl catcher vessels. The BSAI ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of BSAI Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. For 2019 and 2020, the Regional Administrator proposes a BSAI ICA of 400 mt, based on anticipated incidental catch by these sectors in other fisheries. The BSAI ITAC allocation of Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 sector is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2019 fishing year. Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of the cooperative, no allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required. The 2020 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2019. NMFS will post 2020 Amendment 80 cooperatives and Amendment 80 limited access allocations on the Alaska Region website at https:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2020, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date. The Pacific cod TAC is apportioned into seasonal allowances to disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see §§ 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B), 679.20 (a)(7)(iv)(A), and 679.23(e)(5)). In accordance with §§ 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(B) and (C), any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance for any sector, except the jig sector, will become available at the beginning of that sector’s next seasonal allowance. Section 679.20(a)(7)(vii) requires the Regional Administrator to establish an Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit based on Pacific cod abundance in Area 543. Based on the 2017 stock assessment, the E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 62822 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules Regional Administrator determined the Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit to be 25.6 percent of the AI Pacific cod TAC for 2019 and 2020. NMFS will first subtract the State GHL Pacific cod amount from the AI Pacific cod ABC. Then NMFS will determine the harvest limit in Area 543 by multiplying the percentage of Pacific cod estimated in Area 543 by the remaining ABC for AI Pacific cod. Based on these calculations, the proposed Area 543 harvest limit is 3,798 mt. Section 679.20(a)(7)(viii) requires specification of the 2019 and 2020 Pacific cod allocations for the Aleutian Islands non-CDQ ICA, non-CDQ DFA, CV Harvest Set-Aside, and Unrestricted Fishery, as well as the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation. The CV Harvest Set-Aside is a portion of the AI Pacific cod TAC that is available for harvest by catcher vessels directed fishing for AI Pacific cod and delivering their catch for processing to an AI shoreplant. If NMFS receives notification of intent to process AI Pacific cod from either the City of Adak or the City of Atka by October 31 of the previous year, the harvest limits in Table 4a will be in effect in the following year. Prior to October 31, 2018, NMFS received timely notice from the City of Adak indicating an intent to process AI Pacific cod in 2019. Accordingly, the harvest limits in Table 4a will be in effect in 2019, subject to the requirements outlined in § 679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E). If less than 1,000 mt of the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is delivered to Aleutian Islands shoreplants by February 28 of that year, then the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is lifted and the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation is suspended. If the entire Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is fully harvested and delivered to Aleutian Islands shoreplants before March 15 of that year, then the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation is suspended for the remainder of the fishing year. The CDQ and non-CDQ seasonal allowances by gear based on the proposed 2019 and 2020 Pacific cod TACs are listed in Table 4 based on the sector allocation percentages of Pacific cod set forth at §§ 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) and (a)(7)(iv)(A); and the seasons set forth at § 679.23(e)(5). TABLE 4—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI 1 PACIFIC COD TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Sector 2019 and 2020 share of gear sector total Percent 2019 and 2020 share of sector total Total Bering Sea TAC ....................... Bering Sea CDQ ............................... Bering Sea non-CDQ TAC ............... Total Aleutian Islands TAC ............... Aleutian Islands CDQ ....................... Aleutian Islands non-CDQ TAC ........ Western Aleutians Islands Limit ....... Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC 1 .............. Total hook-and-line/pot gear ............. Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 .................... Hook-and-line/pot sub-total ............... Hook-and-line catcher/processors .... n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 100 61 n/a n/a 49 156,355 16,730 139,625 14,835 1,587 13,248 3,798 152,873 92,947 n/a 92,547 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 400 n/a 74,129 Hook-and-line catcher vessels ≥60 ft LOA. Pot catcher/processors ..................... 0 n/a 304 2 n/a 2,283 Pot catcher vessels ≥60 ft LOA ........ 8 n/a 12,786 Catcher vessels <60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Trawl catcher vessels ....................... 2 n/a 3,044 22 33,785 n/a AFA trawl catcher/processors ........... 2 3,516 n/a Amendment 80 .................................. 13 20,485 n/a Jig ...................................................... 1 2,140 n/a 2019 and 2020 seasonal apportionment Season Amount n/a .................................................... See § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) ................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... See § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) ................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... Jan-1–Jun 10 ................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept-1–Dec 31 ................................. n/a .................................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 37,806 36,323 155 149 1,164 1,119 6,521 6,265 n/a Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 1–Apr 30 .................................... Apr 30–Aug 31 ................................. Aug 31–Dec 31 ................................ 25,001 3,716 5,068 2,637 879 ........................ 15,364 5,121 ........................ 1,284 428 428 1 The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, after subtraction of CDQ. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea will be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains. 2 The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator proposes an ICA of 400 mt for 2019 and 2020 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 62823 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules TABLE 4a—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 BSAI A-SEASON PACIFIC COD ALLOCATIONS AND LIMITS IF REQUIREMENTS IN § 679.20(A)(7)(VIII) ARE MET 1 2019 and 2020 allocations under Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside Amount (mt) AI non-CDQ TAC ................................................................................................................................................................................. AI ICA .................................................................................................................................................................................................. AI DFA ................................................................................................................................................................................................. AI CV Harvest Set-Aside 2 ................................................................................................................................................................... AI Unrestricted Fishery 3 ...................................................................................................................................................................... BSAI Trawl CV A-Season Allocation ................................................................................................................................................... BSAI Trawl CV A-Season Allocation minus Sector Limitation 4 .......................................................................................................... BS Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation ........................................................................................................................................... 13,248 2,500 7,748 5,000 5,748 25,001 20,001 5,000 1 These allocations will apply in 2019, and will apply in 2020 only if NMFS receives notice of intent to process AI Pacific cod by October 31, 2019, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(7)(viii)(D). In addition, the allocations apply in 2019 and 2020 if the requirements set forth in § 679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E) are likewise met during the fishing year. Prior to October 31, 2018, NMFS received timely notice from the City of Adak indicating an intent to process AI Pacific cod for the 2019 season. Accordingly, the harvest limits in Table 4a will be in effect in 2019, subject to the requirements outlined in § 679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E). 2 Prior to March 15, 2019, only catcher vessels that deliver their catch of AI Pacific cod to AI shoreplants for processing may directed fish for that portion of the AI Pacific cod non-CDQ DFA that is specified as the AI CV Harvest Set-Aside, unless lifted because the requirements pursuant to § 679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E) were not met. 3 Prior to March 15, 2019, vessels otherwise authorized to directed fish for Pacific cod in the AI may directed fish for that portion of the AI Pacific cod non-CDQ DFA that is specified as the AI Unrestricted Fishery. 4 This is the amount of the BSAI trawl CV A season allocation that may be harvested in the Bering Sea prior to March 21, 2019, unless modified because the requirements in § 679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E) were not met. Sablefish Gear Allocation Section 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) require allocation of sablefish TAC for the BS and AI between trawl gear and hook-and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TAC for the BS are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations for the TAC for the AI are 25 percent for trawl gear and 75 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires NMFS to apportion 20 percent of the hook-and- line or pot gear allocation of sablefish to the CDQ reserve for each subarea. Also, § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D)(1) requires that 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocation of sablefish from the non-specified reserves, established under § 679.20(b)(1)(i), be apportioned to the CDQ reserve. The Council recommended that only trawl sablefish TAC be established biennially. The harvest specifications for the hook-andline or pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fisheries are limited to the 2019 fishing year to ensure those fisheries are conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery. Concurrent sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries reduce the potential for discards of halibut and sablefish in those fisheries. The sablefish IFQ fisheries remain closed at the beginning of each fishing year until the final harvest specifications for the sablefish IFQ fisheries are in effect. Table 5 lists the proposed 2019 and 2020 gear allocations of the sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts. TABLE 5—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 GEAR SHARES AND CDQ RESERVE OF BSAI SABLEFISH TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Subarea and gear Percent of TAC Bering Sea Trawl ..................... Hook-and-line gear/pot 2 ........... Total ...................... Aleutian Islands Trawl ..................... Hook-and-line gear/pot 2 ........... Total ...................... 2019 Share of TAC 2019 ITAC 1 2019 CDQ reserve 2020 Share of TAC 2020 ITAC 2020 CDQ reserve 50 1,031 876 77 1,031 876 77 50 100 1,031 2,061 n/a 876 206 283 n/a 1,031 n/a 876 n/a 77 25 700 595 52 700 595 52 75 100 2,099 2,798 n/a 595 420 472 n/a 700 n/a 595 n/a 52 khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL 1 Except for the sablefish hook-and-line and pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the non-specified reserve (§ 679.20(b)(1)(i)). The ITAC is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. 2 For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, 20 percent of the allocated TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (§ 679.20(b)(1)). The Council recommended that specifications for the hook-and-line or pot gear sablefish IFQ fisheries be limited to one year. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Allocation of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACs Section 679.20(a)(10)(i) and (ii) requires that NMFS allocate AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs between the Amendment 80 sector and the BSAI trawl limited access sector, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ reserve and an ICA for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels using non-trawl gear. The allocation of PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 the ITAC for AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole to the Amendment 80 sector is established in Tables 33 and 34 to 50 CFR part 679 and in § 679.91. One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2019 fishing year. E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 62824 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of the cooperative, no allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required. The 2020 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2019. NMFS will post 2020 Amendment 80 cooperatives and Amendment 80 limited access allocations on the Alaska Region website at https:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2020, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date. Table 6 lists the proposed 2019 and 2020 allocations of the AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs. TABLE 6—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA (CDQ) RESERVES, INCIDENTAL CATCH AMOUNTS (ICAS), AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS PACIFIC OCEAN PERCH, AND BSAI FLATHEAD SOLE, ROCK SOLE, AND YELLOWFIN SOLE TACS (Amounts are in metric tons) 2019 and 2020 allocations Pacific ocean perch Sector Eastern Aleutian District TAC .......................................................... CDQ ......................................................... ICA ........................................................... BSAI trawl limited access ........................ Amendment 80 ......................................... Central Aleutian District 9,715 1,040 100 858 7,718 Section 679.2 defines the ABC surplus for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole as the difference between the annual ABC and TAC for each species. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii) establishes ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The ABC surpluses and the ABC reserves are necessary to mitigate the operational variability, environmental conditions, and economic factors that may constrain Western Aleutian District 7,549 808 60 668 6,013 9,117 976 10 163 7,969 the CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperatives from achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may set the ABC reserve at or below the ABC surplus for each species, thus maintaining the TAC below ABC limits. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the ABC reserves will be allocated as CDQ ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock Flathead sole Rock sole Yellowfin sole BSAI BSAI BSAI 16,500 1,766 4,000 0 7,735 49,100 5,254 6,000 0 37,846 156,000 16,692 4,000 19,065 116,243 sole, and yellowfin sole. Section 679.31(b)(4) establishes the annual allocations of CDQ ABC reserves among the CDQ groups. The Amendment 80 ABC reserves shall be the ABC reserves minus the CDQ ABC reserves. Table 7 lists the proposed 2019 and 2020 ABC surplus and ABC reserves for BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. TABLE 7—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 ABC SURPLUS, ABC RESERVES, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA (CDQ) ABC RESERVES, AND AMENDMENT 80 ABC RESERVES IN THE BSAI FOR FLATHEAD SOLE, ROCK SOLE, AND YELLOWFIN SOLE (Amounts are in metric tons) Sector Flathead sole khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL ABC .............................................................................................................................................. TAC .............................................................................................................................................. ABC surplus ................................................................................................................................. ABC reserve ................................................................................................................................ CDQ ABC reserve ....................................................................................................................... Amendment 80 ABC reserve ....................................................................................................... Proposed PSC Limits for Halibut, Salmon, Crab, and Herring Subsections 679.21(b), (e), (f), and (g) set forth the BSAI PSC limits. Pursuant to § 679.21(b)(1), the annual BSAI halibut PSC limits total 3,515 mt. Section 679.21(b)(1) allocates 315 mt of the halibut PSC limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ Program, 1,745 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the Amendment 80 sector, 745 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the BSAI trawl limited access sector, and 710 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the BSAI non-trawl sector. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 Section 679.21(b)(1)(iii)(A) and (B) authorize apportionment of the BSAI non-trawl halibut PSC limit into PSC allowances among six fishery categories, and § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(A) and (B), (e)(3)(i)(B), and (e)(3)(iv) require apportionment of the BSAI trawl limited access halibut and crab PSC limits into PSC allowances among seven fishery categories. Table 10 lists the proposed fishery PSC allowances for the BSAI trawl limited access fisheries, and Table 11 lists the proposed fishery PSC allowances for the non-trawl fisheries. PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 65,227 16,500 48,727 48,727 5,214 43,513 Rock sole 132,000 49,100 82,900 82,900 8,870 74,030 Yellowfin sole 267,500 156,000 111,500 111,500 11,931 99,570 Pursuant to Section 3.6 of the FMP, the Council recommends, and NMFS proposes, that certain specified nontrawl fisheries be exempt from the halibut PSC limit. As in past years, after consultation with the Council, NMFS proposes to exempt pot gear, jig gear, and the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories from halibut bycatch restrictions for the following reasons: (1) The pot gear fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality; (2) NMFS estimates halibut mortality for the jig gear fleet to be negligible because of the small size of the fishery and the selectivity of the E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules gear; and (3) the sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality because the IFQ Program requires legal-size halibut to be retained by vessels using hook-and-line gear if a halibut IFQ permit holder or a hired master is aboard and is holding unused halibut IFQ for that vessel category and the IFQ regulatory area in which the vessel is operating (§ 679.7(f)(11)). As of November 2018, total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the BSAI was 46,571 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch mortality of 19 mt. The 2018 jig gear fishery harvested about 56 mt of groundfish. Most vessels in the jig gear fleet are exempt from observer coverage requirements. As a result, observer data are not available on halibut bycatch in the jig gear fishery. As mentioned above, NMFS estimates a negligible amount of halibut bycatch mortality because of the selective nature of jig gear and the low mortality rate of halibut caught with jig gear and released. Under § 679.21(f)(2), NMFS annually allocates portions of either 33,318, 45,000, 47,591, or 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limits among the AFA sectors, depending on past bycatch performance, on whether Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreements (IPAs) are formed, and on whether NMFS determines it is a low Chinook salmon abundance year. NMFS will determine that it is a low Chinook salmon abundance year when abundance of Chinook salmon in western Alaska is less than or equal to 250,000 Chinook salmon. The State provides to NMFS an estimate of Chinook salmon abundance using the 3System Index for western Alaska, based on the Kuskokwim, Unalakleet, and Upper Yukon aggregate stock grouping. If an AFA sector participates in an approved IPA and has not exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6), and if it is not a low Chinook salmon abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). If no IPA is approved, or if the sector has exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6), and it is not a low abundance year, NMFS will allocate a portion of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(C). If an AFA sector participates in an approved IPA and has not exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6) in a low abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 45,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). If no IPA is VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 approved, or if the sector has exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6) in a low abundance year, NMFS will allocate a portion of the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(D). As of October 1, 2018, NMFS has determined that 2018 was a low Chinook salmon abundance year, based on the State’s estimate that Chinook salmon abundance in western Alaska is less than 250,000 Chinook salmon. Therefore, in 2019, the Chinook salmon PSC limit is 45,000 Chinook salmon, allocated to each sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). The AFA sector Chinook salmon allocations are also seasonally apportioned with 70 percent of the allocation for the A season pollock fishery, and 30 percent of the allocation for the B season pollock fishery (§§ 679.21(f)(3)(i) and 679.23(e)(2)). In 2019, the Chinook salmon bycatch performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6) is 33,318 Chinook salmon, allocated to each sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(D). NMFS publishes the approved IPAs, allocations, and reports at https:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainable fisheries/bycatch/default.htm. Section 679.21(g)(2)(i) specifies 700 fish as the 2019 and 2020 Chinook salmon PSC limit for the AI pollock fishery. Section 679.21(g)(2)(ii) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, as the AI PSQ reserve for the CDQ Program, and allocates the remaining 647 Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries. Section 679.21(f)(14)(i) specifies 42,000 fish as the 2019 and 2020 nonChinook salmon PSC limit for vessels using trawl gear from August 15 through October 14 in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area (CVOA). Section 679.21(f)(14)(ii) allocates 10.7 percent, or 4,494 non-Chinook salmon, in the CVOA as the PSQ reserve for the CDQ Program, and allocates the remaining 37,506 non-Chinook salmon in the CVOA to the non-CDQ fisheries. PSC limits for crab and herring are specified annually based on abundance and spawning biomass. Due to the lack of new information as of October 2018 regarding herring PSC limits and apportionments, the Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, basing the herring 2019 and 2020 PSC limits and apportionments on the 2017 survey data. The Council will reconsider these amounts in December 2018. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(1) allocates 10.7 percent of each trawl gear PSC limit specified for crab as a PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ Program. PO 00000 Frm 00090 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 62825 Based on 2018 survey data, the red king crab mature female abundance is estimated at 13.1 million red king crabs, and the effective spawning biomass is estimated at 33,275 million lbs (15,093 mt). Based on the criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(i), the proposed 2019 and 2020 PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl gear is 97,000 animals. This limit derives from the mature female abundance estimate of more than 8.4 million red king crab and the effective spawning biomass estimate of more than 14.5 million lbs (6,577 mt) but less than 55 million lbs (24,948 mt). Section 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2) establishes criteria under which NMFS must specify an annual red king crab bycatch limit for the Red King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS). The regulations limit the bycatch in the RKCSS to up to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance, based on the need to optimize the groundfish harvest relative to red king crab bycatch. NMFS proposes the Council’s recommendation that the red king crab bycatch limit be equal to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance within the RKCSS (Table 9). Based on 2018 survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) abundance is estimated at 1,238 million animals. Pursuant to criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(ii), the calculated 2019 and 2020 C. bairdi crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 980,000 animals in Zone 1, and 2,970,000 animals in Zone 2. The limit in Zone 1 is based on the abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 1,238 million animals, which is greater than 400 million animals. The limit in Zone 2 is based on the abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 1,238 million animals, which is greater than 400 million animals. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(iii), the PSC limit for trawl gear for snow crab (C. opilio) is based on total abundance as indicated by the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey. The C. opilio crab PSC limit in the C. opilio bycatch limitation zone (COBLZ) is set at 0.1133 percent of the Bering Sea abundance index minus 150,000 crabs. Based on the 2018 survey estimate of 10.65 billion animals, the calculated C. opilio crab PSC limit is 11,916,450 animals, which is above the minimum PSC limit of 4.5 million and below the maximum PSC limit of 13 million animals. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(v), the PSC limit of Pacific herring caught while conducting any trawl operation for BSAI groundfish is 1 percent of the annual eastern Bering Sea herring biomass. The best estimate of 2019 and 2020 herring biomass is 183,017 mt. This amount was developed by the Alaska Department of E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 62826 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules Fish and Game based on biomass for spawning aggregations. Therefore, the herring PSC limit proposed for 2019 and 2020 is 1,830 mt for all trawl gear as listed in Tables 8 and 9. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A) requires PSQ reserves to be subtracted from the total trawl PSC limits. The 2019 crab and halibut PSC limits assigned to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors are listed in Table 35 to 50 CFR part 679. The resulting proposed allocations of PSC limits to CDQ PSQ, the Amendment 80 sector, and the BSAI trawl limited access sector are listed in Table 8. One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2019 fishing year. Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of the cooperative, no PSC limit allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required. The 2020 PSC limit allocations between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2019. NMFS will post 2020 Amendment 80 cooperatives and Amendment 80 limited access allocations on the Alaska Region website at https:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on January 1, 2020, based on the harvest specifications effective on that date. Subsections 679.21(b)(2) and (e)(5) authorize NMFS, after consulting with the Council, to establish seasonal apportionments of halibut and crab PSC amounts for the BSAI non-trawl, BSAI trawl limited access, and Amendment 80 limited access sectors to maximize the ability of the fleet to harvest the available groundfish TAC and to minimize bycatch. The factors considered are (1) seasonal distribution of prohibited species, (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to prohibited species distribution, (3) prohibited species bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relevant to prohibited species biomass and expected catches of target groundfish species, (4) expected variations in bycatch rates throughout the year, (5) expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons, (6) expected start of fishing effort, and (7) economic effects of establishing seasonal prohibited species apportionments on segments of the target groundfish industry. Based on this criteria, the Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, the seasonal PSC apportionments in Tables 10 and 11 to maximize harvest among gear types, fisheries, and seasons, while minimizing bycatch of PSC. TABLE 8—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 APPORTIONMENT OF PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH ALLOWANCES TO NON-TRAWL GEAR, THE CDQ PROGRAM, AMENDMENT 80, AND THE BSAI TRAWL LIMITED ACCESS SECTORS PSC species and area 1 Total PSC Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI .............................................. Herring (mt) BSAI ............................................................ Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 ...................................... C. opilio (animals) COBLZ ............................................... C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 1 ....................................... C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 2 ....................................... 3,515 1,830 97,000 11,916,450 980,000 2,970,000 Non-trawl PSC CDQ PSQ reserve 2 710 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a Trawl PSC remaining after CDQ PSQ 315 n/a 7,379 1,275,060 104,860 317,790 n/a n/a 86,621 7,641,390 875,140 2,652,210 Amendment 80 sector 3 1,745 n/a 43,293 5,230,243 368,521 627,778 BSAI trawl limited access fishery 745 n/a 26,489 3,420,143 411,228 1,241,500 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of zones. PSQ reserve for crab species is 10.7 percent of each crab PSC limit. 3 The Amendment 80 program reduced apportionment of the trawl PSC limits for crab below the total PSC limit. These reductions are not apportioned to other gear types or sectors. 2 The TABLE 9—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 HERRING AND RED KING CRAB SAVINGS SUBAREA PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH ALLOWANCES FOR ALL TRAWL SECTORS Herring (mt) BSAI Fishery categories khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Yellowfin sole ........................................................................................................................................................... Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 1 .................................................................................................................... Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/sablefish ..................................................................... Rockfish ................................................................................................................................................................... Pacific cod ............................................................................................................................................................... Midwater trawl pollock ............................................................................................................................................. Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 2 3 .................................................................................................................. Red king crab savings subarea non-pelagic trawl gear 4 ........................................................................................ Total trawl PSC ........................................................................................................................................................ 80 39 5 5 9 1,662 30 n/a 1,830 Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 24,250 97,000 1 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 2 Pollock other than midwater trawl pollock, Atka mackerel, and ‘‘other species’’ fishery category. 3 ‘‘Other species’’ for PSC monitoring includes sculpins, sharks, skates, and octopuses. 4 In October 2018, the Council recommended that the red king crab bycatch limit for non-pelagic trawl fisheries within the RKCSS be limited to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance (see § 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2)). Note: Species apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:47 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules 62827 TABLE 10—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR THE BSAI TRAWL LIMITED ACCESS SECTOR Prohibited species and area 1 BSAI trawl limited access fisheries Yellowfin sole ....................................................................... Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 2 ................................. Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/ sablefish ........................................................................... Rockfish April 15–December 31 .......................................... Pacific cod ............................................................................ Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 3 ................................. Total BSAI trawl limited access PSC .................................. Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 C. opilio (animals) COBLZ C. bairdi (animals) Zone 1 150 ........................ 23,338 ........................ 3,224,126 ........................ 