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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. 0810141351-9087-02]

RIN 0648-XL28

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands; Final 2009 and 2010 Harvest Specifications for Groundfish

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Final rule; closures.
SUMMARY: NMFS announces final 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications and prohibited species catch 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 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 (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.
DATES: Effective from 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 17, 2009, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2010.
ADDRESSES: Copies of the Final Alaska Groundfish Harvest Specifications Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Record of Decision (ROD), Supplementary Information Report (SIR) to the EIS, and Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) prepared for this action are available on the Alaska Region Web site athttp://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.Printed copies can be obtained from the Alaska Region, NMFS, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Copies of the 2008 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report for the groundfish resources of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI) dated November 2008, are available from the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99510-2252, phone 907-271-2809, or from its Web site athttp://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907-586-7269, or e-mailsteven.whitney@noaa.gov.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Federal regulations at 50 CFR part 679 implement the FMP and govern the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (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 the total allowable catch (TAC) for each target species and for the “other species” category, and the sum must be within the optimum yield (OY) range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million metric tons (mt) (see § 679.20(a)(1)(i)). NMFS also must specify apportionments of TACs, 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 final harvest specifications set forth in Tables 1 through 16 of this action satisfy these requirements. The sum of TACs for 2009 is 1,681,586 mt and for 2010 is 2,000,000 mt.

Section 679.20(c)(3) further requires NMFS to consider public comment on the proposed annual TACs and apportionments thereof and the proposed PSC allowances, and to publish final harvest specifications in theFederal Register. The proposed 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications and PSC allowances for the groundfish fishery of the BSAI were published in theFederal Registeron December 10, 2008 (73 FR 75059). Comments were invited and accepted through January 9, 2009. NMFS received three letters with 30 comments on the proposed harvest specifications. These comments are summarized and responded to in the Response to Comments section of this rule. NMFS consulted with the Council on the final 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications during the December 2008 Council meeting in Anchorage, AK. After considering public comments, as well as biological and economic data that were available at the Council's December meeting, NMFS is implementing the final 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications as recommended by the Council.

Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) and TAC Harvest Specifications

The final ABC levels are based on the best available biological and socioeconomic 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 overfishing levels (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.

In December 2008, the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), Advisory Panel (AP), and Council reviewed current biological information about the condition of the BSAI groundfish stocks. The Council's Plan Team compiled and presented this information in the 2008 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries, dated November 2008. The SAFE report contains a review of the latest scientific analyses and estimates of each species' biomass and other biological parameters, as well as summaries of the available information on the BSAI ecosystem and the economic condition of groundfish fisheries off Alaska. The SAFE report is available for public review (seeADDRESSES). From these data and analyses, the Plan Team estimates an OFL and ABC for each species or species category.

In December 2008, the SSC, AP, and Council reviewed the Plan Team's recommendations. Except for BSAI Pacific cod and Aleutian Islands pollock, the SSC, AP, and Council endorsed the Plan Team's ABC recommendations. For 2009 and 2010, the SSC recommended higher Pacific cod OFLs and ABCs than the OFLs and ABCs recommended by the Plan Team. The Plan Team chose values between the two best performing models. However, the SSC chose the best performing model, and did not see a need to adjust that model's estimates downward. For Aleutian Island pollock, the Plan Team adopted recommendations from the Center of Independent Experts to include survey data east of Adak. The SSC concluded that this data should be included. This was due to uncertainties in the spatial stock structure in the region, the variation of length compositions across the area, the concentration of survey data along the eastern edge of the region in the early survey years, and additional evidence that these pollock may be from the Bogoslof or EBS stocks, rather than the Aleutian Island stock. The elimination of this survey data resulted in higher OFL and ABC values. The Council adopted the ABCs recommended by the SSC.

The Plan Team, SSC, AP, and Council recommended that total removals of Pacific cod from the BSAI not exceed ABC recommendations. In 2007, the Board of Fisheries for the State of Alaska (State) established a guideline harvest level (GHL) west of 170 degrees west longitude in the AI subarea equal to 3 percent of the Pacific cod ABC in the BSAI. Accordingly, the Council recommended that the 2009 and 2010 Pacific cod TACs be adjusted downward from the ABCs by amounts equal to the 2009 and 2010 GHLs.

