Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2022 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock, Atka Mackerel, and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts, 74389-74393 [2021-28371]

Download as PDF 74389 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 248 / Thursday, December 30, 2021 / Rules and Regulations Table 11 to Part 679-BSAI Retainable Percentage BASIS SPECIES 110 121 117 122 123 127 133 134 136 141 Atka Alaska Arrow- Kammackerel plaice tooth chatka Pollock Pacific cod Arrowtooth Kamchatka Flathead 20 20 20 na5 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 35 35 20 20 20 35 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 sole Rock sole Yellowfin sole Alaska Plaice Greenland turbot Northern Pacific Ocean perch 152/ Shortraker/ 151 Rougheye 193 Pacific Species Atka mackerel Pollock Sablefish1 Other flatfish' Other rockfish 3 270 710 cod Aggregated Other Yellow GreenShortOther Rock Flathead SableAggregated Grenadiers Sculpins Squids7 forage species fin raker/ land 7 7 6 rockfish flatfish' sole sole fish 1 4 sole turbot rougheye9 fish 7 na 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 na 20 na 35 35 20 20 20 35 20 20 20 35 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 na na 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 1 7 7 1 1 1 35 na 35 na 35 1 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 20 20 20 35 20 20 20 35 35 20 20 20 35 35 20 20 35 35 20 20 20 35 20 20 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 20 20 35 20 20 35 na 35 20 2 2 2 5 5 5 20 20 20 2 2 2 20 3 3 8 8 8 20 20 20 15 7 15 20 2 20 8 20 1 2 15 20 2 20 8 20 1 1 2 5 20 2 20 8 20 1 1 2 5 20 2 20 8 20 20 na 15 7 15 20 2 20 8 20 20 35 15 7 15 20 2 20 8 20 20 20 35 15 7 15 20 2 20 8 20 20 20 20 35 15 na 5 20 2 20 8 20 20 20 20 1 I 2 5 20 2 20 8 20 20 20 20 20 35 20 20 20 20 35 20 20 1 35 1 35 1 I 2 7 2 7 2 5 15 5 15 5 20 20 20 20 20 2 2 2 2 2 20 20 20 20 8 20 20 20 20 20 na 20 20 na 1 15 1 8 8 8 Other soecies4 na 8 Aggregated amount 20 20 20 20 35 35 20 20 20 20 1 1 2 5 20 2 20 8 non-groundfish snecies8 .. 1 Sablefish: for fixed gear restnct10ns, see§ 679.7(f)(3)(n) and (f)(l l) . 2 Other flatfish includes all flatfish species, except for Pacific halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfm sole, Alaska plaice, arrowtooth flounder and Kamchatka flounder. 3 Other rocktish includes all "rockfish" as defmed at § 679.2, except for Pacific ocean perch; and northern, shortraker, and rougheye rockfish. 4 The Other species includes sharks, skates and octopuses. 5 na = not applicable 6 Aggregated rockfish includes all "rockfish" as defined at§ 679.2, except shortraker and rougheye rockfish. Catcher vessels using hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear are required to retain all rockfish. See § 679.20G). 7 Forage fish, grenadiers, squids, and sculpins are all defined at Table 2c to this part. 8 All legally retained species offish and shellfish, including CDQ halibut and TFQ halibut that are not listed as FMP groundfish in Tables 2a and 2c to this part. 9 Catcher vessels using hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear are required to retain all rockfish. See§ 679.20G). [FR Doc. 2021–28232 Filed 12–29–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–C DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 210217–0022] RTID 0648–XB678 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2022 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock, Atka Mackerel, and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason adjustment; request for comments. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES AGENCY: NMFS is adjusting the 2022 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Dec 29, 2021 Jkt 256001 (BSAI) pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined these TACs are incorrectly specified, and will ensure the BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs are the appropriate amounts based on the best available scientific information. This action is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area. DATES: Effective 0001 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 1, 2022, until the effective date of the final 2022 and 2023 harvest specifications for BSAI groundfish, unless otherwise modified or superseded through publication of a notification in the Federal Register. Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., January 14, 2022. ADDRESSES: Submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA–NMFS– 2020–0141, by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 20 Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov and enter NOAA– NMFS–2020–0141. Click the ‘‘Comment’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Records Office. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668. Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments if they are sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the comment period ends. All comments received are a part of the public record, and NMFS will post the comments for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). E:\FR\FM\30DER1.SGM 30DER1 ER30DE21.012</GPH> Code INCIDENTAL CATCH SPECIES 74390 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 248 / Thursday, December 30, 2021 / Rules and Regulations FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Krista Milani, 907–581–2062. NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) under authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679. The final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (86 FR 11449, February 25, 2021) set the 2022 Aleutian Islands (AI) pollock TAC at 19,000 metric tons (mt), the 2022 Bering Sea (BS) pollock TAC at 1,400,000 mt, the 2022 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC at 57,717 mt, the 2022 BS Pacific cod TAC at 95,053 mt, and the 2022 AI Pacific cod TAC at 13,796 mt. In December 2021, the Council recommended a 2022 BS pollock TAC of 1,111,000 mt, which is less than the 1,400,000 mt TAC established by the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. The Council also recommended a 2022 