346,228 ........................ 1,185,500 0 ........................ 4 391 200 745 ........................ ........................ 2,954 197 26,489 ........................ 5,326 137,426 53,265 3,420,143 ........................ ........................ 60,000 5,000 411,228 0 1,000 49,999 5,000 1,241,500 Zone 2 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. flatfish’’ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 3 ‘‘Other species’’ for PSC monitoring includes sculpins, sharks, skates, and octopuses. Note: Species apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. 2 ‘‘Other TABLE 11—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 HALIBUT PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR NON-TRAWL FISHERIES Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Seasons Pacific cod ................................................................. Annual Pacific cod ............................... January 1–June 10 .............................. June 10–August 15 .............................. August 15–December 31 ..................... May 1–December 31 ........................... n/a ........................................................ n/a ........................................................ n/a ........................................................ Non-Pacific cod non-trawl-Total ................................ Groundfish pot and jig ............................................... Sablefish hook-and-line ............................................. Total for all non-trawl PSC ........................................ Halibut Discard Mortality Rates khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Catcher/ processor Non-trawl fisheries To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut incidental catch rates, halibut discard mortality rates (DMRs), and estimates of groundfish catch to project when a fishery’s halibut bycatch mortality allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. Halibut incidental catch rates are based on observers’ estimates of halibut incidental catch in the groundfish fishery. DMRs are estimates of the proportion of incidentally caught halibut that do not survive after being returned to the sea. The cumulative halibut mortality that accrues to a particular halibut PSC limit is the product of a DMR multiplied by the estimated halibut PSC. DMRs are estimated using the best scientific information available in conjunction with the annual BSAI stock assessment process. The DMR methodology and findings are included as an appendix to the annual BSAI groundfish SAFE report. In 2016, the DMR estimation methodology underwent revisions per VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 the Council’s directive. An interagency halibut working group (International Pacific Halibut Commission, Council, and NMFS staff) developed improved estimation methods that have undergone review by the Plan Team, SSC, and the Council. A summary of the revised methodology is included in the BSAI proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87863, December 6, 2016), and the comprehensive discussion of the working group’s statistical methodology is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). The DMR working group’s revised methodology is intended to improve estimation accuracy, transparency, and transferability in the methodology used for calculating DMRs. The working group will continue to consider improvements to the methodology used to calculate halibut mortality, including potential changes to the reference period (the period of data used for calculating the DMRs). Future DMRs may change based on additional years of observer sampling, which could provide more recent and accurate data and which could improve the accuracy of estimation and progress on PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 648 388 162 98 n/a n/a n/a n/a Catcher vessel 13 9 2 2 n/a n/a n/a n/a All non-trawl n/a n/a n/a n/a 49 Exempt Exempt 710 methodology. The new methodology will continue to ensure that NMFS is using DMRs that more accurately reflect halibut mortality, which will inform the different sectors of their estimated halibut mortality and allow specific sectors to respond with methods that could reduce mortality and, eventually, the DMR for that sector. In October 2018, the Council recommended adopting the halibut DMRs derived from the revised methodology for the proposed 2019 and 2020 DMRs. The proposed 2019 and 2020 DMRs use an updated 2-year reference period. Comparing the proposed DMRs to the final DMRs from the 2018 and 2019 harvest specifications, the proposed DMR for motherships and catcher/processors using non-pelagic trawl gear decreased to 78 percent from 84 percent, the proposed DMR for catcher vessels using non-pelagic trawl gear decreased to 59 percent from 60 percent, the proposed DMR for catcher vessels using hookand-line gear decreased to percent from 17 percent, and the proposed DMR for pot gear increased to 19 percent from 9 E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 62828 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules percent. Table 12 lists the proposed 2019 and 2020 DMRs. TABLE 12—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 PACIFIC HALIBUT DISCARD MORTALITY RATES (DMR) FOR THE BSAI Halibut discard mortality rate (percent) Gear Sector Pelagic trawl ................................................................................ Non-pelagic trawl ........................................................................ Non-pelagic trawl ........................................................................ Hook-and-line .............................................................................. Hook-and-line .............................................................................. Pot ............................................................................................... All ............................................................................................... Mothership and catcher/processor ............................................ Catcher vessel ........................................................................... Catcher vessel ........................................................................... Catcher/processor ...................................................................... All ............................................................................................... Listed AFA Catcher/Processor Sideboard Limits Pursuant to § 679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is responsible for restricting the ability of listed AFA catcher/processors to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the directed pollock fishery. These restrictions are set out as ‘‘sideboard’’ limits on catch. The basis for these proposed sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Section 679.64(a)(1)(v) exempts AFA catcher/ processors from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2019 and 2020 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt. As discussed earlier in this preamble, NMFS published a proposed rule (83 FR 40733, August 16, 2018) that would, if implemented, establish regulations to prohibit directed fishing for AFA sideboard limits for specific groundfish species or species groups, rather than prohibiting directed fishing for AFA sideboard limits through the BSAI annual harvest specifications. If that 100 78 59 4 8 19 rule becomes effective prior to the publication of the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications, NMFS will no longer publish most of the sideboards listed below in Table 13. Table 13 lists the proposed 2019 and 2020 catcher/ processor groundfish sideboard limits. All harvest of groundfish sideboard species by listed AFA catcher/ processors, whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be deducted from the sideboard limits in Table 13. However, groundfish sideboard species that are delivered to listed AFA catcher/ processors by catcher vessels will not be deducted from the 2019 and 2020 sideboard limits for the listed AFA catcher/processors. TABLE 13—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 BSAI GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR LISTED AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER/PROCESSORS (C/PS) [Amounts are in metric tons] 1995–1997 Target species Area Retained catch Sablefish trawl ........................................... Greenland turbot ....................................... Arrowtooth flounder ................................... Kamchatka flounder .................................. Rock sole ................................................... Flathead sole ............................................. Alaska plaice ............................................. Other flatfish .............................................. Pacific ocean perch ................................... khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Northern rockfish ....................................... Rougheye rockfish ..................................... Shortraker rockfish .................................... Other rockfish ............................................ Atka mackerel ............................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:47 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 BS ................ AI .................. BS ................ AI .................. BSAI ............. BSAI ............. BSAI ............. BSAI ............. BSAI ............. BSAI ............. BS ................ Eastern AI .... Central AI ..... Western AI ... BSAI ............. EBS/EAI ....... CAI/WAI ....... BSAI ............. BS ................ AI .................. Central AI ..... A season 2 B season 2 Western AI ... A season 2 B season 2 PO 00000 Total catch 8 ........................ 121 23 76 76 6,317 1,925 14 3,058 12 125 3 54 91 50 50 50 18 22 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a Frm 00093 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 497 145 17,305 4,987 33,987 33,987 169,362 52,755 9,438 52,298 4,879 6,179 5,698 13,598 13,040 2,811 2,811 2,811 621 806 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a Ratio of retained catch to total catch 0.016 ........................ 0.007 0.005 0.002 0.002 0.037 0.036 0.001 0.058 0.002 0.020 0.001 0.004 0.007 0.018 0.018 0.018 0.029 0.027 0.115 0.115 0.115 0.2 0.2 0.2 E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 2019 and 2020 ITAC available to all trawl C/Ps 1 876 595 4,356 144 11,900 4,250 43,846 14,735 13,814 3,400 9,774 8,675 6,741 8,141 5,525 64 128 128 234 485 22,231 11,116 11,116 12,346 6,173 6,173 2019 and 2020 AFA C/P sideboard limit 14 ........................ 30 1 24 9 1,622 530 14 197 20 174 7 33 39 1 2 2 7 13 2,557 1,278 1,278 2,469 1,235 1,235 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules 62829 TABLE 13—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 BSAI GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR LISTED AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER/PROCESSORS (C/PS)—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 1995–1997 Target species Area Retained catch Skates ........................................................ Sculpins ..................................................... Sharks ....................................................... Octopuses ................................................. BSAI BSAI BSAI BSAI ............. ............. ............. ............. Total catch 553 553 553 553 Ratio of retained catch to total catch 68,672 68,672 68,672 68,672 0.008 0.008 0.008 0.008 2019 and 2020 ITAC available to all trawl C/Ps 1 22,950 4,250 153 170 2019 and 2020 AFA C/P sideboard limit 184 34 1 1 1 Aleutians Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C). 2 The seasonal apportionment of Atka mackerel in the BSAI trawl limited access sector is 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. Listed AFA catcher/processors are limited to harvesting no more than zero in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea, 20 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Western Aleutian District, and 11.5 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Central Aleutian District. Note: Section 679.64(a)(1)(v) exempts AFA catcher/processors from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2019 and 2020 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt. Section 679.64(a)(2) and Tables 40 and 41 to 50 CFR part 679 establish a formula for calculating PSC sideboard limits for halibut and crab caught by listed AFA catcher/processors. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). PSC species listed in Table 14 that are caught by listed AFA catcher/processors participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue against the proposed 2019 and 2020 PSC sideboard limits for the listed AFA catcher/processors. Section 679.21(b)(4)(iii), (e)(3)(v), and (e)(7) authorize NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for listed AFA catcher/ processors once a proposed 2019 or 2020 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 14 is reached. Pursuant to §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), halibut or crab PSC caught by listed AFA catcher/processors while fishing for pollock will accrue against the PSC allowances annually specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/‘‘other species’’ fishery categories, according to §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv). TABLE 14—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 BSAI PROHIBITED SPECIES SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT LISTED CATCHER/PROCESSORS PSC species and Ratio of PSC to total PSC area 1 BSAI Halibut mortality .................................................................................................................. Red king crab Zone 1 .................................................................................................................. C. opilio (COBLZ) ........................................................................................................................ C. bairdi Zone 1 ........................................................................................................................... C. bairdi Zone 2 ........................................................................................................................... 1 Refer n/a 0.007 0.153 0.140 0.050 Proposed 2019 and 2020 PSC available to trawl vessels after subtraction of PSQ 2 n/a 86,621 8,144,641 741,190 2,250,360 Proposed 2019 and 2020 C/P sideboard limit 2 286 606 1,246,130 103,767 112,518 to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. 2 Halibut khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL AFA Catcher Vessel Sideboard Limits Pursuant to § 679.64(b), the Regional Administrator is responsible for restricting the ability of AFA catcher vessels to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the directed pollock fishery. Section 679.64(b)(3) and (b)(4) establish formulas for setting AFA catcher vessel groundfish and PSC sideboard limits for the BSAI. The basis VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Tables 15 and 16 list the proposed 2019 and 2020 AFA catcher vessel sideboard limits. As discussed earlier in this preamble, NMFS published a proposed rule (83 FR 40733, August 16, 2018) that would, if implemented, establish regulations to prohibit directed fishing for AFA sideboard limits for specific groundfish species or species groups, rather than PO 00000 Frm 00094 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 prohibiting directed fishing for AFA sideboard limits through the BSAI annual harvest specifications. If that rule becomes effective prior to the publication of the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications, NMFS will no longer publish most of the sideboards listed in Table 15. All catch of groundfish sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA catcher vessels, whether as targeted catch or as incidental catch, will be deducted from the 2019 and 2020 sideboard limits listed in Table 15. E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 62830 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules TABLE 15—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 BSAI GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSELS (CVS) [Amounts are in metric tons] Species Fishery by area/gear/season Pacific cod ....................................................... BSAI ............................................................... Jig gear .......................................................... Hook-and-line CV >60 ft LOA ........................ Jan 1–Jun 10 .......................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 ........................................ Pot gear CV >60 ft LOA ................................ Jan 1–Jun 10 .......................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ........................................ CV <60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Trawl gear CV ................................................ Jan 20–Apr 1 .......................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .......................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 .......................................... BS trawl gear ................................................. AI trawl gear ................................................... BS ................................................................... AI .................................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BS trawl gear ................................................. BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BS ................................................................... Eastern AI ...................................................... Central AI ....................................................... Western AI ..................................................... BSAI ............................................................... EBS/EAI ......................................................... CAI/WAI .......................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BS ................................................................... AI .................................................................... Eastern AI/BS ................................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 .......................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 .......................................... Central AI ....................................................... Jan 1–Jun 10 .......................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 .......................................... Western AI ..................................................... Jan 1–Jun 10 .......................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 .......................................... BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... BSAI ............................................................... Sablefish ......................................................... Greenland turbot ............................................. Arrowtooth flounder ......................................... Kamchatka flounder ........................................ Rock sole ........................................................ Flathead sole .................................................. Alaska plaice ................................................... Other flatfish .................................................... Pacific ocean perch ........................................ Northern rockfish ............................................. Rougheye rockfish .......................................... Shortraker rockfish .......................................... Other rockfish .................................................. Atka mackerel ................................................. Skates ............................................................. Sculpins ........................................................... Sharks ............................................................. Octopuses ....................................................... Ratio of 1995– 1997 AFA CV catch to 1995– 1997 TAC 2019 and 2020 initial TAC1 2019 and 2020 AFA catcher vessel sideboard limits n/a ........................ n/a 0.0006 0.0006 n/a 0.0006 0.0006 0.0006 n/a 2,140 n/a 155 149 n/a 6,521 6,265 3,044 n/a ........................ n/a 0 0 n/a 4 4 2 n/a 0.8609 0.8609 0.8609 0.0906 0.0645 0.0645 0.0205 0.0690 0.0690 0.0341 0.0505 0.0441 0.0441 0.1000 0.0077 0.0025 ........................ 0.0084 0.0037 0.0037 0.0037 0.0048 0.0095 n/a 0.0032 0.0032 n/a 0.0001 0.0001 n/a ........................ ........................ 0.0541 0.0541 0.0541 0.0541 n/a 25,001 3,716 5,068 876 595 4,356 144 11,900 4,250 43,846 14,735 13,814 3,400 9,774 8,675 6,741 8,141 5,525 64 128 128 234 485 30,166 15,083 15,083 22,231 11,116 11,116 12,346 6,173 6,173 22,950 4,250 153 170 n/a 21,523 3,199 4,363 79 38 281 3 821 293 1,495 744 609 150 977 67 17 ........................ 46 0 0 0 1 5 n/a 48 48 n/a 1 1 n/a ........................ ........................ 1,242 230 8 9 khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL 1 Aleutians Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, Pacific cod, rock sole, and yellowfin sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC of that species after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C). Note: Section 679.64(b)(6) exempts AFA catcher vessels from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2019 and 2020 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt. Halibut and crab PSC limits listed in Table 16 that are caught by AFA catcher vessels participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue against the 2019 and 2020 PSC sideboard limits for the AFA catcher vessels. Section 679.21(b)(4)(iii), (e)(7), and (e)(3)(v) authorize NMFS to close VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for AFA catcher vessels once a proposed 2019 and 2020 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 16 is reached. Pursuant to §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), halibut or crab PSC caught by AFA catcher vessels while fishing for pollock PO 00000 Frm 00095 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 in the BS will accrue against the PSC allowances annually specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/‘‘other species’’ fishery categories under §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv). E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules 62831 TABLE 16—PROPOSED 2019 AND 2020 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR THE BSAI 1 PSC species and area 1 Target fishery category 2 Halibut ......................... Pacific cod trawl ................................................................................. Pacific cod hook-and-line or pot ......................................................... Yellowfin sole total .............................................................................. Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish 4 ............................................... Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/sablefish Rockfish .............................................................................................. Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 5 ............................................... n/a ....................................................................................................... n/a ....................................................................................................... n/a ....................................................................................................... n/a ....................................................................................................... Red king crab Zone 1 C. opilio COBLZ ......... C. bairdi Zone 1 .......... C. bairdi Zone 2 .......... AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit ratio Proposed 2019 and 2020 PSC limit after subtraction of PSQ reserves 3 Proposed 2019 and 2020 AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit 3 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 0.2990 0.1680 0.3300 0.1860 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 86,621 8,144,641 741,190 2,250,360 887 2 101 228 2 5 25,900 1,368,300 244,593 418,567 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. fishery categories are defined at § 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv). 3 Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. 4 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 5 ‘‘Other species’’ for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, and octopuses. 2 Target khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Classification NMFS has determined that the proposed harvest specifications are consistent with the FMP and preliminarily determined that the proposed harvest specifications are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws, subject to further review after public comment. This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. NMFS prepared an EIS for this action and made it available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 13, 2007, NMFS issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final EIS. A SIR that assesses the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS is being prepared for the final harvest specifications. Copies of the Final EIS, ROD, and annual SIRs for this action are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The Final EIS analyzes the environmental, social, and economic consequences of the proposed groundfish harvest specifications and alternative harvest strategies on resources in the action area. Based on the analysis in the Final EIS, NMFS concluded that the preferred Alternative (Alternative 2) provides the best balance among relevant environmental, social, and economic considerations and allows for continued management of the groundfish fisheries based on the most recent, best scientific information. NMFS prepared an IRFA, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), analyzing the methodology for establishing the VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:47 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 relevant TACs. The IRFA evaluates the economic impacts on small entities of alternative harvest strategies for the groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic zone off Alaska. As described in the methodology, TACs are set to a level that falls within the range of ABCs recommended by the SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve the OY specified in the FMP. While the specific numbers that the methodology produces may vary from year to year, the methodology itself remains constant. A description of the proposed action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for this proposed action are contained in the preamble above. A copy of the IRFA is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows. The action under consideration is a harvest strategy to govern the catch of groundfish in the BSAI. The preferred alternative is the existing harvest strategy in which TACs fall within the range of ABCs recommended by the SSC, but, as discussed below, NMFS considered other alternatives. This action is taken in accordance with the FMP prepared by the Council pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The entities directly regulated by this action are those that harvest groundfish in the exclusive economic zone of the BSAI and in parallel fisheries within State waters. These include entities operating catcher vessels and catcher/ processors within the action area and entities receiving direct allocations of groundfish. For RFA purposes only, NMFS has established a small business size PO 00000 Frm 00096 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual gross receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. The IRFA shows that, in 2017, the estimated number of directly regulated small entities include approximately 170 catcher vessels, four catcher/ processors, and six CDQ groups. Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, Gulf of Alaska rockfish cooperatives, or BSAI Crab Rationalization Program cooperatives, and, since under the RFA the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the cooperative must meet the ‘‘under $11 million’’ threshold, the cooperatives are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. Thus, the estimate of 170 catcher vessels may be an overstatement of the number of small entities. Average gross revenues were $570,000 for small hook-and-line vessels, $1.37 million for small pot vessels, and $3.15 million for small trawl vessels. The average gross revenue for catcher/processors are not reported, due to confidentiality considerations. The preferred alternative (Alternative 2) was compared to four other alternatives. Alternative 1 would have set TACs to generate fishing rates equal E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1 62832 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL to the maximum permissible ABC (if the full TAC were harvested), unless the sum of TACs exceeded the BSAI OY, in which case TACs would have been limited to the OY. Alternative 3 would have set TACs to produce fishing rates equal to the most recent 5-year average fishing rates. Alternative 4 would have set TACs equal to the lower limit of the BSAI OY range. Alternative 5, the ‘‘no action’’ alternative, would have set TACs equal to zero. The TACs associated with Alternative 2, the preferred harvest strategy, are those recommended by the Council in October 2018. OFLs and ABCs for the species were based on recommendations prepared by the Council’s BSAI Groundfish Plan Team in September 2018, and reviewed and modified by the Council’s SSC in October 2018. The Council based its TAC recommendations on those of its AP, which were consistent with the SSC’s OFL and ABC recommendations. Alternative 1 selects harvest rates that would allow fishermen to harvest stocks at the level of ABCs, unless total harvests were constrained by the upper bound of the BSAI OY of two million mt. As shown in Table 1 of the preamble, the sum of ABCs in 2019 and 2020 would be 3,573,772 mt, which is above the upper bound of the OY range. Under Alternative 1, the sum of TACs is equal to the sum of ABCs. In this instance, Alternative 1 is consistent with the preferred alternative (Alternative 2), meets the objectives of that action, and has small entity impacts that are equivalent to small entity impacts of the preferred alternative. However, NMFS cannot set TACs equal to the sum of ABCs in the BSAI due to the constraining OY limit of two million mt, which Alternative 1 would exceed. Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 years of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or based on the most recent 5 years of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). This alternative is inconsistent with the objectives of this VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 action (as reflected in Alternative 2, the Council’s preferred harvest strategy) because it does not take account of the most recent biological information for this fishery, as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. NMFS annually conducts at-sea stock surveys for different species, as well as statistical modeling, to estimate stock sizes and permissible harvest levels. Actual harvest rates or harvest amounts are a component of these estimates, but in and of themselves may not accurately portray stock sizes and conditions. Harvest rates are listed for each species category for each year in the SAFE report (see ADDRESSES). Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all groundfish species and reduce TACs from the upper end of the OY range in the BSAI, to its lower end of 1.4 million mt. Overall, this would reduce 2019 TACs by about 30 percent, which would lead to significant reductions in harvests of species by small entities. While reductions of this size would alter the supply, and, therefore, would be associated with offsetting price increases, the size of these associated price increases is uncertain. While production declines in the BSAI would undoubtedly be associated with price increases in the BSAI, these increases still would be constrained by production of substitutes, and are unlikely to completely offset revenue declines resulting from reductions in harvests of these species by small entities. Thus, this alternative would have a detrimental impact on small entities. Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, would have a significant adverse impact on small entities and would be contrary to the requirement for achieving OY on a continuing basis, as mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The proposed harvest specifications (Alternative 2) extend the current 2019 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs to 2019 and 2020, with the exceptions for removal of PO 00000 Frm 00097 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 the squid OFL, ABC, and TAC in the BSAI and the related increase in BS pollock TAC amounts, and for the decreases of the Pacific cod BS and AI TACs to account for the State’s GHLs. As noted in the IRFA, the Council may modify its recommendations for final OFLs, ABCs, and TACs in December 2018, when it reviews the November 2018 SAFE report from its groundfish Plan Team, and the reports of the SSC and AP, at the 2018 December Council meeting. NMFS does not expect adverse impacts on small entities, because most of the TACs in the proposed 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications are unchanged from the 2019 harvest specification TACs, with the exception of changes for TACs for squid, BS pollock, and Pacific cod, and because the sum of all TACs remains within the upper limit of OY for the BSAI of 2.0 million mt. Also, NMFS does not expect any changes that might be made by the Council in December 2018 to be large enough to have an impact on small entities. This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting requirements, or duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any Federal rules. Adverse impacts on marine mammals or endangered species resulting from fishing activities conducted under these harvest specifications are discussed in the Final EIS and its accompanying annual SIRs (see ADDRESSES). Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540(f); 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105–277; Pub. L. 106– 31; Pub. L. 106–554; Pub. L. 108–199; Pub. L. 108–447; Pub. L. 109–241; Pub. L. 109– 479. Dated: November 29, 2018. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2018–26389 Filed 12–4–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\06DEP1.SGM 06DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 234 (Thursday, December 6, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 62815-62832]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-26389]



