Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Removing the Prohibition on Continuing To Fish After a Partial Offload in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program, 72581-72583 [2020-23626]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 220 / Friday, November 13, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 72581 TABLE 6—FINAL 2020 SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, CDQ RESERVE, INCIDENTAL CATCH ALLOWANCE, AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2020 Allocation by area Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 Eastern aleutian district/ bering sea Critical Habitat ....................................... Central aleutian district 5 n/a 3,529 Western aleutian district 5,365 1 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 2 Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 3 The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4 Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31. 5 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to be caught inside of Steller sea lion critical habitat; section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3); and section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires that the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC in Area 543. 6 Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and the ICA. NMFS sets the amount of this allocation for 2020 at 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. This will enhance the socioeconomic well-being of harvesters dependent upon Atka mackerel in this area. The Regional Administrator considered the following factors in reaching this decision: (1) The current catch of Atka mackerel ICA in the BS/EAI, (2) the harvest capacity and stated intent on future harvesting patterns of the Amendment 80 cooperative that participates in this BS/EAI fishery. Classification NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This action is required by 50 CFR part 679, which was issued pursuant to section 304(b), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest, as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the harvest of Atka mackerel in the BE/EAI fishery. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of November 3, 2020. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: November 6, 2020. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–25043 Filed 11–6–20; 5:00 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:03 Nov 12, 2020 Jkt 253001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 680 [Docket No. 201020–0271] RIN 0648–BJ64 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Removing the Prohibition on Continuing To Fish After a Partial Offload in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: NMFS issues regulations to remove the regulatory prohibition on continuing to fish after a partial offload in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BS/AI) Crab Rationalization (CR) Program. This final rule is needed to provide CR crab fishery participants operational flexibility to conduct their business in an efficient manner, in particular when emergencies or special circumstances arise. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for BS/ AI King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP), and other applicable laws. DATES: Effective December 14, 2020. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Regulatory Impact Review (referred to as SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 the ‘‘Analysis’’) and the Categorical Exclusion prepared for this final rule may be obtained from www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Megan Mackey, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Authority for Action NMFS manages the king and Tanner crab fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the BS/AI under the Crab FMP. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the Crab FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations implementing most provisions of the Crab FMP, including the CR Program, are located at 50 CFR part 680. Regulations implementing specific provisions of the Crab FMP that pertain to the License Limitation Program are located at 50 CFR part 679. The proposed rule to implement this action was published in the Federal Register on August 4, 2020, with comments invited through September 3, 2020 (85 FR 47157). NMFS received two comment letters containing a total of two unique comments. The comments are summarized and responded to under the heading Comments and Responses below. A detailed review of the provisions and rationale for this action is provided in the preamble to the proposed rule (85 FR 47157, August 4, 2020) and is briefly summarized in this final rule. Background The CR Program was implemented on April 1, 2005 (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005). The CR Program established a E:\FR\FM\13NOR1.SGM 13NOR1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES 72582 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 220 / Friday, November 13, 2020 / Rules and Regulations limited access program (LAP) for nine crab fisheries in the BS/AI and assigned quota share (QS) to persons based on their historic participation in one or more of those nine BS/AI crab fisheries during a specific period. Each year, a person who holds QS may receive an exclusive harvest privilege for a portion of the annual total allowable catch (TAC). This annual exclusive harvest privilege is called individual fishing quota (IFQ). NMFS also issued processor quota share (PQS) under the CR Program. Each year, PQS yields an exclusive privilege to process a portion of the IFQ in each of the nine BS/AI CR crab fisheries. This annual exclusive processing privilege is called individual processor quota (IPQ). Only a portion of the QS issued yields IFQ that is required to be delivered to a processor with IPQ. Each year there is a one-to-one match between the total pounds of IFQ that must be delivered to a processor with IPQ and the total pounds of IPQ issued in each CR crab fishery. Under current regulations, a person may offload a portion of CR crab from a vessel at multiple processors. However, except for the Western Aleutian Islands golden king crab fishery, regulations at 50 CFR 680.7(b)(3) prohibit a person from fishing again or taking CR crab on board the vessel until all of the crab originally on board the vessel have been offloaded. The prohibition against resuming fishing once an offload has commenced and until it is completed applies to CR Program crab, which includes IFQ and Community Development Quota (CDQ) crab landings. In December 2019, the Council recommended removing the regulatory prohibition on resuming fishing for CR crab between partial offloads for all CR crab fisheries. This final rule is a regulatory amendment that will remove this prohibition against continuing to fish in the BS/AI CR crab fisheries once offloading has commenced and until all CR crab are landed. Removal of the prohibition will provide IFQ and CDQ participants in CR crab fisheries operational flexibility to conduct their business in an efficient manner, in particular when emergencies or special circumstances arise, such as inclement weather. With adjustments by the State of Alaska (State) to its data collection protocols, proper catch accounting will be maintained with this action. The following sections of this preamble provide (1) a brief history of the prohibition on crab partial offloads, (2) the expected effects of and need for this action, and (3) a description of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:03 Nov 12, 2020 Jkt 253001 regulatory change made by this