Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; Final 2021 and 2022 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish, 11449-11472 [2021-03564]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations (v) Delivers a ‘‘health care’’ message made by, or on behalf of, a ‘‘covered entity’’ or its ‘‘business associate,’’ as those terms are defined in the HIPAA Privacy Rule, 45 CFR 160.103, and the caller makes no more than one call per day to each patient’s residential line, up to a maximum of three calls combined per week to each patient’s residential line and honors the called party’s request to opt out of future calls as required in paragraphs (b) and (d) of this section. * * * * * (b) * * * (2) During or after the message, state clearly the telephone number (other than that of the autodialer or prerecorded message player that placed the call) of such business, other entity, or individual. The telephone number provided may not be a 900 number or any other number for which charges exceed local or long distance transmission charges. For telemarketing messages and messages made pursuant to an exemption under paragraphs (a)(3)(ii) through (v) of this section to residential telephone subscribers, such telephone number must permit any individual to make a do-not-call request during regular business hours; and (3) In every case where the artificial or prerecorded-voice telephone message is made pursuant to an exemption under paragraphs (a)(3)(ii) through (v) of this section or includes or introduces an advertisement or constitutes telemarketing and is delivered to a residential telephone line or any of the lines or telephone numbers described in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) through (iii) of this section, provide an automated, interactive voice- and/or key pressactivated opt-out mechanism for the called person to make a do-not-call request, including brief explanatory instructions on how to use such mechanism, within two (2) seconds of providing the identification information required in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. When the called person elects to opt out using such mechanism, the mechanism must automatically record the called person’s number to the caller’s do-not-call list and immediately terminate the call. When the artificial or prerecorded-voice telephone message is left on an answering machine or a voice mail service, such message must also provide a toll free number that enables the called person to call back at a later time and connect directly to the automated, interactive voice- and/or key press-activated opt-out mechanism and automatically record the called person’s number to the caller’s do-not-call list. * * * * * VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 (d) No person or entity shall initiate any artificial or prerecorded-voice telephone call pursuant to an exemption under paragraphs (a)(3)(ii) through (v) of this section or any call for telemarketing purposes to a residential telephone subscriber unless such person or entity has instituted procedures for maintaining a list of persons who request not to receive such calls made by or on behalf of that person or entity. The procedures instituted must meet the following minimum standards: (1) Written policy. Persons or entities making artificial or prerecorded-voice telephone calls pursuant to an exemption under paragraphs (a)(3)(ii) through (v) of this section or calls for telemarketing purposes must have a written policy, available upon demand, for maintaining a do-not-call list. (2) Training of personnel. Personnel engaged in making artificial or prerecorded-voice telephone calls pursuant to an exemption under paragraphs (a)(3)(ii) through (v) of this section or who are engaged in any aspect of telemarketing must be informed and trained in the existence and use of the do-not-call list. (3) Recording, disclosure of do-notcall requests. If a person or entity making an artificial or prerecordedvoice telephone call pursuant to an exemption under paragraphs (a)(3)(ii) through (v) of this section or any call for telemarketing purposes (or on whose behalf such a call is made) receives a request from a residential telephone subscriber not to receive calls from that person or entity, the person or entity must record the request and place the subscriber’s name, if provided, and telephone number on the do-not-call list at the time the request is made. Persons or entities making such calls (or on whose behalf such calls are made) must honor a residential subscriber’s do-notcall request within a reasonable time from the date such request is made. This period may not exceed 30 days from the date of such request. If such requests are recorded or maintained by a party other than the person or entity on whose behalf the call is made, the person or entity on whose behalf the call is made will be liable for any failures to honor the do-not-call request. A person or entity making an artificial or prerecorded-voice telephone call pursuant to an exemption under paragraphs (a)(3)(ii) through (v) of this section or any call for telemarketing purposes must obtain a consumer’s prior express permission to share or forward the consumer’s request not to be called to a party other than the person or entity on whose behalf a call is made or an affiliated entity. PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 11449 (4) Identification of callers and telemarketers. A person or entity making an artificial or prerecordedvoice telephone call pursuant to an exemption under paragraphs (a)(3)(ii) through (v) of this section or any call for telemarketing purposes must provide the called party with the name of the individual caller, the name of the person or entity on whose behalf the call is being made, and a telephone number or address at which the person or entity may be contacted. The telephone number provided may not be a 900 number or any other number for which charges exceed local or long distance transmission charges. (5) Affiliated persons or entities. In the absence of a specific request by the subscriber to the contrary, a residential subscriber’s do-not-call request shall apply to the particular entity making the call (or on whose behalf a call is made), and will not apply to affiliated entities unless the consumer reasonably would expect them to be included given the identification of the caller and (for telemarketing calls) the product being advertised. (6) Maintenance of do-not-call lists. A person or entity making artificial or prerecorded-voice telephone calls pursuant to an exemption under paragraphs (a)(3)(ii) through (v) of this section or any call for telemarketing purposes must maintain a record of a consumer’s request not to receive further calls. A do-not-call request must be honored for 5 years from the time the request is made. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2021–01190 Filed 2–24–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 210217–0022] RIN 0648–XY116 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 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, SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 11450 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations apportionments, and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). 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 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (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 BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). DATES: Harvest specifications and closures are effective from 1200 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 25, 2021, through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2022. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of Decision (ROD), and the annual Supplementary Information Reports (SIRs) to the Final EIS prepared for this action are available from https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/region/alaska. The 2020 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the BSAI, dated November 2020, as well as the SAFE reports for previous years, are available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at 1007 West 3rd Ave., Suite #400, Anchorage, AK 99501, phone 907–271–2809, or from the Council’s website at https:// www.npfmc.org/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved it, under the MagnusonStevens Act. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600. The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify annually the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species category. The sum of all TAC for all groundfish species in the BSAI must be VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 within the optimum yield (OY) range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see § 679.20(a)(1)(i)(A)). This final rule specifies the sum of the TAC at 2.0 million mt for both 2021 and 2022. NMFS also must specify apportionments of TAC; prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances and prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by § 679.21; seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC; American Fisheries Act allocations; Amendment 80 allocations; Community Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts established by § 679.20(b)(1)(ii); and acceptable biological catch (ABC) surpluses and reserves for CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperative for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 22 of this action satisfy these requirements. Section 679.20(c)(3)(i) further requires that NMFS consider public comment on the proposed harvest specifications and, after consultation with the Council, publish final harvest specifications in the Federal Register. The proposed 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for the groundfish fishery of the BSAI were published in the Federal Register on December 3, 2020 (85 FR 78096). Comments were invited and accepted through January 4, 2021. As discussed in the Response to Comments section below, NMFS received no comments during the public comment period for the proposed BSAI groundfish harvest specifications. NMFS consulted with the Council on the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications during the December 2020 Council meeting. After considering public comments, as well as biological and socioeconomic data that were available at the Council’s December meeting, NMFS implements in this final rule the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications as recommended by the Council. ABC and TAC Harvest Specifications The final ABC amounts for Alaska groundfish are based on the best available biological information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised technical methods used to calculate stock biomass. In general, the development of ABCs and overfishing levels (OFLs) involves sophisticated statistical analyses of fish populations. The FMP specifies a series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts based on the level of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier 1 represents the highest level of information quality PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 available, while Tier 6 represents the lowest. In December 2020, the Council, its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), and its Advisory Panel (AP) reviewed current biological and harvest information about the condition of the BSAI groundfish stocks. The Council’s BSAI Groundfish Plan Team (Plan Team) compiled and presented this information in the 2020 SAFE report for the BSAI 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 BSAI ecosystem and the economic condition of groundfish fisheries off Alaska. NMFS notified the public of the comment period for these harvest specifications—and of the publication of the 2020 SAFE report— in the notice of proposed harvest specifications. From the data and analyses in the SAFE report, the Plan Team recommended an OFL and ABC for each species or species group at the November 2020 Plan Team meeting. In December 2020, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed the Plan Team’s recommendations. The final TAC recommendations were based on the ABCs, and were adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the sum of all the TACs within the required OY range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million mt. As required by annual catch limit rules for all fisheries (74 FR 3178, January 16, 2009), none of the Council’s recommended 2021 or 2022 TACs exceed the final 2021 or 2022 ABCs for any species or species group. NMFS finds that the Council’s recommended OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the preferred harvest strategy outlined in the FMP and the biological condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 2020 SAFE report that was approved by the Council. Therefore, this final rule provides notice that the Secretary of Commerce approves the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications as recommended by the Council. 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 13553, March 9, 2020). The 2022 harvest specifications herein 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), E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 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 BSAI for approximately one year. Other Actions Affecting the 2021 and 2022 Harvest Specifications State of Alaska Guideline Harvest Levels For 2021 and 2022, the Board of Fisheries (BOF) for the State of Alaska (State) established the guideline harvest level (GHL) for vessels using pot gear in State waters in the Bering Sea subarea (BS) equal to 10 percent of the Pacific cod ABC in the BS. The State’s pot gear BS GHL will increase one percent annually up to 15 percent of the BS ABC, if 90 percent of the GHL is harvested by November 15 of the preceding year. If 90 percent of the 2021 BS GHL is not harvested by November 15, 2021, then the 2022 BS GHL will remain at the same percent as the 2021 BS GHL (10 percent). If 90 percent of the 2021 BS GHL is harvested by November 15, 2021, then the 2022 BS GHL will increase by one percent and the 2022 BS TAC will be set to account for the increased BS GHL. Also, for 2021 and 2022, the BOF established an additional GHL for vessels using jig gear in State waters in the BS equal to 45 mt of Pacific cod in the BS. The Council and its Plan Team, SSC, and AP recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the BS not exceed the ABC recommendations for Pacific cod in the BS. Accordingly, the Council recommended, and NMFS approves, that the 2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs in the BS account for the State’s GHLs for Pacific cod caught in State waters in the BS. For 2021 and 2022, the BOF for the State established the GHL in State waters in the Aleutian Islands subarea (AI) equal to 39 percent of the AI ABC. The AI GHL will increase annually by 4 percent of the AI ABC, if 90 percent of the GHL is harvested by November 15 of the preceding year, but may not exceed 39 percent of the AI ABC or 15 million pounds (6,804 mt). For 2021, 39 percent of the AI ABC is 8,034 mt, which exceeds the AI GHL limit of 6,804 mt. The Council and its Plan Team, SSC, and AP recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water Pacific cod removals from the AI not VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 exceed the ABC recommendations for Pacific cod in the AI. Accordingly, the Council recommended, and NMFS approves, that the 2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs in the AI account for the State’s GHL of 6,804 mt for Pacific cod caught in State waters in the AI. Amendment 121 to the FMP: Reclassify Sculpins as an Ecosystem Component Species On July 10, 2020, NMFS published the final rule to implement Amendment 121 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 OFL, ABC, and TAC for sculpins in the BSAI groundfish harvest specifications, beginning with the 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications. Changes From the Proposed 2021 and 2022 Harvest Specifications for the BSAI The Council’s recommendations for the proposed 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications (85 FR 78096, December 3, 2020) were based largely on information contained in the 2019 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries. Through the proposed harvest specifications, NMFS notified the public that these harvest specifications could change, as the Council would consider information contained in the 2020 SAFE report; recommendations from the Plan Team, SSC, and AP; and public comments when making its recommendations for final harvest specifications at the December 2020 Council meeting. NMFS further notified the public that, as required by the FMP and its implementing regulations, the sum of the TACs must be within the OY range of 1.4 million and 2.0 million mt. Information contained in the 2020 SAFE report indicates biomass changes from the 2019 SAFE report for several groundfish species. The 2020 report was made available for public review during the public comment period for the proposed harvest specifications. At the December 2020 Council meeting, the SSC recommended the 2021 and 2022 OFLs and ABCs based on the best and most recent information contained in the 2020 SAFE report. The SSC recommended slight model adjustments for Eastern BS pollock, but accepted Plan Team recommendations for all other species, except for BS Pacific cod and sablefish. The SSC’s recommendation resulted in an ABC sum total for all BSAI groundfish species in excess of 2.0 million mt for both 2021 and 2022. PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 11451 Revisions to the Sablefish Apportionment of the ABC The Alaska-wide sablefish ABC is apportioned between six areas within the BSAI and Gulf of Alaska (BS, AI, 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, to the extent practical, moving away from the fixed apportionment to the true distribution of the stock would be preferred from a biological perspective. 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 AI 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). In addition, the final 2021 TACs for the BS and AI areas both increased relative to the proposed 2021 TACs, in part due to the change in apportionment methodology. Based on decreased fishing effort in 2020, the Council recommends final BS pollock TACs decrease by 75,000 mt in 2021 and 50,000 mt in 2022 compared to the proposed 2021 and 2022 BS pollock TACs. In terms of weight, the largest increases in final 2021 TACs relative to the proposed 2021 TACs include BS Pacific cod and BSAI yellowfin sole. For Pacific cod, the 2021 TAC increase is in response to the increase in the 2021 ABC and the Council’s recommendation of the highest TAC after accounting for the State’s GHL. For yellowfin sole, the increase is in response to the E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 11452 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations anticipated larger directed fisheries based on anticipated market demand. Other increases in the final 2021 TACs relative to the proposed 2021 TACs include Bogoslof pollock, AI Greenland turbot, AI ‘‘other rockfish,’’ AI sablefish, BS sablefish, BSAI arrowtooth flounder, BSAI Kamchatka flounder, BSAI rock sole, BSAI flathead sole, BSAI Alaska plaice, BSAI ‘‘other flatfish,’’ Western Aleutian Islands (WAI) Pacific ocean perch, BSAI northern rockfish, Bering Sea and Eastern Aleutian Islands (BS/ EAI) blackspotted/rougheye rockfish, BSAI shortraker rockfish, Eastern Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea (EAI/ BS) Atka mackerel, WAI Atka mackerel, Central Aleutian Islands (CAI) Atka mackerel, and BSAI skates. The 2021 increases account for higher interest in directed fishing or higher anticipated incidental catch needs. Decreases in final 2021 TACs compared to the proposed 2021 TACs include BS pollock, BS Pacific ocean perch, CAI Pacific ocean perch, EAI Pacific ocean perch, Central Aleutian Islands/Western Aleutian Islands (CAI/ WAI) blackspotted and rougheye rockfish, and BS ‘‘other rockfish.’’ The decreases are for anticipated lower incidental catch needs of these species and lower ABCs relative to 2020. The changes to TACs between the proposed and final harvest specifications are based on the most recent scientific and socioeconomic information and are consistent with the FMP, regulatory obligations, and harvest strategy as described in the proposed and final harvest specifications, including the upper limit for OY of 2.0 million mt. These changes are compared in Table 1A. Table 1 lists the Council’s recommended final 2021 OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), CDQ reserve allocations, and non-specified reserves of the BSAI groundfish species or species groups; and Table 2 lists the Council’s recommended final 2022 OFL, ABC, TAC, ITAC, CDQ reserve allocations, and non-specified reserves of the BSAI groundfish species or species groups. NMFS concurs in these recommendations. These final 2021 and 2022 TAC amounts for the BSAI are within the OY range established for the BSAI and do not exceed the ABC for any species or species group. The apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and seasons is discussed below. TABLE 1—FINAL 2021 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION, AND NON-SPECIFIED RESERVE OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2021 Species Pollock 4 ....................... Pacific cod 5 ................. Sablefish 6 .................... Yellowfin sole ............... Greenland turbot .......... Arrowtooth flounder ..... Kamchatka flounder ..... Rock sole 7 ................... Flathead sole 8 ............. Alaska plaice ................ Other flatfish 9 .............. Pacific ocean perch ..... Northern rockfish ......... Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish 10. Shortraker rockfish ....... Other rockfish 11 ........... Atka mackerel .............. Skates .......................... Sharks .......................... Octopuses .................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 Area OFL ABC TAC BS .................. AI ................... Bogoslof ......... BS .................. AI ................... Alaska-wide ... BS .................. AI ................... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BS .................. AI ................... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BS .................. EAI ................. CAI ................. WAI ................ BSAI ............... BSAI ............... 2,594,000 61,856 113,479 147,949 27,400 60,426 n/a n/a 341,571 8,568 n/a n/a 90,873 10,630 145,180 75,863 37,924 22,919 44,376 n/a n/a n/a n/a 18,917 576 1,626,000 51,241 85,109 123,805 20,600 29,588 3,396 4,717 313,477 7,326 6,176 1,150 77,349 8,982 140,306 62,567 31,657 17,189 37,173 10,782 8,419 6,198 11,774 15,557 482 1,375,000 19,000 250 111,380 13,796 n/a 3,396 4,717 200,000 6,025 5,125 900 15,000 8,982 54,500 25,000 24,500 6,500 35,899 10,782 8,419 6,198 10,500 13,000 482 BS/EAI ........... CAI/WAI ......... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BS .................. AI ................... BSAI ............... BS/EAI ........... CAI ................. WAI ................ BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... n/a n/a 722 1,751 n/a n/a 85,580 n/a n/a n/a 49,297 689 4,769 313 169 541 1,313 919 394 73,590 25,760 15,450 32,380 41,257 517 3,576 313 169 500 916 522 394 62,257 25,760 15,450 21,047 18,000 200 700 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 CDQ 3 Nonspecified reserves 1,237,500 17,100 250 99,462 12,320 n/a 2,802 3,833 178,600 5,121 4,356 765 12,750 7,635 48,669 22,325 20,825 5,525 31,594 9,165 7,518 5,535 9,377 11,050 410 137,500 1,900 ........................ 11,918 1,476 n/a 467 796 21,400 n/a 548 ........................ 1,605 ........................ 5,832 2,675 ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ 901 663 1,124 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 127 88 ........................ ........................ 220 135 645 1,347 ........................ ........................ 3,675 975 ........................ 1,617 ........................ ........................ ........................ 1,950 72 266 144 425 779 444 335 55,596 23,004 13,797 18,795 15,300 170 595 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 6,661 2,756 1,653 2,252 ........................ ........................ ........................ 47 25 75 137 78 59 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 2,700 30 105 ITAC 2 E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 11453 TABLE 1—FINAL 2021 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION, AND NON-SPECIFIED RESERVE OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI 1—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2021 Species Area Total ...................... ITAC 2 OFL ABC TAC 3,945,315 2,747,727 2,000,000 Nonspecified reserves CDQ 3 1,790,634 195,466 13,900 1 These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, BS includes the Bogoslof District. 2 Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, Pacific cod, and AI Pacific ocean perch), 15 percent of each TAC is put into a non-specified reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species, ITAC is the non-CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 4). 3 For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and AI Pacific ocean perch), 10.7 percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for BS Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). AI Greenland turbot, ‘‘other flatfish,’’ Alaska plaice, BS Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, blackspotted/rougheye rockfish, Kamchatka flounder, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ skates, sharks, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program. 4 Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual BS pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (4 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: Inshore—50 percent; catcher/ processor—40 percent; and motherships—10 percent. Under § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,500 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. 5 The BS Pacific cod TAC is set to account for the 10 percent, plus 45 mt, of the BS ABC for the State of Alaska’s (State) guideline harvest level in State waters of the BS. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set to account for 39 percent of the AI ABC for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the AI, except 39 percent of the AI ABC exceeds the State guideline harvest level of 15 million pounds (6,804 mt), in which case the TAC is set to account for the State guideline harvest level of 6,804 mt. 6 The sablefish OFL and ABC is Alaska-wide and includes the Gulf of Alaska. 7 ‘‘Rock sole’’ includes Lepidopsetta polyxystra (Northern rock sole) and L. bilineata (Southern rock sole). 8 ‘‘Flathead sole’’ includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and H. robustus (Bering flounder). 9 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), Alaska plaice, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 10 ‘‘Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish’’ includes Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted) and S. aleutianus (rougheye). 11 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for dark rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, blackspotted/rougheye rockfish, and shortraker rockfish. Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2 (BSAI=Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area, BS=Bering Sea subarea, AI=Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI=Eastern Aleutian district, CAI=Central Aleutian district, WAI=Western Aleutian district). TABLE 1A—COMPARISON OF FINAL 2021 AND 2022 WITH PROPOSED 2021 AND 2022 TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH IN THE BSAI [Amounts are in metric tons] 2021 final TAC Species Area 1 Pollock ...................... BS .............. AI ................ Bogoslof ..... BS .............. AI ................ BS .............. AI ................ BSAI ........... BS .............. AI ................ BSAI ........... BSAI ........... BSAI ........... BSAI ........... BSAI ........... BSAI ........... BS .............. EAI ............. CAI ............. WAI ............ BSAI ........... BS/EAI ........ 1,375,000 19,000 250 111,380 13,796 3,396 4,717 200,000 5,125 900 15,000 8,982 54,500 25,000 24,500 6,500 10,782 8,419 6,198 10,500 13,000 313 CAI/WAI ..... BSAI ........... BS .............. AI ................ EAI/BS ........ CAI ............. 169 500 522 394 25,760 15,450 Pacific cod ................ Sablefish ................... Yellowfin sole ............ Greenland turbot ....... Arrowtooth flounder .. Kamchatka flounder .. Rock sole .................. Flathead sole ............ Alaska plaice ............ Other flatfish ............. Pacific ocean perch .. Northern rockfish ...... Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish. Shortraker rockfish ... Other rockfish ........... Atka mackerel ........... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 2021 difference from proposed 2021 percentage difference from proposed 1,450,000 19,000 75 92,633 13,796 2,865 2,500 168,900 5,125 670 10,000 7,116 49,000 24,000 24,000 5,000 13,600 10,619 7,817 10,000 10,000 100 (75,000) ........................ 175 18,747 ........................ 531 2,217 31,100 ........................ 230 5,000 1,866 5,500 1,000 500 1,500 (2,818) (2,200) (1,619) 500 3,000 213 (5.2) ........................ 233.3 20.2 ........................ 18.5 88.7 18.4 ........................ 34.3 50.0 26.2 11.2 4.2 2.1 30.0 (20.7) (20.7) (20.7) 5.0 30.0 213.0 1,400,000 19,000 100 95,053 13,796 4,863 5,061 200,000 5,125 900 15,000 8,982 54,500 25,000 22,500 6,500 10,298 8,041 5,919 10,500 13,000 150 339 375 700 388 22,540 13,524 (170) 125 (178) 6 3,220 1,926 (50.1) 33.3 (25.4) 1.5 14.3 14.2 176 225 300 394 23,880 14,330 2021 proposed TAC PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2022 final TAC E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 2022 difference from proposed 2022 percentage difference from proposed 1,450,000 19,000 75 92,633 13,796 2,865 2,500 168,900 5,125 670 10,000 7,116 49,000 24,000 24,000 5,000 13,600 10,619 7,817 10,000 10,000 100 (50,000) ........................ 25 2,420 ........................ 1,998 2,561 31,100 ........................ 230 5,000 1,866 5,500 1,000 (1,500) 1,500 (3,302) (2,578) (1,898) 500 3,000 50 (3.4) ........................ 33.3 2.6 ........................ 69.7 102.4 18.4 ........................ 34.3 50.0 26.2 11.2 4.2 (6.3) 30.0 (24.3) (24.3) (24.3) 5.0 30.0 50.0 339 375 700 388 22,540 13,524 (163) (150) (400) 6 1,340 806 (48.1) (40.0) (57.1) 1.5 5.9 6.0 2022 proposed TAC 25FER1 11454 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 1A—COMPARISON OF FINAL 2021 AND 2022 WITH PROPOSED 2021 AND 2022 TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH IN THE BSAI—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2021 final TAC 2021 proposed TAC 2021 difference from proposed 2021 percentage difference from proposed 2022 proposed TAC 2022 final TAC 2022 difference from proposed 2022 percentage difference from proposed Species Area 1 Skates ....................... Sharks ....................... Octopuses ................. WAI ............ BSAI ........... BSAI ........... BSAI ........... 21,047 18,000 200 700 18,418 16,000 200 700 2,629 2,000 ........................ ........................ 14.3 12.5 ........................ ........................ 19,507 16,000 200 700 18,418 16,000 200 700 1,089 ........................ ........................ ........................ 5.9 ........................ ........................ ........................ Total ................... BSAI ........... 2,000,000 2,000,000 ........................ ........................ 2,000,000 2,000,000 ........................ ........................ 1 Bering Sea subarea (BS), Aleutian Islands subarea (AI), Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI), Eastern Aleutian District (EAI), Central Aleutian District (CAI), and Western Aleutian District (WAI). TABLE 2—FINAL 2022 OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION, AND NON-SPECIFIED RESERVES OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2022 Species Pollock 4 ....................... Pacific cod 5 ................. Sablefish 6 .................... Yellowfin sole ............... Greenland turbot .......... Arrowtooth flounder ..... Kamchatka flounder ..... Rock sole 7 ................... Flathead sole 8 ............. Alaska plaice ................ Other flatfish 9 .............. Pacific ocean perch ..... Northern rockfish ......... Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish 10. Shortraker rockfish ....... Other rockfish 11 ........... Atka mackerel .............. Skates .......................... Sharks .......................... Octopuses .................... Area CDQ 3 Non-specified Reserves 1,260,000 17,100 100 84,882 12,320 n/a 2,067 1,075 178,600 5,121 4,356 765 12,750 7,635 48,669 22,325 19,125 5,525 30,596 8,753 7,181 5,286 9,377 11,050 277 140,000 1,900 ........................ 10,171 1,476 n/a 182 95 21,400 n/a 548 ........................ 1,605 ........................ 5,832 2,675 ........................ ........................ n/a ........................ 860 633 1,124 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 2,614 3,891 ........................ ........................ 220 135 645 1,347 ........................ ........................ 3,375 975 ........................ 1,545 ........................ ........................ ........................ 1,950 49 150 176 225 694 300 394 57,717 23,880 14,330 19,507 16,000 200 700 128 150 191 590 255 335 51,541 21,325 12,797 17,420 13,600 170 595 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 6,176 2,555 1,533 2,087 ........................ ........................ ........................ 23 26 34 104 45 59 ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ 2,400 30 105 2,000,000 1,785,904 194,677 19,419 OFL ABC TAC BS .................. AI ................... Bogoslof ......... BS .................. AI ................... Alaska-wide ... BS .................. AI ................... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BS .................. AI ................... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BS .................. EAI ................. CAI ................. WAI ................ BSAI ............... BSAI ............... 2,366,000 61,308 113,479 128,340 27,400 70,710 n/a n/a 374,982 7,181 n/a n/a 94,368 10,843 213,783 77,763 36,928 22,919 42,384 n/a n/a n/a n/a 18,221 595 1,484,000 50,789 85,109 106,852 20,600 36,955 4,863 6,860 344,140 6,139 5,175 964 80,323 9,163 206,605 64,119 30,815 17,189 35,503 10,298 8,041 5,919 11,245 14,984 500 1,400,000 19,000 100 95,053 13,796 n/a 4,863 5,061 200,000 6,025 5,125 900 15,000 8,982 54,500 25,000 22,500 6,500 34,758 10,298 8,041 5,919 10,500 13,000 326 BS/EAI ........... CAI/WAI ......... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BS .................. AI ................... BSAI ............... EAI/BS ........... CAI ................. WAI ................ BSAI ............... BSAI ............... BSAI ............... n/a n/a 722 1,751 n/a n/a 79,660 n/a n/a n/a 47,372 689 4,769 324 176 541 1,313 919 394 68,220 23,880 14,330 30,010 39,598 517 3,576 3,802,167 2,682,318 Total ...................... ITAC 2 1 These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the BS includes the Bogoslof District. 2 Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and AI Pacific ocean perch), 15 percent of each TAC is put into a non-specified reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species, ITAC is the non-CDQ allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 4). VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 11455 3 For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and AI Pacific ocean perch), 10.7 percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for BS Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). The 2022 hook-and-line or pot gear portion of the sablefish ITAC and CDQ reserve will not be specified until the final 2022 and 2023 harvest specifications. AI Greenland turbot, ‘‘other flatfish,’’ Alaska plaice, BS Pacific ocean perch, Kamchatka flounder, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, blackspotted/rougheye rockfish, ‘‘other rockfish,’’ skates, sharks, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program. 4 Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual BS pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (4 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: Inshore—50 percent; catcher/ processor—40 percent; and motherships—10 percent. Under § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,500 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. 5 Assuming an increase in the 2022 guideline harvest level based on the actual 2021 harvest, the 2022 BS Pacific cod TAC is set to account for the 11 percent, plus 45 mt, of the BS ABC for the State of Alaska’s (State) guideline harvest level in State waters of the BS. The 2022 AI Pacific cod TAC is set to account for 39 percent of the AI ABC for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the AI, except 39 percent of the AI ABC exceeds the State guideline harvest level of 15 million pounds (6,804 mt), in which case the TAC is set to account for the State guideline harvest level of 6,804 mt. 6 The sablefish OFL and ABC is Alaska-wide and includes the Gulf of Alaska. 7 ‘‘Rock sole’’ includes Lepidopsetta polyxystra (Northern rock sole) and L. bilineata (Southern rock sole). 8 ‘‘Flathead sole’’ includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and H. robustus (Bering flounder). 9 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), Alaska plaice, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 10 ‘‘Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish’’ includes Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted) and S. aleutianus (rougheye). 11 ‘‘Other rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for dark rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, blackspotted/rougheye rockfish, and shortraker rockfish. Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at § 679.2 (BSAI = Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area, BS = Bering Sea subarea, AI = Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI = Eastern Aleutian district, CAI = Central Aleutian district, WAI = Western Aleu tian district). Groundfish Reserves and the Incidental Catch Allowance (ICA) for Pollock, Atka Mackerel, Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, Yellowfin Sole, and AI Pacific Ocean Perch Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) requires that NMFS reserve 15 percent of the TAC for each target species (except for pollock, hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish, and Amendment 80 species) in a non-specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires that NMFS allocate 20 percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of sablefish to the fixed-gear sablefish CDQ reserve for each subarea. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires that NMFS allocate 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocations of sablefish in the BS and AI and 10.7 percent of the BS Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder TACs to the respective CDQ reserves. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) requires that NMFS allocate 10.7 percent of the TACs for Atka mackerel, AI Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod to the respective CDQ reserves. Sections 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) and 679.31(a) also require that 10 percent of the BS pollock TAC be allocated to the pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). Sections 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and 679.31(a) require that 10 percent of the AI pollock TAC be allocated to the pollock CDQ DFA. The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is allocated as an VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 ICA pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(ii) because the Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock by regulation (§ 679.22(a)(7)(B)). With the exception of the hook-and-line or pot gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the regulations do not further apportion the CDQ allocations by gear. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS allocates a pollock ICA of 4 percent of the BS pollock TAC after subtracting the 10 percent CDQ DFA. This allowance is based on NMFS’s examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2000 through 2020. During this 21-year period, the pollock incidental catch ranged from a low of 2.2 percent in 2006 to a high of 4.6 percent in 2014, with a 21-year average of 3 percent. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS establishes a pollock ICA of 2,500 mt of the AI pollock TAC after subtracting the 10 percent CDQ DFA. This allowance is based on NMFS’s examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2003 through 2020. During this 18-year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from a low of 5 percent in 2006 to a high of 17 percent in 2014, with an 18-year average of 9 percent. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS allocates ICAs of 3,000 mt of PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 flathead sole, 6,000 mt of rock sole, 4,000 mt of yellowfin sole, 10 mt of WAI Pacific ocean perch, 60 mt of CAI Pacific ocean perch, 100 mt of EAI Pacific ocean perch, 20 mt of WAI Atka mackerel, 75 mt of CAI Atka mackerel, and 800 mt of EAI and BS Atka mackerel TAC after subtracting the 10.7 percent CDQ reserve. These ICA allowances are based on NMFS’s examination of the incidental catch in other target fisheries from 2003 through 2020. The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified reserve by species or species group. Any amount of the reserve may be apportioned to a target species that contributed to the non-specified reserves during the year, provided that such apportionments are consistent with § 679.20(a)(3) and do not result in overfishing (see § 679.20(b)(1)(i)). The Regional Administrator has determined that the ITACs specified for certain species listed in Tables 1 and 2 need to be supplemented from the non-specified reserve because U.S. fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch the full TAC allocations. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(b), NMFS is apportioning the amounts shown in Table 3 from the non-specified reserve to increase the ITAC for AI ‘‘other rockfish’’ by 15 percent of the ‘‘other rockfish’’ TAC in 2021 and 2022. E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 11456 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 3—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 APPORTIONMENT OF NON-SPECIFIED RESERVES TO ITAC CATEGORIES [Amounts are in metric tons] Species-area or subarea 2021 reserve amount 2021 ITAC 2021 final TAC 2022 ITAC 2022 reserve amount 2022 final TAC Other rockfish-Aleutian Islands subarea .. 335 59 394 335 59 394 Total .................................................. 335 59 394 335 59 394 Allocation of Pollock TAC Under the American Fisheries Act (AFA) Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that the BS pollock TAC be apportioned as a DFA, after subtracting 10 percent for the CDQ program and 4 percent for the ICA, as follows: 50 percent to the inshore sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor (CP) sector, and 10 percent to the mothership sector. In the BS, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20–June 10), and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10–November 1) (§§ 679.20(a)(5)(i)(B)(1) and 679.23(e)(2)). The AI directed pollock fishery allocation to the Aleut Corporation is the amount of pollock TAC remaining in the AI after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and 2,500 mt for the ICA (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)). In the AI, the total A season apportionment of the TAC (including the AI directed fishery allocation, the CDQ DFA, and the ICA) may equal up to 40 percent of the ABC for AI pollock, and the remainder of the TAC is allocated to the B season (§ 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(3)). Tables 4 and 5 list these 2021 and 2022 amounts. Section 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6) sets harvest limits for pollock in the A season (January 20 to June 10) in Areas 543, 542, and 541. In Area 543, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 5 percent of the AI pollock ABC. In Area 542, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 15 percent of the AI pollock ABC. In Area 541, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 30 percent of the AI pollock ABC. Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific requirements regarding BS pollock allocations. First, it requires that 8.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the CP sector be available for harvest by AFA catcher vessels (CVs) with CP sector endorsements, unless the Regional Administrator receives a cooperative contract that allows for the distribution of harvest among AFA CPs and AFA CVs in a manner agreed to by all members. Second, AFA CPs not listed in the AFA are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the CP sector. Tables 4 and 5 list the 2021 and 2022 allocations of pollock TAC. Table 20 lists the AFA CP prohibited species sideboard limits, and Tables 21 and 22 list the AFA CV groundfish and prohibited species sideboard limits. The tables for the pollock allocations to the BS inshore pollock cooperatives and open access sector will be posted on the Alaska Region website at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/alaska/ sustainable-fisheries/alaska-groundfishfisheries-management. Tables 4 and 5 also list seasonal apportionments of pollock and harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The harvest of pollock within the SCA, as defined at § 679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to no more than 28 percent of the annual pollock DFA before 12:00 noon, April 1, as provided in § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C). The A season pollock SCA harvest limit will be apportioned to each sector in proportion to each sector’s allocated percentage of the DFA. TABLE 4—FINAL 2021 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2021 A season 1 2021 Allocations Area and sector Bering Sea subarea TAC 1 .............................................................................. CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA 1 ................................................................................................................. Total Bering Sea non-CDQ DFA ..................................................................... AFA Inshore ..................................................................................................... AFA Catcher/Processors 3 ............................................................................... Catch by CPs ........................................................................................... Catch by CVs 3 ......................................................................................... Unlisted CP Limit 4 .................................................................................... AFA Motherships ............................................................................................. Excessive Harvesting Limit 5 ............................................................................ Excessive Processing Limit 6 ........................................................................... AI subarea ABC ............................................................................................... AI subarea TAC 1 ............................................................................................. CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA ................................................................................................................... Aleut Corporation ............................................................................................. Area harvest limit 7 ........................................................................................... 541 ............................................................................................................ 542 ............................................................................................................ 543 ............................................................................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 1,375,000 137,500 49,500 1,188,000 594,000 475,200 434,808 40,392 2,376 118,800 207,900 356,400 51,241 19,000 1,900 2,500 14,600 n/a 15,372 7,686 2,562 A season DFA n/a 61,875 n/a 534,600 267,300 213,840 195,664 18,176 1,069 53,460 n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,900 1,250 14,600 n/a n/a n/a n/a E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 SCA harvest limit 2 n/a 38,500 n/a 332,640 166,320 133,056 n/a n/a n/a 33,264 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 2021 B season 1 B season DFA n/a 75,625 n/a 653,400 326,700 261,360 239,144 22,216 1,307 65,340 n/a n/a n/a n/a ........................ 1,250 ........................ n/a n/a n/a n/a Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 11457 TABLE 4—FINAL 2021 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2021 A season 1 2021 Allocations Area and sector Bogoslof District ICA 8 ...................................................................................... A season DFA 250 2021 B season 1 SCA harvest limit 2 n/a B season DFA n/a n/a 1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the Bering Sea (BS) subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector—50 percent, catcher/processor sector (CP)—40 percent, and mothership sector—10 percent. In the BS subarea, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20–June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10–November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) through (iii), the annual AI subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second for the ICA (2,500 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is allocated up to 40 percent of the AI pollock ABC. 2 In the BS subarea, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C), no more than 28 percent of each sector’s annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before noon, April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed CPs shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels with a CP endorsement delivering to listed CPs, unless there is a CP sector cooperative for the year. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/ processor sector’s allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 of no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 of no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 of no more than 5 percent of the AI pollock ABC. 8 Pursuant to § 679.22(a)(7)(B), the Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for incidental catch only and are not apportioned by season or sector. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 5—FINAL 2022 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] 2022 A season 1 2022 Allocations Area and sector Bering Sea subarea TAC 1 .............................................................................. CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA 1 ................................................................................................................. Total Bering Sea non-CDQ DFA ..................................................................... AFA Inshore ..................................................................................................... AFA Catcher/Processors 3 ............................................................................... Catch by CPs ........................................................................................... Catch by CVs 3 ......................................................................................... Unlisted CP Limit 4 .................................................................................... AFA Motherships ............................................................................................. Excessive Harvesting Limit 5 ............................................................................ Excessive Processing Limit 6 ........................................................................... AI subarea ABC ............................................................................................... AI subarea TAC 1 ............................................................................................. CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA ................................................................................................................... Aleut Corporation ............................................................................................. Area harvest limit 7 ........................................................................................... 541 ............................................................................................................ 542 ............................................................................................................ 543 ............................................................................................................ Bogoslof District ICA 8 ...................................................................................... 1,400,000 140,000 50,400 1,209,600 604,800 483,840 442,714 41,126 2,419 120,960 211,680 362,880 50,789 19,000 1,900 2,500 14,600 n/a 15,237 7,618 2,539 100 A season DFA n/a 63,000 n/a 544,320 272,160 217,728 199,221 18,507 1,089 54,432 n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,900 1,250 14,600 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a SCA harvest limit 2 n/a 39,200 n/a 338,688 169,344 135,475 n/a n/a n/a 33,869 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 2022 B season 1 B season DFA n/a 77,000 n/a 665,280 332,640 266,112 243,492 22,620 1,331 66,528 n/a n/a n/a n/a ........................ 1,250 ........................ n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the Bering Sea (BS) subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector—50 percent, catcher/processor sector (CP)—40 percent, and mothership sector—10 percent. In the BS subarea, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20–June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10–November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) through (iii), the annual AI subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second for the ICA (2,500 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is allocated up to 40 percent of the AI pollock ABC. 2 In the BS subarea, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C), no more than 28 percent of each sector’s annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before noon, April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed CPs shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels with a CP endorsement delivering to listed CPs, unless there is a CP sector cooperative for the year. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/ processor sector’s allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 11458 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 of no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 of no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 of no more than 5 percent of the AI pollock ABC. 8 Pursuant to § 679.22(a)(7)(B), the Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for incidental catch only and are not apportioned by season or sector. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TACs Section 679.20(a)(8) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, ICAs for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and non-trawl gear sector, and the jig gear allocation (Tables 6 and 7). The percentage of the ITAC for Atka mackerel allocated to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is listed in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and in § 679.91. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 2 percent of the EAI and the BS Atka mackerel TAC may be allocated to vessels using jig gear. The percent of this allocation is recommended annually by the Council based on several criteria, including, among other criteria, the anticipated harvest capacity of the jig gear fleet. The Council recommended, and NMFS approves, a 0.5 percent allocation of the Atka mackerel ITAC in the EAI and BS to the jig gear sector in 2021 and 2022. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel TAC into two equal seasonal allowances. Section 679.23(e)(3) sets the first seasonal allowance for directed fishing with trawl gear from January 20 through June 10 (A season), and the second seasonal allowance from June 10 through December 31 (B season). Section 679.23(e)(4)(iii) applies Atka mackerel seasons to CDQ Atka mackerel trawl fishing. The ICAs and jig gear allocations are not apportioned by season. Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) and (ii) limits Atka mackerel catch within waters 0 nmi to 20 nmi of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located west of 178° W longitude to no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543, and equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3). Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires that the annual TAC in Area 543 will be no more than 65 percent of the ABC in Area 543. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(D) requires that any unharvested Atka mackerel A season allowance that is added to the B season be prohibited from being harvested within waters 0 nmi to 20 nmi of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located in Areas 541, 542, and 543. Tables 6 and 7 list these 2021 and 2022 Atka mackerel seasonal and area allowances, and the sector allocations. One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2021 fishing year. Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of the sole Amendment 80 cooperative, no allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required for 2021. The 2022 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2021. TABLE 6—FINAL 2021 SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, CDQ RESERVE, INCIDENTAL CATCH ALLOWANCE, AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] 2021 allocation by area Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 TAC ........................................................ CDQ reserve .......................................... n/a ......................................................... Total ...................................................... A ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... B ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... n/a ......................................................... Total ...................................................... Total ...................................................... Total ...................................................... A ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... B ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... Total ...................................................... A ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... B ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... Non-CDQ TAC ....................................... ICA ......................................................... Jig 6 ........................................................ BSAI trawl limited access ...................... Amendment 80 sector ............................ Eastern Aleutian district/Bering Sea 25,760 2,756 1,378 n/a 1,378 n/a 23,004 800 111 2,209 1,105 n/a 1,105 n/a 19,883 9,942 n/a 9,942 n/a Central Aleutian district 5 Western Aleutian district 15,450 1,653 827 496 827 496 13,797 75 .............................. 1,372 686 412 686 412 12,350 6,175 3,705 6,175 3,705 21,047 2,252 1,126 676 1,126 676 18,795 20 .............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. 18,775 9,387 5,632 9,387 5,632 1 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, ICAs, and jig gear allocation, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 2 Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 3 The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4 Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 11459 5 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to be caught inside of Steller sea lion critical habitat; section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3); and section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires that the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC in Area 543. 6 Sections 679.2 and 679.20(a)(8)(i) require that up to 2 percent of the EAI District and the BS subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and the ICA. NMFS sets the amount of this allocation for 2021 at 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 7—FINAL 2022 SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, CDQ RESERVE, INCIDENTAL CATCH ALLOWANCE, AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATION OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] 2022 allocation by area Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 TAC ........................................................ CDQ reserve .......................................... n/a ......................................................... Total ...................................................... A ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... B ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... n/a ......................................................... Total ...................................................... Total ...................................................... Total ...................................................... A ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... B ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... Total ...................................................... A ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... B ............................................................ Critical Habitat ....................................... non-CDQ TAC ........................................ ICA ......................................................... Jig 6 ........................................................ BSAI trawl limited access ...................... Amendment 80 sectors 7 ........................ Eastern Aleutian district/Bering Sea 5 23,880 2,555 1,278 n/a 1,278 n/a 21,325 800 103 2,042 1,021 n/a 1,021 n/a 18,380 9,190 n/a 9,190 n/a Central Aleutian district 5 Western Aleutian district 5 14,330 1,533 767 460 767 460 12,797 75 .............................. 1,272 636 382 636 382 11,450 5,725 3,435 5,725 3,435 19,507 2,087 1,044 626 1,044 626 17,420 20 .............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. 17,400 8,700 5,220 8,700 5,220 1 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, ICAs, and jig gear allocation, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 2 Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 3 The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4 Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31. 5 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to be caught inside of Steller sea lion critical habitat; section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3); and section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires that the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC in Area 543. 6 Sections 679.2 and 679.20(a)(8)(i) require that up to 2 percent of the EAI District and the BS subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and the ICA. NMFS sets the amount of this allocation for 2022 at 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. 7 The 2022 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2021. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC The Council separated BSAI subarea OFLs, ABCs, and TACs for Pacific cod in 2014 (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014). Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) allocates 10.7 percent of the BS TAC and the AI TAC to the CDQ program. After CDQ allocations have been deducted from the respective BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, the remaining BSAI Pacific cod TACs are combined for calculating further BSAI Pacific cod sector allocations. If the non-CDQ Pacific cod TAC is or will be reached in either the BS or the AI subareas, NMFS will prohibit non-CDQ directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea as provided in § 679.20(d)(1)(iii). VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 Sections 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) allocate to the non-CDQ sectors the Pacific cod TAC in the combined BSAI, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ program, as follows: 1.4 percent to vessels using jig gear; 2.0 percent to hook-and-line or pot CVs less than 60 ft (18.3 m) length overall (LOA); 0.2 percent to hook-and-line CVs greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA; 48.7 percent to hook-and-line CPs; 8.4 percent to pot CVs greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA; 1.5 percent to pot CPs; 2.3 percent to AFA trawl CPs; 13.4 percent to Amendment 80 sector; and 22.1 percent to trawl CVs. The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 hook-and-line and pot sectors. For 2021 and 2022, the Regional Administrator establishes an ICA of 400 mt based on anticipated incidental catch by these sectors in other fisheries. The ITAC allocation of Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 sector is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2021 fishing year. Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of the sole Amendment 80 cooperative, no allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required for 2021. The 2022 allocations for Pacific cod between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 11460 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations participation in the program by November 1, 2021. The sector allocations of Pacific cod are apportioned into seasonal allowances to disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see §§ 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B), 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(A), and 679.23(e)(5)). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(B) and (C), any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance for any sector, except the jig sector, will become available at the beginning of that sector’s next seasonal allowance. Section 679.20(a)(7)(vii) requires that the Regional Administrator establish an Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit based on Pacific cod abundance in Area 543 as determined by the annual stock assessment process. Based on the 2020 stock assessment, the Regional Administrator determined for 2021 and 2022 the estimated amount of Pacific cod abundance in Area 543 is 15.7 percent of the total AI abundance. To calculate the Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit, NMFS first subtracts the State GHL Pacific cod amount from the AI Pacific cod ABC. Then NMFS determines the harvest limit in Area 543 by multiplying the percentage of Pacific cod estimated in Area 543 (15.7 percent) by the remaining ABC for AI Pacific cod. Based on these calculations, the Area 543 harvest limit is 2,166 mt for 2021 and 2022. On March 21, 2019, the final rule adopting Amendment 113 to the FMP (81 FR 84434, November 23, 2016) was vacated by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Groundfish Forum v. Ross, No. 16–2495 (D.D.C. March 21, 2019)), and the corresponding regulations implementing Amendment 113 are no longer in effect. Therefore, this final rule is not specifying amounts for the AI Pacific Cod Catcher Vessel Harvest Set-Aside Program (see § 679.20(a)(7)(viii)). Table 8 and Table 9 list the CDQ and non-CDQ seasonal allowances by gear, as well as the non-CDQ sector allocations, based on the final 2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs. TABLE 8—FINAL 2021 SECTOR ALLOCATIONS AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector Percent 2021 share of total 2021 share of sector total BS TAC ............................................. BS CDQ ............................................ BS non-CDQ TAC ............................. AI TAC .............................................. AI CDQ .............................................. AI non-CDQ TAC .............................. Western Aleutian Island Limit ........... Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC 1 .............. Total hook-and-line/pot gear ............. Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 .................... Hook-and-line/pot sub-total ............... Hook-and-line catcher/processor ...... n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 100 60.8 n/a n/a 48.7 111,380 11,918 99,462 13,796 1,476 12,320 2,166 111,782 67,964 400 67,564 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 54,118 Hook-and-line catcher vessel ≥60 ft LOA. Pot catcher/processor ....................... 0.2 n/a 222 1.5 n/a 1,667 Pot catcher vessel ≥60 ft LOA .......... 8.4 n/a 9,334 Catcher vessel <60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Trawl catcher vessel ......................... 2.0 n/a 2,222 22.1 24,704 n/a AFA trawl catcher/processor ............. 2.3 2,571 n/a Amendment 80 .................................. 13.4 14,979 n/a Jig ...................................................... 1.4 1,565 n/a 2021 seasonal apportionment Season Amount n/a .................................................... see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) .................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) .................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... see § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(B) ................... n/a .................................................... Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ................................. n/a .................................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 27,600 26,518 113 109 850 817 4,761 4,574 n/a Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Apr 30 .................................... Apr 30–Aug 31 ................................. Aug 31–Dec 31 ................................ 18,281 2,717 3,706 1,928 643 11,234 3,745 939 313 313 1 The sector allocations and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of the reserves for the CDQ program. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is or will be reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea will be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains (§ 679.20(d)(1)(iii)). 2 The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 400 mt for 2021 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 11461 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 9—FINAL 2022 SECTOR ALLOCATIONS AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector 2022 share total Percent 2022 seasonal apportionment 2022 share of sector total BS TAC ............................................. BS CDQ ............................................ BS non-CDQ TAC ............................. AI TAC .............................................. AI CDQ .............................................. AI non-CDQ TAC .............................. Western Aleutian Island Limit ........... Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC 1 .............. Total hook-and-line/pot gear ............. Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 .................... Hook-and-line/pot sub-total ............... Hook-and-line catcher/processor ...... n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 60.8 n/a n/a 48.7 95,053 10,171 84,882 13,796 1,476 12,320 2,166 97,202 59,099 400 58,699 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 47,017 Hook-and-line catcher vessel ≥60 ft LOA. Pot catcher/processor ....................... 0.2 n/a 193 1.5 n/a 1,448 Pot catcher vessel ≥60 ft LOA .......... 8.4 n/a 8,110 Catcher vessel <60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Trawl catcher vessel ......................... 2.0 n/a 1,931 22.1 21,482 n/a AFA trawl catcher/processor ............. 2.3 2,236 n/a Amendment 80 .................................. 13.4 13,025 n/a Jig ...................................................... 1.4 1,361 n/a Season Amount n/a .................................................... see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) .................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) .................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... n/a .................................................... see § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(B) ................... n/a .................................................... Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Jun 10 ................................... Sept 1–Dec 31 ................................. n/a .................................................... n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 23,979 23,038 98 95 739 710 4,136 3,974 n/a Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Nov 1 ................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 .................................... Apr 1–Jun 10 .................................... Jun 10–Dec 31 ................................. Jan 1–Apr 30 .................................... Apr 30–Aug 31 ................................. Aug 31–Dec 31 ................................ 15,896 2,363 3,222 1,677 559 9,769 3,256 816 272 272 1 The sector allocations and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of the reserves for the CDQ program. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is or will be reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea will be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains (§ 679.20(d)(1)(iii)). 2 The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 400 mt for 2022 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Sablefish Gear Allocation Sections 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) require allocation of the sablefish TAC for the BS and AI subareas between the trawl gear and hook-and-line or pot gear sectors. Gear allocations of the sablefish TAC for the BS are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TAC for the AI are 25 percent for trawl gear and 75 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires that NMFS apportions 20 percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of sablefish TAC to the CDQ reserve for each subarea. Also, § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D)(1) requires that in the BS and AI 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocation of sablefish TAC from the non-specified reserve, established under § 679.20(b)(1)(i), be assigned to the CDQ reserve. The Council recommended that only trawl sablefish TAC be established biennially. The harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear or pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fisheries are limited to the 2021 fishing year to ensure those fisheries are conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery. Concurrent sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries reduce the potential for discards of halibut and sablefish in those fisheries. The sablefish IFQ fisheries remain closed at the beginning of each fishing year until the final harvest specifications for the sablefish IFQ fisheries are in effect. Table 10 lists the 2021 and 2022 gear allocations of the sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts. TABLE 10—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 GEAR SHARES AND CDQ RESERVE OF BSAI SABLEFISH TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Subarea and gear Percent of TAC Bering Sea: Trawl 1 ................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 2021 share of TAC 50 Jkt 253001 1,698 PO 00000 Frm 00075 2021 CDQ reserve 2021 ITAC 1,443 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2022 share of TAC 127 E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 2,432 25FER1 2022 ITAC 2,067 2022 CDQ reserve 182 11462 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 10—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 GEAR SHARES AND CDQ RESERVE OF BSAI SABLEFISH TACS—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] Subarea and gear Percent of TAC 2021 share of TAC 2021 CDQ reserve 2021 ITAC 2022 share of TAC 2022 ITAC 2022 CDQ reserve Hook-and-line/pot gear 2 ................. 50 1,698 1,358 340 n/a n/a n/a Total ............... 100 3,396 2,802 467 2,432 2,067 182 25 1,179 1,002 88 1,265 1,075 95 75 3,538 2,830 708 n/a n/a n/a 100 4,717 3,833 796 1,265 1,075 95 Aleutian Islands: Trawl 1 ................... Hook-and-line/pot gear 2 ................. Total ............... 1 For the sablefish trawl gear allocations, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the non-specified reserve (§ 679.20(b)(1)(i)). The ITAC is the remainder of the TAC after subtracting this reserve. In the BS and AI, 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocation from the non-specified reserve is assigned to the CDQ reserve (§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D)(1)). 2 For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, 20 percent of the allocated TAC for the BS and AI is reserved for use by CDQ participants (§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B)). The Council recommended that specifications for the hook-and-line or pot gear sablefish IFQ fisheries be limited to one year. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Allocation of the AI Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACs Sections 679.20(a)(10)(i) and (ii) require that NMFS allocate AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole ITACs between the Amendment 80 sector and the BSAI trawl limited access sector, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ reserves and ICAs for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels using non-trawl gear. The allocations of the ITACs for AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole to the Amendment 80 sector are established in accordance with Tables 33 and 34 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2021 fishing year. Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of the sole Amendment 80 cooperative, no allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required for 2021. The 2022 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2021. Tables 11 and 12 list the 2021 and 2022 allocations of the AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs. TABLE 11—FINAL 2021 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA (CDQ) RESERVES, INCIDENTAL CATCH AMOUNTS (ICAS), AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE AI PACIFIC OCEAN PERCH, AND BSAI FLATHEAD SOLE, ROCK SOLE, AND YELLOWFIN SOLE TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Pacific ocean perch Sector Eastern Aleutian district TAC .......................................................... CDQ ......................................................... ICA ........................................................... BSAI trawl limited access ........................ Amendment 80 ......................................... Central Aleutian district 8,419 901 100 742 6,676 Western Aleutian district 6,198 663 60 547 4,927 10,500 1,124 10 187 9,179 Flathead sole Rock sole Yellowfin sole BSAI BSAI BSAI 25,000 2,675 3,000 ........................ 19,325 54,500 5,832 6,000 ........................ 42,669 200,000 21,400 4,000 34,782 139,818 Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 12—FINAL 2022 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA (CDQ) RESERVES, INCIDENTAL CATCH AMOUNTS (ICAS), AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE AI PACIFIC OCEAN PERCH, AND BSAI FLATHEAD SOLE, ROCK SOLE, AND YELLOWFIN SOLE TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Pacific ocean perch Sector Eastern Aleutian district TAC .......................................................... CDQ ......................................................... ICA ........................................................... BSAI trawl limited access ........................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 8,041 860 100 708 PO 00000 Frm 00076 Central Aleutian district Western Aleutian district 5,919 633 60 523 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 10,500 1,124 10 187 Flathead sole Rock sole Yellowfin sole BSAI BSAI BSAI 25,000 2,675 3,000 ........................ 54,500 5,832 6,000 ........................ E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 200,000 21,400 4,000 34,782 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 11463 TABLE 12—FINAL 2022 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA (CDQ) RESERVES, INCIDENTAL CATCH AMOUNTS (ICAS), AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE AI PACIFIC OCEAN PERCH, AND BSAI FLATHEAD SOLE, ROCK SOLE, AND YELLOWFIN SOLE TACS—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] Pacific ocean perch Sector Eastern Aleutian district Amendment 80 1 ...................................... Central Aleutian district 6,373 Western Aleutian district 4,703 9,179 Flathead sole Rock sole Yellowfin sole BSAI BSAI BSAI 19,325 42,669 139,818 1 The 2022 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2021. Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Section 679.2 defines the ABC surplus for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole as the difference between the annual ABC and TAC for each species. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii) establishes ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The ABC surpluses and the ABC reserves are necessary to mitigate the operational variability, environmental conditions, and economic factors that may constrain the CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperatives from achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may set the ABC reserve at or below the ABC surplus for each species, thus maintaining the TAC below ABC limits. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the ABC reserves will be allocated as CDQ ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. Section 679.31(b)(4) establishes the annual allocations of CDQ ABC reserves among the CDQ groups. The Amendment 80 ABC reserves are the ABC reserves minus the CDQ ABC reserves. Section 679.91(i)(2) establishes each Amendment 80 cooperative ABC reserve to be the ratio of each cooperatives’ quota share units and the total Amendment 80 quota share units, multiplied by the Amendment 80 ABC reserve for each respective species. Table 13 lists the 2021 and 2022 ABC surplus and ABC reserves for BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. TABLE 13—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 ABC SURPLUS, ABC RESERVES, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA (CDQ) ABC RESERVES, AND AMENDMENT 80 ABC RESERVES IN THE BSAI FOR FLATHEAD SOLE, ROCK SOLE, AND YELLOWFIN SOLE [Amounts are in metric tons] 2021 Flathead sole Sector ABC .......................................................... TAC .......................................................... ABC surplus ............................................. ABC reserve ............................................. CDQ ABC reserve ................................... Amendment 80 ABC reserve ................... 