Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan; 2022 Annual Management Measures, 12604-12620 [2022-04639]

Download as PDF 12604 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations I. E.O. 13175 (Indian Tribal Governments) This rule does not have Tribal implications under E.O. 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian Tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes. J. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 FMCSA analyzed this rule pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and determined this action is categorically excluded from further analysis and documentation in an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under FMCSA Order 5610.1 (69 FR 9680), Appendix 2, paragraph 6.bb. The Categorical Exclusion (CE) in paragraph 6.bb. addresses regulations concerning vehicle operation safety standards (e.g., regulations requiring: Certain motor carriers to use approved equipment which is required to be installed such as an ignition cut-off switch, or carried onboard, such as a fire extinguisher, and/or stricter blood alcohol concentration standards for drivers, etc.), equipment approval, and/ or equipment carriage requirements (e.g., fire extinguishers and flares). The requirements in this rule are covered by this CE and the final action does not have any effect on the quality of the environment. List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 393 Highway safety, Motor carriers, Motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, FMCSA amends 49 CFR chapter III, part 393 as follows: PART 393—PARTS AND ACCESSORIES NECESSARY FOR SAFE OPERATION Authority: 49 U.S.C. 31136, 31151, and 31502; sec. 1041(b) of Pub. L. 102–240, 105 Stat. 1914, 1993 (1991); sec. 5301 and 5524 of Pub. L. 114–94, 129 Stat. 1312, 1543, 1560; and 49 CFR 1.87. 2. Amend § 393.5 by revising the definition of ‘‘Vehicle safety technology’’ to read as follows: khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES ■ * * * * (e) * * * (1) * * * (ii) Paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section does not apply to vehicle safety technologies, as defined in § 393.5, that are mounted on the interior of a windshield. Devices with vehicle safety technologies must be mounted: (A) Not more than 216 mm (8.5 inches) below the upper edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers; (B) Not more than 175 mm (7 inches) above the lower edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers; and (C) Outside the driver’s sight lines to the road and highway signs and signals. * * * * * Issued under the authority of delegation in 49 CFR 1.87. Robin Hutcheson, Acting Administrator. * * * * * Vehicle safety technology. Vehicle safety technology includes systems and items of equipment to promote driver, Jkt 256001 BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P 50 CFR Part 300 [Docket No. 220225–0061] RIN 0648–BL18 Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan; 2022 Annual Management Measures National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4700 The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on behalf of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), publishes as regulations the 2022 annual management measures governing the Pacific halibut fishery that have been recommended by the IPHC and accepted by the Secretary of State. These measures are intended to enhance the conservation of Pacific halibut and further the goals and objectives of the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. DATES: The IPHC’s 2022 annual management measures are effective February 18, 2022. The 2022 management measures are effective until superseded. ADDRESSES: Additional requests for information regarding this action may be obtained by contacting the International Pacific Halibut Commission, 2320 W Commodore Way, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98199–1287; or Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS Alaska Region, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802; or Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS West Coast Region, 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232. This final rule also is accessible via the internet at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https:// www.regulations.gov, identified by docket number NOAA–NMFS–2022– 0020. SUMMARY: For waters off Alaska, Doug Duncan, 907– 586–7425; or, for waters off the U.S. West Coast, Kathryn Blair, 503–231– 6858. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: [FR Doc. 2022–03996 Filed 3–4–22; 8:45 am] AGENCY: Definitions. 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Glazing in specified openings. * National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 1. The authority citation for part 393 continues to read as follows: VerDate Sep<11>2014 § 393.60 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE ■ § 393.5 occupant, and roadway safety. Examples of vehicle safety technology systems and devices include a fleet-related incident management system, performance or behavior management system, speed management system, lane departure warning system, forward collision warning or mitigation system, active cruise control system, transponder, braking warning system, braking assist system, driver camera system, attention assist warning, Global Positioning Systems, and traffic sign recognition. Vehicle safety technology includes systems and devices that contain cameras, lidar, radar, sensors, and/or video. * * * * * ■ 3. Amend § 393.60 by revising paragraph (e)(1)(ii) to read as follows: Sfmt 4700 Background The IPHC has recommended regulations that would govern the Pacific halibut fishery in 2022, pursuant to the Convention between Canada and the United States for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea (Convention), signed at Ottawa, Ontario, on March 2, 1953, as amended by a Protocol Amending the Convention (signed at Washington, DC, on March 29, 1979). As provided by the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut Act), the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce, may accept or reject, on behalf of the United States, regulations recommended by the IPHC in accordance with the Convention. 16 U.S.C. 773b. The Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce, accepted E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations the 2022 IPHC regulations on February 18, 2022. The Halibut Act provides the Secretary of Commerce with the authority and general responsibility to carry out the requirements of the Convention and the Halibut Act. The Regional Fishery Management Councils may develop, and the Secretary of Commerce may implement, regulations governing harvesting privileges among U.S. fishermen in U.S. waters that are in addition to, and not in conflict with, approved IPHC regulations. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) has exercised this authority in developing halibut management programs for three fisheries that harvest halibut in Alaska: The subsistence, sport, and commercial fisheries. The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) has exercised this authority by developing a catch sharing plan governing the allocation of halibut and management of sport fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. The IPHC apportions catch limits for the Pacific halibut fishery among regulatory areas (Figure 1): Area 2A (Oregon, Washington, and California), Area 2B (British Columbia), Area 2C (Southeast Alaska), Area 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska), Area 3B (Western Gulf of Alaska), and Area 4 (which is further divided into 5 areas, 4A through 4E, in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands of Western Alaska). Subsistence and sport halibut fishery regulations for Alaska are codified at 50 CFR part 300. Commercial halibut fisheries off Alaska are subject to regulations resulting from the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program, the Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program (50 CFR part 679), and the area-specific catch sharing plans (CSPs) for Areas 2C, 3A, and Areas 4C, 4D, and 4E. The NPFMC implemented a CSP among commercial IFQ and CDQ halibut fisheries in IPHC Regulatory Areas 4C, 4D, and 4E (Area 4, Western Alaska) through rulemaking, and the Secretary of Commerce approved the plan on March 20, 1996 (61 FR 11337). The Area 4 CSP regulations are codified at 50 CFR 300.65. New annual regulations pertaining to the Area 4 CSP also may be implemented through IPHC action, subject to acceptance by the Secretary of State. The NPFMC recommended and NMFS implemented through rulemaking a CSP for guided sport (charter) and commercial IFQ halibut fisheries in IPHC Regulatory Area 2C and Area 3A on January 13, 2014 (78 FR 75844, December 12, 2013). The Area 2C and 3A CSP regulations are codified at VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 50 CFR 300.65. The CSP defines an annual process for allocating halibut between the commercial and charter fisheries so that each sector’s allocation varies in proportion to halibut abundance, specifies a public process for setting annual management measures, and authorizes limited annual leases of commercial IFQ for use in the charter fishery as guided angler fish (GAF). The IPHC held its annual meeting remotely by video conference from January 24 through 28, 2022, and recommended a number of changes to the previous IPHC regulations (86 FR 13475, March 9, 2021). On February 18, 2022, the Secretary of State with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce accepted the annual management measures, including the following changes to Section 5, Section 29, and other Sections of the 2022 IPHC regulations: 1. New halibut catch limits in all regulatory areas. The catch limits are presented in two tables in Section 5 that distinguish between limits resulting from Commission decisions and those that are from catch limits that are the responsibility of the respective United States and Canada governments; 2. new management measures for Area 2C and Area 3A guided sport fisheries in Section 29; 3. new harvest recordkeeping requirements for Area 2C and Area 3A guided anglers to maintain a harvest record if a halibut annual limit is in place in Section 29; and 4. minor technical corrections to improve consistency and clarity throughout the IPHC regulations. Pursuant to regulations at 50 CFR 300.62, the 2022 IPHC annual management measures are published in the Federal Register in this action to provide notice of their regulatory effectiveness and to inform persons subject to the regulations of their restrictions and requirements. Because the regulations published in this action are applicable to the entire Convention area, these regulations include some provisions relating to and affecting Canadian fishing and fisheries. In separate actions, NMFS may implement more restrictive regulations for the U.S. halibut fishery or components of it; therefore, anglers are advised to check the current Federal and IPHC regulations prior to fishing. Catch Limits The IPHC recommended to the governments of Canada and the United States fishery catch limits for 2022 totaling 33,190,000 lb (15,055 mt). Fishery catch limits are referred to as PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 12605 Fishery Constant Exploitation Yield (FCEY) by the IPHC, which is the amount of yield for the directed Pacific halibut fisheries dependent upon allocation agreements in each IPHC regulatory area. Coastwide, the 2022 FCEY increased 9.4 percent over the FCEY implemented in 2021. Except for Area 2A, the FCEY in each regulatory area increased. The FCEY for Area 2A decreased by approximately 1.3 percent relative to the 2021 catch limit. A description of the process the IPHC used to set these catch limits follows. For the upcoming 2022 halibut fishing year, the IPHC conducted its annual stock assessment using a range of updated data sources as described in detail in the IPHC overview of data sources for the Pacific halibut stock assessment, harvest policy, and related analyses (IPHC–2022–AM098–10; available at www.iphc.int). To evaluate the Pacific halibut stock, the IPHC used an ‘‘ensemble’’ of four equally weighted models, comprised of two long timeseries models incorporating data from 1888 to the present, and two short timeseries models incorporating data from 1996 to the present. Each time-series uses data that are divided either by four geographical regions or aggregated into coastwide summaries. These models incorporate data, including 2021 data, from the IPHC Fishery Independent Setline Survey (FISS), the commercial halibut fishery, the most recent NMFS Eastern Bering Sea trawl survey, sexspecific recreational age composition data from Area 3A, weight-at-age and male/female sex ratio estimates by region in the directed commercial fisheries and in the FISS, commercial fishery logbook information, and age distribution information for bycatch, sport, and sublegal discard removals. The results of the ensemble models are integrated and incorporate uncertainty in natural mortality rates, environmental effects on recruitment, and other structural and parameter categories, consistent with practices in place since 2012. The data and assessment models used by the IPHC are reviewed by the IPHC’s Scientific Review Board comprised of non-IPHC scientists who provide an independent scientific review of the data and stock assessment to provide recommendations to IPHC staff and the Commissioners. The Scientific Review Board did not identify any substantive errors in the data or methods used in the 2022 stock assessment. NMFS believes the IPHC’s data and assessments models constitute best available science on the status of the Pacific halibut resource. The IPHC’s data, including the FISS, indicate that the Pacific halibut stock E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES 12606 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations declined continuously from the late 1990s to around 2012, largely as a result of decreasing size at a given age (sizeat-age), higher harvest rates in the early 2000s, and weaker recruitment than observed during the 1980s. From about 2013 to 2016, there was a slight increasing trend in the spawning biomass, followed by a slight decline continuing into the current assessment. Results from the 2021 stock assessment incorporate data from an expansion of the FISS throughout the survey range over the 2011–2019 period. Among other things, improvements in the FISS spatial coverage enhance understanding of spatial and temporal Pacific halibut density, and reduces the uncertainty in the weight per unit effort (WPUE) and number per unit effort (NPUE) indices. Overall, the spawning biomass is estimated to be approximately 191,000,000 lb (86,636.14 mt) at the beginning of 2022. The stock is currently estimated to be at 33 percent of its unfished state. This estimate reflects updated calculations recommended during stock assessment external review and review by the Scientific Review Board, as well as developments in the IPHC Management Strategy Evaluation. The IPHC’s current interim management procedure that was adopted in 2020 strives to maintain the total mortality of halibut across its range from all sources based on a reference level of fishing intensity so that the Spawning Potential Ratio (SPR) is equal to 43 percent. The reference fishing intensity of F43 percent SPR seeks to allow a level of fishing intensity that is expected to result in approximately 43 percent of the spawning biomass per recruit compared to an unfished stock (i.e., no fishing mortality). Lower F values would be expected to result in higher fishing intensity. The 2021 stock assessment and estimates of fishing intensity were enhanced by newly available data on the male/female sex ratio for the 2020 commercial fishery landings. Combined with similar data collected from 2017 to 2019 in the commercial fisheries, the information on the sex ratio affected the treatment of the stock assessment data for the directed commercial fishery in the stock assessment models; it did not change the treatment or sex ratio estimates of the mortalities associated with the recreational, subsistence, or nondirected halibut fisheries. The IPHC harvest decision table (Table 3 in IPHC–2022–AM098–10; available at www.iphc.int) provides a comparison of the relative risk of a decrease in stock biomass, stock status, or fishery metrics, for a range of fishing VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 intensities for 2022. The harvest decision table employs two metrics of fishing mortality: (1) The Total Constant Exploitation Yield (TCEY), which includes harvests and incidental discard mortality from directed commercial fisheries, mortality estimates from sport, subsistence, and personal use, and estimates of non-directed discard mortality of halibut over 26 inches (66.0 cm); and, (2) Total Mortality, which includes all the above sources of mortality, plus estimates of non-directed discard mortality of halibut less than 26 inches (66.0 cm) (U26). Although U26 halibut mortality is factored into the stock assessment and harvest strategy calculations, there is currently no reliable tool for describing the annual coastwide distribution of U26 halibut. For 2022, the IPHC adopted a TCEY totaling 41,220,000 lb (18,697 mt) coastwide. This corresponds to a fishing intensity of approximately F43 percent, which is consistent with the target level of fishing intensity used to establish the TCEY for 2021. The 2022 TCEY is 2,220,000 lb (1,007.0 mt) greater than the TCEY adopted in 2021. The IPHC noted this management approach represents a relatively conservative level of harvest that considers the inherent uncertainties in the stock assessment models. The IPHC noted that under a broad range of catch limits, including highly restrictive catch limits, the halibut spawning biomass is likely to decrease based on the best available scientific information. In making its recommendation, the IPHC considered likely stock status and uncertainties, as well as the significant social and economic impacts of catch limits among areas. At a 41,220,000 lb (18,697 mt) TCEY, the IPHC estimates that the spawning biomass will likely decrease from 2023 to 2025 relative to 2022. Specifically, the IPHC estimates there is a 59 percent probability that the spawning biomass will decrease in 2023 relative to 2022, and there is a 25 percent probability that the decrease in 2023 will be at least 5 percent of the 2022 spawning biomass. The IPHC also noted that if the reference level of fishing intensity continues, the probability of a spawning biomass decrease is expected to decline as the strong 2012 cohort matures. The factors that the IPHC considered in making their TCEY recommendations are described in the 2022 Annual Meeting Report (IPHC–2022–AM098–R; available at www.iphc.int) and the key recommendations are briefly summarized here. This final rule does not establish the combined commercial and recreational catch limit for Area 2B (British PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Columbia), which is subject to rulemaking by the Canada and British Columbia governments. However, the IPHC’s recommendation for the Area 2B catch limit is directly related to the current and future U.S. catch limits established by this final rule and is therefore discussed herein. The IPHC recommended a 2022 TCEY of 7,560,000 lb (3,429 mt) for Area 2B, which equates to 18.3 percent of the total coastwide TCEY. The IPHC made this recommendation after considering recent historic harvests in Area 2B, the distribution of the TCEY in Area 2B as estimated from the FISS under the current interim management procedure, and other factors described in the 2022 Annual Meeting Report (IPHC–2022– AM098–R; available at www.iphc.int). The IPHC recommended an allocation to Area 2A that would provide a TCEY of 1,650,000 lb (748 mt) with a combined commercial, tribal, and recreational catch limit of 1,490,000 lb (676 mt). This allocation is larger than the catch limit that would apply to Area 2A under the adopted fishing intensity of F43 percent and the proportion of the stock as estimated from the FISS under the current interim management procedure. To achieve the Area 2A and Area 2B allocations and still maintain the target coastwide fishing intensity of F43 percent, the IPHC recommended an overall reduction in catch limits in other IPHC regulatory areas in U.S. waters that are intended to maintain total mortality to the adopted fishing intensity of F43 percent. After the allocations for Areas 2A and 2B are accounted for, the IPHC apportioned the remaining TCEY to the Alaska regulatory areas (Areas 2C through Area 4) after considering the distribution of harvestable biomass of halibut based on the FISS, as well as 2021 harvest rates, the recommendations from the IPHC’s advisory boards, public input, and social and economic factors. All U.S. areas maintained or increased in TCEY relative to 2021 (see Table 1). The largest increase was 25 percent in Area 3B, while Areas 2C, 3A, 4A, 4B, and 4CDE received increases ranging from 1.9 percent to 3.9 percent relative to 2021. Area 2A received the same TCEY in 2022 as it did in 2021. The IPHC determined that the 2022 catch limit recommendations are consistent with its conservation objectives for the halibut stock and its management objectives for the halibut fisheries. The IPHC also considered the Catch Sharing Plan for Area 4CDE developed by the NPFMC in its catch limit recommendation. The Area 4CDE catch limit is determined by subtracting E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations estimates of the Area 4CDE subsistence harvests, commercial discard mortality, and non-directed discard mortality of halibut over 26 inches (66.0 cm) from the area TCEY. When the resulting Area 4CDE catch limit is greater than 1,657,600 lb (751.87 mt), a direct allocation of 80,000 lb (36.29 mt) is made to Area 4E to provide CDQ fishermen in that area with additional harvesting opportunity. After this 80,000 lb (36.29 mt) allocation is deducted from the catch limit, the remainder is divided among Areas 4C, 12607 4D, and 4E according to the percentages specified in the CSP. Those percentages are 46.43 percent each to 4C and 4D, and 7.14 percent to 4E. For 2021, the IPHC recommended a catch limit for Area 4CDE of 2,060,000 lb (934 mt). TABLE 1—PERCENT CHANGE IN TCEY MORTALITY LIMITS FROM 2021 TO 2022 BY IPHC REGULATORY AREA 2021 total mortality limit (lb) Regulatory area 2A ..................................................................................................................... 2B ..................................................................................................................... 2C .................................................................................................................... 3A ..................................................................................................................... 3B ..................................................................................................................... 4A ..................................................................................................................... 4B ..................................................................................................................... 4CDE ............................................................................................................... Coastwide ........................................................................................................ khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Commercial Halibut Fishery Opening and Closing Dates The IPHC considers advice from the IPHC’s two advisory boards, as well as direct testimony from the public, when selecting opening and closing dates for the commercial halibut fishery. The 2022 commercial halibut fishery opening date for all IPHC regulatory areas is March 6, 2022. The closing date for the commercial halibut fisheries in all IPHC regulatory areas is December 7, 2022. These commercial season dates are the same season dates adopted by the IPHC in 2021; they result in a longer season compared to years prior to 2021 when the commercial halibut fisheries opened mid-March and closed midNovember. The extended season maintains harvesting and market flexibility that stakeholders have identified as important during the current period of uncertainty. These commercial season dates are not expected to result in detrimental conservation effects. The season dates allow for the anticipated time required to fully harvest the commercial halibut catch limits, seasonal holidays, and adequate time for IPHC staff to review the complete record of 2021 commercial catch data for use in the stock assessment process. The IPHC also considered the time required for the administrative tasks that are linked to halibut regulations developed independently by the domestic partners when establishing these season dates. For Area 2A, the IPHC recommended that the non-treaty directed commercial fishery will open for 58 hours, beginning at 0800 hours on June 28 and close at 1800 hours on June 30. After this first opening, if the IPHC VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 1,650,000 (748 7,000,000 (3,175 5,800,000 (2,631 14,000,000 (6,350 3,120,000 (1,415 2,050,000 (930 1,400,000 (635 3,980,000 (1,805 39,000,000 (17,690 determines that the fishing limit has not been exceeded, it may announce a second fishing period of up to three fishing days to begin on Tuesday two weeks after the first period opens. This season structure is consistent with the approach used during 2021 in Area 2A. Specific fishing period limits (vessel quota) will be determined and communicated by IPHC. Area 2A Catch Sharing Plan The NMFS West Coast Region has published a proposed rule (February 17, 2022, 87 FR 9021), with public comments accepted for 15 days, to approve the Pacific halibut CSP for Area 2A off Washington, Oregon, and California and implement annual management measures for Area 2A as recommended by the PFMC in the CSP. These annual management measures include sport fishery allocations and management measures for Area 2A which are not implemented through the IPHC. NMFS will address any comments received in a final rule. The proposed and final rules for the Area 2A CSP will be available on the NMFS West Coast Region’s website at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/2022pacific-halibut-catch-sharing-plan and also at www.regulations.gov. Catch Sharing Plan for Area 2C and Area 3A In 2014, NMFS implemented a CSP for Area 2C and Area 3A. The CSP defines an annual process for allocating halibut between the charter and commercial fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A, and establishes allocations for each fishery. Under the CSP, the IPHC recommends combined catch limits (CCLs) for the charter and commercial PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 2022 total mortality limit (lb) mt) mt) mt) mt) mt) mt) mt) mt) mt) 1,650,000 (748 7,560,000 (3,429 5,910,000 (2,681 14,550,000 (6,600 3,900,000 (1,769 2,100,000 (953 1,450,000 (658 4,100,000 (1,860 41,220,000 (18,697 Change from 2021 (percent) mt) mt) mt) mt) mt) mt) mt) mt) mt) 0.0 8.0 1.9 3.9 25.0 2.4 3.6 3.0 5.7 halibut fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A. Each CCL includes estimates of discard mortality for each fishery. The CSP was implemented to achieve the halibut fishery management goals of the NPFMC. More information is provided in the final rule implementing the CSP (78 FR 75844, December 12, 2013). Implementing regulations for the CSP are at 50 CFR 300.65. The Area 2C and Area 3A CSP allocations are located in Tables 1 through 4 of subpart E of 50 CFR part 300. To allow additional flexibility for individual commercial and charter fishery participants, the CSP also authorizes annual transfers of commercial halibut IFQ as GAF to charter halibut permit holders for harvest in the charter fishery. GAF regulations for the CSP are at 50 CFR 300.65. At its January 2022 meeting, the IPHC recommended a CCL of 4,460,000 lb (2,023 mt) for Area 2C. Following the CSP allocations in Tables 1 and 3 of subpart E of 50 CFR part 300, the charter fishery is allocated 820,000 lb (372 mt) of the CCL and the remainder of the CCL, 3,650,000 lb (1,656 mt) is allocated to the commercial fishery. Discard mortality in the amount of 140,000 lb (63.5 mt) was deducted from the commercial allocation to obtain the commercial catch limit of 3,510,000 lb (1,592.1 mt). The commercial allocation (including discard mortality) increased by 50,000 lb (22.7 mt), or 1.4 percent, from the 2021 allocation of 3,600,000 lb (1,632.9 mt). The 2022 Area 2C charter allocation of 820,000 lb (372 mt) is 10,000 lb (4.5 mt), or 1.2 percent more than the 2021 charter sector allocation of 810,000 lb (367.41 mt). The IPHC recommended a CCL of 12,070,000 lb (5,475 mt) for Area 3A. E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 12608 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Following the CSP allocations in Tables 2 and 4 of subpart E of 50 CFR part 300, the charter fishery is allocated 2,110,000 lb (957 mt) of