Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2021 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock, Atka Mackerel, and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts, 83473-83477 [2020-28190]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 246 / Tuesday, December 22, 2020 / Rules and Regulations (B) Which mitigation and/or monitoring measures may need to be improved to reduce interactions with ringed seals; (C) The effectiveness and practicality of implementing mitigation and monitoring measures; (D) Any issues or concerns regarding implementation of mitigation and/or monitoring measures; and (E) Potential effects of interactions based on observation data; (v) Proposed updates (if any) to Wildlife Interaction Plan(s) or Mitigation and Monitoring Measures; and (vi) The methods used for detection of seals and seal structures with an assessment of their effectiveness. (2) In the event a seal is killed or seriously injured by ice road/trail activities, Hilcorp or Eni must immediately cease the specified activities and report the incident to the NMFS Office of Protected Resources (301–427–8401) and Alaska Region Stranding Coordinator (877–925–7773). The report must include the following information: (i) Time and date of the incident; (ii) Description of the incident; (iii) Environmental conditions (e.g., cloud over, and visibility); (iv) Description of all marine mammal observations in the 24 hours preceding the incident; (v) Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved; (vi) Fate of the animal(s); and (vii) Photographs or video footage of the animal(s). (3) In the event ice road/trail personnel discover a dead or injured seal but the cause of injury or death is unknown or believed not to be related to ice road/trail activities, Hilcorp or Eni must report the incident to the NMFS Office of Protected Resources (301–427– 8401) and Alaska Region Stranding Coordinator (877–925–7773) within 48 hours of discovery. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES § 217.156 Letters of Authorization. (a) To incidentally take marine mammals pursuant to these regulations, Hilcorp and Eni must apply for and obtain an LOA. (b) An LOA, unless suspended or revoked, may be effective for a period of time not to exceed the expiration date of these regulations. (c) If an LOA expires prior to the expiration date of these regulations, Hilcorp or Eni may apply for and obtain a renewal of the LOA. (d) In the event of projected changes to the activity or to mitigation and monitoring measures required by an LOA, Hilcorp and Eni must apply for VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Dec 21, 2020 Jkt 253001 and obtain a modification of the LOA as described in § 217.57. (e) The LOAs shall set forth: (1) Permissible methods of incidental taking; (2) Means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact (i.e., mitigation) on the species, its habitat, and on the availability of the species for subsistence uses; and (3) Requirements for monitoring and reporting. (f) Issuance of the LOAs shall be based on a determination that the level of taking will be consistent with the findings made for the total taking allowable under these regulations. (g) Notice of issuance or denial of an LOA shall be published in the Federal Register within 30 days of a determination. § 217.157 Renewals and modifications of Letters of Authorization. (a) An LOA issued under §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 217.156 for the activity identified in § 217.150(a) shall be renewed or modified upon request by the applicant, provided that: (1) The proposed specified activity and mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures, as well as the anticipated impacts, are the same as those described and analyzed for these regulations (excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive management provision in paragraph (c)(1) of this section); and (2) NMFS determines that the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures required by the previous LOAs under these regulations were implemented. (b) For LOAs modification or renewal requests by the applicants that include changes to the activity or the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting (excluding changes made pursuant to the adaptive management provision in paragraph (c)(1) of this section) that do not change the findings made for the regulations or result in no more than a minor change in the total estimated number of takes (or distribution by species or years), NMFS may publish a notice of proposed LOAs in the Federal Register, including the associated analysis of the change, and solicit public comment before issuing the LOA. (c) The LOAs issued under §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 217.156 for the activity identified in § 217.150(a) may be modified by NMFS under the following circumstances: (1) Adaptive management. NMFS may modify (including augment) the existing mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures (after consulting with Hilcorp or Eni regarding the practicability of the PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 83473 modifications) if doing so creates a reasonable likelihood of more effectively accomplishing the goals of the mitigation and monitoring set forth in the preamble for these regulations. (i) Possible sources of data that could contribute to the decision to modify the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures in an LOA: (A) Results from Hilcorp or Eni’s monitoring from the previous year(s). (B) Results from other marine mammal and/or sound research or studies. (C) Any information that reveals marine mammals may have been taken in a manner, extent or number not authorized by these regulations or subsequent LOAs. (ii) If, through adaptive management, the modifications to the mitigation, monitoring, or reporting measures are substantial, NMFS will publish a notice of proposed LOA in the Federal Register and solicit public comment. (2) Emergencies. If NMFS determines that an emergency exists that poses a significant risk to the well-being of the species or stocks of marine mammals specified in LOAs issued pursuant to §§ 216.106 of this chapter and 217.156, an LOA may be modified without prior notice or opportunity for public comment. Notice would be published in the Federal Register within 30 days of the action. §§ 217.158—217.159 [Reserved] [FR Doc. 2020–26346 Filed 12–21–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 200227–0066] RTID 0648–XA727 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2021 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock, Atka Mackerel, and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason adjustment; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS is adjusting the 2021 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\22DER1.SGM 22DER1 83474 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 246 / Tuesday, December 22, 2020 / Rules and Regulations (BSAI) pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined these TACs are incorrectly specified, and will ensure the BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs are the appropriate amounts based on the best available scientific information. This action is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. DATES: Effective 0001 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 1, 2021, until the effective date of the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for BSAI groundfish, unless otherwise modified or superseded through publication of a notification in the Federal Register. Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., January 6, 2021. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2019–0074, by either of the following methods: • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20190074, 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, Attn: Records. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668. Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments if they are sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the comment period ends. All comments received are a part of the public record, and NMFS will post the comments 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). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Furuness, 907–586–7228. NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) under authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679. The final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 9, 2020) set the 2021 Aleutian Islands (AI) pollock TAC at 19,000 metric tons (mt), the 2021 Bering Sea (BS) pollock TAC at 1,450,000 mt, the 2021 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC at 54,482 mt, the 2021 BS Pacific cod TAC at 92,633 mt, and the 2021 AI Pacific cod TAC at 13,796 mt. In December 2020, the Council recommended a 2021 BS pollock TAC of 1,375,000 mt, which is less than the 1,450,000 mt TAC established by the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. The Council also recommended a 2021 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC of 62,257 mt, which is more than the 54,482 mt TAC established by the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. Furthermore, the Council recommended a 2021 BS Pacific cod TAC of 111,380 mt, and an AI Pacific cod TAC of 13,796 mt, which is more than the BS Pacific cod TAC of 92,633 mt, and the same as the AI Pacific cod TAC of 13,796 mt established by the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. The Council’s recommended 2021 TACs, and the area and seasonal apportionments, are based on the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation report (SAFE), dated November 2020, which NMFS has determined is the best available scientific information for these fisheries. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Steller sea lions occur in the same location as the pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries and are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod are a principal prey species for Steller sea lions in the BSAI. The seasonal apportionment of pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod harvest is necessary to ensure the groundfish fisheries are not likely to cause jeopardy of extinction or adverse modification of critical habitat for Steller sea lions. NMFS published regulations and the revised harvest limit amounts for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries to implement Steller sea lion protection measures to insure that groundfish fisheries of the BSAI are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the western distinct population segment of Steller sea lions or destroy or adversely modify their designated critical habitat (79 FR 70286, November 25, 2014). In accordance with § 679.25(a)(1)(iii), (a)(2)(i)(B), and (a)(2)(iv), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that, based on the November 2020 SAFE report for this fishery, the current BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs are incorrectly specified. Pursuant to § 679.25(a)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator is adjusting the 2021 BS pollock TAC to 1,375,000 mt, the 2021 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC to 62,257 mt, and the 2021 BS Pacific cod TAC to 111,380 mt. Therefore, Table 2 of the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 9, 2020) is revised consistent with this adjustment. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i) and (iii), Table 5 of the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 9, 2020) is revised for the 2021 BS and AI allocations of pollock TAC to the directed pollock fisheries and to the Community Development Quota (CDQ) directed fishing allowances consistent with this adjustment. TABLE 5—FINAL 2021 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2021 A season 1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Area and sector 2021 Allocations Bering Sea subarea TAC 1 ...................................................................... CDQ DFA ................................................................................................. ICA 1 ......................................................................................................... Total Bering Sea non-CDQ DFA ............................................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Dec 21, 2020 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4700 1,375,000 137,500 49,500 1,188,000 Sfmt 4700 A season DFA SCA harvest limit 2 n/a 61,875 n/a 534,600 E:\FR\FM\22DER1.SGM 22DER1 n/a 38,500 n/a 332,640 2021 B season 1 B season DFA n/a 75,625 n/a 653,400 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 246 / Tuesday, December 22, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 83475 TABLE 5—FINAL 2021 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2021 A season 1 Area and sector 2021 Allocations AFA Inshore ............................................................................................. AFA Catcher/Processors 3 ....................................................................... Catch by CPs ................................................................................... Catch by CVs 3 ................................................................................. Unlisted CP Limit 4 ............................................................................ AFA Motherships ..................................................................................... Excessive Harvesting Limit 5 .................................................................... Excessive Processing Limit 6 ................................