Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Modifying Seasonal Allocations of Pollock and Pacific Cod for Trawl Catcher Vessels in the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska; Correction, 79139-79141 [2020-26954]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 237 / Wednesday, December 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations swordfish retention limit from the default levels would result in minimal risk of exceeding the ICCAT-allocated quota. Delays in temporarily increasing these retention limits caused by the time required to publish a proposed rule and accept public comment would adversely and unnecessarily affect those Swordfish General Commercial permit holders and HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders with a commercial endorsement (when on a non-for-hire trip) that would otherwise have an opportunity to harvest more than the otherwise applicable lower default retention limits of three swordfish per vessel per trip in the Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions, and two swordfish per vessel per trip in the U.S. Caribbean region. Limiting opportunities to harvest available directed swordfish quota may have negative social and economic impacts for U.S. fishermen. Adjustment of the retention limits needs to be effective on January 1, 2021, to allow Swordfish General Commercial permit holders and HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders with a commercial endorsement (when on a non-for-hire trip) to benefit from the adjustment during the relevant time period, which could pass by for some fishermen who have access to the fishery during a short time period because of seasonal fish migration, if the action is delayed for notice and public comment. Furthermore, the public was given an opportunity to comment on the underlying rulemakings, including the adoption of the North Atlantic swordfish U.S. quota, and the retention limit adjustments in this action would not have any additional effects or impacts since the retention limit does not affect the overall quota. Thus, there would be little opportunity for meaningful input and review with public comment on this action. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For all of the above reasons, there is also good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: December 1, 2020. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–26796 Filed 12–8–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:44 Dec 08, 2020 Jkt 253001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No.200623–0167; RTID 0648– XA697] Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish Fishery; Quota Transfer From MA to RI National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notification; quota transfer. AGENCY: NMFS announces that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is transferring a portion of its 2020 commercial bluefish quota to the State of Rhode Island. This quota adjustment is necessary to comply with the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan quota transfer provisions. This announcement informs the public of the revised commercial bluefish quotas for Massachusetts and Rhode Island. DATES: Effective December 4, 2020, through December 31, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura Hansen, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 281–9225. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the Atlantic bluefish fishery are found in 50 CFR 648.160 through 648.167. These regulations require annual specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned among the coastal states from Maine through Florida. The process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to each state is described in § 648.162, and the final 2020 allocations were published on June 29, 2020 (85 FR 38794). The final rule implementing Amendment 1 to the Bluefish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) published in the Federal Register on July 26, 2000 (65 FR 45844), and provided a mechanism for transferring bluefish quota from one state to another. Two or more states, under mutual agreement and with the concurrence of the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator, can request approval to transfer or combine bluefish commercial quota under § 648.162(e)(1)(i) through (iii). The Regional Administrator must approve any such transfer based on the criteria in § 648.162(e). In evaluating requests to transfer a quota or combine quotas, the Regional Administrator shall consider whether: The transfer or combinations would preclude the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 79139 overall annual quota from being fully harvested; the transfer addresses an unforeseen variation or contingency in the fishery; and the transfer is consistent with the objectives of the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Massachusetts is transferring 15,000 lb (6,804 kg) of bluefish commercial quota to Rhode Island through mutual agreement of the states. This transfer was requested to ensure that Rhode Island would not exceed its 2020 state quota. The revised bluefish quotas for 2020 are: Massachusetts, 170,838 lb (77,491 kg); and Rhode Island, 313,366 lb (142,140 kg). Classification NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This action is required by 50 CFR 648.162(e)(1)(i) through (iii), which was issued pursuant to section 304(b), and is exempted from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: December 4, 2020. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–27044 Filed 12–4–20; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 200604–0152] RIN 0648–BJ35 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Modifying Seasonal Allocations of Pollock and Pacific Cod for Trawl Catcher Vessels in the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska; Correction National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; correction. AGENCY: NMFS is correcting a final rule that published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2020, implementing Amendment 109 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP) and a regulatory amendment to the regulations governing pollock fishing in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). The final rule’s intent as to Pacific cod was to change the seasonal apportionments of Pacific cod for the trawl catcher SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\09DER1.SGM 09DER1 79140 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 237 / Wednesday, December 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES vessel (CV) sector. However, in changing the seasonal apportionments, the final rule’s regulatory text inadvertently affected the jig sector such that it became unclear if the new, overall seasonal apportionments apply to the jig sector. This correction is necessary to clarify seasonal apportionments of Pacific cod for the jig sector. DATES: This rule is effective on January 1, 2021. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelly Cates, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Need for Correction NMFS published Amendment 109 to the GOA FMP and a regulatory amendment to the regulations governing pollock fishing in the GOA in the Federal Register on June 25, 2020 (85 FR 38093), which will be referred to in this correction collectively as Amendment 109. The final rule addresses operational and management inefficiencies in the trawl CV pollock and Pacific cod fisheries in the Central Regulatory Area (CGOA) and the Western Regulatory Area (WGOA) of the GOA. This correction does not affect the pollock seasons and allocations as revised by Amendment 109. The final rule to implement Amendment 109 is effective on January 1, 2021, and, in part, revises § 679.20(a)(12)(i) to specify the new seasonal apportionments of Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) for the trawl CV sector in the CGOA and the WGOA. The trawl CV sector is one of several sectors for which the regulations allocate the Pacific cod TAC in the WGOA and CGOA and apportion those allocations seasonally (among gear and operation types) between the A and B seasons (§ 679.20(a)(12)(i)(A) and (B)). The final rule to implement Amendment 109 changes the trawl CV sector’s seasonal apportionments in the CGOA and WGOA: The A seasonal apportionment increases by approximately 4 percent, while the B seasonal apportionment decreases by approximately 4 percent. Because the final rule shifts one sector’s seasonal apportionment between the A and B seasons, the overall seasonal apportionment across all sectors in the CGOA and WGOA also shifts between the A and B seasons. The final rule to implement Amendment 109 therefore changes the WGOA and CGOA Pacific cod overall seasonal apportionments from 60 percent (A season) and 40 percent (B season) as follows: 63.84 percent of the WGOA TAC apportioned to the A season and 36.16 percent of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:44 Dec 08, 2020 Jkt 253001 WGOA TAC apportioned to the B season, and 64.16 percent of the CGOA TAC apportioned to the A season and 35.84 percent of the CGOA TAC apportioned to the B season. In changing these seasonal apportionments, however, the final rule for Amendment 109 inadvertently affected the jig sector: Because the regulations do not specify the jig sector seasonal apportionment, unlike the A and B season apportionments for all other sectors and gear and operation types in the CGOA and WGOA, it became ambiguous if the new, overall Pacific cod seasonal apportionments should be applied to the jig sector. To remove any ambiguity, NMFS is correcting the final rule to implement Amendment 109 to specify that the CGOA and WGOA Pacific cod TACs will be seasonally apportioned to the jig sector such that 60 percent of the TAC is apportioned to the A season and 40 percent of the TAC is apportioned to the B season. In implementing the final rule for Amendment 109, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS were clear that they did not intend for Amendment 109 to affect any sectors other than the trawl CV sector. In the preambles to both the proposed rule (85 FR 11939, February 28, 2020) and final rule (85 FR 38093, June 25, 2020) to implement Amendment 109, NMFS specified that although the overall ratio of A and B seasonal apportionments of Pacific cod for the trawl CV sector is changing, the rule does not affect the seasonal apportionments of Pacific cod to any other sectors. The preambles further clarified that the seasonal apportionment of Pacific cod remains unchanged for all other sectors in the CGOA and the WGOA. In addition, the Council and NMFS have clearly indicated their intention regarding the jig sector’s seasonal apportionment on two fronts. First, the rulemaking to implement Amendment 83 to the GOA FMP (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011) specified that the jig sector seasonal apportionment would be 60 percent for the A season and 40 percent for the B season in the CGOA and the WGOA (76 FR 44700, July 26, 2011). Second, NMFS has implemented the same apportionment in the annual GOA groundfish harvest specifications since the approval of Amendment 83. However, the regulatory text at § 679.20(a)(12)(i) does not specify the jig sector seasonal apportionment (like the A and B season apportionments are for all other sectors and gear and operation types in the CGOA and WGOA). PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 In order to clarify the seasonal apportionment to the jig sector for Pacific cod in the WGOA and CGOA, the final rule for Amendment 109 will be revised to expressly state the A and B season apportionments of Pacific cod to the jig sector. As revised, the regulations now will provide that a portion of the annual Pacific cod TAC, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(12)(i)(A) and (B), will be allocated to vessels with a Federal Fishing Permit that use jig gear, before TAC is apportioned among other non-jig sectors. This portion of the CGOA and WGOA Pacific cod TACs will be seasonally apportioned to the jig sector such that 60 percent of the TAC is apportioned to the A season and 40 percent of the TAC is apportioned to the B season, as specified in § 679.23(d)(3). Once the TAC for Pacific cod is apportioned to the jig sector, the remainder of the WGOA and CGOA Pacific cod TACs will be seasonally apportioned among the non-jig sectors such that 63.84 percent of the WGOA TAC is apportioned to the A season and 36.16 percent of the WGOA TAC is apportioned to the B season, and 64.16 percent of the CGOA TAC is apportioned to the A season and 35.84 percent of the CGOA TAC is apportioned to the B season, as specified in § 679.23(d)(3). This correction makes these clarifications in § 679.20(a)(12)(i). This correction to the final rule to implement Amendment 109 will ensure that the new seasonal allocations of Pacific cod are available at the start of the fishing year. The purposes of Amendment 109 are to allow the fisheries to more fully harvest the Pacific cod and pollock TACs in the WGOA and CGOA, increase management flexibility, and, potentially, decrease the prohibited species catch, while not redistributing fishing opportunities between management areas or harvest sectors. Correction Effective January 1, 2021, in rule document 2020–12453 at 85 FR 38093 in the issue of June 25, 2020, on page 38100, in the third column, in amendatory instruction 2, paragraph (a)(12)(i) introductory text is corrected to read as follows: § 679.20 [Corrected] * * * * * (a) * * * (12) * * * (i) Seasonal allowances by sector. The Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs will be seasonally apportioned to the jig sector such that 60 percent of the TAC is apportioned to the A season and E:\FR\FM\09DER1.SGM 09DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 237 / Wednesday, December 9, 2020 / Rules and Regulations jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES 40 percent of the TAC is apportioned to the B season, as specified in § 679.23(d)(3), before TAC is apportioned among other non-jig sectors. The Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs will be seasonally apportioned among the non-jig sectors such that 63.84 percent of the Western GOA TAC is apportioned to the A VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:44 Dec 08, 2020 Jkt 253001 season and 36.16 percent of the Western GOA TAC is apportioned to the B season, and 64.16 percent of the Central GOA TAC is apportioned to the A season and 35.84 percent of the Central GOA TAC is apportioned to the B season, as specified in § 679.23(d)(3). * * * * * PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 79141 Dated: December 2, 2020. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–26954 Filed 12–8–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\09DER1.SGM 09DER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 237 (Wednesday, December 9, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 79139-79141]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-26954]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 200604-0152]
RIN 0648-BJ35