[[Page 62815]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 180713633-8633-01]
RIN 0648-XG356


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands; 2019 and 2020 Harvest Specifications for 
Groundfish

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS proposes 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications, 
apportionments, and prohibited species catch allowances for the 
groundfish fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) 
management area. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits 
for groundfish during the 2019 and 2020 fishing years, and to 
accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for 
Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. The 
intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish 
resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act.

DATES: Comments must be received by January 7, 2019.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2018-0089, by 
either of the following methods:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0089, click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, 
complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, 
AK 99802-1668.
    Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments if they are sent by 
any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after 
the comment period ends. All comments received are a part of the public 
record, and NMFS will post the comments for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, 
or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender 
is publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/
A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).
    Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications 
Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS), Record of Decision 
(ROD), the annual Supplementary Information Reports (SIRs) to the Final 
EIS, and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) prepared 
for this action may be obtained from https://www.regulations.gov or 
from the Alaska Region website at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. An 
updated 2019 SIR for the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications 
will be available from the same sources. The final 2017 Stock 
Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish 
resources of the BSAI, dated November 2017, is available from the North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 605 West 4th Avenue, 
Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99501-2252, phone 907-271-2809, or from the 
Council's website at https://www.npfmc.org/. The 2018 SAFE report for 
the BSAI is available from the same source.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 
implement the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) and govern the groundfish 
fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved 
it, under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
(Magnuson-Stevens Act). General regulations governing U.S. fisheries 
also appear at 50 CFR part 600.
    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after 
consultation with the Council, to specify annually the total allowable 
catch (TAC) for each target species category. The sum of TACs for all 
groundfish species in the BSAI must be within the optimum yield (OY) 
range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see Sec.  
679.20(a)(1)(i)(A)). Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires NMFS to 
publish proposed harvest specifications in the Federal Register and 
solicit public comments on proposed annual TACs and apportionments 
thereof, prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances, prohibited species 
quota (PSQ) reserves established by Sec.  679.21, seasonal allowances 
of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC, American Fisheries Act 
allocations, Amendment 80 allocations, Community Development Quota 
(CDQ) reserve amounts established by Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(ii), and 
acceptable biological catch (ABC) surpluses and reserves for CDQ groups 
and Amendment 80 cooperatives for flathead sole, rock sole, and 
yellowfin sole. The proposed harvest specifications set forth in Tables 
1 through 16 of this action satisfy these requirements.
    Under Sec.  679.20(c)(3), NMFS will publish the final harvest 
specifications for 2019 and 2020 after (1) considering comments 
received within the comment period (see DATES), (2) consulting with the 
Council at its December 2018 meeting, (3) considering information 
presented in the 2019 SIR to the EIS that assesses the need to prepare 
a Supplemental EIS (see ADDRESSES), and (4) considering information 
presented in the final 2018 SAFE reports prepared for the 2019 and 2020 
groundfish fisheries.

Other Actions Affecting or Potentially Affecting the 2019 and 2020 
Harvest Specifications

Amendment 117: Reclassify Squid as an Ecosystem Species

    On July 6, 2018, NMFS published the final rule to implement 
Amendment 117 to the FMP (83 FR 31460). This rule reclassified squid in 
the FMP as an ``Ecosystem Component'' species, which is a category of 
non-target species that are not in need of conservation and management. 
Accordingly, NMFS will no longer set an Overfishing Level (OFL), ABC, 
and TAC for squid in the BSAI groundfish harvest specifications, 
beginning with the proposed 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications. 
Amendment 117 prohibits directed fishing for squid, while maintaining 
recordkeeping and reporting requirements for squid. Amendment 117 also 
establishes a squid maximum retainable amount when directed fishing for 
halibut and groundfish species at 20 percent to discourage targeting 
squid.

