Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2019-2020 Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments, 35210-35221 [2020-12503]

Download as PDF 35210 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 111 / Tuesday, June 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of Atlantic herring from Area 3 from that trip. A vessel may transit through Area 3 with more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of Atlantic herring on board, provided all herring was caught outside of Area 3 and all fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined by § 648.2. Effective 00:01 hr local time, June 6, 2020, through 24:00 hr local time, December 31, 2020, federally permitted dealers may not purchase, possess, receive, sell, barter, trade or transfer more than 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of Atlantic herring per trip or calendar day from Area 3 from a vessel issued and holding a valid Federal herring permit, unless it is from a trip landed by a vessel that entered port before 00:01 hr local time, June 6, 2020. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Classification This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. NMFS finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment because it would be contrary to the public interest and impracticable. NMFS also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delayed effectiveness in accordance with 5 U.S.C 553(d)(3). NMFS is required by Federal regulation to implement a 2,000-lb (907.2-kg) Atlantic herring possession limit for Management Area 3 through the calendar year when 92 percent of the area quota is projected to be harvested. The 2020 Atlantic herring fishing year began on January 1, 2020. Data indicating the Atlantic herring fleet will have landed at least 92 percent of the 2020 sub-ACL allocated to Management Area 3 only recently became available. High-volume catch and landings in this fishery increase total catch relative to the sub-ACL quickly, especially in this fishing year where annual catch limits are unusually low. If implementation of this closure is delayed to solicit prior public comment, the sub-ACL for Management Area 3 for this fishing year will likely be exceeded; thereby, undermining the conservation objectives of the FMP. If sub-ACLs are exceeded, the excess must also be deducted from a future sub-ACL and would reduce future fishing opportunities. In addition, the public had prior notice and full opportunity to comment on this process when these provisions were put in place. The public expects these actions to occur in a timely way consistent with the fishery management plan’s objectives. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:41 Jun 08, 2020 Jkt 250001 Dated: June 4, 2020. He´le`ne M.N. Scalliet, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–12468 Filed 6–4–20; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 180625576–8999–02] RIN 0648–BJ81 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2019–2020 Biennial Specifications and Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; inseason adjustments to biennial groundfish management measures. AGENCY: This final rule announces routine inseason adjustments to management measures in commercial groundfish fisheries. This action is intended to allow commercial fishing vessels to access more abundant groundfish stocks, while protecting overfished and depleted stocks. DATES: Effective June 9, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gretchen Hanshew, phone: 206–526– 6147 or email: gretchen.hanshew@ noaa.gov. SUMMARY: Electronic Access This 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 Pacific Fishery Management Council’s website at http:// www.pcouncil.org/. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (PCGFMP) and its implementing regulations at 50 CFR part 660, subparts C through G, regulate fishing for over 90 species of groundfish off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) develops groundfish harvest specifications and management PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 measures for two-year periods (i.e., a biennium). NMFS published the final rule to implement harvest specifications and management measures for the 2019–2020 biennium for most species managed under the PCGFMP on December 12, 2018 (83 FR 63970). In general, the management measures set at the start of the biennial harvest specifications cycle help the various sectors of the fishery attain, but not exceed, the catch limits for each stock. The Council, in coordination with Pacific Coast Treaty Indian Tribes and the States of Washington, Oregon, and California, recommends adjustments to the management measures during the fishing year to achieve this goal. At its April 4–10, 2020 meeting, the Council recommended increased trip limits for limited entry fixed gear (LEFG) and open access (OA) fisheries for sablefish, lingcod, canary rockfish, yellowtail rockfish, nearshore rockfish, shelf rockfish, slope rockfish and flatfish. Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries are managed using harvest specifications or limits (e.g., overfishing limits [OFL], acceptable biological catch [ABC], annual catch limits [ACL] and harvest guidelines [HG]) recommended biennially by the Council and based on the best scientific information available at that time (50 CFR 660.60(b)). During development of the harvest specifications, the Council also recommends mitigation measures (e.g., trip limits, area closures, and bag limits) that are meant to mitigate catch so as not to exceed the harvest specifications. The harvest specifications and mitigation measures developed for the 2019–2020 biennium used data through the 2017 fishing year. Each of the adjustments to mitigation measures discussed below are based on updated fisheries information that was unavailable when the analysis for the current harvest specifications was completed. As new fisheries data becomes available, adjustments to mitigation measures are projected to help harvesters achieve but not exceed the harvest limits. Measures implemented in this rule took into account fisheries data through the end of March, 2020. The increased trip limits were requested by industry stakeholders and the Groundfish Advisory Subpanel (GAP) to relieve some restrictions for non-trawl commercial fisheries off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California, and to allow increased potential for utilization of available stocks where markets exist. The trip limit increases in this action are intended to expand access to certain fish stocks for the commercial non-trawl E:\FR\FM\09JNR1.SGM 09JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 111 / Tuesday, June 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations fleets during overall market declines and state restrictions that may limit fishing effort, and will help meet the current and rising demand of smaller domestic markets that are providing fresh fish to coastal communities and grocers. These increases to trip limits are intended to provide some relief to coastal fishing communities that have sustained severe disruptions in markets and decreases in tourist income due to state fishery closures. Limited Entry Fixed Gear and Open Access Trip Limits Due to changes in markets and state restrictions, projections of catch through the end of the year were expected to remain low, given lower than expected effort and landings. For example, sablefish landings north of 36° N lat. were expected to reach only 40 to 70 percent of its non-trawl allocation under the existing trip limits through the end of the year, down from a projected 68 to 93 percent attainment through the end of the year, when 2020 trip limits were previously set at the end of 2019 (85 FR 250, January 3, 2020). 