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Modifying 
Seasonal Allocations of Pollock and Pacific Cod for Trawl Catcher 
Vessels in the Central and Western Gulf of Alaska; Correction

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

ACTION: Final rule; correction.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS is correcting a final rule that published in the Federal 
Register on June 25, 2020, implementing Amendment 109 to the Fishery 
Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA FMP) and a 
regulatory amendment to the regulations governing pollock fishing in 
the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). The final rule's intent as to Pacific cod was 
to change the seasonal apportionments of Pacific cod for the trawl 
catcher

[[Page 79140]]

vessel (CV) sector. However, in changing the seasonal apportionments, 
the final rule's regulatory text inadvertently affected the jig sector 
such that it became unclear if the new, overall seasonal apportionments 
apply to the jig sector. This correction is necessary to clarify 
seasonal apportionments of Pacific cod for the jig sector.

DATES: This rule is effective on January 1, 2021.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelly Cates, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Need for Correction

    NMFS published Amendment 109 to the GOA FMP and a regulatory 
amendment to the regulations governing pollock fishing in the GOA in 
the Federal Register on June 25, 2020 (85 FR 38093), which will be 
referred to in this correction collectively as Amendment 109. The final 
rule addresses operational and management inefficiencies in the trawl 
CV pollock and Pacific cod fisheries in the Central Regulatory Area 
(CGOA) and the Western Regulatory Area (WGOA) of the GOA. This 
correction does not affect the pollock seasons and allocations as 
revised by Amendment 109.
    The final rule to implement Amendment 109 is effective on January 
1, 2021, and, in part, revises Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i) to specify the 
new seasonal apportionments of Pacific cod total allowable catch (TAC) 
for the trawl CV sector in the CGOA and the WGOA. The trawl CV sector 
is one of several sectors for which the regulations allocate the 
Pacific cod TAC in the WGOA and CGOA and apportion those allocations 
seasonally (among gear and operation types) between the A and B seasons 
(Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i)(A) and (B)). The final rule to implement 
Amendment 109 changes the trawl CV sector's seasonal apportionments in 
the CGOA and WGOA: The A seasonal apportionment increases by 
approximately 4 percent, while the B seasonal apportionment decreases 
by approximately 4 percent. Because the final rule shifts one sector's 
seasonal apportionment between the A and B seasons, the overall 
seasonal apportionment across all sectors in the CGOA and WGOA also 
shifts between the A and B seasons. The final rule to implement 
Amendment 109 therefore changes the WGOA and CGOA Pacific cod overall 
seasonal apportionments from 60 percent (A season) and 40 percent (B 
season) as follows: 63.84 percent of the WGOA TAC apportioned to the A 
season and 36.16 percent of the WGOA TAC apportioned to the B season, 
and 64.16 percent of the CGOA TAC apportioned to the A season and 35.84 
percent of the CGOA TAC apportioned to the B season.
    In changing these seasonal apportionments, however, the final rule 
for Amendment 109 inadvertently affected the jig sector: Because the 
regulations do not specify the jig sector seasonal apportionment, 
unlike the A and B season apportionments for all other sectors and gear 
and operation types in the CGOA and WGOA, it became ambiguous if the 
new, overall Pacific cod seasonal apportionments should be applied to 
the jig sector. To remove any ambiguity, NMFS is correcting the final 
rule to implement Amendment 109 to specify that the CGOA and WGOA 
Pacific cod TACs will be seasonally apportioned to the jig sector such 
that 60 percent of the TAC is apportioned to the A season and 40 
percent of the TAC is apportioned to the B season.
    In implementing the final rule for Amendment 109, the North Pacific 
Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS were clear that they did 
not intend for Amendment 109 to affect any sectors other than the trawl 
CV sector. In the preambles to both the proposed rule (85 FR 11939, 
