Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; Final 2021 and 2022 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish, 10184-10210 [2021-03194]

Download as PDF 10184 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness of this action. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: February 12, 2021. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2021–03351 Filed 2–16–21; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 210210–0018] RTID 0648–XY115 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska; Final 2021 and 2022 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; harvest specifications and closures. AGENCY: NMFS announces final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications, apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the remainder of the 2021 and the start of the 2022 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). The 2021 harvest specifications supersede those previously set in the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications, and the 2022 harvest specifications will be superseded in early 2022 when the final 2022 and 2023 harvest specifications are published. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the GOA in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). DATES: Harvest specifications and closures are effective at 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 19, 2021, through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2022. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Final Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of Decision (ROD), and the annual Supplementary tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 Information Reports (SIRs) to the EIS prepared for this action are available from https://www.regulations.gov. The 2020 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the GOA, dated November 2020, and SAFE reports for previous years are available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 1007 West 3rd Avenue, Suite 400, Anchorage, AK 99501, phone 907–271–2809, or from the Council’s website at https:// www.npfmc.org. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the GOA groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic zone of the GOA under the FMP. The Council prepared the FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the FMP appear at 50 CFR parts 600, 679, and 680. The FMP and its implementing regulations require that NMFS, after consultation with the Council, specify the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species, the sum of which must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 116,000 to 800,000 metric tons (mt) (50 CFR 679.20(a)(1)(i)(B)). Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires that NMFS publish and solicit public comment on proposed annual TACs and apportionments thereof, Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limits, and seasonal allowances of pollock and Pacific cod. Upon consideration of public comment received under § 679.20(c)(1), NMFS must publish notice of final harvest specifications for up to two fishing years as annual TACs and apportionments, Pacific halibut PSC limits, and seasonal allowances of pollock and Pacific cod, per § 679.20(c)(3)(ii). The final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 29 of this rule reflect the outcome of this process, as required at § 679.20(c). The proposed 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA and Pacific halibut PSC limits were published in the Federal Register on December 3, 2020 (85 FR 78076). Comments were invited and accepted through January 4, 2021. NMFS did not receive any comments on the proposed harvest specifications. In December 2020, NMFS consulted with the Council regarding the 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications. After an opportunity for public comment, and after considering more recent biological and socioeconomic data that were available PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 at the Council’s December 2020 meeting, NMFS is implementing the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications, as recommended by the Council. Differences between the proposed specifications and the final specifications are discussed below. For 2021, the sum of the TAC amounts is 407,975 mt. For 2022, the sum of the TAC amounts is 409,039 mt. Other Actions Affecting the 2021 and 2022 Harvest Specifications Amendment 109 to the FMP: Revisions to the GOA Pollock Seasons and Pacific Cod Seasonal Allocations On June 25, 2020, NMFS published a final rule to implement Amendment 109 to the FMP (85 FR 38093), effective January 1, 2021 (see also correction 85 FR 79139, December 9, 2020). The final rule revised the pollock seasons and allocations, along with Pacific cod season allocations, in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA. Amendment 109 modified the existing annual pollock TAC allocation to two equal seasonal allocations (50 percent of TAC), rather than four equal seasonal allocations (25 percent of TAC). The pollock A and B seasons were combined into a January 20 through May 31 A season, and the pollock C and D seasons were combined into a September 1 through November 1 B season. Additionally, Amendment 109 revised the Pacific cod TAC seasonal apportionments to the trawl catcher vessel (CV) sector by increasing the A season allocation and decreasing the B season allocation. The December 9, 2020, correction clarified existing seasonal apportionments of Pacific cod for the jig sector. The revisions implemented by Amendment 109 are incorporated into these final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications. Amendment 110 to the FMP: Reclassify Sculpins as an Ecosystem Component Species On July 10, 2020, NMFS published the final rule to implement Amendment 110 to the FMP (85 FR 41427). The final rule reclassified sculpins in the FMP as an ‘‘Ecosystem Component’’ species, which is a category of non-target species that are not in need of conservation and management. Accordingly, NMFS will no longer set an Overfishing Level (OFL), acceptable biological catch (ABC), and TAC for sculpins in the GOA groundfish harvest specifications. ABC and TAC Specifications In December 2020, the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), its Advisory Panel (AP), and the E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations Council reviewed the most recent biological and harvest information about the condition of the GOA groundfish stocks. The Council’s GOA Groundfish Plan Team (Plan Team) compiled and presented this information in the 2020 SAFE report for the GOA groundfish fisheries, dated November 2020 (see ADDRESSES). The SAFE report contains a review of the latest scientific analyses and estimates of each species’ biomass and other biological parameters, as well as summaries of the available information on the GOA ecosystem and the economic condition of the groundfish fisheries off Alaska. From these data and analyses, the Plan Team recommends, and the SSC sets, an OFL and ABC for each species or species group. The 2020 SAFE report was made available for public review during the public comment period for the proposed harvest specifications. In previous years, the greatest changes from the proposed to the final harvest specifications have been based on recent NMFS stock surveys, which provide updated estimates of stock biomass and spatial distribution, and changes to the models used for producing stock assessments. At the November 2020 Plan Team meeting, NMFS scientists presented updated and new survey results, changes to stock assessment models, and accompanying stock assessment estimates for groundfish species and species groups that are included in the 2020 SAFE report per the stock assessment schedule found in the 2020 SAFE report introduction. The SSC reviewed this information at the December 2020 Council meeting. Changes from the proposed to the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications are discussed below. The final 2021 and 2022 OFLs and ABCs are based on the best available biological information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised methods used to calculate stock biomass, and the final 2021 and 2022 TACs are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic information. The FMP specifies the formulas, or tiers, to be used to compute OFLs and ABCs. The formulas applicable to a particular stock or stock complex are determined by the level of reliable information available to fisheries scientists. This information is categorized into a successive series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts, with Tier 1 representing the highest level of information quality available and Tier 6 representing the lowest level of information quality available. The Plan Team used the FMP tier structure to calculate OFL and ABC VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 amounts for each groundfish species. The SSC adopted the final 2021 and 2022 OFLs and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team for most groundfish species, with the exception of sablefish. The Alaska-wide sablefish ABC is apportioned between six areas within the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) and Gulf of Alaska (Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, Western Gulf, Central Gulf, West Yakutat, and East Yakutat/ Southeast areas). Since 2013, a fixed apportionment methodology has been used to apportion the ABC between those six areas. However, a new apportionment methodology will be used for 2021 and 2022 that affects the apportionment of sablefish ABC and the area TACs that are allocated between the trawl and fixed gear sectors. The Joint BSAI and GOA Groundfish Plan Team, SSC, and Council reviewed a range of apportionment approaches for the sablefish ABC for the harvest specifications, including a range from the status quo (fixed apportionment) and the sablefish assessment authors’ recommended non-exponential 5-year survey moving average. The Joint Plan Team recommended that, from a biological perspective, moving away from the fixed apportionment toward the true distribution would be preferred, to the extent practical. The SSC recommended a 25 percent stair step from the current (fixed) apportionment percentages toward the non-exponential 5-year survey moving average proposed by the assessment authors. The Council and NMFS have adopted the SSC’s recommendation for the 2021 and 2022 ABC apportionments. For 2021 this increases the ABC apportionments in all areas (for example, up to 60 percent in the Aleutian Islands subarea), with smaller increases in areas that have recently been apportioned a greater percentage under the fixed apportionment methodology than suggested by recent survey observations (for example, only a 17 percent increase in the East Yakutat/Southeast area). The Council adopted the SSC’s OFLs and ABCs and the AP’s TAC recommendations, with the exception of the sablefish TACs (further described below). The final TAC recommendations are based on the ABCs and are adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the sum of all TACs within the required OY range of 116,000 to 800,000 mt. The Council recommended 2021 and 2022 TACs that are equal to ABCs for pollock in the Southeast Outside (SEO) District, shallow-water flatfish in the Central GOA and the West Yakutat and SEO Districts, deep-water flatfish, rex PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 10185 sole, arrowtooth flounder in the Central GOA, flathead sole in the West Yakutat and SEO Districts, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, dusky rockfish, rougheye and blackspotted rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, thornyhead rockfish, ‘‘other rockfish’’ in the Western/Central GOA and West Yakutat District, big skate, longnose skate, other skates, sharks, and octopuses in the GOA. The Council recommended TACs for 2021 and 2022 that are less than the ABCs for pollock for the combined Western and Central GOA and West Yakutat District area, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish in the Western GOA, arrowtooth flounder in the Western GOA and the West Yakutat and SEO Districts, flathead sole in the Western and Central GOA, Atka mackerel, and ‘‘other rockfish’’ in the SEO District. The Council recommended 2021 sablefish TACs that are less than the 2021 ABCs, and 2022 sablefish TACs that are equal to 2022 ABCs. Setting the 2021 sablefish TACs less than 2021 ABCs is intended to provide an incremental increase to the 2021 sablefish TACs, rather than the very large increase in the 2021 sablefish TACs if they were set equal to ABCs. The Council recommended setting the TAC for each GOA management area to be 25 percent higher than the 2020 sablefish TACs. The combined Western, Central, and West Yakutat pollock TAC and the GOA Pacific cod TACs are set to accommodate the State of Alaska’s (State’s) guideline harvest levels (GHLs) so that the ABCs for pollock and Pacific cod are not exceeded. The Western GOA shallow-water flatfish, Western GOA arrowtooth flounder, and Western GOA flathead sole TACs are set to allow for increased harvest opportunities for these target species while conserving the halibut PSC limit for use in other, more fully utilized fisheries. Similarly, the Western Yakutat and SEO Districts arrowtooth flounder TACs and the Central GOA flathead sole TAC are set lower than ABC to conserve halibut PSC limit for use in other fisheries or because there is limited commercial interest and participation in these fisheries. The Atka mackerel TAC is set to accommodate incidental catch amounts in other fisheries. The ‘‘other rockfish’’ TAC in the SEO District is set to reduce the amount of discards of the species in that complex. The final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications approved by the Secretary of Commerce are unchanged from those recommended by the Council, and are consistent with the preferred harvest strategy alternative outlined in the FMP and EIS (see ADDRESSES). E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10186 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES NMFS finds that the Council’s recommended OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the biological condition of the groundfish stocks as described in the final 2020 SAFE report. NMFS also finds that the Council’s recommendations for TACs are consistent with the biological condition of groundfish stocks as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the sum of all TACs within the OY range. NMFS reviewed the Council’s recommended TACs and apportionments, and NMFS approves these harvest specifications under 50 CFR 679.20(c)(3)(ii). The apportionment of TAC amounts among gear types and sectors, processing sectors, and seasons is discussed below. Tables 1 and 2 list the final 2021 and 2022 OFLs, ABCs, TACs, and area apportionments of groundfish in the GOA. The 2021 harvest specifications set in this final action will supersede the 2021 harvest specifications previously set in the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications (85 FR 13802, March 10, 2020). The 2022 harvest specifications will be superseded in early 2022 when the final 2022 and 2023 harvest specifications are published. Pursuant to this final action, the 2021 harvest specifications therefore will apply for the remainder of the current year (2021), while the 2022 harvest specifications are projected only for the following year (2022) and will be superseded in early 2022 by the final 2022 and 2023 harvest specifications. Because this final action (published in early 2021) will be superseded in early 2022 by the publication of the final 2022 and 2023 harvest specifications, it is projected that this final action will implement the harvest specifications for the Gulf of Alaska for approximately one year. Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts NMFS’s apportionment of groundfish species is based on the distribution of biomass among the regulatory areas over which NMFS manages the species. Additional regulations govern the apportionment of pollock, Pacific cod, and sablefish and are described below. The ABC for the pollock stock in the combined Western and Central Regulatory Areas and the West Yakutat (WYK) District of the Eastern Regulatory Area (the W/C/WYK) includes the amount for the GHL established by the State for the Prince William Sound (PWS) pollock fishery. The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and Council have recommended that the sum of all State water and Federal water pollock VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 removals from the GOA not exceed ABC recommendations. For 2021 and 2022, the SSC recommended and the Council approved the W/C/WYK pollock ABC, including the amount to account for the State’s PWS GHL. At the November 2020 Plan Team meeting, State fisheries managers recommended setting the PWS pollock GHL at 2.5 percent of the annual W/C/WYK pollock ABC. For 2021, this yields a PWS pollock GHL of 2,643 mt, a decrease of 69 mt from the 2020 PWS pollock GHL of 2,712 mt. For 2022, the PWS pollock GHL is 2,298 mt, a decrease of 414 mt from the 2020 PWS pollock GHL of 2,712 mt. After the GHL reductions, the 2021 and 2022 pollock ABCs for the combined W/C/WYK areas are then apportioned between four statistical areas (Areas 610, 620, 630, and 640) as both ABCs and TACs, as described below and detailed in Tables 1 and 2. The total ABCs and TACs for the four statistical areas, plus the State PWS GHL, do not exceed the combined W/C/WYK ABC. Apportionments of pollock to the W/ C/WYK areas are considered to be ‘‘apportionments of annual catch limits (ACLs)’’ rather than ‘‘ABCs.’’ This more accurately reflects that such apportionments address management, rather than biological or conservation, concerns. In addition, apportionments of the ACL in this manner allow NMFS to balance any transfer of TAC among Areas 610, 620, and 630 pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B) to ensure that the combined W/C/WYK ACL, ABC, and TAC are not exceeded. NMFS establishes pollock TACs in the Western (Area 610) and Central (Areas 620 and 630) Regulatory Areas and the West Yakutat (Area 640) and the SEO (Area 650) Districts of the GOA (see Tables 1 and 2). NMFS also establishes seasonal apportionments of the annual pollock TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630. Additional detail on area apportionments and seasonal allowances is provided in a subsequent section in this rule; Tables 3 and 4 list these amounts. The 2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs are set to accommodate the State’s GHLs for Pacific cod in State waters in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, as well as in PWS. The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and Council recommended that the sum of all State water and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the GOA not exceed ABC recommendations. The Council set the 2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs in the Western, Central, and Eastern Regulatory Areas to account for State GHLs. Therefore, the 2021 Pacific cod TACs are less than the ABCs by the PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 following amounts: (1) Western GOA, 2,396 mt; (2) Central GOA, 3,414 mt; and (3) Eastern GOA, 496 mt. The 2022 Pacific cod TACs are less than the ABCs by the following amounts: (1) Western GOA, 3,868 mt; (2) Central GOA, 5,511 mt; and (3) Eastern GOA, 801 mt. These amounts reflect the State’s 2021 and 2022 GHLs in these areas, which are 30 percent of the Western GOA ABC and 25 percent of the Eastern and Central GOA ABCs. The Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs are allocated among various gear and operational sectors. NMFS also establishes seasonal apportionments of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. The Pacific cod sector and seasonal apportionments are discussed in detail in a subsequent section and in Tables 5 and 6 of this rule. The Council’s recommendation for sablefish area apportionments takes into account the prohibition on the use of trawl gear in the SEO District of the Eastern Regulatory Area (§ 679.7(b)(1)) and makes available 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area TACs to vessels using trawl gear for use as incidental catch in other trawl groundfish fisheries in the WYK District (§ 679.20(a)(4)(i)). Tables 7 and 8 list the final 2021 and 2022 allocations of sablefish TAC to fixed gear and trawl gear in the GOA. Changes From the Proposed 2021 and 2022 Harvest Specifications in the GOA In October 2020, the Council’s recommendations for the proposed 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications (85 FR 78076, December 3, 2020) were based largely on information contained in the final 2019 SAFE report for the GOA groundfish fisheries, dated November 2019. The final 2019 SAFE report for the GOA is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). The Council proposed that the final OFLs, ABCs, and TACs established for the 2021 groundfish fisheries (85 FR 13802, March 10, 2020) be used for the proposed 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications (85 FR 78076, December 3, 2020), pending completion and review of the 2020 SAFE report at the Council’s December 2020 meeting. As described previously, the SSC recommended the final 2021 and 2022 OFLs and ABCs as recommended by the Plan Team, with the exception of sablefish ABCs. The Council adopted as its recommendations the SSC’s OFL and ABC recommendations and the AP’s TAC recommendations (except for sablefish) for 2021 and 2022. The final 2021 ABCs are higher than the proposed 2021 ABCs published in the proposed 2021 and 2022 harvest E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations specifications (85 FR 78076, December 3, 2020) for Pacific cod, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, dusky rockfish, rougheye/blackspotted rockfish, and demersal shelf rockfish. The final 2021 ABCs are lower than the proposed 2021 ABCs for pollock, sablefish, shallow-water flatfish, thornyhead rockfish, and sharks. The final 2022 ABCs are higher than the proposed 2022 ABCs for Pacific cod, sablefish, shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, dusky rockfish, rougheye/blackspotted rockfish, and demersal shelf rockfish. The final 2022 ABCs are lower than the proposed 2022 ABCs for pollock, arrowtooth flounder, thornyhead rockfish, and sharks. For the remaining target species, the Council recommended the final 2021 and 2022 ABCs that are the same as the proposed 2021 and 2022 ABCs. Additional information explaining the changes between the proposed and final ABCs is included in the final 2020 SAFE report, which was not completed and available when the Council made its proposed ABC and TAC recommendations in October 2020. At that time, the most recent stock assessment information was contained in the final 2019 SAFE report. The final 2020 SAFE report contains the best and most recent scientific information on the condition of the groundfish stocks, as previously discussed in this preamble, and is available for review (see ADDRESSES). The Council considered the 2020 SAFE report in December 2020 when it made recommendations for the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications. In the GOA, the total final 2021 TAC amount is 407,975 mt, an increase of 1.3 percent from the total proposed 2021 TAC amount of 402,783 mt. The total final 2022 TAC amount is 409,039 mt, an increase of 1.6 percent from the total proposed 2022 TAC amount of 402,783 mt. Table 1a summarizes the difference between the proposed and final TACs. Annual stock assessments incorporate a variety of new or revised inputs, such as survey data or catch information, as well as changes to the statistical models used to estimate a species’ biomass and population trend. Changes to biomass and ABC estimates are primarily based on fishery catch updates to species’ assessment models. Some species, such as pollock and sablefish, have additional surveys conducted on an annual basis, which resulted in additional data being available for the 2020 assessments for these stocks. The changes from the proposed 2021 TACs to the final 2021 TACs are within a range of plus 169 percent or minus 60 percent, and the changes from the proposed 2022 TACs to the final 2022 TACs are within a range of plus 335 percent or minus 60 percent. Based on changes in the estimates of overall biomass in the stock assessment for 10187 2021 and 2022, as compared to the estimates previously made for 2020 and 2021, the species or species group with the greatest TAC percentage increases are Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, and dusky rockfish. Based on changes in the estimates of biomass, the species or species group with the greatest decreases in TACs are sablefish, other rockfish, and sharks, as well as pollock (2022 TAC). The 2021 sablefish TAC decreases by 19 percent, but increases in 2022 by 13 percent, compared to estimates previously made for 2020 and 2021. For all other species and species groups, changes from the proposed 2021 TACs to the final 2021 TACs and changes from the proposed 2022 TACs to the final 2022 TACs are less than a 10 percent change (either increase or decrease). These TAC changes correspond to associated changes in the ABCs and TACs, as recommended by the SSC, AP, and Council. Detailed information providing the basis for the changes described above is contained in the final 2020 SAFE report. The final TACs are based on the best scientific information available, including biological and socioeconomic information. These TACs are specified in compliance with the harvest strategy described in the proposed and final rules for the 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications. TABLE 1A—COMPARISON OF PROPOSED AND FINAL 2021 AND 2022 GOA TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH LIMITS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentage] 2021 and 2022 Proposed TAC tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Species 2021 Final TAC 2021 Final minus 2021 Proposed TAC Percentage difference 2022 Final TAC 2022 Final minus 2022 Proposed TAC Percentage difference Pollock ........................................................... Pacific cod ..................................................... Sablefish ........................................................ Shallow-water flatfish .................................... Deep-water flatfish ........................................ Rex sole ........................................................ Arrowtooth flounder ....................................... Flathead sole ................................................. Pacific ocean perch ....................................... Northern rockfish ........................................... Shortraker rockfish ........................................ Dusky rockfish ............................................... Rougheye/blackspotted rockfish ................... Demersal shelf rockfish ................................. Thornyhead rockfish ...................................... Other rockfish ................................................ Atka mackerel ............................................... Big skate ....................................................... Longnose skate ............................................. Other skates .................................................. Sharks ........................................................... Octopuses ..................................................... 119,239 6,431 22,252 45,403 5,926 15,416 94,983 28,386 29,983 4,106 708 3,598 1,211 238 2,016 4,053 3,000 3,208 2,587 875 8,184 980 113,227 17,321 17,992 45,263 5,926 15,416 97,372 28,392 36,177 5,357 708 5,389 1,212 257 1,953 1,609 3,000 3,208 2,587 875 3,755 980 –6,012 10,890 –4,260 –140 0 0 2,389 6 6,194 1,251 0 1,791 1 19 –63 –2,444 0 0 0 0 –4,429 0 –5 169 –19 0 0 0 3 0 21 30 0 50 0 8 –3 –60 0 0 0 0 –54 0 99,784 27,961 25,231 45,673 5,926 15,416 95,454 28,445 34,602 5,099 708 5,295 1,221 257 1,953 1,609 3,000 3,208 2,587 875 3,755 980 –19,455 21,530 2,979 270 0 0 471 59 4,619 993 0 1,697 10 19 –63 –2,444 0 0 0 0 –4,429 0 –16 335 13 1 0 0 0 0 15 24 0 47 1 8 –3 –60 0 0 0 0 –54 0 Total ....................................................... 402,783 407,975 5,193 1.3 409,039 6,256 1.6 The final 2021 and 2022 TAC amounts for the GOA are within the OY VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 range established for the GOA and do not exceed the ABC for any species or PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 species group. Tables 1 and 2 list the final OFL, ABC, and TAC amounts for E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10188 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations GOA groundfish for 2021 and 2022, respectively. TABLE 1—FINAL 2021 OFLS, ABCS, AND TACS OF GROUNDFISH FOR THE WESTERN/CENTRAL/WEST YAKUTAT, WESTERN, CENTRAL, EASTERN REGULATORY AREAS, THE WEST YAKUTAT AND SOUTHEAST OUTSIDE DISTRICTS OF THE EASTERN REGULATORY AREA, AND GULFWIDE DISTRICTS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Area 1 Pollock 2 .......................................................... Shumagin (610) .............................................. Chirikof (620) .................................................. Kodiak (630) ................................................... WYK (640) ...................................................... W/C/WYK (subtotal) 2 ..................................... SEO (650) ...................................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 123,455 13,531 18,477 54,870 24,320 5,412 105,722 10,148 18,477 54,870 24,320 5,412 103,079 10,148 Total ........................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... E ..................................................................... 136,986 n/a n/a n/a 115,870 7,986 13,656 1,985 113,227 5,590 10,242 1,489 Total ........................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ E (WYK and SEO) (subtotal) ......................... 28,977 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 23,627 3,224 9,527 3,451 5,273 8,724 17,321 2,428 8,056 2,929 4,579 7,508 Total ........................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 60,426 n/a n/a n/a n/a 21,475 24,151 28,082 2,808 1,123 17,991 13,250 28,082 2,808 1,123 Total ........................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 68,841 n/a n/a n/a n/a 56,164 225 1,914 2,068 1,719 45,263 225 1,914 2,068 1,719 Total ........................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 7,040 n/a n/a n/a n/a 5,926 3,013 8,912 1,206 2,285 5,926 3,013 8,912 1,206 2,285 Total ........................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 18,779 n/a n/a n/a n/a 15,416 32,377 69,072 8,380 17,141 15,416 14,500 69,072 6,900 6,900 Total ........................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 151,723 n/a n/a n/a n/a 126,970 14,209 20,826 2,427 1,915 97,372 8,650 15,400 2,427 1,915 Total ........................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... W/C/WYK subtotal ......................................... SEO ................................................................ 47,982 n/a n/a n/a 36,563 6,414 39,377 1,643 27,429 1,705 30,777 5,400 28,392 1,643 27,429 1,705 30,777 5,400 Total ........................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... E ..................................................................... 42,977 n/a n/a n/a 36,177 2,023 3,334 1 36,177 2,023 3,334 ........................ Total ........................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... E ..................................................................... 6,396 n/a n/a n/a 5,358 52 284 372 5,357 52 284 372 Pacific cod 3 .................................................... Sablefish 4 ....................................................... Shallow-water flatfish 5 .................................... Deep-water flatfish 6 ........................................ Rex sole .......................................................... Arrowtooth flounder ......................................... Flathead sole .................................................. Pacific ocean perch 7 ...................................... ......................................................................... tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Northern rockfish 8 .......................................... Shortraker rockfish 9 ........................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4700 OFL Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM ABC 19FER1 TAC Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 10189 TABLE 1—FINAL 2021 OFLS, ABCS, AND TACS OF GROUNDFISH FOR THE WESTERN/CENTRAL/WEST YAKUTAT, WESTERN, CENTRAL, EASTERN REGULATORY AREAS, THE WEST YAKUTAT AND SOUTHEAST OUTSIDE DISTRICTS OF THE EASTERN REGULATORY AREA, AND GULFWIDE DISTRICTS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area 1 Species OFL ABC Total ........................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 944 n/a n/a n/a n/a 708 270 4,548 468 103 708 270 4,548 468 103 Total ........................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... E ..................................................................... 8,655 n/a n/a n/a 5,389 168 456 588 5,389 168 456 588 Total ........................................................ SEO ................................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... E ..................................................................... 1,456 405 n/a n/a n/a 1,212 257 352 910 691 1,212 257 352 910 691 Total ........................................................ W and C ......................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 2,604 n/a n/a n/a 1,953 940 369 2,744 1,953 940 369 300 Total ........................................................ GW ................................................................. W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... E ..................................................................... 5,320 6,200 n/a n/a n/a 4,053 4,700 758 1,560 890 1,609 3,000 758 1,560 890 Total ........................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... E ..................................................................... 4,278 n/a n/a n/a 3,208 158 1,875 554 3,208 158 1,875 554 Other skates 17 ................................................ Sharks ............................................................. Octopus ........................................................... Total ........................................................ GW ................................................................. GW ................................................................. GW ................................................................. 3,449 1,166 5,006 1,307 2,587 875 3,755 980 2,587 875 3,755 980 Total ......................................................... ......................................................................... 610,917 476,037 407,975 Dusky rockfish 10 ............................................. Rougheye and Blackspotted rockfish 11 .......... Demersal shelf rockfish 12 ............................... Thornyhead rockfish ....................................... Other rockfish 13 14 .......................................... Atka mackerel ................................................. Big skate 15 ...................................................... Longnose skate 16 ........................................... 1 Regulatory tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES TAC areas and districts are defined at § 679.2. (W=Western Gulf of Alaska; C=Central Gulf of Alaska; E=Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK=West Yakutat District; SEO=Southeast Outside District; GW=Gulf-wide). 2 The total for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas pollock ABC is 105,722 mt. After deducting 2.5 percent (2,643 mt) of that ABC for the State’s pollock GHL fishery, the remaining pollock ABC of 103,079 mt (for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas) is apportioned among four statistical areas (Areas 610, 620, 630, and 640). These apportionments are considered subarea ACLs, rather than ABCs, for specification and reapportionment purposes. The ACLs in Areas 610, 620, and 630 are further divided by season, as detailed in Table 3 (final 2021 seasonal biomass distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, area apportionments, and seasonal allowances). In the West Yakutat (Area 640) and Southeast Outside (Area 650) Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided into seasonal allowances. 3 The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned, after seasonal apportionment to the jig sector, as follows: (1) 63.84 percent to the A season and 36.16 percent to the B season and (2) 64.16 percent to the A season and 35.84 percent to the B season in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA, respectively. Pacific cod TAC in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA is allocated 90 percent to vessels harvesting Pacific cod for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent to vessels harvesting Pacific cod for processing by the offshore component. Table 5 lists the final 2021 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments and sector allocations. 4 The sablefish OFL and ABC is set Alaska-wide (60,426 mt and 29,588 mt, respectively). Additionally, sablefish is allocated to trawl and fixed gear in 2021 and trawl gear in 2022. Table 7 lists the final 2021 allocations of sablefish TACs. 5 ‘‘Shallow-water flatfish’’ means flatfish not including ‘‘deep-water flatfish,’’ flathead sole, rex sole, or arrowtooth flounder. 6 ‘‘Deep-water flatfish’’ means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deepsea sole. 7 ‘‘Pacific ocean perch’’ means Sebastes alutus. 8 ‘‘Northern rockfish’’ means Sebastes polyspinis. For management purposes, the 1 mt apportionment of ABC to the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the ‘‘other rockfish’’ species group. 9 ‘‘Shortraker rockfish’’ means Sebastes borealis. 10 ‘‘Dusky rockfish’’ means Sebastes variabilis. 11 ‘‘Rougheye and blackspotted rockfish’’ mean Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and S. melanostictus (blackspotted). 12 ‘‘Demersal shelf rockfish’’ means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper), S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye). 13 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S. paucispinis (bocaccio), S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S. variegatus (harlequin), S. wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus (sharpchin), S. jordani (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergrey), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola (stripetail), S. miniatus (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA only, other rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinis. 14 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means other rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. The ‘‘other rockfish’’ species group in the SEO District only includes other rockfish. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10190 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 15 ‘‘Big skate’’ means Raja binoculata. skate’’ means Raja rhina. 17 ‘‘Other skates’’ mean Bathyraja and Raja spp. 16 ‘‘Longnose TABLE 2—FINAL 2022 OFLS, ABCS, AND TACS OF GROUNDFISH FOR THE WESTERN/CENTRAL/WEST YAKUTAT, WESTERN, CENTRAL, EASTERN REGULATORY AREAS, THE WEST YAKUTAT AND SOUTHEAST OUTSIDE DISTRICTS OF THE EASTERN REGULATORY AREA, AND GULFWIDE DISTRICTS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Area 1 Pollock 2 .......................................................... Shumagin (610) .............................................. Chirikof (620) .................................................. Kodiak (630) ................................................... WYK (640) ...................................................... W/C/WYK (subtotal) 2 ..................................... SEO (650) ...................................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a 106,767 13,531 16,067 47,714 21,149 4,706 91,934 10,148 16,067 47,714 21,149 4,706 89,636 10,148 Total ............................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... E ..................................................................... 120,298 n/a n/a n/a 102,082 12,892 22,045 3,204 99,784 9,024 16,534 2,403 Total ............................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ E (WYK and SEO) (subtotal) ......................... 46, 587 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 38,141 4,165 11,111 4,009 5,946 9,955 27,961 4,165 11,111 4,009 5,946 9,955 Total ............................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 70,710 n/a n/a n/a n/a 25,231 24,460 28,442 2,844 1,137 25,231 13,250 28,442 2,844 1,137 Total ............................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 69,061 n/a n/a n/a n/a 56,883 225 1,914 2,068 1,719 45,673 225 1,914 2,068 1,719 Total ............................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 7,040 n/a n/a n/a n/a 5,926 3,013 8,912 1,206 2,285 5,926 3,013 8,912 1,206 2,285 Total ............................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 18,779 n/a n/a n/a n/a 15,416 31,479 67,154 8,147 16,665 15,416 14,500 67,154 6,900 6,900 Total ............................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 147,515 n/a n/a n/a n/a 123,445 14,380 21,076 2,456 1,939 95,454 8,650 15,400 2,456 1,939 Total ............................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... W/C/WYK ....................................................... SEO ................................................................ 48,534 n/a n/a n/a 34,974 6,136 39,851 1,572 26,234 1,631 29,437 5,165 28,445 1,572 26,234 1,631 29,437 5,165 Total ............................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... E ..................................................................... 41,110 n/a n/a n/a 34,602 1,926 3,173 1 34,602 1,926 3,173 ........................ Total ............................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... 6,088 n/a n/a 5,100 52 284 5,099 52 284 Pacific cod 3 .................................................... Sablefish 4 ....................................................... Shallow-water flatfish 5 .................................... Deep-water flatfish 6 ........................................ Rex sole .......................................................... Arrowtooth flounder ......................................... Flathead sole .................................................. tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Pacific ocean perch 7 ...................................... Northern rockfish 8 .......................................... Shortraker rockfish 9 ........................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4700 OFL Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM ABC 19FER1 TAC Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 10191 TABLE 2—FINAL 2022 OFLS, ABCS, AND TACS OF GROUNDFISH FOR THE WESTERN/CENTRAL/WEST YAKUTAT, WESTERN, CENTRAL, EASTERN REGULATORY AREAS, THE WEST YAKUTAT AND SOUTHEAST OUTSIDE DISTRICTS OF THE EASTERN REGULATORY AREA, AND GULFWIDE DISTRICTS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area 1 Species OFL ABC E ..................................................................... n/a 372 372 Total ............................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 944 n/a n/a n/a n/a 708 265 4,469 460 101 708 265 4,469 460 101 Total ............................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... n/a .................................................................. 8,423 n/a n/a 592 5,295 170 459 592 5,295 170 459 Total ............................................................ SEO ................................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... E ..................................................................... 1,467 405 n/a n/a n/a 1,221 257 352 910 691 1,221 257 352 910 691 Total ............................................................ W and C ......................................................... WYK ............................................................... SEO ................................................................ 2, 604 n/a n/a n/a 1,953 940 369 2,744 1,953 940 369 300 Total ............................................................ GW ................................................................. W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... E ..................................................................... 5,320 6,200 n/a n/a n/a 4,053 4,700 758 1,560 890 1,609 3,000 758 1,560 890 Total ............................................................ W .................................................................... C ..................................................................... E ..................................................................... 4, 278 n/a n/a n/a 3,208 158 1,875 554 3,208 158 1,875 554 Other skates 17 ................................................ Sharks ............................................................. Octopus ........................................................... Total ............................................................ GW ................................................................. GW ................................................................. GW ................................................................. 3,449 1,166 5,006 1,307 2,587 875 3,755 980 2,587 875 3,755 980 Total ......................................................... ......................................................................... 616,921 476,269 409,039 Dusky rockfish 10 ............................................. Rougheye and Blackspotted rockfish 11 .......... Demersal shelf rockfish 12 ............................... Thornyhead rockfish ....................................... Other rockfish 13 14 .......................................... Atka mackerel ................................................. Big skate 15 ...................................................... Longnose skate 16 ........................................... 1 Regulatory tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES TAC areas and districts are defined at § 679.2. (W=Western Gulf of Alaska; C=Central Gulf of Alaska; E=Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK=West Yakutat District; SEO=Southeast Outside District; GW=Gulf-wide). 2 The total for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas pollock ABC is 91,934 mt. After deducting 2.5 percent (2,298 mt) of that ABC for the State’s pollock GHL fishery, the remaining pollock ABC of 89,636 mt (for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas) is apportioned among four statistical areas (Areas 610, 620, 630, and 640). These apportionments are considered subarea ACLs, rather than ABCs, for specification and reapportionment purposes. The ACLs in Areas 610, 620, and 630 are further divided by season, as detailed in Table 4 (final 2022 seasonal biomass distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, area apportionments, and seasonal allowances). In the West Yakutat (Area 640) and Southeast Outside (Area 650) Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided into seasonal allowances. 3 The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned, after seasonal apportionment to the jig sector, as follows: (1) 63.84 percent to the A season and 36.16 percent to the B season and (2) 64.16 percent to the A season and 35.84 percent to the B season in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA, respectively. Pacific cod TAC in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA is allocated 90 percent to vessels harvesting Pacific cod for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent to vessels harvesting Pacific cod for processing by the offshore component. Table 6 lists the final 2022 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments and sector allocations. 4 The sablefish OFL and ABC is set Alaska-wide (70,710 mt and 36,955 mt, respectively). Additionally, sablefish is allocated only to trawl gear for 2022. Table 8 lists the final 2022 allocation of sablefish TACs to trawl gear. 5 ‘‘Shallow-water flatfish’’ means flatfish not including ‘‘deep-water flatfish,’’ flathead sole, rex sole, or arrowtooth flounder. 6 ‘‘Deep-water flatfish’’ means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deepsea sole. 7 ‘‘Pacific ocean perch’’ means Sebastes alutus. 8 ‘‘Northern rockfish’’ means Sebastes polyspinis. For management purposes, the 1 mt apportionment of ABC to the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the ‘‘other rockfish’’ species group. 9 ‘‘Shortraker rockfish’’ means Sebastes borealis. 10 ‘‘Dusky rockfish’’ means Sebastes variabilis. 11 ‘‘Rougheye and blackspotted rockfish’’ mean Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and S. melanostictus (blackspotted). 12 ‘‘Demersal shelf rockfish’’ means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper), S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye). 13 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S. paucispinis (bocaccio), S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S. variegatus (harlequin), S. wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus (sharpchin), S. jordani (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergrey), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola (stripetail), S. miniatus (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA only, other rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinis. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10192 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 14 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means other rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. The ‘‘other rockfish’’ species group in the SEO District only includes other rockfish. 15 ‘‘Big skate’’ means Raja binoculata. 16 ‘‘Longnose skate’’ means Raja rhina. 17 ‘‘Other skates’’ mean Bathyraja and Raja spp. Apportionment of Reserves Section 679.20(b)(2) requires NMFS to set aside 20 percent of each TAC for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, sharks, and octopuses in reserve for possible apportionment at a later date during the fishing year. For 2021 and 2022, NMFS proposed reapportionment of all the reserves in the proposed 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications published in the Federal Register on December 3, 2020 (85 FR 78076). NMFS did not receive any public comments on the proposed reapportionments. For the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications, NMFS reapportioned, as proposed, all the reserves for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, sharks, and octopuses back to the original TAC limit from which the reserve was derived (§ 679.20(b)(3)). This was done because NMFS expects, based on recent harvest patterns, that such reserves are not necessary and that the entire TAC for each of these species will be caught. The TACs listed in Tables 1 and 2 reflect reapportionments of reserve amounts to the original TAC limit for these species and species groups, i.e., each final TAC for the above mentioned species or species groups contains the full TAC recommended by the Council. Apportionments of Pollock TAC Among Seasons and Regulatory Areas, and Allocations for Processing by Inshore and Offshore Components In the GOA, pollock is apportioned by season and area, and is further allocated for processing by inshore and offshore components. The pollock TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA are apportioned among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630. These apportionments are divided into two equal seasonal allowances of 50 percent to the A season (January 20 through May 31) and 50 percent to the B season (September 1 through November 1) (§§ 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B) and 679.23(d)(2)). As described earlier in the preamble, the regulatory revisions implemented by Amendment 109 to the FMP (85 FR 38093, published June 25, 2020, effective January 1, 2021) decreased the number of seasons to two and established two equal seasonal allowances of 50 percent. NMFS incorporated these regulatory revisions into the harvest specifications for the GOA, and Tables 3 and 4, below, reflect the revised seasons and seasonal allowances implemented by Amendment 109 to the FMP. The GOA pollock stock assessment continues to use a four-season methodology to determine pollock distribution in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA to maintain continuity in the historical pollock apportionment time-series. Pollock TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA are apportioned among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630 in proportion to the distribution of pollock biomass determined by the most recent NMFS surveys, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A). The pollock chapter of the 2020 SAFE report (see ADDRESSES) contains a comprehensive description of the apportionment and reasons for the minor changes from past apportionments. For purposes of specifying pollock TAC between two seasons for the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA, NMFS has summed the A and B season apportionments and the C and D season apportionments as calculated in the 2020 GOA pollock assessment. This yields the seasonal amounts specified for the A season and the B season, respectively. Within any fishing year, the amount by which a pollock seasonal allowance is underharvested or overharvested may be added to, or subtracted from, subsequent seasonal allowances for the Western and Central Regulatory Areas in a manner to be determined by the Regional Administrator (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The rollover amount is limited to 20 percent of the subsequent seasonal TAC apportionment for the statistical area. Any unharvested pollock above the 20percent limit could be further distributed to the other statistical areas, in proportion to the estimated biomass in the subsequent season in those statistical areas and in an amount no more than 20 percent of the seasonal TAC apportionment in those statistical areas (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The pollock TACs in the WYK and the SEO Districts of 5,412 mt and 10,148 mt, respectively, in 2021, and 4,706 mt and 10,148 mt, respectively, in 2022, are not allocated by season. Tables 3 and 4 list the final 2021 and 2022 seasonal biomass distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, area apportionments, and seasonal allowances. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown. Section 679.20(a)(6)(i) requires the allocation of 100 percent of the pollock TAC in all GOA regulatory areas and all seasonal allowances to vessels catching pollock for processing by the inshore component after subtraction of pollock amounts projected by the Regional Administrator to be caught by, or delivered to, the offshore component incidental to directed fishing for other groundfish species. Thus, the amount of pollock available for harvest by vessels harvesting pollock for processing by the offshore component is that amount that will be taken as incidental catch during directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock, up to the maximum retainable amounts allowed by § 679.20(e) and (f). At this time, these incidental catch amounts of pollock are unknown and will be determined during the fishing year during the course of fishing activities by the offshore component. TABLE 3—FINAL 2021 DISTRIBUTION OF POLLOCK IN THE WESTERN AND CENTRAL REGULATORY AREAS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA; AREA APPORTIONMENTS; AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF ANNUAL TAC tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton 1] Shumigan (Area 610) Season 2 A (January 20–May 31) ................................................................................... B (September 1–November 1) ........................................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 799 17,677 Chirikof (Area 620) 41,737 13,133 E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 Kodiak (Area 630) 6,297 18,023 Total 3 48,833 48,833 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 10193 TABLE 3—FINAL 2021 DISTRIBUTION OF POLLOCK IN THE WESTERN AND CENTRAL REGULATORY AREAS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA; AREA APPORTIONMENTS; AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF ANNUAL TAC—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton 1] Shumigan (Area 610) Season 2 Annual Total ............................................................................................. 18,477 Chirikof (Area 620) 54,870 Kodiak (Area 630) 24,320 Total 3 97,667 1 Area apportionments and seasonal allowances may not total precisely due to rounding. established by § 679.23(d)(2), the A and B season allowances are available from January 20 through May 31 and September 1 through November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown in this table. 3 The West Yakutat and Southeast Outside District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table. 2 As TABLE 4—FINAL 2022 DISTRIBUTION OF POLLOCK IN THE WESTERN AND CENTRAL REGULATORY AREAS OF THE GULF OF ALASKA; AREA APPORTIONMENTS; AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF ANNUAL TAC [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton 1] Shumigan (Area 610) Season 2 Chirikof (Area 620) Kodiak (Area 630) Total 3 A (January 20–May 31) ................................................................................... B (September 1–November 1) ........................................................................ 695 15,372 36,294 11,420 5,476 15,672 42,465 42,465 Annual Total ............................................................................................. 16,067 47,714 21,149 84,929 1 Area apportionments and seasonal allowances may not total precisely due to rounding. established by § 679.23(d)(2), the A and B season allowances are available from January 20 through May 31 and September 1 through November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown in this table. 3 The West Yakutat and Southeast Outside District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table. 2 As tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Annual and Seasonal Apportionments of Pacific Cod TAC Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(12)(i), NMFS seasonally allocates the 2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA among gear and operational sectors. In the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, a portion of the annual TAC is apportioned to the A season for hookand-line, pot, and jig gear from January 1 through June 10, and for trawl gear from January 20 through June 10, and a portion of the annual TAC is apportioned to the B season for jig gear from June 10 through December 31, for hook-and-line and pot gear from September 1 through December 31, and for trawl gear from September 1 through November 1 (§§ 679.20(a)(12) and 679.23(d)(3)). NMFS also allocates the Pacific cod TACs annually between the inshore (90 percent) and offshore (10 percent) components in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA (§ 679.20(a)(6)(ii)). In the Central GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is apportioned seasonally first to vessels using jig gear, and then among CVs less than 50 feet in length overall using hook-and-line gear, CVs equal to or greater than 50 feet in length overall using hook-and-line gear, catcher/ processors (CPs) using hook-and-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, CPs using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear (§ 679.20(a)(12)(i)(B)). In the Western VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is apportioned seasonally first to vessels using jig gear, and then among CVs using hook-and-line gear, CPs using hook-and-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, CPs using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear (§ 679.20(a)(12)(i)(A)). Excluding seasonal apportionments to the jig sector, the seasonal apportionments of the annual TAC among the non-jig sectors in the Western GOA are 63.84 percent to the A season and 36.16 percent to the B season, and in the Central GOA are 64.16 percent to the A season and 35.84 percent to the B season. Under § 679.20(a)(12)(ii), any overage or underage of the Pacific cod season allowance from the A season may be subtracted from, or added to, the subsequent B season allowance. In addition, any portion of the hook-andline, trawl, pot, or jig sector allocations that is determined by NMFS as likely to go unharvested by a sector may be reallocated to other sectors for harvest during the remainder of the fishery year. Pursuant to §§ 679.20(a)(12)(i)(A) and (B), a portion of the annual Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central GOA will be allocated to vessels with a Federal fisheries permit that use jig gear before the TACs are apportioned among other non-jig sectors. In accordance with the FMP, the annual jig sector allocations may increase to up to 6 percent of the annual Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs, PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 depending on the annual performance of the jig sector (see Table 1 of Amendment 83 to the FMP for a detailed discussion of the jig sector allocation process (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011)). Jig sector allocation increases are established for a minimum of two years. NMFS has evaluated the historical harvest performance of the jig sector in the Western and Central GOA, and is establishing the 2021 and 2022 Pacific cod apportionments to this sector based on its historical harvest performance through 2019. NMFS did not evaluate the 2020 performance of the jig sectors in the Western and Central GOA: Since NMFS prohibited directed fishing for all Pacific cod sectors in 2020, the catch for the jig sectors could not reach 90 percent of the initial allocation required for a performance increase (84 FR 70438, December 23, 2019). For 2021 and 2022, NMFS allocates the jig sector 3.5 percent of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Western GOA. The 2021 and 2022 allocations consist of a base allocation of 1.5 percent of the Western GOA Pacific cod TAC, and prior additional performance increases of 2.0 percent. For 2021 and 2022, NMFS allocates the jig sector 1.0 percent of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Central GOA. The 2021 and 2022 allocations consist of a base allocation of 1.0 percent of the Central GOA Pacific cod TAC, and no additional performance increase in the Central GOA. E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10194 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations For 2021 and 2022, NMFS is apportioning the jig sector allocations for the Western and Central GOA between the A season (60 percent) and the B season (40 percent), pursuant to § 679.20(a)(12)(i) and the correction to the final rule to implement Amendment 109 (85 FR 79139, December 9, 2020). This is the same jig sector seasonal apportionments implemented in prior groundfish harvest specifications for the GOA and is consistent with Amendment 83 to the FMP (76 FR 44700, July 26, 2011). As discussed earlier in this preamble, NMFS published a final rule to implement Amendment 109 to the FMP (85 FR 38093, June 25, 2020). With respect to Pacific cod, Amendment 109 revised the Pacific cod TAC seasonal apportionments to the trawl CV sector by increasing the A season allocation and decreasing the B season allocation, with the intent of decreasing the annual underharvest of Pacific cod by this sector. NMFS incorporated the revised seasonal apportionments to trawl CVs between the A and B seasons in accordance with regulatory changes made under Amendment 109. The A season apportionment for trawl CVs has increased to 31.54 percent and 25.29 percent in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA, respectively. The B season apportionment for trawl CVs has decreased to 6.86 percent and 16.29 percent in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA, respectively. Tables 5 and 6 list the seasonal apportionments and allocations of the 2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs. TABLE 5—FINAL 2021 SEASONAL APPORTIONMENTS AND ALLOCATION OF PACIFIC COD TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC) AMOUNTS IN THE GOA; ALLOCATIONS IN THE WESTERN GOA AND CENTRAL GOA SECTORS, AND THE EASTERN GOA INSHORE AND OFFSHORE PROCESSING COMPONENTS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] A Season B Season Annual allocation (mt) Sector percentage of annual non-jig TAC Western GOA Jig (3.5% of TAC) ......................................................... Hook-and-line CV ......................................................... Hook-and-line CP ......................................................... Trawl CV ....................................................................... Trawl CP ....................................................................... All Pot CV and Pot CP ................................................. 196 76 1,068 2,071 129 2,050 N/A 0.70 10.90 31.54 0.90 19.80 117 38 588 1,701 49 1,068 N/A 0.70 8.90 6.86 1.50 18.20 78 38 480 370 81 982 Total ....................................................................... 5,590 63.84 3,561 36.16 2,029 Central GOA Jig (1.0% of TAC) ......................................................... Hook-and-line < 50 CV ................................................. Hook-and-line ≥ 50 CV ................................................. Hook-and-line CP ......................................................... Trawl CV 1 ..................................................................... Trawl CP ....................................................................... All Pot CV and Pot CP ................................................. 102 1,481 680 518 4,216 426 2,819 N/A 9.32 5.61 4.11 25.29 2.00 17.83 61 945 569 416 2,565 203 1,808 N/A 5.29 1.10 1.00 16.29 2.19 9.97 41 536 111 101 1,652 223 1,011 Total ....................................................................... 10,242 64.16 6,567 35.84 3,675 Regulatory area and sector Eastern GOA Seasonal allowances (mt) Inshore (90% of Annual TAC) 1,489 Sector percentage of annual non-jig TAC Seasonal allowances (mt) Offshore (10% of Annual TAC) 1,340 149 1 Trawl catcher vessels participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives receive 3.81 percent, or 390 mt, of the annual Central GOA TAC, which is deducted from the Trawl CV B season allowance (see Table 12. Final 2021 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA and Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679). TABLE 6—FINAL 2022 SEASONAL APPORTIONMENTS AND ALLOCATION OF PACIFIC COD TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC) AMOUNTS IN THE GOA; ALLOCATIONS IN THE WESTERN GOA AND CENTRAL GOA SECTORS, AND THE EASTERN GOA INSHORE AND OFFSHORE PROCESSING COMPONENTS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] A Season tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Regulatory area and sector Annual allocation (mt) Sector percentage of annual non-jig TAC 316 122 1,724 3,344 N/A 0.70 10.90 31.54 Western GOA Jig (3.5% of TAC) ......................................................... Hook-and-line CV ......................................................... Hook-and-line CP ......................................................... Trawl CV ....................................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 B Season Seasonal allowances (mt) E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 190 61 949 2,747 19FER1 Sector percentage of annual non-jig TAC N/A 0.70 8.90 6.86 Seasonal allowances (mt) 126 61 775 597 10195 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 6—FINAL 2022 SEASONAL APPORTIONMENTS AND ALLOCATION OF PACIFIC COD TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC) AMOUNTS IN THE GOA; ALLOCATIONS IN THE WESTERN GOA AND CENTRAL GOA SECTORS, AND THE EASTERN GOA INSHORE AND OFFSHORE PROCESSING COMPONENTS—Continued [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] A Season B Season Annual allocation (mt) Sector percentage of annual non-jig TAC Trawl CP ....................................................................... All Pot CV and Pot CP ................................................. 209 3,309 0.90 19.80 78 1,724 1.50 18.20 131 1,585 Total ....................................................................... 9,024 63.84 5,749 36.16 3,275 Central GOA Jig (1.0% of TAC) ......................................................... Hook-and-line < 50 CV ................................................. Hook-and-line ≥ 50 CV ................................................. Hook-and-line CP ......................................................... Trawl CV 1 ..................................................................... Trawl CP ....................................................................... All Pot CV and Pot CP ................................................. 165 2,390 1,098 836 6,807 687 4,551 N/A 9.32 5.61 4.11 25.29 2.00 17.83 99 1,525 918 672 4,140 328 2,918 N/A 5.29 1.10 1.00 16.29 2.19 9.97 66 865 180 163 2,667 359 1,633 Total ....................................................................... 16,534 64.16 10,601 35.84 5,933 Regulatory area and sector Eastern GOA Seasonal allowances (mt) Inshore (90% of Annual TAC) 2,403 ........................ ........................ Sector percentage of annual non-jig TAC Seasonal allowances (mt) Offshore (10% of Annual TAC) 2,163 240 1 Trawl catcher vessels participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives receive 3.81 percent, or 630 mt, of the annual Central GOA TAC, which is deducted from the Trawl CV B season allowance (see Table 13. Final 2022 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA and Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679). tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Allocations of the Sablefish TAC Amounts to Vessels Using Fixed and Trawl Gear Sections 679.20(a)(4)(i) and (ii) require allocations of sablefish TACs for each of the regulatory areas and districts to fixed and trawl gear. In the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, 80 percent of each TAC is allocated to fixed gear, and 20 percent of each TAC is allocated to trawl gear. In the Eastern Regulatory Area, 95 percent of the TAC is allocated to fixed gear, and 5 percent is allocated to trawl gear. The trawl gear allocation in the Eastern Regulatory Area may only be used to support incidental catch of sablefish using trawl gear while directed fishing for other target species (§ 679.20(a)(4)(i)). In recognition of the prohibition against trawl gear in the SEO District of the Eastern Regulatory Area, the Council recommended and NMFS approves specifying for incidental catch the allocation of 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area sablefish TAC to trawl gear in the WYK District of the Eastern Regulatory Area. The remainder of the WYK District sablefish TAC is VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 allocated to vessels using fixed gear. NMFS allocates 100 percent of the sablefish TAC in the SEO District to vessels using fixed gear. This action results in a 2021 allocation of 375 mt to trawl gear and 2,554 mt to fixed gear in the WYK District, a 2021 allocation of 4,579 mt to fixed gear in the SEO District, and a 2022 allocation of 498 mt to trawl gear in the WYK District. Table 7 lists the allocations of the 2021 sablefish TACs to fixed and trawl gear. Table 8 lists the allocations of the 2022 sablefish TACs to trawl gear. The Council recommended that a trawl sablefish TAC be established for two years so that retention of incidental catch of sablefish by trawl gear could commence in January in the second year of the groundfish harvest specifications. Both the 2021 and 2022 trawl allocations are specified in these final harvest specifications, in Tables 7 and 8, respectively. The Council also recommended that the fixed gear sablefish TAC be established annually to ensure that this Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fishery is conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery and is based on the PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 most recent survey information. Since there is an annual assessment for sablefish and since the final harvest specifications are expected to be published before the IFQ season begins in March 2020, the Council recommended that the fixed gear sablefish TAC be set annually, rather than for two years, so that the best scientific information available could be considered in establishing the sablefish TACs. Accordingly, Table 7 lists the 2021 fixed gear allocations, and the 2022 fixed gear allocations will be specified in the 2022 and 2023 harvest specifications. With the exception of the trawl allocations that are provided to the Rockfish Program (see Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679), directed fishing for sablefish with trawl gear in the GOA is closed during the fishing year. Also, fishing for groundfish with trawl gear is prohibited prior to January 20 (§ 679.23(c)). Therefore, it is not likely that the sablefish allocation to trawl gear would be reached before the effective date of these final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications. E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10196 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 7—FINAL 2021 SABLEFISH TAC AMOUNTS IN THE GULF OF ALASKA AND ALLOCATIONS TO FIXED AND TRAWL GEAR [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area/District Fixed gear allocation TAC Trawl gear allocation Western ........................................................................................................................................ Central 1 ....................................................................................................................................... West Yakutat 2 ............................................................................................................................. Southeast Outside ....................................................................................................................... 2,428 8,056 2,929 4,579 1,942 6,444 2,554 4,579 486 1,612 375 0 Total ...................................................................................................................................... 17,992 15,519 2,473 1 The trawl allocation of sablefish in the Central Regulatory Area is further apportioned to the Rockfish Program cooperatives (829 mt). See Table 12: Final 2021 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA. This results in 783 mt being available for the nonRockfish Program trawl fisheries. 2 The trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts) sablefish TAC as incidental catch to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District. TABLE 8—FINAL 2022 SABLEFISH TAC AMOUNTS IN THE GULF OF ALASKA AND ALLOCATIONS TO TRAWL GEAR 1 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area/District Fixed gear allocation TAC Trawl gear allocation Western ........................................................................................................................................ Central 2 ....................................................................................................................................... West Yakutat 3 ............................................................................................................................. Southeast Outside ....................................................................................................................... 4,165 11,111 4,009 5,946 n/a n/a n/a n/a 833 2,222 498 0 Total ...................................................................................................................................... 25,231 n/a 3,553 1 tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES The Council recommended that the final 2022 harvest specifications for the fixed gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota fisheries not be specified in the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications. 2 The trawl allocation of sablefish in the Central Regulatory Area is further apportioned to the Rockfish Program cooperatives (1,143 mt). See Table 13: Final 2022 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA. This results in 1,079 mt being available for the nonRockfish Program trawl fisheries. 3 The trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts) sablefish TAC as incidental catch to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District. Allocations, Apportionments, and Sideboard Limits for the Rockfish Program These final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for the GOA include the fishery cooperative allocations and sideboard limitations established by the Rockfish Program. Program participants are primarily trawl CVs and trawl CPs, with limited participation by vessels using longline gear. The Rockfish Program assigns quota share and cooperative quota to participants for primary species (Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, and dusky rockfish) and secondary species (Pacific cod, rougheye and blackspotted rockfish, sablefish, shortraker rockfish, and thornyhead rockfish), allows a participant holding a license limitation program (LLP) license with rockfish quota share to form a rockfish cooperative with other persons, and allows holders of CP LLP licenses to opt out of the fishery. The Rockfish Program also has an entry level fishery for rockfish primary species for vessels using longline gear. Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 Under the Rockfish Program, rockfish primary species in the Central GOA are allocated to participants after deducting for incidental catch needs in other directed groundfish fisheries (§ 679.81(a)(2)). Participants in the Rockfish Program also receive a portion of the Central GOA TAC of specific secondary species. In addition to groundfish species, the Rockfish Program allocates a portion of the halibut PSC limit (191 mt) from the third season deep-water species fishery allowance for the GOA trawl fisheries to Rockfish Program participants (§ 679.81(d) and Table 28d to 50 CFR part 679). The Rockfish Program also establishes sideboard limits to restrict the ability of harvesters operating under the Rockfish Program to increase their participation in other, non-Rockfish Program fisheries. These restrictions and halibut PSC limits are discussed in a subsequent section in this rule titled ‘‘Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and Halibut PSC Limitations.’’ Section 679.81(a)(2)(ii) and Table 28e to 50 CFR part 679 require allocations of 5 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 5 mt of PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 northern rockfish, and 50 mt of dusky rockfish to the entry level longline fishery in 2021 and 2022. The allocation for the entry level longline fishery may increase incrementally each year if the catch exceeds 90 percent of the allocation of a species. The incremental increase in the allocation would continue each year until it reaches the maximum percent of the TAC for that species. In 2020, the catch of Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, and dusky rockfish did not attain the 90 percent threshold, and those final allocations for 2021 remain the same as the 2020 allocations. The remainder of the TACs for the rockfish primary species are allocated to the CV and CP cooperatives (§ 679.81(a)(2)(iii)). Table 9 lists the allocations of the 2021 and 2022 TACs for each rockfish primary species to the entry level longline fishery, the potential incremental increases for future years, and the maximum percentages of the TACs assigned to the Rockfish Program that may be allocated to the rockfish entry level longline fishery. E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 10197 TABLE 9—FINAL 2021 AND INITIAL 2022 ALLOCATIONS OF ROCKFISH PRIMARY SPECIES TO THE ENTRY LEVEL LONGLINE FISHERY IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF ALASKA Rockfish primary species 2021 and 2022 allocations Incremental increase in 2022 if >90% of 2021 allocation is harvested Pacific ocean perch ................................ Northern rockfish .................................... Dusky rockfish ........................................ 5 metric tons ......................................... 5 metric tons ......................................... 50 metric tons ....................................... 5 metric tons ......................................... 5 metric tons ......................................... 20 metric tons ....................................... Section 679.81 requires allocations of rockfish primary species among various sectors of the Rockfish Program. Tables 10 and 11 list the final 2021 and 2022 allocations of rockfish primary species in the Central GOA to the entry level longline fishery, and rockfish CV and CP cooperatives in the Rockfish Program. NMFS also is setting aside incidental catch amounts (ICAs) for other directed fisheries in the Central GOA of 2,500 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 300 mt of northern rockfish, and 250 mt of dusky rockfish. These amounts are based on recent average incidental catches in the Central GOA by other groundfish fisheries. Allocations among vessels belonging to CV or CP cooperatives are not included in these final harvest specifications. Rockfish Program applications for CV cooperatives and CP cooperatives are not due to NMFS until March 1 of each calendar year; Up to maximum % of TAC 1 2 5 therefore, NMFS cannot calculate 2021 and 2022 allocations in conjunction with these final harvest specifications. NMFS will post the 2021 allocations on the Alaska Region website at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/alaska/ sustainable-fisheries/alaska-fisheriesmanagement-reports#central-goarockfish when they become available after March 1. TABLE 10—FINAL 2021 ALLOCATIONS OF ROCKFISH PRIMARY SPECIES IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF ALASKA TO THE ENTRY LEVEL LONGLINE FISHERY AND ROCKFISH COOPERATIVES IN THE ROCKFISH PROGRAM [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Central GOA annual TAC Rockfish Primary Species Incidental catch allowance TAC minus ICA Allocation to the entry level longline 1 fishery Allocation to the Rockfish cooperatives 2 Pacific ocean perch ............................................................. Northern rockfish .................................................................. Dusky rockfish ...................................................................... 27,429 3,334 4,548 2,500 300 250 24,929 3,034 4,298 5 5 50 24,924 3,029 4,248 Total .............................................................................. 35,311 3,050 32,261 60 32,201 1 Longline 2 Rockfish gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear (50 CFR 679.2). cooperatives include vessels in CV and CP cooperatives (50 CFR 679.81). TABLE 11—FINAL 2022 ALLOCATIONS OF ROCKFISH PRIMARY SPECIES IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF ALASKA TO THE ENTRY LEVEL LONGLINE FISHERY AND ROCKFISH COOPERATIVES IN THE ROCKFISH PROGRAM [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Central GOA annual TAC Rockfish Primary Species Incidental catch allowance TAC minus ICA Allocation to the entry level longline 1 fishery Allocation to the Rockfish cooperatives 2 Pacific ocean perch ............................................................. Northern rockfish .................................................................. Dusky rockfish ...................................................................... 26,234 3,173 4,469 2,500 300 250 23,734 2,873 4,219 5 5 50 23,729 2,868 4,169 Total .............................................................................. 33,876 3,050 30,826 60 30,766 1 Longline tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear (50 CFR 679.2). 2 Rockfish cooperatives include vessels in CV and CP cooperatives (50 CFR 679.81). Section 679.81(c) and Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679 require allocations of rockfish secondary species to CV and CP cooperatives in the Central GOA. CV cooperatives receive allocations of Pacific cod, sablefish from the trawl gear VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 allocation, and thornyhead rockfish. CP cooperatives receive allocations of sablefish from the trawl gear allocation, rougheye and blackspotted rockfish, shortraker rockfish, and thornyhead rockfish. Tables 12 and 13 list the PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 apportionments of the 2021 and 2022 TACs of rockfish secondary species in the Central GOA to CV and CP cooperatives. E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10198 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 12—FINAL 2021 APPORTIONMENTS OF ROCKFISH SECONDARY SPECIES IN THE CENTRAL GOA TO CATCHER VESSEL AND CATCHER/PROCESSOR COOPERATIVES [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Central GOA annual TAC Rockfish secondary species Pacific cod ............................................................................ Sablefish .............................................................................. Shortraker rockfish ............................................................... Rougheye/blackspotted rockfish .......................................... Thornyhead rockfish ............................................................ Catcher vessel cooperatives Catcher/processor cooperatives Percentage of TAC Apportionment (mt) Percentage of TAC Apportionment (mt) 3.8 6.78 0.00 0.00 7.84 390 546 0 0 71 0.00 3.51 40.00 58.87 26.50 0 283 114 268 241 10,242 8,056 284 456 910 TABLE 13—FINAL 2022 APPORTIONMENTS OF ROCKFISH SECONDARY SPECIES IN THE CENTRAL GOA TO CATCHER VESSEL AND CATCHER/PROCESSOR COOPERATIVES [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Central GOA annual TAC Rockfish secondary species Pacific cod ............................................................................ Sablefish .............................................................................. Shortraker rockfish ............................................................... Rougheye/blackspotted rockfish .......................................... Thornyhead rockfish ............................................................ tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Halibut PSC Limits Section 679.21(d) establishes annual halibut PSC limit apportionments to trawl gear and hook-and-line gear, and authorizes the establishment of apportionments for pot gear. In December 2020, the Council recommended halibut PSC limits of 1,706 mt for trawl gear, 257 mt for hookand-line gear, and 9 mt for the demersal shelf (DSR) rockfish fishery in the SEO District for both 2021 and 2022. The DSR fishery in the SEO District is defined at § 679.21(d)(2)(ii)(A). This fishery is apportioned 9 mt of the halibut PSC limit in recognition of its small-scale harvests of groundfish (§ 679.21(d)(2)(i)(A)). The separate halibut PSC limit for the DSR fishery is intended to prevent that fishery from being impacted from the halibut PSC incurred by other GOA fisheries. NMFS estimates low halibut bycatch in the DSR fishery because (1) the duration of the DSR fisheries and the gear soak times are short, (2) the DSR fishery occurs in the winter when there is less overlap in the distribution of DSR and halibut, and (3) the directed commercial DSR fishery has a low DSR TAC. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game sets the commercial GHL for the DSR fishery after deducting estimates of DSR incidental catch in all fisheries (including halibut and subsistence) and allocation to the DSR sport fishery. In VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 Catcher vessel cooperatives Percentage of TAC Apportionment (mt) Percentage of TAC Apportionment (mt) 3.81 6.78 0.00 0.00 7.84 630 753 0 0 71 0.00 3.51 40.00 58.87 26.50 0 390 114 270 241 16,534 11,111 284 459 910 2020, the commercial fishery for DSR was closed due to concerns about declining DSR biomass. The FMP authorizes the Council to exempt specific gear from the halibut PSC limits. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, exempts pot gear, the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories, and jig gear from the nontrawl halibut PSC limit for 2021 and 2022. The Council recommended, and NMFS approves, these exemptions because: (1) The pot gear fisheries have low annual halibut bycatch mortality, (2) IFQ program regulations prohibit discard of halibut if any halibut IFQ permit holder on board a catcher vessel holds unused halibut IFQ for that vessel category and the IFQ regulatory area in which the vessel is operating (§ 679.7(f)(11)), (3) some sablefish IFQ fishermen hold halibut IFQ permits and are therefore required to retain the halibut they catch while fishing sablefish IFQ, and (4) NMFS estimates negligible halibut mortality for the jig gear fisheries given the small amount of groundfish harvested by jig gear, the selective nature of jig gear, and the high survival rates of halibut caught and released with jig gear. The best available information on estimated halibut bycatch consists of data collected by fisheries observers during 2020. The calculated halibut bycatch mortality through December 31, 2020, is 789 mt for trawl gear and 3 mt PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4700 Catcher/processor cooperatives Sfmt 4700 for hook-and-line gear for a total halibut mortality of 792 mt. This halibut mortality was calculated using groundfish and halibut catch data from the NMFS Alaska Region’s catch accounting system. This accounting system contains historical and recent catch information compiled from each Alaska groundfish fishery. Sections 679.21(d)(4)(i) and (ii) authorize NMFS to seasonally apportion the halibut PSC limits after consultation with the Council. The FMP and regulations require that the Council and NMFS consider the following information in seasonally apportioning halibut PSC limits: (1) Seasonal distribution of halibut; (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to halibut distribution; (3) expected halibut bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relative to changes in halibut biomass and expected catch of target groundfish species; (4) expected bycatch rates on a seasonal basis; (5) expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons; (6) expected actual start of fishing effort; and (7) economic effects of establishing seasonal halibut allocations on segments of the target groundfish industry. The Council considered information from the 2020 SAFE report, NMFS catch data, State of Alaska catch data, International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) stock assessment and mortality data, and public testimony when apportioning the E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations halibut PSC limits. NMFS concurs with the Council’s recommendations listed in Table 14, which shows the final 2021 and 2022 Pacific halibut PSC limits, allowances, and apportionments. Sections 679.21(d)(4)(iii) and (iv) specifies that any unused amounts, or overages, of a seasonal apportionment of a halibut PSC limit will be added to or deducted from the next respective 10199 seasonal apportionment within the fishing year. TABLE 14—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 PACIFIC HALIBUT PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH (PSC) LIMITS, ALLOWANCES, AND APPORTIONMENTS [Values are in metric tons] Hook-and-line gear 1 Trawl gear Other than DSR Season Percent DSR Amount Season January 20–April 1 ........... April 1–July 1 .................... July 1–August 1 ................ 30.5 20.0 27.0 519 341 462 August 1–October 1 ......... October 1–December 31 .. 7.5 15.0 Total .......................... ................ Percent Amount Season Amount 86 2 12 221 5 31 January 1–December 31 .......................................... .......................................... 9 ................ ................ 128 256 January 1–June 10 ......... June 10–September 1 ..... September 1–December 31. .......................................... .......................................... ................ ................ ................ ................ .......................................... .......................................... ................ ................ 1,706 .......................................... ................ 257 .......................................... 9 1 The Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limit for hook-and-line gear is allocated to the DSR fishery in the SEO District and to the hook-and-line fisheries other than the DSR fishery. The hook-and-line sablefish IFQ fishery is exempt from halibut PSC limits, as are pot and jig gear for all groundfish fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Section 679.21(d)(3)(ii) authorizes further apportionment of the trawl halibut PSC limit to trawl fishery categories listed in § 679.21(d)(3)(iii). The annual apportionments are based on each category’s proportional share of the anticipated halibut bycatch mortality during the fishing year and optimization of the total amount of groundfish harvest under the halibut PSC limit. The fishery categories for the trawl halibut PSC limits are: (1) A deepwater species fishery, composed of sablefish, rockfish, deep-water flatfish, rex sole, and arrowtooth flounder; and (2) a shallow-water species fishery, composed of pollock, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Atka mackerel, and ‘‘other species’’ (sharks and octopuses) (§ 679.21(d)(3)(iii)). Halibut mortality incurred while directed fishing for skates with trawl gear accrues towards the shallow-water species fishery halibut PSC limit (69 FR 26320, May 12, 2004). NMFS will combine available trawl halibut PSC limit apportionments during the second season deep-water and shallow-water species fisheries for use in either fishery from May 15 through June 30 (§ 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(D)). This is intended to maintain groundfish harvest while minimizing halibut bycatch by these sectors to the extent practicable. This provides the deepwater and shallow-water species trawl fisheries additional flexibility and the incentive to participate in fisheries at times of the year that may have lower halibut PSC rates relative to other times of the year. Table 15 lists the final 2021 and 2022 apportionments of trawl halibut PSC limits between the trawl gear deepwater and shallow-water species fishery categories. Table 28d to 50 CFR part 679 specifies the amount of the trawl halibut PSC limit that is assigned to the CV and CP sectors that are participating in the Rockfish Program. This includes 117 mt of halibut PSC limit to the CV sector and 74 mt of halibut PSC limit to the CP sector. These amounts are allocated from the trawl deep-water species fishery’s halibut PSC third seasonal apportionment. After the combined CV and CP halibut PSC limit allocation of 191 mt to the Rockfish Program, 150 mt remains for the trawl deep-water species fishery’s halibut PSC third seasonal apportionment. Section 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(B) limits the amount of the halibut PSC limit allocated to Rockfish Program participants that could be reapportioned to the general GOA trawl fisheries during the current fishing year to no more than 55 percent of the unused annual halibut PSC limit apportioned to Rockfish Program participants. The remainder of the unused Rockfish Program halibut PSC limit is unavailable for use by any person for the remainder of the fishing year (§ 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(C)). TABLE 15—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 APPORTIONMENT OF PACIFIC HALIBUT PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH LIMITS BETWEEN THE TRAWL GEAR DEEP-WATER SPECIES FISHERY AND THE SHALLOW-WATER SPECIES FISHERY CATEGORIES [Values are in metric tons] tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Season Shallow-water Deep-water 1 Total January 20–April 1 ....................................................................................................................... April 1–July 1 ............................................................................................................................... July 1–August 1 ........................................................................................................................... August 1–October 1 ..................................................................................................................... 384 85 121 53 135 256 341 75 519 341 462 128 Subtotal January 20–October 1 ........................................................................................... 643 807 1,450 ........................ ........................ 256 October 1–December VerDate Sep<11>2014 31 2 ........................................................................................................... 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10200 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 15—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 APPORTIONMENT OF PACIFIC HALIBUT PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH LIMITS BETWEEN THE TRAWL GEAR DEEP-WATER SPECIES FISHERY AND THE SHALLOW-WATER SPECIES FISHERY CATEGORIES—Continued [Values are in metric tons] Shallow-water Deep-water 1 ........................ ........................ Season Total ...................................................................................................................................... Total 1,706 1 Vessels participating in cooperatives in the Central GOA Rockfish Program will receive 191 mt of the third season (July 1 through August 1) deep-water species fishery halibut PSC apportionment. 2 There is no apportionment between trawl shallow-water and deep-water species fishery categories during the fifth season (October 1 through December 31). Section 679.21(d)(2)(i)(B) requires that the ‘‘other hook-and-line fishery’’ halibut PSC limit apportionment to vessels using hook-and-line gear must be apportioned between CVs and CPs in accordance with § 679.21(d)(2)(iii) in conjunction with these harvest specifications. A comprehensive description and example of the calculations necessary to apportion the ‘‘other hook-and-line fishery’’ halibut PSC limit between the hook-and-line CV and CP sectors were included in the proposed rule to implement Amendment 83 to the FMP (76 FR 44700, July 26, 2011) and are not repeated here. Pursuant to § 679.21(d)(2)(iii), the hook-and-line halibut PSC limit for the ‘‘other hook-and-line fishery’’ is apportioned between the CV and CP sectors in proportion to the total Western and Central GOA Pacific cod allocations, which vary annually based on the proportion of the Pacific cod biomass between the Western, Central, and Eastern GOA. Pacific cod is apportioned among these three management areas based on the percentage of overall biomass per area, as calculated in the 2020 Pacific cod stock assessment. Updated information in the final 2020 SAFE report describes this distributional calculation, which allocates ABC among GOA regulatory areas on the basis of the three most recent stock surveys. For 2021 and 2022, the distribution of the total GOA Pacific cod ABC is 32 percent to the Western GOA, 59 percent to the Central GOA, and 9 percent to the Eastern GOA. Therefore, the calculations made in accordance with § 679.21(d)(2)(iii) incorporate the most recent information on GOA Pacific cod distribution with respect to establishing the annual halibut PSC limits for the CV and CP hook-and-line sectors. Additionally, the annual halibut PSC limits for both the CV and CP sectors of the ‘‘other hookand-line fishery’’ are divided into three seasonal apportionments, using seasonal percentages of 86 percent, 2 percent, and 12 percent. For 2021 and 2022, NMFS apportions halibut PSC limits of 144 mt and 113 mt to the hook-and-line CV and hook-andline CP sectors, respectively. Table 16 lists the final 2021 and 2022 apportionments of halibut PSC limits between the hook-and-line CV and the hook-and-line CP sectors of the ‘‘other hook-and-line fishery.’’ No later than November 1 of each year, NMFS will calculate the projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit by either of the CV or CP hook-and-line sectors of the ‘‘other hook-and-line fishery’’ for the remainder of the year. The projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit is made available to the other hook-and-line sector for the remainder of that fishing year (§ 679.21(d)(2)(iii)(C)), if NMFS determines that an additional amount of halibut PSC is necessary for that sector to continue its directed fishing operations. TABLE 16—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 APPORTIONMENTS OF THE ‘‘OTHER HOOK-AND-LINE FISHERY’’ ANNUAL HALIBUT PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH ALLOWANCE BETWEEN THE HOOK-AND-LINE GEAR CATCHER VESSEL AND CATCHER/PROCESSOR SECTORS [Values are in metric tons] Hook-and-line sector 257 ....................................... Catcher Vessel .................... 144 Catcher/Processor ............... 113 Estimates of Halibut Biomass and Stock Condition tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Sector annual amount ‘‘Other than DSR’’ allowance The IPHC annually assesses the abundance and potential yield of the Pacific halibut stock using all available data from the commercial and sport fisheries, other removals, and scientific surveys. Additional information on the Pacific halibut stock assessment may be found in the IPHC’s 2020 Pacific halibut stock assessment (December 2020), VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 January 1–June 10 ............. June 10–September 1 ......... September 1–December 31 January 1–June 10 ............. June 10–September 1 ......... September 1–December 31 available on the IPHC website at www.iphc.int. The IPHC considered the 2020 Pacific halibut stock assessment at its January 2021 annual meeting when it set the 2021 commercial halibut fishery catch limits. Halibut Discard Mortality Rates To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut incidental catch rates, halibut PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4700 Seasonal percentage Season Sfmt 4700 86 2 12 86 2 12 Sector seasonal amount 124 3 17 97 2 14 discard mortality rates (DMRs), and estimates of groundfish catch to project when a fishery’s halibut bycatch mortality allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. Halibut incidental catch rates are based on observers’ estimates of halibut incidental catch in the groundfish fishery. DMRs are estimates of the proportion of incidentally caught halibut that do not survive after being returned to the sea. The cumulative E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations halibut mortality that accrues to a particular halibut PSC limit is the product of a DMR multiplied by the estimated halibut PSC. DMRs are estimated using the best scientific information available in conjunction with the annual GOA stock assessment process. The DMR methodology and findings are included as an appendix to the annual GOA groundfish SAFE report. In 2016, the DMR estimation methodology underwent revisions per the Council’s directive. An interagency halibut working group (IPHC, Council, and NMFS staff) developed improved estimation methods that have undergone review by the GOA Plan Team, SSC, and the Council. A summary of the revised methodology is contained in the GOA proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87881, December 6, 2016), and the comprehensive discussion of the working group’s statistical methodology is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). The DMR working group’s revised methodology is intended to improve estimation accuracy, transparency, and transferability in the methodology used for calculating DMRs. The working group will continue to consider improvements to the methodology used to calculate halibut mortality, including potential changes to the reference period (the period of data used for calculating the DMRs). Future DMRs may change based on additional years of observer sampling, which could provide more recent and accurate data and which could improve the accuracy of estimation and progress on methodology. The new methodology will continue to ensure that NMFS is 10201 using DMRs that more accurately reflect halibut mortality, which will inform the different sectors of their estimated halibut mortality and allow specific sectors to respond with methods that could reduce mortality and, eventually, the DMR for that sector. At the December 2020 meeting, the SSC, AP, and the Council concurred with the revised DMR estimation methodology, and NMFS adopts for 2021 and 2022 the DMRs calculated under the revised methodology, which uses an updated 2-year reference period. The final 2021 and 2022 DMRs in this rule are unchanged from the DMRs in the proposed 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications (85 FR 78076, December 3, 2020). Table 17 lists these final 2021 and 2022 DMRs. TABLE 17—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 HALIBUT DISCARD MORTALITY RATES FOR VESSELS FISHING IN THE GULF OF ALASKA [Values are percent of halibut assumed to be dead] Gear Sector Groundfish fishery Pelagic trawl ............................................ Catcher vessel ......................................... Catcher/processor ................................... Catcher vessel ......................................... Catcher vessel ......................................... Mothership and catcher/processor .......... Catcher/processor ................................... Catcher vessel ......................................... Catcher vessel and catcher/processor .... All ............................................................. All ............................................................. Rockfish Program .................................... All others ................................................. All ............................................................. All ............................................................. All ............................................................. All ............................................................. Non-pelagic trawl ..................................... Hook-and-line .......................................... Pot ........................................................... tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limits Amendment 93 to the FMP (77 FR 42629, July 20, 2012) established separate Chinook salmon PSC limits in the Western and Central GOA in the directed pollock trawl fishery. These limits require that NMFS close the pollock directed fishery in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA if the applicable Chinook salmon PSC limit in that regulatory area is reached (§ 679.21(h)(8)). The annual Chinook salmon PSC limits in the pollock directed fishery of 6,684 salmon in the Western GOA and 18,316 salmon in the Central GOA are set at § 679.21(h)(2)(i) and (ii). Amendment 97 to the FMP (79 FR 71350, December 2, 2014) established an initial annual PSC limit of 7,500 Chinook salmon for the trawl nonpollock groundfish fisheries in the Western and Central GOA. This limit is apportioned among the three sectors that conduct directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock: 3,600 Chinook salmon to trawl CPs; 1,200 Chinook salmon to trawl CVs VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 participating in the Rockfish Program; and 2,700 Chinook salmon to trawl CVs not participating in the Rockfish Program (§ 679.21(h)(4)). NMFS will monitor the Chinook salmon PSC in the trawl non-pollock groundfish fisheries and close an applicable sector if it reaches its Chinook salmon PSC limit. The Chinook salmon PSC limit for two sectors, trawl CPs and trawl CVs not participating in the Rockfish Program, may be increased in subsequent years based on the performance of these two sectors and their ability to minimize their use of their respective Chinook salmon PSC limits. If either or both of these two sectors limits its use of Chinook salmon PSC to a specified threshold amount in 2020 (3,120 for trawl CPs and 2,340 for Non-Rockfish Program trawl CVs), that sector will receive an incremental increase to its 2021 Chinook salmon PSC limit (§ 679.21(h)(4)). In 2020, the trawl CP sector did not exceed 3,120 Chinook salmon PSC; therefore, the 2021 trawl CP sector Chinook salmon PSC limit will be 4,080 Chinook salmon. In 2020, the Non-Rockfish Program trawl CV PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Halibut discard mortality rate (percent) 100 100 60 69 84 15 13 10 sector did not exceed 2,340 Chinook salmon PSC; therefore, the 2021 NonRockfish Program trawl CV sector Chinook salmon PSC limit will be 3,060 Chinook salmon. American Fisheries Act (AFA) Catcher/ Processor and Catcher Vessel Groundfish Harvest Limits Section 679.64 establishes groundfish harvesting and processing sideboard limitations on AFA CPs and CVs in the GOA. These sideboard limits are necessary to protect the interests of fishermen and processors who do not directly benefit from the AFA from those fishermen and processors who receive exclusive harvesting and processing privileges under the AFA. Section 679.7(k)(1)(ii) prohibits listed AFA CPs and CPs designated on a listed AFA CP permit from harvesting any species of groundfish in the GOA. Additionally, § 679.7(k)(1)(iv) prohibits listed AFA CPs and CPs designated on a listed AFA CP permit from processing any pollock harvested in a directed pollock fishery in the GOA and any groundfish harvested in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA. E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10202 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations AFA CVs that are less than 125 feet (38.1 meters) length overall, have annual landings of pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands less than 5,100 mt, and have made at least 40 GOA groundfish landings from 1995 through 1997 are exempt from GOA CV groundfish sideboard limits under § 679.64(b)(2)(ii). Sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA are based on their traditional harvest levels of TAC in groundfish fisheries covered by the FMP. Section 679.64(b)(3)(iv) establishes the CV groundfish sideboard limitations in the GOA based on the aggregate retained catch of non-exempt AFA CVs of each sideboard species or species group from 1995 through 1997 divided by the sum of the TACs for that species or species group available to CVs over the same period. NMFS published a final rule (84 FR 2723, February 8, 2019) that implemented regulations to prohibit non-exempt AFA CVs from directed fishing for specific groundfish species or species groups subject to sideboard limits (§ 679.20(d)(1)(iv)(D) and Table 56 to 50 CFR part 679). Sideboard limits not subject to the final rule continue to be calculated and included in the GOA annual harvest specifications. Tables 18 and 19 list the final 2021 and 2022 groundfish sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs. NMFS will deduct all targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA CVs from the sideboard limits listed in Tables 18 and 19. TABLE 18—FINAL 2021 GOA NON-EXEMPT AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL (CV) GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Apportionments by season Area Pollock ................................. A Season January 20–May 31 ................. Shumagin (610) ................. Chirikof (620) ..................... Kodiak (630) ....................... Shumagin (610) ................. Chirikof (620) ..................... Kodiak (630) ....................... WYK (640) ......................... SEO (650) .......................... W ........................................ C ......................................... W ........................................ C ......................................... W ........................................ C ......................................... C ......................................... E ......................................... C ......................................... C ......................................... C ......................................... C ......................................... E ......................................... C ......................................... B Season September 1–November 1 ...... Annual ...................................................... Pacific cod ........................... A Season 1 January 1–June 10 ............... B Season 2 September 1–December 31 .. Flatfish, shallow-water ......... Annual ...................................................... Flatfish, deep-water ............. Annual ...................................................... Rex sole .............................. Arrowtooth flounder ............. Flathead sole ....................... Pacific ocean perch ............. Annual Annual Annual Annual Northern rockfish ................. Annual ...................................................... ...................................................... ...................................................... ...................................................... ...................................................... Ratio of 1995– 1997 non-exempt AFA CV catch to 1995–1997 TAC Final 2021 TACs3 0.6047 0.1167 0.2028 0.6047 0.1167 0.2028 0.3495 0.3495 0.1331 0.0692 0.1331 0.0692 0.0156 0.0587 0.0647 0.0128 0.0384 0.0280 0.0213 0.0748 0.0466 0.0277 799 41,737 6,297 17,677 13,133 18,023 5,412 10,148 3,561 6,567 2,029 3,675 13,250 28,082 1,914 3,787 8,912 69,072 15,400 27,429 7,105 3,334 Final 2021 nonexempt AFA CV sideboard limit 483 4,871 1,277 10,689 1,533 3,655 1,891 3,547 474 454 270 254 207 1,648 124 48 342 1,934 328 2,052 331 92 1 The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. 2 The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. 3 The Western and Central GOA and WYK District area apportionments of pollock are considered ACLs. TABLE 19—FINAL 2022 GOA NON-EXEMPT AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL (CV) GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Apportionments by season Area Pollock ................................. A Season January 20–May 31 ................. Shumagin (610) ................. Chirikof (620) ..................... Kodiak (630) ....................... Shumagin (610) ................. Chirikof (620) ..................... Kodiak (630) ....................... WYK (640) ......................... SEO (650) .......................... W ........................................ C ......................................... W ........................................ C ......................................... W ........................................ C ......................................... C ......................................... E ......................................... C ......................................... C ......................................... C ......................................... C ......................................... E ......................................... B Season September 1–November 1 ...... Annual ...................................................... Pacific cod ........................... A Season 1 January 1–June 10 ............... tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES B Season 2 September 1–December 31 .. Flatfish, shallow-water ......... Annual ...................................................... Flatfish, deep-water ............. Annual ...................................................... Rex sole .............................. Arrowtooth flounder ............. Flathead sole ....................... Pacific ocean perch ............. Annual Annual Annual Annual VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 ...................................................... ...................................................... ...................................................... ...................................................... Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Ratio of 1995– 1997 non-exempt AFA CV catch to 1995–1997 TAC Final 2022 TACs 3 0.6047 0.1167 0.2028 0.6047 0.1167 0.2028 0.3495 0.3495 0.1331 0.0692 0.1331 0.0692 0.0156 0.0587 0.0647 0.0128 0.0384 0.0280 0.0213 0.0748 0.0466 695 36,294 5,476 15,372 11,420 15,672 4,706 10,148 5,749 10,601 3,275 5,933 13,250 28,442 1,914 3,787 8,912 67,154 15,400 26,234 6,796 E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 Final 2022 nonexempt AFA CV sideboard limit 420 4,235 1,111 9,295 1,333 3,178 1,645 3,547 765 734 436 411 207 1,670 124 48 342 1,880 328 1,962 317 10203 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 19—FINAL 2022 GOA NON-EXEMPT AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL (CV)—Continued GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Species Apportionments by season Area Northern rockfish ................. Annual ...................................................... C ......................................... 1 The 2 The 3 The Ratio of 1995– 1997 non-exempt AFA CV catch to 1995–1997 TAC Final 2022 TACs 3 0.0277 3,173 Final 2022 nonexempt AFA CV sideboard limit 88 Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. Western and Central GOA and WYK District area apportionments of pollock are considered ACLs. Non-Exempt AFA Catcher Vessel Halibut PSC Limits The halibut PSC sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA are based on the aggregate retained groundfish catch by non-exempt AFA CVs in each PSC target category from 1995 through 1997 divided by the retained catch of all vessels in that fishery from 1995 through 1997 (§ 679.64(b)(4)(ii)). Table 20 lists the final 2021 and 2022 non-exempt AFA CV halibut PSC sideboard limits for vessels using trawl gear in the GOA. TABLE 20—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 NON-EXEMPT AFA CV HALIBUT PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH (PSC) SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR VESSELS USING TRAWL GEAR IN THE GOA [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Ratio of 1995– 1997 non-exempt AFA CV retained catch to total retained catch 2021 and 2022 PSC limit 2021 and 2022 non-exempt AFA CV PSC limit Season Season dates Target fishery 1 ....................... January 20–April 1 ...................... 2 ....................... April 1–July 1 .............................. 3 ....................... July 1–August 1 .......................... 4 ....................... August 1–October 1 .................... 5 ....................... October 1–December 31 ............. shallow-water .............................. deep-water .................................. shallow-water .............................. deep-water .................................. shallow-water .............................. deep-water .................................. shallow-water .............................. deep-water .................................. all targets ..................................... 0.340 0.070 0.340 0.070 0.340 0.070 0.340 0.070 0.205 384 135 85 256 121 341 53 75 256 131 9 29 18 41 24 18 5 52 Annual ........................................................................ Total shallow-water ..................... ............................ .......................... *219 Total deep-water ......................... ............................ .......................... 56 1,706 328 Total, all season and categories tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Non-AFA Crab Vessel Groundfish Harvest Limitations Section 680.22 establishes groundfish catch limits for vessels with a history of participation in the Bering Sea snow crab fishery to prevent these vessels from using the increased flexibility provided by the Crab Rationalization (CR) Program to expand their level of participation in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Sideboard limits restrict these vessels’ catch to their collective historical landings in each GOA groundfish fishery (except the fixed-gear sablefish fishery). Sideboard limits also apply to catch made using an LLP license derived from the history of a VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 restricted vessel, even if that LLP license is used on another vessel. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the CR Program, including Amendments 18 and 19 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP) (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005), Amendment 34 to the Crab FMP (76 FR 35772, June 20, 2011), Amendment 83 to the GOA FMP (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011), and Amendment 45 to the Crab FMP (80 FR 28539, May 19, 2015). Also, NMFS published a final rule (84 FR 2723, February 8, 2019) that implemented regulations to prohibit non-AFA crab vessels from directed fishing for all PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 groundfish species or species groups subject to sideboard limits, except for Pacific cod apportioned to CVs using pot gear in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas (§ 680.22(e)(1)(iii)). Accordingly, the GOA annual harvest specifications will include the non-AFA crab vessel groundfish sideboard limits for only Pacific cod apportioned to CVs using pot gear in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas. Tables 21 and 22 list the final 2021 and 2022 groundfish sideboard limitations for non-AFA crab vessels. All targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by non-AFA crab vessels or associated LLP licenses will be deducted from these sideboard limits. E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10204 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 21—FINAL 2021 GOA NON-AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CRAB VESSEL GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Ratio of 1996– 2000 non-AFA crab vessel catch to 1996–2000 total harvest Final 2021 TACs Final 2021 non-AFA crab vessel sideboard limit Species Season Area/gear Pacific cod ......................... A Season January 1–June 10. Western Pot CV ................ 0.0997 3,561 355 Central Pot CV .................. Western Pot CV ................ 0.0474 0.0997 6,567 2,029 311 202 Central Pot CV .................. 0.0474 3,675 174 B Season September 1– December 31. TABLE 22—FINAL 2022 GOA NON-AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CRAB VESSEL GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Ratio of 1996– 2000 non-AFA crab vessel catch to 1996–2000 total harvest Final 2022 TACs Final 2022 non-AFA crab vessel sideboard limit Species Season Area/gear Pacific cod ......................... A Season January 1–June 10. Western Pot CV ................ 0.0997 5,749 573 Central Pot CV .................. Western Pot CV ................ 0.0474 0.0997 10,601 3,275 502 327 Central Pot CV .................. 0.0474 5,933 281 B Season September 1– December 31. Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and Halibut PSC Limitations The Rockfish Program establishes three classes of sideboard provisions: CV groundfish sideboard restrictions, CP rockfish sideboard restrictions, and CP opt-out vessel sideboard restrictions (§ 679.82(c)(1)). These sideboards are intended to limit the ability of rockfish harvesters to expand into other GOA groundfish fisheries. CVs participating in the Rockfish Program may not participate in directed fishing for dusky rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and northern rockfish in the West Yakutat District and Western GOA from July 1 through July 31. Also, CVs may not participate in directed fishing for arrowtooth flounder, deep-water flatfish, and rex sole in the GOA from July 1 through July 31 (§ 679.82(d)). CPs participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives are restricted by rockfish and halibut PSC sideboard limits. These CPs are prohibited from directed fishing for dusky rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and northern rockfish in the West Yakutat District and Western GOA from July 1 through July 31 (§ 679.82(e)(2)). Holders of CP-designated LLP licenses that opt out of participating in a Rockfish Program cooperative will be able to access that portion of each rockfish sideboard limit that is not assigned to rockfish cooperatives (§ 679.82(e)(7)). The sideboard ratio for each fishery in the West Yakutat District and the Western GOA is set forth in § 679.82(e)(4). Tables 23 and 24 list the final 2021 and 2022 Rockfish Program CP sideboard limits in the West Yakutat District and the Western GOA. Due to confidentiality requirements associated with fisheries data, the sideboard limits for the West Yakutat District are not displayed. TABLE 23—FINAL 2021 ROCKFISH PROGRAM SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR THE WESTERN GOA AND WEST YAKUTAT DISTRICT BY FISHERY FOR THE CATCHER/PROCESSOR SECTOR [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area Fishery CP sector (% of TAC) Western GOA ............................... Dusky rockfish ............................. Pacific ocean perch ..................... Northern rockfish ......................... Dusky rockfish ............................. Pacific ocean perch ..................... 72.3 .............................................. 50.6 .............................................. 74.3 .............................................. Confidential 1 ................................ Confidential 1 ................................ West Yakutat District ................... tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES 1 Not Final 2021 TACs 270 1,643 2,023 468 1,705 Final 2021 CP limit 195. 831. 1,503. Confidential.1 Confidential.1 released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data, as established by NMFS and the State of Alaska. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10205 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 24—FINAL 2022 ROCKFISH PROGRAM SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR THE WESTERN GOA AND WEST YAKUTAT DISTRICT BY FISHERY FOR THE CATCHER/PROCESSOR SECTOR [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Area Fishery CP sector (% of TAC) Western GOA ............................... Dusky rockfish ............................. Pacific ocean perch ..................... Northern rockfish ......................... Dusky rockfish ............................. Pacific ocean perch ..................... 72.3 .............................................. 50.6 .............................................. 74.3 .............................................. Confidential 1 ................................ Confidential 1 ................................ West Yakutat District ................... 1 Not Final 2022 TACs Final 2022 CP limit 265 1,572 1,926 460 1,631 192. 795. 1,431. Confidential.1 Confidential.1 released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data, as established by NMFS and the State of Alaska. Under the Rockfish Program, the CP sector is subject to halibut PSC sideboard limits for the trawl deepwater and shallow-water species fisheries from July 1 through July 31 (§ 679.82(e)(3) and (5)). Halibut PSC sideboard ratios by fishery are set forth in § 679.82(e)(5). No halibut PSC sideboard limits apply to the CV sector, as CVs participating in cooperatives receive a portion of the annual halibut PSC limit. CPs that opt out of the Rockfish Program are able to access that portion of the deep-water and shallowwater halibut PSC sideboard limit not assigned to CP rockfish cooperatives. The sideboard provisions for CPs that elect to opt out of participating in a rockfish cooperative are described in § 679.82(c), (e), and (f). Sideboard limits are linked to the catch history of specific vessels that may choose to opt out. After March 1, NMFS will determine which CPs have opted-out of the Rockfish Program in 2021, and NMFS will know the ratios and amounts used to calculate opt-out sideboard ratios. NMFS will then calculate any applicable opt-out sideboards for 2021 and post these limits on the Alaska Region website at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/alaska/ sustainable-fisheries/alaska-fisheriesmanagement-reports#central-goarockfish. Table 25 lists the final 2021 and 2022 Rockfish Program halibut PSC sideboard limits for the CP sector. TABLE 25—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 ROCKFISH PROGRAM HALIBUT PSC SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR THE CATCHER/ PROCESSOR SECTOR [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton] Sector Shallow-water species fishery halibut PSC sideboard ratio (percent) Deep-water species fishery halibut PSC sideboard ratio (percent) 2021 and 2022 halibut mortality limit (mt) Annual shallowwater species fishery halibut PSC sideboard limit (mt) Annual deepwater species fishery halibut PSC sideboard limit (mt) Catcher/processor .................................. 0.10 2.50 1,706 2 43 Amendment 80 Program Groundfish and PSC Sideboard Limits Amendment 80 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (Amendment 80 Program) established a limited access privilege program for the non-AFA trawl CP sector. The Amendment 80 Program established groundfish and halibut PSC catch limits for Amendment 80 Program participants to limit the ability of participants eligible for the Amendment 80 Program to expand their harvest efforts in the GOA. Section 679.92 establishes groundfish harvesting sideboard limits on all Amendment 80 program vessels, other than the fishing vessel (F/V) Golden Fleece, to amounts no greater than the limits listed in Table 37 to 50 CFR part 679. Under § 679.92(d), the F/V Golden Fleece is prohibited from directed fishing for pollock, Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, dusky rockfish, and northern rockfish in the GOA. Groundfish sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels operating in the GOA are based on their average aggregate harvests from 1998 through 2004 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Tables 26 and 27 list the final 2021 and 2022 groundfish sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels. NMFS will deduct all targeted or incidental catch of sideboard species made by Amendment 80 Program vessels from the sideboard limits in Tables 26 and 27. TABLE 26—FINAL 2021 GOA GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR AMENDMENT 80 PROGRAM VESSELS tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Species Pollock ................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Apportionments and allocations by season A Season January 20–May 31. Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00035 Ratio of Amendment 80 sector vessels 1998– 2004 catch to TAC Area 2021 TAC (mt) 2021 Amendment 80 vessel sideboards (mt) Shumagin (610) .................... 0.003 799 2 Chirikof (620) ........................ Kodiak (630) ......................... 0.002 0.002 41,737 6,297 83 13 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10206 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 26—FINAL 2021 GOA GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR AMENDMENT 80 PROGRAM VESSELS—Continued [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Species Pacific cod ............................. Area B Season September 1– ...... November 1 .......................... Shumagin (610) .................... 0.003 17,677 53 Chirikof (620) ........................ Kodiak (630) ......................... WYK (640) ............................ W .......................................... 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.020 13,133 18,023 5,412 3,561 26 36 11 71 C ........................................... W .......................................... 0.044 0.020 6,567 2,029 289 41 C ........................................... WYK ...................................... W .......................................... WYK ...................................... W .......................................... W .......................................... WYK ...................................... 0.044 0.034 0.994 0.961 1.000 0.764 0.896 3,675 1,489 1,643 1,705 2,023 270 468 162 51 1,633 1,639 2,023 206 419 Annual ................................... A Season 1 January 1–June 10. Pacific ocean perch ............... Annual ................................... Annual ................................... Northern rockfish ................... Dusky rockfish ....................... Annual ................................... Annual ................................... 2 The 2021 TAC (mt) 2021 Amendment 80 vessel sideboards (mt) Apportionments and allocations by season B Season 2 September 1– December 31. 1 The Ratio of Amendment 80 sector vessels 1998– 2004 catch to TAC Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. TABLE 27—FINAL 2022 GOA GROUNDFISH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR AMENDMENT 80 PROGRAM VESSELS [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Species Pollock ................................... ................................................ Pacific cod ............................. Apportionments and allocations by season A Season January 20–May 31. B Season September 1– ...... November 1 .......................... Annual ................................... A Season 1 January 1–June 10. B Season 2 September 1– December 31. Pacific ocean perch ............... Annual ................................... Annual ................................... Northern rockfish ................... Dusky rockfish ....................... Annual ................................... Annual ................................... 1 The tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES 2 The Ratio of Amendment 80 sector vessels 1998– 2004 catch to TAC Area 2022 TAC (mt) 2022 Amendment 80 vessel sideboards (mt) Shumagin (610) .................... 0.003 695 2 Chirikof (620) ........................ Kodiak (630) ......................... Shumagin (610) .................... 0.002 0.002 0.003 36,294 5,476 15,372 73 11 46 Chirikof (620) ........................ Kodiak (630) ......................... WYK (640) ............................ W .......................................... 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.020 11,420 15,672 4,706 5,749 23 31 9 115 C ........................................... W .......................................... 0.044 0.020 10,601 3,275 466 66 C ........................................... WYK ...................................... W .......................................... WYK ...................................... W .......................................... W .......................................... WYK ...................................... 0.044 0.034 0.994 0.961 1.000 0.764 0.896 5,933 2,403 1,572 1,631 1,926 265 460 261 82 1,563 1,567 1,926 202 412 Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20. Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1. The halibut PSC sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels in the GOA are based on the historic use of halibut PSC by Amendment 80 Program vessels in each PSC target category from 1998 through 2004. These values are slightly lower than the average historic use to accommodate two factors: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 Allocation of halibut PSC cooperative quota under the Rockfish Program and the exemption of the F/V Golden Fleece from this restriction (§ 679.92(b)(2)). Table 28 lists the final 2021 and 2022 halibut PSC sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels. These tables incorporate the maximum PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 percentages of the halibut PSC sideboard limits that may be used by Amendment 80 Program vessels as contained in Table 38 to 50 CFR part 679. Any residual amount of a seasonal Amendment 80 halibut PSC sideboard limit may carry forward to the next season limit (§ 679.92(b)(2)). E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 10207 TABLE 28—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 HALIBUT PSC SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR AMENDMENT 80 PROGRAM VESSELS IN THE GOA [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton] Historic Amendment 80 use of the annual halibut PSC limit catch (ratio) 2021 and 2022 annual PSC limit (mt) 2021 and 2022 Amendment 80 vessel PSC limit Season Season dates Target fishery 1 ............... January 20–April 1 ............................ 2 ............... April 1–July 1 .................................... 3 ............... July 1–August 1 ................................ 4 ............... August 1–October 1 .......................... 5 ............... October 1–December 31 ................... shallow-water .................................... deep-water ........................................ shallow-water .................................... deep-water ........................................ shallow-water .................................... deep-water ........................................ shallow-water .................................... deep-water ........................................ shallow-water .................................... deep-water ........................................ 0.0048 0.0115 0.0189 0.1072 0.0146 0.0521 0.0074 0.0014 0.0227 0.0371 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 1,706 8 20 32 183 25 89 13 2 39 63 ............................................................ ........................ .......................... 474 Total: ............................................................ Directed Fishing Closures Pursuant to § 679.20(d)(1)(i), if the Regional Administrator determines (1) that any allocation or apportionment of a target species or species group allocated or apportioned to a fishery will be reached; or (2) with respect to pollock and Pacific cod, that an allocation or apportionment to an inshore or offshore component or sector allocation will be reached, then the Regional Administrator may establish a directed fishing allowance (DFA) for that species or species group. If the Regional Administrator establishes a DFA and that allowance is or will be reached before the end of the fishing season or year, NMFS will prohibit directed fishing for that species or species group in the specified GOA subarea, regulatory area, or district (§ 679.20(d)(1)(iii)). The Regional Administrator has determined that the TACs for the species listed in Table 29 are necessary to account for the incidental catch of these species in other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2021 and 2022 fishing years. TABLE 29—2021 AND 2022 DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES IN THE GOA [Amounts for incidental catch in other directed fisheries are in metric tons] Incidental catch amount and year (if amounts differ by year) Target Area/component/gear Pollock ............................................................... Sablefish 2 .......................................................... Pacific cod ......................................................... all/offshore ........................................................ all/trawl ............................................................. Western, CP, trawl ........................................... Central, CP, trawl ............................................. all ...................................................................... all ...................................................................... all ...................................................................... all ...................................................................... all ...................................................................... all ...................................................................... all ...................................................................... all ...................................................................... all ...................................................................... all ...................................................................... Shortraker rockfish 2 .......................................... Rougheye/blackspotted rockfish 2 ..................... Thornyhead rockfish 2 ........................................ Other rockfish .................................................... Atka mackerel .................................................... Big skate ............................................................ Longnose skate ................................................. Other skates ...................................................... Sharks ................................................................ Octopuses .......................................................... not applicable 1. 2,473 (2021), 3,553 (2022). 129 (2021), 209 (2022). 426 (2021), 687 (2022). 708. 1,212 (2021), 1,221 (2022). 1,953. 1,609. 3,000. 3,208. 2,587. 875. 3,755. 980. 1 Pollock is closed to directed fishing in the GOA by the offshore component under § 679.20(a)(6)(i). are not applicable to participants in cooperatives conducted under the Central GOA Rockfish Program because cooperatives are prohibited from exceeding their allocations (§ 679.7(n)(6)(viii)). tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES 2 Closures Consequently, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator establishes the DFA for the species or species groups listed in Table 29 as zero mt. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for those species, areas, gear types, and components in the GOA listed in Table 29 effective at 1200 hours, A.l.t., VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 February 19, 2021, through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2022. Closures implemented under the 2020 and 2021 GOA harvest specifications for groundfish (85 FR 13802, March 10, 2020) remain effective under authority of these final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications and until the date specified in those notices. Closures are posted at the following website under PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 the Alaska filter for Management Areas: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/rulesand-announcements/bulletins. While these closures are in effect, the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a fishing trip. These closures to directed fishing are in addition to closures and prohibitions found at 50 CFR part 679. NMFS may implement E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10208 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations other closures during the 2021 and 2022 fishing years as necessary for effective conservation and management. tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Comments and Responses NMFS did not receive any comments during the public comment period for the proposed groundfish harvest specifications. Classification NMFS has determined that the final harvest specifications are consistent with the FMP and with the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and other applicable laws. This final rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. NMFS prepared an EIS for the Alaska groundfish harvest specifications and alternative harvest strategies (see ADDRESSES) and made it available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On February 13, 2007, NMFS issued the ROD for the EIS. In January 2021, NMFS prepared a SIR for this action to provide a subsequent assessment of the action and to address the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS (SEIS;40 CFR 1501.11(b); § 1502.9(d)(1)). Copies of the EIS, ROD, and annual SIRs for this action are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The Final EIS analyzes the environmental, social, and economic consequences of the groundfish harvest specifications and alternative harvest strategies on resources in the action area. Based on the analysis in the Final EIS, NMFS concluded that the preferred Alternative (Alternative 2) provides the best balance among relevant environmental, social, and economic considerations and allows for continued management of the groundfish fisheries based on the most recent, best scientific information. The preferred alternative is a harvest strategy in which TACs are set at a level within the range of ABCs recommended by the Council’s SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve the OY specified in the FMP. While the specific numbers that the harvest strategy produces may vary from year to year, the methodology used for the preferred harvest strategy remains constant. The annual SIR evaluates the need to prepare a SEIS for the 2021 and 2022 groundfish harvest specifications. An SEIS should be prepared if (1) the agency makes substantial changes in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental concerns, or (2) significant new circumstances or information exist relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts (40 CFR 1502.9(d)(1)). After reviewing the information contained in the SIR and VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 SAFE reports, the Regional Administrator has determined that (1) approval of the 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications, which were set according to the preferred harvest strategy in the EIS, does not constitute a substantial change in the action; and (2) there are no significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the action or its impacts. Additionally, the 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications will result in environmental, social, and economic impacts within the scope of those analyzed and disclosed in the EIS. Therefore, an SEIS is not necessary to implement the 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications. Section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 604) requires that, when an agency promulgates a final rule under 5 U.S.C. 553, after being required by that section, or any other law, to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking, the agency shall prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA). The following constitutes the FRFA prepared in the final action. Section 604 of the RFA describes the required contents of a FRFA: (1) A statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule; (2) a statement of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA), a statement of the assessment of the agency of such issues, and a statement of any changes made in the proposed rule as a result of such comments; (3) the response of the agency to any comments filed by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration in response to the proposed rule, and a detailed statement of any change made to the proposed rule in the final rule as a result of the comments; (4) a description of and an estimate of the number of small entities to which the rule will apply or an explanation of why no such estimate is available; (5) a description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements of the rule, including an estimate of the classes of small entities which will be subject to the requirement and the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the report or record; and (6) a description of the steps the agency has taken to minimize the significant economic impact on small entities consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes, including a statement of the factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the alternative adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other significant alternatives to the rule considered by the agency that PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 affect the impact on small entities was rejected. A description of this action, its purpose, and its legal basis are contained at the beginning of the preamble to this final rule and are not repeated here. NMFS published the proposed rule on December 3, 2020 (85 FR 78076). NMFS prepared an IRFA to accompany the proposed action, and included the IRFA in the proposed rule. The comment period closed on January 4, 2021. No comments were received on the IRFA or on the economic impacts of the rule more generally. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration did not file any comments on the proposed rule. The entities directly regulated by this action are: (1) Entities operating vessels with groundfish federal fishing permit (FFPs) catching FMP groundfish in Federal waters; (2) all entities operating vessels, regardless of whether they hold groundfish FFPs, catching FMP groundfish in the State-waters parallel fisheries; and (3) all entities operating vessels fishing for halibut inside three miles (5.6 km) of the shore (whether or not they have FFPs). For RFA purposes only, NMFS has established a small business size standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual gross receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. Using the most recent data available (2019), the estimated number of directly regulated small entities include approximately 871 individual catcher vessel entities with gross revenues meeting small entity criteria. This estimate does not account for corporate affiliations among vessels, and for cooperative affiliations among fishing entities, since some of the fishing vessels operating in the GOA are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, GOA rockfish cooperatives, or BSAI CR Program cooperatives. Vessels that participate in these cooperatives are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA because the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members exceed the $11 million threshold. After accounting for membership in these cooperatives, there are an estimated 812 small CV and 5 small CP entities remaining in the GOA groundfish sector. However, the E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations estimate of these 817 CVs may be an overstatement of the number of small entities. This latter group of vessels had average gross revenues that varied by gear type. Average gross revenues for hook-and-line CVs, pot gear CVs, trawl gear CVs, and hook-and-line CPs are estimated to be $350,000, $780,000, $1.6 million, and $2.9 million, respectively. This final rule contains no information collection requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. This action implements the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications, apportionments, and halibut PSC limits for the groundfish fishery of the GOA. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2021 and 2022 fishing years and is taken in accordance with the FMP prepared by the Council pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The establishment of the final harvest specifications is governed by the Council’s harvest strategy that governs the catch of groundfish in the GOA. The harvest strategy was selected previously from among five alternatives, with the preferred alternative harvest strategy being one in which the TACs fall within the range of ABCs recommended by the SSC. Under this preferred alternative harvest strategy, TACs are set within the range of ABCs recommended by the SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve the OY specified in the FMP; and while the specific TAC numbers that the harvest strategy produces may vary from year to year, the methodology used for the preferred harvest strategy remains constant. This final action implements the preferred alternative harvest strategy previously chosen by the Council to set TACs that fall within the range of ABCs recommended through the Council harvest specifications process and as recommended by the Council. This is the method for determining TACs that has been used in the past. The final 2021 and 2022 TACs associated with preferred harvest strategy are those recommended by the Council in December 2020. OFLs and ABCs for the species were based on recommendations prepared by the Council’s Plan Team, and reviewed by the Council’s SSC. The Council based its TAC recommendations on those of its AP, which were consistent with the SSC’s OFL and ABC recommendations. The sum of all TACs remains within the OY for the GOA consistent with § 679.20(a)(1)(i)(B). The final 2021 and 2022 OFLs and ABCs are based on the best available biological information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 biomass, and revised technical methods to calculate stock biomass. The final 2021 and 2022 TACs are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic information. The final 2021 and 2022 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the biological condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 2020 SAFE report, which is the most recent, completed SAFE report. Accounting for the most recent biological information to set the final OFLs, ABCs, and TACs is consistent with the objectives for this action, as well as National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (16 U.S.C. 1851(a)(2)) that actions shall be based on the best scientific information available. Under this action, the final ABCs reflect harvest amounts that are less than the specified overfishing levels. The final TACs are within the range of final ABCs recommended by the SSC and do not exceed the biological limits recommended by the SSC (the ABCs and overfishing levels). For most species and species groups in the GOA, the Council recommended, and NMFS sets, final TACs equal to final ABCs, which is intended to maximize harvest opportunities in the GOA, unless other conservation or management reasons support setting TAC amounts less than the ABCs. For these species and species groups, the Council recommended and NMFS sets TACs that are less than the ABCs, including for pollock for the combined W/C/WYK Regulatory Area, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish in the Western GOA, arrowtooth flounder in the Western GOA and the West Yakutat and SEO Districts, flathead sole in the Western and Central GOA, Atka mackerel, and ‘‘other rockfish’’ in the SEO District. These specific reductions were reviewed and recommended by the Council’s AP, and, with the exception of sablefish, the Council in turn adopted the AP’s recommendations for the final 2021 and 2022 TACs. For sablefish, the Council recommended 2021 sablefish TACs that are less than the 2021 ABCs, which is intended to provide an incremental increase from the 2020 TACs to the 2021 TACs rather than the very large increase in the 2021 TACs if they were set equal to final ABCs. Moreover, increasing TACs for some species may not result in increased harvest opportunities for those species. This is due to a variety of reasons. There may be a lack of commercial or market interest in some species. Additionally, there are fixed, and therefore constraining, PSC limits associated with the harvest of the GOA groundfish species that can lead to an PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 10209 underharvest of flatfish TACs. For this reason, the shallow-water flatfish, arrowtooth flounder, and flathead sole TACs are set to allow for increased harvest opportunities for these target species while conserving the halibut PSC limit for use in other fisheries. The Atka mackerel TAC is set to accommodate incidental catch amounts in other fisheries. The ‘‘other rockfish’’ TAC in the SEO District is set to reduce the amount of discards of the species in that complex. Finally, the TACs for two species (pollock and Pacific cod) cannot be set equal to ABC, as the TAC must be reduced to account for the State’s GHLs in these fisheries. The W/C/WYK Regulatory Area pollock TAC and the GOA Pacific cod TACs are therefore set to account for the State’s GHLs for the State water pollock and Pacific cod fisheries so that the ABCs are not exceeded. Based upon the best available scientific data, and in consideration of the Council’s objectives of this action, there are no significant alternatives to the final rule that have the potential to accomplish the stated objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and any other applicable statutes and that have the potential to minimize any significant adverse economic impact of the final rule on small entities. This action is economically beneficial to entities operating in the GOA, including small entities. The action specifies TACs for commercially-valuable species in the GOA and allows for the continued prosecution of the fishery, thereby creating the opportunity for fishery revenue. After public process, during which the Council solicited input from stakeholders, the Council concluded that these final harvest specifications would best accomplish the stated objectives articulated in the preamble for this final rule and in applicable statutes and would minimize to the extent practicable adverse economic impacts on the universe of directly regulated small entities. Adverse impacts on marine mammals, or endangered or threatened species, resulting from fishing activities conducted under this rule are discussed in the Final EIS and its accompanying annual SIRs (see ADDRESSES). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness for this rule because delaying this rule is contrary to the public interest. The Plan Team review of the 2020 SAFE report occurred in November 2020, and based on the 2020 SAFE report the Council considered and recommended the final harvest specifications in December E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1 10210 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 32 / Friday, February 19, 2021 / Rules and Regulations tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with RULES 2020. Accordingly, NMFS’s review of the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications could not begin until after the December 2020 Council meeting, and after the public had time to comment on the proposed action. For all fisheries not currently closed because the TACs established under the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications (85 FR 13802, March 10, 2020) were not reached, it is possible that they would be closed prior to the expiration of a 30-day delayed effectiveness period because their TACs could be reached within that period. If implemented immediately, this rule would allow these fisheries to continue fishing because some of the new TACs implemented by this rule are higher than the TACs under which they are currently fishing. In addition, immediate effectiveness of this action is required to provide consistent management and conservation of fishery resources based on the best available scientific information. This is particularly pertinent for those species that have lower 2021 ABCs and TACs than those established in the 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications (85 FR 13802, March 10, 2020). If implemented immediately, this rule would ensure that NMFS can properly manage those fisheries for which this rule sets lower 2021 ABCs and TACs, which are based on the most recent biological information on the condition of stocks, rather than managing species under the higher TACs set in the previous year’s harvest specifications. Certain fisheries, such as those for pollock, are intensive, fast-paced fisheries. Other fisheries, such as those for sablefish, flatfish, rockfish, Atka mackerel, skates, sharks, and octopuses, are critical as directed fisheries and as incidental catch in other fisheries. U.S. fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch the TAC allocations in many of these fisheries. If the effectiveness of this rule were delayed VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:57 Feb 18, 2021 Jkt 253001 30 days and if a TAC were reached during those 30 days, NMFS would close directed fishing or prohibit retention for the applicable species. Any delay in allocating the final TACs in these fisheries would cause confusion to the industry and potential economic harm through unnecessary discards, thus undermining the intent of this rule. Waiving the 30-day delay allows NMFS to prevent economic loss to fishermen that could otherwise occur should the 2021 TACs (set under the 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications) be reached. Determining which fisheries may close is nearly impossible because these fisheries are affected by several factors that cannot be predicted in advance, including fishing effort, weather, movement of fishery stocks, and market price. Furthermore, the closure of one fishery has a cascading effect on other fisheries by freeing-up fishing vessels, allowing them to move from closed fisheries to open ones, increasing the fishing capacity in those open fisheries, and causing them to close at an accelerated pace. In fisheries subject to declining sideboard limits, a failure to implement the updated sideboard limits before initial season’s end could deny the intended economic protection to the non-sideboarded sectors. Conversely, in fisheries with increasing sideboard limits, economic benefit could be denied to the sideboard-limited sectors. If the final harvest specifications are not effective by March 6, 2021, which is the start of the 2021 Pacific halibut season as specified by the IPHC, the fixed gear sablefish fishery will not begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. This would result in confusion for the industry and economic harm from unnecessary discard of sablefish that are caught along with Pacific halibut, as both fixed gear sablefish and Pacific halibut are managed under the same IFQ program. Immediate effectiveness of the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 will allow the sablefish IFQ fishery to begin concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. Finally, immediate effectiveness also would provide the fishing industry the earliest possible opportunity to plan and conduct its fishing operations with respect to new information about TACs. Therefore, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). Small Entity Compliance Guide This final rule is a plain language guide to assist small entities in complying with this final rule as required by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This final rule’s primary purpose is to announce the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications and prohibited species bycatch allowances for the groundfish fisheries of the GOA. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits and associated management measures for groundfish during the 2021 and 2022 fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the FMP. This action affects all fishermen who participate in the GOA fisheries. The specific OFL, ABC, TAC, and PSC amounts are provided in tables to assist the reader. NMFS will announce closures of directed fishing in the Federal Register and information bulletins released by the Alaska Region. Affected fishermen should keep themselves informed of such closures. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540 (f), 1801 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105–277; Pub. L. 106–31; Pub. L. 106–554; Pub. L. 108–199; Pub. L. 108–447; Pub. L. 109–241; Pub. L 109–479. Dated: February 11, 2021. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2021–03194 Filed 2–18–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\19FER1.SGM 19FER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 32 (Friday, February 19, 2021)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 10184-10210]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-03194]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 210210-0018]
RTID 0648-XY115