62,567 25,000 37,567 37,567 4,020 33,547 2021 Rock sole 2021 Yellowfin sole 140,306 54,500 85,806 85,806 9,181 76,625 313,477 200,000 113,477 113,477 12,142 101,335 2022 1 Flathead sole 64,119 25,000 39,119 39,119 4,186 34,933 2022 1 Rock sole 206,605 54,500 152,105 152,105 16,275 135,830 2022 1 Yellowfin sole 344,140 200,000 144,140 144,140 15,423 128,717 1 The 2022 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2021. PSC Limits for Halibut, Salmon, Crab, and Herring Sections 679.21(b), (e), (f), and (g) sets forth the BSAI PSC limits. Pursuant to § 679.21(b)(1), the annual BSAI halibut PSC limits total 3,515 mt. Section 679.21(b)(1) allocates 315 mt of the halibut PSC limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program, 1,745 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the Amendment 80 sector, 745 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the BSAI trawl limited access sector, and 710 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the BSAI non-trawl sector. Sections 679.21(b)(1)(iii)(A) and (B) authorize apportionment of the BSAI non-trawl halibut PSC limit into PSC allowances among six fishery categories in Table 17, and §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(A) and (B), (e)(3)(i)(B), and (e)(3)(iv) require VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 apportionment of the trawl PSC limits in Tables 15 and 16 into PSC allowances among seven fishery categories. Pursuant to Section 3.6 of the FMP, the Council recommends, and NMFS agrees, that certain specified non-trawl fisheries be exempt from the halibut PSC limit. As in past years, after consultation with the Council, NMFS exempts the pot gear fishery, the jig gear fishery, and the sablefish IFQ hook-andline gear fishery categories from halibut bycatch restrictions for the following reasons: (1) The pot gear fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality; (2) NMFS estimates halibut mortality for the jig gear fleet to be negligible because of the small size of the fishery and the selectivity of the gear; and (3) the sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality because the IFQ program requires that legal-size PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 halibut be retained by vessels using fixed gear if a halibut IFQ permit holder or a hired master is aboard and is holding unused halibut IFQ for that vessel category and the IFQ regulatory area in which the vessel is operating (§ 679.7(f)(11)). The 2020 total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the BSAI was 41,517 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch mortality of 5 mt. The 2020 jig gear fishery harvested about 10 mt of groundfish. Most vessels in the jig gear fleet are exempt from observer coverage requirements. As a result, observer data are not available on halibut bycatch in the jig gear fishery. As mentioned above, NMFS estimates a negligible amount of halibut bycatch mortality because of the selective nature of jig gear and the low mortality rate of halibut caught with jig gear and released. E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 11464 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations Under § 679.21(f)(2), NMFS annually allocates portions of either 33,318, 45,000, 47,591, or 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limits among the AFA sectors, depending on past bycatch performance, on whether Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreements (IPAs) are formed, and on whether NMFS determines it is a low Chinook salmon abundance year. NMFS will determine that it is a low Chinook salmon abundance year when abundance of Chinook salmon in western Alaska is less than or equal to 250,000 Chinook salmon. The State of Alaska provides to NMFS an estimate of Chinook salmon abundance using the 3System Index for western Alaska based on the Kuskokwim, Unalakleet, and Upper Yukon aggregate stock grouping. If an AFA sector participates in an approved IPA and has not exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6), and if it is not a low Chinook salmon abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). If no IPA is approved, or if the sector has exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6), and if it is not a low abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(C). If an AFA sector participates in an approved IPA and has not exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6), in a low abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 45,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). If no IPA is approved, or if the sector has exceeded its performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6), and if in a low abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a portion of the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(D). NMFS has determined that 2020 was a low Chinook salmon abundance year, based on the State’s estimate that Chinook salmon abundance in western Alaska is less than 250,000 Chinook salmon. Therefore, in 2021, the Chinook salmon PSC limit is 45,000 Chinook salmon, allocated to each sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). The AFA sector Chinook salmon PSC limits are also seasonally apportioned with 70 percent for the A season pollock fishery, and 30 percent for the B season pollock fishery (§§ 679.21(f)(3)(i) and 679.23(e)(2)). In 2021, the Chinook salmon bycatch performance standard under § 679.21(f)(6) is 33,318 Chinook VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 salmon, allocated to each sector as specified in § 679.21(f)(3)(iii)(D). NMFS publishes the approved IPAs, allocations, and reports at https:// alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/ sustainablefisheries/bycatch/ default.htm. Section 679.21(g)(2)(i) specifies 700 fish as the 2021 and 2022 Chinook salmon PSC limit for the AI pollock fishery. Section 679.21(g)(2)(ii) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, as the AI PSQ reserve for the CDQ program, and allocates the remaining 647 Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries. Section 679.21(f)(14)(i) specifies 42,000 fish as the 2021 and 2022 nonChinook salmon PSC limit for vessels using trawl gear from August 15 through October 14 in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area (CVOA). Section 679.21(f)(14)(ii) allocates 10.7 percent, or 4,494 non-Chinook salmon, in the CVOA as the PSQ reserve for the CDQ program, and allocates the remaining 37,506 non-Chinook salmon in the CVOA to the non-CDQ fisheries. PSC limits for crab and herring are specified annually based on abundance and spawning biomass. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(1) allocates 10.7 percent from each trawl gear PSC limit specified for crab as a PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program. Based on the most recent (2019) survey data, the red king crab mature female abundance is estimated at 9.6668 million red king crabs, and the effective spawning biomass is estimated at 25.120 million lbs (11,394 mt). Based on the criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(i), the 2021 and 2022 PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl gear is 97,000 animals. This limit derives from the mature female abundance estimate of more than 8.4 million mature red king crab and the effective spawning biomass estimate of more than 14.5 million lbs (6,577 mt) but less than 55 million lbs (24,948 mt). Section 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2) establishes criteria under which NMFS must specify an annual red king crab bycatch limit for the Red King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS) if the State has established a GHL fishery for red king crab in the Bristol Bay area in the previous year. The regulations limit the RKCSS red king crab bycatch limit to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC limit, based on the need to optimize the groundfish harvest relative to red king crab bycatch. In December 2020, the Council recommended and NMFS concurs that the RKCSS red king crab bycatch limit for 2021 and 2022 be equal to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC limit (Table 15). PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Based on the most recent (2019) survey data, Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) abundance is estimated at 541 million animals. Pursuant to criteria set out at § 679.21(e)(1)(ii), the calculated 2021 and 2022 C. bairdi crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 980,000 animals in Zone 1, and 2,970,000 animals in Zone 2. The limit in Zone 1 is based on the abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 541 million animals, which is greater than 400 million animals. The limit in Zone 2 is based on the abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 541 million animals, which is greater than 400 million animals. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(iii), the PSC limit for trawl gear for snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) is based on total abundance as indicated by the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey. The C. opilio crab PSC limit in the C. opilio bycatch limitation zone (COBLZ) is set at 0.1133 percent of the BS abundance index minus 150,000 crabs, unless the minimum or maximum PSC limit applies. Based on the most recent (2019) survey estimate of 6.48 billion animals, the calculated C. opilio crab PSC limit is 7,191,840 animals. Pursuant to § 679.21(e)(1)(v), the PSC limit of Pacific herring caught while conducting any trawl operation for BSAI groundfish is 1 percent of the annual eastern BS herring biomass. The best estimate of 2021 and 2022 herring biomass is 272,281 mt. This amount was developed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game based on biomass for spawning aggregations. Therefore, the herring PSC limit for 2021 and 2022 is 2,723 mt for all trawl gear as listed in Tables 14 and 15. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A) requires that PSQ reserves be subtracted from the total trawl gear crab PSC limits. The crab and halibut PSC limits apportioned to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors are listed in Table 35 to 50 CFR part 679. The resulting 2021 and 2022 allocations of PSC limit to CDQ PSQ reserves, the Amendment 80 sector, and the BSAI trawl limited access sector are listed in Table 14. Pursuant to §§ 679.21(b)(1)(i), 679.21(e)(3)(vi), and 679.91(d) through (f), crab and halibut trawl PSC limits assigned to the Amendment 80 sector are then further allocated to Amendment 80 cooperatives as cooperative quota. Crab and halibut PSC cooperative quota assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives is not allocated to specific fishery categories. In 2021, there are no vessels in the Amendment 80 limited access sector and one Amendment 80 cooperative. The 2022 PSC allocations between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations apportionments of halibut and crab PSC amounts for the BSAI trawl limited access and non-trawl sectors in order to maximize the ability of the fleet to harvest the available groundfish TAC and to minimize bycatch. The factors to be considered are (1) seasonal distribution of prohibited species, (2) seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to prohibited species distribution, (3) PSC bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relevant to prohibited species biomass and expected catches of target groundfish will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2021. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(B) requires that NMFS, after consultation with the Council, apportion each trawl PSC limit for crab and herring not assigned to CDQ PSQ reserves or Amendment 80 cooperatives into PSC bycatch allowances for seven specified fishery categories in § 679.21(e)(3)(iv). Sections 679.21(b)(2) and (e)(5) authorize NMFS, after consulting with the Council, to establish seasonal 11465 species, (4) expected variations in bycatch rates throughout the year, (5) expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons, (6) expected start of fishing effort, and (7) economic effects of establishing seasonal prohibited species apportionments on segments of the target groundfish industry. Based on this criteria, the Council recommended and NMFS approves the seasonal PSC apportionments in Tables 16 and 17 to maximize harvest among gear types, fisheries, and seasons while minimizing bycatch of PSC. TABLE 14—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 APPORTIONMENT OF PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH ALLOWANCES TO NON-TRAWL GEAR, THE CDQ PROGRAM, AMENDMENT 80, AND THE BSAI TRAWL LIMITED ACCESS SECTORS PSC species and area and zone 1 Total PSC Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI ......................... Herring (mt) BSAI ........ Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 ...................... C. opilio (animals) COBLZ ...................... C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 1 ...................... C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 2 ...................... Trawl PSC remaining after CDQ PSQ CDQ PSQ reserve 2 Non-trawl PSC Amendment 80 sector 3 BSAI trawl limited access sector BSAI PSC limits not allocated 3 3,515 2,723 710 n/a 315 n/a n/a n/a 1,745 n/a 745 n/a ........................ ........................ 97,000 n/a 10,379 86,621 43,293 26,489 16,839 7,191,840 n/a 769,527 6,422,313 3,156,567 2,064,131 1,201,615 980,000 n/a 104,860 875,140 368,521 411,228 95,390 2,970,000 n/a 317,790 2,652,210 627,778 1,241,500 782,932 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas and zones. PSQ reserve for crab species is 10.7 percent of each crab PSC limit. Amendment 80 program reduced apportionment of the trawl PSC limits for crab below the total PSC limit. These reductions are not apportioned to other gear types or sectors. 2 The 3 The TABLE 15—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 HERRING AND RED KING CRAB SAVINGS SUBAREA PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH ALLOWANCES FOR ALL TRAWL SECTORS Herring (mt) BSAI Fishery categories Yellowfin sole ........................................................................................................................................................... Rock sole/flathead sole/Alaska plaice/other flatfish 1 .............................................................................................. Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/sablefish ..................................................................... Rockfish ................................................................................................................................................................... Pacific cod ............................................................................................................................................................... Midwater trawl pollock ............................................................................................................................................. Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 2 3 .................................................................................................................. Red king crab savings subarea non-pelagic trawl gear 4 ........................................................................................ Total trawl PSC ................................................................................................................................................ Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 118 58 8 8 14 2,472 45 n/a 2,723 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 24,250 97,000 1 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), Alaska plaice, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 2 Pollock other than midwater trawl pollock, Atka mackerel, and ‘‘other species’’ fishery category. 3 ‘‘Other species’’ for PSC monitoring includes skates, sharks, and octopuses. 4 In December 2020, the Council recommended and NMFS approves that the red king crab bycatch limit for non-pelagic trawl fisheries within the RKCSS be limited to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance (see § 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2)). Note: Species allowances may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 16—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR THE BSAI TRAWL LIMITED ACCESS SECTOR Prohibited species and area and zone 1 BSAI trawl limited access fisheries Yellowfin sole ....................................................................... Rock sole/flathead sole/Alaska plaice/other flatfish 2 .......... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 C. opilio (animals) COBLZ Zone 1 Zone 2 265 ........................ 23,338 ........................ 1,945,831 ........................ 346,228 ........................ 1,185,500 ........................ Frm 00079 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 C. bairdi (animals) 11466 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 16—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR THE BSAI TRAWL LIMITED ACCESS SECTOR—Continued Prohibited species and area and zone 1 BSAI trawl limited access fisheries Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Red king crab (animals) Zone 1 C. opilio (animals) COBLZ C. bairdi (animals) Zone 1 Zone 2 Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/ sablefish ........................................................................... Rockfish April 15–December 31 .......................................... Pacific cod ............................................................................ Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 3 ................................. ........................ 5 300 175 ........................ ........................ 2,954 197 ........................ 3,214 82,939 32,147 ........................ ........................ 60,000 5,000 ........................ 1,000 50,000 5,000 Total BSAI trawl limited access PSC ........................... 745 26,489 2,064,131 411,228 1,241,500 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas and zones. 2 ‘‘Other flatfish’’ for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), Alaska plaice, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 3 ‘‘Other species’’ for PSC monitoring includes skates, sharks, and octopuses. Note: Seasonal or sector allowances may not total precisely due to rounding. TABLE 17—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 HALIBUT PROHIBITED SPECIES BYCATCH ALLOWANCES FOR NON-TRAWL FISHERIES Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI Catcher/ processor Non-trawl fisheries Seasons Catcher vessel All Non-Trawl Pacific cod ...................................... Non-Pacific cod non-trawl-Total ..... Groundfish pot and jig .................... Sablefish hook-and-line .................. Total Pacific cod ............................ January 1–June 10 ........................ June 10–August 15 ........................ August 15–December 31 ............... May 1–December 31 ..................... n/a .................................................. n/a .................................................. 648 388 162 98 n/a n/a n/a 13 9 2 2 n/a n/a n/a 661. n/a. n/a. n/a. 49. Exempt. Exempt. Total for all non-trawl PSC ...... n/a .................................................. n/a n/a 710. Note: Seasonal or sector allowances may not total precisely due to rounding. Estimates of Halibut Biomass and Stock Condition The International Pacific Halibut Commission (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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 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 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 BSAI stock assessment process. The DMR methodology and findings are included as an appendix to the annual BSAI 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 Plan Team, SSC, and the Council. A summary of the revised methodology is included in the BSAI proposed 2017 and 2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87863, December 6, 2016), and the comprehensive discussion of the working group’s statistical methodology is available from PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 the Council (see ADDRESSES). The DMR working group’s revised methodology is intended to improve estimation accuracy, transparency, and transferability 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 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 E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 11467 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 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 78096, December 3, 2020). Table 18 lists these final 2021 and 2022 DMRs. TABLE 18—2021 AND 2022 PACIFIC HALIBUT DISCARD MORTALITY RATES (DMR) FOR THE BSAI Halibut discard mortality rate (percent) Gear Sector Pelagic trawl ................................................................................ Non-pelagic trawl ........................................................................ Non-pelagic trawl ........................................................................ Hook-and-line .............................................................................. Hook-and-line .............................................................................. Pot ............................................................................................... All ............................................................................................... Mothership and catcher/processor ............................................ Catcher vessel ........................................................................... Catcher/processor ...................................................................... Catcher vessel ........................................................................... All ............................................................................................... Directed Fishing Closures In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator may establish a DFA for a species or species group if the Regional Administrator determines that any allocation or apportionment of a target species has been or will be reached. If the Regional Administrator establishes a DFA, and that allowance is or will be reached before the end of the fishing year, NMFS will prohibit directed fishing for that species or species group in the specified subarea, regulatory area, or district (see § 679.20(d)(1)(iii)). Similarly, pursuant to §§ 679.21(b)(4) and (e)(7), if the Regional Administrator determines that a fishery category’s bycatch allowance of halibut, red king crab, C. bairdi crab, or C. opilio crab for a specified area has been reached, the Regional Administrator will prohibit directed fishing for each species or species group in that fishery category in the area specified by regulation for the remainder of the season or fishing year. Based on historic catch patterns and anticipated fishing activity, the Regional Administrator has determined that the groundfish allocation amounts in Table 19 will be necessary as incidental catch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2021 and 2022 fishing years. Consequently, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator establishes the DFA for the species and species groups in Table 100 84 59 9 9 32 19 as zero mt. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these sectors and species or species groups in the specified areas effective at 1,200 hours, A.l.t., February 25, 2021, through 2,400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2022. Also, for the BSAI trawl limited access sector, bycatch allowances of halibut, red king crab, C. bairdi crab, and C. opilio crab listed in Table 19 are insufficient to support directed fisheries. Therefore, in accordance with §§ 679.21(b)(4)(i) and (e)(7), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these sectors, species, and fishery categories in the specified areas effective at 1200 hours, A.l.t., February 25, 2021, through 2,400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2022. TABLE 19—2021 AND 2022 DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1 [Groundfish and halibut amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in number of animals.] 2021 Incidental catch allowance 2022 Incidental catch allowance Area Sector Species Bogoslof District .............................. Aleutian Islands subarea ................ All ................................................... All ................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea ................ Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea. Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea. Eastern Aleutian District ................. Trawl non-CDQ .............................. Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access. All ................................................... Pollock ............................................ ICA pollock ..................................... ‘‘Other rockfish’’ 2 ........................... Sablefish ........................................ ICA Atka mackerel ......................... 250 2,500 394 1,002 800 100 2,500 394 1,075 800 Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish .... 266 128 Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access. Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access. Non-amendment 80, CDQ and BSAI trawl limited access. All ................................................... ICA Pacific ocean perch ................ 100 100 ICA Atka mackerel ......................... ICA Pacific ocean perch ................ ICA Atka mackerel ......................... ICA Pacific ocean perch ................ Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish .... 75 60 20 10 144 75 60 20 10 150 Trawl non-CDQ .............................. All ................................................... Sablefish ........................................ Pacific ocean perch ....................... ‘‘Other rockfish’’ 2 ........................... ICA pollock ..................................... Shortraker rockfish ......................... Skates ............................................ Sharks ............................................ Octopuses ...................................... ICA Pacific cod .............................. ICA flathead sole ........................... ICA rock sole ................................. 1,443 9,165 444 49,500 425 15,300 170 595 400 3,000 6,000 2,067 8,753 255 50,400 191 13,600 170 595 400 3,000 6,000 Central Aleutian District .................. Western Aleutian District ................ Western and Central Aleutian Districts. Bering Sea subarea ........................ Bering Sea subarea ........................ Hook-and-line and pot gear ........... Non-amendment 80 and CDQ ....... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 11468 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 19—2021 AND 2022 DIRECTED FISHING CLOSURES 1—Continued [Groundfish and halibut amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in number of animals.] Area 2021 Incidental catch allowance 2022 Incidental catch allowance Sector Species Non-amendment 80, CDQ, and BSAI trawl limited access. ICA yellowfin sole .......................... 4,000 4,000 Rock sole/flathead sole/other flatfish—halibut mortality, red king crab Zone 1, C. opilio COBLZ, C. bairdi Zone 1 and 2. Turbot/arrowtooth/Kamchatka/sablefish—halibut mortality, red king crab Zone 1, C. opilio COBLZ, C. bairdi Zone 1 and 2. Rockfish—red king crab Zone 1 .... ........................ ........................ ........................ ........................ BSAI trawl limited access .............. 1 Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679. rockfish’’ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for dark rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, blackspotted/rougheye rockfish, and shortraker rockfish. 2 ‘‘Other Closures implemented under the final 2020 and 2021 BSAI harvest specifications for groundfish (85 FR 13553, March 9, 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 Area: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ rules-and-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. Listed AFA Catcher/Processor Sideboard Limits Pursuant to § 679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is responsible for restricting the ability of listed AFA CPs to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA fishery and from fishery cooperatives in the directed pollock fishery. These restrictions are set out as sideboard limits on catch. On February 8, 2019, NMFS published a final rule (84 FR 2723) that implemented regulations to prohibit non-exempt AFA CPs from directed fishing for groundfish species or species groups subject to sideboard limits (see § 679.20(d)(1)(iv)(D) and Table 54 to 50 CFR part 679). Section 679.64(a)(1)(v) exempts AFA CPs from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the final 2021 and 2022 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt. Section 679.64(a)(2) and Tables 40 and 41 to 50 CFR part 679 establish a formula for calculating PSC sideboard limits for halibut and crab caught by listed AFA CPs. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). PSC species listed in Table 20 that are caught by listed AFA CPs participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue against the final 2021 and 2022 PSC sideboard limits for the listed AFA CPs. Sections 679.21(b)(4)(iii), (e)(3)(v), and (e)(7) authorize NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for listed AFA CPs once a final 2021 or 2022 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 20 is reached. Pursuant to §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), halibut or crab PSC by listed AFA CPs while fishing for pollock will accrue against the PSC allowances annually specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/‘‘other species’’ fishery categories, according to §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv). TABLE 20—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 BSAI AFA LISTED CATCHER/PROCESSOR PROHIBITED SPECIES SIDEBOARD LIMITS PSC species and Ratio of PSC catch to total PSC area 1 Halibut mortality BSAI ...................................................................................................... Red king crab Zone 1 ...................................................................................................... C. opilio (COBLZ) ............................................................................................................ C. bairdi Zone 1 ............................................................................................................... C. bairdi Zone 2 ............................................................................................................... 1 Refer 2021 and 2022 PSC available to trawl vessels after subtraction of PSQ 2 n/a 0.0070 0.1530 0.1400 0.0500 n/a 86,621 6,422,313 875,140 2,652,210 2021 and 2022 AFA catcher/ processor sideboard limit 2 286 606 982,614 122,520 132,611 to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. 2 Halibut AFA Catcher Vessel Sideboard Limits Pursuant to § 679.64(b), the Regional Administrator is responsible for VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 restricting the ability of AFA CVs to engage in directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect participants in other groundfish PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 fisheries from adverse effects resulting from the AFA fishery and from fishery cooperatives in the pollock directed fishery. On February 8, 2019, NMFS E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations published a final rule (84 FR 2723) that implemented regulations to prohibit non-exempt AFA C/Vs from directed fishing for a majority of the groundfish species or species groups subject to sideboard limits (see § 679.20(d)(1)(iv)(D) and Table 55 to 50 CFR part 679). Section 679.64(b)(6) exempts AFA CVs from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2021 and 2022 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt. The remainder of the sideboard limits for non-exempt AFA C/Vs are in Table 21. Section 679.64(b)(3) and (b)(4) establish formulas for setting AFA CV groundfish and halibut and crab PSC 11469 sideboard limits for the BSAI. The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). Table 21 lists the final 2021 and 2022 AFA CV groundfish sideboard limits. TABLE 21—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 BSAI PACIFIC COD SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSELS (CVS) [Amounts are in metric tons] Ratio of 1995–1997 AFA CV catch to 1995–1997 TAC Fishery by area/gear/season BSAI ..................................................................................... Trawl gear CV ...................................................................... Jan 20–Apr 1 ................................................................ Apr 1–Jun 10 ................................................................ Jun 10–Nov 1 ............................................................... 2021 initial TAC n/a n/a 0.8609 0.8609 0.8609 n/a n/a 18,281 2,717 3,706 2021 AFA catcher vessel sideboard limits n/a n/a 15,738 2,339 3,190 2022 initial TAC n/a n/a 15,896 2,363 3,222 2022 AFA catcher vessel sideboard limits n/a n/a 13,685 2,034 2,774 Note: Section 679.64(b)(6) exempts AFA catcher vessels from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2021 and 2022 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt. Halibut and crab PSC limits listed in Table 22 that are caught by AFA CVs participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will accrue against the 2021 and 2022 PSC sideboard limits for the AFA CVs. Sections 679.21(b)(4)(iii), (e)(3)(v), and (e)(7) authorize NMFS to close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for AFA CVs once a final 2021 and 2022 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 22 is reached. Pursuant to §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), halibut or crab PSC by AFA CVs while fishing for pollock in the BS will accrue against the PSC allowances annually specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/ ‘‘other species’’ fishery categories under §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv). TABLE 22—FINAL 2021 AND 2022 AMERICAN FISHERIES ACT CATCHER VESSEL PROHIBITED SPECIES CATCH SIDEBOARD LIMITS FOR THE BSAI 1 AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit ratio PSC species and area 1 Target fishery category 2 Halibut ............................................................. Pacific cod trawl ............................................. Pacific cod hook-and-line or pot .................... Yellowfin sole total ......................................... Rock sole/flathead sole/Alaska plaice/other flatfish 4. Greenland turbot/arrowtooth/Kamchatka/sablefish. Rockfish .......................................................... Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species 5 ........... n/a .................................................................. n/a .................................................................. n/a .................................................................. n/a .................................................................. Red king crab Zone 1 ..................................... C. opilio COBLZ .............................................. C. bairdi Zone 1 .............................................. C. bairdi Zone 2 .............................................. 2021 and 2022 PSC limit after subtraction of PSQ reserves 3 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 0.2990 0.1680 0.3300 0.1860 n/a n/a 86,621 6,422,313 875,140 2,652,210 2021 and 2022 AFA catcher vessel PSC sideboard limit 3 887 2 101 228 2 5 25,900 1,078,949 288,796 493,311 1 Refer to § 679.2 for definitions of areas. trawl fishery categories are defined at §§ 679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv). 3 Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals. 4 Other flatfish for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), Alaska plaice, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. 5 ‘‘Other species’’ for PSC monitoring includes skates, sharks, and octopuses. 2 Target Response to Comments NMFS received no comments during the public comment period for the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 proposed BSAI groundfish harvest specifications. PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Classification NMFS has determined that the final harvest specifications are consistent E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 11470 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations with the FMP and with the MagnusonStevens Act and other applicable laws. This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and 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 Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final EIS. In January 2021, NMFS prepared a Supplementary Information Report (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 Final 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 Final 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 will result in environmental, social, and economic impacts within the scope of those analyzed and disclosed in the Final EIS. Therefore, an SEIS is not necessary to implement the 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications. A final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) was prepared. 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 FRFA. The following constitutes the FRFA prepared in the final action. Section 604 of the RFA describes the required contents of a final regulatory flexibility analysis: (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, 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 included 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 78096). NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) to accompany the proposed action, and included the IRFA in the proposed rule. PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 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 those that harvest groundfish in the exclusive economic zone of the BSAI and in parallel fisheries within State waters. These include entities operating catcher vessels and catcher/ processors within the action area and entities receiving direct allocations of groundfish. 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 605 catcher vessels, 56 catcher/processors, and six CDQ groups. Some of these vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, Gulf of Alaska rockfish cooperatives, or BSAI Crab Rationalization Program cooperatives, and, since under the RFA the aggregate gross receipts of all participating members of the cooperative must meet the ‘‘under $11 million’’ threshold, the cooperatives are considered to be large entities within the meaning of the RFA. Thus, the estimate of 605 catcher vessels may be an overstatement of the number of small entities. Average gross revenues in 2019 were $500,000 for small hook-and-line vessels, $1.4 million for small pot vessels, $2.9 million for small trawl vessels, $7.0 million for hook-and-line CPs, and $3.5 million for pot gear CPs. 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 prohibited species catch limits for the groundfish fishery of the BSAI. 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 E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations specifications is governed by the Council’s harvest strategy that governs the catch of groundfish in the BSAI. The harvest strategy was previously selected from among five alternatives. 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 each species or species group were based on recommendations prepared by the Council’s Plan Team, and reviewed by the Council’s SSC. The Council’s TAC recommendations are consistent with the SSC’s OFL and ABC recommendations, and the sum of all TACs remains within the OY for the BSAI consistent with § 679.20(a)(1)(i)(A). Because setting all TACs equal to ABCs would cause the sum of TACs to exceed an OY of 2.0 million mt, TACs for some species or species groups are lower than the ABCs recommended by the Plan Team and the SSC. 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 ABCs reflect harvest amounts that are less than the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 specified overfishing levels. The TACs are within the range of ABCs recommended by the SSC and do not exceed the biological limits recommended by the SSC (the ABCs and overfishing levels). For some species and species groups in the BSAI, the Council recommended, and NMFS sets, TACs equal to ABCs, which is intended to maximize harvest opportunities in the BSAI. However, NMFS cannot set TACs for all species in the BSAI equal to their ABCs due to the constraining OY limit of 2.0 million mt. For this reason, some final TACs are less than the final ABCs. These specific reductions were reviewed and adopted by the Council for the final 2021 and 2022 TACs. Based on the best available scientific data, and in consideration of the Council’s objectives for this action, there are no significant alternatives that have the potential to accomplish the stated objectives of the MagnusonStevens 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 BSAI, including small entities. The action specifies TACs for commercially-valuable species in the BSAI 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 2020. Accordingly, NMFS’s review of the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications could not begin until after the December 2020 Council meeting, PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 11471 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 13553, March 9, 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 13553, March 9, 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 E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1 11472 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 36 / Thursday, February 25, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 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-sideboard limited sectors. Conversely, in fisheries with increasing sideboard limits, economic benefit could be denied to the sideboardlimited 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. Delayed effectiveness of this action would result in confusion for sablefish harvesters and economic harm from unnecessary discard of sablefish that are caught along with Pacific halibut, as both fixed VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Feb 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 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 TAC limits. Therefore, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the date of effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). limits and associated management measures for groundfish during the 2021 and 2022 fishing years and is taken in accordance with the FMP prepared by the Council pursuant to the MagnusonStevens Act. This action directly affects all fishermen who participate in the BSAI fisheries. The specific amounts of 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. Small Entity Compliance Guide Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1540(f); 16 U.S.C. 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. 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 BSAI. This action is necessary to establish harvest PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 Dated: February 17, 2021. Samuel D. Rauch, III Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2021–03564 Filed 2–24–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\25FER1.SGM 25FER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 36 (Thursday, February 25, 2021)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11449-11472]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-03564]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 210217-0022]
RIN 0648-XY116


