# 50 CFR § 679.21 - Prohibited species bycatch management.

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§ 679.21 Prohibited species bycatch management.

(a) General.

(1) See § 679.2 and Table 2b to this part for definition of prohibited species.

(2) Prohibited species catch restrictions. The operator of each vessel engaged in directed fishing for groundfish in the GOA or BSAI must:

(i) Minimize its catch of prohibited species.

(ii) After allowing for sampling by an observer, if an observer is aboard, sort its catch immediately after retrieval of the gear and, except for salmon prohibited species catch in the BS pollock fisheries and GOA groundfish fisheries under paragraph (f) or (h) of this section, or any prohibited species catch as provided (in permits issued) under the PSD program at § 679.26, return all prohibited species, or parts thereof, to the sea immediately, with a minimum of injury, regardless of its condition.

(3) Rebuttable presumption. Except as provided under paragraphs (f) and (h) of this section and § 679.26, there will be a rebuttable presumption that any prohibited species retained on board a fishing vessel regulated under this part was caught and retained in violation of this section.

(4) Prohibited species taken seaward of the EEZ off Alaska. No vessel fishing for groundfish in the GOA or BSAI may have on board any species listed in this paragraph (a) that was taken in waters seaward of these management areas, regardless of whether retention of such species was authorized by other applicable laws.

(5) Sablefish as a prohibited species. (See § 679.24(c)(2)(ii).)

(6) Addresses. Unless otherwise specified, submit information required under this section to NMFS as follows: by mail to the Regional Administrator, NMFS, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802; by courier to the Office of the Regional Administrator, 709 West 9th St., Juneau, AK 99801; or by fax to 907-586-7465. Forms are available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/).

(b) BSAI halibut PSC limits -

(1) Establishment of BSAI halibut PSC limits. Subject to the provisions in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) through (iv) of this section, the following four BSAI halibut PSC limits are established, which total 3,515 mt: Amendment 80 sector - 1,745 mt; BSAI trawl limited access sector - 745 mt; BSAI non-trawl sector - 710 mt; and CDQ Program - 315 mt (established as a PSQ reserve).

(i) Amendment 80 sector. The PSC limit of halibut caught while conducting any fishery in the Amendment 80 sector is an amount of halibut equivalent to 1,745 mt of halibut mortality. Halibut PSC limits within the Amendment 80 sector will be established for Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access fishery according to the procedure and formulae in § 679.91(d) and (f). If halibut PSC is assigned to the Amendment 80 limited access fishery, it will be apportioned into PSC allowances for trawl fishery categories according to the procedure in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii)(A)(2) and (3) of this section.

(ii) BSAI trawl limited access sector -

(A) General.

(1) The PSC limit of halibut caught while conducting any fishery in the BSAI trawl limited access sector is an amount of halibut equivalent to 745 mt of halibut mortality.

(2) NMFS, after consultation with the Council, will apportion the PSC limit set forth under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A)(1) of this section into PSC allowances for the trawl fishery categories defined in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii)(B)(1) through (6) of this section.

(3) Apportionment of the trawl halibut PSC limit set forth under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A)(1) of this section among the trawl fishery categories will be based on each category's proportional share of the anticipated halibut PSC during a fishing year and the need to optimize the amount of total groundfish harvested under the halibut PSC limit for this sector.

(4) The sum of all PSC allowances for this sector will equal the PSC limit set forth under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A)(1) of this section.

(B) Trawl fishery categories. For purposes of apportioning the trawl PSC limit set forth under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A)(1) of this section among trawl fisheries, the following fishery categories are specified and defined in terms of round-weight equivalents of those groundfish species or species groups for which a TAC has been specified under § 679.20.

(1) Midwater pollock fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a catch of pollock that is 95 percent or more of the total amount of groundfish caught during the week.

(2) Flatfish fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of rock sole, “other flatfish,” and yellowfin sole that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B).

(i) Yellowfin sole fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that is defined as a flatfish fishery under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(2) and results in a retained amount of yellowfin sole that is 70 percent or more of the retained aggregate amount of rock sole, “other flatfish,” and yellowfin sole.

(ii) Rock sole/flathead sole/Alaska plaice/“other flatfish” fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that is defined as a flatfish fishery under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(2) and is not a yellowfin sole fishery as defined under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(2)(i) of this section.

(3) Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/sablefish fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of Greenland turbot, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and sablefish that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B).

(4) Rockfish fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of rockfish species that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B).

(5) Pacific cod fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of Pacific cod that is greater than the retained amount of any other groundfish fishery category defined under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B).

(6) Pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species.” Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of pollock other than pollock harvested in the midwater pollock fishery defined under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(1) of this section, Atka mackerel, and “other species” that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B).

(C) Halibut PSC in midwater pollock fishery. Any amount of halibut that is incidentally taken in the midwater pollock fishery, as defined in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(1) of this section, will be counted against the halibut PSC allowance specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” category, as defined in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(6) of this section.

(iii) BSAI Non-trawl Sector -

(A) General.

(1) The PSC limit of halibut caught while conducting any fishery in the BSAI non-trawl sector is an amount of halibut equivalent to 710 mt of halibut mortality.

(2) NMFS, after consultation with the Council, will apportion the PSC limit set forth under paragraph (b)(1)(iii)(A)(1) into PSC allowances for the non-trawl fishery categories defined under paragraph (b)(1)(iii)(B) of this section.

(3) Apportionment of the non-trawl halibut PSC limit of 710 mt among the non-trawl fishery categories will be based on each category's proportional share of the anticipated halibut PSC during a fishing year and the need to optimize the amount of total groundfish harvested under the halibut PSC limit for this sector.

(4) The sum of all PSC allowances for this sector will equal the PSC limit set forth under paragraph (b)(1)(iii)(A)(1) of this section.

(B) Non-trawl fishery categories. For purposes of apportioning the non-trawl halibut PSC limit among fisheries, the following fishery categories are specified and defined in terms of round-weight equivalents of those BSAI groundfish species for which a TAC has been specified under § 679.20.

(1) Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher vessel fishery. Catcher vessels fishing with hook-and-line gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of Pacific cod that is greater than the retained amount of any other groundfish species.

(2) Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor fishery. Catcher/processors fishing with hook-and-line gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of Pacific cod that is greater than the retained amount of any other groundfish species.

(3) Sablefish hook-and-line fishery. Fishing with hook-and-line gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of sablefish that is greater than the retained amount of any other groundfish species.

(4) Groundfish jig gear fishery. Fishing with jig gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of groundfish.

(5) Groundfish pot gear fishery. Fishing with pot gear under restrictions set forth in § 679.24(b) during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of groundfish.

(6) Other non-trawl fisheries. Fishing for groundfish with non-trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of groundfish and does not qualify as a Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher vessel fishery, a Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor fishery, a sablefish hook-and-line fishery, a jig gear fishery, or a groundfish pot gear fishery as defined under paragraphs (b)(1)(iii)(B)(1) through (5) of this section.

(iv) CDQ Program. The PSC limit of halibut caught while conducting any fishery in the CDQ Program is an amount of halibut equivalent to 315 mt of halibut mortality. The PSC limit to the CDQ Program will be treated as a Prohibited Species Quota (PSQ) reserve to the CDQ Program for all purposes under 50 CFR part 679 including §§ 679.31 and 679.7(d)(3). The PSQ limit is not apportioned by gear, fishery, or season.

(2) Seasonal apportionments of BSAI halibut PSC allowances -

(i) General. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may apportion a halibut PSC allowance on a seasonal basis.

(ii) Factors to be considered. NMFS will base any seasonal apportionment of a PSC allowance on the following types of information:

(A) Seasonal distribution of prohibited species;

(B) Seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to prohibited species distribution;

(C) Expected PSC needs on a seasonal basis relevant to change in prohibited species biomass and expected catches of target groundfish species;

(D) Expected variations in PSC rates throughout the fishing year;

(E) Expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons;

(F) Expected start of fishing effort; or

(G) Economic effects of establishing seasonal prohibited species apportionments on segments of the target groundfish industry.

(iii) Seasonal trawl fishery PSC allowances -

(A) Unused seasonal apportionments. Unused seasonal apportionments of trawl fishery PSC allowances made under paragraph (b)(2) of this section will be added to its respective fishery PSC allowance for the next season during a current fishing year.

(B) Seasonal apportionment exceeded. If a seasonal apportionment of a trawl fishery PSC allowance made under paragraph (b)(2) of this section is exceeded, the amount by which the seasonal apportionment is exceeded will be deducted from its respective apportionment for the next season during a current fishing year.

(iv) Seasonal non-trawl fishery PSC allowances -

(A) Unused seasonal apportionments. Any unused portion of a seasonal non-trawl fishery PSC allowance made under paragraph (b)(2) of this section will be reapportioned to the fishery's remaining seasonal PSC allowances during a current fishing year in a manner determined by NMFS, after consultation with the Council, based on the types of information listed under paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

(B) Seasonal apportionment exceeded. If a seasonal apportionment of a non-trawl fishery PSC allowance made under paragraph (b)(2) of this section is exceeded, the amount by which the seasonal apportionment is exceeded will be deducted from the fishery's remaining seasonal PSC allowances during a current fishing year in a manner determined by NMFS, after consultation with the Council, based on the types of information listed under paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

(i) General. NMFS will publish in the Federal Register

,
for up to two fishing years, the proposed and final BSAI halibut PSC allowances, the seasonal apportionments thereof, and the manner in which seasonal apportionments of non-trawl fishery PSC allowances will be managed.

(ii) Public comment. Public comment will be accepted by NMFS on the proposed PSC allowances seasonal apportionments thereof, and the manner in which seasonal apportionments of non-trawl fishery PSC allowances will be managed, for a period specified in the notice of proposed specifications published in the Federal Register

.

(4) Management of BSAI halibut PSC allowances -

(i) Trawl sector - Amendment 80 limited access fishery and BSAI trawl limited access sector: closures -

(A) Exception. When a PSC allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” fishery category, as defined in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(6) of this section is reached, only directed fishing for pollock is closed to trawl vessels using nonpelagic trawl gear.

