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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. 0810141351-81451-01]

RIN 0648-XL28

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; Proposed 2009 and 2010 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 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications and prohibited species catch allowances for the groundfish fisheries of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to establish harvest limits for groundfish during the 2009 and 2010 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. 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.
DATES: Comments must be received by January 9, 2009.
ADDRESSES: * Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal website athttp://www.regulations.gov.

* Mail: P. O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802.

* Fax: (907) 586-7557.

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

All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted tohttp://www.regulations.govwithout change. All Personal Identifying Information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe portable document file (pdf) formats only.

Copies of the Final Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS), Record of Decision (ROD), and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) prepared for this action are available from NMFS at the mailing address above or from the Alaska Region website athttp://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Copies of the final 2008 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI), dated November 2007, are available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99510-2252, 907-271-2809, or from its website athttp://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/default.htm.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907-586-7269.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 implement the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The Council prepared the FMP and NMFS approved it under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600.

The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS, after consultation with the Council, to specify annually the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species 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)). Section 679.20(c)(1) further requires NMFS to publish proposed harvest specifications in theFederal Registerand solicit public comments on proposed annual TACs and apportionments thereof, prohibited species catch (PSC) allowances, and prohibited species quota (PSQ) reserves established by § 679.21, seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC, Amendment 80 allocations, and Community Development Quota (CDQ) reserve amounts established by § 679.20(b)(1)(ii). The proposed harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 12 of this action satisfy these requirements.

Under § 679.20(c)(3), NMFS will publish the final harvest specifications for 2009 and 2010 after (1) considering comments received within the comment period (seeDATES), (2) consulting with the Council at its December 2008 meeting, and (3) considering new information presented in the Final EIS and the final 2008 SAFE reports prepared for the 2009 and 2010 groundfish fisheries.

Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2009 and 2010 Harvest Specifications

The Council submitted Amendment 73 to the FMP. NMFS published a proposed rule in theFederal Registeron September 24, 2008 (73 FR 55010). This amendment would remove dark rockfish (Sebastes ciliatus) from the “other rockfish” category and from the FMP. The State of Alaska would assume management of dark rockfish, and the TAC of the “other rockfish” category would be slightly smaller than in previous years. The Council is considering a proposal that would allocate the Pacific cod TAC by Bering Sea subarea and Aleutian Islands (AI) subarea instead of a combined BSAI TAC, although associated fisherymanagement implications would require more time to assess and resolve. As a result, a Pacific cod split is unlikely for 2009. Additional proposals being developed by the Plan Team for Council consideration would separate some species from the “other species” category so that individual overfishing levels (OFLs), acceptable biological catches (ABCs), and TACs may be established for these species. Another would allocate the ABC for rougheye rockfish by Bering Sea subarea and Aleutian Islands (AI) subarea instead of a combined BSAI ABC. These latter two proposals could change the final 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications. Additionally, the existing 2009 harvest specifications will be updated in early 2009 when final harvest specifications for 2009 and new harvest specifications for 2010 are implemented.

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. The FMP specifies a series of six tiers based on the level of reliable information available to fishery scientists. Tier one represents the highest level of information quality available while tier six represents the lowest level of information quality available.

Appendix A to the final SAFE report for the 2008 BSAI groundfish fisheries dated November 2007 (seeADDRESSES) sets forth the best information currently available. Information on the status of stocks, including the 2008 survey results, will be updated and considered by the Council's Groundfish Plan Team in November 2008 for the 2008 SAFE report. The final 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications will be based on the 2008 SAFE report.

In October 2008, the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), Advisory Panel, and the Council reviewed the Plan Team's recommended proposed 2009 and 2010 OFL and ABC amounts. The SSC concurred in the Plan Team's recommendations. The recommendations are based on rollovers of the current 2009 amounts. This uses the best information available from the 2007 stock assessments.