the CCL and the remainder of the CCL, 9,960,000 lb (4,518 mt), is allocated to the commercial fishery. Discard mortality in the amount of 410,000 lb (185.9 mt) was deducted from the commercial allocation to obtain the commercial catch limit of 9,550,000 lb (4,331.8 mt). The commercial allocation (including discard mortality) increased by about 770,000 lb (349.3 mt), or 8.4 percent, from the 2021 allocation of 9,190,000 lb (4,168.51 mt). The charter allocation increased by 160,000 lb (72.6 mt), or 8.2 percent, from the 2021 allocation of 1,950,000 lb (884.51 mt). Charter Halibut Management Measures for Area 2C and Area 3A Guided (charter) recreational halibut anglers are managed under different regulations than unguided recreational halibut anglers in Areas 2C and 3A in Alaska. According to Federal regulations at 50 CFR 300.61, a charter vessel angler means a person, paying or non-paying, receiving sport fishing guide services for halibut. Sport fishing guide services means assistance, for compensation or with the intent to receive compensation, to a person who is sport fishing, to take or attempt to take halibut by accompanying or physically directing the sport fisherman in sport fishing activities during any part of a charter vessel fishing trip. A charter vessel fishing trip is the time period between the first deployment of fishing gear into the water from a charter vessel by a charter vessel angler and the offloading of one or more charter vessel anglers or any halibut from that vessel. The charter fishery regulations described below apply only to charter vessel anglers receiving sport fishing guide services during a charter vessel fishing trip for halibut in Area 2C or Area 3A. These regulations do not apply to unguided recreational anglers in any regulatory area in Alaska, or guided anglers in areas other than Areas 2C and 3A. To provide recommendations for annual management measures intended to limit charter harvest to the charter catch allocation, the NPFMC formed the Charter Halibut Management Committee (Committee) as a stakeholder advisory body. The Committee is composed of representatives from the charter fishing industry in Areas 2C and 3A who provide input on the preferred range of charter management measures each year. In October 2021, the Committee began their annual process by requesting analysis of management VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 measures that would result in charter halibut removals within the range of expected allocations for each area. In addition, this annual analysis, which is prepared by the Alaska Department of Fish Game (ADFG), includes information about charter harvests in the prior year. The Analysis of Management Options for the Area 2C and 3A Charter Halibut Fisheries for 2022 (charter halibut analysis) is available at https://www.npfmc.org/. Management of charter halibut fishing in Areas 2C and 3A has been challenging in recent years. The 2020 charter fishing season was greatly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in an unexpected and significant drop in charter fishing effort and harvest. The NPFMC and IPHC responded with revised management measures (June 19, 2020, 85 FR 37024). Despite these liberalized management measures, 2020 charter halibut harvests were 36.0 percent below the Area 2C allocation, and 6.6 percent below the Area 3A allocation. Expecting a similar reduction in charter halibut harvest due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic conditions and associated travel restrictions, the 2021 management measures included a buffer to account for reductions in charter harvest anticipated to be similar to 2020 in order to allow the sector to more completely use its allocation (86 FR 13475, March 9, 2021). However, the charter halibut analysis found that the 2021 charter halibut harvests were 42.5 percent above the Area 2C allocation, and 25.9 percent above the Area 3A allocation. Overall, 2021 charter halibut harvests were significantly higher than expected despite challenging pandemic conditions and continuing uncertainty. Communities that are highly dependent on cruise ship tourism, which was significantly reduced in 2021, did experience significant reductions in charter halibut harvests relative to historical conditions. After reviewing the charter halibut analysis, the Committee made conservative recommendations for preferred management measures to the NPFMC for 2022. These recommendations are intended to provide equitable harvest opportunity across charter business arrangements and maintain total charter harvests within the 2022 allocations for both Areas 2C and 3A. These recommendations do not include an additional buffer as was adopted in the 2021 management measures. The NPFMC considered the charter halibut analysis, the recommendations of the Committee, and public testimony to develop its recommendation to the PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 IPHC. The IPHC took action consistent with the NPFMC’s recommendations. The NPFMC has used this process to select and recommend annual management measures to the IPHC since 2012. The IPHC recognizes the role of the NPFMC to develop policy and regulations that allocate the Pacific halibut resource among fishermen in and off Alaska, and that NMFS has developed numerous regulations to support the NPFMC’s goals of limiting charter harvests. For 2022, the IPHC concluded that in Area 3A, despite an 8.2 percent increase in the charter catch limit relative to 2021, the 2022 management measures should be more conservative than those adopted in 2021 given the high charter halibut removals observed in 2021. For the same reasons, for Area 2C, despite an increase in the charter catch limit relative to 2021, the IPHC concluded that the 2022 management measures should be more conservative than those adopted in 2021. The IPHC’s recommendations are consistent with the recommendations of the NPFMC and the Committee. The IPHC determined that limiting charter harvests by implementing the management measures discussed below would meet conservation and allocation objectives. Management Measures for Charter Vessel Fishing in Area 2C For 2022 in Area 2C, the IPHC recommended the continuation of a onefish daily bag limit with a reverse slot limit that prohibits a person on board a charter vessel referred to in 50 CFR 300.65 and fishing in Area 2C from taking or possessing any halibut, with head on, that is greater than 40 inches (101.6 cm) and less than 80 inches (203.2 cm). The charter halibut size limits referenced in this document are as measured in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of the tail. These measures are projected to yield 814,000 lb (369.2 mt) of charter removals, which is 6,000 lb (2.7 mt) and 0.7 percent below the Area 2C charter allocation. Reverse slot limits have proven an effective tool to limit the number and pounds of retained halibut. These are more conservative than the primary management measures for Area 2C in 2021, which were one halibut per charter angler, less than or equal to 50 inches (127.0 cm) or greater than 72 inches (182.9 cm). The NPFMC and IPHC considered information on charter removals in 2021 and for previous years, the projections of charter harvest, and the charter allocation. With this E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations information, the NPFMC and IPHC determined that more conservative management measures in Area 2C, relative to the 2021 measures, were appropriate to limit charter removals to the 2022 allocation. Management Measures for Charter Vessel Fishing in Area 3A For 2022, the IPHC recommended the following management measures for Area 3A: (1) A two-fish bag limit with a 28-inch (71.1 cm) maximum size limit on one of the halibut; (2) a one-trip per day limit for charter vessels and for charter halibut permits for the entire season; (3) prohibition on halibut retention by charter vessel anglers on all Wednesdays; and, (4) prohibition on halibut retention by charter vessel anglers on the following Tuesdays: July 26 and August 2. The projected charter harvest for 2022 under this combination of recommended measures is 2,096,000 lb (950.7 mt), which is 14,000 lb (6.4 mt) and 0.7 percent below the charter allocation. Each of these management measures is described in the following section. These management measures are more conservative than the primary management measures for Area 3A in 2021 when an overage occurred. The NPFMC and IPHC considered information on charter removals in 2021 and for previous years, the projections of charter harvest, and the charter allocation. With this information, the NPFMC and IPHC determined that more restrictive management measures in Area 3A, relative to the 2021 measures, were appropriate to limit charter removals to the 2022 allocation. Size Limit for Halibut Retained on a Charter Vessel in Area 3A The 2022 charter halibut fishery in Area 3A will be managed under a twofish daily bag limit in which one of the retained halibut may be of any size and one of the retained halibut must be 28 inches (71.1 cm) or less. The 28 inch (71.1 cm) second fish maximum size limit was in effect from 2016 through 2019 in Area 3A. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Trip Limit for Charter Vessels Harvesting Halibut in Area 3A Charter halibut permits and charter vessels in 2022 are authorized only for use to catch and retain halibut on one charter halibut fishing trip per day in Area 3A. If no halibut are retained during a charter vessel fishing trip, the charter halibut permit and vessel may be used to take an additional trip to catch and retain halibut that day. These regulations have been in place each year VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 since 2016, and have proven to be effective in controlling halibut harvests. For purposes of the trip limit in Area 3A in 2022, a charter vessel fishing trip will end when anglers or halibut are offloaded, or at the end of the calendar day, whichever occurs first. Charter operators are still able to conduct overnight trips and anglers may retain a bag limit of halibut on two calendar days, but operators are not allowed to begin another overnight trip until the day after the trip ends. GAF halibut are exempt from the trip limit. Therefore, GAF may be used to harvest halibut on a second trip in a day, but only if exclusively GAF halibut are harvested on that trip. Day-of-Week Closures in Area 3A The NPFMC and the IPHC recommended a closure on retaining halibut by charter vessel anglers on all Wednesdays and on two Tuesdays—July 26 and August 2—for Area 3A in 2022. Retention of GAF halibut is allowed on charter vessels on closed days, but all other halibut that are caught while fishing on a charter vessel must be released. The day of week closures effectively decrease the charter halibut harvest to help stay within the allocation. Other Regulatory Amendments Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements for Charter Vessel Anglers With an Annual Limit The recordkeeping requirements needed to enforce annual limits for charter vessel anglers in Area 2C and Area 3A were added to the general provisions of Section 29(1). This eliminates the need to annually add or remove the specifications for the harvest record card required when an annual limit is selected as a charter management measure in either Area 2C or 3A. Additionally, Section 29(3) was amended to allow the use of ADFGapproved electronic harvest records for charter vessel anglers in Areas 2C and 3A, if those areas are subject to an annual limit on the number of Pacific halibut that may be retained. Under the amended regulations, existing approved physical harvest records will also continue to be accepted. This creates regulatory consistency for anglers who concurrently retain halibut as well as State managed species for which there is an annual limit. Technical Changes for Improved Consistency and Clarity ‘‘Authorized representative of the Commission’’ was defined in Section 3 PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 12609 as ‘‘any IPHC employee or contractor authorized to perform any task described in these Regulations.’’ This clarifies the existing intent of ‘‘an authorized representative of the Commission’’ where used in the IPHC regulations. Additionally, minor modifications were made to capitalization and list formatting throughout the IPHC regulations. These amendments improve consistency and clarity but do not result in substantive changes to the IPHC regulations. International Pacific Halibut Commission Fishery Regulations 2022 (Annual Management Measures) The following annual management measures for the 2022 Pacific halibut fishery are those recommended by the IPHC and accepted by the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce. 1. Short Title These Regulations may be cited as the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Fishery Regulations (2022). 2. Application (1) These Regulations apply to persons and vessels fishing for Pacific halibut in, or possessing Pacific halibut taken from, the maritime area as defined in Section 3. (2) Sections 3 to 8 and 30 apply generally to all Pacific halibut fishing. (3) Sections 8 to 23 apply to commercial fishing for Pacific halibut. (4) Section 24 applies to Indigenous fisheries in British Columbia. (5) Section 25 applies to customary and traditional fishing in Alaska. (6) Sections 26 to 29 apply to recreational (also called sport) fishing for Pacific halibut. (7) These Regulations do not apply to fishing operations authorized or conducted by the Commission for research purposes. 3. Definitions (1) In these Regulations, (a) ‘‘authorized officer’’ means any State, Federal, or Provincial officer authorized to enforce these Regulations including, but not limited to, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Alaska Wildlife Troopers (AWT), United States Coast Guard (USCG), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the Oregon State Police (OSP), and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW); (b) ‘‘authorized clearance personnel’’ means an authorized officer of the E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES 12610 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations United States of America, an authorized representative of the Commission, or a designated fish processor; (c) ‘‘authorized representative of the Commission’’ means any IPHC employee or contractor authorized to perform any task described in these Regulations. (d) ‘‘charter vessel’’ outside of Alaska waters means a vessel used for hire in recreational (sport) fishing for Pacific halibut, but not including a vessel without a hired operator, and in Alaska waters means a vessel used while providing or receiving recreational (sport) fishing guide services for Pacific halibut; (e) ‘‘commercial fishing’’ means fishing, the resulting catch of which is sold or bartered; or is intended to be sold or bartered, other than (i) recreational (sport) fishing; (ii) treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence fishing as referred to in Section 23, (iii) Indigenous groups fishing in British Columbia as referred to in Section 24; and (iv) customary and traditional fishing as referred to in Section 25 and defined by and regulated pursuant to NOAA Fisheries regulations published at 50 CFR part 300; (f) ‘‘Commission’’ or ‘‘IPHC’’ means the International Pacific Halibut Commission; (g) ‘‘daily bag limit’’ means the maximum number of Pacific halibut a person may take in any calendar day from Convention waters; (h) ‘‘fishing’’ means the taking, harvesting, or catching of fish, or any activity that can reasonably be expected to result in the taking, harvesting, or catching of fish, including specifically the deployment of any amount or component part of gear anywhere in the maritime area; (i) ‘‘fishing period limit’’ means the maximum amount of Pacific halibut that may be retained and landed by a vessel during one fishing period; (j) ‘‘land’’ or ‘‘offload’’ with respect to Pacific halibut, means the removal of Pacific halibut from the catching vessel; (k) ‘‘license’’ means a Pacific halibut fishing license issued by the Commission pursuant to Section 15; (l) ‘‘maritime area,’’ in respect of the fisheries jurisdiction of a Contracting Party, includes without distinction areas within and seaward of the territorial sea and internal waters of that Party; (m) ‘‘net weight’’ of a Pacific halibut means the weight of Pacific halibut that is without gills and entrails, head-off, VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 washed, and without ice and slime. If a Pacific halibut is weighed with the head on or with ice and slime, the required conversion factors for calculating net weight are a 2 percent deduction for ice and slime and a 10 percent deduction for the head; (n) ‘‘operator,’’ with respect to any vessel, means the owner and/or the master or other individual on board and in charge of that vessel; (o) ‘‘overall length’’ of a vessel means the horizontal distance, rounded to the nearest foot, between the foremost part of the stem and the aftermost part of the stern (excluding bowsprits, rudders, outboard motor brackets, and similar fittings or attachments); (p) ‘‘person’’ includes an individual, corporation, firm, or association; (q) ‘‘regulatory area’’ means an IPHC Regulatory Area referred to in Section 4; (r) ‘‘setline gear’’ means one or more stationary, buoyed, and anchored lines with hooks attached; (s) ‘‘sport fishing’’ or ‘‘recreational fishing’’ means all fishing other than (i) commercial fishing; (ii) treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence fishing as referred to in Section 23; (iii) Indigenous groups fishing in British Columbia as referred to in Section 24; and (iv) customary and traditional fishing as referred to in Section 25 and defined in and regulated pursuant to NOAA Fisheries regulations published in 50 CFR part 300; (t) ‘‘tender’’ means any vessel that buys or obtains fish directly from a catching vessel and transports it to a port of landing or fish processor; (u) ‘‘VMS transmitter’’ means a NOAA Fisheries-approved vessel monitoring system transmitter that automatically determines a vessel’s position and transmits it to a NOAA Fisheriesapproved communications service provider.1 (2) In these Regulations, all bearings are true and all positions are determined by the most recent charts issued by the United States National Ocean Service or the Canadian Hydrographic Service. 4. IPHC Regulatory Areas The following areas within the IPHC Convention waters shall be defined as IPHC Regulatory Areas for the purposes of the Convention (see Figure 1): 1 Call NOAA Enforcement Division, Alaska Region, at 907–586–7225 between the hours of 0800 and 1600 local time for a list of NOAA Fisheriesapproved VMS transmitters and communications service providers. PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (1) IPHC Regulatory Area 2A includes all waters off the states of California, Oregon, and Washington; (2) IPHC Regulatory Area 2B includes all waters off British Columbia; (3) IPHC Regulatory Area 2C includes all waters off Alaska that are east of a line running 340° true from Cape Spencer Light (58°11′56″ N latitude, 136°38′26″ W longitude) and south and east of a line running 205° true from said light; (4) IPHC Regulatory Area 3A includes all waters between Area 2C and a line extending from the most northerly point on Cape Aklek (57°41′15″ N latitude, 155°35′00″ W longitude) to Cape Ikolik (57°17′17″ N latitude, 154°47′18″ W longitude), then along the Kodiak Island coastline to Cape Trinity (56°44′50″ N latitude, 154°08′44″ W longitude), then 140° true; (5) IPHC Regulatory Area 3B includes all waters between Area 3A and a line extending 150° true from Cape Lutke (54°29′00″ N latitude, 164°20′00″ W longitude) and south of 54°49′00″ N latitude in Isanotski Strait; (6) IPHC Regulatory Area 4A includes all waters in the Gulf of Alaska west of Area 3B and in the Bering Sea west of the closed area defined in Section 10 that are east of 172°00′00″ W longitude and south of 56°20′00″ N latitude; (7) IPHC Regulatory Area 4B includes all waters in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska west of IPHC Regulatory Area 4A and south of 56°20′00″ N latitude; (8) IPHC Regulatory Area 4C includes all waters in the Bering Sea north of IPHC Regulatory Area 4A and north of the closed area defined in Section 10 which are east of 171°00′00″ W longitude, south of 58°00′00″ N latitude, and west of 168°00′00″ W longitude; (9) IPHC Regulatory Area 4D includes all waters in the Bering Sea north of IPHC Regulatory Areas 4A and 4B, north and west of IPHC Regulatory Area 4C, and west of 168°00′00″ W longitude; and (10) IPHC Regulatory Area 4E includes all waters in the Bering Sea north and east of the closed area defined in Section 10, east of 168°00′00″ W longitude, and south of 65°34′00″ N latitude. 5. Mortality and Fishery Limits (1) The Commission has adopted the following distributed mortality (TCEY) limits: E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations 12611 Distributed mortality limits (TCEY) (net weight) IPHC regulatory area Tonnes (t) Million pounds (Mlb) Area 2A (California, Oregon, and Washington) ...................................................................................................... Area 2B (British Columbia) ...................................................................................................................................... Area 2C (southeastern Alaska) ............................................................................................................................... Area 3A (central Gulf of Alaska) ............................................................................................................................. Area 3B (western Gulf of Alaska) ............................................................................................................................ Area 4A (eastern Aleutians) .................................................................................................................................... Area 4B (central/western Aleutians) ........................................................................................................................ Areas 4CDE (Bering Sea) ....................................................................................................................................... 748 3,429 2,681 6,600 1,769 953 658 1,860 1.65 7.56 5.91 14.55 3.90 2.10 1.45 4.10 Total .................................................................................................................................................................. 18,697 41.22 (2) The fishery limits resulting from the IPHC-adopted distributed mortality (TCEY) limits and the existing Contracting Party catch sharing arrangements are as follows, recognizing that each Contracting Party may implement more restrictive limits: Fishery limits (net weight) IPHC regulatory area Tonnes (t) Million pounds (Mlb) * Area 2A (California, Oregon, and Washington) ...................................................................................................... Non-treaty directed commercial (south of Pt. Chehalis) .................................................................................. Non-treaty incidental catch in salmon troll fishery ........................................................................................... Non-treaty incidental catch in sablefish fishery (north of Pt. Chehalis) ........................................................... Treaty Indian commercial ................................................................................................................................. Treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence (year-round) ................................................................................. Recreational—Washington ............................................................................................................................... Recreational—Oregon ...................................................................................................................................... Recreational—California ................................................................................................................................... Area 2B (British Columbia) ...................................................................................................................................... Commercial fishery ........................................................................................................................................... Recreational fishery .......................................................................................................................................... Area 2C (southeastern Alaska) (combined commercial/guided recreational) ......................................................... Commercial fishery (includes 3.51 Mlb landings and 0.14 Mlb discard mortality) .......................................... Guided recreational fishery (includes landings and discard mortality) ............................................................ Area 3A (central Gulf of Alaska) (combined commercial/guided recreational) ....................................................... Commercial fishery (includes 9.55 Mlb landings and 0.41 Mlb discard mortality) .......................................... Guided recreational fishery (includes landings and discard mortality) ............................................................ Area 3B (western Gulf of Alaska) ............................................................................................................................ Area 4A (eastern Aleutians) .................................................................................................................................... Area 4B (central/western Aleutians) ........................................................................................................................ Areas 4CDE ............................................................................................................................................................. Area 4C (Pribilof Islands) ................................................................................................................................. Area 4D (northwestern Bering Sea) ................................................................................................................. Area 4E (Bering Sea flats) ............................................................................................................................... 676 115 20 23 226 11 134 130 18 3,044 2,587 457 2,023 1,656 372 5,475 4,518 957 1,520 798 581 934 417 417 100 1.49 * 252,730 * 44,599 * 50,000 * 498,000 * 23,500 * 294,786 * 287,645 * 38,740 6.71 5.70 1.01 4.46 3.65 0.82 12.07 9.96 2.11 3.35 1.76 1.28 2.06 0.92 0.92 0.22 Total ........................................................................................................................................................... 15,055 33.19 * Allocations resulting from the IPHC Regulatory Area 2A Catch Share Plan are listed in pounds. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES 6. In-Season Actions (1) The Commission is authorized to establish or modify regulations during the season after determining that such action: (a) Will not result in exceeding the fishery limit established preseason for each IPHC Regulatory Area; (b) is consistent with the Convention between Canada and the United States of America for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the Northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, and applicable domestic law of either Canada or the United States of America; and VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 (c) is consistent, to the maximum extent practicable, with any domestic catch sharing plans or other domestic allocation programs developed by the governments of Canada or the United States of America. (2) In-season actions may include, but are not limited to, establishment or modification of the following: (a) Closed areas; (b) fishing periods; (c) fishing period limits; (d) gear restrictions; (e) recreational (sport) bag limits; (f) size limits; or (g) vessel clearances. PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (3) In-season changes will be effective at the time and date specified by the Commission. (4) The Commission will announce in-season actions under this Section by providing notice to major Pacific halibut processors; Federal, State, United States of America treaty Indian, and Provincial fishery officials; and the media. 7. Careful Release of Pacific Halibut (1) All Pacific halibut that are caught and are not retained shall be immediately released outboard of the roller and returned to the sea with a minimum of injury by: E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 12612 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations (a) Hook straightening; (b) cutting the gangion near the hook; or (c) carefully removing the hook by twisting it from the Pacific halibut with a gaff. (2) Except that paragraph (1) shall not prohibit the possession of Pacific halibut on board a vessel that has been brought aboard to be measured to determine if the applicable size limit of the Pacific halibut is met and, if not legal-sized, is promptly returned to the sea with a minimum of injury. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES 8. Retention of Tagged Pacific Halibut (1) Nothing contained in these Regulations prohibits any vessel at any time from retaining and landing a Pacific halibut that bears a Commission external tag at the time of capture, if the Pacific halibut with the tag still attached is reported at the time of landing and made available for examination by an authorized representative of the Commission or by an authorized officer. (2) After examination and removal of the tag by an authorized representative of the Commission or an authorized officer, the Pacific halibut: (a) May be retained for personal use; or (b) may be sold only if the Pacific halibut is caught during commercial Pacific halibut fishing and complies with the other commercial fishing provisions of these Regulations. (3) Any Pacific halibut that bears a Commission external tag will not count against commercial fishing period limits, Individual Vessel Quotas (IVQ), Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ), Community Development Quotas (CDQ), or Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQ), and are not subject to size limits in these regulations, but should still be recorded in the landing record. (4) Any Pacific halibut that bears a Commission external tag will not count against recreational (sport) daily bag limits or possession limits, may be retained outside of recreational (sport) fishing seasons, and are not subject to size limits in these regulations. (5) Any Pacific halibut that bears a Commission external tag will not count against daily bag limits, possession limits, or fishery limits in the fisheries described in Section 23, paragraph (1)(c), Section 24, or Section 25. 9. Commercial Fishing Periods (1) The fishing periods for each IPHC Regulatory Area apply where the fishery limits specified in Section 5 have not been taken. (2) Unless the Commission specifies otherwise, commercial fishing for Pacific halibut in all IPHC Regulatory VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 Areas may begin no earlier in the year than 1200 local time on 6 March. (3) All commercial fishing for Pacific halibut in all IPHC Regulatory Areas shall cease for the year at 1200 local time on 7 December. (4) The first fishing period in the IPHC Regulatory Area 2A non-tribal directed commercial fishery 2 shall begin at 0800 on the fourth Tuesday in June and terminate at 1800 local time on the subsequent Thursday, unless the Commission specifies otherwise. If the Commission determines that the fishery limit specified for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A in Section 5 has not been exceeded, it may announce a second fishing period of up to three fishing days to begin on Tuesday two weeks after the first period, and, if necessary, a third fishing period of up to three fishing days to begin on Tuesday four weeks after the first period. (5) Notwithstanding paragraph (4), and paragraph (6) of Section 12, an incidental catch fishery 3 is authorized during the sablefish seasons in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A in accordance with regulations promulgated by NOAA Fisheries. This fishery will occur between the dates and times listed in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this Section. (6) Notwithstanding paragraph (4), and paragraph (6) of Section 12, an incidental catch fishery is authorized during salmon troll seasons in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A in accordance with regulations promulgated by NOAA Fisheries. This fishery will occur between the dates and times listed in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this Section. 10. Closed Area All waters in the Bering Sea north of 55°00′00″ N latitude in Isanotski Strait that are enclosed by a line from Cape Sarichef Light (54°36′00″ N latitude, 164°55′42″ W longitude) to a point at 56°20′00″ N latitude, 168°30′00″ W longitude; thence to a point at 58°21′25″ N latitude, 163°00′00″ W longitude; thence to Strogonof Point (56°53′18″ N latitude, 158°50′37″ W longitude); and then along the northern coasts of the Alaska Peninsula and Unimak Island to the point of origin at Cape Sarichef Light are closed to Pacific halibut fishing and no person shall fish for 2 The non-tribal directed fishery is restricted to waters that are south of Point Chehalis, Washington, (46°53.30′ N latitude) under regulations promulgated by NOAA Fisheries and published in the Federal Register. 3 The incidental fishery during the directed, fixed gear sablefish season is restricted to waters that are north of Point Chehalis, Washington, (46°53.30′ N latitude) under regulations promulgated by NOAA Fisheries at 50 CFR 300.63. Landing restrictions for Pacific halibut retention in the fixed gear sablefish fishery can be found at 50 CFR 660.231. PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Pacific halibut therein or have Pacific halibut in his/her possession while in those waters except in the course of a continuous transit across those waters. All waters in Isanotski Strait between 55°00′00″ N latitude and 54°49′00″ N latitude are closed to Pacific halibut fishing. 11. Closed Periods (1) No person shall engage in fishing for Pacific halibut in any IPHC Regulatory Area other than during the fishing periods set out in Section 9 in respect of that area. (2) No person shall land or otherwise retain Pacific halibut caught outside a fishing period applicable to the IPHC Regulatory Area where the Pacific halibut was taken. (3) Subject to paragraphs (7), (8), (9), and (10) of Section 18, these Regulations do not prohibit fishing for any species of fish other than Pacific halibut during the closed periods. (4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), no person shall have Pacific halibut in his/ her possession while fishing for any other species of fish during the closed periods. (5) No vessel shall retrieve any Pacific halibut fishing gear during a closed period if the vessel has any Pacific halibut on board. (6) A vessel that has no Pacific halibut on board may retrieve any Pacific halibut fishing gear during the closed period after the operator notifies an authorized officer or an authorized representative of the Commission prior to that retrieval. (7) After retrieval of Pacific halibut gear in accordance with paragraph (6), the vessel shall submit to a hold inspection at the discretion of the authorized officer or an authorized representative of the Commission. (8) No person shall retain any Pacific halibut caught on gear retrieved in accordance with paragraph (6). (9) No person shall possess Pacific halibut on board a vessel in an IPHC Regulatory Area during a closed period unless that vessel is in continuous transit to or within a port in which that Pacific halibut may be lawfully sold. 12. Application of Commercial Fishery Limits (1) Notwithstanding the fishery limits described in Section 5, regulations pertaining to the division of the IPHC Regulatory Area 2A fishery limit between the directed commercial fishery and the incidental catch fishery as described in paragraphs (5) and (6) of Section 9 will be promulgated by NOAA Fisheries and published in the Federal Register. E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 12613 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations (2) The Commission shall determine and announce to the public the date on which the fishery limit for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A will be taken. (3) Notwithstanding the fishery limits described in Section 5, the commercial fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 2B will close only when all Individual Vessel Quotas (IVQ) and Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQ) assigned by DFO are taken, or on the date when fishing must cease as specified in Section 9, whichever is earlier. (4) Notwithstanding the fishery limits described in Section 5, IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E will each close only when all Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQ) and all CDQ issued by NOAA Fisheries have been taken, or on the date when fishing must cease as specified in Section 9, whichever is earlier. (5) If the Commission determines that the fishery limit specified for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A in Section 5 would be exceeded in an additional directed commercial fishing period as specified in paragraph (4) of Section 9, the fishery limit for that area shall be considered to have been taken and the directed commercial fishery closed as announced by the Commission. (6) When under paragraphs (1), (2), and (5) the Commission has announced a date on which the fishery limit for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A will be taken, no person shall fish for Pacific halibut in that area after that date for the rest of the year, unless the Commission has announced the reopening of that area for Pacific halibut fishing. (7) Notwithstanding the fishery limits described in Section 5, the total allowable catch of Pacific halibut that may be taken in the IPHC Regulatory Area 4E directed commercial fishery is equal to the combined annual fishery limits specified for the IPHC Regulatory Areas 4D and 4E CDQ fisheries and any IPHC Regulatory Area 4D IFQ received by transfer by a CDQ organization. The annual IPHC Regulatory Area 4D fishery limit will decrease by the equivalent amount of CDQ and IFQ received by transfer by a CDQ organization taken in IPHC Regulatory Area 4E in excess of the annual IPHC Regulatory Area 4E fishery limit. (8) Notwithstanding the fishery limits described in Section 5, the total allowable catch of Pacific halibut that may be taken in the IPHC Regulatory Area 4D directed commercial fishery is equal to the combined annual fishery limits specified for IPHC Regulatory Areas 4C and 4D. The annual IPHC Regulatory Area 4C fishery limit will decrease by the equivalent amount of Pacific halibut taken in IPHC Regulatory VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 Area 4D in excess of the annual IPHC Regulatory Area 4D fishery limit. 13. Fishing in Regulatory IPHC Regulatory Areas 4D and 4E (1) Section 13 applies only to any person fishing for, or any vessel that is used to fish for, IPHC Regulatory Area 4E Community Development Quota (CDQ) Pacific halibut, IPHC Regulatory Area 4D CDQ Pacific halibut, or IPHC Regulatory Area 4D IFQ received by transfer by a CDQ organization provided that the total annual Pacific halibut catch of that person or vessel is landed at a port within IPHC Regulatory Areas 4E or 4D. (2) A person may retain Pacific halibut taken with setline gear that are smaller than the size limit specified in Section 19, provided that no person may sell or barter such Pacific halibut. (3) The manager of a CDQ organization that authorizes persons to harvest Pacific halibut in the IPHC Regulatory Area 4E or 4D CDQ fisheries or IFQ received by transfer by a CDQ organization must report to the Commission the total number and weight of undersized Pacific halibut taken and retained by such persons pursuant to Section 13, paragraph (2). This report, which shall include data and methodology used to collect the data, must be received by the Commission prior to 1 November of the year in which such Pacific halibut were harvested. 14. Fishing Period Limits (1) It shall be unlawful for any vessel to retain more Pacific halibut than authorized by that vessel’s license in any fishing period for which the Commission has announced a fishing period limit. (2) The operator of any vessel that fishes for Pacific halibut during a fishing period when fishing period limits are in effect must, upon commencing an offload of Pacific halibut to a commercial fish processor, completely offload all Pacific halibut on board said vessel to that processor and ensure that all Pacific halibut is weighed and reported on State fish tickets. (3) The operator of any vessel that fishes for Pacific halibut during a fishing period when fishing period limits are in effect must, upon commencing an offload of Pacific halibut other than to a commercial fish processor, completely offload all Pacific halibut on board said vessel and ensure that all Pacific halibut are weighed and reported on State fish tickets. (4) The provisions of paragraph (3) are not intended to prevent retail over-the- PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 side sales to individual purchasers so long as all the Pacific halibut on board is ultimately offloaded and reported. (5) When fishing period limits are in effect, a vessel’s maximum retainable catch will be determined by the Commission based on: (a) The vessel’s overall length in feet and associated length class; (b) the average performance of all vessels within that class; and (c) the remaining fishery limit. (6) Length classes are shown in the following table: Overall length (in feet) Vessel class 1–25 ...................................... 26–30 .................................... 31–35 .................................... 36–40 .................................... 41–45 .................................... 46–50 .................................... 51–55 .................................... 56+ ........................................ A B C D E F G H (7) Fishing period limits in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A apply only to the directed Pacific halibut fishery referred to in paragraph (4) of Section 9. 15. Licensing Vessels for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A (1) No person shall fish for Pacific halibut from a vessel, nor possess Pacific halibut on board a vessel, used either for commercial fishing or as a charter vessel in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A, unless the Commission has issued a license valid for fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A in respect of that vessel. (2) A license issued for a vessel operating in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A shall be valid only for operating either as a charter vessel or a commercial vessel, but not both. (3) A vessel with a valid IPHC Regulatory Area 2A commercial license cannot be used to recreationally (sport) fish for Pacific halibut in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A. (4) A license issued for a vessel operating in the commercial fishery in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A shall be valid for one of the following: (a) The directed commercial fishery during the fishing periods specified in paragraph (4) of Section 9; (b) the incidental catch fishery during the sablefish fishery specified in paragraph (5) of Section 9; or (c) the incidental catch fishery during the salmon troll fishery specified in paragraph (6) of Section 9. (5) A vessel with a valid license for the IPHC Regulatory Area 2A incidental catch fishery during the sablefish fishery described in paragraph (4)(b) E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES 12614 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations may also apply for or be issued a license for the directed commercial fishery described in paragraph (4)(a). (6) A license issued in respect to a vessel referred to in paragraph (1) of this Section must be carried on board that vessel at all times and the vessel operator shall permit its inspection by any authorized officer. (7) The Commission shall issue a license in respect to a vessel from its office in Seattle, Washington, upon receipt of a completed ‘‘Application for Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery’’ form. (8) A vessel operating in the directed commercial fishery in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A must have submitted its ‘‘Application for Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery’’ form no later than 2359 local time on 30 April, or the first weekday in May if 30 April is a Saturday or Sunday. (9) A vessel operating in the incidental catch fishery during the sablefish fishery in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A must have submitted its ‘‘Application for Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery’’ form no later than 2359 local time on 29 May, or the next weekday in May if 29 May is a Saturday or Sunday. (10) A vessel operating in the incidental catch fishery during the salmon troll fishery in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A must have submitted its ‘‘Application for Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery’’ form no later than 2359 local time on 15 March, or the next weekday in March if 15 March is a Saturday or Sunday. (11) Applications are submitted on the IPHC Secretariat web page. (12) Information on the ‘‘Application for Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery’’ form must be accurate. (13) The ‘‘Application for Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery’’ form shall be completed by the vessel owner. (14) Licenses issued under this Section shall be valid only during the year in which they are issued. (15) A new license is required for a vessel that is sold, transferred, renamed, or for which the documentation is changed. (16) The license required under this Section is in addition to any license, however designated, that is required under the laws of the United States of America or any of its States. (17) The United States of America may suspend, revoke, or modify any license issued under this Section under policies and procedures in U.S. Code Title 15, CFR part 904. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 16. Vessel Clearance in IPHC Regulatory Area 4 (1) The operator of any vessel that fishes for Pacific halibut in IPHC Regulatory Areas 4A, 4B, 4C, or 4D must obtain a vessel clearance before fishing in any of these areas, and before the landing of any Pacific halibut caught in any of these areas, unless specifically exempted in paragraphs (10), (13), (14), (15), or (16). (2) An operator obtaining a vessel clearance required by paragraph (1) must obtain the clearance in person from the authorized clearance personnel and sign the IPHC form documenting that a clearance was obtained, except that when the clearance is obtained via VHF radio referred to in paragraphs (5), (8), and (9), the authorized clearance personnel must sign the IPHC form documenting that the clearance was obtained. (3) The vessel clearance required under paragraph (1) prior to fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 4A may be obtained only at Nazan Bay on Atka Island, Dutch Harbor, or Akutan, Alaska, from the authorized clearance personnel. (4) The vessel clearance required under paragraph (1) prior to fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 4B may only be obtained at Nazan Bay on Atka Island or Adak, Alaska, from the authorized clearance personnel. (5) The vessel clearance required under paragraph (1) prior to fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 4C or 4D may be obtained only at St. Paul or St. George, Alaska, from the authorized clearance personnel by VHF radio and allowing the person contacted to confirm visually the identity of the vessel. (6) The vessel operator shall specify the specific regulatory area in which fishing will take place. (7) Before unloading any Pacific halibut caught in IPHC Regulatory Area 4A, a vessel operator may obtain the clearance required under paragraph (1) only in Dutch Harbor or Akutan, Alaska, by contacting the authorized clearance personnel. (8) Before unloading any Pacific halibut caught in IPHC Regulatory Area 4B, a vessel operator may obtain the clearance required under paragraph (1) only in Nazan Bay on Atka Island or Adak, by contacting the authorized clearance personnel by VHF radio or in person. (9) Before unloading any Pacific halibut caught in IPHC Regulatory Areas 4C and 4D, a vessel operator may obtain the clearance required under paragraph (1) only in St. Paul, St. George, Dutch Harbor, or Akutan, Alaska, either in PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 person or by contacting the authorized clearance personnel. The clearances obtained in St. Paul or St. George, Alaska, can be obtained by VHF radio and allowing the person contacted to confirm visually the identity of the vessel. (10) Any vessel operator who complies with the requirements in Section 17 for possessing Pacific halibut on board a vessel that was caught in more than one regulatory area in IPHC Regulatory Area 4 is exempt from the clearance requirements of paragraph (1) of this Section, provided that: (a) The operator of the vessel obtains a vessel clearance prior to fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 4 in either Dutch Harbor, Akutan, St. Paul, St. George, Adak, or Nazan Bay on Atka Island by contacting the authorized clearance personnel. The clearance obtained in St. Paul, St. George, Adak, or Nazan Bay on Atka Island can be obtained by VHF radio and allowing the person contacted to confirm visually the identity of the vessel. This clearance will list the areas in which the vessel will fish; and (b) before unloading any Pacific halibut from IPHC Regulatory Area 4, the vessel operator obtains a vessel clearance from Dutch Harbor, Akutan, St. Paul, St. George, Adak, or Nazan Bay on Atka Island by contacting the authorized clearance personnel. The clearance obtained in St. Paul or St. George can be obtained by VHF radio and allowing the person contacted to confirm visually the identity of the vessel. The clearance obtained in Adak or Nazan Bay on Atka Island can be obtained by VHF radio. (11) Vessel clearances shall be obtained between 0600 and 1800, local time. (12) No Pacific halibut shall be on board the vessel at the time of the clearances required prior to fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 4. (13) Any vessel that is used to fish for Pacific halibut only in IPHC Regulatory Area 4A and lands its total annual Pacific halibut catch at a port within IPHC Regulatory Area 4A is exempt from the clearance requirements of paragraph (1). (14) Any vessel that is used to fish for Pacific halibut only in IPHC Regulatory Area 4B and lands its total annual Pacific halibut catch at a port within IPHC Regulatory Area 4B is exempt from the clearance requirements of paragraph (1). (15) Any vessel that is used to fish for Pacific halibut only in IPHC Regulatory Areas 4C or 4D or 4E and lands its total annual Pacific halibut catch at a port within IPHC Regulatory Areas 4C, 4D, 4E, or the closed area defined in Section E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations 10, is exempt from the clearance requirements of paragraph (1). (16) Any vessel that carries a NOAA Fisheries observer, a NOAA Fisheries electronic monitoring system, or a transmitting VMS transmitter while fishing for Pacific halibut in IPHC Regulatory Areas 4A, 4B, 4C, or 4D and until all Pacific halibut caught in any of these IPHC Regulatory Areas is landed, is exempt from the clearance requirements of paragraph (1) of this Section, provided that: (a) The operator of the vessel complies with NOAA Fisheries’ observer or electronic monitoring regulations published at 50 CFR Subpart E, or vessel monitoring system regulations published at 50 CFR 679.28(f)(3), (4) and (5); and (b) the operator of the vessel notifies NOAA Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement at 800–304–4846 (select option 1 to speak to an Enforcement Data Clerk) between the hours of 0600 and 0000 (midnight) local time within 72 hours before fishing for Pacific halibut in IPHC Regulatory Areas 4A, 4B, 4C, or 4D and receives a VMS confirmation number. 17. Fishing Multiple Regulatory Areas (1) Except as provided in this Section, no person shall possess at the same time on board a vessel Pacific halibut caught in more than one IPHC Regulatory Area. (2) Pacific halibut caught in more than one of the IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, or 4E may be possessed on board a vessel at the same time only if: (a) Authorized by NOAA Fisheries regulations published at 50 CFR Section 679.7(f)(4); and (b) the operator of the vessel identifies the regulatory area in which each Pacific halibut on board was caught by separating Pacific halibut from different areas in the hold, tagging Pacific halibut, or by other means. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES 18. Fishing Gear (1) No person shall fish for Pacific halibut using any gear other than hook and line gear, (a) except that a person may retain Pacific halibut taken with longline or single trap gear if such retention is authorized by DFO as defined by Pacific Fishery Regulations and Conditions of Licence; or (b) except that a person may retain Pacific halibut taken with longline or single pot gear if such retention is authorized by NOAA Fisheries regulations published at 50 CFR part 679. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 (2) No person shall possess Pacific halibut taken with any gear other than hook and line gear, (a) except that a person may possess Pacific halibut taken with longline or single trap gear if such retention is authorized by DFO as defined by Pacific Fishery Regulations and Conditions of Licence; or (b) except that a person may possess Pacific halibut taken with longline or single pot gear if such possession is authorized by NOAA Fisheries regulations published at 50 CFR part 679. (3) No person shall possess Pacific halibut while on board a vessel carrying any trawl nets. (4) All gear marker buoys carried on board or used by any United States of America vessel used for Pacific halibut fishing shall be marked with one of the following: (a) The vessel’s State license number; or (b) the vessel’s registration number. (5) The markings specified in paragraph (4) shall be in characters at least four inches in height and one-half inch in width in a contrasting color visible above the water and shall be maintained in legible condition. (6) All gear marker buoys carried on board or used by a Canadian vessel used for Pacific halibut fishing shall be: (a) Floating and visible on the surface of the water; and (b) legibly marked with the identification plate number of the vessel engaged in commercial fishing from which that setline is being operated. (7) No person on board a vessel used to fish for any species of fish anywhere in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A during the 72-hour period immediately before the fishing period for the directed commercial fishery shall catch or possess Pacific halibut anywhere in those waters during that Pacific halibut fishing period unless, prior to the start of the Pacific halibut fishing period, the vessel has removed its gear from the water and has either: (a) Made a landing and completely offloaded its catch of other fish; or (b) submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer. (8) No vessel used to fish for any species of fish anywhere in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A during the 72-hour period immediately before the fishing period for the directed commercial fishery may be used to catch or possess Pacific halibut anywhere in those waters during that Pacific halibut fishing period unless, prior to the start of the Pacific halibut fishing period, the vessel has removed its gear from the water and has either: PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 12615 (a) Made a landing and completely offloaded its catch of other fish; or (b) submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer. (9) No person on board a vessel used to fish for any species of fish anywhere in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, or 4E during the 72hour period immediately before the opening of the Pacific halibut fishing season shall catch or possess Pacific halibut anywhere in those areas until the vessel has removed all of its gear from the water and has either: (a) Made a landing and completely offloaded its entire catch of other fish; or (b) submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer. (10) No vessel used to fish for any species of fish anywhere in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, or 4E during the 72-hour period immediately before the opening of the Pacific halibut fishing season may be used to catch or possess Pacific halibut anywhere in those areas until the vessel has removed all of its gear from the water and has either: (a) Made a landing and completely offloaded its entire catch of other fish; or (b) submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer. (11) Notwithstanding any other provision in these Regulations, a person may retain, possess and dispose of Pacific halibut taken with trawl gear only as authorized by Prohibited Species Donation regulations of NOAA Fisheries. 