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of 
Alaska; Final 2021 and 2022 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish

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

ACTION: Final rule; harvest specifications and closures.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS announces final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications, 
apportionments, and Pacific halibut prohibited species catch limits for 
the groundfish fishery of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is 
necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 
remainder of the 2021 and the start of the 2022 fishing years and to 
accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for 
Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). The 2021 harvest specifications 
supersede those previously set in the final 2020 and 2021 harvest 
specifications, and the 2022 harvest specifications will be superseded 
in early 2022 when the final 2022 and 2023 harvest specifications are 
published. The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage 
the groundfish resources in the GOA in accordance with the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

DATES: Harvest specifications and closures are effective at 1200 hours, 
Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 19, 2021, through 2400 hours, 
A.l.t., December 31, 2022.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Final Alaska Groundfish Harvest 
Specifications Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of Decision 
(ROD), and the annual Supplementary Information Reports (SIRs) to the 
EIS prepared for this action are available from https://www.regulations.gov. The 2020 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation 
(SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the GOA, dated November 
2020, and SAFE reports for previous years are available from the North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 1007 West 3rd Avenue, 
Suite 400, Anchorage, AK 99501, phone 907-271-2809, or from the 
Council's website at https://www.npfmc.org.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the GOA groundfish fisheries in 
the exclusive economic zone of the GOA under the FMP. The Council 
prepared the FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 
U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and 
implementing the FMP appear at 50 CFR parts 600, 679, and 680.
    The FMP and its implementing regulations require that NMFS, after 
consultation with the Council, specify the total allowable catch (TAC) 
for each target species, the sum of which must be within the optimum 
yield (OY) range of 116,000 to 800,000 metric tons (mt) (50 CFR 
679.20(a)(1)(i)(B)). Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires that NMFS 
publish and solicit public comment on proposed annual TACs and 
apportionments thereof, Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) 
limits, and seasonal allowances of pollock and Pacific cod. Upon 
consideration of public comment received under Sec.  679.20(c)(1), NMFS 
must publish notice of final harvest specifications for up to two 
fishing years as annual TACs and apportionments, Pacific halibut PSC 
limits, and seasonal allowances of pollock and Pacific cod, per Sec.  
679.20(c)(3)(ii). The final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 
1 through 29 of this rule reflect the outcome of this process, as 
required at Sec.  679.20(c).
    The proposed 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for groundfish of 
the GOA and Pacific halibut PSC limits were published in the Federal 
Register on December 3, 2020 (85 FR 78076). Comments were invited and 
accepted through January 4, 2021. NMFS did not receive any comments on 
the proposed harvest specifications. In December 2020, NMFS consulted 
with the Council regarding the 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications. 
After an opportunity for public comment, and after considering more 
recent biological and socioeconomic data that were available at the 
Council's December 2020 meeting, NMFS is implementing the final 2021 
and 2022 harvest specifications, as recommended by the Council. 
Differences between the proposed specifications and the final 
specifications are discussed below. For 2021, the sum of the TAC 
amounts is 407,975 mt. For 2022, the sum of the TAC amounts is 409,039 
mt.

Other Actions Affecting the 2021 and 2022 Harvest Specifications

Amendment 109 to the FMP: Revisions to the GOA Pollock Seasons and 
Pacific Cod Seasonal Allocations

    On June 25, 2020, NMFS published a final rule to implement 
Amendment 109 to the FMP (85 FR 38093), effective January 1, 2021 (see 
also correction 85 FR 79139, December 9, 2020). The final rule revised 
the pollock seasons and allocations, along with Pacific cod season 
allocations, in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA. 
Amendment 109 modified the existing annual pollock TAC allocation to 
two equal seasonal allocations (50 percent of TAC), rather than four 
equal seasonal allocations (25 percent of TAC). The pollock A and B 
seasons were combined into a January 20 through May 31 A season, and 
the pollock C and D seasons were combined into a September 1 through 
November 1 B season. Additionally, Amendment 109 revised the Pacific 
cod TAC seasonal apportionments to the trawl catcher vessel (CV) sector 
by increasing the A season allocation and decreasing the B season 
allocation. The December 9, 2020, correction clarified existing 
seasonal apportionments of Pacific cod for the jig sector. The 
revisions implemented by Amendment 109 are incorporated into these 
final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications.

Amendment 110 to the FMP: Reclassify Sculpins as an Ecosystem Component 
Species

    On July 10, 2020, NMFS published the final rule to implement 
Amendment 110 to the FMP (85 FR 41427). The final rule reclassified 
sculpins in the FMP as an ``Ecosystem Component'' species, which is a 
category of non-target species that are not in need of conservation and 
management. Accordingly, NMFS will no longer set an Overfishing Level 
(OFL), acceptable biological catch (ABC), and TAC for sculpins in the 
GOA groundfish harvest specifications.