Rulemaking To Prohibit Directed Fishing for American Fisheries Act 
(AFA) Sideboard Limits

    On August 16, 2018, NMFS published a proposed rule (83 FR 40733) 
that would modify regulations for the American Fisheries Act (AFA) 
Program participants subject to limits on the catch of specific species 
(sideboard limits) in the BSAI. Sideboard limits are intended to 
prevent AFA Program participants who benefit from receiving exclusive 
harvesting privileges in a particular fishery from shifting effort into 
other fisheries.

[[Page 62816]]

    Specifically, the proposed rule would primarily establish 
regulations to prohibit directed fishing for sideboard limits for 
specific groundfish species or species groups, rather than prohibiting 
directed fishing for AFA sideboard limits through the BSAI annual 
harvest specifications. The proposed rule would streamline and simplify 
NMFS's management of applicable groundfish sideboard limits. Currently, 
NMFS calculates numerous AFA Program sideboard limits as part of the 
annual BSAI groundfish harvest specifications process and publishes 
these sideboard limits in the Federal Register. Concurrently, NMFS 
prohibits directed fishing for the majority of the groundfish sideboard 
limits because most limits are too small to support directed fishing. 
Rather than continue this annual process, this action proposes to 
revise regulations to prohibit directed fishing in regulation for most 
AFA Program groundfish sideboard limits. NMFS would no longer calculate 
and publish AFA Program sideboard limit amounts for most groundfish 
species in the annual BSAI harvest specifications. If the final 
rulemaking implementing these changes is effective prior to the 
publication of the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications, NMFS 
would no longer publish the majority of the sideboard limits contained 
in Tables 13 and 15 of this proposed action.

State of Alaska Guideline Harvest Levels

    For 2019 and 2020, the Board of Fisheries (BOF) for the State of 
Alaska (State) established the guideline harvest level (GHL) for 
vessels using pot gear in State waters in the Bering Sea subarea (BS) 
equal to 8 percent of the Pacific cod ABC in the BS. Also, for 2019 and 
2020, the BOF established an additional GHL for vessels using jig gear 
in State waters in the BS equal to 45 mt of Pacific cod. The Council 
and its BSAI Groundfish Plan Team (Plan Team), Scientific and 
Statistical Committee (SSC), and Advisory Panel (AP) recommended that 
the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the BS 
not exceed the proposed ABC recommendations of 170,000 mt. Accordingly, 
the Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, that the 2019 and 2020 
Pacific cod TACs in the BS account for the State's GHLs for Pacific cod 
caught in State waters in the BS. Also, the BOF approved a one percent 
annual increase in the BS GHL, up to 15 percent of the Pacific cod ABC 
in the BS, if 90 percent of the GHL is harvested by November 15 of the 
preceding year. If 90 percent of the 2019 BS GHL is not harvested by 
November 15, 2019, the 2020 GHL will remain at 8 percent. If, however, 
90 percent of the 2019 BS GHL is harvested by November 15, 2019, the 
2020 GHL will increase by 1 percent to 9 percent of the 2020 Pacific 
cod ABC in the BS, and the 2020 BS TAC will decrease to account for the 
increased BS GHL.
    For 2019 and 2020, the BOF established a GHL in State waters in the 
Aleutian Islands subarea (AI) equal to 31 percent of the Pacific cod 
ABC for the AI. The Council and its Plan Team, SSC, and AP recommended 
that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from 
the AI not exceed the proposed ABC recommendations of 21,500 mt. 
Accordingly, the Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, that the 2019 
and 2020 Pacific cod TACs in the AI account for the State's GHL for 
Pacific cod caught in State waters in the AI.

Proposed ABC and TAC Harvest Specifications

    At the October 2018 Council meeting, the SSC, AP, and Council 
reviewed the most recent biological and harvest information on the 
condition of the BSAI groundfish stocks. This information was compiled 
by the Plan Team and presented in the final 2017 SAFE report for the 
BSAI groundfish fisheries, dated November 2017 (see ADDRESSES). The 
final 2018 SAFE report will be available from the same source.
    The only changes to the proposed 2019 and 2020 harvest 
specifications from the final 2019 harvest specifications published in 
February 2018 (83 FR 8365, February 27, 2018) are associated with squid 
OFL, ABC, and TAC; BS pollock TAC; and Pacific cod TACs. Consistent 
with the final approval of Amendment 117 and the reclassification of 
squid as an ecosystem component species (83 FR 31460), the 2019 harvest 
specifications include the removal of the squid OFL (6,912 mt), squid 
ABC (5,184 mt), and squid TAC (1,200 mt) in the BSAI. The Council 
recommended, and NMFS includes in these proposed specifications, a 
corresponding 1,200 mt increase in the BS pollock TAC. The net increase 
of the BS pollock TAC equals the decrease of the squid TAC. As 
discussed earlier in this preamble, the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs were 
reduced to account for the increases in the BS and AI Pacific cod GHLs. 
This reduced the 2019 and 2020 BS Pacific cod TAC from 159,120 mt to 
156,355 mt, and the AI Pacific cod TAC from 15,695 mt to 14,835 mt. 
Therefore, the sum of the 2019 and 2020 proposed TACs decreased from 
2.0 million mt to 1,996,375 mt.
    The proposed 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications are based on the 
final 2019 harvest specifications published in February 2018, which 
were set after consideration of the most recent 2017 SAFE report, and 
are based on the initial survey data that were presented at the 
September 2018 Plan Team meeting. These proposed 2019 and 2020 harvest 
specifications are subject to change in the final harvest 
specifications to be published by NMFS following the Council's December 
2018 meeting. In November 2018, the Plan Team will update the 2017 SAFE 
report to include new information collected during 2018, such as NMFS 
stock surveys, revised stock assessments, and catch data. The Plan Team 
will compile this information and present the draft 2018 SAFE report at 
the December 2018 Council meeting. At that meeting, the SSC and the 
Council will review the 2018 SAFE report, and the Council will approve 
the 2018 SAFE report. The Council will consider information contained 
in the 2018 SAFE report, recommendations from the November 2018 Plan 
Team meeting and December 2018 SSC and AP meetings, public testimony, 
and relevant written comments in making its recommendations for the 
final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications.
    In previous years, the most significant changes (relative to the 
amount of assessed tonnage of fish) to the OFLs and ABCs from the 
proposed to the final harvest specifications have been based on the 
most recent NMFS stock surveys. These surveys provide updated estimates 
of stock biomass and spatial distribution, and changes to the models or 
the models' results used for producing stock assessments. Any changes 
to models used in stock assessments will be recommended by the Plan 
Team in November 2018 and then included in the final 2018 SAFE report. 
Model changes can result in changes to final OFLs, ABCs, and TACs. The 
final 2018 SAFE report will include the most recent information, such 
as catch data.
    The final harvest specification amounts for these stocks are not 
expected to vary greatly from the proposed harvest specification 
amounts published here. If the 2018 SAFE report indicates that the 
stock biomass trend is increasing for a species, then the final 2019 
and 2020 harvest specifications may reflect an increase from the 
proposed harvest specifications. Conversely, if the 2018 SAFE report 
indicates that the stock biomass trend is decreasing for a species, 
then the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications may reflect a 
decrease from the proposed harvest specifications. In addition to 
changes driven by biomass

[[Page 62817]]

trends, there may be changes in TACs due to the sum of ABCs exceeding 2 
million mt. Since the regulations require TACs to be set to an OY 
between 1.4 and 2 million mt, the Council may be required to recommend 
TACs that are lower than the ABCs recommended by the Plan Team and the 
SSC, if setting TACs equal to ABCs would cause total TACs to exceed an 
OY of 2 million mt. Generally, total ABCs greatly exceed 2 million mt 
in years with a large pollock biomass. For both 2019 and 2020, NMFS 
anticipates that the sum of the ABCs will exceed 2 million mt. NMFS 
expects that the final total TAC for the BSAI for both 2019 and 2020 
will equal 2 million mt each year.
    The proposed OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are based on the best available 
biological and socioeconomic information, including projected biomass 
trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and 
revised technical methods used to calculate stock biomass. The FMP 
specifies a series of six tiers to define OFLs and ABCs based on the 
level of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier 1 
represents the highest level of information quality available, while 
Tier 6 represents the lowest.
    In October 2018, the SSC adopted the proposed 2019 and 2020 OFLs 
and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team for all groundfish species. The 
Council adopted the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations. These amounts 
are unchanged from the final 2019 harvest specifications published in 
the Federal Register on February 27, 2018 (83 FR 8365), with the 
exception of the removal of the squid OFL and ABC. The Council adopted 
the AP's TAC recommendations, including the 1,200 mt increase in the BS 
pollock TAC because of the removal of the 2019 squid TAC of 1,200 mt. 
For 2019 and 2020, the Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, the 
OFLs, ABCs, and TACs listed in Table 1. The proposed ABCs reflect 
harvest amounts that are less than the specified OFLs. The sum of the 
proposed 2019 and 2020 ABCs for all assessed groundfish is 3,573,772 
mt. The sum of the proposed TACs is 1,996,375 mt, which accounts for 
the increases in the BS and AI Pacific cod GHLs and subsequent 
reductions of the proposed BS and AI Pacific cod TACs. As discussed 
above, NMFS expects that the final total BSAI TAC for both 2019 and 
2020 will equal 2 million mt each year.

Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts

    The Council recommended proposed TACs for 2019 and 2020 Aleutian 
Islands sablefish, BS sablefish, BS and Eastern Aleutian Islands Atka 
mackerel, BS Pacific ocean perch, Central Aleutian Islands Pacific 
ocean perch, and Eastern Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch that are 
equal to the proposed ABCs. The Council recommended proposed TACs less 
than the respective proposed ABCs for all other species. Section 
679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(1) requires the AI pollock TAC to be set at 19,000 
mt when the AI pollock ABC equals or exceeds 19,000 mt. The Bogoslof 
pollock TAC is set to accommodate incidental catch amounts. TACs are 
set so that the sum of the overall TAC does not exceed the BSAI OY.
    The proposed groundfish OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are subject to change 
pending the completion of the final 2018 SAFE report and the Council's 
recommendations for the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications 
during its December 2018 meeting. These proposed amounts are consistent 
with the biological condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 
2018 SAFE report, and have been adjusted for other biological and 
socioeconomic considerations. Pursuant to Section 3.2.3.4.1 of the FMP, 
the Council could recommend adjusting the final TACs if ``warranted on 
the basis of bycatch considerations, management uncertainty, or 
socioeconomic considerations; or if required in order to cause the sum 
of the TACs to fall within the OY range.'' Table 1 lists the proposed 
2019 and 2020 OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ amounts for 
groundfish for the BSAI. The proposed apportionment of TAC amounts 
among fisheries and seasons is discussed below.

  Table 1--Proposed 2019 and 2020 Overfishing Level (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC), Total Allowable Catch (TAC), Initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ
                                                    Reserve Allocation of Groundfish in the BSAI \1\
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Proposed 2019 and 2020
                 Species                               Area              -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                OFL             ABC             TAC          ITAC \2\         CDQ 3 4
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \4\.............................  BS............................       4,592,000       2,467,000       1,384,200       1,245,780         138,420
                                          AI............................          37,431          30,803          19,000          17,100           1,900
                                          Bogoslof......................         130,428          60,800             500             500  ..............
Pacific cod \5\.........................  BS............................         201,000         170,000         156,355         139,625          16,730
                                          AI............................          28,700          21,500          14,835          13,248           1,587
Sablefish...............................  BS............................           4,576           2,061           2,061             876              77
                                          AI............................           6,209           2,798           2,798             595              52
Yellowfin sole..........................  BSAI..........................         295,600         267,500         156,000         139,308          16,692
Greenland turbot........................  BSAI..........................          13,540          11,473           5,294           4,500             n/a
                                          BS............................             n/a           7,016           5,125           4,356             548
                                          AI............................             n/a           1,457             169             144  ..............
Arrowtooth flounder.....................  BSAI..........................          75,084          64,494          14,000          11,900           1,498
Kamchatka flounder......................  BSAI..........................          12,022           7,317           5,000           4,250  ..............
Rock sole \6\...........................  BSAI..........................         136,000         132,000          49,100          43,846           5,254
Flathead sole \7\.......................  BSAI..........................          78,036          65,227          16,500          14,735           1,766
Alaska plaice...........................  BSAI..........................          38,800          32,700          16,252          13,814  ..............
Other flatfish \8\......................  BSAI..........................          17,591          13,193           4,000           3,400  ..............
Pacific Ocean perch.....................  BSAI..........................          50,098          41,212          37,880          33,332             n/a
                                          BS............................             n/a          11,499          11,499           9,774  ..............
                                          EAI...........................             n/a           9,715           9,715           8,675           1,040
                                          CAI...........................             n/a           7,549           7,549           6,741             808
                                          WAI...........................             n/a          12,449           9,117           8,141             976
Northern rockfish.......................  BSAI..........................          15,563          12,710           6,500           5,525  ..............
Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish \9\..  BSAI..........................             829             678             225             191  ..............
                                          EBS/EAI.......................             n/a             414              75              64  ..............

[[Page 62818]]

 
                                          CAI/WAI.......................             n/a             264             150             128  ..............
Shortraker rockfish.....................  BSAI..........................             666             499             150             128  ..............
Other rockfish \10\.....................  BSAI..........................           1,816           1,362             845             718  ..............
                                          BS............................             n/a             791             275             234  ..............
                                          AI............................             n/a             571             570             485  ..............
Atka mackerel...........................  BSAI..........................          97,200          84,400          72,500          64,743           7,758
                                          EAI/BS........................             n/a          33,780          33,780          30,166           3,614
                                          CAI...........................             n/a          29,350          24,895          22,231           2,664
                                          WAI...........................             n/a          21,270          13,825          12,346           1,479
Skates..................................  BSAI..........................          44,202          36,957          27,000          22,950  ..............
Sculpins................................  BSAI..........................          53,201          39,995           5,000           4,250  ..............
Sharks..................................  BSAI..........................             689             517             180             153  ..............
Octopuses...............................  BSAI..........................           4,769           3,576             200             170  ..............
                                                                         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................  ..............................       5,936,050       3,573,772       1,996,375       1,785,636         195,105
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these
  harvest specifications, the BS includes the Bogoslof District.
\2\ Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, Aleutian
  Islands Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod), 15 percent of each TAC is put into a non-specified reserve.
  The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species, ITAC is the non-
  CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnote 3 and 4).
\3\ For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, Pacific cod, rock sole, yellowfin sole, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch), 10.7
  percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC is
  allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC is allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea
  Greenland turbot and BSAI arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). The 2019 hook-and-
  line or pot gear portion of the sablefish ITAC and CDQ reserve will not be specified until the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications. Aleutian
  Islands Greenland turbot, ``other flatfish,'' Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, Kamchatka flounder, northern rockfish, shortraker
  rockfish, blackspotted and rougheye rockfish, ``other rockfish,'' octopuses, skates, sculpins, and sharks are not allocated to the CDQ Program.
\4\ Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual BS pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second
  for the incidental catch allowance (3.9 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: Inshore--50 percent;
  catcher/processor--40 percent; and motherships--10 percent. Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual AI subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting
  first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut
  Corporation for a directed pollock fishery.
\5\ The BS Pacific cod TAC is set to account for the 8 percent of the BS ABC for the State of Alaska's (State) guideline harvest level in State waters
  of the BS. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set to account for 31 percent of the AI ABC for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the AI.
\6\ ``Rock sole'' includes Lepidopsetta polyxystra (Northern rock sole) and Lepidopsetta bilineata (Southern rock sole).
\7\ ``Flathead sole'' includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and Hippoglossoides robustus (Bering flounder).
\8\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin
  sole, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Alaska plaice.
\9\ ``Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish'' includes Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted) and Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye).
\10\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern, shortraker, and rougheye rockfish.
Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   679.2 (BSAI = Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area, BS = Bering Sea subarea, AI =
  Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI = Eastern Aleutian district, CAI = Central Aleutian district, WAI = Western Aleutian district).

