Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Annual Specifications and Management Measures for the 2019 Tribal and Non-Tribal Fisheries for Pacific Whiting, and Requirement To Consider Chinook Salmon Bycatch Before Reapportioning Tribal Whiting, 20578-20588 [2019-09661]

Download as PDF 20578 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 91 / Friday, May 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations List of Subjects DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE 46 CFR Part 401 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrative practice and procedure, Great Lakes, Navigation (water), Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Seamen. 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 181218999–9402–02] 46 CFR Part 404 Great Lakes, Navigation (water), Seamen. RIN 0648–BI67 For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends 46 CFR part 401 as follows: PART 401—GREAT LAKES PILOTAGE REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 401 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 46 U.S.C. 2103, 2104(a), 6101, 7701, 8105, 9303, 9304; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1(II)(92.a), (92.d), (92.e), (92.f). 2. Amend § 401.405 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows: ■ § 401.405 PART 404—GREAT LAKES PILOTAGERATEMAKING 3. The authority citation for part 404 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 46 U.S.C. 2103, 2104(a), 9303, 9304; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1(II)(92.a), (92.f). [Amended] 4. Amend § 404.2 by removing paragraph (b)(6). ■ § 404.104 [Amended] 5. Amend § 404.104 in paragraph (c) by removing the reference ‘‘§ 404.103(d)’’ and adding in its place ‘‘§ 404.103’’. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES ■ Dated: May 6, 2019. John P. Nadeau, Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy. [FR Doc. 2019–09657 Filed 5–9–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: NMFS issues this final rule for the 2019 Pacific whiting fishery under the authority of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006. This final rule announces the 2019 U.S. Total Allowable Catch of 441,433 metric tons (mt) of Pacific whiting, establishes a tribal allocation of 77,251 mt, establishes a set-aside for research and bycatch of 1,500 mt, and announces the allocations of Pacific whiting to the nontribal fishery for 2019. This final rule also amends the provisions regarding reapportionment of the treaty tribes’ whiting allocation to the non-treaty sectors to require that NMFS consider the level of Chinook salmon bycatch before reapportioning whiting. This rule is necessary to manage the Pacific whiting stock to Optimal Yield, ensure that the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan is implemented in a manner consistent with treaty rights of four treaty tribes to fish for Pacific whiting in their ‘‘usual and accustomed grounds and stations’’ in common with non-tribal citizens, and to protect salmon stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act. The catch limits in this rule are intended to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Pacific whiting stock. DATES: Effective May 10, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Miako Ushio (West Coast Region, NMFS), phone: 206–526–4644, and email: Miako.Ushio@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Pilotage rates and charges. (a) The hourly rate for pilotage service on— (1) The St. Lawrence River is $733; (2) Lake Ontario is $493; (3) Lake Erie is $531; (4) The navigable waters from Southeast Shoal to Port Huron, MI is $603; (5) Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior is $306; and (6) The St. Mary’s River is $594. * * * * * § 404.2 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Annual Specifications and Management Measures for the 2019 Tribal and Non-Tribal Fisheries for Pacific Whiting, and Requirement To Consider Chinook Salmon Bycatch Before Reapportioning Tribal Whiting PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Electronic Access This final rule is accessible via the internet at the Office of the Federal Register website at https:// www.federalregister.gov. Background information and documents are available at the NMFS West Coast Region website at http:// www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ fisheries/management/whiting/pacific_ whiting.html and at the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council)’s website at http://www.pcouncil.org/. The final environmental impact statement regarding Harvest Specifications and Management Measures for 2015–2016 and Biennial Periods Thereafter, and the Final Environmental Assessment for Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery 2019–20 Harvest Specifications, Yelloweye Rebuilding Plan Revisions, and Management Measures, are available on the NMFS West Coast Region website at: www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ publications/nepa/groundfish/ groundfish_nepa_documents.html. Background This final rule announces the total allowable catch (TAC) for Pacific whiting, which was determined under the terms of the Agreement with Canada on Pacific Hake/Whiting (Agreement) and the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006 (Whiting Act). The Agreement and the Whiting Act establish bilateral bodies to implement the terms of the Agreement. The bilateral bodies include: The Joint Management Committee (JMC), which recommends the annual catch level for Pacific whiting; the Joint Technical Committee (JTC), which conducts the Pacific whiting stock assessment; the Scientific Review Group (SRG), which reviews the stock assessment; and the Advisory Panel (AP), which provides stakeholder input to the JMC. The Agreement establishes a default harvest policy of F–40 percent, which means a fishing mortality rate that would reduce the biomass to 40 percent of the estimated unfished level. The Agreement also allocates 73.88 percent of the TAC to the United States and 26.12 percent of the TAC to Canada. The JMC is primarily responsible for developing a TAC recommendation to the United States and Canada. The Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of State, has the authority to accept or reject this recommendation. 2019 Pacific Whiting Stock Assessment and Scientific Review The JTC completed a stock assessment for Pacific whiting in February 2019. E:\FR\FM\10MYR1.SGM 10MYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 91 / Friday, May 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES This assessment is available at http:// www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ fisheries/management/whiting/pacific_ whiting_treaty.html. The assessment presents a model that depends primarily upon an acoustic survey biomass index and catches of the transboundary Pacific whiting stock to estimate the biomass of the current stock. The most recent survey, conducted collaboratively between the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and NMFS, was completed in 2017. Pacific whiting spawning stock biomass has been relatively stable since 2017. The 2019 spawning biomass is estimated to be 1.3 million mt, an estimated 64 percent of unfished levels. The 2010 year class of Pacific whiting was very large, and the 2014 and 2016 year classes are estimated to be above average. The 2010, 2014, and 2016 year classes support the fishery at this time. In terms of relative health of the stock, the joint probability that the stock is both below 40 percent of unfished level and above the Agreement’s F–40 percent default harvest rate is estimated to be 10.3 percent. As with past estimates, there is a considerable range of uncertainty associated with this estimate, because the youngest cohorts that make up a large portion of the survey biomass have not been observed for very long. The JTC provided tables showing catch alternatives for 2019. Using the default F–40 percent harvest rule identified in the Agreement [Paragraph 1 of Article III] results in a coastwide TAC for 2019 of 725,593 mt. The stock assessment indicates that the coastal Pacific whiting stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. Summary of 2018 Fishery Coast-wide fishery Pacific Hake landings averaged 233,645 mt from 1966 to 2018, with a low of 89,930 mt in 1980 and a peak of 440,942 mt in 2017. The coastwide catch in 2018 was the second largest on record at 410,443 mt out of a 597,500 mt adjusted coastwide TAC. Attainment in the U.S. was 71.4 percent of its quota (down 9 percent from 2017); in Canada it was 61.1 percent (up 6 percent from 2017). In the U.S., the tribal sector was initially allocated 77,251 mt Pacific whiting, of which NMFS reallocated 40,000 mt inseason to non-tribal sectors on September 24, 2018 (83 FR 61569; November 30, 2018). The Makah Tribe was the only participant in the tribal sector, and caught approximately 5,700 mt of Pacific whiting in 2018. The U.S. non-tribal sector’s catches compared to their final allocations were: C/P Sector: 116,073 of 136,912 mt; Mothership VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 67,129 of 96,644 mt; and Shorebased: 131,829 of 169,127 mt. TAC Recommendation The AP and JMC met March 4–5, 2019, in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada, to develop advice on a 2019 coastwide TAC. The AP provided its 2019 TAC recommendation to the JMC on March 5, 2019. The JMC reviewed the advice of the JTC, the SRG, and the AP, and agreed on a TAC recommendation for transmittal to the United States and Canadian Governments. The Agreement directs the JMC to base the catch limit recommendation on the default harvest rate unless scientific evidence demonstrates that a different rate is necessary to sustain the offshore Pacific whiting resource. After consideration of the 2019 stock assessment and other relevant scientific information, the JMC did not use the default harvest rate, and instead agreed on a more conservative approach, using the same catch limit as 2017 and 2018. Choosing a TAC well below the default level of F–40 percent was supported by a desire to minimize mortality of the 2016 year class, the scale of which is uncertain. This TAC advice was also based in part on an estimate from Canadian and U.S. industry members that the 2019 total coastwide harvest will be more similar to the 2017 level, approximately 440,000 mt, rather than the amount harvested in 2018, 410,000 mt. The JMC did not choose an even lower TAC, because of the presence of the strong 2010 and 2014 year classes. In the unlikely event the 2019 coastwide harvest reaches 500,000 mt, the beginning of year relative spawning biomass in 2020 is projected to be 61 percent of unfished biomass, which is well above target levels. The recommended TAC is projected to prevent overfishing and maintain the stock above overfished levels, but allows each Party and each fishing sector to maximize their harvesting opportunity to the extent of their relative respective capacities and interests. The recommendation for an unadjusted 2019 U.S. TAC of 384,053 mt, plus 57,380 mt carryover of uncaught quota from 2018 results in an adjusted U.S. TAC of 441,433 mt for 2019 (73.88 percent of the coastwide TAC). This recommendation is consistent with the best available scientific information, provisions of the Agreement, and the Whiting Act. The recommendation was transmitted via letter to the United States and Canadian Governments on March 5, 2019. NMFS, under delegation of authority from the PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 20579 Secretary of Commerce, approved the adjusted TAC recommendation of 441,433 mt for U.S. fisheries on April 3, 2019. Tribal Fishery Allocation This final rule establishes the tribal allocation of Pacific whiting for 2019. NMFS issued a proposed rule regarding this allocation on March 15, 2019 (84 FR 9471). Since 1996, NMFS has been allocating a portion of the U.S. TAC of Pacific whiting to the tribal fishery. Regulations for the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan specify that the tribal allocation is subtracted from the total U.S. Pacific whiting TAC. The tribal Pacific whiting fishery is managed separately from the non-tribal Pacific whiting fishery, and is not governed by limited entry or open access regulations or allocations. The proposed rule described the tribal allocation as 17.5 percent of the U.S. TAC, and projected a range of potential tribal allocations for 2019 based on a range of U.S. TACs over the last 10 years (plus or minus 25 percent to capture variability in stock abundance). As described in the proposed rule, the resulting range of potential tribal allocations was 17,842 to 96,563 mt. Applying the approach described in the proposed rule, NMFS is establishing the 2019 tribal allocation of 77,251 mt (17.5 percent of the U.S. TAC) in this final rule. In 2009, NMFS, the states of Washington and Oregon, and the tribes with treaty rights to harvest whiting started a process to determine the longterm tribal allocation for Pacific whiting; however, no long-term allocation has been determined. While new scientific information or discussions with the relevant parties may impact that decision, the best available scientific information to date suggests that 77,251 mt is within the likely range of potential treaty right amounts. As with prior tribal Pacific whiting allocations, this final rule is not intended to establish precedent for future Pacific whiting seasons, or for the determination of the total amount of whiting to which the Tribes are entitled under their treaty right. Rather, this rule adopts an interim allocation. The longterm tribal treaty amount will be based on further development of scientific information and additional coordination and discussion with and among the coastal tribes and the states of Washington and Oregon. Harvest Guidelines and Allocations In addition to the tribal allocation described in the proposed rule published on March 15, 2019 (84 FR E:\FR\FM\10MYR1.SGM 10MYR1 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES 20580 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 91 / Friday, May 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations 9471), this final rule establishes the fishery harvest guideline (HG), called the non-tribal allocation. NMFS did not include the HG in the tribal whiting proposed rule, for reasons related to timing and process. The HG had not yet been determined at the time the proposed rule was published. A recommendation on the coastwide and U.S. TAC for Pacific whiting for 2019, under the terms of the Agreement with Canada was approved by NMFS, under delegation of authority from the Secretary of Commerce, on April 3, 2019. Although this was not part of the proposed rule, the environmental assessment for the 2019–2020 harvest specifications rule (see Electronic Access) analyzed a range of TAC alternatives for 2019, and the final 2019 TAC falls within this analyzed range. In addition, via the 2019–2020 harvest specifications rulemaking process, the public had an opportunity to comment on the 2019–2020 TACs for whiting, just as they did for all species in the groundfish FMP. NMFS follows this process because, unlike for all other groundfish species, the TAC for whiting is decided in a highly abbreviated annual process from February through April of every year, and the normal rulemaking process would not allow for the fishery to open with the new TAC on the annual season opening date of May 15. The 2019 fishery HG for Pacific whiting is 362,682 mt. This amount was determined by deducting the 77,251 mt tribal allocation and the 1,500 mt allocation for scientific research catch and fishing mortality in non-groundfish fisheries from the total U.S. TAC of 441,433 mt. The Council recommends the research and bycatch set-aside on an annual basis, based on estimates of scientific research catch and estimated bycatch mortality in non-groundfish fisheries. The regulations further allocate the fishery HG among the three non-tribal sectors of the Pacific whiting fishery: The catcher/processor (C/P) Coop Program, the Mothership (MS) Coop Program, and the Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program. The C/P Coop Program is allocated 34 percent (123,312 mt for 2019), the MS Coop Program is allocated 24 percent (87,044 mt for 2019), and the Shorebased IFQ Program is allocated 42 percent (152,326.5 mt for 2019). The fishery south of 42° N lat. may not take more than 7,616 mt (5 percent of the Shorebased IFQ Program allocation) prior to May 15, the start of the primary Pacific whiting season north of 42° N lat. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 TABLE 1—2019 PACIFIC WHITING ALLOCATIONS 2019 Pacific whiting allocation (mt) Sector Tribal ..................................... Catcher/Processor (C/P) Coop Program ................... Mothership (MS) Coop Program .................................. Shorebased IFQ Program .... 77,251 123,312 87,044 152,326.5 Consideration of Chinook Salmon Bycatch Before Reapportioning Tribal Whiting On December 11, 2017, NMFS completed an ESA Section 7(a)(2) biological opinion on the effects of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan on listed salmonids. Term and Condition 2c of the Biological Opinion states: ‘‘No later than May 15th, 2019, NMFS will amend the provisions regarding reapportionment of the treaty tribes’ whiting allocation to the nontreaty sectors to require that NMFS consider the level of Chinook bycatch when determining whether to reapportion whiting.’’ This final rule amends the Pacific Coast Groundfish fishery regulations to require this consideration, and to identify what factors will be considered when determining whether to reapportion whiting. The purpose of this action is twofold. Reapportioning whiting that would not otherwise be used allows the non-tribal whiting fishery to continue fishing, thereby potentially impacting Chinook salmon, which occurs as bycatch in that fishery. The first purpose of the action is to issue regulatory changes that will minimize impacts to Chinook salmon from the whiting fishery. The second purpose is to protect the treaty rights of the tribes by preventing a reapportionment of Pacific whiting that could cause the entire whiting fishery, both tribal and non-tribal, to close via automatic action measures outlined at § 660.60(d)(1)(v), thereby limiting the tribal whiting fishery’s opportunity to harvest their allocation. Comments and Responses On March 15, 2019, NMFS issued a proposed rule for the allocation and management of the 2018 tribal Pacific whiting fishery, and implementation of regulations requiring consideration of Chinook salmon bycatch before reapportioning tribal whiting (84 FR 9471). The comment period on the proposed rule closed on April 1, 2019. NMFS received three unique comment PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 letters during the comment period on the proposed rule: One letter from Heather Mann, Executive Director of Midwater Trawlers Cooperative and Brent Paine, Executive Director of United Catcher Boats; one letter from Kristen McQuaw, Manager of Shoreside Whiting Cooperative; and one from Daniel Waldeck, Executive Director of Pacific Whiting Conservation Cooperative (representing American Seafoods, Glacier Fish Co. and Trident Seafoods). All three letters were from organizations representing participants in the non-tribal whiting fishery and contained substantive comments. NMFS addresses the summarized comments below. No changes from the proposed rule were made based on comments NMFS received. Comment 1: A commenter requested NMFS remove the language in the proposed rule that requires NMFS consider Chinook salmon take numbers and bycatch rates in the Pacific Whiting fishery prior to making a reapportionment. The rationale given was that whiting sectors are already mindful of Chinook bycatch, harvesters and processors have implemented significant voluntary measures in recent years to avoid interacting with Chinook. Commenters mentioned that the recently completed Biological Opinion and associated measures includes a new ‘hard cap’ on Chinook salmon for whiting participants’, referring to regulations that close the Pacific whiting fishery after a certain number of Chinook salmon have been caught. Response: NMFS acknowledges the voluntary measures the Pacific whiting fishery has implemented in recent years to avoid interacting with Chinook salmon, and the continued efforts of the fishery to manage bycatch. Low Chinook salmon bycatch resulting from implementation of voluntary and mandatory measures will be considered prior to reapportionment. NMFS also acknowledges that this is one of several complementary measures that have been put into place as the result of the Biological Opinion, to minimize the impact of the amount or extent of incidental take of ESA-listed Chinook salmon. The terms and conditions of the Biological Opinion are, in part, designed to minimize Chinook salmon interactions with Pacific whiting fishery. Terms and conditions of an ESA biological opinion are nondiscretionary, meaning NMFS is obligated under ESA to implement this measure. The ‘hard cap’ this comment refers to is a provision implemented (83 FR 63970; December 12, 2018) to give NMFS automatic authority to close E:\FR\FM\10MYR1.SGM 10MYR1 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 91 / Friday, May 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations either or both of the whiting and nonwhiting sector fisheries if: (1) Either sector catches its guideline limit and the reserve amount; or (2) either sector reaches its guideline limit when the other sector has already taken the reserve amount. The guideline limit for the whiting sector (including tribal and non-tribal vessels in the mothership, catcher/processor (C/P), and Shoreside whiting fleets) is 11,000 Chinook salmon. The guideline limit for the nonwhiting sector (including tribal and non-tribal vessels in the Shoreside trawl, fixed gear, and recreational fleets) is 5,500 Chinook salmon. The reserve amount of Chinook is 3,500 fish. The ‘hard cap’ measure ensures that certain levels of Chinook salmon bycatch are not exceeded. The measure addressed in this final rule has the added purpose of ensuring that non-tribal catch of Pacific whiting that was originally allocated to the Tribal sector does not cause closure of the entire Pacific whiting fishery (tribal and non-tribal sectors), thereby prevent the tribal sector’s fishery. Therefore, NMFS is retaining this language in the regulations implementing this final rule. Comment 2: Three commenters stated that reapportionment is necessary to meet National Standard 1 and achieve optimum yield (OY). Response: The purpose of the tribal allocation is to facilitate the tribes exercising their treaty right to harvest fish in their usual and accustomed fishing areas in U.S. waters, and NMFS must take the necessary steps to ensure that this opportunity is available to those tribes. In 1994, the United States formally recognized that the four Washington coastal treaty Indian tribes (Makah, Quileute, Hoh, and Quinault) have treaty rights to fish for groundfish, including Pacific whiting, in the Pacific Ocean, and concluded that, in general terms, the quantification of those rights is 50 percent of the harvestable surplus of groundfish that pass through the tribes usual and accustomed fishing areas. These treaty rights are implemented by the Secretary following the procedures outlined in 50 CFR 660.60. The tribal allocation is specific to the tribes, who manage and would optimally harvest all of their allocation. The Council, through the Council process, manages allocations to the nontribal sectors of the Pacific whiting fishery to achieve optimal yield, in accordance with the National Standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Comment 3: Commenters suggested that NMFS provide for reapportionment of tribal whiting to specific non-tribal sectors. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 Response: This management suggestion is outside of the scope of the measure discussed in the proposed rule but could be achieved through the Council process. In this final rule, revisions to the reapportionment provisions are limited to implementing the non-discretionary terms and conditions of the recently completed ESA Section 7(a)(2) Biological Opinion. NMFS notes that distributing reapportioned tribal whiting to specific non-tribal sectors based on concerns about Chinook salmon bycatch is currently possible, and was done in 2014 (February 10, 2015; 80 FR 7390), based on recommendation by the Council. In that reapportionment action, NMFS distributed reapportioned fish to the MS and C/P sectors but not to the Shorebased IFQ sector, based on voluntary bycatch reduction measures that were taken by the MS and C/P sectors in conjunction with projected higher bycatch rates in the Shorebased IFQ sector, and the fact that the Shorebased IFQ sector had not yet attained their existing allocation. Comment 4: Commenters said the proposed action leads to uncertainty in the non-tribal fishery about the timing and amount of reapportionment during a given year, which makes it difficult to manage factors such as bycatch and vessel maintenance. One commenter expressed that ‘‘if NMFS poorly manages the tribal allocation by not using the reapportionment process to effectively balance the needs of the tribal and non-tribal fisheries it will cause economic harm within the nontribal whiting fishery. For example, delaying reapportionment past September 15th hinders the ability of the non-tribal sectors to plan and schedule fishing operations that are necessary to optimally achieve our allocations.’’ Response: With this final rule, NMFS issues allocations to the non-tribal participants of the Pacific whiting fishery, and allocations to the tribal participants of the fishery. These amounts are certain for participants in the fishery. It is not the goal of the action, nor would it be appropriate, for NMFS to provide certainty that nontribal participants will derive benefit from the tribal allocation. NMFS does not anticipate that this rule will change the timing of reapportionment, because there is no additional data collection or analysis requirement (see response to Comment 9 for a discussion regarding this consideration). NMFS will make every effort to ensure that consideration of Chinook bycatch does not hinder timely reapportionment. Specifically, NMFS PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 20581 continuously tracks information required for considering Chinook bycatch prior to reapportionment as part of managing Chinook bycatch inseason. This information is available in accordance with other components of the ESA Biological Opinion. Therefore, the most up-to-date Chinook bycatch information will be available when NMFS is ready to make the reapportionment decision. Revisions to the timing of the reapportionment is beyond the scope of the action discussed in the proposed rule. Current regulations, however, do provide NMFS with flexibility in the timing of reapportionment and allow for reapportionment to occur prior to September 15. Based on a review of reapportionment actions in 2012–2018, it does not appear that the timing of the reapportionment impacted operational decisions during that time period. For reference, in 2012 the non-tribal sector caught 24,142 mt more than its initial allocation, of 28,000 mt reapportioned on October 4. In 2013, after a 30,000 mt reallocation on September 18 (sixteen days earlier than in 2012), the non-tribal fishery caught 24,146 mt more than its initial allocation. The sixteen-day earlier reapportionment yielded 4 mt more catch (valued at $1,210 in real dollars). In 2014, a 25,000 mt initial reapportionment on September 12 resulted in only 4,564 mt attained over the initial non-tribal allocation. As discussed in greater detail in response to Comment 12, from 2015–2018, the non-tribal fishery as a whole did not catch its initial allocation, which implies that the timing of reallocations did not likely impact operational decisions during that period. Timing of reapportionments is further addressed below, in response to comment 8. Comment 5: Commenters expressed views that the proposed action seems punitive to the non-tribal participants in general, and to specific sectors with low Chinook salmon bycatch. Response: In this final rule, revisions to the reapportionment provisions are limited to implementing the nondiscretionary terms and conditions of the recently completed ESA Section 7(a)(2) Biological Opinion. Regulations governing reapportionment give the Secretary discretion, but do not impose an obligation, to reapportion Pacific whiting from the tribal sector of the Pacific whiting fishery to non-tribal sectors. While the non-tribal sectors may receive additional economic benefits via reapportionments from the tribal allocation, it is not punitive to either consider Chinook bycatch before making the reapportionment, or keep allocations in their original sectors. See E:\FR\FM\10MYR1.SGM 10MYR1 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES 20582 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 91 / Friday, May 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations the response to Comment 3 for a discussion on distributing reapportioned tribal whiting to specific non-tribal sectors. Comment 6: Commenters mentioned that the reapportionment is of economic benefit to harvesters. Response: NMFS agrees that reapportionment is of economic benefit to recipients of additional whiting allocation. This is reflected in the regulatory Impact Review-Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RIR– IRFA) and Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA). Comment 7: One commenter expressed concern that the proposed rule made reference to possible impacts to the tribal whiting fishery due to Chinook salmon bycatch taken in the non-tribal fishery, but did not mention anything about Chinook bycatch impacts to the non-tribal fisheries by the tribal fishery. Response: The impacts to the tribal fishery referenced are specifically associated with the Chinook salmon bycatch that occurs when the non-tribal fishery fishes for Pacific whiting originally allocated to the tribal fishery. Because there is no mechanism to reapportion in the other direction, (from non-tribal sectors to the tribal sector) the second scenario mentioned in the comment (tribal sector causing impacts while fishing for Pacific whiting originally allocated to the non-tribal sectors) cannot happen under current regulations. Comment 8: A commenter stated: ‘‘Dependent on the interannual variability in the stocks, fishing later in the year can, although not always, increase the probability of encountering salmon. For this reason, the current timeframe for which tribal treaty whiting is reallocated is already later in the year than preferred.’’ Accordingly, the commenter requested that reapportionment occur earlier in the year, by August 1st. Response: The timing of reapportionment in the whiting fishery is outside the scope of action described in the proposed rule, and is addressed further in response to comment 4, above. NMFS is responsible for consulting with the tribes to ensure that reapportionments, should they occur, will not limit tribal harvest opportunities. As explained in the RIR– IRFA, the timing of reapportionment in regulations was intended to allow for the tribal fishery to proceed to a point where it could likely be determined whether the full allocation would be used, while reallocating in time to allow the non-treaty sectors to catch the reallocated fish prior to the onset of VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 winter weather conditions. In some years, the participating tribes may determine prior to September 15 that they will not use a portion of the tribal allocation. Comment 9: Commenters requested clarity on the metric, guidelines, or inseason analysis NMFS will use to determine reapportionment. One commenter requested detailed criteria describing how Chinook salmon bycatch information will be used to guide the whiting reapportionment process. Another commented that this action increases staff workload to accomplish a task that is already being satisfied with existing management measures, and that the proposed rule will require in-season analysis, increasing the workload of NMFS staff. Response: NMFS will not conduct additional inseason analysis as a result of this modification to the regulations. NMFS already continuously tracks information required for considering Chinook bycatch prior to reapportionment as part of managing Chinook bycatch inseason. Therefore, the most up-to-date Chinook bycatch information will be available when NMFS is ready to make the reapportionment decision. This modification does not increase the data requirement or workload, but rather requires NMFS to review readily available information, the total number of total Chinook salmon taken by the Pacific whiting fishery and rates of Chinook salmon bycatch in each sector, prior to making a decision about annual reapportionment. Comment 10: A commenter stated: ‘‘Reapportionment of whiting to nontribal sectors re-distributes fishing effort from a centralized region in the North to widespread locations along the coastline. Consequently, reapportionment could indirectly provide increased food availability for predators that prey on Northern Chinook stocks. The proposed rule does not acknowledge the conservation benefits that reapportionment provides.’’ Response: This action changes neither the existing discretion nor the mechanism NMFS has for the reapportionment. The indirect conservation benefits mentioned in the comment may exist, however they are outside the scope of this action. Comment 11: Several commenters addressed economic benefits to communities from reapportioning fish and stated that the action prevents economic benefits from accruing, threatens small business, and that the IRFA fails to consider how the discretion provided to NMFS could PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 impact small businesses. Commenters calculated the benefit of reapportionments by multiplying exvessel price of Pacific whiting by the amount of historic reapportionments. Response: The RIR–IRFA indicates allocation to both the tribal and nontribal sectors provides benefits, in the form of opportunity, to large and small entities across sectors. In response to comments, NMFS clarifies that the value of this additional opportunity is not equivalent to the ex-vessel price multiplied by the amount of reapportioned fish. The U.S. non-tribal whiting fishery catch exceeded initial allocations in 2012–2014 by utilizing reapportioned fish. In 2012 and 2013, the whiting sectors utilized about 24,000 mt of reapportionments of 30,000 and 45,000 mt, respectively. In 2014, the non-tribal fishery utilized about 5,000 mt of a reapportioned 45,000 mt. At annual average shoreside ex-vessel prices ranging from $263 to $352/mt from 2012–2014, the total ex-vessel value of reapportioned fish was $17 million across the three years. From 2015 to 2018, higher TACs have been correlated with lower attainment, ranging from 58.1–96.5 percent attainment of initial non-tribal allocations. If TACs remain at or near those levels, these lower attainment trends indicate that reapportioned tribal catch is not expected to provide the non-tribal sector additional opportunity over the initial allocations, as cumulatively, 212,714 of initial allocations remained unharvested (53,000 mt per year, on average). While opportunity of reapportioned harvest is generally distributed along fixed allocation percentages in the FMP that are not being reconsidered in the scope of this rule, reapportioned catch has in recent years provided measurable increased revenue to C/P sector, as this sector generally does attain most or all of its initial allocation. All of the permit owners in the C/P sector self-identified in 2019 permit applications as large entities. The proposed rule and corresponding analyses do not include a reconsideration of the allocations either between tribal and non-tribal sectors, or within the non-tribal sector. Comment 12: A commenter stated: ‘‘In the proposed rule, NMFS states that the re-apportionment process prevents adverse economic impacts—‘The reapportioning process allows unharvested tribal allocations of Pacific whiting . . . to be fished by the nontribal fleets, benefitting both large and small entities. NMFS has prepared an IRFA and is requesting comments on this conclusion.’ However, this statement is not supported by any E:\FR\FM\10MYR1.SGM 10MYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 91 / Friday, May 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations information in the proposed rule.’’ Another commenter stated that they disagreed with the claim that ‘‘ ‘NMFS believes this proposed rule would not adversely affect small entities’, as no evidence for it is provided in the [IRFA].’’ Response: NMFS does not claim the reapportionment process prevents adverse economic impacts; rather, the IRFA states ‘‘ . . . in 2018 NMFS reapportioned 40,000 mt of the original 77,251 mt tribal allocation. This reapportionment was based on conversations with the tribes and the best information available at the time, which indicated that this amount would not limit tribal harvest opportunities for the remainder of the year. . . . This reapportioning process allows unharvested tribal allocations of Pacific whiting to be fished by the non-tribal fleets, benefitting both large and small entities.’’ The benefits of the proposed rule considered in the IRFA include the benefits of the tribal allocation to the tribal sector, and of the non-tribal allocation to each of the commercial sectors in the non-tribal sector. In years when the tribal sector does not use its full allocation and there is a reapportionment to the non-tribal sectors, the reapportioned fish offers additional benefits for small and large entities in the non-tribal sectors. In the IRFA, the benefits from the tribal allocation are assumed to accrue to the tribal sector, with the reapportionment flexibility an additional potential benefit to the non-tribal sector, only in years when the tribal sector does not prosecute the entirety of its allocation. In the IRFA, no portion of the benefits from the tribal allocation are assumed to accrue to the non-tribal sector, which would double-count the value of the benefit of this allocation to the tribal sector. khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Classification The Annual Specifications and Management Measures for the 2019 Tribal and non-Tribal Fisheries for Pacific Whiting, and Consideration of Chinook Salmon Bycatch Before Reapportioning Tribal Pacific Whiting, are issued under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and the Whiting Act of 2006. The measures are in accordance with 50 CFR part 660, subparts C through G, the regulations implementing the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP, and NMFS has determined that this rule is consistent with the national standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and (d)(3), the NMFS Assistant Administrator finds good cause to waive prior public notice and delay in effectiveness for this final rule, as delaying this rule would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The annual harvest specifications for Pacific whiting must be implemented by the start of the primary Pacific whiting season, which begins on May 15, 2019, or the primary Pacific whiting fishery will effectively remain closed. Every year, NMFS conducts a Pacific whiting stock assessment with participation from U.S. and Canadian scientists. The 2019 stock assessment for Pacific whiting was prepared in February 2019, and included updated total catch, length and age data from the U.S. and Canadian fisheries from 2018, and biomass indices from the 2018 Joint U.S.-Canadian acoustic/midwater trawl surveys. Because of this late availability of the most recent data for the assessment, and the need for time to conduct the treaty process for determining the TAC using the most recent assessment, it would not be possible to allow for notice and comment before the start of the primary Pacific whiting season on May 15. A delay in implementing the Pacific whiting harvest specifications to allow for notice and comment would be contrary to the public interest because it would require either a shorter primary whiting season or development of a TAC without the most recent data. A shorter season could prevent the tribal and non-tribal fisheries from attaining their 2019 allocations, which would result in unnecessary short-term adverse economic effects for the Pacific whiting fishing vessels and the associated fishing communities. A TAC determined without the most recent data could fail to account for significant fluctuations in the biomass of this relatively short-lived species. To prevent these adverse effects and to allow the Pacific whiting season to commence, it is in the best interest of the public to waive prior notice and comment. In addition, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the NMFS Assistant Administrator finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness of this final rule. Waiving the 30-day delay in effectiveness will not have a negative impact on any entities, as there are no new compliance requirements or other burdens placed on the fishing community with this rule. Failure to make this final rule effective at the start of the fishing year will undermine the intent of the rule, which is to promote PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 20583 the optimal utilization and conservation of Pacific whiting. Making this rule effective immediately would also serve the best interests of the public because it will allow for the longest possible Pacific whiting fishing season and therefore the best possible economic outcome for those whose livelihoods depend on this fishery. Because the 30day delay in effectiveness would potentially cause significant financial harm without providing any corresponding benefits, this final rule is effective upon publication in the Federal Register. The Office of Management and Budget has determined that this final rule is not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. This rule is not an Executive Order 13771 regulatory action because this rule is not significant under Executive Order 12866. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis NMFS published a proposed rule on March 15, 2019 (84 FR 9471), for the allocation of the 2019 tribal Pacific whiting fishery and the requirement to consider Chinook salmon bycatch before reapportioning tribal whiting. An IRFA was prepared and summarized in the Classification section of the preamble to the proposed rule. The comment period on the proposed rule ended on April 1, 2019. NMFS received three comment letters on the proposed rule from organizations representing the nontribal fishery. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA did not file any comments on the IRFA or the proposed rule. The description of this action, its purpose, and its legal basis are described in the preamble to the proposed rule and are not repeated here. A final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) was prepared and incorporates the IRFA and response to the public comments, which are summarized in the ‘Comments and Responses’ section of this final rule. NMFS also prepared a Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) for this action. A copy of the RIR/FRFA is available from NMFS (see Electronic Access). A summary of the FRFA, per the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 604 follows. NMFS considered two alternatives for this action: The ‘‘No-Action’’ and the ‘‘Action.’’ The tribal allocation is based primarily on the requests of the tribes. These requests reflect the level of participation in the fishery that will allow them to exercise their treaty right to fish for Pacific whiting. Under the Action alternative, NMFS sets the tribal allocation percentage at 17.5 percent, as requested by the tribes. This yields a tribal allocation of 77,251 mt for 2019. Consideration of a percentage lower E:\FR\FM\10MYR1.SGM 10MYR1 20584 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 91 / Friday, May 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES than the tribal request of 17.5 percent is not appropriate in this instance. As a matter of policy, NMFS has historically supported the harvest levels requested by the tribes. Based on the information available to NMFS, the tribal request is within their tribal treaty rights. A higher percentage would arguably also be within the scope of the treaty right. However, a higher percentage would unnecessarily limit the non-tribal fishery. NMFS also announces the 2019 U.S. Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 441,433 metric tons of Pacific whiting, establishes a set-aside for research and bycatch of 1,500 mt, and 362,682 mt for the non-tribal fishery for 2019. Under the action alternative, NMFS requires the consideration of the number and bycatch rate by sector of Chinook salmon bycatch before reapportioning tribal whiting, as required by the 2017 ESA Biological Opinion. Consideration of other factors such as timing, location, and genetics of bycatch would not be feasible as an inseason automatic action, which is the mechanism by which these reapportionments occur. Under the no-action alternative, NMFS would not have made allocations, which would not fulfill NMFS’ responsibility to manage the fishery. This alternative was considered, but the regulatory framework provides for a tribal allocation, research and bycatch set-aside, and harvest guideline on an annual basis only. Therefore, the no-action alternative would result in no allocation of Pacific whiting to the tribal sector in 2019, which would be inconsistent with NMFS’ responsibility to manage the fishery consistent with the tribes’ treaty rights. Given that there is a tribal request for allocation and the Council recommended a research and bycatch set-aside in 2019, this alternative received no further consideration. Under the no-action alternative, NMFS would not consider Chinook salmon bycatch, as required by the Biological Opinion. While the consideration of Chinook bycatch may negatively impact both large and small entities in the event of a high bycatch year, there are no alternatives identified that would be consistent with the applicable ESA requirements that would also minimize any significant economic impact of the proposed rule on small entities. RFA-Determination of a Significant Impact This rule is similar to previous rule makings concerning whiting. Against an internationally set TAC, this rule concerns the amount of the US TAC that should be allocated to the tribal fishery, establishes a set-aside for research and bycatch of 1,500 mt, announces Pacific whiting allocations of 77,251 mt to the tribal and 362,683 mt for the non-tribal fishery for 2019, and requires NMFS to consider bycatch of Chinook salmon before reapportioning tribal whiting. The tribal allocation is based primarily on the requests of the tribes. These requests reflect the level of participation in the fishery that will allow them to exercise their treaty right to fish for whiting. Tribes are considered small entities. The reapportioning process allows unharvested tribal allocations of whiting, fished by small entities, to be fished by the non-tribal fleets, benefitting both large and small entities. NMFS has determined this rule will not adversely affect small entities and did not receive any comments in response to the IRFA to alter this conclusion. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements There are no reporting or recordkeeping requirements associated with this final rule. No federal rules have been identified that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this action. Small Entity Compliance Guide Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for which an agency is required to prepare a FRFA, the agency shall publish one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule, and shall designate such publications as ‘‘small entity compliance guides.’’ The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. As part of this and the related 2019–2020 Biennial Specifications and Management Measures for the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery (83 FR 63970) rulemaking process, a small entity compliance guide was sent to stakeholders, and copies of the final rule and guides (i.e., information bulletins) are available from NMFS at the following website: http:// www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ fisheries/management/whiting/pacific_ whiting.html. Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments Pursuant to Executive Order 13175, this final rule was developed after meaningful collaboration with tribal officials from the area covered by the FMP. Consistent with the MagnusonStevens Act at 16 U.S.C. 1852(b)(5), one of the voting members of the Pacific Council is a representative of an Indian tribe with federally recognized fishing rights from the area of the Council’s jurisdiction. In addition, NMFS has coordinated specifically with the tribes interested in the whiting fishery regarding the issues addressed by this final rule. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660 Fisheries, Fishing, Indian Fisheries. Dated: May 7, 2019. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended as follows: PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq. 2. In § 660.50, revise paragraph (f)(4) to read as follows: ■ § 660.50 Pacific Coast treaty Indian fisheries. * * * * * (f) * * * (4) Pacific whiting. The tribal allocation for 2019 is 77,251 mt. * * * * * 3. Tables 1a and 1b to part 660, subpart C, are revised to read as follows: TABLE 1A TO PART 660, SUBPART C—2019, SPECIFICATIONS OF OFL, ABC, ACL, ACT AND FISHERY HG [Weights in metric tons] Stocks/stock complexes Area COWCOD c ....................................... COWCOD ......................................... COWCOD ......................................... YELLOWEYE ROCKFISH d .............. S of 40° 10′ N lat ............................. (Conception) ..................................... (Monterey) ........................................ Coastwide ......................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00044 OFL Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 ACL a/ ABC 74 61 13 82 E:\FR\FM\10MYR1.SGM 67 56 11 74 10MYR1 Fishery HG b/ 10 NA NA 48 8 NA NA 42 20585 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 91 / Friday, May 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 1A TO PART 660, SUBPART C—2019, SPECIFICATIONS OF OFL, ABC, ACL, ACT AND FISHERY HG—Continued [Weights in metric tons] Stocks/stock complexes Area Arrowtooth Flounder e ....................... Big Skate f ......................................... Black Rockfish g ................................ Black Rockfish h ................................ Bocaccio i .......................................... Cabezon j ........................................... California Scorpionfish k .................... Canary Rockfish l .............................. Chilipepper Rockfish m ...................... Darkblotched Rockfish n .................... Dover Sole o ...................................... English Sole p .................................... Lingcod q ........................................... Lingcod r ............................................ Longnose Skate s .............................. Longspine Thornyhead t .................... Longspine Thornyhead u ................... Pacific Cod v ...................................... Pacific Whiting w ................................ Pacific Ocean Perch x ....................... Petrale Sole y .................................... Sablefish z ......................................... Sablefish aa ........................................ Shortbelly Rockfish bb ........................ Shortspine Thornyhead cc ................. Shortspine Thornyhead dd ................. Spiny Dogfish ee ................................ Splitnose Rockfish ff .......................... Starry Flounder gg .............................. Widow Rockfish hh ............................. Yellowtail Rockfish ii .......................... Black Rockfish/Blue Rockfish/Deacon Rockfish jj. Cabezon/Kelp Greenling kk ............... Coastwide ......................................... Coastwide ......................................... California (S of 42° N lat.) ................ Washington (N of 46° 16′ N lat.) ...... S of 40° 10′ N lat ............................. California (S of 42° N lat.) ................ S of 34° 27′ N lat ............................. Coastwide ......................................... S of 40° 10′ N lat. ............................ Coastwide ......................................... Coastwide ......................................... Coastwide ......................................... N of 40° 10′ N lat ............................. S of 40° 10′ N lat ............................. Coastwide ......................................... N of 34°27′ N lat .............................. S of 34° 27′ N lat ............................. Coastwide ......................................... Coastwide ......................................... N of 40° 10′ N lat ............................. Coastwide ......................................... N of 36° N lat ................................... S of 36° N lat ................................... Coastwide ......................................... N of 34° 27′ N lat ............................. S of 34° 27′ N lat ............................. Coastwide ......................................... S of 40° 10′ N lat ............................. Coastwide ......................................... Coastwide ......................................... N of 40° 10′ N lat ............................. Oregon (Between 46° 16′ N lat. and 42° N lat.). Oregon (Between 46° 16′ N lat. and 42° N lat.). Washington (N of 46° 16′ N lat.) ...... N of 40° 10prime; N lat .................... N of 40° 10prime; N lat .................... N of 40° 10prime; N lat .................... S of 40° 10′ N lat ............................. S of 40° 10′ N lat ............................. S of 40° 10′ N lat ............................. Coastwide ......................................... Coastwide ......................................... Cabezon/Kelp Greenling ll ................. Nearshore Rockfish mm ..................... Shelf Rockfish nn ............................... Slope Rockfish oo .............................. Nearshore Rockfish pp ....................... Shelf Rockfish qq ............................... Slope Rockfish rr ................................ Other Flatfish ss ................................. Other Fish tt ....................................... OFL ACL a/ ABC 18,696 541 344 312 2,194 154 337 1,517 2,652 800 91,102 11,052 5,110 1,143 2,499 4,112 15,574 494 329 298 2,097 147 313 1,450 2,536 765 87,094 10,090 4,885 1,093 2,389 3,425 3,200 725,593 4,753 3,042 8,489 ........................ 6,950 3,089 2,221 w/ w/ 4,340 2,908 7,750 ........................ 5,789 2,573 2,486 1,831 652 12,375 6,568 677 2,071 1,750 452 11,831 6,279 617 4,340 2,908 5,606 1,990 500 1,683 890 2,071 1,750 452 11,831 6,279 617 13,479 452 328 280 2,051 147 311 1,383 2,451 731 48,404 9,874 4,593 1,028 1,852 2,553 821 1,094 362,682 4,318 2,587 See Table 1c 1,986 483 1,618 889 1,738 1,733 433 11,583 5,234 616 230 218 218 218 13 91 2,309 1,887 1,300 1,919 856 8,750 286 11 81 2,054 1,746 1,145 1,625 744 6,498 239 11 81 2,054 1,746 1,142 1,625 744 6,498 239 11 79 1,977 1,665 1,138 1,546 724 6,249 230 a Annual 15,574 494 329 298 2,097 147 313 1,450 2,536 765 50,000 10,090 4,871 1,039 2,000 2,603 822 1,600 catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs) and harvest guidelines (HGs) are specified as total catch values. HGs means the HG or quota after subtracting Pacific Coast treaty Indian tribes allocations and projected catch, projected research catch, deductions for fishing mortality in non-groundfish fisheries, and deductions for EFPs from the ACL or ACT. c Cowcod south of 40° 10′ N lat. 2 mt is deducted from the ACL to EFP fishing (less than 0.1 mt) and research activity (2 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 8 mt. Any additional mortality in research activities will be deducted from the ACL. A single ACT of 6 mt is being set for the Conception and Monterey areas combined. d Yelloweye rockfish. The 48 mt ACL is based on the current rebuilding plan with a target year to rebuild of 2029 and an SPR harvest rate of 65 percent. 6.1 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (2.3 mt), the incidental open access fishery (0.62 mt), EFP catch (0.24 mt) and research catch (2.92 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 42 mt. The non-trawl HG is 38.6 mt. The non-nearshore HG is 2.0 mt and the nearshore HG is 6.0 mt. Recreational HGs are: 10 mt (Washington); 8.9 mt (Oregon); and 11.6 mt (California). In addition, there are the following ACTs: Non-nearshore (1.6 mt), nearshore (4.7 mt), Washington recreational (7.8 mt), Oregon recreational (7.0 mt), and California recreational (9.1 mt). e Arrowtooth flounder. 2,094.9 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (2,041 mt), the incidental open access fishery (40.8 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and research catch (13 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 13,479 mt. f Big skate. 41.9 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (15 mt), the incidental open access fishery (21.3 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and research catch (5.5 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 452 mt. g Black rockfish (California). 1.3 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate EFP fishing (1.0 mt) and incidental open access fishery (0.3 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 328 mt. h Black rockfish (Washington). 18.1 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (18 mt) and research catch (0.1 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 280 mt. i Bocaccio south of 40° 10′; N lat. The stock is managed with stock-pecific harvest specifications south of 40° 10′; N lat. and within the Minor Shelf Rockfish complex north of 40° 10′; N lat. 46.1 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (0.5 mt), EFP catch (40 mt) and research catch (5.6 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 2,051 mt. The California recreational fishery south of 40° 10′; N lat has an HG of 863.4 mt. j Cabezon (California). 0.3 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery, resulting in a fishery HG of 147 mt. k California scorpionfish south of 34° 27′ N lat. 2.4 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (2.2 mt) and research catch (0.2 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 311 mt. b Fishery khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES Fishery HG b/ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\10MYR1.SGM 10MYR1 khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES 20586 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 91 / Friday, May 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations l Canary rockfish. 67.1 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (50 mt), the incidental open access fishery (1.3 mt), EFP catch (8 mt), and research catch (7.8 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,383 mt. Recreational HGs are: 47.1 mt (Washington); 70.7 mt (Oregon); and 127.3 mt (California). m Chilipepper rockfish south of 40° 10′; N lat. Chilipepper are managed with stock-specific harvest specifications south of 40° 10′N lat. and within the Minor Shelf Rockfish complex north of 40° 10′ N lat. 84.9 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (11.5 mt), EFP fishing (60 mt), and research catch (13.4 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 2,451 mt. n Darkblotched rockfish. 33.8 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (0.2 mt), the incidental open access fishery (24.5 mt), EFP catch (0.6 mt), and research catch (8.5 mt) resulting in a fishery HG of 731 mt. o Dover sole. 1,595.6 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (1,497 mt), the incidental open access fishery (49.3 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and research catch (49.2 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 48,404 mt. p English sole. 216.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (200 mt), the incidental open access fishery (8.1 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and research catch (8 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 9,874 mt. q Lingcod north of 40° 10′; N lat. 278 mt is deducted from the ACL for the Tribal fishery (250 mt), the incidental open access fishery (9.8 mt), EFP catch (1.6 mt) and research catch (16.6 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 4,593 mt. r Lingcod south of 40° 10′; N lat. 11.3 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (8.1 mt) and research catch (3.2 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,028 mt. s Longnose skate. 148.3 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (130 mt), incidental open access fishery (5.7 mt), EFP catch (0.1 mt), and research catch (12.5 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,852 mt. t Longspine thornyhead north of 34° 27′ N lat. 50.4 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (30 mt), the incidental open access fishery (6.2 mt), and research catch (14.2 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 2,553 mt. u Longspine thornyhead south of 34° 27′ N lat. 1.4 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate research catch, resulting in a fishery HG of 821 mt. v Pacific cod. 506.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (500 mt), research catch (5.5 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and the incidental open access fishery (0.6 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,094 mt. w Pacific whiting. The coastwide stock assessment was published in 2019 and estimated the spawning stock to be at 64 percent of its unfished biomasS The 2019 OFL of 725,593 mt is based on the 2019 assessment with an F40% FMSY proxy. The 2019 coastwide, unadjusted Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 519,834 mt is based on the 2019 stock assessment. The U.S. TAC is 73.88 percent of the coastwide unadjusted TAC. Up to 15 percent of each party’s unadjusted 2018 TAC (57,380 mt for the U.S.) is added to each party’s 2019 unadjusted TAC, resulting in a U.S. adjusted 2019 TAC of 441,433 mt. From the adjusted U.S. TAC, 77,251 mt is deducted to accommodate the Tribal fishery, and 1,500 mt is deducted to accommodate research and bycatch in other fisheries, resulting in a 2019 fishery HG of 362,682 mt. The TAC for Pacific whiting is established under the provisions of the Agreement with Canada on Pacific Hake/Whiting and the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006, 16 U.S.C. 7001– 7010, and the international exception applies. Therefore, no ABC or ACL values are provided for Pacific whiting. x Pacific ocean perch north of 40° 10′; N lat. 22.4 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (9.2 mt), the incidental open access fishery (10 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and research catch (3.1 mt) resulting in a fishery HG of 4,318 mt. y Petrale sole. 320.6 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (290 mt), the incidental open access fishery (6.4 mt), EFP catch (0.1 mt), and research catch (24.1 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 2,587 mt. z Sablefish north of 36° N lat. The 40–10 adjustment is applied to the ABC to derive a coastwide ACL value because the stock is in the precautionary zone. This coastwide ACL value is not specified in regulations. The coastwide ACL value is apportioned north and south of 36° N lat., using the 2003–2014 average estimated swept area biomass from the NMFS NWFSC trawl survey, with 73.8 percent apportioned north of 36° N lat. and 26.2 percent apportioned south of 36° N lat. The northern ACL is 5,606 mt and is reduced by 561 mt for the Tribal allocation (10 percent of the ACL north of 36° N lat.). The 561 mt Tribal allocation is reduced by 1.5 percent to account for discard mortality. Detailed sablefish allocations are shown in Table 1c. aa Sablefish south of 36° N lat. The ACL for the area south of 36° N lat. is 1,990 mt (26.2 percent of the calculated coastwide ACL value). 4.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (1.8 mt) and research catch (2.4 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,986 mt. bb Shortbelly rockfish. 17.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (8.9 mt), EFP catch (0.1 mt), and research catch (8.2 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 483 mt. cc Shortspine thornyhead north of 34° 27′ N lat. 65.3 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (50 mt), the incidental open access fishery (4.7 mt), EFP catch (0.1 mt), and research catch (10.5 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,618 mt for the area north of 34° 27′ N lat. dd Shortspine thornyhead south of 34° 27′ N lat. 1.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (0.5 mt) and research catch (0.7 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 889 mt for the area south of 34° 27′ N lat. ee Spiny dogfish. 333 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (275 mt), the incidental open access fishery (22.6 mt), EFP catch (1.1 mt), and research catch (34.3 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,738 mt. ff Splitnose rockfish south of 40° 10′; N lat. Splitnose rockfish in the north is managed in the Slope Rockfish complex and with stock-specific harvest specifications south of 40°10′ N lat. 16.6 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (5.8 mt), research catch (9.3 mt) and EFP catch (1.5 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,733 mt. gg Starry flounder. 18.8 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (2 mt), EFP catch (0.1 mt), research catch (0.6 mt), and the incidental open access fishery (16.1 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 433 mt. hh Widow rockfish. 248.4 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (200 mt), the incidental open access fishery (3.1 mt), EFP catch (28 mt) and research catch (17.3 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 11,583 mt. ii Yellowtail rockfish north of 40° 10′; N lat. 1,045.1 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (1,000 mt), the incidental open access fishery (4.5 mt), EFP catch (20 mt) and research catch (20.6 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 5,234 mt. jj Black rockfish/Blue rockfish/Deacon rockfish (Oregon). 1.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (0.3 mt) and EFP catch (0.9 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 616 mt. kk Cabezon/kelp greenling (Oregon). 0.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate EFP catch, resulting in a fishery HG of 218 mt. ll Cabezon/kelp greenling (Washington). There are no deductions from the ACL so the fishery HG is equal to the ACL of 11 mt. mm Nearshore Rockfish north of 40° 10′; N lat. 2.8 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (1.5 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), research catch (0.3 mt) and the incidental open access fishery (0.9 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 79 mt. nn Shelf Rockfish north of 40° 10′; N lat. 76.9 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (30 mt), the incidental open access fishery (17.7 mt), EFP catch (4.5 mt), and research catch (24.7 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,977 mt. oo Slope Rockfish north of 40° 10′; N lat. 80.8 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (36 mt), the incidental open access fishery (21.7 mt), EFP catch (1.5 mt), and research catch (21.6 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,665 mt. pp Nearshore Rockfish south of 40° 10′; N lat. 4.1 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (1.4 mt) and research catch (2.7 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,138 mt. qq Shelf Rockfish south of 40° 10′; N lat. 79.1 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (4.6 mt), EFP catch (60 mt), and research catch (14.5 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,546 mt. rr Slope Rockfish south of 40° 10′; N lat. 20.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (16.9 mt), EFP catch (1 mt), and research catch (2.3 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 724 mt. Blackgill rockfish has a stock-specific HG for the entire groundfish fishery south of 40° 10′; N lat. set equal to the speciesprime; contribution to the 40° 10′; adjusted ACL. Harvest of blackgill rockfish in all groundfish fisheries south of 40° 10′; N lat. counts against this HG of 159 mt. ss Other Flatfish. The Other Flatfish complex is comprised of flatfish species managed in the PCGFMP that are not managed with stock-specific OFLs/ABCs/ACLs. Most of the species in the Other Flatfish complex are unassessed and include: Butter sole, curlfin sole, flathead sole, Pacific sanddab, rock sole, sand sole, and rex sole. 249.5 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (60 mt), the incidental open access fishery (161.6 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and research catch (27.8 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 6,249 mt. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\10MYR1.SGM 10MYR1 20587 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 91 / Friday, May 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations tt Other Fish. The Other Fish complex is comprised of kelp greenling off California and leopard shark coastwide. 8.9 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (8.8 mt) and research catch (0.1 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 230 mt. TABLE 1b TO PART 660, SUBPART C—2019, ALLOCATIONS BY SPECIES OR SPECIES GROUP [Weight in metric tons] Stocks/stock complexes Arrowtooth flounder ............. Big skate a ........................... Bocaccio a ........................... Canary rockfish a d ............... Chilipepper .......................... COWCOD a b ....................... Darkblotched rockfish c ....... Dover sole ........................... English sole ......................... Lingcod ................................ Lingcod ................................ Longnose skate a ................ Longspine thornyhead ........ Pacific cod ........................... Pacific whiting g ................... Pacific ocean perch e .......... Petrale sole ......................... Sablefish ............................. Sablefish ............................. Shortspine thornyhead ........ Shortspine thornyhead ........ Splitnose rockfish ................ Starry flounder .................... Widow rockfish f .................. YELLOWEYE ROCKFISH .. Yellowtail rockfish ............... Minor Shelf Rockfish North a Minor Shelf Rockfish South a. Minor Slope Rockfish North Minor Slope Rockfish South Other Flatfish ...................... Trawl Fishery HG or ACT a b Area % Non-trawl Mt Coastwide ........................... Coastwide ........................... S of 40°10′ N lat ................. Coastwide ........................... S of 40°10′ N lat ................. S of 40°10′ N lat ................. Coastwide ........................... Coastwide ........................... Coastwide ........................... N of 40′10° N lat ................ S of 40′10° N lat ................. Coastwide ........................... N of 34°27′ N lat ................ Coastwide ........................... Coastwide ........................... N of 40°10′ N lat ................ Coastwide ........................... N of 36° N lat ..................... S of 36° N lat ..................... N of 34°27′ N lat ................ S of 34°27′ N lat ................. S of 40°10′ N lat ................. Coastwide ........................... Coastwide ........................... Coastwide ........................... N of 40°10′ N lat ................ N of 40°10′ N lat ................ S of 40°10′ N lat ................. 13,479.1 452.1 2,050.9 1,382.9 2,451.1 6.0 731.2 48,404.4 9,873.8 4,593.0 1,027.7 1,851.7 2,552.6 1,093.8 362,682.0 4,317.6 2,587.4 NA 1,985.8 1,617.7 888.8 1,733.4 433.2 11,582.6 41.9 4,951.9 1,977.1 1,545.9 95 95 39 72 75 36 95 95 95 45 45 90 95 95 100 95 95 42 95 NA 95 50 91 8 88 60.2 12.2 N of 40°10′ N lat ................ S of 40°10′ N lat ................. Coastwide ........................... 1,665.2 723.8 6,248.5 81 63 90 % 12,805.1 429.5 800.7 999.6 1,838.3 2.2 694.6 45,984.2 9,380.1 2,066.9 462.5 1,666.5 2,425.0 1,039.1 362,682.0 4,101.7 2,458.0 See Table 1c 834.0 1,536.8 50.0 1,646.7 216.6 10,540.2 3.4 4,357.7 1,190.2 188.6 Mt 5 5 61 28 25 64 5 5 5 55 55 10 5 5 0 5 5 674.0 22.6 1,250.2 383.3 612.8 3.8 36.6 2,420.2 493.7 2,526.2 565.2 185.2 127.6 54.7 0.0 215.9 129.4 58 5 NA 5 50 9 92 12 39.8 87.8 1,151.8 80.9 838.8 86.7 216.6 1,042.4 38.6 594.2 786.9 1,357.3 19 37 10 316.4 267.8 624.9 1,348.8 456.0 5,623.7 a Allocations decided through the biennial specification process. cowcod fishery harvest guideline is further reduced to an ACT of 6.0 mt. with regulations at § 660.55(c), 9 percent (62.5 mt) of the total trawl allocation for darkblotched rockfish is allocated to the Pacific whiting fishery, as follows: 26.3 mt for the Shorebased IFQ Program, 15.0 mt for the MS sector, and 21.3 mt for the C/P sector. The tonnage calculated here for the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery contributes to the total shorebased trawl allocation, which is found at § 660.140(d)(1)(ii)(D). d 46 mt of the total trawl allocation of canary rockfish is allocated to the MS and C/P sectors, as follows: 30 mt for the MS sector, and 16 mt for the C/P sector. e Consistent with regulations at § 660.55(c), 17 percent (697.3 mt) of the total trawl allocation for Pacific ocean perch is allocated to the Pacific whiting fishery, as follows: 292.9 mt for the Shorebased IFQ Program, 167.4 mt for the MS sector, and 237.1 mt for the C/P sector. The tonnage calculated here for the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery contributes to the total shorebased trawl allocation, which is found at § 660.140(d)(1)(ii)(D). f Consistent with regulations at § 660.55(c), 10 percent (1,054 mt) of the total trawl allocation for widow rockfish is allocated to the whiting fisheries, as follows: 442.7 mt for the shorebased IFQ fishery, 253 mt for the mothership fishery, and 358.4 mt for the catcher/processor fishery. The tonnage calculated here for the whiting portion of the shorebased IFQ fishery contributes to the total shorebased trawl allocation, which is found at § 660.140(d)(1)(ii)(D). g Consistent with regulations at § 660.55(i)(2), the commercial harvest guideline for Pacific whiting is allocated as follows: 34 percent (123,312 mt) for the C/P Coop Program; 24 percent (87,044 mt) for the MS Coop Program; and 42 percent (152,326.5 mt) for the Shorebased IFQ Program. No more than 5 percent of the Shorebased IFQ Program allocation (7,616 mt) may be taken and retained south of 42° N lat before the start of the primary Pacific whiting season north of 42° N lat. b The c Consistent 4. In § 660.140, revise paragraph (d)(1)(ii)(D) to read as follows: khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES ■ § 660.140 * Shorebased IFQ Program. * * (d) * * * (1) * * * * * (ii) * * * (D) For the trawl fishery, NMFS will issue QP based on the following shorebased trawl allocations: TABLE 1 TO PARAGRAPH (d)(1)(ii)(D) IFQ species Area Arrowtooth flounder ................................................ Bocaccio ................................................................. Canary rockfish ....................................................... Coastwide ............................................................... South of 40°10′ N lat .............................................. Coastwide ............................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\10MYR1.SGM 2019 Shorebased trawl allocation (mt) 2020 Shorebased trawl allocation (mt) 12,735.1 800.7 953.6 10,052.3 767.1 894.3 10MYR1 20588 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 91 / Friday, May 10, 2019 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 1 TO PARAGRAPH (d)(1)(ii)(D)—Continued IFQ species Area Chilipepper .............................................................. COWCOD ............................................................... Darkblotched rockfish ............................................. Dover sole ............................................................... English sole ............................................................ Lingcod ................................................................... Lingcod ................................................................... Longspine thornyhead ............................................ Minor Shelf Rockfish complex ................................ Minor Shelf Rockfish complex ................................ Minor Slope Rockfish complex ............................... Minor Slope Rockfish complex ............................... Other Flatfish complex ............................................ Pacific cod .............................................................. Pacific ocean perch ................................................ Pacific whiting ......................................................... Petrale sole ............................................................. Sablefish ................................................................. Sablefish ................................................................. Shortspine thornyhead ............................................ Shortspine thornyhead ............................................ Splitnose rockfish .................................................... Starry flounder ........................................................ Widow rockfish ........................................................ YELLOWEYE ROCKFISH ...................................... Yellowtail rockfish ................................................... South of 40°10′ N lat .............................................. South of 40°10′ N lat .............................................. Coastwide ............................................................... Coastwide ............................................................... Coastwide ............................................................... North of 40°10′ N lat .............................................. South of 40°10′ N lat .............................................. North of 34°27′ N lat .............................................. North of 40°10′ N lat .............................................. South of 40°10′ N lat .............................................. North of 40°10′ N lat .............................................. South of 40°10′ N lat .............................................. Coastwide ............................................................... Coastwide ............................................................... North of 40°10′ N lat .............................................. Coastwide ............................................................... Coastwide ............................................................... North of 36° N lat ................................................... South of 36° N lat .................................................. North of 34°27′ N lat .............................................. South of 34°27′ N lat .............................................. South of 40°10′ N lat .............................................. Coastwide ............................................................... Coastwide ............................................................... Coastwide ............................................................... North of 40°10′ N lat .............................................. * * * * 2019 Shorebased trawl allocation (mt) 2020 Shorebased trawl allocation (mt) 1,838.3 2.2 658.4 45,979.2 9,375.1 2,051.9 462.5 2,420.0 1,155.2 188.6 1,248.8 456.0 5,603.7 1,034.1 3,697.3 152,326.5 2,453.0 2,581.3 834.0 1,506.8 50.0 1,646.7 211.6 9,928.8 3.4 4,305.8 1,743.8 2.2 703.4 45,979.2 9,417.9 1,903.4 386.0 2,293.6 1,151.6 188.6 1,237.5 455.4 5,192.4 1,034.1 3,602.2 TBD 2,393.2 2,636.8 851.7 1,493.5 50.0 1,628.7 211.6 9,387.1 3.4 4,048.0 * [FR Doc. 2019–09661 Filed 5–9–19; 8:45 am] khammond on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with RULES BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 09, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\10MYR1.SGM 10MYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 91 (Friday, May 10, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 20578-20588]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-09661]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 181218999-9402-02]
RIN 0648-BI67


Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries off West Coast States; 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Annual Specifications and Management 
Measures for the 2019 Tribal and Non-Tribal Fisheries for Pacific 
Whiting, and Requirement To Consider Chinook Salmon Bycatch Before 
Reapportioning Tribal Whiting

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: NMFS issues this final rule for the 2019 Pacific whiting 
fishery under the authority of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery 
Management Plan, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act, and the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006. This final rule 
announces the 2019 U.S. Total Allowable Catch of 441,433 metric tons 
(mt) of Pacific whiting, establishes a tribal allocation of 77,251 mt, 
establishes a set-aside for research and bycatch of 1,500 mt, and 
announces the allocations of Pacific whiting to the non-tribal fishery 
for 2019. This final rule also amends the provisions regarding 
reapportionment of the treaty tribes' whiting allocation to the non-
treaty sectors to require that NMFS consider the level of Chinook 
salmon bycatch before reapportioning whiting. This rule is necessary to 
manage the Pacific whiting stock to Optimal Yield, ensure that the 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan is implemented in a 
manner consistent with treaty rights of four treaty tribes to fish for 
Pacific whiting in their ``usual and accustomed grounds and stations'' 
in common with non-tribal citizens, and to protect salmon stocks listed 
under the Endangered Species Act. The catch limits in this rule are 
intended to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Pacific whiting 
stock.

