[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 141 (Friday, July 22, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 44155-44198]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-18321]



[[Page 44155]]

Vol. 76

Friday,

No. 141

July 22, 2011

Part III





Department of Commerce





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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration





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50 CFR Parts 300 and 679





Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan for Guided Sport and 
Commercial Fisheries in Alaska; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 141 / Friday, July 22, 2011 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 300 and 679

[Docket No. 101027534-0559-01]
RIN 0648-BA37


Pacific Halibut Fisheries; Catch Sharing Plan for Guided Sport 
and Commercial Fisheries in Alaska

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS proposes regulations that would implement a catch sharing 
plan for the guided sport and commercial fisheries for Pacific halibut 
in waters of International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Regulatory 
Areas 2C (Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska). If 
approved, this catch sharing plan will change the annual process of 
allocating halibut between the guided sport and commercial fisheries in 
Area 2C and Area 3A, establish allocations for each sector, and specify 
harvest restrictions for guided sport anglers that are intended to 
limit harvest to the annual guided sport fishery catch limit. In order 
to provide flexibility for individual commercial and guided sport 
fishery participants, the proposed catch sharing plan also will 
authorize annual transfers of commercial halibut quota to charter 
halibut permit holders for harvest in the guided sport fishery. This 
action is necessary to achieve the halibut fishery management goals of 
the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

DATES: Written comments must be received by September 6, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional 
Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, 
Attn: Ellen Sebastian. You may submit comments identified by 0648-BA37 
by any one of the following methods:
     Electronic submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site at http://www.regulations.gov.
     Mail: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668.
     Fax: 907-586-7557.
     Hand delivery: 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK.
    All comments received are a part of the public record and will 
generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All 
personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily 
submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit 
confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected 
information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the 
required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to 
electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, 
WordPerfect, or Adobe portable document file (pdf) formats only.
    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
proposed rule may be submitted to NMFS at the above address and by e-
mail to [email protected] or fax to 202-395-7285.
    Electronic copies of the Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact 
Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis prepared for this action 
are available from http://www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS Alaska 
Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The Environmental 
Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Final Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis for the charter halibut limited access program is available 
from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rachel Baker, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. Management of the Halibut Fisheries
II. History of Management in the Guided Sport Halibut Fisheries
III. Proposed Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) for Area 2C and Area 3A
IV. CSP Allocation Between the Commercial and Guided Sport Halibut 
Fisheries
    A. Annual Combined Catch Limit
    B. Annual Commercial Fishery and Guided Sport Fishery Catch 
Limits
    C. Guided Sport Target Harvest Range
V. CSP Restrictions
    A. Default CSP Restrictions
    B. Projections of Guided Sport Harvest
    C. Determination of Annual CSP Restrictions
    D. Other Restrictions under the CSP
VI. Guided Angler Fish (GAF)
    A. Eligibility Requirements to Transfer Between IFQ and GAF
    B. Process to Complete a Transfer Between IFQ and GAF
    C. GAF Transfer Restrictions
    D. GAF Reporting Requirements
VII. Cost Recovery for GAF
VIII. Technical Regulatory Changes
IX. Classification

I. Management of the Halibut Fisheries

    The IPHC and NMFS manage fishing for Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus 
stenolepis) through regulations established under authority of the 
Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut Act). The IPHC adopts 
regulations governing the Pacific halibut fishery under the Convention 
between the United States and Canada for the Preservation of the 
Halibut Fishery of the North 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). 
Regulations developed by the IPHC are subject to acceptance by the 
Secretary of State with concurrence from the Secretary of Commerce. 
After acceptance by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of 
Commerce, NMFS publishes the IPHC regulations in the Federal Register 
as annual management measures pursuant to 50 CFR 300.62. The most 
recent IPHC regulations were published March 16, 2011, at 76 FR 14300. 
IPHC regulations affecting sport fishing for halibut and vessels in the 
guided sport (charter) fishery in Areas 2C and 3A may be found in 
sections 3, 25, and 28 (76 FR 14300, March 16, 2011).
    The Halibut Act, at Sections 773c(a) and (b), provides the 
Secretary of Commerce with general responsibility to carry out the 
Convention and the Halibut Act. In adopting regulations that may be 
necessary to carry out the purposes and objectives of the Convention 
and the Halibut Act, the Secretary of Commerce is directed to consult 
with the Secretary of the department in which the U.S. Coast Guard is 
operating.
    The Halibut Act, at section 773c(c), also provides the North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) with authority to develop 
regulations, including limited access regulations, that are in addition 
to, and not in conflict with, approved IPHC regulations. Regulations 
developed by the Council may be implemented by NMFS only after approval 
by the Secretary of Commerce. The Council has exercised this authority 
in the development of subsistence halibut fishery management measures, 
codified at 50 CFR 300.65, and the limited access program for charter 
vessels in the guided sport fishery, codified at 50 CFR 300.67. The 
Council also developed the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program for 
the commercial halibut and sablefish fisheries, codified at 50 CFR part 
679, under the authority of section 773 of the Halibut Act and section 
303(b) of the

[[Page 44157]]

Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) (16 
U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).
    The harvest of halibut in Alaska occurs in three basic fisheries--
the commercial, sport, and subsistence fisheries. The IPHC annually 
determines the amount of halibut that may be removed from the resource 
on an area-by-area basis in all areas of Convention waters without 
causing biological conservation problems. The IPHC develops catch 
limits for the commercial sector in waters in and off Alaska. The IPHC 
estimates the exploitable biomass of halibut using a combination of 
harvest data from the commercial, sport, and subsistence fisheries, and 
information collected during scientific surveys and sampling of bycatch 
in other fisheries. The IPHC calculates the amount of total allowable 
harvest in a given area by multiplying a harvest rate by the estimate 
of exploitable biomass. Referred to as the Total Constant Exploitation 
Yield (CEY), this target level represents the total removals for that 
area in the coming year. The Total CEY is expressed in net pounds, 
which is defined as the weight of halibut from which the gills, 
entrails, head, and ice and slime have been removed. The IPHC subtracts 
estimates of halibut removals and mortality from sources other than the 
directed commercial halibut fishery, including sport, subsistence, 
bycatch in non-halibut commercial fisheries, and halibut wastage, or 
discarded halibut that are smaller than the minimum legal commercial 
size limit of 32 inches, or 81.3 centimeters (cm), and halibut killed 
or lost on abandoned commercial halibut fishing gear, from the Total 
CEY. The remaining CEY is called the Fishery CEY. The Fishery CEY 
provides the basis for the IPHC's determination of catch limits for the 
directed commercial fixed gear halibut fishery. The IPHC considers 
staff recommendations, harvest policy, and stakeholder input when it 
determines commercial catch limits.
    Pursuant to Article III of the Convention, the IPHC must develop 
and maintain halibut stocks to levels that will permit the optimum 
yield for the halibut fisheries. The IPHC meets this objective by 
including all sources of fishing mortality within the Total CEY and by 
establishing the commercial fixed gear catch limits only after 
subtracting halibut removals from other non-halibut commercial 
fisheries and non-commercial uses. Although most of the non-commercial 
uses of halibut have been relatively stable, growth in the guided sport 
fishery in recent years has resulted in this fishery harvesting a 
larger amount of halibut than it did in earlier years. Because the IPHC 
subtracts this increased non-commercial halibut fishery removal from 
the Total CEY, the amount of halibut available for the commercial 
halibut fishery decreased.

II. History of Management in the Guided Sport Halibut Fisheries

    Until 2007, only regulations developed by the IPHC governed guided 
sport fisheries for halibut. The IPHC first adopted halibut sport 
fishing rules in 1973 to provide consistency and uniformity in halibut 
sport fishing regulations in all regulatory areas. At that time, the 
IPHC established that the sport fishing season for halibut would occur 
from March 1 through October 31. From 1984 through 1997, the IPHC 
required guided sport vessels to have IPHC licenses. Finally, the IPHC 
limited the number of halibut that charter vessel anglers could retain 
by imposing a daily bag limit. Since the initial limit of a three fish 
bag limit in 1973, the IPHC has adjusted the bag limit two times. The 
bag limit has varied between a limit of one, two, and three fish per 
angler per day. The bag limit under IPHC regulations for the 2011 
guided sport fishery in Area 3A is two fish of any size per day unless 
more restrictive bag limits apply in Federal regulations. Currently, 
Federal regulations at 50 CFR 300.65 impose a more restrictive bag 
limit on the guided sport fishery of one halibut with a maximum length 
of 37 inches in Area 2C.
    In 1997, the Council adopted separate guideline harvest levels 
(GHL) for Area 2C and Area 3A. Although the Council had a policy that 
guided sport halibut fisheries should not exceed the GHL, the Council 
did not recommend measures to constrain this fishery should it exceed 
the GHL. The proposed and final rules implementing the current GHLs 
were published in the Federal Register in 2002 and 2003 respectively 
(67 FR 3867, January 2, 2002; 68 FR 47256, August 8, 2003). These 
regulations are codified at 50 CFR 300.65.
    The GHLs represent a pre-season specification of acceptable annual 
halibut harvests in the guided sport fisheries in Areas 2C and 3A. To 
accommodate some growth in the guided sport sector, while approximating 
historical levels, the Council recommended the GHLs based on 125 
percent of the average 1995 through 1999 guided sport halibut harvest 
in each area. For Area 2C the maximum was set at 1,432,000 pounds 
(lbs), or 649.5 metric tons (mt) net weight, and in Area 3A the maximum 
GHL was set at 3,650,000 lbs (1,655.6 mt) net weight. The Council 
recommended a system of step-wise adjustments to accommodate decreases 
and subsequent increases in abundance. The Council recommended this 
system of GHL adjustments to provide a relatively predictable and 
stable harvest target for guided halibut sport sector notwithstanding a 
lack of measures to constrain the guided sport halibut fishery. A more 
detailed description of GHL management and the Council's rationale 
behind such management can be found in the proposed and final rules 
implementing that action (67 FR 3867, January 2, 2002; 68 FR 47256, 
August 8, 2003).
    To ensure that the halibut stocks would continue to develop to a 
level that would permit optimum yield in the halibut fisheries, the 
IPHC and Council have recommended, and the Secretary of Commerce has 
adopted, a number of regulatory measures in Area 2C to limit guided 
sport halibut harvest to within the GHL. The primary regulatory 
measures included: (1) Effective in 2007 and 2008, maintaining a two-
fish daily bag limit provided that at least one of the harvested 
halibut had a head-on length of no more than 32 inches (81.3 cm) (72 FR 
30714, June 4, 2007); and (2) effective in 2009, a one-fish daily bag 
limit that superseded the June 4, 2007, two-fish with maximum size 
rule, a prohibition on harvest by the charter vessel guide and crew, 
and a line limit equal to the number of charter vessel anglers onboard, 
not to exceed six lines (74 FR 21194, May 6, 2009).
    Members of the charter halibut sector challenged the May 6, 2009, 
final rule in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Van 
Valin v. Locke, 671 F. Supp 2d 1 D.D.C 2009). Plaintiffs argued that 
the rule violated the Halibut Act and the Administrative Procedure Act 
(APA). The court granted summary judgment in favor of the Secretary of 
Commerce and upheld the May 6, 2009, final rule. The one halibut per 
day bag limit for charter vessel anglers remains in effect for Area 2C.
    In addition, as a response to concerns that that growth in the 
charter vessel sector was overcrowding productive halibut grounds, the 
Council recommended, and the Secretary of Commerce adopted, a limited 
access program to provide stability for the guided sport halibut 
fishery and decrease the need for regulatory adjustments affecting 
charter vessel anglers. NMFS published a final rule implementing the 
charter halibut limited access program on January 5, 2010 (75 FR 554). 
Under the program, NMFS initially issued permits to those businesses 
that historically and recently participated in the guided sport 
fishery.

[[Page 44158]]

    The Area 2C guided sport harvest has exceeded its GHL every year 
since 2004 notwithstanding the foregoing management measures designed 
to control sport halibut harvest in this area. During 2004 through 
2007, the GHL was 1,432,000 lbs (649.5 mt). During that time period, 
guided sport harvests were approximately 1,750,000 lbs (793.8 mt) in 
2004, 1,952,000 lbs (885.4 mt) in 2005, 1,804,000 lbs (818.3 mt) in 
2006, and 1,918,000 lbs (870.0 mt) in 2007. In 2008, the GHL was 
931,000 lbs (422.3 mt) and guided sport harvests was approximately 
1,999,000 lbs (906.7 mt). In 2009 the GHL was 788,000 lbs (357.4 mt) 
and the guided sport harvest was approximately 1,245,000 lbs (564.7 
mt). In 2010, the GHL was 788,000 lbs (357.4 mt). The Alaska Department 
of Fish and Game (ADF&G) provided the IPHC with a preliminary estimate 
of the guided sport harvest in 2010 of 46,816 fish yielding 1,279,000 
lbs (580.1 mt) (November 1, 2010, letter from ADF&G to the IPHC).
    The Total CEY for 2011 is 5,390,000 lbs (2,445.0 mt) in Area 2C. 
The corresponding GHL is 788,000 lbs (357.4 mt) in Area 2C. Because 
NMFS imposed no additional charter restrictions in 2011, the IPHC 
believed that charter harvest was likely to exceed the GHL and result 
in total harvest exceeding the total CEY. As such, the IPHC recommended 
and the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Secretary of 
Commerce, accepted a daily bag limit for charter vessel anglers in Area 
2C of one halibut with a maximum length of 37 inches (94.0 cm) per day 
(76 FR 14300, March 16, 2011). The IPHC recommended this additional 
management measure in the Area 2C charter fishery to limit guided sport 
halibut harvest to the GHL and achieve the IPHC's overall conservation 
objective for Area 2C.

 III. Proposed Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) for Area 2C and Area 3A

    In October 2008, the Council adopted a motion to recommend the CSP 
to the Secretary of Commerce. The motion is available at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/current_issues/halibut_issues/HalibutCSPmotion1008.pdf. The Council intended the CSP to be a 
comprehensive management program for the guided sport halibut fisheries 
in Area 2C and Area 3A. If approved, the proposed regulations would (1) 
establish sector allocations of a combined catch limit to the 
commercial and guided sport halibut fisheries in Area 2C and in Area 
3A, (2) implement harvest restrictions (CSP restrictions) for charter 
vessel anglers in each area that would be intended to limit guided 
sport harvest to within the target harvest range around that sector's 
catch limit for that area, and (3) authorize transfers of commercial 
halibut IFQ as guided angler fish (GAF) to charter halibut permit 
holders for harvest by charter vessel anglers in the guided sport 
halibut fishery. GAF would offer charter vessel anglers in Area 2C or 
Area 3A an opportunity to harvest halibut in addition to, or instead 
of, the halibut harvested under the CSP restriction, up to the harvest 
limits in place for unguided sport anglers in that area. Because GAF 
would be a use of halibut IFQ, GAF harvested by charter vessel anglers 
would not be included in estimates of guided sport harvest under the 
CSP.
    The CSP allocations would replace the GHL with a percentage 
allocation of the combined catch limit to the guided sport fishery. The 
combined catch limit would be determined by the IPHC each year prior to 
the fishing season. The CSP also would establish non-discretionary CSP 
restrictions for charter vessel anglers prior to the fishing season 
based on projected harvests and guided sport catch limits for that 
year. Under the GHL, restrictions for charter vessel anglers in Area 2C 
were implemented by separate NMFS rulemaking after the GHL was 
exceeded. The pre-season specification of the CSP restrictions is 
intended to limit guided sport harvest to the target before an overage 
occurs, as opposed to the retroactive GHL approach that implements 
corrective action after the overages have occurred.
    The pre-season specification of CSP restrictions is consistent with 
the Council's objective to maintain the guided sport season length in 
effect in recent years (February 1 through December 31) with no 
inseason changes to harvest restrictions. The Council developed this 
objective based on public testimony from charter vessel operators 
indicating that inseason changes to harvest restrictions would be 
disruptive to guided sport operators and anglers. Many charter vessel 
anglers typically book fishing trips with operators well in advance of 
the trip date with an expectation that the harvest restrictions that 
are effective at the beginning of the fishing season will be in place 
throughout that season. Management changes to bag or size limits for 
charter vessel anglers within a fishing season may cause considerable 
inconvenience for guided sport anglers and operators if anglers decide 
to postpone or cancel their guided sport fishing trip due to the bag or 
size limit change. The potential for inseason management changes also 
could result in fewer anglers planning guided sport fishing trips in 
Alaska, which could have a significant adverse economic impact on 
charter vessel operators by reducing revenue.
    The Council recommended, and NMFS agrees, that the annual CSP catch 
limits for the commercial and charter sectors and the CSP restrictions 
for charter vessel anglers should be determined and implemented by a 
predictable and standardized methodology as part of the IPHC's annual 
recommendations for halibut fishery conservation and management. This 
proposed rule would establish procedures for determining the sector 
catch limits and CSP restrictions for each area in order to provide a 
systematic method for limiting projected charter harvest to the target 
harvest range determined by the CSP. NMFS proposes that the annual CSP 
catch limits for the commercial and charter sectors and the CSP 
restrictions for charter vessel anglers be implemented as IPHC annual 
management measures. If the proposed CSP is approved, NMFS would 
include the CSP sector catch limits and CSP restrictions in the IPHC 
annual management measures published in the Federal Register each year, 
as specified by regulations at 50 CFR 300.62.
    These annual management measures are effective until superseded by 
regulations, which typically result when the Secretary of State and the 
Secretary of Commerce accept the regulatory recommendations made by the 
IPHC at its next January annual meeting. In recent years, this schedule 
for implementing IPHC regulations has affected the February 1 season 
opening date for halibut sport fisheries in Alaska. The effective date 
of the annual management measures has typically been around March 1. 
Thus, the February 1 opening of the sport season was regulated by the 
previous year's annual management measures, which had not yet been 
superseded by the most recent IPHC-recommended regulations. This 
situation likely would continue under the CSP unless the IPHC 
recommends a change to the February 1 opening for the sport fishing 
season. However, implementation of the annual management measures in 
March likely does not impact the guided sport fishery because there has 
historically been little or no halibut harvest in this fishery in 
February.
    Except for authorizing commercial halibut quota share (QS) holders 
to transfer IFQ as GAF to charter halibut permit holders, the Council 
did not intend for the CSP to change the management of the commercial 
longline

[[Page 44159]]

halibut fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A. The directed commercial 
halibut fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A are managed under the IFQ 
program pursuant to regulations at 50 CFR 679 subparts A through E. The 
proposed rule would amend these regulations to authorize transfers 
between IFQ and GAF and establish the requirements for using GAF.