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

    Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) requires NMFS to reserve 15 percent of the 
TAC for each target species category, except for pollock, hook-and-line 
and pot gear allocation of sablefish, and Amendment 80 species, in a 
non-specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires NMFS to 
allocate 20 percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of 
sablefish to the fixed gear sablefish CDQ reserve. Section 
679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires NMFS to allocate 7.5 percent of the trawl 
gear allocation of sablefish and 10.7 percent of BS Greenland turbot 
and arrowtooth flounder TACs to the respective CDQ reserves. Section 
679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) requires NMFS to allocate 10.7 percent of the TACs 
for Atka mackerel, AI Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, 
flathead sole, and Pacific cod to the respective CDQ reserves. Sections 
679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) and 679.31(a) require allocation of 10 percent of 
the BS pollock TAC to the pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). 
Sections 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and 679.31(a) require 10 percent of 
the Aleutian Islands pollock TAC be allocated to the pollock CDQ DFA. 
The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is allocated as an ICA 
pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(ii) because the Bogoslof Area is closed 
to directed fishing for pollock by regulation (Sec.  
679.22(a)(7)(i)(B)). With the exception of the hook-and-line or pot 
gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the regulations do not further apportion 
the CDQ reserves by gear.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS proposes a pollock 
ICA of 3.9 percent or 48,585 mt of the BS pollock TAC after subtracting 
the 10 percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on NMFS' 
examination of the pollock incidentally retained and discarded catch, 
including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries 
other than pollock from 2000 through 2018.

[[Page 62819]]

During this 19-year period, the pollock incidental catch ranged from a 
low of 2.2 percent in 2006 to a high of 4.6 percent in 2014, with a 19-
year average of 3 percent. Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS proposes a pollock ICA of 14 
percent or 2,400 mt of the AI pollock TAC after subtracting the 10-
percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on NMFS' examination of 
the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ 
vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2003 through 2018. 
During this 16-year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from 
a low of 5 percent in 2006 to a high of 17 percent in 2014, with a 16-
year average of 8 percent.
    Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS proposes ICAs of 
4,000 mt of flathead sole, 6,000 mt of rock sole, 4,000 mt of yellowfin 
sole, 10 mt of Western Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 60 mt of 
Central Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 100 mt of Eastern 
Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 20 mt of Western Aleutian 
District Atka mackerel, 75 mt of Central Aleutian District Atka 
mackerel, and 800 mt of Eastern Aleutian District and BS Atka mackerel 
after subtracting the 10.7 percent CDQ reserve. These ICAs are based on 
NMFS' examination of the average incidental retained and discarded 
catch in other target fisheries from 2003 through 2018.
    The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified 
reserve by species or species group. Any amount of the reserve may be 
apportioned to a target species that contributed to the non-specified 
reserve during the year, provided that such apportionments are 
consistent with Sec.  679.20(a)(3) and do not result in overfishing 
(see Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(i)).

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

    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that BS pollock TAC be 
apportioned as a DFA, after subtracting 10 percent for the CDQ Program 
and 3.9 percent for the ICA, as follows: 50 percent to the inshore 
sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor sector, and 10 percent to 
the mothership sector. In the BS, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated to 
the A season (January 20 to June 10), and 55 percent of the DFA is 
allocated to the B season (June 10 to November 1) (Sec. Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(i)(B)(1) and 679.23(e)(2)). The AI directed pollock 
fishery allocation to the Aleut Corporation is the amount of pollock 
TAC remaining in the AI after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 
percent), and 2,400 mt for the ICA (Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)). In 
the AI, the total A season apportionment of the pollock TAC (including 
the AI directed fishery allocation, the CDQ allowance, and the ICA) may 
equal up to 40 percent of the ABC for AI pollock, and the remainder of 
the pollock TAC is allocated to the B season (Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(3)). Table 2 lists these proposed 2019 and 2020 
amounts.
    Section 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6) sets harvest limits for pollock in 
the A season (January 20 to June 10) in Areas 543, 542, and 541. In 
Area 543, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 5 percent 
of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. In Area 542, the A season pollock 
harvest limit is no more than 15 percent of the Aleutian Islands 
pollock ABC. In Area 541, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more 
than 30 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC.
    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) includes several specific 
requirements regarding BS pollock allocations. First, it requires that 
8.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the catcher/processor sector be 
available for harvest by AFA catcher vessels with catcher/processor 
sector endorsements, unless the Regional Administrator receives a 
cooperative contract that allows the distribution of harvest among AFA 
catcher/processors and AFA catcher vessels in a manner agreed to by all 
members. Second, AFA catcher/processors not listed in the AFA are 
limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the pollock 
allocated to the catcher/processor sector. Table 2 lists the proposed 
2019 and 2020 allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 13 through 16 list the 
AFA catcher/processor and catcher vessel harvesting sideboard limits. 
The BS inshore pollock cooperative and open access sector allocations 
are based on the submission of AFA inshore cooperative applications due 
to NMFS on December 1 of each calendar year. Because AFA inshore 
cooperative applications for 2019 have not been submitted to NMFS, and 
NMFS therefore cannot calculate 2019 allocations, NMFS has not included 
inshore cooperative tables in these proposed harvest specifications. 
NMFS will post 2019 AFA inshore pollock cooperative and open access 
sector allocations on the Alaska Region website at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on 
January 1, 2019, based on the harvest specifications effective on that 
date.
    Table 2 also lists proposed seasonal apportionments of pollock and 
harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The 
harvest of pollock within the SCA, as defined at Sec.  
679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to no more than 28 percent of the DFA 
before 12:00 noon, April 1, as provided in Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(i)(C). 
The A season pollock SCA harvest limit will be apportioned to each 
sector in proportion to each sector's allocated percentage of the DFA. 
Table 2 lists these proposed 2019 and 2020 amounts by sector.

  Table 2--Proposed 2019 and 2020 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ
                                      Directed Fishing Allowances (DFA) \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            A season\1\            B season \1\
                                                   2019 and 2020 -----------------------------------------------
                 Area and sector                    allocations                     SCA harvest
                                                                   A season DFA      limit \2\     B season DFA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea subarea TAC..........................       1,384,200             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................         138,420          62,289          38,758          76,131
ICA \1\.........................................          48,585             n/a             n/a             n/a
AFA Inshore.....................................         598,597         269,369         167,607         329,229
AFA Catcher/Processors \3\......................         478,878         215,495         134,086         263,383
    Catch by C/Ps...............................         438,173         197,178             n/a         240,995
    Catch by C/Vs \3\...........................          40,705          18,317             n/a          22,388
        Unlisted C/P Limit \4\..................           2,394           1,077             n/a           1,317
AFA Motherships.................................         119,719          53,874          33,521          65,846
Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\..................         209,509             n/a             n/a             n/a
Excessive Processing Limit \6\..................         359,158             n/a             n/a             n/a

[[Page 62820]]

 
Total Bering Sea DFA (non-CDQ)..................       1,197,195         538,738         335,214         658,457
Aleutian Islands subarea ABC....................          30,803             n/a             n/a             n/a
Aleutian Islands subarea TAC....................          19,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................           1,900             760             n/a           1,140
ICA.............................................           2,400           1,200             n/a           1,200
Aleut Corporation...............................          14,700           7,361             n/a           4,339
Area harvest limit \7\..........................             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a
Area 541 harvest limit \7\......................           9,241             n/a             n/a             n/a
Area 542 harvest limit \7\......................           4,620             n/a             n/a             n/a
Area 543 harvest limit \7\......................           1,540             n/a             n/a             n/a
Bogoslof District ICA \8\.......................             500             n/a             n/a             n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting the CDQ
  DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (3.9 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector--50 percent,
  catcher/processor sector (C/Ps)--40 percent, and mothership sector--10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 45
  percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to
  the B season (June 10-November 1). Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) through (iii), the annual AI
  pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second for the ICA (2,400 mt), is
  allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is
  allocated up to 40 percent of the ABC, and the B season is allocated the remainder of the directed pollock
  fishery.
\2\ In the Bering Sea subarea, pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(c), no more than 28 percent of each sector's
  annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before noon, April 1.
\3\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed C/Ps shall be available
  for harvest only by AFA catcher vessels (CVs) with CP endorsements delivering to listed CPs, unless there is a
  C/P sector cooperative for the year.
\4\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted C/Ps are limited to harvesting not more than
  0.5 percent of the C/Ps sector's allocation of pollock.
\5\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\6\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\7\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in
  Area 541 no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 no more than 5 percent
  of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC.
\8\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.22(a)(7)(i)(B), the Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock. The
  amounts specified are for incidental catch only and are not apportioned by season or sector.

Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TACs

    Section 679.20(a)(8) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs to the 
Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors, after subtracting 
the CDQ reserves, ICAs for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and 
non-trawl gear sectors, and the jig gear allocation (Table 3). The 
percentage of the ITAC for Atka mackerel allocated to the Amendment 80 
and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is listed in Table 33 to 50 CFR 
part 679 and in Sec.  679.91. Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 
2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea Atka 
mackerel TAC may be allocated to vessels using jig gear. The percent of 
this allocation is recommended annually by the Council based on several 
criteria, including the anticipated harvest capacity of the jig gear 
fleet. The Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, a 0.5 percent 
allocation of the Atka mackerel TAC in the Eastern Aleutian District 
and Bering Sea subarea to jig gear in 2019 and 2020. This percentage is 
applied to the TAC after subtracting the CDQ reserve.
    Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel TAC into 
two equal seasonal allowances. Section 679.23(e)(3) sets the first 
seasonal allowance for directed fishing with trawl gear from January 20 
through June 10 (A season), and the second seasonal allowance from June 
10 through December 31 (B season). Section 679.23(e)(4)(iii) applies 
Atka mackerel seasons to trawl CDQ Atka mackerel fishing. The ICA and 
jig gear allocations are not apportioned by season.
    Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) and (ii) limits Atka mackerel 
catch within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in 
Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located west of 178[deg] W longitude to 
no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543, and 
equally divides the annual TAC between the A and B seasons as defined 
at Sec.  679.23(e)(3). Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires that the 
annual TAC in Area 543 will be no more than 65 percent of the ABC in 
Area 543. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(D) requires that any unharvested 
Atka mackerel A season allowance that is added to the B season be 
prohibited from being harvested within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller 
sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located in 
Areas 541, 542, and 543.
    Table 3 lists the proposed 2019 and 2020 Atka mackerel season 
allowances, area allowances, and the sector allocations. One Amendment 
80 cooperative has formed for the 2019 fishing year. Because all 
Amendment 80 vessels are part of the cooperative, no allocation to the 
Amendment 80 limited access sector is required. The 2020 allocations 
for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 
80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants 
apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2019. NMFS will 
post 2020 Amendment 80 cooperatives and Amendment 80 limited access 
sector allocations on the Alaska Region website at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year on 
January 1, 2020, based on the harvest specifications effective on that 
date.

[[Page 62821]]



   Table 3--Proposed 2019 and 2020 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch
                      Allowance, and Amendment 80 Allocations of the BSAI Atka Mackerel TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     2019 and 2020 allocation by area
                                                        --------------------------------------------------------
            Sector \1\              Season \2\ \3\ \4\    Eastern Aleutian
                                                          District/Bering    Central Aleutian   Western Aleutian
                                                                Sea            District \5\       District \5\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC..............................  n/a.................             33,780             24,895             13,825
CDQ reserve......................  Total...............              3,614              2,664              1,479
                                   A...................              1,807              1,332                740
                                   Critical habitat \5\                n/a                799                444
                                   B...................              1,807              1,332                740
                                   Critical habitat \5\                n/a                799                444
non-CDQ TAC......................  n/a.................             30,166             22,231             12,346
Jig \6\..........................  Total...............                151  .................  .................
ICA..............................  Total...............                800                 75                 20
BSAI trawl limited access........  Total...............              2,921              2,216  .................
                                   A...................              1,461              1,108  .................
                                   Critical habitat \5\                n/a                665  .................
                                   B...................              1,461              1,108  .................
                                   Critical habitat \5\                n/a                665  .................
Amendment 80.....................  Total...............             26,293             19,941             12,326
                                   A...................             13,147              9,970              6,163
                                   Critical habitat \5\                n/a              5,982              3,698
                                   B...................             13,147              9,970              6,163
                                   Critical habitat \5\                n/a              5,982              3,698
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, ICAs, and the
  jig gear allocation, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for
  Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR
  part 679 and Sec.   679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.
  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31).
\2\ Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel
  fishery.
\3\ The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season.
\4\ Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from
  January 20 to June 7, and the B season from June 10 to December 31.
\5\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to
  be caught inside of Steller sea lion critical habitat; Sec.   679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the
  annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at Sec.   679.23(e)(3); and Sec.   679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2)
  requires the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC in Area 543.
\6\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea
  subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtraction of the CDQ reserve. The amount of this allocation for
  2019 and 2020 is proposed at 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season.

Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC

    The Council separated Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands subarea OFLs, 
ABCs, and TACs for Pacific cod in 2014 (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014). 
Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) allocates 10.7 percent of the BS TAC and 
the AI TAC to the CDQ Program. After CDQ allocations have been deducted 
from the respective BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, the remaining BS and AI 
Pacific cod TACs are combined for calculating further BSAI Pacific cod 
sector allocations. If the non-CDQ Pacific cod TAC is or will be 
reached in either the BS or the AI subareas, NMFS will prohibit non-CDQ 
directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea, as provided in Sec.  
679.20(d)(1)(iii).
    Section 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) allocates to the non-CDQ sectors 
the combined BSAI Pacific cod TAC, after subtracting 10.7 percent for 
the CDQ Program, as follows: 1.4 percent to vessels using jig gear, 2.0 
percent to hook-and-line or pot catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 
m) length overall (LOA), 0.2 percent to hook-and-line catcher vessels 
greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA, 48.7 percent to hook-and-
line catcher/processors, 8.4 percent to pot catcher vessels greater 
than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA, 1.5 percent to pot catcher/
processors, 2.3 percent to AFA trawl catcher/processors, 13.4 percent 
to the Amendment 80 sector, and 22.1 percent to trawl catcher vessels. 
The BSAI ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted 
from the aggregate portion of BSAI Pacific cod TAC allocated to the 
hook-and-line and pot sectors. For 2019 and 2020, the Regional 
Administrator proposes a BSAI ICA of 400 mt, based on anticipated 
incidental catch by these sectors in other fisheries.
    The BSAI ITAC allocation of Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 sector 
is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and Sec.  679.91. One 
Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2019 fishing year. Because 
all Amendment 80 vessels are part of the cooperative, no allocation to 
the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required.
    The 2020 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 
cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be 
known until eligible participants apply for participation in the 
program by November 1, 2019. NMFS will post 2020 Amendment 80 
cooperatives and Amendment 80 limited access allocations on the Alaska 
Region website at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start 
of the fishing year on January 1, 2020, based on the harvest 
specifications effective on that date.
    The Pacific cod TAC is apportioned into seasonal allowances to 
disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see 
Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(i)(B), 679.20 (a)(7)(iv)(A), and 679.23(e)(5)). 
In accordance with Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(iv)(B) and (C), any unused 
portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance for any sector, except the 
jig sector, will become available at the beginning of that sector's 
next seasonal allowance.
    Section 679.20(a)(7)(vii) requires the Regional Administrator to 
establish an Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit based on Pacific cod 
abundance in Area 543. Based on the 2017 stock assessment, the

[[Page 62822]]

Regional Administrator determined the Area 543 Pacific cod harvest 
limit to be 25.6 percent of the AI Pacific cod TAC for 2019 and 2020. 
NMFS will first subtract the State GHL Pacific cod amount from the AI 
Pacific cod ABC. Then NMFS will determine the harvest limit in Area 543 
by multiplying the percentage of Pacific cod estimated in Area 543 by 
the remaining ABC for AI Pacific cod. Based on these calculations, the 
proposed Area 543 harvest limit is 3,798 mt.
    Section 679.20(a)(7)(viii) requires specification of the 2019 and 
2020 Pacific cod allocations for the Aleutian Islands non-CDQ ICA, non-
CDQ DFA, CV Harvest Set-Aside, and Unrestricted Fishery, as well as the 
Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation. The CV Harvest Set-
Aside is a portion of the AI Pacific cod TAC that is available for 
harvest by catcher vessels directed fishing for AI Pacific cod and 
delivering their catch for processing to an AI shoreplant. If NMFS 
receives notification of intent to process AI Pacific cod from either 
the City of Adak or the City of Atka by October 31 of the previous 
year, the harvest limits in Table 4a will be in effect in the following 
year.
    Prior to October 31, 2018, NMFS received timely notice from the 
City of Adak indicating an intent to process AI Pacific cod in 2019. 
Accordingly, the harvest limits in Table 4a will be in effect in 2019, 
subject to the requirements outlined in Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E). If 
less than 1,000 mt of the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is 
delivered to Aleutian Islands shoreplants by February 28 of that year, 
then the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is lifted and the Bering 
Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation is suspended. If the entire 
Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside is fully harvested and delivered 
to Aleutian Islands shoreplants before March 15 of that year, then the 
Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation is suspended for the 
remainder of the fishing year.
    The CDQ and non-CDQ seasonal allowances by gear based on the 
proposed 2019 and 2020 Pacific cod TACs are listed in Table 4 based on 
the sector allocation percentages of Pacific cod set forth at 
Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) and (a)(7)(iv)(A); and the seasons set 
forth at Sec.  679.23(e)(5).

