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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 061130318-6318-01; I.D. 112706A]

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; 2007 and 2008 Proposed Harvest Specifications for Groundfish

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: NMFS proposes 2007 and 2008 harvest specifications and prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances for the groundfish fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2007 and 2008 fishing years and to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). The intended effect of this action is to conserve and manage the groundfish resources in the BSAI in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).
DATES: Comments must be received by January 16, 2007.
ADDRESSES: * Mail to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802;

* Hand delivery to the Federal Building, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK;

* E-mail to2007tacspecs@noaa.govand include in the subject line the document identifier: 2007 Proposed Specifications (E-mail comments, with or without attachments, are limited to 5 megabytes);

* Fax to 907-586-7557; or

* Webform at the Federal eRulemaking Portal:http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions at that site for submitting comments.

Copies of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) prepared for this action are available from NMFS at the mailing addresses above or from the Alaska Region website athttp://www.fakr.noaa.gov. Copies of the final 2005 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the BSAI, dated November 2005, are available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99510-2252, 907-271-2809, or from its website athttp://www.fakr.noaa.gov/npfmc.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Furuness, 907-586-7228, or e-mail atmary.furuness@noaa.gov.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP and NMFS approved it under the MSA. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600.

The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify annually the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species and the “other species” category, the sum of which must be within the optimum yield range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see § 679.20(a)(1)(i)). Regulations at § 679.20(c)(1) further require NMFS to publish proposed harvest specifications in theFederal Registerand solicit public comment on proposed annual TACs and apportionments thereof, PSC allowances and prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by § 679.21, seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC, and Community Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts established by § 679.20(b)(1)(iii). The proposed harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 11 of this action satisfy these requirements.

Under § 679.20(c)(3), NMFS will publish the final harvest specifications for 2007 and 2008 after (1) considering comments received within the comment period (see DATES), (2) consulting with the Council at its December 2006 meeting, and (3) considering new information presented in the DEIS and the final 2006 SAFE reports prepared for the 2007 and 2008 groundfish fisheries.

Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2007 and 2008 Harvest Specifications

The following paragraphs identify actions that are currently under consideration by the Council and that, if submitted to and approved by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), could change the 2007 and 2008 final harvest specifications. The existing 2007 harvest specifications will be updated in early 2007 when final harvest specifications for 2007 and new harvest specifications for 2008 are implemented.

In April 2006, the Council adopted Amendment 85 to the FMP. Amendment 85 would revise the BSAI Pacific cod sector allocations. If approved by the Secretary, final regulations implementing Amendment 85 are anticipated to be effective for the 2008 fishing year. In June 2006, the Council adopted Amendment 80 to the FMP. Amendment 80 would provide specific groundfish allocations to the non-American Fisheries Act (AFA) trawl catcher/processor sector and allow the formation of cooperatives. If approved by the Secretary, final regulations implementing Amendment 80 also are anticipated to be effective for the 2008 fishing year. The Council also adopted Amendment 84 that would modify current regulations for managing incidental catch of Chinook and chum salmon and may change the PSC limits. The Council also is considering two proposals. One would allocate the Pacific cod TAC by Bering Sea subarea and Aleutian Islands (AI) subarea instead of a combined BSAI TAC. The other would separate some species from the “other rockfish” or “other species” categories so individual overfishing levels (OFLs), acceptable biological catch (ABCs), and TACs may be established.

Proposed ABC and TAC Harvest Specifications

The proposed ABC levels are based on the best available biological information, including projected biomass trends, information on assumed distribution of stock biomass, and revised technical methods used to calculate stock biomass. In general, the development of ABCs and OFLs involves sophisticated statistical analyses of fish populations and is based on a successive series of six levels, or tiers, of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier one represents the highest level of data quality available while tier six represents the lowest level of data quality available.

Appendix A to the final SAFE report for the 2005 BSAI groundfish fisheries dated November 2005 (seeADDRESSES) sets forth the best information currently available. Information on the status of stocks will be updated, including the 2006 survey results, and considered by the Plan Team in November 2006 for the 2006 SAFE report. The 2007 and 2008 final harvest specifications will be based on the 2006 SAFE report.