ABC and TAC Specifications

    In December 2020, the Council's Scientific and Statistical 
Committee (SSC), its Advisory Panel (AP), and the

[[Page 10185]]

Council reviewed the most recent biological and harvest information 
about the condition of the GOA groundfish stocks. The Council's GOA 
Groundfish Plan Team (Plan Team) compiled and presented this 
information in the 2020 SAFE report for the GOA groundfish fisheries, 
dated November 2020 (see ADDRESSES). The SAFE report contains a review 
of the latest scientific analyses and estimates of each species' 
biomass and other biological parameters, as well as summaries of the 
available information on the GOA ecosystem and the economic condition 
of the groundfish fisheries off Alaska. From these data and analyses, 
the Plan Team recommends, and the SSC sets, an OFL and ABC for each 
species or species group. The 2020 SAFE report was made available for 
public review during the public comment period for the proposed harvest 
specifications.
    In previous years, the greatest changes from the proposed to the 
final harvest specifications have been based on recent NMFS stock 
surveys, which provide updated estimates of stock biomass and spatial 
distribution, and changes to the models used for producing stock 
assessments. At the November 2020 Plan Team meeting, NMFS scientists 
presented updated and new survey results, changes to stock assessment 
models, and accompanying stock assessment estimates for groundfish 
species and species groups that are included in the 2020 SAFE report 
per the stock assessment schedule found in the 2020 SAFE report 
introduction. The SSC reviewed this information at the December 2020 
Council meeting. Changes from the proposed to the final 2021 and 2022 
harvest specifications are discussed below.
    The final 2021 and 2022 OFLs and ABCs are based on the best 
available biological information, including projected biomass trends, 
information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised 
methods used to calculate stock biomass, and the final 2021 and 2022 
TACs are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic 
information. The FMP specifies the formulas, or tiers, to be used to 
compute OFLs and ABCs. The formulas applicable to a particular stock or 
stock complex are determined by the level of reliable information 
available to fisheries scientists. This information is categorized into 
a successive series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts, with 
Tier 1 representing the highest level of information quality available 
and Tier 6 representing the lowest level of information quality 
available. The Plan Team used the FMP tier structure to calculate OFL 
and ABC amounts for each groundfish species. The SSC adopted the final 
2021 and 2022 OFLs and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team for most 
groundfish species, with the exception of sablefish.
    The Alaska-wide sablefish ABC is apportioned between six areas 
within the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) and Gulf of Alaska 
(Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, Western Gulf, Central Gulf, West 
Yakutat, and East Yakutat/Southeast areas). Since 2013, a fixed 
apportionment methodology has been used to apportion the ABC between 
those six areas. However, a new apportionment methodology will be used 
for 2021 and 2022 that affects the apportionment of sablefish ABC and 
the area TACs that are allocated between the trawl and fixed gear 
sectors. The Joint BSAI and GOA Groundfish Plan Team, SSC, and Council 
reviewed a range of apportionment approaches for the sablefish ABC for 
the harvest specifications, including a range from the status quo 
(fixed apportionment) and the sablefish assessment authors' recommended 
non-exponential 5-year survey moving average. The Joint Plan Team 
recommended that, from a biological perspective, moving away from the 
fixed apportionment toward the true distribution would be preferred, to 
the extent practical. The SSC recommended a 25 percent stair step from 
the current (fixed) apportionment percentages toward the non-
exponential 5-year survey moving average proposed by the assessment 
authors. The Council and NMFS have adopted the SSC's recommendation for 
the 2021 and 2022 ABC apportionments. For 2021 this increases the ABC 
apportionments in all areas (for example, up to 60 percent in the 
Aleutian Islands subarea), with smaller increases in areas that have 
recently been apportioned a greater percentage under the fixed 
apportionment methodology than suggested by recent survey observations 
(for example, only a 17 percent increase in the East Yakutat/Southeast 
area).
    The Council adopted the SSC's OFLs and ABCs and the AP's TAC 
recommendations, with the exception of the sablefish TACs (further 
described below). The final TAC recommendations are based on the ABCs 
and are adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, 
including maintaining the sum of all TACs within the required OY range 
of 116,000 to 800,000 mt.
    The Council recommended 2021 and 2022 TACs that are equal to ABCs 
for pollock in the Southeast Outside (SEO) District, shallow-water 
flatfish in the Central GOA and the West Yakutat and SEO Districts, 
deep-water flatfish, rex sole, arrowtooth flounder in the Central GOA, 
flathead sole in the West Yakutat and SEO Districts, Pacific ocean 
perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, dusky rockfish, rougheye 
and blackspotted rockfish, demersal shelf rockfish, thornyhead 
rockfish, ``other rockfish'' in the Western/Central GOA and West 
Yakutat District, big skate, longnose skate, other skates, sharks, and 
octopuses in the GOA. The Council recommended TACs for 2021 and 2022 
that are less than the ABCs for pollock for the combined Western and 
Central GOA and West Yakutat District area, Pacific cod, shallow-water 
flatfish in the Western GOA, arrowtooth flounder in the Western GOA and 
the West Yakutat and SEO Districts, flathead sole in the Western and 
Central GOA, Atka mackerel, and ``other rockfish'' in the SEO District. 
The Council recommended 2021 sablefish TACs that are less than the 2021 
ABCs, and 2022 sablefish TACs that are equal to 2022 ABCs. Setting the 
2021 sablefish TACs less than 2021 ABCs is intended to provide an 
incremental increase to the 2021 sablefish TACs, rather than the very 
large increase in the 2021 sablefish TACs if they were set equal to 
ABCs. The Council recommended setting the TAC for each GOA management 
area to be 25 percent higher than the 2020 sablefish TACs.
    The combined Western, Central, and West Yakutat pollock TAC and the 
GOA Pacific cod TACs are set to accommodate the State of Alaska's 
(State's) guideline harvest levels (GHLs) so that the ABCs for pollock 
and Pacific cod are not exceeded. The Western GOA shallow-water 
flatfish, Western GOA arrowtooth flounder, and Western GOA flathead 
sole TACs are set to allow for increased harvest opportunities for 
these target species while conserving the halibut PSC limit for use in 
other, more fully utilized fisheries. Similarly, the Western Yakutat 
and SEO Districts arrowtooth flounder TACs and the Central GOA flathead 
sole TAC are set lower than ABC to conserve halibut PSC limit for use 
in other fisheries or because there is limited commercial interest and 
participation in these fisheries. The Atka mackerel TAC is set to 
accommodate incidental catch amounts in other fisheries. The ``other 
rockfish'' TAC in the SEO District is set to reduce the amount of 
discards of the species in that complex.
    The final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications approved by the 
Secretary of Commerce are unchanged from those recommended by the 
Council, and are consistent with the preferred harvest strategy 
alternative outlined in the FMP and EIS (see ADDRESSES).

[[Page 10186]]

    NMFS finds that the Council's recommended OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are 
consistent with the biological condition of the groundfish stocks as 
described in the final 2020 SAFE report. NMFS also finds that the 
Council's recommendations for TACs are consistent with the biological 
condition of groundfish stocks as adjusted for other biological and 
socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the sum of all TACs 
within the OY range. NMFS reviewed the Council's recommended TACs and 
apportionments, and NMFS approves these harvest specifications under 50 
CFR 679.20(c)(3)(ii). The apportionment of TAC amounts among gear types 
and sectors, processing sectors, and seasons is discussed below.
    Tables 1 and 2 list the final 2021 and 2022 OFLs, ABCs, TACs, and 
area apportionments of groundfish in the GOA. The 2021 harvest 
specifications set in this final action will supersede the 2021 harvest 
specifications previously set in the final 2020 and 2021 harvest 
specifications (85 FR 13802, March 10, 2020). The 2022 harvest 
specifications will be superseded in early 2022 when the final 2022 and 
2023 harvest specifications are published. Pursuant to this final 
action, the 2021 harvest specifications therefore will apply for the 
remainder of the current year (2021), while the 2022 harvest 
specifications are projected only for the following year (2022) and 
will be superseded in early 2022 by the final 2022 and 2023 harvest 
specifications. Because this final action (published in early 2021) 
will be superseded in early 2022 by the publication of the final 2022 
and 2023 harvest specifications, it is projected that this final action 
will implement the harvest specifications for the Gulf of Alaska for 
approximately one year.

Specification and Apportionment of TAC Amounts

    NMFS's apportionment of groundfish species is based on the 
distribution of biomass among the regulatory areas over which NMFS 
manages the species. Additional regulations govern the apportionment of 
pollock, Pacific cod, and sablefish and are described below.
    The ABC for the pollock stock in the combined Western and Central 
Regulatory Areas and the West Yakutat (WYK) District of the Eastern 
Regulatory Area (the W/C/WYK) includes the amount for the GHL 
established by the State for the Prince William Sound (PWS) pollock 
fishery. The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and Council have recommended that the 
sum of all State water and Federal water pollock removals from the GOA 
not exceed ABC recommendations. For 2021 and 2022, the SSC recommended 
and the Council approved the W/C/WYK pollock ABC, including the amount 
to account for the State's PWS GHL. At the November 2020 Plan Team 
meeting, State fisheries managers recommended setting the PWS pollock 
GHL at 2.5 percent of the annual W/C/WYK pollock ABC. For 2021, this 
yields a PWS pollock GHL of 2,643 mt, a decrease of 69 mt from the 2020 
PWS pollock GHL of 2,712 mt. For 2022, the PWS pollock GHL is 2,298 mt, 
a decrease of 414 mt from the 2020 PWS pollock GHL of 2,712 mt. After 
the GHL reductions, the 2021 and 2022 pollock ABCs for the combined W/
C/WYK areas are then apportioned between four statistical areas (Areas 
610, 620, 630, and 640) as both ABCs and TACs, as described below and 
detailed in Tables 1 and 2. The total ABCs and TACs for the four 
statistical areas, plus the State PWS GHL, do not exceed the combined 
W/C/WYK ABC.
    Apportionments of pollock to the W/C/WYK areas are considered to be 
``apportionments of annual catch limits (ACLs)'' rather than ``ABCs.'' 
This more accurately reflects that such apportionments address 
management, rather than biological or conservation, concerns. In 
addition, apportionments of the ACL in this manner allow NMFS to 
balance any transfer of TAC among Areas 610, 620, and 630 pursuant to 
Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B) to ensure that the combined W/C/WYK ACL, ABC, 
and TAC are not exceeded.
    NMFS establishes pollock TACs in the Western (Area 610) and Central 
(Areas 620 and 630) Regulatory Areas and the West Yakutat (Area 640) 
and the SEO (Area 650) Districts of the GOA (see Tables 1 and 2). NMFS 
also establishes seasonal apportionments of the annual pollock TACs in 
the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA among Statistical 
Areas 610, 620, and 630. Additional detail on area apportionments and 
seasonal allowances is provided in a subsequent section in this rule; 
Tables 3 and 4 list these amounts.
    The 2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs are set to accommodate the 
State's GHLs for Pacific cod in State waters in the Western and Central 
Regulatory Areas, as well as in PWS. The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and 
Council recommended that the sum of all State water and Federal water 
Pacific cod removals from the GOA not exceed ABC recommendations. The 
Council set the 2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs in the Western, Central, 
and Eastern Regulatory Areas to account for State GHLs. Therefore, the 
2021 Pacific cod TACs are less than the ABCs by the following amounts: 
(1) Western GOA, 2,396 mt; (2) Central GOA, 3,414 mt; and (3) Eastern 
GOA, 496 mt. The 2022 Pacific cod TACs are less than the ABCs by the 
following amounts: (1) Western GOA, 3,868 mt; (2) Central GOA, 5,511 
mt; and (3) Eastern GOA, 801 mt. These amounts reflect the State's 2021 
and 2022 GHLs in these areas, which are 30 percent of the Western GOA 
ABC and 25 percent of the Eastern and Central GOA ABCs.
    The Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs are allocated among 
various gear and operational sectors. NMFS also establishes seasonal 
apportionments of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Western and Central 
Regulatory Areas. The Pacific cod sector and seasonal apportionments 
are discussed in detail in a subsequent section and in Tables 5 and 6 
of this rule.
    The Council's recommendation for sablefish area apportionments 
takes into account the prohibition on the use of trawl gear in the SEO 
District of the Eastern Regulatory Area (Sec.  679.7(b)(1)) and makes 
available 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area TACs to 
vessels using trawl gear for use as incidental catch in other trawl 
groundfish fisheries in the WYK District (Sec.  679.20(a)(4)(i)). 
Tables 7 and 8 list the final 2021 and 2022 allocations of sablefish 
TAC to fixed gear and trawl gear in the GOA.

Changes From the Proposed 2021 and 2022 Harvest Specifications in the 
GOA

    In October 2020, the Council's recommendations for the proposed 
2021 and 2022 harvest specifications (85 FR 78076, December 3, 2020) 
were based largely on information contained in the final 2019 SAFE 
report for the GOA groundfish fisheries, dated November 2019. The final 
2019 SAFE report for the GOA is available from the Council (see 
ADDRESSES). The Council proposed that the final OFLs, ABCs, and TACs 
established for the 2021 groundfish fisheries (85 FR 13802, March 10, 
2020) be used for the proposed 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications (85 
FR 78076, December 3, 2020), pending completion and review of the 2020 
SAFE report at the Council's December 2020 meeting.
    As described previously, the SSC recommended the final 2021 and 
2022 OFLs and ABCs as recommended by the Plan Team, with the exception 
of sablefish ABCs. The Council adopted as its recommendations the SSC's 
OFL and ABC recommendations and the AP's TAC recommendations (except 
for sablefish) for 2021 and 2022.
    The final 2021 ABCs are higher than the proposed 2021 ABCs 
published in the proposed 2021 and 2022 harvest

[[Page 10187]]

specifications (85 FR 78076, December 3, 2020) for Pacific cod, 
arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Pacific ocean perch, northern 
rockfish, dusky rockfish, rougheye/blackspotted rockfish, and demersal 
shelf rockfish. The final 2021 ABCs are lower than the proposed 2021 
ABCs for pollock, sablefish, shallow-water flatfish, thornyhead 
rockfish, and sharks.
    The final 2022 ABCs are higher than the proposed 2022 ABCs for 
Pacific cod, sablefish, shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Pacific 
ocean perch, northern rockfish, dusky rockfish, rougheye/blackspotted 
rockfish, and demersal shelf rockfish. The final 2022 ABCs are lower 
than the proposed 2022 ABCs for pollock, arrowtooth flounder, 
thornyhead rockfish, and sharks. For the remaining target species, the 
Council recommended the final 2021 and 2022 ABCs that are the same as 
the proposed 2021 and 2022 ABCs.
    Additional information explaining the changes between the proposed 
and final ABCs is included in the final 2020 SAFE report, which was not 
completed and available when the Council made its proposed ABC and TAC 
recommendations in October 2020. At that time, the most recent stock 
assessment information was contained in the final 2019 SAFE report. The 
final 2020 SAFE report contains the best and most recent scientific 
information on the condition of the groundfish stocks, as previously 
discussed in this preamble, and is available for review (see 
ADDRESSES). The Council considered the 2020 SAFE report in December 
2020 when it made recommendations for the final 2021 and 2022 harvest 
specifications. In the GOA, the total final 2021 TAC amount is 407,975 
mt, an increase of 1.3 percent from the total proposed 2021 TAC amount 
of 402,783 mt. The total final 2022 TAC amount is 409,039 mt, an 
increase of 1.6 percent from the total proposed 2022 TAC amount of 
402,783 mt. Table 1a summarizes the difference between the proposed and 
final TACs.
    Annual stock assessments incorporate a variety of new or revised 
inputs, such as survey data or catch information, as well as changes to 
the statistical models used to estimate a species' biomass and 
population trend. Changes to biomass and ABC estimates are primarily 
based on fishery catch updates to species' assessment models. Some 
species, such as pollock and sablefish, have additional surveys 
conducted on an annual basis, which resulted in additional data being 
available for the 2020 assessments for these stocks.
    The changes from the proposed 2021 TACs to the final 2021 TACs are 
within a range of plus 169 percent or minus 60 percent, and the changes 
from the proposed 2022 TACs to the final 2022 TACs are within a range 
of plus 335 percent or minus 60 percent. Based on changes in the 
estimates of overall biomass in the stock assessment for 2021 and 2022, 
as compared to the estimates previously made for 2020 and 2021, the 
species or species group with the greatest TAC percentage increases are 
Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, and dusky 
rockfish. Based on changes in the estimates of biomass, the species or 
species group with the greatest decreases in TACs are sablefish, other 
rockfish, and sharks, as well as pollock (2022 TAC). The 2021 sablefish 
TAC decreases by 19 percent, but increases in 2022 by 13 percent, 
compared to estimates previously made for 2020 and 2021. For all other 
species and species groups, changes from the proposed 2021 TACs to the 
final 2021 TACs and changes from the proposed 2022 TACs to the final 
2022 TACs are less than a 10 percent change (either increase or 
decrease). These TAC changes correspond to associated changes in the 
ABCs and TACs, as recommended by the SSC, AP, and Council.
    Detailed information providing the basis for the changes described 
above is contained in the final 2020 SAFE report. The final TACs are 
based on the best scientific information available, including 
biological and socioeconomic information. These TACs are specified in 
compliance with the harvest strategy described in the proposed and 
final rules for the 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications.

                                Table 1a--Comparison of Proposed and Final 2021 and 2022 GOA Total Allowable Catch Limits
                                              [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentage]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            2021 Final                                      2022 Final
                 Species                   2021 and 2022  2021 Final TAC    minus 2021      Percentage    2022 Final TAC    minus 2022      Percentage
                                           Proposed TAC                    Proposed TAC     difference                     Proposed TAC     difference
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock.................................         119,239         113,227          -6,012              -5          99,784         -19,455             -16
Pacific cod.............................           6,431          17,321          10,890             169          27,961          21,530             335
Sablefish...............................          22,252          17,992          -4,260             -19          25,231           2,979              13
Shallow-water flatfish..................          45,403          45,263            -140               0          45,673             270               1
Deep-water flatfish.....................           5,926           5,926               0               0           5,926               0               0
Rex sole................................          15,416          15,416               0               0          15,416               0               0
Arrowtooth flounder.....................          94,983          97,372           2,389               3          95,454             471               0
Flathead sole...........................          28,386          28,392               6               0          28,445              59               0
Pacific ocean perch.....................          29,983          36,177           6,194              21          34,602           4,619              15
Northern rockfish.......................           4,106           5,357           1,251              30           5,099             993              24
Shortraker rockfish.....................             708             708               0               0             708               0               0
Dusky rockfish..........................           3,598           5,389           1,791              50           5,295           1,697              47
Rougheye/blackspotted rockfish..........           1,211           1,212               1               0           1,221              10               1
Demersal shelf rockfish.................             238             257              19               8             257              19               8
Thornyhead rockfish.....................           2,016           1,953             -63              -3           1,953             -63              -3
Other rockfish..........................           4,053           1,609          -2,444             -60           1,609          -2,444             -60
Atka mackerel...........................           3,000           3,000               0               0           3,000               0               0
Big skate...............................           3,208           3,208               0               0           3,208               0               0
Longnose skate..........................           2,587           2,587               0               0           2,587               0               0
Other skates............................             875             875               0               0             875               0               0
Sharks..................................           8,184           3,755          -4,429             -54           3,755          -4,429             -54
Octopuses...............................             980             980               0               0             980               0               0
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................         402,783         407,975           5,193             1.3         409,039           6,256             1.6
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The final 2021 and 2022 TAC amounts for the GOA are within the OY 
range established for the GOA and do not exceed the ABC for any species 
or species group. Tables 1 and 2 list the final OFL, ABC, and TAC 
amounts for

[[Page 10188]]

GOA groundfish for 2021 and 2022, respectively.

 Table 1--Final 2021 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs of Groundfish for the Western/Central/West Yakutat, Western, Central,
 Eastern Regulatory Areas, the West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, and
                                    Gulfwide Districts of the Gulf of Alaska
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Species                         Area \1\                OFL             ABC             TAC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \2\...........................  Shumagin (610)..........             n/a          18,477          18,477
                                        Chirikof (620)..........             n/a          54,870          54,870
                                        Kodiak (630)............             n/a          24,320          24,320
                                        WYK (640)...............             n/a           5,412           5,412
                                        W/C/WYK (subtotal) \2\..         123,455         105,722         103,079
                                        SEO (650)...............          13,531          10,148          10,148
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................         136,986         115,870         113,227
Pacific cod \3\.......................  W.......................             n/a           7,986           5,590
                                        C.......................             n/a          13,656          10,242
                                        E.......................             n/a           1,985           1,489
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          28,977          23,627          17,321
Sablefish \4\.........................  W.......................             n/a           3,224           2,428
                                        C.......................             n/a           9,527           8,056
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           3,451           2,929
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           5,273           4,579
                                        E (WYK and SEO)                      n/a           8,724           7,508
                                         (subtotal).
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          60,426          21,475          17,991
Shallow-water flatfish \5\............  W.......................             n/a          24,151          13,250
                                        C.......................             n/a          28,082          28,082
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           2,808           2,808
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,123           1,123
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          68,841          56,164          45,263
Deep-water flatfish \6\...............  W.......................             n/a             225             225
                                        C.......................             n/a           1,914           1,914
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           2,068           2,068
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,719           1,719
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           7,040           5,926           5,926
Rex sole..............................  W.......................             n/a           3,013           3,013
                                        C.......................             n/a           8,912           8,912
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           1,206           1,206
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           2,285           2,285
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          18,779          15,416          15,416
Arrowtooth flounder...................  W.......................             n/a          32,377          14,500
                                        C.......................             n/a          69,072          69,072
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           8,380           6,900
                                        SEO.....................             n/a          17,141           6,900
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................         151,723         126,970          97,372
Flathead sole.........................  W.......................             n/a          14,209           8,650
                                        C.......................             n/a          20,826          15,400
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           2,427           2,427
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,915           1,915
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          47,982          39,377          28,392
Pacific ocean perch \7\...............  W.......................             n/a           1,643           1,643
                                        C.......................             n/a          27,429          27,429
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           1,705           1,705
                                        W/C/WYK subtotal........          36,563          30,777          30,777
                                        SEO.....................           6,414           5,400           5,400
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................          42,977          36,177          36,177
Northern rockfish \8\.................  W.......................             n/a           2,023           2,023
                                        C.......................             n/a           3,334           3,334
                                        E.......................             n/a               1  ..............
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           6,396           5,358           5,357
Shortraker rockfish \9\...............  W.......................             n/a              52              52
                                        C.......................             n/a             284             284
                                        E.......................             n/a             372             372
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------

[[Page 10189]]

 
                                           Total................             944             708             708
Dusky rockfish \10\...................  W.......................             n/a             270             270
                                        C.......................             n/a           4,548           4,548
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             468             468
                                        SEO.....................             n/a             103             103
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           8,655           5,389           5,389
Rougheye and Blackspotted rockfish      W.......................             n/a             168             168
 \11\.
                                        C.......................             n/a             456             456
                                        E.......................             n/a             588             588
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           1,456           1,212           1,212
Demersal shelf rockfish \12\..........  SEO.....................             405             257             257
Thornyhead rockfish...................  W.......................             n/a             352             352
                                        C.......................             n/a             910             910
                                        E.......................             n/a             691             691
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           2,604           1,953           1,953
Other rockfish 13 14..................  W and C.................             n/a             940             940
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             369             369
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           2,744             300
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           5,320           4,053           1,609
Atka mackerel.........................  GW......................           6,200           4,700           3,000
Big skate \15\........................  W.......................             n/a             758             758
                                        C.......................             n/a           1,560           1,560
                                        E.......................             n/a             890             890
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           4,278           3,208           3,208
Longnose skate \16\...................  W.......................             n/a             158             158
                                        C.......................             n/a           1,875           1,875
                                        E.......................             n/a             554             554
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                           Total................           3,449           2,587           2,587
Other skates \17\.....................  GW......................           1,166             875             875
Sharks................................  GW......................           5,006           3,755           3,755
Octopus...............................  GW......................           1,307             980             980
                                       -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.............................  ........................         610,917         476,037         407,975
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   679.2. (W=Western Gulf of Alaska; C=Central Gulf of
  Alaska; E=Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK=West Yakutat District; SEO=Southeast Outside District; GW=Gulf-wide).
\2\ The total for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas pollock ABC is 105,722 mt. After deducting 2.5 percent (2,643 mt)
  of that ABC for the State's pollock GHL fishery, the remaining pollock ABC of 103,079 mt (for the W/C/WYK
  Regulatory Areas) is apportioned among four statistical areas (Areas 610, 620, 630, and 640). These
  apportionments are considered subarea ACLs, rather than ABCs, for specification and reapportionment purposes.
  The ACLs in Areas 610, 620, and 630 are further divided by season, as detailed in Table 3 (final 2021 seasonal
  biomass distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, area apportionments, and seasonal
  allowances). In the West Yakutat (Area 640) and Southeast Outside (Area 650) Districts of the Eastern
  Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided into seasonal allowances.
\3\ The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned, after seasonal apportionment to the jig sector, as follows: (1)
  63.84 percent to the A season and 36.16 percent to the B season and (2) 64.16 percent to the A season and
  35.84 percent to the B season in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA, respectively. Pacific
  cod TAC in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA is allocated 90 percent to vessels harvesting Pacific cod
  for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent to vessels harvesting Pacific cod for processing by the
  offshore component. Table 5 lists the final 2021 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments and sector allocations.
\4\ The sablefish OFL and ABC is set Alaska-wide (60,426 mt and 29,588 mt, respectively). Additionally,
  sablefish is allocated to trawl and fixed gear in 2021 and trawl gear in 2022. Table 7 lists the final 2021
  allocations of sablefish TACs.
\5\ ``Shallow-water flatfish'' means flatfish not including ``deep-water flatfish,'' flathead sole, rex sole, or
  arrowtooth flounder.
\6\ ``Deep-water flatfish'' means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deepsea sole.
\7\ ``Pacific ocean perch'' means Sebastes alutus.
\8\ ``Northern rockfish'' means Sebastes polyspinis. For management purposes, the 1 mt apportionment of ABC to
  the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the ``other rockfish'' species group.
\9\ ``Shortraker rockfish'' means Sebastes borealis.
\10\ ``Dusky rockfish'' means Sebastes variabilis.
\11\ ``Rougheye and blackspotted rockfish'' mean Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and S. melanostictus
  (blackspotted).
\12\ ``Demersal shelf rockfish'' means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper),
  S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye).
\13\ ``Other rockfish'' means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S. paucispinis (bocaccio),
  S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S. variegatus (harlequin), S.
  wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus (sharpchin), S. jordani
  (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergrey), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola (stripetail), S. miniatus
  (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA
  only, other rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinis.
\14\ ``Other rockfish'' in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means other
  rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. The ``other rockfish'' species group in the SEO District only includes
  other rockfish.

[[Page 10190]]

 
\15\ ``Big skate'' means Raja binoculata.
\16\ ``Longnose skate'' means Raja rhina.
\17\ ``Other skates'' mean Bathyraja and Raja spp.