       Table 4--Proposed 2019 and 2020 Gear Shares and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI \1\ Pacific Cod TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     2019 and 2020 seasonal
                                                 2019 and 2020   2019 and 2020            apportionment
            Sector                  Percent      share of gear     share of    ---------------------------------
                                                 sector total    sector total        Season           Amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Bering Sea TAC..........             n/a         156,355             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Bering Sea CDQ................             n/a          16,730             n/a  See Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
Bering Sea non-CDQ TAC........             n/a         139,625             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total Aleutian Islands TAC....             n/a          14,835             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Aleutian Islands CDQ..........             n/a           1,587             n/a  See Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
Aleutian Islands non-CDQ TAC..             n/a          13,248             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Western Aleutians Islands                  n/a           3,798             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
 Limit.
Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC \1\....             100         152,873             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total hook-and-line/pot gear..              61          92,947             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line/pot ICA \2\.....             n/a             n/a             400  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line/pot sub-total...             n/a          92,547             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line catcher/                      49             n/a          74,129  Jan-1-Jun 10....          37,806
 processors.                                                                    Jun 10-Dec 31...          36,323
Hook-and-line catcher vessels                0             n/a             304  Jan 1-Jun 10....             155
 >=60 ft LOA.                                                                   Jun 10-Dec 31...             149
Pot catcher/processors........               2             n/a           2,283  Jan 1-Jun 10....           1,164
                                                                                Sept 1-Dec 31...           1,119
Pot catcher vessels >=60 ft                  8             n/a          12,786  Jan 1-Jun 10....           6,521
 LOA.                                                                           Sept-1-Dec 31...           6,265
Catcher vessels <60 ft LOA                   2             n/a           3,044  n/a.............             n/a
 using hook-and-line or pot
 gear.
Trawl catcher vessels.........              22          33,785             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          25,001
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           3,716
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....           5,068
AFA trawl catcher/processors..               2           3,516             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           2,637
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....             879
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....  ..............
Amendment 80..................              13          20,485             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          15,364
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           5,121
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....  ..............
Jig...........................               1           2,140             n/a  Jan 1-Apr 30....           1,284
                                                                                Apr 30-Aug 31...             428
                                                                                Aug 31-Dec 31...             428
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI
  Pacific cod TACs, after subtraction of CDQ. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached, then
  directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea will be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains.
\2\ The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC
  allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator proposes an ICA of 400 mt for 2019
  and 2020 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries.


[[Page 62823]]


 Table 4a--Proposed 2019 and 2020 BSAI A-Season Pacific Cod Allocations
   and Limits if Requirements in Sec.   679.20(a)(7)(viii) are Met \1\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
   2019 and 2020 allocations under Aleutian Islands CV
                    Harvest Set-Aside                       Amount (mt)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
AI non-CDQ TAC..........................................          13,248
AI ICA..................................................           2,500
AI DFA..................................................           7,748
AI CV Harvest Set-Aside \2\.............................           5,000
AI Unrestricted Fishery \3\.............................           5,748
BSAI Trawl CV A-Season Allocation.......................          25,001
BSAI Trawl CV A-Season Allocation minus Sector                    20,001
 Limitation \4\.........................................
BS Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation..................           5,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ These allocations will apply in 2019, and will apply in 2020 only if
  NMFS receives notice of intent to process AI Pacific cod by October
  31, 2019, pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(7)(viii)(D). In addition, the
  allocations apply in 2019 and 2020 if the requirements set forth in
  Sec.   679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E) are likewise met during the fishing year.
  Prior to October 31, 2018, NMFS received timely notice from the City
  of Adak indicating an intent to process AI Pacific cod for the 2019
  season. Accordingly, the harvest limits in Table 4a will be in effect
  in 2019, subject to the requirements outlined in Sec.
  679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E).
\2\ Prior to March 15, 2019, only catcher vessels that deliver their
  catch of AI Pacific cod to AI shoreplants for processing may directed
  fish for that portion of the AI Pacific cod non-CDQ DFA that is
  specified as the AI CV Harvest Set-Aside, unless lifted because the
  requirements pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E) were not met.
\3\ Prior to March 15, 2019, vessels otherwise authorized to directed
  fish for Pacific cod in the AI may directed fish for that portion of
  the AI Pacific cod non-CDQ DFA that is specified as the AI
  Unrestricted Fishery.
\4\ This is the amount of the BSAI trawl CV A season allocation that may
  be harvested in the Bering Sea prior to March 21, 2019, unless
  modified because the requirements in Sec.   679.20(a)(7)(viii)(E) were
  not met.

Sablefish Gear Allocation

    Section 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) require allocation of sablefish 
TAC for the BS and AI between trawl gear and hook-and-line or pot gear. 
Gear allocations of the TAC for the BS are 50 percent for trawl gear 
and 50 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations for the 
TAC for the AI are 25 percent for trawl gear and 75 percent for hook-
and-line or pot gear. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires NMFS to 
apportion 20 percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of 
sablefish to the CDQ reserve for each subarea. Also, Sec.  
679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D)(1) requires that 7.5 percent of the trawl gear 
allocation of sablefish from the non-specified reserves, established 
under Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(i), be apportioned to the CDQ reserve. The 
Council recommended that only trawl sablefish TAC be established 
biennially. The harvest specifications for the hook-and-line or pot 
gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fisheries are limited to 
the 2019 fishing year to ensure those fisheries are conducted 
concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery. Concurrent sablefish and 
halibut IFQ fisheries reduce the potential for discards of halibut and 
sablefish in those fisheries. The sablefish IFQ fisheries remain closed 
at the beginning of each fishing year until the final harvest 
specifications for the sablefish IFQ fisheries are in effect. Table 5 
lists the proposed 2019 and 2020 gear allocations of the sablefish TAC 
and CDQ reserve amounts.

                                   Table 5--Proposed 2019 and 2020 Gear Shares and CDQ Reserve of BSAI Sablefish TACs
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           2019 Share of                     2019 CDQ      2020 Share of                     2020 CDQ
            Subarea and gear              Percent of TAC        TAC        2019 ITAC \1\      reserve           TAC          2020 ITAC        reserve
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea
    Trawl...............................              50           1,031             876              77           1,031             876              77
    Hook-and-line gear/pot \2\..........              50           1,031             n/a             206             n/a             n/a             n/a
    Total...............................             100           2,061             876             283           1,031             876              77
Aleutian Islands
    Trawl...............................              25             700             595              52             700             595              52
    Hook-and-line gear/pot \2\..........              75           2,099             n/a             420             n/a             n/a             n/a
    Total...............................             100           2,798             595             472             700             595              52
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Except for the sablefish hook-and-line and pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the non-specified reserve (Sec.
  679.20(b)(1)(i)). The ITAC is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves.
\2\ For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, 20 percent of the allocated TAC is reserved for use by
  CDQ participants (Sec.   679.20(b)(1)). The Council recommended that specifications for the hook-and-line or pot gear sablefish IFQ fisheries be
  limited to one year.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

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

    Section 679.20(a)(10)(i) and (ii) requires that NMFS allocate AI 
Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin 
sole TACs between the Amendment 80 sector and the BSAI trawl limited 
access sector, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ reserve and 
an ICA for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels using non-
trawl gear. The allocation of the ITAC for AI Pacific ocean perch, and 
BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole to the Amendment 80 
sector is established in Tables 33 and 34 to 50 CFR part 679 and in 
Sec.  679.91.
    One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2019 fishing year.

[[Page 62824]]

Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of the cooperative, no 
allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required.
    The 2020 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 
cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be 
known until eligible participants apply for participation in the 
program by November 1, 2019. NMFS will post 2020 Amendment 80 
cooperatives and Amendment 80 limited access allocations on the Alaska 
Region website at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start 
of the fishing year on January 1, 2020, based on the harvest 
specifications effective on that date.
    Table 6 lists the proposed 2019 and 2020 allocations of the AI 
Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin 
sole TACs.

    Table 6--Proposed 2019 and 2020 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment 80 Allocations of the
                            Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACs
                                                              (Amounts are in metric tons)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                             2019 and 2020 allocations
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        Pacific ocean perch                Flathead sole     Rock sole    Yellowfin sole
                         Sector                          -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Eastern         Central         Western
                                                             Aleutian        Aleutian        Aleutian          BSAI            BSAI            BSAI
                                                             District        District        District
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC.....................................................           9,715           7,549           9,117          16,500          49,100         156,000
CDQ.....................................................           1,040             808             976           1,766           5,254          16,692
ICA.....................................................             100              60              10           4,000           6,000           4,000
BSAI trawl limited access...............................             858             668             163               0               0          19,065
Amendment 80............................................           7,718           6,013           7,969           7,735          37,846         116,243
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 679.2 defines the ABC surplus for flathead sole, rock sole, 
and yellowfin sole as the difference between the annual ABC and TAC for 
each species. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii) establishes ABC reserves for 
flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The ABC surpluses and the 
ABC reserves are necessary to mitigate the operational variability, 
environmental conditions, and economic factors that may constrain the 
CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperatives from achieving, on a 
continuing basis, the optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. 
NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may set the ABC reserve at 
or below the ABC surplus for each species, thus maintaining the TAC 
below ABC limits. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the ABC reserves 
will be allocated as CDQ ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and 
yellowfin sole. Section 679.31(b)(4) establishes the annual allocations 
of CDQ ABC reserves among the CDQ groups. The Amendment 80 ABC reserves 
shall be the ABC reserves minus the CDQ ABC reserves. Table 7 lists the 
proposed 2019 and 2020 ABC surplus and ABC reserves for BSAI flathead 
sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole.

 Table 7--Proposed 2019 and 2020 ABC Surplus, ABC Reserves, Community Development Quota (CDQ) ABC Reserves, and
             Amendment 80 ABC Reserves in the BSAI for Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole
                                          (Amounts are in metric tons)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Sector                                Flathead sole     Rock sole    Yellowfin sole
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ABC.............................................................          65,227         132,000         267,500
TAC.............................................................          16,500          49,100         156,000
ABC surplus.....................................................          48,727          82,900         111,500
ABC reserve.....................................................          48,727          82,900         111,500
CDQ ABC reserve.................................................           5,214           8,870          11,931
Amendment 80 ABC reserve........................................          43,513          74,030          99,570
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Proposed PSC Limits for Halibut, Salmon, Crab, and Herring

    Subsections 679.21(b), (e), (f), and (g) set forth the BSAI PSC 
limits. Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(b)(1), the annual BSAI halibut PSC 
limits total 3,515 mt. Section 679.21(b)(1) allocates 315 mt of the 
halibut PSC limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ 
Program, 1,745 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the Amendment 80 sector, 
745 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the BSAI trawl limited access 
sector, and 710 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the BSAI non-trawl 
sector.
    Section 679.21(b)(1)(iii)(A) and (B) authorize apportionment of the 
BSAI non-trawl halibut PSC limit into PSC allowances among six fishery 
categories, and Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(A) and (B), (e)(3)(i)(B), and 
(e)(3)(iv) require apportionment of the BSAI trawl limited access 
halibut and crab PSC limits into PSC allowances among seven fishery 
categories. Table 10 lists the proposed fishery PSC allowances for the 
BSAI trawl limited access fisheries, and Table 11 lists the proposed 
fishery PSC allowances for the non-trawl fisheries.
    Pursuant to Section 3.6 of the FMP, the Council recommends, and 
NMFS proposes, that certain specified non-trawl fisheries be exempt 
from the halibut PSC limit. As in past years, after consultation with 
the Council, NMFS proposes to exempt pot gear, jig gear, and the 
sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories from halibut 
bycatch restrictions for the following reasons: (1) The pot gear 
fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality; (2) NMFS estimates 
halibut mortality for the jig gear fleet to be negligible because of 
the small size of the fishery and the selectivity of the

[[Page 62825]]

gear; and (3) the sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries have low halibut 
bycatch mortality because the IFQ Program requires legal-size halibut 
to be retained by vessels using hook-and-line gear if a halibut IFQ 
permit holder or a hired master is aboard and is holding unused halibut 
IFQ for that vessel category and the IFQ regulatory area in which the 
vessel is operating (Sec.  679.7(f)(11)).
    As of November 2018, total groundfish catch for the pot gear 
fishery in the BSAI was 46,571 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch 
mortality of 19 mt. The 2018 jig gear fishery harvested about 56 mt of 
groundfish. Most vessels in the jig gear fleet are exempt from observer 
coverage requirements. As a result, observer data are not available on 
halibut bycatch in the jig gear fishery. As mentioned above, NMFS 
estimates a negligible amount of halibut bycatch mortality because of 
the selective nature of jig gear and the low mortality rate of halibut 
caught with jig gear and released.
    Under Sec.  679.21(f)(2), NMFS annually allocates portions of 
either 33,318, 45,000, 47,591, or 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limits 
among the AFA sectors, depending on past bycatch performance, on 
whether Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreements (IPAs) are 
formed, and on whether NMFS determines it is a low Chinook salmon 
abundance year. NMFS will determine that it is a low Chinook salmon 
abundance year when abundance of Chinook salmon in western Alaska is 
less than or equal to 250,000 Chinook salmon. The State provides to 
NMFS an estimate of Chinook salmon abundance using the 3-System Index 
for western Alaska, based on the Kuskokwim, Unalakleet, and Upper Yukon 
aggregate stock grouping.
    If an AFA sector participates in an approved IPA and has not 
exceeded its performance standard under Sec.  679.21(f)(6), and if it 
is not a low Chinook salmon abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a 
portion of the 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as 
specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). If no IPA is approved, or if 
the sector has exceeded its performance standard under Sec.  
679.21(f)(6), and it is not a low abundance year, NMFS will allocate a 
portion of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as 
specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(C). If an AFA sector participates 
in an approved IPA and has not exceeded its performance standard under 
Sec.  679.21(f)(6) in a low abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a 
portion of the 45,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as 
specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). If no IPA is approved, or if 
the sector has exceeded its performance standard under Sec.  
679.21(f)(6) in a low abundance year, NMFS will allocate a portion of 
the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as specified in 
Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(D).
    As of October 1, 2018, NMFS has determined that 2018 was a low 
Chinook salmon abundance year, based on the State's estimate that 
Chinook salmon abundance in western Alaska is less than 250,000 Chinook 
salmon. Therefore, in 2019, the Chinook salmon PSC limit is 45,000 
Chinook salmon, allocated to each sector as specified in Sec.  
679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). The AFA sector Chinook salmon allocations are 
also seasonally apportioned with 70 percent of the allocation for the A 
season pollock fishery, and 30 percent of the allocation for the B 
season pollock fishery (Sec. Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(i) and 679.23(e)(2)). 
In 2019, the Chinook salmon bycatch performance standard under Sec.  
679.21(f)(6) is 33,318 Chinook salmon, allocated to each sector as 
specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(D).
    NMFS publishes the approved IPAs, allocations, and reports at 
https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/bycatch/default.htm.
    Section 679.21(g)(2)(i) specifies 700 fish as the 2019 and 2020 
Chinook salmon PSC limit for the AI pollock fishery. Section 
679.21(g)(2)(ii) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, as the AI 
PSQ reserve for the CDQ Program, and allocates the remaining 647 
Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries.
    Section 679.21(f)(14)(i) specifies 42,000 fish as the 2019 and 2020 
non-Chinook salmon PSC limit for vessels using trawl gear from August 
15 through October 14 in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area (CVOA). 
Section 679.21(f)(14)(ii) allocates 10.7 percent, or 4,494 non-Chinook 
salmon, in the CVOA as the PSQ reserve for the CDQ Program, and 
allocates the remaining 37,506 non-Chinook salmon in the CVOA to the 
non-CDQ fisheries.
    PSC limits for crab and herring are specified annually based on 
abundance and spawning biomass. Due to the lack of new information as 
of October 2018 regarding herring PSC limits and apportionments, the 
Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, basing the herring 2019 and 
2020 PSC limits and apportionments on the 2017 survey data. The Council 
will reconsider these amounts in December 2018. Section 
679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(1) allocates 10.7 percent of each trawl gear PSC 
limit specified for crab as a PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ 
Program.
    Based on 2018 survey data, the red king crab mature female 
abundance is estimated at 13.1 million red king crabs, and the 
effective spawning biomass is estimated at 33,275 million lbs (15,093 
mt). Based on the criteria set out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(i), the 
proposed 2019 and 2020 PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl 
gear is 97,000 animals. This limit derives from the mature female 
abundance estimate of more than 8.4 million red king crab and the 
effective spawning biomass estimate of more than 14.5 million lbs 
(6,577 mt) but less than 55 million lbs (24,948 mt).
    Section 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2) establishes criteria under which 
NMFS must specify an annual red king crab bycatch limit for the Red 
King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS). The regulations limit the bycatch in 
the RKCSS to up to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance, based 
on the need to optimize the groundfish harvest relative to red king 
crab bycatch. NMFS proposes the Council's recommendation that the red 
king crab bycatch limit be equal to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC 
allowance within the RKCSS (Table 9).
    Based on 2018 survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) 
abundance is estimated at 1,238 million animals. Pursuant to criteria 
set out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(ii), the calculated 2019 and 2020 C. 
bairdi crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 980,000 animals in Zone 1, and 
2,970,000 animals in Zone 2. The limit in Zone 1 is based on the 
abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 1,238 million animals, which is 
greater than 400 million animals. The limit in Zone 2 is based on the 
abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 1,238 million animals, which is 
greater than 400 million animals.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(iii), the PSC limit for trawl gear 
for snow crab (C. opilio) is based on total abundance as indicated by 
the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey. The C. opilio crab PSC limit in 
the C. opilio bycatch limitation zone (COBLZ) is set at 0.1133 percent 
of the Bering Sea abundance index minus 150,000 crabs. Based on the 
2018 survey estimate of 10.65 billion animals, the calculated C. opilio 
crab PSC limit is 11,916,450 animals, which is above the minimum PSC 
limit of 4.5 million and below the maximum PSC limit of 13 million 
animals.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(v), the PSC limit of Pacific herring 
caught while conducting any trawl operation for BSAI groundfish is 1 
percent of the annual eastern Bering Sea herring biomass. The best 
estimate of 2019 and 2020 herring biomass is 183,017 mt. This amount 
was developed by the Alaska Department of