In October 2006, the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), Advisory Panel, and the Council reviewed the Plan Team's preliminary projections as the basis for the 2007 and 2008 proposed ABC, OFL, and TAC amounts. The SSC concurred with the Plan Team's recommendations. For stocks in tiers 1-3, the Plan Team used 2006 estimated fishing mortality rates in stock projection models to estimate OFLs and ABCs for 2007. For Bering Sea pollock, the projection model used a tier 3 model, but the projection used in December 2005 (as recommended by the SSC) used a tier 1 model. The SSC recommended that in the future projections should use the same approach that is approved by the Council in December of the previous year. The public should be aware that a tier 1 projection model may be used in December 2006 for Bering Sea pollock for ABC and OFL amounts. The Plan Team estimated 2007 TACs based on ABC constraints and past Council actions. The Plan Team estimated 2007 TACs were treated as the projected 2007 fishing mortality rates to derive estimates of OFLs and ABCs for 2008. For stocks in tiers 4-6, for which there are no population projection models, the Plan Team used the OFL and ABC amounts from 2006 for 2007 and 2008.

The Council adopted the OFL and ABC amounts recommended by the SSC (Table 1). The Council recommended that all the 2007 proposed TAC amounts be set equal to the ABC amounts except for reduced TAC amounts for AI subarea and Bogoslof pollock, Pacific cod, Alaska plaice, arrowtooth flounder, rock sole, flathead sole, “other flatfish,” northern rockfish, Atka mackerel, squid, and “other species.” The Council recommended that all the 2008 proposed TAC amounts be set equal to the ABC amounts except for TAC decreases for AI subarea and Bogoslof pollock, Pacific cod, sablefish, Alaska plaice, northern rockfish, and “other species.” As in previous years, the Plan Team, Advisory Panel, SSC, and Council recommended that total removals of Pacific cod from the BSAI not exceed ABC recommendations. Accordingly, the Council recommended that the 2007 and 2008 Pacific cod TACs be adjusted downward from the ABCs by amounts equal to 3 percent of the ABC. This adjustment is necessary to account for the guideline harvest level (GHL) established for Pacific cod by the State of Alaska (State) for a State-managed fishery that occurs in State waters in the AI subarea. Finally, the Council recommended using the 2006 and 2007 PSC allowances for the 2007 and 2008 proposed PSC allowances. The Council will reconsider the OFL, ABC, TAC, and PSC amounts in December 2006 after the Plan Team incorporates new status of groundfish stocks information into a final 2006 SAFE report for the 2007 and 2008 BSAI groundfish fishery. None of the Council's recommended proposed TACs for 2007 or 2008 exceeds the recommended 2007 or 2008 proposed ABC for any species category. NMFS finds the Council's recommended 2007 and 2008 proposed OFL, ABC, and TAC amounts consistent with the best available information on the biological condition of the groundfish stocks.

On July 11, 2006, the President signed the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006 (Coast Guard Act). Section 416(a) of the Coast Guard Act revises section 305(i)(1) of the MSA (16 U.S.C. 1855(i)(1)) by replacing all of the existing language in this section with new language. New section 305(i)(1)(B)(i) of the MSA addresses allocations to the CDQ Program. It requires that “the annual percentage of the total allowable catch, guideline harvest level, or other annual catch limit allocated to the program in each directed fishery of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands shall be the percentage approved by the Secretary, or established by Federal law, as of March 1, 2006, for the program.”

Prior to these amendments, section 305(i)(1)(A) of the MSA stated that “a percentage of the total allowable catch of any Bering Sea fishery is allocated to the program.” Since 1998, NMFS has allocated to the CDQ Program a percentage of each groundfish TAC category, except squid. The allocation of squid to the CDQ Program was discontinued in 2001 under Amendment 66 to the FMP (45 FR 13672, March 7, 2001).