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands; 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.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications,

[[Page 11450]]

apportionments, and prohibited species catch allowances for the 
groundfish fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management 
area (BSAI). 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 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
Management Area (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 BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

DATES: Harvest specifications and closures are effective from 1200 
hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 25, 2021, through 2400 
hours, A.l.t., December 31, 2022.

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 
implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The 
Council prepared the FMP, and NMFS approved it, under the Magnuson-
Stevens Act. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear 
at 50 CFR part 600.
    The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after 
consultation with the Council, to specify annually the total allowable 
catch (TAC) for each target species category. The sum of all TAC for 
all groundfish species in the BSAI must be within the optimum yield 
(OY) range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see Sec.  
679.20(a)(1)(i)(A)). This final rule specifies the sum of the TAC at 
2.0 million mt for both 2021 and 2022. NMFS also must specify 
apportionments of TAC; prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances and 
prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by Sec.  679.21; 
seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC; 
American Fisheries Act allocations; Amendment 80 allocations; Community 
Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts established by Sec.  
679.20(b)(1)(ii); and acceptable biological catch (ABC) surpluses and 
reserves for CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperative for flathead 
sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The final harvest specifications 
set forth in Tables 1 through 22 of this action satisfy these 
requirements.
    Section 679.20(c)(3)(i) further requires that NMFS consider public 
comment on the proposed harvest specifications and, after consultation 
with the Council, publish final harvest specifications in the Federal 
Register. The proposed 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for the 
groundfish fishery of the BSAI were published in the Federal Register 
on December 3, 2020 (85 FR 78096). Comments were invited and accepted 
through January 4, 2021. As discussed in the Response to Comments 
section below, NMFS received no comments during the public comment 
period for the proposed BSAI groundfish harvest specifications.
    NMFS consulted with the Council on the final 2021 and 2022 harvest 
specifications during the December 2020 Council meeting. After 
considering public comments, as well as biological and socioeconomic 
data that were available at the Council's December meeting, NMFS 
implements in this final rule the final 2021 and 2022 harvest 
specifications as recommended by the Council.

ABC and TAC Harvest Specifications

    The final ABC amounts for Alaska groundfish are based on the best 
available biological information, including projected biomass trends, 
information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised 
technical methods used to calculate stock biomass. In general, the 
development of ABCs and overfishing levels (OFLs) involves 
sophisticated statistical analyses of fish populations. The FMP 
specifies a series of six tiers to define OFL and ABC amounts based on 
the level of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier 
1 represents the highest level of information quality available, while 
Tier 6 represents the lowest.
    In December 2020, the Council, its Scientific and Statistical 
Committee (SSC), and its Advisory Panel (AP) reviewed current 
biological and harvest information about the condition of the BSAI 
groundfish stocks. The Council's BSAI Groundfish Plan Team (Plan Team) 
compiled and presented this information in the 2020 SAFE report for the 
BSAI 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 BSAI ecosystem 
and the economic condition of groundfish fisheries off Alaska. NMFS 
notified the public of the comment period for these harvest 
specifications--and of the publication of the 2020 SAFE report--in the 
notice of proposed harvest specifications. From the data and analyses 
in the SAFE report, the Plan Team recommended an OFL and ABC for each 
species or species group at the November 2020 Plan Team meeting.
    In December 2020, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed the Plan Team's 
recommendations. The final TAC recommendations were based on the ABCs, 
and were adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic 
considerations, including maintaining the sum of all the TACs within 
the required OY range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million mt. As required by 
annual catch limit rules for all fisheries (74 FR 3178, January 16, 
2009), none of the Council's recommended 2021 or 2022 TACs exceed the 
final 2021 or 2022 ABCs for any species or species group. NMFS finds 
that the Council's recommended OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with 
the preferred harvest strategy outlined in the FMP and the biological 
condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 2020 SAFE report 
that was approved by the Council. Therefore, this final rule provides 
notice that the Secretary of Commerce approves the final 2021 and 2022 
harvest specifications as recommended by the Council.
    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 13553, March 9, 2020). The 
2022 harvest specifications herein 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),

[[Page 11451]]

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 BSAI for approximately one year.