February 28, 2020) and final rule (85 FR 38093, June 25, 2020) to 
implement Amendment 109, NMFS specified that although the overall ratio 
of A and B seasonal apportionments of Pacific cod for the trawl CV 
sector is changing, the rule does not affect the seasonal 
apportionments of Pacific cod to any other sectors. The preambles 
further clarified that the seasonal apportionment of Pacific cod 
remains unchanged for all other sectors in the CGOA and the WGOA.
    In addition, the Council and NMFS have clearly indicated their 
intention regarding the jig sector's seasonal apportionment on two 
fronts. First, the rulemaking to implement Amendment 83 to the GOA FMP 
(76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011) specified that the jig sector seasonal 
apportionment would be 60 percent for the A season and 40 percent for 
the B season in the CGOA and the WGOA (76 FR 44700, July 26, 2011). 
Second, NMFS has implemented the same apportionment in the annual GOA 
groundfish harvest specifications since the approval of Amendment 83. 
However, the regulatory text at Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i) does not specify 
the jig sector seasonal apportionment (like the A and B season 
apportionments are for all other sectors and gear and operation types 
in the CGOA and WGOA).
    In order to clarify the seasonal apportionment to the jig sector 
for Pacific cod in the WGOA and CGOA, the final rule for Amendment 109 
will be revised to expressly state the A and B season apportionments of 
Pacific cod to the jig sector. As revised, the regulations now will 
provide that a portion of the annual Pacific cod TAC, pursuant to Sec.  
679.20(a)(12)(i)(A) and (B), will be allocated to vessels with a 
Federal Fishing Permit that use jig gear, before TAC is apportioned 
among other non-jig sectors. This portion of the CGOA and WGOA Pacific 
cod TACs will be seasonally apportioned to the jig sector such that 60 
percent of the TAC is apportioned to the A season and 40 percent of the 
TAC is apportioned to the B season, as specified in Sec.  679.23(d)(3). 
Once the TAC for Pacific cod is apportioned to the jig sector, the 
remainder of the WGOA and CGOA Pacific cod TACs will be seasonally 
apportioned among the non-jig sectors such that 63.84 percent of the 
WGOA TAC is apportioned to the A season and 36.16 percent of the WGOA 
TAC is apportioned to the B season, and 64.16 percent of the CGOA TAC 
is apportioned to the A season and 35.84 percent of the CGOA TAC is 
apportioned to the B season, as specified in Sec.  679.23(d)(3). This 
correction makes these clarifications in Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i).
    This correction to the final rule to implement Amendment 109 will 
ensure that the new seasonal allocations of Pacific cod are available 
at the start of the fishing year. The purposes of Amendment 109 are to 
allow the fisheries to more fully harvest the Pacific cod and pollock 
TACs in the WGOA and CGOA, increase management flexibility, and, 
potentially, decrease the prohibited species catch, while not 
redistributing fishing opportunities between management areas or 
harvest sectors.

Correction

    Effective January 1, 2021, in rule document 2020-12453 at 85 FR 
38093 in the issue of June 25, 2020, on page 38100, in the third 
column, in amendatory instruction 2, paragraph (a)(12)(i) introductory 
text is corrected to read as follows:


Sec.  679.20  [Corrected]

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (12) * * *
    (i) Seasonal allowances by sector. The Western and Central GOA 
Pacific cod TACs will be seasonally apportioned to the jig sector such 
that 60 percent of the TAC is apportioned to the A season and

[[Page 79141]]

40 percent of the TAC is apportioned to the B season, as specified in 
Sec.  679.23(d)(3), before TAC is apportioned among other non-jig 
sectors. The Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs will be 
seasonally apportioned among the non-jig sectors such that 63.84 
percent of the Western GOA TAC is apportioned to the A season and 36.16 
percent of the Western GOA TAC is apportioned to the B season, and 
64.16 percent of the Central GOA TAC is apportioned to the A season and 
35.84 percent of the Central GOA TAC is apportioned to the B season, as 
specified in Sec.  679.23(d)(3).
* * * * *

    Dated: December 2, 2020.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-26954 Filed 12-8-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P