IV. CSP Allocation Between the Commercial and Guided Sport Halibut 
Fisheries

A. Annual Combined Catch Limit

    The CSP would (1) change the current process for specifying annual 
commercial catch limits for the commercial halibut fisheries in Area 2C 
and Area 3A, and (2) establish a process for specifying annual guided 
sport catch limits in Area 2C and Area 3A. The process for specifying 
annual guided sport catch limits under the CSP would replace the GHL 
for the guided sport fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A. The IPHC 
currently specifies annual catch limits only for the directed 
commercial halibut fisheries, and Federal regulations determine the GHL 
for the guided sport halibut fisheries based on the Total CEY in Area 
2C and Area 3A determined by the IPHC. Under the proposed CSP, the IPHC 
would specify an annual combined catch limit for Area 2C and for Area 
3A at its annual meeting, which has typically taken place in January. 
Each area's annual combined catch limit in net pounds would be the 
total allowable halibut harvest for the directed commercial halibut 
fishery plus the total allowable halibut harvest for the guided sport 
halibut fishery under the CSP.
    NMFS anticipates that the IPHC process for determining the annual 
combined catch limit would be similar to its current process for 
determining annual commercial catch limits. The IPHC would continue to 
estimate the exploitable biomass of halibut using a combination of 
harvest data from the commercial, sport, and subsistence fisheries, and 
information collected during scientific surveys and sampling of bycatch 
in other fisheries. The IPHC would calculate the Total CEY, or the 
target level for total removals (in net pounds) for that area in the 
coming year, by multiplying the target harvest rate by the estimate of 
exploitable biomass. With the exception of guided sport removals, the 
IPHC would subtract estimates of all non-commercial removals from the 
Total CEY. The remaining CEY, after the removals are subtracted, would 
be the combined commercial and guided sport fishery CEY and would 
provide the basis for the IPHC's determination of the annual combined 
catch limit for Areas 2C and 3A. The IPHC would continue to consider 
the combined commercial and guided sport fishery CEY, staff 
recommendations, harvest policy, and stakeholder input, when it 
specifies the Area 2C and Area 3A annual combined catch limits in net 
pounds. The IPHC process for determining annual combined catch limits 
under the proposed CSP is presented in Figure 5.
Figure 5. IPHC Process for Setting Annual Combined Catch Limits for 
Area 2C and Area 3A Under the Proposed CSP
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P

[[Page 44160]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JY11.000

BILLING CODE 3510-22-C
    Under the CSP, the IPHC would divide the annual combined catch 
limits into separate annual catch limits for the commercial and guided 
sport fisheries. The CSP allocates a fixed percentage of the annual 
combined catch limit to the guided sport and commercial fisheries. The 
fixed percentage allocation to each sector varies with halibut 
abundance. The IPHC would multiply the CSP allocation percentages for 
each area by the annual combined catch limit to calculate the 
commercial and guided sport catch limits in net pounds. At moderate to 
low levels of halibut abundance, the CSP could provide the guided sport 
sector with a smaller poundage catch limit than it would have received 
under the GHL program. Conversely, at higher levels of abundance, the 
CSP could provide the guided sport sector with a larger poundage catch 
limit than it would have received under the GHL program. The Council 
intended the CSP sector allocations to balance the needs of the guided 
sport and commercial sectors at all levels of halibut abundance.
    Although the CSP allocation method is a significant change from the 
current allocation method under the GHL, NMFS believes that the 
allocation under the CSP provides a more equitable management response 
to changes in Total CEY. For example, the Area 2C GHL was 788,000 lbs 
in 2009. The Area 2C Total CEY declined by approximately 16 percent 
from 2009 to 2010, but this decline did not trigger a change in the 
GHL, which remained at 788,000 lbs in 2010. The burden of a lower 
exploitable biomass in Area 2C was borne entirely by the commercial 
sector in 2010. Conversely, when halibut exploitable biomass increases, 
the GHL does not allow the guided sport sector to fully benefit from 
this increase. For example, the Area 3A Total CEY increased by 
approximately 11 percent from 2006 to 2007, but this increase did not 
trigger a change in the GHL, which was at the maximum level of 
3,650,000 lbs in 2006 and 2007.
    The Council considered establishing fixed poundage allocations to 
the guided sport sector as implemented under the GHL program. However, 
the Council determined that use of a combined catch limit under the CSP 
would allow the IPHC to establish a clear allocation between the guided 
sport and commercial halibut sectors. Allocating each sector a 
percentage of the combined catch limit would be a simple calculation 
and would be transparent and comprehensible to each user group. This 
approach is equitable for halibut fishery management because both the 
commercial and guided sport sector allocations adjust directly with 
changes in halibut exploitable biomass. Thus, both the guided sport and 
commercial sectors would share in the benefits and costs of managing 
the resource for long-term sustainability under a combined catch limit.

[[Page 44161]]

B. Annual Commercial Fishery and Guided Sport Fishery Catch Limits

    The Council considered historical catch information when 
determining the recommended CSP allocation percentages for the 
commercial and guided sport sectors. The Council reviewed average 
guided sport harvest estimates for individual years and for different 
combinations of years ranging from 1999 through 2005. The Council 
recommended two sets of CSP allocation percentages for the commercial 
and guided sport sectors in Area 2C and in Area 3A. At catch limit 
levels of 5,000,000 lbs (2,267.9 mt) and less in Area 2C and 10,000,000 
lbs (4,535.9 mt) and less in Area 3A, the CSP would allocate a higher 
percentage of the combined catch limit to the guided sport sector than 
it would receive under combined catch limits above these levels. The 
Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, higher guided sport allocation 
percentages at relatively low abundance levels of halibut to ameliorate 
the effects of replacing the GHL stair-step benchmark in pounds with a 
CSP allocation percentage that varies directly with the annual combined 
catch limit.
    When the IPHC sets an annual combined catch limit of less than 
5,000,000 lbs (2,267.9 mt) in Area 2C, the commercial fishery 
allocation would be 82.7 percent and the guided sport fishery 
allocation would be 17.3 percent of the annual combined catch limit. 
This proposed guided sport fishery allocation percentage was calculated 
as 125 percent of average guided sport harvest in Area 2C from 2001 
through 2005 divided by combined guided sport and commercial halibut 
harvests from 2001 through 2005. The proposed allocation of 17.3 
percent was the largest percentage allocation considered by the Council 
for Area 2C.
    When the IPHC sets the annual combined catch limit at 5,000,000 lbs 
(2,267.9 mt) or more in Area 2C, the commercial fishery allocation 
would be 84.9 percent and the guided sport fishery allocation would be 
15.1 percent of the Area 2C annual combined catch limit. This proposed 
guided sport CSP allocation percentage was calculated as the 2005 
guided sport harvest estimates divided by the combined 2005 guided 
sport and commercial harvests in Area 2C. The Council considered 
smaller percentage allocations to the guided sport sector, including 
the current GHL formula, which is 125 percent of the average 1995 
through 1999 guided sport harvest divided by the 1995 through 1999 
combined guided sport and commercial harvests in Area 2C. However, 
because guided sport harvests in Area 2C have exceeded the GHL since it 
was implemented in 2004, the Council determined, and NMFS agrees, that 
2005 guided sport harvest would be a more appropriate basis for 
determining the guided sport allocation percentages under the CSP. The 
guided sport harvest in 2005 was the second highest halibut harvest 
estimated since 1999. Table 1 presents the Area 2C commercial and 
guided sport fishery percentage allocations under the proposed CSP.

   Table 1--Area 2C CSP Allocations to the Commercial and Guided Sport Fisheries as a Percentage of the Annual
                                              Combined Catch Limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         then the CSP           then the CSP
                                                                      allocation to the      allocation to the
 If the Area 2C annual combined catch                               commercial fishery as   guided sport fishery
limit for halibut in net pounds (lbs)           and . . .            a percentage of the     as a percentage of
                 is:                                                annual combined catch   the annual combined
                                                                          limit is:           catch limit is:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
between 0 lbs........................  4,999,999 lbs                               82.7%                  17.3%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5,000,000 lbs or greater..........................................                 84.9%                  15.1%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For Area 3A annual combined catch limits of less than 10,000,000 
lbs (4,535.9 mt), the commercial fishery allocation would be 84.6 
percent and the guided sport fishery allocation would be 15.4 percent 
of the Area 3A annual combined catch limit. The Council's recommended 
CSP guided sport percentage allocations for annual combined catch 
limits of less than 10,000,000 lbs (4,535.9 mt) in Area 3A is based on 
a calculation of 125 percent of the average guided sport harvest from 
2001 through 2005, which is the same formula the Council recommended 
for the Area 2C percentage allocation at low abundance levels.
    When the IPHC sets Area 3A annual combined catch limit at 
10,000,000 lbs (4,535.9 mt) or more, the commercial fishery allocation 
would be 86 percent and the guided sport fishery allocation would be 14 
percent of the Area 3A annual combined catch limit. The proposed guided 
sport CSP percentage allocation for Area 3A at annual combined catch 
limits of 10,000,000 lbs (4,535.9 mt) and greater was calculated using 
the GHL formula of 125 percent of the 1995 through 1999 average guided 
sport harvest estimates in Area 3A. The Council determined that the GHL 
formula was appropriate for the Area 3A CSP percentage allocation 
because the annual average guided sport harvest from 2004 through 2007 
exceeded the GHL by less than three percent. NMFS agrees that the GHL 
formula likely continues to be an appropriate allocation target because 
the Area 3A guided sport fishery harvest did not exceed the GHL in 2008 
and 2009. Table 2 presents the Area 3A commercial and guided sport 
fishery percentage allocations under the proposed CSP.

[[Page 44162]]



   Table 2--Area 3A CSP Allocations to the Commercial and Guided Sport Fisheries as a Percentage of the Annual
                                              Combined Catch Limit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         then the CSP           then the CSP
                                                                      allocation to the      allocation to the
 If the Area 3A annual combined catch                               commercial fishery as   guided sport fishery
limit for halibut in net pounds (lbs)           and . . .            a percentage of the     as a percentage of
                 is:                                                   annual  combined     the annual combined
                                                                       catch limit is:        catch limit is:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
between 0 lbs........................  9,999,999 lbs                               84.6%                  15.4%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10,000,000 lbs or greater.........................................                 86.0%                  14.0%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The CSP would apportion the annual combined catch limits for Area 
2C and Area 3A between the commercial fishery and the guided sport 
fishery. For example, if the IPHC were to recommend an annual combined 
catch limit of 6,500,000 lbs (2,948.4 mt) for Area 2C, the annual 
commercial catch limit for Area 2C would be calculated by multiplying 
6,500,000 lbs (2,948.4 mt) by 84.9 percent, which equals 5,518,000 lbs 
(2,502.9 mt). The guided sport catch limit for Area 2C would be 
calculated by multiplying 6,500,000 lbs (2,948.4 mt) by 15.1 percent, 
which equals 981,500 lbs (445.2 mt).
    NMFS would publish the catch limits for the guided sport and 
commercial fisheries in the Federal Register as part of the IPHC annual 
management measures pursuant to 50 CFR 300.62.

C. Guided Sport Target Harvest Range

    The Council recognized, and NMFS agrees, that managing guided sport 
harvest is imprecise and, therefore, guided sport harvest in Area 2C 
and 3A under the CSP can be expected to vary above and below the guided 
sport catch limit. To account for this imprecision, NMFS proposes that 
the CSP should restrict guided sport harvest to within a guided sport 
target harvest range corresponding with plus or minus 3.5 percentage 
points of the guided sport allocation percentage for that year. Tables 
3 and 4 present the method for calculating the guided sport target 
harvest ranges for Area 2C and Area 3A under the proposed CSP.

                                                 Table 3--Guided Sport Target Harvest Range for Area 2C
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                   and the highest value
                                                                                                             and the lowest value  of the target harvest
                                                                                          then the CSP      of the target harvest   range is calculated
If the Area 2C annual combined catch limit for               and . . .               percentage allocation   range is calculated     by multiplying the
        halibut in net pounds (lbs) is:                                               to the guided sport     by multiplying the   annual combined catch
                                                                                          fishery is:       annual combined catch         limit by
                                                                                                                   limit by
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
between 0 lbs.................................  4,999,999 lbs                                       17.3%                  13.8%                  20.8%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5,000,000 lbs or greater...........................................................                 15.1%                  11.6%                  18.6%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                                 Table 4--Guided Sport Target Harvest Range for Area 3A
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                   and the highest value
                                                                                                             and the lowest value  of the target harvest
                                                                                          then the CSP      of the target harvest   range is calculated
If the Area 3A annual combined catch limit for               and . . .               percentage allocation   range is calculated     by multiplying the
        halibut in net pounds (lbs) is:                                               to the guided sport     by multiplying the   annual combined catch
                                                                                          fishery is:       annual combined catch         limit by
                                                                                                                   limit by
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
between 0 lbs.................................  9,999,999 lbs                                       15.4%                  11.9%                  18.9%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10,000,000 lbs or greater..........................................................                 14.0%                  10.5%                  17.5%
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Using the previous example of an annual combined catch limit of 
6,500,000 lbs (2,948.4 mt) for Area 2C, the guided sport allocation of 
15.1 percent, and the guided sport catch limit of 981,500 lbs (445.2 
mt), NMFS intends the proposed CSP restrictions to limit guided sport 
harvest to between 15.1 percent minus 3.5 percentage points, or 11.6 
percent, and 15.1 percent plus 3.5 percentage points, or 18.6 percent, 
of the annual combined catch limit. Thus, the CSP restrictions for Area 
2C under this example would be intended to limit guided sport fishery 
harvest to between 754,000 lbs (342.0 mt) and 1,209,000 lbs (548.4 mt). 
The lowest value of the target harvest range would be calculated by 
multiplying the annual combined catch limit by 11.6 percent (6,500,000 
lbs (2,948.4 mt) x 11.6 percent = 754,000 lbs (342.0 mt)). The highest 
value of the target harvest range would be calculated by multiplying 
the annual combined catch limit by 18.6 percent (6,500,000 lbs (2,948.4 
mt) x 18.6 percent = 1,209,000 lbs (548.4 mt)). The annual guided sport 
catch limit, 981,500 lbs (445.2 mt) in this example, is the midpoint of 
the guided sport target harvest range specified by the CSP. The CSP 
restriction applied each year could vary, based on the annual combined 
catch limit as established by the IPHC and projected guided sport 
harvest estimates.
    NMFS recognizes that guided sport halibut removals may exceed the 
guided sport catch limit in some years, and removals may be under the 
catch limit in other years, similar to variations in

[[Page 44163]]

guided sport harvest under the GHL program. However, the Council 
anticipated, and NMFS agrees, that over time, halibut harvests in the 
guided sport sector under the CSP would balance out around the guided 
sport catch limits to ensure that conservation and management 
objectives are achieved. Conservation of the halibut resource would be 
ensured because the IPHC would continue to account for all removals 
when determining the annual combined catch limit under the CSP. IPHC 
stock assessments would continue to account for guided sport harvests 
that exceed the sector's catch limit. Operationally, overages would 
result in a corresponding decrease in the combined guided sport and 
commercial catch limit in the following year. Underages would accrue to 
the benefit of the halibut biomass and all user groups and could result 
in a corresponding increase in the combined catch limit in the 
following year. The Council determined, and NMFS agrees, that halibut 
fishery management under the CSP would more likely limit the guided 
sport halibut fishery to its catch limit over time than the GHL program 
because the annual, non-discretionary CSP restrictions on guided sport 
harvest would restrict projected harvest at varying levels of annual 
combined catch limits. This annual implementation of the CSP also would 
be more timely and responsive to changes in halibut abundance because 
the restrictions on guided sport harvest are determined prior to the 
season. The GHL program relies on the implementation of harvest 
restrictions after a GHL overage takes place. Additionally, the 
Council, IPHC, and NMFS would continue to assess effectiveness of the 
CSP in halibut fisheries management. The Council and NMFS anticipate 
that as the CSP is implemented over time, the Council and its SSC would 
review the CSP. The SSC is the Council's primary scientific advisory 
body. As such, it provides the Council, NMFS, and the public with 
scientific and technical reviews of regulatory amendment analyses, 
stock assessments, and research and data needs for fisheries management 
in Alaska.

V. CSP Restrictions

    Under the CSP, the annual combined catch limit and projected guided 
sport harvest for Area 2C and Area 3A would trigger the CSP 
restrictions, or the harvest limit regulations governing anglers in the 
guided sport fishery in each area. The CSP restrictions are designed to 
limit guided sport fishery harvests in Area 2C and Area 3A within the 
guided sport target harvest range. The CSP restrictions for charter 
vessel anglers are daily bag limits of one or two halibut, which may be 
implemented with or without restrictions on the maximum size of halibut 
retained under the daily bag limit. The CSP would require default CSP 
restrictions when the guided sport sector is projected to harvest 
within its allocated range, more stringent restrictions when the guided 
sport sector is projected to exceed its target harvest range, and in 
some circumstances, less stringent restrictions when the guided sport 
sector is projected to be below its target harvest range.
    At its annual meeting in January, the IPHC would specify the Area 
2C and Area 3A annual combined catch limits and divide the combined 
catch limits into separate annual commercial and guided sport catch 
limits. The IPHC would use guided sport harvest projections and the 
appropriate CSP management tier to determine the CSP restrictions that 
would be in place for the guided sport fishery in Area 2C and Area 3A 
for the upcoming year. If the Secretary of State and the Secretary of 
Commerce accept the IPHC recommendations, NMFS will publish the Area 2C 
and Area 3A annual commercial and guided sport catch limits and the CSP 
restrictions in the Federal Register as annual management measures 
pursuant to 50 CFR 300.62.

A. Default CSP Restrictions

    The Council recommended, and NMFS agrees, that CSP restrictions for 
each area be based on an area's annual combined catch limit for that 
year. CSP restrictions contain four levels, or tiers, based on annual 
combined catch limits for each Area 2C and Area 3A. Each tier contains 
associated CSP restrictions. For Area 2C, the tiers of annual combined 
catch limits are: (1) Between 0 lbs (0 mt) and 4,999,999 lbs (2,267.9 
mt); (2) between 5,000,000 lbs (2,267.9 mt) and 8,999,999 lbs (4,082.3 
mt); (3) between 9,000,000 lbs (4,082.3 mt) and 13,999,999 lbs (6,350.3 
mt); and (4) 14,000,000 lbs (6,350.3 mt) and greater. For Area 3A, the 
tiers of annual combined catch limits are: (1) between 0 lbs (0 mt) and 
9,999,999 lbs (4,535.9 mt); (2) between 10,000,000 lbs (4,535.9 mt) and 
19,999,999 lbs (4,535.9 mt); (3) between 20,000,000 lbs (4,535.9 mt) 
and 26,999,999 lbs (12,246.9 mt); and (4) 27,000,000 lbs (12,246.9 mt) 
and greater. Following the IPHC's specification of the annual combined 
catch limit for each area, NMFS would implement the default CSP 
restrictions for charter vessel anglers in Area 2C and Area 3A unless 
the projected guided sport harvest was estimated to be outside of the 
guided sport target harvest range.
    The Council recommended, and NMFS agrees, that daily bag limits 
alone, or in combination with a maximum size limit, are appropriate CSP 
restrictions to limit guided sport harvest. The Council recommended a 
default CSP restriction limiting charter vessel anglers to two fish of 
any size each day at relatively high levels of halibut abundance, which 
the Council specified as 14,000,000 lbs (6,350.3 mt) or greater in Area 
2C, and 27,000,000 lbs (12,246.9 mt) or greater in Area 3A (tier 4). At 
these levels of abundance, annual combined catch limits would be 
relatively higher and guided sport anglers would not require more 
stringent CSP restrictions to maintain harvest within the guided sport 
target harvest range. As halibut abundance levels and annual combined 
catch limits decrease, CSP restrictions would be more stringent, 
further limiting guided sport harvest at those lower tiers. The Council 
recommended that at the next lower tier, tier 3, the default CSP 
restriction should be a daily limit of two halibut, but at least one 
halibut must have a head-on length of no more than 32 inches (81.3 cm). 
If, however, a charter vessel angler retains only one halibut in a 
calendar day, that halibut could be of any length. The Council 
recommended the most restrictive default CSP restriction, a daily limit 
of one halibut, apply to tiers 1 and 2 for each area. The Council 
determined, and NMFS agrees, that this conservative default CSP 
restriction should be in place at the relatively low levels of 
abundance reflected in tiers 1 and 2 to promote the development of 
halibut stocks levels supporting optimum yield. Table 5 presents the 
default CSP restrictions for Area 2C tiers and Table 6 presents the 
default CSP restrictions for Area 3A tiers.

[[Page 44164]]



                                                      Table 5--Default CSP restrictions for Area 2C
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                then the default CSP
                                                                                                                               restriction is that the
                                          If the Area 2C annual combined catch                                              number of halibut caught and
                 Tier                  limit for halibut in net pounds (lbs) is:                  and . . .                 retained per calendar day by
                                                                                                                             each charter vessel angler
                                                                                                                             is limited to no more than:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 1...............................  between 0 lbs                              4,999,999 lbs                             one halibut of any size.
��������������������������������������
Tier 2...............................  between 5,000,000 lbs                      8,999,999 lbs                             one halibut of any size.
��������������������������������������
Tier 3...............................  between 9,000,000 lbs                      13,999,999 lbs                            two halibut, but at least
                                                                                                                             one halibut must have a
                                                                                                                             head-on length of no more
                                                                                                                             than 32 inches (81.3 cm).
                                                                                                                             If a charter vessel angler
                                                                                                                             retains only one halibut in
                                                                                                                             a calendar day, that
                                                                                                                             halibut may be of any
                                                                                                                             length.
��������������������������������������
Tier 4...............................  14,000,000 lbs and greater                                                           two halibut of any size.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                  Table 6--Default CSP restrictions for Area 3A
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                       then the default CSP
                                   If the Area 3A annual                          restriction is that the number
                                  combined catch limit for                        of halibut caught and retained
             Tier               halibut in net pounds (lbs)        and . . .         per calendar day by each
                                            is:                                      charter vessel angler is
                                                                                     limited to no more than:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 1.......................  between 0 lbs                  9,999,999 lbs       one halibut of any size.
������������������������������
Tier 2.......................  between 10,000,000 lbs         19,999,999 lbs      one halibut of any size.
������������������������������
Tier 3.......................  between 20,000,000 lbs         26,999,999 lbs      two halibut, but at least one
                                                                                   halibut must have a head-on
                                                                                   length of no more than 32
                                                                                   inches (81.3 cm). If a
                                                                                   charter vessel angler retains
                                                                                   only one halibut in a
                                                                                   calendar day, that halibut
                                                                                   may be of any length.
������������������������������
Tier 4.......................  27,000,000 lbs and greater                         two halibut of any size.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NMFS provides the following example to illustrate the CSP tiered 
system of harvest restrictions. An IPHC annual combined catch limit of 
6,500,000 lbs (2,948.4 mt) in Area 2C would correspond with tier 2. The 
tier 2 default CSP restriction would limit each charter vessel angler 
to retaining no more than one halibut of any size per calendar day. An 
IPHC annual combined catch limit of 25,000,000 lbs (11,339.8 mt) in 
Area 3A would correspond with tier 3. The tier 3 default CSP 
restriction would limit each charter vessel angler to retaining no more 
than two halibut per calendar day, but at least one halibut must have a 
head-on length of no more than 32 inches (81.3 cm). Note that although 
the default CSP restrictions are the same for Area 2C and Area 3A 
tiers, the IPHC annual combined catch limits may differ between Area 2C 
and Area 3A. Therefore, it is possible that charter vessel anglers in 
Area 2C would be subject to a different CSP restriction than charter 
vessel anglers in Area 3A in any particular year.