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea ABC ................................................................. Aleutian Islands subarea TAC 1 ............................................................... CDQ DFA ................................................................................................. ICA ........................................................................................................... Aleut Corporation ..................................................................................... Area harvest limit 7 ................................................................................... 541 .................................................................................................... 542 .................................................................................................... 543 .................................................................................................... Bogoslof District ICA 8 .............................................................................. 594,000 475,200 434,808 40,392 2,376 118,800 207,900 356,400 58,384 19,000 1,900 2,400 14,700 n/a 17,515 8,758 2,919 250 A season DFA 2021 B season 1 B season DFA SCA harvest limit 2 267,300 213,840 195,664 18,176 1,069 53,460 n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,900 1,200 14,700 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 166,320 133,056 n/a n/a n/a 33,264 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 326,700 261,360 239,144 22,216 1,307 65,340 n/a n/a n/a n/a ............................ 1,200 ............................ n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector—50 percent, catcher/processor sector (CP)—40 percent, and mothership sector—10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20–June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10–November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) through (iii), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second for the ICA (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the Aleutian Islands subarea, the A season is allocated up to 40 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. 2 In the Bering Sea subarea, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C), no more than 28 percent of each sector’s annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before noon, April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed CPs shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels with a CP endorsement delivering to listed CPs, unless there is a CP sector cooperative for the year. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/ processor sector’s allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 of no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 of no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 of no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. 8 Pursuant to § 679.22(a)(7)(B), the Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for incidental catch only and are not apportioned by season or sector. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8), Table 7 of the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 9, 2020) is revised for the 2021 seasonal and spatial allowances, gear shares, CDQ reserve, incidental catch allowance, jig, BSAI trawl limited access, and Amendment 80 allocations of the BSAI Atka mackerel TAC consistent with this adjustment. TABLE 7—FINAL 2021 SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, CDQ RESERVE, INCIDENTAL CATCH ALLOWANCE, AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES 2021 Allocation by area Eastern aleutian district/ Bering Sea Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 TAC ................................................................ CDQ reserve .................................................. n/a ................................................................... Total ................................................................ A ...................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................. B ...................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................. n/a ................................................................... Total ................................................................ Total ................................................................ Total ................................................................ Non-CDQ TAC ............................................... ICA ................................................................. Jig 6 ................................................................. BSAI trawl limited access .............................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Dec 21, 2020 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 25,760 2,756 1,378 n/a 1,378 n/a 23,004 800 111 2,209 E:\FR\FM\22DER1.SGM 22DER1 Central aleutian district 5 Western aleutian district 15,450 1,653 827 496 827 496 13,797 75 ........................ 1,372 21,047 2,252 1,126 676 1,126 676 18,795 20 ........................ ........................ 83476 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 246 / Tuesday, December 22, 2020 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 7—FINAL 2021 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] 2021 Allocation by area Eastern aleutian district/ Bering Sea Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 Amendment 80 sector .................................... A ...................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................. B ...................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................. Total ................................................................ A ...................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................. B ...................................................................... Critical Habitat ................................................. 1,105 n/a 1,105 n/a 19,883 9,942 n/a 9,942 n/a Western aleutian district Central aleutian district 5 686 412 686 412 12,350 6,175 3,705 6,175 3,705 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 18,775 9,387 5,632 9,387 5,632 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 Sections 679.2 and 679.20(a)(8)(i) require 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 2021 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. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(7), Table 9 of the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 9, 2020) is revised for the 2021 gear shares and seasonal allowances of the BSAI Pacific cod TAC consistent with this adjustment. TABLE 9—FINAL 2021 SECTOR ALLOCATIONS AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES Sector Percent 2021 Share of total 2021 Share of sector total 2021 Seasonal apportionment n/a ..................................................................... see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) ..................................... n/a ..................................................................... n/a ..................................................................... see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) ..................................... n/a ..................................................................... n/a ..................................................................... n/a ..................................................................... n/a ..................................................................... see § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(B) .................................... n/a ..................................................................... Jan 1–Jun 10 .................................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 .................................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 .................................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 .................................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 .................................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 .................................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 .................................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 .................................................. n/a ..................................................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 27,600 26,518 113 109 850 817 4,761 4,574 n/a Jan 20–Apr 1 ..................................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 ..................................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 .................................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 ..................................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 ..................................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 .................................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 ..................................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 ..................................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 .................................................. Jan 1–Apr 30 ..................................................... Apr 30–Aug 31 .................................................. 18,281 2,717 3,706 1,928 643 ........................ 11,234 3,745 ........................ 939 313 BS TAC ............................................................. BS CDQ ............................................................. BS non-CDQ TAC ............................................. AI TAC ............................................................... AI CDQ .............................................................. AI non-CDQ TAC .............................................. Western Aleutian Island Limit ........................... Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC 1 .............................. Total hook-and-line/pot gear ............................. Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 ..................................... Hook-and-line/pot sub-total ............................... Hook-and-line catcher/processor ...................... n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 100 60.8 n/a n/a 48.7 111,380 11,918 99,462 13,796 1,476 12,320 2,166 111,782 67,964 400 67,564 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 54,118 Hook-and-line catcher vessel ≥60 ft LOA ......... 0.2 n/a 222 Pot catcher/processor ....................................... 1.5 n/a 1,667 Pot catcher vessel ≥60 ft LOA .......................... 8.4 n/a 9,334 Catcher vessel <60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Trawl catcher vessel ......................................... 2.0 n/a 2,222 22.1 24,704 n/a AFA trawl catcher/processor ............................. 2.3 2,571 n/a Amendment 80 .................................................. 13.4 14,979 n/a Jig ...................................................................... 1.4 1,565 n/a VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Dec 21, 2020 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Season E:\FR\FM\22DER1.SGM 22DER1 Amount Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 246 / Tuesday, December 22, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 83477 TABLE 9—FINAL 2021 SECTOR ALLOCATIONS AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector Percent 2021 Share of total 2021 Seasonal apportionment 2021 Share of sector total Season Amount Aug 31–Dec 31 ................................................. 313 1 The sector allocations and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of the reserves for the CDQ Program. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is or will be reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea will be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains (§ 679.20(d)(1)(iii)). 2 The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 400 mt for 2021 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:23 Dec 21, 2020 Jkt 253001 recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would allow for harvests that exceed the appropriate allocations for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod in the BSAI based on the best scientific information available. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of December 12, 2020. Without this inseason adjustment, NMFS could not allow the fishery for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod in the BSAI to be harvested in an PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 expedient manner and in accordance with the regulatory schedule. Under § 679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action to the above address until January 6, 2021. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: December 17, 2020. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–28190 Filed 12–21–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\22DER1.SGM 22DER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 246 (Tuesday, December 22, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 83473-83477]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-28190]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 200227-0066]
RTID 0648-XA727