The Council adopted the OFL and ABC amounts recommended by the SSC (Table 1). The Council recommended that all the proposed 2009 and 2010 TAC amounts be set equal to the 2008 TAC amounts except for reduced TAC amounts for sablefish, Atka mackerel, Pacific ocean perch (POP), northern rockfish, and the “other rockfish” group. The adjustments from the 2008 TAC amounts account for the lower 2009 ABC amounts for these 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 proposed 2009 and 2010 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 2008 and 2009 PSC allowances for the proposed 2009 and 2010 PSC allowances. The Council will reconsider the OFL, ABC, TAC, and PSC amounts in December 2008 after the Plan Team incorporates new status of groundfish stocks information into a final 2008 SAFE report for the 2009 and 2010 BSAI groundfish fishery. None of the Council's recommended proposed TACs for 2009 or 2010 exceeds the recommended 2009 or 2010 proposed ABC for any species category. NMFS finds the Council's recommended proposed 2009 and 2010 OFL, ABC, and TAC amounts consistent with the best available information on the biological condition of the groundfish stocks.

Table 1 lists the proposed 2009 and 2010 OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ amounts for groundfish for the BSAI. The proposed apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and seasons is discussed below.

TABLE 1—PROPOSED 2009 AND 2010 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 Proposed 2009 and 2010 OFL ABC TAC ITAC2 CDQ3,4,5 Pollock3 BS 1,320,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 900,000 100,000 AI 26,100 22,700 19,000 17,100 1,900 Bogoslof 58,400 7,970 10 10 0 Pacific cod4 BSAI 207,000 176,000 170,720 152,453 18,267 Sablefish5 BS 2,910 2,610 2,610 1,109 98 AI 2,510 2,230 2,230 474 41 Atka mackerel BSAI 50,600 47,500 47,500 42,418 5,083 EAI/BS n/a 15,300 15,300 13,663 1,637 CAI n/a 19,000 19,000 16,967 2,033 WAI n/a 13,200 13,200 11,788 1,412 Yellowfin sole BSAI 296,000 296,000 225,000 200,925 24,075 Rock sole BSAI 379,000 375,000 75,000 66,975 8,025 Greenland turbot BSAI 16,000 2,540 2,540 2,159 n/a BS n/a 1,750 1,750 1,488 187 AI n/a 790 790 672 0 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI 300,000 246,000 75,000 63,750 8,025 Flathead sole BSAI 83,700 69,700 50,000 44,650 5,350 Other flatfish6 BSAI 28,800 21,600 21,600 18,360 0 Alaska plaice BSAI 277,000 217,000 50,000 42,500 0 Pacific ocean perch BSAI 25,400 21,300 21,300 18,845 n/a BS n/a 4,100 4,100 3,485 0 EAI n/a 4,810 4,810 4,295 515 CAI n/a 4,900 4,900 4,376 524 WAI n/a 7,490 7,490 6,689 801 Northern rockfish BSAI 9,680 8,130 8,130 6,911 0 Shortraker rockfish BSAI 564 424 424 360 0 Rougheye rockfish BSAI 269 202 202 172 0 Other rockfish7 BSAI 1,290 968 968 823 0 BS n/a 414 414 352 0 AI n/a 554 554 471 0 Squid BSAI 2,620 1,970 1,970 1,675 0 Other species8 BSAI 104,000 78,100 50,000 42,500 0 TOTAL 3,191,843 2,577,944 1,824,204 1,624,168 172,891 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, the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook and line and pot gear, and Amendment 80 species, 15 percent of each TAC is put into a reserve. The ITAC for these species is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. 3Under § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), the annual Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second for the incidental catch allowance (3.5 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. 4The Pacific cod TAC is reduced by three percent from the ABC to account for the State of Alaska's guideline harvest level in State waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea. 5For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod), 10.7 percent of the TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). Twenty percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to hook and line gear or pot gear, 7.5 percent of the sablefish TAC allocated to trawl gear, and 10.7 percent of the TACs for Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder are reserved for use by CDQ participants (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) and (D)). Aleutian Islands Greenland turbot, “other flatfish”, Alaska plaice, Bering Sea Pacific ocean perch, northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, “other rockfish”, squid, and “other species” are not allocated to the CDQ program. 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, Atka Mackerel, Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, Yellowfin Sole, and Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch

Section 679.20(b)(1)(i) requires the placement of 15 percent of the TAC for each target species or “other species” category, except for pollock, the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish, and the Amendment 80 species, in a non-specified reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(B) requires that 20 percent of the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish be allocated to the fixed gear sablefish CDQ reserve. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires that 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocations of sablefish and 10.7 percent of Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder be allocated to the respective CDQ reserves. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) requires that 10.7 percent of the TACs for Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod be allocated to the CDQ reserves. Sections 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A) and 679.31(a) also require the allocation of 10 percent of the BSAI pollock TACs to the pollock CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). The entire Bogoslof District pollock TAC is allocated as an incidental catch allowance (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. Section679.21(e)(3)(i)(A) requires withholding 7.5 percent of the Chinook salmon PSC limit, 10.7 percent of the crab and non-Chinook salmon PSC limits, and 343 mt of halibut PSC as PSQ reserves for the CDQ fisheries. Sections 679.30 and 679.31 set forth 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 3.5 percent of the Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC after subtraction of the 10 percent CDQ reserve. This allowance is based on NMFS's examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 1999 through 2008. During this 10-year period, the pollock incidental catch ranged from a low of 2.4 percent in 2006 to a high of 5 percent in 1999, with a 9-year average of 3 percent. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS proposes a pollock ICA of 1,600 mt for AI subarea after subtraction of the 10 percent CDQ directed fishing allowance (DFA). This allowance is based on NMFS's examination of the pollock incidental catch, including the incidental catch by CDQ vessels, in target fisheries other than pollock from 2003 through 2008. During this 6-year period, the incidental catch of pollock ranged from a low of 5 percent in 2006 to a high of 10 percent in 2003, with a 5-year average of 6 percent.

Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS proposes ICAs of 4,500 mt of flathead sole, 5,000 mt of rock sole, 2,000 mt of yellowfin sole, 10 mt each of Western and Central Aleutian District for both Pacific ocean perch and Atka mackerel, 100 mt of Eastern Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, and 200 mt of Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea Atka mackerel after subtraction of the 10.7 percent CDQ reserve. These allowances are based on NMFS's examination of the incidental catch in other target fisheries from 2003 through 2008.

The regulations do not designate the remainder of the non-specified reserve by species or species group. Any amount of the reserve may be apportioned to a target species that contributed to the non-specified reserve and the “other species” category during the year, provided that such apportionments do not result in overfishing (see § 679.20(b)(1)(i)).

Allocations of Pollock TAC Under the American Fisheries Act (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 3.5 percent for the ICA, be allocated as a 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). 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 proposed 2009 and 2010 amounts.

Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific requirements regarding Bering Sea subarea 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 proposed 2009 and 2010 allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 9 through 12 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 2009 have not yet been submitted to NMFS, thereby preventing NMFS from calculating 2009 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.alaskafisheries.noaa.govwhen they become available in December 2008.

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 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 proposed 2009 and 2010 amounts.

TABLE 2—PROPOSED 2009 AND 2010 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 2009 and 2010 allocations 2009 and 2010 A season1 A season DFA SCA harvest limit2 2009 and 2010 B season1 B season DFA Bering Sea subarea TAC 1,000,000 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 100,000 40,000 28,000 60,000 ICA1 31,500 n/a n/a n/a AFA Inshore 434,250 173,700 121,590 260,550 AFA Catcher/Processors3 347,400 138,960 97,272 208,440 Catch by C/Ps 317,871 127,148 n/a 190,723 Catch by CVs3 29,529 11,812 n/a 17,717 Unlisted C/P Limit4 1,737 695 n/a 1,042 AFA Motherships 86,850 34,740 24,318 52,110 Excessive Harvesting Limit5 151,988 n/a n/a n/a Excessive Processing Limit6 260,550 n/a n/a n/a Total Bering Sea DFA (non-CDQ) 868,501 347,400 243,180 521,100 Aleutian Islands subarea1 19,000 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 1,900 760 n/a 1,140 ICA 1,600 800 n/a 800 Aleut Corporation 15,500 10,200 n/a 5,300 Bogoslof District ICA7 10 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 (3.5 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: inshore sector 50 percent, catcher/processor sector 40 percent, and mothership sector 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 sealion conservation area (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 (C/Ps) shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels (CVs) 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 Regional Administrator proposes closing the Bogoslof pollock fishery for directed fishing under the final 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications for the BSAI. The amounts specified are for incidental catch only and are not apportioned by season or sector. Allocation of the Atka Mackerel TACs

Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtraction of the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and non-trawl gear, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors (Table 3). The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to part 679 and § 679.91.

Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8)(i), up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and 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 a 0.5 percent allocation of the Atka mackerel ITAC in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea to jig gear in 2009 and 2010. Based on the proposed 2009 and 2010 TAC of 15,300 mt after subtractions of the CDQ reserve and ICA, the jig gear allocation would be 67 mt for 2009 and 2010.

Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) apportions the Atka mackerel ITAC into two equal seasonal allowances. The first seasonal 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). The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season.

Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1), the Regional Administrator will establish a harvest limit area (HLA) limit of no more than 60 percent of the seasonal TAC for the Western and Central Aleutian Districts.

NMFS will establish HLA limits for the CDQ reserve and each of the three non-CDQ fishery categories: the BSAI trawl limited access sector; the Amendment 80 limited access fishery; and an aggregate HLA limit applicable to all Amendment 80 cooperatives. NMFS will assign vessels in each of the three non-CDQ fishery categories that apply to fish for Atka mackerel in the HLA to an HLA fishery based on a random lottery of the vessels that apply (see § 679.20(a)(8)(iii)). There is no allocation of Atka mackerel to the BSAI trawl limited access sector in the Western Aleutian District. Therefore, no vessels in the BSAI trawl limited access sector will be assigned to the Western Aleutian District HLA fishery.

Each trawl sector will have a separate lottery. A maximum of two HLA fisheries will be established in Area 542 for the BSAI trawl limited access sector. A maximum of four HLA fisheries will be established for vessels assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives: a first and second HLA fishery in Area 542, and a first and second HLA fishery in Area 543. A maximum of four HLA fisheries will be established for vessels assigned to the Amendment 80 limited access fishery: a first and second HLA fishery in Area 542, and a first and second HLA fishery in Area 543. NMFS will initially open fishing for the first HLA fishery in all three fishery categories at the same time. The initial opening of fishing in the HLA will be based on the first directed fishing closure of Atka mackerel for the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea allocation for any one of the three non-CDQ fishery categories allocated Atka mackerel TAC.

TABLE 3—PROPOSED 2009 AND 2010 SEASONAL AND SPATIAL ALLOWANCES, GEAR SHARES, CDQ RESERVE, INCIDENTAL CATCH ALLOWANCE, AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE BSAI ATKA MACKEREL TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector2 Season1,3,4 2009 allocation by area Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea Central Aleutian District Western Aleutian District 2010 allocation by area Eastern Aleutian District/Bering Sea Central Aleutian District Western Aleutian District TAC n/a 15,300 19,000 13,200 15,300 19,000 13,200 CDQ Total 1,637 2,033 1,412 1,637 2,033 1,412 reserve HLA5 n/a 1,220 847 n/a 1,220 847 ICA Total 200 20 20 200 20 20 Jig6 Total 67 0 0 67 0 0 BSAI trawl limited access Total 536 678 0 804 1,017 0 A 268 339 0 402 508 0 HLA n/a 203 0 n/a 305 0 B 268 339 0 402 508 0 HLA n/a 203 0 n/a 305 0 Amendment 80 limited access Total 6,835 9,796 7,254 6,683 9,590 7,255 A 3,418 4,898 3,627 3,342 4,795 3,628 HLA n/a 2,939 2,176 n/a 2,877 2,177 B 3,418 4,898 3,627 3,342 4,795 3,628 HLA n/a 2,939 2,176 n/a 2,877 2,177 Amendment 80 cooperatives Total 6,025 6,473 4,514 5,909 6,340 4,513 A 3,013 3,237 2,257 2,955 3,170 2,257 HLA n/a 1,942 1,354 n/a 1,902 1,354 B 3,013 3,237 2,257 2,955 3,170 2,257 HLA n/a 1,942 1,354 n/a 1,902 1,354 1Regulations at §§ 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 2Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtraction of the CDQ reserves, ICAs, and the jig gear allocation, to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 3The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4The A season is January 1 (January 20 for trawl gear) to April 15, and the B season is September 1 to November 1. 5Harvest Limit Area (HLA) limit refers to the amount of each seasonal allowance that is available for fishing inside the HLA (see § 679.2). In 2009 and 2010, 60 percent of each seasonal allowance is available for fishing inside the HLA in the Western and Central Aleutian Districts. 6Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtraction of the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. Allocation of the Pacific Cod TAC