B. Projections of Guided Sport Harvest

    Projections of guided sport harvest in Area 2C and Area 3A are an 
integral component of the CSP. Each year, the IPHC would use annual 
projections of total guided sport halibut harvest in net pounds for 
Area 2C and Area 3A for the upcoming year to determine whether anglers 
in the guided sport fishery are likely to harvest an amount of halibut 
outside of the management tier default target harvest range.
    In January 2009, ADF&G staff prepared an analysis to assess the 
feasibility of projecting guided sport halibut harvest under the CSP. 
The Council's SSC reviewed the reports and provided its recommendations 
to the Council in February 2009. The ADF&G analysis can be found at: 
http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/current_issues/halibut_issues/HarvestProjectionsDisc709.pdf. As detailed in that analysis, at 
least one, and possibly two, projections of guided sport halibut 
harvest for the upcoming year would be required for the CSP for both 
Area 2C and Area 3A.
    Each year, the IPHC would specify the annual combined catch limit 
and, based on ADF&G harvest estimates, project guided sport harvest in 
net pounds for the upcoming year. The harvest projection would assume 
that charter vessel anglers would be subject to the default CSP 
restriction for the appropriate management tier. For example, to 
determine the total guided sport halibut harvest projection in net 
pounds under the management tier default CSP restriction, the IPHC 
would forecast the number of fish that would be harvested by charter 
vessel anglers and an average net weight of halibut harvested by 
charter vessel anglers. The product of the number of fish and the 
average net weight is the projection of guided sport halibut harvest in 
net pounds. If the projection under the default CSP restriction is 
below the guided sport target harvest range, the IPHC would prepare a 
second projection assuming a less stringent CSP restriction. If the 
projection under the default CSP restriction is above the guided sport 
target harvest range, the IPHC would implement a more stringent CSP 
restriction.
    The IPHC will base its projections in large part on ADF&G analyses 
of guided sport harvest. ADF&G has used a variety of methods to project 
guided sport harvest in the past. For the CSP projections of guided 
sport halibut harvest, the IPHC will build on ADF&G's previous 
experience estimating guided sport halibut harvest prior to and under 
the CSP. The IPHC will use the best information available to develop 
harvest projections, including data from the ADF&G statewide harvest 
survey of sport anglers, ADF&G statewide saltwater charter logbooks, 
ADF&G dockside surveys, IPHC longline survey data, and any other 
information that improves the

[[Page 44165]]

accuracy of the projections. The IPHC will develop the projections to 
account for year-to-year changes to the CSP restrictions in effect for 
charter vessel anglers as well as normal year-to-year variability in 
harvest due to changes in fishing effort or catchability of halibut.

C. Determination of Annual CSP Restrictions

    The annual CSP restrictions in effect in each area will be 
determined by using (1) the appropriate management tier associated with 
the IPHC's recommended annual combined catch limit, and (2) the 
projected guided sport harvest of halibut for each area under the 
default CSP restriction, expressed as a percentage of the annual 
combined catch limit for each area. The Council and NMFS anticipate 
that the default CSP restrictions would limit projected guided sport 
harvest to within the guided sport target harvest range for each area. 
However, in the event that projected guided sport harvest is above the 
management tier target harvest range, the CSP triggers more stringent 
CSP restrictions. In the event that the projected guided sport harvest 
is below the management tier target harvest range, the CSP may trigger 
relaxed CSP restrictions. Thus, there are up to three possible CSP 
restrictions for each tier, depending on whether projected guided sport 
harvest under the default CSP restriction is less than, within, or 
above the guided sport target harvest range.
Determination of Annual CSP Restrictions if Projected Guided Sport 
Harvest Is Within the Target Harvest Range
    If the projected guided sport fishery harvest under the default CSP 
restriction is within the guided sport target harvest range, charter 
vessel anglers would be subject to the default CSP restriction for the 
year. For example, if the IPHC recommended an Area 2C annual combined 
catch limit of 9,500,000 lbs (4,309.1 mt), the IPHC would implement the 
default CSP restriction, which limits charter vessel anglers to 
retaining two halibut per day and one halibut must be less than 32 
inches (81.3 cm). The target range around the 15.1 percent guided sport 
allocation would have a low value of 11.6 percent and a high value of 
18.6 percent (see Table 3). This allocation range would correspond to a 
target harvest range from 1,102,000 lbs (499.9 mt) to 1,767,000 lbs 
(801.5 mt). If projected guided sport harvest under the default CSP 
restriction were greater than or equal to 1,102,000 lbs (499.9 mt) and 
less than or equal to 1,767,000 lbs (801.5 mt), the CSP would limit 
charter vessel anglers to the default CSP restriction, which is 
retaining no more than two halibut per day and one halibut must be less 
than 32 inches (81.3 cm). Table 7 provides NMFS' proposed process for 
determining Area 2C annual CSP restrictions if projected guided sport 
harvest under the default CSP restriction is within the guided sport 
target harvest range.

Table 7--Determination of Area 2C Annual CSP Restrictions if Projected Guided Sport Harvest Is Within the Target
                                 Harvest Range Under the Default CSP Restriction
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                 then the annual
                                                                                                 CSP restriction
                                                                                                   in effect is
                                                                                                 that the number
                                                                                     If the         of halibut
                                  If the Area 2C annual                            projected        caught and
            Tier                combined catch limit for         and . . .        guided sport     retained per
                               halibut in net pounds (lbs)                       harvest using   calendar day by
                                           is:                                  the default CSP    each charter
                                                                                restriction is:   vessel angler
                                                                                                  is limited to
                                                                                                  no more than:
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 1......................  between 0 lbs                 4,999,999 lbs       greater than or  one halibut of
                                                                                 equal to 13.8%   any size.
                                                                                 and less than
                                                                                 or equal to
                                                                                 20.8% of the
                                                                                 annual
                                                                                 combined catch
                                                                                 limit.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 2......................  between 5,000,000 lbs         8,999,999 lbs       greater than or  one halibut of
                                                                                 equal to 11.6%   any size.
                                                                                 and less than
                                                                                 or equal to
                                                                                 18.6% of the
                                                                                 annual
                                                                                 combined catch
                                                                                 limit.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 3......................  between 9,000,000 lbs         13,999,999 lbs      greater than or  two halibut,
                                                                                 equal to 11.6%   but at least
                                                                                 and less than    one halibut
                                                                                 or equal to      must have a
                                                                                 18.6% of the     head-on length
                                                                                 annual           of no more
                                                                                 combined catch   than 32 inches
                                                                                 limit.           (81.3 cm). If
                                                                                                  a charter
                                                                                                  vessel angler
                                                                                                  retains only
                                                                                                  one halibut in
                                                                                                  a calendar
                                                                                                  day, that
                                                                                                  halibut may be
                                                                                                  of any length.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 4......................  14,000,000 lbs and greater                        greater than or  two halibut of
                                                                                 equal to 11.6%   any size.
                                                                                 and less than
                                                                                 or equal to
                                                                                 18.6% of the
                                                                                 annual
                                                                                 combined catch
                                                                                 limit.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If the IPHC recommended an Area 3A annual combined catch limit of 
28,000,000 lbs (12,700.6 mt), the default CSP restriction would be a 
daily limit of two halibut of any size. The target range around the 
14.0 percent guided sport allocation would have a low value of 10.5 
percent and a high value of 17.5 percent (see Table 4). If projected 
guided sport harvest in Area 3A under the default CSP restriction 
represented an allocation greater than or equal to 10.5 percent and 
less than or equal to 17.5 percent, the CSP would limit charter vessel 
anglers to the default CSP restriction, which is retaining two halibut 
of any size per day.
    Table 8 provides NMFS' proposed process for determining Area 3A 
annual CSP restrictions if projected guided sport harvest under the 
default CSP restriction is within the guided sport target harvest 
range.

[[Page 44166]]



  Table 8.--Determination of Area 3A Annual CSP Restrictions if Projected Guided Sport Harvest Is Within the Target Harvest Range Under the Default CSP
                                                                       Restriction
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                    then the annual CSP
                                                                                                                                   restriction in effect
                                                                                                                                   is that the number of
                                       If the Area 3A annual combined catch                              If the projected guided    halibut caught and
                Tier                  limit for halibut in net pounds (lbs)           and . . .          sport harvest using the   retained per calendar
                                                       is:                                               default CSP restriction    day by each charter
                                                                                                                   is:               vessel angler is
                                                                                                                                    limited to no more
                                                                                                                                           than:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 1..............................  between 0 lbs                          9,999,999 lbs               greater than or equal    one halibut of any
                                                                                                          to 11.9% and less than   size.
                                                                                                          or equal to 18.9% of
                                                                                                          the annual combined
                                                                                                          catch limit.
�������������������������������������
Tier 2..............................  between 10,000,000 lbs                 19,999,999 lbs              greater than or equal    one halibut of any
                                                                                                          to 10.5% and less than   size.
                                                                                                          or equal to 17.5% of
                                                                                                          the annual combined
                                                                                                          catch limit.
�������������������������������������
Tier 3..............................  between 20,000,000 lbs                 26,999,999 lbs              greater than or equal    two halibut, but at
                                                                                                          to 10.5% and less than   least one halibut
                                                                                                          or equal to 17.5% of     must have a head-on
                                                                                                          the annual combined      length of no more
                                                                                                          catch limit.             than 32 inches (81.3
                                                                                                                                   cm). If a charter
                                                                                                                                   vessel angler retains
                                                                                                                                   only one halibut in a
                                                                                                                                   calendar day, that
                                                                                                                                   halibut may be of any
                                                                                                                                   length.
�������������������������������������
Tier 4..............................  27,000,000 lbs and greater                                         greater than or equal    two halibut of any
                                                                                                          to 10.5% and less than   size.
                                                                                                          or equal to 17.5% of
                                                                                                          the annual combined
                                                                                                          catch limit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Determination of Annual CSP Restrictions if Projected Guided Sport 
Harvest is Below the Target Harvest Range
    If the projected guided sport fishery harvest under the default CSP 
restriction is less than the lowest value of the target harvest range, 
the CSP specifies that charter vessel anglers could be subject to the 
next less stringent CSP restriction, that is, the default CSP 
restriction under the next higher management tier. For example, if the 
annual combined catch limit is 26,000,000 lbs for Area 3A, tier 3 is 
the effective tier (see Table 6) and the default CSP restriction would 
limit charter vessel anglers to retaining two halibut per day, and one 
halibut must be 32 inches (81.3 cm) or less. If projected guided sport 
harvest under this default CSP restriction as a percentage of the 
annual combined catch limit was less than 10.5 percent (see Table 4), 
then the IPHC would complete a second projection using the default CSP 
for tier 4, which limits charter vessel anglers to retaining two 
halibut per day of any size.
    If projected guided sport harvest under the tier 4 projection is 
less than 17.5 percent of the annual combined catch limit for Area 3A, 
which is the highest value of the guided sport target harvest range for 
annual combined catch limits of 10,000,000 lbs (4,535.9 mt) and greater 
(see Table 4), then the tier 4 default CSP restriction would apply, 
limiting charter vessel anglers in Area 3A to retaining two halibut per 
day of any size. If, however, projected harvest under the tier 4 
default CSP restriction was greater than 17.5 percent (see Table 4), 
the tier 3 default CSP restriction would apply, limiting charter vessel 
anglers in Area 3A to retaining two halibut per day, one of which must 
be 32 inches (81.3 cm) or less.
    Table 9 describes NMFS' proposed process for determining Area 2C 
annual CSP restrictions if projected guided sport harvest under the 
default CSP restriction is below the guided sport target harvest range 
under each tier.

    Table 9--Determination of Area 2C Annual CSP Restrictions if Projected Guided Sport Harvest Under the Default CSP Restriction Is Below the Target
                                                                      Harvest Range
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                       then the next                     then the annual
                                                                                                        higher tier                      CSP restriction
                                                                                                        default CSP                        in effect is
                                                                                                      restriction is     If projected    that the number
                                                                                        and the       that the number    guided sport       of halibut
                                   If the Area 2C annual                           projected guided     of halibut      harvest vessel      caught and
             Tier                 combined catch limit for         and . . .         sport harvest      caught and      using the next     retained per
                                halibut in net pounds (lbs)                            using the       retained per       higher tier    calendar day by
                                            is:                                       default CSP     calendar day by     default CSP      each charter
                                                                                    restriction is:    each charter     restriction is:   vessel angler
                                                                                                     vessel angler is                     is limited to
                                                                                                       limited to no                      no more than:
                                                                                                        more than:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 1.......................  between 0 lbs                  4,999,999 lbs        less than 13.8%   one halibut of    N/A.............  one halibut of
                                                                                    of the annual     any size..                          any size.
                                                                                    combined catch
                                                                                    limit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 44167]]

 
Tier 2.......................  between 5,000,000 lbs          8,999,999 lbs        less than 11.6%   two halibut, but  less than or      two halibut,
                                                                                    of the annual     at least one      equal to 18.6%    but at least
                                                                                    combined catch    halibut must      of the annual     one halibut
                                                                                    limit.            have a head-on    combined catch    must have a
                                                                                                      length of no      limit.            head-on length
                                                                                                      more than 32                        of no more
                                                                                                      inches (81.3                        than 32 inches
                                                                                                      cm). If a                           (81.3 cm). If
                                                                                                      charter vessel                      a charter
                                                                                                      angler retains                      vessel angler
                                                                                                      only one                            retains only
                                                                                                      halibut in a                        one halibut in
                                                                                                      calendar day,                       a calendar
                                                                                                      that halibut                        day, that
                                                                                                      may be of any                       halibut may be
                                                                                                      length.                             of any length.
                                                                                                                      ----------------------------------
                                                                                                                       greater than or   one halibut of
                                                                                                                        equal to 18.6%    any size.
                                                                                                                        of the annual
                                                                                                                        combined catch
                                                                                                                        limit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 3.......................  between 9,000,000 lbs          13,999,999 lbs       less than 11.6%   two halibut of    less than or      two halibut of
                                                                                    of the annual     any size..        equal to 18.6%    any size.
                                                                                    combined catch                      of the annual
                                                                                    limit.                              combined catch
                                                                                                                        limit.
                                                                                                                       greater than or   two halibut,
                                                                                                                        equal to 18.6%    but at least
                                                                                                                        of the annual     one halibut
                                                                                                                        combined catch    must have a
                                                                                                                        limit..           head-on length
                                                                                                                                          of no more
                                                                                                                                          than 32 inches
                                                                                                                                          (81.3 cm). If
                                                                                                                                          a charter
                                                                                                                                          vessel angler
                                                                                                                                          retains only
                                                                                                                                          one halibut in
                                                                                                                                          a calendar
                                                                                                                                          day, that
                                                                                                                                          halibut may be
                                                                                                                                          of any length.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 4.......................  14,000,000 lbs and greater                          less than 11.6%   N/A.............  N/A.............  two halibut of
                                                                                    of the annual                                         any size.
                                                                                    combined catch
                                                                                    limit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
N/A = not applicable.

    Table 10 describes NMFS' proposed process for determining the Area 
3A annual CSP restrictions if projected guided sport harvest under the 
default CSP restriction is below the guided sport target harvest range 
under each tier.

[[Page 44168]]



   Table 10--Determination of Area 3A Annual CSP Restrictions if Projected Guided Sport Harvest Under the Default CSP Restriction Is Below the Target
                                                                      Harvest Range
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                        then the next                    then the annual
                                                                                                         higher tier                     CSP restriction
                                                                                                         default CSP                       in effect is
                                                                                                       restriction is     If projected   that the number
                                                                                         and the       that the number    guided sport      of halibut
                               If the Area 3A annual combined                       projected guided     of halibut      harvest using      caught and
             Tier              catch limit for halibut in net       and . . .         sport harvest      caught and     the next higher    retained per
                                      pounds (lbs) is:                                  using the       retained per      tier default   calendar day by
                                                                                       default CSP     calendar day by  CSP restriction    each charter
                                                                                     restriction is:    each charter          is:         vessel angler
                                                                                                      vessel angler is                    is limited to
                                                                                                        limited to no                     no more than:
                                                                                                         more than:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 1.......................  between 0 lbs                   9,999,999 lbs        less than 11.9%   one halibut of    N/A............  one halibut of
                                                                                     of the annual     any size.                          any size
                                                                                     combined catch
                                                                                     limit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 2.......................  between 10,000,000 lbs          19,999,999 lbs       less than 10.5%   two halibut, but  less than or     two halibut,
                                                                                     of the annual     at least one      equal to 17.5%   but at least
                                                                                     combined catch    halibut must      of the annual    one halibut
                                                                                     limit.            have a head-on    combined catch   must have a
                                                                                                       length of no      limit.           head-on length
                                                                                                       more than 32                       of no more
                                                                                                       inches (81.3                       than 32 inches
                                                                                                       cm). If a                          (81.3 cm). If
                                                                                                       charter vessel                     a charter
                                                                                                       angler retains                     vessel angler
                                                                                                       only one                           retains only
                                                                                                       halibut in a                       one halibut in
                                                                                                       calendar day,                      a calendar
                                                                                                       that halibut                       day, that
                                                                                                       may be of any                      halibut may be
                                                                                                       length.                            of any length
                                                                                                                       ---------------------------------
                                                                                                                        greater than or  one halibut of
                                                                                                                         equal to 17.5%   any size
                                                                                                                         of the annual
                                                                                                                         combined catch
                                                                                                                         limit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 3.......................  between 20,000,000 lbs          26,999,999 lbs       less than 10.5%   two halibut of    less than or     two halibut of
                                                                                     of the annual     any size.         equal to 17.5%   any size.
                                                                                     combined catch                      of the annual
                                                                                     limit.                              combined catch
                                                                                                                         limit.
                                                                                                                       ---------------------------------
                                                                                                                        greater than or  two halibut,
                                                                                                                         equal to 17.5%   but at least
                                                                                                                         of the annual    one halibut
                                                                                                                         combined catch   must have a
                                                                                                                         limit.           head-on length
                                                                                                                                          of no more
                                                                                                                                          than 32 inches
                                                                                                                                          (81.3 cm). If
                                                                                                                                          a charter
                                                                                                                                          vessel angler
                                                                                                                                          retains only
                                                                                                                                          one halibut in
                                                                                                                                          a calendar
                                                                                                                                          day, that
                                                                                                                                          halibut may be
                                                                                                                                          of any length
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 4.......................  27,000,000 lbs and greater                           less than 10.5%   N/A.............  N/A............  two halibut of
                                                                                     of the annual                                        any size.
                                                                                     combined catch
                                                                                     limit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
N/A = not applicable.