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason 
Adjustment to the 2021 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock, Atka 
Mackerel, and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason adjustment; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is adjusting the 2021 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts 
for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

[[Page 83474]]

(BSAI) pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries. This action 
is necessary because NMFS has determined these TACs are incorrectly 
specified, and will ensure the BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific 
cod TACs are the appropriate amounts based on the best available 
scientific information. This action is consistent with the goals and 
objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering 
Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area.

DATES: Effective 0001 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 1, 
2021, until the effective date of the final 2021 and 2022 harvest 
specifications for BSAI groundfish, unless otherwise modified or 
superseded through publication of a notification in the Federal 
Register.
    Comments must be received at the following address no later than 
4:30 p.m., A.l.t., January 6, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2019-0074, by 
either of the following methods:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2019-0074, 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, Attn: Records. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-
1668.
    Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments if they are sent by 
any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after 
the comment period ends. All comments received are a part of the public 
record, and NMFS will post the comments 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).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Furuness, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
BSAI exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan 
for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area 
(FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council 
(Council) under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in 
accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 
CFR part 679.
    The final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in 
the BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 9, 2020) set the 2021 Aleutian Islands 
(AI) pollock TAC at 19,000 metric tons (mt), the 2021 Bering Sea (BS) 
pollock TAC at 1,450,000 mt, the 2021 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC at 54,482 
mt, the 2021 BS Pacific cod TAC at 92,633 mt, and the 2021 AI Pacific 
cod TAC at 13,796 mt. In December 2020, the Council recommended a 2021 
BS pollock TAC of 1,375,000 mt, which is less than the 1,450,000 mt TAC 
established by the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for 
groundfish in the BSAI. The Council also recommended a 2021 BSAI Atka 
mackerel TAC of 62,257 mt, which is more than the 54,482 mt TAC 
established by the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for 
groundfish in the BSAI. Furthermore, the Council recommended a 2021 BS 
Pacific cod TAC of 111,380 mt, and an AI Pacific cod TAC of 13,796 mt, 
which is more than the BS Pacific cod TAC of 92,633 mt, and the same as 
the AI Pacific cod TAC of 13,796 mt established by the final 2020 and 
2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. The Council's 
recommended 2021 TACs, and the area and seasonal apportionments, are 
based on the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation report (SAFE), 
dated November 2020, which NMFS has determined is the best available 
scientific information for these fisheries.
    Steller sea lions occur in the same location as the pollock, Atka 
mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries and are listed as endangered under 
the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific 
cod are a principal prey species for Steller sea lions in the BSAI. The 
seasonal apportionment of pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod 
harvest is necessary to ensure the groundfish fisheries are not likely 
to cause jeopardy of extinction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat for Steller sea lions. NMFS published regulations and the 
revised harvest limit amounts for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific 
cod fisheries to implement Steller sea lion protection measures to 
insure that groundfish fisheries of the BSAI are not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of the western distinct population 
segment of Steller sea lions or destroy or adversely modify their 
designated critical habitat (79 FR 70286, November 25, 2014).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.25(a)(1)(iii), (a)(2)(i)(B), and 
(a)(2)(iv), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional 
Administrator), has determined that, based on the November 2020 SAFE 
report for this fishery, the current BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and 
Pacific cod TACs are incorrectly specified. Pursuant to Sec.  
679.25(a)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator is adjusting the 2021 BS 
pollock TAC to 1,375,000 mt, the 2021 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC to 62,257 
mt, and the 2021 BS Pacific cod TAC to 111,380 mt. Therefore, Table 2 
of the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the 
BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 9, 2020) is revised consistent with this 
adjustment.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(i) and (iii), Table 5 of the final 
2020 and 2021 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (85 FR 
13553, March 9, 2020) is revised for the 2021 BS and AI allocations of 
pollock TAC to the directed pollock fisheries and to the Community 
Development Quota (CDQ) directed fishing allowances consistent with 
this adjustment.