DATES: Effective May 10, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Miako Ushio (West Coast Region, NMFS), 
phone: 206-526-4644, and email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Electronic Access

    This final rule is accessible via the internet at the Office of the 
Federal Register website at https://www.federalregister.gov. Background 
information and documents are available at the NMFS West Coast Region 
website at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/management/whiting/pacific_whiting.html and at the Pacific Fishery 
Management Council (Council)'s website at http://www.pcouncil.org/.
    The final environmental impact statement regarding Harvest 
Specifications and Management Measures for 2015-2016 and Biennial 
Periods Thereafter, and the Final Environmental Assessment for Pacific 
Coast Groundfish Fishery 2019-20 Harvest Specifications, Yelloweye 
Rebuilding Plan Revisions, and Management Measures, are available on 
the NMFS West Coast Region website at: 
www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/nepa/groundfish/groundfish_nepa_documents.html.

Background

    This final rule announces the total allowable catch (TAC) for 
Pacific whiting, which was determined under the terms of the Agreement 
with Canada on Pacific Hake/Whiting (Agreement) and the Pacific Whiting 
Act of 2006 (Whiting Act). The Agreement and the Whiting Act establish 
bilateral bodies to implement the terms of the Agreement. The bilateral 
bodies include: The Joint Management Committee (JMC), which recommends 
the annual catch level for Pacific whiting; the Joint Technical 
Committee (JTC), which conducts the Pacific whiting stock assessment; 
the Scientific Review Group (SRG), which reviews the stock assessment; 
and the Advisory Panel (AP), which provides stakeholder input to the 
JMC.
    The Agreement establishes a default harvest policy of F-40 percent, 
which means a fishing mortality rate that would reduce the biomass to 
40 percent of the estimated unfished level. The Agreement also 
allocates 73.88 percent of the TAC to the United States and 26.12 
percent of the TAC to Canada. The JMC is primarily responsible for 
developing a TAC recommendation to the United States and Canada. The 
Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of State, has 
the authority to accept or reject this recommendation.

2019 Pacific Whiting Stock Assessment and Scientific Review

    The JTC completed a stock assessment for Pacific whiting in 
February 2019.

[[Page 20579]]

This assessment is available at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/management/whiting/pacific_whiting_treaty.html. The assessment presents a model that 
depends primarily upon an acoustic survey biomass index and catches of 
the transboundary Pacific whiting stock to estimate the biomass of the 
current stock. The most recent survey, conducted collaboratively 
between the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and NMFS, was 
completed in 2017.
    Pacific whiting spawning stock biomass has been relatively stable 
since 2017. The 2019 spawning biomass is estimated to be 1.3 million 
mt, an estimated 64 percent of unfished levels. The 2010 year class of 
Pacific whiting was very large, and the 2014 and 2016 year classes are 
estimated to be above average. The 2010, 2014, and 2016 year classes 
support the fishery at this time. In terms of relative health of the 
stock, the joint probability that the stock is both below 40 percent of 
unfished level and above the Agreement's F-40 percent default harvest 
rate is estimated to be 10.3 percent. As with past estimates, there is 
a considerable range of uncertainty associated with this estimate, 
because the youngest cohorts that make up a large portion of the survey 
biomass have not been observed for very long.
    The JTC provided tables showing catch alternatives for 2019. Using 
the default F-40 percent harvest rule identified in the Agreement 
[Paragraph 1 of Article III] results in a coastwide TAC for 2019 of 
725,593 mt. The stock assessment indicates that the coastal Pacific 
whiting stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring.

Summary of 2018 Fishery

    Coast-wide fishery Pacific Hake landings averaged 233,645 mt from 
1966 to 2018, with a low of 89,930 mt in 1980 and a peak of 440,942 mt 
in 2017. The coastwide catch in 2018 was the second largest on record 
at 410,443 mt out of a 597,500 mt adjusted coastwide TAC. Attainment in 
the U.S. was 71.4 percent of its quota (down 9 percent from 2017); in 
Canada it was 61.1 percent (up 6 percent from 2017).
    In the U.S., the tribal sector was initially allocated 77,251 mt 
Pacific whiting, of which NMFS reallocated 40,000 mt inseason to non-
tribal sectors on September 24, 2018 (83 FR 61569; November 30, 2018). 
The Makah Tribe was the only participant in the tribal sector, and 
caught approximately 5,700 mt of Pacific whiting in 2018. The U.S. non-
tribal sector's catches compared to their final allocations were: C/P 
Sector: 116,073 of 136,912 mt; Mothership 67,129 of 96,644 mt; and 
Shorebased: 131,829 of 169,127 mt.

TAC Recommendation

    The AP and JMC met March 4-5, 2019, in Vancouver, British Columbia 
in Canada, to develop advice on a 2019 coastwide TAC. The AP provided 
its 2019 TAC recommendation to the JMC on March 5, 2019. The JMC 
reviewed the advice of the JTC, the SRG, and the AP, and agreed on a 
TAC recommendation for transmittal to the United States and Canadian 
Governments.
    The Agreement directs the JMC to base the catch limit 
recommendation on the default harvest rate unless scientific evidence 
demonstrates that a different rate is necessary to sustain the offshore 
Pacific whiting resource. After consideration of the 2019 stock 
assessment and other relevant scientific information, the JMC did not 
use the default harvest rate, and instead agreed on a more conservative 
approach, using the same catch limit as 2017 and 2018. Choosing a TAC 
well below the default level of F-40 percent was supported by a desire 
to minimize mortality of the 2016 year class, the scale of which is 
uncertain. This TAC advice was also based in part on an estimate from 
Canadian and U.S. industry members that the 2019 total coastwide 
harvest will be more similar to the 2017 level, approximately 440,000 
mt, rather than the amount harvested in 2018, 410,000 mt. The JMC did 
not choose an even lower TAC, because of the presence of the strong 
2010 and 2014 year classes. In the unlikely event the 2019 coastwide 
harvest reaches 500,000 mt, the beginning of year relative spawning 
biomass in 2020 is projected to be 61 percent of unfished biomass, 
which is well above target levels. The recommended TAC is projected to 
prevent overfishing and maintain the stock above overfished levels, but 
allows each Party and each fishing sector to maximize their harvesting 
opportunity to the extent of their relative respective capacities and 
interests.
    The recommendation for an unadjusted 2019 U.S. TAC of 384,053 mt, 
plus 57,380 mt carryover of uncaught quota from 2018 results in an 
adjusted U.S. TAC of 441,433 mt for 2019 (73.88 percent of the 
coastwide TAC). This recommendation is consistent with the best 
available scientific information, provisions of the Agreement, and the 
Whiting Act. The recommendation was transmitted via letter to the 
United States and Canadian Governments on March 5, 2019. NMFS, under 
delegation of authority from the Secretary of Commerce, approved the 
adjusted TAC recommendation of 441,433 mt for U.S. fisheries on April 
3, 2019.

Tribal Fishery Allocation

    This final rule establishes the tribal allocation of Pacific 
whiting for 2019. NMFS issued a proposed rule regarding this allocation 
on March 15, 2019 (84 FR 9471). Since 1996, NMFS has been allocating a 
portion of the U.S. TAC of Pacific whiting to the tribal fishery. 
Regulations for the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan 
specify that the tribal allocation is subtracted from the total U.S. 
Pacific whiting TAC. The tribal Pacific whiting fishery is managed 
separately from the non-tribal Pacific whiting fishery, and is not 
governed by limited entry or open access regulations or allocations.
    The proposed rule described the tribal allocation as 17.5 percent 
of the U.S. TAC, and projected a range of potential tribal allocations 
for 2019 based on a range of U.S. TACs over the last 10 years (plus or 
minus 25 percent to capture variability in stock abundance). As 
described in the proposed rule, the resulting range of potential tribal 
allocations was 17,842 to 96,563 mt. Applying the approach described in 
the proposed rule, NMFS is establishing the 2019 tribal allocation of 
77,251 mt (17.5 percent of the U.S. TAC) in this final rule. In 2009, 
NMFS, the states of Washington and Oregon, and the tribes with treaty 
rights to harvest whiting started a process to determine the long-term 
tribal allocation for Pacific whiting; however, no long-term allocation 
has been determined. While new scientific information or discussions 
with the relevant parties may impact that decision, the best available 
scientific information to date suggests that 77,251 mt is within the 
likely range of potential treaty right amounts.
    As with prior tribal Pacific whiting allocations, this final rule 
is not intended to establish precedent for future Pacific whiting 
seasons, or for the determination of the total amount of whiting to 
which the Tribes are entitled under their treaty right. Rather, this 
rule adopts an interim allocation. The long-term tribal treaty amount 
will be based on further development of scientific information and 
additional coordination and discussion with and among the coastal 
tribes and the states of Washington and Oregon.

Harvest Guidelines and Allocations

    In addition to the tribal allocation described in the proposed rule 
published on March 15, 2019 (84 FR

[[Page 20580]]

9471), this final rule establishes the fishery harvest guideline (HG), 
called the non-tribal allocation. NMFS did not include the HG in the 
tribal whiting proposed rule, for reasons related to timing and 
process. The HG had not yet been determined at the time the proposed 
rule was published. A recommendation on the coastwide and U.S. TAC for 
Pacific whiting for 2019, under the terms of the Agreement with Canada 
was approved by NMFS, under delegation of authority from the Secretary 
of Commerce, on April 3, 2019.
    Although this was not part of the proposed rule, the environmental 
assessment for the 2019-2020 harvest specifications rule (see 
Electronic Access) analyzed a range of TAC alternatives for 2019, and 
the final 2019 TAC falls within this analyzed range. In addition, via 
the 2019-2020 harvest specifications rulemaking process, the public had 
an opportunity to comment on the 2019-2020 TACs for whiting, just as 
they did for all species in the groundfish FMP. NMFS follows this 
process because, unlike for all other groundfish species, the TAC for 
whiting is decided in a highly abbreviated annual process from February 
through April of every year, and the normal rulemaking process would 
not allow for the fishery to open with the new TAC on the annual season 
opening date of May 15. The 2019 fishery HG for Pacific whiting is 
362,682 mt. This amount was determined by deducting the 77,251 mt 
tribal allocation and the 1,500 mt allocation for scientific research 
catch and fishing mortality in non-groundfish fisheries from the total 
U.S. TAC of 441,433 mt. The Council recommends the research and bycatch 
set-aside on an annual basis, based on estimates of scientific research 
catch and estimated bycatch mortality in non-groundfish fisheries.
    The regulations further allocate the fishery HG among the three 
non-tribal sectors of the Pacific whiting fishery: The catcher/
processor (C/P) Coop Program, the Mothership (MS) Coop Program, and the 
Shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program. The C/P Coop Program 
is allocated 34 percent (123,312 mt for 2019), the MS Coop Program is 
allocated 24 percent (87,044 mt for 2019), and the Shorebased IFQ 
Program is allocated 42 percent (152,326.5 mt for 2019). The fishery 
south of 42[deg] N lat. may not take more than 7,616 mt (5 percent of 
the Shorebased IFQ Program allocation) prior to May 15, the start of 
the primary Pacific whiting season north of 42[deg] N lat.

                Table 1--2019 Pacific Whiting Allocations
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           2019 Pacific
                                                              whiting
                         Sector                             allocation
                                                               (mt)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tribal..................................................          77,251
Catcher/Processor (C/P) Coop Program....................         123,312
Mothership (MS) Coop Program............................          87,044
Shorebased IFQ Program..................................       152,326.5
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Consideration of Chinook Salmon Bycatch Before Reapportioning Tribal 
Whiting

    On December 11, 2017, NMFS completed an ESA Section 7(a)(2) 
biological opinion on the effects of the Pacific Coast Groundfish 
Fishery Management Plan on listed salmonids. Term and Condition 2c of 
the Biological Opinion states: ``No later than May 15th, 2019, NMFS 
will amend the provisions regarding reapportionment of the treaty 
tribes' whiting allocation to the non-treaty sectors to require that 
NMFS consider the level of Chinook bycatch when determining whether to 
reapportion whiting.''
    This final rule amends the Pacific Coast Groundfish fishery 
regulations to require this consideration, and to identify what factors 
will be considered when determining whether to reapportion whiting. The 
purpose of this action is twofold. Reapportioning whiting that would 
not otherwise be used allows the non-tribal whiting fishery to continue 
fishing, thereby potentially impacting Chinook salmon, which occurs as 
bycatch in that fishery. The first purpose of the action is to issue 
regulatory changes that will minimize impacts to Chinook salmon from 
the whiting fishery. The second purpose is to protect the treaty rights 
of the tribes by preventing a reapportionment of Pacific whiting that 
could cause the entire whiting fishery, both tribal and non-tribal, to 
close via automatic action measures outlined at Sec.  660.60(d)(1)(v), 
thereby limiting the tribal whiting fishery's opportunity to harvest 
their allocation.

Comments and Responses

    On March 15, 2019, NMFS issued a proposed rule for the allocation 
and management of the 2018 tribal Pacific whiting fishery, and 
implementation of regulations requiring consideration of Chinook salmon 
bycatch before reapportioning tribal whiting (84 FR 9471). The comment 
period on the proposed rule closed on April 1, 2019. NMFS received 
three unique comment letters during the comment period on the proposed 
rule: One letter from Heather Mann, Executive Director of Midwater 
Trawlers Cooperative and Brent Paine, Executive Director of United 
Catcher Boats; one letter from Kristen McQuaw, Manager of Shoreside 
Whiting Cooperative; and one from Daniel Waldeck, Executive Director of 
Pacific Whiting Conservation Cooperative (representing American 
Seafoods, Glacier Fish Co. and Trident Seafoods). All three letters 
were from organizations representing participants in the non-tribal 
whiting fishery and contained substantive comments. NMFS addresses the 
summarized comments below. No changes from the proposed rule were made 
based on comments NMFS received.
    Comment 1: A commenter requested NMFS remove the language in the 
proposed rule that requires NMFS consider Chinook salmon take numbers 
and bycatch rates in the Pacific Whiting fishery prior to making a 
reapportionment. The rationale given was that whiting sectors are 
already mindful of Chinook bycatch, harvesters and processors have 
implemented significant voluntary measures in recent years to avoid 
interacting with Chinook. Commenters mentioned that the recently 
completed Biological Opinion and associated measures includes a new 
`hard cap' on Chinook salmon for whiting participants', referring to 
regulations that close the Pacific whiting fishery after a certain 
number of Chinook salmon have been caught.
    Response: NMFS acknowledges the voluntary measures the Pacific 
whiting fishery has implemented in recent years to avoid interacting 
with Chinook salmon, and the continued efforts of the fishery to manage 
bycatch. Low Chinook salmon bycatch resulting from implementation of 
voluntary and mandatory measures will be considered prior to 
reapportionment. NMFS also acknowledges that this is one of several 
complementary measures that have been put into place as the result of 
the Biological Opinion, to minimize the impact of the amount or extent 
of incidental take of ESA-listed Chinook salmon. The terms and 
conditions of the Biological Opinion are, in part, designed to minimize 
Chinook salmon interactions with Pacific whiting fishery. Terms and 
conditions of an ESA biological opinion are non-discretionary, meaning 
NMFS is obligated under ESA to implement this measure.
    The `hard cap' this comment refers to is a provision implemented 
(83 FR 63970; December 12, 2018) to give NMFS automatic authority to 
close