final rule. The Expected Effects of and Need for This Action Brief History of the Prohibition on Crab Partial Offloads While fishing after a partial delivery was fairly common practice by vessels racing to catch and deliver crab before the CR Program was implemented, the CR Program has increased coordination between harvesters and processors, allowing for an increase in the efficiency of offloads. Under the CR Program, it is more economically efficient for vessels to offload all crab before resuming fishing in order to avoid deadloss of the crab sitting in tanks on the vessel. For this, and other reasons described earlier, the Council and NMFS do not anticipate that the resumption of fishing after a crab partial offload will become a routine operating procedure. The flexibility resulting from this action is expected to be used only in emergency situations, such as inclement weather, or special circumstances related to the economics of the operations. Therefore, the impacts of this action are expected to be minimal and only beneficial. While the prohibition at § 680.7(b)(3) may no longer be needed to address enforcement concerns, the prohibition has greatly simplified dockside sampling and catch accounting. Section 2.7.4 of the Analysis for this action examined the effects of removing this prohibition for all CR fisheries on the State’s monitoring and catch accounting procedures and whether modifications would be necessary and if necessary, what modifications would be required. Section 2.7.4 concludes that without modifications by ADF&G to accommodate the change, removal of the prohibition could complicate some aspects of the State’s dockside sampling, catch accounting, and Observer Program, and may degrade the spatial quality of some of the data collected in these fisheries. ADF&G indicated that it could adjust its monitoring and catch accounting procedures and protocols to accommodate the action and maintain data quality, and that it would make those adjustments upon implementation of the action. The Council determined, and NMFS agrees, that this action will provide CR Program fishery participants with additional operational flexibility to conduct their business in an efficient manner, in particular when emergencies or special circumstances arise, such as inclement weather. The Council also acknowledged that with adjustments by the State to its data collection protocols, proper catch accounting will be maintained with this action. The regulatory prohibition on returning to fish after a partial offload of crab was originally established with the implementation of the CR Program. NMFS published the final rule to implement the CR Program on March 2, 2005 (70 FR 10174). Fishing under the CR Program started with the 2005/2006 crab fishing year. The regulatory prohibition on partial offloads at 50 CFR 680.7(b)(3) was intended to address enforcement concerns associated with a potential change in discarding behavior due to the new management of the fisheries. Experience with the CR Program has shown that illegal (unreported) crab discards are unlikely for several reasons. First, there is no prohibition on sorting crab at the rail, and this is where undesirable crab are often discarded. These discards are accounted for by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and ADF&G has communicated to industry that high levels of discarding at the rail would be reflected in the stock assessments and ultimate crab TACs. Second, while discarding crab later in the trip is prohibited, dumping crab at sea once it has gone into the tanks would be dangerous and impractical. Third, the risk of quota overages has been greatly reduced due to the cooperative structure of the CR Program, online quota transfers, and post-delivery quota transfers, giving the industry many options to resolve a potential overage. Finally, the structure of the CR Program means more people than just the vessel operators are put at risk by this sort of illegal activity. Experience with the CR Program also has shown that the prohibition against continuing to fish for CR crab after an offload has begun and until the offload is complete has simplified dockside sampling and catch accounting. In April 2018, the Council received a proposal from the Pacific Northwest Crab Industry Advisory Committee, requesting removal of the regulatory prohibition on continuing to fish after a partial offload in the BS/AI CR Program. In February 2019, the Council decided to examine the proposal, stating that while the Council was interested in providing operational flexibility, particularly in emergencies or special circumstances, it also wanted to ensure that ADF&G would be able to maintain proper catch monitoring and accounting in the CR crab fisheries. PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\13NOR1.SGM 13NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 220 / Friday, November 13, 2020 / Rules and Regulations Final Rule This final rule removes the prohibition on continuing to fish after a partial offload of crab in the BS/AI CR crab fisheries. To make this change, this final rule removes the prohibition language in paragraph (b)(3) under 50 CFR 680.7 and redesignates subsequent paragraphs under § 680.7(b). Comments and Responses jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES NMFS received two comment letters containing a total of two unique comments. Comment 1: NMFS should deny this rule change. Response: NMFS sees no reason to deny this rule change, which the Council and NMFS anticipate will rarely be used and will provide flexibility to CR crab fishery participants to conduct their business in an efficient manner. Comment 2: Removal of the prohibition would provide IFQ and CDQ participants in CR crab fisheries operational flexibility to conduct their business in an efficient manner, in particular when emergencies or special circumstances arise, such as inclement weather, while also ensuring proper catch accounting. Response: NMFS acknowledges the comment and is implementing this final rule. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:03 Nov 12, 2020 Jkt 253001 Changes From the Proposed Rule No changes were made from the proposed rule. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this final rule is consistent with the Council’s regulatory amendment, the Crab FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866. This final rule is considered an Executive Order 13771 deregulatory action. Certification Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act The Chief Counsel for Regulation for the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared. PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 72583 This final rule contains no information collection requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 680 Alaska, Fisheries, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: October 20, 2020. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 50 CFR part 680 as follows: PART 680—SHELLFISH FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA 1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 680 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1862; Pub. L. 109– 241; Pub. L. 109–479. § 680.7 Amended 2. In § 680.7, remove paragraph (b)(3) and redesignate paragraphs (b)(4) through (7) as (b)(3) through (6), respectively. ■ [FR Doc. 2020–23626 Filed 11–12–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\13NOR1.SGM 13NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 220 (Friday, November 13, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 72581-72583]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-23626]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 680