    Table 5--Final 2021 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed
                                           Fishing Allowances (DFA) 1
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       2021 A season \1\          2021 B season
                                                               --------------------------------        \1\
               Area and sector                2021 Allocations                    SCA harvest  -----------------
                                                                 A season DFA      limit \2\      B season DFA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea subarea TAC \1\..................         1,375,000             n/a             n/a               n/a
CDQ DFA.....................................           137,500          61,875          38,500            75,625
ICA \1\.....................................            49,500             n/a             n/a               n/a
Total Bering Sea non-CDQ DFA................         1,188,000         534,600         332,640           653,400

[[Page 83475]]

 
AFA Inshore.................................           594,000         267,300         166,320           326,700
AFA Catcher/Processors \3\..................           475,200         213,840         133,056           261,360
    Catch by CPs............................           434,808         195,664             n/a           239,144
    Catch by CVs \3\........................            40,392          18,176             n/a            22,216
    Unlisted CP Limit \4\...................             2,376           1,069             n/a             1,307
AFA Motherships.............................           118,800          53,460          33,264            65,340
Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\..............           207,900             n/a             n/a               n/a
Excessive Processing Limit \6\..............           356,400             n/a             n/a               n/a
Aleutian Islands subarea ABC................            58,384             n/a             n/a               n/a
Aleutian Islands subarea TAC \1\............            19,000             n/a             n/a               n/a
CDQ DFA.....................................             1,900           1,900             n/a  ................
ICA.........................................             2,400           1,200             n/a             1,200
Aleut Corporation...........................            14,700          14,700             n/a  ................
Area harvest limit \7\......................               n/a             n/a             n/a               n/a
    541.....................................            17,515             n/a             n/a               n/a
    542.....................................             8,758             n/a             n/a               n/a
    543.....................................             2,919             n/a             n/a               n/a
Bogoslof District ICA \8\...................               250             n/a             n/a               n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10
  percent) and the ICA (4 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector--50 percent, catcher/
  processor sector (CP)--40 percent, and mothership sector--10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 45 percent of
  the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B
  season (June 10-November 1). Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) through (iii), the annual Aleutian
  Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second for the ICA
  (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the Aleutian Islands
  subarea, the A season is allocated up to 40 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC.
\2\ In the Bering Sea subarea, pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(C), no more than 28 percent of each sector's
  annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before noon, April 1.
\3\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed CPs shall be available
  for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels with a CP endorsement delivering to listed CPs, unless there is a
  CP sector cooperative for the year.
\4\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting
  not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processor sector's allocation of pollock.
\5\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\6\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\7\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in
  Area 541 of no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 of no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 of no more than 5
  percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC.
\8\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.22(a)(7)(B), the Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock. The
  amounts specified are for incidental catch only and are not apportioned by season or sector.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8), Table 7 of the final 2020 and 2021 
harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 
9, 2020) is revised for the 2021 seasonal and spatial allowances, gear 
shares, CDQ reserve, incidental catch allowance, jig, BSAI trawl 
limited access, and Amendment 80 allocations of the BSAI Atka mackerel 
TAC consistent with this adjustment.

 Table 7--Final 2021 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch Allowance, and
                             Amendment 80 Allocations of the BSAI ATKA Mackerel TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              2021 Allocation by area
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                      Eastern
              Sector \1\                      Season 2 3 4           aleutian         Central         Western
                                                                     district/       aleutian        aleutian
                                                                    Bering Sea     district \5\      district
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC...................................  n/a.....................          25,760          15,450          21,047
CDQ reserve...........................  Total...................           2,756           1,653           2,252
                                        A.......................           1,378             827           1,126
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             496             676
                                        B.......................           1,378             827           1,126
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             496             676
Non-CDQ TAC...........................  n/a.....................          23,004          13,797          18,795
ICA...................................  Total...................             800              75              20
Jig \6\...............................  Total...................             111  ..............  ..............
BSAI trawl limited access.............  Total...................           2,209           1,372  ..............