    Exceptions to the method for determining the CSP restrictions exist 
for tiers 1 and 4. Where the projected guided sport harvest is less 
than the lowest value of the target harvest range in tier 1, a second 
projection would be unnecessary because the default CSP of the next 
higher tier, tier 2, is also one halibut of any size per day. Because 
the least restrictive CSP restriction under tier 1 is one halibut of 
any size per day, this CSP restriction would apply if projected guided 
sport harvest is less than or equal to the highest value of the target 
harvest range under the default CSP tier.
    Where the projected guided sport harvest under tier 4 is less than 
the lowest value of the target harvest range, a second projection would 
be unnecessary because tier 4 is the highest tier and the default CSP 
restriction of two fish of any size per day is the least restrictive 
CSP restriction authorized under the CSP. Thus, the tier 4 CSP 
restriction of two fish of any size per day would apply if projected 
guided sport harvest is less than the highest value of the target 
harvest range under the default CSP tier. If projected guided sport 
harvest is greater than the highest value of the target harvest range 
under the default CSP tier, the CSP restriction

[[Page 44169]]

would be determined as discussed in the next section.
Determination of Annual CSP Restrictions if Projected Guided Sport 
Harvest Is Above the Target Harvest Range
    If the projected guided sport fishery harvest under the default CSP 
restriction is greater than the highest value of the target harvest 
range, the CSP specifies that charter vessel anglers would be subject 
to the next more stringent CSP restriction, that is, the default CSP 
restriction under the next lower management tier. For example, in tier 
4, the default CSP restriction limits charter vessel anglers to two 
fish of any size per day. If projected guided sport harvest under the 
tier 4 default CSP restriction is greater than the largest value of the 
target harvest range, then the tier 3 default CSP restriction would 
apply. In both Area 2C and Area 3A, the tier 3 default CSP restriction 
limits charter vessel anglers to retaining two halibut per day, one of 
which must be 32 inches (81.3 cm) or less. Similarly, in tier 3, if 
projected guided sport harvest under the tier 3 default CSP restriction 
is greater than the largest value of the target harvest range, then the 
tier 2 default CSP restriction would apply.
    In both Area 2C and Area 3A, the tier 2 default CSP restriction 
limits charter vessel anglers to retaining one halibut of any size per 
day. However, the tier 1 and 2 default CSP restriction is the most 
restrictive guided sport harvest restriction under the CSP. If the 
projected guided sport harvest under the default CSP restriction is 
greater than the largest value of the target harvest range in tier 1 or 
tier 2, the Council specified that a maximum length limit would be 
placed on the one halibut that could be retained per day by charter 
vessel anglers in that area. The addition of the length limit to the 
one halibut daily bag limit is intended to further restrict guided 
sport harvest to be equal to or below the annual guided sport catch 
limit for the appropriate management tier.
    Tables 11 and 12 describe NMFS' proposed process for determining 
Area 2C and Area 3A annual CSP restrictions if projected guided sport 
harvest under the default CSP restriction is above the target harvest 
range under each tier.

   Table 11--Determination of Area 2C Annual CSP Restrictions if Projected Guided Sport Harvest Under the Default CSP Restriction Is Above the Target
                                                                      Harvest Range
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                 then the annual CSP
                                                                                                                               restriction in effect is
                                        If the Area 2C annual combined                                  If the projected      that the number of halibut
                Tier                    catch limit for halibut in net            and . . .           guided sport harvest     caught and retained per
                                               pounds (lbs) is:                                       using the default CSP      calendar day by each
                                                                                                         restriction is:       charter vessel angler is
                                                                                                                               limited to no more than:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 1.............................  between 0 lbs                        4,999,999 lbs              greater than 20.8% of   one halibut of a maximum
                                                                                                      the annual combined     length to restrict guided
                                                                                                      catch limit.            sport harvest to be equal
                                                                                                                              to or below 17.3% of the
                                                                                                                              annual combined catch
                                                                                                                              limit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 2.............................  between 5,000,000 lbs                8,999,999 lbs              greater than 18.6% of   one halibut of a maximum
                                                                                                      the annual combined     length to restrict guided
                                                                                                      catch limit.            sport harvest to be equal
                                                                                                                              to or below 15.1% of the
                                                                                                                              annual combined catch
                                                                                                                              limit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 3.............................  between 9,000,000 lbs                13,999,999 lbs             greater than 18.6% of   one halibut of any size.
                                                                                                      the annual combined
                                                                                                      catch limit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 4.............................  14,000,000 lbs and greater                                      greater than 18.6% of   two halibut, but at least
                                                                                                      the annual combined     one halibut must have a
                                                                                                      catch limit.            head-on length of no more
                                                                                                                              than 32 inches (81.3 cm).
                                                                                                                              If a charter vessel angler
                                                                                                                              retains only one halibut
                                                                                                                              in a calendar day, that
                                                                                                                              halibut may be of any
                                                                                                                              length.
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


   Table 12--Determination of Area 3A Annual CSP Restrictions if Projected Guided Sport Harvest Under the Default CSP Restriction Is Above the Target
                                                                      Harvest Range
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                 then the annual CSP
                                                                                                                               restriction in effect is
                                        If the Area 3A annual combined                                  If the projected      that the number of halibut
                Tier                    catch limit for halibut in net            and . . .          guided sport using the    caught and retained per
                                               pounds (lbs) is:                                            default CSP           calendar day by each
                                                                                                         restriction is:       charter vessel angler is
                                                                                                                               limited to no more than:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 1.............................  between 0 lbs                        10,999,999 lbs             greater than 18.9% of   one halibut of a maximum
                                                                                                      the annual combined     length to restrict guided
                                                                                                      catch limit.            sport harvest to be equal
                                                                                                                              to or below 15.4% of the
                                                                                                                              annual combined catch
                                                                                                                              limit
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 2.............................  between 10,000,000 lbs               19,999,999 lbs             greater than 17.5% of   one halibut of a maximum
                                                                                                      the annual combined     length to restrict guided
                                                                                                      catch limit.            sport harvest to be equal
                                                                                                                              to or below 14.0% of the
                                                                                                                              annual combined catch
                                                                                                                              limit
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tier 3.............................  between 20,000,000 lbs               26,999,999 lbs             greater than 17.5% of   one halibut of any size.
                                                                                                      the annual combined
                                                                                                      catch limit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 44170]]

 
Tier 4.............................  27,000,000 lbs and greater                                      greater than 17.5% of   two halibut, but at least
                                                                                                      the annual combined     one halibut must have a
                                                                                                      catch limit.            head-on length of no more
                                                                                                                              than 32 inches (81.3 cm).
                                                                                                                              If a charter vessel angler
                                                                                                                              retains only one halibut
                                                                                                                              in a calendar day, that
                                                                                                                              halibut may be of any
                                                                                                                              length
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For example, if the Area 2C annual combined catch limit is 
4,500,000 lbs (2,041.2 mt) and projected guided sport harvest as a 
percentage of the annual combined catch limit exceeds 20.8 percent, 
which is the greatest value of the guided sport target harvest range 
(see Table 3), then charter vessel anglers would be limited to 
retaining one halibut of a maximum length per day to limit guided sport 
harvest equal to or below 17.3 percent of the annual combined catch 
limit. This would keep the annual guided sport harvest within its 
allocation in Area 2C (see Table 1).
    If the Area 3A annual combined catch limit is 14,000,000 lbs 
(6,350.3 mt) and projected guided sport harvest as a percentage of the 
annual combined catch limit exceeds 17.5 percent, which is the greatest 
value of the guided sport target harvest range (see Table 4), the CSP 
would limit charter vessel anglers to retaining one halibut of a 
maximum length per day to limit projected guided sport harvest equal to 
or below 14.0 percent of the annual combined catch limit. This would 
keep the annual guided sport harvest within its allocation in Area 3A 
(see Table 4).
    The Council did not specify what the maximum length limit would be 
under tier 1 or tier 2 in its motion recommending the CSP. The Council 
contracted an analyst to prepare a supplemental analysis on the process 
for selecting a maximum length limit to manage guided sport halibut 
harvest in times of low abundance. In January 2009, the analyst 
presented a paper to the Council's SSC outlining two methods for 
projecting the average net weight of all halibut harvested by charter 
vessel anglers. The analyst's paper can be found at: http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/current_issues/halibut_issues/HalibutCSPdisc709.pdf. The Council's SSC reviewed the paper and 
provided its recommendations to the analyst in February 2009.
    The annual guided sport catch limit (C) is the product of the 
guided sport sector allocation percentage specified in the CSP and the 
annual combined catch limit in pounds net weight established by the 
IPHC and expressed as equation 1:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JY11.001

where:

CCL = Annual combined catch limit in pounds net weight established 
by the IPHC for Area 2C and Area 3A, and
Pmax = Maximum percentage of the annual guided sport 
catch limit that is allocated to the guided sport sector, expressed 
as a proportion.

    For example, for an annual combined catch limit of 6,000,000 lbs 
(2,721.6 mt) in Area 2C, the guided sport sector allocation is 15.1 
percent. The catch limit for the guided sport sector would therefore be 
calculated as 6,000,000 lbs (2,721.6 mt) x 0.151 = 906,000 lbs (410.9 
mt).
    For purposes of harvest estimation, ADF&G currently breaks each 
IPHC area into several subareas. ADF&G produces estimates of the number 
of fish harvested for each subarea, and then combines these estimates 
with size data from ADF&G creel surveys conducted at sites within the 
subareas. During creel surveys, ADF&G measures the length of harvested 
halibut and calculates a predicted weight for each fish in the sample 
using the IPHC length-weight relationship equation. ADF&G calculates 
average weight as the average of the predicted weights for each 
individual fish. The numbers of halibut of various sizes (size 
distribution) harvested by charter anglers vary by subarea. Because the 
magnitude of harvest also varies by area, ADF&G cannot simply combine 
creel survey data on the size of harvested halibut from all subareas to 
estimate total removals. Instead, ADF&G calculates guided sport halibut 
removals (Rp) by subarea and sums them to obtain total 
removals as expressed in equation 2:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JY11.002

where:

HSp = The estimated or projected number of halibut harvested by 
charter vessel anglers in each subarea S, and
WSp = The estimated or projected average net weight in pounds of 
halibut harvested by charter vessel anglers in each subarea S.

    This is the general form of the equation currently used for 
estimating guided sport removals. Variants of this general equation 
could be used to estimate the maximum length limit under the CSP, 
depending on the method selected to calculate the maximum length limit.
    The supplemental analysis prepared for the Council's SSC in January 
2009 noted that there are a number of methods that could be used to 
calculate a maximum length limit to restrict the

[[Page 44171]]

total pounds of halibut harvested in the guided sport sector equal to 
or below the guided sport catch limit. The analyst assumed, and NMFS 
concurs, that the maximum length limit would be calculated as the 
length limit that would allow anglers to retain the largest halibut 
possible while limiting total guided sport harvest to a level equal to 
or below the annual guided sport catch limit.
    The IPHC would base its maximum length limit calculation in large 
part on ADF&G analyses and projections of guided sport harvest. The 
IPHC would use a projection of HSp, the number of halibut that will be 
harvested by charter vessel anglers in each subarea and an annual 
projection of total guided sport halibut harvest for Area 2C and Area 
3A. The CSP would use the projection of guided sport harvest in net 
pounds for the upcoming year, assuming that charter vessel anglers 
would be subject to the default CSP restriction for the appropriate 
management tier. The CSP would specify the method for calculating the 
greatest maximum length limit in whole inches (Lin) that produces a 
projection of guided sport removals (Rp) that does not exceed the 
annual guided sport catch limit (C).
    The analyst developed two methods for calculating the length limit 
Lin for presentation to the Council's SSC in January 2009. The methods 
differ in their assumptions about how the size distribution of 
harvested halibut might change upon imposition of a maximum length 
limit.
    Method A assumes that upon imposition of a maximum length limit the 
average weight of halibut harvested by charter anglers will equal the 
average weight of those fish that were equal to or less than the 
maximum length limit in a recent year in which anglers were allowed to 
harvest fish of at least that length. Use of size data from a recent 
year assumes that the size distribution of charter harvest from the 
recent year's sample is the best available data to describe the size 
distribution in the coming year in the absence of a size limit.
    To project harvest using Method A, the IPHC would use ADF&G's 
calculation of the projected average weight (wSp) for each subarea 
using length data from only those halibut sampled in the recent year 
that were equal to or less than the prospective maximum length limit. 
Using equation 2, these projections of average weight would then be 
combined with harvest estimates for each subarea (HSp) to obtain a 
projected guided sport removal under each prospective length limit. For 
example, to evaluate guided sport removals resulting from a size limit 
of 40 inches (101.6 cm), the average weight of only those harvested 
halibut that were equal to or less than 40 inches (101.6 cm) in length 
in the sample from the most recent year would be calculated. After 
repeating the calculations for a range of maximum length limits, the 
IPHC would adopt the largest size limit Lin in whole inches that 
results in a projected guided sport removal (Rp) that is less than or 
equal to the annual guided sport catch limit (C).
    Method B assumes that every halibut harvested and retained by 
charter vessel anglers would be precisely equal in length to the 
maximum length limit. Because all fish are assumed to be the same 
length, there would be no differences in the projected size 
distributions between subareas of each regulatory area. The IPHC would 
use the average weight that, when multiplied by the projected number of 
fish harvested in the entire IPHC regulatory area, would result in the 
annual guided sport catch limit (C) for that area as expressed in 
equation 3:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JY11.003

where:

Hp = The estimated or projected number of halibut harvested in Area 
2C or Area 3A, and
wp = The average net weight in pounds of all halibut harvested by 
charter vessel anglers in Area 2C or Area 3A.

    The CSP would then use the IPHC length-weight relationship equation 
to solve for the maximum length limit Lin corresponding with the 
average weight wp. The current IPHC length-weight equation relates net 
weight in pounds (W) to length in centimeters (Lcm) and expressed in 
equation 4:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JY11.004

    To obtain the maximum length limit under Method B, the CSP would 
substitute equation 4 for wp in equation 3, solve for Lcm, then convert 
and round down to the nearest whole inch, which would be the maximum 
length limit in effect (Lin). If the IPHC were to modify this length-
weight relationship equation or its parameters, the CSP would use the 
revised equation recommended by the IPHC.
    For example, if the annual combined catch limit (CCL) was set by 
the IPHC for Area 2C at 6,000,000 lbs (2,721.6 mt), the guided sport 
allocation would be 15.1 percent, and the guided sport catch limit 
would be 906,000 lbs (410.9 mt) (equation 1). If projected guided sport 
harvest for the coming year (Hp) was 50,000 halibut, then the average 
net weight (wp) could not exceed 18.1 lbs, or 8.2 kilograms (kg) 
(equation 3). The length that results in a predicted average net weight 
of 18.1 lbs (8.2 kg) is 95.7 cm, or 37.7 inches (equation 4). The 
maximum length limit would therefore be rounded down to the nearest 
whole inch and set at 37 inches (95.7 cm).
    In January 2011, the IPHC used Method B when it recommended a 
maximum length limit for the 2011 fishery for charter vessel anglers 
harvesting halibut in Area 2C. The Secretary of State and the Secretary 
of Commerce approved the IPHC's recommendation (76 FR 14300, March 16, 
2011) and charter vessel anglers in Area 2C are limited to catching and 
retaining one halibut per calendar day that is no longer than 37 
inches. Following the IPHC's recommendation, guided sport sector 
stakeholders commented to NMFS that the IPHC's use of Method B was too 
conservative because it assumes that all charter vessel anglers would 
be able to harvest precisely a halibut of the maximum size limit. This 
likely would not occur and some anglers will harvest halibut smaller 
than the maximum size limit. The guided sport sector stakeholders 
suggested that it might be possible to use a less conservative 
methodology than Method B that would result in a relatively larger 
maximum length limit while limiting guided sport harvest to target 
levels.
    In response to requests from guided sport sector stakeholders, 
ADF&G used an alternative method to calculate the maximum size limit. 
This additional method, referred to as Method C in this proposed rule, 
combines the assumptions used in Methods A and B to produce an 
intermediate result. Like Method A, Method C would be used to calculate 
a maximum length limit using data from a previous year in which the 
guided sport fishery was not constrained by a length limit, or a year 
in which a less constraining (higher) maximum length limit was in place 
to manage the guided sport fishery under its allocation.

[[Page 44172]]

    Method C assumes that under a size limit in the coming year, (a) 
the proportion of the harvested halibut that will be smaller than the 
prospective maximum length limit will equal the proportion that were 
under that length in the previous year, (b) the average weight of fish 
smaller than the prospective maximum length limit will remain unchanged 
from the previous year, and (c) the portion of the previous year's 
harvest that was larger than the prospective maximum length limit will 
be exactly equal to the length limit in the coming year.
    The Method C calculations would proceed as follows. For each 
prospective maximum length limit Lin, the CSP would use the proportion 
of the halibut in the previous year harvest sample that were less than 
or equal to the size limit, and the average weight of those fish. The 
average weight of the remaining portion of the harvest would be assumed 
to be equal to the average weight of halibut of length Lin, predicted 
from the IPHC length-weight relationship (equation 4). Guided sport 
removals would be calculated for prospective length limits using 
equation 2, with the average weight for each subarea wSp calculated as 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JY11.005

where:

pUL = the proportion of halibut in the previous year's creel survey 
sample from subarea S that were less than or equal in length to the 
prospective length limit Lin,
    wUL = the average weight of halibut in the previous year's creel 
survey sample from subarea S that were less than or equal in length 
to the prospective length limit Lin,
    pOL = the proportion of halibut in the previous year's creel 
survey sample from subarea S that were greater in length than the 
prospective length limit Lin,
    wOL = the average weight of halibut of prospective length limit 
Lin, predicted from the IPHC length-weight relationship equation 
(equation 4), and
    pUL + pOL = 1.

    The IPHC would then select the largest size limit Lin in whole 
inches that results in a projected charter removal (Rp) that is less 
than or equal to the annual guided sport catch limit (C).
    For example, if calculating the average weight corresponding with a 
40 inch (101.6 cm) maximum length limit, the CSP would use, for each 
subarea, the proportion of fish in the previous year's sample that were 
less than or equal to 40 inches (101.6 cm) in length, and the average 
weight of only those fish. Suppose that 70 percent of the fish in a 
subarea were less than or equal to 40 inches (101.6 cm) in length and 
those halibut had an average net weight of 13.0 lbs (5.9 kg). The 
remaining 30 percent of the harvested fish would be assumed to have an 
average net weight of 22.0 lbs (10 kg) (from equation 4). In this 
example, the average weight for this subarea would be calculated as 
(0.70 x 13.0) + (0.30 x 22.0) = 15.7 lbs (7.1 kg).
    Each of the methods for calculating the maximum length limit 
requires the use of specific assumptions for determining an average 
weight of halibut harvested in the guided sport fishery when anglers 
are limited to retaining one halibut that is no larger than the maximum 
length limit. The projected average weights determined by using these 
assumptions likely will not precisely equal the actual average weight 
of halibut harvested in the guided sport fishery under the maximum 
length limit. Method A and Method C assume that at least a portion of 
the halibut caught in the guided sport fishery in a future year will 
have the same average weight as halibut harvested in a previous year. 
If the CSP uses Method A or Method C and charter vessel anglers are 
able to increase the average size of halibut caught and retained under 
the maximum length limit relative to the previous year's harvest, 
calculation of the maximum length limit using the previous year's 
average size will result in underestimated guided sport harvest. This 
underestimated harvest will result in a calculated maximum length limit 
that is larger than the length limit that would be implemented under 
the larger average size of halibut. This relatively larger maximum 
length limit could result in the guided sport sector exceeding its 
catch limit. Conversely, if the average size of halibut caught and 
retained under the maximum length limit is lower than the average from 
the previous year's harvest, the maximum length limit calculated under 
Method A or Method C will result in overestimated guided sport harvest 
and a calculated maximum length limit that is smaller than the length 
limit that would be implemented under the smaller average size of 
halibut. Guided sport harvest may not reach the sector allocation under 
this relatively smaller maximum length limit.
    Anglers may have the ability to increase the average size of 
halibut caught and retained under the maximum length limit by high-
grading, or releasing smaller fish in order to retain larger fish. 
However, the ability of anglers to high-grade also depends on the 
availability of larger fish, which could change with natural variations 
in halibut stock composition, movements of fish, and the ability of the 
fleet to find or access areas where those fish are. Variability was 
observed in estimated average weights in the Area 2C guided halibut 
fishery even before bag limit changes were first enacted in 2007. 
Variability can be caused by a number of factors, including bias and 
sampling error in the collection of size data through creel surveys. It 
is not yet possible to accurately predict the amount or effect of high-
grading based on average weight data. It is reasonable to assume, 
however, that imposition of a maximum length limit or a decrease in the 
maximum length limit may provide more incentive for anglers to retain 
the largest fish possible, and the assumption used in Method A that all 
halibut retained by guided sport anglers will be of the average size 
fish previously caught in the fishery may not be realistic.
    On the other hand, Method B assumes that all halibut harvested in 
the guided sport fishery would be equal to the maximum length limit 
when anglers are limited to retaining one halibut that is no larger 
than a maximum length limit. Method B would likely overestimate guided 
sport harvest, however, because it is highly unlikely that all anglers 
would be able to catch and retain halibut that are precisely equal to 
the maximum length limit. Some anglers will undoubtedly retain halibut 
that are smaller than the maximum length limit, and guided sport 
harvest in net pounds will not always reach the projected guided sport 
harvest used to determine the maximum length limit under Method B. The 
overestimation of average weight using Method B would increase as the 
maximum length limit increases. The maximum length limit calculated 
under Method B would result in the most biologically conservative 
outcome among the three methods because it would result in a smaller 
maximum length limit than the limits that would result from using 
Methods A and C.
    Method C assumes that a portion of the halibut harvested by guided 
sport anglers under the maximum length limit will be the average size 
previously