Section 679.20(a)(7)(i) and (ii) requires that the Pacific cod TAC in the BSAI, after subtraction of 10.7 percent for the CDQ program, be allocated as follows: 1.4 percent to vessels using jig gear, 2.0 percent to hook-and-line and pot catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) length overall (LOA), 0.2 percent to hook-and-line catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA, 48.7 percent to hook-and-line catcher/processors, 8.4 percent to pot catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA, 1.5 percent to pot catcher/processors, 2.3 percent to AFA trawl catcher/processors, 13.4 percent to non-AFA trawl catcher/processors, and 22.1 percent to trawl catcher vessels. The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator proposes an ICA of 500 mt for 2009 and 2010 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. The allocation of the ITAC for Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 sector is established in Table 33 to part 679 and § 679.91.

The Pacific cod ITAC is apportioned into seasonal allowances to disperse the Pacific cod fisheries over the fishing year (see §§ 679.20(a)(7) and 679.23(e)(5)). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(B) and (C), any unused portion of a seasonal Pacific cod allowance will become available at the beginning of the next seasonal allowance.

Pursuant to §§ 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) and 679.23(e)(5), the CDQ season allowances by gear are as follows: for most hook-and-line catcher/processors and hook-and-line catcher vessels greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA, the firstseasonal 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 to December 31. No seasonal harvest constraints are imposed on the Pacific cod fishery for pot gear or catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line 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.

Pursuant to §§ 679.20(a)(7)(iv)(A) and 679.23(e)(5), the non-CDQ season allowances by gear are as follows. For hook-and-line and pot catcher/processors and hook-and-line and pot vessels greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA, the first seasonal allowance of 51 percent of the ITAC is made available for directed fishing from January 1 to June 10, and the second seasonal allowance of 49 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 for catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear. For trawl gear, the first season is January 20 to April 1, the second season is April 1 to June 10, and the third season is June 10 to November 1. The trawl catcher vessel allocation is further allocated as 74 percent in the first season, 11 percent in the second season, and 15 percent in the third season. The trawl catcher/processor allocation is allocated 75 percent in the first season, 25 percent in the second season, and zero percent in the third season. For jig gear, the first seasonal allowance is allocated 60 percent of the ITAC, and the second and third seasonal allowances are each allocated 20 percent of the ITAC. Table 4 lists the proposed 2009 and 2010 allocations and seasonal apportionments of the Pacific cod TAC.