19. Size Limits (1) No person shall take or possess any Pacific halibut that: (a) With the head on, is less than 32 inches (81.3 cm) as measured in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with the mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of the tail, as illustrated in Figure 2; or (b) with the head removed, is less than 24 inches (61.0 cm) as measured from the base of the pectoral fin at its most anterior point to the extreme end of the middle of the tail, as illustrated in Figure 2. (2) No person on board a vessel fishing for, or tendering, Pacific halibut in any IPHC Regulatory Area shall possess any Pacific halibut that has had its head removed, except that Pacific halibut frozen at sea with its head removed may be possessed on board a vessel by persons in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E if authorized by Federal regulations. E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 12616 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES (3) The size limit in paragraph (1)(b) will not be applied to any Pacific halibut that has had its head removed after the operator has landed the Pacific halibut. 20. Logs (1) The operator of any U.S. vessel fishing for Pacific halibut that has an overall length of 26 feet (7.9 meters) or greater shall maintain an accurate log of Pacific halibut fishing operations. The operator of a vessel fishing in waters in and off Alaska must use one of the following logbooks: The Groundfish/IFQ Longline and Pot Gear Daily Fishing Logbook, in electronic or paper form, provided by NOAA Fisheries; the Alaska hook-and-line logbook provided by Petersburg Vessel Owners Association or Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association; the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) longline-pot logbook; or the logbook provided by IPHC. The operator of a vessel fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A must use either the WDFW Voluntary Sablefish Logbook, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Fixed Gear Logbook, or the logbook provided by IPHC. (2) The logbook referred to in paragraph (1) must include the following information: (a) The name of the vessel and the State (ADFG, WDFW, ODFW, or CDFW) or Tribal ID number; (b) the date(s) upon which the fishing gear is set or retrieved; (c) the latitude and longitude coordinates or a direction and distance from a point of land for each set or day; (d) the number of skates deployed or retrieved, and number of skates lost; and (e) the total weight or number of Pacific halibut retained for each set or day. (3) The logbook referred to in paragraph (1) shall be: (a) Maintained on board the vessel; (b) updated not later than 24 hours after 0000 (midnight) local time for each day fished and prior to the offloading or sale of Pacific halibut taken during that fishing trip; (c) retained for a period of two years by the owner or operator of the vessel; (d) open to inspection by an authorized officer or any authorized representative of the Commission upon demand; and (e) kept on board the vessel when engaged in Pacific halibut fishing, during transits to port of landing, and until the offloading of all Pacific halibut is completed. (4) The log referred to in paragraph (1) does not apply to the incidental Pacific halibut fishery during the salmon troll VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 season in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A defined in paragraph (6) of Section 9. (5) The operator of any Canadian vessel fishing for Pacific halibut shall maintain an accurate record in the British Columbia Integrated Groundfish Fishing Log. (6) The log referred to in paragraph (5) must include the following information: (a) The name of the vessel and the DFO vessel registration number; (b) the date(s) upon which the fishing gear is set and retrieved; (c) the latitude and longitude coordinates for each set; (d) the number of skates deployed or retrieved, and number of skates lost; and (e) the total weight or number of Pacific halibut retained for each set. (7) The log referred to in paragraph (5) shall be: (a) Maintained on board the vessel; (b) retained for a period of two years by the owner or operator of the vessel; (c) open to inspection by an authorized officer or any authorized representative of the Commission upon demand; (d) kept on board the vessel when engaged in Pacific halibut fishing, during transits to port of landing, and until the offloading of all Pacific halibut is completed; (e) submitted to the DFO within seven days of offloading; and (f) submitted to the Commission within seven days of the final offload if not previously collected by a Commission employee. (8) No person shall make a false entry in a log referred to in this Section. 21. Receipt and Possession of Pacific Halibut (1) No person shall receive Pacific halibut caught in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A from a United States of America vessel that does not have on board the license required by Section 15. (2) No person shall possess on board a vessel a Pacific halibut other than whole or with gills and entrails removed, except that this paragraph shall not prohibit the possession on board a vessel of: (a) Pacific halibut cheeks cut from Pacific halibut caught by persons authorized to process the Pacific halibut on board in accordance with NOAA Fisheries regulations published at 50 CFR part 679; (b) fillets from Pacific halibut offloaded in accordance with Section 21 that are possessed on board the harvesting vessel in the port of landing up to 1800 local time on the calendar day following the offload; 4 and 4 DFO has more restrictive regulations; therefore, Section 21 paragraph (2)(b) does not apply to fish PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (c) Pacific halibut with their heads removed in accordance with Section 19. (3) No person shall offload Pacific halibut from a vessel unless the gills and entrails have been removed prior to offloading.5 (4) It shall be the responsibility of a vessel operator who lands Pacific halibut to continuously and completely offload at a single offload site all Pacific halibut on board the vessel. (5) A registered buyer (as that term is defined in regulations promulgated by NOAA Fisheries and codified at 50 CFR part 679) who receives Pacific halibut harvested in IFQ and CDQ fisheries in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E, directly from the vessel operator that harvested such Pacific halibut must weigh all the Pacific halibut received and record the following information on Federal catch reports: Date of offload; name of vessel; vessel number (State, Tribal or Federal, not IPHC vessel number); scale weight obtained at the time of offloading, including the scale weight (in pounds) of Pacific halibut purchased by the registered buyer, the scale weight (in pounds) of Pacific halibut offloaded in excess of the IFQ or CDQ, the scale weight of Pacific halibut (in pounds) retained for personal use or for future sale, and the scale weight (in pounds) of Pacific halibut discarded as unfit for human consumption. All Pacific halibut harvested in IFQ or CDQ fisheries in Areas IPHC Regulatory 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E, must be weighed with the head on and the head-on weight must be recorded on Federal catch reports as specified in this paragraph, unless the Pacific halibut is frozen at sea and exempt from the headon landing requirement at Section 19(2). (6) The first recipient, commercial fish processor, or buyer in the United States of America who purchases or receives Pacific halibut directly from the vessel operator that harvested such Pacific halibut must weigh and record all Pacific halibut received and record the following information on State fish tickets: The date of offload; vessel number (State or Federal, not IPHC vessel number) or Tribal ID number; total weight obtained at the time of offload including the weight (in pounds) of Pacific halibut purchased; the weight (in pounds) of Pacific halibut offloaded in excess of the IFQ, CDQ, or fishing period limits; the weight of Pacific halibut (in pounds) retained for caught in IPHC Regulatory Area 2B or landed in British Columbia. 5 DFO did not adopt this regulation; therefore, Section 21 paragraph (3) does not apply to fish caught in IPHC Regulatory Area 2B. E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations personal use or for future sale; and the weight (in pounds) of Pacific halibut discarded as unfit for human consumption. All Pacific halibut harvested in fisheries in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2A, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E must be weighed with the head on and the head-on weight must be recorded on State fish tickets as specified in this paragraph, unless the Pacific halibut is frozen at sea and exempt from the head-on landing requirement at Section 19(2). (7) For Pacific halibut landings made in Alaska, the requirements as listed in paragraphs (5) and (6) can be met by recording the information in the Interagency Electronic Reporting Systems, eLandings, in accordance with NOAA Fisheries regulation published at 50 CFR part 679. (8) The master or operator of a Canadian vessel that was engaged in Pacific halibut fishing must weigh and record all Pacific halibut on board said vessel at the time offloading commences and record on Provincial fish tickets or Federal catch reports: The date; locality; name of vessel; the name(s) of the person(s) from whom the Pacific halibut was purchased; and the scale weight obtained at the time of offloading of all Pacific halibut on board the vessel including the pounds purchased, pounds in excess of IVQs or ITQs, pounds retained for personal use, and pounds discarded as unfit for human consumption. All Pacific halibut must be weighed with the head on and the head-on weight must be recorded on the Provincial fish tickets or Federal catch reports as specified in this paragraph, unless the Pacific halibut is frozen at sea and exempt from the head-on landing requirement at Section 19(2). (9) No person shall make a false entry on a State or Provincial fish ticket or a Federal catch or landing report referred to in paragraphs (5), (6), and (8) of this Section. (10) A copy of the fish tickets or catch reports referred to in paragraphs (5), (6), and (8) shall be: (a) Retained by the person making them for a period of three years from the date the fish tickets or catch reports are made; and (b) open to inspection by an authorized officer or any authorized representative of the Commission. (11) No person shall possess any Pacific halibut taken or retained in contravention of these Regulations. (12) When Pacific halibut are landed to other than a commercial fish processor, the records required by paragraph (6) shall be maintained by the operator of the vessel from which that VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 Pacific halibut was caught, in compliance with paragraph (10). (13) No person shall tag Pacific halibut unless the tagging is authorized by IPHC permit or by a Federal or State agency. 22. Supervision of Unloading and Weighing (1) The unloading and weighing of Pacific halibut may be subject to the supervision of authorized officers to assure the fulfillment of the provisions of these Regulations. (2) The unloading and weighing of Pacific halibut may be subject to sampling by an authorized representative of the Commission. 23. Fishing by United States Indian Tribes (1) Pacific halibut fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area Subarea 2A–1 by members of United States treaty Indian tribes located in the State of Washington shall be regulated under regulations promulgated by NOAA Fisheries and published in the Federal Register: (a) Subarea 2A–1 includes the usual and accustomed fishing areas for Pacific Coast treaty tribes off the coast of Washington and all inland marine waters of Washington north of Point Chehalis (46°53.30′ N lat.), including Puget Sound. Boundaries of a tribe’s fishing area may be revised as ordered by a United States Federal court; (b) Section 15 (Licensing Vessels for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A) does not apply to commercial fishing for Pacific halibut in Subarea 2A–1 by Indian tribes; and (c) ceremonial and subsistence fishing for Pacific halibut in Subarea 2A–1 is permitted with hook and line gear from 1 January through 31 December. (2) In IPHC Regulatory Area 2C, the Metlakatla Indian Community has been authorized by the United States Government to conduct a commercial Pacific halibut fishery within the Annette Islands Reserve. Fishing periods for this fishery are announced by the Metlakatla Indian Community and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Landings in this fishery are accounted with the commercial landings for IPHC Regulatory Area 2C. (3) Section 7 (careful release of Pacific halibut), Section 18 (fishing gear), except paragraphs (7) and (8) of Section 18, Section 19 (size limits), Section 20 (logs), and Section 21 (receipt and possession of Pacific halibut) apply to commercial fishing for Pacific halibut by Indian tribes. (4) Regulations in paragraph (3) of this Section that apply to State fish tickets PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 12617 apply to Tribal tickets that are authorized by WDFW and ADFG. (5) Commercial fishing for Pacific halibut is permitted with hook and line gear between the dates specified in Section 9 paragraphs (2) and (3), or until the applicable fishery limit specified in Section 5 is taken, whichever occurs first. 24. Indigenous Groups Fishing for Food, Social and Ceremonial Purposes in British Columbia (1) Fishing for Pacific halibut for food, social and ceremonial purposes by Indigenous groups in IPHC Regulatory Area 2B shall be governed by the Fisheries Act of Canada and regulations as amended from time to time. 25. Customary and Traditional Fishing in Alaska (1) Customary and traditional fishing for Pacific halibut in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E shall be governed pursuant to regulations promulgated by NOAA Fisheries and published in 50 CFR part 300. (2) Customary and traditional fishing is authorized from 1 January through 31 December. 26. Recreational (Sport) Fishing for Pacific Halibut—General (1) No person shall engage in recreational (sport) fishing for Pacific halibut using gear other than a single line with no more than two hooks attached; or a spear. (2) Any size limit promulgated under IPHC or domestic regulations shall be measured in a straight line passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with the mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of the tail as depicted in Figure 2. (3) Any Pacific halibut brought aboard a vessel and not immediately returned to the sea with a minimum of injury will be included in the daily bag limit of the person catching the Pacific halibut. (4) No person may possess Pacific halibut on a vessel while fishing in a closed area. (5) No Pacific halibut caught by recreational (sport) fishing shall be offered for sale, sold, traded, or bartered. (6) No Pacific halibut caught in recreational (sport) fishing shall be possessed on board a vessel when other fish or shellfish aboard said vessel are destined for commercial use, sale, trade, or barter. (7) The operator of a charter vessel shall be liable for any violations of these Regulations committed by an angler on board said vessel. In Alaska, the charter vessel guide, as defined in 50 CFR E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 12618 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations 300.61 and referred to in 50 CFR 300.65, 300.66, and 300.67, shall be liable for any violation of these Regulations committed by an angler on board a charter vessel. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES 27. Recreational (Sport) Fishing for Pacific Halibut—IPHC Regulatory Area 2A (1) The Commission shall determine and announce closing dates to the public for any area in which the fishery limits promulgated by NOAA Fisheries are estimated to have been taken. (2) When the Commission has determined that a subquota under paragraph (7) of this Section is estimated to have been taken, and has announced a date on which the season will close, no person shall recreational (sport) fish for Pacific halibut in that area after that date for the rest of the year, unless a reopening of that area for recreational (sport) Pacific halibut fishing is scheduled in accordance with the Catch Sharing Plan for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A, or announced by the Commission. (3) In California, Oregon, or Washington, no person shall fillet, mutilate, or otherwise disfigure a Pacific halibut in any manner that prevents the determination of minimum size or the number of fish caught, possessed, or landed. (4) The possession limit on a vessel for Pacific halibut in the waters off the coast of Washington is the same as the daily bag limit. The possession limit for Pacific halibut on land in Washington is two daily bag limits. (5) The possession limit on a vessel for Pacific halibut caught in the waters off the coast of Oregon is the same as the daily bag limit. The possession limit for Pacific halibut on land in Oregon is three daily bag limits. (6) The possession limit on a vessel for Pacific halibut caught in the waters off the coast of California is one daily bag limit. The possession limit for Pacific halibut on land in California is one daily bag limit. (7) Specific regulations describing fishing periods, fishery limits, fishing dates, and daily bag limits are promulgated by NOAA Fisheries and published in the Federal Register. 28. Recreational (Sport) Fishing for Pacific Halibut—IPHC Regulatory Area 2B (1) In all waters off British Columbia: 6 7 (a) The recreational (sport) fishing season will open on 1 February unless more restrictive regulations are in place; (b) the recreational (sport) fishing season will close when the recreational VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 (sport) fishery limit allocated by DFO is taken, or 31 December, whichever is earlier; and (c) the daily bag limit is two (2) Pacific halibut of any size per day, per person, except that between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 only, DFO may implement a daily bag limit of three (3) Pacific halibut per day, per person. (2) In British Columbia, no person shall fillet, mutilate, or otherwise disfigure a Pacific halibut in any manner that prevents the determination of minimum size or the number of fish caught, possessed, or landed. (3) The possession limit for Pacific halibut in the waters off the coast of British Columbia is three Pacific halibut.6 7 29. Recreational (Sport) Fishing for Pacific Halibut—IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E (1) In Convention waters in and off Alaska: 8 9 (a) The recreational (sport) fishing season is from 1 February to 31 December; (b) the daily bag limit is two Pacific halibut of any size per day per person unless a more restrictive bag limit applies in Commission regulations or Federal regulations at 50 CFR 300.65; (c) no person may possess more than two daily bag limits; (d) no person shall possess on board a vessel, including charter vessels and pleasure craft used for fishing, Pacific halibut that have been filleted, mutilated, or otherwise disfigured in any manner, except that each Pacific halibut may be cut into no more than 2 ventral pieces, 2 dorsal pieces, and 2 cheek pieces, with a patch of skin on each piece, naturally attached; (e) Pacific halibut in excess of the possession limit in paragraph (1)(c) of this Section may be possessed on a vessel that does not contain recreational (sport) fishing gear, fishing rods, hand lines, or gaffs; (f) Pacific halibut harvested on a charter vessel fishing trip in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C or 3A must be 6 DFO could implement more restrictive regulations for the recreational (sport) fishery, therefore anglers are advised to check the current Federal or Provincial regulations prior to fishing. 7 For regulations on the experimental recreational fishery implemented by DFO check the current Federal or Provincial regulations. 8 NOAA Fisheries could implement more restrictive regulations for the recreational (sport) fishery or components of it, therefore, anglers are advised to check the current Federal or State regulations prior to fishing. 9 Charter vessels are prohibited from harvesting Pacific halibut in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C and 3A during one charter vessel fishing trip under regulations promulgated by NOAA Fisheries at 50 CFR 300.66. PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 retained on board the charter vessel on which the Pacific halibut was caught until the end of the charter vessel fishing trip as defined at 50 CFR 300.61; (g) guided angler fish (GAF), as described at 50 CFR 300.65, may be used to allow a charter vessel angler to harvest additional Pacific halibut up to the limits in place for unguided anglers, and are exempt from the requirements in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this Section; and (h) if there is an annual limit on the number of Pacific halibut that may be retained by a charter vessel angler as defined at 50 CFR 300.61, for purposes of enforcing the annual limit, each charter vessel angler must: (1) Maintain a nontransferable harvest record in the angler’s possession if retaining a Pacific halibut for which an annual limit has been established. Such harvest record must be maintained either on the angler’s State of Alaska recreational (sport) fishing license, an ADFG approved electronic harvest record, or on a Sport Fishing Harvest Record Card obtained, without charge, from ADFG offices, the ADFG website, or fishing license vendors; (2) immediately upon retaining a Pacific halibut for which an annual limit has been established, permanently and legibly record the date, location (IPHC Regulatory Area), and species of the catch (Pacific halibut) on the harvest record; and (3) record the information required by paragraph 1(h)(2) on any duplicate or additional recreational (sport) fishing license issued to the angler, duplicate electronic harvest record, or any duplicate or additional Sport Fishing Harvest Record Card obtained by the angler for all Pacific halibut previously retained during that year that were subject to the harvest record reporting requirements of this Section. (2) For guided recreational (sport) fishing (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.65) in IPHC Regulatory Area 2C: (a) No person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.65) shall catch and retain more than one Pacific halibut per calendar day; and (b) no person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.65) shall catch and retain any Pacific halibut that with head on is greater than 40 inches (101.6 cm) and less than 80 inches (203.2 cm) as measured in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of the tail. (3) For guided recreational (sport) fishing (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.65) in IPHC Regulatory Area 3A: E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations (a) No person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.65) shall catch and retain more than two Pacific halibut per calendar day; (b) at least one of the retained Pacific halibut must have a head-on length of no more than 28 inches (71.1 cm) as measured in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of the tail. If a person recreational (sport) fishing on a charter vessel in IPHC Regulatory Area 3A retains only one Pacific halibut in a calendar day, that Pacific halibut may be of any length; (c) a ‘‘charter halibut permit’’ (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.67) may only be used for one charter vessel fishing trip in which Pacific halibut are caught and retained per calendar day. A charter vessel fishing trip is defined at 50 CFR 170'E 300.61 as the time period between the first deployment of fishing gear into the water by a charter vessel angler (as defined at 50 CFR 300.61) and the offloading of one or more charter vessel anglers or any Pacific halibut from that vessel. For purposes of this trip limit, a charter vessel fishing trip ends at 2359 (Alaska local time) on the same calendar day that the fishing trip began, or when any anglers or Pacific halibut are offloaded, whichever comes first; (d) a charter vessel on which one or more anglers catch and retain Pacific halibut may only make one charter vessel fishing trip per calendar day. A charter vessel fishing trip is defined at 50 CFR 300.61 as the time period between the first deployment of fishing gear into the water by a charter vessel angler (as defined at 50 CFR 300.61) and 180' 171l'W 151l'W 12619 the offloading of one or more charter vessel anglers or any Pacific halibut from that vessel. For purposes of this trip limit, a charter vessel fishing trip ends at 2359 (Alaska local time) on the same calendar day that the fishing trip began, or when any anglers or Pacific halibut are offloaded, whichever comes first; and (e) no person on board a charter vessel may catch and retain Pacific halibut on any Wednesday, or on the following Tuesdays in 2022: July 26 and August 2. 30. Previous Regulations Superseded These Regulations shall supersede all previous regulations of the Commission, and these Regulations shall be effective each succeeding year until superseded. BILLING CODE 3510–22–P 140°W 130'W 120"W 6S'N 60"N 55"N "N Sll'N 45'111 Ill !~;Tp~g3;,:1:l<l:1y~~iled states of America - 40'N c:: - - - 0 AK-Alaska BC- British Columbia WA - Washington OR-Oregon Russian FB<leration EEZ High Seas Maritime Boundary 170'E 180' CA- California 170'W 180'W ISO'W 140'W 131l'W 110'W VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 ER07MR22.000</GPH> khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES Figure 1. IPHC Regulatory areas for the Pacific halibut fishery. 12620 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 44 / Monday, March 7, 2022 / Rules and Regulations + - - - 24 inches (61.0 cm) with head off - - + ) 32 inches (81.3 cm) with head on r-~. Length measured in a straight line. passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with the .mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of the tail -v~----- ---~-~ Figure 2. Minimum commercial size. IPHC Regulations khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES These IPHC annual management measures are a product of an agreement between the United States and Canada and are published in the Federal Register to provide notice of their effectiveness and content. Pursuant to Section 4 of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, 16 U.S.C. 773b, the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce, may accept or reject but not modify these recommendations of the IPHC. These regulations become effective when such acceptance and concurrence occur. The notice-and-comment and delay-ineffectiveness date provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553(b) and (d), are inapplicable to IPHC management measures because these regulations involve a foreign affairs function of the United States, 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1). As stated above, the Secretary of State has no discretion to modify the recommendations of the IPHC. The additional time necessary to VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:01 Mar 04, 2022 Jkt 256001 comply with the notice-and-comment and delay-in-effectiveness requirements of the APA would disrupt coordinated international conservation and management of the halibut fishery pursuant to the Convention and the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982. The publication of these regulations in the Federal Register provide the affected public with notice that the IPHC management measures are in effect. Furthermore, no other law requires prior notice and public comment for this rule. Because 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law does not require prior notice and an opportunity for public comment for this notice of the effectiveness of the IPCH’s 2022 management measures, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., are not applicable. Executive Order 12866 does not apply to this final rule because these measures pertain to a foreign affairs function of the United States. The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 requires consideration of the impact of recordkeeping and other information PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 collection burdens imposed on the public. Alaska state law establishes information collection requirements regarding harvest records for individual recreational anglers. See Alaska Admin. Code tit. 5, § 75.006(a) (2021). This final rule contains no new recordkeeping requirements beyond those contained in Alaska state law and therefore involves no additional collection of information burden. Moreover, because there is, at present, no annual limit on the number of Pacific halibut that may be retained by a charter vessel angler as defined at 50 CFR 300.61, the recordkeeping requirements referenced in section 29(1)(h) of the IPHC’s Annual Management Measures do not apply during 2022. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq. Dated: February 28, 2022. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2022–04639 Filed 3–4–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–C E:\FR\FM\07MRR1.SGM 07MRR1 ER07MR22.001</GPH> Classification