[[Page 44173]]

caught in the fishery, similar to Method A. As described for Method A, 
this could result in underestimated harvest for that portion of the 
halibut harvest if anglers are able to high-grade and increase the 
average weight of halibut harvested relative to the previous year. 
However, Method C uses the most biologically conservative Method B 
assumption for the remaining portion of halibut harvested in the 
previous year's fishery. Method C assumes that the portion of harvested 
halibut that were larger than the maximum length limit in the previous 
year would be equal to the maximum length limit for purposes of 
projecting guided sport harvest under the maximum length limit. As 
described for Method B, this could result in overestimated harvest for 
that portion of the halibut harvest. The net effect is that using both 
assumptions in Method C may balance the effects of Methods A and B. 
Method C will result in maximum length limits and projected guided 
sport harvests that are between those calculated using Methods A and B. 
Method C is likely to be less biologically conservative than Method B. 
Method C is likely to be more biologically conservative than Method A, 
especially when the daily bag limit is changed from one halibut of any 
size to one halibut with a maximum length limit, because anglers are 
presumed to already be high-grading under a one halibut of any size 
daily bag limit.
    The consequences of projection errors vary by methods also. In 
January 2009, the Council's SSC noted that Method A would be expected 
to produce the least impact on the guided sport industry but the most 
impact on the halibut resource. Underestimated guided sport harvest due 
to changes in angler behavior under Method A could result in actual 
guided sport harvest exceeding the guided sport catch limit. While 
Method B uses a conservative approach by assuming that all charter 
vessel anglers will high-grade to the maximum length limit, it 
increases the likelihood that guided sport harvest will not reach the 
sector's catch limit because not all anglers will be able to high-grade 
to the maximum length limit. The SSC noted that the biologically 
conservative assumption used under Method B could result in an 
undesirable economic loss to the guided sport industry and a loss of 
opportunity to charter vessel anglers because the maximum length limit 
would be smaller than limits calculated using less biologically 
conservative assumptions. Method C balances the impacts of Method A and 
B on the halibut stock and guided sport fishery participants because it 
applies the assumptions used in both Method A and Method B.
    The SSC suggested that the CSP could use an iterative approach to 
calculating maximum length limits for a few years in order to 
accommodate new information on angler behavior under maximum length 
limit restrictions. However, this suggestion is inconsistent with the 
Council's intent that the CSP would establish non-discretionary CSP 
restrictions for charter vessel anglers prior to the fishing season.
    NMFS proposes that the CSP could use Methods A, B, or C to set 
maximum length limits when guided sport harvest is being constrained 
under the CSP management tier 1 or tier 2. This would include scenarios 
in which a bag limit of one halibut of any size per day is already in 
place and a maximum length limit is enacted for the first time, or a 
maximum length limit is in place but needs to be reduced because of a 
decline in the annual combined catch limit. However, neither Method A 
nor Method C would likely be appropriate for use in the situation where 
a maximum length limit has been in place for several years but needs to 
be increased due to an increase in the annual combined catch limit. 
These methods would require modification since there would not be 
recent information with which to predict the catch of fish in the gap 
between the original size limit and the new size limit. Method B could 
be applied to the proportion of the fish that were greater than the 
original size limit in these situations. If Method B were applied to 
all fish in year following a size limit produced using Methods A or C, 
use of the more conservative Method B could result in a decrease in the 
size limit even though the annual combined catch limit increased.
    NMFS believes that conservation of the halibut resource should be a 
priority under the CSP. Although the assumption used in Method B that 
all halibut harvested would be of the maximum length may result in the 
guided sport sector harvesting less than its catch limit, NMFS believes 
this assumption maximizes the effectiveness of size limits in 
constraining guided sport halibut harvests at low levels of abundance. 
While NMFS intends for the CSP to accommodate the guided sport 
industry's need for predictability and stability, it believes that 
conservation of the halibut resource should be a priority under the CSP 
and is consistent with the purpose of the Convention. As such, NMFS 
proposes to use Method B, the most biologically conservative method, 
under the CSP. This proposal is consistent with a December 2007 Council 
statement in which it acknowledged that guided sport harvest may not 
precisely meet the sector allocation under the CSP. The Council 
statement of its management objectives for the CSP can be found at: 
http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/npfmc/current_issues/halibut_issues/Halibutmotion1207_rev.pdf. NMFS is requesting comments on the 
use of the proposed Methods A, B, or C, or on other potential methods, 
to establish maximum length limits under the CSP. NMFS specifically 
requests input on the underlying assumptions for each method and the 
resulting impacts on the halibut resource, participants in the guided 
sport fisheries, and other halibut user groups.

D. Other Restrictions Under the CSP

    The proposed rule would prohibit a person from possessing on board 
a vessel halibut that are disfigured in a manner that prevents the 
determination of the number of halibut harvested by each person on 
board the vessel. However, NMFS proposes that under the CSP, charter 
vessel anglers may cut each retained halibut into no more than two 
ventral pieces, two dorsal pieces, and two cheek pieces, with the skin 
on all pieces. This restriction is intended to enable charter vessel 
anglers to fillet halibut on board a vessel while maintaining 
enforcement agents' ability to verify angler compliance with CSP daily 
bag and possession limits by limiting the total number and type of 
halibut pieces each person may possess on board a vessel.
    Beginning in 1997, the IPHC annual management measures implemented 
a prohibition in all waters of Alaska on filleting, mutilating, or 
otherwise disfiguring halibut in any manner that prevented the 
determination of the number of halibut caught, possessed, or landed. In 
2007, the IPHC limited this prohibition to apply only on board the 
vessel on which the halibut were caught and retained. The 2007 annual 
management measures clarified that the prohibition would not apply once 
halibut was landed or offloaded from the vessel on which it was 
retained. The IPHC implemented this change to facilitate the processing 
of sport-caught halibut in Alaska for personal use.
    The 2008 annual management measures modified the allowable 
condition of sport-caught halibut in a person's possession in waters in 
and off Alaska to add the exception that each halibut on board a vessel 
may be cut into no more than two ventral, two dorsal pieces, and two 
cheeks, with the skin on all pieces. The IPHC clarified, and NMFS 
agrees, that the restriction to cut halibut into identifiable dorsal,

[[Page 44174]]

ventral and cheek pieces improves identification of the number of 
retained halibut that are sport-caught in Alaska by facilitating 
enforcement of bag and possession limits. NMFS proposes to include 
these regulations in the Area 2C and Area 3A CSP proposed rule because 
they are necessary to implement and enforce the CSP restrictions in 
these areas. This inclusion will facilitate enforcement of CSP 
restrictions if the IPHC changes its recommended requirements for the 
allowable condition of sport-caught halibut in a person's possession in 
waters in and off Alaska in the future.
    The restriction on cutting each retained halibut into no more than 
two ventral pieces, two dorsal pieces, and two cheek pieces, with the 
skin on all pieces would apply each year under the CSP. In years where 
the CSP restriction includes a maximum length limit, NMFS proposes that 
each charter vessel angler also must retain the intact carcass (a 
carcass with the head attached to the tail) of the filleted halibut 
subject to the maximum length limit until all halibut fillets are 
offloaded from the vessel. As discussed in the ``CSP Restrictions'' 
section of this preamble, two CSP restrictions limit charter vessel 
anglers to retaining halibut of a maximum length. The first CSP 
restriction limits charter vessel anglers to retaining two halibut, one 
of which must be less than 32 inches, per day. The second CSP 
restriction limits charter vessel anglers to retaining one halibut of a 
maximum length limit per day. When either of these CSP restrictions is 
in effect, each charter vessel angler must retain the intact carcass of 
a filleted halibut subject to the size limit until all fillets are 
offloaded from the vessel. An intact carcass is required because 
enforcement officers cannot otherwise determine the head-on length of a 
halibut filleted at sea.
    NMFS implemented the carcass retention requirement for charter 
vessel anglers in Area 2C in 2007 and 2008 when it limited the charter 
vessel anglers to retaining two halibut of any size per day, one of 
which had to be less than 32 inches (81.3 cm). The 2011 IPHC annual 
management measures also implemented the carcass retention requirement 
for Area 2C charter vessel anglers to facilitate enforcement of the 37 
inch maximum length limit in effect for the 2011 fishing season.
    Prior to development of this proposed rule for the CSP, NMFS 
published a final rule on May 6, 2009 (74 FR 21194), to implement along 
with other restrictions a prohibition on operator, guide, and crew 
retention of halibut in Area 2C. The proposed CSP would not modify this 
prohibition on retention of halibut in Area 2C and would implement the 
same prohibition in Area 3A. As noted in the EA/RIR/IRFA prepared for 
the CSP (see ADDRESSES), NMFS estimates that prohibiting retention of 
halibut by operators, guides, and crew reduces guided sport harvest by 
approximately 4.3 percent to 4.7 percent in Area 2C, and approximately 
10.4 percent in Area 3A. The prohibition on retention of halibut by the 
operator, guide, and crew of a charter vessel is consistent with one of 
the CSP objectives, which is to limit guided sport halibut harvest to 
within the guided sport target harvest range.
    The proposed rule would prohibit individuals who hold both a 
charter halibut permit and commercial halibut IFQ from fishing for 
commercial and guided sport halibut on the same vessel during the same 
day in Area 2C and Area 3A. NMFS implements this provision to 
facilitate enforcement, as different regulations would apply to guided 
sport-caught and commercially-caught halibut. This provision would not 
prevent an individual who holds both a charter halibut permit and 
commercial halibut IFQ from conducting guided sport operations and 
commercial operations on separate boats on the same day.
    The proposed rule also would prohibit individuals who hold both a 
charter halibut permit and a Subsistence Halibut Registration 
Certificate from using both permits to harvest halibut on the same 
vessel during the same day in Area 2C and Area 3A. NMFS agrees with the 
Council that this prohibition is necessary to allow enforcement 
officials and samplers to classify harvest among the guided sport, 
subsistence, and commercial fisheries. Allowing multiple types of trips 
on a vessel in the same day could create uncertainty regarding how to 
classify retained halibut.
    Enforcement of provisions prohibiting individuals from fishing for 
commercial and guided sport halibut or for subsistence and guided sport 
halibut on the same vessel during the same day in Area 2C and Area 3A, 
would require charter vessel operators to indicate the date of a 
charter vessel fishing trip in the ADF&G charter logbook and all of the 
required fields in the charter logbook must be completed before the 
halibut are offloaded. These requirements will enable enforcement 
agents to determine whether that vessel was used on a charter vessel 
fishing trip that day. If the charter logbook is properly and 
accurately completed and indicates that charter activity occurred on 
the vessel during a particular day on which halibut were retained, an 
enforcement agent would consider the retained halibut caught in the 
guided sport fishery.

VI. Guided Angler Fish (GAF)

    The proposed CSP regulations would authorize supplemental, 
individual transfers of commercial halibut IFQ as guided angler fish 
(GAF) to charter halibut permit holders for harvest by charter vessel 
anglers in the guided sport halibut fishery. GAF would offer charter 
vessel anglers in Area 2C or Area 3A an opportunity to harvest halibut 
in addition to, or instead of, the halibut harvested under the CSP 
restriction, up to the harvest limits in place for unguided sport 
anglers in that area. Transfers between commercial halibut IFQ and GAF 
would be effective for the current fishing season only, so transfers of 
IFQ to GAF would not be a permanent transfer of halibut IFQ from the 
commercial sector to the guided sport sector. This market-based aspect 
of the CSP allows the guided sport halibut sector to increase its 
halibut harvest beyond the area guided sport catch limit specified in 
the annual management measures up to limits imposed the unguided sport 
halibut fishery. In addition, this aspect of the CSP creates a system 
wherein the guided sport halibut sector compensates the commercial 
halibut sector for decreases in commercial halibut IFQ harvest.
    Through the CSP GAF transfer program, qualified charter halibut 
permit holders in Area 2C and Area 3A may offer anglers on board their 
vessel the opportunity to retain up to two halibut of any size per day 
when the CSP restriction limits charter vessel anglers to a halibut 
harvest limit that is more restrictive than two halibut of any size per 
day. Charter vessel anglers may retain GAF to supplement halibut 
retained under the CSP restriction. However, charter vessel anglers 
retaining GAF may not exceed the harvest restriction in place for 
unguided sport anglers in that area. In other words, a charter vessel 
angler may retain as GAF a halibut that exceeds the daily bag limit and 
length restrictions triggered by the CSP only to the extent that the 
angler's halibut retained under the CSP restriction plus halibut 
retained as GAF do not exceed daily bag limit and length restrictions 
imposed on unguided anglers. For example, the daily halibut retention 
limit for unguided sport anglers in Area 2C and Area 3A is currently 
two halibut of any size per calendar day. Assuming this same unguided 
sport angler retention limit, charter vessel anglers would only retain 
GAF when the CSP restriction for that area limits guided sport anglers 
to

[[Page 44175]]

retaining less than two fish of any size per calendar day. The Council 
recommended this restriction on GAF use to maintain parity between 
guided and unguided sport halibut retention limits.
    Table 13 presents the potential uses of GAF by charter vessel 
anglers in Area 2C and Area 3A under the proposed CSP restrictions, 
assuming that unguided sport anglers are limited to retaining two 
halibut of any size per calendar day.

        Table 13--Options for GAF Harvest Under CSP Restrictions
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       then each charter
                                    and the harvest      vessel angler
   If the CSP restriction is:     limit for unguided   could use GAF to
                                   sport anglers is:        retain:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
one halibut of a maximum length.  two halibut of any  EITHER: one
                                   size.               halibut less than
                                                       or equal to the
                                                       maximum length
                                                       under the CSP
                                                       restriction plus
                                                       one GAF halibut
                                                       of any size; OR
                                                       two GAF halibut
                                                       of any size.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
one halibut of any size.........  two halibut of any  one halibut of any
                                   size.               size under the
                                                       CSP restriction
                                                       plus one GAF
                                                       halibut of any
                                                       size.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
two halibut, but at least one     two halibut of any  one halibut
 halibut must have a head-on       size.               greater than 32
 length of no more than 32                             inches in length
 inches (81.3 cm). If a charter                        under the CSP
 vessel angler retains only one                        restriction plus
 halibut in a calendar day, that                       one GAF greater
 halibut may be of any length.                         than 32 inches.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
two halibut of any size.........  two halibut of any  N/A
                                   size.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
N/A = not applicable.

    The Council recommended including GAF in the Area 2C and Area 3A 
CSP to provide operating flexibility for participants in the commercial 
and guided sport halibut fisheries. The Council and NMFS determined 
that the GAF program could provide increased fishing opportunities in 
the guided sport fishery for those anglers desiring such an 
opportunity. The GAF program also would provide commercial halibut QS 
holders with greater flexibility when developing their annual harvest 
strategy. Persons holding halibut QS for an area have harvesting 
privileges for an amount of halibut that is derived annually from their 
QS holdings in that area and authorized on their IFQ permit. NMFS 
determines each person's amount of halibut IFQ (in net pounds) from the 
number of halibut QS units held, the total number of halibut QS units 
issued for that specific regulatory area, and the area's total 
allowable catch allocation for halibut IFQ and Community Development 
Quota fisheries (if applicable) in a particular year to determine the 
specific amount of halibut IFQ (in net pounds). As discussed above in 
the ``Annual Commercial Fishery and Guided Sport Fishery Catch Limits'' 
section, under the CSP, the IPHC determines the annual combined catch 
limit which then triggers the commercial catch limit (see Table 1 and 
Table 2). The opportunity for annual transfers of IFQ to GAF could 
provide some halibut IFQ holders with greater economic benefits than 
harvesting the IFQ themselves if they receive more revenue from 
transferring IFQ to GAF than they would receive from harvesting the IFQ 
themselves.
    An IFQ holder is eligible to transfer halibut quota shares if such 
person holds at least one unit of halibut QS and has received an annual 
IFQ permit authorizing harvest of IFQ in either the Area 2C and Area 3A 
commercial halibut fishery. A charter halibut permit holder is eligible 
to receive IFQ as GAF if such a person holds one or more charter 
halibut permits in the management area that corresponds to the IFQ 
permit area from which the IFQ would be transferred.
    Holders of military charter halibut permits would also be eligible 
to receive IFQ as GAF. Military charter halibut permits are issued to 
U.S. Military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation programs in Alaska that 
offer guided sport halibut fishing to service members in Area 2C or 
Area 3A. To operate a charter vessel, the U.S. Military Morale, 
Welfare, and Recreation program would need to obtain a military charter 
halibut permit by application to NMFS or could purchase a charter 
halibut permit on the commercial market.
    Community Quota Entities holding community charter halibut permits 
are also eligible to receive IFQ as GAF. Regulations at 50 CFR 
300.67(k)(2) list the communities that are eligible to receive 
community charter halibut permits from NMFS. In addition to community 
charter halibut permits, a Community Quota Entity may acquire non-
community charter halibut permits by transfer. The final rule 
implementing the charter halibut limited access program describes 
community charter halibut permits and the application and eligibility 
requirements for Community Quota Entities to receive community charter 
halibut permits (75 FR 554, January 5, 2010).
    There are several ways in which a Community Quota Entity in Area 2C 
or Area 3A that is eligible to receive community charter halibut 
permits and hold charter halibut permits could be a party to a GAF 
transaction. Community Quota Entities could receive a transfer of GAF 
for use on a community charter halibut permit or charter halibut permit 
that it holds. Community Quota Entities that are eligible to hold 
community charter halibut permits and charter halibut permits also are 
authorized to hold IFQ under the IFQ program by Amendment 66 to the 
Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (69 FR 
23681, April 30, 2004). Amendment 66 authorized Community Quota 
Entities to receive transferred halibut or sablefish QS on behalf of 
the community it represents and to lease the resulting IFQ to fishermen 
who are residents of that community. Thus, a Community Quota Entity 
holding IFQ would be eligible to transfer the IFQ as GAF to a holder of 
a charter halibut permit, community charter halibut permit, or military 
charter halibut permit.
    Regulations implementing the CSP would detail the requirements for 
a valid transfer of halibut IFQ to GAF. Both parties would complete and 
submit an application to NMFS to transfer halibut in net pounds between 
IFQ and GAF. NMFS would approve the

