Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Yellowfin Sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for yellowfin sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2006 yellowfin sole total allowable catch (TAC) in the BSAI.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Rock Sole, Flathead Sole, and “Other Flatfish” by Vessels Using Trawl Gear in Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
NMFS is closing directed fishing for rock sole, flathead sole, and ``other flatfish'' by vessels using trawl gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the 2006 halibut bycatch allowance specified for the trawl rock sole, flathead sole, and ``other flatfish'' fishery category in the BSAI.
Fishing Capacity Reduction Program for the Longline Catcher Processor Subsector of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Non-pollock Groundfish Fishery
This proposed rule would implement the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Catcher Processor Capacity Reduction Program (Reduction Program) for the longline catcher processor subsector of the BSAI non- pollock groundfish fishery (Reduction Fishery), in compliance with the FY 2005 Appropriations Act. This program is voluntary and permit holders of the Reduction Fishery (Subsector Members) are eligible to participate. Subsector Members must first sign and abide by not only the Capacity Reduction Agreement (Reduction Agreement) but also a Fishing Capacity Reduction Contract (Reduction Contract) with the U.S. Government. These key components of the Capacity Reduction Plan (Reduction Plan) were prepared by the Freezer Longline Conservation Cooperative (FLCC) and would be implemented by the proposed regulations. The aggregate of all Reduction Agreements and those Reduction Contracts signed by Subsector Members whose offers were accepted by \2/3\ votes of the Subsector Members, will together with the FLCC's supporting documents and rationale that these offers represent the expenditure of the least money for the greatest capacity reduction, constitute the Reduction Plan to be submitted to the Secretary of Commerce for approval. Subsector Members participating in the Reduction Program will receive up to $36 million in exchange for relinquishing valid non-interim Federal License Limitation Program BSAI groundfish licenses endorsed for catcher processor fishing activity, Catcher/Processor (C/P), Pacific cod, and hook and line gear, as well as any present or future claims of eligibility for any fishing privilege based on such permit (the Groundfish Reduction Permit) and additionally, any future fishing privilege of the vessel named on the permit. Individual fishing quota (IFQ) quota shares would be excluded from relinquishment. Following submission of the Reduction Plan and approval by the Secretary, NMFS will conduct an industry referendum to determine the industry's willingness to repay a fishing capacity reduction loan to effect the Reduction Plan. A \2/3\ majority vote in favor would bind all parties and complete the reduction process. NMFS will issue a 30-year loan to be repaid by those harvesters remaining in the Reduction Fishery. The intent of this proposed rule is to permanently reduce harvesting capacity in the Reduction Fishery. This should result in increased harvesting productivity for post-reduction Subsector Members and help with conservation and management of the Reduction Fishery.
Consideration of Marine Reserves and Marine Conservation Areas Within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
NOAA is proposing to establish a network of marine zones within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS or Sanctuary). Marine zones are discrete areas that have special regulations differing from the regulations that apply throughout or above the Sanctuary as a whole. The purpose of these proposed zones is to further the protection of Sanctuary biodiversity and complement an existing network established by the State of California in October 2002, and implemented in April 2003, under its authorities. Two types of zones are being proposed by this action: marine reserves and marine conservation areas. All extractive activities (e.g., removal of any Sanctuary resource) and injury to Sanctuary resources would be prohibited in all zones of the Sanctuary designated as marine reserves. Certain lobster fishing and recreational fishing for pelagic species would be allowed within zones of the Sanctuary designated as marine conservation areas, while all other extraction and injury would be prohibited. The CINMS is approximately 1268 square nautical miles. The proposed action would establish approximately 232 square nautical miles of marine reserves and 8.6 square nautical miles of marine conservation areas in the state and federal waters of the Sanctuary. As part of this action, NOAA is also proposing to modify the terms of designation for the Sanctuary, which were originally published on October 2, 1980 (45 FR 65198), to allow for the regulation of extractive activities, including fishing, in the proposed marine reserves and marine conservation areas, and a slight modification to the outer boundary of the CINMS.