Other Actions Affecting the 2021 and 2022 Harvest Specifications

State of Alaska Guideline Harvest Levels

    For 2021 and 2022, the Board of Fisheries (BOF) for the State of 
Alaska (State) established the guideline harvest level (GHL) for 
vessels using pot gear in State waters in the Bering Sea subarea (BS) 
equal to 10 percent of the Pacific cod ABC in the BS. The State's pot 
gear BS GHL will increase one percent annually up to 15 percent of the 
BS ABC, if 90 percent of the GHL is harvested by November 15 of the 
preceding year. If 90 percent of the 2021 BS GHL is not harvested by 
November 15, 2021, then the 2022 BS GHL will remain at the same percent 
as the 2021 BS GHL (10 percent). If 90 percent of the 2021 BS GHL is 
harvested by November 15, 2021, then the 2022 BS GHL will increase by 
one percent and the 2022 BS TAC will be set to account for the 
increased BS GHL. Also, for 2021 and 2022, the BOF established an 
additional GHL for vessels using jig gear in State waters in the BS 
equal to 45 mt of Pacific cod in the BS. The Council and its Plan Team, 
SSC, and AP recommended that the sum of all State and Federal water 
Pacific cod removals from the BS not exceed the ABC recommendations for 
Pacific cod in the BS. Accordingly, the Council recommended, and NMFS 
approves, that the 2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs in the BS account for 
the State's GHLs for Pacific cod caught in State waters in the BS.
    For 2021 and 2022, the BOF for the State established the GHL in 
State waters in the Aleutian Islands subarea (AI) equal to 39 percent 
of the AI ABC. The AI GHL will increase annually by 4 percent of the AI 
ABC, if 90 percent of the GHL is harvested by November 15 of the 
preceding year, but may not exceed 39 percent of the AI ABC or 15 
million pounds (6,804 mt). For 2021, 39 percent of the AI ABC is 8,034 
mt, which exceeds the AI GHL limit of 6,804 mt. The Council and its 
Plan Team, SSC, and AP recommended that the sum of all State and 
Federal water Pacific cod removals from the AI not exceed the ABC 
recommendations for Pacific cod in the AI. Accordingly, the Council 
recommended, and NMFS approves, that the 2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs 
in the AI account for the State's GHL of 6,804 mt for Pacific cod 
caught in State waters in the AI.

Amendment 121 to the FMP: Reclassify Sculpins as an Ecosystem Component 
Species

    On July 10, 2020, NMFS published the final rule to implement 
Amendment 121 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 OFL, ABC, and TAC 
for sculpins in the BSAI groundfish harvest specifications, beginning 
with the 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications.

Changes From the Proposed 2021 and 2022 Harvest Specifications for the 
BSAI

    The Council's recommendations for the proposed 2021 and 2022 
harvest specifications (85 FR 78096, December 3, 2020) were based 
largely on information contained in the 2019 SAFE report for the BSAI 
groundfish fisheries. Through the proposed harvest specifications, NMFS 
notified the public that these harvest specifications could change, as 
the Council would consider information contained in the 2020 SAFE 
report; recommendations from the Plan Team, SSC, and AP; and public 
comments when making its recommendations for final harvest 
specifications at the December 2020 Council meeting. NMFS further 
notified the public that, as required by the FMP and its implementing 
regulations, the sum of the TACs must be within the OY range of 1.4 
million and 2.0 million mt.
    Information contained in the 2020 SAFE report indicates biomass 
changes from the 2019 SAFE report for several groundfish species. The 
2020 report was made available for public review during the public 
comment period for the proposed harvest specifications. At the December 
2020 Council meeting, the SSC recommended the 2021 and 2022 OFLs and 
ABCs based on the best and most recent information contained in the 
2020 SAFE report. The SSC recommended slight model adjustments for 
Eastern BS pollock, but accepted Plan Team recommendations for all 
other species, except for BS Pacific cod and sablefish. The SSC's 
recommendation resulted in an ABC sum total for all BSAI groundfish 
species in excess of 2.0 million mt for both 2021 and 2022.

Revisions to the Sablefish Apportionment of the ABC

    The Alaska-wide sablefish ABC is apportioned between six areas 
within the BSAI and Gulf of Alaska (BS, AI, 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, to the extent practical, moving away from the fixed 
apportionment to the true distribution of the stock would be preferred 
from a biological perspective. 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 AI 
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). In 
addition, the final 2021 TACs for the BS and AI areas both increased 
relative to the proposed 2021 TACs, in part due to the change in 
apportionment methodology.
    Based on decreased fishing effort in 2020, the Council recommends 
final BS pollock TACs decrease by 75,000 mt in 2021 and 50,000 mt in 
2022 compared to the proposed 2021 and 2022 BS pollock TACs. In terms 
of weight, the largest increases in final 2021 TACs relative to the 
proposed 2021 TACs include BS Pacific cod and BSAI yellowfin sole. For 
Pacific cod, the 2021 TAC increase is in response to the increase in 
the 2021 ABC and the Council's recommendation of the highest TAC after 
accounting for the State's GHL. For yellowfin sole, the increase is in 
response to the

[[Page 11452]]

anticipated larger directed fisheries based on anticipated market 
demand. Other increases in the final 2021 TACs relative to the proposed 
2021 TACs include Bogoslof pollock, AI Greenland turbot, AI ``other 
rockfish,'' AI sablefish, BS sablefish, BSAI arrowtooth flounder, BSAI 
Kamchatka flounder, BSAI rock sole, BSAI flathead sole, BSAI Alaska 
plaice, BSAI ``other flatfish,'' Western Aleutian Islands (WAI) Pacific 
ocean perch, BSAI northern rockfish, Bering Sea and Eastern Aleutian 
Islands (BS/EAI) blackspotted/rougheye rockfish, BSAI shortraker 
rockfish, Eastern Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea (EAI/BS) Atka 
mackerel, WAI Atka mackerel, Central Aleutian Islands (CAI) Atka 
mackerel, and BSAI skates. The 2021 increases account for higher 
interest in directed fishing or higher anticipated incidental catch 
needs.
    Decreases in final 2021 TACs compared to the proposed 2021 TACs 
include BS pollock, BS Pacific ocean perch, CAI Pacific ocean perch, 
EAI Pacific ocean perch, Central Aleutian Islands/Western Aleutian 
Islands (CAI/WAI) blackspotted and rougheye rockfish, and BS ``other 
rockfish.'' The decreases are for anticipated lower incidental catch 
needs of these species and lower ABCs relative to 2020. The changes to 
TACs between the proposed and final harvest specifications are based on 
the most recent scientific and socioeconomic information and are 
consistent with the FMP, regulatory obligations, and harvest strategy 
as described in the proposed and final harvest specifications, 
including the upper limit for OY of 2.0 million mt. These changes are 
compared in Table 1A.
    Table 1 lists the Council's recommended final 2021 OFL, ABC, TAC, 
initial TAC (ITAC), CDQ reserve allocations, and non-specified reserves 
of the BSAI groundfish species or species groups; and Table 2 lists the 
Council's recommended final 2022 OFL, ABC, TAC, ITAC, CDQ reserve 
allocations, and non-specified reserves of the BSAI groundfish species 
or species groups. NMFS concurs in these recommendations. These final 
2021 and 2022 TAC amounts for the BSAI are within the OY range 
established for the BSAI and do not exceed the ABC for any species or 
species group. The apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and 
seasons is discussed below.

Table 1--Final 2021 Overfishing Level (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC), Total Allowable Catch (TAC), Initial TAC (ITAC), CDQ Reserve Allocation,
                                                 and Non-Specified Reserve of Groundfish in the BSAI \1\
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                       2021
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Species                       Area                                                                                            Nonspecified
                                                                OFL             ABC             TAC          ITAC \2\         CDQ \3\        reserves
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \4\.....................  BS....................       2,594,000       1,626,000       1,375,000       1,237,500         137,500  ..............
                                  AI....................          61,856          51,241          19,000          17,100           1,900  ..............
                                  Bogoslof..............         113,479          85,109             250             250  ..............  ..............
Pacific cod \5\.................  BS....................         147,949         123,805         111,380          99,462          11,918  ..............
                                  AI....................          27,400          20,600          13,796          12,320           1,476  ..............
Sablefish \6\...................  Alaska-wide...........          60,426          29,588             n/a             n/a             n/a  ..............
                                  BS....................             n/a           3,396           3,396           2,802             467             127
                                  AI....................             n/a           4,717           4,717           3,833             796              88
Yellowfin sole..................  BSAI..................         341,571         313,477         200,000         178,600          21,400  ..............
Greenland turbot................  BSAI..................           8,568           7,326           6,025           5,121             n/a  ..............
                                  BS....................             n/a           6,176           5,125           4,356             548             220
                                  AI....................             n/a           1,150             900             765  ..............             135
Arrowtooth flounder.............  BSAI..................          90,873          77,349          15,000          12,750           1,605             645
Kamchatka flounder..............  BSAI..................          10,630           8,982           8,982           7,635  ..............           1,347
Rock sole \7\...................  BSAI..................         145,180         140,306          54,500          48,669           5,832  ..............
Flathead sole \8\...............  BSAI..................          75,863          62,567          25,000          22,325           2,675  ..............
Alaska plaice...................  BSAI..................          37,924          31,657          24,500          20,825  ..............           3,675
Other flatfish \9\..............  BSAI..................          22,919          17,189           6,500           5,525  ..............             975
Pacific ocean perch.............  BSAI..................          44,376          37,173          35,899          31,594             n/a  ..............
                                  BS....................             n/a          10,782          10,782           9,165  ..............           1,617
                                  EAI...................             n/a           8,419           8,419           7,518             901  ..............
                                  CAI...................             n/a           6,198           6,198           5,535             663  ..............
                                  WAI...................             n/a          11,774          10,500           9,377           1,124  ..............
Northern rockfish...............  BSAI..................          18,917          15,557          13,000          11,050  ..............           1,950
Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish    BSAI..................             576             482             482             410  ..............              72
 \10\.
                                  BS/EAI................             n/a             313             313             266  ..............              47
                                  CAI/WAI...............             n/a             169             169             144  ..............              25
Shortraker rockfish.............  BSAI..................             722             541             500             425  ..............              75
Other rockfish \11\.............  BSAI..................           1,751           1,313             916             779  ..............             137
                                  BS....................             n/a             919             522             444  ..............              78
                                  AI....................             n/a             394             394             335  ..............              59
Atka mackerel...................  BSAI..................          85,580          73,590          62,257          55,596           6,661  ..............
                                  BS/EAI................             n/a          25,760          25,760          23,004           2,756  ..............
                                  CAI...................             n/a          15,450          15,450          13,797           1,653  ..............
                                  WAI...................             n/a          32,380          21,047          18,795           2,252  ..............
Skates..........................  BSAI..................          49,297          41,257          18,000          15,300  ..............           2,700
Sharks..........................  BSAI..................             689             517             200             170  ..............              30
Octopuses.......................  BSAI..................           4,769           3,576             700             595  ..............             105
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 11453]]

 
    Total.......................                               3,945,315       2,747,727       2,000,000       1,790,634         195,466          13,900
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these
  harvest specifications, BS includes the Bogoslof District.
\2\ Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, yellowfin
  sole, rock sole, flathead sole, Pacific cod, and AI Pacific ocean perch), 15 percent of each TAC is put into a non-specified reserve. The ITAC for
  these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species, ITAC is the non-CDQ
  allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 4).
\3\ For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and AI Pacific ocean perch), 10.7 percent of the
  TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-
  and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for BS Greenland turbot and
  arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). AI Greenland turbot, ``other flatfish,'' Alaska
  plaice, BS Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, blackspotted/rougheye rockfish, Kamchatka flounder, ``other rockfish,''
  skates, sharks, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program.
\4\ Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual BS pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second
  for the incidental catch allowance (4 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: Inshore--50 percent; catcher/
  processor--40 percent; and motherships--10 percent. Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the
  CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,500 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a
  pollock directed fishery.
\5\ The BS Pacific cod TAC is set to account for the 10 percent, plus 45 mt, of the BS ABC for the State of Alaska's (State) guideline harvest level in
  State waters of the BS. The AI Pacific cod TAC is set to account for 39 percent of the AI ABC for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of
  the AI, except 39 percent of the AI ABC exceeds the State guideline harvest level of 15 million pounds (6,804 mt), in which case the TAC is set to
  account for the State guideline harvest level of 6,804 mt.
\6\ The sablefish OFL and ABC is Alaska-wide and includes the Gulf of Alaska.
\7\ ``Rock sole'' includes Lepidopsetta polyxystra (Northern rock sole) and L. bilineata (Southern rock sole).
\8\ ``Flathead sole'' includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and H. robustus (Bering flounder).
\9\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), Alaska plaice, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole,
  Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole.
\10\ ``Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish'' includes Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted) and S. aleutianus (rougheye).
\11\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for dark rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, blackspotted/
  rougheye rockfish, and shortraker rockfish.
Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   679.2 (BSAI=Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area, BS=Bering Sea subarea,
  AI=Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI=Eastern Aleutian district, CAI=Central Aleutian district, WAI=Western Aleutian district).


                                            Table 1A--Comparison of Final 2021 and 2022 With Proposed 2021 and 2022 Total Allowable Catch in the BSAI
                                                                                  [Amounts are in metric tons]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                             2021                                                      2022
                                                                               2021 final      2021          2021         percentage     2022 final      2022          2022         percentage
                   Species                                Area \1\                TAC        proposed     difference      difference        TAC        proposed     difference      difference
                                                                                               TAC      from  proposed  from  proposed                   TAC      from  proposed  from  proposed
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock......................................  BS...........................    1,375,000    1,450,000        (75,000)           (5.2)    1,400,000    1,450,000        (50,000)           (3.4)
                                               AI...........................       19,000       19,000  ..............  ..............       19,000       19,000  ..............  ..............
                                               Bogoslof.....................          250           75             175           233.3          100           75              25            33.3
Pacific cod..................................  BS...........................      111,380       92,633          18,747            20.2       95,053       92,633           2,420             2.6
                                               AI...........................       13,796       13,796  ..............  ..............       13,796       13,796  ..............  ..............
Sablefish....................................  BS...........................        3,396        2,865             531            18.5        4,863        2,865           1,998            69.7
                                               AI...........................        4,717        2,500           2,217            88.7        5,061        2,500           2,561           102.4
Yellowfin sole...............................  BSAI.........................      200,000      168,900          31,100            18.4      200,000      168,900          31,100            18.4
Greenland turbot.............................  BS...........................        5,125        5,125  ..............  ..............        5,125        5,125  ..............  ..............
                                               AI...........................          900          670             230            34.3          900          670             230            34.3
Arrowtooth flounder..........................  BSAI.........................       15,000       10,000           5,000            50.0       15,000       10,000           5,000            50.0
Kamchatka flounder...........................  BSAI.........................        8,982        7,116           1,866            26.2        8,982        7,116           1,866            26.2
Rock sole....................................  BSAI.........................       54,500       49,000           5,500            11.2       54,500       49,000           5,500            11.2
Flathead sole................................  BSAI.........................       25,000       24,000           1,000             4.2       25,000       24,000           1,000             4.2
Alaska plaice................................  BSAI.........................       24,500       24,000             500             2.1       22,500       24,000         (1,500)           (6.3)
Other flatfish...............................  BSAI.........................        6,500        5,000           1,500            30.0        6,500        5,000           1,500            30.0
Pacific ocean perch..........................  BS...........................       10,782       13,600         (2,818)          (20.7)       10,298       13,600         (3,302)          (24.3)
                                               EAI..........................        8,419       10,619         (2,200)          (20.7)        8,041       10,619         (2,578)          (24.3)
                                               CAI..........................        6,198        7,817         (1,619)          (20.7)        5,919        7,817         (1,898)          (24.3)
                                               WAI..........................       10,500       10,000             500             5.0       10,500       10,000             500             5.0
Northern rockfish............................  BSAI.........................       13,000       10,000           3,000            30.0       13,000       10,000           3,000            30.0
Blackspotted and Rougheye rockfish...........  BS/EAI.......................          313          100             213           213.0          150          100              50            50.0
                                               CAI/WAI......................          169          339           (170)          (50.1)          176          339           (163)          (48.1)
Shortraker rockfish..........................  BSAI.........................          500          375             125            33.3          225          375           (150)          (40.0)
Other rockfish...............................  BS...........................          522          700           (178)          (25.4)          300          700           (400)          (57.1)
                                               AI...........................          394          388               6             1.5          394          388               6             1.5
Atka mackerel................................  EAI/BS.......................       25,760       22,540           3,220            14.3       23,880       22,540           1,340             5.9
                                               CAI..........................       15,450       13,524           1,926            14.2       14,330       13,524             806             6.0

[[Page 11454]]

 
                                               WAI..........................       21,047       18,418           2,629            14.3       19,507       18,418           1,089             5.9
Skates.......................................  BSAI.........................       18,000       16,000           2,000            12.5       16,000       16,000  ..............  ..............
Sharks.......................................  BSAI.........................          200          200  ..............  ..............          200          200  ..............  ..............
Octopuses....................................  BSAI.........................          700          700  ..............  ..............          700          700  ..............  ..............
                                                                             -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total....................................  BSAI.........................    2,000,000    2,000,000  ..............  ..............    2,000,000    2,000,000  ..............  ..............
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Bering Sea subarea (BS), Aleutian Islands subarea (AI), Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI), Eastern Aleutian District (EAI), Central Aleutian District (CAI), and
  Western Aleutian District (WAI).


Table 2--Final 2022 Overfishing Level (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC), Total Allowable Catch (TAC), Initial TAC (ITAC), CDQ Reserve Allocation,
                                                and Non-Specified Reserves of Groundfish in the BSAI \1\
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                       2022
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Species                       Area                                                                                            Non-specified
                                                                OFL             ABC             TAC          ITAC \2\         CDQ \3\        Reserves
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollock \4\.....................  BS....................       2,366,000       1,484,000       1,400,000       1,260,000         140,000  ..............
                                  AI....................          61,308          50,789          19,000          17,100           1,900  ..............
                                  Bogoslof..............         113,479          85,109             100             100  ..............  ..............
Pacific cod \5\.................  BS....................         128,340         106,852          95,053          84,882          10,171  ..............
                                  AI....................          27,400          20,600          13,796          12,320           1,476  ..............
Sablefish \6\...................  Alaska-wide...........          70,710          36,955             n/a             n/a             n/a  ..............
                                  BS....................             n/a           4,863           4,863           2,067             182           2,614
                                  AI....................             n/a           6,860           5,061           1,075              95           3,891
Yellowfin sole..................  BSAI..................         374,982         344,140         200,000         178,600          21,400  ..............
Greenland turbot................  BSAI..................           7,181           6,139           6,025           5,121             n/a  ..............
                                  BS....................             n/a           5,175           5,125           4,356             548             220
                                  AI....................             n/a             964             900             765  ..............             135
Arrowtooth flounder.............  BSAI..................          94,368          80,323          15,000          12,750           1,605             645
Kamchatka flounder..............  BSAI..................          10,843           9,163           8,982           7,635  ..............           1,347
Rock sole \7\...................  BSAI..................         213,783         206,605          54,500          48,669           5,832  ..............
Flathead sole \8\...............  BSAI..................          77,763          64,119          25,000          22,325           2,675  ..............
Alaska plaice...................  BSAI..................          36,928          30,815          22,500          19,125  ..............           3,375
Other flatfish \9\..............  BSAI..................          22,919          17,189           6,500           5,525  ..............             975
Pacific ocean perch.............  BSAI..................          42,384          35,503          34,758          30,596             n/a  ..............
                                  BS....................             n/a          10,298          10,298           8,753  ..............           1,545
                                  EAI...................             n/a           8,041           8,041           7,181             860  ..............
                                  CAI...................             n/a           5,919           5,919           5,286             633  ..............
                                  WAI...................             n/a          11,245          10,500           9,377           1,124  ..............
Northern rockfish...............  BSAI..................          18,221          14,984          13,000          11,050  ..............           1,950
Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish    BSAI..................             595             500             326             277  ..............              49
 \10\.
                                  BS/EAI................             n/a             324             150             128  ..............              23
                                  CAI/WAI...............             n/a             176             176             150  ..............              26
Shortraker rockfish.............  BSAI..................             722             541             225             191  ..............              34
Other rockfish \11\.............  BSAI..................           1,751           1,313             694             590  ..............             104
                                  BS....................             n/a             919             300             255  ..............              45
                                  AI....................             n/a             394             394             335  ..............              59
Atka mackerel...................  BSAI..................          79,660          68,220          57,717          51,541           6,176  ..............
                                  EAI/BS................             n/a          23,880          23,880          21,325           2,555  ..............
                                  CAI...................             n/a          14,330          14,330          12,797           1,533  ..............
                                  WAI...................             n/a          30,010          19,507          17,420           2,087  ..............
Skates..........................  BSAI..................          47,372          39,598          16,000          13,600  ..............           2,400
Sharks..........................  BSAI..................             689             517             200             170  ..............              30
Octopuses.......................  BSAI..................           4,769           3,576             700             595  ..............             105
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................                               3,802,167       2,682,318       2,000,000       1,785,904         194,677          19,419
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these
  harvest specifications, the BS includes the Bogoslof District.
\2\ Except for pollock, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead
  sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and AI Pacific ocean perch), 15 percent of each TAC is put into a non-specified reserve. The ITAC for
  these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. For pollock and Amendment 80 species, ITAC is the non-CDQ
  allocation of TAC (see footnotes 3 and 4).