As a result of the changes to section 305(i)(1), the MSA requires apportionments to the CDQ reserves of those directed fishery TAC categories for which a percentage was approved by the Secretary or established by Federal law as of March 1, 2006. In 2006, the only TAC category for which a percentage was not approved or established for the CDQ Program was squid. Therefore, squid would continue to not be allocated to the CDQ Program. For the TAC categories other than squid, those that did not have a directed fishery in the BSAI in 2006 were Bogoslof pollock, trawl sablefish, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, “other rockfish,” and “other species.” Therefore, based on NMFS' interpretation of the MSA, apportionments from these TAC categories to the CDQ Program will no longer be made. Catch in the CDQ fisheries of species in TAC categories that are not allocated to the CDQ Program will be managed under the regulations and fishery status that applies to the TAC category in the non-CDQ groundfish fisheries. Retention of species closed to directed fishing would either be limited to maximum retainable amounts or all catch of the species would be required to be discarded. Notices of closures to directed fishing and retention requirements for these species would apply to the CDQ and non-CDQ sectors. The catch of these species in the CDQ fisheries would not constrain the catch of other CDQ species unless catch by all sectors approached an OFL.

Table 1 lists the 2007 and 2008 proposed OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ amounts for groundfish in the BSAI. The proposed apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and seasons is discussed below.

TABLE 1 - 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED OVERFISHING LEVEL (OFL), ACCEPTABLE BIOLOGICAL CATCH (ABC), TOTAL ALLOWABLE CATCH (TAC), INITIAL TAC (ITAC), AND CDQ RESERVE ALLOCATION OF GROUNDFISH IN THE BSAI1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Species Area 2007 OFL ABC TAC ITAC2 CDQ3 2008 OFL ABC TAC ITAC2 CDQ3 Pollock4 BS2 1,707,000 1,419,800 1,419,800 1,277,820 141,980 1,418,100 1,168,700 1,168,700 1,051,830 116,870 AI2 39,100 29,400 19,000 17,100 1,900 39,100 29,400 19,000 17,100 1,900 Bogoslof 50,600 5,500 10 10 0 50,600 5,500 10 10 0 Pacific cod BSAI 176,100 148,500 144,045 122,438 10,803 144,900 121,700 118,049 100,342 8,854 Sablefish5 BS 3,080 2,580 2,580 1,097 258 2,680 2,240 2,240 952 n/a AI 3,120 2,620 2,620 557 393 2,720 2,260 2,260 480 n/a Atka mackerel BSAI 107,300 90,900 63,000 53,550 4,725 75,200 65,100 65,100 55,335 4,883 WAI n/a 34,182 16,782 14,265 1,259 n/a 24,481 24,481 20,809 1,836 CAI n/a 38,718 38,718 32,910 2,904 n/a 27,728 27,728 23,569 2,080 EAI/BS n/a 18,000 7,500 6,375 563 n/a 12,891 12,891 10,957 967 Yellowfin sole BSAI 138,900 117,100 117,100 99,535 8,783 126,200 106,400 106,400 90,440 7,980 Rock sole BSAI 146,000 122,500 85,736 72,876 6,430 133,100 111,600 111,600 94,860 8,370 Greenland turbot BSAI 18,300 2,630 2,630 2,236 197 17,500 2,630 2,630 2,236 197 BS n/a 1,815 1,815 1,543 136 n/a 1,815 1,815 1,543 136 AI n/a 815 815 693 61 n/a 815 815 693 61 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI 172,200 140,500 20,000 17,000 1,500 177,400 144,800 144,800 123,080 10,860 Flathead sole BSAI 67,100 55,900 22,000 18,700 1,650 62,700 52,200 52,200 44,370 3,915 Other flatfish6 BSAI 24,200 18,100 5,000 4,250 375 24,200 18,100 18,100 15,385 1,358 Alaska plaice BSAI 227,100 180,200 32,000 27,200 2,400 218,400 173,200 129,637 110,191 9,723 Pacific ocean perch BSAI 17,900 15,100 15,100 12,835 n/a 17,900 15,100 15,100 12,835 n/a BS n/a 3,020 3,020 2,567 0 n/a 3,020 3,020 2,567 0 WAI n/a 5,481 5,481 4,659 411 n/a 5,481 5,481 4,659 411 CAI n/a 3,277 3,277 2,785 246 n/a 3,277 3,277 2,785 246 EAI n/a 3,322 3,322 2,824 249 n/a 3,322 3,322 2,824 249 Northern rockfish BSAI 10,100 8,500 5,000 4,250 0 10,000 8,500 5,000 4,250 0 Shortraker rockfish BSAI 774 580 580 493 0 774 580 580 493 0 Rougheye rockfish BSAI 299 224 224 190 0 299 224 224 190 0 Other rockfish7 BS 1,122 810 810 689 0 1,122 810 810 689 0 AI 748 590 590 502 0 748 590 590 502 0 Squid BSAI 2,620 1,970 1,275 1,084 0 2,620 1,970 1,970 1,675 0 Other species8 BSAI 89,404 62,950 40,900 34,765 0 89,404 62,950 35,000 29,750 0 TOTAL 3,003,067 2,426,954 2,000,000 1,769,177 182,301 2,615,667 2,094,554 2,000,000 1,756,995 175,816 1These amounts apply to the entire BSAI management area unless otherwise specified. With the exception of pollock, and for the purpose of these harvest specifications, the Bering Sea (BS) subarea includes the Bogoslof District. 2Except for pollock and the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear, 15 percent of each TAC is placed in a reserve. The ITAC for each species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. 3Except for Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, ″other rockfish,″ squid, ″other species,″ and the trawl gear allocation of sablefish one half of the amount of the TACs placed in reserve, or 7.5 percent of the TACs, is designated as a CDQ reserve for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(iii) and 679.31). 4Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), the annual Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC after subtraction for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and the incidental catch allowance (3.35 percent), is further allocated by sector for a directed pollock fishery as follows: inshore - 50 percent; catcher/processor - 40 percent; and motherships - 10 percent. Under § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual Aleutian Islands subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (1,600 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery. 5The ITAC for sablefish reflected in Table 1 is for trawl gear only. Regulations at § 679.20(b)(1) do not provide for the establishment of an ITAC for the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation for sablefish. Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook-and-line gear or pot gear is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(iii)(B)). 6″Other flatfish″ includes all flatfish species, except for halibut (a prohibited species), flathead sole, Greenland turbot, rock sole, yellowfin sole, arrowtooth flounder, and Alaska plaice. 7″Other rockfish″ includes all Sebastes and Sebastolobus species except for Pacific ocean perch, northern, shortraker, and rougheye rockfish. 8″Other species″ includes sculpins, sharks, skates and octopus. Forage fish, as defined at § 679.2, are not included in the ″other species″category. Reserves and the Incidental Catch Allowance (ICA) for Pollock

Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) of the CFR requires placement of 15 percent of the TAC for each target species or species group, except for pollock and the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish, in a non-specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii)(A) of the CFR and section 305(i)(1)(B)(i) of the MSA further requires the allocation of one half of each TAC amount that is placed in the non-specified reserve (7.5 percent) be allocated to the groundfish CDQ reserve, with the exception of Bogoslof pollock, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, “other rockfish,” squid, “other species,” and the trawl gear allocation of sablefish, as explained above. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii)(B) requires 20 percent of the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish be allocated to the fixed gear sablefish CDQ reserve. Sections 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i), and 679.31(a) also require the allocation of 10 percent of the BSAI pollock TACs to the pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance. The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is allocated as an ICA (see § 679.20(a)(5)(ii)). With the exception of the hook-and-line and pot gear sablefish CDQ reserve, the regulations do not further apportion the CDQ reserves by gear. Section 679.21(e)(1)(i) requires withholding of 7.5 percent of each PSC limit, with the exception of herring, as a PSQ reserve for the CDQ fisheries. Sections 679.30 and 679.31 set forth the regulations governing the management of the CDQ and PSQ reserves.

Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS proposes a pollock ICA of 3.35 percent of the Bering Sea pollock TAC after subtraction of the 10 percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on NMFS' examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 1999 through 2005. During this 7-year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from a low of 2.7 percent in 2003 to a high of 5 percent in 1999, with a 7-year average of 3.5 percent. Because these incidental percentages are contingent on the relative amounts of other groundfish TACs, NMFS will be better able to assess the ICA amount when the Council makes final ABC and TAC amount recommendations in December. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS proposes a pollock ICA of 1,600 mt for the AI subarea pollock after subtraction of the 10 percent CDQ directed fishing allowance. This allowance is based on NMFS' examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2003 through 2005. During this 3-year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from a low of 8 percent in 2005 to a high of 10 percent in 2003, with a 3-year average of 8 percent.