The final TAC recommendations were based on the ABCs as adjusted for other biological and socioeconomic considerations, including maintaining the sum of the TACs within the required OY range of 1.4 million to 2.0 million mt. The Council adopted the AP's 2009 and 2010 TAC recommendations. None of the Council's recommended TACs for 2009 or 2010 exceeds the final 2009 or 2010 ABCs for any species category. The 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications approved by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) are unchanged from those recommended by the Council and are consistent with the preferred harvest strategy alternative in the EIS. NMFS finds that the Council's recommended OFLs, ABCs, and TACs are consistent with the biological condition of groundfish stocks as described in the 2008 SAFE report that was approved by the Council.

Other Actions Potentially Affecting the 2009 and 2010 Harvest Specifications

The final rule implementing Amendment 73 to the FMP was published in theFederal Registeron December 31, 2008 (73 FR 80307). Amendment 73 removes dark rockfish from the “other rockfish” category in the FMP in order to allow the State of Alaska (State) to assume management of dark rockfish. This action is necessary to allow the State to implement more responsive, regionally based management measures than are currently possible under the FMP. Based on the approval of Amendment 73, the Council recommended final 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications for BSAI groundfish.

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 fishery management implications would require more time to assess and resolve. As a result, a Pacific cod split between subareas has not been established for 2009 or 2010. Additional proposals being developed by the Plan Team for Council consideration would separate some species from the “other species” category so that individual OFLs, 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.

Changes From the Proposed 2009 and 2010 Harvest Specifications in the BSAI

In October 2008, the Council made its recommendations for the proposed 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications (73 FR 75059, December 10, 2008) based largely on information contained in the 2007 SAFE report for the BSAI groundfish fisheries. The 2008 SAFE report, which was not available when the Councilmade its recommendations in October 2008, contains the best and most recent scientific information on the condition of the groundfish stocks. In December 2008, the Council considered the 2008 SAFE report in making its recommendations for the final 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications. Based on the 2008 SAFE report, the sum of the 2009 and 2010 recommended final TACs for the BSAI (1,681,586 mt for 2009 and 2,000,000 mt for 2010) is lower than the sum of the proposed 2009 TACs and higher than the sum of the proposed 2010 TACs (1,824,204 mt each year). Compared to the proposed 2009 TACs, the Council's final TAC recommendations increase for species when sufficient information supports a larger TAC. This increases fishing opportunities for fishermen and adds economic benefits to the nation. These species include BSAI Atka mackerel, flathead sole, Pacific cod, rock sole, and Greenland turbot. The Council reduced TAC levels to provide greater protection for several species including Bering Sea subarea pollock, yellowfin sole, “other flatfish,” and Pacific ocean perch.

The largest TAC reduction was for Bering Sea subarea pollock. The 2009 Bering Sea subarea pollock ABC and the corresponding TAC were reduced 185,000 mt below the proposed rule due to the addition of new survey and catch data incorporated into the pollock assessment models after the Council recommended the proposed harvest specifications. The reduction in the 2009 ABC and corresponding TAC is a consequence of low recruitment in the years 2002 through 2005. The assessment model remains unchanged and the stock still is in tier 1, as recommended by the SSC. Conversely, the new survey data increased the 2010 Bering Sea subarea pollock ABC and TAC by 230,000 mt. This increase is due to the recruitment of the 2006 year class, which has now appeared strong in two different surveys.

The changes in the final rule from the proposed rule are based on the most recent scientific information and implement the harvest strategy described in the proposed rule for the harvest specifications and are compared in the following table:

Comparison of Final 2009 and 2010 With Proposed 2009 and 2010 Total Allowable Catch in the BSAI [Amounts are in metric tons] Species Area1 2009 final TAC 2009
  • proposed TAC
  • 2009
  • difference from
  • proposed
  • 2010 final TAC 2010
  • proposed
  • TAC
  • 2010
  • difference from
  • proposed
  • Pollock BS 815,000 1,000,000 −185,000 1,230,000 1,000,000 230,000 AI 19,000 19,000 0 19,000 19,000 0 Bogoslof 50 10 40 10 10 0 Pacific cod BSAI 176,540 170,720 5,820 193,030 170,720 22,310 Sablefish BS 2,720 2,610 110 2,520 2,610 −90 AI 2,200 2,230 −30 2,040 2,230 −190 Atka mackerel EAI/BS 27,000 15,300 11,700 22,900 15,300 7,600 CAI 32,500 19,000 13,500 28,500 19,000 9,500 WAI 16,900 13,200 3,700 19,700 13,200 6,500 Yellowfin sole BSAI 210,000 225,000 −15,000 180,000 225,000 −45,000 Rock sole BSAI 90,000 75,000 15,000 75,000 75,000 0 Greenland turbot BS 5,090 1,750 3,340 4,920 1,750 3,170 AI 2,290 790 1,500 2,210 790 1,420 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI 75,000 75,000 0 60,000 75,000 −15,000 Flathead sole BSAI 60,000 50,000 10,000 50,000 50,000 0 Other flatfish BSAI 17,400 21,600 −4,200 17,400 21,600 −4,200 Alaska plaice BSAI 50,000 50,000 0 30,000 50,000 −20,000 Pacific ocean perch BS 3,820 4,100 −280 3,780 4,100 −320 EAI 4,200 4,810 −610 4,160 4,810 −650 CAI 4,260 4,900 −640 4,210 4,900 −690 WAI 6,520 7,490 −970 6,450 7,490 −1,040 Northern rockfish BSAI 7,160 8,130 −970 6,000 8,130 −2,130 Shortraker rockfish BSAI 387 424 −37 387 424 −37 Rougheye rockfish BSAI 539 202 337 552 202 350 Other rockfish BS 485 414 71 485 414 71 AI 555 554 1 555 554 1 Squid BSAI 1,970 1,970 0 1,970 1,970 0 Other species BSAI 50,000 50,000 0 34,221 50,000 −15,779 Total BSAI 1,681,586 1,824,204 −142,618 2,000,000 1,824,204 175,796 1Bering Sea subarea (BS), Aleutian Islands subarea (AI), Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI), Eastern Aleutian District (EAI), Central Aleutian District (CAI), and Western Aleutian District (WAI).

    The final 2009 and 2010 TAC recommendations for the BSAI are within the OY range established for the BSAI and do not exceed the ABC for any single species or complex. Table 1 lists the final 2009 and 2010 OFL, ABC, TAC, initial TAC (ITAC), and CDQ reserve amounts of the BSAI groundfish. The apportionment of TAC amounts among fisheries and seasons is discussed below.

    As mentioned in the proposed 2009 and 2010 harvest specifications, NMFS is apportioning the amounts shown in Table 2 from the non-specified reserve to increase the ITAC of several target species.

    Table 1—Final 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 2009 OFL ABC TAC ITAC2 CDQ3 2010 OFL ABC TAC ITAC2 CDQ3 Pollock3 BS2 977,000 815,000 815,000 733,500 81,500 1,430,000 1,230,000 1,230,000 1,107,000 123,000 AI2 32,600 26,900 19,000 17,100 1,900 36,800 30,400 19,000 17,100 1,900 Bogoslof 58,400 7,970 50 50 0 58,400 7,970 10 10 0 Pacific cod4 BSAI 212,000 182,000 176,540 157,650 18,890 235,000 199,000 193,030 172,376 20,654 Sablefish5 BS 3,210 2,720 2,720 2,244 374 2,980 2,520 2,520 1,071 95 AI 2,600 2,200 2,200 1,788 371 2,410 2,040 2,040 429 38 Atka mackerel BSAI 99,400 83,800 76,400 68,225 8,175 84,400 71,100 71,100 63,492 7,608 EAI/BS n/a 27,000 27,000 24,111 2,889 n/a 22,900 22,900 20,450 2,450 CAI n/a 33,500 32,500 29,023 3,478 n/a 28,500 28,500 25,451 3,050 WAI n/a 23,300 16,900 15,092 1,808 n/a 19,700 19,700 17,592 2,108 Yellowfin sole BSAI 224,000 210,000 210,000 187,530 22,470 210,000 198,000 180,000 160,740 19,260 Rock sole BSAI 301,000 296,000 90,000 80,370 9,630 314,000 310,000 75,000 66,975 8,025 Greenland turbot BSAI 14,800 7,380 7,380 6,273 n/a 14,400 7,130 7,130 6,061 n/a BS n/a 5,090 5,090 4,327 545 n/a 4,920 4,920 4,182 526 AI n/a 2,290 2,290 1,947 0 n/a 2,210 2,210 1,879 0 Arrowtooth flounder BSAI 190,000 156,000 75,000 63,750 8,025 196,000 161,000 60,000 51,000 6,420 Flathead sole BSAI 83,800 71,400 60,000 53,580 6,420 81,800 69,800 50,000 44,650 5,350 Other flatfish6 BSAI 23,100 17,400 17,400 14,790 0 23,100 17,400 17,400 14,790 0 Alaska plaice BSAI 298,000 232,000 50,000 42,500 0 354,000 275,000 30,000 25,500 0 Pacific ocean perch BSAI 22,300 18,800 18,800 16,624 n/a 22,100 18,600 18,600 16,447 n/a BS n/a 3,820 3,820 3,247 0 n/a 3,780 3,780 3,213 0 EAI n/a 4,200 4,200 3,751 449 n/a 4,160 4,160 3,715 445 CAI n/a 4,260 4,260 3,804 456 n/a 4,210 4,210 3,760 450 WAI n/a 6,520 6,520 5,822 698 n/a 6,450 6,450 5,760 690 Northern rockfish BSAI 8,540 7,160 7,160 6,086 0 8,580 7,190 6,000 5,100 0 Shortraker rockfish BSAI 516 387 387 329 0 516 387 387 329 0 Rougheye rockfish BSAI 660 539 539 458 0 640 552 552 469 0 Other rockfish7 BSAI 1,380 1,040 1,040 884 0 1,380 1,040 1,040 884 0 BS n/a 485 485 412 0 n/a 485 485 412 0 AI n/a 555 555 472 0 n/a 555 555 472 0 Squid BSAI 2,620 1,970 1,970 1,675 0 2,620 1,970 1,970 1,675 0 Other species8 BSAI 80,800 63,700 50,000 42,500 0 80,700 63,700 34,221 29,088 0 Total 2,636,726 2,204,366 1,681,586 1,497,906 159,902 3,159,826 2,674,799 2,000,000 1,785,185 194,462 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 (4.0 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 (State) guideline harvest level in State waters of the Aleutian Islands subarea. 5For the Amendment 80 species (Atka mackerel, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, Pacific cod, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch), 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 allSebastesandSebastolobusspecies except for Pacific ocean perch, northern, dark, 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 allocation of 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocations of sablefish and 10.7 percent of the Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder TACs to the respective CDQ reserves. Section 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) requires allocation of 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 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 allocations by gear. Section 679.21(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, respectively.