[[Page 62826]]

Fish and Game based on biomass for spawning aggregations. Therefore, 
the herring PSC limit proposed for 2019 and 2020 is 1,830 mt for all 
trawl gear as listed in Tables 8 and 9.
    Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A) requires PSQ reserves to be subtracted 
from the total trawl PSC limits. The 2019 crab and halibut PSC limits 
assigned to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors are 
listed in Table 35 to 50 CFR part 679. The resulting proposed 
allocations of PSC limits to CDQ PSQ, the Amendment 80 sector, and the 
BSAI trawl limited access sector are listed in Table 8.
    One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2019 fishing year. 
Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of the cooperative, no PSC 
limit allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required.
    The 2020 PSC limit allocations between Amendment 80 cooperatives 
and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until 
eligible participants apply for participation in the program by 
November 1, 2019. NMFS will post 2020 Amendment 80 cooperatives and 
Amendment 80 limited access allocations on the Alaska Region website at 
https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov prior to the start of the fishing year 
on January 1, 2020, based on the harvest specifications effective on 
that date.
    Subsections 679.21(b)(2) and (e)(5) authorize NMFS, after 
consulting with the Council, to establish seasonal apportionments of 
halibut and crab PSC amounts for the BSAI non-trawl, BSAI trawl limited 
access, and Amendment 80 limited access sectors to maximize the ability 
of the fleet to harvest the available groundfish TAC and to minimize 
bycatch. The factors considered are (1) seasonal distribution of 
prohibited species, (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish 
species relative to prohibited species distribution, (3) prohibited 
species bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relevant to prohibited 
species biomass and expected catches of target groundfish species, (4) 
expected variations in bycatch rates throughout the year, (5) expected 
changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons, (6) expected start of 
fishing effort, and (7) economic effects of establishing seasonal 
prohibited species apportionments on segments of the target groundfish 
industry. Based on this criteria, the Council recommended, and NMFS 
proposes, the seasonal PSC apportionments in Tables 10 and 11 to 
maximize harvest among gear types, fisheries, and seasons, while 
minimizing bycatch of PSC.

 Table 8--Proposed 2019 and 2020 Apportionment of Prohibited Species Catch Allowances to Non-Trawl Gear, the CDQ
                        Program, Amendment 80, and the BSAI Trawl Limited Access Sectors
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            Trawl PSC                 BSAI trawl
                                                  Non-trawl     CDQ PSQ     remaining    Amendment     limited
     PSC species and area \1\        Total PSC       PSC      reserve \2\   after CDQ    80 sector      access
                                                                               PSQ          \3\        fishery
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI.......        3,515          710          315          n/a        1,745          745
Herring (mt) BSAI.................        1,830          n/a          n/a          n/a          n/a          n/a
Red king crab (animals) Zone 1....       97,000          n/a        7,379       86,621       43,293       26,489
C. opilio (animals) COBLZ.........   11,916,450          n/a    1,275,060    7,641,390    5,230,243    3,420,143
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 1...      980,000          n/a      104,860      875,140      368,521      411,228
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 2...    2,970,000          n/a      317,790    2,652,210      627,778    1,241,500
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of zones.
\2\ The PSQ reserve for crab species is 10.7 percent of each crab PSC limit.
\3\ The Amendment 80 program reduced apportionment of the trawl PSC limits for crab below the total PSC limit.
  These reductions are not apportioned to other gear types or sectors.


    Table 9--Proposed 2019 and 2020 Herring and Red King Crab Savings
    Subarea Prohibited Species Catch Allowances for All Trawl Sectors
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           Red king crab
           Fishery categories              Herring (mt)   (animals) Zone
                                               BSAI              1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yellowfin sole..........................              80             n/a
Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish                39             n/a
 \1\....................................
Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/                  5             n/a
 Kamchatka flounder/sablefish...........
Rockfish................................               5             n/a
Pacific cod.............................               9             n/a
Midwater trawl pollock..................           1,662             n/a
Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 2 3.              30             n/a
Red king crab savings subarea non-                   n/a          24,250
 pelagic trawl gear \4\.................
Total trawl PSC.........................           1,830          97,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species,
  except for halibut (a prohibited species), arrowtooth flounder,
  flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and
  yellowfin sole.
\2\ Pollock other than midwater trawl pollock, Atka mackerel, and
  ``other species'' fishery category.
\3\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes sculpins, sharks,
  skates, and octopuses.
\4\ In October 2018, the Council recommended that the red king crab
  bycatch limit for non-pelagic trawl fisheries within the RKCSS be
  limited to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance (see Sec.
  679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2)).
Note: Species apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


[[Page 62827]]


 Table 10--Proposed 2019 and 2020 Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowances for the BSAI Trawl Limited Access Sector
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          Prohibited species and area \1\
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    BSAI trawl limited access         Halibut      Red king crab     C. opilio          C. bairdi (animals)
            fisheries             mortality (mt)  (animals) Zone     (animals)   -------------------------------
                                       BSAI              1             COBLZ          Zone 1          Zone 2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yellowfin sole..................             150          23,338       3,224,126         346,228       1,185,500
Rock sole/flathead sole/other     ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............               0
 flatfish \2\...................
Greenland turbot/arrowtooth       ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............               0
 flounder/Kamchatka flounder/
 sablefish......................
Rockfish April 15-December 31...               4  ..............           5,326  ..............           1,000
Pacific cod.....................             391           2,954         137,426          60,000          49,999
Pollock/Atka mackerel/other                  200             197          53,265           5,000           5,000
 species \3\....................
Total BSAI trawl limited access              745          26,489       3,420,143         411,228       1,241,500
 PSC............................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited
  species), arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin
  sole.
\3\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes sculpins, sharks, skates, and octopuses.
Note: Species apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


     Table 11--Proposed 2019 and 2020 Halibut Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowances for Non-Trawl Fisheries
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Catcher/
          Non-trawl fisheries                    Seasons             processor    Catcher vessel   All non-trawl
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod...........................  Annual Pacific cod......             648              13             n/a
                                        January 1-June 10.......             388               9             n/a
                                        June 10-August 15.......             162               2             n/a
                                        August 15-December 31...              98               2             n/a
Non-Pacific cod non-trawl-Total.......  May 1-December 31.......             n/a             n/a              49
Groundfish pot and jig................  n/a.....................             n/a             n/a          Exempt
Sablefish hook-and-line...............  n/a.....................             n/a             n/a          Exempt
Total for all non-trawl PSC...........  n/a.....................             n/a             n/a             710
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Halibut Discard Mortality Rates

    To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, 
the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut incidental catch 
rates, halibut discard mortality rates (DMRs), and estimates of 
groundfish catch to project when a fishery's halibut bycatch mortality 
allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. Halibut incidental 
catch rates are based on observers' estimates of halibut incidental 
catch in the groundfish fishery. DMRs are estimates of the proportion 
of incidentally caught halibut that do not survive after being returned 
to the sea. The cumulative halibut mortality that accrues to a 
particular halibut PSC limit is the product of a DMR multiplied by the 
estimated halibut PSC. DMRs are estimated using the best scientific 
information available in conjunction with the annual BSAI stock 
assessment process. The DMR methodology and findings are included as an 
appendix to the annual BSAI groundfish SAFE report.
    In 2016, the DMR estimation methodology underwent revisions per the 
Council's directive. An interagency halibut working group 
(International Pacific Halibut Commission, Council, and NMFS staff) 
developed improved estimation methods that have undergone review by the 
Plan Team, SSC, and the Council. A summary of the revised methodology 
is included in the BSAI proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications 
(81 FR 87863, December 6, 2016), and the comprehensive discussion of 
the working group's statistical methodology is available from the 
Council (see ADDRESSES). The DMR working group's revised methodology is 
intended to improve estimation accuracy, transparency, and 
transferability in the methodology used for calculating DMRs. The 
working group will continue to consider improvements to the methodology 
used to calculate halibut mortality, including potential changes to the 
reference period (the period of data used for calculating the DMRs). 
Future DMRs may change based on additional years of observer sampling, 
which could provide more recent and accurate data and which could 
improve the accuracy of estimation and progress on methodology. The new 
methodology will continue to ensure that NMFS is using DMRs that more 
accurately reflect halibut mortality, which will inform the different 
sectors of their estimated halibut mortality and allow specific sectors 
to respond with methods that could reduce mortality and, eventually, 
the DMR for that sector.
    In October 2018, the Council recommended adopting the halibut DMRs 
derived from the revised methodology for the proposed 2019 and 2020 
DMRs. The proposed 2019 and 2020 DMRs use an updated 2-year reference 
period. Comparing the proposed DMRs to the final DMRs from the 2018 and 
2019 harvest specifications, the proposed DMR for motherships and 
catcher/processors using non-pelagic trawl gear decreased to 78 percent 
from 84 percent, the proposed DMR for catcher vessels using non-pelagic 
trawl gear decreased to 59 percent from 60 percent, the proposed DMR 
for catcher vessels using hook-and-line gear decreased to percent from 
17 percent, and the proposed DMR for pot gear increased to 19 percent 
from 9

[[Page 62828]]

percent. Table 12 lists the proposed 2019 and 2020 DMRs.

Table 12--Proposed 2019 and 2020 Pacific Halibut Discard Mortality Rates
                           (DMR) for the BSAI
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Halibut
                                                              discard
              Gear                        Sector          mortality rate
                                                             (percent)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pelagic trawl..................  All....................             100
Non-pelagic trawl..............  Mothership and catcher/              78
                                  processor.
Non-pelagic trawl..............  Catcher vessel.........              59
Hook-and-line..................  Catcher vessel.........               4
Hook-and-line..................  Catcher/processor......               8
Pot............................  All....................              19
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Listed AFA Catcher/Processor Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is 
responsible for restricting the ability of listed AFA catcher/
processors to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other 
than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from 
adverse effects resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in 
the directed pollock fishery. These restrictions are set out as 
``sideboard'' limits on catch. The basis for these proposed sideboard 
limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major 
provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 
(72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Section 679.64(a)(1)(v) exempts AFA 
catcher/processors from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 
2019 and 2020 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the 
Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater 
than 125,000 mt.
    As discussed earlier in this preamble, NMFS published a proposed 
rule (83 FR 40733, August 16, 2018) that would, if implemented, 
establish regulations to prohibit directed fishing for AFA sideboard 
limits for specific groundfish species or species groups, rather than 
prohibiting directed fishing for AFA sideboard limits through the BSAI 
annual harvest specifications. If that rule becomes effective prior to 
the publication of the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications, NMFS 
will no longer publish most of the sideboards listed below in Table 13. 
Table 13 lists the proposed 2019 and 2020 catcher/processor groundfish 
sideboard limits.
    All harvest of groundfish sideboard species by listed AFA catcher/
processors, whether as targeted catch or incidental catch, will be 
deducted from the sideboard limits in Table 13. However, groundfish 
sideboard species that are delivered to listed AFA catcher/processors 
by catcher vessels will not be deducted from the 2019 and 2020 
sideboard limits for the listed AFA catcher/processors.

              Table 13--Proposed 2019 and 2020 BSAI Groundfish Sideboard Limits for Listed American Fisheries Act Catcher/Processors (C/Ps)
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                             1995-1997
                                                                         ------------------------------------------------  2019 and 2020   2019 and 2020
              Target species                            Area                                                 Ratio of     ITAC available      AFA C/P
                                                                          Retained catch    Total catch   retained catch  to all trawl C/    sideboard
                                                                                                          to total catch      Ps \1\           limit
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sablefish trawl...........................  BS..........................               8             497           0.016             876              14
                                            AI..........................  ..............             145  ..............             595  ..............
Greenland turbot..........................  BS..........................             121          17,305           0.007           4,356              30
                                            AI..........................              23           4,987           0.005             144               1
Arrowtooth flounder.......................  BSAI........................              76          33,987           0.002          11,900              24
Kamchatka flounder........................  BSAI........................              76          33,987           0.002           4,250               9
Rock sole.................................  BSAI........................           6,317         169,362           0.037          43,846           1,622
Flathead sole.............................  BSAI........................           1,925          52,755           0.036          14,735             530
Alaska plaice.............................  BSAI........................              14           9,438           0.001          13,814              14
Other flatfish............................  BSAI........................           3,058          52,298           0.058           3,400             197
                                            BS..........................              12           4,879           0.002           9,774              20
Pacific ocean perch.......................  Eastern AI..................             125           6,179           0.020           8,675             174
                                            Central AI..................               3           5,698           0.001           6,741               7
                                            Western AI..................              54          13,598           0.004           8,141              33
Northern rockfish.........................  BSAI........................              91          13,040           0.007           5,525              39
Rougheye rockfish.........................  EBS/EAI.....................              50           2,811           0.018              64               1
                                            CAI/WAI.....................              50           2,811           0.018             128               2
Shortraker rockfish.......................  BSAI........................              50           2,811           0.018             128               2
Other rockfish............................  BS..........................              18             621           0.029             234               7
                                            AI..........................              22             806           0.027             485              13
Atka mackerel.............................  Central AI..................             n/a             n/a           0.115          22,231           2,557
                                                    A season \2\                     n/a             n/a           0.115          11,116           1,278
                                                    B season \2\                     n/a             n/a           0.115          11,116           1,278
                                            Western AI..................             n/a             n/a             0.2          12,346           2,469
                                                    A season \2\                     n/a             n/a             0.2           6,173           1,235
                                                    B season \2\                     n/a             n/a             0.2           6,173           1,235

[[Page 62829]]

 
Skates....................................  BSAI........................             553          68,672           0.008          22,950             184
Sculpins..................................  BSAI........................             553          68,672           0.008           4,250              34
Sharks....................................  BSAI........................             553          68,672           0.008             153               1
Octopuses.................................  BSAI........................             553          68,672           0.008             170               1
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Aleutians Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole are multiplied by the remainder of the
  TAC after the subtraction of the CDQ reserve under Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C).
\2\ The seasonal apportionment of Atka mackerel in the BSAI trawl limited access sector is 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season.
  Listed AFA catcher/processors are limited to harvesting no more than zero in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea, 20 percent of the
  annual ITAC specified for the Western Aleutian District, and 11.5 percent of the annual ITAC specified for the Central Aleutian District.
Note: Section 679.64(a)(1)(v) exempts AFA catcher/processors from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2019 and 2020 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin
  sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt.