TABLE 4—PROPOSED 2009 AND 2010 GEAR SHARES AND SEASONAL ALLOWANCES OF THE BSAI PACIFIC COD TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Gear sector Percent 2009 and 2010 share of gear sector total 2009 and 2010 share of sector total 2009 and 2010 seasonal apportionment Season Amount Total TAC 100 170,720 n/a n/a n/a CDQ 10.7 18,267 n/a see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) n/a Total hook-and-line/pot gear 60.8 92,691 n/a n/a n/a Hook-and-line/pot ICA1 n/a n/a 500 n/a n/a Hook-and-line/pot sub-total n/a 92,191 n/a n/a n/a Hook-and-line catcher/processors 48.7 n/a 73,844 Jan 1-Jun 10 37,660 Jun 10-Dec 31 36,184 Hook-and-line catcher vessels ≥ 60 ft LOA 0.2 n/a 303 Jan 1-Jun 10 155 Jun 10-Dec 31 149 Pot catcher/processors 1.5 n/a 2,274 Jan 1-Jun 10 1,160 Sept 1-Dec 31 1,114 Pot catcher vessels ≥ 60 ft LOA 8.4 n/a 12,737 Jan 1-Jun 10 6,496 Sept 1-Dec 31 6,241 Catcher vessels 60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear 2.0 n/a 3,033 n/a n/a Trawl catcher vessels 22.1 33,692 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 24,932 Apr 1-Jun 10 3,706 Jun 10-Nov 1 5,054 AFA trawl catcher processors 2.3 3,506 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 2,630 Apr 1- Jun 10 877 Jun 10-Nov 1 0 Amendment 80 13.4 20,429 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 15,322 Apr 1- Jun 10 5,107 Jun 10-Nov 1 0 Amendment 80 limited access n/a 3,357 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 2,518 Apr 1- Jun 10 839 Jun 10-Nov 1 0 Amendment 80 cooperative n/a 17,072 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 12,804 Apr 1- Jun 10 4,268 Jun 10-Nov 1 0 Jig 1.4 2,134 n/a Jan 1-Apr 30 1,281 Apr 30-Aug 31 427 Aug 31-Dec 31 427 1The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator proposes an ICA of 500 mt for 2009 and 2010 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. 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)(ii)(B) requires apportionment of 20 percent of the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation of sablefish to the CDQ reserve. Additionally, § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(D) requires apportionment of 7.5 percent of the trawl 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 2009 fishing year to ensure those fisheries are conducted concurrently 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 proposed 2009 and 2010 gear allocations of the sablefish TAC and CDQ reserve amounts.

TABLE 5—PROPOSED 2009 AND 2010 GEAR SHARES AND CDQ RESERVE OF BSAI SABLEFISH TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Subarea and gear Percent of TAC 2009 Share of TAC 2009 ITAC1 2009 CDQ reserve 2010 ITAC 2010 ITAC 2010 CDQ reserve Bering Sea Trawl 50 1,305 1,109 98 1,305 1,109 98 Hook-and-line gear2 50 1,305 n/a 261 n/a n/a n/a TOTAL 100 2,610 1,109 359 2,610 1,109 98 Aleutian Islands Trawl 25 558 474 42 558 474 42 Hook-and-line gear2 75 1,673 n/a 335 n/a n/a n/a TOTAL 100 2,230 474 376 2,230 474 42 1Except for the sablefish hook-and-line or pot gear allocation, 15 percent of TAC is apportioned to the reserve. The ITAC is the remainder of the TAC after the subtraction of these reserves. 2For the portion of the sablefish TAC allocated to vessels using hook and line or pot gear, 20 percent of the allocated TAC is reserved for use by CDQ participants. Section 679.20(b)(1) does not provide for the establishment of an ITAC for sablefish allocated to hook-and-line or pot gear. Allocation of the Aleutian Islands Pacific Ocean Perch, Flathead Sole, Rock Sole, and Yellowfin Sole TACs

Sections 679.20(a)(10)(i) and (ii) require the allocation between the Amendment 80 sector and BSAI trawl limited access for Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs in the BSAI, after subtraction of 10.7 percent for the CDQ reserve and an ICA for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels using non-trawl gear. The allocation of the ITAC for Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole to the Amendment 80 sector is established in Tables 33 and 34 to part 679 and § 679.91. Table 6 lists the proposed 2009 and 2010 allocations and seasonal apportionments of the Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole TACs.

TABLE 6—PROPOSED 2009 AND 2010 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT QUOTA (CDQ) RESERVES, INCIDENTAL CATCH AMOUNTS (ICAS), AND AMENDMENT 80 ALLOCATIONS OF THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS PACIFIC OCEAN PERCH, FLATHEAD SOLE, ROCK SOLE, AND YELLOWFIN SOLE TACS [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector Pacific ocean
  • perch
  • Eastern Aleutian District 2009 2010 Central Aleutian District 2009 2010 Western Aleutian District 2009 2010 Flathead
  • sole
  • BSAI 2009 and 2010 Rock
  • sole
  • BSAI 2009 and 2010 Yellowfin
  • sole
  • BSAI 2009 2010
    TAC 4,810 4,810 4,900 4,900 7,490 7,490 50,000 75,000 225,000 225,000 CDQ 515 515