[Federal Register Volume 60, Number 53 (Monday, March 20, 1995)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 14651-14667]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 95-6667]



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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 301

[Docket No. 950106003-5070-02; I.D. 121994A]
RIN 0648-AH01


Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Final rule and approval of catch sharing plan.

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SUMMARY: NMFS, on behalf of the International Pacific Halibut 
Commission (IPHC), publishes regulations governing the Pacific halibut 
fishery implemented by the IPHC and approved by the Secretary of State. 
NMFS also approves catch limits for Areas 2A and 2C, approves 
regulations implementing a catch sharing plan for Area 2A, and repeals 
three regulations for Area 4. This final rule is intended to enhance 
the conservation of the Pacific halibut stock and to rebuild and 
sustain it in the northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea.

EFFECTIVE DATE: March 15, 1995.

ADDRESSES: NMFS Alaska Regional Office, 709 W 9th Street, P.O. Box 
21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668, telephone: 907-586-7228; NMFS Northwest 
Regional Office, Bldg. 1, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115-
0070, telephone: 206-586-6140.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Aven Andersen, 907-586-7228, or Joe 
Scordino, 206-526-6140.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The IPHC, under the Convention between the 
United States and Canada for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of 
the Northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea (Convention), signed at 
Ottawa, Ontario, on March 2, 1953, as amended by a Protocol Amending 
the Convention (signed at Washington, DC, on March 29, 1979), has 
implemented new regulations governing the Pacific halibut fishery in 
1995. The Secretary of State of the United States has accepted the IPHC 
regulations under section 4 of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act 
(Halibut Act, 16 U.S.C. 773-773k). However, the IPHC did not adopt 1995 
catch limits for any portion of Area 2. Therefore, the United States is 
adopting catch limits for Areas 2A and 2C, which are implemented under 
domestic rule as described herein.
    On behalf of the IPHC, the approved IPHC regulations are published 
in the Federal Register to provide notice of their effectiveness, and 
to inform persons subject to the regulations of the restrictions and 
requirements. The IPHC held its annual meeting on January 23-26, 1995, 
in Victoria, British Columbia, and adopted regulations for 1995. The 
substantive changes to the previous IPHC regulations (59 FR 22522, May 
2, 1994) include: (1) New catch limits for all areas except Areas 2A 
and 2C; (2) a commercial fishing season opening on March 15 and closing 
November 15 for all areas except 2A, which has specific 1-day openings; 
(3) repeal of a prohibition on automated hook strippers; (4) 
elimination of Area 4D-N; (5) a requirement that halibut be dressed 
before offloading; and (6) revisions to the Area 4 clearance 
requirements. In addition, because the non Indian directed commercial 
fishery in Area 2A is likely to exceed the subquota for this fishery 
during the first 10-hour opening, the IPHC announced that it would 
impose vessel trip limits. However, because it was unknown at the time 
of the meeting how many vessels might participate in the Area 2A 
fishery, the IPHC staff will determine and announce the vessel trip 
limits necessary to avoid exceeding the subquota prior to the July 5 
opening, when better information will be available on the number of 
vessels that may participate in the fishery.
    The U.S. and Canadian Commissioners were unable to agree upon new 
catch limits for Area 2, which includes all waters off Canada (Area 
2B), waters off southeast Alaska (Area 2C), and waters off Washington, 
Oregon, and California (Area 2A). However, the U.S. and Canadian 
Commissioners expressed a joint commitment to adopt domestic catch 
limits for their respective portions of Area 2 to ensure conservation 
of the halibut stock. Without domestic action, the Area 2 
[[Page 14652]] catch limits for the 1994 halibut fisheries would remain 
in effect for 1995. The 1994 catch limits for Areas 2C and 2A of 
11,000,000 lb (4,990 mt) and 550,000 lb (249.5 mt), respectively, are 
higher than the catch limits recommended by the U.S. Commissioners for 
1995. The lower catch limits were recommended by the U.S. Commissioners 
based on recent stock assessments, because of a continuing decline in 
the abundance of halibut, and the need to reduce catch limits to 
conserve the stock. Based on this recommendation and the findings in 
the February 1995 Environmental Assessment (EA) prepared on these catch 
limits, the NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries (AA) approves 
the catch limits of 520,000 lb (235.9 mt) in Area 2A and 9,000,000 lb 
(4,082 mt) in Area 2C recommended by the U.S. Commissioners at the IPHC 
meeting. Canada is expected to adopt a 9,520,000 lb (4,318 mt) total 
allowable catch (TAC) level for Area 2B as recommended by the Canadian 
Commissioners. Copies of the EA are available from NMFS (see 
ADDRESSES).
    Section 5 of the Halibut Act (16 U.S.C. 773c) provides that the 
Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) shall have general responsibility to 
carry out the Convention, and that the Secretary shall adopt such 
regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes and 
objectives of the Convention and the Halibut Act. The Secretary's 
authority has been delegated to the AA. Section 5 of the Halibut Act 
(16 U.S.C. 773c(c)) also authorizes the regional fishery management 
councils having authority for the geographic area concerned to develop 
regulations governing the Pacific halibut catch in U.S. Convention 
waters that are in addition to, but not in conflict with, regulations 
of the IPHC. Regulations developed by the councils may be implemented 
only with the Secretary's approval. Under this authority, NOAA 
requested the Pacific and North Pacific Fishery Management Councils to 
allocate halibut catches should allocation be necessary.

Repeal of Unnecessary Regulations
    NMFS repeals three regulations that were necessary during the past 
open access fishery in waters off Alaska, but that have been made 
unnecessary by provisions of the individual fishing quota (IFQ) program 
(50 CFR part 676) that will govern the fishery for the first time this 
year. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) recommended 
the repeal of these regulations at its December 1994 meeting. NMFS 
issues this final rule repealing them before the start of the 1995 
Alaska commercial halibut fishery. Regulations implementing the IFQ 
program were published on November 9, 1993 (58 FR 59375). They since 
have been amended at 59 FR 28281, June 1, 1994; 59 FR 43502, August 24, 
1994 (corrected at 59 FR 51874, October 13, 1994); and 59 FR 51135, 
October 7, 1994.
    First, NMFS repeals Sec. 301.7(f), a regulation that (1) closes 
Area 4B to commercial halibut fishing when the commercial harvest 
amounts to 315,000 lb (143 mt), and (2) withholds the remainder of that 
area's harvest limit until the fishery reopens on August 15. NMFS, at 
the recommendation of the NPFMC, implemented these provisions to 
provide summer fishing opportunities for operators of small vessels 
that catch and land all their halibut in Area 4B, which, in an open-
access fishery, are at a competitive disadvantage with the operators of 
larger vessels that catch and land halibut in other areas as well as in 
Area 4B (59 FR 27241, May 26, 1994).
    Second, NMFS removes Sec. 301.10(g), which (1) divides Area 4E into 
a southeast part and a northwest part, (2) provides for a test fishery 
in the southeast part, (3) closes the southeast part when 30 percent of 
the total Area 4E quota has been harvested from the southeast part, and 
(4) transfers 50 percent of the amount of the quota remaining in the 
northwest part, as of August 1, to the quota of the southeast part. 
NMFS, on the recommendation of the NPFMC, implemented this provision in 
1991 to ensure that, in the open access fishery, the small-boat 
fisheries of Nelson Island and Nunivak Island would have an opportunity 
for an equitable share of the harvest in Area 4E (56 FR 19617, April 
29, 1991).
    Third, NMFS removes three paragraphs of Sec. 301.11 regarding trip 
harvest limits. Section 301.11(g) limits all vessels fishing in Area 4B 
to a maximum catch of 10,000 lb (4.5 mt) per fishing period from June 6 
through August 14; Sec. 301.11(h) limits all vessels fishing in Area 4C 
to a maximum catch of 10,000 lb (4.5 mt) of halibut per fishing period; 
and Sec. 301.11(j) limits all vessels fishing in Area 4E to a maximum 
catch of 6,000 lb (2.7 mt) of halibut per fishing period. NMFS, on the 
recommendation of the NPFMC, implemented these provisions to (1) 
enhance fishing opportunities for operators of vessels that land their 
total annual catch within Area 4B (59 FR 22522, May 2, 1994); (2) 
enhance the economic development of the Pribilof Islands (55 FR 23085, 
June 6, 1990), and (3) increase the competitive advantage of the small 
vessels that catch and land their halibut exclusively in Area 4B (59 FR 
27241, May 26, 1994).
    The IFQ program provides each permitted fisher with an individual 
share of the harvest limit for a fishing area, which the fisher may 
harvest anytime during the fishing season that he or she deems to be 
the safest and most economical. Thus, the IFQ program eliminates the 
need for regulations, such as harvest limits per fishing period, 
intended to equalize the competitive abilities of fishers. In addition, 
community development quota (CDQ) allocations under the IFQ program 
will provide special economic benefits to resident fishers in Area 4. 
Hence, these regulations would impose an economic hardship on some 
fishers under the IFQ program. For example, a fisher with an IFQ or CDQ 
allocation amounting to 17,637 lb (8 mt) for Area 4B would be unable to 
harvest his or her entire allocation if the existing regulations are 
not removed. Thus, the regulation is unnecessary, because it has been 
superseded by provisions of the IFQ program, and it would be burdensome 
on fishers if it were not removed. The same reasoning applies to the 
other paragraphs removed by this final rule.
    NMFS has prepared a regulatory impact review (RIR) for this action. 
It concludes that the action would have no significant economic or 
social impacts, is not a significant regulatory action as defined by 
E.O. 12866, requires no new reporting requirements, would not increase 
administrative or enforcement costs, and would not substantially alter 
the current management process. A copy of the RIR may be obtained from 
the NMFS Alaska Regional Office (see ADDRESSES).