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC of 66,481 mt, which is more than the 57,717 mt TAC established by the final 2021 and SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 2022 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. Furthermore, the Council recommended a 2022 BS Pacific cod TAC of 136,466 mt, and an AI Pacific cod TAC of 13,796 mt, which is more than the BS Pacific cod TAC of 95,053 mt, and the same as the AI Pacific cod TAC of 13,796 mt established by the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. The Council’s recommended 2022 TACs, and the area and seasonal apportionments, are based on the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation report (SAFE), dated November 2021, which NMFS has determined is the best available scientific information for these fisheries. Steller sea lions occur in the same location as the pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries and are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod are a principal prey species for Steller sea lions in the BSAI. The seasonal apportionment of pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod harvest is necessary to ensure the groundfish fisheries are not likely to cause jeopardy of extinction or adverse modification of critical habitat for Steller sea lions. NMFS published regulations and the revised harvest limit amounts for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries to implement Steller sea lion protection measures to insure that groundfish fisheries of the BSAI are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the western distinct population segment of Steller sea lions or destroy or adversely modify their designated critical habitat (79 FR 70286, November 25, 2014). In accordance with § 679.25(a)(1)(iii), (a)(2)(i)(B), and (a)(2)(iv), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that, based on the November 2021 SAFE report for this fishery, the current BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs are incorrectly specified. Pursuant to § 679.25(a)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator is adjusting the 2022 BS pollock TAC to 1,111,000 mt, the 2022 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC to 66,481 mt, and the 2022 BS Pacific cod TAC to 136,466 mt. Therefore, Table 2 of the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (86 FR 11449, February 25, 2021) is revised consistent with this adjustment. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i) and (iii), Table 5 of the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (86 FR 11449, February 25, 2021) is revised for the 2022 BS and AI allocations of pollock TAC to the directed pollock fisheries and to the Community Development Quota (CDQ) directed fishing allowances consistent with this adjustment. TABLE 5—FINAL 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 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES 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 ........................................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea ABC ......................................................................... Aleutian Islands subarea TAC 1 ....................................................................... CDQ DFA ......................................................................................................... ICA ................................................................................................................... Aleut Corporation ............................................................................................. Area harvest limit 7 ........................................................................................... 541 ............................................................................................................ 542 ............................................................................................................ 543 ............................................................................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Dec 29, 2021 Jkt 256001 PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 A season DFA 2022 B season 1 SCA harvest limit 2 B season DFA 1,111,000 111,100 49,500 n/a 49,995 n/a n/a 31,108 n/a n/a 61,105 n/a 950,400 475,200 380,160 347,846 32,314 1,901 95,040 166,320 285,120 50,752 19,000 1,900 2,500 14,600 n/a 15,226 7,613 2,538 427,680 213,840 171,072 156,531 14,541 855 42,768 n/a n/a n/a n/a 1,900 1,250 14,600 n/a n/a n/a n/a 266,112 133,056 106,445 n/a n/a n/a 26,611 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 522,720 261,360 209,088 191,316 17,772 1,045 52,272 n/a n/a n/a n/a E:\FR\FM\30DER1.SGM 30DER1 1,250 n/a n/a n/a n/a Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 248 / Thursday, December 30, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 74391 TABLE 5—FINAL 2022 ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA) 1—Continued [Amounts are in metric tons] 2022 A season 1 2022 allocations Area and sector Bogoslof District ICA 8 ...................................................................................... A season DFA 250 2022 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 subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector—50 percent, catcher/processor sector (CP)—40 percent, and mothership sector—10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 45 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20–June 10) and 55 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10–November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) through (iii), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second for the ICA (2,500 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the Aleutian Islands subarea, the A season is allocated up to 40 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. 2 In the Bering Sea subarea, pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C), no more than 28 percent of each sector’s annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before noon, April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed CPs shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels with a CP endorsement delivering to listed CPs, unless there is a CP sector cooperative for the year. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/ processor sector’s allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 of no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 of no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 of no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. 8 Pursuant to § 679.22(a)(7)(B), the Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for incidental catch only and are not apportioned by season or sector. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8), Table 7 of the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (86 FR 11449, February 25, 2021) is revised for the 2022 seasonal and spatial allowances, gear shares, CDQ reserve, incidental catch allowance, jig, BSAI trawl limited access, and Amendment 80 allocations of the BSAI Atka mackerel TAC consistent with this adjustment. TABLE 7—FINAL 2022 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] 2022 allocation by area 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 ..................................... khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Eastern Aleutian District/ Bering Sea Sector 1 27,260 2,917 1,458 n/a 1,458 n/a 24,343 800 118 2,343 1,171 n/a 1,171 n/a 21,083 10,541 n/a 10,541 n/a Central Aleutian District 5 Western Aleutian District 16,880 1,806 903 542 903 542 15,074 75 22,341 2,390 1,195 717 1,195 717 19,951 20 1,500 750 450 750 450 13,499 6,749 4,050 6,749 4,050 19,931 9,965 5,979 9,965 5,979 1 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the iTAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50 CFR part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 2 Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 3 The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4 Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Dec 29, 2021 Jkt 256001 PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\30DER1.SGM 30DER1 74392 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 248 / Thursday, December 30, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 5 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to be caught inside of Steller sea lion critical habitat; section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3); and section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires that the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC in Area 543. 6 Sections 679.2 and 679.20(a)(8)(i) require that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and the ICA. NMFS sets the amount of this allocation for 2022 at 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(7), Table 9 of the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (86 FR 11449, February 25, 2021) is revised for the 2022 gear shares and seasonal allowances of the BSAI Pacific cod TAC consistent with this adjustment. TABLE 9—FINAL 2022 SECTOR ALLOCATIONS AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector Percent 2022 share of total 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 100 60.8 n/a n/a 48.7 136,466 14,602 121,864 13,796 1,476 12,320 2,166 134,184 81,584 400 81,184 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 65,027 Hook-and-line catcher vessel ≥60 ft LOA ........... 0.2 n/a 267 Pot catcher/processor ......................................... 1.5 n/a 2,003 Pot catcher vessel ≥60 ft LOA ............................ 8.4 n/a 11,216 Catcher vessel <60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. Trawl catcher vessel ........................................... 2.0 n/a 2,671 22.1 29,655 n/a AFA trawl catcher/processor ............................... 2.3 3,086 n/a Amendment 80 .................................................... 13.4 17,981 n/a Jig ........................................................................ 1.4 1,879 n/a 2022 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 33,164 31,863 136 131 1,021 981 5,720 5,496 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 .............. 21,944 3,262 4,448 2,315 772 13,485 4,495 1,127 376 376 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. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Classification NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This action is required by 50 CFR part 679, which was issued pursuant to section 304(b), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:53 Dec 29, 2021 Jkt 256001 Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest, as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would allow for harvests that PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 exceed the appropriate allocations for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod in the BSAI based on the best scientific information available. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of December 23, 2021. E:\FR\FM\30DER1.SGM 30DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 248 / Thursday, December 30, 2021 / Rules and Regulations khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Without this inseason adjustment, NMFS could not allow the fishery for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod in the BSAI to be harvested in an expedient manner and in accordance with the regulatory schedule. Under VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:33 Dec 29, 2021 Jkt 256001 § 679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action to the above address until January 14, 2022. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. PO 00000 Dated: December 27, 2021. Karen Abrams, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2021–28371 Filed 12–29–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Frm 00041 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 74393 E:\FR\FM\30DER1.SGM 30DER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 248 (Thursday, December 30, 2021)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 74389-74393]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-28371]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 210217-0022]
RTID 0648-XB678