35211 The Council recommended, and NMFS is implementing, trips limits that provide economic benefits for fishery participants coastwide, but, primarily provide increased opportunity in California and Oregon, because Washington does not have a nearshore fishery. Trip limit changes north of 40°10′ N lat. for LEFG and OA Pacific groundfish fisheries for periods 3–6 (i.e., May–December) are described in Tables 1 and 3. Trip limit changes south of 40°10′ N lat. for LEFG and OA Pacific groundfish fisheries for periods 3–6 (i.e., May–December) are described in Tables 2 and 4. TABLE 1—TRIP LIMIT INCREASES FOR LEFG PACIFIC GROUNDFISH FISHERIES NORTH OF 40°10′ N LAT. BY SPECIES/ STOCK COMPLEX Species/stock complex Area Trip limits Minor Slope Rockfish & Darkblotched rockfish ................ North of 40°10′ N lat .......... Sablefish ........................................................................... North of 40°10′ N lat .......... Dover sole, arrowtooth flounder, petrale sole, English sole, starry flounder, Other Flatfish. Minor Shelf Rockfish, Shortbelly, & Widow Rockfish ....... North of 40°10′ N lat .......... Yellowtail rockfish ............................................................. North of 40°10′ N lat .......... Canary rockfish ................................................................. North of 40°10′ N lat .......... Minor Nearshore Rockfish, Washington Black rockfish & Oregon Black/blue/deacon rockfish. 42° N lat. to 40°10′ N lat .... Lingcod ............................................................................. North of 42° N lat ............... Old: ‘‘6,000 lb (2,722 kg)/2 month’’. New: ‘‘8,000 lb (3,629 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘1,300 lb (590 kg) week, not to exceed 3,900 lb (1,769 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘1,500 lb (680 kg) week, not to exceed 4,500 lb (2,041 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘5,000 lb (2,268 kg)/month’’. New: ‘‘10,000 lb (4,536 kg)/month’’. Old: ‘‘200 lb (91 kg)/month’’. New: ‘‘800 lb (363 kg)/month’’. Old: ‘‘1,000 lb (454 kg)/month’’. New: ‘‘3,000 lb (1,361 kg)/month’’. Old: ‘‘300 lb (136 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘3,000 lb (1,361 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘7,000 lb (3,175 kg)/2 months, no more than 1,500 lb (680 kg) of which may be species other than black rockfish’’. New: ‘‘7,000 lb (3,175 kg)/2 months, no more than 2,000 lb (907 kg) of which may be species other than black rockfish’’. Old: ‘‘2,600 lb (1,179 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘4,000 lb (1,814 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘1,400 lb (635 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘2,000 lb (907 kg)/2 months’’. North of 40°10′ N lat .......... 42° N lat. to 40°10′ N lat .... jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES TABLE 2—TRIP LIMIT INCREASES FOR LEFG PACIFIC GROUNDFISH FISHERIES SOUTH OF 40°10′N LAT. BY SPECIES/ STOCK COMPLEX AND AREA Species/stock complex Area Trip limits Minor Slope Rockfish & Darkblotched rockfish ................ South of 40°10′ N lat .......... Sablefish ........................................................................... 40°10′ N lat. to 36° N lat .... Dover sole, arrowtooth flounder, petrale sole, English sole, starry flounder, Other Flatfish. Minor Shelf Rockfish, Shortbelly rockfish, Widow Rockfish (including Chilipepper between 40°10 N lat.– 34°27 N lat. South of 40°10′ N lat .......... Old:‘‘40,000 lb (18,144 kg)/2 months, of which no more than 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) may be blackgill rockfish’’. New: ‘‘40,000 lb (18,144 kg)/2 months, of which no more than 5,500 lb (2,495 kg) may be blackgill rockfish’’. Old: ‘‘1,300 lb (590 kg) week, not to exceed 3,900 lb (1,769 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘1,500 lb (680 kg) week, not to exceed 4,500 lb (2,041 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘5,000 lb (2,268 kg)/month’’. New: ‘‘10,000 lb (4,536 kg)/month’’. Old: ‘‘Minor shelf rockfish, shortbelly, widow rockfish, & chilipepper: 2,500 lb (1,134 kg)/2 months, of which no more than 500 lb (227 kg) may be any species other than chilipepper.’’. New: ‘‘8,000 lbs (3,629 kg)/2 months, of which no more than 500 lb (227 kg) may be vermilion’’. Old: ‘‘4,000 lb (1,814 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘5,000 lbs (2,268 kg)/2 months, of which no more than 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) may be vermilion rockfish’’. 40°10′ N lat. to 34°27′ N lat South of 34°27′ N lat .......... VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:41 Jun 08, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\09JNR1.SGM 09JNR1 35212 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 111 / Tuesday, June 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 2—TRIP LIMIT INCREASES FOR LEFG PACIFIC GROUNDFISH FISHERIES SOUTH OF 40°10′N LAT. BY SPECIES/ STOCK COMPLEX AND AREA—Continued Species/stock complex Area Trip limits Chilipepper ........................................................................ South of 34°27′ N lat .......... Canary rockfish ................................................................. 40°10′ N lat. to 34°27′ N lat Old: ‘‘2,000 lb (907 kg)/2 months, this opportunity only available seaward of the non-trawl RCA’’. New: ‘‘4,000 lb (1,814 kg)/2 months, this opportunity only available seaward of the non-trawl RCA’’. Old: ‘‘300 lb (136 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘3,500 lb (1,588 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘300 lb (136 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘3,500 lb (1,588 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘1,200 lb (544 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘2,000 lb (907 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘1,200 lb (544 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘2,000 lb (907 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘1,200 lb (544 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘1,500 lb (680 kg)/2 months’’. South of 34°27′ N lat .......... Minor Nearshore Rockfish, California Black rockfish, & Oregon Black/Blue/Deacon rockfish. Lingcod ............................................................................. South of 40°10′ N lat.; Shallow nearshore. South of 40°10′ N lat.; Deeper nearshore. South of 40°10′ N lat .......... TABLE 3—TRIP LIMIT INCREASES FOR OA PACIFIC GROUNDFISH FISHERIES NORTH OF 40°10′ N LAT. BY SPECIES/STOCK COMPLEX AND AREA Species/stock complex Area Trip limits Minor Slope Rockfish & Darkblotched rockfish ................ North 40°10′ N lat .............. Sablefish ........................................................................... North of 40°10′ N lat .......... Dover sole, arrowtooth flounder, petrale sole, English sole, starry flounder, Other Flatfish. North of 40°10′ N lat .......... Minor Shelf Rockfish, Shortbelly, & Widow Rockfish ....... North of 40°10′ N lat .......... Yellowtail rockfish ............................................................. North of 40°10′ N lat .......... Canary rockfish ................................................................. North of 40°10′ N lat .......... Minor Nearshore Rockfish, Washington Black rockfish & Oregon Black/blue/deacon rockfish. 42° N lat. to 40°10′ N lat .... Lingcod ............................................................................. North of 42° N lat ............... Old: ‘‘500 lb (227 kg)/month’’. New: ‘‘1,000 lb (454 kg)/month’’. Old: ‘‘300 lb (136 kg) day; or one landing per week up to 1,200 lb (544 kg), not to exceed 2,400 lb (1089 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘300 lb day (136 kg); or one landing per week up to 1,500 lb (680 kg), not to exceed 3,000 lb (1,361 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘3,000 lb (1,361 kg)/month, no more than 300 lb (136 kg) of which may be species other than Pacific sanddabs’’. New: ‘‘5,000 lb (2,268 kg)/month’’. Old: ‘‘200 lb (91 kg)/month’’. New: ‘‘800 lb (363 kg)/month’’, Old: ‘‘500 lb (227 kg)/month’’. New: ‘‘1,500 lb (680 kg)/month’’. Old: ‘‘300 lb (136 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘1,000 lb (454 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘7,000 lb (3,175 kg)/2 months, no more than 1,500 lb (680 kg) of which may be species other than black rockfish’’. New: ‘‘7,000 lb (3,175 kg)/2 months, no more than 2,000 lb (907 kg) of which may be species other than black rockfish’’. Old: ‘‘1,200 lb (544 kg)/month’’. New: ‘‘2,000 lb (907 kg)/month’’. Old: ‘‘600 lb (272 kg)/month’’. New: ‘‘1,000 lb (454 kg)/month’’. 