Catch Sharing Plan
    The PFMC has prepared catch sharing plans since 1988 to allocate 
the TAC of Pacific halibut among treaty Indian, non-Indian commercial, 
and non-Indian sport fisheries in Area 2A off Washington, Oregon, and 
California. For 1995 and beyond, the PFMC recommended revisions only to 
the allocations within the non-Indian fisheries, leaving the treaty 
Indian share of 35 percent of the Area 2A TAC the same as for 1994. The 
PFMC's recommended Catch Sharing Plan for 1995 and Beyond (Plan) 
divides the non-Indian harvest into three shares with the sport fishery 
north of the Columbia River receiving 36.6 percent, the sport fishery 
south of the Columbia River receiving 31.7 percent, and the commercial 
fishery receiving 31.7 percent. The recommended Plan also contains a 
number of management [[Page 14653]] measures including restricting the 
non-Indian commercial fishery to the area south of Subarea 2A-1 (south 
of the treaty Indian tribes' usual and accustomed fishing area). A 
complete description of the proposed Plan, background information on 
development and rationale for the Plan, and the proposed regulations 
necessary to implement the Plan were published in the Federal Register 
on January 12, 1995 (60 FR 2925) with a request for public comments. 
This action responds to public comments on the proposed Plan and 
proposed implementing regulations and announces approval of the final 
Plan, and final implementing regulations. Comments and Responses on the 
Proposed Plan and the Proposed Rule.
    NMFS received six letters from the public with comments on the 
proposed Plan and one letter with comments on the proposed sport 
regulations. One letter from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 
(ODFW) expressed support for the Plan and five letters from commercial 
fishery interests were opposed. The one letter with comments on the 
proposed sport regulations was from Washington Department of Fish and 
Wildlife (WDFW) and was based on input the State received from sport 
fishing representatives at a public workshop on the Pacific halibut 
sport fishery on February 3, 1995. The comments are summarized below 
with responses.
    Comment 1: ODFW supports approval of the Plan, because it provides 
a better balance between resource harvest and resource distribution. 
Available scientific information indicates that most (as high as 70 
percent) of the halibut in Area 2A are found south of subarea 2A-1; 
however, for many years, the harvests south of subarea 2A-1 have 
averaged 30 to 35 percent of the TAC but those harvest do not reflect 
the abundance and distribution of halibut available to Oregon and 
California fishers.
    Response: The Plan increases the allocation to sport fisheries off 
Oregon and California by about 8 percent over 1994 (from about 12.7 
percent of the Area 2A TAC in 1994 to 20.6 percent in 1995). The Plan 
also closes the non-Indian directed commercial fishery north of subarea 
2A-1. The PFMC recommended this shift in harvests to the south to 
provide a broader distribution of harvests in Area 2A that is more 
consistent with the distribution of halibut biomass in Area 2A.
    Comment 2: The reallocation from commercial to sport fishery would 
unreasonably and unfairly terminate a 106-year-old commercial longline 
fishery north of Willapa Bay.
    Response: The Plan does reduce the allocation to the commercial 
fishery from 50 percent of the non-Indian allocation to 31.7 percent 
and does shift the location of the directed (traditional) commercial 
halibut fishery south of Willapa Bay. Participation in the Area 2A 
halibut fishery by non-Indian commercial and sport users has increased 
and the potential harvests by both groups have had to be severely 
restricted in recent years to prevent quota overages. The continued 
need to reduce fishing effort and fishing opportunity prompted the PFMC 
to review the overall allocations to determine what changes could be 
made to preserve the viability of some of the Area 2A halibut fisheries 
over the long term. Because halibut quotas are expected to be low and 
not sufficient to fulfill the needs of all user groups for the near 
future, the PFMC has placed a high priority on maintaining viable sport 
fisheries and the coastal community businesses supported by sport 
fisheries in developing its allocation recommendations.
    Comment 3: The basis for the PFMC's recommendation was an economic 
analysis that was fundamentally flawed with respect to treatment of 
economic contributions of the commercial and sport sectors of the 
fishery. That analysis, an EA/RIR, includes data on the numbers of 
commercial vessels in the fishery, but does not include comparable 
information on charterboats.
    Response: Concerns about the economic analysis were raised by the 
Fishing Vessel Owners' Association at the PFMC's Halibut Advisory 
Subpanel meeting in July 1994 and at the PFMC's public meeting in 
October 1994, and the author of the analysis did address the concerns 
at these meetings. The EA/RIR contained the best available information 
on all sectors of the halibut fishery in Area 2A including catches by 
charterboats. Although the PFMC did review and consider economic 
aspects of the revised allocations, such information was not the 
primary basis for its recommendation. The PFMC placed a high priority 
on maintaining viable sport fisheries and the coastal community 
businesses supported by sport fisheries in developing the allocation 
recommendations.
    Comment 4: Small longline commercial vessels will not be able to 
safely and reasonably transit from Neah Bay or Westport to the area 
open to commercial fishing south of Willapa Bay. Larger boats would 
have to absorb the additional time and expense of fishing in southern 
waters.
    Response: NMFS acknowledges that this action may reduce the number 
of commercial vessels operating in this fishery; however, with the need 
to reduce fishing effort and shift harvests into areas of halibut 
biomass, it is not possible to accommodate the entire fleet that would 
like to fish off the northern Washington coast.
    Comment 5: The PFMC failed to analyze other reasonable alternatives 
such as a system of individual fishing quotas based on historical 
landings.
    Response: Various alternatives and options for allocation between 
and within commercial and sport sectors were considered, analyzed and 
discussed by the PFMC over the course of five public meetings from 
September 1993, when the PFMC decided to consider all aspects of the 
halibut allocation issue and to develop a multi-year plan for 1995 and 
beyond, through adoption of a final Plan at the PFMC's October 1994 
public meeting. At its November 1993 public meeting, the PFMC did 
discuss transferable Individual Quotas (IQs) for the non-Indian 
commercial halibut fishery including transfer of IQs to sport users in 
2A. As described in the EA/RIR, the PFMC, in developing the IQ program 
for fixed gear sablefish, initially included Pacific halibut. However, 
as the PFMC proceeded with the development of the fixed-gear IQ 
program, it decided that its limited resources would best be spent in 
development of the IQ program for the much larger sablefish fishery. 
The halibut fishery was sufficiently different not to be included with 
the sablefish fishery. An IQ program was identified for halibut 
allocations in 1995 and beyond, and the PFMC advised the commercial 
fishing industry to take the lead in establishing a committee to 
develop a proposal for PFMC consideration.
    Comment 6: The Halibut Act requires that any limited entry scheme 
be consistent with section 303(b)(6) of the Magnuson Act.
    Response: This action is not a limited-entry scheme. It does not 
place direct limits on who can participate, rather it reallocates among 
groups and shifts the area of participation.
    Comment 7: The Halibut Act requires that any allocation be 
reasonably calculated to promote conservation.
    Response: The potential Pacific halibut harvest in Area 2A by 
either the non-Indian commercial fishery or the sport fishery can 
easily exceed the non-Indian allocation, thereby exceeding the overall 
Area 2A quota, which could result in conservation problems for the 
halibut resource in Area 2A. All of the [[Page 14654]] quotas are 
calculated to promote conservation.
    Comment 8: The PFMC recommended prohibiting double-dipping by 
commercial vessels that also may fish in the sport fishery, but did not 
address multiple access by the charterboat fishery.
    Response: The Plan prohibits commercial fishing for halibut from 
any vessel that participates in the sport fishery for halibut in Area 
2A and vice versa. This includes charter boats. The PFMC is concerned 
that increased numbers of charterboat vessels operating in the sport 
fishery will also participate in the commercial fishery in Area 2A. The 
PFMC considers this double-dipping into both commercial and sport 
allocations as inconsistent with its intent to provide separate quotas 
and opportunity for each harvesting sector to utilize its allocation. 
Because the potential fishing effort and harvests far exceed what the 
resource can accommodate, the PFMC is trying to allocate fairly among 
various groups.
    Comment 9: There is no net economic benefit, from either a national 
or local perspective, demonstrated by the reallocation.
    Response: The analysis in the EA/RIR indicates varying losses/gains 
on the alternatives considered by the PFMC in terms of net economic 
value, local personal income, or state level income with the principal 
result of the allocations being distributional shifts. As noted above, 
although the PFMC did consider economic aspects of the revised 
allocations, such information was not the primary basis for its 
recommendation. The PFMC concluded that the best use for the limited 
halibut resource in Area 2A was to stabilize the recreational fishery 
while allowing some commercial harvest.
    Comment 10: The PFMC did not follow a procedure that allowed for 
public input.
    Response: As described above, the PFMC considered and discussed 
allocation options over the course of five public meetings, during 
which descriptions and analyses of the options were provided to the 
public and public input was received both orally and in writing.
    Comment 11: The change in fishing boundary will disrupt the 
collection of data on the catch per unit-of-effort needed to manage the 
halibut stock.
    Response: Although catch and effort data cannot be derived from 
non-Indian commercial harvests in the closed area in the future, the 
same data will continue to be collected from the commercial fisheries 
in the open area as well as from tribal commercial fisheries in the 
closed area.
    Comment 12: The proposed geographic redistribution of harvest is 
not based on a conservation concern.
    Response: NMFS agrees that the harvest shift was not necessitated 
by a conservation concern. See response to Comment 1.
    Comment 13: The PFMC did not consider the findings of the Halibut 
Advisory Subpanel (HAS), which had nearly agreed on an option to 
allocate 40 percent of the TAC to commercial users and 60 percent to 
sport users.
    Response: The PFMC did not adopt the recommendations of the HAS, 
but it considered them before it made its decision. The decision is 
fully supported by the record.
    Comment 14: Why did salmon trollers receive 15 percent of the non-
Indian commercial allocation?
    Response: In the mid-1980's, quota reductions and increased fishing 
effort caused constraints on the commercial fishery, reducing it from 
multi-day seasons (35 days in 1985) that overlapped the May chinook 
salmon troll season to the current 1-day, 10-hour openings that occur 
only in the summer months. From about 1960 to the mid-1980's, salmon 
trollers caught about 15 percent of the commercial halibut fishery 
quota incidental to their salmon troll fishery. With the reduced 
seasons in recent years that occurred outside the timeframe of the 
chinook salmon fishery, the trollers lost their fishing opportunity. 
The PFMC decided that an allocation within the commercial fishery was 
necessary to provide trollers the opportunity to retain halibut caught 
incidentally during chinook salmon troll seasons.
    Comment 15: WDFW recommends that the sport fishing season in Puget 
Sound open on May 25 and close on July 29. This recommendation is based 
on recent performance of the fishery that indicates an average of 440 
lb (0.2 mt) of halibut were caught on weekdays and 1000 lb (0.5 mt) on 
weekend days. With the area allocation of 34,653 lb (15.7 mt) and 
closures on Tuesday and Wednesday, these average catches would allow 29 
weekdays of fishing and 19 weekend days. The average catches used in 
these calculations were developed in consultation with IPHC.
    Response: NMFS agrees with this recommendation, and the sport 
fishing season at Sec. 301.21(d)(2)(i)(A) has been modified 
accordingly.
    Comment 16: WDFW recommends that the sport fishing season in the 
north Washington coast area open on May 2 and continue until the 
subarea quota is taken. WDFW has estimated that the subarea quota is 
insufficient to allow for the May season and the second priority season 
from July 1 through at least July 4 in accordance with the Plan. 
Therefore, WDFW recommends that the May season be allowed to continue, 
possibly into early June, for 5 days per week until the subarea quota 
is estimated to have been taken.
    Response: NMFS agrees with this recommendation and the sport 
fishing regulations for the north coast area at Sec. 301.21(d)(2)(ii) 
have been modified accordingly.
    Comment 17: WDFW recommends that the closed area in the north 
Washington coast area be enlarged by 1 mile on each side of the 
proposed closure area. In accordance with the Plan, the State is 
recommending this enlarged closure area to extend the length of the 
fishing season by reducing the numbers of larger fish caught. Data from 
the 1994 fishery indicate that larger fish were caught just outside the 
closure area and an enlarged closure would prevent this, thus allowing 
a longer fishing season since the quotas are based on pounds of halibut 
caught.
    Response: NMFS agrees with this recommendation and the sport 
fishing closed area for the north coast area at Sec. 301.21(d)(2)(ii) 
has been modified to be an area within a rectangle defined by these 
four corners: 48 deg.18'00'' N. lat., 125 deg.11'00'' W. long.; 
48 deg.18'00'' N. lat., 124 deg.59'00'' W. long.; 48 deg.04'00'' N. 
lat., 125 deg.11'00''W. long.; and, 48 deg.04'00'' N. lat., 
124 deg.59'00'' W. long.
    The proposed Plan for 1995 and beyond was approved by NMFS on 
January 20, 1995, and the approval was announced at the IPHC annual 
meeting on January 23, 1995, so the IPHC could implement applicable 
portions of the Plan in its regulations. The only modifications to the 
proposed Plan, as recommended by the PFMC, are the opening and closing 
dates of the treaty Indian commercial fishery. The dates in the Plan 
adopted by PFMC were March 1 to October 31. These dates have been 
modified to allow the opening to be set between March 1 and April 1 and 
to set the closing for November 15 to be consistent with the IPHC 
action to have a March 15 to November 15 commercial season for all 
areas. The final approved Plan appears in the regulations at 
Sec. 301.23.