(B) Closures. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(4)(i)(A) of this section, if, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the trawl fishery categories listed in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii)(B)(2) through (6) of this section will catch the halibut PSC allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, specified for that fishery category under paragraph (b)(1)(i) or (b)(1)(ii) of this section, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of the entire BSAI to directed fishing for each species and/or species group in that fishery category for the remainder of the year or for the remainder of the season.

(ii) BSAI non-trawl sector: closures. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the non-trawl fishery categories listed under paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section will catch the halibut PSC allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, specified for that fishery category under paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of the entire BSAI to directed fishing with the relevant gear type for each species and/or species group in that fishery category.

(iii) AFA PSC sideboard limits. Halibut PSC limits for the AFA catcher/processor sector and the AFA trawl catcher vessel sector will be established pursuant to § 679.64(a) and (b) and managed through directed fishing closures for the AFA catcher/processor sector and the AFA trawl catcher vessel sector in the groundfish fisheries for which the PSC limit applies.

(c) [Reserved]

(d) GOA halibut PSC limits. This section is applicable for vessels engaged in directed fishing for groundfish in the GOA.

(1) Notification and public comment -

(i) Proposed and final apportionments. NMFS will publish in the Federal Register proposed and final apportionments of the halibut PSC limits in paragraphs (d)(2) and (3) of this section in the notification required under § 679.20.

(ii) Modification of apportionments. NMFS, by notification in the Federal Register, may change the halibut PSC apportionments during the year for which they were specified, based on new information of the types set forth in this paragraph (d).

(iii) Public comment. NMFS will accept public comment on the proposed halibut PSC apportionments for a period specified in the notice of proposed halibut PSC apportionments published in the Federal Register. NMFS will consider comments received on proposed halibut PSC apportionments and, after consultation with the Council, will publish notification in the Federal Register specifying the final halibut PSC apportionments.

(2) Hook-and-line gear and pot gear annual halibut PSC limit.

(i) The annual total PSC limit of halibut caught while conducting any hook-and-line gear fishery for groundfish in the GOA is an amount of halibut equivalent to the amount of halibut mortality established for each of the fishery categories in paragraphs (d)(2)(i)(A) and (B) of this section. The notification at paragraph (d)(1) of this section also may specify a halibut PSC limit for the pot gear fisheries.

(A) Demersal shelf rockfish, Southeast Outside (SEO) District. The halibut PSC limit in the demersal shelf rockfish fishery in the SEO District is 9 mt.

(B) Other hook-and-line fishery. The halibut PSC limit in the other hook-and-line gear fishery is established according to the provisions of paragraphs (d)(2)(iii) and (d)(2)(iv) of this section.

(ii) Hook-and-line fishery categories. For purposes of apportioning the hook-and-line halibut PSC limit among fisheries, the following fishery categories are specified and defined in terms of round-weight equivalents of those GOA groundfish species for which a TAC has been specified under § 679.20.

(A) Demersal shelf rockfish, SEO District. Fishing with hook-and-line gear in the SEO District of the Eastern GOA regulatory area during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of demersal shelf rockfish that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (d)(2)(ii).

(B) Other hook-and-line fishery. Fishing with hook-and-line gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of groundfish and is not a demersal shelf rockfish fishery defined under paragraph (d)(2)(ii)(A) of this section.

(iii) Apportionment of the GOA halibut PSC limit among other hook-and-line catcher vessels and catcher/processors.

(A) Catcher vessels using hook-and-line gear in the other hook-and-line fishery will be apportioned part of the GOA halibut PSC limit in proportion to the total Western and Central GOA Pacific cod allocations, where X is equal to annnual TAC, as follows:

$290\phantom{\rule{0ex}{0ex}}\mathrm{mt}*\frac{\left(1.4%\left({X}_{\mathrm{WGOA}}\right)+21.3%\left({X}_{\mathrm{CGOA}}\right)\right)}{\left(19.8%+1.4%\right)\left({X}_{\mathrm{WGOA}}\right)+\left(5.1%+21.3%\right)\left({X}_{\mathrm{CGOA}}\right)}$

(B) Catcher/processors using hook-and-line gear in the other hook-and-line fishery will be apportioned part of the GOA halibut PSC limit in proportion to the total Western and Central GOA Pacific cod allocations, where X is equal to annual TAC, as follows:

$290\phantom{\rule{0ex}{0ex}}\mathrm{mt}*\frac{\left(19.8%\left({X}_{\mathrm{WGOA}}\right)+5.3%\left({X}_{\mathrm{CGOA}}\right)\right)}{\left(19.8%+1.4%\right)\left({X}_{\mathrm{WGOA}}\right)+\left(5.1%+21.3%\right)\left({X}_{\mathrm{CGOA}}\right)}$

(C) No later than November 1, any halibut PSC limit allocated under paragraph (d)(2)(ii)(B) of this section not projected by the Regional Administrator to be used by one of the hook-and-line sectors during the remainder of the fishing year will be made available to the other sector.

(iv) Other hook-and-line fishery annual PSC limit reductions. The annual halibut PSC limits established for the other hook-and-line fishery under paragraph (d)(2)(iii) of this section are reduced, as follows:

Vessel category Annual PSC limit percent reduction from the annual halibut PSC limit established under paragraph (d)(2)(iii) of this section. Effective years
(A) Catcher vessel 7
12
15
2014.
2015.
2016 and each year thereafter.
(B) Catcher/processor 7 2014 and each year thereafter.

(3) Trawl gear annual halibut PSC limit.

(i) The annual total PSC limit of halibut caught while conducting any trawl gear fishery for groundfish in the GOA is an amount of halibut equivalent to 1,973 mt of halibut mortality. This amount is reduced as follows:

Percent reduction from 1,973 mt Annual trawl gear PSC limit (mt) 1 Effective years
7 1,848 2014.
12 1,759 2015.
15 1,705 2016 and each year thereafter.

1 This amount maintains the 191 mt annual allocation to the Rockfish Program (see Table 28d to this part) from the 1,973 mt halibut PSC limit, while reducing the remainder of the annual trawl gear halibut PSC limit by the percentage listed in the first column.

(ii) PSC allowance. The halibut PSC limit specified for vessels using trawl gear may be further apportioned as PSC allowances to the fishery categories listed in paragraph (d)(3)(iii) of this section, based on each category's proportional share of the anticipated halibut PSC mortality during a fishing year and the need to optimize the amount of total groundfish harvest under the halibut PSC limit. The sum of all PSC allowances will equal the halibut PSC limit established under paragraph (d)(3)(i) of this section.

(iii) Trawl fishery categories. For purposes of apportioning the trawl halibut PSC limit among fisheries, the following fishery categories are specified and defined in terms of round-weight equivalents of these GOA groundfish species for which a TAC has been specified under § 679.20:

(A) Shallow-water species fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate catch of pollock, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Atka mackerel, and “other species” that is greater than the retained aggregate amount of other GOA groundfish species or species group.

(B) Deep-water species fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of groundfish and is not a shallow-water species fishery as defined under paragraph (d)(3)(iii)(A) of this section.

(4) Seasonal apportionments -

(i) General. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may apportion each halibut PSC limit or bycatch allowance specified under this paragraph (d) on a seasonal basis.

(ii) Factors to be considered. NMFS will base any seasonal apportionment of a halibut PSC limit or bycatch allowance on the following types of information:

(A) Seasonal distribution of halibut.

(B) Seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to halibut distribution.

(C) Expected halibut bycatch needs, on a seasonal basis, relative to changes in halibut biomass and expected catches of target groundfish species.

(D) Expected variations in bycatch rates throughout the fishing year.

(E) Expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons.

(F) Expected start of fishing effort.

(G) Economic effects of establishing seasonal halibut allocations on segments of the target groundfish industry.

(iii) Unused seasonal apportionments.

(A) Unused seasonal apportionments of halibut PSC limits specified for trawl, hook-and-line, or pot gear will be added to the respective seasonal apportionment for the next season during a current fishing year; and

(B) An amount not greater than 55 percent of the halibut PSC that had been allocated as CQ and that has not been used by a rockfish cooperative will be added to the last seasonal apportionment for trawl gear during the current fishing year:

(1) After November 15; or

(2) After the effective date of a termination of fishing declaration according to the provisions set out in § 679.4(n)(2), whichever occurs first.

(C) The amount of unused halibut PSC not reapportioned under the provisions described in § 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(B) will not be available for use as halibut PSC by any person for the remainder of that calendar year.

(D) Combined management of trawl halibut PSC limits from May 15 through June 30. NMFS will combine management of available trawl halibut PSC limits in the second season deep-water and shallow-water species fishery categories for use in either fishery from May 15 through June 30 during the current fishery year. Halibut PSC sideboard limits for the Amendment 80 and AFA sectors will continue to be defined as deep-water and shallow-water species fisheries from May 15 through June 30. NMFS will re-apportion the halibut PSC limit between the deep-water and shallow-water species fisheries after June 30 to account for actual halibut PSC use by each fishery category during May 15 through June 30. The Regional Administrator will issue a Federal Register notice to reapportion the amounts of trawl halibut PSC to each species fishery category.

(iv) Seasonal apportionment exceeded. If a seasonal apportionment of a halibut PSC limit specified for trawl, hook-and-line, pot gear, and/or operational type is exceeded, the amount by which the seasonal apportionment is exceeded will be deducted from the respective apportionment for the next season during a current fishing year.

(5) Apportionment among regulatory areas and districts. Each halibut PSC limit specified under this paragraph (d) also may be apportioned among the GOA regulatory areas and districts.

(6) Halibut PSC closures -

(i) Trawl gear fisheries. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in either of the trawl fishery categories listed in paragraph (d)(3)(iii) (A) or (B) of this section will catch the halibut bycatch allowance, or apportionments thereof, specified for that fishery category under paragraph (d)(1) of this section, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register closing the entire GOA or the applicable regulatory area or district to directed fishing with trawl gear for each species and/or species group that comprises that fishing category; provided, however, that when the halibut bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, specified for the shallow-water species fishery is reached, fishing for pollock by vessels using pelagic trawl gear may continue, consistent with other provisions of this part.