The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified reserve by species or species group, and any amount of the reserve may be reapportioned to a target species or the “other species” category during the year, providing that such reapportionments do not result in overfishing (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)).

Allocations of Pollock TAC Under the AFA

Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) requires that the pollock TAC apportioned to the Bering Sea subarea, after subtraction of 10 percent for the CDQ program and 3.35 percent for the ICA, be allocated as a directed fishing allowance (DFA) as follows: 50 percent to the inshore sector, 40 percent to the catcher/processor sector, and 10 percent to the mothership sector. In the Bering Sea subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10-November 1). In October 2006, the State's Board of Fish adopted a proposal for a 3,000 mt pollock fishery in State waters of the AI subarea. However, this action by the State does not require a downward adjustment of the federal AI subarea pollock TAC because the combined TAC and GHL (22,000 mt) are less than the proposed ABC of 29,400 mt. The AI directed pollock fishery allocation to the Aleut Corporation is the amount of pollock remaining in the AI subarea after subtracting 1,900 mt for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and 1,600 mt for the ICA. In the AI subarea, 40 percent of the ABC is allocated to the A season and the remainder of the directed pollock fishery is allocated to the B season. Table 2 lists these 2007 and 2008 proposed amounts.

Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific requirements regarding pollock allocations. First, 8.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the catcher/processor sector will be available for harvest by AFA catcher vessels with catcher/processor sector endorsements, unless the Regional Administrator receives a cooperative contract that provides for the distribution of harvest among AFA catcher/processors and AFA catcher vessels in a manner agreed to by all members. Second, AFA catcher/processors not listed in the AFA are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the pollock allocated to the catcher/processor sector. Table 2 lists the 2007 and 2008 proposed allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 8 through 11 list the AFA catcher/processor and catcher vessel harvesting sideboard limits. In past years, the proposed harvest specifications included text and tables describing pollock allocations to the Bering Sea subarea inshore pollock cooperatives and open access sector. These allocations are based on the submission of AFA inshore cooperative applications due to NMFS on December 1 of each calendar year. Because AFA inshore cooperative applications for 2007 have not been submitted to NMFS, thereby preventing NMFS from calculating 2007 allocations, NMFS has not included inshore cooperative text and tables in these proposed harvest specifications. NMFS will post AFA inshore cooperative allocations on the Alaska Region website athttp://www.fakr.noaa.govwhen they become available in December 2006.

Table 2 also lists proposed seasonal apportionments of pollock and harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The harvest of pollock within the SCA, as defined at § 679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to 28 percent of the DFA until April 1. The remaining 12 percent of the 40 percent of the annual DFA allocated to the A season may be taken outside the SCA before April 1 or inside the SCA after April 1. If less than 28 percent of the annual DFA is taken inside the SCA before April 1, the remainder will be available to be taken inside the SCA after April 1. The A season pollock SCA harvest limit will be apportioned to each sector in proportion to each sector's allocated percentage of the DFA. Table 2 lists by sector these 2007 and 2008 proposed amounts.