Changes From the Proposed Plan and the Proposed Rule

    The final regulations implementing the Plan are hereby approved, 
with the following changes from the proposed regulations. The subquotas 
in the proposed regulations implementing the Plan were based on an 
assumed [[Page 14655]] 500,000-lb (226.8-mt) TAC for Area 2A and have 
been modified in accordance with the allocations set forth in the Plan 
based on the final TAC of 520,000 lb (235.9 mt) in Area 2A. The only 
other substantive modifications to the proposed sport fishing 
regulations at Sec. 301.21(d)(2) were described in the responses to the 
comments above (i.e., the seasons and the closure area for the sport 
fishery subareas off Washington have been modified based on the final 
TAC, in accordance with the objectives in the Plan). The proposed sport 
fishing possession limits on land at Sec. 301.21 (n) and (o) have been 
redesignated (i) and (j), respectively, to follow IPHC regulations on 
possession limits on the water. The proposed restriction on use of 
commercial vessels in the sport fishery and vice versa at Sec. 301.21 
(p) and (q) have been removed, because they are redundant with the 
restrictions in Sec. 301.22. References to new Secs. 301.22 and 301.23 
have been added to Sec. 301.5. The closure of the non-Indian commercial 
fishery north of Point Chehalis, WA (46 deg.53'18'' N. lat.) set forth 
in the Plan at Sec. 301.23(e)(2) and described in the preamble of the 
proposed rule (January 12, 1995, 60 FR 2925) has been added to the 
final rule at Sec. 301.9(b) and noted in the IPHC regulations at 
Secs. 301.3(c), 301.7(b), 301.10(b), and 301.11(g). Portions of the 
proposed rule have been implemented in IPHC regulations and separate 
U.S. rules are not necessary. Those portions of the proposed rule 
implemented by the IPHC are: (1) Area 2A license requirements in 
Sec. 301.3, (2) fishing periods for the non-Indian directed commercial 
fishery in Sec. 301.7, (3) fishing period limits for the non-Indian 
directed commercial fishery in Sec. 301.11, and (4) treaty Indian 
commercial and ceremonial and subsistence fishing seasons in 
Sec. 301.20. The proposed rules at Secs. 301.7(j) and 301.10(j) were 
modified and renumbered Secs. 301.7(c) and 301.10(b), respectively, to 
conform with IPHC regulations.
    For the convenience and information of the public, all of the 
regulations in part 301 (including the 1995 IPHC regulations, U.S. 
regulations for Area 2A, the catch limits for Area 2, and U.S. 
regulations at Sec. 301.21(d) (3), (4), and (5) originally published at 
58 FR 17791 (April 6, 1993)) are set out in their entirety herein as 
revised.

Classification

IPHC Regulations

    Because approval of the IPHC regulations by the Secretary of State 
is a foreign affairs function, Jensen v. National Marine Fisheries 
Service, 512 F.2d 1189 (9th Cir. 1975), 5 U.S.C. 553 does not apply to 
this notice of the effectiveness and content of the IPHC regulations. 
Because a notice of proposed rulemaking is not required, the 
preparation of a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.

Area 2A and 2C Catch Limits
    The AA has determined that this rule is necessary to respond to an 
emergency situation and is consistent with the Halibut Act of 1982 and 
other applicable law. Without emergency adoption of the catch limits 
for Area 2A and 2C for 1995, the Pacific halibut stock would be 
harvested at an unacceptably high rate that could have long-term 
adverse effects on the halibut stock and U.S. halibut fisheries. 
Accordingly, the AA finds there is good cause to implement these 
regulations expediently and that it is impracticable and contrary to 
the public interest to require prior notice and public comment, or to 
delay the effective date of the regulations, under the provisions of 
section 553 (b) and (d) of the APA. This rule is exempt from the 
procedures of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, because the rule is not 
required to be issued with prior notice and opportunity for public 
comment. This action has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of E.O. 12866.

Repeal of Unnecessary Regulations for Area 4

    The AA has determined, under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), that good cause 
exists for waiving prior notice of this action and opportunity for 
public comment, because providing prior notice and opportunity for 
public comment would have been impracticable and contrary to the public 
interest. It was impracticable to do so, because the NPFMC determined 
only in December 1994, after hearing reports from its technical 
committees and entertaining public comment, that these regulations were 
an unnecessary burden on the IFQ fishery. Thus, there was inadequate 
time to prepare a proposed rule, collect comments, and prepare a final 
rule before the start of the Alaska commercial halibut fishery on March 
15, 1995. A delay in repealing these unnecessary regulations would have 
been contrary to the public interest because, to realize the full 
benefit of the IFQ program and prevent economic inefficiencies and 
bycatch waste, the regulations must be removed by March 15, 1995. 
Moreover, this action is necessary to provide consistent management and 
conservation of other fixed gear fisheries also scheduled to begin on 
March 15.
    Because this action relieves a restriction under 5 U.S.C. 
553(d)(1), it is being made immediately effective. This action has been 
determined to be not significant for purposes of E.O. 12866.

Catch Sharing Plan and Implementing Regulations

    The EA/RIR prepared for this Plan and implementing domestic 
regulations indicates that, although the actions taken under this Plan 
would reduce the allocation and area available to commercial fisheries, 
the commercial harvest of halibut in Area 2A is a small part of their 
average annual harvests. As such, the Assistant General Counsel for 
Legislation and Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to 
the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration 
when the Plan and regulations were proposed that, if they were adopted 
as proposed, they would not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. Accordingly, preparation of a 
regulatory flexibility analysis under the Regulatory Flexibility Act 
was not required.
    The AA finds, under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), that having the regulations 
for the Plan in place when the treaty Indian fishery opens on March 15 
justifies waiving the 30-day delayed-effectiveness period. A copy of 
the EA/RIR may be obtained from the NMFS Northwest Region (see 
ADDRESSES).
    This action has been determined to be not significant for purposes 
of E.O. 12866.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 301

    Fisheries, Treaties.

    Dated: March 13, 1995.
Gary Matlock,
Program Management Officer, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 301 is revised 
to read as follows:

PART 301--PACIFIC HALIBUT FISHERIES

Sec.
301.1  Short title.
301.2  Interpretation.
301.3  Licensing vessels.
301.4  Inseason actions.
301.5  Application.
301.6  Regulatory areas.
301.7  Fishing periods.
301.8  Closed periods.
301.9  Closed area.
301.10  Catch limits.
301.11  Fishing period limits.
301.12  Size limits.
301.13  Careful release of halibut.
301.14  Vessel clearance in Area 4.
301.15  Logs. [[Page 14656]] 
301.16  Receipt and possession of halibut.
301.17  Fishing gear.
301.18  Retention of tagged halibut.
301.19  Supervision of unloading and weighing.
301.20  Fishing by U.S. treaty Indian tribes.
301.21  Sport fishing for halibut.
301.22  Fishery election in Area 2A.
301.23  Catch Sharing Plan for Area 2A.
301.24  Previous regulations superseded.
Figure 1 to part 301--Map of Regulatory Areas
Figure 2 to part 301--Halibut Size Limits

    Authority: 5 UST 5; TIAS 2900; 16 U.S.C. 773-773k.
Sec. 301.1  Short title.

    This part may be cited as the Pacific Halibut Fishery Regulations.


Sec. 301.2  Interpretation.

    (a) In this part:
    Authorized officer means any state, Federal, or provincial officer 
authorized to enforce this part including, but not limited to, the 
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Canada's Department of 
Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Alaska Division of Fish and Wildlife 
Protection (ADFWP), and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).
    Charter vessel means a vessel used for hire in sport fishing for 
halibut, but does not include a vessel without a hired operator.
    Commercial fishing means fishing, the resulting catch of which 
either is, or is intended to be, sold or bartered.
    Commission means the International Pacific Halibut Commission.
    Daily bag limit means the maximum number of halibut a person may 
take in any calendar day from Convention waters.
    Fishing means the taking, harvesting, or catching of fish, or any 
activity that can reasonably be expected to result in the taking, 
harvesting, or catching of fish, including specifically the deployment 
of any amount or component part of setline gear anywhere in the 
maritime area.
    Fishing period limit means the maximum amount of halibut that may 
be retained and landed by a vessel during one fishing period.
    Land, with respect to halibut, means the offloading of halibut from 
the catching vessel.
    License means a halibut fishing license issued by the Commission 
pursuant to Sec. 301.3.
    Maritime area, with respect to the fisheries jurisdiction of a 
Contracting Party, includes, without distinction, areas within and 
seaward of the territorial sea or internal waters of that Party.
    Operator, with respect to any vessel, means the owner and/or the 
master or other individual aboard and in charge of that vessel.
    Overall length of a vessel means the horizontal distance, rounded 
to the nearest foot, between the foremost part of the stem and the 
aftermost part of the stern (excluding bowsprits, rudders, outboard 
motor brackets, and similar fittings or attachments).
    Person includes an individual, corporation, firm, or association.
    Regulatory area means an area referred to in Sec. 301.6.
    Setline gear means one or more stationary, buoyed, and anchored 
lines with hooks attached.
    Sport fishing means all fishing other than commercial fishing and 
treaty Indian ceremonial and subsistence fishing.
    Tender means any vessel that buys or obtains fish directly from a 
catching vessel and transports it to a port of landing or fish 
processor.
    (b) In this part, all bearings are true and all positions are 
determined by the most recent charts issued by the National Ocean 
Service or the Canadian Hydrographic Service.
    (c) In this part, all weights shall be computed on the basis that 
the heads of the fish are off and their entrails removed.


Sec. 301.3  Licensing vessels.

    (a) No person shall fish for halibut from a U.S. vessel, nor 
possess halibut on board a U.S. vessel, used either for commercial 
fishing or as a charter vessel in Area 2A unless the Commission has 
issued a license valid for fishing in Area 2A in respect of that 
vessel.
    (b) A license issued for a vessel operating in Area 2A shall be 
valid only for operating either as a charter vessel or a commercial 
vessel, but not both.
    (c) A license issued for a vessel operating in the commercial 
fishery in Area 2A shall be valid only for either the directed 
commercial fishery south of 46 deg.53'18'' N. lat. during the fishing 
periods specified in Sec. 301.7(b) or the incidental catch fishery 
during the salmon troll fishery specified in Sec. 301.7(c), but not 
both.
    (d) No person shall fish for halibut from a Canadian vessel used as 
a charter vessel, nor possess halibut on board such vessel, unless the 
Commission has issued a license valid for fishing in Area 2B in respect 
of that vessel.
    (e) No person shall fish for halibut from a U.S. vessel, nor 
possess halibut on board a U.S. vessel, used either for commercial 
fishing or as a charter vessel in Areas 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 
4E, unless the Commission has issued a license valid for fishing in 
those areas in respect of that vessel.
    (f) A license issued in respect of a vessel referred to in 
paragraphs (a), (d), and (e) of this section must be carried on board 
that vessel at all times and the vessel operator shall permit its 
inspection by any authorized officer.
    (g) The Commission shall issue a license in respect of a vessel, 
without fee from its office in Seattle, WA, upon receipt of a 
completed, written, and signed ``Application for Vessel License for the 
Halibut Fishery'' form.
    (h) A vessel operating in the commercial fishery in Area 2A must 
have its ``Application for Vessel License for the Halibut Fishery'' 
form postmarked no later than midnight April 30.
    (i) Application forms may be obtained from any authorized officer, 
or from the Commission.
    (j) Information on ``Application for Vessel License for the Halibut 
Fishery'' form must be accurate.
    (k) The ``Application for Vessel License for the Halibut Fishery'' 
form shall be completed and signed by the vessel owner.
    (l) Licenses issued under this section shall be valid only during 
the year in which they are issued.
    (m) A new license is required for a vessel that is sold, 
transferred, renamed, or redocumented.
    (n) The license required under this section is in addition to any 
license, however designated, that is required under the laws of Canada 
or any of its Provinces or the United States or any of its States.
    (o) The United States may suspend, revoke, or modify any license 
issued under this section under policies and procedures in 15 CFR part 
904.


Sec. 301.4  Inseason actions.

    (a) The Commission is authorized to establish or modify the IPHC 
regulations in this part during the season after determining that such 
action:
    (1) Will not result in exceeding the catch limit established 
preseason for each regulatory area;
    (2) Is consistent with the Convention between the United States and 
Canada for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the Northern 
Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, and applicable domestic law of either 
Canada or the United States; and
    (3) Is consistent, to the maximum extent practicable, with any 
domestic catch sharing plans developed by the U.S. or Canadian 
Governments.
    (b) Inseason actions may include, but are not limited to, 
establishment or modification of the following:
    (1) Closed areas;
    (2) Fishing periods; [[Page 14657]] 
    (3) Fishing period limits;
    (4) Gear restrictions;
    (5) Recreational bag limits;
    (6) Size limits; or
    (7) Vessel clearances.
    (c) Inseason changes will be effective at the time and date 
specified by the Commission.
    (d) The Commission will announce inseason actions under this 
section by providing notice to major halibut processors; Federal, 
state, U.S. treaty Indian, and provincial fishery officials; and the 
media.