(ii) Hook-and-line fisheries. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the three hook-and-line gear and operational type fishery categories listed under paragraph (d)(2) of this section will catch the halibut PSC allowance, or apportionments thereof, specified for that fishery category under paragraph (d)(1) of this section, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register closing the entire GOA or the applicable regulatory area, district, or operation type to directed fishing with hook-and-line gear for each species and/or species group that composes that fishing category.

(iii) Pot gear fisheries. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that the catch of halibut by operators of vessels using pot gear to participate in a directed fishery for groundfish will reach the halibut PSC limit, or seasonal apportionment thereof, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register prohibiting directed fishing for groundfish by vessels using pot gear for the remainder of the season to which the halibut PSC limit or seasonal apportionment applies.

(iv) Nonpelagic trawl gear fisheries -

(A) Continued fishing under specified conditions. When the vessels to which a halibut PSC limit applies have caught an amount of halibut equal to that PSC, the Regional Administrator may, by notification in the Federal Register, allow some or all of those vessels to continue to fish for groundfish using nonpelagic trawl gear under specified conditions, subject to the other provisions of this part.

(B) Factors to be considered. In authorizing and conditioning such continued fishing with bottom-trawl gear, the Regional Administrator will take into account the following considerations, and issue relevant findings:

(1) The risk of biological harm to halibut stocks and of socio-economic harm to authorized halibut users posed by continued bottom trawling by these vessels.

(2) The extent to which these vessels have avoided incidental halibut catches up to that point in the year.

(3) The confidence of the Regional Administrator in the accuracy of the estimates of incidental halibut catches by these vessels up to that point in the year.

(4) Whether observer coverage of these vessels is sufficient to assure adherence to the prescribed conditions and to alert the Regional Administrator to increases in their incidental halibut catches.

(5) The enforcement record of owners and operators of these vessels, and the confidence of the Regional Administrator that adherence to the prescribed conditions can be assured in light of available enforcement resources.

(7) AFA halibut bycatch limitations. Halibut bycatch limits for AFA catcher vessels will be established according to the procedure and formula set out in § 679.64(b) and managed through directed fishing closures for AFA catcher vessels in the groundfish fisheries to which the halibut bycatch limit applies.

(e) BSAI PSC limits for crab and herring -

(1) Trawl gear -

(i) Red king crab in Zone 1. The PSC limit of red king crab caught by trawl vessels while engaged in directed fishing for groundfish in Zone 1 during any fishing year will be specified for up to two fishing years by NMFS, after consultation with the Council, based on abundance and spawning biomass of red king crab using the criteria set out under paragraphs (e)(1)(i)(A) through (C) of this section. The following table refers to the PSC limits for red king crab that you must follow in Zone 1:

When the number of mature female red king crab is ... The zone 1 PSC limit will be ...
(A) At or below the threshold of 8.4 million mature crab or the effective spawning biomass is less than or equal to 14.5 million lb (6,577 mt) 32,000 red king crab.
(B) Above the threshold of 8.4 million mature crab and the effective spawning biomass is greater than 14.5 but less than 55 million lb (24,948 mt) 97,000 red king crab.
(C) Above the threshold of 8.4 million mature crab and the effective spawning biomass is equal to or greater than 55 million lb 197,000 red king crab.

(ii) Tanner crab (C. bairdi). The PSC limit of C. bairdi crabs caught by trawl vessels while engaged in directed fishing for groundfish in Zones 1 and 2 during any fishing year will be specified for up to two fishing years by NMFS under paragraph (e)(6) of this section, based on total abundance of C. bairdi crabs as indicated by the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey, using the criteria set out under paragraphs (e)(1)(ii)(A) and (B) of this section.

(A) The following table refers to the PSC limits for C. bairdi that you must follow in Zone 1:

When the total abundance of C. bairdi crabs is ... The PSC limit will be ...
(1) 150 million animals or less 0.5 percent of the total abundance minus 20,000 animals
(2) Over 150 million to 270 million animals 730,000 animals
(3) Over 270 million to 400 million animals 830,000 animals
(4) Over 400 million animals 980,000 animals

(B) This table refers to the PSC limits for C. bairdi that you must follow in Zone 2.

When the total abundance of C. bairdi crabs is ... The PSC limit will be ...
(1) 175 million animals or less 1.2 percent of the total abundance minus 30,000 animals
(2) Over 175 million to 290 million animals 2,070,000 animals
(3) Over 290 million to 400 million animals 2,520,000 animals
(4) Over 400 million animals 2,970,000 animals

(iii) C. opilio. The PSC limit of C. opilio caught by trawl vessels while engaged in directed fishing for groundfish in the COBLZ will be specified annually by NMFS under paragraph (e)(6) of this section, based on total abundance of C. opilio as indicated by the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey using the following criteria:

(A) PSC Limit. The PSC limit will be 0.1133 percent of the total abundance, minus 150,000 C. opilio crabs, unless;

(B) Minimum PSC Limit. If 0.1133 percent multiplied by the total abundance is less than 4.5 million, then the minimum PSC limit will be 4.350 million animals; or

(C) Maximum PSC Limit. If 0.1133 percent multiplied by the total abundance is greater than 13 million, then the maximum PSC limit will be 12.850 million animals.

(iv) [Reserved]

(v) Pacific herring. The PSC limit of Pacific herring caught while conducting any domestic trawl fishery for groundfish in the BSAI is 1 percent of the annual eastern Bering Sea herring biomass. The PSC limit will be apportioned into annual herring PSC allowances, by target fishery, and will be published along with the annual herring PSC limit in the Federal Register with the proposed and final groundfish specifications defined in § 679.20.

(2) [Reserved]

(3) PSC apportionment to trawl fisheries -

(i) General -

(A) PSQ reserve. The following allocations of the trawl gear PSC limits are made to the CDQ Program as PSQ reserves. The PSQ reserves are not apportioned by gear or fishery.

(1) Crab PSQ. 10.7 percent of each PSC limit set forth in paragraphs (e)(1)(i) through (iii) of this section.

(2) [Reserved]

(B) Fishery categories. NMFS, after consultation with the Council and after subtraction of PSQ reserves and PSC CQ assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives, will apportion each PSC limit set forth in paragraphs (e)(1)(i) through (vii) of this section into bycatch allowances for fishery categories defined in paragraph (e)(3)(iv) of this section, based on each category's proportional share of the anticipated incidental catch during a fishing year of prohibited species for which a PSC limit is specified and the need to optimize the amount of total groundfish harvested under established PSC limits.

(ii) Red king crab, C. bairdi, and C. opilio -

(A) General. For vessels engaged in directed fishing for groundfish in the BSAI, other than vessels fishing under a CQ permit assigned to an Amendment 80 cooperative, the PSC limits for red king crab, C. bairdi, and C. opilio will be apportioned to the trawl fishery categories defined in paragraphs (e)(3)(iv)(B) through (F) of this section.

(B) Red King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS). (1) The RKCSS is the portion of the RKCSA between 56°00′ and 56°10′ N. lat. Notwithstanding other provisions of this part, vessels using non-pelagic trawl gear in the RKCSS may engage in directed fishing for groundfish in a given year, if the ADF&G had established a guideline harvest level the previous year for the red king crab fishery in the Bristol Bay area.

(2) When the RKCSS is open to vessels fishing for groundfish with nonpelagic trawl gear under paragraph (e)(3)(ii)(B)(1) of this section, NMFS, after consultation with the Council, will specify an amount of the red king crab bycatch limit annually established under paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section for the RKCSS. The amount of the red king crab bycatch limit specified for the RKCSS will not exceed an amount equivalent to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance and will be based on the need to optimize the groundfish harvest relative to red king crab bycatch.

(C) Incidental catch in midwater pollock fishery. Any amount of red king crab, C. bairdi, or C. opilio that is incidentally taken in the midwater pollock fishery as defined in paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(A) of this section will be counted against the bycatch allowances specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” category defined in paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(F) of this section.

(iii) Pacific herring. The PSC limit for Pacific herring will be apportioned to the BSAI trawl fishery categories defined in paragraphs (e)(3)(iv) (A) through (F) of this section.

(iv) Trawl fishery categories. For purposes of apportioning trawl PSC limits for crab and herring among fisheries, other than crab PSC CQ assigned to an Amendment 80 cooperative, the following fishery categories are specified and defined in terms of round-weight equivalents of those groundfish species or species groups for which a TAC has been specified under § 679.20.

(A) Midwater pollock fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a catch of pollock that is 95 percent or more of the total amount of groundfish caught during the week.

(B) Flatfish fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of rock sole, “other flatfish,” and yellowfin sole that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv).

(1) Yellowfin sole fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that is defined as a flatfish fishery under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(B) and results in a retained amount of yellowfin sole that is 70 percent or more of the retained aggregate amount of rock sole, “other flatfish,” and yellowfin sole.

(2) Rock sole/flathead sole/Alaska plaice/“other flatfish” fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that is defined as a flatfish fishery under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(B) and is not a yellowfin sole fishery as defined under paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(B)(1) of this section.

(C) Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/sablefish fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of Greenland turbot, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and sablefish that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv).

(D) Rockfish fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of rockfish species that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv).

(E) Pacific cod fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of Pacific cod that is greater than the retained amount of any other groundfish fishery category defined under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv).

(F) Pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species.” Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of pollock other than pollock harvested in the midwater pollock fishery defined under paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(A) of this section, Atka mackerel, and “other species” that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv).

(v) AFA prohibited species catch limitations. Crab PSC limits for the AFA catcher/processor sector and the AFA trawl catcher vessel sector will be established according to the procedures and formulas set out in § 679.64(a) and (b) and managed through directed fishing closures for the AFA catcher/processor sector and the AFA trawl catcher vessel sector in the groundfish fisheries for which the PSC limit applies.

(vi) Amendment 80 sector bycatch limitations.

(A) Crab PSC limits for the Amendment 80 sector in the BSAI will be established according to the procedure and formulae set out in § 679.91(d) through (f); and

(B) Crab PSC assigned to the Amendment 80 limited access fishery will be managed through directed fishing closures for Amendment 80 vessels to which the crab bycatch limits apply.

(4) [Reserved]

(5) Seasonal apportionments of bycatch allowances -

(i) General. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may apportion fishery bycatch allowances on a seasonal basis.