TABLE 2 - 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED ALLOCATIONS OF POLLOCK TACS TO THE DIRECTED POLLOCK FISHERIES AND TO THE CDQ DIRECTED FISHING ALLOWANCES (DFA)1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Area and sector 2007 allocations 2007 A season1 A season DFA SCA harvest limit2 2007 B season1 B season DFA 2008 allocations 2008 A season1 A season DFA SCA harvest limit2 2008 B season B season DFA Bering Sea subarea 1,419,800 n/a n/a n/a 1,168,700 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 141,980 56,792 39,754 85,188 116,870 46,748 32,724 70,122 ICA1 44,724 n/a n/a n/a 36,814 n/a n/a n/a AFA Inshore 616,548 246,619 172,633 369,929 507,508 203,003 142,102 304,505 AFA Catcher/Processors3 493,239 197,295 138,107 295,943 406,006 162,403 113,682 243,604 Catch by C/Ps 451,313 180,525 n/a 270,788 371,496 148,598 n/a 222,898 Catch by CVs3 41,925 16,770 n/a 25,155 34,511 13,804 n/a 20,706 Unlisted C/P Limit4 2,466 986 n/a 1,480 2,030 812 n/a 1,218 AFA Motherships 123,310 49,324 34,527 73,986 101,502 40,601 28,420 60,901 Excessive Harvesting Limit5 215,792 n/a n/a n/a 177,628 n/a n/a n/a Excessive Processing Limit6 369,929 n/a n/a n/a 304,505 n/a n/a n/a Total Bering Sea DFA 1,419,800 550,031 385,021 825,046 1,168,700 452,754 316,928 679,132 Aleutian Islands subarea1 19,000 n/a n/a n/a 19,000 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 1,900 760 n/a 1,140 1,900 760 n/a 1,140 ICA 1,600 800 n/a 800 1,600 800 n/a 800 Aleut Corporation 15,500 10,200 n/a 5,300 15,300 10,500 n/a 5,300 Bogoslof District ICA7 10 n/a n/a n/a 11 n/a n/a n/a 1Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the annual Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC, after subtraction for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (3.35 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: inshore component - 50 percent, catcher/processor component - 40 percent, and mothership component - 10 percent. In the Bering Sea subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20 June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10 November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and second the ICA (1,600 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a directed pollock fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is allocated 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the directed pollock fishery. 2In the Bering Sea subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1. The remaining 12 percent of the annual DFA allocated to the A season may be taken outside of the SCA before April 1 or inside the SCA after April 1. If 28 percent of the annual DFA is not taken inside the SCA before April 1, the remainder is available to be taken inside the SCA after April 1. 3Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels delivering to listed catcher/processors. 4Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processors sector's allocation of pollock. 5Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6) NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the pollock DFAs not including CDQ. 6Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7) NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the pollock DFAs not including CDQ. 7The Bogoslof District is closed by the proposed harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for incidental catch only, and are not apportioned by season or sector. Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TAC

Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea Atka mackerel ITAC may be allocated to jig gear. The amount of this allocation is determined annually by the Council based on several criteria, including the anticipated harvest capacity of the jig gear fleet. The Council recommended and NMFS proposes that 1 percent of the Atka mackerel ITAC in the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea be allocated to jig gear in 2007 and 2008. Based on the proposed 2007 ITAC of 6,375 mt, the jig gear allocation would be 64 mt for 2007. Based on the proposed 2008 ITAC of 10,975 mt, the jig gear allocation would be 110 mt for 2008.

Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel ITAC into two equal seasonal allowances. After subtraction of the jig gear allocation, the first allowance is made available for directed fishing from January 1 (January 20 for trawl gear) to April 15 (A season), and the second seasonal allowance is made available from September 1 to November 1 (B season; Table 3).

Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1), the Regional Administrator proposes a harvest limit area (HLA) limit of no more than 60 percent of the seasonal TAC for the Western and Central Aleutian Districts. A lottery system is used for the HLA Atka mackerel directed fisheries to reduce the amount of daily catch in the HLA by about half and to disperse the fishery over two districts (see § 679.20(a)(8)(iii)).

TABLE 3 - 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, AND CDQ RESERVE OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Subarea and component 2007 TAC 2007 CDQ reserve 2007 CDQ reserve HLA limit4 2007 ITAC 2007 Seasonal allowances2 A season3 Total HLA limit4 B season3 Total HLA limit4 Western Aleutian District 16,782 1,259 755 14,265 7,132 4,279 7,132 4,279 Central Aleutian District 38,718 2,904 1,742 32,910 16,455 9,873 16,455 9,873 EAI/BS subarea5 7,500 563 n/a 6,375 n/a n/a n/a n/a Jig (1%)6 n/a n/a n/a 64 n/a n/a n/a n/a Other gear (99%) n/a n/a n/a 6,311 3,156 n/a 3,156 n/a Total 63,000 4,726 n/a 53,550 26,743 n/a 26,743 n/a Subarea and component 2008 TAC 2008 CDQ reserve 2008 CDQ reserve HLA limit4 2008 ITAC 2008 Seasonal allowances2 A season3 Total HLA limit4 B season3 Total HLA limit4 Western Aleutian District 24,481 1,836 1,102 20,809 10,404 6,243 10,404 6,243 Central Aleutian District 27,728 2,080 1,248 23,569 11,784 7,071 11,784 7,071 EAI/BS subarea5 12,891 967 n/a 10,957 n/a n/a n/a n/a Jig (1%)6 n/a n/a n/a 110 n/a n/a n/a n/a Other gear (99%) n/a n/a n/a 10,848 5,424 n/a 5,424 n/a Total 65,100 4,883 n/a 55,335 27,612 n/a 27,612 n/a 1Regulations at §§ 679.20(a)(8)(ii) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 2The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 3The A season is January 1 (January 20 for trawl gear) to April 15 and the B season is September 1 to November 1. 4Harvest Limit Area (HLA) limit refers to the amount of each seasonal allowance that is available for fishing inside the HLA (see § 679.2). In 2007 and 2008, 60 percent of each seasonal allowance is available for fishing inside the HLA in the Western and Central Aleutian Districts. 5Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea. 6Regulations at § 679.20(a)(8)(i) require that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea ITAC be allocated to jig gear. The proposed amount of this allocation is 1 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC

Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(A), 2 percent of the Pacific cod ITAC is allocated to vessels using jig gear, 51 percent to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear, and 47 percent to vessels using trawl gear. Section 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) further allocates the portion of the Pacific cod ITAC allocated to trawl gear as 50 percent to catcher vessels and 50 percent to catcher/processors. Section 679.20(a)(7)(i)(C)(1) sets aside a portion of the Pacific cod ITAC allocated to hook-and-line or pot gear as an ICA of Pacific cod in directed fisheries for groundfish using these gear types. The Regional Administrator proposes an ICA of 500 mt for 2007 and 2008 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. The remainder of the Pacific cod ITAC is further allocated to vessels using hook-and-line or pot gear as the following DFAs: 80 percent to hook-and-line catcher/processors, 0.3 percent to hook-and-line catcher vessels, 3.3 percent to pot catcher/processors, 15 percent to pot catcher vessels, and 1.4 percent to catcher vessels under 60 feet (18.3 m) length overall (LOA) using hook-and-line or pot gear.

Due to concerns about the potential impact of the Pacific cod fishery on Steller sea lions and their critical habitat, the Pacific cod ITAC is apportioned into seasonal allowances to disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see §§ 679.20(a)(7)(iii)(A) and 679.23(e)(5)). For pot and most hook-and-line gear, the first seasonal allowance of 60 percent of the ITAC is made available for directed fishing from January 1 to June 10, and the second seasonal allowance of 40 percent of the ITAC is made available from June 10 (September 1 for pot gear) to December 31. No seasonal harvest constraints are imposed on the Pacific cod fishery by catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. For trawl gear, the first season is January 20 to April 1 and is allocated 60 percent of the ITAC. The second season, April 1 to June 10, and the third season, June 10 to November 1, are each allocated 20 percent of the ITAC. The trawl catcher vessel allocation is further allocated as 70 percent in the first season, 10 percent in the second season, and 20 percent in the third season. The trawl catcher/processor allocation is allocated 50 percent in the first season, 30 percent in the second season, and 20 percent in the third season. For jig gear, the first and third seasonal allowances are each allocated 40 percent of the ITAC and the second seasonal allowance is allocated 20 percent of the ITAC. Table 4 lists the 2007 and 2008 proposed allocations and seasonal apportionments of the Pacific cod ITAC. In accordance with § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(D) and (a)(7)(iii)(B), any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance will become available at the beginning of the next seasonal allowance.