[[Page 20581]]

either or both of the whiting and non-whiting sector fisheries if: (1) 
Either sector catches its guideline limit and the reserve amount; or 
(2) either sector reaches its guideline limit when the other sector has 
already taken the reserve amount. The guideline limit for the whiting 
sector (including tribal and non-tribal vessels in the mothership, 
catcher/processor (C/P), and Shoreside whiting fleets) is 11,000 
Chinook salmon. The guideline limit for the non-whiting sector 
(including tribal and non-tribal vessels in the Shoreside trawl, fixed 
gear, and recreational fleets) is 5,500 Chinook salmon. The reserve 
amount of Chinook is 3,500 fish. The `hard cap' measure ensures that 
certain levels of Chinook salmon bycatch are not exceeded. The measure 
addressed in this final rule has the added purpose of ensuring that 
non-tribal catch of Pacific whiting that was originally allocated to 
the Tribal sector does not cause closure of the entire Pacific whiting 
fishery (tribal and non-tribal sectors), thereby prevent the tribal 
sector's fishery. Therefore, NMFS is retaining this language in the 
regulations implementing this final rule.
    Comment 2: Three commenters stated that reapportionment is 
necessary to meet National Standard 1 and achieve optimum yield (OY).
    Response: The purpose of the tribal allocation is to facilitate the 
tribes exercising their treaty right to harvest fish in their usual and 
accustomed fishing areas in U.S. waters, and NMFS must take the 
necessary steps to ensure that this opportunity is available to those 
tribes. In 1994, the United States formally recognized that the four 
Washington coastal treaty Indian tribes (Makah, Quileute, Hoh, and 
Quinault) have treaty rights to fish for groundfish, including Pacific 
whiting, in the Pacific Ocean, and concluded that, in general terms, 
the quantification of those rights is 50 percent of the harvestable 
surplus of groundfish that pass through the tribes usual and accustomed 
fishing areas. These treaty rights are implemented by the Secretary 
following the procedures outlined in 50 CFR 660.60. The tribal 
allocation is specific to the tribes, who manage and would optimally 
harvest all of their allocation. The Council, through the Council 
process, manages allocations to the non-tribal sectors of the Pacific 
whiting fishery to achieve optimal yield, in accordance with the 
National Standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act.
    Comment 3: Commenters suggested that NMFS provide for re-
apportionment of tribal whiting to specific non-tribal sectors.
    Response: This management suggestion is outside of the scope of the 
measure discussed in the proposed rule but could be achieved through 
the Council process. In this final rule, revisions to the 
reapportionment provisions are limited to implementing the non-
discretionary terms and conditions of the recently completed ESA 
Section 7(a)(2) Biological Opinion. NMFS notes that distributing 
reapportioned tribal whiting to specific non-tribal sectors based on 
concerns about Chinook salmon bycatch is currently possible, and was 
done in 2014 (February 10, 2015; 80 FR 7390), based on recommendation 
by the Council. In that reapportionment action, NMFS distributed 
reapportioned fish to the MS and C/P sectors but not to the Shorebased 
IFQ sector, based on voluntary bycatch reduction measures that were 
taken by the MS and C/P sectors in conjunction with projected higher 
bycatch rates in the Shorebased IFQ sector, and the fact that the 
Shorebased IFQ sector had not yet attained their existing allocation.
    Comment 4: Commenters said the proposed action leads to uncertainty 
in the non-tribal fishery about the timing and amount of 
reapportionment during a given year, which makes it difficult to manage 
factors such as bycatch and vessel maintenance. One commenter expressed 
that ``if NMFS poorly manages the tribal allocation by not using the 
reapportionment process to effectively balance the needs of the tribal 
and non-tribal fisheries it will cause economic harm within the non-
tribal whiting fishery. For example, delaying reapportionment past 
September 15th hinders the ability of the non-tribal sectors to plan 
and schedule fishing operations that are necessary to optimally achieve 
our allocations.''
    Response: With this final rule, NMFS issues allocations to the non-
tribal participants of the Pacific whiting fishery, and allocations to 
the tribal participants of the fishery. These amounts are certain for 
participants in the fishery. It is not the goal of the action, nor 
would it be appropriate, for NMFS to provide certainty that non-tribal 
participants will derive benefit from the tribal allocation.
    NMFS does not anticipate that this rule will change the timing of 
reapportionment, because there is no additional data collection or 
analysis requirement (see response to Comment 9 for a discussion 
regarding this consideration). NMFS will make every effort to ensure 
that consideration of Chinook bycatch does not hinder timely 
reapportionment. Specifically, NMFS continuously tracks information 
required for considering Chinook bycatch prior to reapportionment as 
part of managing Chinook bycatch inseason. This information is 
available in accordance with other components of the ESA Biological 
Opinion. Therefore, the most up-to-date Chinook bycatch information 
will be available when NMFS is ready to make the reapportionment 
decision.
    Revisions to the timing of the reapportionment is beyond the scope 
of the action discussed in the proposed rule. Current regulations, 
however, do provide NMFS with flexibility in the timing of 
reapportionment and allow for reapportionment to occur prior to 
September 15. Based on a review of reapportionment actions in 2012-
2018, it does not appear that the timing of the reapportionment 
impacted operational decisions during that time period. For reference, 
in 2012 the non-tribal sector caught 24,142 mt more than its initial 
allocation, of 28,000 mt reapportioned on October 4. In 2013, after a 
30,000 mt reallocation on September 18 (sixteen days earlier than in 
2012), the non-tribal fishery caught 24,146 mt more than its initial 
allocation. The sixteen-day earlier reapportionment yielded 4 mt more 
catch (valued at $1,210 in real dollars). In 2014, a 25,000 mt initial 
reapportionment on September 12 resulted in only 4,564 mt attained over 
the initial non-tribal allocation. As discussed in greater detail in 
response to Comment 12, from 2015-2018, the non-tribal fishery as a 
whole did not catch its initial allocation, which implies that the 
timing of reallocations did not likely impact operational decisions 
during that period. Timing of reapportionments is further addressed 
below, in response to comment 8.
    Comment 5: Commenters expressed views that the proposed action 
seems punitive to the non-tribal participants in general, and to 
specific sectors with low Chinook salmon bycatch.
    Response: In this final rule, revisions to the reapportionment 
provisions are limited to implementing the non-discretionary terms and 
conditions of the recently completed ESA Section 7(a)(2) Biological 
Opinion. Regulations governing reapportionment give the Secretary 
discretion, but do not impose an obligation, to reapportion Pacific 
whiting from the tribal sector of the Pacific whiting fishery to non-
tribal sectors. While the non-tribal sectors may receive additional 
economic benefits via reapportionments from the tribal allocation, it 
is not punitive to either consider Chinook bycatch before making the 
reapportionment, or keep allocations in their original sectors. See

[[Page 20582]]

the response to Comment 3 for a discussion on distributing 
reapportioned tribal whiting to specific non-tribal sectors.
    Comment 6: Commenters mentioned that the reapportionment is of 
economic benefit to harvesters.
    Response: NMFS agrees that reapportionment is of economic benefit 
to recipients of additional whiting allocation. This is reflected in 
the regulatory Impact Review-Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 
(RIR-IRFA) and Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA).
    Comment 7: One commenter expressed concern that the proposed rule 
made reference to possible impacts to the tribal whiting fishery due to 
Chinook salmon bycatch taken in the non-tribal fishery, but did not 
mention anything about Chinook bycatch impacts to the non-tribal 
fisheries by the tribal fishery.
    Response: The impacts to the tribal fishery referenced are 
specifically associated with the Chinook salmon bycatch that occurs 
when the non-tribal fishery fishes for Pacific whiting originally 
allocated to the tribal fishery. Because there is no mechanism to 
reapportion in the other direction, (from non-tribal sectors to the 
tribal sector) the second scenario mentioned in the comment (tribal 
sector causing impacts while fishing for Pacific whiting originally 
allocated to the non-tribal sectors) cannot happen under current 
regulations.
    Comment 8: A commenter stated: ``Dependent on the interannual 
variability in the stocks, fishing later in the year can, although not 
always, increase the probability of encountering salmon. For this 
reason, the current timeframe for which tribal treaty whiting is 
reallocated is already later in the year than preferred.'' Accordingly, 
the commenter requested that reapportionment occur earlier in the year, 
by August 1st.
    Response: The timing of reapportionment in the whiting fishery is 
outside the scope of action described in the proposed rule, and is 
addressed further in response to comment 4, above. NMFS is responsible 
for consulting with the tribes to ensure that reapportionments, should 
they occur, will not limit tribal harvest opportunities. As explained 
in the RIR-IRFA, the timing of reapportionment in regulations was 
intended to allow for the tribal fishery to proceed to a point where it 
could likely be determined whether the full allocation would be used, 
while reallocating in time to allow the non-treaty sectors to catch the 
reallocated fish prior to the onset of winter weather conditions. In 
some years, the participating tribes may determine prior to September 
15 that they will not use a portion of the tribal allocation.
    Comment 9: Commenters requested clarity on the metric, guidelines, 
or inseason analysis NMFS will use to determine reapportionment. One 
commenter requested detailed criteria describing how Chinook salmon 
bycatch information will be used to guide the whiting reapportionment 
process. Another commented that this action increases staff workload to 
accomplish a task that is already being satisfied with existing 
management measures, and that the proposed rule will require in-season 
analysis, increasing the workload of NMFS staff.
    Response: NMFS will not conduct additional inseason analysis as a 
result of this modification to the regulations. NMFS already 
continuously tracks information required for considering Chinook 
bycatch prior to reapportionment as part of managing Chinook bycatch 
inseason. Therefore, the most up-to-date Chinook bycatch information 
will be available when NMFS is ready to make the reapportionment 
decision. This modification does not increase the data requirement or 
workload, but rather requires NMFS to review readily available 
information, the total number of total Chinook salmon taken by the 
Pacific whiting fishery and rates of Chinook salmon bycatch in each 
sector, prior to making a decision about annual reapportionment.
    Comment 10: A commenter stated: ``Reapportionment of whiting to 
non-tribal sectors re-distributes fishing effort from a centralized 
region in the North to widespread locations along the coastline. 
Consequently, reapportionment could indirectly provide increased food 
availability for predators that prey on Northern Chinook stocks. The 
proposed rule does not acknowledge the conservation benefits that 
reapportionment provides.''
    Response: This action changes neither the existing discretion nor 
the mechanism NMFS has for the reapportionment. The indirect 
conservation benefits mentioned in the comment may exist, however they 
are outside the scope of this action.
    Comment 11: Several commenters addressed economic benefits to 
communities from reapportioning fish and stated that the action 
prevents economic benefits from accruing, threatens small business, and 
that the IRFA fails to consider how the discretion provided to NMFS 
could impact small businesses. Commenters calculated the benefit of 
reapportionments by multiplying ex-vessel price of Pacific whiting by 
the amount of historic reapportionments.
    Response: The RIR-IRFA indicates allocation to both the tribal and 
non-tribal sectors provides benefits, in the form of opportunity, to 
large and small entities across sectors. In response to comments, NMFS 
clarifies that the value of this additional opportunity is not 
equivalent to the ex-vessel price multiplied by the amount of 
reapportioned fish. The U.S. non-tribal whiting fishery catch exceeded 
initial allocations in 2012-2014 by utilizing reapportioned fish. In 
2012 and 2013, the whiting sectors utilized about 24,000 mt of 
reapportionments of 30,000 and 45,000 mt, respectively. In 2014, the 
non-tribal fishery utilized about 5,000 mt of a reapportioned 45,000 
mt. At annual average shoreside ex-vessel prices ranging from $263 to 
$352/mt from 2012-2014, the total ex-vessel value of reapportioned fish 
was $17 million across the three years.
    From 2015 to 2018, higher TACs have been correlated with lower 
attainment, ranging from 58.1-96.5 percent attainment of initial non-
tribal allocations. If TACs remain at or near those levels, these lower 
attainment trends indicate that reapportioned tribal catch is not 
expected to provide the non-tribal sector additional opportunity over 
the initial allocations, as cumulatively, 212,714 of initial 
allocations remained unharvested (53,000 mt per year, on average). 
While opportunity of reapportioned harvest is generally distributed 
along fixed allocation percentages in the FMP that are not being 
reconsidered in the scope of this rule, reapportioned catch has in 
recent years provided measurable increased revenue to C/P sector, as 
this sector generally does attain most or all of its initial 
allocation. All of the permit owners in the C/P sector self-identified 
in 2019 permit applications as large entities. The proposed rule and 
corresponding analyses do not include a reconsideration of the 
allocations either between tribal and non-tribal sectors, or within the 
non-tribal sector.
    Comment 12: A commenter stated: ``In the proposed rule, NMFS states 
that the re-apportionment process prevents adverse economic impacts--
`The reapportioning process allows unharvested tribal allocations of 
Pacific whiting . . . to be fished by the non-tribal fleets, 
benefitting both large and small entities. NMFS has prepared an IRFA 
and is requesting comments on this conclusion.' However, this statement 
is not supported by any

[[Page 20583]]

information in the proposed rule.'' Another commenter stated that they 
disagreed with the claim that `` `NMFS believes this proposed rule 
would not adversely affect small entities', as no evidence for it is 
provided in the [IRFA].''
    Response: NMFS does not claim the reapportionment process prevents 
adverse economic impacts; rather, the IRFA states `` . . . in 2018 NMFS 
reapportioned 40,000 mt of the original 77,251 mt tribal allocation. 
This reapportionment was based on conversations with the tribes and the 
best information available at the time, which indicated that this 
amount would not limit tribal harvest opportunities for the remainder 
of the year. . . . This reapportioning process allows unharvested 
tribal allocations of Pacific whiting to be fished by the non-tribal 
fleets, benefitting both large and small entities.''
    The benefits of the proposed rule considered in the IRFA include 
the benefits of the tribal allocation to the tribal sector, and of the 
non-tribal allocation to each of the commercial sectors in the non-
tribal sector. In years when the tribal sector does not use its full 
allocation and there is a reapportionment to the non-tribal sectors, 
the reapportioned fish offers additional benefits for small and large 
entities in the non-tribal sectors. In the IRFA, the benefits from the 
tribal allocation are assumed to accrue to the tribal sector, with the 
reapportionment flexibility an additional potential benefit to the non-
tribal sector, only in years when the tribal sector does not prosecute 
the entirety of its allocation. In the IRFA, no portion of the benefits 
from the tribal allocation are assumed to accrue to the non-tribal 
sector, which would double-count the value of the benefit of this 
allocation to the tribal sector.