[[Page 11455]]

 
\3\ For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and AI Pacific ocean perch), 10.7 percent of the
  TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-
  and-line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for BS Greenland turbot and
  arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). The 2022 hook-and-line or pot gear portion of
  the sablefish ITAC and CDQ reserve will not be specified until the final 2022 and 2023 harvest specifications. AI Greenland turbot, ``other
  flatfish,'' Alaska plaice, BS Pacific ocean perch, Kamchatka flounder, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, blackspotted/rougheye rockfish, ``other
  rockfish,'' skates, sharks, and octopuses are not allocated to the CDQ program.
\4\ Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual BS pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second
  for the incidental catch allowance (4 percent), is further allocated by sector for a pollock directed fishery as follows: Inshore--50 percent; catcher/
  processor--40 percent; and motherships--10 percent. Under Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the
  CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (2,500 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a
  pollock directed fishery.
\5\ Assuming an increase in the 2022 guideline harvest level based on the actual 2021 harvest, the 2022 BS Pacific cod TAC is set to account for the 11
  percent, plus 45 mt, of the BS ABC for the State of Alaska's (State) guideline harvest level in State waters of the BS. The 2022 AI Pacific cod TAC is
  set to account for 39 percent of the AI ABC for the State guideline harvest level in State waters of the AI, except 39 percent of the AI ABC exceeds
  the State guideline harvest level of 15 million pounds (6,804 mt), in which case the TAC is set to account for the State guideline harvest level of
  6,804 mt.
\6\ The sablefish OFL and ABC is Alaska-wide and includes the Gulf of Alaska.
\7\ ``Rock sole'' includes Lepidopsetta polyxystra (Northern rock sole) and L. bilineata (Southern rock sole).
\8\ ``Flathead sole'' includes Hippoglossoides elassodon (flathead sole) and H. robustus (Bering flounder).
\9\ ``Other flatfish'' includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), Alaska plaice, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole,
  Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and yellowfin sole.
\10\ ``Blackspotted/Rougheye rockfish'' includes Sebastes melanostictus (blackspotted) and S. aleutianus (rougheye).
\11\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for dark rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, blackspotted/
  rougheye rockfish, and shortraker rockfish.
Note: Regulatory areas and districts are defined at Sec.   679.2 (BSAI = Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area, BS = Bering Sea subarea, AI =
  Aleutian Islands subarea, EAI = Eastern Aleutian district, CAI = Central Aleutian district, WAI = Western Aleu tian district).

Groundfish Reserves and the Incidental Catch Allowance (ICA) for 
Pollock, Atka Mackerel, Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, Yellowfin Sole, and 
AI Pacific Ocean Perch

    Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) requires that NMFS reserve 15 percent of 
the TAC for each target species (except for pollock, hook-and-line and 
pot gear allocation of sablefish, and Amendment 80 species) in a non-
specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires that NMFS 
allocate 20 percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of 
sablefish to the fixed-gear sablefish CDQ reserve for each subarea. 
Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires that NMFS allocate 7.5 percent of 
the trawl gear allocations of sablefish in the BS and AI and 10.7 
percent of the BS Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder TACs to the 
respective CDQ reserves. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) requires that NMFS 
allocate 10.7 percent of the TACs for Atka mackerel, AI Pacific ocean 
perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod to the 
respective CDQ reserves. Sections 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) and 679.31(a) also 
require that 10 percent of the BS pollock TAC be allocated to the 
pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). Sections 
679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and 679.31(a) require that 10 percent of the 
AI pollock TAC be allocated to the pollock CDQ DFA. The entire Bogoslof 
District pollock TAC is allocated as an ICA pursuant to Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(ii) because the Bogoslof District is closed to directed 
fishing for pollock by regulation (Sec.  679.22(a)(7)(B)). With the 
exception of the hook-and-line or pot gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the 
regulations do not further apportion the CDQ allocations by gear.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS allocates a pollock 
ICA of 4 percent of the BS pollock TAC after subtracting the 10 percent 
CDQ DFA. This allowance is based on NMFS's examination of the pollock 
incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in 
target fisheries other than pollock from 2000 through 2020. During this 
21-year period, the pollock incidental catch ranged from a low of 2.2 
percent in 2006 to a high of 4.6 percent in 2014, with a 21-year 
average of 3 percent. Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and 
(ii), NMFS establishes a pollock ICA of 2,500 mt of the AI pollock TAC 
after subtracting the 10 percent CDQ DFA. This allowance is based on 
NMFS's examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the 
incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock 
from 2003 through 2020. During this 18-year period, the incidental 
catch of pollock ranged from a low of 5 percent in 2006 to a high of 17 
percent in 2014, with an 18-year average of 9 percent.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS allocates ICAs of 
3,000 mt of flathead sole, 6,000 mt of rock sole, 4,000 mt of yellowfin 
sole, 10 mt of WAI Pacific ocean perch, 60 mt of CAI Pacific ocean 
perch, 100 mt of EAI Pacific ocean perch, 20 mt of WAI Atka mackerel, 
75 mt of CAI Atka mackerel, and 800 mt of EAI and BS Atka mackerel TAC 
after subtracting the 10.7 percent CDQ reserve. These ICA allowances 
are based on NMFS's examination of the incidental catch in other target 
fisheries from 2003 through 2020.
    The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified 
reserve by species or species group. Any amount of the reserve may be 
apportioned to a target species that contributed to the non-specified 
reserves during the year, provided that such apportionments are 
consistent with Sec.  679.20(a)(3) and do not result in overfishing 
(see Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(i)). The Regional Administrator has determined 
that the ITACs specified for certain species listed in Tables 1 and 2 
need to be supplemented from the non-specified reserve because U.S. 
fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch the full TAC 
allocations. Therefore, in accordance with Sec.  679.20(b), NMFS is 
apportioning the amounts shown in Table 3 from the non-specified 
reserve to increase the ITAC for AI ``other rockfish'' by 15 percent of 
the ``other rockfish'' TAC in 2021 and 2022.

[[Page 11456]]



                                 Table 3--Final 2021 and 2022 Apportionment of Non-Specified Reserves to ITAC Categories
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                           2021 reserve                                    2022 reserve
                 Species-area or subarea                     2021 ITAC        amount      2021 final TAC     2022 ITAC        amount      2022 final TAC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other rockfish-Aleutian Islands subarea.................             335              59             394             335              59             394
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................................             335              59             394             335              59             394
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Allocation of Pollock TAC Under the American Fisheries Act (AFA)

    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that the BS pollock TAC be 
apportioned as a DFA, after subtracting 10 percent for the CDQ program 
and 4 percent for the ICA, as follows: 50 percent to the inshore 
sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor (CP) sector, and 10 percent 
to the mothership sector. In the BS, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated 
to the A season (January 20-June 10), and 55 percent of the DFA is 
allocated to the B season (June 10-November 1) (Sec. Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(i)(B)(1) and 679.23(e)(2)). The AI directed pollock 
fishery allocation to the Aleut Corporation is the amount of pollock 
TAC remaining in the AI after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 
percent) and 2,500 mt for the ICA (Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)). In 
the AI, the total A season apportionment of the TAC (including the AI 
directed fishery allocation, the CDQ DFA, and the ICA) may equal up to 
40 percent of the ABC for AI pollock, and the remainder of the TAC is 
allocated to the B season (Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(3)). Tables 4 and 
5 list these 2021 and 2022 amounts.
    Section 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6) sets harvest limits for pollock in 
the A season (January 20 to June 10) in Areas 543, 542, and 541. In 
Area 543, the A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 5 percent 
of the AI pollock ABC. In Area 542, the A season pollock harvest limit 
is no more than 15 percent of the AI pollock ABC. In Area 541, the A 
season pollock harvest limit is no more than 30 percent of the AI 
pollock ABC.
    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific 
requirements regarding BS pollock allocations. First, it requires that 
8.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the CP sector be available for 
harvest by AFA catcher vessels (CVs) with CP sector endorsements, 
unless the Regional Administrator receives a cooperative contract that 
allows for the distribution of harvest among AFA CPs and AFA CVs in a 
manner agreed to by all members. Second, AFA CPs not listed in the AFA 
are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the pollock 
allocated to the CP sector. Tables 4 and 5 list the 2021 and 2022 
allocations of pollock TAC. Table 20 lists the AFA CP prohibited 
species sideboard limits, and Tables 21 and 22 list the AFA CV 
groundfish and prohibited species sideboard limits. The tables for the 
pollock allocations to the BS inshore pollock cooperatives and open 
access sector will be posted on the Alaska Region website at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/alaska/sustainable-fisheries/alaska-groundfish-fisheries-management.
    Tables 4 and 5 also list seasonal apportionments of pollock and 
harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The 
harvest of pollock within the SCA, as defined at Sec.  
679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to no more than 28 percent of the annual 
pollock DFA before 12:00 noon, April 1, as provided in Sec.  
679.20(a)(5)(i)(C). The A season pollock SCA harvest limit will be 
apportioned to each sector in proportion to each sector's allocated 
percentage of the DFA.

    Table 4--Final 2021 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed
                                          Fishing Allowances (DFA) \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         2021 A season \1\        2021 B  season
                                                       2021      --------------------------------       \1\
                 Area and sector                    Allocations                     SCA harvest  ---------------
                                                                   A season DFA      limit \2\     B season DFA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea subarea TAC \1\......................       1,375,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................         137,500          61,875          38,500          75,625
ICA \1\.........................................          49,500             n/a             n/a             n/a
Total Bering Sea non-CDQ DFA....................       1,188,000         534,600         332,640         653,400
AFA Inshore.....................................         594,000         267,300         166,320         326,700
AFA Catcher/Processors \3\......................         475,200         213,840         133,056         261,360
    Catch by CPs................................         434,808         195,664             n/a         239,144
    Catch by CVs \3\............................          40,392          18,176             n/a          22,216
    Unlisted CP Limit \4\.......................           2,376           1,069             n/a           1,307
AFA Motherships.................................         118,800          53,460          33,264          65,340
Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\..................         207,900             n/a             n/a             n/a
Excessive Processing Limit \6\..................         356,400             n/a             n/a             n/a
AI subarea ABC..................................          51,241             n/a             n/a             n/a
AI subarea TAC \1\..............................          19,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................           1,900           1,900             n/a  ..............
ICA.............................................           2,500           1,250             n/a           1,250
Aleut Corporation...............................          14,600          14,600             n/a  ..............
Area harvest limit \7\..........................             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a
    541.........................................          15,372             n/a             n/a             n/a
    542.........................................           7,686             n/a             n/a             n/a
    543.........................................           2,562             n/a             n/a             n/a

[[Page 11457]]

 
Bogoslof District ICA \8\.......................             250             n/a             n/a             n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the Bering Sea (BS) subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting the CDQ
  DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector--50 percent,
  catcher/processor sector (CP)--40 percent, and mothership sector--10 percent. In the BS subarea, 45 percent of
  the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B
  season (June 10-November 1). Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) through (iii), the annual AI
  subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second for the ICA (2,500 mt),
  is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is
  allocated up to 40 percent of the AI pollock ABC.
\2\ In the BS subarea, pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(C), no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual
  DFA may be taken from the SCA before noon, April 1.
\3\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed CPs shall be available
  for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels with a CP endorsement delivering to listed CPs, unless there is a
  CP sector cooperative for the year.
\4\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting
  not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processor sector's allocation of pollock.
\5\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\6\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\7\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in
  Area 541 of no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 of no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 of no more than 5
  percent of the AI pollock ABC.
\8\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.22(a)(7)(B), the Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock. The
  amounts specified are for incidental catch only and are not apportioned by season or sector.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


    Table 5--Final 2022 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed
                                          Fishing Allowances (DFA) \1\
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         2022 A season \1\        2022 B  season
                                                       2022      --------------------------------       \1\
                 Area and sector                    Allocations                     SCA harvest  ---------------
                                                                   A season DFA      limit \2\     B season DFA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea subarea TAC \1\......................       1,400,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................         140,000          63,000          39,200          77,000
ICA \1\.........................................          50,400             n/a             n/a             n/a
Total Bering Sea non-CDQ DFA....................       1,209,600         544,320         338,688         665,280
AFA Inshore.....................................         604,800         272,160         169,344         332,640
AFA Catcher/Processors \3\......................         483,840         217,728         135,475         266,112
    Catch by CPs................................         442,714         199,221             n/a         243,492
    Catch by CVs \3\............................          41,126          18,507             n/a          22,620
    Unlisted CP Limit \4\.......................           2,419           1,089             n/a           1,331
AFA Motherships.................................         120,960          54,432          33,869          66,528
Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\..................         211,680             n/a             n/a             n/a
Excessive Processing Limit \6\..................         362,880             n/a             n/a             n/a
AI subarea ABC..................................          50,789             n/a             n/a             n/a
AI subarea TAC \1\..............................          19,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................           1,900           1,900             n/a  ..............
ICA.............................................           2,500           1,250             n/a           1,250
Aleut Corporation...............................          14,600          14,600             n/a  ..............
Area harvest limit \7\..........................             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a
    541.........................................          15,237             n/a             n/a             n/a
    542.........................................           7,618             n/a             n/a             n/a
    543.........................................           2,539             n/a             n/a             n/a
Bogoslof District ICA \8\.......................             100             n/a             n/a             n/a
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the Bering Sea (BS) subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting the CDQ
  DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector--50 percent,
  catcher/processor sector (CP)--40 percent, and mothership sector--10 percent. In the BS subarea, 45 percent of
  the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B
  season (June 10-November 1). Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) through (iii), the annual AI
  subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second for the ICA (2,500 mt),
  is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is
  allocated up to 40 percent of the AI pollock ABC.
\2\ In the BS subarea, pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(C), no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual
  DFA may be taken from the SCA before noon, April 1.
\3\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed CPs shall be available
  for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels with a CP endorsement delivering to listed CPs, unless there is a
  CP sector cooperative for the year.
\4\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting
  not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processor sector's allocation of pollock.
\5\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.

[[Page 11458]]

 
\6\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0
  percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs.
\7\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in
  Area 541 of no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 of no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 of no more than 5
  percent of the AI pollock ABC.
\8\ Pursuant to Sec.   679.22(a)(7)(B), the Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock. The
  amounts specified are for incidental catch only and are not apportioned by season or sector.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TACs

    Section 679.20(a)(8) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs to the 
Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors, after subtracting 
the CDQ reserves, ICAs for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and 
non-trawl gear sector, and the jig gear allocation (Tables 6 and 7). 
The percentage of the ITAC for Atka mackerel allocated to the Amendment 
80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is listed in Table 33 to 50 
CFR part 679 and in Sec.  679.91. Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8)(i), up 
to 2 percent of the EAI and the BS Atka mackerel TAC may be allocated 
to vessels using jig gear. The percent of this allocation is 
recommended annually by the Council based on several criteria, 
including, among other criteria, the anticipated harvest capacity of 
the jig gear fleet. The Council recommended, and NMFS approves, a 0.5 
percent allocation of the Atka mackerel ITAC in the EAI and BS to the 
jig gear sector in 2021 and 2022.
    Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel TAC into 
two equal seasonal allowances. Section 679.23(e)(3) sets the first 
seasonal allowance for directed fishing with trawl gear from January 20 
through June 10 (A season), and the second seasonal allowance from June 
10 through December 31 (B season). Section 679.23(e)(4)(iii) applies 
Atka mackerel seasons to CDQ Atka mackerel trawl fishing. The ICAs and 
jig gear allocations are not apportioned by season.
    Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) and (ii) limits Atka mackerel 
catch within waters 0 nmi to 20 nmi of Steller sea lion sites listed in 
Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located west of 178[deg] W longitude to 
no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543, and 
equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined 
at Sec.  679.23(e)(3). Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires that the 
annual TAC in Area 543 will be no more than 65 percent of the ABC in 
Area 543. Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(D) requires that any unharvested 
Atka mackerel A season allowance that is added to the B season be 
prohibited from being harvested within waters 0 nmi to 20 nmi of 
Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to 50 CFR part 679 and located 
in Areas 541, 542, and 543.
    Tables 6 and 7 list these 2021 and 2022 Atka mackerel seasonal and 
area allowances, and the sector allocations. One Amendment 80 
cooperative has formed for the 2021 fishing year. Because all Amendment 
80 vessels are part of the sole Amendment 80 cooperative, no allocation 
to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required for 2021. The 
2022 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives 
and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until 
eligible participants apply for participation in the program by 
November 1, 2021.

 Table 6--Final 2021 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch Allowance, and
                             Amendment 80 Allocations of the BSAI ATKA Mackerel TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         2021 allocation by area
                                                        --------------------------------------------------------
            Sector \1\                 Season 2 3 4       Eastern Aleutian
                                                          district/Bering    Central Aleutian   Western Aleutian
                                                                Sea            district \5\         district
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC..............................  n/a.................             25,760             15,450             21,047
CDQ reserve......................  Total...............              2,756              1,653              2,252
                                   A...................              1,378                827              1,126
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                496                676
                                   B...................              1,378                827              1,126
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                496                676
Non-CDQ TAC......................  n/a.................             23,004             13,797             18,795
ICA..............................  Total...............                800                 75                 20
Jig \6\..........................  Total...............                111  .................  .................
BSAI trawl limited access........  Total...............              2,209              1,372  .................
                                   A...................              1,105                686  .................
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                412  .................
                                   B...................              1,105                686  .................
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                412  .................
Amendment 80 sector..............  Total...............             19,883             12,350             18,775
                                   A...................              9,942              6,175              9,387
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a              3,705              5,632
                                   B...................              9,942              6,175              9,387
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a              3,705              5,632
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, ICAs, and jig
  gear allocation, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for
  Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR
  part 679 and Sec.   679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.
  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31).
\2\ Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel
  fishery.
\3\ The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season.
\4\ Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from
  January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31.

[[Page 11459]]

 
\5\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to
  be caught inside of Steller sea lion critical habitat; section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the
  annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at Sec.   679.23(e)(3); and section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2)
  requires that the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC in Area 543.
\6\ Sections 679.2 and 679.20(a)(8)(i) require that up to 2 percent of the EAI District and the BS subarea TAC
  be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and the ICA. NMFS sets the amount of this
  allocation for 2021 at 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


 Table 7--Final 2022 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch Allowance, and
                              Amendment 80 Allocation of the BSAI ATKA Mackerel TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         2022 allocation by area
                                                        --------------------------------------------------------
            Sector \1\                 Season 2 3 4       Eastern Aleutian
                                                          district/Bering    Central Aleutian   Western Aleutian
                                                              Sea \5\          district \5\       district \5\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC..............................  n/a.................             23,880             14,330             19,507
CDQ reserve......................  Total...............              2,555              1,533              2,087
                                   A...................              1,278                767              1,044
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                460                626
                                   B...................              1,278                767              1,044
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                460                626
non-CDQ TAC......................  n/a.................             21,325             12,797             17,420
ICA..............................  Total...............                800                 75                 20
Jig \6\..........................  Total...............                103  .................  .................
BSAI trawl limited access........  Total...............              2,042              1,272  .................
                                   A...................              1,021                636  .................
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                382  .................
                                   B...................              1,021                636  .................
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a                382  .................
Amendment 80 sectors \7\.........  Total...............             18,380             11,450             17,400
                                   A...................              9,190              5,725              8,700
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a              3,435              5,220
                                   B...................              9,190              5,725              8,700
                                   Critical Habitat....                n/a              3,435              5,220
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, ICAs, and jig
  gear allocation, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for
  Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR
  part 679 and Sec.   679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see Sec.
  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31).
\2\ Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel
  fishery.
\3\ The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season.
\4\ Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from
  January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31.
\5\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to
  be caught inside of Steller sea lion critical habitat; section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the
  annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at Sec.   679.23(e)(3); and section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2)
  requires that the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC in Area 543.
\6\ Sections 679.2 and 679.20(a)(8)(i) require that up to 2 percent of the EAI District and the BS subarea TAC
  be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and the ICA. NMFS sets the amount of this
  allocation for 2022 at 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season.
\7\ The 2022 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access
  sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1,
  2021.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC

    The Council separated BSAI subarea OFLs, ABCs, and TACs for Pacific 
cod in 2014 (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014). Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) 
allocates 10.7 percent of the BS TAC and the AI TAC to the CDQ program. 
After CDQ allocations have been deducted from the respective BS and AI 
Pacific cod TACs, the remaining BSAI Pacific cod TACs are combined for 
calculating further BSAI Pacific cod sector allocations. If the non-CDQ 
Pacific cod TAC is or will be reached in either the BS or the AI 
subareas, NMFS will prohibit non-CDQ directed fishing for Pacific cod 
in that subarea as provided in Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii).
    Sections 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) allocate to the non-CDQ sectors 
the Pacific cod TAC in the combined BSAI, after subtracting 10.7 
percent for the CDQ program, as follows: 1.4 percent to vessels using 
jig gear; 2.0 percent to hook-and-line or pot CVs less than 60 ft (18.3 
m) length overall (LOA); 0.2 percent to hook-and-line CVs greater than 
or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA; 48.7 percent to hook-and-line CPs; 8.4 
percent to pot CVs greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA; 1.5 
percent to pot CPs; 2.3 percent to AFA trawl CPs; 13.4 percent to 
Amendment 80 sector; and 22.1 percent to trawl CVs. The ICA for the 
hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate 
portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot 
sectors. For 2021 and 2022, the Regional Administrator establishes an 
ICA of 400 mt based on anticipated incidental catch by these sectors in 
other fisheries.
    The ITAC allocation of Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 sector is 
established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and Sec.  679.91. One 
Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2021 fishing year. Because 
all Amendment 80 vessels are part of the sole Amendment 80 cooperative, 
no allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is required for 
2021. The 2022 allocations for Pacific cod between Amendment 80 
cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be 
known until eligible participants apply for

[[Page 11460]]

participation in the program by November 1, 2021.
    The sector allocations of Pacific cod are apportioned into seasonal 
allowances to disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year 
(see Sec. Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(i)(B), 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(A), and 
679.23(e)(5)). In accordance with Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(iv)(B) and (C), 
any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance for any sector, 
except the jig sector, will become available at the beginning of that 
sector's next seasonal allowance.
    Section 679.20(a)(7)(vii) requires that the Regional Administrator 
establish an Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit based on Pacific cod 
abundance in Area 543 as determined by the annual stock assessment 
process. Based on the 2020 stock assessment, the Regional Administrator 
determined for 2021 and 2022 the estimated amount of Pacific cod 
abundance in Area 543 is 15.7 percent of the total AI abundance. To 
calculate the Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit, NMFS first subtracts 
the State GHL Pacific cod amount from the AI Pacific cod ABC. Then NMFS 
determines the harvest limit in Area 543 by multiplying the percentage 
of Pacific cod estimated in Area 543 (15.7 percent) by the remaining 
ABC for AI Pacific cod. Based on these calculations, the Area 543 
harvest limit is 2,166 mt for 2021 and 2022.
    On March 21, 2019, the final rule adopting Amendment 113 to the FMP 
(81 FR 84434, November 23, 2016) was vacated by the U.S. District Court 
for the District of Columbia (Groundfish Forum v. Ross, No. 16-2495 
(D.D.C. March 21, 2019)), and the corresponding regulations 
implementing Amendment 113 are no longer in effect. Therefore, this 
final rule is not specifying amounts for the AI Pacific Cod Catcher 
Vessel Harvest Set-Aside Program (see Sec.  679.20(a)(7)(viii)).
    Table 8 and Table 9 list the CDQ and non-CDQ seasonal allowances by 
gear, as well as the non-CDQ sector allocations, based on the final 
2021 and 2022 Pacific cod TACs.