42° N lat. to 40°10′ N lat .... jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES TABLE 4—TRIP LIMIT INCREASES FOR OA PACIFIC GROUNDFISH FISHERIES SOUTH OF 40°10′ N LAT. BY SPECIES/STOCK COMPLEX AND AREA Species/stock complex Area Trip limits Minor Slope Rockfish & Darkblotched rockfish ................ South of 40°10′ N lat .......... Sablefish ........................................................................... 40°10′ N lat. to 36° N lat .... Dover sole, arrowtooth flounder, petrale sole, English sole, starry flounder, Other Flatfish. South of 40°10′ N lat .......... Old: ‘‘10,000 lb (4,536 kg)/2 months, of which no more than 800 lb (363 kg) may be blackgill rockfish’’. New: ‘‘10,000 lb (4,536 kg)/2 months, of which no more than 1,500 lb (680 kg) may be blackgill rockfish’’. Old: ‘‘300 lb (136 kg) day; or one landing per week up to 1,200 lb (544 kg), not to exceed 2,400 lb (1,089 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘300 lb (136 kg) day; or one landing per week up to 1,500 lb (680 kg), not to exceed 3,000 lb (1,361 kg)/2 months. Old: ‘‘3,000 lb (1,361 kg)/month, no more than 300 lb (136 kg) of which may be species other than Pacific sanddabs’’. New: ‘‘5,000 lb (2,268 kg)/month’’. VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:41 Jun 08, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\09JNR1.SGM 09JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 111 / Tuesday, June 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 35213 TABLE 4—TRIP LIMIT INCREASES FOR OA PACIFIC GROUNDFISH FISHERIES SOUTH OF 40°10′ N LAT. BY SPECIES/STOCK COMPLEX AND AREA—Continued Species/stock complex Area Minor Shelf Rockfish, Shortbelly, Widow rockfish and Chilipepper. Trip limits 40°10′ N lat. to 34°27′ N lat South of 34°27′ N lat .......... Canary rockfish ................................................................. South of 40°10′ N lat .......... Minor Nearshore Rockfish, California Black rockfish, & Oregon Black/Blue/Deacon rockfish. South of 40°10′ N lat.; Shallow nearshore. South of 40°10′ N lat.; Deeper nearshore. South of 40°10′ N lat .......... Lingcod ............................................................................. The changes are expected to increase landings for most species. For example, for lingcod, the current coastwide estimate for LEFG and OA mortality is 212.5 mt. With these trip limit increases, total coastwide LEFG and OA landings of lingcod could increase to between 258 and 289 mt, and ex-vessel revenue could increase by a high of $537,000. The actual increase in Old: ‘‘400 lb (181 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘4,000 lb (1,814 kg)/2 months, of which no more than 400 lb (181 kg) may be vermilion’’. Old: ‘‘1,500 lb (680 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘3,000 lb (1,361 kg)/2 months, of which no more than 1,500 lb (680 kg) may be vermilion rockfish’’. Old: ‘‘300 lb (136 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘1,500 lb (680 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘1,200 lb (544 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘2,000 lb (907 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘1,200 lb (544 kg)/2 months’’. New: ‘‘2,000 lb (907 kg)/2 months’’. Old: ‘‘500 lb (227 kg)/month’’. New: ‘‘700 lb (318 kg)/month’’. landings will vary depending upon new entrants to the OA fishery, full attainment of trip limits, and access to healthy, stable markets. Harvest of these species’ non-trawl allocations are projected to increase between 0.07 percent and 66.7 percent from expected 2020 catch under current regulations and loss of markets, depending on the stock. Harvest is not expected to approach or exceed 2020 catch limits through the end of the year (Table 5). Therefore, the changes in trip limits do not change projected impacts compared to the impacts evaluated in the 2019– 2020 harvest specifications because the harvest specifications assume that the entire ACL is harvested. TABLE 5—PROJECTED CATCHES THROUGH THE END OF 2020 COMPARED TO STOCK-SPECIFIC 2020 ACLS, WHERE APPLICABLE 2020 ACL (mt) Stock Canary rockfish .................................................................................................... Lingcod North of 40°10′ N lat .............................................................................. Lingcod South of 40°10′ N lat ............................................................................. Darkblotched rockfish .......................................................................................... Minor Slope Rockfish North of 40°10′ N lat ........................................................ Nearshore Rockfish South of 40°10′ N lat .......................................................... Sablefish North of 36° N lat ................................................................................. Yellowtail rockfish North of 40°10′ N lat .............................................................. Yelloweye Rockfish 3 ........................................................................................... Cowcod 3 .............................................................................................................. Projected impacts before this inseason action (percent of ACL) 1 1,368 4,541 869 815 1,732 1,163 5,723 5,986 49 10 91.7 60.4 83.3 95.9 84.2 61.1 77–86 92.4 53 70 Projected impacts with this inseason action (percent of ACL) 2 96 61.8 85.4 96.0 84.2 70.0 85–94 92.4 56 90 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES 1 Assumes full harvest of allocations in individual fishing quota (IFQ) fisheries, exempted fisheries, and tribal fisheries. Assumes no changes to trip limits or RCA boundaries from what was scheduled to be in place for 2020, as of December 2019. 2 Assumes full harvest of allocations in IFQ fisheries, exempted fisheries, and tribal fisheries. Assumes trip limit and RCA boundary adjustments recommended by the Council are implemented. 3 These values were considered a range of projections due to uncertainty. This table presents the highest projection from the range of impacts considered by the Council. The projected increase in landings is expected to occur with only minor increases in bycatch of non-target species, including yelloweye rockfish and cowcod. Modifications to the trip limits are projected to increase mortality of yelloweye rockfish, which is the last remaining rebuilding groundfish species, between 0.6–1.8 mt. Projected mortality of yelloweye rockfish due to the increased trip limits remains within the ACL, with less than 60 percent of the ACL projected to be harvested. While there is uncertainty in VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:41 Jun 08, 2020 Jkt 250001 projections, projected impacts to the yelloweye rockfish mortality in the LEFG and OA fisheries could double from what is projected to occur and total impacts, when combined with all other sources, would still be below the ACL. Therefore, the changes in trip limits do not change projected impacts compared to the impacts evaluated in the 2019– 2020 harvest specifications because the harvest specifications assume that the entire ACL is harvested. PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Classification This final rule makes routine inseason adjustments to groundfish fishery management measures, based on the best scientific information available, consistent with the PCGFMP and its implementing regulations. This action is taken under the authority of 50 CFR 660.60(c) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. The aggregate data upon which these actions are based are available for public inspection by contacting Gretchen E:\FR\FM\09JNR1.SGM 09JNR1 35214 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 111 / Tuesday, June 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Hanshew in NMFS West Coast Region (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, above), or view at the NMFS West Coast Groundfish website: http:// www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ fisheries/groundfish/index.html. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b), NMFS finds good cause to waive prior public notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The adjustments to management measures in this document ease restrictive trip limits on groundfish fisheries in Washington, Oregon and California. No aspect of this action is controversial, and changes to trip limits were anticipated in the final rule for the 2019–2020 harvest specifications and management measures which published on December 12, 2018 (83 FR 63970). At its April 2020 meeting, the Council recommended increases to the commercial trip limits be implemented as soon as possible so that the few harvesters that have viable markets can harvest available quotas that would otherwise be unharvested during a lull in fishing effort. Each of the adjustments to commercial management measures in this rule will create more harvest opportunity and allow fishermen to better attain species that are currently under attained without causing any additional impacts to the fishery that were not previously considered. Each of these recommended adjustments also rely on new catch data that were not available and thus not considered during the 2019–2020 biennial harvest specifications process. New catch information through March 2020 shows that harvest of these target species (sablefish, lingcod, canary rockfish, yellowtail rockfish, nearshore rockfish, shelf rockfish, slope rockfish and flatfish) has been much lower than anticipated due to diminished effort due to current market conditions expressed by industry and the Council. Without the actions taken in this final rule, fishermen that have access to markets VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:41 Jun 08, 2020 Jkt 250001 might find it challenging to meet demand, while overall harvest will be much diminished from that projected during the 2019–2020 biennial harvest specifications process. Markets will likely take time to recover from current conditions. As they do, further action can be considered based on updated fishery data to keep harvest of these groundfish species below their respective management points (i.e., HG, ACL, and non-trawl allocation), while providing fishing opportunity to meet market demands, through the end of the year. These coastwide trip limit adjustments are anticipated to help offset economic losses to coastal communities from state fishery closures and stagnant markets. Coastal communities, across all three states, would normally be expecting approximately $68.3 million in economic contributions from recreational fishing between March– May 2020. Recreational fisheries closures or delayed seasons in all three states will severely limit the expected economic contributions that those fisheries provide to coastal communities. In commercial fisheries, effort is down due to market issues, and the changes in this final rule could provide up to an additional $2 million in ex-vessel revenue to harvesters, not including benefits to communities and associated businesses, from what was estimated without this action. Delaying implementation to allow for public comment would likely reduce the economic benefits to the commercial fishing industry and the businesses that rely on that industry because it is unlikely the new regulations would be published and could be implemented before the end of the calendar year. Therefore, providing a comment period for this action could significantly limit the economic benefits to the fishery, and would hamper the achievement of optimum yield from the affected fisheries. PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Therefore, the NMFS finds reason to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1) so that this final rule may become effective upon publication in the Federal Register. The adjustments to management measures in this document affect commercial fisheries by increasing opportunity and relieving participants of the more restrictive trip limits. These adjustments were requested by the Council’s advisory bodies, as well as members of industry during the Council’s April 2020 meetings, and recommended unanimously by the Council. No aspect of this action is controversial, and changes of this nature were anticipated in the biennial harvest specifications and management measures established through a notice and comment rulemaking for 2019–2020 (83 FR 63970; December 12, 2018). List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660 Fisheries, Fishing, and Indian fisheries. Dated: June 4, 2020. He´le`ne M.N. Scalliet, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended as follows: PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq. 2. Table 2 (North) to part 660, subpart E, is revised to read as follows: ■ Table 2 (North) to Part 660, Subpart 3— Non-Trawl Rockfish Conservation Areas and Trip Limits for Limited Entry Fixed Fear North of 40≥10′ N Lat. BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\09JNR1.SGM 09JNR1 VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:41 Jun 08, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\09JNR1.SGM 09JNR1 35215 ER09JN20.004</GPH> jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 111 / Tuesday, June 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 111 / Tuesday, June 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 3. Table 2 (South) to part 660, subpart E, is revised to read as follows: jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES ■ VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:41 Jun 08, 2020 Jkt 250001 Table 2 (South) to Part 660, Subpart E— Non-Trawl Rockfish Conservation Areas and Trip Limits for Limited Entry Fixed Gear South of 40≥10′ N Lat. PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\09JNR1.SGM 09JNR1 ER09JN20.005</GPH> 35216 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 111 / Tuesday, June 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:41 Jun 08, 2020 Jkt 250001 Table 3 (North) to Part 660, Subpart F— Non-Trawl Rockfish Conservation Areas and Trip Limits for Open Access Gears North of 40≥10′ N Lat. PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\09JNR1.SGM 09JNR1 ER09JN20.006</GPH> 4. Table 3 (North) to part 660, subpart F, is revised to read as follows: ■ 35217 VerDate Sep<11>2014 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 111 / Tuesday, June 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 22:41 Jun 08, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\09JNR1.SGM 09JNR1 ER09JN20.007</GPH> jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES 35218 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 111 / Tuesday, June 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:41 Jun 08, 2020 Jkt 250001 Table 3 (South) to Part 660, Subpart F— Non-Trawl Rockfish Conservation Areas and Trip Limits for Open Access Gears South of 40≥10′ N Lat. PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\09JNR1.SGM 09JNR1 ER09JN20.008</GPH> 5. Table 3 (South) to part 660, subpart F, is revised to read as follows: ■ 35219 VerDate Sep<11>2014 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 111 / Tuesday, June 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 22:41 Jun 08, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\09JNR1.SGM 09JNR1 ER09JN20.009</GPH> jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES 35220 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 111 / Tuesday, June 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 35221 [FR Doc. 2020–12503 Filed 6–8–20; 8:45 am] VerDate Sep<11>2014 22:41 Jun 08, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\09JNR1.SGM 09JNR1 ER09JN20.010</GPH> jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES BILLING CODE 3510–22–C