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 44 (Monday, March 7, 2022)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 12604-12620]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-04639]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 300

[Docket No. 220225-0061]
RIN 0648-BL18


Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan; 2022 Annual 
Management Measures

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration, on behalf of the International Pacific 
Halibut Commission (IPHC), publishes as regulations the 2022 annual 
management measures governing the Pacific halibut fishery that have 
been recommended by the IPHC and accepted by the Secretary of State. 
These measures are intended to enhance the conservation of Pacific 
halibut and further the goals and objectives of the Pacific Fishery 
Management Council and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

DATES: The IPHC's 2022 annual management measures are effective 
February 18, 2022. The 2022 management measures are effective until 
superseded.

ADDRESSES: Additional requests for information regarding this action 
may be obtained by contacting the International Pacific Halibut 
Commission, 2320 W Commodore Way, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98199-1287; or 
Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS Alaska Region, P.O. Box 21668, 
Juneau, AK 99802; or Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS West Coast 
Region, 1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97232. This final 
rule also is accessible via the internet at the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal at https://www.regulations.gov, identified by docket number NOAA-
NMFS-2022-0020.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For waters off Alaska, Doug Duncan, 
907-586-7425; or, for waters off the U.S. West Coast, Kathryn Blair, 
503-231-6858.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The IPHC has recommended regulations that would govern the Pacific 
halibut fishery in 2022, pursuant to the Convention between Canada and 
the United States for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the 
North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea (Convention), signed at Ottawa, 
Ontario, on March 2, 1953, as amended by a Protocol Amending the 
Convention (signed at Washington, DC, on March 29, 1979).
    As provided by the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut 
Act), the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of 
Commerce, may accept or reject, on behalf of the United States, 
regulations recommended by the IPHC in accordance with the Convention. 
16 U.S.C. 773b. The Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the 
Secretary of Commerce, accepted

[[Page 12605]]

the 2022 IPHC regulations on February 18, 2022.
    The Halibut Act provides the Secretary of Commerce with the 
authority and general responsibility to carry out the requirements of 
the Convention and the Halibut Act. The Regional Fishery Management 
Councils may develop, and the Secretary of Commerce may implement, 
regulations governing harvesting privileges among U.S. fishermen in 
U.S. waters that are in addition to, and not in conflict with, approved 
IPHC regulations. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) 
has exercised this authority in developing halibut management programs 
for three fisheries that harvest halibut in Alaska: The subsistence, 
sport, and commercial fisheries. The Pacific Fishery Management Council 
(PFMC) has exercised this authority by developing a catch sharing plan 
governing the allocation of halibut and management of sport fisheries 
on the U.S. West Coast.
    The IPHC apportions catch limits for the Pacific halibut fishery 
among regulatory areas (Figure 1): Area 2A (Oregon, Washington, and 
California), Area 2B (British Columbia), Area 2C (Southeast Alaska), 
Area 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska), Area 3B (Western Gulf of Alaska), and 
Area 4 (which is further divided into 5 areas, 4A through 4E, in the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands of Western Alaska).
    Subsistence and sport halibut fishery regulations for Alaska are 
codified at 50 CFR part 300. Commercial halibut fisheries off Alaska 
are subject to regulations resulting from the Individual Fishing Quota 
(IFQ) Program, the Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program (50 CFR 
part 679), and the area-specific catch sharing plans (CSPs) for Areas 
2C, 3A, and Areas 4C, 4D, and 4E.
    The NPFMC implemented a CSP among commercial IFQ and CDQ halibut 
fisheries in IPHC Regulatory Areas 4C, 4D, and 4E (Area 4, Western 
Alaska) through rulemaking, and the Secretary of Commerce approved the 
plan on March 20, 1996 (61 FR 11337). The Area 4 CSP regulations are 
codified at 50 CFR 300.65. New annual regulations pertaining to the 
Area 4 CSP also may be implemented through IPHC action, subject to 
acceptance by the Secretary of State.
    The NPFMC recommended and NMFS implemented through rulemaking a CSP 
for guided sport (charter) and commercial IFQ halibut fisheries in IPHC 
Regulatory Area 2C and Area 3A on January 13, 2014 (78 FR 75844, 
December 12, 2013). The Area 2C and 3A CSP regulations are codified at 
50 CFR 300.65. The CSP defines an annual process for allocating halibut 
between the commercial and charter fisheries so that each sector's 
allocation varies in proportion to halibut abundance, specifies a 
public process for setting annual management measures, and authorizes 
limited annual leases of commercial IFQ for use in the charter fishery 
as guided angler fish (GAF).
    The IPHC held its annual meeting remotely by video conference from 
January 24 through 28, 2022, and recommended a number of changes to the 
previous IPHC regulations (86 FR 13475, March 9, 2021). On February 18, 
2022, the Secretary of State with the concurrence of the Secretary of 
Commerce accepted the annual management measures, including the 
following changes to Section 5, Section 29, and other Sections of the 
2022 IPHC regulations:
    1. New halibut catch limits in all regulatory areas. The catch 
limits are presented in two tables in Section 5 that distinguish 
between limits resulting from Commission decisions and those that are 
from catch limits that are the responsibility of the respective United 
States and Canada governments;
    2. new management measures for Area 2C and Area 3A guided sport 
fisheries in Section 29;
    3. new harvest recordkeeping requirements for Area 2C and Area 3A 
guided anglers to maintain a harvest record if a halibut annual limit 
is in place in Section 29; and
    4. minor technical corrections to improve consistency and clarity 
throughout the IPHC regulations.
    Pursuant to regulations at 50 CFR 300.62, the 2022 IPHC annual 
management measures are published in the Federal Register in this 
action to provide notice of their regulatory effectiveness and to 
inform persons subject to the regulations of their restrictions and 
requirements. Because the regulations published in this action are 
applicable to the entire Convention area, these regulations include 
some provisions relating to and affecting Canadian fishing and 
fisheries. In separate actions, NMFS may implement more restrictive 
regulations for the U.S. halibut fishery or components of it; 
therefore, anglers are advised to check the current Federal and IPHC 
regulations prior to fishing.

Catch Limits

    The IPHC recommended to the governments of Canada and the United 
States fishery catch limits for 2022 totaling 33,190,000 lb (15,055 
mt). Fishery catch limits are referred to as Fishery Constant 
Exploitation Yield (FCEY) by the IPHC, which is the amount of yield for 
the directed Pacific halibut fisheries dependent upon allocation 
agreements in each IPHC regulatory area. Coastwide, the 2022 FCEY 
increased 9.4 percent over the FCEY implemented in 2021. Except for 
Area 2A, the FCEY in each regulatory area increased. The FCEY for Area 
2A decreased by approximately 1.3 percent relative to the 2021 catch 
limit. A description of the process the IPHC used to set these catch 
limits follows.
    For the upcoming 2022 halibut fishing year, the IPHC conducted its 
annual stock assessment using a range of updated data sources as 
described in detail in the IPHC overview of data sources for the 
Pacific halibut stock assessment, harvest policy, and related analyses 
(IPHC-2022-AM098-10; available at www.iphc.int). To evaluate the 
Pacific halibut stock, the IPHC used an ``ensemble'' of four equally 
weighted models, comprised of two long time-series models incorporating 
data from 1888 to the present, and two short time-series models 
incorporating data from 1996 to the present. Each time-series uses data 
that are divided either by four geographical regions or aggregated into 
coastwide summaries. These models incorporate data, including 2021 
data, from the IPHC Fishery Independent Setline Survey (FISS), the 
commercial halibut fishery, the most recent NMFS Eastern Bering Sea 
trawl survey, sex-specific recreational age composition data from Area 
3A, weight-at-age and male/female sex ratio estimates by region in the 
directed commercial fisheries and in the FISS, commercial fishery 
logbook information, and age distribution information for bycatch, 
sport, and sublegal discard removals.
    The results of the ensemble models are integrated and incorporate 
uncertainty in natural mortality rates, environmental effects on 
recruitment, and other structural and parameter categories, consistent 
with practices in place since 2012. The data and assessment models used 
by the IPHC are reviewed by the IPHC's Scientific Review Board 
comprised of non-IPHC scientists who provide an independent scientific 
review of the data and stock assessment to provide recommendations to 
IPHC staff and the Commissioners. The Scientific Review Board did not 
identify any substantive errors in the data or methods used in the 2022 
stock assessment. NMFS believes the IPHC's data and assessments models 
constitute best available science on the status of the Pacific halibut 
resource.
    The IPHC's data, including the FISS, indicate that the Pacific 
halibut stock

[[Page 12606]]

declined continuously from the late 1990s to around 2012, largely as a 
result of decreasing size at a given age (size-at-age), higher harvest 
rates in the early 2000s, and weaker recruitment than observed during 
the 1980s. From about 2013 to 2016, there was a slight increasing trend 
in the spawning biomass, followed by a slight decline continuing into 
the current assessment. Results from the 2021 stock assessment 
incorporate data from an expansion of the FISS throughout the survey 
range over the 2011-2019 period. Among other things, improvements in 
the FISS spatial coverage enhance understanding of spatial and temporal 
Pacific halibut density, and reduces the uncertainty in the weight per 
unit effort (WPUE) and number per unit effort (NPUE) indices.
    Overall, the spawning biomass is estimated to be approximately 
191,000,000 lb (86,636.14 mt) at the beginning of 2022. The stock is 
currently estimated to be at 33 percent of its unfished state. This 
estimate reflects updated calculations recommended during stock 
assessment external review and review by the Scientific Review Board, 
as well as developments in the IPHC Management Strategy Evaluation.
    The IPHC's current interim management procedure that was adopted in 
2020 strives to maintain the total mortality of halibut across its 
range from all sources based on a reference level of fishing intensity 
so that the Spawning Potential Ratio (SPR) is equal to 43 percent. The 
reference fishing intensity of F43 percent SPR seeks to allow a level 
of fishing intensity that is expected to result in approximately 43 
percent of the spawning biomass per recruit compared to an unfished 
stock (i.e., no fishing mortality). Lower F values would be expected to 
result in higher fishing intensity. The 2021 stock assessment and 
estimates of fishing intensity were enhanced by newly available data on 
the male/female sex ratio for the 2020 commercial fishery landings. 
Combined with similar data collected from 2017 to 2019 in the 
commercial fisheries, the information on the sex ratio affected the 
treatment of the stock assessment data for the directed commercial 
fishery in the stock assessment models; it did not change the treatment 
or sex ratio estimates of the mortalities associated with the 
recreational, subsistence, or non-directed halibut fisheries.
    The IPHC harvest decision table (Table 3 in IPHC-2022-AM098-10; 
available at www.iphc.int) provides a comparison of the relative risk 
of a decrease in stock biomass, stock status, or fishery metrics, for a 
range of fishing intensities for 2022. The harvest decision table 
employs two metrics of fishing mortality: (1) The Total Constant 
Exploitation Yield (TCEY), which includes harvests and incidental 
discard mortality from directed commercial fisheries, mortality 
estimates from sport, subsistence, and personal use, and estimates of 
non-directed discard mortality of halibut over 26 inches (66.0 cm); 
and, (2) Total Mortality, which includes all the above sources of 
mortality, plus estimates of non-directed discard mortality of halibut 
less than 26 inches (66.0 cm) (U26). Although U26 halibut mortality is 
factored into the stock assessment and harvest strategy calculations, 
there is currently no reliable tool for describing the annual coastwide 
distribution of U26 halibut.
    For 2022, the IPHC adopted a TCEY totaling 41,220,000 lb (18,697 
mt) coastwide. This corresponds to a fishing intensity of approximately 
F43 percent, which is consistent with the target level of fishing 
intensity used to establish the TCEY for 2021. The 2022 TCEY is 
2,220,000 lb (1,007.0 mt) greater than the TCEY adopted in 2021.
    The IPHC noted this management approach represents a relatively 
conservative level of harvest that considers the inherent uncertainties 
in the stock assessment models. The IPHC noted that under a broad range 
of catch limits, including highly restrictive catch limits, the halibut 
spawning biomass is likely to decrease based on the best available 
scientific information. In making its recommendation, the IPHC 
considered likely stock status and uncertainties, as well as the 
significant social and economic impacts of catch limits among areas.
    At a 41,220,000 lb (18,697 mt) TCEY, the IPHC estimates that the 
spawning biomass will likely decrease from 2023 to 2025 relative to 
2022. Specifically, the IPHC estimates there is a 59 percent 
probability that the spawning biomass will decrease in 2023 relative to 
2022, and there is a 25 percent probability that the decrease in 2023 
will be at least 5 percent of the 2022 spawning biomass. The IPHC also 
noted that if the reference level of fishing intensity continues, the 
probability of a spawning biomass decrease is expected to decline as 
the strong 2012 cohort matures. The factors that the IPHC considered in 
making their TCEY recommendations are described in the 2022 Annual 
Meeting Report (IPHC-2022-AM098-R; available at www.iphc.int) and the 
key recommendations are briefly summarized here.
    This final rule does not establish the combined commercial and 
recreational catch limit for Area 2B (British Columbia), which is 
subject to rulemaking by the Canada and British Columbia governments. 
However, the IPHC's recommendation for the Area 2B catch limit is 
directly related to the current and future U.S. catch limits 
established by this final rule and is therefore discussed herein. The 
IPHC recommended a 2022 TCEY of 7,560,000 lb (3,429 mt) for Area 2B, 
which equates to 18.3 percent of the total coastwide TCEY. The IPHC 
made this recommendation after considering recent historic harvests in 
Area 2B, the distribution of the TCEY in Area 2B as estimated from the 
FISS under the current interim management procedure, and other factors 
described in the 2022 Annual Meeting Report (IPHC-2022-AM098-R; 
available at www.iphc.int).
    The IPHC recommended an allocation to Area 2A that would provide a 
TCEY of 1,650,000 lb (748 mt) with a combined commercial, tribal, and 
recreational catch limit of 1,490,000 lb (676 mt). This allocation is 
larger than the catch limit that would apply to Area 2A under the 
adopted fishing intensity of F43 percent and the proportion of the 
stock as estimated from the FISS under the current interim management 
procedure. To achieve the Area 2A and Area 2B allocations and still 
maintain the target coastwide fishing intensity of F43 percent, the 
IPHC recommended an overall reduction in catch limits in other IPHC 
regulatory areas in U.S. waters that are intended to maintain total 
mortality to the adopted fishing intensity of F43 percent.
    After the allocations for Areas 2A and 2B are accounted for, the 
IPHC apportioned the remaining TCEY to the Alaska regulatory areas 
(Areas 2C through Area 4) after considering the distribution of 
harvestable biomass of halibut based on the FISS, as well as 2021 
harvest rates, the recommendations from the IPHC's advisory boards, 
public input, and social and economic factors. All U.S. areas 
maintained or increased in TCEY relative to 2021 (see Table 1). The 
largest increase was 25 percent in Area 3B, while Areas 2C, 3A, 4A, 4B, 
and 4CDE received increases ranging from 1.9 percent to 3.9 percent 
relative to 2021. Area 2A received the same TCEY in 2022 as it did in 
2021. The IPHC determined that the 2022 catch limit recommendations are 
consistent with its conservation objectives for the halibut stock and 
its management objectives for the halibut fisheries.
    The IPHC also considered the Catch Sharing Plan for Area 4CDE 
developed by the NPFMC in its catch limit recommendation. The Area 4CDE 
catch limit is determined by subtracting

[[Page 12607]]

estimates of the Area 4CDE subsistence harvests, commercial discard 
mortality, and non-directed discard mortality of halibut over 26 inches 
(66.0 cm) from the area TCEY. When the resulting Area 4CDE catch limit 
is greater than 1,657,600 lb (751.87 mt), a direct allocation of 80,000 
lb (36.29 mt) is made to Area 4E to provide CDQ fishermen in that area 
with additional harvesting opportunity. After this 80,000 lb (36.29 mt) 
allocation is deducted from the catch limit, the remainder is divided 
among Areas 4C, 4D, and 4E according to the percentages specified in 
the CSP. Those percentages are 46.43 percent each to 4C and 4D, and 
7.14 percent to 4E. For 2021, the IPHC recommended a catch limit for 
Area 4CDE of 2,060,000 lb (934 mt).

           Table 1--Percent Change in TCEY Mortality Limits From 2021 to 2022 by IPHC Regulatory Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     2021 total mortality   2022 total mortality    Change from
                  Regulatory area                         limit (lb)             limit (lb)       2021 (percent)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2A................................................     1,650,000 (748 mt)     1,650,000 (748 mt)             0.0
2B................................................   7,000,000 (3,175 mt)   7,560,000 (3,429 mt)             8.0
2C................................................   5,800,000 (2,631 mt)   5,910,000 (2,681 mt)             1.9
3A................................................  14,000,000 (6,350 mt)  14,550,000 (6,600 mt)             3.9
3B................................................   3,120,000 (1,415 mt)   3,900,000 (1,769 mt)            25.0
4A................................................     2,050,000 (930 mt)     2,100,000 (953 mt)             2.4
4B................................................     1,400,000 (635 mt)     1,450,000 (658 mt)             3.6
4CDE..............................................   3,980,000 (1,805 mt)   4,100,000 (1,860 mt)             3.0
Coastwide.........................................     39,000,000 (17,690     41,220,000 (18,697             5.7
                                                                      mt)                    mt)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Commercial Halibut Fishery Opening and Closing Dates

    The IPHC considers advice from the IPHC's two advisory boards, as 
well as direct testimony from the public, when selecting opening and 
closing dates for the commercial halibut fishery. The 2022 commercial 
halibut fishery opening date for all IPHC regulatory areas is March 6, 
2022. The closing date for the commercial halibut fisheries in all IPHC 
regulatory areas is December 7, 2022. These commercial season dates are 
the same season dates adopted by the IPHC in 2021; they result in a 
longer season compared to years prior to 2021 when the commercial 
halibut fisheries opened mid-March and closed mid-November. The 
extended season maintains harvesting and market flexibility that 
stakeholders have identified as important during the current period of 
uncertainty. These commercial season dates are not expected to result 
in detrimental conservation effects. The season dates allow for the 
anticipated time required to fully harvest the commercial halibut catch 
limits, seasonal holidays, and adequate time for IPHC staff to review 
the complete record of 2021 commercial catch data for use in the stock 
assessment process. The IPHC also considered the time required for the 
administrative tasks that are linked to halibut regulations developed 
independently by the domestic partners when establishing these season 
dates.
    For Area 2A, the IPHC recommended that the non-treaty directed 
commercial fishery will open for 58 hours, beginning at 0800 hours on 
June 28 and close at 1800 hours on June 30. After this first opening, 
if the IPHC determines that the fishing limit has not been exceeded, it 
may announce a second fishing period of up to three fishing days to 
begin on Tuesday two weeks after the first period opens. This season 
structure is consistent with the approach used during 2021 in Area 2A. 
Specific fishing period limits (vessel quota) will be determined and 
communicated by IPHC.

Area 2A Catch Sharing Plan

    The NMFS West Coast Region has published a proposed rule (February 
17, 2022, 87 FR 9021), with public comments accepted for 15 days, to 
approve the Pacific halibut CSP for Area 2A off Washington, Oregon, and 
California and implement annual management measures for Area 2A as 
recommended by the PFMC in the CSP. These annual management measures 
include sport fishery allocations and management measures for Area 2A 
which are not implemented through the IPHC. NMFS will address any 
comments received in a final rule. The proposed and final rules for the 
Area 2A CSP will be available on the NMFS West Coast Region's website 
at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/2022-pacific-halibut-catch-sharing-plan and also at www.regulations.gov.

Catch Sharing Plan for Area 2C and Area 3A

    In 2014, NMFS implemented a CSP for Area 2C and Area 3A. The CSP 
defines an annual process for allocating halibut between the charter 
and commercial fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A, and establishes 
allocations for each fishery. Under the CSP, the IPHC recommends 
combined catch limits (CCLs) for the charter and commercial halibut 
fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A. Each CCL includes estimates of 
discard mortality for each fishery. The CSP was implemented to achieve 
the halibut fishery management goals of the NPFMC. More information is 
provided in the final rule implementing the CSP (78 FR 75844, December 
12, 2013). Implementing regulations for the CSP are at 50 CFR 300.65. 
The Area 2C and Area 3A CSP allocations are located in Tables 1 through 
4 of subpart E of 50 CFR part 300. To allow additional flexibility for 
individual commercial and charter fishery participants, the CSP also 
authorizes annual transfers of commercial halibut IFQ as GAF to charter 
halibut permit holders for harvest in the charter fishery. GAF 
regulations for the CSP are at 50 CFR 300.65.
    At its January 2022 meeting, the IPHC recommended a CCL of 
4,460,000 lb (2,023 mt) for Area 2C. Following the CSP allocations in 
Tables 1 and 3 of subpart E of 50 CFR part 300, the charter fishery is 
allocated 820,000 lb (372 mt) of the CCL and the remainder of the CCL, 
3,650,000 lb (1,656 mt) is allocated to the commercial fishery. Discard 
mortality in the amount of 140,000 lb (63.5 mt) was deducted from the 
commercial allocation to obtain the commercial catch limit of 3,510,000 
lb (1,592.1 mt). The commercial allocation (including discard 
mortality) increased by 50,000 lb (22.7 mt), or 1.4 percent, from the 
2021 allocation of 3,600,000 lb (1,632.9 mt). The 2022 Area 2C charter 
allocation of 820,000 lb (372 mt) is 10,000 lb (4.5 mt), or 1.2 percent 
more than the 2021 charter sector allocation of 810,000 lb (367.41 mt).
    The IPHC recommended a CCL of 12,070,000 lb (5,475 mt) for Area 3A.

[[Page 12608]]

Following the CSP allocations in Tables 2 and 4 of subpart E of 50 CFR 
part 300, the charter fishery is allocated 2,110,000 lb (957 mt) of the 
CCL and the remainder of the CCL, 9,960,000 lb (4,518 mt), is allocated 
to the commercial fishery. Discard mortality in the amount of 410,000 
lb (185.9 mt) was deducted from the commercial allocation to obtain the 
commercial catch limit of 9,550,000 lb (4,331.8 mt). The commercial 
allocation (including discard mortality) increased by about 770,000 lb 
(349.3 mt), or 8.4 percent, from the 2021 allocation of 9,190,000 lb 
(4,168.51 mt). The charter allocation increased by 160,000 lb (72.6 
mt), or 8.2 percent, from the 2021 allocation of 1,950,000 lb (884.51 
mt).

Charter Halibut Management Measures for Area 2C and Area 3A

    Guided (charter) recreational halibut anglers are managed under 
different regulations than unguided recreational halibut anglers in 
Areas 2C and 3A in Alaska. According to Federal regulations at 50 CFR 
300.61, a charter vessel angler means a person, paying or non-paying, 
receiving sport fishing guide services for halibut. Sport fishing guide 
services means assistance, for compensation or with the intent to 
receive compensation, to a person who is sport fishing, to take or 
attempt to take halibut by accompanying or physically directing the 
sport fisherman in sport fishing activities during any part of a 
charter vessel fishing trip. A charter vessel fishing trip is the time 
period between the first deployment of fishing gear into the water from 
a charter vessel by a charter vessel angler and the offloading of one 
or more charter vessel anglers or any halibut from that vessel. The 
charter fishery regulations described below apply only to charter 
vessel anglers receiving sport fishing guide services during a charter 
vessel fishing trip for halibut in Area 2C or Area 3A. These 
regulations do not apply to unguided recreational anglers in any 
regulatory area in Alaska, or guided anglers in areas other than Areas 
2C and 3A.
    To provide recommendations for annual management measures intended 
to limit charter harvest to the charter catch allocation, the NPFMC 
formed the Charter Halibut Management Committee (Committee) as a 
stakeholder advisory body. The Committee is composed of representatives 
from the charter fishing industry in Areas 2C and 3A who provide input 
on the preferred range of charter management measures each year. In 
October 2021, the Committee began their annual process by requesting 
analysis of management measures that would result in charter halibut 
removals within the range of expected allocations for each area. In 
addition, this annual analysis, which is prepared by the Alaska 
Department of Fish Game (ADFG), includes information about charter 
harvests in the prior year. The Analysis of Management Options for the 
Area 2C and 3A Charter Halibut Fisheries for 2022 (charter halibut 
analysis) is available at https://www.npfmc.org/.
    Management of charter halibut fishing in Areas 2C and 3A has been 
challenging in recent years. The 2020 charter fishing season was 
greatly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in an 
unexpected and significant drop in charter fishing effort and harvest. 
The NPFMC and IPHC responded with revised management measures (June 19, 
2020, 85 FR 37024). Despite these liberalized management measures, 2020 
charter halibut harvests were 36.0 percent below the Area 2C 
allocation, and 6.6 percent below the Area 3A allocation. Expecting a 
similar reduction in charter halibut harvest due to the ongoing 
coronavirus pandemic conditions and associated travel restrictions, the 
2021 management measures included a buffer to account for reductions in 
charter harvest anticipated to be similar to 2020 in order to allow the 
sector to more completely use its allocation (86 FR 13475, March 9, 
2021). However, the charter halibut analysis found that the 2021 
charter halibut harvests were 42.5 percent above the Area 2C 
allocation, and 25.9 percent above the Area 3A allocation. Overall, 
2021 charter halibut harvests were significantly higher than expected 
despite challenging pandemic conditions and continuing uncertainty. 
Communities that are highly dependent on cruise ship tourism, which was 
significantly reduced in 2021, did experience significant reductions in 
charter halibut harvests relative to historical conditions.
    After reviewing the charter halibut analysis, the Committee made 
conservative recommendations for preferred management measures to the 
NPFMC for 2022. These recommendations are intended to provide equitable 
harvest opportunity across charter business arrangements and maintain 
total charter harvests within the 2022 allocations for both Areas 2C 
and 3A. These recommendations do not include an additional buffer as 
was adopted in the 2021 management measures. The NPFMC considered the 
charter halibut analysis, the recommendations of the Committee, and 
public testimony to develop its recommendation to the IPHC. The IPHC 
took action consistent with the NPFMC's recommendations. The NPFMC has 
used this process to select and recommend annual management measures to 
the IPHC since 2012.
    The IPHC recognizes the role of the NPFMC to develop policy and 
regulations that allocate the Pacific halibut resource among fishermen 
in and off Alaska, and that NMFS has developed numerous regulations to 
support the NPFMC's goals of limiting charter harvests. For 2022, the 
IPHC concluded that in Area 3A, despite an 8.2 percent increase in the 
charter catch limit relative to 2021, the 2022 management measures 
should be more conservative than those adopted in 2021 given the high 
charter halibut removals observed in 2021. For the same reasons, for 
Area 2C, despite an increase in the charter catch limit relative to 
2021, the IPHC concluded that the 2022 management measures should be 
more conservative than those adopted in 2021. The IPHC's 
recommendations are consistent with the recommendations of the NPFMC 
and the Committee. The IPHC determined that limiting charter harvests 
by implementing the management measures discussed below would meet 
conservation and allocation objectives.