Sec. 301.5  Application.

    (a) This part applies to persons and vessels fishing for halibut 
in, or possessing halibut taken from, waters off the west coast of 
Canada and the United States, including the southern as well as the 
western coasts of Alaska, within the respective maritime areas in which 
each of those countries exercises exclusive fisheries jurisdiction as 
of March 29, 1979.
    (b) Section 301.6 through 301.19 apply to commercial fishing for 
halibut.
    (c) Section 301.20 applies to the U.S. treaty Indian tribal fishery 
in Area 2A-1.
    (d) Section 301.21 applies to sport fishing for halibut.
    (e) Section 301.22 applies to non-Indian commercial and sport 
fishing for halibut in Area 2A.
    (f) Section 301.23 applies to all fishing for halibut in Area 2A.
    (g) This part does not apply to fishing operations authorized or 
conducted by the Commission for research purposes.


Sec. 301.6  Regulatory areas.

    The following areas (shown in Figure 1 of this part) shall be 
regulatory areas for the purposes of the Convention:
    (a) Area 2A includes all waters off the States of California, 
Oregon, and Washington;
    (b) Area 2B includes all waters off British Columbia;
    (c) Area 2C includes all waters off Alaska that are east of a line 
running 340 deg. true from Cape Spencer Light (58 deg.11'57'' N. lat., 
136 deg.38'18'' W. long.), and south and east of a line running 
205 deg. true from said light;
    (d) Area 3A includes all waters between Area 2C and a line 
extending from the most northerly point on Cape Aklek (57 deg.41'15'' 
N. lat., 155 deg.35'00'' W. long.) to Cape Ikolik (57 deg.17'17'' N. 
lat., 154 deg.47'18'' W. long.), then along the Kodiak Island coastline 
to Cape Trinity (56 deg.44'50'' N. lat., 154 deg.08'44'' W. long.), 
then 140 deg. true;
    (e) Area 3B includes all waters between Area 3A and a line 
extending 150 deg. true from Cape Lutke (54 deg.29'00'' N. lat., 
164 deg.20'00'' W. long.) and south of 54 deg.49'00'' N. lat. in 
Isanotski Strait;
    (f) Area 4A includes all waters in the Gulf of Alaska west of Area 
3B and in the Bering Sea west of the closed area defined in Sec. 301.9 
that are east of 172 deg.00'00'' W. long. and south of 56 deg.20'00'' 
N. lat.;
    (g) Area 4B includes all waters in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of 
Alaska west of Area 4A and south of 56 deg.20'00'' N. lat.;
    (h) Area 4C includes all waters in the Bering Sea north of Area 4A 
and north of the closed area defined in Sec. 301.9 that are east of 
171 deg.00'00'' W. long., south of 58 deg.00'00'' N. lat., and west of 
168 deg.00'00'' W. long.;
    (i) Area 4D includes all waters in the Bering Sea north of Areas 4A 
and 4B, north and west of Area 4C, and west of 168 deg.00'00'' W. 
long.;
    (j) Area 4E includes all waters in the Bering Sea north and east of 
the closed area defined in Sec. 301.9, east of 168 deg.00'00'' W. 
long., and south of 65 deg.34'00'' N. lat.


Sec. 301.7  Fishing periods.

    (a) The fishing periods for each regulatory area apply where the 
catch limits specified in Sec. 301.10 have not been taken.
    (b) Each fishing period in the Area 2A directed fishery south of 
46 deg.53'18'' N. lat. shall begin at 0800 hours and terminate at 1800 
hours local time on July 5, July 18, August 1, and August 15, unless 
the Commission specifies otherwise.
    (c) Notwithstanding paragraph (b) of this section and 
Sec. 301.10(g), an incidental catch fishery is authorized during salmon 
troll seasons in Area 2A. Vessels participating in the salmon troll 
fishery in Area 2A may retain halibut caught incidentally during 
authorized periods, in conformance with the annual salmon management 
measures announced in the Federal Register. The notice also will 
specify the ratio of halibut to salmon that may be retained during this 
fishery.
    (d) The fishing period in Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 
4E shall begin at 1200 hours local time on March 15 and terminate at 
1200 hours local time on November 15, unless the Commission specifies 
otherwise.
    (e) All commercial fishing for halibut in Areas 2A, 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 
4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E shall cease at 1200 hours local time on November 
15.


Sec. 301.8  Closed periods.

    (a) No person shall engage in fishing for halibut in any regulatory 
area other than during the fishing periods set out in Sec. 301.7 in 
respect of that area.
    (b) No person shall land or otherwise retain halibut caught outside 
a fishing period applicable to the regulatory area where the halibut 
was taken.
    (c) Subject to Sec. 301.17(g) and (h), fishing is not prohibited 
for any species of fish other than halibut during the closed periods.
    (d) Notwithstanding paragraph (c) of this section, no person shall 
have halibut in his/her possession while fishing for any other species 
of fish during the closed periods.
    (e) No vessel shall retrieve any halibut fishing gear during a 
closed period if the vessel has any halibut on board.
    (f) A vessel that has no halibut on board may retrieve any halibut 
fishing gear during the closed period after the operator notifies an 
authorized officer or representative of the Commission prior to that 
retrieval.
    (g) After retrieval of halibut gear in accordance with paragraph 
(f) of this section, the vessel shall submit to a hold inspection at 
the discretion of the authorized officer or representative of the 
Commission.
    (h) No person shall retain any halibut caught on gear retrieved 
under paragraph (f) of this section.
    (i) No person shall possess halibut on board a vessel in a 
regulatory area during a closed period, unless that vessel is in 
continuous transit to or within a port in which that halibut may be 
lawfully sold.
Sec. 301.9  Closed area.

    (a) All waters in the Bering Sea that are north of 54 deg.49'00'' 
N. lat. in Isanotski Strait that are enclosed by a line from Cape 
Sarichef Light (54 deg.36'00'' N. lat., 164 deg.55'42'' W. long.) to a 
point at 56 deg.20'00'' N. lat., 168 deg.30'00'' W. long.; thence to a 
point at 58 deg.21'25'' N. lat., 163 deg.00'00'' W. long.; thence to 
Strogonof Point (56 deg.53'18'' N. lat., 158 deg.50'37'' W. long.); and 
then along the northern coasts of the Alaska Peninsula and Unimak 
Island to the point of origin at Cape Sarichef Light are closed to 
halibut fishing and no person shall fish for halibut therein or have 
halibut in his/her possession while in those waters except in the 
course of a continuous transit across those waters.
    (b) In Area 2A, all waters north of Point Chehalis, WA 
(46 deg.53'18'' N. lat.) are closed to the directed commercial halibut 
fishery.


Sec. 301.10  Catch limits.

    (a) The total allowable catch of halibut to be taken during the 
halibut fishing periods specified in Sec. 301.7 shall be limited to the 
weight expressed in pounds or metric tons shown in the following table.

                                                                        
[[Page 14658]]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Catch limits      
                                              --------------------------
               Regulatory area                                   Metric 
                                                   Pounds         tons  
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2A...........................................         107,120         49
2C...........................................       9,000,000      4,082
3A...........................................      20,000,000      9,072
3B...........................................       3,700,000      1,678
4A...........................................       1,950,000        885
4B...........................................       2,310,000      1,048
4C...........................................         770,000        349
4D...........................................         770,000        349
4E...........................................         120,000         54
------------------------------------------------------------------------

  (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section, the catch limit 
in Area 2A shall be divided between a directed halibut fishery to 
operate south of 46 deg.53'18'' N. lat. during the fishing periods set 
out in Sec. 301.7(b) and an incidental halibut catch fishery during the 
salmon troll fishery in Area 2A described in Sec. 301.7(c). Inseason 
actions to transfer catch between these fisheries may occur in 
conformance with Sec. 301.23.
    (1) The catch limit in the directed halibut fishery is 91,052 lb 
(41.3 mt).
    (2) The catch limit in the incidental catch fishery during the 
salmon troll fishery is 16,068 lb (7.3 mt).
    (c) The Commission shall determine and announce to the public the 
date on which the catch limit for Area 2A will be taken and the 
specific dates during which the directed fishery will be allowed in 
Area 2A.
    (d) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section, Area 2B will 
close only when all Individual Vessel Quotas assigned by Canada's 
Department of Fisheries and Oceans are taken, or November 15, whichever 
is earlier.
    (e) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section, Areas 2C, 3A, 
3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E will close only when all Individual Fishing 
Quotas and all Community Development Quotas issued by NMFS have been 
taken, or November 15, whichever is earlier.
    (f) If the Commission determines that the catch limit specified for 
Area 2A in paragraph (a) of this section would be exceeded in an 
unrestricted 10-hour fishing period as specified in Sec. 301.7(b), the 
catch limit for that area shall be considered to have been taken unless 
fishing period limits are implemented.
    (g) When under paragraph (c) or (f) of this section the Commission 
has announced a date on which the catch limit for Area 2A will be 
taken, no person shall fish for halibut in that area after that date 
for the rest of the year, unless the Commission has announced the 
reopening of that area for halibut fishing.


Sec. 301.11  Fishing period limits.

    (a) It shall be unlawful for any vessel to retain more halibut than 
authorized by that vessel's license in any fishing period for which the 
Commission has announced a fishing period limit.
    (b) The operator of any vessel that fishes for halibut during a 
fishing period when fishing period limits are in effect must, upon 
commencing an offload of halibut to a commercial fish processor, 
completely offload all halibut on board said vessel to that processor 
and ensure that all halibut are weighed and reported on state fish 
tickets.
    (c) The operator of any vessel that fishes for halibut during a 
fishing period when fishing period limits are in effect, must, upon 
commencing an offload of halibut other than to a commercial fish 
processor, completely offload all halibut on board said vessel and 
ensure that all halibut are weighed and reported on state fish tickets.
    (d) The provisions of paragraph (c) of this section are not 
intended to prevent retail over-the-side sales to individual 
purchasers, so long as all the halibut on board are ultimately 
offloaded and reported.
    (e) When fishing period limits are in effect, a vessel's maximum 
retainable catch will be determined by the Commission based on:
    (1) The vessel's overall length in feet and associated length 
class;
    (2) The average performance of all vessels within that class; and
    (3) The remaining catch limit.
    (f) Length classes are shown in the following table.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Vessel  
                       Overall length                            class  
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1- 25.......................................................  A         
26-30.......................................................  B         
31-35.......................................................  C         
36-40.......................................................  D         
41-45.......................................................  E         
46-50.......................................................  F         
51-55.......................................................  G         
56- +.......................................................  H         
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (g) Fishing period limits in Area 2A apply only to the directed 
halibut fishery south of 46 deg.53'18'' N. lat. referred to in 
Sec. 301.7(b).


Sec. 301.12  Size limits.

    (a) No person shall take or possess any halibut that:
    (1) With the head on, is less than 32 in (81.3 cm) as measured in a 
straight line, passing over the pectoral fin from the tip of the lower 
jaw with the mouth closed, to the extreme end of the middle of the 
tail, as illustrated in Figure 2 of this part; or
    (2) With the head removed, is less than 24 in (61.0 cm) as measured 
from the base of the pectoral fin at its most anterior point to the 
extreme end of the middle of the tail, as illustrated in Figure 2 of 
this part.
    (b) No person shall fillet, mutilate, or otherwise disfigure a 
halibut in any manner that prevents the determination of the minimum 
size of the halibut for the purpose of paragraph (a) of this section.
    (c) No person aboard a vessel fishing for, or tendering, halibut 
caught in Area 2A shall possess any halibut that has had its head 
removed.