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason 
Adjustment to the 2022 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock, Atka 
Mackerel, and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts

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

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

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

SUMMARY: NMFS is adjusting the 2022 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts 
for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) pollock, Atka mackerel, 
and Pacific cod fisheries. This action is necessary because NMFS has 
determined these TACs are incorrectly specified, and will ensure the 
BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs are the appropriate 
amounts based on the best available scientific information. This action 
is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management 
Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management 
Area.

DATES: Effective 0001 hours, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 1, 
2022, until the effective date of the final 2022 and 2023 harvest 
specifications for BSAI groundfish, unless otherwise modified or 
superseded through publication of a notification in the Federal 
Register.
    Comments must be received at the following address no later than 
4:30 p.m., A.l.t., January 14, 2022.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-
2020-0141, by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov 
and enter NOAA-NMFS-2020-0141. Click the ``Comment'' icon, complete the 
required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Records Office. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 
99802-1668.
    Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments if they are sent by 
any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after 
the comment period ends. All comments received are a part of the public 
record, and NMFS will post the comments for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, 
or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender 
will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter 
``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

[[Page 74390]]


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Krista Milani, 907-581-2062.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
BSAI exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan 
for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area 
(FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council 
(Council) under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in 
accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 
CFR part 679.
    The final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for groundfish in 
the BSAI (86 FR 11449, February 25, 2021) set the 2022 Aleutian Islands 
(AI) pollock TAC at 19,000 metric tons (mt), the 2022 Bering Sea (BS) 
pollock TAC at 1,400,000 mt, the 2022 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC at 57,717 
mt, the 2022 BS Pacific cod TAC at 95,053 mt, and the 2022 AI Pacific 
cod TAC at 13,796 mt. In December 2021, the Council recommended a 2022 
BS pollock TAC of 1,111,000 mt, which is less than the 1,400,000 mt TAC 
established by the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for 
groundfish in the BSAI. The Council also recommended a 2022 BSAI Atka 
mackerel TAC of 66,481 mt, which is more than the 57,717 mt TAC 
established by the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for 
groundfish in the BSAI. Furthermore, the Council recommended a 2022 BS 
Pacific cod TAC of 136,466 mt, and an AI Pacific cod TAC of 13,796 mt, 
which is more than the BS Pacific cod TAC of 95,053 mt, and the same as 
the AI Pacific cod TAC of 13,796 mt established by the final 2021 and 
2022 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. The Council's 
recommended 2022 TACs, and the area and seasonal apportionments, are 
based on the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation report (SAFE), 
dated November 2021, which NMFS has determined is the best available 
scientific information for these fisheries.
    Steller sea lions occur in the same location as the pollock, Atka 
mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries and are listed as endangered under 
the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific 
cod are a principal prey species for Steller sea lions in the BSAI. The 
seasonal apportionment of pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod 
harvest is necessary to ensure the groundfish fisheries are not likely 
to cause jeopardy of extinction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat for Steller sea lions. NMFS published regulations and the 
revised harvest limit amounts for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific 
cod fisheries to implement Steller sea lion protection measures to 
insure that groundfish fisheries of the BSAI are not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of the western distinct population 
segment of Steller sea lions or destroy or adversely modify their 
designated critical habitat (79 FR 70286, November 25, 2014).
    In accordance with Sec.  679.25(a)(1)(iii), (a)(2)(i)(B), and 
(a)(2)(iv), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional 
Administrator), has determined that, based on the November 2021 SAFE 
report for this fishery, the current BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and 
Pacific cod TACs are incorrectly specified. Pursuant to Sec.  
679.25(a)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator is adjusting the 2022 BS 
pollock TAC to 1,111,000 mt, the 2022 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC to 66,481 
mt, and the 2022 BS Pacific cod TAC to 136,466 mt. Therefore, Table 2 
of the final 2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for groundfish in the 
BSAI (86 FR 11449, February 25, 2021) is revised consistent with this 
adjustment.
    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(5)(i) and (iii), Table 5 of the final 
2021 and 2022 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (86 FR 
11449, February 25, 2021) is revised for the 2022 BS and AI allocations 
of pollock TAC to the directed pollock fisheries and to the Community 
Development Quota (CDQ) directed fishing allowances consistent with 
this adjustment.