[[Page 44176]]

transfer provided that application is complete, both parties are 
eligible to transfer, and there are no other administrative reasons to 
disapprove the transfer.
    NMFS would convert the number of GAF to be transferred to the 
charter halibut permit holder's GAF account into net pounds to be 
debited from the IFQ holder's account. To determine the number of net 
pounds to be debited from the IFQ account, NMFS would multiply the 
number of GAF to be transferred by the conversion factor for that year. 
The conversion factor for the current fishing year would be the ADF&G 
estimate of the average net weight calculated from all halibut 
harvested in the guided sport fishery during the preceding fishing year 
in that IPHC regulatory area. NMFS would post the conversion factors 
for Area 2C and Area 3A for the current fishing year on the NMFS Alaska 
Region Home Page at http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov as soon as the 
average net weight estimates for Area 2C and Area 3A are available. 
NMFS anticipates it would post the conversion factor for the current 
fishing year in January each year.
    Upon completion of the transfer between IFQ and GAF, NMFS would 
issue a GAF permit to the holder of a charter halibut permit, community 
charter halibut permit, or military charter halibut permit. The GAF 
permit would be assigned to the charter halibut permit specified by the 
holder at the time of application. The GAF permit holder could offer 
GAF for harvest by charter vessel anglers on board the vessel on which 
the operator's GAF permit and the assigned charter halibut permit are 
used.
    The charter halibut permit holder holding a GAF permit (GAF permit 
holder) and charter vessel angler would need to agree on any fees for 
harvesting the GAF. Depending on the structure of the payment, total 
costs to the GAF permit holder, charter vessel anglers or both could 
increase. While the market-based nature of IFQ to GAF transfers makes 
it likely that the cost of obtaining GAF would be borne by the charter 
vessel anglers using GAF, charter vessel anglers who want the 
opportunity to retain more halibut than permitted under the CSP 
restriction would have the opportunity to do so using GAF.
    GAF permit holders would be required to hold a sufficient number of 
GAF for charter vessel anglers to retain halibut in excess of the CSP 
restriction and up to limits in place for the unguided sport halibut 
fishery for that area at the time any excess halibut are retained. The 
GAF permit holder also would be required to have the GAF permit and the 
assigned charter halibut permit on board the vessel on which charter 
vessel anglers retain GAF, and to present the permits if requested by 
an authorized enforcement officer. GAF permit holders that do not hold 
sufficient GAF to cover retained halibut by charter vessel anglers in 
excess of the CSP restriction may not allow anglers to retain those 
halibut. By midnight on the day on which GAF were retained, the GAF 
permit holder would be required to electronically report the total 
number of GAF retained under his or her GAF permit. NMFS would deduct 
this number of GAF from the GAF permit holder's account of unused GAF. 
NMFS proposes to require the GAF permit holder to complete a GAF 
electronic report by midnight on the day GAF were retained to maintain 
as close to real-time accounting of GAF balances as possible. 
Unharvested GAF could be returned to the IFQ permit holder from which 
it derived at any time during the fishing year if the GAF permit holder 
wishes to do so and the IFQ holder agrees to the return. The IFQ permit 
holder could then harvest the converted net pounds of halibut in the 
commercial fishery. Once the GAF were returned to the IFQ holder, it 
would not be available for harvest in the guided sport fishery unless 
the IFQ permit holder engaged in another transfer of IFQ to GAF. To 
approve and execute these returns of unharvested GAF to the IFQ permit 
holder, NMFS would need timely information on the harvest of GAF via 
electronic reporting by GAF permit holders.
    The CSP regulations would also specify a mandatory GAF return date 
of 15 days prior to the end of the commercial halibut fishing season. 
The end of the commercial halibut fishing season would be specified in 
the IPHC annual management measures published by NMFS in the Federal 
Register each year. On this date GAF would no longer be authorized for 
use in the guided sport fishery. NMFS would return any remaining 
unharvested GAF to the IFQ holder from which it was derived. NMFS would 
not approve voluntary returns of GAF to IFQ after the mandatory GAF 
return date. NMFS recognizes that some GAF permit holders likely would 
have a balance of unharvested GAF at the end of the guided sport 
fishing season. The Council recommended and NMFS agrees that NMFS 
should return unused GAF 15 days prior to the end of the commercial 
halibut fishing season. Although the guided sport halibut fishery has 
typically been open from February 1 through December 31 in recent 
years, most fishing in the guided sport fishery occurs from May through 
August. ADF&G data for 2006 indicate that less than 1 percent of guided 
sport halibut harvest occurred after September 30, in either Area 2C or 
Area 3A. The commercial halibut fishing season typically opens in March 
and closes in mid-November. Based on this information, NMFS believes 
that NMFS should return remaining unused GAF to the IFQ permit holder 
15 days prior to the end of the commercial halibut fishing season 
because it would not significantly affect charter vessel business 
operations in aggregate. Further, this timeline would provide the IFQ 
holder with an opportunity to harvest the IFQ before the end of the 
commercial fishing season for that year. The IFQ holder also may choose 
to count the IFQ returned from GAF toward an underage for his or her 
halibut IFQ account for the next fishing year, as specified in 
regulations at Sec.  679.40(e). On or as soon as possible after the 
mandatory GAF return date, NMFS would convert GAF in number(s) of fish 
to IFQ in net pounds using the conversion factor for that year and 
return the converted IFQ to the IFQ holder's account.
    The proposed rule would establish the following four elements for 
implementation of the GAF transfer program: (a) Eligibility criteria 
for halibut QS/IFQ holders and charter halibut permit holders to 
transfer between IFQ and GAF; (b) a process to complete a transfer 
between halibut IFQ and GAF; (c) GAF transfer limits; and (d) 
additional reporting requirements for guided sport operators whose 
clients retain GAF. Each of these elements is discussed in more detail 
below.

A. Eligibility Requirements To Transfer Between IFQ and GAF

    NMFS will approve an application for transfer of IFQ and GAF 
between an eligible IFQ holder and an eligible holder of a charter 
halibut permit, community charter halibut permit, or military charter 
halibut permit if NMFS determines that (1) the transfer would not cause 
the IFQ holder or the GAF holder to exceed use limits specified for GAF 
at Sec.  300.65 and halibut IFQ at Sec.  679.42 (see ``GAF Transfer 
Restrictions'' section below); (2) there are no fines, civil penalties, 
sanctions, or other payments due and owing, or outstanding permit 
sanctions, resulting from Federal fishery violations involving either 
person or permit; and (3) other pertinent information requested on the 
application has been supplied.

[[Page 44177]]

    NMFS would need to make additional determinations to approve a 
transfer between IFQ and GAF for a Community Quota Entity. In addition 
to the requirements listed above, NMFS would approve the transfer upon 
making a determination that: (1) the Community Quota Entity applying to 
transfer IFQ to GAF is eligible to hold and receive IFQ on behalf of a 
eligible community in Area 2C or Area 3A, as specified in 50 CFR 
300.67(k)(2); (2) the Community Quota Entity applying to receive GAF 
from an Area 2C or Area 3A IFQ holder holds one or more community 
charter halibut permits or charter halibut permits for the 
corresponding area; and (3) the Community Quota Entity applying to 
transfer between IFQ and GAF has submitted a complete annual report(s) 
to NMFS as required by Sec.  679.5(l)(8).
    See the ``GAF Transfer Restrictions'' section for further 
discussion on the proposed regulations governing transfers between IFQ 
and GAF for Community Quota Entities.

B. Process To Complete a Transfer Between IFQ and GAF

    The IFQ holder and the charter halibut permit holder receiving GAF 
would be required to complete and sign an application for transfer 
between IFQ (either IFQ to GAF or GAF to IFQ) prior to the automatic 
GAF return date. Application forms would be available on the NMFS, 
Alaska Region, Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/. 
Applications could be submitted by mail, hand delivery, or facsimile. 
Electronic submissions other than facsimile would not be acceptable 
because NMFS would require the original signature of the IFQ holder and 
the charter halibut permit holder. The applicants also would need to 
attest under penalty of perjury that legal requirements were met and 
all statements on the application are true, correct, and complete. The 
automatic return of GAF by NMFS on or around the automatic GAF return 
date each year would not require either party to complete a transfer 
application, and NMFS would not approve an application for transfer 
between IFQ and GAF after the automatic GAF return date.
    Conversion Between IFQ and GAF. NMFS would issue GAF in numbers of 
halibut. NMFS CSP regulations would require that for each GAF 
transferred from an IFQ holder to a charter halibut permit holder's GAF 
account, the equivalent number of net pounds of halibut rounded to the 
nearest net pound (in whole numbers, not decimals) would be removed 
from an IFQ holder's IFQ account. Conversely, CSP regulations would 
require that for each GAF returned from a charter halibut permit 
holder's GAF account, the equivalent number of net pounds of halibut 
IFQ rounded to the nearest net pound would be returned to the IFQ 
holder's account. NMFS would use the average net weight of a halibut 
landed in the guided sport fishery in each area (2C or 3A) during the 
previous year, as determined by ADF&G, to convert GAF to equivalent net 
pounds of halibut IFQ rounded up to the nearest net pound. The same 
average net weight would be used for all conversions of IFQ to GAF and 
returns of GAF to IFQ in one year.
    A request for transfer from IFQ to GAF would be made in numbers of 
fish, or the number of GAF to be transferred to the GAF permit holder. 
For example, if NMFS approved a transfer of 5 GAF and the conversion 
factor was 20.7 lbs (9.4 kg), then 104 lbs (47.2 kg) of IFQ would be 
debited from the IFQ holder's account (5 GAF x 20.7 lbs (9.4 kg) = 
103.5 lbs (46.9 kg) and rounded to 104 lbs (46.9 kg)). NMFS would round 
up the conversion calculation (103.5 lbs (46.9 kg)) to the nearest 
pound (104 lbs (46.9 kg)) and debit that amount from the IFQ holder's 
account. NMFS accounts only for net pounds in whole numbers without 
decimals in the IFQ program and proposes to continue accounting in 
whole numbers of net pounds for transfers between IFQ and GAF.
    A voluntary request for return of GAF to IFQ and the automatic 
return of GAF also would require NMFS to convert unharvested GAF to net 
pounds of IFQ. To calculate the number of net pounds of halibut IFQ 
returned to the IFQ holder, NMFS would multiply the unharvested number 
of GAF by the conversion factor and round up to the nearest pound. In 
the example used above, if the parties agreed to a voluntary return of 
2 GAF to the IFQ holder, NMFS would return 42 lbs (19.1 kg) to the IFQ 
holder's account (2 GAF x 20.7 lbs (9.4 kg) = 41.4 lbs (18.8 kg) and 
rounded to 42 lbs (19.1 kg)). NMFS would make the same conversion 
calculation for automatic returns of unharvested GAF to IFQ.
    GAF Permit. On approval of an application for transfer between IFQ 
and GAF, NMFS would issue a GAF permit to the charter halibut permit 
holder receiving GAF. A GAF permit would authorize the GAF permit 
holder to offer GAF to charter vessel anglers and allow charter vessel 
anglers to retain halibut in excess of the CSP restriction, up to 
limits on GAF use in regulations at Sec.  300.65(c). GAF could be 
retained under a GAF permit only if, at the time the GAF are retained, 
the GAF permit holder's account contains at least the number of 
retained GAF. All GAF permits would expire at 11:59 p.m. on the day 
prior to the automatic GAF return date. GAF could not be retained by 
charter vessel anglers after the expiration of GAF permits.
    NMFS would issue a revised GAF permit to the GAF permit holder each 
time during the year that it approved a transfer between IFQ and GAF 
for that GAF permit. Each GAF permit would be assigned to only one 
charter halibut permit, community charter halibut permit, or military 
charter halibut permit in Area 2C or Area 3A. Charter halibut permit 
holders requesting GAF would be required to specify the charter halibut 
permit to which the GAF permit would be assigned on the application for 
transfer between IFQ and GAF. The assignment between a GAF permit and a 
charter halibut permit, community charter halibut permit, or military 
charter halibut permit could not be changed during that year. If 
charter vessel anglers retain GAF, the GAF permit and the assigned 
charter halibut permit, community charter halibut permit, or military 
charter halibut permit would need to be on board the vessel on which 
the GAF halibut are retained, and available for inspection by an 
authorized enforcement officer.

C. GAF Transfer Restrictions

    The Council recommended and NMFS proposes restrictions on the 
amount of IFQ that an IFQ holder could transfer as GAF and on the 
number of GAF that could be assigned to one GAF permit. The 
restrictions on transfers between IFQ and GAF are intended to prevent a 
particular individual, corporation, or other entity from acquiring an 
excessive share of halibut fishing privileges as IFQ or GAF. The 
proposed rule would implement the Council's recommendations for three 
GAF transfer restrictions. First, IFQ holders would be limited to 
transferring up to 1,500 lbs (680.4 kg) or 10 percent, whichever is 
greater, of their annual halibut IFQ for use as GAF. Second, no more 
than a total of 400 GAF would be assigned during one year to a GAF 
permit assigned to a charter halibut permit that is endorsed for six or 
fewer anglers. Third, no more than a total of 600 GAF would be assigned 
during one year to a GAF permit assigned to a charter halibut permit 
endorsed for more than six anglers.
    Commercial halibut IFQ regulations at Sec.  679.42(f)(1)(i) and 
(ii) also include QS use limits that are intended to prevent a 
particular individual, corporation, or other entity from acquiring an 
excessive

[[Page 44178]]

share of commercial halibut fishing privileges. NMFS determines 
individual and collective interest in halibut fishing privileges by 
summing QS used by that person and a portion of any QS used by an 
entity in which that person has an interest. NMFS considers the 
person's portion of the QS used by the entity equal to the share of 
interest the person has in that entity. For example, if an individual 
uses 50,000 units of Area 2C halibut QS and has a 5 percent interest in 
a company that uses 750,000 units of Area 2C halibut QS, the amount of 
Area 2C halibut QS that person would be considered to use for purposes 
of the limits at Sec.  679.42(f)(1)(i) and (ii) is 50,000 units (his 
personal holdings) plus 37,500 units (5 percent interest for the 
750,000 units in the company using Area 2C halibut QS). This 
individual's use of 87,500 units would not exceed the Area 2C QS use 
limit of 599,799 units.
    For purposes of administering the QS use limits at Sec.  
679.42(f)(1)(i) and (ii), NMFS proposes to include the QS equivalent of 
IFQ transferred to GAF in the calculation of a person's QS use. Using 
the example above, if the QS holder transferred the equivalent of 100 
lbs (45.4 kg) of IFQ as GAF to a charter halibut permit holder, NMFS 
would continue to include the QS equivalent of the IFQ transferred to 
GAF in the calculation of that person's QS use for purposes of the QS 
use limits at Sec.  679.42(f)(1)(i) and (ii). NMFS proposes this 
approach because it considers a transfer of IFQ to GAF a use of halibut 
QS. A transfer of IFQ to GAF would be voluntary, and the halibut QS 
holder likely would receive a benefit from the transfer according to 
the terms of the transfer agreement with the charter halibut permit 
holder receiving GAF. Furthermore, it is possible under the proposed 
CSP for a person to use halibut QS issued as IFQ and transferred to GAF 
in the commercial halibut fishery before the end of the fishing season 
if the IFQ was transferred to GAF, not harvested in the guided sport 
fishery, and returned to the QS holder. The proposed CSP specifies that 
any unused GAF derived from IFQ issued to the QS holder (1) may be 
voluntarily returned to the QS holder at any time during the fishing 
season prior to the mandatory GAF return date, and (2) would 
automatically be returned by NMFS to the QS holder on or as soon as 
possible after the mandatory GAF return date.
    The proposed rule also would prohibit GAF, once transferred to a 
charter halibut permit holder, from being transferred to another 
charter halibut permit, community charter halibut permit, or military 
charter halibut permit holder. This requirement would prevent a charter 
halibut permit holder from receiving GAF by transfer with the intention 
of transferring the GAF to another charter halibut permit holder for 
compensation. The Council and NMFS generally recommend management 
provisions that encourage holders of harvest privileges to actively 
participate in the fishery for which they hold the privilege rather 
than receiving financial benefits from another person who pays to use 
those harvest privileges. The Council's recommendation and NMFS' 
proposal to prohibit GAF permit holders from transferring GAF to 
another charter halibut permit holder is consistent with this policy 
objective to require a charter halibut permit holder who receives GAF 
by transfer to utilize GAF in conjunction with their charter halibut 
permit.
Community Quota Entities and GAF
    Under the proposed rule, a Community Quota Entity holding halibut 
IFQ in Area 2C or Area 3A would be authorized to transfer that IFQ as 
GAF. However, the Council recommended that transfers between IFQ and 
GAF for Community Quota Entities be exempt from GAF transfer 
restrictions in certain circumstances. The Regulatory Impact Review 
prepared for the CSP (see ADDRESSES) provided a general statement about 
the Council's intent for transfers between IFQ and GAF for Community 
Quota Entities (CQE):

    A CQE is allowed to lease 100 percent of the halibut they hold 
to eligible residents in their communities. This means a CQE may 
convert 100 percent of its annual IFQ to GAF for use on its halibut 
community harvest permit, may lease 100 percent of its IFQ out as 
GAF to another CQE, may lease 100 percent of its IFQ to community 
residents (subject to current holding limitations), or may lease GAF 
to its own community residents that hold community charter halibut 
permits.

    NMFS agrees that Community Quota Entity transfers between IFQ and 
GAF should be exempt from GAF transfer restrictions in the instances 
described in the Regulatory Impact Review. Although the Council used 
the term ``eligible community resident'' in recommending exemptions to 
the GAF transfer restrictions for Community Quota Entities under the 
CSP, this term is not directly applicable to the charter halibut 
limited access program because businesses are expected to hold charter 
halibut permits. Although a business could be composed of an 
individual, it is possible for a business to be a partnership, 
corporation, or other legal entity. Therefore, NMFS is proposing that 
``eligible community resident,'' for purposes of exempting from GAF 
transfer restrictions transfers of IFQ to GAF from a Community Quota 
Entity to an eligible community resident, means that the charter 
halibut permit holder receiving GAF from the Community Quota Entity 
must operate their business out of the community. Current regulations 
at 50 CFR 300.67(k)(5) require that every charter vessel fishing trip 
authorized by a community charter halibut permit must begin or end 
within the boundaries of the community represented by the Community 
Quota Entity holding the permit. The regulations do not require that an 
eligible community resident of the Community Quota Entity community use 
the community charter halibut permit.
    NMFS proposes to apply the same requirement for using community 
charter halibut permits to the definition of eligible community 
resident for purposes of IFQ to GAF transfers involving Community Quota 
Entities. The proposed rule would revise the definition of eligible 
community resident for purposes of IFQ to GAF transfers under the Area 
2C and Area 3A CSP. A person (either an individual or a non-individual 
entity) holding a charter halibut permit would need to either begin or 
end a charter vessel fishing trip authorized by their charter halibut 
permit within the boundaries of the community represented by the 
Community Quota Entity to qualify as an eligible community resident of 
that Community Quota Entity for purposes of IFQ to GAF transfers. If a 
Community Quota Entity transfers IFQ as GAF to an eligible community 
resident, the transfer would not be subject to the IFQ to GAF transfer 
restrictions.
    Under the proposed rule, transfers between IFQ and GAF would be 
exempt from GAF transfer restrictions if a Community Quota Entity 
transfers IFQ as GAF to (1) itself for use with a charter halibut 
permit or a community charter halibut permit it holds; (2) a business 
operating out of the Community Quota Entity community that holds a 
charter halibut permit; or (3) another Community Quota Entity for use 
with a charter halibut permit or a community charter halibut permit 
held by the Community Quota Entity receiving GAF. All other transfers 
between IFQ and GAF by Community Quota Entities would be subject to the 
GAF transfer restrictions. NMFS believes that exempting Community Quota 
Entities from GAF transfer restrictions in these circumstances would 
provide a Community Quota Entity with more

[[Page 44179]]

flexibility in determining how to utilize its holdings of IFQ, 
community charter halibut permits, or charter halibut permits. These 
exemption provisions allow the Community Quota Entity to determine how 
to use halibut fishery privileges to maximize benefits for the 
Community Quota Entity community and its residents.
    Although transfers between IFQ and GAF for Community Quota Entities 
would be exempt from GAF transfer restrictions in the circumstances 
described above, all transfers of IFQ to GAF in which the IFQ is held 
by a Community Quota Entity would be limited by an existing halibut IFQ 
regulation at Sec.  679.42(f)(6). This regulation specifies that ``[n]o 
individual that receives IFQ derived from halibut QS held by a 
Community Quota Entity may hold, individually or collectively, more 
than 50,000 lbs (22.7 mt) of IFQ halibut derived from any halibut QS 
source.'' As described above, NMFS determines individual and collective 
ownership interest by summing IFQ held or used by that person and a 
portion of any IFQ held or used by an entity in which that person has 
an interest. NMFS considers the person's portion of the IFQ held or 
used by the entity equal to the share of interest the person has in 
that entity. For example, if an individual holds or uses 100 lbs (45.4 
kg) of IFQ and has a 5 percent interest in a company that holds or uses 
100 lbs (45.4 kg) of IFQ that was derived from halibut QS held by a 
Community Quota Entity, the amount of IFQ that person would be 
considered to hold for the IFQ limit calculation at Sec.  679.42(f)(6) 
is 100 lbs (45.4 kg) (his personal holdings) plus 5 lbs (2.3 kg) (5 
percent interest for the 100 lbs (45.4 kg) in the company holding IFQ). 
This individual's holdings of 105 lbs (47.6 kg) would not exceed the 
IFQ limit of 50,000 lbs (45.4 kg) for purposes of Sec.  679.42(f)(6).
    The Council recommended, and this rule proposes, to include GAF 
derived from halibut IFQ held by a Community Quota Entity in this 
individual and collective IFQ holding limit. Hence, the proposed rule 
would limit an individual receiving either IFQ or GAF derived from IFQ 
held by a Community Quota Entity to holding individually or 
collectively, no more than 50,000 lbs (45.4 kg) of halibut IFQ and GAF 
derived from the IFQ, combined. Thus, for an individual that holds GAF 
derived from IFQ held by a Community Quota Entity, IFQ derived from QS 
held by a Community Quota Entity, or both, NMFS would calculate that 
individual's total halibut IFQ and GAF holdings by (1) multiplying the 
total number of GAF held individually and collectively by the 
conversion factor for that year (see ``Conversion Between IFQ and GAF'' 
section above) to determine the equivalent number of halibut net pounds 
held, and (2) adding the equivalent number of halibut net pounds held 
to the total number of IFQ equivalent pounds held individually and 
collectively by that person.