Sec. 301.13  Careful release of halibut.

    All halibut that are caught and are not retained shall be 
immediately released and returned to the sea with a minimum of injury 
by:
    (a) Hook straightening outboard of the roller;
    (b) Cutting the gangion near the hook; or
    (c) Carefully removing the hook by twisting it from the halibut 
with a gaff.


Sec. 301.14  Vessel clearance in Area 4.

    (a) The operator of any vessel that fishes for halibut in Areas 4A, 
4B, 4C, or 4D must obtain a vessel clearance before fishing in any of 
these areas and fishing periods that apply, and before the unloading of 
any halibut caught in any of these areas and fishing periods, unless 
specifically exempted in paragraph (k), (l), or (m) of this section.
    (b) The vessel clearance required under paragraph (a) of this 
section prior to fishing in Areas 4A, 4C, or 4D may be obtained only at 
Dutch Harbor or Akutan, AK, from an authorized officer of the United 
States, a representative of the Commission, or a designated fish 
processor.
    (c) The vessel clearance required under paragraph (a) of this 
section prior to fishing in Area 4B may only be obtained at Nazan Bay 
on Atka Island, AK, from an authorized officer of the United States, a 
representative of the Commission, or a designated fish processor.
    (d) The vessel operator shall specify the specific regulatory area 
in which fishing will take place.
    (e) Before unloading any halibut caught in Area 4A, a vessel 
operator may obtain the clearance required under paragraph (a) of this 
section only in Dutch Harbor or Akutan, AK, by contacting an authorized 
officer of the United States, a representative of the Commission, or a 
designated fish processor.
    (f) Before unloading any halibut caught in Area 4B, a vessel 
operator may obtain the clearance required under paragraph (a) of this 
section only in [[Page 14659]] Nazan Bay on Atka Island, either in 
person or by contacting an authorized officer of the United States, a 
representative of the Commission, or a designated fish processor by VHF 
radio and allowing the person contacted to confirm visually the 
identity of the vessel.
    (g) Before unloading any halibut caught in Area 4C or 4D, a vessel 
operator may obtain the clearance required under paragraph (a) of this 
section only in St. Paul or St. George, AK, either in person or by 
contacting an authorized officer of the United States, a representative 
of the Commission, or a designated fish processor by VHF radio and 
allowing the person contacted to confirm visually the identity of the 
vessel.
    (h) Vessel clearances required under paragraph (a) of this section 
prior to fishing in Area 4 shall be obtained between 0600 and 1800 
hours, local time.
    (i) No halibut shall be on board the vessel at the time of the 
clearance required by paragraph (h) of this section.
    (j) Vessel clearances required under paragraph (a) of this section 
after fishing in Area 4 shall be obtained between 0600 and 1800 hours, 
local time.
    (k) Any vessel that is used to fish for halibut only in Area 4B and 
that lands its total annual halibut catch at a port within Area 4B is 
exempt from the clearance requirements of paragraph (a) of this 
section.
    (l) Any vessel that is used to fish for halibut only in Area 4C and 
that lands its total annual halibut catch at a port within Area 4C is 
exempt from the clearance requirements of paragraph (a) of this 
section.
    (m) Any vessel that is used to fish for halibut only in Areas 4D 
and 4E and that lands its total annual halibut catch at a port within 
Areas 4D, 4E, or the closed area defined in Sec. 301.9, is exempt from 
the clearance requirements of paragraph (a) of this section.


Sec. 301.15  Logs.

    (a) The operator of any vessel that has an overall length of 26 ft 
(7.9 m) or greater shall keep an accurate log of all halibut fishing 
operations including the date, locality, amount of gear used, and total 
weight of halibut taken daily in each locality.
    (b) The log referred to in paragraph (a) of this section shall be:
    (1) Separate from other records maintained on board the vessel;
    (2) Updated not later than 24 hours after midnight local time for 
each day fished and prior to the offloading or sale of halibut taken 
during that fishing period;
    (3) Retained for a period of 2 years by the owner or operator of 
the vessel;
    (4) Open to inspection by an authorized officer or any authorized 
representative of the Commission upon demand; and
    (5) Kept on board the vessel during halibut fishing, during 
transits to port of landing, and for 5 days following offloading 
halibut.
    (c) The poundage of any halibut that is not sold, but is utilized 
by the vessel operator, his/her crew members, or any other person for 
personal use, shall be recorded in the vessel's log within 24 hours of 
offloading.
    (d) No person shall make a false entry in a log referred to in this 
section.


Sec. 301.16  Receipt and possession of halibut.

    (a) No person shall receive halibut from a U.S. vessel that does 
not have on board the license required by Sec. 301.3.
    (b) No person shall offload halibut from a vessel unless the gills 
and entrails have been removed prior to offloading.
    (c) A commercial fish processor who purchases or receives halibut 
directly from the owner or operator of a vessel that was engaged in 
halibut fishing must accept and weigh all halibut on board said vessel 
at the time offloading commences and record on state fish tickets or 
Federal catch reports the date, locality, name of vessel, Halibut 
Commission license number (United States), the name(s) of the person(s) 
from whom the halibut was purchased; and the scale weight obtained at 
the time of offloading of all halibut on board the vessel, including: 
Pounds purchased; pounds in excess of IFQs, IVQs, or fishing period 
limits; pounds retained for personal use; and pounds discarded as unfit 
for human consumption.
    (d) No person shall make a false entry on a state fish ticket or a 
Federal catch or landing report referred to in paragraph (c) of this 
section.
    (e) A copy of the fish tickets or catch reports referred to in 
paragraph (c) of this section shall be:
    (1) Retained by the person making them for a period of 3 years from 
the date they are made; and
    (2) Open to inspection by an authorized officer or any authorized 
representative of the Commission.
    (f) No person shall possess any halibut that he/she knows to have 
been taken in contravention of this part.
    (g) When halibut are delivered to other than a commercial fish 
processor the records required by paragraph (c) shall be maintained by 
the operator of the vessel from which that halibut was caught, in 
compliance with paragraph (e).
    (h) It shall be unlawful to enter a Halibut Commission license 
number on a state fish ticket for any vessel other than the vessel 
actually used in catching the halibut reported thereon.


Sec. 301.17  Fishing gear.

    (a) No person shall fish for halibut using any gear other than 
hook-and-line gear.
    (b) No person shall possess halibut taken with any gear other than 
hook-and-line gear.
    (c) No person shall possess halibut while on board a vessel 
carrying any trawl nets or fishing pots capable of catching halibut.
    (d) All setline or skate marker buoys carried on board or used by 
any U.S. vessel used for halibut fishing shall be marked with one of 
the following:
    (1) The vessel's name;
    (2) The vessel's state license number; or
    (3) The vessel's registration number.
    (e) The markings specified in paragraph (d) of this section shall 
be in characters at least 4 in (10.2 cm) in height and 0.5 in (1.3 cm) 
in width in a contrasting color visible above the water, and shall be 
maintained in legible condition.
    (f) All setline or skate marker buoys carried on board or used by a 
Canadian vessel used for halibut fishing shall be:
    (1) Floating and visible on the surface of the water; and
    (2) Legibly marked with the identification plate number of the 
vessel engaged in commercial fishing from which that setline is being 
operated.
    (g) No person aboard a vessel from which setline gear was used to 
fish for any species of fish anywhere in Area 2A during the 72-hour 
period immediately before the opening of a halibut fishing period shall 
catch or possess halibut anywhere in those waters during that halibut 
fishing period.
    (h) No vessel from which setline gear was used to fish for any 
species of fish anywhere in Area 2A during the 72-hour period 
immediately before the opening of a halibut fishing period may be used 
to catch or possess halibut anywhere in those waters during that 
halibut fishing period.
    (i) No person aboard a vessel from which setline gear was used to 
fish for any species of fish anywhere in Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 
4C, 4D, or 4E during the 72-hour period immediately before the opening 
of the halibut fishing season shall catch or possess halibut anywhere 
in those areas until the vessel [[Page 14660]] has removed all of its 
setline gear from the water and has either:
    (1) Made a landing and completely offloaded its entire catch of 
other fish; or
    (2) Submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer.
    (j) No vessel from which setline gear was used to fish for any 
species of fish anywhere in Areas 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, or 4E 
during the 72-hour period immediately before the opening of the halibut 
fishing season shall catch or possess halibut anywhere in those areas 
until the vessel has removed all of its setline gear from the water and 
has either:
    (1) Made a landing and completely offloaded its entire catch of 
other fish; or
    (2) Submitted to a hold inspection by an authorized officer.


Sec. 301.18  Retention of tagged halibut.
    (a) Nothing contained in this part prohibits any vessel at any time 
from retaining and landing a halibut that bears a Commission tag at the 
time of capture, if the halibut with the tag still attached is reported 
at the time of landing and made available for examination by a 
representative of the Commission or by an authorized officer.
    (b) After examination and removal of the tag by a representative of 
the Commission or an authorized officer, the halibut:
    (1) May be retained for personal use; or
    (2) May be sold if it complies with the provisions of Sec. 301.12.


Sec. 301.19  Supervision of unloading and weighing.

    The unloading and weighing of halibut may be subject to the 
supervision of authorized officers to assure the fulfillment of the 
provisions of this part.


Sec. 301.20  Fishing by U.S. treaty Indian tribes.

    (a) Halibut fishing in subarea 2A-1 by members of U.S. treaty 
Indian tribes located in the State of Washington is governed by this 
section.
    (b) For purposes of this part, ``treaty Indian tribes'' means the 
Hoh, Jamestown S'Klallam, Lower Elwha S'Klallam, Lummi, Makah, Port 
Gamble S'Klallam, Quileute, Quinault, Skokomish, Suquamish, Swinomish, 
and Tulalip tribes.
    (c) Subarea 2A-1 includes all U.S. waters off the coast of 
Washington that are north of 46 deg.53'18'' N. lat. and east of 
125 deg.44'00'' W. long., and all inland marine waters of Washington.
    (d) Commercial fishing for halibut by treaty Indians is permitted 
only in subarea 2A-1 with hook-and-line gear from March 15 through 
November 15, or until 171,000 lb (77.6 mt) are taken by treaty Indians, 
whichever occurs first.
    (e) Commercial fishing periods and management measures to implement 
paragraph (d) of this section will be established by treaty Indian 
tribal regulations.
    (f) Commercial fishing for halibut by treaty Indians shall comply 
with the provisions of Secs. 301.12, 301.13, 301.15, and 301.17, except 
that the 72-hour fishing restriction preceding the opening of a halibut 
fishing period shall not apply to treaty Indian fishing.
    (g) Ceremonial and subsistence fishing for halibut by treaty 
Indians in subarea 2A-1 is permitted with hook-and-line gear from 
January 1 to December 31, and is estimated to take 11,000 lb (5 mt).
    (h) No size or bag limits shall apply to the ceremonial and 
subsistence fishery, except that when commercial halibut fishing is 
prohibited pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section, treaty Indians 
may take and retain not more than two halibut per person per day.
    (i) Halibut taken for ceremonial and subsistence purposes shall not 
be offered for sale or sold.
    (j) Any member of a U.S. treaty Indian tribe, as defined in 
paragraph (b) of this section, who is engaged in commercial or 
ceremonial and subsistence fishing under this section must have on his 
or her person a valid treaty Indian identification card issued pursuant 
to 25 CFR part 249, subpart A, and must comply with the treaty Indian 
vessel and gear identification requirements of Final Decision No. 1 and 
subsequent orders in United States v. Washington 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. 
Wash. 1974).
    (k) The following table sets forth the fishing areas of each of the 
12 treaty Indian tribes fishing pursuant to this section. Within 
subarea 2A-1, boundaries of a tribe's fishing area may be revised as 
ordered by a Federal Court.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Tribe                                                 Boundaries                         
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hoh...............................................  Between 47 deg.54'18'' N. lat. (Quillayute River) and 47    
                                                     deg.21'00'' N. lat. (Quinault River), and east of 125      
                                                     deg.44'00'' W. long.                                       
Jamestown S'Klallam...............................  Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget     
                                                     Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision
                                                     No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington,
                                                     384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash. 1974), and particularly at 626
                                                     F. Supp. 1486, to be places at which the Jamestown         
                                                     S'Klallam Tribe may fish under rights secured by treaties  
                                                     with the United States.                                    
Lower Elwha S'Klallam.............................  Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget     
                                                     Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision
                                                     No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington,
                                                     384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash. 1974), and particularly at 459
                                                     F. Supp. 1049 and 1066 and 626 F. Supp. 1443, to be places 
                                                     at which the Lower Elwha S'Klallam Tribe may fish under    
                                                     rights secured by treaties with the United States.         
Lummi.............................................  Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget     
                                                     Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision
                                                     No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington,
                                                     384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash. 1974), and particularly at 384
                                                     F. Supp. 360, as modified in Subproceeding No. 89-08 (W.D. 
                                                     Wash. February 13, 1990) (decision and order re: cross-    
                                                     motions for summary judgement), to be places at which the  
                                                     Lummi Tribe may fish under rights secured by treaties with 
                                                     the United States.                                         
Makah.............................................  North of 48 deg.02'15'' N. lat. (Norwegian Memorial), west  
                                                     of 123 deg.42'30'' W. long., and east of 125 deg.44'00'' W.
                                                     long.                                                      
Port Gamble S'Klallam.............................  Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget     
                                                     Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision
                                                     No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington,
                                                     384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash. 1974), and particularly at 626
                                                     F. Supp. 1442, to be places at which the Port Gamble       
                                                     S'Klallam Tribe may fish under rights secured by treaties  
                                                     with the United States.                                    
Quileute..........................................  Between 48 deg.07'36'' N. lat. (Sand Point) and 47          
                                                     deg.31'42'' N. lat. (Queets River), and east of 125        
                                                     deg.44'00'' W. long.                                       
Quinault..........................................  Between 47 deg.40'06'' N. lat. (Destruction Island) and 46  
                                                     deg.53'18'' N. lat. (Point Chehalis), and east of 125      
                                                     deg.44'00'' W. long.                                       
[[Page 14661]]
                                                                                                                