    Table 5--Final 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\......................       1,111,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................         111,100          49,995          31,108          61,105
ICA \1\.........................................          49,500             n/a             n/a             n/a
Total Bering Sea non-CDQ........................
DFA.............................................         950,400         427,680         266,112         522,720
AFA Inshore.....................................         475,200         213,840         133,056         261,360
AFA Catcher/Processors \3\......................         380,160         171,072         106,445         209,088
    Catch by CPs................................         347,846         156,531             n/a         191,316
    Catch by CVs \3\............................          32,314          14,541             n/a          17,772
    Unlisted CP Limit \4\.......................           1,901             855             n/a           1,045
AFA Motherships.................................          95,040          42,768          26,611          52,272
Excessive Harvesting Limit \5\..................         166,320             n/a             n/a             n/a
Excessive Processing Limit \6\..................         285,120             n/a             n/a             n/a
Aleutian Islands subarea ABC....................          50,752             n/a             n/a             n/a
Aleutian Islands subarea TAC \1\................          19,000             n/a             n/a             n/a
CDQ DFA.........................................           1,900           1,900             n/a
ICA.............................................           2,500           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.........................................          15,226             n/a             n/a             n/a
    542.........................................           7,613             n/a             n/a             n/a
    543.........................................           2,538             n/a             n/a             n/a

[[Page 74391]]

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

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(8), Table 7 of the final 2021 and 2022 
harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (86 FR 11449, 
February 25, 2021) is revised for the 2022 seasonal and spatial 
allowances, gear shares, CDQ reserve, incidental catch allowance, jig, 
BSAI trawl limited access, and Amendment 80 allocations of the BSAI 
Atka mackerel TAC consistent with this adjustment.

 Table 7--Final 2022 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]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              2022 allocation by area
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                      Eastern
              Sector \1\                   Season \2\ \3\ \4\        Aleutian         Central         Western
                                                                     District/       Aleutian        Aleutian
                                                                    Bering Sea     District \5\      District
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TAC...................................  n/a.....................          27,260          16,880          22,341
CDQ reserve...........................  Total...................           2,917           1,806           2,390
                                        A.......................           1,458             903           1,195
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             542             717
                                        B.......................           1,458             903           1,195
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             542             717
Non-CDQ TAC...........................  n/a.....................          24,343          15,074          19,951
ICA...................................  Total...................             800              75              20
Jig \6\...............................  Total...................             118
BSAI trawl limited access.............  Total...................           2,343           1,500
                                        A.......................           1,171             750
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             450
                                        B.......................           1,171             750
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a             450
Amendment 80 sector...................  Total...................          21,083          13,499          19,931
                                        A.......................          10,541           6,749           9,965
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a           4,050           5,979
                                        B.......................          10,541           6,749           9,965
                                        Critical Habitat........             n/a           4,050           5,979
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear
  allocation, and ICAs, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the iTAC
  for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to 50
  CFR part 679 and Sec.   679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see
  Sec.  Sec.   679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31).
\2\ Sections 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel
  fishery.
\3\ The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season.
\4\ Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from
  January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31.