 Table 2--Final 2022 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs of Groundfish for the Western/Central/West Yakutat, Western, Central,
 Eastern Regulatory Areas, the West Yakutat and Southeast Outside Districts of the Eastern Regulatory Area, and
                                    Gulfwide Districts of the Gulf of Alaska
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Species                         Area \1\                OFL             ABC             TAC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \2\...........................  Shumagin (610)..........             n/a          16,067          16,067
                                        Chirikof (620)..........             n/a          47,714          47,714
                                        Kodiak (630)............             n/a          21,149          21,149
                                        WYK (640)...............             n/a           4,706           4,706
                                        W/C/WYK (subtotal) \2\..         106,767          91,934          89,636
                                        SEO (650)...............          13,531          10,148          10,148
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                          120,298         102,082          99,784
Pacific cod \3\.......................  W.......................             n/a          12,892           9,024
                                        C.......................             n/a          22,045          16,534
                                        E.......................             n/a           3,204           2,403
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                          46, 587          38,141          27,961
Sablefish \4\.........................  W.......................             n/a           4,165           4,165
                                        C.......................             n/a          11,111          11,111
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           4,009           4,009
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           5,946           5,946
                                        E (WYK and SEO)                      n/a           9,955           9,955
                                         (subtotal).
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                           70,710          25,231          25,231
Shallow-water flatfish \5\............  W.......................             n/a          24,460          13,250
                                        C.......................             n/a          28,442          28,442
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           2,844           2,844
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,137           1,137
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                           69,061          56,883          45,673
Deep-water flatfish \6\...............  W.......................             n/a             225             225
                                        C.......................             n/a           1,914           1,914
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           2,068           2,068
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,719           1,719
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                            7,040           5,926           5,926
Rex sole..............................  W.......................             n/a           3,013           3,013
                                        C.......................             n/a           8,912           8,912
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           1,206           1,206
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           2,285           2,285
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                           18,779          15,416          15,416
Arrowtooth flounder...................  W.......................             n/a          31,479          14,500
                                        C.......................             n/a          67,154          67,154
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           8,147           6,900
                                        SEO.....................             n/a          16,665           6,900
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                          147,515         123,445          95,454
Flathead sole.........................  W.......................             n/a          14,380           8,650
                                        C.......................             n/a          21,076          15,400
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           2,456           2,456
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           1,939           1,939
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                           48,534          39,851          28,445
Pacific ocean perch \7\...............  W.......................             n/a           1,572           1,572
                                        C.......................             n/a          26,234          26,234
                                        WYK.....................             n/a           1,631           1,631
                                        W/C/WYK.................          34,974          29,437          29,437
                                        SEO.....................           6,136           5,165           5,165
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                           41,110          34,602          34,602
Northern rockfish \8\.................  W.......................             n/a           1,926           1,926
                                        C.......................             n/a           3,173           3,173
                                        E.......................             n/a               1  ..............
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                            6,088           5,100           5,099
Shortraker rockfish \9\...............  W.......................             n/a              52              52
                                        C.......................             n/a             284             284

[[Page 10191]]

 
                                        E.......................             n/a             372             372
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                              944             708             708
Dusky rockfish \10\...................  W.......................             n/a             265             265
                                        C.......................             n/a           4,469           4,469
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             460             460
                                        SEO.....................             n/a             101             101
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                            8,423           5,295           5,295
Rougheye and Blackspotted rockfish      W.......................             n/a             170             170
 \11\.
                                        C.......................             n/a             459             459
                                        n/a.....................             592             592
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                            1,467           1,221           1,221
Demersal shelf rockfish \12\..........  SEO.....................             405             257             257
Thornyhead rockfish...................  W.......................             n/a             352             352
                                        C.......................             n/a             910             910
                                        E.......................             n/a             691             691
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                           2, 604           1,953           1,953
Other rockfish 13 14..................  W and C.................             n/a             940             940
                                        WYK.....................             n/a             369             369
                                        SEO.....................             n/a           2,744             300
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                            5,320           4,053           1,609
Atka mackerel.........................  GW......................           6,200           4,700           3,000
Big skate \15\........................  W.......................             n/a             758             758
                                        C.......................             n/a           1,560           1,560
                                        E.......................             n/a             890             890
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                           4, 278           3,208           3,208
Longnose skate \16\...................  W.......................             n/a             158             158
                                        C.......................             n/a           1,875           1,875
                                        E.......................             n/a             554             554
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                          Total                            3,449           2,587           2,587
Other skates \17\.....................  GW......................           1,166             875             875
Sharks................................  GW......................           5,006           3,755           3,755
Octopus...............................  GW......................           1,307             980             980
                                       -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.............................  ........................         616,921         476,269         409,039
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   679.2. (W=Western Gulf of Alaska; C=Central Gulf of
  Alaska; E=Eastern Gulf of Alaska; WYK=West Yakutat District; SEO=Southeast Outside District; GW=Gulf-wide).
\2\ The total for the W/C/WYK Regulatory Areas pollock ABC is 91,934 mt. After deducting 2.5 percent (2,298 mt)
  of that ABC for the State's pollock GHL fishery, the remaining pollock ABC of 89,636 mt (for the W/C/WYK
  Regulatory Areas) is apportioned among four statistical areas (Areas 610, 620, 630, and 640). These
  apportionments are considered subarea ACLs, rather than ABCs, for specification and reapportionment purposes.
  The ACLs in Areas 610, 620, and 630 are further divided by season, as detailed in Table 4 (final 2022 seasonal
  biomass distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, area apportionments, and seasonal
  allowances). In the West Yakutat (Area 640) and Southeast Outside (Area 650) Districts of the Eastern
  Regulatory Area, pollock is not divided into seasonal allowances.
\3\ The annual Pacific cod TAC is apportioned, after seasonal apportionment to the jig sector, as follows: (1)
  63.84 percent to the A season and 36.16 percent to the B season and (2) 64.16 percent to the A season and
  35.84 percent to the B season in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA, respectively. Pacific
  cod TAC in the Eastern Regulatory Area of the GOA is allocated 90 percent to vessels harvesting Pacific cod
  for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent to vessels harvesting Pacific cod for processing by the
  offshore component. Table 6 lists the final 2022 Pacific cod seasonal apportionments and sector allocations.
\4\ The sablefish OFL and ABC is set Alaska-wide (70,710 mt and 36,955 mt, respectively). Additionally,
  sablefish is allocated only to trawl gear for 2022. Table 8 lists the final 2022 allocation of sablefish TACs
  to trawl gear.
\5\ ``Shallow-water flatfish'' means flatfish not including ``deep-water flatfish,'' flathead sole, rex sole, or
  arrowtooth flounder.
\6\ ``Deep-water flatfish'' means Dover sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, and deepsea sole.
\7\ ``Pacific ocean perch'' means Sebastes alutus.
\8\ ``Northern rockfish'' means Sebastes polyspinis. For management purposes, the 1 mt apportionment of ABC to
  the WYK District of the Eastern Gulf of Alaska has been included in the ``other rockfish'' species group.
\9\ ``Shortraker rockfish'' means Sebastes borealis.
\10\ ``Dusky rockfish'' means Sebastes variabilis.
\11\ ``Rougheye and blackspotted rockfish'' mean Sebastes aleutianus (rougheye) and S. melanostictus
  (blackspotted).
\12\ ``Demersal shelf rockfish'' means Sebastes pinniger (canary), S. nebulosus (china), S. caurinus (copper),
  S. maliger (quillback), S. helvomaculatus (rosethorn), S. nigrocinctus (tiger), and S. ruberrimus (yelloweye).
\13\ ``Other rockfish'' means Sebastes aurora (aurora), S. melanostomus (blackgill), S. paucispinis (bocaccio),
  S. goodei (chilipepper), S. crameri (darkblotch), S. elongatus (greenstriped), S. variegatus (harlequin), S.
  wilsoni (pygmy), S. babcocki (redbanded), S. proriger (redstripe), S. zacentrus (sharpchin), S. jordani
  (shortbelly), S. brevispinis (silvergrey), S. diploproa (splitnose), S. saxicola (stripetail), S. miniatus
  (vermilion), S. reedi (yellowmouth), S. entomelas (widow), and S. flavidus (yellowtail). In the Eastern GOA
  only, other rockfish also includes northern rockfish, S. polyspinis.

[[Page 10192]]

 
\14\ ``Other rockfish'' in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas and in the West Yakutat District means other
  rockfish and demersal shelf rockfish. The ``other rockfish'' species group in the SEO District only includes
  other rockfish.
\15\ ``Big skate'' means Raja binoculata.
\16\ ``Longnose skate'' means Raja rhina.
\17\ ``Other skates'' mean Bathyraja and Raja spp.

Apportionment of Reserves

    Section 679.20(b)(2) requires NMFS to set aside 20 percent of each 
TAC for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, sharks, and octopuses in 
reserve for possible apportionment at a later date during the fishing 
year. For 2021 and 2022, NMFS proposed reapportionment of all the 
reserves in the proposed 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications published 
in the Federal Register on December 3, 2020 (85 FR 78076). NMFS did not 
receive any public comments on the proposed reapportionments. For the 
final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications, NMFS reapportioned, as 
proposed, all the reserves for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, sharks, 
and octopuses back to the original TAC limit from which the reserve was 
derived (Sec.  679.20(b)(3)). This was done because NMFS expects, based 
on recent harvest patterns, that such reserves are not necessary and 
that the entire TAC for each of these species will be caught. The TACs 
listed in Tables 1 and 2 reflect reapportionments of reserve amounts to 
the original TAC limit for these species and species groups, i.e., each 
final TAC for the above mentioned species or species groups contains 
the full TAC recommended by the Council.

Apportionments of Pollock TAC Among Seasons and Regulatory Areas, and 
Allocations for Processing by Inshore and Offshore Components

    In the GOA, pollock is apportioned by season and area, and is 
further allocated for processing by inshore and offshore components. 
The pollock TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA 
are apportioned among Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630. These 
apportionments are divided into two equal seasonal allowances of 50 
percent to the A season (January 20 through May 31) and 50 percent to 
the B season (September 1 through November 1) (Sec. Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B) and 679.23(d)(2)). As described earlier in the 
preamble, the regulatory revisions implemented by Amendment 109 to the 
FMP (85 FR 38093, published June 25, 2020, effective January 1, 2021) 
decreased the number of seasons to two and established two equal 
seasonal allowances of 50 percent. NMFS incorporated these regulatory 
revisions into the harvest specifications for the GOA, and Tables 3 and 
4, below, reflect the revised seasons and seasonal allowances 
implemented by Amendment 109 to the FMP.
    The GOA pollock stock assessment continues to use a four-season 
methodology to determine pollock distribution in the Western and 
Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA to maintain continuity in the 
historical pollock apportionment time-series. Pollock TACs in the 
Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA are apportioned among 
Statistical Areas 610, 620, and 630 in proportion to the distribution 
of pollock biomass determined by the most recent NMFS surveys, pursuant 
to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(A). The pollock chapter of the 2020 SAFE 
report (see ADDRESSES) contains a comprehensive description of the 
apportionment and reasons for the minor changes from past 
apportionments. For purposes of specifying pollock TAC between two 
seasons for the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA, NMFS 
has summed the A and B season apportionments and the C and D season 
apportionments as calculated in the 2020 GOA pollock assessment. This 
yields the seasonal amounts specified for the A season and the B 
season, respectively.
    Within any fishing year, the amount by which a pollock seasonal 
allowance is underharvested or overharvested may be added to, or 
subtracted from, subsequent seasonal allowances for the Western and 
Central Regulatory Areas in a manner to be determined by the Regional 
Administrator (Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The rollover amount is 
limited to 20 percent of the subsequent seasonal TAC apportionment for 
the statistical area. Any unharvested pollock above the 20-percent 
limit could be further distributed to the other statistical areas, in 
proportion to the estimated biomass in the subsequent season in those 
statistical areas and in an amount no more than 20 percent of the 
seasonal TAC apportionment in those statistical areas (Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B)). The pollock TACs in the WYK and the SEO Districts 
of 5,412 mt and 10,148 mt, respectively, in 2021, and 4,706 mt and 
10,148 mt, respectively, in 2022, are not allocated by season.
    Tables 3 and 4 list the final 2021 and 2022 seasonal biomass 
distribution of pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, 
area apportionments, and seasonal allowances. The amounts of pollock 
for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown. 
Section 679.20(a)(6)(i) requires the allocation of 100 percent of the 
pollock TAC in all GOA regulatory areas and all seasonal allowances to 
vessels catching pollock for processing by the inshore component after 
subtraction of pollock amounts projected by the Regional Administrator 
to be caught by, or delivered to, the offshore component incidental to 
directed fishing for other groundfish species. Thus, the amount of 
pollock available for harvest by vessels harvesting pollock for 
processing by the offshore component is that amount that will be taken 
as incidental catch during directed fishing for groundfish species 
other than pollock, up to the maximum retainable amounts allowed by 
Sec.  679.20(e) and (f). At this time, these incidental catch amounts 
of pollock are unknown and will be determined during the fishing year 
during the course of fishing activities by the offshore component.

 Table 3--Final 2021 Distribution of Pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the Gulf of Alaska;
                           Area Apportionments; and Seasonal Allowances of Annual TAC
                               [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton \1\]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Shumigan (Area     Chirikof      Kodiak  (Area
                   Season \2\                          610)         (Area 620)         630)          Total \3\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A (January 20-May 31)...........................             799          41,737           6,297          48,833
B (September 1-November 1)......................          17,677          13,133          18,023          48,833
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 10193]]

 
    Annual Total................................          18,477          54,870          24,320          97,667
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Area apportionments and seasonal allowances may not total precisely due to rounding.
\2\ As established by Sec.   679.23(d)(2), the A and B season allowances are available from January 20 through
  May 31 and September 1 through November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore
  and offshore components are not shown in this table.
\3\ The West Yakutat and Southeast Outside District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not
  included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table.


 Table 4--Final 2022 Distribution of Pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the Gulf of Alaska;
                           Area Apportionments; and Seasonal Allowances of Annual TAC
                               [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton \1\]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Shumigan (Area     Chirikof      Kodiak  (Area
                   Season \2\                          610)         (Area 620)         630)          Total \3\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A (January 20-May 31)...........................             695          36,294           5,476          42,465
B (September 1-November 1)......................          15,372          11,420          15,672          42,465
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Annual Total................................          16,067          47,714          21,149          84,929
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Area apportionments and seasonal allowances may not total precisely due to rounding.
\2\ As established by Sec.   679.23(d)(2), the A and B season allowances are available from January 20 through
  May 31 and September 1 through November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore
  and offshore components are not shown in this table.
\3\ The West Yakutat and Southeast Outside District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not
  included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table.

Annual and Seasonal Apportionments of Pacific Cod TAC

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i), NMFS seasonally allocates the 
2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central Regulatory 
Areas of the GOA among gear and operational sectors. In the Western and 
Central Regulatory Areas, a portion of the annual TAC is apportioned to 
the A season for hook-and-line, pot, and jig gear from January 1 
through June 10, and for trawl gear from January 20 through June 10, 
and a portion of the annual TAC is apportioned to the B season for jig 
gear from June 10 through December 31, for hook-and-line and pot gear 
from September 1 through December 31, and for trawl gear from September 
1 through November 1 (Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(12) and 679.23(d)(3)). NMFS 
also allocates the Pacific cod TACs annually between the inshore (90 
percent) and offshore (10 percent) components in the Eastern Regulatory 
Area of the GOA (Sec.  679.20(a)(6)(ii)).
    In the Central GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is apportioned seasonally 
first to vessels using jig gear, and then among CVs less than 50 feet 
in length overall using hook-and-line gear, CVs equal to or greater 
than 50 feet in length overall using hook-and-line gear, catcher/
processors (CPs) using hook-and-line gear, CVs using trawl gear, CPs 
using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear (Sec.  
679.20(a)(12)(i)(B)). In the Western GOA, the Pacific cod TAC is 
apportioned seasonally first to vessels using jig gear, and then among 
CVs using hook-and-line gear, CPs using hook-and-line gear, CVs using 
trawl gear, CPs using trawl gear, and vessels using pot gear (Sec.  
679.20(a)(12)(i)(A)). Excluding seasonal apportionments to the jig 
sector, the seasonal apportionments of the annual TAC among the non-jig 
sectors in the Western GOA are 63.84 percent to the A season and 36.16 
percent to the B season, and in the Central GOA are 64.16 percent to 
the A season and 35.84 percent to the B season.
    Under Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(ii), any overage or underage of the 
Pacific cod season allowance from the A season may be subtracted from, 
or added to, the subsequent B season allowance. In addition, any 
portion of the hook-and-line, trawl, pot, or jig sector allocations 
that is determined by NMFS as likely to go unharvested by a sector may 
be reallocated to other sectors for harvest during the remainder of the 
fishery year.
    Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i)(A) and (B), a portion of 
the annual Pacific cod TACs in the Western and Central GOA will be 
allocated to vessels with a Federal fisheries permit that use jig gear 
before the TACs are apportioned among other non-jig sectors. In 
accordance with the FMP, the annual jig sector allocations may increase 
to up to 6 percent of the annual Western and Central GOA Pacific cod 
TACs, depending on the annual performance of the jig sector (see Table 
1 of Amendment 83 to the FMP for a detailed discussion of the jig 
sector allocation process (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011)). Jig sector 
allocation increases are established for a minimum of two years.
    NMFS has evaluated the historical harvest performance of the jig 
sector in the Western and Central GOA, and is establishing the 2021 and 
2022 Pacific cod apportionments to this sector based on its historical 
harvest performance through 2019. NMFS did not evaluate the 2020 
performance of the jig sectors in the Western and Central GOA: Since 
NMFS prohibited directed fishing for all Pacific cod sectors in 2020, 
the catch for the jig sectors could not reach 90 percent of the initial 
allocation required for a performance increase (84 FR 70438, December 
23, 2019). For 2021 and 2022, NMFS allocates the jig sector 3.5 percent 
of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Western GOA. The 2021 and 2022 
allocations consist of a base allocation of 1.5 percent of the Western 
GOA Pacific cod TAC, and prior additional performance increases of 2.0 
percent. For 2021 and 2022, NMFS allocates the jig sector 1.0 percent 
of the annual Pacific cod TAC in the Central GOA. The 2021 and 2022 
allocations consist of a base allocation of 1.0 percent of the Central 
GOA Pacific cod TAC, and no additional performance increase in the 
Central GOA.

[[Page 10194]]

    For 2021 and 2022, NMFS is apportioning the jig sector allocations 
for the Western and Central GOA between the A season (60 percent) and 
the B season (40 percent), pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(12)(i) and the 
correction to the final rule to implement Amendment 109 (85 FR 79139, 
December 9, 2020). This is the same jig sector seasonal apportionments 
implemented in prior groundfish harvest specifications for the GOA and 
is consistent with Amendment 83 to the FMP (76 FR 44700, July 26, 
2011).
    As discussed earlier in this preamble, NMFS published a final rule 
to implement Amendment 109 to the FMP (85 FR 38093, June 25, 2020). 
With respect to Pacific cod, Amendment 109 revised the Pacific cod TAC 
seasonal apportionments to the trawl CV sector by increasing the A 
season allocation and decreasing the B season allocation, with the 
intent of decreasing the annual underharvest of Pacific cod by this 
sector. NMFS incorporated the revised seasonal apportionments to trawl 
CVs between the A and B seasons in accordance with regulatory changes 
made under Amendment 109. The A season apportionment for trawl CVs has 
increased to 31.54 percent and 25.29 percent in the Western and Central 
Regulatory Areas of the GOA, respectively. The B season apportionment 
for trawl CVs has decreased to 6.86 percent and 16.29 percent in the 
Western and Central Regulatory Areas of the GOA, respectively.
    Tables 5 and 6 list the seasonal apportionments and allocations of 
the 2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs.

Table 5--Final 2021 Seasonal Apportionments and Allocation of Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch (TAC) Amounts in
    the GOA; Allocations in the Western GOA and Central GOA Sectors, and the Eastern GOA Inshore and Offshore
                                              Processing Components
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             A Season                        B Season
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Annual          Sector                          Sector
   Regulatory area and sector       allocation     percentage of     Seasonal      percentage of     Seasonal
                                       (mt)       annual non-jig    allowances    annual non-jig    allowances
                                                        TAC            (mt)             TAC            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western GOA
    Jig (3.5% of TAC)...........             196             N/A             117             N/A              78
    Hook-and-line CV............              76            0.70              38            0.70              38
    Hook-and-line CP............           1,068           10.90             588            8.90             480
    Trawl CV....................           2,071           31.54           1,701            6.86             370
    Trawl CP....................             129            0.90              49            1.50              81
    All Pot CV and Pot CP.......           2,050           19.80           1,068           18.20             982
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...................           5,590           63.84           3,561           36.16           2,029
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Central GOA
    Jig (1.0% of TAC)...........             102             N/A              61             N/A              41
    Hook-and-line < 50 CV.......           1,481            9.32             945            5.29             536
    Hook-and-line >= 50 CV......             680            5.61             569            1.10             111
    Hook-and-line CP............             518            4.11             416            1.00             101
    Trawl CV \1\................           4,216           25.29           2,565           16.29           1,652
    Trawl CP....................             426            2.00             203            2.19             223
    All Pot CV and Pot CP.......           2,819           17.83           1,808            9.97           1,011
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...................          10,242           64.16           6,567           35.84           3,675
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eastern GOA                                         Inshore (90% of Annual TAC)
                                   Offshore (10% of Annual TAC)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           1,489                   1,340
                                                     149
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Trawl catcher vessels participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives receive 3.81 percent, or 390 mt, of the
  annual Central GOA TAC, which is deducted from the Trawl CV B season allowance (see Table 12. Final 2021
  Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA and Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679).


Table 6--Final 2022 Seasonal Apportionments and Allocation of Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch (TAC) Amounts in
    the GOA; Allocations in the Western GOA and Central GOA Sectors, and the Eastern GOA Inshore and Offshore
                                              Processing Components
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             A Season                        B Season
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Annual          Sector                          Sector
   Regulatory area and sector       allocation     percentage of     Seasonal      percentage of     Seasonal
                                       (mt)       annual non-jig    allowances    annual non-jig    allowances
                                                        TAC            (mt)             TAC            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western GOA
    Jig (3.5% of TAC)...........             316             N/A             190             N/A             126
    Hook-and-line CV............             122            0.70              61            0.70              61
    Hook-and-line CP............           1,724           10.90             949            8.90             775
    Trawl CV....................           3,344           31.54           2,747            6.86             597

[[Page 10195]]

 
    Trawl CP....................             209            0.90              78            1.50             131
    All Pot CV and Pot CP.......           3,309           19.80           1,724           18.20           1,585
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...................           9,024           63.84           5,749           36.16           3,275
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Central GOA
    Jig (1.0% of TAC)...........             165             N/A              99             N/A              66
    Hook-and-line < 50 CV.......           2,390            9.32           1,525            5.29             865
    Hook-and-line >= 50 CV......           1,098            5.61             918            1.10             180
    Hook-and-line CP............             836            4.11             672            1.00             163
    Trawl CV \1\................           6,807           25.29           4,140           16.29           2,667
    Trawl CP....................             687            2.00             328            2.19             359
    All Pot CV and Pot CP.......           4,551           17.83           2,918            9.97           1,633
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...................          16,534           64.16          10,601           35.84           5,933
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eastern GOA                                         Inshore (90% of Annual TAC)
                                   Offshore (10% of Annual TAC)
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
                                           2,403  ..............  ..............           2,163             240
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Trawl catcher vessels participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives receive 3.81 percent, or 630 mt, of the
  annual Central GOA TAC, which is deducted from the Trawl CV B season allowance (see Table 13. Final 2022
  Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA and Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679).

Allocations of the Sablefish TAC Amounts to Vessels Using Fixed and 
Trawl Gear

    Sections 679.20(a)(4)(i) and (ii) require allocations of sablefish 
TACs for each of the regulatory areas and districts to fixed and trawl 
gear. In the Western and Central Regulatory Areas, 80 percent of each 
TAC is allocated to fixed gear, and 20 percent of each TAC is allocated 
to trawl gear. In the Eastern Regulatory Area, 95 percent of the TAC is 
allocated to fixed gear, and 5 percent is allocated to trawl gear. The 
trawl gear allocation in the Eastern Regulatory Area may only be used 
to support incidental catch of sablefish using trawl gear while 
directed fishing for other target species (Sec.  679.20(a)(4)(i)).
    In recognition of the prohibition against trawl gear in the SEO 
District of the Eastern Regulatory Area, the Council recommended and 
NMFS approves specifying for incidental catch the allocation of 5 
percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area sablefish TAC to trawl 
gear in the WYK District of the Eastern Regulatory Area. The remainder 
of the WYK District sablefish TAC is allocated to vessels using fixed 
gear. NMFS allocates 100 percent of the sablefish TAC in the SEO 
District to vessels using fixed gear. This action results in a 2021 
allocation of 375 mt to trawl gear and 2,554 mt to fixed gear in the 
WYK District, a 2021 allocation of 4,579 mt to fixed gear in the SEO 
District, and a 2022 allocation of 498 mt to trawl gear in the WYK 
District. Table 7 lists the allocations of the 2021 sablefish TACs to 
fixed and trawl gear. Table 8 lists the allocations of the 2022 
sablefish TACs to trawl gear.
    The Council recommended that a trawl sablefish TAC be established 
for two years so that retention of incidental catch of sablefish by 
trawl gear could commence in January in the second year of the 
groundfish harvest specifications. Both the 2021 and 2022 trawl 
allocations are specified in these final harvest specifications, in 
Tables 7 and 8, respectively.
    The Council also recommended that the fixed gear sablefish TAC be 
established annually to ensure that this Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) 
fishery is conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery and is 
based on the most recent survey information. Since there is an annual 
assessment for sablefish and since the final harvest specifications are 
expected to be published before the IFQ season begins in March 2020, 
the Council recommended that the fixed gear sablefish TAC be set 
annually, rather than for two years, so that the best scientific 
information available could be considered in establishing the sablefish 
TACs. Accordingly, Table 7 lists the 2021 fixed gear allocations, and 
the 2022 fixed gear allocations will be specified in the 2022 and 2023 
harvest specifications.
    With the exception of the trawl allocations that are provided to 
the Rockfish Program (see Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679), directed 
fishing for sablefish with trawl gear in the GOA is closed during the 
fishing year. Also, fishing for groundfish with trawl gear is 
prohibited prior to January 20 (Sec.  679.23(c)). Therefore, it is not 
likely that the sablefish allocation to trawl gear would be reached 
before the effective date of these final 2021 and 2022 harvest 
specifications.

[[Page 10196]]



     Table 7--Final 2021 Sablefish TAC Amounts in the Gulf of Alaska and Allocations to Fixed and Trawl Gear
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    Fixed gear      Trawl gear
                          Area/District                                 TAC         allocation      allocation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western.........................................................           2,428           1,942             486
Central \1\.....................................................           8,056           6,444           1,612
West Yakutat \2\................................................           2,929           2,554             375
Southeast Outside...............................................           4,579           4,579               0
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................          17,992          15,519           2,473
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The trawl allocation of sablefish in the Central Regulatory Area is further apportioned to the Rockfish
  Program cooperatives (829 mt). See Table 12: Final 2021 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the
  Central GOA. This results in 783 mt being available for the non-Rockfish Program trawl fisheries.
\2\ The trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat
  and Southeast Outside Districts) sablefish TAC as incidental catch to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District.


        Table 8--Final 2022 Sablefish TAC Amounts in the Gulf of Alaska and Allocations to Trawl Gear \1\
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    Fixed gear      Trawl gear
                          Area/District                                 TAC         allocation      allocation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western.........................................................           4,165             n/a             833
Central \2\.....................................................          11,111             n/a           2,222
West Yakutat \3\................................................           4,009             n/a             498
Southeast Outside...............................................           5,946             n/a               0
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................          25,231             n/a           3,553
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Council recommended that the final 2022 harvest specifications for the fixed gear sablefish Individual
  Fishing Quota fisheries not be specified in the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications.
\2\ The trawl allocation of sablefish in the Central Regulatory Area is further apportioned to the Rockfish
  Program cooperatives (1,143 mt). See Table 13: Final 2022 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the
  Central GOA. This results in 1,079 mt being available for the non-Rockfish Program trawl fisheries.
\3\ The trawl allocation is based on allocating 5 percent of the combined Eastern Regulatory Area (West Yakutat
  and Southeast Outside Districts) sablefish TAC as incidental catch to trawl gear in the West Yakutat District.

Allocations, Apportionments, and Sideboard Limits for the Rockfish 
Program

    These final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for the GOA 
include the fishery cooperative allocations and sideboard limitations 
established by the Rockfish Program. Program participants are primarily 
trawl CVs and trawl CPs, with limited participation by vessels using 
longline gear. The Rockfish Program assigns quota share and cooperative 
quota to participants for primary species (Pacific ocean perch, 
northern rockfish, and dusky rockfish) and secondary species (Pacific 
cod, rougheye and blackspotted rockfish, sablefish, shortraker 
rockfish, and thornyhead rockfish), allows a participant holding a 
license limitation program (LLP) license with rockfish quota share to 
form a rockfish cooperative with other persons, and allows holders of 
CP LLP licenses to opt out of the fishery. The Rockfish Program also 
has an entry level fishery for rockfish primary species for vessels 
using longline gear. Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, 
and handline gear.
    Under the Rockfish Program, rockfish primary species in the Central 
GOA are allocated to participants after deducting for incidental catch 
needs in other directed groundfish fisheries (Sec.  679.81(a)(2)). 
Participants in the Rockfish Program also receive a portion of the 
Central GOA TAC of specific secondary species. In addition to 
groundfish species, the Rockfish Program allocates a portion of the 
halibut PSC limit (191 mt) from the third season deep-water species 
fishery allowance for the GOA trawl fisheries to Rockfish Program 
participants (Sec.  679.81(d) and Table 28d to 50 CFR part 679). The 
Rockfish Program also establishes sideboard limits to restrict the 
ability of harvesters operating under the Rockfish Program to increase 
their participation in other, non-Rockfish Program fisheries. These 
restrictions and halibut PSC limits are discussed in a subsequent 
section in this rule titled ``Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and 
Halibut PSC Limitations.''
    Section 679.81(a)(2)(ii) and Table 28e to 50 CFR part 679 require 
allocations of 5 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 5 mt of northern rockfish, 
and 50 mt of dusky rockfish to the entry level longline fishery in 2021 
and 2022. The allocation for the entry level longline fishery may 
increase incrementally each year if the catch exceeds 90 percent of the 
allocation of a species. The incremental increase in the allocation 
would continue each year until it reaches the maximum percent of the 
TAC for that species. In 2020, the catch of Pacific ocean perch, 
northern rockfish, and dusky rockfish did not attain the 90 percent 
threshold, and those final allocations for 2021 remain the same as the 
2020 allocations. The remainder of the TACs for the rockfish primary 
species are allocated to the CV and CP cooperatives (Sec.  
679.81(a)(2)(iii)). Table 9 lists the allocations of the 2021 and 2022 
TACs for each rockfish primary species to the entry level longline 
fishery, the potential incremental increases for future years, and the 
maximum percentages of the TACs assigned to the Rockfish Program that 
may be allocated to the rockfish entry level longline fishery.

[[Page 10197]]



Table 9--Final 2021 and Initial 2022 Allocations of Rockfish Primary Species to the Entry Level Longline Fishery
                                          in the Central Gulf of Alaska
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Incremental increase in
        Rockfish primary species         2021 and 2022 allocations     2022 if >90% of 2021     Up to maximum %
                                                                     allocation is harvested         of TAC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch....................  5 metric tons............  5 metric tons............                  1
Northern rockfish......................  5 metric tons............  5 metric tons............                  2
Dusky rockfish.........................  50 metric tons...........  20 metric tons...........                  5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Section 679.81 requires allocations of rockfish primary species 
among various sectors of the Rockfish Program. Tables 10 and 11 list 
the final 2021 and 2022 allocations of rockfish primary species in the 
Central GOA to the entry level longline fishery, and rockfish CV and CP 
cooperatives in the Rockfish Program. NMFS also is setting aside 
incidental catch amounts (ICAs) for other directed fisheries in the 
Central GOA of 2,500 mt of Pacific ocean perch, 300 mt of northern 
rockfish, and 250 mt of dusky rockfish. These amounts are based on 
recent average incidental catches in the Central GOA by other 
groundfish fisheries.
    Allocations among vessels belonging to CV or CP cooperatives are 
not included in these final harvest specifications. Rockfish Program 
applications for CV cooperatives and CP cooperatives are not due to 
NMFS until March 1 of each calendar year; therefore, NMFS cannot 
calculate 2021 and 2022 allocations in conjunction with these final 
harvest specifications. NMFS will post the 2021 allocations on the 
Alaska Region website at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/alaska/sustainable-fisheries/alaska-fisheries-management-reports#central-goa-rockfish when they become available after March 1.

  Table 10--Final 2021 Allocations of Rockfish Primary Species in the Central Gulf of Alaska to the Entry Level
                       Longline Fishery and Rockfish Cooperatives in the Rockfish Program
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Allocation to   Allocation to
                                    Central GOA     Incidental                       the entry     the Rockfish
    Rockfish Primary Species        annual TAC         catch       TAC minus ICA  level longline   cooperatives
                                                     allowance                     \1\  fishery         \2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch.............          27,429           2,500          24,929               5          24,924
Northern rockfish...............           3,334             300           3,034               5           3,029
Dusky rockfish..................           4,548             250           4,298              50           4,248
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................          35,311           3,050          32,261              60          32,201
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear (50 CFR 679.2).
\2\ Rockfish cooperatives include vessels in CV and CP cooperatives (50 CFR 679.81).


  Table 11--Final 2022 Allocations of Rockfish Primary Species in the Central Gulf of Alaska to the Entry Level
                       Longline Fishery and Rockfish Cooperatives in the Rockfish Program
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Allocation to   Allocation to
                                    Central GOA     Incidental                       the entry     the Rockfish
    Rockfish Primary Species        annual TAC         catch       TAC minus ICA  level longline   cooperatives
                                                     allowance                     \1\  fishery         \2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific ocean perch.............          26,234           2,500          23,734               5          23,729
Northern rockfish...............           3,173             300           2,873               5           2,868
Dusky rockfish..................           4,469             250           4,219              50           4,169
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................          33,876           3,050          30,826              60          30,766
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Longline gear includes hook-and-line, jig, troll, and handline gear (50 CFR 679.2).
\2\ Rockfish cooperatives include vessels in CV and CP cooperatives (50 CFR 679.81).

    Section 679.81(c) and Table 28c to 50 CFR part 679 require 
allocations of rockfish secondary species to CV and CP cooperatives in 
the Central GOA. CV cooperatives receive allocations of Pacific cod, 
sablefish from the trawl gear allocation, and thornyhead rockfish. CP 
cooperatives receive allocations of sablefish from the trawl gear 
allocation, rougheye and blackspotted rockfish, shortraker rockfish, 
and thornyhead rockfish. Tables 12 and 13 list the apportionments of 
the 2021 and 2022 TACs of rockfish secondary species in the Central GOA 
to CV and CP cooperatives.