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(1), NMFS allocates a pollock ICA of 4 percent of the Bering Sea subarea 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 2008. During this 9-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 10-year average of 3 percent. Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), NMFS establishes a pollock ICA of 1,600 mt for the AI subarea after subtraction of the 10 percent CDQ DFA. 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 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 6-year average of 6 percent.

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8) and (10), NMFS allocates ICAs of 4,500 mt of flathead sole, 5,000 mt of rock sole, 2,000 mt of yellowfin sole, 10 mt of Western Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 10 mt of Central Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 100 mt of Eastern Aleutian District Pacific ocean perch, 20 mt of Western Aleutian District Atka mackerel, 20 mt of Central Aleutian District Atka mackerel, and 200 mt of Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea Atka mackerel TAC after subtraction of the 10.7 percent CDQ reserve. These allowances are based on NMFS' 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 or to the “other species” category during the year, providing that such apportionments do not result in overfishing (see § 679.20(b)(1)(ii)). The Regional Administrator has determined that the ITACs specified for the species listed in Table 2 need to be supplemented from the non-specified reserve because U.S. fishing vessels have demonstrated the capacity to catch the full TAC allocations. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(b)(3), NMFS is apportioning the amounts shown in Table 2 from the non-specified reserve to increase the ITAC for northern rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye rockfish, and Bering Sea “other rockfish” by 15 percent of the TAC in 2009 and 2010.

    Table 2—Final 2009 Apportionment of Reserves to ITAC Categories [Amounts are in metric tons] Species—area or subarea 2009 ITAC 2009
  • reserve amount
  • 2009 final ITAC 2010 ITAC 2010
  • reserve amount
  • 2010 final ITAC
    Shortraker rockfish—BSAI 329 58 387 329 58 387 Rougheye rockfish—BSAI 458 81 539 469 83 552 Northern rockfish—BSAI 6,086 1,074 7,160 5,100 900 6,000 Other rockfish—Bering Sea subarea 412 73 485 412 73 485 Total 7,285 1,286 8,571 6,310 1,114 7,424
    Allocation 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 the 10 percent for the CDQ program and the 4 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 DFA is allocated to the A season and the remainder of the directed pollock fishery is allocated to the B season. Table 3 lists these 2009 and 2010 amounts.