    Section 679.64(a)(2) and Tables 40 and 41 to 50 CFR part 679 
establish a formula for calculating PSC sideboard limits for halibut 
and crab caught by listed AFA catcher/processors. The basis for these 
sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing 
the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and 
Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007).
    PSC species listed in Table 14 that are caught by listed AFA 
catcher/processors participating in any groundfish fishery other than 
pollock will accrue against the proposed 2019 and 2020 PSC sideboard 
limits for the listed AFA catcher/processors. Section 
679.21(b)(4)(iii), (e)(3)(v), and (e)(7) authorize NMFS to close 
directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for listed AFA 
catcher/processors once a proposed 2019 or 2020 PSC sideboard limit 
listed in Table 14 is reached.
    Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), 
halibut or crab PSC caught by listed AFA catcher/processors while 
fishing for pollock will accrue against the PSC allowances annually 
specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/``other species'' fishery 
categories, according to Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv).

   Table 14--Proposed 2019 and 2020 BSAI Prohibited Species Sideboard Limits for American Fisheries Act Listed
                                               Catcher/Processors
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Proposed 2019
                                                                                   and 2020 PSC
                                                                                   available to    Proposed 2019
                    PSC species and area \1\                       Ratio of PSC    trawl vessels   and 2020 C/P
                                                                   to total PSC        after         sideboard
                                                                                  subtraction of     limit \2\
                                                                                      PSQ \2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BSAI Halibut mortality..........................................             n/a             n/a             286
Red king crab Zone 1............................................           0.007          86,621             606
C. opilio (COBLZ)...............................................           0.153       8,144,641       1,246,130
C. bairdi Zone 1................................................           0.140         741,190         103,767
C. bairdi Zone 2................................................           0.050       2,250,360         112,518
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals.

AFA Catcher Vessel Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.64(b), the Regional Administrator is 
responsible for restricting the ability of AFA catcher vessels to 
engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to 
protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects 
resulting from the AFA and from fishery cooperatives in the directed 
pollock fishery. Section 679.64(b)(3) and (b)(4) establish formulas for 
setting AFA catcher vessel groundfish and PSC sideboard limits for the 
BSAI. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in 
the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 
79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 
2007). Tables 15 and 16 list the proposed 2019 and 2020 AFA catcher 
vessel sideboard limits.
    As discussed earlier in this preamble, NMFS published a proposed 
rule (83 FR 40733, August 16, 2018) that would, if implemented, 
establish regulations to prohibit directed fishing for AFA sideboard 
limits for specific groundfish species or species groups, rather than 
prohibiting directed fishing for AFA sideboard limits through the BSAI 
annual harvest specifications. If that rule becomes effective prior to 
the publication of the final 2019 and 2020 harvest specifications, NMFS 
will no longer publish most of the sideboards listed in Table 15. All 
catch of groundfish sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA catcher 
vessels, whether as targeted catch or as incidental catch, will be 
deducted from the 2019 and 2020 sideboard limits listed in Table 15.

[[Page 62830]]



  Table 15--Proposed 2019 and 2020 BSAI Groundfish Sideboard Limits for American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessels
                                                      (CVs)
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                   2019 and 2020
                                                                  Ratio of 1995-                    AFA catcher
              Species                Fishery by area/gear/season    1997 AFA CV    2019 and 2020      vessel
                                                                  catch to 1995-  initial TAC\1\     sideboard
                                                                     1997 TAC                         limits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod........................  BSAI.......................             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                     Jig gear...................  ..............           2,140  ..............
                                     Hook-and-line CV >60 ft LOA             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                        Jan 1-Jun 10............          0.0006             155               0
                                        Jun 10-Dec 31...........          0.0006             149               0
                                     Pot gear CV >60 ft LOA.....             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                        Jan 1-Jun 10............          0.0006           6,521               4
                                        Sept 1-Dec 31...........          0.0006           6,265               4
                                     CV <60 ft LOA using hook-            0.0006           3,044               2
                                      and-line or pot gear.
                                     Trawl gear CV..............             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                        Jan 20-Apr 1............          0.8609          25,001          21,523
                                        Apr 1-Jun 10............          0.8609           3,716           3,199
                                        Jun 10-Nov 1............          0.8609           5,068           4,363
Sablefish..........................  BS trawl gear..............          0.0906             876              79
                                     AI trawl gear..............          0.0645             595              38
Greenland turbot...................  BS.........................          0.0645           4,356             281
                                     AI.........................          0.0205             144               3
Arrowtooth flounder................  BSAI.......................          0.0690          11,900             821
Kamchatka flounder.................  BSAI.......................          0.0690           4,250             293
Rock sole..........................  BSAI.......................          0.0341          43,846           1,495
Flathead sole......................  BS trawl gear..............          0.0505          14,735             744
Alaska plaice......................  BSAI.......................          0.0441          13,814             609
Other flatfish.....................  BSAI.......................          0.0441           3,400             150
Pacific ocean perch................  BS.........................          0.1000           9,774             977
                                     Eastern AI.................          0.0077           8,675              67
                                     Central AI.................          0.0025           6,741              17
                                     Western AI.................  ..............           8,141  ..............
Northern rockfish..................  BSAI.......................          0.0084           5,525              46
Rougheye rockfish..................  EBS/EAI....................          0.0037              64               0
                                     CAI/WAI....................          0.0037             128               0
Shortraker rockfish................  BSAI.......................          0.0037             128               0
Other rockfish.....................  BS.........................          0.0048             234               1
                                     AI.........................          0.0095             485               5
Atka mackerel......................  Eastern AI/BS..............             n/a          30,166             n/a
                                        Jan 1-Jun 10............          0.0032          15,083              48
                                        Jun 10-Nov 1............          0.0032          15,083              48
                                     Central AI.................             n/a          22,231             n/a
                                        Jan 1-Jun 10............          0.0001          11,116               1
                                        Jun 10-Nov 1............          0.0001          11,116               1
                                     Western AI.................             n/a          12,346             n/a
                                        Jan 1-Jun 10............  ..............           6,173  ..............
                                        Jun 10-Nov 1............  ..............           6,173  ..............
Skates.............................  BSAI.......................          0.0541          22,950           1,242
Sculpins...........................  BSAI.......................          0.0541           4,250             230
Sharks.............................  BSAI.......................          0.0541             153               8
Octopuses..........................  BSAI.......................          0.0541             170               9
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Aleutians Islands Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, Pacific cod, rock sole, and
  yellowfin sole are multiplied by the remainder of the TAC of that species after the subtraction of the CDQ
  reserve under Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C).
Note: Section 679.64(b)(6) exempts AFA catcher vessels from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2019
  and 2020 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access
  sector is greater than 125,000 mt.

    Halibut and crab PSC limits listed in Table 16 that are caught by 
AFA catcher vessels participating in any groundfish fishery other than 
pollock will accrue against the 2019 and 2020 PSC sideboard limits for 
the AFA catcher vessels. Section 679.21(b)(4)(iii), (e)(7), and 
(e)(3)(v) authorize NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other 
than pollock for AFA catcher vessels once a proposed 2019 and 2020 PSC 
sideboard limit listed in Table 16 is reached. Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  
679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), halibut or crab PSC caught by 
AFA catcher vessels while fishing for pollock in the BS will accrue 
against the PSC allowances annually specified for the pollock/Atka 
mackerel/``other species'' fishery categories under Sec. Sec.  
679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv).

[[Page 62831]]



Table 16--Proposed 2019 and 2020 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Prohibited Species Catch Sideboard Limits
                                                for the BSAI \1\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Proposed 2019
                                                                    AFA catcher    and 2020 PSC    Proposed 2019
                                                                    vessel PSC      limit after    and 2020 AFA
   PSC species and area \1\        Target fishery category \2\       sideboard    subtraction of  catcher vessel
                                                                    limit ratio    PSQ reserves    PSC sideboard
                                                                                        \3\          limit \3\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut.......................  Pacific cod trawl...............             n/a             n/a             887
                                Pacific cod hook-and-line or pot             n/a             n/a               2
                                Yellowfin sole total............             n/a             n/a             101
                                Rock sole/flathead sole/other                n/a             n/a             228
                                 flatfish \4\.
                                Greenland turbot/arrowtooth                  n/a             n/a
                                 flounder/Kamchatka flounder/
                                 sablefish.
                                Rockfish........................             n/a             n/a               2
                                Pollock/Atka mackerel/other                  n/a             n/a               5
                                 species \5\.
Red king crab Zone 1..........  n/a.............................          0.2990          86,621          25,900
C. opilio COBLZ...............  n/a.............................          0.1680       8,144,641       1,368,300
C. bairdi Zone 1..............  n/a.............................          0.3300         741,190         244,593
C. bairdi Zone 2..............  n/a.............................          0.1860       2,250,360         418,567
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ Target fishery categories are defined at Sec.   679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv).
\3\ Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals.
\4\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited
  species), arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, and yellowfin
  sole.
\5\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes skates, sculpins, sharks, and octopuses.

Classification

    NMFS has determined that the proposed harvest specifications are 
consistent with the FMP and preliminarily determined that the proposed 
harvest specifications are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and 
other applicable laws, subject to further review after public comment.
    This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    NMFS prepared an EIS for this action and made it available to the 
public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 13, 2007, NMFS 
issued the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final EIS. A SIR that 
assesses the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS is being prepared for 
the final harvest specifications. Copies of the Final EIS, ROD, and 
annual SIRs for this action are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). 
The Final EIS analyzes the environmental, social, and economic 
consequences of the proposed groundfish harvest specifications and 
alternative harvest strategies on resources in the action area. Based 
on the analysis in the Final EIS, NMFS concluded that the preferred 
Alternative (Alternative 2) provides the best balance among relevant 
environmental, social, and economic considerations and allows for 
continued management of the groundfish fisheries based on the most 
recent, best scientific information.
    NMFS prepared an IRFA, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (RFA), analyzing the methodology for establishing the 
relevant TACs. The IRFA evaluates the economic impacts on small 
entities of alternative harvest strategies for the groundfish fisheries 
in the exclusive economic zone off Alaska. As described in the 
methodology, TACs are set to a level that falls within the range of 
ABCs recommended by the SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve the OY 
specified in the FMP. While the specific numbers that the methodology 
produces may vary from year to year, the methodology itself remains 
constant.
    A description of the proposed action, why it is being considered, 
and the legal basis for this proposed action are contained in the 
preamble above. A copy of the IRFA is available from NMFS (see 
ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows.
    The action under consideration is a harvest strategy to govern the 
catch of groundfish in the BSAI. The preferred alternative is the 
existing harvest strategy in which TACs fall within the range of ABCs 
recommended by the SSC, but, as discussed below, NMFS considered other 
alternatives. This action is taken in accordance with the FMP prepared 
by the Council pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    The entities directly regulated by this action are those that 
harvest groundfish in the exclusive economic zone of the BSAI and in 
parallel fisheries within State waters. These include entities 
operating catcher vessels and catcher/processors within the action area 
and entities receiving direct allocations of groundfish.
    For RFA purposes only, NMFS has established a small business size 
standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary 
industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily 
engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a 
small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not 
dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has 
combined annual gross receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its 
affiliated operations worldwide.
    The IRFA shows that, in 2017, the estimated number of directly 
regulated small entities include approximately 170 catcher vessels, 
four catcher/processors, and six CDQ groups. Some of these vessels are 
members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, Gulf of Alaska rockfish 
cooperatives, or BSAI Crab Rationalization Program cooperatives, and, 
since under the RFA the aggregate gross receipts of all participating 
members of the cooperative must meet the ``under $11 million'' 
threshold, the cooperatives are considered to be large entities within 
the meaning of the RFA. Thus, the estimate of 170 catcher vessels may 
be an overstatement of the number of small entities. Average gross 
revenues were $570,000 for small hook-and-line vessels, $1.37 million 
for small pot vessels, and $3.15 million for small trawl vessels. The 
average gross revenue for catcher/processors are not reported, due to 
confidentiality considerations.
    The preferred alternative (Alternative 2) was compared to four 
other alternatives. Alternative 1 would have set TACs to generate 
fishing rates equal

[[Page 62832]]

to the maximum permissible ABC (if the full TAC were harvested), unless 
the sum of TACs exceeded the BSAI OY, in which case TACs would have 
been limited to the OY. Alternative 3 would have set TACs to produce 
fishing rates equal to the most recent 5-year average fishing rates. 
Alternative 4 would have set TACs equal to the lower limit of the BSAI 
OY range. Alternative 5, the ``no action'' alternative, would have set 
TACs equal to zero.
    The TACs associated with Alternative 2, the preferred harvest 
strategy, are those recommended by the Council in October 2018. OFLs 
and ABCs for the species were based on recommendations prepared by the 
Council's BSAI Groundfish Plan Team in September 2018, and reviewed and 
modified by the Council's SSC in October 2018. The Council based its 
TAC recommendations on those of its AP, which were consistent with the 
SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations.
    Alternative 1 selects harvest rates that would allow fishermen to 
harvest stocks at the level of ABCs, unless total harvests were 
constrained by the upper bound of the BSAI OY of two million mt. As 
shown in Table 1 of the preamble, the sum of ABCs in 2019 and 2020 
would be 3,573,772 mt, which is above the upper bound of the OY range. 
Under Alternative 1, the sum of TACs is equal to the sum of ABCs. In 
this instance, Alternative 1 is consistent with the preferred 
alternative (Alternative 2), meets the objectives of that action, and 
has small entity impacts that are equivalent to small entity impacts of 
the preferred alternative. However, NMFS cannot set TACs equal to the 
sum of ABCs in the BSAI due to the constraining OY limit of two million 
mt, which Alternative 1 would exceed.
    Alternative 3 selects harvest rates based on the most recent 5 
years of harvest rates (for species in Tiers 1 through 3) or based on 
the most recent 5 years of harvests (for species in Tiers 4 through 6). 
This alternative is inconsistent with the objectives of this action (as 
reflected in Alternative 2, the Council's preferred harvest strategy) 
because it does not take account of the most recent biological 
information for this fishery, as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. 
NMFS annually conducts at-sea stock surveys for different species, as 
well as statistical modeling, to estimate stock sizes and permissible 
harvest levels. Actual harvest rates or harvest amounts are a component 
of these estimates, but in and of themselves may not accurately portray 
stock sizes and conditions. Harvest rates are listed for each species 
category for each year in the SAFE report (see ADDRESSES).
    Alternative 4 would lead to significantly lower harvests of all 
groundfish species and reduce TACs from the upper end of the OY range 
in the BSAI, to its lower end of 1.4 million mt. Overall, this would 
reduce 2019 TACs by about 30 percent, which would lead to significant 
reductions in harvests of species by small entities. While reductions 
of this size would alter the supply, and, therefore, would be 
associated with offsetting price increases, the size of these 
associated price increases is uncertain. While production declines in 
the BSAI would undoubtedly be associated with price increases in the 
BSAI, these increases still would be constrained by production of 
substitutes, and are unlikely to completely offset revenue declines 
resulting from reductions in harvests of these species by small 
entities. Thus, this alternative would have a detrimental impact on 
small entities.
    Alternative 5, which sets all harvests equal to zero, would have a 
significant adverse impact on small entities and would be contrary to 
the requirement for achieving OY on a continuing basis, as mandated by 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    The proposed harvest specifications (Alternative 2) extend the 
current 2019 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs to 2019 and 2020, with the exceptions 
for removal of the squid OFL, ABC, and TAC in the BSAI and the related 
increase in BS pollock TAC amounts, and for the decreases of the 
Pacific cod BS and AI TACs to account for the State's GHLs. As noted in 
the IRFA, the Council may modify its recommendations for final OFLs, 
ABCs, and TACs in December 2018, when it reviews the November 2018 SAFE 
report from its groundfish Plan Team, and the reports of the SSC and 
AP, at the 2018 December Council meeting. NMFS does not expect adverse 
impacts on small entities, because most of the TACs in the proposed 
2019 and 2020 harvest specifications are unchanged from the 2019 
harvest specification TACs, with the exception of changes for TACs for 
squid, BS pollock, and Pacific cod, and because the sum of all TACs 
remains within the upper limit of OY for the BSAI of 2.0 million mt. 
Also, NMFS does not expect any changes that might be made by the 
Council in December 2018 to be large enough to have an impact on small 
entities.
    This action does not modify recordkeeping or reporting 
requirements, or duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any Federal 
rules.
    Adverse impacts on marine mammals or endangered species resulting 
from fishing activities conducted under these harvest specifications 
are discussed in the Final EIS and its accompanying annual SIRs (see 
ADDRESSES).

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

    Dated: November 29, 2018.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-26389 Filed 12-4-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P