           Table 8--Final 2021 Sector Allocations and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI Pacific Cod TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   2021 seasonal apportionment
            Sector                  Percent      2021 share of   2021 share of ---------------------------------
                                                     total       sector total        Season           Amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BS TAC........................             n/a         111,380             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
BS CDQ........................             n/a          11,918             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
BS non-CDQ TAC................             n/a          99,462             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI TAC........................             n/a          13,796             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI CDQ........................             n/a           1,476             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
AI non-CDQ TAC................             n/a          12,320             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Western Aleutian Island Limit.             n/a           2,166             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC \1\....             100         111,782             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total hook-and-line/pot gear..            60.8          67,964             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line/pot ICA \2\.....             n/a             400             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(ii
                                                                                 )(B).
Hook-and-line/pot sub-total...             n/a          67,564             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line catcher/                    48.7             n/a          54,118  Jan 1-Jun 10....          27,600
 processor.                                                                     Jun 10-Dec 31...          26,518
Hook-and-line catcher vessel               0.2             n/a             222  Jan 1-Jun 10....             113
 >=60 ft LOA.                                                                   Jun 10-Dec 31...             109
Pot catcher/processor.........             1.5             n/a           1,667  Jan 1-Jun 10....             850
                                                                                Sept 1-Dec 31...             817
Pot catcher vessel >=60 ft LOA             8.4             n/a           9,334  Jan 1-Jun 10....           4,761
                                                                                Sept 1-Dec 31...           4,574
Catcher vessel <60 ft LOA                  2.0             n/a           2,222  n/a.............             n/a
 using hook-and-line or pot
 gear.
Trawl catcher vessel..........            22.1          24,704             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          18,281
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           2,717
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....           3,706
AFA trawl catcher/processor...             2.3           2,571             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           1,928
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....             643
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....
Amendment 80..................            13.4          14,979             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          11,234
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           3,745
                                                                                Jun 10-Dec 31...
Jig...........................             1.4           1,565             n/a  Jan 1-Apr 30....             939
                                                                                Apr 30-Aug 31...             313
                                                                                Aug 31-Dec 31...             313
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The sector allocations and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and
  AI Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of the reserves for the CDQ program. If the TAC for Pacific cod in
  either the AI or BS is or will be reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea will be
  prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains (Sec.   679.20(d)(1)(iii)).
\2\ The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC
  allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 400 mt for 2021
  based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


[[Page 11461]]


           Table 9--Final 2022 Sector Allocations and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI Pacific Cod TAC
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   2022 seasonal apportionment
            Sector                  Percent       2022 share     2022 share of ---------------------------------
                                                     total       sector total        Season           Amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BS TAC........................             n/a          95,053             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
BS CDQ........................             n/a          10,171             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
BS non-CDQ TAC................             n/a          84,882             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI TAC........................             n/a          13,796             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
AI CDQ........................             n/a           1,476             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
AI non-CDQ TAC................             n/a          12,320             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Western Aleutian Island Limit.             n/a           2,166             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC \1\....             n/a          97,202             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total hook-and-line/pot gear..            60.8          59,099             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line/pot ICA \2\.....             n/a             400             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(ii
                                                                                 )(B).
Hook-and-line/pot sub-total...             n/a          58,699             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line catcher/                    48.7             n/a          47,017  Jan 1-Jun 10....          23,979
 processor.                                                                     Jun 10-Dec 31...          23,038
Hook-and-line catcher vessel               0.2             n/a             193  Jan 1-Jun 10....              98
 >=60 ft LOA.                                                                   Jun 10-Dec 31...              95
Pot catcher/processor.........             1.5             n/a           1,448  Jan 1-Jun 10....             739
                                                                                Sept 1-Dec 31...             710
Pot catcher vessel >=60 ft LOA             8.4             n/a           8,110  Jan 1-Jun 10....           4,136
                                                                                Sept 1-Dec 31...           3,974
Catcher vessel <60 ft LOA                  2.0             n/a           1,931  n/a.............             n/a
 using hook-and-line or pot
 gear.
Trawl catcher vessel..........            22.1          21,482             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          15,896
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           2,363
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....           3,222
AFA trawl catcher/processor...             2.3           2,236             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           1,677
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....             559
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....
Amendment 80..................            13.4          13,025             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           9,769
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           3,256
                                                                                Jun 10-Dec 31...
Jig...........................             1.4           1,361             n/a  Jan 1-Apr 30....             816
                                                                                Apr 30-Aug 31...             272
                                                                                Aug 31-Dec 31...             272
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The sector allocations and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and
  AI Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of the reserves for the CDQ program. If the TAC for Pacific cod in
  either the AI or BS is or will be reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea will be
  prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains (Sec.   679.20(d)(1)(iii)).
\2\ The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC
  allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 400 mt for 2022
  based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Sablefish Gear Allocation

    Sections 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) require allocation of the 
sablefish TAC for the BS and AI subareas between the trawl gear and 
hook-and-line or pot gear sectors. Gear allocations of the sablefish 
TAC for the BS are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for hook-
and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TAC for the AI are 25 
percent for trawl gear and 75 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. 
Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires that NMFS apportions 20 percent of 
the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of sablefish TAC to the CDQ 
reserve for each subarea. Also, Sec.  679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D)(1) requires 
that in the BS and AI 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocation of 
sablefish TAC from the non-specified reserve, established under Sec.  
679.20(b)(1)(i), be assigned to the CDQ reserve.
    The Council recommended that only trawl sablefish TAC be 
established biennially. The harvest specifications for the hook-and-
line gear or pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) 
fisheries are limited to the 2021 fishing year to ensure those 
fisheries are conducted concurrently with the halibut IFQ fishery. 
Concurrent sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries reduce the potential for 
discards of halibut and sablefish in those fisheries. The sablefish IFQ 
fisheries remain closed at the beginning of each fishing year until the 
final harvest specifications for the sablefish IFQ fisheries are in 
effect. Table 10 lists the 2021 and 2022 gear allocations of the 
sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts.

                                    Table 10--Final 2021 and 2022 Gear Shares and CDQ Reserve of BSAI Sablefish TACS
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           2021 share of                     2021 CDQ      2022 share of                     2022 CDQ
            Subarea and gear              Percent of TAC        TAC          2021 ITAC        reserve           TAC          2022 ITAC        reserve
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bering Sea:
    Trawl \1\...........................              50           1,698           1,443             127           2,432           2,067             182

[[Page 11462]]

 
    Hook-and-line/pot gear \2\..........              50           1,698           1,358             340             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...........................             100           3,396           2,802             467           2,432           2,067             182
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aleutian Islands:
    Trawl \1\...........................              25           1,179           1,002              88           1,265           1,075              95
    Hook-and-line/pot gear \2\..........              75           3,538           2,830             708             n/a             n/a             n/a
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total...........................             100           4,717           3,833             796           1,265           1,075              95
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ For the sablefish trawl gear allocations, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the non-specified reserve (Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(i)). The ITAC is the
  remainder of the TAC after subtracting this reserve. In the BS and AI, 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocation from the non-specified reserve is
  assigned to the CDQ reserve (Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D)(1)).
\2\ For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, 20 percent of the allocated TAC for the BS and AI is
  reserved for use by CDQ participants (Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B)). The Council recommended that specifications for the hook-and-line or pot gear
  sablefish IFQ fisheries be limited to one year.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

Allocation of the AI Pacific Ocean Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock 
Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACs

    Sections 679.20(a)(10)(i) and (ii) require that NMFS allocate AI 
Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin 
sole ITACs between the Amendment 80 sector and the BSAI trawl limited 
access sector, after subtracting 10.7 percent for the CDQ reserves and 
ICAs for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels using non-
trawl gear. The allocations of the ITACs for AI Pacific ocean perch, 
and BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole to the Amendment 
80 sector are established in accordance with Tables 33 and 34 to 50 CFR 
part 679 and Sec.  679.91.
    One Amendment 80 cooperative has formed for the 2021 fishing year. 
Because all Amendment 80 vessels are part of the sole Amendment 80 
cooperative, no allocation to the Amendment 80 limited access sector is 
required for 2021. The 2022 allocations for Amendment 80 species 
between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access 
sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for 
participation in the program by November 1, 2021. Tables 11 and 12 list 
the 2021 and 2022 allocations of the AI Pacific ocean perch, and BSAI 
flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs.

 Table 11--Final 2021 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment 80 Allocations of the AI Pacific Ocean
                                            Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACS
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        Pacific ocean perch                Flathead sole     Rock sole    Yellowfin sole
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         Sector                               Eastern         Central         Western
                                                             Aleutian        Aleutian        Aleutian          BSAI            BSAI            BSAI
                                                             district        district        district
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC.....................................................           8,419           6,198          10,500          25,000          54,500         200,000
CDQ.....................................................             901             663           1,124           2,675           5,832          21,400
ICA.....................................................             100              60              10           3,000           6,000           4,000
BSAI trawl limited access...............................             742             547             187  ..............  ..............          34,782
Amendment 80............................................           6,676           4,927           9,179          19,325          42,669         139,818
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.


 Table 12--Final 2022 Community Development Quota (CDQ) Reserves, Incidental Catch Amounts (ICAS), and Amendment 80 Allocations of the AI Pacific Ocean
                                            Perch, and BSAI Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACS
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                        Pacific ocean perch                Flathead sole     Rock sole    Yellowfin sole
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         Sector                               Eastern         Central         Western
                                                             Aleutian        Aleutian        Aleutian          BSAI            BSAI            BSAI
                                                             district        district        district
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC.....................................................           8,041           5,919          10,500          25,000          54,500         200,000
CDQ.....................................................             860             633           1,124           2,675           5,832          21,400
ICA.....................................................             100              60              10           3,000           6,000           4,000
BSAI trawl limited access...............................             708             523             187  ..............  ..............          34,782

[[Page 11463]]

 
Amendment 80 \1\........................................           6,373           4,703           9,179          19,325          42,669         139,818
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 2022 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until
  eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2021.
Note: Sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    Section 679.2 defines the ABC surplus for flathead sole, rock sole, 
and yellowfin sole as the difference between the annual ABC and TAC for 
each species. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii) establishes ABC reserves for 
flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. The ABC surpluses and the 
ABC reserves are necessary to mitigate the operational variability, 
environmental conditions, and economic factors that may constrain the 
CDQ groups and the Amendment 80 cooperatives from achieving, on a 
continuing basis, the optimum yield in the BSAI groundfish fisheries. 
NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may set the ABC reserve at 
or below the ABC surplus for each species, thus maintaining the TAC 
below ABC limits. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the ABC reserves 
will be allocated as CDQ ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and 
yellowfin sole. Section 679.31(b)(4) establishes the annual allocations 
of CDQ ABC reserves among the CDQ groups. The Amendment 80 ABC reserves 
are the ABC reserves minus the CDQ ABC reserves. Section 679.91(i)(2) 
establishes each Amendment 80 cooperative ABC reserve to be the ratio 
of each cooperatives' quota share units and the total Amendment 80 
quota share units, multiplied by the Amendment 80 ABC reserve for each 
respective species. Table 13 lists the 2021 and 2022 ABC surplus and 
ABC reserves for BSAI flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole.

 Table 13--Final 2021 and 2022 ABC Surplus, ABC Reserves, Community Development Quota (CDQ) ABC Reserves, and Amendment 80 ABC Reserves in the BSAI for
                                                      Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole
                                                              [Amounts are in metric tons]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           2021 Flathead                  2021 Yellowfin     2022 \1\      2022 \1\ Rock     2022 \1\
                         Sector                                sole       2021 Rock sole       sole        Flathead sole       sole       Yellowfin sole
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ABC.....................................................          62,567         140,306         313,477          64,119         206,605         344,140
TAC.....................................................          25,000          54,500         200,000          25,000          54,500         200,000
ABC surplus.............................................          37,567          85,806         113,477          39,119         152,105         144,140
ABC reserve.............................................          37,567          85,806         113,477          39,119         152,105         144,140
CDQ ABC reserve.........................................           4,020           9,181          12,142           4,186          16,275          15,423
Amendment 80 ABC reserve................................          33,547          76,625         101,335          34,933         135,830         128,717
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The 2022 allocations for Amendment 80 species between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until
  eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2021.

PSC Limits for Halibut, Salmon, Crab, and Herring

    Sections 679.21(b), (e), (f), and (g) sets forth the BSAI PSC 
limits. Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(b)(1), the annual BSAI halibut PSC 
limits total 3,515 mt. Section 679.21(b)(1) allocates 315 mt of the 
halibut PSC limit as the PSQ reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ 
program, 1,745 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the Amendment 80 sector, 
745 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the BSAI trawl limited access 
sector, and 710 mt of the halibut PSC limit for the BSAI non-trawl 
sector.
    Sections 679.21(b)(1)(iii)(A) and (B) authorize apportionment of 
the BSAI non-trawl halibut PSC limit into PSC allowances among six 
fishery categories in Table 17, and Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(A) and 
(B), (e)(3)(i)(B), and (e)(3)(iv) require apportionment of the trawl 
PSC limits in Tables 15 and 16 into PSC allowances among seven fishery 
categories.
    Pursuant to Section 3.6 of the FMP, the Council recommends, and 
NMFS agrees, that certain specified non-trawl fisheries be exempt from 
the halibut PSC limit. As in past years, after consultation with the 
Council, NMFS exempts the pot gear fishery, the jig gear fishery, and 
the sablefish IFQ hook-and-line gear fishery categories from halibut 
bycatch restrictions for the following reasons: (1) The pot gear 
fisheries have low halibut bycatch mortality; (2) NMFS estimates 
halibut mortality for the jig gear fleet to be negligible because of 
the small size of the fishery and the selectivity of the gear; and (3) 
the sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries have low halibut bycatch 
mortality because the IFQ program requires that legal-size halibut be 
retained by vessels using fixed gear if a halibut IFQ permit holder or 
a hired master is aboard and is holding unused halibut IFQ for that 
vessel category and the IFQ regulatory area in which the vessel is 
operating (Sec.  679.7(f)(11)).
    The 2020 total groundfish catch for the pot gear fishery in the 
BSAI was 41,517 mt, with an associated halibut bycatch mortality of 5 
mt. The 2020 jig gear fishery harvested about 10 mt of groundfish. Most 
vessels in the jig gear fleet are exempt from observer coverage 
requirements. As a result, observer data are not available on halibut 
bycatch in the jig gear fishery. As mentioned above, NMFS estimates a 
negligible amount of halibut bycatch mortality because of the selective 
nature of jig gear and the low mortality rate of halibut caught with 
jig gear and released.

[[Page 11464]]

    Under Sec.  679.21(f)(2), NMFS annually allocates portions of 
either 33,318, 45,000, 47,591, or 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limits 
among the AFA sectors, depending on past bycatch performance, on 
whether Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreements (IPAs) are 
formed, and on whether NMFS determines it is a low Chinook salmon 
abundance year. NMFS will determine that it is a low Chinook salmon 
abundance year when abundance of Chinook salmon in western Alaska is 
less than or equal to 250,000 Chinook salmon. The State of Alaska 
provides to NMFS an estimate of Chinook salmon abundance using the 3-
System Index for western Alaska based on the Kuskokwim, Unalakleet, and 
Upper Yukon aggregate stock grouping.
    If an AFA sector participates in an approved IPA and has not 
exceeded its performance standard under Sec.  679.21(f)(6), and if it 
is not a low Chinook salmon abundance year, then NMFS will allocate a 
portion of the 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that sector as 
specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(A). If no IPA is approved, or if 
the sector has exceeded its performance standard under Sec.  
679.21(f)(6), and if it is not a low abundance year, then NMFS will 
allocate a portion of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that 
sector as specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(C). If an AFA sector 
participates in an approved IPA and has not exceeded its performance 
standard under Sec.  679.21(f)(6), in a low abundance year, then NMFS 
will allocate a portion of the 45,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that 
sector as specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). If no IPA is 
approved, or if the sector has exceeded its performance standard under 
Sec.  679.21(f)(6), and if in a low abundance year, then NMFS will 
allocate a portion of the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit to that 
sector as specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(D).
    NMFS has determined that 2020 was a low Chinook salmon abundance 
year, based on the State's estimate that Chinook salmon abundance in 
western Alaska is less than 250,000 Chinook salmon. Therefore, in 2021, 
the Chinook salmon PSC limit is 45,000 Chinook salmon, allocated to 
each sector as specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(B). The AFA sector 
Chinook salmon PSC limits are also seasonally apportioned with 70 
percent for the A season pollock fishery, and 30 percent for the B 
season pollock fishery (Sec. Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(i) and 679.23(e)(2)). 
In 2021, the Chinook salmon bycatch performance standard under Sec.  
679.21(f)(6) is 33,318 Chinook salmon, allocated to each sector as 
specified in Sec.  679.21(f)(3)(iii)(D).
    NMFS publishes the approved IPAs, allocations, and reports at 
https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/bycatch/default.htm.
    Section 679.21(g)(2)(i) specifies 700 fish as the 2021 and 2022 
Chinook salmon PSC limit for the AI pollock fishery. Section 
679.21(g)(2)(ii) allocates 7.5 percent, or 53 Chinook salmon, as the AI 
PSQ reserve for the CDQ program, and allocates the remaining 647 
Chinook salmon to the non-CDQ fisheries.
    Section 679.21(f)(14)(i) specifies 42,000 fish as the 2021 and 2022 
non-Chinook salmon PSC limit for vessels using trawl gear from August 
15 through October 14 in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area (CVOA). 
Section 679.21(f)(14)(ii) allocates 10.7 percent, or 4,494 non-Chinook 
salmon, in the CVOA as the PSQ reserve for the CDQ program, and 
allocates the remaining 37,506 non-Chinook salmon in the CVOA to the 
non-CDQ fisheries.
    PSC limits for crab and herring are specified annually based on 
abundance and spawning biomass. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A)(1) allocates 
10.7 percent from each trawl gear PSC limit specified for crab as a PSQ 
reserve for use by the groundfish CDQ program.
    Based on the most recent (2019) survey data, the red king crab 
mature female abundance is estimated at 9.6668 million red king crabs, 
and the effective spawning biomass is estimated at 25.120 million lbs 
(11,394 mt). Based on the criteria set out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(i), 
the 2021 and 2022 PSC limit of red king crab in Zone 1 for trawl gear 
is 97,000 animals. This limit derives from the mature female abundance 
estimate of more than 8.4 million mature red king crab and the 
effective spawning biomass estimate of more than 14.5 million lbs 
(6,577 mt) but less than 55 million lbs (24,948 mt).
    Section 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2) establishes criteria under which 
NMFS must specify an annual red king crab bycatch limit for the Red 
King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS) if the State has established a GHL 
fishery for red king crab in the Bristol Bay area in the previous year. 
The regulations limit the RKCSS red king crab bycatch limit to 25 
percent of the red king crab PSC limit, based on the need to optimize 
the groundfish harvest relative to red king crab bycatch. In December 
2020, the Council recommended and NMFS concurs that the RKCSS red king 
crab bycatch limit for 2021 and 2022 be equal to 25 percent of the red 
king crab PSC limit (Table 15).
    Based on the most recent (2019) survey data, Tanner crab 
(Chionoecetes bairdi) abundance is estimated at 541 million animals. 
Pursuant to criteria set out at Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(ii), the calculated 
2021 and 2022 C. bairdi crab PSC limit for trawl gear is 980,000 
animals in Zone 1, and 2,970,000 animals in Zone 2. The limit in Zone 1 
is based on the abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 541 million 
animals, which is greater than 400 million animals. The limit in Zone 2 
is based on the abundance of C. bairdi estimated at 541 million 
animals, which is greater than 400 million animals.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(iii), the PSC limit for trawl gear 
for snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) is based on total abundance as 
indicated by the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey. The C. opilio crab 
PSC limit in the C. opilio bycatch limitation zone (COBLZ) is set at 
0.1133 percent of the BS abundance index minus 150,000 crabs, unless 
the minimum or maximum PSC limit applies. Based on the most recent 
(2019) survey estimate of 6.48 billion animals, the calculated C. 
opilio crab PSC limit is 7,191,840 animals.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.21(e)(1)(v), the PSC limit of Pacific herring 
caught while conducting any trawl operation for BSAI groundfish is 1 
percent of the annual eastern BS herring biomass. The best estimate of 
2021 and 2022 herring biomass is 272,281 mt. This amount was developed 
by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game based on biomass for spawning 
aggregations. Therefore, the herring PSC limit for 2021 and 2022 is 
2,723 mt for all trawl gear as listed in Tables 14 and 15.
    Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(A) requires that PSQ reserves be subtracted 
from the total trawl gear crab PSC limits. The crab and halibut PSC 
limits apportioned to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access 
sectors are listed in Table 35 to 50 CFR part 679. The resulting 2021 
and 2022 allocations of PSC limit to CDQ PSQ reserves, the Amendment 80 
sector, and the BSAI trawl limited access sector are listed in Table 
14. Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(i), 679.21(e)(3)(vi), and 
679.91(d) through (f), crab and halibut trawl PSC limits assigned to 
the Amendment 80 sector are then further allocated to Amendment 80 
cooperatives as cooperative quota. Crab and halibut PSC cooperative 
quota assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives is not allocated to 
specific fishery categories. In 2021, there are no vessels in the 
Amendment 80 limited access sector and one Amendment 80 cooperative. 
The 2022 PSC allocations between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the 
Amendment 80 limited access sector

[[Page 11465]]

will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation 
in the program by November 1, 2021. Section 679.21(e)(3)(i)(B) requires 
that NMFS, after consultation with the Council, apportion each trawl 
PSC limit for crab and herring not assigned to CDQ PSQ reserves or 
Amendment 80 cooperatives into PSC bycatch allowances for seven 
specified fishery categories in Sec.  679.21(e)(3)(iv).
    Sections 679.21(b)(2) and (e)(5) authorize NMFS, after consulting 
with the Council, to establish seasonal apportionments of halibut and 
crab PSC amounts for the BSAI trawl limited access and non-trawl 
sectors in order to maximize the ability of the fleet to harvest the 
available groundfish TAC and to minimize bycatch. The factors to be 
considered are (1) seasonal distribution of prohibited species, (2) 
seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to 
prohibited species distribution, (3) PSC bycatch needs on a seasonal 
basis relevant to prohibited species biomass and expected catches of 
target groundfish species, (4) expected variations in bycatch rates 
throughout the year, (5) expected changes in directed groundfish 
fishing seasons, (6) expected start of fishing effort, and (7) economic 
effects of establishing seasonal prohibited species apportionments on 
segments of the target groundfish industry. Based on this criteria, the 
Council recommended and NMFS approves the seasonal PSC apportionments 
in Tables 16 and 17 to maximize harvest among gear types, fisheries, 
and seasons while minimizing bycatch of PSC.