Classification

    The Annual Specifications and Management Measures for the 2019 
Tribal and non-Tribal Fisheries for Pacific Whiting, and Consideration 
of Chinook Salmon Bycatch Before Reapportioning Tribal Pacific Whiting, 
are issued under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and the 
Whiting Act of 2006. The measures are in accordance with 50 CFR part 
660, subparts C through G, the regulations implementing the Pacific 
Coast Groundfish FMP, and NMFS has determined that this rule is 
consistent with the national standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and 
other applicable laws.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and (d)(3), the NMFS Assistant 
Administrator finds good cause to waive prior public notice and delay 
in effectiveness for this final rule, as delaying this rule would be 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The annual harvest 
specifications for Pacific whiting must be implemented by the start of 
the primary Pacific whiting season, which begins on May 15, 2019, or 
the primary Pacific whiting fishery will effectively remain closed.
    Every year, NMFS conducts a Pacific whiting stock assessment with 
participation from U.S. and Canadian scientists. The 2019 stock 
assessment for Pacific whiting was prepared in February 2019, and 
included updated total catch, length and age data from the U.S. and 
Canadian fisheries from 2018, and biomass indices from the 2018 Joint 
U.S.-Canadian acoustic/midwater trawl surveys. Because of this late 
availability of the most recent data for the assessment, and the need 
for time to conduct the treaty process for determining the TAC using 
the most recent assessment, it would not be possible to allow for 
notice and comment before the start of the primary Pacific whiting 
season on May 15.
    A delay in implementing the Pacific whiting harvest specifications 
to allow for notice and comment would be contrary to the public 
interest because it would require either a shorter primary whiting 
season or development of a TAC without the most recent data. A shorter 
season could prevent the tribal and non-tribal fisheries from attaining 
their 2019 allocations, which would result in unnecessary short-term 
adverse economic effects for the Pacific whiting fishing vessels and 
the associated fishing communities. A TAC determined without the most 
recent data could fail to account for significant fluctuations in the 
biomass of this relatively short-lived species. To prevent these 
adverse effects and to allow the Pacific whiting season to commence, it 
is in the best interest of the public to waive prior notice and 
comment.
    In addition, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the NMFS Assistant 
Administrator finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness of this final rule. Waiving the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness will not have a negative impact on any entities, as there 
are no new compliance requirements or other burdens placed on the 
fishing community with this rule. Failure to make this final rule 
effective at the start of the fishing year will undermine the intent of 
the rule, which is to promote the optimal utilization and conservation 
of Pacific whiting. Making this rule effective immediately would also 
serve the best interests of the public because it will allow for the 
longest possible Pacific whiting fishing season and therefore the best 
possible economic outcome for those whose livelihoods depend on this 
fishery. Because the 30-day delay in effectiveness would potentially 
cause significant financial harm without providing any corresponding 
benefits, this final rule is effective upon publication in the Federal 
Register.
    The Office of Management and Budget has determined that this final 
rule is not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. This 
rule is not an Executive Order 13771 regulatory action because this 
rule is not significant under Executive Order 12866.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    NMFS published a proposed rule on March 15, 2019 (84 FR 9471), for 
the allocation of the 2019 tribal Pacific whiting fishery and the 
requirement to consider Chinook salmon bycatch before reapportioning 
tribal whiting. An IRFA was prepared and summarized in the 
Classification section of the preamble to the proposed rule. The 
comment period on the proposed rule ended on April 1, 2019. NMFS 
received three comment letters on the proposed rule from organizations 
representing the non-tribal fishery. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of 
the SBA did not file any comments on the IRFA or the proposed rule. The 
description of this action, its purpose, and its legal basis are 
described in the preamble to the proposed rule and are not repeated 
here. A final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) was prepared and 
incorporates the IRFA and response to the public comments, which are 
summarized in the `Comments and Responses' section of this final rule. 
NMFS also prepared a Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) for this action. A 
copy of the RIR/FRFA is available from NMFS (see Electronic Access). A 
summary of the FRFA, per the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 604 follows.
    NMFS considered two alternatives for this action: The ``No-Action'' 
and the ``Action.'' The tribal allocation is based primarily on the 
requests of the tribes. These requests reflect the level of 
participation in the fishery that will allow them to exercise their 
treaty right to fish for Pacific whiting. Under the Action alternative, 
NMFS sets the tribal allocation percentage at 17.5 percent, as 
requested by the tribes. This yields a tribal allocation of 77,251 mt 
for 2019. Consideration of a percentage lower

[[Page 20584]]

than the tribal request of 17.5 percent is not appropriate in this 
instance. As a matter of policy, NMFS has historically supported the 
harvest levels requested by the tribes. Based on the information 
available to NMFS, the tribal request is within their tribal treaty 
rights. A higher percentage would arguably also be within the scope of 
the treaty right. However, a higher percentage would unnecessarily 
limit the non-tribal fishery. NMFS also announces the 2019 U.S. Total 
Allowable Catch (TAC) of 441,433 metric tons of Pacific whiting, 
establishes a set-aside for research and bycatch of 1,500 mt, and 
362,682 mt for the non-tribal fishery for 2019. Under the action 
alternative, NMFS requires the consideration of the number and bycatch 
rate by sector of Chinook salmon bycatch before reapportioning tribal 
whiting, as required by the 2017 ESA Biological Opinion. Consideration 
of other factors such as timing, location, and genetics of bycatch 
would not be feasible as an inseason automatic action, which is the 
mechanism by which these reapportionments occur.
    Under the no-action alternative, NMFS would not have made 
allocations, which would not fulfill NMFS' responsibility to manage the 
fishery. This alternative was considered, but the regulatory framework 
provides for a tribal allocation, research and bycatch set-aside, and 
harvest guideline on an annual basis only. Therefore, the no-action 
alternative would result in no allocation of Pacific whiting to the 
tribal sector in 2019, which would be inconsistent with NMFS' 
responsibility to manage the fishery consistent with the tribes' treaty 
rights. Given that there is a tribal request for allocation and the 
Council recommended a research and bycatch set-aside in 2019, this 
alternative received no further consideration. Under the no-action 
alternative, NMFS would not consider Chinook salmon bycatch, as 
required by the Biological Opinion. While the consideration of Chinook 
bycatch may negatively impact both large and small entities in the 
event of a high bycatch year, there are no alternatives identified that 
would be consistent with the applicable ESA requirements that would 
also minimize any significant economic impact of the proposed rule on 
small entities.

RFA-Determination of a Significant Impact

    This rule is similar to previous rule makings concerning whiting. 
Against an internationally set TAC, this rule concerns the amount of 
the US TAC that should be allocated to the tribal fishery, establishes 
a set-aside for research and bycatch of 1,500 mt, announces Pacific 
whiting allocations of 77,251 mt to the tribal and 362,683 mt for the 
non-tribal fishery for 2019, and requires NMFS to consider bycatch of 
Chinook salmon before reapportioning tribal whiting. The tribal 
allocation is based primarily on the requests of the tribes. These 
requests reflect the level of participation in the fishery that will 
allow them to exercise their treaty right to fish for whiting. Tribes 
are considered small entities. The reapportioning process allows 
unharvested tribal allocations of whiting, fished by small entities, to 
be fished by the non-tribal fleets, benefitting both large and small 
entities. NMFS has determined this rule will not adversely affect small 
entities and did not receive any comments in response to the IRFA to 
alter this conclusion.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance 
Requirements

    There are no reporting or recordkeeping requirements associated 
with this final rule. No federal rules have been identified that 
duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this action.

Small Entity Compliance Guide

    Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness 
Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for 
which an agency is required to prepare a FRFA, the agency shall publish 
one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule, 
and shall designate such publications as ``small entity compliance 
guides.'' The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is 
required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. As part of 
this and the related 2019-2020 Biennial Specifications and Management 
Measures for the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery (83 FR 63970) 
rulemaking process, a small entity compliance guide was sent to 
stakeholders, and copies of the final rule and guides (i.e., 
information bulletins) are available from NMFS at the following 
website: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/management/whiting/pacific_whiting.html.

Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

    Pursuant to Executive Order 13175, this final rule was developed 
after meaningful collaboration with tribal officials from the area 
covered by the FMP. Consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act at 16 
U.S.C. 1852(b)(5), one of the voting members of the Pacific Council is 
a representative of an Indian tribe with federally recognized fishing 
rights from the area of the Council's jurisdiction. In addition, NMFS 
has coordinated specifically with the tribes interested in the whiting 
fishery regarding the issues addressed by this final rule.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Indian Fisheries.

    Dated: May 7, 2019.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended 
as follows:

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

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

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


0
2. In Sec.  660.50, revise paragraph (f)(4) to read as follows:


Sec.  660.50   Pacific Coast treaty Indian fisheries.

* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (4) Pacific whiting. The tribal allocation for 2019 is 77,251 mt.
* * * * *
    3. Tables 1a and 1b to part 660, subpart C, are revised to read as 
follows:

           Table 1a to Part 660, Subpart C--2019, Specifications of OFL, ABC, ACL, ACT and Fishery HG
                                            [Weights in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                   Fishery HG b/
    Stocks/stock complexes            Area              OFL             ABC           ACL a/
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
COWCOD \c\....................  S of 40[deg] 10'              74              67              10               8
                                 N lat.
COWCOD........................  (Conception)....              61              56              NA              NA
COWCOD........................  (Monterey)......              13              11              NA              NA
YELLOWEYE ROCKFISH \d\........  Coastwide.......              82              74              48              42

[[Page 20585]]

 
Arrowtooth Flounder \e\.......  Coastwide.......          18,696          15,574          15,574          13,479
Big Skate \f\.................  Coastwide.......             541             494             494             452
Black Rockfish \g\............  California (S of             344             329             329             328
                                 42[deg] N lat.).
Black Rockfish \h\............  Washington (N of             312             298             298             280
                                 46[deg] 16' N
                                 lat.).
Bocaccio \i\..................  S of 40[deg] 10'           2,194           2,097           2,097           2,051
                                 N lat.
Cabezon \j\...................  California (S of             154             147             147             147
                                 42[deg] N lat.).
California Scorpionfish \k\...  S of 34[deg] 27'             337             313             313             311
                                 N lat.
Canary Rockfish \l\...........  Coastwide.......           1,517           1,450           1,450           1,383
Chilipepper Rockfish \m\......  S of 40[deg] 10'           2,652           2,536           2,536           2,451
                                 N lat..
Darkblotched Rockfish \n\.....  Coastwide.......             800             765             765             731
Dover Sole \o\................  Coastwide.......          91,102          87,094          50,000          48,404
English Sole \p\..............  Coastwide.......          11,052          10,090          10,090           9,874
Lingcod \q\...................  N of 40[deg] 10'           5,110           4,885           4,871           4,593
                                 N lat.
Lingcod \r\...................  S of 40[deg] 10'           1,143           1,093           1,039           1,028
                                 N lat.
Longnose Skate \s\............  Coastwide.......           2,499           2,389           2,000           1,852
Longspine Thornyhead \t\......  N of 34[deg]27'            4,112           3,425           2,603           2,553
                                 N lat.
Longspine Thornyhead \u\......  S of 34[deg] 27'                                             822             821
                                 N lat.
Pacific Cod \v\...............  Coastwide.......           3,200           2,221           1,600           1,094
Pacific Whiting \w\...........  Coastwide.......         725,593              w/              w/         362,682
Pacific Ocean Perch \x\.......  N of 40[deg] 10'           4,753           4,340           4,340           4,318
                                 N lat.
Petrale Sole \y\..............  Coastwide.......           3,042           2,908           2,908           2,587
Sablefish \z\.................  N of 36[deg] N             8,489           7,750           5,606    See Table 1c
                                 lat.
Sablefish \aa\................  S of 36[deg] N    ..............  ..............           1,990           1,986
                                 lat.
Shortbelly Rockfish \bb\......  Coastwide.......           6,950           5,789             500             483
Shortspine Thornyhead \cc\....  N of 34[deg] 27'           3,089           2,573           1,683           1,618
                                 N lat.
Shortspine Thornyhead \dd\....  S of 34[deg] 27'                                             890             889
                                 N lat.
Spiny Dogfish \ee\............  Coastwide.......           2,486           2,071           2,071           1,738
Splitnose Rockfish \ff\.......  S of 40[deg] 10'           1,831           1,750           1,750           1,733
                                 N lat.
Starry Flounder \gg\..........  Coastwide.......             652             452             452             433
Widow Rockfish \hh\...........  Coastwide.......          12,375          11,831          11,831          11,583
Yellowtail Rockfish \ii\......  N of 40[deg] 10'           6,568           6,279           6,279           5,234
                                 N lat.
Black Rockfish/Blue Rockfish/   Oregon (Between              677             617             617             616
 Deacon Rockfish \jj\.           46[deg] 16' N
                                 lat. and
                                 42[deg] N lat.).
Cabezon/Kelp Greenling \kk\...  Oregon (Between              230             218             218             218
                                 46[deg] 16' N
                                 lat. and
                                 42[deg] N lat.).
Cabezon/Kelp Greenling \ll\...  Washington (N of              13              11              11              11
                                 46[deg] 16' N
                                 lat.).
Nearshore Rockfish \mm\.......  N of 40[deg]                  91              81              81              79
                                 10prime; N lat.
Shelf Rockfish \nn\...........  N of 40[deg]               2,309           2,054           2,054           1,977
                                 10prime; N lat.
Slope Rockfish \oo\...........  N of 40[deg]               1,887           1,746           1,746           1,665
                                 10prime; N lat.
Nearshore Rockfish \pp\.......  S of 40[deg] 10'           1,300           1,145           1,142           1,138
                                 N lat.
Shelf Rockfish \qq\...........  S of 40[deg] 10'           1,919           1,625           1,625           1,546
                                 N lat.
Slope Rockfish \rr\...........  S of 40[deg] 10'             856             744             744             724
                                 N lat.
Other Flatfish \ss\...........  Coastwide.......           8,750           6,498           6,498           6,249
Other Fish \tt\...............  Coastwide.......             286             239             239             230
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\ Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs) and harvest guidelines (HGs) are specified as total
  catch values.
\b\ Fishery HGs means the HG or quota after subtracting Pacific Coast treaty Indian tribes allocations and
  projected catch, projected research catch, deductions for fishing mortality in non-groundfish fisheries, and
  deductions for EFPs from the ACL or ACT.
\c\ Cowcod south of 40[deg] 10' N lat. 2 mt is deducted from the ACL to EFP fishing (less than 0.1 mt) and
  research activity (2 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 8 mt. Any additional mortality in research activities
  will be deducted from the ACL. A single ACT of 6 mt is being set for the Conception and Monterey areas
  combined.
\d\ Yelloweye rockfish. The 48 mt ACL is based on the current rebuilding plan with a target year to rebuild of
  2029 and an SPR harvest rate of 65 percent. 6.1 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery
  (2.3 mt), the incidental open access fishery (0.62 mt), EFP catch (0.24 mt) and research catch (2.92 mt),
  resulting in a fishery HG of 42 mt. The non-trawl HG is 38.6 mt. The non-nearshore HG is 2.0 mt and the
  nearshore HG is 6.0 mt. Recreational HGs are: 10 mt (Washington); 8.9 mt (Oregon); and 11.6 mt (California).
  In addition, there are the following ACTs: Non-nearshore (1.6 mt), nearshore (4.7 mt), Washington recreational
  (7.8 mt), Oregon recreational (7.0 mt), and California recreational (9.1 mt).
\e\ Arrowtooth flounder. 2,094.9 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (2,041 mt), the
  incidental open access fishery (40.8 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and research catch (13 mt), resulting in a
  fishery HG of 13,479 mt.
\f\ Big skate. 41.9 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (15 mt), the incidental open
  access fishery (21.3 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and research catch (5.5 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 452
  mt.
\g\ Black rockfish (California). 1.3 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate EFP fishing (1.0 mt) and
  incidental open access fishery (0.3 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 328 mt.
\h\ Black rockfish (Washington). 18.1 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (18 mt) and
  research catch (0.1 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 280 mt.
\i\ Bocaccio south of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. The stock is managed with stock-pecific harvest specifications south
  of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. and within the Minor Shelf Rockfish complex north of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. 46.1 mt is
  deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (0.5 mt), EFP catch (40 mt) and
  research catch (5.6 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 2,051 mt. The California recreational fishery south of
  40[deg] 10'; N lat has an HG of 863.4 mt.
\j\ Cabezon (California). 0.3 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery,
  resulting in a fishery HG of 147 mt.
\k\ California scorpionfish south of 34[deg] 27' N lat. 2.4 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the
  incidental open access fishery (2.2 mt) and research catch (0.2 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 311 mt.