[[Page 10198]]



   Table 12--Final 2021 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA to Catcher Vessel and
                                         Catcher/Processor Cooperatives
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Catcher vessel  cooperatives          Catcher/processor
                                                 --------------------------------          cooperatives
   Rockfish secondary species       Central GOA                                  -------------------------------
                                    annual TAC     Percentage of   Apportionment   Percentage of   Apportionment
                                                        TAC            (mt)             TAC            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod.....................          10,242             3.8             390            0.00               0
Sablefish.......................           8,056            6.78             546            3.51             283
Shortraker rockfish.............             284            0.00               0           40.00             114
Rougheye/blackspotted rockfish..             456            0.00               0           58.87             268
Thornyhead rockfish.............             910            7.84              71           26.50             241
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


   Table 13--Final 2022 Apportionments of Rockfish Secondary Species in the Central GOA to Catcher Vessel and
                                         Catcher/Processor Cooperatives
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Catcher vessel  cooperatives          Catcher/processor
                                                 --------------------------------          cooperatives
   Rockfish secondary species       Central GOA                                  -------------------------------
                                    annual TAC     Percentage of   Apportionment   Percentage of   Apportionment
                                                        TAC            (mt)             TAC            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod.....................          16,534            3.81             630            0.00               0
Sablefish.......................          11,111            6.78             753            3.51             390
Shortraker rockfish.............             284            0.00               0           40.00             114
Rougheye/blackspotted rockfish..             459            0.00               0           58.87             270
Thornyhead rockfish.............             910            7.84              71           26.50             241
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Halibut PSC Limits

    Section 679.21(d) establishes annual halibut PSC limit 
apportionments to trawl gear and hook-and-line gear, and authorizes the 
establishment of apportionments for pot gear. In December 2020, the 
Council recommended halibut PSC limits of 1,706 mt for trawl gear, 257 
mt for hook-and-line gear, and 9 mt for the demersal shelf (DSR) 
rockfish fishery in the SEO District for both 2021 and 2022.
    The DSR fishery in the SEO District is defined at Sec.  
679.21(d)(2)(ii)(A). This fishery is apportioned 9 mt of the halibut 
PSC limit in recognition of its small-scale harvests of groundfish 
(Sec.  679.21(d)(2)(i)(A)). The separate halibut PSC limit for the DSR 
fishery is intended to prevent that fishery from being impacted from 
the halibut PSC incurred by other GOA fisheries. NMFS estimates low 
halibut bycatch in the DSR fishery because (1) the duration of the DSR 
fisheries and the gear soak times are short, (2) the DSR fishery occurs 
in the winter when there is less overlap in the distribution of DSR and 
halibut, and (3) the directed commercial DSR fishery has a low DSR TAC. 
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game sets the commercial GHL for the 
DSR fishery after deducting estimates of DSR incidental catch in all 
fisheries (including halibut and subsistence) and allocation to the DSR 
sport fishery. In 2020, the commercial fishery for DSR was closed due 
to concerns about declining DSR biomass.
    The FMP authorizes the Council to exempt specific gear from the 
halibut PSC limits. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, exempts 
pot gear, the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories, and 
jig gear from the non-trawl halibut PSC limit for 2021 and 2022. The 
Council recommended, and NMFS approves, these exemptions because: (1) 
The pot gear fisheries have low annual halibut bycatch mortality, (2) 
IFQ program regulations prohibit discard of halibut if any halibut IFQ 
permit holder on board a catcher vessel holds unused halibut IFQ for 
that vessel category and the IFQ regulatory area in which the vessel is 
operating (Sec.  679.7(f)(11)), (3) some sablefish IFQ fishermen hold 
halibut IFQ permits and are therefore required to retain the halibut 
they catch while fishing sablefish IFQ, and (4) NMFS estimates 
negligible halibut mortality for the jig gear fisheries given the small 
amount of groundfish harvested by jig gear, the selective nature of jig 
gear, and the high survival rates of halibut caught and released with 
jig gear.
    The best available information on estimated halibut bycatch 
consists of data collected by fisheries observers during 2020. The 
calculated halibut bycatch mortality through December 31, 2020, is 789 
mt for trawl gear and 3 mt for hook-and-line gear for a total halibut 
mortality of 792 mt. This halibut mortality was calculated using 
groundfish and halibut catch data from the NMFS Alaska Region's catch 
accounting system. This accounting system contains historical and 
recent catch information compiled from each Alaska groundfish fishery.
    Sections 679.21(d)(4)(i) and (ii) authorize NMFS to seasonally 
apportion the halibut PSC limits after consultation with the Council. 
The FMP and regulations require that the Council and NMFS consider the 
following information in seasonally apportioning halibut PSC limits: 
(1) Seasonal distribution of halibut; (2) seasonal distribution of 
target groundfish species relative to halibut distribution; (3) 
expected halibut bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relative to changes 
in halibut biomass and expected catch of target groundfish species; (4) 
expected bycatch rates on a seasonal basis; (5) expected changes in 
directed groundfish fishing seasons; (6) expected actual start of 
fishing effort; and (7) economic effects of establishing seasonal 
halibut allocations on segments of the target groundfish industry. The 
Council considered information from the 2020 SAFE report, NMFS catch 
data, State of Alaska catch data, International Pacific Halibut 
Commission (IPHC) stock assessment and mortality data, and public 
testimony when apportioning the

[[Page 10199]]

halibut PSC limits. NMFS concurs with the Council's recommendations 
listed in Table 14, which shows the final 2021 and 2022 Pacific halibut 
PSC limits, allowances, and apportionments.
    Sections 679.21(d)(4)(iii) and (iv) specifies that any unused 
amounts, or overages, of a seasonal apportionment of a halibut PSC 
limit will be added to or deducted from the next respective seasonal 
apportionment within the fishing year.

                   Table 14--Final 2021 and 2022 Pacific Halibut Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) Limits, Allowances, and Apportionments
                                                               [Values are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Trawl gear                                                             Hook-and-line gear \1\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  Other than DSR                                    DSR
                 Season                    Percent     Amount  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                           Season             Percent     Amount             Season              Amount
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 20-April 1......................       30.5        519  January 1-June 10..........         86        221  January 1-December 31.....          9
April 1-July 1..........................       20.0        341  June 10-September 1........          2          5  ..........................  .........
July 1-August 1.........................       27.0        462  September 1-December 31....         12         31  ..........................  .........
August 1-October 1......................        7.5        128  ...........................  .........  .........  ..........................  .........
October 1-December 31...................       15.0        256  ...........................  .........  .........  ..........................  .........
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................  .........      1,706  ...........................  .........        257  ..........................          9
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) limit for hook-and-line gear is allocated to the DSR fishery in the SEO District and to the hook-
  and-line fisheries other than the DSR fishery. The hook-and-line sablefish IFQ fishery is exempt from halibut PSC limits, as are pot and jig gear for
  all groundfish fisheries.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    Section 679.21(d)(3)(ii) authorizes further apportionment of the 
trawl halibut PSC limit to trawl fishery categories listed in Sec.  
679.21(d)(3)(iii). The annual apportionments are based on each 
category's proportional share of the anticipated halibut bycatch 
mortality during the fishing year and optimization of the total amount 
of groundfish harvest under the halibut PSC limit. The fishery 
categories for the trawl halibut PSC limits are: (1) A deep-water 
species fishery, composed of sablefish, rockfish, deep-water flatfish, 
rex sole, and arrowtooth flounder; and (2) a shallow-water species 
fishery, composed of pollock, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, 
flathead sole, Atka mackerel, and ``other species'' (sharks and 
octopuses) (Sec.  679.21(d)(3)(iii)). Halibut mortality incurred while 
directed fishing for skates with trawl gear accrues towards the 
shallow-water species fishery halibut PSC limit (69 FR 26320, May 12, 
2004).
    NMFS will combine available trawl halibut PSC limit apportionments 
during the second season deep-water and shallow-water species fisheries 
for use in either fishery from May 15 through June 30 (Sec.  
679.21(d)(4)(iii)(D)). This is intended to maintain groundfish harvest 
while minimizing halibut bycatch by these sectors to the extent 
practicable. This provides the deep-water and shallow-water species 
trawl fisheries additional flexibility and the incentive to participate 
in fisheries at times of the year that may have lower halibut PSC rates 
relative to other times of the year.
    Table 15 lists the final 2021 and 2022 apportionments of trawl 
halibut PSC limits between the trawl gear deep-water and shallow-water 
species fishery categories.
    Table 28d to 50 CFR part 679 specifies the amount of the trawl 
halibut PSC limit that is assigned to the CV and CP sectors that are 
participating in the Rockfish Program. This includes 117 mt of halibut 
PSC limit to the CV sector and 74 mt of halibut PSC limit to the CP 
sector. These amounts are allocated from the trawl deep-water species 
fishery's halibut PSC third seasonal apportionment. After the combined 
CV and CP halibut PSC limit allocation of 191 mt to the Rockfish 
Program, 150 mt remains for the trawl deep-water species fishery's 
halibut PSC third seasonal apportionment.
    Section 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(B) limits the amount of the halibut PSC 
limit allocated to Rockfish Program participants that could be re-
apportioned to the general GOA trawl fisheries during the current 
fishing year to no more than 55 percent of the unused annual halibut 
PSC limit apportioned to Rockfish Program participants. The remainder 
of the unused Rockfish Program halibut PSC limit is unavailable for use 
by any person for the remainder of the fishing year (Sec.  
679.21(d)(4)(iii)(C)).

Table 15--Final 2021 and 2022 Apportionment of Pacific Halibut Prohibited Species Catch Limits Between the Trawl
                Gear Deep-Water Species Fishery and the Shallow-Water Species Fishery Categories
                                           [Values are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Season                                Shallow-water  Deep-water \1\       Total
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
January 20-April 1..............................................             384             135             519
April 1-July 1..................................................              85             256             341
July 1-August 1.................................................             121             341             462
August 1-October 1..............................................              53              75             128
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Subtotal January 20-October 1...............................             643             807           1,450
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
October 1-December 31 \2\.......................................  ..............  ..............             256
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------

[[Page 10200]]

 
    Total.......................................................  ..............  ..............           1,706
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Vessels participating in cooperatives in the Central GOA Rockfish Program will receive 191 mt of the third
  season (July 1 through August 1) deep-water species fishery halibut PSC apportionment.
\2\ There is no apportionment between trawl shallow-water and deep-water species fishery categories during the
  fifth season (October 1 through December 31).

    Section 679.21(d)(2)(i)(B) requires that the ``other hook-and-line 
fishery'' halibut PSC limit apportionment to vessels using hook-and-
line gear must be apportioned between CVs and CPs in accordance with 
Sec.  679.21(d)(2)(iii) in conjunction with these harvest 
specifications. A comprehensive description and example of the 
calculations necessary to apportion the ``other hook-and-line fishery'' 
halibut PSC limit between the hook-and-line CV and CP sectors were 
included in the proposed rule to implement Amendment 83 to the FMP (76 
FR 44700, July 26, 2011) and are not repeated here.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(d)(2)(iii), the hook-and-line halibut PSC 
limit for the ``other hook-and-line fishery'' is apportioned between 
the CV and CP sectors in proportion to the total Western and Central 
GOA Pacific cod allocations, which vary annually based on the 
proportion of the Pacific cod biomass between the Western, Central, and 
Eastern GOA. Pacific cod is apportioned among these three management 
areas based on the percentage of overall biomass per area, as 
calculated in the 2020 Pacific cod stock assessment. Updated 
information in the final 2020 SAFE report describes this distributional 
calculation, which allocates ABC among GOA regulatory areas on the 
basis of the three most recent stock surveys. For 2021 and 2022, the 
distribution of the total GOA Pacific cod ABC is 32 percent to the 
Western GOA, 59 percent to the Central GOA, and 9 percent to the 
Eastern GOA. Therefore, the calculations made in accordance with Sec.  
679.21(d)(2)(iii) incorporate the most recent information on GOA 
Pacific cod distribution with respect to establishing the annual 
halibut PSC limits for the CV and CP hook-and-line sectors. 
Additionally, the annual halibut PSC limits for both the CV and CP 
sectors of the ``other hook-and-line fishery'' are divided into three 
seasonal apportionments, using seasonal percentages of 86 percent, 2 
percent, and 12 percent.
    For 2021 and 2022, NMFS apportions halibut PSC limits of 144 mt and 
113 mt to the hook-and-line CV and hook-and-line CP sectors, 
respectively. Table 16 lists the final 2021 and 2022 apportionments of 
halibut PSC limits between the hook-and-line CV and the hook-and-line 
CP sectors of the ``other hook-and-line fishery.''
    No later than November 1 of each year, NMFS will calculate the 
projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit by either of the CV or CP 
hook-and-line sectors of the ``other hook-and-line fishery'' for the 
remainder of the year. The projected unused amount of halibut PSC limit 
is made available to the other hook-and-line sector for the remainder 
of that fishing year (Sec.  679.21(d)(2)(iii)(C)), if NMFS determines 
that an additional amount of halibut PSC is necessary for that sector 
to continue its directed fishing operations.

  Table 16--Final 2021 and 2022 Apportionments of the ``Other Hook-and-Line Fishery'' Annual Halibut Prohibited
       Species Catch Allowance Between the Hook-and-Line Gear Catcher Vessel and Catcher/Processor Sectors
                                           [Values are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               Hook-and-line    Sector annual                      Seasonal      Sector seasonal
``Other than DSR'' allowance       sector          amount           Season        percentage         amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
257.........................  Catcher Vessel.             144  January 1-June               86               124
                                                                10.
                                                               June 10-                      2                 3
                                                                September 1.
                                                               September 1-                 12                17
                                                                December 31.
                              Catcher/                    113  January 1-June               86                97
                               Processor.                       10.
                                                               June 10-                      2                 2
                                                                September 1.
                                                               September 1-                 12                14
                                                                December 31.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Estimates of Halibut Biomass and Stock Condition

    The IPHC annually assesses the abundance and potential yield of the 
Pacific halibut stock using all available data from the commercial and 
sport fisheries, other removals, and scientific surveys. Additional 
information on the Pacific halibut stock assessment may be found in the 
IPHC's 2020 Pacific halibut stock assessment (December 2020), available 
on the IPHC website at www.iphc.int. The IPHC considered the 2020 
Pacific halibut stock assessment at its January 2021 annual meeting 
when it set the 2021 commercial halibut fishery catch limits.

Halibut Discard Mortality Rates

    To monitor halibut bycatch mortality allowances and apportionments, 
the Regional Administrator uses observed halibut incidental catch 
rates, halibut discard mortality rates (DMRs), and estimates of 
groundfish catch to project when a fishery's halibut bycatch mortality 
allowance or seasonal apportionment is reached. Halibut incidental 
catch rates are based on observers' estimates of halibut incidental 
catch in the groundfish fishery. DMRs are estimates of the proportion 
of incidentally caught halibut that do not survive after being returned 
to the sea. The cumulative

[[Page 10201]]

halibut mortality that accrues to a particular halibut PSC limit is the 
product of a DMR multiplied by the estimated halibut PSC. DMRs are 
estimated using the best scientific information available in 
conjunction with the annual GOA stock assessment process. The DMR 
methodology and findings are included as an appendix to the annual GOA 
groundfish SAFE report.
    In 2016, the DMR estimation methodology underwent revisions per the 
Council's directive. An interagency halibut working group (IPHC, 
Council, and NMFS staff) developed improved estimation methods that 
have undergone review by the GOA Plan Team, SSC, and the Council. A 
summary of the revised methodology is contained in the GOA proposed 
2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87881, December 6, 2016), 
and the comprehensive discussion of the working group's statistical 
methodology is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). The DMR 
working group's revised methodology is intended to improve estimation 
accuracy, transparency, and transferability in the methodology used for 
calculating DMRs. The working group will continue to consider 
improvements to the methodology used to calculate halibut mortality, 
including potential changes to the reference period (the period of data 
used for calculating the DMRs). Future DMRs may change based on 
additional years of observer sampling, which could provide more recent 
and accurate data and which could improve the accuracy of estimation 
and progress on methodology. The new methodology will continue to 
ensure that NMFS is using DMRs that more accurately reflect halibut 
mortality, which will inform the different sectors of their estimated 
halibut mortality and allow specific sectors to respond with methods 
that could reduce mortality and, eventually, the DMR for that sector.
    At the December 2020 meeting, the SSC, AP, and the Council 
concurred with the revised DMR estimation methodology, and NMFS adopts 
for 2021 and 2022 the DMRs calculated under the revised methodology, 
which uses an updated 2-year reference period. The final 2021 and 2022 
DMRs in this rule are unchanged from the DMRs in the proposed 2021 and 
2022 harvest specifications (85 FR 78076, December 3, 2020). Table 17 
lists these final 2021 and 2022 DMRs.

     Table 17--Final 2021 and 2022 Halibut Discard Mortality Rates for Vessels Fishing in the Gulf of Alaska
                               [Values are percent of halibut assumed to be dead]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Halibut
                                                                                                      discard
                  Gear                              Sector                Groundfish fishery      mortality rate
                                                                                                     (percent)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pelagic trawl...........................  Catcher vessel............  All.......................             100
                                          Catcher/processor.........  All.......................             100
Non-pelagic trawl.......................  Catcher vessel............  Rockfish Program..........              60
                                          Catcher vessel............  All others................              69
                                          Mothership and catcher/     All.......................              84
                                           processor.
Hook-and-line...........................  Catcher/processor.........  All.......................              15
                                          Catcher vessel............  All.......................              13
Pot.....................................  Catcher vessel and catcher/ All.......................              10
                                           processor.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch Limits

    Amendment 93 to the FMP (77 FR 42629, July 20, 2012) established 
separate Chinook salmon PSC limits in the Western and Central GOA in 
the directed pollock trawl fishery. These limits require that NMFS 
close the pollock directed fishery in the Western and Central 
Regulatory Areas of the GOA if the applicable Chinook salmon PSC limit 
in that regulatory area is reached (Sec.  679.21(h)(8)). The annual 
Chinook salmon PSC limits in the pollock directed fishery of 6,684 
salmon in the Western GOA and 18,316 salmon in the Central GOA are set 
at Sec.  679.21(h)(2)(i) and (ii).
    Amendment 97 to the FMP (79 FR 71350, December 2, 2014) established 
an initial annual PSC limit of 7,500 Chinook salmon for the trawl non-
pollock groundfish fisheries in the Western and Central GOA. This limit 
is apportioned among the three sectors that conduct directed fishing 
for groundfish species other than pollock: 3,600 Chinook salmon to 
trawl CPs; 1,200 Chinook salmon to trawl CVs participating in the 
Rockfish Program; and 2,700 Chinook salmon to trawl CVs not 
participating in the Rockfish Program (Sec.  679.21(h)(4)). NMFS will 
monitor the Chinook salmon PSC in the trawl non-pollock groundfish 
fisheries and close an applicable sector if it reaches its Chinook 
salmon PSC limit.
    The Chinook salmon PSC limit for two sectors, trawl CPs and trawl 
CVs not participating in the Rockfish Program, may be increased in 
subsequent years based on the performance of these two sectors and 
their ability to minimize their use of their respective Chinook salmon 
PSC limits. If either or both of these two sectors limits its use of 
Chinook salmon PSC to a specified threshold amount in 2020 (3,120 for 
trawl CPs and 2,340 for Non-Rockfish Program trawl CVs), that sector 
will receive an incremental increase to its 2021 Chinook salmon PSC 
limit (Sec.  679.21(h)(4)). In 2020, the trawl CP sector did not exceed 
3,120 Chinook salmon PSC; therefore, the 2021 trawl CP sector Chinook 
salmon PSC limit will be 4,080 Chinook salmon. In 2020, the Non-
Rockfish Program trawl CV sector did not exceed 2,340 Chinook salmon 
PSC; therefore, the 2021 Non-Rockfish Program trawl CV sector Chinook 
salmon PSC limit will be 3,060 Chinook salmon.

American Fisheries Act (AFA) Catcher/Processor and Catcher Vessel 
Groundfish Harvest Limits

    Section 679.64 establishes groundfish harvesting and processing 
sideboard limitations on AFA CPs and CVs in the GOA. These sideboard 
limits are necessary to protect the interests of fishermen and 
processors who do not directly benefit from the AFA from those 
fishermen and processors who receive exclusive harvesting and 
processing privileges under the AFA. Section 679.7(k)(1)(ii) prohibits 
listed AFA CPs and CPs designated on a listed AFA CP permit from 
harvesting any species of groundfish in the GOA. Additionally, Sec.  
679.7(k)(1)(iv) prohibits listed AFA CPs and CPs designated on a listed 
AFA CP permit from processing any pollock harvested in a directed 
pollock fishery in the GOA and any groundfish harvested in Statistical 
Area 630 of the GOA.

[[Page 10202]]

    AFA CVs that are less than 125 feet (38.1 meters) length overall, 
have annual landings of pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
less than 5,100 mt, and have made at least 40 GOA groundfish landings 
from 1995 through 1997 are exempt from GOA CV groundfish sideboard 
limits under Sec.  679.64(b)(2)(ii). Sideboard limits for non-exempt 
AFA CVs in the GOA are based on their traditional harvest levels of TAC 
in groundfish fisheries covered by the FMP. Section 679.64(b)(3)(iv) 
establishes the CV groundfish sideboard limitations in the GOA based on 
the aggregate retained catch of non-exempt AFA CVs of each sideboard 
species or species group from 1995 through 1997 divided by the sum of 
the TACs for that species or species group available to CVs over the 
same period. NMFS published a final rule (84 FR 2723, February 8, 2019) 
that implemented regulations to prohibit non-exempt AFA CVs from 
directed fishing for specific groundfish species or species groups 
subject to sideboard limits (Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iv)(D) and Table 56 to 
50 CFR part 679). Sideboard limits not subject to the final rule 
continue to be calculated and included in the GOA annual harvest 
specifications.
    Tables 18 and 19 list the final 2021 and 2022 groundfish sideboard 
limits for non-exempt AFA CVs. NMFS will deduct all targeted or 
incidental catch of sideboard species made by non-exempt AFA CVs from 
the sideboard limits listed in Tables 18 and 19.

                                     Table 18--Final 2021 GOA Non-Exempt American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel (CV)
                                                               Groundfish Sideboard Limits
                                                     [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                   Ratio of 1995-
                                                                                                  1997 non-exempt                       Final 2021 non-
                Species                   Apportionments by season              Area              AFA CV catch to       Final 2021       exempt AFA CV
                                                                                                   1995-1997 TAC         TACs\3\        sideboard limit
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock................................  A Season January 20-May 31  Shumagin (610)............             0.6047                799                483
                                                                     Chirikof (620)............             0.1167             41,737              4,871
                                                                     Kodiak (630)..............             0.2028              6,297              1,277
                                         B Season September 1-       Shumagin (610)............             0.6047             17,677             10,689
                                          November 1.
                                                                     Chirikof (620)............             0.1167             13,133              1,533
                                                                     Kodiak (630)..............             0.2028             18,023              3,655
                                         Annual....................  WYK (640).................             0.3495              5,412              1,891
                                                                     SEO (650).................             0.3495             10,148              3,547
Pacific cod............................  A Season \1\ January 1-     W.........................             0.1331              3,561                474
                                          June 10.
                                                                     C.........................             0.0692              6,567                454
                                         B Season \2\ September 1-   W.........................             0.1331              2,029                270
                                          December 31.
                                                                     C.........................             0.0692              3,675                254
Flatfish, shallow-water................  Annual....................  W.........................             0.0156             13,250                207
                                                                     C.........................             0.0587             28,082              1,648
Flatfish, deep-water...................  Annual....................  C.........................             0.0647              1,914                124
                                                                     E.........................             0.0128              3,787                 48
Rex sole...............................  Annual....................  C.........................             0.0384              8,912                342
Arrowtooth flounder....................  Annual....................  C.........................             0.0280             69,072              1,934
Flathead sole..........................  Annual....................  C.........................             0.0213             15,400                328
Pacific ocean perch....................  Annual....................  C.........................             0.0748             27,429              2,052
                                                                     E.........................             0.0466              7,105                331
Northern rockfish......................  Annual....................  C.........................             0.0277              3,334                 92
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.
\3\ The Western and Central GOA and WYK District area apportionments of pollock are considered ACLs.


                                     Table 19--Final 2022 GOA Non-Exempt American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel (CV)
                                                               Groundfish Sideboard Limits
                                                     [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                   Ratio of 1995-
                                                                                                  1997 non-exempt                       Final 2022 non-
                Species                   Apportionments by season              Area              AFA CV catch to    Final 2022 TACs     exempt AFA CV
                                                                                                   1995-1997 TAC           \3\          sideboard limit
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock................................  A Season January 20-May 31  Shumagin (610)............             0.6047                695                420
                                                                     Chirikof (620)............             0.1167             36,294              4,235
                                                                     Kodiak (630)..............             0.2028              5,476              1,111
                                         B Season September 1-       Shumagin (610)............             0.6047             15,372              9,295
                                          November 1.
                                                                     Chirikof (620)............             0.1167             11,420              1,333
                                                                     Kodiak (630)..............             0.2028             15,672              3,178
                                         Annual....................  WYK (640).................             0.3495              4,706              1,645
                                                                     SEO (650).................             0.3495             10,148              3,547
Pacific cod............................  A Season \1\ January 1-     W.........................             0.1331              5,749                765
                                          June 10.
                                                                     C.........................             0.0692             10,601                734
                                         B Season \2\ September 1-   W.........................             0.1331              3,275                436
                                          December 31.
                                                                     C.........................             0.0692              5,933                411
Flatfish, shallow-water................  Annual....................  W.........................             0.0156             13,250                207
                                                                     C.........................             0.0587             28,442              1,670
Flatfish, deep-water...................  Annual....................  C.........................             0.0647              1,914                124
                                                                     E.........................             0.0128              3,787                 48
Rex sole...............................  Annual....................  C.........................             0.0384              8,912                342
Arrowtooth flounder....................  Annual....................  C.........................             0.0280             67,154              1,880
Flathead sole..........................  Annual....................  C.........................             0.0213             15,400                328
Pacific ocean perch....................  Annual....................  C.........................             0.0748             26,234              1,962
                                                                     E.........................             0.0466              6,796                317

[[Page 10203]]

 
Northern rockfish......................  Annual....................  C.........................             0.0277              3,173                 88
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.
\3\ The Western and Central GOA and WYK District area apportionments of pollock are considered ACLs.

Non-Exempt AFA Catcher Vessel Halibut PSC Limits

    The halibut PSC sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA CVs in the GOA 
are based on the aggregate retained groundfish catch by non-exempt AFA 
CVs in each PSC target category from 1995 through 1997 divided by the 
retained catch of all vessels in that fishery from 1995 through 1997 
(Sec.  679.64(b)(4)(ii)). Table 20 lists the final 2021 and 2022 non-
exempt AFA CV halibut PSC sideboard limits for vessels using trawl gear 
in the GOA.

             Table 20--Final 2021 and 2022 Non-Exempt AFA CV Halibut Prohibited Species Catch (PSC)
                            Sideboard Limits for Vessels Using Trawl Gear in the GOA
                                   [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Ratio of 1995-
                                                               1997 non-exempt
                                                               AFA CV retained   2021 and 2022    2021 and 2022
        Season             Season dates      Target fishery    catch to total      PSC limit      non-exempt AFA
                                                               retained catch                      CV PSC limit
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.....................  January 20-April   shallow-water....             0.340              384              131
                         1.
                                           deep-water.......             0.070              135                9
2.....................  April 1-July 1...  shallow-water....             0.340               85               29
                                           deep-water.......             0.070              256               18
3.....................  July 1-August 1..  shallow-water....             0.340              121               41
                                           deep-water.......             0.070              341               24
4.....................  August 1-October   shallow-water....             0.340               53               18
                         1.
                                           deep-water.......             0.070               75                5
5.....................  October 1-         all targets......             0.205              256               52
                         December 31.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Annual...................................  Total shallow-     ................  ...............             *219
                                            water.
                       -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Total deep-water.  ................  ...............               56
                       -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Total, all season and categories                 1,706              328
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Non-AFA Crab Vessel Groundfish Harvest Limitations

    Section 680.22 establishes groundfish catch limits for vessels with 
a history of participation in the Bering Sea snow crab fishery to 
prevent these vessels from using the increased flexibility provided by 
the Crab Rationalization (CR) Program to expand their level of 
participation in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Sideboard limits 
restrict these vessels' catch to their collective historical landings 
in each GOA groundfish fishery (except the fixed-gear sablefish 
fishery). Sideboard limits also apply to catch made using an LLP 
license derived from the history of a restricted vessel, even if that 
LLP license is used on another vessel.
    The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the 
final rules implementing the major provisions of the CR Program, 
including Amendments 18 and 19 to the Fishery Management Plan for 
Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs (Crab FMP) (70 FR 
10174, March 2, 2005), Amendment 34 to the Crab FMP (76 FR 35772, June 
20, 2011), Amendment 83 to the GOA FMP (76 FR 74670, December 1, 2011), 
and Amendment 45 to the Crab FMP (80 FR 28539, May 19, 2015). Also, 
NMFS published a final rule (84 FR 2723, February 8, 2019) that 
implemented regulations to prohibit non-AFA crab vessels from directed 
fishing for all groundfish species or species groups subject to 
sideboard limits, except for Pacific cod apportioned to CVs using pot 
gear in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas (Sec.  
680.22(e)(1)(iii)). Accordingly, the GOA annual harvest specifications 
will include the non-AFA crab vessel groundfish sideboard limits for 
only Pacific cod apportioned to CVs using pot gear in the Western and 
Central Regulatory Areas.
    Tables 21 and 22 list the final 2021 and 2022 groundfish sideboard 
limitations for non-AFA crab vessels. All targeted or incidental catch 
of sideboard species made by non-AFA crab vessels or associated LLP 
licenses will be deducted from these sideboard limits.