    Section 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) also includes several specific requirements regarding Bering Sea 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, AFAcatcher/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 3 lists the 2009 and 2010 allocations of pollock TAC. Tables 11 through 15 list the AFA catcher/processor and catcher vessel harvesting sideboard limits. The tables for the pollock allocations to the Bering Sea subarea inshore pollock cooperatives and open access sector will be posted on the Alaska Region Web site athttp://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

    Table 3 also lists seasonal apportionments of pollock and harvest limits within the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). The harvest within the SCA, as defined at § 679.22(a)(7)(vii), is limited to 28 percent of the annual 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 3 lists by sector these 2009 and 2010 amounts.

    Table 3—Final 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
  • Allocations
  • 2009 A season1 A season DFA SCA
  • harvest
  • limit2
  • 2009 B season1 B season DFA 2010
  • Allocations
  • 2010 A season1 A season DFA SCA
  • harvest
  • limit2
  • 2010 B season1 B season DFA
    Bering Sea subarea 815,000 n/a n/a n/a 1,230,000 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 81,500 32,600 22,820 48,900 123,000 49,200 34,440 73,800 ICA1 29,340 n/a n/a n/a 44,280 n/a n/a n/a AFA Inshore 352,080 140,832 98,582 211,248 531,360 212,544 148,781 318,816 AFA Catcher/Processors3 281,664 112,666 78,866 168,998 425,088 170,035 119,025 255,053 Catch by C/Ps 257,723 103,089 n/a 154,634 388,956 155,582 n/a 233,373 Catch by CVs3 23,941 9,577 n/a 14,365 36,132 14,453 n/a 21,679 Unlisted C/P Limit4 1,408 563 n/a 845 2,125 850 n/a 1,275 AFA Motherships 70,416 28,166 19,716 42,250 106,272 42,509 29,756 63,763 Excessive Harvesting Limit5 123,228 n/a n/a n/a 185,976 n/a n/a n/a Excessive Processing Limit6 211,248 n/a n/a n/a 318,816 n/a n/a n/a Total Bering Sea DFA 704,160 281,664 197,165 422,495 1,062,721 425,087 297,562 637,632 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 15,500 n/a 0 15,500 15,500 n/a 0 Bogoslof District ICA7 50 n/a n/a n/a 10 n/a n/a n/a 1Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the Bering Sea subarea pollock, after subtraction for the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: inshore sector—50 percent, catcher/processor sector (C/P)—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 directed fishing allowance (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 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. 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 non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 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 non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 7The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for ICA 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. 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 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 approves, a 0.5 percent allocation of the Atka mackerel ITAC in the Eastern Aleutian District and Bering Sea subarea to the jig gear in 2009 and 2010. Based on the 2009 TAC of 27,000 mt after subtractions of the CDQ reserve and ICA, the jig gear allocation would be 120 mt for 2009. Based on the 2010 TAC of 22,900 mt after subtractions of the CDQ reserve and ICA, the jig gear allocation would be 101 mt for 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 trawl sectors: 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 sectors 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 in the HLA for the first HLA fishery in all three trawl sectors 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 for any one of the three trawl sectors allocated Atka mackerel TAC.

    Table 4 lists these 2009 and 2010 amounts. The 2010 allocations for Atka mackerel between Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access sector will not be known until eligible participants apply for participation in the program by November 1, 2009.

    Table 4—Final 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] Sector1 Season3 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 27,000 32,500 16,900 22,900 28,500 19,700 CDQ reserve Total 2,889 3,478 1,808 2,450 3,050 2,108 HLA5 n/a 2,087 1,085 n/a 1,830 1,265 ICA Total 200 20 20 200 20 20 Jig6 Total 120 0 0 101 0 0 BSAI trawl limited access Total 952 1,160 0 1,209 1,526 0 A 476 580 0 604 763 0 HLA4 n/a 348 0 n/a 458 0 B 476 580 0 604 763 0 HLA4 n/a 348 0 n/a 458 0 Amendment 80 sectors Total 22,840 27,842 15,072 18,940 23,905 17,572 A 11,420 13,921 7,536 9,470 11,952 8,786 HLA4 n/a 8,353 4,522 n/a 7,171 5,272 B 11,420 13,921 7,536 9,470 11,952 8,786 HLA4 n/a 8,353 4,522 n/a 7,171 5,272 Amendment 80 limited access Total 12,328 16,795 9,275 n/a n/a n/a A 6,164 8,398 4,638 n/a n/a n/a HLA4 n/a 5,039