Skokomish.........................................  Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget     
                                                     Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision
                                                     No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington,
                                                     384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash. 1974), and particularly at 384
                                                     F. Supp. 377, to be places at which the Skokomish Tribe may
                                                     fish under rights secured by treaties with the United      
                                                     States.                                                    
Suquamish.........................................  Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget     
                                                     Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision
                                                     No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington,
                                                     384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash. 1974), and particularly at 459
                                                     F. Supp. 1049, to be places at which the Suquamish Tribe   
                                                     may fish under rights secured by treaties with the United  
                                                     States.                                                    
Swinomish.........................................  Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget     
                                                     Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision
                                                     No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington,
                                                     384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash. 1974), and particularly at 459
                                                     F. Supp. 1049, to be places at which the Swinomish Tribe   
                                                     may fish under rights secured by treaties with the United  
                                                     States.                                                    
Tulalip...........................................  Those locations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget     
                                                     Sound as determined in or in accordance with Final Decision
                                                     No. 1 and subsequent orders in United States v. Washington,
                                                     384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash. 1974), and particularly at 626
                                                     F. Supp. 1531-1532, to be places at which the Tulalip Tribe
                                                     may fish under rights secured by treaties with the United  
                                                     States.                                                    
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sec. 301.21  Sport fishing for halibut.

    (a) No person shall engage in sport fishing for halibut using gear 
other than a single line with no more than two hooks attached; or a 
spear.
    (b) In all waters off Alaska:
    (1) The sport fishing season is from February 1 to December 31; and
    (2) The daily bag limit is two halibut of any size per day per 
person.
    (c) In all waters off British Columbia:
    (1) The sport fishing season is from February 1 to December 31; and
    (2) The daily bag limit is two halibut of any size per day per 
person.
    (d) In all waters off California, Oregon, and Washington:
    (1) The total allowable catch of halibut shall be limited to:
    (i) 123,760 lb (56.1 mt) in waters off Washington; and
    (ii) 107,120 lb (48.6 mt) in waters off Oregon and California.
    (2) The sport fishing subareas, subquotas, fishing dates, and daily 
bag limits are as follows, except as modified under the inseason 
actions in paragraph (d)(3) of this section. All sport fishing in Area 
2A (except for fish caught in the North Washington coast area and 
landed into Neah Bay) is managed on a ``port of landing'' basis, 
whereby any halibut landed into a port counts toward the quota for the 
area in which that port is located, and the regulations governing the 
area of landing apply, regardless of the specific area of catch.
    (i) In Puget Sound and the U.S. waters in the Strait of Juan de 
Fuca, east of a line from the lighthouse on Bonilla Point on Vancouver 
Island, British Columbia (48 deg.35'44'' N. lat., 124 deg.43'00'' W. 
long.) to the buoy adjacent to Duntze Rock (48 deg.24'55'' N. lat., 
124 deg.44'50'' W. long.) to Tatoosh Island lighthouse (48 deg.23'30'' 
N. lat., 124 deg.4''00'' W. long.) to Cape Flattery (48 deg.22'55'' N. 
lat., 124 deg.43'42'' W. long.), there is no subquota. This area is 
managed by setting a season that is projected to result in a catch of 
34,653 lb (15.7 mt).
    (A) The fishing season is May 25 through July 29, 5 days a week 
(closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays).
    (B) The daily bag limit is one halibut of any size per day per 
person.
    (ii) In the area off the north Washington coast, west of the line 
described in paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section and north of the 
Queets River (47 deg.31'42'' N. lat.), the subquota for landings into 
ports in this area is 71,410 lb (32.4 mt). Landings into Neah Bay of 
halibut caught in this area will count against this subquota and are 
governed by the regulations in this paragraph (d)(2)(ii).
    (A) The fishing season commences on May 2, and continues 5 days a 
week (Tuesday through Saturday) until 71,410 lb (32.4 mt) are estimated 
to have been taken and the season is closed by the Commission.
    (B) The daily bag limit is one halibut of any size per day per 
person.
    (C) A portion of this area about 19 nm (35 km) southwest of Cape 
Flattery is closed to sport fishing for halibut. The closed area is 
within a rectangle defined by these four corners: 48 deg.18'00'' N. 
lat., 125 deg.11'00'' W. long.; 48 deg.18'00'' N. lat., 124 deg.59'00'' 
W. long.; 48 deg.04'00'' N. lat., 125 deg.11'00'' W. long.; and, 
48 deg.04'00'' N. lat., 124 deg.59'00'' W. long.
    (iii) In the area between the Queets River, WA and Leadbetter 
Point, WA (46 deg.38'10'' N. lat.), the subquota for landings into 
ports in this area is 15,222 lb (6.9 mt).
    (A) The fishing season commences on May 1, and continues every day 
through September 30, or until 15,222 lb (6.9 mt) are estimated to have 
been taken and the area is closed by the Commission, whichever occurs 
first.
    (B) The daily bag limit is one halibut of any size per day per 
person.
    (C) The northern offshore portion of this area is closed to sport 
fishing for halibut. The closed area is west of 124 deg.40'00'' W. 
long. and north of 47 deg.10'00'' N. lat. If, on September 1, 
sufficient quota remains for at least 1 day of fishing, NMFS will, by 
inseason action as specified at Sec. 301.21(d)(4), remove the 
geographical restriction on each Tuesday until the fishery is closed.
    (iv) In the area between Leadbetter Point, WA and Cape Falcon, OR 
(45 deg.46'00'' N. lat.), the subquota for landings into ports in this 
area is 4,617 lb (2.1 mt).
    (A) The fishing season commences on May 1, and continues every day 
through September 30, or until 4,617 lb (2.1 mt) are estimated to have 
been taken and the area is closed by the Commission, whichever occurs 
first.
    (B) The daily bag limit is one halibut with a minimum overall size 
limit of 32 in (81.3 cm).
    (v) In the area off Oregon between Cape Falcon and the Siuslaw 
River (44 deg.01'08'' N. lat.), the subquota for landings into ports in 
this area is 94,694 lb (43 mt).
    (A) The fishing seasons are:
    (1) Commencing May 4, and continuing 3 days a week (Thursday 
through Saturday) until 67,706 lb (30.7 mt) are estimated to have been 
taken and the season is closed by the Commission;
    (2) Commencing the day following the closure of the season in 
paragraph (d)(2)(v)(A)(1) of this section, and continuing every day 
through August 2, in the area inside the 30-fathom (55 m) curve nearest 
to the coastline as plotted on National Ocean Service charts numbered 
18520, 18580, and 18600, or until 3,314 lb (1.5 mt) or the area 
subquota is estimated to have been taken (except that any poundage 
remaining unharvested after the earlier season will be added to this 
season) and the season is closed by the Commission, whichever is 
earlier; and [[Page 14662]] 
    (3) Commencing August 3, and continuing 3 days a week (Thursday 
through Saturday) through September 30, or until the combined subquotas 
for the areas described in paragraphs (d)(2)(v) and (vi) of this 
section totaling 102,193 lb (46.4 mt) are estimated to have been taken 
and the area is closed by the Commission, whichever is earlier.
    (B) The daily bag limit is two halibut, one with a minimum overall 
size limit of 32 in (81.3 cm) and the second with a minimum overall 
size limit of 50 in (127.0 cm).
    (vi) In the area off Oregon between the Siuslaw River and the 
California border (42 deg.00'00'' N. lat.), the subquota for landings 
into ports in this area is 7,499 lb (3.4 mt).
    (A) The fishing seasons are:
    (1) Commencing May 4 and continuing 3 days a week (Thursday through 
Saturday) until 5,999 lb (2.7 mt) are estimated to have been taken and 
the season is closed by the Commission;
    (2) Commencing the day following the closure of the season in 
paragraph (d)(2)(vi)(A)(1) of this section, and continuing every day 
through August 2, in the area inside the 30-fathom (55 m) curve nearest 
to the coastline as plotted on National Ocean Service charts numbered 
18520, 18580, and 18600, or until a total of 1,500 lb (0.7 mt) or the 
area subquota is estimated to have been taken (except that any poundage 
remaining unharvested after the earlier season will be added to this 
season) and the season is closed by the Commission, whichever is 
earlier; and
    (3) Commencing August 3 and continuing 3 days a week (Thursday 
through Saturday) through September 30, or until the combined subquotas 
for the areas described in paragraphs (d)(2) (v) and (vi) of this 
section totaling 102,193 lb (46.4 mt) are estimated to have been taken 
and the area is closed by the Commission, whichever is earlier.
    (B) The daily bag limit is two halibut, one with a minimum overall 
size limit of 32 in (81.3 cm) and the second with a minimum overall 
size limit of 50 in (127.0 cm).
    (vii) In the area off the California coast, there is no subquota. 
This area is managed on a season that is projected to result in a catch 
of less than 2,785 lb (1.3 mt).
    (A) The fishing season will commence on May 1, and continue every 
day through September 30.
    (B) The daily bag limit is one halibut with a minimum overall size 
limit of 32 in (81.3 cm).
    (3) Flexible inseason management provisions in Area 2A.
    (i) The Regional Director, NMFS Northwest Region, after 
consultation with the Chairman of the Pacific Fishery Management 
Council, the Commission Executive Director, and the Fisheries 
Director(s) of the affected state(s), is authorized to modify 
regulations during the season after determining that such action:
    (A) Is necessary to allow allocation objectives to be met; and
    (B) Will not result in exceeding the catch limit established 
preseason for each area.
    (ii) Flexible inseason management provisions include, but are not 
limited to, the following:
    (A) Modification of sport fishing periods;
    (B) Modification of sport fishing bag limits;
    (C) Modification of sport fishing size limits; and
    (D) Modification of sport fishing days per calendar week.
    (iii) Notice procedures. (A) Actions taken under paragraph (d)(3) 
of this section will be published in the Federal Register.
    (B) Actual notice of inseason management actions will be provided 
by a telephone hotline administered by the Northwest Region, NMFS, at 
800-662-9825 (May through September) and by U.S. Coast Guard 
broadcasts. These broadcasts are announced on Channel 16 VHF-FM and 
2182 kHz at frequent intervals. The announcements designate the channel 
or frequency over which the notice to mariners will be immediately 
broadcast. Since provisions of these regulations may be altered by 
inseason actions, sport fishermen should monitor either the telephone 
hotline or U.S. Coast Guard broadcasts for current information for the 
area in which they are fishing.
    (iv) Effective dates. (A) Any action issued under paragraph 
(d)(3)(iii) of this section is effective on the date specified in the 
publication or at the time that the action is filed for public 
inspection with the Office of the Federal Register, whichever is later.
    (B) If time allows, NMFS will invite public comment prior to the 
effective date of any inseason action filed with the Federal Register. 
If the Regional Director determines, for good cause, that an inseason 
action must be filed without affording a prior opportunity for public 
comment, public comments will be received for a period of 15 days after 
of the action in the Federal Register.
    (C) Any inseason action issued under paragraph (d)(3) of this 
section will remain in effect until the stated expiration date or until 
rescinded, modified, or superseded. However, no inseason action has any 
effect beyond the end of the calendar year in which it is issued.
    (v) Availability of data. The Regional Director will compile, in 
aggregate form, all data and other information relevant to the action 
being taken and will make them available for public review during 
normal office hours at the Northwest Regional Office, NMFS, Fisheries 
Management Division, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA.
    (4) The Commission shall determine and announce closing dates to 
the public for any area in which the subquotas under paragraph (d)(2) 
of this section are estimated to have been taken.
    (5) When the Commission has determined that a subquota under 
paragraph (d)(2) of this section is estimated to have been taken, and 
has announced a date on which the season will close, no person shall 
sport fish for halibut in that area after that date for the rest of the 
year, unless a reopening of that area for sport halibut fishing is 
scheduled under paragraph (d)(2) or (d)(3) of this section, or 
announced by the Commission.
    (e) Any minimum overall size limit in this section shall be 
measured in a straight line passing over the pectoral fin from the tip 
of the lower jaw with the mouth closed, to the extreme end of the 
middle of the tail.
    (f) No person shall fillet, mutilate, or otherwise disfigure a 
halibut in any manner that prevents the determination of minimum size 
or the number of fish caught, possessed, or landed.
    (g) The possession limit for halibut in the waters off the coast of 
Alaska is two daily bag limits.
    (h) The possession limit for halibut in the waters off British 
Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California is the same as the daily 
bag limit.
    (i) The possession limit for halibut on land in Area 2A north of 
Cape Falcon, OR is two daily bag limits.
    (j) The possession limit for halibut on land in Area 2A south of 
Cape Falcon, OR is one daily bag limit.
    (k) Any halibut brought on board a vessel and not immediately 
returned to the sea with a minimum of injury will be included in the 
daily bag limit of the person catching the halibut.
    (l) No person shall be in possession of halibut on a vessel while 
fishing in a closed area.
    (m) No halibut caught by sport fishing shall be offered for sale, 
sold, traded, or bartered.
    (n) No halibut caught in sport fishing shall be possessed on board 
a vessel when other fish or shellfish on board [[Page 14663]] the said 
vessel are destined for commercial use, sale, trade, or barter.
    (o) The operator of a charter vessel shall be liable for any 
violations of this part committed by a passenger aboard said vessel.