[Docket No. 201020-0271]
RIN 0648-BJ64


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Removing the 
Prohibition on Continuing To Fish After a Partial Offload in the Bering 
Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS issues regulations to remove the regulatory prohibition 
on continuing to fish after a partial offload in the Bering Sea and 
Aleutian Islands (BS/AI) Crab Rationalization (CR) Program. This final 
rule is needed to provide CR crab fishery participants operational 
flexibility to conduct their business in an efficient manner, in 
particular when emergencies or special circumstances arise. This action 
is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the 
Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for BS/AI King and Tanner Crabs (Crab 
FMP), and other applicable laws.

DATES: Effective December 14, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Regulatory Impact Review (referred 
to as the ``Analysis'') and the Categorical Exclusion prepared for this 
final rule may be obtained from www.regulations.gov.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Authority for Action

    NMFS manages the king and Tanner crab fisheries in the exclusive 
economic zone (EEZ) of the BS/AI under the Crab FMP. The North Pacific 
Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the Crab FMP under the 
authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 
Regulations implementing most provisions of the Crab FMP, including the 
CR Program, are located at 50 CFR part 680. Regulations implementing 
specific provisions of the Crab FMP that pertain to the License 
Limitation Program are located at 50 CFR part 679.
    The proposed rule to implement this action was published in the 
Federal Register on August 4, 2020, with comments invited through 
September 3, 2020 (85 FR 47157). NMFS received two comment letters 
containing a total of two unique comments. The comments are summarized 
and responded to under the heading Comments and Responses below.
    A detailed review of the provisions and rationale for this action 
is provided in the preamble to the proposed rule (85 FR 47157, August 
4, 2020) and is briefly summarized in this final rule.