TABLE 4 - 2007 AND 2008 PROPOSED GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD ITAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Gear sector Percent 2007 Share of gear sector total 2007 Subtotal percentages for gear sectors 2007 Share of gear sector total 2007 Seasonal apportionment1 Date Amount 2008 Share of gear sector total 2008 Subtotal percentages for gear sectors 2008 Share of gear sector total 2008 Seasonal apportionment1 Date Amount Total hook-and-line/pot gear 51 73,463 n/a n/a n/a n/a 60,205 n/a n/a n/a n/a Hook-and-line/pot ICA n/a n/a n/a 500 n/a n/a n/a n/a 500 n/a n/a Hook-and-line/pot sub-total n/a 72,963 n/a n/a n/a n/a 59,705 n/a n/a n/a n/a Hook-and-line C/P n/a n/a 80 58,370 Jan 1-Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Dec 31
  • 35,022
  • 23,348
  • n/a 80 47,764 Jan 1-Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Dec 31
  • 28,658
  • 19,106
  • Hook-and-line CV n/a n/a 0.3 219 Jan 1-Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Dec 31
  • 131
  • 88
  • n/a 0.3 179 Jan 1-Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Dec 31
  • 107
  • 72
  • Pot C/P n/a n/a 3.3 2,408 Jan 1-Jun 10
  • Sept 1-Dec 31
  • 1,445
  • 963
  • n/a 3.3 1,970 Jan 1-Jun 10
  • Sept 1-Dec 31
  • 1,182
  • 788
  • Pot CV n/a n/a 15 10,944 Jan 1-Jun 10
  • Sept 1-Dec 31
  • 6,567
  • 4,377
  • n/a 15 8,956 Jan 1-Jun 10
  • Sept 1-Dec 31
  • 5,373
  • 3,582
  • CV < 60 feet LOA using Hook-and-line or Pot gear n/a n/a 1.4 1,021 n/a n/a n/a 1.4 836 n/a n/a Total Trawl Gear 47 67,701 n/a n/a n/a n/a 55,483 n/a n/a n/a n/a Trawl CV 50 33,851 Jan 20-Apr 1
  • Apr 1-Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Nov 1
  • 23,695
  • 3,385
  • 6,771
  • 50 27,742 Jan 20-Apr
  • 1Apr 1-Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Nov 1
  • 19,419
  • 2,774
  • 5,549
  • Trawl CP 50 33,851 Jan 20-Apr 1
  • Apr 1- Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Nov 1
  • 16,925
  • 10,155
  • 6,771
  • 50 27,742 Jan 20-Apr 1
  • Apr 1- Jun 10
  • Jun 10-Nov 1
  • 13,871
  • 8,322
  • 5,549
  • Jig 2 2,881 n/a n/a Jan 1-Apr 30
  • Apr 30-Aug 31
  • Aug 31-Dec 31
  • 1,153
  • 576
  • 1,152
  • 2,361 n/a n/a Jan 1-Apr 30
  • Apr 30-Aug 31
  • Aug 31-Dec 31
  • 945
  • 472
  • 944
  • Total 100 144,045 n/a n/a n/a n/a 118,049 n/a n/a n/a n/a 1For most non-trawl gear the first season is allocated 60 percent of the ITAC and the second season is allocated 40 percent of the ITAC. For jig gear, the first and third seasons are each allocated 40 percent of the ITAC and the second season is allocated 20 percent of the ITAC. No seasonal harvest constraints are imposed for the Pacific cod fishery by catcher vessels less than 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. For trawl gear, the first season is allocated 60 percent of the ITAC and the second and third seasons are each allocated 20 percent of the ITAC. The trawl catcher vessels' allocation is further allocated as 70 percent in the first season, 10 percent in the second season and 20 percent in the third season. The trawl catcher/processors' allocation is allocated 50 percent in the first season, 30 percent in the second season and 20 percent in the third season. Any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance will be reapportioned to the next seasonal allowance.
    Sablefish Gear Allocation

    Sections 679.20(a)(4)(iii) and (iv) require the allocation of sablefish TACs for the Bering Sea and AI subareas between trawl gear and hook-and-line or pot gear. Gear allocations of the TACs for the Bering Sea subarea are 50 percent for trawl gear and 50 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear and for the AI subarea are 25 percent for trawl gear and 75 percent for hook-and-line or pot gear. Section 679.20(b)(1)(iii)(B) requires apportionment of 20 percent of the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish to the CDQ reserve. The Council recommended that only trawl sablefish TAC be established biennially. The harvest specifications for the hook-and-line gear and pot gear sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fisheries will be limited to the 2007 fishing year to ensure those fisheries are conducted concurrent with the halibut IFQ fishery. Concurrent sablefish and halibut IFQ fisheries would reduce the potential for discards of halibut and sablefish in those fisheries. The sablefish IFQ fisheries would remain closed at the beginning of each fishing year until the final harvest specifications for the sablefish IFQ fisheries are in effect. Table 5 lists the 2007 and 2008 proposed gear allocations of the sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amoun