(ii) Factors to be considered. NMFS will base any seasonal apportionment of a bycatch allowance on the following types of information:

(A) Seasonal distribution of prohibited species;

(B) Seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to prohibited species distribution;

(C) Expected prohibited species bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relevant to change in prohibited species biomass and expected catches of target groundfish species;

(D) Expected variations in bycatch rates throughout the fishing year;

(E) Expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons;

(F) Expected start of fishing effort; or

(G) Economic effects of establishing seasonal prohibited species apportionments on segments of the target groundfish industry.

(iii) Seasonal trawl fishery bycatch allowances -

(A) Unused seasonal apportionments. Unused seasonal apportionments of trawl fishery bycatch allowances made under this paragraph (e)(5) will be added to its respective fishery bycatch allowance for the next season during a current fishing year.

(B) Seasonal apportionment exceeded. If a seasonal apportionment of a trawl fishery bycatch allowance made under paragraph (d)(5) of this section is exceeded, the amount by which the seasonal apportionment is exceeded will be deducted from its respective apportionment for the next season during a current fishing year.

(i) General. NMFS will publish in the Federal Register, for up to two fishing years, the annual red king crab PSC limit, and, if applicable, the amount of this PSC limit specified for the RKCSS, the annual C. bairdi PSC limit, the annual C. opilio PSC limit, the proposed and final PSQ reserve amounts, the proposed and final bycatch allowances, and the seasonal apportionments thereof, as required by paragraph (e) of this section.

(ii) Public comment. Public comment will be accepted by NMFS on the proposed annual red king crab PSC limit and, if applicable, the amount of this PSC limit specified for the RKCSS, the annual C. bairdi PSC limit, the annual C. opilio PSC limit, the proposed and final bycatch allowances, seasonal apportionments thereof, and the manner in which seasonal apportionments of non-trawl fishery bycatch allowances will be managed, for a period specified in the notice of proposed specifications published in the Federal Register

.

(7) Trawl PSC closures -

(i) Exception. When a bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” fishery category is reached, only directed fishing for pollock is closed to trawl vessels using nonpelagic trawl gear.

(ii) Red king crab or C. bairdi Tanner crab, Zone 1, closure -

(A) General. Except as provided in paragraph (e)(7)(i) of this section, if, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the fishery categories listed in paragraphs (e)(3)(iv) (B) through (F) of this section will catch the Zone 1 bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, of red king crab or C. bairdi Tanner crab specified for that fishery category under paragraph (e)(3) of this section, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of Zone 1, including the RKCSS, to directed fishing for each species and/or species group in that fishery category for the remainder of the year or for the remainder of the season.

(B) RKCSS. If, during the fishing year the Regional Administrator determines that the amount of the red king crab PSC limit that is specified for the RKCSS under § 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B) of this section will be caught, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of the RKCSS to directed fishing for groundfish with nonpelagic trawl gear for the remainder of the year.

(iii) C. bairdi Tanner crab, Zone 2, closure. Except as provided in paragraph (e)(7)(i) of this section, if, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the fishery categories listed in paragraphs (e)(3)(iv) (B) through (F) of this section will catch the Zone 2 bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, of C. bairdi Tanner crab specified for that fishery category under paragraph (e)(3) of this section, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of Zone 2 to directed fishing for each species and/or species group in that fishery category for the remainder of the year or for the remainder of the season.

(iv) COBLZ. Except as provided in paragraph (e)(7)(i) of this section, if, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the trawl fishery categories listed in paragraphs (e)(3)(iv)(B) through (F) of this section will catch the COBLZ bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, of C. opilio specified for that fishery category under paragraph (e)(3) of this section, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of the COBLZ, as defined in Figure 13 to this part, to directed fishing for each species and/or species group in that fishery category for the remainder of the year or for the remainder of the season.

(v) [Reserved]

(vi) Pacific herring -

(A) Closure. Except as provided in paragraph (e)(7)(vi)(B) of this section, if, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the fishery categories listed in paragraphs (e)(3)(iv)(A) through (F) of this section in the BSAI will catch the herring bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, specified for that fishery category under paragraph (e)(3) of this section, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of the Herring Savings Area as defined in Figure 4 to this part to directed fishing for each species and/or species group in that fishery category.

(B) Exceptions -

(1) Midwater pollock. When the midwater pollock fishery category reaches its specified bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, the Herring Savings Areas are closed to directed fishing for pollock with trawl gear.

(2) Pollock/Atka mackerel/ “other species”. When the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” fishery category reaches its specified bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, the Herring Savings Areas are closed to directed fishing for pollock by trawl vessels using nonpelagic trawl gear.

(f) Salmon Bycatch Management in the BS Pollock Fishery -

(1) Applicability. This paragraph contains regulations governing the bycatch of salmon in the BS pollock fishery.

(2) Chinook salmon prohibited species catch (PSC) limit. Each year, NMFS will allocate to AFA sectors listed in paragraph (f)(3)(ii) of this section a portion of the applicable Chinook salmon PSC limit. NMFS will publish the applicable Chinook salmon PSC limit in the annual harvest specifications after determining if it is a low Chinook salmon abundance year. NMFS will determine that it is a low Chinook salmon abundance year when abundance of Chinook salmon in western Alaska is less than or equal to 250,000 Chinook salmon. By October 1 of each year, the State of Alaska will provide to NMFS an estimate of Chinook salmon abundance using the 3-System Index for western Alaska based on the Kuskokwim, Unalakleet, and Upper Yukon aggregate stock grouping.

(i) An AFA sector will receive a portion of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit, or, in a low Chinook salmon abundance year, the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit, if -

(A) No Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreement (IPA) is approved by NMFS under paragraph (f)(12) of this section; or

(B) That AFA sector has exceeded its performance standard under paragraph (f)(6) of this section.

(ii) An AFA sector will receive a portion of the 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit, or, in a low Chinook salmon abundance year, the 45,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit, if -

(A) At least one IPA is approved by NMFS under paragraph (f)(12) of this section; and

(B) That AFA sector has not exceeded its performance standard under paragraph (f)(6) of this section.

(3) Allocations of the Chinook salmon PSC limits -

(i) Seasonal apportionment. NMFS will apportion the Chinook salmon PSC limits annually 70 percent to the A season and 30 percent to the B season, which are described in § 679.23(e)(2).

(ii) AFA sectors. Each year, NMFS will make allocations of the applicable Chinook salmon PSC limit to the following four AFA sectors:

AFA Sector: Eligible participants are:
(A) Catcher/processor AFA catcher/processors and AFA catcher vessels delivering to AFA catcher/processors, all of which are permitted under § 679.4(l)(2) and (l)(3)(i)(A), respectively.
(B) Mothership AFA catcher vessels harvesting pollock for processing by AFA motherships, all of which are permitted under § 679.4(l)(3)(i)(B) and (l)(4), respectively.
(C) Inshore AFA catcher vessels harvesting pollock for processing by AFA inshore processors, all of which are permitted under § 679.4(l)(3)(i)(C).
(D) CDQ Program The six CDQ groups authorized under section 305(i)(1)(D) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to participate in the CDQ Program.

(iii) Allocations to each AFA sector. NMFS will allocate the Chinook salmon PSC limits to each AFA sector as follows:

(A) If a sector is managed under the 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit, the maximum amount of Chinook salmon PSC allocated to each sector in each season and annually is -

AFA sector A season B season Annual total
% Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook
(1) Catcher/processor 32.9 13,818 17.9 3,222 28.4 17,040
(2) Mothership 8.0 3,360 7.3 1,314 7.8 4,674
(3) Inshore 49.8 20,916 69.3 12,474 55.6 33,390
(4) CDQ Program 9.3 3,906 5.5 990 8.2 4,896

(B) If the sector is managed under the 45,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit, the sector will be allocated the following amount of Chinook salmon PSC in each season and annually:

AFA sector A season B season Annual total
% Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook
(1) Catcher/processor 32.9 10,363 17.9 2,415 28.4 12,780
(2) Mothership 8.0 2,520 7.3 987 7.8 3,510
(3) Inshore 49.8 15,687 69.3 9,355 55.6 25,020
(4) CDQ Program 9.3 2,930 5.5 743 8.2 3,690

(C) If the sector is managed under the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit, the sector will be allocated the following amount of Chinook salmon PSC in each season and annually:

AFA sector A season B season Annual total
% Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook
(1) Catcher/processor 32.9 10,906 17.9 2,556 28.4 13,516
(2) Mothership 8.0 2,665 7.3 1,042 7.8 3,707
(3) Inshore 49.8 16,591 69.3 9,894 55.6 26,485
(4) CDQ Program 9.3 3,098 5.5 785 8.2 3,883

(D) If the sector is managed under the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit, the sector will be allocated the following amount of Chinook salmon PSC in each season and annually:

AFA sector A season B season Annual total
% Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook
(1) Catcher/processor 32.9 7,673 17.9 1,789 28.4 9,462
(2) Mothership 8.0 1,866 7.3 730 7.8 2,599
(3) Inshore 49.8 11,615 69.3 6,926 55.6 18,525
(4) CDQ Program 9.3 2,169 5.5 550 8.2 2,732

(iv) Allocations to the AFA catcher/processor and mothership sectors.

(A) NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations under paragraph (f)(3)(iii) of this section to entities representing the AFA catcher/processor sector and the AFA mothership sector if these sectors meet the requirements of paragraph (f)(8) of this section.

(B) If no entity is approved by NMFS to represent the AFA catcher/processor sector or the AFA mothership sector, then NMFS will manage that sector under a non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation under paragraph (f)(10) of this section.

(v) Allocations to inshore cooperatives and the AFA inshore open access fishery. NMFS will further allocate the inshore sector's Chinook salmon PSC allocation under paragraph (f)(3)(iii) of this section among the inshore cooperatives and the inshore open access fishery based on the percentage allocations of pollock to each inshore cooperative under § 679.62(a). NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations to inshore cooperatives. Any Chinook salmon PSC allocated to the inshore open access fishery will be as a non-transferable allocation managed by NMFS under the requirements of paragraph (f)(10) of this section.