[[Page 74392]]

 
\5\ Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to
  be caught inside of Steller sea lion critical habitat; section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the
  annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at Sec.   679.23(e)(3); and section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(2)
  requires that the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC in Area 543.
\6\ Sections 679.2 and 679.20(a)(8)(i) require that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the
  Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and the ICA. NMFS sets the
  amount of this allocation for 2022 at 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season.
Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    Pursuant to Sec.  679.20(a)(7), Table 9 of the final 2021 and 2022 
harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (86 FR 11449, 
February 25, 2021) is revised for the 2022 gear shares and seasonal 
allowances of the BSAI Pacific cod TAC consistent with this adjustment.

           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 of   2022 share of ---------------------------------
                                                     total       sector total        Season           Amount
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BS TAC........................             n/a         136,466             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
BS CDQ........................             n/a          14,602             n/a  see Sec.                     n/a
                                                                                 679.20(a)(7)(i)
                                                                                 (B).
BS non-CDQ TAC................             n/a         121,864             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         134,184             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Total hook-and-line/pot gear..            60.8          81,584             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          81,184             n/a  n/a.............             n/a
Hook-and-line catcher/                    48.7             n/a          65,027  Jan 1-Jun 10....          33,164
 processor.
                                                                                Jun 10-Dec 31...          31,863
Hook-and-line catcher vessel               0.2             n/a             267  Jan 1-Jun 10....             136
 >=60 ft LOA.
                                                                                Jun 10-Dec 31...             131
Pot catcher/processor.........             1.5             n/a           2,003  Jan 1-Jun 10....           1,021
                                                                                Sept 1-Dec 31...             981
Pot catcher vessel >=60 ft LOA             8.4             n/a          11,216  Jan 1-Jun 10....           5,720
                                                                                Sept 1-Dec 31...           5,496
Catcher vessel <60 ft LOA                  2.0             n/a           2,671  n/a.............             n/a
 using hook-and-line or pot
 gear.
Trawl catcher vessel..........            22.1          29,655             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          21,944
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           3,262
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....           4,448
AFA trawl catcher/processor...             2.3           3,086             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....           2,315
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....             772
                                                                                Jun 10-Nov 1....
Amendment 80..................            13.4          17,981             n/a  Jan 20-Apr 1....          13,485
                                                                                Apr 1-Jun 10....           4,495
                                                                                Jun 10-Dec 31...
Jig...........................             1.4           1,879             n/a  Jan 1-Apr 30....           1,127
                                                                                Apr 30-Aug 31...             376
                                                                                Aug 31-Dec 31...             376
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\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.

Classification

    NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act. This action is required by 50 CFR part 679, which was 
issued pursuant to section 304(b), and is exempt from review under 
Executive Order 12866.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior 
notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice 
and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest, 
as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries 
data in a timely fashion and would allow for harvests that exceed the 
appropriate allocations for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod in 
the BSAI based on the best scientific information available. NMFS was 
unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because 
the most recent, relevant data only became available as of December 23, 
2021.

[[Page 74393]]

    Without this inseason adjustment, NMFS could not allow the fishery 
for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod in the BSAI to be harvested 
in an expedient manner and in accordance with the regulatory schedule. 
Under Sec.  679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit 
written comments on this action to the above address until January 14, 
2022.

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

    Dated: December 27, 2021.
Karen Abrams,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
 [FR Doc. 2021-28371 Filed 12-29-21; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P