D. GAF Reporting Requirements

    The proposed rule would implement new recordkeeping and reporting 
requirements for GAF in ADF&G charter logbooks, in addition to charter 
logbook reporting requirements currently specified at Sec.  300.65(d). 
The draft regulations also would require GAF permit holders to 
separately report retained GAF by midnight on the day the GAF were 
retained using a NMFS-approved electronic GAF reporting system.
    The ADF&G charter logbook is the primary reporting requirement for 
operators in the guided sport fisheries for all species harvested in 
saltwater in Areas 2C and 3A. The ADF&G developed the charter logbook 
program in 1998 to provide information on actual participation and 
harvest by individual vessels and businesses in guided sport fisheries 
for halibut as well as other state-managed species. The charter logbook 
data are compiled to show where fishing occurs, the extent of 
participation, and the species and the numbers of fish caught and 
retained by individual anglers. This information is essential for 
regulation and management of the guided sport halibut fisheries in Area 
2C and Area 3A. Since 1998, the charter logbook design has undergone 
annual revision, driven primarily by changes or improvements in the 
collection of fisheries data. In recent years, ADF&G has added charter 
logbook reporting requirements to accommodate information required to 
implement and enforce Federal guided sport halibut regulations, such as 
the Area 2C one-halibut per day bag limit and the charter halibut 
limited access program.
    The proposed rule for the CSP would continue to require the ADF&G 
charter logbook as the primary reporting method for operators in the 
guided sport halibut fishery.
    The proposed rule would require the person to whom ADF&G issued a 
charter logbook to retain and make available for inspection by 
authorized enforcement personnel completed original charter logbooks 
for a period of two years following the charter vessel fishing trip. 
This requirement would be necessary for enforcement of CSP restrictions 
and GAF reporting requirements.
    For each charter vessel fishing trip on which charter vessel 
anglers retain GAF, charter vessel guides would be required to report 
in the charter logbook sheet completed for a charter vessel fishing 
trip (1) the GAF permit number under which the GAF were retained, and 
(2) the number of GAF retained by each charter vessel angler during the 
trip. For charter vessel fishing trips completed on a single day, 
charter vessel guides would be required by Federal regulations to 
complete these fields in the charter logbook before any halibut are 
offloaded and/or charter vessel anglers disembark from the vessel. For 
multi-day charter vessel fishing trips, charter vessel guides would be 
required to complete the GAF reporting requirements in a charter 
logbook on board the vessel by the end of each day of the trip. These 
charter logbook reporting requirements would facilitate GAF 
recordkeeping and enforcement of charter vessel angler daily bag and 
possession limits during a charter vessel fishing trip. NMFS also would 
use the GAF charter logbook reporting fields to verify information 
reported in the electronic GAF reporting system.
    NMFS would use the electronic GAF reporting system to manage GAF 
accounts. Real-time reporting of GAF landings, and other GAF account 
and permit information is essential to support participant access to 
current account balances for account management and regulatory 
compliance, and for monitoring of account transfers and GAF landings 
history. Management personnel need real-time account information to 
manage permit accounts, conduct transfers, and assess fees. Enforcement 
personnel need real-time account information to monitor transfers 
between IFQ and GAF and monitor compliance with authorized GAF harvests 
and other program rules.
    In the commercial IFQ program, regulations at 50 CFR 679.5(e) 
require that Registered Buyers report fisheries landings electronically 
using a secure, password-protected Internet-based system approved by 
NMFS. The final steps of the electronic IFQ reporting process generate 
a time-stamped receipt displaying landings data. Commercial Registered 
Buyers must print, and along with the individual IFQ fisherman, must 
sign copies of the receipt, which must be maintained and made available 
for a specified time period for inspection by authorized Agency 
personnel. Printing of this receipt indicates the report sequence is 
complete and the IFQ account(s) has been properly debited.

[[Page 44180]]

    Under the CSP GAF program, NMFS would also require secure 
electronic reporting. Multiple technologies may be needed to provide 
essential services to a GAF fleet that would be widely distributed 
throughout remote locations in Area 2C and Area 3A. NMFS is proposing 
an Internet-based reporting system for the GAF electronic reporting 
program because that is likely to be the most efficient and convenient 
method for charter operators to report GAF given the prevalence of 
Internet use among the general public.
    Although real-time data are necessary for accurate account 
management, the amount and type of data required for inseason GAF 
account management are relatively small and simple relative to that 
required for charter logbooks. GAF permit holders would be required to 
complete the GAF electronic report before midnight of each day on which 
a charter vessel angler retained GAF using their GAF permit even if the 
GAF permit holder is operating a multi-day charter vessel fishing trip.
    The GAF permit holder would be required to record the following 
information in the GAF electronic reporting system: (1) ADF&G charter 
logbook number in which GAF were recorded; (2) Vessel identification 
number (State of Alaska issued boat registration number or U.S. Coast 
Guard documentation number) for the vessel on which GAF were retained; 
(3) GAF permit number used to retain GAF; (4) ADF&G Sport Fishing Guide 
license number held by the charter vessel guide who certified the ADF&G 
charter logbook sheet on which GAF were recorded; and (5) Total number 
of GAF caught and retained under the GAF permit number.
    Charter vessel operators using a GAF permit assigned to a community 
charter halibut permit for a charter vessel fishing trip on which GAF 
were retained also would be required to report the community or port 
where the charter vessel fishing trip begins and ends.
    Upon receipt of the daily electronic GAF report from a GAF permit 
holder, NMFS would respond with a confirmation number as evidence that 
the harvest report was received by NMFS and the GAF account was 
properly debited. The GAF permit holder would be required to enter the 
confirmation number in the charter logbook used on the vessel on the 
day the GAF were retained and recorded in the charter logbook. This 
record of confirmation number would allow cross-reference of the 
charter logbook data elements and the electronic GAF report by 
management and enforcement staff.
    The Council also recommended, and NMFS proposes, that GAF permit 
holders would be required to allow ADF&G and IPHC scientific sampling 
personnel access to landed halibut on private property owned by the GAF 
permit holder. This provision is intended to facilitate monitoring of 
guided sport halibut harvest and the collection of scientific 
information from halibut harvested in the guided sport fishery. Current 
ADF&G guided sport halibut sampling programs collect size data from the 
sport halibut fishery, mainly at public access sites, with some 
exceptions in Area 2C. At this time, it is unknown whether the current 
public access ADF&G sampling sites would provide adequate or 
representative samples of halibut harvested in the guided sport fishery 
and landed at other locations, such as lodges in remote areas. The 
proposed access requirements to halibut landing locations on private 
property could provide additional scientific data by providing 
additional samples of halibut retained in the guided sport fisheries in 
Area 2C and Area 3A. Persons who do not wish to have ADF&G and IPHC 
samplers on their property have the option to not allow GAF to be 
landed on their property. The Council's motion is specific to GAF, and 
persons that do not allow GAF to be landed on their property are not 
required to allow scientific sampling personnel access to their 
property. However, if at any time private property owners allow GAF to 
be landed on their property, they would be subject to the access 
requirements.
    The Council also recommended that GAF permit holders landing GAF on 
their private property be required to allow enforcement personnel 
access to the point of landing. The Council recognized, and NMFS 
agrees, that enforcing the CSP restrictions and GAF use restrictions 
would require enforcement staff to track the retention of halibut by 
all charter vessel anglers in the guided sport fishery, including 
anglers landing halibut on private property. However, section 773i of 
the Halibut Act provides enforcement staff with this authorization and 
additional regulations are not necessary for the CSP. Section 773i(b) 
of the Halibut Act states that any authorized officer may, at 
reasonable times enter, and search or inspect, shoreside facilities in 
which fish taken subject to the Convention or the Halibut Act are 
processed, packed or held. NMFS notes that this authorization applies 
to shoreside facilities in any IPHC regulatory area in which halibut 
are taken. Additionally, the authorization applies to shoreside 
facilities to which all halibut are landed or taken and is not specific 
to GAF halibut. An authorized officer means any officer authorized by 
(1) the Secretary of Commerce, including any special agent or fisheries 
enforcement officer of NMFS, (2) the Secretary of the department in 
which the United States Coast Guard is operating, or (3) the head of 
any Federal or State agency which has entered into an agreement with 
the Secretary of Commerce or the Commandant of the United States Coast 
Guard to enforce the provisions of any statute administered by the 
Secretary of Commerce, including the Halibut Act.

VII. Cost Recovery for GAF

    The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) 
at section 304 (d)(2)(A) requires that cost recovery fees be collected 
for the costs of managing and enforcing limited access privilege 
programs. This includes programs such as the commercial halibut IFQ 
program, under which a dedicated allocation is provided to IFQ permit 
holders. Fees owed are a percentage, not to exceed three percent, of 
the ex-vessel value of fish landed and debited from IFQ permits. Each 
year, NMFS sends fee statements to IFQ holders whose annual IFQ was 
used; and those holders must remit fees by January 31 of the following 
year. The fee percentage has rarely exceeded two percent of the ex-
vessel value of sablefish and halibut landings.
    NMFS does not expect allocation of additional funds to support the 
GAF program other than those derived from IFQ cost recovery fees. 
Therefore, under the proposed rule, the commercial IFQ holder would be 
responsible for all cost recovery fees on IFQ equivalent pounds 
harvested for their IFQ permit(s) and also for net pounds transferred 
and harvested as GAF which originated from their IFQ account(s). NMFS 
will levy IFQ cost recovery fees on all net pounds of halibut harvested 
as IFQ in the commercial fishery and as GAF in the guided sport 
fishery.
    The IFQ permit holders who transfer IFQ to GAF would owe cost 
recovery fees for those GAF retained in the guided sport fishery. Fees 
for unharvested GAF converted back to IFQ equivalent pounds and 
harvested as commercial IFQ pounds would be assessed fees as commercial 
landings with value estimated as specified in current regulations at 
Sec.  679.45. IFQ holders might share these costs with GAF users 
through contractual agreements. IFQ and GAF that are not harvested 
during the year would not be subject to the cost recovery fee. Fish 
harvested in excess of the amount

[[Page 44181]]

authorized by a GAF permit, or in excess of allowed IFQ permit 
overages, would not result in cost recovery fees owed because such 
overages would be handled as enforcement actions.
    NMFS establishes commercial cost recovery fee assessments in 
November each year. To determine cost recovery fee liabilities for IFQ 
holders, NMFS uses data reported by Registered Buyers to compute annual 
standard ex-vessel IFQ prices by month and port (or, if confidential, 
by port group). NMFS publishes these standard prices in the Federal 
Register each year. NMFS published the 2010 standard ex-vessel IFQ 
prices in the Federal Register on December 10, 2010 (75 FR 76957). NMFS 
uses the standard prices to compute the total annual value of the IFQ 
fisheries. NMFS determines the fee percentage by dividing actual total 
management and enforcement costs by total IFQ fishery value. Only those 
halibut and sablefish holders who had landings on their permits owe 
cost recovery fees. Fees owed by an IFQ holder are the computed annual 
fee percentage multiplied by the value of their IFQ landings.
    NMFS would also apply the standard ex-vessel values computed for 
commercial IFQ harvests to harvest of GAF fish. The proposed 
regulations specify that the IFQ permit holder may not challenge the 
standard ex-vessel value applied to GAF landings by NMFS.
    Only ``incremental'' costs, those incurred as a result of IFQ 
management that includes a GAF component, are assessable as cost 
recovery fees. Under the proposed rule, NMFS would determine the cost 
recovery liability for IFQ permit holders based on the value of all 
landed IFQ and GAF derived from his or her IFQ permits. NMFS would 
convert landings of GAF in Area 2C or Area 3A to IFQ equivalent pounds 
as specified in the ``Conversion Between IFQ and GAF'' section above, 
and multiply the IFQ equivalent pounds by the standard ex-vessel value 
computed for that area to determine the value of IFQ landed as GAF. The 
value of IFQ landed as GAF as based on NMFS' standard prices would be 
added to the value of the IFQ permit holder's landed IFQ, and the sum 
would be multiplied by the IFQ fee percentage to estimate the person's 
IFQ fee liability.

VIII. Technical Regulatory Changes

    This action proposes three technical changes to the regulations. 
The first proposed change would clarify the regulations to describe the 
current process by which the IPHC Area 4 catch sharing plan is 
promulgated. The Area 4 catch sharing plan was codified in Federal 
regulations at Sec.  300.65(b) in 1998. The Area 4 catch sharing plan 
allocates the Area 4 commercial catch limit among Areas 4C, 4D, and 4E. 
Each year, the Area 4 catch sharing plan subarea allocations are 
applied to the Area 4 commercial catch limit recommended by the IPHC 
and published in the final rule implementing the annual management 
measures. The proposed regulatory change would clarify the description 
of this process in Sec.  300.65(b).
    The second proposed technical change would update instructions in 
regulations at Sec.  679.5(l)(7) for Registered Buyers to complete and 
submit the Registered Buyer Ex-vessel Value and Volume Report form. 
Registered Buyers submit this form to NMFS to report ex-vessel IFQ 
prices by month and port. NMFS uses data reported by Registered Buyers 
to compute annual standard ex-vessel IFQ prices to determine cost 
recovery fee liabilities for IFQ holders.
    The third proposed technical change would revise regulations at 
Sec.  679.45(a)(4) to update instructions for IFQ permit holders for 
submitting cost recovery fee payments to NMFS. NMFS proposes to update 
the fee payment form and instructions to incorporate GAF in the 
calculation of an IFQ permit holder's cost recovery fee liability.

IX. Classification

    The NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed 
rule is necessary for the conservation and management of the halibut 
fishery and that it is consistent with the Halibut Act and other 
applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866. This proposed rule also complies 
with the Secretary of Commerce's authority under the Halibut Act to 
implement management measures for the halibut fishery.
    An initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) was prepared as 
required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The IRFA 
describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would 
have on small entities. A description of the action, why it is being 
considered, and the legal basis for this action may be found at the 
beginning of this preamble. A summary of the IRFA follows. Copies of 
the IRFA are available from the Council or NMFS (see ADDRESSES).
    The action would establish a CSP for the commercial and guided 
sport halibut fisheries in Area 2C and Area 3A. In addition to 
establishing allocations to each sector, the Council's preferred 
alternative (Alternative 3) would establish a new management system for 
the guided sport halibut fishery in these areas. Beginning February 1, 
2011, operators of vessels with charter vessel anglers on board were 
required to have on board the vessel a valid charter halibut permit 
issued by NMFS. Therefore, the universe of regulated entities for the 
proposed CSP would be the holders of one or more charter halibut 
permits in Area 2C and Area 3A. NMFS estimates that 229 businesses were 
issued charter halibut permits in Area 2C and 291 businesses were 
issued charter halibut permits in Area 3A. However, most charter 
halibut permits are transferable. A charter halibut permit holder may 
transfer a transferable permit, subject to NMFS approval, to a 
qualified person at any time. Thus, the exact number of businesses that 
would be regulated by the proposed CSP cannot be determined at this 
time.
    The Small Business Administration (SBA) specifies that for marinas 
and charter or party vessels, a small business is one with annual 
receipts less than $6.0 million. The largest of these charter vessel 
operations, which are lodges, may be considered large entities under 
SBA standards, but that cannot be confirmed because NMFS does not 
collect economic data on lodges. Thus, all charter vessel operations 
regulated by the proposed CSP would likely be considered small 
entities, based on SBA criteria, because they would be expected to have 
gross revenues of less than $6.0 million on an annual basis.
    Regulations that directly regulate entities representing small, 
remote communities in Areas 2C and 3A are included in this action. 
These regulations would authorize community quota entities holding 
community charter halibut permits or charter halibut permits to 
transfer or receive commercial halibut IFQ as GAF as proposed under the 
CSP. GAF would offer charter vessel anglers in Area 2C or Area 3A an 
opportunity to harvest halibut in addition to the halibut harvested 
under the CSP restriction, up to the harvest limits in place for 
unguided sport anglers in that area. Under the preferred alternative, 
18 Area 2C communities are eligible to each receive up to 4 halibut 
community charter halibut permits; 14 Area 3A communities are eligible 
to each receive up to 7 halibut community charter halibut permits. Note 
that eligibility for community charter halibut permits is conditioned 
on the fact that the community must be represented by a

[[Page 44182]]

non-profit community quota entity approved by NMFS. Thus, the number of 
eligible community entities that would be authorized by the proposed 
action to engage in GAF transfers is a maximum estimate. All of these 
eligible communities would be considered small entities under the SBA 
definitions.
    This action would impose new recordkeeping requirements. 
Applications to transfer between IFQ and GAF would be required to be 
submitted to and approved by NMFS for each transfer from IFQ to GAF and 
for each transfer from GAF to IFQ prior to the automatic GAF return 
date for that year. The application would require information about the 
IFQ permit holder and the charter halibut permit holder, including each 
permit holder's contact information and the IFQ permit account from 
which halibut pounds are to be transferred and the GAF account to which 
GAF are to be transferred. NMFS would require additional information 
only when the structure of the business holding the IFQ or charter 
halibut permit changes. NMFS also may require some additional 
information, depending on how well the current ADF&G charter logbooks 
meet management and enforcement needs and the level of access NMFS has 
to those data. In addition, community quota entities eligible to 
receive community charter halibut permits would be required to submit 
information to NMFS (1) on the application for a transfer between IFQ 
and GAF, and (2) regarding the Community Quota Entity's activity in an 
annual report by January 31 of the following year. The proposed 
recordkeeping and reporting requirements would not likely represent a 
``significant'' economic burden on the small entities operating in this 
fishery.
    NMFS has not identified other Federal rules that may duplicate, 
overlap, or conflict with the proposed rule.
    An IRFA is required to describe significant alternatives to the 
proposed rule that accomplish the stated objectives of the Halibut Act 
and other applicable statutes and that would minimize any significant 
economic impact of the proposed rule on small entities.
    The status quo alternative specifies the GHL as a target amount of 
halibut that anglers in the guided sport fishery can harvest in Area 2C 
and Area 3A. However, guided sport harvests that exceed the GHL can 
have a de facto allocation effect of reducing the amount of halibut 
that may be harvested by the commercial fishery. Additionally, guided 
sport halibut fishery harvests beyond the GHL also can undermine 
overall harvest strategy goals established by the IPHC for the halibut 
resource. The primary objective of the proposed action is to implement 
a management program for the Area 2C and Area 3A guided sport and 
commercial halibut fisheries that establishes a clear allocation to 
each sector and implements management measures that are intended to 
limit halibut harvest in the guided sport fisheries to within the 
guided sport target harvest range.
    The Council considered one alternative to the status quo 
(Alternative 2) in addition to the preferred alternative (Alternative 
3) for the proposed CSP. The Council selected Alternative 3 from the 
elements and options considered under Alternative 2, along with program 
elements that resulted from Council discussion, additional staff 
research, and public testimony. The Council determined that Alternative 
3 would meet its objective to establish a catch sharing plan for the 
commercial and guided sport sectors by managing the guided sport 
halibut fishery to ensure that harvests stay within the sector's 
allocated range. The Council also considered the guided sport sector's 
need to have a stable in-season regulatory environment. Management of 
the guided sport sector under Alternative 3 is intended to ensure that 
it is given advance notice and predictability with respect to 
application of management tools (e.g., bag limits, size restrictions) 
and season length. Alternative 3 would implement annual management 
measures for the guided sport sector that are specified prior to the 
beginning of the fishing season. NMFS agrees that the annual 
implementation of the CSP under Alternative 3 likely would be timely 
and responsive to changes in halibut abundance while providing the 
guided sport sector with advance notice of the effective guided sport 
fishery management measures.
    Alternative 2 included three options for establishing an allocation 
between the guided sport and commercial halibut sectors in Area 2C and 
Area 3A. These options included allocating (1) fixed percentage of the 
annual combined catch limit to each sector; (2) a fixed number of 
pounds to the guided sport sector; and (3) a fixed number of pounds in 
addition to a specified percentage of the annual combined catch limit 
to the guided sport sector. After considering average guided sport 
harvest estimates for individual years and for different combinations 
of years from 1995 through 2005 in the Alternative 2 options, the 
Council recommended implementing a fixed percentage of the annual 
combined catch limit to each sector in Alternative 3 for the proposed 
CSP. The Council determined that a fixed percentage allocation best met 
its objectives with the least impact to affected entities. 
Additionally, a fixed percentage allocation would be equitable because 
both the commercial and guided sport sectors would be on an equal 
footing concerning the impacts and effects of accounting for other 
removals and applying IPHC harvest policy. Thus, both the guided sport 
and commercial sectors would share in the benefits and costs of 
managing the resource for long-term sustainability under a combined 
catch limit.
    Alternative 2 included eight options for limiting guided sport 
harvest to the sector's catch limit under the CSP. The Council 
recommended limiting CSP restrictions to daily bag limits and daily bag 
limits in combination with a maximum size limit. The Council elected 
not to recommend trip limits or season closures as CSP restrictions 
because it aimed to provide predictability and stability for the guided 
sport sector to the extent practicable under the CSP. Additionally, 
daily bag limits and maximum size limits impact all charter vessel 
anglers equally, so the impact of the CSP restriction would not fall 
disproportionately on specific types of charter vessel operations.
    This proposed rule contains collection-of-information requirements 
subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). These requirements have 
been submitted to OMB for approval. The collections are listed below by 
OMB control number.