(vi) Allocations to the CDQ Program. NMFS will further allocate the Chinook salmon PSC allocation to the CDQ Program under paragraph (f)(3)(iii) of this section among the six CDQ groups based on each CDQ group's percentage of the CDQ Program pollock allocation. NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations to CDQ groups.

(vii) Accrual of Chinook salmon bycatch to specific PSC allocations.

If a Chinook salmon PSC allocation is: Then all Chinook salmon bycatch:
(A) A transferable allocation to a sector-level entity, inshore cooperative, or CDQ group under paragraph (f)(8) of this section By any vessel fishing under a transferable allocation will accrue against the allocation to the entity representing that vessel.
(B) A non-transferable allocation to a sector or the inshore open access fishery under paragraph (f)(10) of this section By any vessel fishing under a non-transferable allocation will accrue against the allocation established for the sector or inshore open access fishery, whichever is applicable.
(C) The opt-out allocation under paragraph (f)(5) of this section By any vessel fishing under the opt-out allocation will accrue against the opt-out allocation.

(viii) Public release of Chinook salmon PSC information. For each year, NMFS will release to the public and publish on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/):

(A) The Chinook salmon PSC allocations for each entity receiving a transferable allocation;

(B) The non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations;

(C) The vessels fishing under each transferable or non-transferable allocation;

(D) The amount of Chinook salmon bycatch that accrues towards each transferable or non-transferable allocation;

(E) Any changes to these allocations due to transfers under paragraph (f)(9) of this section, rollovers under paragraph (f)(11) of this section, and deductions from the B season non-transferable allocations under paragraphs (f)(5)(v) or (f)(10)(iii) of this section; and

(F) Tables for each sector that provide the percent of the sector's pollock allocation, numbers of Chinook salmon associated with each vessel in the sector used to calculate the opt-out allocation and annual threshold amounts, and the percent of the pollock allocation associated with each vessel that NMFS will use to calculate IPA minimum participation assigned to each vessel.

(4) Reduction in allocations of the Chinook salmon PSC limit -

(i) Reduction in sector allocations. NMFS will reduce the seasonal allocation of the Chinook salmon PSC limit to the catcher/processor sector, the mothership sector, the inshore sector, or the CDQ Program under paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(A) or (B) of this section, if the owner of any permitted AFA vessel in that sector, or any CDQ group, does not participate in an approved IPA under paragraph (f)(12) of this section. NMFS will subtract the amount of Chinook salmon from each sector's allocation associated with each vessel not participating in an approved IPA.

(ii) Adjustments to the inshore sector and inshore cooperative allocations.

(A) If some members of an inshore cooperative do not participate in an approved IPA, NMFS will reduce the allocation to the cooperative to which those vessels belong, or the inshore open access fishery.

(B) If all members of an inshore cooperative do not participate in an approved IPA, the amount of Chinook salmon that remains in the inshore sector's allocation, after subtracting the amount of Chinook salmon associated with the non-participating inshore cooperative, will be reallocated among the inshore cooperatives participating in an approved IPA based on the proportion each participating cooperative represents of the Chinook salmon PSC initially allocated among the participating inshore cooperatives that year.

(iii) Adjustment to CDQ group allocations. If a CDQ group does not participate in an approved IPA, the amount of Chinook salmon that remains in the CDQ Program's allocation, after subtracting the amount of Chinook salmon associated with the non-participating CDQ group, will be reallocated among the CDQ groups participating in an approved IPA based on the proportion each participating CDQ group represents of the Chinook salmon PSC initially allocated among the participating CDQ groups that year.

(iv) All members of a sector do not participate in an approved IPA. If all members of a sector do not participate in an approved IPA, the amount of Chinook salmon that remains after subtracting the amount of Chinook salmon associated with the non-participating sector will not be reallocated among the sectors that have members participating in an approved IPA. This portion of the PSC limit will remain unallocated for that year.

(5) Chinook salmon PSC opt-out allocation. The following table describes requirements for the opt-out allocation:

(i) What is the amount of Chinook salmon PSC that will be allocated to the opt-out allocation in the A season and the B season? The opt-out allocation will equal the sum of the Chinook salmon PSC deducted under paragraph (f)(4)(i) of this section from the seasonal allocations of each sector with members not participating in an approved IPA. Any AFA-permitted vessel or any CDQ group that is a member of a sector eligible under paragraph (f)(2)(ii) of this section to receive allocations of the 60,000 PSC limit or the 45,000 PSC limit, but that is not participating in an approved IPA. All Chinook salmon bycatch by participants under paragraph (f)(5)(ii) of this section. All participants under paragraph (f)(5)(ii) of this section will be managed as a group under the seasonal opt-out allocations. If the Regional Administrator determines that the seasonal opt-out allocation will be reached, NMFS will publish a notice in the Federal Register closing directed fishing for pollock in the BS, for the remainder of the season, for all vessels fishing under the opt-out allocation. NMFS will deduct from the B season opt-out allocation any Chinook salmon bycatch in the A season that exceeds the A season opt-out allocation. If Chinook salmon bycatch by vessels fishing under the opt-out allocation in the A season is less than the amount allocated to the opt-out allocation in the A season, this amount of Chinook salmon will not be added to the B season opt-out allocation. No. Chinook salmon PSC allocated to the opt-out allocation is not transferable.

(6) Chinook salmon bycatch performance standard. If the total annual Chinook salmon bycatch by the members of a sector participating in an approved IPA is greater than that sector's annual threshold amount of Chinook salmon in any three of seven consecutive years, that sector will receive an allocation of Chinook salmon under the 47,591 PSC limit in all future years, except in low Chinook salmon abundance years when that sector will receive an allocation under the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit.

(i) Annual threshold amount. Prior to each year, NMFS will calculate each sector's annual threshold amount. NMFS will post the annual threshold amount for each sector on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/). At the end of each year, NMFS will evaluate the Chinook salmon bycatch by all IPA participants in each sector against that sector's annual threshold amount.

(ii) Calculation of the annual threshold amount. A sector's annual threshold amount is the annual number of Chinook salmon that would be allocated to that sector under the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit, as shown in the table in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(C) of this section, or the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit in low Chinook salmon abundance years, as shown in the table in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(D) of this section. If any vessels in a sector do not participate in an approved IPA, NMFS will reduce that sector's annual threshold amount by the number of Chinook salmon associated with each vessel not participating in an approved IPA. If any CDQ groups do not participate in an approved IPA, NMFS will reduce the CDQ Program's annual threshold amount by the number of Chinook salmon associated with each CDQ group not participating in an approved IPA.

(iii) Exceeding the performance standard. If NMFS determines that a sector has exceeded its performance standard by exceeding its annual threshold amount in any three of seven consecutive years, NMFS will issue a notification in the Federal Register that the sector has exceeded its performance standard. In all subsequent years, NMFS will allocate to that sector either the amount of Chinook salmon in the table in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(C) of this section or, in low Chinook salmon abundance years, the amount of Chinook salmon in the table in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(D) of this section. All members of the affected sector will fish under this lower PSC allocation regardless of whether a vessel or CDQ group within that sector participates in an approved IPA.

(7) Replacement vessels. If an AFA-permitted vessel is no longer eligible to participate in the BS pollock fishery or if a vessel replaces a currently eligible vessel, NMFS will assign the portion and number of Chinook salmon associated with that vessel to the replacement vessel or distribute it among other eligible vessels in the sector based on the procedures in the law, regulation, or private contract that accomplishes the vessel removal or replacement action.

(8) Entities eligible to receive transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations.

(i) NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations to the following entities, if these entities meet all the applicable requirements of this section.

(A) Inshore cooperatives. NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations to the inshore cooperatives permitted annually under § 679.4(l)(6). The representative and agent for service of process (see definition at § 679.2) for an inshore cooperative is the cooperative representative identified in the application for an inshore cooperative fishing permit issued under § 679.4(l)(6), unless the inshore cooperative representative notifies NMFS in writing that a different person will act as its agent for service of process for purposes of this paragraph (f). An inshore cooperative is not required to submit an application under paragraph (f)(8)(ii) of this section to receive a transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation.

(B) CDQ groups. NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations to the CDQ groups. The representative and agent for service of process for a CDQ group is the chief executive officer of the CDQ group, unless the chief executive officer notifies NMFS in writing that a different person will act as its agent for service of process. A CDQ group is not required to submit an application under paragraph (f)(8)(ii) of this section to receive a transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation.

(C) Entity representing the AFA catcher/processor sector. NMFS will authorize only one entity to represent the catcher/processor sector for purposes of receiving and managing transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations on behalf of the catcher/processors eligible to fish under transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations. NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon allocations under the Chinook salmon PSC limit to the entity representing the catcher/processor sector if that entity represents all the owners of AFA-permitted vessels in this sector that are participants in an approved IPA.

(D) Entity representing the AFA mothership sector. NMFS will authorize only one entity to represent the mothership sector for purposes of receiving and managing transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations on behalf of the vessels eligible to fish under transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations. NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon allocations under the Chinook salmon PSC limit to an entity representing the mothership sector if that entity represents all the owners of AFA-permitted vessels in this sector that are participants in an approved IPA.

(ii) Request for approval as an entity eligible to receive transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations. A representative of an entity representing the catcher/processor sector or the mothership sector may request approval by NMFS to receive transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations on behalf of the members of the sector. The application must be submitted to NMFS at the address in paragraph (b)(6) of this section. A completed application consists of the application form and a contract, described below.

(A) Application form. The applicant must submit a paper copy of the application form with all information fields accurately filled in, including the affidavit affirming that each eligible vessel owner, from whom the applicant received written notification requesting to join the sector entity, has been allowed to join the sector entity subject to the same terms and conditions that have been agreed on by, and are applicable to, all other parties to the sector entity. The application form is available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/) or from NMFS at the address in paragraph (b)(6) of this section.

(B) Contract. A contract containing the following information must be attached to the completed application form:

(1) Information that documents that all vessel owners party to the contract agree that the entity, the entity's representative, and the entity's agent for service of process named in the application form represent them for purposes of receiving transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations.

(2) A statement that the entity's representative and agent for service of process are authorized to act on behalf of the vessel owners party to the contract.