[[Page 83476]]

 
                                        A.......................           1,105             686  ..............
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             412  ..............
                                        B.......................           1,105             686  ..............
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             412  ..............
Amendment 80 sector...................  Total...................          19,883          12,350          18,775
                                        A.......................           9,942           6,175           9,387
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a           3,705           5,632
                                        B.......................           9,942           6,175           9,387
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a           3,705           5,632
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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 Sec.   679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see
  Sec.  Sec.   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 Sec.   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\ Sections 679.2 and 679.20(a)(8)(i) require 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 2021 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.

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(7), Table 9 of the final 2020 and 2021 
harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (85 FR 13553, March 
9, 2020) is revised for the 2021 gear shares and seasonal allowances of 
the BSAI Pacific cod TAC consistent with this adjustment.

           Table 9--Final 2021 Sector Allocations and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI Pacific Cod TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   2021 Seasonal apportionment
            Sector                  Percent      2021 Share of   2021 Share of ---------------------------------
                                                     total       sector total        Season           Amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BS TAC........................             n/a         111,380             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
BS CDQ........................             n/a          11,918             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
BS non-CDQ TAC................             n/a          99,462             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI TAC........................             n/a          13,796             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI CDQ........................             n/a           1,476             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
AI non-CDQ TAC................             n/a          12,320             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Western Aleutian Island Limit.             n/a           2,166             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC \1\....             100         111,782             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total hook-and-line/pot gear..            60.8          67,964             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line/pot ICA \2\.....             n/a             400             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(ii
                                                                                 )(B).
Hook-and-line/pot sub-total...             n/a          67,564             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line catcher/                    48.7             n/a          54,118  Jan 1-Jun 10....          27,600
 processor.                                                                     Jun 10-Dec 31...          26,518
Hook-and-line catcher vessel               0.2             n/a             222  Jan 1-Jun 10....             113
 >=60 ft LOA.
                                                                                Jun 10-Dec 31...             109
Pot catcher/processor.........             1.5             n/a           1,667  Jan 1-Jun 10....             850
                                                                                Sept 1-Dec 31...             817
Pot catcher vessel >=60 ft LOA             8.4             n/a           9,334  Jan 1-Jun 10....           4,761
                                                                                Sept 1-Dec 31...           4,574
Catcher vessel <60 ft LOA                  2.0             n/a           2,222  n/a.............             n/a
 using hook-and-line or pot
 gear.
Trawl catcher vessel..........            22.1          24,704             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          18,281
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           2,717
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....           3,706
AFA trawl catcher/processor...             2.3           2,571             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           1,928
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....             643
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....  ..............
Amendment 80..................            13.4          14,979             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          11,234
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           3,745
                                                                                Jun 10-Dec 31...  ..............
Jig...........................             1.4           1,565             n/a  Jan 1-Apr 30....             939
                                                                                Apr 30-Aug 31...             313

[[Page 83477]]

 
                                                                                Aug 31-Dec 31...             313
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The sector allocations and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and
  AI Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of the reserves for the CDQ Program. If the TAC for Pacific cod in
  either the AI or BS is or will be reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea will be
  prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains (Sec.   679.20(d)(1)(iii)).
\2\ The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC
  allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 400 mt for 2021
  based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

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 allow for harvests that exceed the 
appropriate allocations for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod in 
the BSAI based on the best scientific information available. NMFS was 
unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because 
the most recent, relevant data only became available as of December 12, 
2020.
    Without this inseason adjustment, NMFS could not allow the fishery 
for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod in the BSAI to be harvested 
in an expedient manner and in accordance with the regulatory schedule. 
Under Sec.  679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit 
written comments on this action to the above address until January 6, 
2021.

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

    Dated: December 17, 2020.
Jennifer M. Wallace,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-28190 Filed 12-21-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P