Sec. 301.22  Fishery election in Area 2A.

    (a) A vessel that fishes in Area 2A may participate in only one of 
the following three fisheries in Area 2A:
    (1) The recreational fishery under Sec. 301.21;
    (2) The commercial directed fishery for halibut during the fishing 
period(s) established in Sec. 301.7(b); or
    (3) The incidental catch fishery during the salmon troll fishery as 
authorized in Sec. 301.7(c).
    (b) No person shall fish for halibut in the recreational fishery in 
Area 2A under Sec. 301.21 from a vessel that has been used during the 
same calendar year for commercial halibut fishing in Area 2A or that 
has been issued a permit for the same calendar year for the commercial 
halibut fishery in Area 2A.
    (c) No person shall fish for halibut in the directed halibut 
fishery in Area 2A during the fishing periods established in 
Sec. 301.7(b) from a vessel that has been used during the same calendar 
year for the incidental catch fishery during the salmon troll fishery 
as authorized in Sec. 301.7(c).
    (d) No person shall fish for halibut in the directed commercial 
halibut fishery in Area 2A from a vessel that, during the same calendar 
year, has been used in the recreational halibut fishery in Area 2A or 
that is licensed for the recreational halibut fishery in Area 2A.
    (e) No person shall retain halibut in the salmon troll fishery in 
Area 2A as authorized under Sec. 301.7(c) taken on a vessel that, 
during the same calendar year, has been used in the recreational 
halibut fishery in Area 2A, or that is licensed for the recreational 
halibut fishery in Area 2A.
    (f) No person shall retain halibut in the salmon troll fishery in 
Area 2A as authorized under Sec. 301.7(c) taken on a vessel that, 
during the same calendar year, has been used in the directed commercial 
fishery during the fishing periods established in Sec. 301.7(b) for 
Area 2A or that is licensed to participate in the directed commercial 
fishery during the fishing periods established in Sec. 301.7(b) in Area 
2A.


Sec. 301.23  Catch sharing plan for Area 2A.