(3) Signatures, printed names, and date of signature for the owners of each AFA-permitted vessel identified in the application form.

(C) Contract duration. Once submitted, the contract attached to the application form is valid until amended or terminated by the parties to the contract.

(D) Deadline. An application form and contract must be received by NMFS no later than 1700 hours, A.l.t., on October 1 of the year prior to the year for which the Chinook salmon PSC allocations are effective.

(E) Approval. If more than one entity application form is submitted to NMFS, NMFS will approve the application form for the entity that represents the most eligible vessel owners in the sector.

(F) Amendments to the sector entity.

(1) An amendment to the sector entity contract, with no change in entity participants, may be submitted to NMFS at any time and is effective upon written notification of approval by NMFS to the entity representative. To amend a contract, the entity representative must submit a complete application, as described in paragraph (f)(8)(ii) of this section.

(2) To make additions or deletions to the vessel owners represented by the entity for the next year, the entity representative must submit a complete application, as described in paragraph (f)(8)(ii) of this section, by December 1.

(iii) Entity representative.

(A) The entity's representative must -

(1) Act as the primary contact person for NMFS on issues relating to the operation of the entity;

(2) Submit on behalf of the entity any applications required for the entity to receive a transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation and to transfer some or all of that allocation to and from other entities eligible to receive transfers of Chinook salmon PSC allocations;

(3) Ensure that an agent for service of process is designated by the entity; and

(4) Ensure that NMFS is notified if a substitute agent for service of process is designated. Notification must include the name, address, and telephone number of the substitute agent in the event the previously designated agent is no longer capable of accepting service on behalf of the entity or its members within the 5-year period from the time the agent is identified in the application to NMFS under paragraph (f)(8)(ii) of this section.

(B) Any vessel owner that is a member of an inshore cooperative, or a member of the entity that represents the catcher/processor sector or the mothership sector, may authorize the entity representative to sign a proposed IPA submitted to NMFS, under paragraph (f)(12) of this section, on his or her behalf. This authorization must be included in the contract submitted to NMFS, under paragraph (f)(8)(ii)(B) of this section, for the sector-level entities and in the contract submitted annually to NMFS by inshore cooperatives under § 679.61(d).

(iv) Agent for service of process. The entity's agent for service of process must -

(A) Be authorized to receive and respond to any legal process issued in the United States with respect to all owners and operators of vessels that are members of an entity receiving a transferable allocation of Chinook salmon PSC or with respect to a CDQ group. Service on or notice to the entity's appointed agent constitutes service on or notice to all members of the entity.

(B) Be capable of accepting service on behalf of the entity until December 31 of the year five years after the calendar year for which the entity notified the Regional Administrator of the identity of the agent.

(v) Absent a catcher/processor sector or mothership sector entity. If the catcher/processor sector or the mothership sector does not form an entity to receive a transferable allocation of Chinook salmon PSC, the sector will be managed by NMFS under a non-transferable allocation of Chinook salmon PSC under paragraph (f)(10) of this section.

(9) Transfers of Chinook salmon PSC.

(i) A Chinook salmon PSC allocation issued to eligible entities under paragraph (f)(8)(i) of this section may be transferred to any other entity receiving a transferable allocation of Chinook salmon PSC by submitting to NMFS an application for transfer described in paragraph (f)(9)(iii) of this section. Transfers of Chinook salmon PSC allocations among eligible entities are subject to the following restrictions:

(A) Entities receiving transferable allocations under the 60,000 PSC limit may only transfer to and from other entities receiving allocations under the 60,000 PSC limit.

(B) Entities receiving transferable allocations under the 45,000 PSC limit may only transfer to and from other entities receiving allocations under the 45,000 PSC limit.

(C) Entities receiving transferable allocations under the 47,591 PSC limit may only transfer to and from other entities receiving allocations under the 47,591 PSC limit.

(D) Entities receiving transferable allocations under the 33,318 PSC limit may only transfer to and from other entities receiving allocations under the 33,318 PSC limit.

(E) Chinook salmon PSC allocations may not be transferred between seasons.

(ii) Post-delivery transfers. If the Chinook salmon bycatch by an entity exceeds its seasonal allocation, the entity may receive transfers of Chinook salmon PSC to cover overages for that season. An entity may conduct transfers to cover an overage that results from Chinook salmon bycatch from any fishing trip by a vessel fishing on behalf of that entity that was completed or is in progress at the time the entity's allocation is first exceeded. Under § 679.7(d)(5)(ii)(C)(2) and (k)(8)(v)(B), vessels fishing on behalf of an entity that has exceeded its Chinook salmon PSC allocation for a season may not start a new fishing trip for pollock in the BS on behalf of that same entity for the remainder of that season.

(iii) Application for transfer of Chinook salmon PSC allocation -

(A) Completed application. NMFS will process a request for transfer of Chinook salmon PSC provided that a paper or electronic application is completed, with all information fields accurately filled in. Application forms are available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/) or from NMFS at the address in paragraph (b)(6) of this section.

(B) Certification of transferor -

(1) Non-electronic submittal. The transferor's designated representative must sign and date the application certifying that all information is true, correct, and complete. The transferor's designated representative must submit the paper application as indicated on the application.

(2) Electronic submittal. The transferor's designated entity representative must log onto the NMFS online services system and create a transfer request as indicated on the computer screen. By using the transferor's NMFS ID, password, and Transfer Key, and submitting the transfer request, the designated representative certifies that all information is true, correct, and complete.

(C) Certification of transferee -

(1) Non-electronic submittal. The transferee's designated representative must sign and date the application certifying that all information is true, correct, and complete.

(2) Electronic submittal. The transferee's designated representative must log onto the NMFS online services system and accept the transfer request as indicated on the computer screen. By using the transferee's NMFS ID, password, and Transfer Key, the designated representative certifies that all information is true, correct, and complete.

(D) Deadline. NMFS will not approve an application for transfer of Chinook salmon PSC after June 25 for the A season or after December 1 for the B season.

(10) Non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations.

(i) All vessels belonging to a sector that is ineligible to receive transferable allocations under paragraph (f)(8) of this section, any catcher vessels participating in an inshore open access fishery, and all vessels fishing under the opt-out allocation under paragraph (f)(5) of this section will fish under specific non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations.

(ii) All vessels fishing under a non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation, including vessels fishing on behalf of a CDQ group, will be managed together by NMFS under that non-transferable allocation. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that a seasonal non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation will be reached, NMFS will publish a notice in the Federal Register closing the BS to directed fishing for pollock by those vessels fishing under that non-transferable allocation for the remainder of the season or for the remainder of the year.

(iii) For each non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation, NMFS will deduct from the B season allocation any amount of Chinook salmon bycatch in the A season that exceeds the amount available under the A season allocation.

(11) Rollover of unused A season allocation -

(i) Rollovers of transferable allocations. NMFS will add any Chinook salmon PSC allocation remaining at the end of the A season, after any transfers under paragraph (f)(9)(ii) of this section, to an entity's B season allocation.

(ii) Rollover of non-transferable allocations. For a non-transferable allocation for the mothership sector, catcher/processor sector, or an inshore open access fishery, NMFS will add any Chinook salmon PSC remaining in that non-transferable allocation at the end of the A season to that B season non-transferable allocation.

(12) Salmon bycatch incentive plan agreements (IPAs) -

(i) Minimum participation requirements. More than one IPA may be approved by NMFS. Each IPA must have participants that represent the following:

(A) Minimum percent pollock. Parties to an IPA must collectively represent at least 9 percent of the BS pollock quota.

(B) Minimum number of unaffiliated AFA entities. Parties to an IPA must represent any combination of two or more CDQ groups or corporations, partnerships, or individuals who own AFA-permitted vessels and are not affiliated, as affiliation is defined for purposes of AFA entities in § 679.2.

(ii) Membership in an IPA.

(A) No vessel owner or CDQ group is required to join an IPA.

(B) For a vessel owner in the catcher/processor sector or mothership sector to join an IPA, that vessel owner must be a member of the entity representing that sector under paragraph (f)(8).

(C) For a CDQ group to be a member of an IPA, the CDQ group must sign the IPA and list in that IPA each vessel harvesting BS pollock CDQ, on behalf of that CDQ group, that will participate in that IPA.

(D) Once a member of an IPA, a vessel owner or CDQ group cannot withdraw from the IPA during a fishing year.

(iii) Request for approval of a proposed IPA. The IPA representative must submit a proposed IPA to NMFS at the address in paragraph (b)(6) of this section. The proposed IPA must contain the following information:

(A) Affidavit. The IPA must include the affidavit affirming that each eligible vessel owner or CDQ group, from whom the IPA representative received written notification requesting to join the IPA, has been allowed to join the IPA subject to the same terms and conditions that have been agreed on by, and are applicable to, all other parties to the IPA.

(B) Name of the IPA.

(C) Representative. The IPA must include the name, telephone number, and email address of the IPA representative who submits the proposed IPA on behalf of the parties and who is responsible for submitting proposed amendments to the IPA and the annual report required under paragraph (f)(13) of this section.

(D) Third party group. The IPA must identify at least one third party group. Third party groups include any entities representing western Alaskans who depend on salmon and have an interest in salmon bycatch reduction but do not directly fish in a groundfish fishery.

(E) Description of the incentive plan. The IPA must contain a description of the following -

(1) The incentive(s) that will be implemented under the IPA for the operator of each vessel participating in the IPA to avoid Chinook salmon and chum salmon bycatch under any condition of pollock and Chinook salmon abundance in all years.

(2) How the incentive(s) to avoid chum salmon do not increase Chinook salmon bycatch.

(3) The rewards for avoiding Chinook salmon, penalties for failure to avoid Chinook salmon at the vessel level, or both.

(4) How the incentive measures in the IPA are expected to promote reductions in a vessel's Chinook salmon and chum salmon bycatch rates relative to what would have occurred in absence of the incentive program.

(5) How the incentive measures in the IPA promote Chinook salmon and chum salmon savings in any condition of pollock abundance or Chinook salmon abundance in a manner that is expected to influence operational decisions by vessel operators to avoid Chinook salmon and chum salmon.