[[Page 20586]]

 
\l\ Canary rockfish. 67.1 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (50 mt), the incidental
  open access fishery (1.3 mt), EFP catch (8 mt), and research catch (7.8 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of
  1,383 mt. Recreational HGs are: 47.1 mt (Washington); 70.7 mt (Oregon); and 127.3 mt (California).
\m\ Chilipepper rockfish south of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. Chilipepper are managed with stock-specific harvest
  specifications south of 40[deg] 10'N lat. and within the Minor Shelf Rockfish complex north of 40[deg] 10' N
  lat. 84.9 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (11.5 mt), EFP fishing
  (60 mt), and research catch (13.4 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 2,451 mt.
\n\ Darkblotched rockfish. 33.8 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (0.2 mt), the
  incidental open access fishery (24.5 mt), EFP catch (0.6 mt), and research catch (8.5 mt) resulting in a
  fishery HG of 731 mt.
\o\ Dover sole. 1,595.6 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (1,497 mt), the incidental
  open access fishery (49.3 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and research catch (49.2 mt), resulting in a fishery HG
  of 48,404 mt.
\p\ English sole. 216.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (200 mt), the incidental
  open access fishery (8.1 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and research catch (8 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of
  9,874 mt.
\q\ Lingcod north of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. 278 mt is deducted from the ACL for the Tribal fishery (250 mt), the
  incidental open access fishery (9.8 mt), EFP catch (1.6 mt) and research catch (16.6 mt), resulting in a
  fishery HG of 4,593 mt.
\r\ Lingcod south of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. 11.3 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open
  access fishery (8.1 mt) and research catch (3.2 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,028 mt.
\s\ Longnose skate. 148.3 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (130 mt), incidental
  open access fishery (5.7 mt), EFP catch (0.1 mt), and research catch (12.5 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of
  1,852 mt.
\t\ Longspine thornyhead north of 34[deg] 27' N lat. 50.4 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal
  fishery (30 mt), the incidental open access fishery (6.2 mt), and research catch (14.2 mt), resulting in a
  fishery HG of 2,553 mt.
\u\ Longspine thornyhead south of 34[deg] 27' N lat. 1.4 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate research
  catch, resulting in a fishery HG of 821 mt.
\v\ Pacific cod. 506.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (500 mt), research catch
  (5.5 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and the incidental open access fishery (0.6 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of
  1,094 mt.
\w\ Pacific whiting. The coastwide stock assessment was published in 2019 and estimated the spawning stock to be
  at 64 percent of its unfished biomasS The 2019 OFL of 725,593 mt is based on the 2019 assessment with an F40%
  FMSY proxy. The 2019 coastwide, unadjusted Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 519,834 mt is based on the 2019
  stock assessment. The U.S. TAC is 73.88 percent of the coastwide unadjusted TAC. Up to 15 percent of each
  party's unadjusted 2018 TAC (57,380 mt for the U.S.) is added to each party's 2019 unadjusted TAC, resulting
  in a U.S. adjusted 2019 TAC of 441,433 mt. From the adjusted U.S. TAC, 77,251 mt is deducted to accommodate
  the Tribal fishery, and 1,500 mt is deducted to accommodate research and bycatch in other fisheries, resulting
  in a 2019 fishery HG of 362,682 mt. The TAC for Pacific whiting is established under the provisions of the
  Agreement with Canada on Pacific Hake/Whiting and the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006, 16 U.S.C. 7001-7010, and
  the international exception applies. Therefore, no ABC or ACL values are provided for Pacific whiting.
\x\ Pacific ocean perch north of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. 22.4 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal
  fishery (9.2 mt), the incidental open access fishery (10 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and research catch (3.1
  mt) resulting in a fishery HG of 4,318 mt.
\y\ Petrale sole. 320.6 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (290 mt), the incidental
  open access fishery (6.4 mt), EFP catch (0.1 mt), and research catch (24.1 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of
  2,587 mt.
\z\ Sablefish north of 36[deg] N lat. The 40-10 adjustment is applied to the ABC to derive a coastwide ACL value
  because the stock is in the precautionary zone. This coastwide ACL value is not specified in regulations. The
  coastwide ACL value is apportioned north and south of 36[deg] N lat., using the 2003-2014 average estimated
  swept area biomass from the NMFS NWFSC trawl survey, with 73.8 percent apportioned north of 36[deg] N lat. and
  26.2 percent apportioned south of 36[deg] N lat. The northern ACL is 5,606 mt and is reduced by 561 mt for the
  Tribal allocation (10 percent of the ACL north of 36[deg] N lat.). The 561 mt Tribal allocation is reduced by
  1.5 percent to account for discard mortality. Detailed sablefish allocations are shown in Table 1c.
\aa\ Sablefish south of 36[deg] N lat. The ACL for the area south of 36[deg] N lat. is 1,990 mt (26.2 percent of
  the calculated coastwide ACL value). 4.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access
  fishery (1.8 mt) and research catch (2.4 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,986 mt.
\bb\ Shortbelly rockfish. 17.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery
  (8.9 mt), EFP catch (0.1 mt), and research catch (8.2 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 483 mt.
\cc\ Shortspine thornyhead north of 34[deg] 27' N lat. 65.3 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the
  Tribal fishery (50 mt), the incidental open access fishery (4.7 mt), EFP catch (0.1 mt), and research catch
  (10.5 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,618 mt for the area north of 34[deg] 27' N lat.
\dd\ Shortspine thornyhead south of 34[deg] 27' N lat. 1.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the
  incidental open access fishery (0.5 mt) and research catch (0.7 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 889 mt for
  the area south of 34[deg] 27' N lat.
\ee\ Spiny dogfish. 333 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (275 mt), the incidental
  open access fishery (22.6 mt), EFP catch (1.1 mt), and research catch (34.3 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of
  1,738 mt.
\ff\ Splitnose rockfish south of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. Splitnose rockfish in the north is managed in the Slope
  Rockfish complex and with stock-specific harvest specifications south of 40[deg]10' N lat. 16.6 mt is deducted
  from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (5.8 mt), research catch (9.3 mt) and EFP catch
  (1.5 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,733 mt.
\gg\ Starry flounder. 18.8 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (2 mt), EFP catch (0.1
  mt), research catch (0.6 mt), and the incidental open access fishery (16.1 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of
  433 mt.
\hh\ Widow rockfish. 248.4 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (200 mt), the
  incidental open access fishery (3.1 mt), EFP catch (28 mt) and research catch (17.3 mt), resulting in a
  fishery HG of 11,583 mt.
\ii\ Yellowtail rockfish north of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. 1,045.1 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the
  Tribal fishery (1,000 mt), the incidental open access fishery (4.5 mt), EFP catch (20 mt) and research catch
  (20.6 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 5,234 mt.
\jj\ Black rockfish/Blue rockfish/Deacon rockfish (Oregon). 1.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the
  incidental open access fishery (0.3 mt) and EFP catch (0.9 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 616 mt.
\kk\ Cabezon/kelp greenling (Oregon). 0.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate EFP catch, resulting in a
  fishery HG of 218 mt.
\ll\ Cabezon/kelp greenling (Washington). There are no deductions from the ACL so the fishery HG is equal to the
  ACL of 11 mt.
\mm\ Nearshore Rockfish north of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. 2.8 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal
  fishery (1.5 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), research catch (0.3 mt) and the incidental open access fishery (0.9
  mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 79 mt.
\nn\ Shelf Rockfish north of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. 76.9 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal
  fishery (30 mt), the incidental open access fishery (17.7 mt), EFP catch (4.5 mt), and research catch (24.7
  mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,977 mt.
\oo\ Slope Rockfish north of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. 80.8 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal
  fishery (36 mt), the incidental open access fishery (21.7 mt), EFP catch (1.5 mt), and research catch (21.6
  mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,665 mt.
\pp\ Nearshore Rockfish south of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. 4.1 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the
  incidental open access fishery (1.4 mt) and research catch (2.7 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 1,138 mt.
\qq\ Shelf Rockfish south of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. 79.1 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental
  open access fishery (4.6 mt), EFP catch (60 mt), and research catch (14.5 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of
  1,546 mt.
\rr\ Slope Rockfish south of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. 20.2 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental
  open access fishery (16.9 mt), EFP catch (1 mt), and research catch (2.3 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 724
  mt. Blackgill rockfish has a stock-specific HG for the entire groundfish fishery south of 40[deg] 10'; N lat.
  set equal to the speciesprime; contribution to the 40[deg] 10'; adjusted ACL. Harvest of blackgill rockfish in
  all groundfish fisheries south of 40[deg] 10'; N lat. counts against this HG of 159 mt.
\ss\ Other Flatfish. The Other Flatfish complex is comprised of flatfish species managed in the PCGFMP that are
  not managed with stock-specific OFLs/ABCs/ACLs. Most of the species in the Other Flatfish complex are
  unassessed and include: Butter sole, curlfin sole, flathead sole, Pacific sanddab, rock sole, sand sole, and
  rex sole. 249.5 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the Tribal fishery (60 mt), the incidental open
  access fishery (161.6 mt), EFP fishing (0.1 mt), and research catch (27.8 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of
  6,249 mt.

[[Page 20587]]

 
\tt\ Other Fish. The Other Fish complex is comprised of kelp greenling off California and leopard shark
  coastwide. 8.9 mt is deducted from the ACL to accommodate the incidental open access fishery (8.8 mt) and
  research catch (0.1 mt), resulting in a fishery HG of 230 mt.


                                     Table 1b to Part 660, Subpart C--2019, Allocations by Species or Species Group
                                                                 [Weight in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                       Trawl                         Non-trawl
          Stocks/stock complexes                        Area               Fishery HG or ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              ACT a b            %              Mt               %              Mt
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arrowtooth flounder.......................  Coastwide...................        13,479.1              95        12,805.1               5           674.0
Big skate a...............................  Coastwide...................           452.1              95           429.5               5            22.6
Bocaccio a................................  S of 40[deg]10' N lat.......         2,050.9              39           800.7              61         1,250.2
Canary rockfish a d.......................  Coastwide...................         1,382.9              72           999.6              28           383.3
Chilipepper...............................  S of 40[deg]10' N lat.......         2,451.1              75         1,838.3              25           612.8
COWCOD a b................................  S of 40[deg]10' N lat.......             6.0              36             2.2              64             3.8
Darkblotched rockfish c...................  Coastwide...................           731.2              95           694.6               5            36.6
Dover sole................................  Coastwide...................        48,404.4              95        45,984.2               5         2,420.2
English sole..............................  Coastwide...................         9,873.8              95         9,380.1               5           493.7
Lingcod...................................  N of 40'10[deg] N lat.......         4,593.0              45         2,066.9              55         2,526.2
Lingcod...................................  S of 40'10[deg] N lat.......         1,027.7              45           462.5              55           565.2
Longnose skate a..........................  Coastwide...................         1,851.7              90         1,666.5              10           185.2
Longspine thornyhead......................  N of 34[deg]27' N lat.......         2,552.6              95         2,425.0               5           127.6
Pacific cod...............................  Coastwide...................         1,093.8              95         1,039.1               5            54.7
Pacific whiting g.........................  Coastwide...................       362,682.0             100       362,682.0               0             0.0
Pacific ocean perch e.....................  N of 40[deg]10' N lat.......         4,317.6              95         4,101.7               5           215.9
Petrale sole..............................  Coastwide...................         2,587.4              95         2,458.0               5           129.4
Sablefish.................................  N of 36[deg] N lat..........              NA                           See Table 1c
Sablefish.................................  S of 36[deg] N lat..........         1,985.8              42           834.0              58         1,151.8
Shortspine thornyhead.....................  N of 34[deg]27' N lat.......         1,617.7              95         1,536.8               5            80.9
Shortspine thornyhead.....................  S of 34[deg]27' N lat.......           888.8              NA            50.0              NA           838.8
Splitnose rockfish........................  S of 40[deg]10' N lat.......         1,733.4              95         1,646.7               5            86.7
Starry flounder...........................  Coastwide...................           433.2              50           216.6              50           216.6
Widow rockfish f..........................  Coastwide...................        11,582.6              91        10,540.2               9         1,042.4
YELLOWEYE ROCKFISH........................  Coastwide...................            41.9               8             3.4              92            38.6
Yellowtail rockfish.......................  N of 40[deg]10' N lat.......         4,951.9              88         4,357.7              12           594.2
Minor Shelf Rockfish North a..............  N of 40[deg]10' N lat.......         1,977.1            60.2         1,190.2            39.8           786.9
Minor Shelf Rockfish South a..............  S of 40[deg]10' N lat.......         1,545.9            12.2           188.6            87.8         1,357.3
Minor Slope Rockfish North................  N of 40[deg]10' N lat.......         1,665.2              81         1,348.8              19           316.4
Minor Slope Rockfish South................  S of 40[deg]10' N lat.......           723.8              63           456.0              37           267.8
Other Flatfish............................  Coastwide...................         6,248.5              90         5,623.7              10           624.9
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
a Allocations decided through the biennial specification process.
b The cowcod fishery harvest guideline is further reduced to an ACT of 6.0 mt.
c Consistent with regulations at Sec.   660.55(c), 9 percent (62.5 mt) of the total trawl allocation for darkblotched rockfish is allocated to the
  Pacific whiting fishery, as follows: 26.3 mt for the Shorebased IFQ Program, 15.0 mt for the MS sector, and 21.3 mt for the C/P sector. The tonnage
  calculated here for the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery contributes to the total shorebased trawl allocation, which is found at Sec.
  660.140(d)(1)(ii)(D).
d 46 mt of the total trawl allocation of canary rockfish is allocated to the MS and C/P sectors, as follows: 30 mt for the MS sector, and 16 mt for the
  C/P sector.
e Consistent with regulations at Sec.   660.55(c), 17 percent (697.3 mt) of the total trawl allocation for Pacific ocean perch is allocated to the
  Pacific whiting fishery, as follows: 292.9 mt for the Shorebased IFQ Program, 167.4 mt for the MS sector, and 237.1 mt for the C/P sector. The tonnage
  calculated here for the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery contributes to the total shorebased trawl allocation, which is found at Sec.
  660.140(d)(1)(ii)(D).
f Consistent with regulations at Sec.   660.55(c), 10 percent (1,054 mt) of the total trawl allocation for widow rockfish is allocated to the whiting
  fisheries, as follows: 442.7 mt for the shorebased IFQ fishery, 253 mt for the mothership fishery, and 358.4 mt for the catcher/processor fishery. The
  tonnage calculated here for the whiting portion of the shorebased IFQ fishery contributes to the total shorebased trawl allocation, which is found at
  Sec.   660.140(d)(1)(ii)(D).
g Consistent with regulations at Sec.   [thinsp]660.55(i)(2), the commercial harvest guideline for Pacific whiting is allocated as follows: 34 percent
  (123,312 mt) for the C/P Coop Program; 24 percent (87,044 mt) for the MS Coop Program; and 42 percent (152,326.5 mt) for the Shorebased IFQ Program.
  No more than 5 percent of the Shorebased IFQ Program allocation (7,616 mt) may be taken and retained south of 42[deg] N lat before the start of the
  primary Pacific whiting season north of 42[deg] N lat.


0
 4. In Sec.  660.140, revise paragraph (d)(1)(ii)(D) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  660.140   Shorebased IFQ Program.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (ii) * * *
    (D) For the trawl fishery, NMFS will issue QP based on the 
following shorebased trawl allocations:

                                       Table 1 to Paragraph (d)(1)(ii)(D)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                             2019 Shorebased    2020 Shorebased
                IFQ species                               Area               trawl allocation   trawl allocation
                                                                                   (mt)               (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arrowtooth flounder........................  Coastwide....................           12,735.1           10,052.3
Bocaccio...................................  South of 40[deg]10' N lat....              800.7              767.1
Canary rockfish............................  Coastwide....................              953.6              894.3

[[Page 20588]]

 
Chilipepper................................  South of 40[deg]10' N lat....            1,838.3            1,743.8
COWCOD.....................................  South of 40[deg]10' N lat....                2.2                2.2
Darkblotched rockfish......................  Coastwide....................              658.4              703.4
Dover sole.................................  Coastwide....................           45,979.2           45,979.2
English sole...............................  Coastwide....................            9,375.1            9,417.9
Lingcod....................................  North of 40[deg]10' N lat....            2,051.9            1,903.4
Lingcod....................................  South of 40[deg]10' N lat....              462.5              386.0
Longspine thornyhead.......................  North of 34[deg]27' N lat....            2,420.0            2,293.6
Minor Shelf Rockfish complex...............  North of 40[deg]10' N lat....            1,155.2            1,151.6
Minor Shelf Rockfish complex...............  South of 40[deg]10' N lat....              188.6              188.6
Minor Slope Rockfish complex...............  North of 40[deg]10' N lat....            1,248.8            1,237.5
Minor Slope Rockfish complex...............  South of 40[deg]10' N lat....              456.0              455.4
Other Flatfish complex.....................  Coastwide....................            5,603.7            5,192.4
Pacific cod................................  Coastwide....................            1,034.1            1,034.1
Pacific ocean perch........................  North of 40[deg]10' N lat....            3,697.3            3,602.2
Pacific whiting............................  Coastwide....................          152,326.5                TBD
Petrale sole...............................  Coastwide....................            2,453.0            2,393.2
Sablefish..................................  North of 36[deg] N lat.......            2,581.3            2,636.8
Sablefish..................................  South of 36[deg] N lat.......              834.0              851.7
Shortspine thornyhead......................  North of 34[deg]27' N lat....            1,506.8            1,493.5
Shortspine thornyhead......................  South of 34[deg]27' N lat....               50.0               50.0
Splitnose rockfish.........................  South of 40[deg]10' N lat....            1,646.7            1,628.7
Starry flounder............................  Coastwide....................              211.6              211.6
Widow rockfish.............................  Coastwide....................            9,928.8            9,387.1
YELLOWEYE ROCKFISH.........................  Coastwide....................                3.4                3.4
Yellowtail rockfish........................  North of 40[deg]10' N lat....            4,305.8            4,048.0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2019-09661 Filed 5-9-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P