Background

    The CR Program was implemented on April 1, 2005 (70 FR 10174, March 
2, 2005). The CR Program established a

[[Page 72582]]

limited access program (LAP) for nine crab fisheries in the BS/AI and 
assigned quota share (QS) to persons based on their historic 
participation in one or more of those nine BS/AI crab fisheries during 
a specific period. Each year, a person who holds QS may receive an 
exclusive harvest privilege for a portion of the annual total allowable 
catch (TAC). This annual exclusive harvest privilege is called 
individual fishing quota (IFQ).
    NMFS also issued processor quota share (PQS) under the CR Program. 
Each year, PQS yields an exclusive privilege to process a portion of 
the IFQ in each of the nine BS/AI CR crab fisheries. This annual 
exclusive processing privilege is called individual processor quota 
(IPQ). Only a portion of the QS issued yields IFQ that is required to 
be delivered to a processor with IPQ. Each year there is a one-to-one 
match between the total pounds of IFQ that must be delivered to a 
processor with IPQ and the total pounds of IPQ issued in each CR crab 
fishery.
    Under current regulations, a person may offload a portion of CR 
crab from a vessel at multiple processors. However, except for the 
Western Aleutian Islands golden king crab fishery, regulations at 50 
CFR 680.7(b)(3) prohibit a person from fishing again or taking CR crab 
on board the vessel until all of the crab originally on board the 
vessel have been offloaded. The prohibition against resuming fishing 
once an offload has commenced and until it is completed applies to CR 
Program crab, which includes IFQ and Community Development Quota (CDQ) 
crab landings. In December 2019, the Council recommended removing the 
regulatory prohibition on resuming fishing for CR crab between partial 
offloads for all CR crab fisheries. This final rule is a regulatory 
amendment that will remove this prohibition against continuing to fish 
in the BS/AI CR crab fisheries once offloading has commenced and until 
all CR crab are landed.
    Removal of the prohibition will provide IFQ and CDQ participants in 
CR crab fisheries operational flexibility to conduct their business in 
an efficient manner, in particular when emergencies or special 
circumstances arise, such as inclement weather. With adjustments by the 
State of Alaska (State) to its data collection protocols, proper catch 
accounting will be maintained with this action. The following sections 
of this preamble provide (1) a brief history of the prohibition on crab 
partial offloads, (2) the expected effects of and need for this action, 
and (3) a description of the regulatory change made by this final rule.

Brief History of the Prohibition on Crab Partial Offloads

    The regulatory prohibition on returning to fish after a partial 
offload of crab was originally established with the implementation of 
the CR Program. NMFS published the final rule to implement the CR 
Program on March 2, 2005 (70 FR 10174). Fishing under the CR Program 
started with the 2005/2006 crab fishing year. The regulatory 
prohibition on partial offloads at 50 CFR 680.7(b)(3) was intended to 
address enforcement concerns associated with a potential change in 
discarding behavior due to the new management of the fisheries.
    Experience with the CR Program has shown that illegal (unreported) 
crab discards are unlikely for several reasons. First, there is no 
prohibition on sorting crab at the rail, and this is where undesirable 
crab are often discarded. These discards are accounted for by the 
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and ADF&G has communicated 
to industry that high levels of discarding at the rail would be 
reflected in the stock assessments and ultimate crab TACs. Second, 
while discarding crab later in the trip is prohibited, dumping crab at 
sea once it has gone into the tanks would be dangerous and impractical. 
Third, the risk of quota overages has been greatly reduced due to the 
cooperative structure of the CR Program, online quota transfers, and 
post-delivery quota transfers, giving the industry many options to 
resolve a potential overage. Finally, the structure of the CR Program 
means more people than just the vessel operators are put at risk by 
this sort of illegal activity. Experience with the CR Program also has 
shown that the prohibition against continuing to fish for CR crab after 
an offload has begun and until the offload is complete has simplified 
dockside sampling and catch accounting.
    In April 2018, the Council received a proposal from the Pacific 
Northwest Crab Industry Advisory Committee, requesting removal of the 
regulatory prohibition on continuing to fish after a partial offload in 
the BS/AI CR Program. In February 2019, the Council decided to examine 
the proposal, stating that while the Council was interested in 
providing operational flexibility, particularly in emergencies or 
special circumstances, it also wanted to ensure that ADF&G would be 
able to maintain proper catch monitoring and accounting in the CR crab 
fisheries.