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 111 (Tuesday, June 9, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 35210-35221]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-12503]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 180625576-8999-02]
RIN 0648-BJ81


Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; 
Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2019-2020 Biennial Specifications and 
Management Measures; Inseason Adjustments

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

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

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

SUMMARY: This final rule announces routine inseason adjustments to 
management measures in commercial groundfish fisheries. This action is 
intended to allow commercial fishing vessels to access more abundant 
groundfish stocks, while protecting overfished and depleted stocks.

DATES: Effective June 9, 2020.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gretchen Hanshew, phone: 206-526-6147 
or email: [email protected].

Electronic Access

    This 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 Pacific Fishery 
Management Council's website at http://www.pcouncil.org/.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (PCGFMP) and 
its implementing regulations at 50 CFR part 660, subparts C through G, 
regulate fishing for over 90 species of groundfish off the coasts of 
Washington, Oregon, and California. The Pacific Fishery Management 
Council (Council) develops groundfish harvest specifications and 
management measures for two-year periods (i.e., a biennium). NMFS 
published the final rule to implement harvest specifications and 
management measures for the 2019-2020 biennium for most species managed 
under the PCGFMP on December 12, 2018 (83 FR 63970). In general, the 
management measures set at the start of the biennial harvest 
specifications cycle help the various sectors of the fishery attain, 
but not exceed, the catch limits for each stock. The Council, in 
coordination with Pacific Coast Treaty Indian Tribes and the States of 
Washington, Oregon, and California, recommends adjustments to the 
management measures during the fishing year to achieve this goal. At 
its April 4-10, 2020 meeting, the Council recommended increased trip 
limits for limited entry fixed gear (LEFG) and open access (OA) 
fisheries for sablefish, lingcod, canary rockfish, yellowtail rockfish, 
nearshore rockfish, shelf rockfish, slope rockfish and flatfish.
    Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries are managed using harvest 
specifications or limits (e.g., overfishing limits [OFL], acceptable 
biological catch [ABC], annual catch limits [ACL] and harvest 
guidelines [HG]) recommended biennially by the Council and based on the 
best scientific information available at that time (50 CFR 660.60(b)). 
During development of the harvest specifications, the Council also 
recommends mitigation measures (e.g., trip limits, area closures, and 
bag limits) that are meant to mitigate catch so as not to exceed the 
harvest specifications. The harvest specifications and mitigation 
measures developed for the 2019-2020 biennium used data through the 
2017 fishing year. Each of the adjustments to mitigation measures 
discussed below are based on updated fisheries information that was 
unavailable when the analysis for the current harvest specifications 
was completed. As new fisheries data becomes available, adjustments to 
mitigation measures are projected to help harvesters achieve but not 
exceed the harvest limits. Measures implemented in this rule took into 
account fisheries data through the end of March, 2020.
    The increased trip limits were requested by industry stakeholders 
and the Groundfish Advisory Subpanel (GAP) to relieve some restrictions 
for non-trawl commercial fisheries off the coasts of Washington, 
Oregon, and California, and to allow increased potential for 
utilization of available stocks where markets exist. The trip limit 
increases in this action are intended to expand access to certain fish 
stocks for the commercial non-trawl

[[Page 35211]]

fleets during overall market declines and state restrictions that may 
limit fishing effort, and will help meet the current and rising demand 
of smaller domestic markets that are providing fresh fish to coastal 
communities and grocers. These increases to trip limits are intended to 
provide some relief to coastal fishing communities that have sustained 
severe disruptions in markets and decreases in tourist income due to 
state fishery closures.

Limited Entry Fixed Gear and Open Access Trip Limits

    Due to changes in markets and state restrictions, projections of 
catch through the end of the year were expected to remain low, given 
lower than expected effort and landings. For example, sablefish 
landings north of 36[deg] N lat. were expected to reach only 40 to 70 
percent of its non-trawl allocation under the existing trip limits 
through the end of the year, down from a projected 68 to 93 percent 
attainment through the end of the year, when 2020 trip limits were 
previously set at the end of 2019 (85 FR 250, January 3, 2020).
    The Council recommended, and NMFS is implementing, trips limits 
that provide economic benefits for fishery participants coastwide, but, 
primarily provide increased opportunity in California and Oregon, 
because Washington does not have a nearshore fishery. Trip limit 
changes north of 40[deg]10' N lat. for LEFG and OA Pacific groundfish 
fisheries for periods 3-6 (i.e., May-December) are described in Tables 
1 and 3. Trip limit changes south of 40[deg]10' N lat. for LEFG and OA 
Pacific groundfish fisheries for periods 3-6 (i.e., May-December) are 
described in Tables 2 and 4.

   Table 1--Trip Limit Increases for LEFG Pacific Groundfish Fisheries
           North of 40[deg]10' N Lat. by Species/Stock Complex
------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Species/stock complex             Area             Trip limits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minor Slope Rockfish &          North of           Old: ``6,000 lb
 Darkblotched rockfish.          40[deg]10' N lat.  (2,722 kg)/2
                                                    month''.
                                                   New: ``8,000 lb
                                                    (3,629 kg)/2
                                                    months''.
Sablefish.....................  North of           Old: ``1,300 lb (590
                                 40[deg]10' N lat.  kg) week, not to
                                                    exceed 3,900 lb
                                                    (1,769 kg)/2
                                                    months''.
                                                   New: ``1,500 lb (680
                                                    kg) week, not to
                                                    exceed 4,500 lb
                                                    (2,041 kg)/2
                                                    months''.
Dover sole, arrowtooth          North of           Old: ``5,000 lb
 flounder, petrale sole,         40[deg]10' N lat.  (2,268 kg)/month''.
 English sole, starry                              New: ``10,000 lb
 flounder, Other Flatfish.                          (4,536 kg)/month''.
Minor Shelf Rockfish,           North of           Old: ``200 lb (91 kg)/
 Shortbelly, & Widow Rockfish.   40[deg]10' N lat.  month''.
                                                   New: ``800 lb (363
                                                    kg)/month''.
Yellowtail rockfish...........  North of           Old: ``1,000 lb (454
                                 40[deg]10' N lat.  kg)/month''.
                                                   New: ``3,000 lb
                                                    (1,361 kg)/month''.
Canary rockfish...............  North of           Old: ``300 lb (136
                                 40[deg]10' N lat.  kg)/2 months''.
                                                   New: ``3,000 lb
                                                    (1,361 kg)/2
                                                    months''.
Minor Nearshore Rockfish,       42[deg] N lat. to  Old: ``7,000 lb
 Washington Black rockfish &     40[deg]10' N lat.  (3,175 kg)/2 months,
 Oregon Black/blue/deacon                           no more than 1,500
 rockfish.                                          lb (680 kg) of which
                                                    may be species other
                                                    than black
                                                    rockfish''.
                                                   New: ``7,000 lb
                                                    (3,175 kg)/2 months,
                                                    no more than 2,000
                                                    lb (907 kg) of which
                                                    may be species other
                                                    than black
                                                    rockfish''.
Lingcod.......................  North of 42[deg]   Old: ``2,600 lb
                                 N lat.             (1,179 kg)/2
                                                    months''.
                                                   New: ``4,000 lb
                                                    (1,814 kg)/2
                                                    months''.
                                42[deg] N lat. to  Old: ``1,400 lb (635
                                 40[deg]10' N lat.  kg)/2 months''.
                                                   New: ``2,000 lb (907
                                                    kg)/2 months''.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