(6) How the IPA ensures that the operator of each vessel governed by the IPA will manage that vessel's Chinook salmon bycatch to keep total bycatch below the performance standard described in paragraph (f)(6) of this section for the sector in which the vessel participates.

(7) How the IPA ensures that the operator of each vessel governed by the IPA will manage that vessel's chum salmon bycatch to avoid areas and times where the chum salmon are likely to return to western Alaska.

(8) The rolling hot spot program for salmon bycatch avoidance that operates throughout the entire A season and B season and the agreement to provide notifications of closure areas and any violations of the rolling hot spot program to the third party group.

(9) The restrictions or penalties targeted at vessels that consistently have significantly higher Chinook salmon PSC rates relative to other vessels fishing at the same time.

(10) The requirement for vessels to enter a fishery-wide in-season salmon PSC data sharing agreement.

(11) The requirement for the use of salmon excluder devices, with recognition of contingencies, from January 20 to March 31, and from September 1 until the end of the B season.

(12) The requirement that salmon savings credits are limited to a maximum of three years for IPAs with salmon savings credits.

(13) The restrictions or performance criteria used to ensure that Chinook salmon PSC rates in October are not significantly higher than those achieved in the preceding months.

(F) Compliance agreement. The IPA must include a written statement that all parties to the IPA agree to comply with all provisions of the IPA.

(G) Signatures. The names and signatures of the owner or representative for each vessel and CDQ group that is a party to the IPA. The representative of an inshore cooperative, or the representative of the entity formed to represent the AFA catcher/processor sector or the AFA mothership sector under paragraph (f)(8) of this section may sign a proposed IPA on behalf of all vessels that are members of that inshore cooperative or sector level entity.

(A) Deadline for proposed IPA. A proposed IPA must be received by NMFS no later than 1700 hours, A.l.t., on October 1 of the year prior to the year for which the IPA is proposed to be effective.

(B) Duration. Once approved, an IPA is effective starting January 1 of the year following the year in which NMFS approves the IPA, unless the IPA is approved between January 1 and January 19, in which case the IPA is effective starting in the year in which it is approved. Once approved, an IPA is effective until December 31 of the first year in which it is effective or until December 31 of the year in which the IPA representative notifies NMFS in writing that the IPA is no longer in effect, whichever is later. An IPA may not expire mid-year. No party may join or leave an IPA once it is approved, except as allowed under paragraph (f)(12)(v)(C) of this section.

(v) NMFS review of a proposed IPA -

(A) Approval. An IPA will be approved by NMFS if it meets the following requirements:

(1) Meets the minimum participation requirements in paragraph (f)(12)(i) of this section;

(2) Is submitted in compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (f)(12)(ii) and (iv) of this section; and

(3) Contains the information required in paragraph (f)(12)(iii) of this section.

(B) IPA identification number. If approved, NMFS will assign an IPA identification number to the approved IPA. This number must be used by the IPA representative in amendments to the IPA.

(C) Amendments to an IPA. Amendments to an approved IPA may be submitted to NMFS at any time and will be reviewed under the requirements of this paragraph (f)(12). An amendment to an approved IPA is effective upon written notification of approval by NMFS to the IPA representative.

(D) Disapproval.

(1) NMFS will disapprove a proposed IPA or a proposed amendment to an IPA for either of the following reasons:

(i) If the proposed IPA fails to meet any of the requirements of paragraphs (f)(12)(i) through (iii) of this section, or

(ii) If a proposed amendment to an IPA would cause the IPA to no longer be consistent with the requirements of paragraphs (f)(12)(i) through (iv) of this section.

(3) Administrative Appeals. An IPA representative who receives an IAD disapproving a proposed IPA may appeal under the procedures set forth at § 679.43. If the IPA representative fails to file an appeal of the IAD pursuant to § 679.43, the IAD will become the final agency action. If the IAD is appealed and the final agency action is a determination to approve the proposed IPA, then the IPA will be effective as described in paragraph (f)(12)(iv)(B) of this section.

(4) Pending appeal. While appeal of an IAD disapproving a proposed IPA is pending, proposed members of the IPA subject to the IAD that are not currently members of an approved IPA will fish under the opt-out allocation under paragraph (f)(5) of this section. If no other IPA has been approved by NMFS, NMFS will issue all sectors allocations of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit as described in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(C) of this section, or, in low Chinook salmon abundance years, allocations of the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit as described in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(D) of this section.

(vi) Public release of an IPA. NMFS will make all proposed IPAs and all approved IPAs and the list of participants in each approved IPA available to the public on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site

(13) IPA Annual Report. The representative of each approved IPA must submit a written annual report to the Council at the address specified in § 679.61(f). The Council will make the annual report available to the public.

(i) Submission deadline. The IPA Annual Report must be received by the Council no later than March 15.

(ii) Information requirements. The IPA Annual Report must contain the following information:

(A) A comprehensive description of the incentive measures, including the rolling hot spot program and salmon excluder use, in effect in the previous year;

(B) A description of how these incentive measures affected individual vessels;

(C) An evaluation of whether incentive measures were effective in achieving salmon savings beyond levels that would have been achieved in absence of the measures, including the effectiveness of -

(1) Measures to ensure that chum salmon were avoided in areas and at times where chum salmon are likely to return to western Alaska;

(2) Restrictions or penalties that target vessels that consistently have significantly higher Chinook salmon PSC rates relative to other vessels; and

(3) Restrictions or performance criteria used to ensure that Chinook PSC rates in October are not significantly higher than in previous months.

(D) A description of any amendments to the terms of the IPA that were approved by NMFS since the last annual report and the reasons that the amendments to the IPA were made.

(E) The sub-allocation to each participating vessel of the number of Chinook salmon PSC and amount of pollock (mt) at the start of each fishing season, and number of Chinook salmon PSC and amount of pollock (mt) caught at the end of each season.

(F) The following information on in-season transfer of Chinook salmon PSC and pollock among AFA cooperatives, entities eligible to receive Chinook salmon PSC allocations, or CDQ groups:

(1) Date of transfer;

(2) Name of transferor;

(3) Name of transferee;

(4) Number of Chinook salmon PSC transferred; and

(5) Amount of pollock (mt) transferred.

(G) The following information on in-season transfers among vessels participating in the IPA:

(1) Date of transfer;

(2) Name of transferor;

(3) Name of transferee;

(4) Number of Chinook salmon PSC transferred; and

(5) Amount pollock (mt) transferred.

(14) Non-Chinook salmon prohibited species catch (PSC) limit and Chum Salmon Savings Area.

(i) The PSC limit for non-Chinook salmon caught by vessels using trawl gear from August 15 through October 14 in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area, as defined under § 679.22(a)(5) and in Figure 2 to this part, is 42,000 fish.

(ii) 10.7 percent of the non-Chinook PSC limit is allocated to the CDQ Program as a PSQ reserve.

(iii) If the Regional Administrator determines that 42,000 non-Chinook salmon have been caught by vessels using trawl gear during the period August 15 through October 14 in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area, NMFS will prohibit fishing for pollock for the remainder of the period September 1 through October 14 in the Chum Salmon Savings Area as defined in Figure 9 to this part.

(iv) Trawl vessels participating in directed fishing for pollock and operating under an IPA approved by NMFS under paragraph (f)(12) of this section are exempt from closures in the Chum Salmon Savings Area.

(15) Salmon handling. Regulations in this paragraph apply to vessels directed fishing for pollock in the BS, including pollock CDQ, and processors taking deliveries from these vessels.

(i) Salmon discard. The operator of a vessel and the manager of a shoreside processor or SFP must not discard any salmon or transfer or process any salmon under the PSD Program at § 679.26 if the salmon were taken incidental to a directed fishery for pollock in the BS until the number of salmon has been determined by the observer and the observer's collection of any scientific data or biological samples from the salmon has been completed.

(ii) Salmon retention and storage.

(A) Operators of catcher/processors or motherships must -

(1) Sort and transport all salmon bycatch from each haul to an approved storage container located adjacent to the observer sampling station that allows an observer free and unobstructed access to the salmon (see § 679.28(d)(2)(i) and (d)(7)). The salmon storage container must remain in view of the observer from the observer sampling station at all times during the sorting of the haul.

(2) If, at any point during sorting of a haul or delivery, the salmon are too numerous to be contained in the salmon storage container, cease all sorting and give the observer the opportunity to count the salmon in the storage container and collect scientific data or biological samples. Once the observer has completed all counting and sampling duties for the counted salmon, the salmon must be removed by vessel personnel from the approved storage container and the observer sampling station, in the presence of the observer.

(3) Before sorting of the next haul may begin, give the observer the opportunity to complete the count of salmon and the collection of scientific data or biological samples from the previous haul. When the observer has completed all counting and sampling duties for a haul or delivery, vessel personnel must remove the salmon, in the presence of the observer, from the salmon storage container and the observer sampling station.

(4) Ensure no salmon of any species pass the observer sample collection point, as identified in the scale drawing of the observer sampling station (see § 679.28(d)(2)(i) and (d)(7)).

(B) Operators of vessels delivering to shoreside processors or stationary floating processors must -

(1) Retain all salmon taken incidental to a directed fishery for pollock in the BS until the salmon are delivered to the processor receiving the vessel's BS pollock catch.

(2) Notify the observer at least 15 minutes before handling catch on board the vessel, including, but not limited to, moving catch from one location to another, sorting, or discard of catch prior to the delivery of catch to the processor receiving the vessel's BS pollock catch. This notification requirement is in addition to the notification requirements in § 679.51(e).

(3) Secure all salmon and catch after the observer has completed the collection of scientific data and biological samples and after the vessel crew has completed handling the catch. All salmon and any other catch retained on board the vessel must be made unavailable for sorting and discard until the delivery of catch to the processor receiving the vessel's BS pollock catch. Methods to make salmon or retained catch unavailable for sorting or discard include but are not limited to securing the catch in a completely enclosed container above or below deck, securing the catch in an enclosed codend, or completely and securely covering the fish on deck.

(4) Comply with the requirements in paragraphs (f)(15)(ii)(B)(2) and (3) of this section, before handling the catch prior to delivery.