    (a) This Plan constitutes a framework that shall be applied to the 
annual Area 2A total allowable catch (TAC) approved by the Commission 
each January. The framework shall be implemented in both Commission 
regulations and domestic regulations (implemented by NMFS) as published 
in the Federal Register as rulemaking in Secs. 301.1 through 301.22.
    (b) This Plan allocates 35 percent of the Area 2A TAC to U.S. 
treaty Indian tribes in the State of Washington in subarea 2A-1, and 65 
percent to non-Indian fisheries in Area 2A. The allocation to non-
Indian fisheries is divided into three shares, with the Washington 
sport fishery (north of the Columbia River) receiving 36.6 percent, the 
Oregon/California sport fishery receiving 31.7 percent, and the 
commercial fishery receiving 31.7 percent. The sport fishery in the 
Columbia River area (Leadbetter Point to Cape Falcon) will receive 2 
percent of the Washington sport allocation plus 2 percent of the 
Oregon/California sport allocation. The California sport fishery is 
allocated 2.6 percent of the Oregon/California sport allocation. These 
allocations may be changed if new information becomes available that 
indicates a change is necessary and/or the Pacific Fishery Management 
Council takes action to reconsider its allocation recommendations. Such 
changes will be made after appropriate rulemaking is completed and 
published in the Federal Register.
    (c) The allocations in this Plan are distributed as subquotas to 
ensure that any overage or underage by any one group will not affect 
achievement of an allocation set aside for another group. The specific 
allocative measures in the treaty Indian, non-Indian commercial, and 
non-Indian sport fisheries in Area 2A are described in paragraphs (d) 
through (f) of this section.
    (d) Thirty-five percent of the Area 2A TAC is allocated to 12 
treaty Indian tribes in subarea 2A-1, which includes that portion of 
Area 2A north of Point Chehalis, WA (46 deg.53'18'' N. lat.) and east 
of 125 deg.44'00'' W. long. The treaty Indian allocation is to provide 
for a tribal commercial fishery and a ceremonial and subsistence 
fishery. These two fisheries are managed separately; any overages in 
the commercial fishery do not affect the ceremonial and subsistence 
fishery. The commercial fishery is managed to achieve an established 
subquota, while the ceremonial and subsistence fishery is managed for a 
year-round season. The tribes will estimate the ceremonial and 
subsistence harvest expectations in January of each year, and the 
remainder of the allocation will be for the tribal commercial fishery.
    (1) The tribal ceremonial and subsistence fishery begins on January 
1 and continues through December 31. No size or bag limits will apply 
to the ceremonial and subsistence fishery, except that when the tribal 
commercial fishery is closed, treaty Indians may take and retain not 
more than two halibut per day per person. Halibut taken for ceremonial 
and subsistence purposes may not be offered for sale or sold.
    (2) The tribal commercial fishery begins between March 1 and April 
1 and continues through November 15 or until the tribal commercial 
subquota is taken, whichever is earlier. Any halibut sold by treaty 
Indians during the commercial fishing season must comply with 
Commission regulations on size limits for the non Indian fishery.
    (e) The non-Indian commercial fishery is allocated 20.6 percent of 
the Area 2A TAC. The commercial fishery is divided into two components: 
A directed fishery targeting on halibut, and an incidental catch 
fishery during the salmon troll fisheries off Washington, Oregon, and 
California.
    (1) Incidental halibut catch in the salmon troll fishery. Fifteen 
percent of the non-Indian commercial fishery allocation is allocated to 
the salmon troll fishery in Area 2A as an incidental catch during the 
May through June salmon fisheries. The subquota for this incidental 
catch fishery is 3.1 percent of the Area 2A TAC. One halibut (in 
compliance with the Commission minimum size limit of 32 in (81.3 cm)) 
may be landed for each 25 chinook landed by a salmon troller. A salmon 
troller must have 25 chinook on board before retaining a halibut. NMFS 
may adjust this ratio preseason, after the halibut and chinook quotas 
are established. NMFS will publish adjustments to the ratio annually in 
the Federal Register, along with the salmon management measures. A 
salmon troller may participate in this fishery or in the directed 
commercial fishery targeting halibut, but not in both. Any poundage 
remaining in the subquota for this fishery after the May through June 
salmon troll season will be made available inseason to the directed 
halibut fishery. If the Commission determines that poundage remaining 
in the subquota for the directed fishery is insufficient to allow an 
additional day of directed halibut fishing, the remaining directed 
harvest subquota will be made available inseason for the fall salmon 
troll fisheries.
    (2) Directed fishery targeting halibut. Eighty-five percent of the 
non-Indian commercial fishery allocation is allocated to the directed 
fishery targeting halibut (e.g., longline fishery) in southern 
Washington, Oregon, and California. The subquota for this directed 
catch fishery is 17.5 percent of [[Page 14664]] the Area 2A TAC. This 
fishery is confined to the area south of Subarea 2A-1 (south of Point 
Chehalis, WA; 46 deg.53'18'' N. lat.). The commercial fishery opening 
date(s), duration, and vessel trip limits for this fishery, as 
necessary to ensure that the subquota for this fishery is not exceeded, 
will be determined by the Commission and implemented in Commission 
regulations. If the Commission determines that poundage remaining in 
the subquota for this fishery is insufficient to allow an additional 
day of directed halibut fishing, the remaining subquota will be made 
available for incidental catch of halibut in the fall salmon troll 
fisheries.
    (3) Commercial license restrictions/declarations. Commercial 
fishers must obtain a license to fish for halibut in Area 2A by May 1 
of each year. Commercial fishers must choose either to operate in the 
directed commercial fishery in Area 2A, or to retain halibut caught 
incidentally during the salmon troll fishery. Fishing vessels that are 
issued Commission licenses to fish commercially in Area 2A are 
prohibited from obtaining a Commission charterboat license for Area 2A. 
Sport fishing for halibut in Area 2A is prohibited from a vessel 
licensed to fish commercially for halibut in Area 2A.
    (f) Sport fisheries. The non-Indian sport fisheries are allocated 
68.3 percent of the non-Indian share, which is 44.4 percent of the Area 
2A TAC. The Washington sport fishery (north of the Columbia River) is 
allocated 53.6 percent of the non-Indian sport allocation and Oregon/
California is allocated 46.4 percent. The allocations are further 
subdivided as subquotas among seven geographic subareas as described in 
paragraph (f)(1) of this section.
    (1) Subarea management. The sport fishery is divided into seven 
sport fishery subareas, each having separate allocations and management 
measures as follows.
    (i) Washington inside waters subarea. This sport fishery subarea is 
allocated 28.0 percent of the Washington sport allocation, which equals 
6.66 percent of the Area 2A TAC. This subarea is defined as all U.S. 
waters east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line, defined as follows: From 
Bonilla Point (48 deg.35'44'' N. lat., 124 deg.43'00'' W. long.) to the 
buoy adjacent to Duntze Rock (48 deg.24'55'' N. lat., 124 deg.44'50'' 
W. long.) to Tatoosh Island lighthouse (48 deg.23'30'' N. lat., 
124 deg.44'00'' W. long.) to Cape Flattery (48 deg.22'55'' N. lat., 
124 deg.43'42'' W. long.), including Puget Sound. The structuring 
objective for this subarea is to provide a stable sport fishing 
opportunity and maximize the season length. Due to inability to monitor 
the catch in this area inseason, a fixed season will be established 
preseason based on projected catch per day and number of days to 
achievement of the subquota. No inseason adjustments will be made, and 
estimates of actual catch will be made postseason. The fishery opens on 
either May 18 or May 25 and continues at least through July 4, until a 
date established preseason when the subquota is predicted to be taken, 
or until September 30, whichever is earlier. If May 18 or May 25 fall 
on a Tuesday or Wednesday, the fishery will open on the following 
Thursday. The season opens for 5 days per week (closed on Tuesdays and 
Wednesdays). The daily bag limit is one fish per person, with no size 
limit.
    (ii) Washington north coast subarea. This sport fishery subarea is 
allocated 57.7 percent of the Washington sport allocation, which equals 
13.73 percent of the Area 2A TAC. This subarea is defined as all U.S. 
waters west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line, as defined in paragraph 
(f)(1)(i) of this section, and north of the Queets River 
(47 deg.31'42'' N. lat.). The structuring objective for this subarea is 
to maximize the season length for viable fishing opportunity and, if 
possible, stagger the seasons to spread out this opportunity to anglers 
who utilize these remote grounds. The fishery opens on May 1, and 
continues 5 days per week (closed on Sundays and Mondays). If May 1 
falls on a Sunday or Monday, the fishery will open on the following 
Tuesday. The highest priority is for the season to last through the 
month of May. If sufficient quota remains, the second priority is to 
establish a fishery that will be open July 1, through at least July 4. 
If the preseason prediction indicates that these two goals can be met 
without utilizing the quota for this subarea, the next priority is to 
open the May fishery 7 days per week and extend it into June as long as 
possible. No sport fishing for halibut is allowed after September 30. 
The daily bag limit in all fisheries is one halibut per person with no 
size limit. A closure to sport fishing for halibut will be established 
in an area that is approximately 19.5 nm (36.1 km) southwest of Cape 
Flattery. The size of this closed area may be modified preseason by 
NMFS to maximize the season length. The closed area is defined as the 
area within a rectangle defined by these four corners: 48 deg.17'00'' 
N. lat., 125 deg.10'00'' W. long.; 48 deg.17'00'' N. lat., 
125 deg.00'00'' W. long.; 48 deg.05'00'' N. lat., 125 deg.10'00'' W. 
long.; and, 48 deg.05'00'' N. lat., 125 deg.00'00'' W. long.
    (iii) Washington south coast subarea. This sport fishery subarea is 
allocated 12.3 percent of the Washington sport allocation, which equals 
2.93 percent of the Area 2A TAC. This subarea is defined as waters 
south of the Queets River (47 deg.31'42'' N. lat.) and north of 
Leadbetter Point (46 deg.38'10'' N. lat.). The structuring objective 
for this subarea is to maximize the season length, while providing for 
a limited halibut fishery. The fishery opens on May 1, for 7 days per 
week until the subquota is estimated to have been taken, or September 
30, whichever is earlier. The daily bag limit is one halibut per 
person, with no size limit. Sport fishing for halibut is prohibited in 
the area south of the Queets River (47 deg.31'42'' N. lat.), west of 
124 deg.40'00'' W. long. and north of 47 deg.10'00'' N. lat. This 
closure may be removed through inseason action by NMFS under 
Sec. 301.21(d)(3) after September 1, for 1 day each week on Tuesday 
only, if NMFS determines that sufficient subarea quota remains to allow 
for 1 day of fishing without geographic restriction.
    (iv) Columbia River subarea. This sport fishery subarea is 
allocated 2.0 percent of the Washington sport allocation plus 2.0 
percent of the Oregon/California sport allocation, which combined 
equals 0.89 percent of the Area 2A TAC. This subarea is defined as 
waters south of Leadbetter Point, WA (46 deg.38'10'' N. lat.) and north 
of Cape Falcon, OR (45 deg.46'00'' N. lat.). The structuring objective 
for this subarea is to provide for a non-directed halibut sport fishery 
of not more than 5 months duration out of the Columbia River ports. The 
fishery will open on May 1, and continue 7 days per week until the 
subquota is estimated to have been taken, or September 30, whichever is 
earlier. The daily bag limit is one halibut per person, with a 32-in 
(81.3 cm) minimum size.
    (v) Oregon central coast subarea (applicable through December 31, 
1995). If the Area 2A TAC is 388,350 lb (176.2 mt) and above, this 
subarea extends from Cape Falcon to the Siuslaw River at the Florence 
north jetty (44 deg.01'08'' N. lat.) and is allocated 88.4 percent of 
the Oregon/California sport allocation, which is 18.21 percent of the 
Area 2A TAC. If the Area 2A TAC is below 388,350 lb (176.2 mt), this 
sport fishery subarea extends from Cape Falcon to the California border 
and is allocated 95.4 percent of the Oregon/California sport 
allocation. The structuring objectives for this subarea are to provide 
one or two periods of fishing opportunity in productive deeper water 
areas along the coast, principally for charter and larger private boat 
anglers, and provide a period of fishing opportunity in nearshore 
waters in June and July, [[Page 14665]] especially for small boat 
anglers. Any poundage remaining in this subarea quota from earlier 
seasons will be added to the last season in this subarea. This subarea 
has three seasons as set out in paragraphs (f)(2)(v) (A) through (C) of 
this section. The daily bag limit for all seasons is two halibut per 
person, one with a minimum 32-in (81.3 cm) size limit and the second 
with a minimum 50-in (127.0 cm) size limit.
    (A) The first season is an all-depth fishery that begins on May 4, 
and continues 3 days per week (Thursday through Saturday) until 71.5 
percent of the subarea quota is taken.
    (B) The second season opens the day following closure of the first 
season, only in waters inside the 30-fathom (55 m) curve, and continues 
every day until 3.5 percent of the subarea quota is taken, or August 2, 
whichever is earlier.
    (C) The last season begins on August 3, with no depth restrictions, 
and continues 3 days per week (Thursday through Saturday), until the 
combined Oregon subarea quotas south of Falcon are estimated to have 
been taken, or September 30, whichever is earlier.
    (vi) Oregon south coast subarea (applicable through December 31, 
1995). If the Area 2A TAC is 388,350 lb (176.2 mt) and above, this 
subarea extends from the Siuslaw River at the Florence north jetty 
(44 deg.01'08'' N. lat.) to the California border (42 deg.00'00'' N. 
lat.) and is allocated 7.0 percent of the Oregon/California sport 
allocation, which is 1.44 percent of the Area 2A TAC. If the Area 2A 
TAC is below 388,350 lb (176.2 mt), this subarea will be included in 
the Oregon Central sport fishery subarea. The structuring objective for 
this subarea is to create a south coast management zone designed to 
accommodate the needs of both charterboat and private boat anglers in 
this area where weather and bar crossing conditions very often do not 
allow scheduled fishing trips. This subarea has three seasons as set 
out in paragraphs (f)(2)(vi) (A) through (C) of this section. The daily 
bag limit for all seasons is two halibut per person, one with a minimum 
32-in (81.3 cm) size limit and the second with a minimum 50-in (127.0 
cm) size limit.
    (A) The first season is an all-depth fishery that begins on May 4, 
and continues 3 days per week (Thursday through Saturday) until 80 
percent of the subarea quota is taken.
    (B) The second season opens the day following closure of the first 
season, only in waters inside the 30-fathom (55 m) curve, and continues 
every day until the subarea quota is estimated to have been taken, or 
August 2, whichever is earlier.
    (C) The last season begins on August 3, with no depth restrictions, 
and continues 3 days per week (Thursday through Saturday), until the 
combined Oregon subarea quotas south of Falcon are estimated to have 
been taken, or September 30, whichever is earlier.
    (vii) California subarea. This sport fishery subarea is allocated 
2.6 percent of the Oregon/California subquota, which is 0.54 percent of 
the Area 2A TAC. This area is defined as the area south of the 
California border (42 deg.00'00'' N. lat.). The structuring objective 
for this subarea is to provide anglers in California the opportunity to 
fish in a continuous, fixed season that is open from May 1 through 
September 30. The daily bag limit is one halibut per person, with a 
minimum 32-in (81.3 cm) size limit. Due to inability to monitor the 
catch in this area inseason, a fixed season will be established 
preseason by NMFS based on projected catch per day and number of days 
to achievement of the subquota; no inseason adjustments will be made, 
and estimates of actual catch will be made post season.
    (2) Port of landing management. All sport fishing in Area 2A 
(except for fish caught in the Washington north coast subarea and 
landed in Neah Bay) will be managed on a ``port of landing'' basis, 
whereby any halibut landed into a port will count toward the quota for 
the subarea in which that port is located, and the regulations 
governing the subarea of landing apply, regardless of the specific area 
of catch. The one exception is for halibut caught west of the Bonilla-
Tatoosh line and landed in Neah Bay, which are counted against the 
Washington north coast subarea quota, and are governed by the 
regulations governing the Washington north coast subarea.
    (3) Possession limits. The sport possession limit on land north of 
Cape Falcon, OR is two daily bag limits, regardless of condition, but 
only one daily bag limit may be possessed on the vessel. The possession 
limit on land south of Cape Falcon is the same as the bag limit.
    (4) Ban on sport vessels in the commercial fishery. Vessels 
operating in the sport fishery for halibut in Area 2A are prohibited 
from operating in the commercial halibut fishery in Area 2A. 
Charterboat operators must choose, prior to May 1 of each year, whether 
they will obtain a charterboat license from the Commission or a 
commercial license, but cannot obtain both. Sport fishing for halibut 
in Area 2A is prohibited from a vessel licensed to fish commercially 
for halibut in Area 2A.
    (g) Procedures for implementation. Each year, NMFS will publish a 
proposed rule with any regulatory modifications necessary to implement 
the Plan for the following year, with a request for public comments. 
The comment period will extend until after the Commission's annual 
meeting, so that the public will have the opportunity to consider the 
final Area 2A TAC before submitting comments. After the Area 2A TAC is 
known, and after NMFS reviews public comments, NMFS will implement 
final rules governing the sport fisheries. The final ratio of halibut 
to chinook to be allowed as incidental catch in the salmon troll 
fishery will be published with the annual salmon management measures. 
Inseason actions in the sport fisheries as stipulated in this Plan will 
be accomplished by NMFS in accordance with Sec. 301.21(d)(3).


Sec. 301.24  Previous regulations superseded.

    This part shall supersede all previous regulations of the 
Commission, and this part shall be effective each succeeding year until 
superseded by regulations, which will be published in the Federal 
Register.

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[[Page 14666]]

Figure 1 to Part 301--Map of Regulatory Areas
[GRAPHIC][TIFF OMITTED]TR20MR95.000



[[Page 14667]]

Figure 2 to Part 301--Halibut Size Limits
[GRAPHIC][TIFF OMITTED]TR20MR95.001



[FR Doc. 95-6667 Filed 3-14-95; 4:35 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-C