   Table 2--Trip Limit Increases for LEFG Pacific Groundfish Fisheries
       South of 40[deg]10'N Lat. by Species/Stock Complex and Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Species/stock complex             Area             Trip limits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minor Slope Rockfish &          South of           Old:``40,000 lb
 Darkblotched rockfish.          40[deg]10' N lat.  (18,144 kg)/2
                                                    months, of which no
                                                    more than 4,000 lb
                                                    (1,814 kg) may be
                                                    blackgill
                                                    rockfish''.
                                                   New: ``40,000 lb
                                                    (18,144 kg)/2
                                                    months, of which no
                                                    more than 5,500 lb
                                                    (2,495 kg) may be
                                                    blackgill
                                                    rockfish''.
Sablefish.....................  40[deg]10' N lat.  Old: ``1,300 lb (590
                                 to 36[deg] N lat.  kg) week, not to
                                                    exceed 3,900 lb
                                                    (1,769 kg)/2
                                                    months''.
                                                   New: ``1,500 lb (680
                                                    kg) week, not to
                                                    exceed 4,500 lb
                                                    (2,041 kg)/2
                                                    months''.
Dover sole, arrowtooth          South of           Old: ``5,000 lb
 flounder, petrale sole,         40[deg]10' N lat.  (2,268 kg)/month''.
 English sole, starry                              New: ``10,000 lb
 flounder, Other Flatfish.                          (4,536 kg)/month''.
Minor Shelf Rockfish,           40[deg]10' N lat.  Old: ``Minor shelf
 Shortbelly rockfish, Widow      to 34[deg]27' N    rockfish,
 Rockfish (including             lat.               shortbelly, widow
 Chilipepper between 40[deg]10                      rockfish, &
 N lat.-34[deg]27 N lat.                            chilipepper: 2,500
                                                    lb (1,134 kg)/2
                                                    months, of which no
                                                    more than 500 lb
                                                    (227 kg) may be any
                                                    species other than
                                                    chilipepper.''.
                                                   New: ``8,000 lbs
                                                    (3,629 kg)/2 months,
                                                    of which no more
                                                    than 500 lb (227 kg)
                                                    may be vermilion''.
                                South of           Old: ``4,000 lb
                                 34[deg]27' N lat.  (1,814 kg)/2
                                                    months''.
                                                   New: ``5,000 lbs
                                                    (2,268 kg)/2 months,
                                                    of which no more
                                                    than 4,000 lb (1,814
                                                    kg) may be vermilion
                                                    rockfish''.

[[Page 35212]]

 
Chilipepper...................  South of           Old: ``2,000 lb (907
                                 34[deg]27' N lat.  kg)/2 months, this
                                                    opportunity only
                                                    available seaward of
                                                    the non-trawl RCA''.
                                                   New: ``4,000 lb
                                                    (1,814 kg)/2 months,
                                                    this opportunity
                                                    only available
                                                    seaward of the non-
                                                    trawl RCA''.
Canary rockfish...............  40[deg]10' N lat.  Old: ``300 lb (136
                                 to 34[deg]27' N    kg)/2 months''.
                                 lat.              New: ``3,500 lb
                                                    (1,588 kg)/2
                                                    months''.
                                South of           Old: ``300 lb (136
                                 34[deg]27' N lat.  kg)/2 months''.
                                                   New: ``3,500 lb
                                                    (1,588 kg)/2
                                                    months''.
Minor Nearshore Rockfish,       South of           Old: ``1,200 lb (544
 California Black rockfish, &    40[deg]10' N       kg)/2 months''.
 Oregon Black/Blue/Deacon        lat.; Shallow     New: ``2,000 lb (907
 rockfish.                       nearshore.         kg)/2 months''.
                                South of           Old: ``1,200 lb (544
                                 40[deg]10' N       kg)/2 months''.
                                 lat.; Deeper      New: ``2,000 lb (907
                                 nearshore.         kg)/2 months''.
Lingcod.......................  South of           Old: ``1,200 lb (544
                                 40[deg]10' N lat.  kg)/2 months''.
                                                   New: ``1,500 lb (680
                                                    kg)/2 months''.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


 Table 3--Trip Limit Increases for OA Pacific Groundfish Fisheries North
         of 40[deg]10' N Lat. by Species/Stock Complex and Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Species/stock complex             Area             Trip limits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minor Slope Rockfish &          North 40[deg]10'   Old: ``500 lb (227
 Darkblotched rockfish.          N lat.             kg)/month''.
                                                   New: ``1,000 lb (454
                                                    kg)/month''.
Sablefish.....................  North of           Old: ``300 lb (136
                                 40[deg]10' N lat.  kg) day; or one
                                                    landing per week up
                                                    to 1,200 lb (544
                                                    kg), not to exceed
                                                    2,400 lb (1089 kg)/2
                                                    months''.
                                                   New: ``300 lb day
                                                    (136 kg); or one
                                                    landing per week up
                                                    to 1,500 lb (680
                                                    kg), not to exceed
                                                    3,000 lb (1,361 kg)/
                                                    2 months''.
Dover sole, arrowtooth          North of           Old: ``3,000 lb
 flounder, petrale sole,         40[deg]10' N lat.  (1,361 kg)/month, no
 English sole, starry                               more than 300 lb
 flounder, Other Flatfish.                          (136 kg) of which
                                                    may be species other
                                                    than Pacific
                                                    sanddabs''.
                                                   New: ``5,000 lb
                                                    (2,268 kg)/month''.
Minor Shelf Rockfish,           North of           Old: ``200 lb (91 kg)/
 Shortbelly, & Widow Rockfish.   40[deg]10' N lat.  month''.
                                                   New: ``800 lb (363
                                                    kg)/month'',
Yellowtail rockfish...........  North of           Old: ``500 lb (227
                                 40[deg]10' N lat.  kg)/month''.
                                                   New: ``1,500 lb (680
                                                    kg)/month''.
Canary rockfish...............  North of           Old: ``300 lb (136
                                 40[deg]10' N lat.  kg)/2 months''.
                                                   New: ``1,000 lb (454
                                                    kg)/2 months''.
Minor Nearshore Rockfish,       42[deg] N lat. to  Old: ``7,000 lb
 Washington Black rockfish &     40[deg]10' N lat.  (3,175 kg)/2 months,
 Oregon Black/blue/deacon                           no more than 1,500
 rockfish.                                          lb (680 kg) of which
                                                    may be species other
                                                    than black
                                                    rockfish''.
                                                   New: ``7,000 lb
                                                    (3,175 kg)/2 months,
                                                    no more than 2,000
                                                    lb (907 kg) of which
                                                    may be species other
                                                    than black
                                                    rockfish''.
Lingcod.......................  North of 42[deg]   Old: ``1,200 lb (544
                                 N lat.             kg)/month''.
                                                   New: ``2,000 lb (907
                                                    kg)/month''.
                                42[deg] N lat. to  Old: ``600 lb (272
                                 40[deg]10' N lat.  kg)/month''.
                                                   New: ``1,000 lb (454
                                                    kg)/month''.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


