Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program; Amendment 111, 45367-45368 [2020-16315]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 145 / Tuesday, July 28, 2020 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 679 and 680 RIN 0648–BJ73 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program; Amendment 111 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability of fishery management plan amendment; request for comments. AGENCY: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) submitted Amendment 111 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP) Management Area (Amendment 111) to the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) for review. If approved, Amendment 111 would remove the expiration date for the Central GOA Rockfish Program (Rockfish Program) and make minor administrative changes to the program. Amendment 111 is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the FMP, and other applicable laws. DATES: Comments must be received no later than September 28, 2020. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2020–0086, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail; D=NOAA-NMFS-2020-0086, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address), khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:17 Jul 27, 2020 Jkt 250001 confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies of Amendment 111 to the FMP, the Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review prepared for this action (the Analysis), and the Finding of No Significant Impact prepared for this action may be obtained from www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie Warpinski, 907–586–7228 or stephanie.warpinski@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Council submitted Amendment 111 to the FMP to the Secretary for review. If approved, Amendment 111 would remove the expiration date for the Rockfish Program and make other administrative changes to the FMP. The regulatory amendment associated with Amendment 111 would reauthorize the Rockfish Program, allow it to continue indefinitely, and implement minor improvements to the administration and management of the program. Amendment 111 is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the FMP, and other applicable laws. The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that each regional fishery management council submit any fishery management plan amendment it prepares to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or partial approval by the Secretary. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving a fishery management plan amendment, immediately publish a document in the Federal Register announcing that the amendment is available for public review and comment. This document announces that proposed Amendment 111 to the FMP is available for public review and comment. The Council prepared, and the Secretary approved, the FMP under the authority of section 302(h)(1) and 303(b) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. The FMP is implemented by Federal regulations governing U.S. fisheries at 50 CFR part 679. The Council is authorized to prepare and recommend an FMP amendment for the conservation and management of a fishery covered under the FMP. The Rockfish Program would continue to provide exclusive harvesting privileges for vessels using trawl gear to harvest a specific set of rockfish species and associated species incidentally harvested to those rockfish in the Central GOA, an area from 147° W. long. PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 45367 to 159° W. long. The granting of exclusive harvesting is commonly called rationalization. The rockfish primary species rationalized under the Rockfish Program are northern rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and dusky rockfish. The incidentally harvested groundfish taken in the primary rockfish fisheries and which also are rationalized under the Rockfish Program are called the secondary species. The secondary species include Pacific cod, rougheye rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and sablefish. In addition to these secondary species, the Rockfish Program allocates a portion of the halibut bycatch mortality limit annually specified for the GOA trawl fisheries to Rockfish Program participants. This allocation of bycatch mortality could be used by Rockfish Program participants during harvest activities in the fisheries rationalized under the Rockfish Program. The reauthorized Rockfish Program would continue to assign quota share (QS) and cooperative quota (CQ) to participants for primary and secondary species, allow a participant holding an License Limitation Program (LLP) license with rockfish QS to form a rockfish cooperative with other persons, and allow holders of catcher/processor LLP licenses to opt-out of the fishery. The entry level fishery would continue for harvesters who are not eligible for the Rockfish Program and who would be directed fishing for rockfish primary species using longline gear only. Additionally, the reauthorized Rockfish Program continues to establish sideboard limits, as well as monitoring and enforcement provisions. If approved, the current Rockfish Program would be reauthorized without a sunset date, similar to other North Pacific catch share programs. The Rockfish Program would be reviewed by the Council five years after the implementation and every five to seven years thereafter to determine if the program is functioning as intended consistent with the provisions of section 303A(i) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Proposed Amendment 111 to the FMP would revise regulation associated with some administrative provisions of the Rockfish Program that were previously implemented in 2011 (76 FR 81248, December 27, 2011). Amendment 111 would amend section 3.7.2 of the FMP to: (1) Remove the sunset date for the Rockfish Program; (2) modify sideboard limits to exempt Rockfish Program vessels from crab rationalization program sideboard limits when fishing in the Rockfish Program and remove catcher/processor Rockfish Program sideboard limits in E:\FR\FM\28JYP1.SGM 28JYP1 45368 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 145 / Tuesday, July 28, 2020 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with PROPOSALS the WGOA; (3) remove the requirement for rockfish cooperatives to submit a fishing plan when submitting an application for annual CQ; (4) clarify language that only shoreside processors taking deliveries harvested using Rockfish Program CQ must submit the Rockfish Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report; and (5) clarify regulations regarding accounting for inseason use caps when catcher/processor CQ is transferred for use by the catcher vessel sector. NMFS is soliciting public comments on proposed Amendment 111 through VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:17 Jul 27, 2020 Jkt 250001 the end of the comment period (see NMFS intends to publish in the Federal Register and seek public comment on a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 111 and additional regulation changes recommended by the Council, following NMFS’s evaluation of the proposed rule under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. All comments received by the end of the comment period on Amendment 111, whether specifically directed to the FMP amendment or the proposed rule, will be considered in the approval/ disapproval decision on Amendment DATES). PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 111. Comments received after that date may not be considered in the approval/ disapproval decision on Amendment 111. To be certain of consideration, comments must be received, not just postmarked or otherwise transmitted, by the last day of the comment period. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: July 23, 2020. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–16315 Filed 7–27–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\28JYP1.SGM 28JYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 145 (Tuesday, July 28, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 45367-45368]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-16315]



[[Page 45367]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 679 and 680

RIN 0648-BJ73


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Central Gulf 
of Alaska Rockfish Program; Amendment 111