 Table 14--Final 2021 and 2022 Apportionment of Prohibited Species Catch Allowances to Non-Trawl Gear, the CDQ Program, Amendment 80, and the BSAI Trawl
                                                                 Limited Access Sectors
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                             Trawl PSC                      BSAI trawl       BSAI PSC
    PSC species and area and zone \1\        Total PSC     Non-trawl PSC      CDQ PSQ        remaining     Amendment 80   limited access    limits not
                                                                            reserve \2\    after CDQ PSQ    sector \3\        sector       allocated \3\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI.............           3,515             710             315             n/a           1,745             745  ..............
Herring (mt) BSAI.......................           2,723             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a  ..............
Red king crab (animals) Zone 1..........          97,000             n/a          10,379          86,621          43,293          26,489          16,839
C. opilio (animals) COBLZ...............       7,191,840             n/a         769,527       6,422,313       3,156,567       2,064,131       1,201,615
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 1.........         980,000             n/a         104,860         875,140         368,521         411,228          95,390
C. bairdi crab (animals) Zone 2.........       2,970,000             n/a         317,790       2,652,210         627,778       1,241,500         782,932
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas and zones.
\2\ The PSQ reserve for crab species is 10.7 percent of each crab PSC limit.
\3\ The Amendment 80 program reduced apportionment of the trawl PSC limits for crab below the total PSC limit. These reductions are not apportioned to
  other gear types or sectors.


 Table 15--Final 2021 and 2022 Herring and Red King Crab Savings Subarea
        Prohibited Species Catch Allowances for all Trawl Sectors
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           Red king crab
           Fishery categories              Herring (mt)   (animals) Zone
                                               BSAI              1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yellowfin sole..........................             118             n/a
Rock sole/flathead sole/Alaska plaice/                58             n/a
 other flatfish \1\.....................
Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/                  8             n/a
 Kamchatka flounder/sablefish...........
Rockfish................................               8             n/a
Pacific cod.............................              14             n/a
Midwater trawl pollock..................           2,472             n/a
Pollock/Atka mackerel/other species \2\               45             n/a
 \3\....................................
Red king crab savings subarea non-                   n/a          24,250
 pelagic trawl gear \4\.................
    Total trawl PSC.....................           2,723          97,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species,
  except for halibut (a prohibited species), Alaska plaice, arrowtooth
  flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock
  sole, and yellowfin sole.
\2\ Pollock other than midwater trawl pollock, Atka mackerel, and
  ``other species'' fishery category.
\3\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes skates, sharks, and
  octopuses.
\4\ In December 2020, the Council recommended and NMFS approves that the
  red king crab bycatch limit for non-pelagic trawl fisheries within the
  RKCSS be limited to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance (see
  Sec.   679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B)(2)).
Note: Species allowances may not total precisely due to rounding.


  Table 16--Final 2021 and 2022 Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowances for the BSAI Trawl Limited Access Sector
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Prohibited species and area and zone \1\
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    BSAI trawl limited access         Halibut      Red king crab     C. opilio          C. bairdi (animals)
            fisheries             mortality (mt)  (animals) Zone     (animals)   -------------------------------
                                       BSAI              1             COBLZ          Zone 1          Zone 2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yellowfin sole..................             265          23,338       1,945,831         346,228       1,185,500
Rock sole/flathead sole/Alaska    ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............
 plaice/other flatfish \2\......

[[Page 11466]]

 
Greenland turbot/arrowtooth       ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............  ..............
 flounder/Kamchatka flounder/
 sablefish......................
Rockfish April 15-December 31...               5  ..............           3,214  ..............           1,000
Pacific cod.....................             300           2,954          82,939          60,000          50,000
Pollock/Atka mackerel/other                  175             197          32,147           5,000           5,000
 species \3\....................
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total BSAI trawl limited                 745          26,489       2,064,131         411,228       1,241,500
     access PSC.................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas and zones.
\2\ ``Other flatfish'' for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited
  species), Alaska plaice, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole,
  and yellowfin sole.
\3\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes skates, sharks, and octopuses.
Note: Seasonal or sector allowances may not total precisely due to rounding.


       Table 17--Final 2021 and 2022 Halibut Prohibited Species Bycatch Allowances for Non-Trawl Fisheries
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Halibut mortality (mt) BSAI
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Catcher/
        Non-trawl fisheries                Seasons            processor    Catcher vessel      All Non-Trawl
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific cod.......................  Total Pacific cod....             648              13  661.
                                    January 1-June 10....             388               9  n/a.
                                    June 10-August 15....             162               2  n/a.
                                    August 15-December 31              98               2  n/a.
Non-Pacific cod non-trawl-Total...  May 1-December 31....             n/a             n/a  49.
Groundfish pot and jig............  n/a..................             n/a             n/a  Exempt.
Sablefish hook-and-line...........  n/a..................             n/a             n/a  Exempt.
                                                          ------------------------------------------------------
    Total for all non-trawl PSC...  n/a..................             n/a             n/a  710.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Seasonal or sector allowances may not total precisely due to rounding.

Estimates of Halibut Biomass and Stock Condition

    The International Pacific Halibut Commission (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 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 BSAI stock 
assessment process. The DMR methodology and findings are included as an 
appendix to the annual BSAI 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 Plan Team, SSC, and the Council. A summary 
of the revised methodology is included in the BSAI proposed 2017 and 
2018 harvest specifications (81 FR 87863, 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 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 
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

[[Page 11467]]

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 78096, December 3, 2020). Table 18 lists 
these final 2021 and 2022 DMRs.

  Table 18--2021 and 2022 Pacific Halibut Discard Mortality Rates (DMR)
                              for the BSAI
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Halibut
                                                              discard
              Gear                        Sector          mortality rate
                                                             (percent)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pelagic trawl..................  All....................             100
Non-pelagic trawl..............  Mothership and catcher/              84
                                  processor.
Non-pelagic trawl..............  Catcher vessel.........              59
Hook-and-line..................  Catcher/processor......               9
Hook-and-line..................  Catcher vessel.........               9
Pot............................  All....................              32
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Directed Fishing Closures

    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional 
Administrator may establish a DFA for a species or species group if the 
Regional Administrator determines that any allocation or apportionment 
of a target species has been or will be reached. If the Regional 
Administrator establishes a DFA, and that allowance is or will be 
reached before the end of the fishing year, NMFS will prohibit directed 
fishing for that species or species group in the specified subarea, 
regulatory area, or district (see Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii)). Similarly, 
pursuant to Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(4) and (e)(7), if the Regional 
Administrator determines that a fishery category's bycatch allowance of 
halibut, red king crab, C. bairdi crab, or C. opilio crab for a 
specified area has been reached, the Regional Administrator will 
prohibit directed fishing for each species or species group in that 
fishery category in the area specified by regulation for the remainder 
of the season or fishing year.
    Based on historic catch patterns and anticipated fishing activity, 
the Regional Administrator has determined that the groundfish 
allocation amounts in Table 19 will be necessary as incidental catch to 
support other anticipated groundfish fisheries for the 2021 and 2022 
fishing years. Consequently, in accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(i), 
the Regional Administrator establishes the DFA for the species and 
species groups in Table 19 as zero mt. Therefore, in accordance with 
Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iii), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these 
sectors and species or species groups in the specified areas effective 
at 1,200 hours, A.l.t., February 25, 2021, through 2,400 hours, A.l.t., 
December 31, 2022. Also, for the BSAI trawl limited access sector, 
bycatch allowances of halibut, red king crab, C. bairdi crab, and C. 
opilio crab listed in Table 19 are insufficient to support directed 
fisheries. Therefore, in accordance with Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(4)(i) and 
(e)(7), NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for these sectors, 
species, and fishery categories in the specified areas effective at 
1200 hours, A.l.t., February 25, 2021, through 2,400 hours, A.l.t., 
December 31, 2022.

                              Table 19--2021 and 2022 Directed Fishing Closures \1\
           [Groundfish and halibut amounts are in metric tons. Crab amounts are in number of animals.]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                       2021            2022
                                                                                    Incidental      Incidental
               Area                         Sector                Species              catch           catch
                                                                                     allowance       allowance
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bogoslof District.................  All..................  Pollock..............             250             100
Aleutian Islands subarea..........  All..................  ICA pollock..........           2,500           2,500
                                                           ``Other rockfish''                394             394
                                                            \2\.
Aleutian Islands subarea..........  Trawl non-CDQ........  Sablefish............           1,002           1,075
Eastern Aleutian District/Bering    Non-amendment 80,      ICA Atka mackerel....             800             800
 Sea.                                CDQ, and BSAI trawl
                                     limited access.
Eastern Aleutian District/Bering    All..................  Blackspotted/Rougheye             266             128
 Sea.                                                       rockfish.
Eastern Aleutian District.........  Non-amendment 80,      ICA Pacific ocean                 100             100
                                     CDQ, and BSAI trawl    perch.
                                     limited access.
Central Aleutian District.........  Non-amendment 80,      ICA Atka mackerel....              75              75
                                     CDQ, and BSAI trawl   ICA Pacific ocean                  60              60
                                     limited access.        perch.
Western Aleutian District.........  Non-amendment 80, CDQ  ICA Atka mackerel....              20              20
                                     and BSAI trawl        ICA Pacific ocean                  10              10
                                     limited access.        perch.
Western and Central Aleutian        All..................  Blackspotted/Rougheye             144             150
 Districts.                                                 rockfish.
Bering Sea subarea................  Trawl non-CDQ........  Sablefish............           1,443           2,067
Bering Sea subarea................  All..................  Pacific ocean perch..           9,165           8,753
                                                           ``Other rockfish''                444             255
                                                            \2\.                          49,500          50,400
                                                           ICA pollock..........
                                                           Shortraker rockfish..             425             191
                                                           Skates...............          15,300          13,600
                                                           Sharks...............             170             170
                                                           Octopuses............             595             595
                                    Hook-and-line and pot  ICA Pacific cod......             400             400
                                     gear.
                                    Non-amendment 80 and   ICA flathead sole....           3,000           3,000
                                     CDQ.                  ICA rock sole........           6,000           6,000

[[Page 11468]]

 
                                    Non-amendment 80,      ICA yellowfin sole...           4,000           4,000
                                     CDQ, and BSAI trawl
                                     limited access.
                                                           Rock sole/flathead     ..............  ..............
                                                            sole/other flatfish--
                                                            halibut mortality,
                                                            red king crab Zone
                                                            1, C. opilio COBLZ,
                                                            C. bairdi Zone 1 and
                                                            2.
                                    BSAI trawl limited     Turbot/arrowtooth/
                                     access.                Kamchatka/sablefish--
                                                            halibut mortality,
                                                            red king crab Zone
                                                            1, C. opilio COBLZ,
                                                            C. bairdi Zone 1 and
                                                            2.
                                                           Rockfish--red king     ..............  ..............
                                                            crab Zone 1.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Maximum retainable amounts may be found in Table 11 to 50 CFR part 679.
\2\ ``Other rockfish'' includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for dark rockfish, Pacific ocean
  perch, northern rockfish, blackspotted/rougheye rockfish, and shortraker rockfish.

    Closures implemented under the final 2020 and 2021 BSAI harvest 
specifications for groundfish (85 FR 13553, March 9, 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 Area: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/rules-and-announcements/bulletins. While these closures are in effect, the 
maximum retainable amounts at Sec. 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.

Listed AFA Catcher/Processor Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.64(a), the Regional Administrator is 
responsible for restricting the ability of listed AFA CPs to engage in 
directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect 
participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects 
resulting from the AFA fishery and from fishery cooperatives in the 
directed pollock fishery. These restrictions are set out as sideboard 
limits on catch. On February 8, 2019, NMFS published a final rule (84 
FR 2723) that implemented regulations to prohibit non-exempt AFA CPs 
from directed fishing for groundfish species or species groups subject 
to sideboard limits (see Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iv)(D) and Table 54 to 50 
CFR part 679). Section 679.64(a)(1)(v) exempts AFA CPs from a yellowfin 
sole sideboard limit because the final 2021 and 2022 aggregate ITAC of 
yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl 
limited access sector is greater than 125,000 mt.
    Section 679.64(a)(2) and Tables 40 and 41 to 50 CFR part 679 
establish a formula for calculating PSC sideboard limits for halibut 
and crab caught by listed AFA CPs. The basis for these sideboard limits 
is described in detail in the final rules implementing the major 
provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 
(72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). PSC species listed in Table 20 that 
are caught by listed AFA CPs participating in any groundfish fishery 
other than pollock will accrue against the final 2021 and 2022 PSC 
sideboard limits for the listed AFA CPs. Sections 679.21(b)(4)(iii), 
(e)(3)(v), and (e)(7) authorize NMFS to close directed fishing for 
groundfish other than pollock for listed AFA CPs once a final 2021 or 
2022 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 20 is reached. Pursuant to 
Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), halibut or crab PSC 
by listed AFA CPs while fishing for pollock will accrue against the PSC 
allowances annually specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/``other 
species'' fishery categories, according to Sec. Sec.  
679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv).

       Table 20--Final 2021 and 2022 BSAI AFA Listed Catcher/Processor Prohibited Species Sideboard Limits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                2021 and 2022
                                                                              PSC available to    2021 and 2022
                                                              Ratio of PSC      trawl vessels     AFA catcher/
                 PSC species and area \1\                    catch to total         after           processor
                                                                   PSC         subtraction of    sideboard limit
                                                                                   PSQ \2\             \2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut mortality BSAI....................................               n/a               n/a               286
Red king crab Zone 1......................................            0.0070            86,621               606
C. opilio (COBLZ).........................................            0.1530         6,422,313           982,614
C. bairdi Zone 1..........................................            0.1400           875,140           122,520
C. bairdi Zone 2..........................................            0.0500         2,652,210           132,611
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals.

AFA Catcher Vessel Sideboard Limits

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.64(b), the Regional Administrator is 
responsible for restricting the ability of AFA CVs to engage in 
directed fishing for groundfish species other than pollock to protect 
participants in other groundfish fisheries from adverse effects 
resulting from the AFA fishery and from fishery cooperatives in the 
pollock directed fishery. On February 8, 2019, NMFS

[[Page 11469]]

published a final rule (84 FR 2723) that implemented regulations to 
prohibit non-exempt AFA C/Vs from directed fishing for a majority of 
the groundfish species or species groups subject to sideboard limits 
(see Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(iv)(D) and Table 55 to 50 CFR part 679). 
Section 679.64(b)(6) exempts AFA CVs from a yellowfin sole sideboard 
limit because the 2021 and 2022 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole 
assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access 
sector is greater than 125,000 mt. The remainder of the sideboard 
limits for non-exempt AFA C/Vs are in Table 21.
    Section 679.64(b)(3) and (b)(4) establish formulas for setting AFA 
CV groundfish and halibut and crab PSC sideboard limits for the BSAI. 
The basis for these sideboard limits is described in detail in the 
final rules implementing the major provisions of the AFA (67 FR 79692, 
December 30, 2002) and Amendment 80 (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007). 
Table 21 lists the final 2021 and 2022 AFA CV groundfish sideboard 
limits.

Table 21--Final 2021 and 2022 BSAI Pacific Cod Sideboard Limits for American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessels (CVs)
                                          [Amounts are in metric tons]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Ratio of 1995-                     2021 AFA                        2022 AFA
                                    1997 AFA CV    2021 initial   catcher vessel   2022 initial   catcher vessel
   Fishery by area/gear/season    catch to 1995-        TAC          sideboard          TAC          sideboard
                                     1997 TAC                         limits                          limits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BSAI............................             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a
Trawl gear CV...................             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a             n/a
    Jan 20-Apr 1................          0.8609          18,281          15,738          15,896          13,685
    Apr 1-Jun 10................          0.8609           2,717           2,339           2,363           2,034
    Jun 10-Nov 1................          0.8609           3,706           3,190           3,222           2,774
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Section 679.64(b)(6) exempts AFA catcher vessels from a yellowfin sole sideboard limit because the 2021
  and 2022 aggregate ITAC of yellowfin sole assigned to the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access
  sector is greater than 125,000 mt.

    Halibut and crab PSC limits listed in Table 22 that are caught by 
AFA CVs participating in any groundfish fishery other than pollock will 
accrue against the 2021 and 2022 PSC sideboard limits for the AFA CVs. 
Sections 679.21(b)(4)(iii), (e)(3)(v), and (e)(7) authorize NMFS to 
close directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock for AFA CVs 
once a final 2021 and 2022 PSC sideboard limit listed in Table 22 is 
reached. Pursuant to Sec. Sec.  679.21(b)(1)(ii)(C) and (e)(3)(ii)(C), 
halibut or crab PSC by AFA CVs while fishing for pollock in the BS will 
accrue against the PSC allowances annually specified for the pollock/
Atka mackerel/``other species'' fishery categories under Sec. Sec.  
679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv).

  Table 22--Final 2021 and 2022 American Fisheries Act Catcher Vessel Prohibited Species Catch Sideboard Limits
                                                for the BSAI \1\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   2021 and 2022
                                                                    AFA catcher      PSC limit     2021 and 2022
                                         Target fishery category    vessel PSC         after        AFA catcher
       PSC species and area \1\                    \2\               sideboard    subtraction of    vessel PSC
                                                                    limit ratio    PSQ reserves      sideboard
                                                                                        \3\          limit \3\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Halibut...............................  Pacific cod trawl.......             n/a             n/a             887
                                        Pacific cod hook-and-                n/a             n/a               2
                                         line or pot.
                                        Yellowfin sole total....             n/a             n/a             101
                                        Rock sole/flathead sole/             n/a             n/a             228
                                         Alaska plaice/other
                                         flatfish \4\.
                                        Greenland turbot/                    n/a             n/a
                                         arrowtooth/Kamchatka/
                                         sablefish.
                                        Rockfish................             n/a             n/a               2
                                        Pollock/Atka mackerel/               n/a             n/a               5
                                         other species \5\.
Red king crab Zone 1..................  n/a.....................          0.2990          86,621          25,900
C. opilio COBLZ.......................  n/a.....................          0.1680       6,422,313       1,078,949
C. bairdi Zone 1......................  n/a.....................          0.3300         875,140         288,796
C. bairdi Zone 2......................  n/a.....................          0.1860       2,652,210         493,311
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Refer to Sec.   679.2 for definitions of areas.
\2\ Target trawl fishery categories are defined at Sec.  Sec.   679.21(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (e)(3)(iv).
\3\ Halibut amounts are in metric tons of halibut mortality. Crab amounts are in numbers of animals.
\4\ Other flatfish for PSC monitoring includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species),
  Alaska plaice, arrowtooth flounder, flathead sole, Greenland turbot, Kamchatka flounder, rock sole, and
  yellowfin sole.
\5\ ``Other species'' for PSC monitoring includes skates, sharks, and octopuses.

Response to Comments

    NMFS received no comments during the public comment period for the 
proposed BSAI groundfish harvest specifications.

Classification

    NMFS has determined that the final harvest specifications are 
consistent

[[Page 11470]]

with the FMP and with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable 
laws.
    This action is authorized under 50 CFR 679.20 and 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 Record of Decision (ROD) for the 
Final EIS. In January 2021, NMFS prepared a Supplementary Information 
Report (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 Final 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 Final 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 Final EIS. Therefore, an SEIS is not necessary to 
implement the 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications.
    A final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) was prepared. 
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 
FRFA. The following constitutes the FRFA prepared in the final action.
    Section 604 of the RFA describes the required contents of a final 
regulatory flexibility analysis: (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, 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 
included 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 78096). 
NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (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 those that 
harvest groundfish in the exclusive economic zone of the BSAI and in 
parallel fisheries within State waters. These include entities 
operating catcher vessels and catcher/processors within the action area 
and entities receiving direct allocations of groundfish.
    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 605 catcher 
vessels, 56 catcher/processors, and six CDQ groups. Some of these 
vessels are members of AFA inshore pollock cooperatives, Gulf of Alaska 
rockfish cooperatives, or BSAI Crab Rationalization Program 
cooperatives, and, since under the RFA the aggregate gross receipts of 
all participating members of the cooperative must meet the ``under $11 
million'' threshold, the cooperatives are considered to be large 
entities within the meaning of the RFA. Thus, the estimate of 605 
catcher vessels may be an overstatement of the number of small 
entities. Average gross revenues in 2019 were $500,000 for small hook-
and-line vessels, $1.4 million for small pot vessels, $2.9 million for 
small trawl vessels, $7.0 million for hook-and-line CPs, and $3.5 
million for pot gear CPs.
    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 prohibited species catch limits for 
the groundfish fishery of the BSAI. 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

[[Page 11471]]

specifications is governed by the Council's harvest strategy that 
governs the catch of groundfish in the BSAI. The harvest strategy was 
previously selected from among five alternatives. 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 each species or species group were based on 
recommendations prepared by the Council's Plan Team, and reviewed by 
the Council's SSC. The Council's TAC recommendations are consistent 
with the SSC's OFL and ABC recommendations, and the sum of all TACs 
remains within the OY for the BSAI consistent with Sec.  
679.20(a)(1)(i)(A). Because setting all TACs equal to ABCs would cause 
the sum of TACs to exceed an OY of 2.0 million mt, TACs for some 
species or species groups are lower than the ABCs recommended by the 
Plan Team and the SSC.
    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 ABCs reflect harvest amounts that are less 
than the specified overfishing levels. The TACs are within the range of 
ABCs recommended by the SSC and do not exceed the biological limits 
recommended by the SSC (the ABCs and overfishing levels). For some 
species and species groups in the BSAI, the Council recommended, and 
NMFS sets, TACs equal to ABCs, which is intended to maximize harvest 
opportunities in the BSAI. However, NMFS cannot set TACs for all 
species in the BSAI equal to their ABCs due to the constraining OY 
limit of 2.0 million mt. For this reason, some final TACs are less than 
the final ABCs. These specific reductions were reviewed and adopted by 
the Council for the final 2021 and 2022 TACs.
    Based on the best available scientific data, and in consideration 
of the Council's objectives for this action, there are no significant 
alternatives 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 BSAI, 
including small entities. The action specifies TACs for commercially-
valuable species in the BSAI 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 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 13553, 
March 9, 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 13553, March 9, 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

[[Page 11472]]

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-sideboard 
limited 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. Delayed effectiveness 
of this action would result in confusion for sablefish harvesters 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 TAC limits. 
Therefore, NMFS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the date 
of 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 BSAI. This action is necessary to establish harvest limits and 
associated management measures 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. This action directly 
affects all fishermen who participate in the BSAI fisheries. The 
specific amounts of 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); 16 U.S.C. 
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 17, 2021.
Samuel D. Rauch, III
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-03564 Filed 2-24-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P