 Table 4--Trip Limit Increases for OA Pacific Groundfish Fisheries South
         of 40[deg]10' N Lat. by Species/Stock Complex and Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Species/stock complex             Area             Trip limits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Minor Slope Rockfish &          South of           Old: ``10,000 lb
 Darkblotched rockfish.          40[deg]10' N lat.  (4,536 kg)/2 months,
                                                    of which no more
                                                    than 800 lb (363 kg)
                                                    may be blackgill
                                                    rockfish''.
                                                   New: ``10,000 lb
                                                    (4,536 kg)/2 months,
                                                    of which no more
                                                    than 1,500 lb (680
                                                    kg) may be blackgill
                                                    rockfish''.
Sablefish.....................  40[deg]10' N lat.  Old: ``300 lb (136
                                 to 36[deg] N lat.  kg) day; or one
                                                    landing per week up
                                                    to 1,200 lb (544
                                                    kg), not to exceed
                                                    2,400 lb (1,089 kg)/
                                                    2 months''.
                                                   New: ``300 lb (136
                                                    kg) day; or one
                                                    landing per week up
                                                    to 1,500 lb (680
                                                    kg), not to exceed
                                                    3,000 lb (1,361 kg)/
                                                    2 months.
Dover sole, arrowtooth          South of           Old: ``3,000 lb
 flounder, petrale sole,         40[deg]10' N lat.  (1,361 kg)/month, no
 English sole, starry                               more than 300 lb
 flounder, Other Flatfish.                          (136 kg) of which
                                                    may be species other
                                                    than Pacific
                                                    sanddabs''.
                                                   New: ``5,000 lb
                                                    (2,268 kg)/month''.

[[Page 35213]]

 
Minor Shelf Rockfish,           40[deg]10' N lat.  Old: ``400 lb (181
 Shortbelly, Widow rockfish      to 34[deg]27' N    kg)/2 months''.
 and Chilipepper.                lat.              New: ``4,000 lb
                                                    (1,814 kg)/2 months,
                                                    of which no more
                                                    than 400 lb (181 kg)
                                                    may be vermilion''.
                                South of           Old: ``1,500 lb (680
                                 34[deg]27' N lat.  kg)/2 months''.
                                                   New: ``3,000 lb
                                                    (1,361 kg)/2 months,
                                                    of which no more
                                                    than 1,500 lb (680
                                                    kg) may be vermilion
                                                    rockfish''.
Canary rockfish...............  South of           Old: ``300 lb (136
                                 40[deg]10' N lat.  kg)/2 months''.
                                                   New: ``1,500 lb (680
                                                    kg)/2 months''.
Minor Nearshore Rockfish,       South of           Old: ``1,200 lb (544
 California Black rockfish, &    40[deg]10' N       kg)/2 months''.
 Oregon Black/Blue/Deacon        lat.; Shallow     New: ``2,000 lb (907
 rockfish.                       nearshore.         kg)/2 months''.
                                South of           Old: ``1,200 lb (544
                                 40[deg]10' N       kg)/2 months''.
                                 lat.; Deeper      New: ``2,000 lb (907
                                 nearshore.         kg)/2 months''.
Lingcod.......................  South of           Old: ``500 lb (227
                                 40[deg]10' N lat.  kg)/month''.
                                                   New: ``700 lb (318
                                                    kg)/month''.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The changes are expected to increase landings for most species. For 
example, for lingcod, the current coastwide estimate for LEFG and OA 
mortality is 212.5 mt. With these trip limit increases, total coastwide 
LEFG and OA landings of lingcod could increase to between 258 and 289 
mt, and ex-vessel revenue could increase by a high of $537,000. The 
actual increase in landings will vary depending upon new entrants to 
the OA fishery, full attainment of trip limits, and access to healthy, 
stable markets. Harvest of these species' non-trawl allocations are 
projected to increase between 0.07 percent and 66.7 percent from 
expected 2020 catch under current regulations and loss of markets, 
depending on the stock. Harvest is not expected to approach or exceed 
2020 catch limits through the end of the year (Table 5). Therefore, the 
changes in trip limits do not change projected impacts compared to the 
impacts evaluated in the 2019-2020 harvest specifications because the 
harvest specifications assume that the entire ACL is harvested.

    Table 5--Projected Catches Through the End of 2020 Compared to Stock-Specific 2020 ACLs, Where Applicable
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        Projected impacts     Projected impacts
                                                                      before this inseason   with this inseason
                        Stock                          2020 ACL (mt)   action (percent of    action (percent of
                                                                            ACL) \1\              ACL) \2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Canary rockfish.....................................           1,368                  91.7                    96
Lingcod North of 40[deg]10' N lat...................           4,541                  60.4                  61.8
Lingcod South of 40[deg]10' N lat...................             869                  83.3                  85.4
Darkblotched rockfish...............................             815                  95.9                  96.0
Minor Slope Rockfish North of 40[deg]10' N lat......           1,732                  84.2                  84.2
Nearshore Rockfish South of 40[deg]10' N lat........           1,163                  61.1                  70.0
Sablefish North of 36[deg] N lat....................           5,723                 77-86                 85-94
Yellowtail rockfish North of 40[deg]10' N lat.......           5,986                  92.4                  92.4
Yelloweye Rockfish \3\..............................              49                    53                    56
Cowcod \3\..........................................              10                    70                    90
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Assumes full harvest of allocations in individual fishing quota (IFQ) fisheries, exempted fisheries, and
  tribal fisheries. Assumes no changes to trip limits or RCA boundaries from what was scheduled to be in place
  for 2020, as of December 2019.
\2\ Assumes full harvest of allocations in IFQ fisheries, exempted fisheries, and tribal fisheries. Assumes trip
  limit and RCA boundary adjustments recommended by the Council are implemented.
\3\ These values were considered a range of projections due to uncertainty. This table presents the highest
  projection from the range of impacts considered by the Council.