The Expected Effects of and Need for This Action

    While fishing after a partial delivery was fairly common practice 
by vessels racing to catch and deliver crab before the CR Program was 
implemented, the CR Program has increased coordination between 
harvesters and processors, allowing for an increase in the efficiency 
of offloads. Under the CR Program, it is more economically efficient 
for vessels to offload all crab before resuming fishing in order to 
avoid deadloss of the crab sitting in tanks on the vessel. For this, 
and other reasons described earlier, the Council and NMFS do not 
anticipate that the resumption of fishing after a crab partial offload 
will become a routine operating procedure. The flexibility resulting 
from this action is expected to be used only in emergency situations, 
such as inclement weather, or special circumstances related to the 
economics of the operations. Therefore, the impacts of this action are 
expected to be minimal and only beneficial.
    While the prohibition at Sec.  680.7(b)(3) may no longer be needed 
to address enforcement concerns, the prohibition has greatly simplified 
dockside sampling and catch accounting. Section 2.7.4 of the Analysis 
for this action examined the effects of removing this prohibition for 
all CR fisheries on the State's monitoring and catch accounting 
procedures and whether modifications would be necessary and if 
necessary, what modifications would be required. Section 2.7.4 
concludes that without modifications by ADF&G to accommodate the 
change, removal of the prohibition could complicate some aspects of the 
State's dockside sampling, catch accounting, and Observer Program, and 
may degrade the spatial quality of some of the data collected in these 
fisheries. ADF&G indicated that it could adjust its monitoring and 
catch accounting procedures and protocols to accommodate the action and 
maintain data quality, and that it would make those adjustments upon 
implementation of the action.
    The Council determined, and NMFS agrees, that this action will 
provide CR Program fishery participants with additional operational 
flexibility to conduct their business in an efficient manner, in 
particular when emergencies or special circumstances arise, such as 
inclement weather. The Council also acknowledged that with adjustments 
by the State to its data collection protocols, proper catch accounting 
will be maintained with this action.

[[Page 72583]]

Final Rule

    This final rule removes the prohibition on continuing to fish after 
a partial offload of crab in the BS/AI CR crab fisheries. To make this 
change, this final rule removes the prohibition language in paragraph 
(b)(3) under 50 CFR 680.7 and redesignates subsequent paragraphs under 
Sec.  680.7(b).

Comments and Responses

    NMFS received two comment letters containing a total of two unique 
comments.
    Comment 1: NMFS should deny this rule change.
    Response: NMFS sees no reason to deny this rule change, which the 
Council and NMFS anticipate will rarely be used and will provide 
flexibility to CR crab fishery participants to conduct their business 
in an efficient manner.
    Comment 2: Removal of the prohibition would provide IFQ and CDQ 
participants in CR crab fisheries operational flexibility to conduct 
their business in an efficient manner, in particular when emergencies 
or special circumstances arise, such as inclement weather, while also 
ensuring proper catch accounting.
    Response: NMFS acknowledges the comment and is implementing this 
final rule.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    No changes were made from the proposed rule.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS 
Assistant Administrator has determined that this final rule is 
consistent with the Council's regulatory amendment, the Crab FMP, other 
provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws.
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for the 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    This final rule is considered an Executive Order 13771 deregulatory 
action.

Certification Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation for the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the 
proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received 
regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility 
analysis was not required and none was prepared.
    This final rule contains no information collection requirements 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 680

    Alaska, Fisheries, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: October 20, 2020.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 50 CFR part 680 as 
follows:

PART 680--SHELLFISH FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF 
ALASKA

0
1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 680 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1862; Pub. L. 109-241; Pub. L. 109-479.


Sec.  680.7  Amended

0
2. In Sec.  680.7, remove paragraph (b)(3) and redesignate paragraphs 
(b)(4) through (7) as (b)(3) through (6), respectively.

[FR Doc. 2020-23626 Filed 11-12-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P