Management Measures for Charter Vessel Fishing in Area 2C

    For 2022 in Area 2C, the IPHC recommended the continuation of a 
one-fish daily bag limit with a reverse slot limit that prohibits a 
person on board a charter vessel referred to in 50 CFR 300.65 and 
fishing in Area 2C from taking or possessing any halibut, with head on, 
that is greater than 40 inches (101.6 cm) and less than 80 inches 
(203.2 cm). The charter halibut size limits referenced in this document 
are as measured in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from 
the tip of the lower jaw with mouth closed, to the extreme end of the 
middle of the tail. These measures are projected to yield 814,000 lb 
(369.2 mt) of charter removals, which is 6,000 lb (2.7 mt) and 0.7 
percent below the Area 2C charter allocation. Reverse slot limits have 
proven an effective tool to limit the number and pounds of retained 
halibut. These are more conservative than the primary management 
measures for Area 2C in 2021, which were one halibut per charter 
angler, less than or equal to 50 inches (127.0 cm) or greater than 72 
inches (182.9 cm). The NPFMC and IPHC considered information on charter 
removals in 2021 and for previous years, the projections of charter 
harvest, and the charter allocation. With this

[[Page 12609]]

information, the NPFMC and IPHC determined that more conservative 
management measures in Area 2C, relative to the 2021 measures, were 
appropriate to limit charter removals to the 2022 allocation.

Management Measures for Charter Vessel Fishing in Area 3A

    For 2022, the IPHC recommended the following management measures 
for Area 3A: (1) A two-fish bag limit with a 28-inch (71.1 cm) maximum 
size limit on one of the halibut; (2) a one-trip per day limit for 
charter vessels and for charter halibut permits for the entire season; 
(3) prohibition on halibut retention by charter vessel anglers on all 
Wednesdays; and, (4) prohibition on halibut retention by charter vessel 
anglers on the following Tuesdays: July 26 and August 2. The projected 
charter harvest for 2022 under this combination of recommended measures 
is 2,096,000 lb (950.7 mt), which is 14,000 lb (6.4 mt) and 0.7 percent 
below the charter allocation. Each of these management measures is 
described in the following section.
    These management measures are more conservative than the primary 
management measures for Area 3A in 2021 when an overage occurred. The 
NPFMC and IPHC considered information on charter removals in 2021 and 
for previous years, the projections of charter harvest, and the charter 
allocation. With this information, the NPFMC and IPHC determined that 
more restrictive management measures in Area 3A, relative to the 2021 
measures, were appropriate to limit charter removals to the 2022 
allocation.

Size Limit for Halibut Retained on a Charter Vessel in Area 3A

    The 2022 charter halibut fishery in Area 3A will be managed under a 
two-fish daily bag limit in which one of the retained halibut may be of 
any size and one of the retained halibut must be 28 inches (71.1 cm) or 
less. The 28 inch (71.1 cm) second fish maximum size limit was in 
effect from 2016 through 2019 in Area 3A.

Trip Limit for Charter Vessels Harvesting Halibut in Area 3A

    Charter halibut permits and charter vessels in 2022 are authorized 
only for use to catch and retain halibut on one charter halibut fishing 
trip per day in Area 3A. If no halibut are retained during a charter 
vessel fishing trip, the charter halibut permit and vessel may be used 
to take an additional trip to catch and retain halibut that day. These 
regulations have been in place each year since 2016, and have proven to 
be effective in controlling halibut harvests.
    For purposes of the trip limit in Area 3A in 2022, a charter vessel 
fishing trip will end when anglers or halibut are offloaded, or at the 
end of the calendar day, whichever occurs first. Charter operators are 
still able to conduct overnight trips and anglers may retain a bag 
limit of halibut on two calendar days, but operators are not allowed to 
begin another overnight trip until the day after the trip ends. GAF 
halibut are exempt from the trip limit. Therefore, GAF may be used to 
harvest halibut on a second trip in a day, but only if exclusively GAF 
halibut are harvested on that trip.

Day-of-Week Closures in Area 3A

    The NPFMC and the IPHC recommended a closure on retaining halibut 
by charter vessel anglers on all Wednesdays and on two Tuesdays--July 
26 and August 2--for Area 3A in 2022. Retention of GAF halibut is 
allowed on charter vessels on closed days, but all other halibut that 
are caught while fishing on a charter vessel must be released. The day 
of week closures effectively decrease the charter halibut harvest to 
help stay within the allocation.

Other Regulatory Amendments

Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements for Charter Vessel Anglers 
With an Annual Limit

    The recordkeeping requirements needed to enforce annual limits for 
charter vessel anglers in Area 2C and Area 3A were added to the general 
provisions of Section 29(1). This eliminates the need to annually add 
or remove the specifications for the harvest record card required when 
an annual limit is selected as a charter management measure in either 
Area 2C or 3A.
    Additionally, Section 29(3) was amended to allow the use of ADFG-
approved electronic harvest records for charter vessel anglers in Areas 
2C and 3A, if those areas are subject to an annual limit on the number 
of Pacific halibut that may be retained. Under the amended regulations, 
existing approved physical harvest records will also continue to be 
accepted. This creates regulatory consistency for anglers who 
concurrently retain halibut as well as State managed species for which 
there is an annual limit.

Technical Changes for Improved Consistency and Clarity

    ``Authorized representative of the Commission'' was defined in 
Section 3 as ``any IPHC employee or contractor authorized to perform 
any task described in these Regulations.'' This clarifies the existing 
intent of ``an authorized representative of the Commission'' where used 
in the IPHC regulations. Additionally, minor modifications were made to 
capitalization and list formatting throughout the IPHC regulations. 
These amendments improve consistency and clarity but do not result in 
substantive changes to the IPHC regulations.

International Pacific Halibut Commission Fishery Regulations 2022 
(Annual Management Measures)

    The following annual management measures for the 2022 Pacific 
halibut fishery are those recommended by the IPHC and accepted by the 
Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce.

1. Short Title

    These Regulations may be cited as the International Pacific Halibut 
Commission (IPHC) Fishery Regulations (2022).

2. Application

    (1) These Regulations apply to persons and vessels fishing for 
Pacific halibut in, or possessing Pacific halibut taken from, the 
maritime area as defined in Section 3.
    (2) Sections 3 to 8 and 30 apply generally to all Pacific halibut 
fishing.
    (3) Sections 8 to 23 apply to commercial fishing for Pacific 
halibut.
    (4) Section 24 applies to Indigenous fisheries in British Columbia.
    (5) Section 25 applies to customary and traditional fishing in 
Alaska.
    (6) Sections 26 to 29 apply to recreational (also called sport) 
fishing for Pacific halibut.
    (7) These Regulations do not apply to fishing operations authorized 
or conducted by the Commission for research purposes.

3. Definitions

    (1) In these Regulations,
    (a) ``authorized officer'' means any State, Federal, or Provincial 
officer authorized to enforce these Regulations including, but not 
limited to, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), 
Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Alaska Wildlife Troopers 
(AWT), United States Coast Guard (USCG), Washington Department of Fish 
and Wildlife (WDFW), the Oregon State Police (OSP), and California 
Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW);
    (b) ``authorized clearance personnel'' means an authorized officer 
of the

[[Page 12610]]

United States of America, an authorized representative of the 
Commission, or a designated fish processor;
    (c) ``authorized representative of the Commission'' means any IPHC 
employee or contractor authorized to perform any task described in 
these Regulations.
    (d) ``charter vessel'' outside of Alaska waters means a vessel used 
for hire in recreational (sport) fishing for Pacific halibut, but not 
including a vessel without a hired operator, and in Alaska waters means 
a vessel used while providing or receiving recreational (sport) fishing 
guide services for Pacific halibut;
    (e) ``commercial fishing'' means fishing, the resulting catch of 
which is sold or bartered; or is intended to be sold or bartered, other 
than (i) recreational (sport) fishing; (ii) treaty Indian ceremonial 
and subsistence fishing as referred to in Section 23, (iii) Indigenous 
groups fishing in British Columbia as referred to in Section 24; and 
(iv) customary and traditional fishing as referred to in Section 25 and 
defined by and regulated pursuant to NOAA Fisheries regulations 
published at 50 CFR part 300;
    (f) ``Commission'' or ``IPHC'' means the International Pacific 
Halibut Commission;
    (g) ``daily bag limit'' means the maximum number of Pacific halibut 
a person may take in any calendar day from Convention waters;
    (h) ``fishing'' means the taking, harvesting, or catching of fish, 
or any activity that can reasonably be expected to result in the 
taking, harvesting, or catching of fish, including specifically the 
deployment of any amount or component part of gear anywhere in the 
maritime area;
    (i) ``fishing period limit'' means the maximum amount of Pacific 
halibut that may be retained and landed by a vessel during one fishing 
period;
    (j) ``land'' or ``offload'' with respect to Pacific halibut, means 
the removal of Pacific halibut from the catching vessel;
    (k) ``license'' means a Pacific halibut fishing license issued by 
the Commission pursuant to Section 15;
    (l) ``maritime area,'' in respect of the fisheries jurisdiction of 
a Contracting Party, includes without distinction areas within and 
seaward of the territorial sea and internal waters of that Party;
    (m) ``net weight'' of a Pacific halibut means the weight of Pacific 
halibut that is without gills and entrails, head-off, washed, and 
without ice and slime. If a Pacific halibut is weighed with the head on 
or with ice and slime, the required conversion factors for calculating 
net weight are a 2 percent deduction for ice and slime and a 10 percent 
deduction for the head;
    (n) ``operator,'' with respect to any vessel, means the owner and/
or the master or other individual on board and in charge of that 
vessel;
    (o) ``overall length'' of a vessel means the horizontal distance, 
rounded to the nearest foot, between the foremost part of the stem and 
the aftermost part of the stern (excluding bowsprits, rudders, outboard 
motor brackets, and similar fittings or attachments);
    (p) ``person'' includes an individual, corporation, firm, or 
association;
    (q) ``regulatory area'' means an IPHC Regulatory Area referred to 
in Section 4;
    (r) ``setline gear'' means one or more stationary, buoyed, and 
anchored lines with hooks attached;
    (s) ``sport fishing'' or ``recreational fishing'' means all fishing 
other than (i) commercial fishing; (ii) treaty Indian ceremonial and 
subsistence fishing as referred to in Section 23; (iii) Indigenous 
groups fishing in British Columbia as referred to in Section 24; and 
(iv) customary and traditional fishing as referred to in Section 25 and 
defined in and regulated pursuant to NOAA Fisheries regulations 
published in 50 CFR part 300;
    (t) ``tender'' means any vessel that buys or obtains fish directly 
from a catching vessel and transports it to a port of landing or fish 
processor;
    (u) ``VMS transmitter'' means a NOAA Fisheries-approved vessel 
monitoring system transmitter that automatically determines a vessel's 
position and transmits it to a NOAA Fisheries-approved communications 
service provider.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Call NOAA Enforcement Division, Alaska Region, at 907-586-
7225 between the hours of 0800 and 1600 local time for a list of 
NOAA Fisheries-approved VMS transmitters and communications service 
providers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (2) In these Regulations, all bearings are true and all positions 
are determined by the most recent charts issued by the United States 
National Ocean Service or the Canadian Hydrographic Service.

4. IPHC Regulatory Areas

    The following areas within the IPHC Convention waters shall be 
defined as IPHC Regulatory Areas for the purposes of the Convention 
(see Figure 1):
    (1) IPHC Regulatory Area 2A includes all waters off the states of 
California, Oregon, and Washington;
    (2) IPHC Regulatory Area 2B includes all waters off British 
Columbia;
    (3) IPHC Regulatory Area 2C includes all waters off Alaska that are 
east of a line running 340[deg] true from Cape Spencer Light 
(58[deg]11'56'' N latitude, 136[deg]38'26'' W longitude) and south and 
east of a line running 205[deg] true from said light;
    (4) IPHC Regulatory Area 3A includes all waters between Area 2C and 
a line extending from the most northerly point on Cape Aklek 
(57[deg]41'15'' N latitude, 155[deg]35'00'' W longitude) to Cape Ikolik 
(57[deg]17'17'' N latitude, 154[deg]47'18'' W longitude), then along 
the Kodiak Island coastline to Cape Trinity (56[deg]44'50'' N latitude, 
154[deg]08'44'' W longitude), then 140[deg] true;
    (5) IPHC Regulatory Area 3B includes all waters between Area 3A and 
a line extending 150[deg] true from Cape Lutke (54[deg]29'00'' N 
latitude, 164[deg]20'00'' W longitude) and south of 54[deg]49'00'' N 
latitude in Isanotski Strait;
    (6) IPHC Regulatory Area 4A includes all waters in the Gulf of 
Alaska west of Area 3B and in the Bering Sea west of the closed area 
defined in Section 10 that are east of 172[deg]00'00'' W longitude and 
south of 56[deg]20'00'' N latitude;
    (7) IPHC Regulatory Area 4B includes all waters in the Bering Sea 
and the Gulf of Alaska west of IPHC Regulatory Area 4A and south of 
56[deg]20'00'' N latitude;
    (8) IPHC Regulatory Area 4C includes all waters in the Bering Sea 
north of IPHC Regulatory Area 4A and north of the closed area defined 
in Section 10 which are east of 171[deg]00'00'' W longitude, south of 
58[deg]00'00'' N latitude, and west of 168[deg]00'00'' W longitude;
    (9) IPHC Regulatory Area 4D includes all waters in the Bering Sea 
north of IPHC Regulatory Areas 4A and 4B, north and west of IPHC 
Regulatory Area 4C, and west of 168[deg]00'00'' W longitude; and
    (10) IPHC Regulatory Area 4E includes all waters in the Bering Sea 
north and east of the closed area defined in Section 10, east of 
168[deg]00'00'' W longitude, and south of 65[deg]34'00'' N latitude.

5. Mortality and Fishery Limits

    (1) The Commission has adopted the following distributed mortality 
(TCEY) limits:

[[Page 12611]]



------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Distributed mortality limits
                                                (TCEY) (net weight)
          IPHC regulatory area           -------------------------------
                                                          Million pounds
                                            Tonnes  (t)        (Mlb)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Area 2A (California, Oregon, and                     748            1.65
 Washington)............................
Area 2B (British Columbia)..............           3,429            7.56
Area 2C (southeastern Alaska)...........           2,681            5.91
Area 3A (central Gulf of Alaska)........           6,600           14.55
Area 3B (western Gulf of Alaska)........           1,769            3.90
Area 4A (eastern Aleutians).............             953            2.10
Area 4B (central/western Aleutians).....             658            1.45
Areas 4CDE (Bering Sea).................           1,860            4.10
                                         -------------------------------
    Total...............................          18,697           41.22
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (2) The fishery limits resulting from the IPHC-adopted distributed 
mortality (TCEY) limits and the existing Contracting Party catch 
sharing arrangements are as follows, recognizing that each Contracting 
Party may implement more restrictive limits:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Fishery limits (net weight)
                                         -------------------------------
          IPHC regulatory area                            Million pounds
                                            Tonnes  (t)       (Mlb) *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Area 2A (California, Oregon, and                     676            1.49
 Washington)............................
    Non-treaty directed commercial                   115       * 252,730
     (south of Pt. Chehalis)............
    Non-treaty incidental catch in                    20        * 44,599
     salmon troll fishery...............
    Non-treaty incidental catch in                    23        * 50,000
     sablefish fishery (north of Pt.
     Chehalis)..........................
    Treaty Indian commercial............             226       * 498,000
    Treaty Indian ceremonial and                      11        * 23,500
     subsistence (year-round)...........
    Recreational--Washington............             134       * 294,786
    Recreational--Oregon................             130       * 287,645
    Recreational--California............              18        * 38,740
Area 2B (British Columbia)..............           3,044            6.71
    Commercial fishery..................           2,587            5.70
    Recreational fishery................             457            1.01
Area 2C (southeastern Alaska) (combined            2,023            4.46
 commercial/guided recreational)........
    Commercial fishery (includes 3.51              1,656            3.65
     Mlb landings and 0.14 Mlb discard
     mortality).........................
    Guided recreational fishery                      372            0.82
     (includes landings and discard
     mortality).........................
Area 3A (central Gulf of Alaska)                   5,475           12.07
 (combined commercial/guided
 recreational)..........................
    Commercial fishery (includes 9.55              4,518            9.96
     Mlb landings and 0.41 Mlb discard
     mortality).........................
    Guided recreational fishery                      957            2.11
     (includes landings and discard
     mortality).........................
Area 3B (western Gulf of Alaska)........           1,520            3.35
Area 4A (eastern Aleutians).............             798            1.76
Area 4B (central/western Aleutians).....             581            1.28
Areas 4CDE..............................             934            2.06
    Area 4C (Pribilof Islands)..........             417            0.92
    Area 4D (northwestern Bering Sea)...             417            0.92
    Area 4E (Bering Sea flats)..........             100            0.22
                                         -------------------------------
        Total...........................          15,055           33.19
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Allocations resulting from the IPHC Regulatory Area 2A Catch Share
  Plan are listed in pounds.

6. In-Season Actions

    (1) The Commission is authorized to establish or modify regulations 
during the season after determining that such action:
    (a) Will not result in exceeding the fishery limit established 
preseason for each IPHC Regulatory Area;
    (b) is consistent with the Convention between Canada and the United 
States of America for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the 
Northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, and applicable domestic law of 
either Canada or the United States of America; and
    (c) is consistent, to the maximum extent practicable, with any 
domestic catch sharing plans or other domestic allocation programs 
developed by the governments of Canada or the United States of America.
    (2) In-season actions may include, but are not limited to, 
establishment or modification of the following:
    (a) Closed areas;
    (b) fishing periods;
    (c) fishing period limits;
    (d) gear restrictions;
    (e) recreational (sport) bag limits;
    (f) size limits; or
    (g) vessel clearances.
    (3) In-season changes will be effective at the time and date 
specified by the Commission.
    (4) The Commission will announce in-season actions under this 
Section by providing notice to major Pacific halibut processors; 
Federal, State, United States of America treaty Indian, and Provincial 
fishery officials; and the media.

7. Careful Release of Pacific Halibut

    (1) All Pacific halibut that are caught and are not retained shall 
be immediately released outboard of the roller and returned to the sea 
with a minimum of injury by:

[[Page 12612]]

    (a) Hook straightening;
    (b) cutting the gangion near the hook; or
    (c) carefully removing the hook by twisting it from the Pacific 
halibut with a gaff.
    (2) Except that paragraph (1) shall not prohibit the possession of 
Pacific halibut on board a vessel that has been brought aboard to be 
measured to determine if the applicable size limit of the Pacific 
halibut is met and, if not legal-sized, is promptly returned to the sea 
with a minimum of injury.

8. Retention of Tagged Pacific Halibut

    (1) Nothing contained in these Regulations prohibits any vessel at 
any time from retaining and landing a Pacific halibut that bears a 
Commission external tag at the time of capture, if the Pacific halibut 
with the tag still attached is reported at the time of landing and made 
available for examination by an authorized representative of the 
Commission or by an authorized officer.
    (2) After examination and removal of the tag by an authorized 
representative of the Commission or an authorized officer, the Pacific 
halibut:
    (a) May be retained for personal use; or
    (b) may be sold only if the Pacific halibut is caught during 
commercial Pacific halibut fishing and complies with the other 
commercial fishing provisions of these Regulations.
    (3) Any Pacific halibut that bears a Commission external tag will 
not count against commercial fishing period limits, Individual Vessel 
Quotas (IVQ), Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ), Community 
Development Quotas (CDQ), or Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQ), and are 
not subject to size limits in these regulations, but should still be 
recorded in the landing record.
    (4) Any Pacific halibut that bears a Commission external tag will 
not count against recreational (sport) daily bag limits or possession 
limits, may be retained outside of recreational (sport) fishing 
seasons, and are not subject to size limits in these regulations.
    (5) Any Pacific halibut that bears a Commission external tag will 
not count against daily bag limits, possession limits, or fishery 
limits in the fisheries described in Section 23, paragraph (1)(c), 
Section 24, or Section 25.

9. Commercial Fishing Periods

    (1) The fishing periods for each IPHC Regulatory Area apply where 
the fishery limits specified in Section 5 have not been taken.
    (2) Unless the Commission specifies otherwise, commercial fishing 
for Pacific halibut in all IPHC Regulatory Areas may begin no earlier 
in the year than 1200 local time on 6 March.
    (3) All commercial fishing for Pacific halibut in all IPHC 
Regulatory Areas shall cease for the year at 1200 local time on 7 
December.
    (4) The first fishing period in the IPHC Regulatory Area 2A non-
tribal directed commercial fishery \2\ shall begin at 0800 on the 
fourth Tuesday in June and terminate at 1800 local time on the 
subsequent Thursday, unless the Commission specifies otherwise. If the 
Commission determines that the fishery limit specified for IPHC 
Regulatory Area 2A in Section 5 has not been exceeded, it may announce 
a second fishing period of up to three fishing days to begin on Tuesday 
two weeks after the first period, and, if necessary, a third fishing 
period of up to three fishing days to begin on Tuesday four weeks after 
the first period.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The non-tribal directed fishery is restricted to waters that 
are south of Point Chehalis, Washington, (46[deg]53.30' N latitude) 
under regulations promulgated by NOAA Fisheries and published in the 
Federal Register.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (5) Notwithstanding paragraph (4), and paragraph (6) of Section 12, 
an incidental catch fishery \3\ is authorized during the sablefish 
seasons in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A in accordance with regulations 
promulgated by NOAA Fisheries. This fishery will occur between the 
dates and times listed in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this Section.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ The incidental fishery during the directed, fixed gear 
sablefish season is restricted to waters that are north of Point 
Chehalis, Washington, (46[deg]53.30' N latitude) under regulations 
promulgated by NOAA Fisheries at 50 CFR 300.63. Landing restrictions 
for Pacific halibut retention in the fixed gear sablefish fishery 
can be found at 50 CFR 660.231.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (6) Notwithstanding paragraph (4), and paragraph (6) of Section 12, 
an incidental catch fishery is authorized during salmon troll seasons 
in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A in accordance with regulations promulgated 
by NOAA Fisheries. This fishery will occur between the dates and times 
listed in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this Section.