[[Page 10204]]



                               Table 21--Final 2021 GOA Non-American Fisheries Act Crab Vessel Groundfish Sideboard Limits
                                                     [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Ratio of 1996-
                                                                                                       2000 non-AFA
                                                                                                        crab vessel                     Final 2021  non-
                 Species                              Season                     Area/gear            catch to 1996-   Final 2021 TACs  AFA crab  vessel
                                                                                                        2000 total                       sideboard limit
                                                                                                          harvest
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod..............................  A Season January 1-June 10.  Western Pot CV.............            0.0997            3,561               355
                                                                        Central Pot CV.............            0.0474            6,567               311
                                           B Season September 1-        Western Pot CV.............            0.0997            2,029               202
                                            December 31.
                                                                        Central Pot CV.............            0.0474            3,675               174
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                               Table 22--Final 2022 GOA Non-American Fisheries Act Crab Vessel Groundfish Sideboard Limits
                                                     [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                      Ratio of 1996-
                                                                                                       2000 non-AFA
                                                                                                        crab vessel                     Final 2022  non-
                 Species                              Season                     Area/gear            catch to 1996-   Final 2022 TACs  AFA crab  vessel
                                                                                                        2000 total                       sideboard limit
                                                                                                          harvest
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod..............................  A Season January 1-June 10.  Western Pot CV.............            0.0997            5,749               573
                                                                        Central Pot CV.............            0.0474           10,601               502
                                           B Season September 1-        Western Pot CV.............            0.0997            3,275               327
                                            December 31.
                                                                        Central Pot CV.............            0.0474            5,933               281
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rockfish Program Groundfish Sideboard and Halibut PSC Limitations

    The Rockfish Program establishes three classes of sideboard 
provisions: CV groundfish sideboard restrictions, CP rockfish sideboard 
restrictions, and CP opt-out vessel sideboard restrictions (Sec.  
679.82(c)(1)). These sideboards are intended to limit the ability of 
rockfish harvesters to expand into other GOA groundfish fisheries.
    CVs participating in the Rockfish Program may not participate in 
directed fishing for dusky rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and northern 
rockfish in the West Yakutat District and Western GOA from July 1 
through July 31. Also, CVs may not participate in directed fishing for 
arrowtooth flounder, deep-water flatfish, and rex sole in the GOA from 
July 1 through July 31 (Sec.  679.82(d)).
    CPs participating in Rockfish Program cooperatives are restricted 
by rockfish and halibut PSC sideboard limits. These CPs are prohibited 
from directed fishing for dusky rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and 
northern rockfish in the West Yakutat District and Western GOA from 
July 1 through July 31 (Sec.  679.82(e)(2)). Holders of CP-designated 
LLP licenses that opt out of participating in a Rockfish Program 
cooperative will be able to access that portion of each rockfish 
sideboard limit that is not assigned to rockfish cooperatives (Sec.  
679.82(e)(7)). The sideboard ratio for each fishery in the West Yakutat 
District and the Western GOA is set forth in Sec.  679.82(e)(4). Tables 
23 and 24 list the final 2021 and 2022 Rockfish Program CP sideboard 
limits in the West Yakutat District and the Western GOA. Due to 
confidentiality requirements associated with fisheries data, the 
sideboard limits for the West Yakutat District are not displayed.

 Table 23--Final 2021 Rockfish Program Sideboard Limits for the Western GOA and West Yakutat District by Fishery
                                        for the Catcher/Processor Sector
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     CP sector (% of     Final 2021
              Area                    Fishery              TAC)             TACs          Final 2021 CP limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western GOA....................  Dusky rockfish...  72.3.............             270  195.
                                 Pacific ocean      50.6.............           1,643  831.
                                  perch.
                                 Northern rockfish  74.3.............           2,023  1,503.
West Yakutat District..........  Dusky rockfish...  Confidential \1\.             468  Confidential.\1\
                                 Pacific ocean      Confidential \1\.           1,705  Confidential.\1\
                                  perch.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Not released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data, as established by NMFS
  and the State of Alaska.


[[Page 10205]]


 Table 24--Final 2022 Rockfish Program Sideboard Limits for the Western GOA and West Yakutat District by Fishery
                                        for the Catcher/Processor Sector
                                 [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     CP sector (% of     Final 2022
              Area                    Fishery              TAC)             TACs          Final 2022 CP limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Western GOA....................  Dusky rockfish...  72.3.............             265  192.
                                 Pacific ocean      50.6.............           1,572  795.
                                  perch.
                                 Northern rockfish  74.3.............           1,926  1,431.
West Yakutat District..........  Dusky rockfish...  Confidential \1\.             460  Confidential.\1\
                                 Pacific ocean      Confidential \1\.           1,631  Confidential.\1\
                                  perch.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Not released due to confidentiality requirements associated with fish ticket data, as established by NMFS
  and the State of Alaska.

    Under the Rockfish Program, the CP sector is subject to halibut PSC 
sideboard limits for the trawl deep-water and shallow-water species 
fisheries from July 1 through July 31 (Sec.  679.82(e)(3) and (5)). 
Halibut PSC sideboard ratios by fishery are set forth in Sec.  
679.82(e)(5). No halibut PSC sideboard limits apply to the CV sector, 
as CVs participating in cooperatives receive a portion of the annual 
halibut PSC limit. CPs that opt out of the Rockfish Program are able to 
access that portion of the deep-water and shallow-water halibut PSC 
sideboard limit not assigned to CP rockfish cooperatives. The sideboard 
provisions for CPs that elect to opt out of participating in a rockfish 
cooperative are described in Sec.  679.82(c), (e), and (f). Sideboard 
limits are linked to the catch history of specific vessels that may 
choose to opt out. After March 1, NMFS will determine which CPs have 
opted-out of the Rockfish Program in 2021, and NMFS will know the 
ratios and amounts used to calculate opt-out sideboard ratios. NMFS 
will then calculate any applicable opt-out sideboards for 2021 and post 
these limits on the Alaska Region website at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/alaska/sustainable-fisheries/alaska-fisheries-management-reports#central-goa-rockfish. Table 25 lists the final 2021 
and 2022 Rockfish Program halibut PSC sideboard limits for the CP 
sector.

                              Table 25--Final 2021 and 2022 Rockfish Program Halibut PSC Sideboard Limits for the Catcher/
                                                                    Processor Sector
                                                     [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Shallow-water        Deep-water                            Annual shallow-    Annual deep-water
                                                        species fishery     species fishery      2021 and 2022       water species     species  fishery
                       Sector                             halibut PSC         halibut PSC      halibut mortality    fishery halibut       halibut PSC
                                                        sideboard ratio     sideboard ratio       limit  (mt)        PSC sideboard      sideboard limit
                                                           (percent)           (percent)                              limit (mt)             (mt)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catcher/processor...................................               0.10                2.50               1,706                   2                  43
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Amendment 80 Program Groundfish and PSC Sideboard Limits

    Amendment 80 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (Amendment 80 Program) 
established a limited access privilege program for the non-AFA trawl CP 
sector. The Amendment 80 Program established groundfish and halibut PSC 
catch limits for Amendment 80 Program participants to limit the ability 
of participants eligible for the Amendment 80 Program to expand their 
harvest efforts in the GOA.
    Section 679.92 establishes groundfish harvesting sideboard limits 
on all Amendment 80 program vessels, other than the fishing vessel (F/
V) Golden Fleece, to amounts no greater than the limits listed in Table 
37 to 50 CFR part 679. Under Sec.  679.92(d), the F/V Golden Fleece is 
prohibited from directed fishing for pollock, Pacific cod, Pacific 
ocean perch, dusky rockfish, and northern rockfish in the GOA.
    Groundfish sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels 
operating in the GOA are based on their average aggregate harvests from 
1998 through 2004 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Tables 26 and 27 
list the final 2021 and 2022 groundfish sideboard limits for Amendment 
80 Program vessels. NMFS will deduct all targeted or incidental catch 
of sideboard species made by Amendment 80 Program vessels from the 
sideboard limits in Tables 26 and 27.

              Table 26--Final 2021 GOA Groundfish Sideboard Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels
                                   [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Ratio of
                                                                   Amendment 80                        2021
                                Apportionments                        sector                       Amendment 80
           Species             and  allocations        Area        vessels 1998-  2021 TAC  (mt)      vessel
                                   by season                       2004 catch to                    sideboards
                                                                        TAC                            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock......................  A Season January  Shumagin (610).           0.003             799               2
                                20-May 31.
                                                 Chirikof (620).           0.002          41,737              83
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002           6,297              13

[[Page 10206]]

 
                               B Season          Shumagin (610).           0.003          17,677              53
                                September 1-.
                               November 1......
                                                 Chirikof (620).           0.002          13,133              26
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002          18,023              36
                               Annual..........  WYK (640)......           0.002           5,412              11
Pacific cod..................  A Season \1\      W..............           0.020           3,561              71
                                January 1-June
                                10.
                                                 C..............           0.044           6,567             289
                               B Season \2\      W..............           0.020           2,029              41
                                September 1-
                                December 31.
                                                 C..............           0.044           3,675             162
                               Annual..........  WYK............           0.034           1,489              51
Pacific ocean perch..........  Annual..........  W..............           0.994           1,643           1,633
                                                 WYK............           0.961           1,705           1,639
Northern rockfish............  Annual..........  W..............           1.000           2,023           2,023
Dusky rockfish...............  Annual..........  W..............           0.764             270             206
                                                 WYK............           0.896             468             419
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.


              Table 27--Final 2022 GOA Groundfish Sideboard Limits for Amendment 80 Program Vessels
                                   [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     Ratio of
                                                                   Amendment 80                        2022
                                Apportionments                        sector                       Amendment 80
           Species             and  allocations        Area        vessels 1998-   2022 TAC (mt)      vessel
                                   by season                       2004 catch to                    sideboards
                                                                        TAC                            (mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock......................  A Season January  Shumagin (610).           0.003             695               2
                                20-May 31.
                                                 Chirikof (620).           0.002          36,294              73
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002           5,476              11
                               B Season          Shumagin (610).           0.003          15,372              46
                                September 1-.
                               November 1......
                                                 Chirikof (620).           0.002          11,420              23
                                                 Kodiak (630)...           0.002          15,672              31
                               Annual..........  WYK (640)......           0.002           4,706               9
Pacific cod..................  A Season \1\      W..............           0.020           5,749             115
                                January 1-June
                                10.
                                                 C..............           0.044          10,601             466
                               B Season \2\      W..............           0.020           3,275              66
                                September 1-
                                December 31.
                                                 C..............           0.044           5,933             261
                               Annual..........  WYK............           0.034           2,403              82
Pacific ocean perch..........  Annual..........  W..............           0.994           1,572           1,563
                                                 WYK............           0.961           1,631           1,567
Northern rockfish............  Annual..........  W..............           1.000           1,926           1,926
Dusky rockfish...............  Annual..........  W..............           0.764             265             202
                                                 WYK............           0.896             460             412
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The Pacific cod A season for trawl gear does not open until January 20.
\2\ The Pacific cod B season for trawl gear closes November 1.

    The halibut PSC sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program vessels 
in the GOA are based on the historic use of halibut PSC by Amendment 80 
Program vessels in each PSC target category from 1998 through 2004. 
These values are slightly lower than the average historic use to 
accommodate two factors: Allocation of halibut PSC cooperative quota 
under the Rockfish Program and the exemption of the F/V Golden Fleece 
from this restriction (Sec.  679.92(b)(2)). Table 28 lists the final 
2021 and 2022 halibut PSC sideboard limits for Amendment 80 Program 
vessels. These tables incorporate the maximum percentages of the 
halibut PSC sideboard limits that may be used by Amendment 80 Program 
vessels as contained in Table 38 to 50 CFR part 679. Any residual 
amount of a seasonal Amendment 80 halibut PSC sideboard limit may carry 
forward to the next season limit (Sec.  679.92(b)(2)).

[[Page 10207]]



                   Table 28--Final 2021 and 2022 Halibut PSC Sideboard Limits for Amendment 80
                                           Program Vessels in the GOA
                                   [Values are rounded to nearest metric ton]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Historic
                                                                 Amendment 80                     2021 and 2022
                                                                  use of the     2021 and 2022     Amendment 80
      Season            Season dates         Target fishery     annual halibut     annual PSC       vessel PSC
                                                                   PSC limit      limit  (mt)         limit
                                                                catch  (ratio)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.................  January 20-April 1..  shallow-water.......          0.0048            1,706                8
                                          deep-water..........          0.0115            1,706               20
2.................  April 1-July 1......  shallow-water.......          0.0189            1,706               32
                                          deep-water..........          0.1072            1,706              183
3.................  July 1-August 1.....  shallow-water.......          0.0146            1,706               25
                                          deep-water..........          0.0521            1,706               89
4.................  August 1-October 1..  shallow-water.......          0.0074            1,706               13
                                          deep-water..........          0.0014            1,706                2
5.................  October 1-December    shallow-water.......          0.0227            1,706               39
                     31.
                                          deep-water..........          0.0371            1,706               63
                   ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total:........  ....................  ....................  ..............  ...............              474
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Directed Fishing Closures

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), if the Regional Administrator 
determines (1) that any allocation or apportionment of a target species 
or species group allocated or apportioned to a fishery will be reached; 
or (2) with respect to pollock and Pacific cod, that an allocation or 
apportionment to an inshore or offshore component or sector allocation 
will be reached, then the Regional Administrator may establish a 
directed fishing allowance (DFA) for that species or species group. If 
the Regional Administrator establishes a DFA and that allowance is or 
will be reached before the end of the fishing season or year, NMFS will 
prohibit directed fishing for that species or species group in the 
specified GOA subarea, regulatory area, or district (Sec.  
679.20(d)(1)(iii)).
    The Regional Administrator has determined that the TACs for the 
species listed in Table 29 are necessary to account for the incidental 
catch of these species in other anticipated groundfish fisheries for 
the 2021 and 2022 fishing years.

      Table 29--2021 and 2022 Directed Fishing Closures in the GOA
 [Amounts for incidental catch in other directed fisheries are in metric
                                  tons]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Incidental catch
                                    Area/component/     amount and year
             Target                      gear         (if amounts differ
                                                           by year)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock.........................  all/offshore......  not applicable
                                                       \1\.
Sablefish \2\...................  all/trawl.........  2,473 (2021),
                                                       3,553 (2022).
Pacific cod.....................  Western, CP, trawl  129 (2021), 209
                                                       (2022).
                                  Central, CP, trawl  426 (2021), 687
                                                       (2022).
Shortraker rockfish \2\.........  all...............  708.
Rougheye/blackspotted rockfish    all...............  1,212 (2021),
 \2\.                                                  1,221 (2022).
Thornyhead rockfish \2\.........  all...............  1,953.
Other rockfish..................  all...............  1,609.
Atka mackerel...................  all...............  3,000.
Big skate.......................  all...............  3,208.
Longnose skate..................  all...............  2,587.
Other skates....................  all...............  875.
Sharks..........................  all...............  3,755.
Octopuses.......................  all...............  980.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pollock is closed to directed fishing in the GOA by the offshore
  component under Sec.   679.20(a)(6)(i).
\2\ Closures are not applicable to participants in cooperatives
  conducted under the Central GOA Rockfish Program because cooperatives
  are prohibited from exceeding their allocations (Sec.
  679.7(n)(6)(viii)).

    Consequently, in accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the 
Regional Administrator establishes the DFA for the species or species 
groups listed in Table 29 as zero mt. Therefore, in accordance with 
Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for those 
species, areas, gear types, and components in the GOA listed in Table 
29 effective at 1200 hours, A.l.t., February 19, 2021, through 2400 
hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2022.
    Closures implemented under the 2020 and 2021 GOA harvest 
specifications for groundfish (85 FR 13802, March 10, 2020) remain 
effective under authority of these final 2021 and 2022 harvest 
specifications and until the date specified in those notices. Closures 
are posted at the following website under the Alaska filter for 
Management Areas: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/rules-and-announcements/bulletins.
    While these closures are in effect, the maximum retainable amounts 
at Sec.  679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a fishing trip. 
These closures to directed fishing are in addition to closures and 
prohibitions found at 50 CFR part 679. NMFS may implement

[[Page 10208]]

other closures during the 2021 and 2022 fishing years as necessary for 
effective conservation and management.

Comments and Responses

    NMFS did not receive any comments during the public comment period 
for the proposed groundfish harvest specifications.

Classification

    NMFS has determined that the final harvest specifications are 
consistent with the FMP and with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act and other applicable laws.
    This final rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
    NMFS prepared an EIS for the Alaska groundfish harvest 
specifications and alternative harvest strategies (see ADDRESSES) and 
made it available to the public on January 12, 2007 (72 FR 1512). On 
February 13, 2007, NMFS issued the ROD for the EIS. In January 2021, 
NMFS prepared a SIR for this action to provide a subsequent assessment 
of the action and to address the need to prepare a Supplemental EIS 
(SEIS;40 CFR 1501.11(b); Sec.  1502.9(d)(1)). Copies of the EIS, ROD, 
and annual SIRs for this action are available from NMFS (see 
ADDRESSES). The Final EIS analyzes the environmental, social, and 
economic consequences of the groundfish harvest specifications and 
alternative harvest strategies on resources in the action area. Based 
on the analysis in the Final EIS, NMFS concluded that the preferred 
Alternative (Alternative 2) provides the best balance among relevant 
environmental, social, and economic considerations and allows for 
continued management of the groundfish fisheries based on the most 
recent, best scientific information. The preferred alternative is a 
harvest strategy in which TACs are set at a level within the range of 
ABCs recommended by the Council's SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve 
the OY specified in the FMP. While the specific numbers that the 
harvest strategy produces may vary from year to year, the methodology 
used for the preferred harvest strategy remains constant.
    The annual SIR evaluates the need to prepare a SEIS for the 2021 
and 2022 groundfish harvest specifications. An SEIS should be prepared 
if (1) the agency makes substantial changes in the proposed action that 
are relevant to environmental concerns, or (2) significant new 
circumstances or information exist relevant to environmental concerns 
and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts (40 CFR 
1502.9(d)(1)). After reviewing the information contained in the SIR and 
SAFE reports, the Regional Administrator has determined that (1) 
approval of the 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications, which were set 
according to the preferred harvest strategy in the EIS, does not 
constitute a substantial change in the action; and (2) there are no 
significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental 
concerns and bearing on the action or its impacts. Additionally, the 
2021 and 2022 harvest specifications will result in environmental, 
social, and economic impacts within the scope of those analyzed and 
disclosed in the EIS. Therefore, an SEIS is not necessary to implement 
the 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications.
    Section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 604) 
requires that, when an agency promulgates a final rule under 5 U.S.C. 
553, after being required by that section, or any other law, to publish 
a general notice of proposed rulemaking, the agency shall prepare a 
final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA). The following constitutes 
the FRFA prepared in the final action.
    Section 604 of the RFA describes the required contents of a FRFA: 
(1) A statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule; (2) a 
statement of the significant issues raised by the public comments in 
response to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA), a 
statement of the assessment of the agency of such issues, and a 
statement of any changes made in the proposed rule as a result of such 
comments; (3) the response of the agency to any comments filed by the 
Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration in 
response to the proposed rule, and a detailed statement of any change 
made to the proposed rule in the final rule as a result of the 
comments; (4) a description of and an estimate of the number of small 
entities to which the rule will apply or an explanation of why no such 
estimate is available; (5) a description of the projected reporting, 
recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements of the rule, including 
an estimate of the classes of small entities which will be subject to 
the requirement and the type of professional skills necessary for 
preparation of the report or record; and (6) a description of the steps 
the agency has taken to minimize the significant economic impact on 
small entities consistent with the stated objectives of applicable 
statutes, including a statement of the factual, policy, and legal 
reasons for selecting the alternative adopted in the final rule and why 
each one of the other significant alternatives to the rule considered 
by the agency that affect the impact on small entities was rejected.
    A description of this action, its purpose, and its legal basis are 
contained at the beginning of the preamble to this final rule and are 
not repeated here.
    NMFS published the proposed rule on December 3, 2020 (85 FR 78076). 
NMFS prepared an IRFA to accompany the proposed action, and included 
the IRFA in the proposed rule. The comment period closed on January 4, 
2021. No comments were received on the IRFA or on the economic impacts 
of the rule more generally. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small 
Business Administration did not file any comments on the proposed rule.
    The entities directly regulated by this action are: (1) Entities 
operating vessels with groundfish federal fishing permit (FFPs) 
catching FMP groundfish in Federal waters; (2) all entities operating 
vessels, regardless of whether they hold groundfish FFPs, catching FMP 
groundfish in the State-waters parallel fisheries; and (3) all entities 
operating vessels fishing for halibut inside three miles (5.6 km) of 
the shore (whether or not they have FFPs).
    For RFA purposes only, NMFS has established a small business size 
standard for businesses, including their affiliates, whose primary 
industry is commercial fishing (see 50 CFR 200.2). A business primarily 
engaged in commercial fishing (NAICS code 11411) is classified as a 
small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not 
dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has 
combined annual gross receipts not in excess of $11 million for all its 
affiliated operations worldwide.
    Using the most recent data available (2019), the estimated number 
of directly regulated small entities include approximately 871 
individual catcher vessel entities with gross revenues meeting small 
entity criteria. This estimate does not account for corporate 
affiliations among vessels, and for cooperative affiliations among 
fishing entities, since some of the fishing vessels operating in the 
GOA are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, GOA rockfish 
cooperatives, or BSAI CR Program cooperatives. Vessels that participate 
in these cooperatives are considered to be large entities within the 
meaning of the RFA because the aggregate gross receipts of all 
participating members exceed the $11 million threshold. After 
accounting for membership in these cooperatives, there are an estimated 
812 small CV and 5 small CP entities remaining in the GOA groundfish 
sector. However, the

[[Page 10209]]

estimate of these 817 CVs may be an overstatement of the number of 
small entities. This latter group of vessels had average gross revenues 
that varied by gear type. Average gross revenues for hook-and-line CVs, 
pot gear CVs, trawl gear CVs, and hook-and-line CPs are estimated to be 
$350,000, $780,000, $1.6 million, and $2.9 million, respectively.
    This final rule contains no information collection requirements 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.
    This action implements the final 2021 and 2022 harvest 
specifications, apportionments, and halibut PSC limits for the 
groundfish fishery of the GOA. This action is necessary to establish 
harvest limits for groundfish during the 2021 and 2022 fishing years 
and is taken in accordance with the FMP prepared by the Council 
pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The establishment of the final 
harvest specifications is governed by the Council's harvest strategy 
that governs the catch of groundfish in the GOA. The harvest strategy 
was selected previously from among five alternatives, with the 
preferred alternative harvest strategy being one in which the TACs fall 
within the range of ABCs recommended by the SSC. Under this preferred 
alternative harvest strategy, TACs are set within the range of ABCs 
recommended by the SSC; the sum of the TACs must achieve the OY 
specified in the FMP; and while the specific TAC numbers that the 
harvest strategy produces may vary from year to year, the methodology 
used for the preferred harvest strategy remains constant. This final 
action implements the preferred alternative harvest strategy previously 
chosen by the Council to set TACs that fall within the range of ABCs 
recommended through the Council harvest specifications process and as 
recommended by the Council. This is the method for determining TACs 
that has been used in the past.
    The final 2021 and 2022 TACs associated with preferred harvest 
strategy are those recommended by the Council in December 2020. OFLs 
and ABCs for the species were based on recommendations prepared by the 
Council's Plan Team, and reviewed by the Council's SSC. The Council 
based its TAC recommendations on those of its AP, which were consistent 
with the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations. The sum of all TACs remains 
within the OY for the GOA consistent with Sec.  679.20(a)(1)(i)(B).
    The final 2021 and 2022 OFLs and ABCs are based on the best 
available biological information, including projected biomass trends, 
information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised 
technical methods to calculate stock biomass. The final 2021 and 2022 
TACs are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic 
information. The final 2021 and 2022 OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are 
consistent with the biological condition of groundfish stocks as 
described in the 2020 SAFE report, which is the most recent, completed 
SAFE report. Accounting for the most recent biological information to 
set the final OFLs, ABCs, and TACs is consistent with the objectives 
for this action, as well as National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act (16 U.S.C. 1851(a)(2)) that actions shall be based on the best 
scientific information available.
    Under this action, the final ABCs reflect harvest amounts that are 
less than the specified overfishing levels. The final TACs are within 
the range of final ABCs recommended by the SSC and do not exceed the 
biological limits recommended by the SSC (the ABCs and overfishing 
levels). For most species and species groups in the GOA, the Council 
recommended, and NMFS sets, final TACs equal to final ABCs, which is 
intended to maximize harvest opportunities in the GOA, unless other 
conservation or management reasons support setting TAC amounts less 
than the ABCs.
    For these species and species groups, the Council recommended and 
NMFS sets TACs that are less than the ABCs, including for pollock for 
the combined W/C/WYK Regulatory Area, Pacific cod, shallow-water 
flatfish in the Western GOA, arrowtooth flounder in the Western GOA and 
the West Yakutat and SEO Districts, flathead sole in the Western and 
Central GOA, Atka mackerel, and ``other rockfish'' in the SEO District. 
These specific reductions were reviewed and recommended by the 
Council's AP, and, with the exception of sablefish, the Council in turn 
adopted the AP's recommendations for the final 2021 and 2022 TACs.
    For sablefish, the Council recommended 2021 sablefish TACs that are 
less than the 2021 ABCs, which is intended to provide an incremental 
increase from the 2020 TACs to the 2021 TACs rather than the very large 
increase in the 2021 TACs if they were set equal to final ABCs. 
Moreover, increasing TACs for some species may not result in increased 
harvest opportunities for those species. This is due to a variety of 
reasons. There may be a lack of commercial or market interest in some 
species. Additionally, there are fixed, and therefore constraining, PSC 
limits associated with the harvest of the GOA groundfish species that 
can lead to an underharvest of flatfish TACs. For this reason, the 
shallow-water flatfish, arrowtooth flounder, and flathead sole TACs are 
set to allow for increased harvest opportunities for these target 
species while conserving the halibut PSC limit for use in other 
fisheries. The Atka mackerel TAC is set to accommodate incidental catch 
amounts in other fisheries. The ``other rockfish'' TAC in the SEO 
District is set to reduce the amount of discards of the species in that 
complex. Finally, the TACs for two species (pollock and Pacific cod) 
cannot be set equal to ABC, as the TAC must be reduced to account for 
the State's GHLs in these fisheries. The W/C/WYK Regulatory Area 
pollock TAC and the GOA Pacific cod TACs are therefore set to account 
for the State's GHLs for the State water pollock and Pacific cod 
fisheries so that the ABCs are not exceeded.
    Based upon the best available scientific data, and in consideration 
of the Council's objectives of this action, there are no significant 
alternatives to the final rule that have the potential to accomplish 
the stated objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and any other 
applicable statutes and that have the potential to minimize any 
significant adverse economic impact of the final rule on small 
entities. This action is economically beneficial to entities operating 
in the GOA, including small entities. The action specifies TACs for 
commercially-valuable species in the GOA and allows for the continued 
prosecution of the fishery, thereby creating the opportunity for 
fishery revenue. After public process, during which the Council 
solicited input from stakeholders, the Council concluded that these 
final harvest specifications would best accomplish the stated 
objectives articulated in the preamble for this final rule and in 
applicable statutes and would minimize to the extent practicable 
adverse economic impacts on the universe of directly regulated small 
entities.
    Adverse impacts on marine mammals, or endangered or threatened 
species, resulting from fishing activities conducted under this rule 
are discussed in the Final EIS and its accompanying annual SIRs (see 
ADDRESSES).
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries, NOAA, finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness for this rule because delaying this rule is contrary to 
the public interest. The Plan Team review of the 2020 SAFE report 
occurred in November 2020, and based on the 2020 SAFE report the 
Council considered and recommended the final harvest specifications in 
December

[[Page 10210]]

2020. Accordingly, NMFS's review of the final 2021 and 2022 harvest 
specifications could not begin until after the December 2020 Council 
meeting, and after the public had time to comment on the proposed 
action.
    For all fisheries not currently closed because the TACs established 
under the final 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications (85 FR 13802, 
March 10, 2020) were not reached, it is possible that they would be 
closed prior to the expiration of a 30-day delayed effectiveness period 
because their TACs could be reached within that period. If implemented 
immediately, this rule would allow these fisheries to continue fishing 
because some of the new TACs implemented by this rule are higher than 
the TACs under which they are currently fishing.
    In addition, immediate effectiveness of this action is required to 
provide consistent management and conservation of fishery resources 
based on the best available scientific information. This is 
particularly pertinent for those species that have lower 2021 ABCs and 
TACs than those established in the 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications 
(85 FR 13802, March 10, 2020). If implemented immediately, this rule 
would ensure that NMFS can properly manage those fisheries for which 
this rule sets lower 2021 ABCs and TACs, which are based on the most 
recent biological information on the condition of stocks, rather than 
managing species under the higher TACs set in the previous year's 
harvest specifications.
    Certain fisheries, such as those for pollock, are intensive, fast-
paced fisheries. Other fisheries, such as those for sablefish, 
flatfish, rockfish, Atka mackerel, skates, sharks, and octopuses, are 
critical as directed fisheries and as incidental catch in other 
fisheries. U.S. fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch 
the TAC allocations in many of these fisheries. If the effectiveness of 
this rule were delayed 30 days and if a TAC were reached during those 
30 days, NMFS would close directed fishing or prohibit retention for 
the applicable species. Any delay in allocating the final TACs in these 
fisheries would cause confusion to the industry and potential economic 
harm through unnecessary discards, thus undermining the intent of this 
rule. Waiving the 30-day delay allows NMFS to prevent economic loss to 
fishermen that could otherwise occur should the 2021 TACs (set under 
the 2020 and 2021 harvest specifications) be reached. Determining which 
fisheries may close is nearly impossible because these fisheries are 
affected by several factors that cannot be predicted in advance, 
including fishing effort, weather, movement of fishery stocks, and 
market price. Furthermore, the closure of one fishery has a cascading 
effect on other fisheries by freeing-up fishing vessels, allowing them 
to move from closed fisheries to open ones, increasing the fishing 
capacity in those open fisheries, and causing them to close at an 
accelerated pace.
    In fisheries subject to declining sideboard limits, a failure to 
implement the updated sideboard limits before initial season's end 
could deny the intended economic protection to the non-sideboarded 
sectors. Conversely, in fisheries with increasing sideboard limits, 
economic benefit could be denied to the sideboard-limited sectors.
    If the final harvest specifications are not effective by March 6, 
2021, which is the start of the 2021 Pacific halibut season as 
specified by the IPHC, the fixed gear sablefish fishery will not begin 
concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season. This would result in 
confusion for the industry and economic harm from unnecessary discard 
of sablefish that are caught along with Pacific halibut, as both fixed 
gear sablefish and Pacific halibut are managed under the same IFQ 
program. Immediate effectiveness of the final 2021 and 2022 harvest 
specifications will allow the sablefish IFQ fishery to begin 
concurrently with the Pacific halibut IFQ season.
    Finally, immediate effectiveness also would provide the fishing 
industry the earliest possible opportunity to plan and conduct its 
fishing operations with respect to new information about TACs. 
Therefore, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

Small Entity Compliance Guide

    This final rule is a plain language guide to assist small entities 
in complying with this final rule as required by the Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This final rule's primary 
purpose is to announce the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications 
and prohibited species bycatch allowances for the groundfish fisheries 
of the GOA. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits and 
associated management measures for groundfish during the 2021 and 2022 
fishing years, and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the FMP. 
This action affects all fishermen who participate in the GOA fisheries. 
The specific OFL, ABC, TAC, and PSC amounts are provided in tables to 
assist the reader. NMFS will announce closures of directed fishing in 
the Federal Register and information bulletins released by the Alaska 
Region. Affected fishermen should keep themselves informed of such 
closures.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540 (f), 1801 et 
seq.; 16 U.S.C. 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 105-277; Pub. L. 106-31; Pub. 
L. 106-554; Pub. L. 108-199; Pub. L. 108-447; Pub. L. 109-241; Pub. 
L 109-479.

    Dated: February 11, 2021.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-03194 Filed 2-18-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P