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

ACTION: Notice of availability of fishery management plan amendment; 
request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) 
submitted Amendment 111 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish 
of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP) Management Area (Amendment 111) to the 
Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) for review. If approved, Amendment 
111 would remove the expiration date for the Central GOA Rockfish 
Program (Rockfish Program) and make minor administrative changes to the 
program. Amendment 111 is intended to promote the goals and objectives 
of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
(Magnuson-Stevens Act), the FMP, and other applicable laws.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than September 28, 2020.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2020-0086, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2020-0086, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, 
NMFS. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, 
or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender 
will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter 
``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).
    Electronic copies of Amendment 111 to the FMP, the Environmental 
Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review prepared for this action (the 
Analysis), and the Finding of No Significant Impact prepared for this 
action may be obtained from www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie Warpinski, 907-586-7228 or 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Council submitted Amendment 111 to the 
FMP to the Secretary for review. If approved, Amendment 111 would 
remove the expiration date for the Rockfish Program and make other 
administrative changes to the FMP. The regulatory amendment associated 
with Amendment 111 would reauthorize the Rockfish Program, allow it to 
continue indefinitely, and implement minor improvements to the 
administration and management of the program. Amendment 111 is intended 
to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
FMP, and other applicable laws.
    The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that each regional fishery 
management council submit any fishery management plan amendment it 
prepares to NMFS for review and approval, disapproval, or partial 
approval by the Secretary. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that 
NMFS, upon receiving a fishery management plan amendment, immediately 
publish a document in the Federal Register announcing that the 
amendment is available for public review and comment. This document 
announces that proposed Amendment 111 to the FMP is available for 
public review and comment.
    The Council prepared, and the Secretary approved, the FMP under the 
authority of section 302(h)(1) and 303(b) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 
16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. The FMP is implemented by Federal regulations 
governing U.S. fisheries at 50 CFR part 679. The Council is authorized 
to prepare and recommend an FMP amendment for the conservation and 
management of a fishery covered under the FMP. The Rockfish Program 
would continue to provide exclusive harvesting privileges for vessels 
using trawl gear to harvest a specific set of rockfish species and 
associated species incidentally harvested to those rockfish in the 
Central GOA, an area from 147[deg] W. long. to 159[deg] W. long. The 
granting of exclusive harvesting is commonly called rationalization. 
The rockfish primary species rationalized under the Rockfish Program 
are northern rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and dusky rockfish. The 
incidentally harvested groundfish taken in the primary rockfish 
fisheries and which also are rationalized under the Rockfish Program 
are called the secondary species. The secondary species include Pacific 
cod, rougheye rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and sablefish. In addition 
to these secondary species, the Rockfish Program allocates a portion of 
the halibut bycatch mortality limit annually specified for the GOA 
trawl fisheries to Rockfish Program participants. This allocation of 
bycatch mortality could be used by Rockfish Program participants during 
harvest activities in the fisheries rationalized under the Rockfish 
Program.
    The reauthorized Rockfish Program would continue to assign quota 
share (QS) and cooperative quota (CQ) to participants for primary and 
secondary species, allow a participant holding an License Limitation 
Program (LLP) license with rockfish QS to form a rockfish cooperative 
with other persons, and allow holders of catcher/processor LLP licenses 
to opt-out of the fishery. The entry level fishery would continue for 
harvesters who are not eligible for the Rockfish Program and who would 
be directed fishing for rockfish primary species using longline gear 
only. Additionally, the reauthorized Rockfish Program continues to 
establish sideboard limits, as well as monitoring and enforcement 
provisions.
    If approved, the current Rockfish Program would be reauthorized 
without a sunset date, similar to other North Pacific catch share 
programs. The Rockfish Program would be reviewed by the Council five 
years after the implementation and every five to seven years thereafter 
to determine if the program is functioning as intended consistent with 
the provisions of section 303A(i) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    Proposed Amendment 111 to the FMP would revise regulation 
associated with some administrative provisions of the Rockfish Program 
that were previously implemented in 2011 (76 FR 81248, December 27, 
2011).
    Amendment 111 would amend section 3.7.2 of the FMP to: (1) Remove 
the sunset date for the Rockfish Program; (2) modify sideboard limits 
to exempt Rockfish Program vessels from crab rationalization program 
sideboard limits when fishing in the Rockfish Program and remove 
catcher/processor Rockfish Program sideboard limits in

[[Page 45368]]

the WGOA; (3) remove the requirement for rockfish cooperatives to 
submit a fishing plan when submitting an application for annual CQ; (4) 
clarify language that only shoreside processors taking deliveries 
harvested using Rockfish Program CQ must submit the Rockfish Ex-vessel 
Volume and Value Report; and (5) clarify regulations regarding 
accounting for inseason use caps when catcher/processor CQ is 
transferred for use by the catcher vessel sector.
    NMFS is soliciting public comments on proposed Amendment 111 
through the end of the comment period (see DATES). NMFS intends to 
publish in the Federal Register and seek public comment on a proposed 
rule that would implement Amendment 111 and additional regulation 
changes recommended by the Council, following NMFS's evaluation of the 
proposed rule under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. All comments received by 
the end of the comment period on Amendment 111, whether specifically 
directed to the FMP amendment or the proposed rule, will be considered 
in the approval/disapproval decision on Amendment 111. Comments 
received after that date may not be considered in the approval/
disapproval decision on Amendment 111. To be certain of consideration, 
comments must be received, not just postmarked or otherwise 
transmitted, by the last day of the comment period.

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: July 23, 2020.
Jennifer M. Wallace,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-16315 Filed 7-27-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P