10. Closed Area

    All waters in the Bering Sea north of 55[deg]00'00'' N latitude in 
Isanotski Strait that are enclosed by a line from Cape Sarichef Light 
(54[deg]36'00'' N latitude, 164[deg]55'42'' W longitude) to a point at 
56[deg]20'00'' N latitude, 168[deg]30'00'' W longitude; thence to a 
point at 58[deg]21'25'' N latitude, 163[deg]00'00'' W longitude; thence 
to Strogonof Point (56[deg]53'18'' N latitude, 158[deg]50'37'' W 
longitude); and then along the northern coasts of the Alaska Peninsula 
and Unimak Island to the point of origin at Cape Sarichef Light are 
closed to Pacific halibut fishing and no person shall fish for Pacific 
halibut therein or have Pacific halibut in his/her possession while in 
those waters except in the course of a continuous transit across those 
waters. All waters in Isanotski Strait between 55[deg]00'00'' N 
latitude and 54[deg]49'00'' N latitude are closed to Pacific halibut 
fishing.

11. Closed Periods

    (1) No person shall engage in fishing for Pacific halibut in any 
IPHC Regulatory Area other than during the fishing periods set out in 
Section 9 in respect of that area.
    (2) No person shall land or otherwise retain Pacific halibut caught 
outside a fishing period applicable to the IPHC Regulatory Area where 
the Pacific halibut was taken.
    (3) Subject to paragraphs (7), (8), (9), and (10) of Section 18, 
these Regulations do not prohibit fishing for any species of fish other 
than Pacific halibut during the closed periods.
    (4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), no person shall have Pacific 
halibut in his/her possession while fishing for any other species of 
fish during the closed periods.
    (5) No vessel shall retrieve any Pacific halibut fishing gear 
during a closed period if the vessel has any Pacific halibut on board.
    (6) A vessel that has no Pacific halibut on board may retrieve any 
Pacific halibut fishing gear during the closed period after the 
operator notifies an authorized officer or an authorized representative 
of the Commission prior to that retrieval.
    (7) After retrieval of Pacific halibut gear in accordance with 
paragraph (6), the vessel shall submit to a hold inspection at the 
discretion of the authorized officer or an authorized representative of 
the Commission.
    (8) No person shall retain any Pacific halibut caught on gear 
retrieved in accordance with paragraph (6).
    (9) No person shall possess Pacific halibut on board a vessel in an 
IPHC Regulatory Area during a closed period unless that vessel is in 
continuous transit to or within a port in which that Pacific halibut 
may be lawfully sold.

12. Application of Commercial Fishery Limits

    (1) Notwithstanding the fishery limits described in Section 5, 
regulations pertaining to the division of the IPHC Regulatory Area 2A 
fishery limit between the directed commercial fishery and the 
incidental catch fishery as described in paragraphs (5) and (6) of 
Section 9 will be promulgated by NOAA Fisheries and published in the 
Federal Register.

[[Page 12613]]

    (2) The Commission shall determine and announce to the public the 
date on which the fishery limit for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A will be 
taken.
    (3) Notwithstanding the fishery limits described in Section 5, the 
commercial fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 2B will close only when all 
Individual Vessel Quotas (IVQ) and Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQ) 
assigned by DFO are taken, or on the date when fishing must cease as 
specified in Section 9, whichever is earlier.
    (4) Notwithstanding the fishery limits described in Section 5, IPHC 
Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E will each close 
only when all Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQ) and all CDQ issued by 
NOAA Fisheries have been taken, or on the date when fishing must cease 
as specified in Section 9, whichever is earlier.
    (5) If the Commission determines that the fishery limit specified 
for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A in Section 5 would be exceeded in an 
additional directed commercial fishing period as specified in paragraph 
(4) of Section 9, the fishery limit for that area shall be considered 
to have been taken and the directed commercial fishery closed as 
announced by the Commission.
    (6) When under paragraphs (1), (2), and (5) the Commission has 
announced a date on which the fishery limit for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A 
will be taken, no person shall fish for Pacific halibut in that area 
after that date for the rest of the year, unless the Commission has 
announced the reopening of that area for Pacific halibut fishing.
    (7) Notwithstanding the fishery limits described in Section 5, the 
total allowable catch of Pacific halibut that may be taken in the IPHC 
Regulatory Area 4E directed commercial fishery is equal to the combined 
annual fishery limits specified for the IPHC Regulatory Areas 4D and 4E 
CDQ fisheries and any IPHC Regulatory Area 4D IFQ received by transfer 
by a CDQ organization. The annual IPHC Regulatory Area 4D fishery limit 
will decrease by the equivalent amount of CDQ and IFQ received by 
transfer by a CDQ organization taken in IPHC Regulatory Area 4E in 
excess of the annual IPHC Regulatory Area 4E fishery limit.
    (8) Notwithstanding the fishery limits described in Section 5, the 
total allowable catch of Pacific halibut that may be taken in the IPHC 
Regulatory Area 4D directed commercial fishery is equal to the combined 
annual fishery limits specified for IPHC Regulatory Areas 4C and 4D. 
The annual IPHC Regulatory Area 4C fishery limit will decrease by the 
equivalent amount of Pacific halibut taken in IPHC Regulatory Area 4D 
in excess of the annual IPHC Regulatory Area 4D fishery limit.

13. Fishing in Regulatory IPHC Regulatory Areas 4D and 4E

    (1) Section 13 applies only to any person fishing for, or any 
vessel that is used to fish for, IPHC Regulatory Area 4E Community 
Development Quota (CDQ) Pacific halibut, IPHC Regulatory Area 4D CDQ 
Pacific halibut, or IPHC Regulatory Area 4D IFQ received by transfer by 
a CDQ organization provided that the total annual Pacific halibut catch 
of that person or vessel is landed at a port within IPHC Regulatory 
Areas 4E or 4D.
    (2) A person may retain Pacific halibut taken with setline gear 
that are smaller than the size limit specified in Section 19, provided 
that no person may sell or barter such Pacific halibut.
    (3) The manager of a CDQ organization that authorizes persons to 
harvest Pacific halibut in the IPHC Regulatory Area 4E or 4D CDQ 
fisheries or IFQ received by transfer by a CDQ organization must report 
to the Commission the total number and weight of undersized Pacific 
halibut taken and retained by such persons pursuant to Section 13, 
paragraph (2). This report, which shall include data and methodology 
used to collect the data, must be received by the Commission prior to 1 
November of the year in which such Pacific halibut were harvested.

14. Fishing Period Limits

    (1) It shall be unlawful for any vessel to retain more Pacific 
halibut than authorized by that vessel's license in any fishing period 
for which the Commission has announced a fishing period limit.
    (2) The operator of any vessel that fishes for Pacific halibut 
during a fishing period when fishing period limits are in effect must, 
upon commencing an offload of Pacific halibut to a commercial fish 
processor, completely offload all Pacific halibut on board said vessel 
to that processor and ensure that all Pacific halibut is weighed and 
reported on State fish tickets.
    (3) The operator of any vessel that fishes for Pacific halibut 
during a fishing period when fishing period limits are in effect must, 
upon commencing an offload of Pacific halibut other than to a 
commercial fish processor, completely offload all Pacific halibut on 
board said vessel and ensure that all Pacific halibut are weighed and 
reported on State fish tickets.
    (4) The provisions of paragraph (3) are not intended to prevent 
retail over-the-side sales to individual purchasers so long as all the 
Pacific halibut on board is ultimately offloaded and reported.
    (5) When fishing period limits are in effect, a vessel's maximum 
retainable catch will be determined by the Commission based on:
    (a) The vessel's overall length in feet and associated length 
class;
    (b) the average performance of all vessels within that class; and
    (c) the remaining fishery limit.
    (6) Length classes are shown in the following table:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Overall length  (in feet)                   Vessel class
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1-25...................................................               A
26-30..................................................               B
31-35..................................................                C
36-40..................................................               D
41-45..................................................               E
46-50..................................................               F
51-55..................................................               G
56+....................................................               H
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (7) Fishing period limits in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A apply only to 
the directed Pacific halibut fishery referred to in paragraph (4) of 
Section 9.

15. Licensing Vessels for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A

    (1) No person shall fish for Pacific halibut from a vessel, nor 
possess Pacific halibut on board a vessel, used either for commercial 
fishing or as a charter vessel in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A, unless the 
Commission has issued a license valid for fishing in IPHC Regulatory 
Area 2A in respect of that vessel.
    (2) A license issued for a vessel operating in IPHC Regulatory Area 
2A shall be valid only for operating either as a charter vessel or a 
commercial vessel, but not both.
    (3) A vessel with a valid IPHC Regulatory Area 2A commercial 
license cannot be used to recreationally (sport) fish for Pacific 
halibut in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A.
    (4) A license issued for a vessel operating in the commercial 
fishery in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A shall be valid for one of the 
following:
    (a) The directed commercial fishery during the fishing periods 
specified in paragraph (4) of Section 9;
    (b) the incidental catch fishery during the sablefish fishery 
specified in paragraph (5) of Section 9; or
    (c) the incidental catch fishery during the salmon troll fishery 
specified in paragraph (6) of Section 9.
    (5) A vessel with a valid license for the IPHC Regulatory Area 2A 
incidental catch fishery during the sablefish fishery described in 
paragraph (4)(b)

[[Page 12614]]

may also apply for or be issued a license for the directed commercial 
fishery described in paragraph (4)(a).
    (6) A license issued in respect to a vessel referred to in 
paragraph (1) of this Section must be carried on board that vessel at 
all times and the vessel operator shall permit its inspection by any 
authorized officer.
    (7) The Commission shall issue a license in respect to a vessel 
from its office in Seattle, Washington, upon receipt of a completed 
``Application for Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery'' 
form.
    (8) A vessel operating in the directed commercial fishery in IPHC 
Regulatory Area 2A must have submitted its ``Application for Vessel 
License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery'' form no later than 2359 local 
time on 30 April, or the first weekday in May if 30 April is a Saturday 
or Sunday.
    (9) A vessel operating in the incidental catch fishery during the 
sablefish fishery in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A must have submitted its 
``Application for Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery'' form 
no later than 2359 local time on 29 May, or the next weekday in May if 
29 May is a Saturday or Sunday.
    (10) A vessel operating in the incidental catch fishery during the 
salmon troll fishery in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A must have submitted its 
``Application for Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut Fishery'' form 
no later than 2359 local time on 15 March, or the next weekday in March 
if 15 March is a Saturday or Sunday.
    (11) Applications are submitted on the IPHC Secretariat web page.
    (12) Information on the ``Application for Vessel License for the 
Pacific Halibut Fishery'' form must be accurate.
    (13) The ``Application for Vessel License for the Pacific Halibut 
Fishery'' form shall be completed by the vessel owner.
    (14) Licenses issued under this Section shall be valid only during 
the year in which they are issued.
    (15) A new license is required for a vessel that is sold, 
transferred, renamed, or for which the documentation is changed.
    (16) The license required under this Section is in addition to any 
license, however designated, that is required under the laws of the 
United States of America or any of its States.
    (17) The United States of America may suspend, revoke, or modify 
any license issued under this Section under policies and procedures in 
U.S. Code Title 15, CFR part 904.

16. Vessel Clearance in IPHC Regulatory Area 4

    (1) The operator of any vessel that fishes for Pacific halibut in 
IPHC Regulatory Areas 4A, 4B, 4C, or 4D must obtain a vessel clearance 
before fishing in any of these areas, and before the landing of any 
Pacific halibut caught in any of these areas, unless specifically 
exempted in paragraphs (10), (13), (14), (15), or (16).
    (2) An operator obtaining a vessel clearance required by paragraph 
(1) must obtain the clearance in person from the authorized clearance 
personnel and sign the IPHC form documenting that a clearance was 
obtained, except that when the clearance is obtained via VHF radio 
referred to in paragraphs (5), (8), and (9), the authorized clearance 
personnel must sign the IPHC form documenting that the clearance was 
obtained.
    (3) The vessel clearance required under paragraph (1) prior to 
fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 4A may be obtained only at Nazan Bay on 
Atka Island, Dutch Harbor, or Akutan, Alaska, from the authorized 
clearance personnel.
    (4) The vessel clearance required under paragraph (1) prior to 
fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 4B may only be obtained at Nazan Bay on 
Atka Island or Adak, Alaska, from the authorized clearance personnel.
    (5) The vessel clearance required under paragraph (1) prior to 
fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 4C or 4D may be obtained only at St. 
Paul or St. George, Alaska, from the authorized clearance personnel by 
VHF radio and allowing the person contacted to confirm visually the 
identity of the vessel.
    (6) The vessel operator shall specify the specific regulatory area 
in which fishing will take place.
    (7) Before unloading any Pacific halibut caught in IPHC Regulatory 
Area 4A, a vessel operator may obtain the clearance required under 
paragraph (1) only in Dutch Harbor or Akutan, Alaska, by contacting the 
authorized clearance personnel.
    (8) Before unloading any Pacific halibut caught in IPHC Regulatory 
Area 4B, a vessel operator may obtain the clearance required under 
paragraph (1) only in Nazan Bay on Atka Island or Adak, by contacting 
the authorized clearance personnel by VHF radio or in person.
    (9) Before unloading any Pacific halibut caught in IPHC Regulatory 
Areas 4C and 4D, a vessel operator may obtain the clearance required 
under paragraph (1) only in St. Paul, St. George, Dutch Harbor, or 
Akutan, Alaska, either in person or by contacting the authorized 
clearance personnel. The clearances obtained in St. Paul or St. George, 
Alaska, can be obtained by VHF radio and allowing the person contacted 
to confirm visually the identity of the vessel.
    (10) Any vessel operator who complies with the requirements in 
Section 17 for possessing Pacific halibut on board a vessel that was 
caught in more than one regulatory area in IPHC Regulatory Area 4 is 
exempt from the clearance requirements of paragraph (1) of this 
Section, provided that:
    (a) The operator of the vessel obtains a vessel clearance prior to 
fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 4 in either Dutch Harbor, Akutan, St. 
Paul, St. George, Adak, or Nazan Bay on Atka Island by contacting the 
authorized clearance personnel. The clearance obtained in St. Paul, St. 
George, Adak, or Nazan Bay on Atka Island can be obtained by VHF radio 
and allowing the person contacted to confirm visually the identity of 
the vessel. This clearance will list the areas in which the vessel will 
fish; and
    (b) before unloading any Pacific halibut from IPHC Regulatory Area 
4, the vessel operator obtains a vessel clearance from Dutch Harbor, 
Akutan, St. Paul, St. George, Adak, or Nazan Bay on Atka Island by 
contacting the authorized clearance personnel. The clearance obtained 
in St. Paul or St. George can be obtained by VHF radio and allowing the 
person contacted to confirm visually the identity of the vessel. The 
clearance obtained in Adak or Nazan Bay on Atka Island can be obtained 
by VHF radio.
    (11) Vessel clearances shall be obtained between 0600 and 1800, 
local time.
    (12) No Pacific halibut shall be on board the vessel at the time of 
the clearances required prior to fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area 4.
    (13) Any vessel that is used to fish for Pacific halibut only in 
IPHC Regulatory Area 4A and lands its total annual Pacific halibut 
catch at a port within IPHC Regulatory Area 4A is exempt from the 
clearance requirements of paragraph (1).
    (14) Any vessel that is used to fish for Pacific halibut only in 
IPHC Regulatory Area 4B and lands its total annual Pacific halibut 
catch at a port within IPHC Regulatory Area 4B is exempt from the 
clearance requirements of paragraph (1).
    (15) Any vessel that is used to fish for Pacific halibut only in 
IPHC Regulatory Areas 4C or 4D or 4E and lands its total annual Pacific 
halibut catch at a port within IPHC Regulatory Areas 4C, 4D, 4E, or the 
closed area defined in Section

[[Page 12615]]

10, is exempt from the clearance requirements of paragraph (1).
    (16) Any vessel that carries a NOAA Fisheries observer, a NOAA 
Fisheries electronic monitoring system, or a transmitting VMS 
transmitter while fishing for Pacific halibut in IPHC Regulatory Areas 
4A, 4B, 4C, or 4D and until all Pacific halibut caught in any of these 
IPHC Regulatory Areas is landed, is exempt from the clearance 
requirements of paragraph (1) of this Section, provided that:
    (a) The operator of the vessel complies with NOAA Fisheries' 
observer or electronic monitoring regulations published at 50 CFR 
Subpart E, or vessel monitoring system regulations published at 50 CFR 
679.28(f)(3), (4) and (5); and
    (b) the operator of the vessel notifies NOAA Fisheries Office for 
Law Enforcement at 800-304-4846 (select option 1 to speak to an 
Enforcement Data Clerk) between the hours of 0600 and 0000 (midnight) 
local time within 72 hours before fishing for Pacific halibut in IPHC 
Regulatory Areas 4A, 4B, 4C, or 4D and receives a VMS confirmation 
number.

17. Fishing Multiple Regulatory Areas

    (1) Except as provided in this Section, no person shall possess at 
the same time on board a vessel Pacific halibut caught in more than one 
IPHC Regulatory Area.
    (2) Pacific halibut caught in more than one of the IPHC Regulatory 
Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, or 4E may be possessed on board a 
vessel at the same time only if:
    (a) Authorized by NOAA Fisheries regulations published at 50 CFR 
Section 679.7(f)(4); and
    (b) the operator of the vessel identifies the regulatory area in 
which each Pacific halibut on board was caught by separating Pacific 
halibut from different areas in the hold, tagging Pacific halibut, or 
by other means.

18. Fishing Gear

    (1) No person shall fish for Pacific halibut using any gear other 
than hook and line gear,
    (a) except that a person may retain Pacific halibut taken with 
longline or single trap gear if such retention is authorized by DFO as 
defined by Pacific Fishery Regulations and Conditions of Licence; or
    (b) except that a person may retain Pacific halibut taken with 
longline or single pot gear if such retention is authorized by NOAA 
Fisheries regulations published at 50 CFR part 679.
    (2) No person shall possess Pacific halibut taken with any gear 
other than hook and line gear,
    (a) except that a person may possess Pacific halibut taken with 
longline or single trap gear if such retention is authorized by DFO as 
defined by Pacific Fishery Regulations and Conditions of Licence; or
    (b) except that a person may possess Pacific halibut taken with 
longline or single pot gear if such possession is authorized by NOAA 
Fisheries regulations published at 50 CFR part 679.
    (3) No person shall possess Pacific halibut while on board a vessel 
carrying any trawl nets.
    (4) All gear marker buoys carried on board or used by any United 
States of America vessel used for Pacific halibut fishing shall be 
marked with one of the following:
    (a) The vessel's State license number; or
    (b) the vessel's registration number.
    (5) The markings specified in paragraph (4) shall be in characters 
at least four inches in height and one-half inch in width in a 
contrasting color visible above the water and shall be maintained in 
legible condition.
    (6) All gear marker buoys carried on board or used by a Canadian 
vessel used for Pacific halibut fishing shall be:
    (a) Floating and visible on the surface of the water; and
    (b) legibly marked with the identification plate number of the 
vessel engaged in commercial fishing from which that setline is being 
operated.
    (7) No person on board a vessel used to fish for any species of 
fish anywhere in IPHC Regulatory Area 2A during the 72-hour period 
immediately before the fishing period for the directed commercial 
fishery shall catch or possess Pacific halibut anywhere in those waters 
during that Pacific halibut fishing period unless, prior to the start 
of the Pacific halibut fishing period, the vessel has removed its gear 
from the water and has either:
    (a) Made a landing and completely offloaded its catch of other 
fish; or
    (b) submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer.
    (8) No vessel used to fish for any species of fish anywhere in IPHC 
Regulatory Area 2A during the 72-hour period immediately before the 
fishing period for the directed commercial fishery may be used to catch 
or possess Pacific halibut anywhere in those waters during that Pacific 
halibut fishing period unless, prior to the start of the Pacific 
halibut fishing period, the vessel has removed its gear from the water 
and has either:
    (a) Made a landing and completely offloaded its catch of other 
fish; or
    (b) submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer.
    (9) No person on board a vessel used to fish for any species of 
fish anywhere in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 
or 4E during the 72-hour period immediately before the opening of the 
Pacific halibut fishing season shall catch or possess Pacific halibut 
anywhere in those areas until the vessel has removed all of its gear 
from the water and has either:
    (a) Made a landing and completely offloaded its entire catch of 
other fish; or
    (b) submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer.
    (10) No vessel used to fish for any species of fish anywhere in 
IPHC Regulatory Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, or 4E during the 
72-hour period immediately before the opening of the Pacific halibut 
fishing season may be used to catch or possess Pacific halibut anywhere 
in those areas until the vessel has removed all of its gear from the 
water and has either:
    (a) Made a landing and completely offloaded its entire catch of 
other fish; or
    (b) submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer.
    (11) Notwithstanding any other provision in these Regulations, a 
person may retain, possess and dispose of Pacific halibut taken with 
trawl gear only as authorized by Prohibited Species Donation 
regulations of NOAA Fisheries.

19. Size Limits

    (1) No person shall take or possess any Pacific halibut that:
    (a) With the head on, is less than 32 inches (81.3 cm) as measured 
in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the 
lower jaw with the mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of 
the tail, as illustrated in Figure 2; or
    (b) with the head removed, is less than 24 inches (61.0 cm) as 
measured from the base of the pectoral fin at its most anterior point 
to the extreme end of the middle of the tail, as illustrated in Figure 
2.
    (2) No person on board a vessel fishing for, or tendering, Pacific 
halibut in any IPHC Regulatory Area shall possess any Pacific halibut 
that has had its head removed, except that Pacific halibut frozen at 
sea with its head removed may be possessed on board a vessel by persons 
in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E if 
authorized by Federal regulations.

[[Page 12616]]

    (3) The size limit in paragraph (1)(b) will not be applied to any 
Pacific halibut that has had its head removed after the operator has 
landed the Pacific halibut.