(C) Shoreside processors or stationary floating processors must -

(1) Comply with the requirements in § 679.28(g)(7)(vii) for the receipt, sorting, and storage of salmon from deliveries of catch from the BS pollock fishery.

(2) Ensure no salmon of any species pass beyond the last point where sorting of fish occurs, as identified in the scale drawing of the plant in the Catch Monitoring Control Plan (CMCP).

(3) Sort and transport all salmon of any species to the salmon storage container identified in the CMCP (see § 679.28 (g)(7)(vi)(C) and (g)(7)(x)(F)). The salmon must remain in that salmon storage container and within the view of the observer at all times during the offload.

(4) If, at any point during the offload, salmon are too numerous to be contained in the salmon storage container, cease the offload and all sorting and give the observer the opportunity to count the salmon and collect scientific data or biological samples. The counted salmon then must be removed from the area by plant personnel in the presence of the observer.

(5) At the completion of the offload, give the observer the opportunity to count the salmon and collect scientific data or biological samples.

(6) Before sorting of the next offload of catch from the BS pollock fishery may begin, give the observer the opportunity to complete the count of salmon and the collection of scientific data or biological samples from the previous offload of catch from the BS pollock fishery. When the observer has completed all counting and sampling duties for the offload, plant personnel must remove the salmon, in the presence of the observer, from the salmon storage container and location where salmon are counted and biological samples or scientific data are collected.

(iii) Assignment of crew to assist observer. Operators of vessels and managers of shoreside processors and SFPs that are required to retain salmon under paragraph (f)(15)(i) of this section must designate and identify to the observer aboard the vessel, or at the shoreside processor or SFP, a crew person or employee responsible for ensuring all sorting, retention, and storage of salmon occurs according to the requirements of (f)(15)(ii) of this section.

(iv) Discard of salmon. Except for salmon under the PSD Program at § 679.26, all salmon must be returned to the sea as soon as is practicable, following notification by an observer that the number of salmon has been determined and the collection of scientific data or biological samples has been completed.

(g) Chinook salmon bycatch management in the AI pollock fishery -

(1) Applicability. This paragraph contains regulations governing the bycatch of Chinook salmon in the AI pollock fishery.

(2) AI Chinook salmon PSC limit.

(i) The PSC limit for Chinook salmon caught by vessels while harvesting pollock in the AI is 700 fish.

(ii) 7.5 percent of the PSC limit is allocated to the CDQ Program as a PSQ reserve.

(3) Area closures. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that catch of Chinook salmon by vessels using trawl gear while directed fishing for pollock in the AI will reach the PSC limit, NMFS, by notification in the Federal Register, will close the AI Chinook Salmon Savings Area, as defined in Figure 8 to this part, to directed fishing for pollock with trawl gear on the following dates:

(i) From the effective date of the closure until April 15, and from September 1 through December 31, if the Regional Administrator determines that the annual limit of AI Chinook salmon will be attained before April 15.

(ii) From September 1 through December 31, if the Regional Administrator determines that the annual limit of AI Chinook salmon will be attained after April 15.

(h) GOA Chinook Salmon PSC Management -

(1) Applicability. Regulations in this paragraph apply to trawl vessels participating in the directed fishery for groundfish in the Western and Central reporting areas of the GOA and processors receiving deliveries from these vessels.

(2) GOA Chinook salmon PSC limits for the pollock sectors (fisheries).

(i) The annual PSC limit for vessels participating in the directed fishery for pollock in the Western reporting area of the GOA is 6,684 Chinook salmon.

(ii) The annual PSC limit for vessels participating in the directed fishery for pollock in the Central reporting area of the GOA is 18,316 Chinook salmon.

(3) GOA non-pollock trawl sectors. For the purposes of accounting for the annual Chinook salmon PSC limits at paragraph (h)(4)(i) of this section, the non-pollock trawl sectors are:

(i) Trawl catcher/processor sector. The Trawl catcher/processor sector is any catcher/processor vessel fishing for groundfish, other than pollock, with trawl gear in the Western or Central GOA reporting area and processing that groundfish at sea;

(ii) Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector. The Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector is any catcher vessel fishing for groundfish, other than pollock, with trawl gear in the Western or Central reporting area of the GOA and operating under the authority of a Central GOA Rockfish Program CQ permit assigned to the catcher vessel sector; and

(iii) Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector. The Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector is any catcher vessel fishing for groundfish, other than pollock, with trawl gear in the Western or Central reporting area of the GOA and not operating under the authority of a Central GOA Rockfish Program CQ permit assigned to the catcher vessel sector.

(4) GOA Chinook salmon PSC limits for non-pollock trawl fisheries.

(i) The annual Chinook salmon PSC limits in the Western and Central reporting areas of the GOA for the sectors defined in paragraph (h)(3) of this section are as follows:

For the following sectors defined in § 679.21(h)(3) . . . The total Chinook salmon PSC limit in each calendar year is . . . Unless, the use of the Chinook
salmon PSC limit for that sector in a calendar year does not exceed . . .
If so, in the
following calendar year, the Chinook salmon PSC limit for that sector will be . . .
(A) Trawl catcher/processor sector 3,600 3,120 4,080
(B) Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector 1,200 N/A
(C) Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector 2,700 2,340 3,060

(ii) For the Trawl catcher/processor sector defined in paragraph (h)(3)(i) of this section:

(A) The seasonal PSC limit prior to June 1 is 2,376 Chinook salmon if the annual Chinook salmon PSC limit is 3,600. The seasonal PSC limit prior to June 1 is 2,693 Chinook salmon if the annual Chinook salmon PSC limit is 4,080.

(B) The number of Chinook salmon PSC available on June 1 through the remainder of the calendar year is the annual Chinook salmon PSC limit specified for the Trawl catcher/processor sector minus the number of Chinook salmon used by that sector prior to June 1 and any Chinook salmon PSC limit reapportioned to another sector specified at paragraph (h)(5)(iii) of this section prior to June 1.

(5) Inseason reapportionment of Chinook salmon PSC limits.

(i) On October 1, the Regional Administrator may reallocate any unused Chinook salmon PSC available to the Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector, defined in paragraph (h)(3)(ii) of this section, in excess of 150 Chinook salmon to the Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector, but not to exceed the Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector's limit on Chinook salmon PSC reapportionment as defined in paragraph (h)(5)(iv)(D) of this section.

(ii) On November 15, the Regional Administrator may reallocate all remaining Chinook salmon PSC available to the Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector, defined in paragraph (h)(3)(ii) of this section, to the Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector, but not to exceed the Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector's limit on Chinook salmon PSC reapportionment as defined in paragraph (h)(5)(iv)(D) of this section.

(iii) Any Chinook salmon PSC limit in paragraphs (h)(2) or (h)(4) of this section projected by the Regional Administrator to be unused during the remainder of the fishing year may be reapportioned subject to the Chinook salmon PSC limits in paragraphs (h)(5)(iv)(A) through (D) of this section for the remainder of the fishing year. NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register announcing any Chinook salmon PSC limit reapportionments in the GOA.

(iv) On an annual basis, NMFS shall not reapportion an amount of unused Chinook salmon PSC greater than the following amounts:

(A) 3,342 Chinook salmon to vessels participating in the directed fishery for pollock in the Western reporting area of the GOA;

(B) 9,158 Chinook salmon to vessels participating in the directed fishery for pollock in the Central reporting area of the GOA;

(C) 600 Chinook salmon to the Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector defined in paragraph (h)(3)(ii) of this section; and

(D) 1,350 Chinook salmon to the Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector defined in paragraph (h)(3)(iii) of this section.

(6) Salmon retention.

(i) The operator of a vessel, including but not limited to a catcher vessel or tender, must retain all salmon until delivered to a processing facility.

(ii) The operator of a catcher/processor or the owner and manager of a shoreside processor or SFP receiving groundfish deliveries from trawl vessels must retain all salmon until the number of salmon by species has been accurately recorded in the eLandings at-sea production report or eLandings groundfish landing report.

(iii) The owner and manager of a shoreside processor or SFP receiving pollock deliveries must, if an observer is present, retain all salmon until the observer is provided the opportunity to count the number of salmon and collect scientific data or biological samples from the salmon.

(iv) The operator of a catcher/processor must retain all salmon until an observer is provided the opportunity to collect scientific data or biological samples from the salmon.

(7) Salmon discard. Except for salmon under the PSD program defined in § 679.26, all salmon must be discarded after the requirements at paragraph (h)(6)(ii) or (h)(6)(iii) of this section have been met.

(8) GOA Chinook salmon PSC closures. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that:

(i) Vessels participating in the directed fishery for pollock in the Western reporting area or Central reporting area of the GOA will reach the applicable Chinook salmon PSC limit specified for that reporting area under paragraph (h)(2) of this section or the applicable limit following any reapportionment under paragraph (h)(5) of this section, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register closing the applicable regulatory area to directed fishing for pollock;

(ii) Vessels in a sector defined in paragraph (h)(3) of this section will reach the applicable Chinook salmon PSC limit specified for that sector under paragraph (h)(4)(i) of this section or the applicable limit following any reapportionment under paragraph (h)(5) of this section, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register closing directed fishing for all groundfish species, other than pollock, with trawl gear in the Western and Central reporting areas of the GOA for that sector; or

(iii) Vessels in the Trawl catcher/processor sector defined in paragraph (h)(3)(i) of this section will reach the seasonal Chinook salmon PSC limit specified at paragraph (h)(4)(ii)(A) of this section prior to June 1, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register closing directed fishing for all groundfish species, other than pollock, with trawl gear in the Western and Central reporting areas of the GOA for all vessels in the Trawl catcher/processor sector until June 1. Directed fishing for groundfish species, other than pollock will reopen on June 1 for the Trawl catcher/processor sector defined in paragraph (h)(3)(i) of this section with the Chinook salmon PSC limit determined at paragraph (h)(4)(ii)(B) of this section unless NMFS determines that the amount of Chinook salmon PSC available to the sector is insufficient to allow the sector to fish and not exceed its annual Chinook salmon PSC limit.

[61 FR 31230, June 19, 1996]
Editorial Note:
For Federal Register citations affecting § 679.21, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.govinfo.gov.