    The projected increase in landings is expected to occur with only 
minor increases in bycatch of non-target species, including yelloweye 
rockfish and cowcod. Modifications to the trip limits are projected to 
increase mortality of yelloweye rockfish, which is the last remaining 
rebuilding groundfish species, between 0.6-1.8 mt. Projected mortality 
of yelloweye rockfish due to the increased trip limits remains within 
the ACL, with less than 60 percent of the ACL projected to be 
harvested. While there is uncertainty in projections, projected impacts 
to the yelloweye rockfish mortality in the LEFG and OA fisheries could 
double from what is projected to occur and total impacts, when combined 
with all other sources, would still be below the ACL. Therefore, the 
changes in trip limits do not change projected impacts compared to the 
impacts evaluated in the 2019-2020 harvest specifications because the 
harvest specifications assume that the entire ACL is harvested.

Classification

    This final rule makes routine inseason adjustments to groundfish 
fishery management measures, based on the best scientific information 
available, consistent with the PCGFMP and its implementing regulations.
    This action is taken under the authority of 50 CFR 660.60(c) and is 
exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
    The aggregate data upon which these actions are based are available 
for public inspection by contacting Gretchen

[[Page 35214]]

Hanshew in NMFS West Coast Region (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, 
above), or view at the NMFS West Coast Groundfish website: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/groundfish/index.html.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b), NMFS finds good cause to waive prior 
public notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action, as 
notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public 
interest. The adjustments to management measures in this document ease 
restrictive trip limits on groundfish fisheries in Washington, Oregon 
and California. No aspect of this action is controversial, and changes 
to trip limits were anticipated in the final rule for the 2019-2020 
harvest specifications and management measures which published on 
December 12, 2018 (83 FR 63970).
    At its April 2020 meeting, the Council recommended increases to the 
commercial trip limits be implemented as soon as possible so that the 
few harvesters that have viable markets can harvest available quotas 
that would otherwise be unharvested during a lull in fishing effort. 
Each of the adjustments to commercial management measures in this rule 
will create more harvest opportunity and allow fishermen to better 
attain species that are currently under attained without causing any 
additional impacts to the fishery that were not previously considered. 
Each of these recommended adjustments also rely on new catch data that 
were not available and thus not considered during the 2019-2020 
biennial harvest specifications process. New catch information through 
March 2020 shows that harvest of these target species (sablefish, 
lingcod, canary rockfish, yellowtail rockfish, nearshore rockfish, 
shelf rockfish, slope rockfish and flatfish) has been much lower than 
anticipated due to diminished effort due to current market conditions 
expressed by industry and the Council. Without the actions taken in 
this final rule, fishermen that have access to markets might find it 
challenging to meet demand, while overall harvest will be much 
diminished from that projected during the 2019-2020 biennial harvest 
specifications process. Markets will likely take time to recover from 
current conditions. As they do, further action can be considered based 
on updated fishery data to keep harvest of these groundfish species 
below their respective management points (i.e., HG, ACL, and non-trawl 
allocation), while providing fishing opportunity to meet market 
demands, through the end of the year.
    These coastwide trip limit adjustments are anticipated to help 
offset economic losses to coastal communities from state fishery 
closures and stagnant markets. Coastal communities, across all three 
states, would normally be expecting approximately $68.3 million in 
economic contributions from recreational fishing between March-May 
2020. Recreational fisheries closures or delayed seasons in all three 
states will severely limit the expected economic contributions that 
those fisheries provide to coastal communities. In commercial 
fisheries, effort is down due to market issues, and the changes in this 
final rule could provide up to an additional $2 million in ex-vessel 
revenue to harvesters, not including benefits to communities and 
associated businesses, from what was estimated without this action. 
Delaying implementation to allow for public comment would likely reduce 
the economic benefits to the commercial fishing industry and the 
businesses that rely on that industry because it is unlikely the new 
regulations would be published and could be implemented before the end 
of the calendar year. Therefore, providing a comment period for this 
action could significantly limit the economic benefits to the fishery, 
and would hamper the achievement of optimum yield from the affected 
fisheries.
    Therefore, the NMFS finds reason to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1) so that this final rule 
may become effective upon publication in the Federal Register. The 
adjustments to management measures in this document affect commercial 
fisheries by increasing opportunity and relieving participants of the 
more restrictive trip limits. These adjustments were requested by the 
Council's advisory bodies, as well as members of industry during the 
Council's April 2020 meetings, and recommended unanimously by the 
Council. No aspect of this action is controversial, and changes of this 
nature were anticipated in the biennial harvest specifications and 
management measures established through a notice and comment rulemaking 
for 2019-2020 (83 FR 63970; December 12, 2018).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, and Indian fisheries.

    Dated: June 4, 2020.
H[eacute]l[egrave]ne M.N. Scalliet,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

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

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

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

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


0
2. Table 2 (North) to part 660, subpart E, is revised to read as 
follows:

Table 2 (North) to Part 660, Subpart 3--Non-Trawl Rockfish Conservation 
Areas and Trip Limits for Limited Entry Fixed Fear North of 40[deg]10' 
N Lat.

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

Table 2 (South) to Part 660, Subpart E--Non-Trawl Rockfish Conservation 
Areas and Trip Limits for Limited Entry Fixed Gear South of 40[deg]10' 
N Lat.
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0
4. Table 3 (North) to part 660, subpart F, is revised to read as 
follows:

Table 3 (North) to Part 660, Subpart F--Non-Trawl Rockfish Conservation 
Areas and Trip Limits for Open Access Gears North of 40[deg]10' N Lat.

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0
5. Table 3 (South) to part 660, subpart F, is revised to read as 
follows:

Table 3 (South) to Part 660, Subpart F--Non-Trawl Rockfish Conservation 
Areas and Trip Limits for Open Access Gears South of 40[deg]10' N Lat.

[[Page 35220]]

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[FR Doc. 2020-12503 Filed 6-8-20; 8:45 am]
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