20. Logs

    (1) The operator of any U.S. vessel fishing for Pacific halibut 
that has an overall length of 26 feet (7.9 meters) or greater shall 
maintain an accurate log of Pacific halibut fishing operations. The 
operator of a vessel fishing in waters in and off Alaska must use one 
of the following logbooks: The Groundfish/IFQ Longline and Pot Gear 
Daily Fishing Logbook, in electronic or paper form, provided by NOAA 
Fisheries; the Alaska hook-and-line logbook provided by Petersburg 
Vessel Owners Association or Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association; 
the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) longline-pot logbook; or 
the logbook provided by IPHC. The operator of a vessel fishing in IPHC 
Regulatory Area 2A must use either the WDFW Voluntary Sablefish 
Logbook, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Fixed Gear 
Logbook, or the logbook provided by IPHC.
    (2) The logbook referred to in paragraph (1) must include the 
following information:
    (a) The name of the vessel and the State (ADFG, WDFW, ODFW, or 
CDFW) or Tribal ID number;
    (b) the date(s) upon which the fishing gear is set or retrieved;
    (c) the latitude and longitude coordinates or a direction and 
distance from a point of land for each set or day;
    (d) the number of skates deployed or retrieved, and number of 
skates lost; and
    (e) the total weight or number of Pacific halibut retained for each 
set or day.
    (3) The logbook referred to in paragraph (1) shall be:
    (a) Maintained on board the vessel;
    (b) updated not later than 24 hours after 0000 (midnight) local 
time for each day fished and prior to the offloading or sale of Pacific 
halibut taken during that fishing trip;
    (c) retained for a period of two years by the owner or operator of 
the vessel;
    (d) open to inspection by an authorized officer or any authorized 
representative of the Commission upon demand; and
    (e) kept on board the vessel when engaged in Pacific halibut 
fishing, during transits to port of landing, and until the offloading 
of all Pacific halibut is completed.
    (4) The log referred to in paragraph (1) does not apply to the 
incidental Pacific halibut fishery during the salmon troll season in 
IPHC Regulatory Area 2A defined in paragraph (6) of Section 9.
    (5) The operator of any Canadian vessel fishing for Pacific halibut 
shall maintain an accurate record in the British Columbia Integrated 
Groundfish Fishing Log.
    (6) The log referred to in paragraph (5) must include the following 
information:
    (a) The name of the vessel and the DFO vessel registration number;
    (b) the date(s) upon which the fishing gear is set and retrieved;
    (c) the latitude and longitude coordinates for each set;
    (d) the number of skates deployed or retrieved, and number of 
skates lost; and
    (e) the total weight or number of Pacific halibut retained for each 
set.
    (7) The log referred to in paragraph (5) shall be:
    (a) Maintained on board the vessel;
    (b) retained for a period of two years by the owner or operator of 
the vessel;
    (c) open to inspection by an authorized officer or any authorized 
representative of the Commission upon demand;
    (d) kept on board the vessel when engaged in Pacific halibut 
fishing, during transits to port of landing, and until the offloading 
of all Pacific halibut is completed;
    (e) submitted to the DFO within seven days of offloading; and
    (f) submitted to the Commission within seven days of the final 
offload if not previously collected by a Commission employee.
    (8) No person shall make a false entry in a log referred to in this 
Section.

21. Receipt and Possession of Pacific Halibut

    (1) No person shall receive Pacific halibut caught in IPHC 
Regulatory Area 2A from a United States of America vessel that does not 
have on board the license required by Section 15.
    (2) No person shall possess on board a vessel a Pacific halibut 
other than whole or with gills and entrails removed, except that this 
paragraph shall not prohibit the possession on board a vessel of:
    (a) Pacific halibut cheeks cut from Pacific halibut caught by 
persons authorized to process the Pacific halibut on board in 
accordance with NOAA Fisheries regulations published at 50 CFR part 
679;
    (b) fillets from Pacific halibut offloaded in accordance with 
Section 21 that are possessed on board the harvesting vessel in the 
port of landing up to 1800 local time on the calendar day following the 
offload; \4\ and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ DFO has more restrictive regulations; therefore, Section 21 
paragraph (2)(b) does not apply to fish caught in IPHC Regulatory 
Area 2B or landed in British Columbia.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (c) Pacific halibut with their heads removed in accordance with 
Section 19.
    (3) No person shall offload Pacific halibut from a vessel unless 
the gills and entrails have been removed prior to offloading.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ DFO did not adopt this regulation; therefore, Section 21 
paragraph (3) does not apply to fish caught in IPHC Regulatory Area 
2B.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) It shall be the responsibility of a vessel operator who lands 
Pacific halibut to continuously and completely offload at a single 
offload site all Pacific halibut on board the vessel.
    (5) A registered buyer (as that term is defined in regulations 
promulgated by NOAA Fisheries and codified at 50 CFR part 679) who 
receives Pacific halibut harvested in IFQ and CDQ fisheries in IPHC 
Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E, directly from the 
vessel operator that harvested such Pacific halibut must weigh all the 
Pacific halibut received and record the following information on 
Federal catch reports: Date of offload; name of vessel; vessel number 
(State, Tribal or Federal, not IPHC vessel number); scale weight 
obtained at the time of offloading, including the scale weight (in 
pounds) of Pacific halibut purchased by the registered buyer, the scale 
weight (in pounds) of Pacific halibut offloaded in excess of the IFQ or 
CDQ, the scale weight of Pacific halibut (in pounds) retained for 
personal use or for future sale, and the scale weight (in pounds) of 
Pacific halibut discarded as unfit for human consumption. All Pacific 
halibut harvested in IFQ or CDQ fisheries in Areas IPHC Regulatory 2C, 
3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E, must be weighed with the head on and 
the head-on weight must be recorded on Federal catch reports as 
specified in this paragraph, unless the Pacific halibut is frozen at 
sea and exempt from the head-on landing requirement at Section 19(2).
    (6) The first recipient, commercial fish processor, or buyer in the 
United States of America who purchases or receives Pacific halibut 
directly from the vessel operator that harvested such Pacific halibut 
must weigh and record all Pacific halibut received and record the 
following information on State fish tickets: The date of offload; 
vessel number (State or Federal, not IPHC vessel number) or Tribal ID 
number; total weight obtained at the time of offload including the 
weight (in pounds) of Pacific halibut purchased; the weight (in pounds) 
of Pacific halibut offloaded in excess of the IFQ, CDQ, or fishing 
period limits; the weight of Pacific halibut (in pounds) retained for

[[Page 12617]]

personal use or for future sale; and the weight (in pounds) of Pacific 
halibut discarded as unfit for human consumption. All Pacific halibut 
harvested in fisheries in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2A, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 
4C, 4D, and 4E must be weighed with the head on and the head-on weight 
must be recorded on State fish tickets as specified in this paragraph, 
unless the Pacific halibut is frozen at sea and exempt from the head-on 
landing requirement at Section 19(2).
    (7) For Pacific halibut landings made in Alaska, the requirements 
as listed in paragraphs (5) and (6) can be met by recording the 
information in the Interagency Electronic Reporting Systems, eLandings, 
in accordance with NOAA Fisheries regulation published at 50 CFR part 
679.
    (8) The master or operator of a Canadian vessel that was engaged in 
Pacific halibut fishing must weigh and record all Pacific halibut on 
board said vessel at the time offloading commences and record on 
Provincial fish tickets or Federal catch reports: The date; locality; 
name of vessel; the name(s) of the person(s) from whom the Pacific 
halibut was purchased; and the scale weight obtained at the time of 
offloading of all Pacific halibut on board the vessel including the 
pounds purchased, pounds in excess of IVQs or ITQs, pounds retained for 
personal use, and pounds discarded as unfit for human consumption. All 
Pacific halibut must be weighed with the head on and the head-on weight 
must be recorded on the Provincial fish tickets or Federal catch 
reports as specified in this paragraph, unless the Pacific halibut is 
frozen at sea and exempt from the head-on landing requirement at 
Section 19(2).
    (9) No person shall make a false entry on a State or Provincial 
fish ticket or a Federal catch or landing report referred to in 
paragraphs (5), (6), and (8) of this Section.
    (10) A copy of the fish tickets or catch reports referred to in 
paragraphs (5), (6), and (8) shall be:
    (a) Retained by the person making them for a period of three years 
from the date the fish tickets or catch reports are made; and
    (b) open to inspection by an authorized officer or any authorized 
representative of the Commission.
    (11) No person shall possess any Pacific halibut taken or retained 
in contravention of these Regulations.
    (12) When Pacific halibut are landed to other than a commercial 
fish processor, the records required by paragraph (6) shall be 
maintained by the operator of the vessel from which that Pacific 
halibut was caught, in compliance with paragraph (10).
    (13) No person shall tag Pacific halibut unless the tagging is 
authorized by IPHC permit or by a Federal or State agency.

22. Supervision of Unloading and Weighing

    (1) The unloading and weighing of Pacific halibut may be subject to 
the supervision of authorized officers to assure the fulfillment of the 
provisions of these Regulations.
    (2) The unloading and weighing of Pacific halibut may be subject to 
sampling by an authorized representative of the Commission.

23. Fishing by United States Indian Tribes

    (1) Pacific halibut fishing in IPHC Regulatory Area Subarea 2A-1 by 
members of United States treaty Indian tribes located in the State of 
Washington shall be regulated under regulations promulgated by NOAA 
Fisheries and published in the Federal Register:
    (a) Subarea 2A-1 includes the usual and accustomed fishing areas 
for Pacific Coast treaty tribes off the coast of Washington and all 
inland marine waters of Washington north of Point Chehalis 
(46[deg]53.30' N lat.), including Puget Sound. Boundaries of a tribe's 
fishing area may be revised as ordered by a United States Federal 
court;
    (b) Section 15 (Licensing Vessels for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A) does 
not apply to commercial fishing for Pacific halibut in Subarea 2A-1 by 
Indian tribes; and
    (c) ceremonial and subsistence fishing for Pacific halibut in 
Subarea 2A-1 is permitted with hook and line gear from 1 January 
through 31 December.
    (2) In IPHC Regulatory Area 2C, the Metlakatla Indian Community has 
been authorized by the United States Government to conduct a commercial 
Pacific halibut fishery within the Annette Islands Reserve. Fishing 
periods for this fishery are announced by the Metlakatla Indian 
Community and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Landings in this fishery 
are accounted with the commercial landings for IPHC Regulatory Area 2C.
    (3) Section 7 (careful release of Pacific halibut), Section 18 
(fishing gear), except paragraphs (7) and (8) of Section 18, Section 19 
(size limits), Section 20 (logs), and Section 21 (receipt and 
possession of Pacific halibut) apply to commercial fishing for Pacific 
halibut by Indian tribes.
    (4) Regulations in paragraph (3) of this Section that apply to 
State fish tickets apply to Tribal tickets that are authorized by WDFW 
and ADFG.
    (5) Commercial fishing for Pacific halibut is permitted with hook 
and line gear between the dates specified in Section 9 paragraphs (2) 
and (3), or until the applicable fishery limit specified in Section 5 
is taken, whichever occurs first.

24. Indigenous Groups Fishing for Food, Social and Ceremonial Purposes 
in British Columbia

    (1) Fishing for Pacific halibut for food, social and ceremonial 
purposes by Indigenous groups in IPHC Regulatory Area 2B shall be 
governed by the Fisheries Act of Canada and regulations as amended from 
time to time.

25. Customary and Traditional Fishing in Alaska

    (1) Customary and traditional fishing for Pacific halibut in IPHC 
Regulatory Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E shall be governed 
pursuant to regulations promulgated by NOAA Fisheries and published in 
50 CFR part 300.
    (2) Customary and traditional fishing is authorized from 1 January 
through 31 December.

26. Recreational (Sport) Fishing for Pacific Halibut--General

    (1) No person shall engage in recreational (sport) fishing for 
Pacific halibut using gear other than a single line with no more than 
two hooks attached; or a spear.
    (2) Any size limit promulgated under IPHC or domestic regulations 
shall be measured in a straight line passing over the pectoral fin from 
the tip of the lower jaw with the mouth closed, to the extreme end of 
the middle of the tail as depicted in Figure 2.
    (3) Any Pacific halibut brought aboard a vessel and not immediately 
returned to the sea with a minimum of injury will be included in the 
daily bag limit of the person catching the Pacific halibut.
    (4) No person may possess Pacific halibut on a vessel while fishing 
in a closed area.
    (5) No Pacific halibut caught by recreational (sport) fishing shall 
be offered for sale, sold, traded, or bartered.
    (6) No Pacific halibut caught in recreational (sport) fishing shall 
be possessed on board a vessel when other fish or shellfish aboard said 
vessel are destined for commercial use, sale, trade, or barter.
    (7) The operator of a charter vessel shall be liable for any 
violations of these Regulations committed by an angler on board said 
vessel. In Alaska, the charter vessel guide, as defined in 50 CFR

[[Page 12618]]

300.61 and referred to in 50 CFR 300.65, 300.66, and 300.67, shall be 
liable for any violation of these Regulations committed by an angler on 
board a charter vessel.

27. Recreational (Sport) Fishing for Pacific Halibut--IPHC Regulatory 
Area 2A

    (1) The Commission shall determine and announce closing dates to 
the public for any area in which the fishery limits promulgated by NOAA 
Fisheries are estimated to have been taken.
    (2) When the Commission has determined that a subquota under 
paragraph (7) of this Section is estimated to have been taken, and has 
announced a date on which the season will close, no person shall 
recreational (sport) fish for Pacific halibut in that area after that 
date for the rest of the year, unless a reopening of that area for 
recreational (sport) Pacific halibut fishing is scheduled in accordance 
with the Catch Sharing Plan for IPHC Regulatory Area 2A, or announced 
by the Commission.
    (3) In California, Oregon, or Washington, no person shall fillet, 
mutilate, or otherwise disfigure a Pacific halibut in any manner that 
prevents the determination of minimum size or the number of fish 
caught, possessed, or landed.
    (4) The possession limit on a vessel for Pacific halibut in the 
waters off the coast of Washington is the same as the daily bag limit. 
The possession limit for Pacific halibut on land in Washington is two 
daily bag limits.
    (5) The possession limit on a vessel for Pacific halibut caught in 
the waters off the coast of Oregon is the same as the daily bag limit. 
The possession limit for Pacific halibut on land in Oregon is three 
daily bag limits.
    (6) The possession limit on a vessel for Pacific halibut caught in 
the waters off the coast of California is one daily bag limit. The 
possession limit for Pacific halibut on land in California is one daily 
bag limit.
    (7) Specific regulations describing fishing periods, fishery 
limits, fishing dates, and daily bag limits are promulgated by NOAA 
Fisheries and published in the Federal Register.

28. Recreational (Sport) Fishing for Pacific Halibut--IPHC Regulatory 
Area 2B

    (1) In all waters off British Columbia: \6\ \7\
    (a) The recreational (sport) fishing season will open on 1 February 
unless more restrictive regulations are in place;
    (b) the recreational (sport) fishing season will close when the 
recreational (sport) fishery limit allocated by DFO is taken, or 31 
December, whichever is earlier; and
    (c) the daily bag limit is two (2) Pacific halibut of any size per 
day, per person, except that between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 
only, DFO may implement a daily bag limit of three (3) Pacific halibut 
per day, per person.
    (2) In British Columbia, no person shall fillet, mutilate, or 
otherwise disfigure a Pacific halibut in any manner that prevents the 
determination of minimum size or the number of fish caught, possessed, 
or landed.
    (3) The possession limit for Pacific halibut in the waters off the 
coast of British Columbia is three Pacific halibut.\6\ \7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ DFO could implement more restrictive regulations for the 
recreational (sport) fishery, therefore anglers are advised to check 
the current Federal or Provincial regulations prior to fishing.
    \7\ For regulations on the experimental recreational fishery 
implemented by DFO check the current Federal or Provincial 
regulations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

29. Recreational (Sport) Fishing for Pacific Halibut--IPHC Regulatory 
Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E

    (1) In Convention waters in and off Alaska: \8\ \9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ NOAA Fisheries could implement more restrictive regulations 
for the recreational (sport) fishery or components of it, therefore, 
anglers are advised to check the current Federal or State 
regulations prior to fishing.
    \9\ Charter vessels are prohibited from harvesting Pacific 
halibut in IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C and 3A during one charter vessel 
fishing trip under regulations promulgated by NOAA Fisheries at 50 
CFR 300.66.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (a) The recreational (sport) fishing season is from 1 February to 
31 December;
    (b) the daily bag limit is two Pacific halibut of any size per day 
per person unless a more restrictive bag limit applies in Commission 
regulations or Federal regulations at 50 CFR 300.65;
    (c) no person may possess more than two daily bag limits;
    (d) no person shall possess on board a vessel, including charter 
vessels and pleasure craft used for fishing, Pacific halibut that have 
been filleted, mutilated, or otherwise disfigured in any manner, except 
that each Pacific halibut may be cut into no more than 2 ventral 
pieces, 2 dorsal pieces, and 2 cheek pieces, with a patch of skin on 
each piece, naturally attached;
    (e) Pacific halibut in excess of the possession limit in paragraph 
(1)(c) of this Section may be possessed on a vessel that does not 
contain recreational (sport) fishing gear, fishing rods, hand lines, or 
gaffs;
    (f) Pacific halibut harvested on a charter vessel fishing trip in 
IPHC Regulatory Areas 2C or 3A must be retained on board the charter 
vessel on which the Pacific halibut was caught until the end of the 
charter vessel fishing trip as defined at 50 CFR 300.61;
    (g) guided angler fish (GAF), as described at 50 CFR 300.65, may be 
used to allow a charter vessel angler to harvest additional Pacific 
halibut up to the limits in place for unguided anglers, and are exempt 
from the requirements in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this Section; and
    (h) if there is an annual limit on the number of Pacific halibut 
that may be retained by a charter vessel angler as defined at 50 CFR 
300.61, for purposes of enforcing the annual limit, each charter vessel 
angler must:
    (1) Maintain a nontransferable harvest record in the angler's 
possession if retaining a Pacific halibut for which an annual limit has 
been established. Such harvest record must be maintained either on the 
angler's State of Alaska recreational (sport) fishing license, an ADFG 
approved electronic harvest record, or on a Sport Fishing Harvest 
Record Card obtained, without charge, from ADFG offices, the ADFG 
website, or fishing license vendors;
    (2) immediately upon retaining a Pacific halibut for which an 
annual limit has been established, permanently and legibly record the 
date, location (IPHC Regulatory Area), and species of the catch 
(Pacific halibut) on the harvest record; and
    (3) record the information required by paragraph 1(h)(2) on any 
duplicate or additional recreational (sport) fishing license issued to 
the angler, duplicate electronic harvest record, or any duplicate or 
additional Sport Fishing Harvest Record Card obtained by the angler for 
all Pacific halibut previously retained during that year that were 
subject to the harvest record reporting requirements of this Section.
    (2) For guided recreational (sport) fishing (as referred to in 50 
CFR 300.65) in IPHC Regulatory Area 2C:
    (a) No person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 
300.65) shall catch and retain more than one Pacific halibut per 
calendar day; and
    (b) no person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 
300.65) shall catch and retain any Pacific halibut that with head on is 
greater than 40 inches (101.6 cm) and less than 80 inches (203.2 cm) as 
measured in a straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip 
of the lower jaw with mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of 
the tail.
    (3) For guided recreational (sport) fishing (as referred to in 50 
CFR 300.65) in IPHC Regulatory Area 3A:

[[Page 12619]]

    (a) No person on board a charter vessel (as referred to in 50 CFR 
300.65) shall catch and retain more than two Pacific halibut per 
calendar day;
    (b) at least one of the retained Pacific halibut must have a head-
on length of no more than 28 inches (71.1 cm) as measured in a straight 
line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower jaw with 
mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of the tail. If a person 
recreational (sport) fishing on a charter vessel in IPHC Regulatory 
Area 3A retains only one Pacific halibut in a calendar day, that 
Pacific halibut may be of any length;
    (c) a ``charter halibut permit'' (as referred to in 50 CFR 300.67) 
may only be used for one charter vessel fishing trip in which Pacific 
halibut are caught and retained per calendar day. A charter vessel 
fishing trip is defined at 50 CFR 300.61 as the time period between the 
first deployment of fishing gear into the water by a charter vessel 
angler (as defined at 50 CFR 300.61) and the offloading of one or more 
charter vessel anglers or any Pacific halibut from that vessel. For 
purposes of this trip limit, a charter vessel fishing trip ends at 2359 
(Alaska local time) on the same calendar day that the fishing trip 
began, or when any anglers or Pacific halibut are offloaded, whichever 
comes first;
    (d) a charter vessel on which one or more anglers catch and retain 
Pacific halibut may only make one charter vessel fishing trip per 
calendar day. A charter vessel fishing trip is defined at 50 CFR 300.61 
as the time period between the first deployment of fishing gear into 
the water by a charter vessel angler (as defined at 50 CFR 300.61) and 
the offloading of one or more charter vessel anglers or any Pacific 
halibut from that vessel. For purposes of this trip limit, a charter 
vessel fishing trip ends at 2359 (Alaska local time) on the same 
calendar day that the fishing trip began, or when any anglers or 
Pacific halibut are offloaded, whichever comes first; and
    (e) no person on board a charter vessel may catch and retain 
Pacific halibut on any Wednesday, or on the following Tuesdays in 2022: 
July 26 and August 2.

30. Previous Regulations Superseded

    These Regulations shall supersede all previous regulations of the 
Commission, and these Regulations shall be effective each succeeding 
year until superseded.
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[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR07MR22.000


[[Page 12620]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR07MR22.001

Classification

IPHC Regulations

    These IPHC annual management measures are a product of an agreement 
between the United States and Canada and are published in the Federal 
Register to provide notice of their effectiveness and content. Pursuant 
to Section 4 of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, 16 U.S.C. 
773b, the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of 
Commerce, may accept or reject but not modify these recommendations of 
the IPHC. These regulations become effective when such acceptance and 
concurrence occur. The notice-and-comment and delay-in-effectiveness 
date provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 
553(b) and (d), are inapplicable to IPHC management measures because 
these regulations involve a foreign affairs function of the United 
States, 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1). As stated above, the Secretary of State has 
no discretion to modify the recommendations of the IPHC. The additional 
time necessary to comply with the notice-and-comment and delay-in-
effectiveness requirements of the APA would disrupt coordinated 
international conservation and management of the halibut fishery 
pursuant to the Convention and the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 
1982.
    The publication of these regulations in the Federal Register 
provide the affected public with notice that the IPHC management 
measures are in effect. Furthermore, no other law requires prior notice 
and public comment for this rule. Because 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law 
does not require prior notice and an opportunity for public comment for 
this notice of the effectiveness of the IPCH's 2022 management 
measures, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., are not applicable. Executive Order 12866 
does not apply to this final rule because these measures pertain to a 
foreign affairs function of the United States.
    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 requires consideration of the 
impact of recordkeeping and other information collection burdens 
imposed on the public. Alaska state law establishes information 
collection requirements regarding harvest records for individual 
recreational anglers. See Alaska Admin. Code tit. 5, Sec.  75.006(a) 
(2021). This final rule contains no new recordkeeping requirements 
beyond those contained in Alaska state law and therefore involves no 
additional collection of information burden. Moreover, because there 
is, at present, no annual limit on the number of Pacific halibut that 
may be retained by a charter vessel angler as defined at 50 CFR 300.61, 
the recordkeeping requirements referenced in section 29(1)(h) of the 
IPHC's Annual Management Measures do not apply during 2022.

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.

    Dated: February 28, 2022.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2022-04639 Filed 3-4-22; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-C