OMB Control No. 0648-0398

    Public reporting burden per response is estimated to average 2 
hours for IFQ Fee Submission Form; 2 hours for IFQ Registered Buyer Ex-
Vessel Volume and Value Report.

OMB Control No. 0648-0575

    Public reporting burden per response is estimated to average 4 
minutes for ADF&G Logbook Entry for vessel guide and submittal; 1 
minute for ADF&G Logbook Entry for anglers and signature; and 4 minutes 
for Data Entry in GAF electronic reporting system.

OMB Control No. 0648-0592

    Public reporting burden per response is estimated to average 15 
minutes for an Application for Transfer Between IFQ and GAF; and 15 
minutes for an Application for Transfer Between IFQ

[[Page 44183]]

and GAF by a Community Quota Entity (CQE).

OMB Control No. 0648-0272

    The IFQ Permit is mentioned in this proposed rule; however, the 
public reporting burden for the IFQ permit in this collection-of-
information is not directly affected by this proposed rule.
    Public reporting burden includes the time for reviewing 
instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and 
maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the 
collection of information.
    Public comment is sought regarding: Whether this proposed 
collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of 
the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall 
have practical utility; the accuracy of the burden estimate; ways to 
enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be 
collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information, including through the use of automated collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology.
    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
proposed rule may be submitted to NMFS at the above address, and by e-
mail to [email protected], or fax to 202-395-7285.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty 
for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the 
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), unless that 
collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control 
number.
    This proposed rule is consistent with Executive Order 12962 as 
amended September 26, 2008, which required Federal agencies to ensure 
that recreational fishing is managed as a sustainable activity and is 
consistent with existing law.

List of Subjects

50 CFR Part 300

    Administrative practice and procedure, Antarctica, Canada, Exports, 
Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, Imports, Indians, Labeling, Marine resources, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Russian Federation, 
Transportation, Treaties, Wildlife.

50 CFR Part 679

    Alaska, Fisheries, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: July 14, 2011.
John Oliver,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS proposes to amend 50 
CFR parts 300 and 679 as follows:

50 CFR Chapter III

PART 300--INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS

Subpart E--Pacific Halibut Fisheries

    1. The authority citation for part 300, subpart E, continues to 
read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 773-773k.

    2. In Sec.  300.61:
    a. Remove the definition for ``Guideline Harvest Level (GHL)'';
    b. Revise the definition for ``Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ)''; 
and
    c. Add definitions for ``Annual combined catch limit'', ``Annual 
commercial catch limit'', ``Annual guided sport catch limit'', ``Guided 
Angler Fish (GAF)'', ``GAF permit'', and ``GAF permit holder'' to read 
as follows:


Sec.  300.61  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Annual combined catch limit, for purposes of commercial and sport 
fishing in Area 2C and in Area 3A, means the annual total allowable 
halibut harvest by persons fishing IFQ and by charter vessel anglers.
    Annual commercial catch limit, for purposes of commercial fishing 
in waters in and off Alaska, means the annual total allowable halibut 
harvest by persons fishing IFQ halibut, CDQ halibut, and GAF.
    Annual guided sport catch limit, for purposes of sport fishing in 
Area 2C and in Area 3A, means the annual total allowable halibut 
harvest by charter vessel anglers, except GAF harvested by charter 
vessel anglers, as determined in Sec.  300.65(c)(4).
* * * * *
    Guided Angler Fish (GAF) means halibut transferred annually from an 
Area 2C or Area 3A IFQ permit holder to a GAF permit that is issued to 
a person holding a charter halibut permit, community charter halibut 
permit, or military charter halibut permit for the corresponding area.
    GAF permit means an annual permit issued by the National Marine 
Fisheries Service pursuant to Sec.  300.65(c)(6)(iii).
    GAF permit holder means the person identified as the GAF permit 
holder on a GAF permit.
* * * * *
    Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ), for purposes of this subpart, means 
the annual catch limit of halibut that may be harvested by a person who 
is lawfully allocated a harvest privilege for a specific portion of the 
annual commercial catch limit of halibut.
* * * * *
    3. In Sec.  300.65, revise paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  300.65  Catch sharing plan and domestic management measures in 
waters in and off Alaska.

* * * * *
    (b) The catch sharing plan for Commission regulatory area 4 
allocates the annual commercial catch limit among Areas 4C, 4D, and 4E 
and will be promulgated by the Commission as annual management measures 
and published in the Federal Register as required in Sec.  300.62.
    (c) Catch sharing plan (CSP) for Area 2C and Area 3A--(1) General. 
The Area 2C and Area 3A catch sharing plan:
    (i) Allocates the annual combined catch limit for Area 2C and Area 
3A between the annual commercial catch limit and the annual guided 
sport catch limit for the halibut commercial fishing and sport fishing 
seasons, pursuant to paragraphs (c)(3) and (4) of this section;
    (ii) Establishes CSP restrictions for charter vessel anglers in 
Area 2C and in Area 3A at specified annual combined catch limit levels, 
pursuant to paragraph (c)(5) of this section; and
    (iii) Authorizes the use of Area 2C and Area 3A halibut IFQ as 
guided angler fish (GAF) for harvest by charter vessel anglers in the 
corresponding area, pursuant to paragraph (c)(6) of this section.
    (2) Implementation. The Area 2C and Area 3A CSP annual catch limits 
and CSP restrictions for charter vessel anglers are promulgated by the 
Commission as annual management measures and published by NMFS in the 
Federal Register as required in Sec.  300.62.
    (3) Annual commercial catch limits--(i) The Area 2C and Area 3A 
annual commercial catch limits are determined pursuant to Tables 1 and 
2 of this subpart E, promulgated by the Commission as annual management 
measures, and published in the Federal Register as required in Sec.  
300.62.
    (ii) Commercial fishing in Area 2C and Area 3A is governed by the 
Commission's annual management measures and by regulations at 50 CFR 
part 679, subparts A, B, D, and E.
    (4) Annual guided sport catch limits--(i) The Area 2C and Area 3A 
annual guided sport catch limits are determined pursuant to Tables 3 
and 4 of this

[[Page 44184]]

subpart E, promulgated by the Commission as annual management measures, 
and published in the Federal Register as required in Sec.  300.62.
    (ii) Sport fishing by charter vessel anglers in Area 2C and Area 3A 
is governed by the Commission's annual management measures and by 
regulations at 50 CFR part 300, subparts A and E.
    (5) CSP restrictions for charter vessel anglers in Area 2C and Area 
3A--(i) General. CSP restrictions for charter vessel anglers in Area 2C 
and Area 3A are determined annually in accordance with this section 
(Sec.  300.65(c)(5)). NMFS recommends CSP restrictions to the 
Commission as annual management measures, and publishes the annual 
management measures in the Federal Register as required in Sec.  
300.62.
    (ii) The CSP restrictions in Area 2C and Area 3A are determined 
annually using:
    (A) The annual combined catch limit for each area determined by the 
Commission, and
    (B) The projected charter vessel anglers' harvest of halibut for 
each area. The projected charter vessel anglers' harvest of halibut for 
each area is:
    (1) Prepared based on the appropriate CSP restriction for Area 2C 
and Area 3A, as determined by Tables 5 and 6 of this subpart E; and
    (2) Expressed as a percentage of the annual combined catch limit 
for each area.
    (iii) CSP restrictions. The CSP restrictions for charter vessel 
anglers in Area 2C and Area 3A are determined annually by Tables 5 
through 8 of this subpart E.
    (A) Maximum length limit under one-halibut daily bag limit. If the 
default CSP restriction for charter vessel anglers in Area 2C or Area 
3A, as determined by Column 3 in Tables 5 and 6 of this subpart E, 
limits the number of halibut that may be caught and retained per 
calendar day by each charter vessel angler to no more than one, the CSP 
restriction for that area also may include a maximum length limit, to 
be determined as follows:
    (1) If the projected charter vessel anglers' harvest of halibut 
under the default CSP restriction as a percentage of the annual 
combined catch limit for an area is greater than the largest value of 
the target harvest range around the guided sport catch limit for that 
area, as determined by Column 6 in Tables 5 and 6 of this subpart E, 
then the CSP restriction in effect is that the number of halibut caught 
and retained per calendar day by each charter vessel angler in that 
area is limited to no more than one halibut of a maximum length, as 
determined in paragraph (c)(5)(iii)(C) of this section.
    (2) If the projected charter vessel anglers' harvest of halibut 
under the default CSP restriction as a percentage of the annual 
combined catch limit for an area is less than or equal to the largest 
value of the target harvest range around the guided sport catch limit 
for that area, as determined by Column 6 in Tables 5 and 6 of this 
subpart E, then the CSP restriction is that the number of halibut 
caught and retained per calendar day by each charter vessel angler in 
that area is limited to no more than one halibut of any size.
    (B) For purposes of this section (Sec.  300.65(c)(5)(iii)), the 
following terms are defined as:
    (1) C = Annual guided sport catch limit in pounds for Area 2C or 
Area 3A as determined in paragraph (c)(4) of this section.
    (2) Hp= Projected charter vessel anglers' harvest of halibut in 
numbers of fish for Area 2C or Area 3A.
    (3) wp= Average net weight in pounds of all halibut harvested in 
Area 2C or Area 3A.
    (4) W = Currently effective Commission equation to convert halibut 
length to weight under a length limit assuming that all charter vessel 
anglers in the respective area retain halibut of the maximum head-on 
length Lcm and expressed as:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JY11.010

    (5) Lcm= Maximum allowable length in centimeters of one halibut 
caught and retained per calendar day by each charter vessel angler in 
Area 2C or Area 3A calculated from the currently effective Commission 
equation to convert halibut length to weight (W).
    (6) Lin= Maximum allowable length in whole inches (no fractions of 
an inch) of one halibut caught and retained per calendar day by each 
charter vessel angler in Area 2C or Area 3A, as determined in 
paragraphs (c)(5)(iii)(C)(1) through (4) of this section.
    (C) As determined by Tables 5 and 6 of this subpart E, each charter 
vessel angler in Area 2C or Area 3A is limited to catching and 
retaining one halibut per calendar day with a maximum head-on length of 
Lin. Lin is the length limit calculated and rounded down to the nearest 
whole inch as follows:
    (1) Calculate the average weight (wp) of projected charter vessel 
anglers' harvest of halibut in numbers of fish (Hp) that results in the 
annual guided sport catch limit (C):
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JY11.006

    (2)
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JY11.007
    
    (3) Substitute W for wp and solve for Lcm:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JY11.008
    
    (4) Multiply Lcm by 0.39 and round down to the nearest whole inch 
and solve for Lin:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JY11.009

    (6) Guided Angler Fish (GAF). This paragraph (Sec.  300.65(c)(6)) 
governs the transfer of Area 2C and Area 3A halibut individual fishing 
quota (IFQ) to guided angler fish (GAF), the issuance of GAF permits, 
and GAF use.
    (i) General--(A) GAF is derived from halibut IFQ that is 
transferred from an Area 2C or Area 3A IFQ permit account held by a 
person who also holds quota share (QS), as defined in Sec.  679.2 of 
this title, to a GAF permit account held by a GAF permit holder in the 
same regulatory area.
    (B) A GAF permit authorizes a charter vessel angler to retain GAF 
on board a vessel in the area specified on a GAF permit:
    (1) During the sport halibut fishing season promulgated by the 
Commission's annual management measures and published in the Federal 
Register as required in Sec.  300.62, and
    (2) Subject to the GAF use restrictions at paragraphs (c)(6)(iv)(A) 
through (I) of this section.
    (C) On or after 15 days prior to the closing of the commercial 
halibut fishing season each year, NMFS will return unharvested GAF to 
the IFQ permit account from which the GAF were derived, subject to 
paragraph (c)(6)(ii) of this section and underage provisions at Sec.  
679.40(e) of this title.
    (ii) Transfer Between IFQ and GAF--(A) General. A transfer between 
IFQ and GAF means any transaction in which halibut IFQ passes between 
an IFQ permit holder and a GAF permit holder as:
    (1) A transfer of IFQ to GAF, in which halibut IFQ equivalent 
pounds, as defined in Sec.  679.2 of this title, are transferred from 
an Area 2C or Area 3A IFQ permit account, converted to number(s) of GAF 
as specified in paragraph (c)(6)(ii)(F) of this section, and assigned 
to a GAF permit account in the same management area;
    (2) A transfer of GAF to IFQ, in which GAF in number(s) of fish are 
transferred from a GAF permit account in Area 2C or Area 3A, converted 
to IFQ equivalent pounds as specified in paragraph (c)(6)(ii)(F) of 
this section, and assigned

[[Page 44185]]

to the same IFQ permit account from which the GAF were derived; or
    (3) The return of unharvested GAF by NMFS to the IFQ permit account 
from which it was derived, on or after 15 days prior to the closing of 
the commercial halibut fishing season.
    (B) Transfer procedure--(1) Application for Transfer Between IFQ 
and GAF. A transfer between IFQ and GAF before 15 days prior to the 
closing of the commercial halibut fishing season requires Regional 
Administrator review and approval of a complete Application for 
Transfer Between IFQ and GAF. Both the transferor and the transferee 
are required to complete and sign the application. The Regional 
Administrator shall provide an Application for Transfer Between IFQ and 
GAF on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/ram/default.htm. An Application for Transfer 
Between IFQ and GAF is not required for the return of unharvested GAF 
by NMFS to the IFQ permit account from which it was derived, on or 
after 15 days prior to the closing of the commercial halibut fishing 
season for that year.
    (2) Application timing. The Regional Administrator will not approve 
an Application for Transfer Between IFQ and GAF before annual IFQ is 
issued for each year or after the automatic GAF return date, which is 
15 days prior to the end of the commercial halibut fishing season for 
that year.
    (3) Notification of decision on application--(i) Persons who submit 
an Application for Transfer Between IFQ and GAF to the Regional 
Administrator for approval will receive notification of the Regional 
Administrator's decision to approve or disapprove the application.
    (ii) NMFS will provide the reason(s) for disapproval of an 
Application for Transfer Between IFQ and GAF by mail posted on the date 
of that decision.
    (iii) Disapproval of an Application for Transfer Between IFQ and 
GAF may be appealed pursuant to Sec.  679.43 of this title.
    (iv) The Regional Administrator will not approve a transfer between 
IFQ and GAF on an interim basis if an applicant appeals a disapproval 
of an Application for Transfer Between IFQ and GAF pursuant to Sec.  
679.43 of this title.
    (4) IFQ and GAF accounts--(i) IFQ and GAF accounts affected by 
either a Regional Administrator approved Application for Transfer 
Between IFQ and GAF or a return of unharvested GAF to IFQ by NMFS on or 
after 15 days prior to the closing of the commercial halibut fishing 
season will change on the date of approval or return. Any necessary 
permits will be sent with the notification of the Regional 
Administrator's decision on the Application for Transfer Between IFQ 
and GAF.
    (ii) On approval of an Application for Transfer Between IFQ and GAF 
for an initial transfer from IFQ to GAF, NMFS will establish new GAF 
accounts for GAF applicants account and issue the resulting new GAF and 
IFQ permits. If a GAF account already exists from a previous transfer 
from the same IFQ account in the corresponding management area in that 
year, NMFS will modify the GAF recipient's GAF account and the IFQ 
transferor's permit account and issue modified GAF and IFQ permits upon 
approval of an Application for Transfer Between IFQ and GAF.
    (iii) On or after 15 days prior to the closing of the commercial 
halibut fishing season, NMFS will convert unharvested GAF from a GAF 
permit account back into IFQ equivalent pounds as specified in 
paragraph (c)(6)(ii)(F)(2) of this section, return the resulting IFQ 
equivalent pounds to the IFQ permit account from which the GAF were 
derived, and close the GAF permit account to voluntary transfers for 
that year, unless prevented by regulations at 15 CFR part 904.
    (C) Complete application. Applicants must submit a completed 
Application for Transfer Between IFQ and GAF to the Regional 
Administrator as instructed on the application. NMFS will notify 
applicants with incomplete applications of the specific information 
necessary to complete the application.
    (D) Application for Transfer Between IFQ and GAF approval criteria. 
An Application for Transfer Between IFQ and GAF will not be approved 
until the Regional Administrator has determined that:
    (1) The person applying to transfer IFQ to GAF or receive IFQ from 
a transfer of GAF to IFQ:
    (i) Possesses halibut quota share (QS), as defined in Sec.  679.2 
of this title, in Area 2C or Area 3A; and
    (ii) Has been issued an annual IFQ Permit for Area 2C or Area 3A, 
as defined in Sec.  679.4(d)(1) of this title, resulting from that 
halibut QS.
    (2) The person applying to receive or transfer GAF possesses a 
valid charter halibut permit, community charter halibut permit, or 
military charter halibut permit in the Commission management area (2C 
or 3A) that corresponds to the IFQ permit area from or to which the IFQ 
will be transferred.
    (3) The person applying to receive GAF or IFQ currently exists at 
the time of approval of the transfer.
    (4) Other pertinent information requested on the Application for 
Transfer Between IFQ and GAF has been supplied to the satisfaction of 
the Regional Administrator.
    (5) For a transfer of IFQ to GAF:
    (i) The person applying to transfer IFQ must hold at least one unit 
of halibut QS in either Area 2C and Area 3A, must have received an 
annual IFQ permit authorizing harvest of IFQ in the commercial fishery 
in IFQ permit the Commission regulatory area corresponding to the 
person's QS holding, and must have an IFQ permit account with an IFQ 
amount equal to or greater than amount of IFQ to be transferred;
    (ii) The transfer between IFQ and GAF must not cause the GAF permit 
issued to the GAF permit holder to exceed the GAF use limits in 
paragraphs (c)(6)(iv)(F)(1) and (2) of this section;
    (iii) The transfer must not cause the person applying to transfer 
IFQ to exceed the GAF use limit in paragraph (c)(6)(iv)(F)(3) of this 
section; and
    (iv) There must be no fines, civil penalties, sanctions, or other 
payments due and owing, or outstanding permit sanctions, resulting from 
Federal fishery violations involving either person or permit.
    (6) For a transfer of GAF to IFQ, unharvested GAF will be 
transferred to the IFQ permit account from which it derived.
    (7) If a Community Quota Entity (CQE), as defined in Sec.  679.2 of 
this title, is applying for a transfer between IFQ and GAF, the 
Application for Transfer Between IFQ and GAF by a CQE will not be 
approved until the Regional Administrator has determined that:
    (i) The CQE applying to transfer IFQ to GAF is eligible to hold IFQ 
on behalf of the eligible community in Area 2C or Area 3A designated in 
Table 21 to 50 CFR part 679;
    (ii) The CQE applying to transfer IFQ to GAF has received 
notification of approval of eligibility to receive IFQ for that 
community as described in paragraph Sec.  679.41(d)(1) of this title;
    (iii) The CQE applying to receive GAF from an Area 2C or Area 3A 
IFQ permit holder holds one or more charter halibut permits or 
community charter halibut permits for the corresponding area; and
    (iv) The CQE applying to transfer between IFQ and GAF has submitted 
a complete annual report(s) as required by Sec.  679.5(l)(8) of this 
title.
    (E) Transfer due to court order, operation of law, or as part of a 
security agreement. NMFS may return GAF to the IFQ permit account from 
which it derived pursuant to a court order,

[[Page 44186]]

operation of law, or a security agreement.
    (F) Conversion between IFQ and GAF--(1) General. Conversion between 
net pounds (whole number, no decimal points) of halibut IFQ and 
number(s) of GAF (whole number, no decimal points) for Area 2C and Area 
3A will use Alaska Department of Fish and Game's estimated average net 
weight of all halibut harvested by charter vessel anglers in Area 2C or 
Area 3A during the previous year.
    (2) Conversion calculation. The net pounds of IFQ transferred to or 
from an IFQ permit holder (holder i) in Area 2C or Area 3A (area a) 
will be equal to the number(s) of GAF transferred to or from the GAF 
account of a GAF permit holder (holder g) in the corresponding area 
(area a), multiplied by the ADF&G estimated average net weight of all 
halibut harvested by charter vessel anglers for that area (area a) 
during the previous year. NMFS will round up to the nearest whole 
number (no decimals) when transferring IFQ to GAF and when transferring 
GAF to IFQ. Expressed algebraically, the conversion formula is:

IFQ net poundsia = (GAFga x average net 
weighta).

    (3) The total number of net pounds converted from unharvested GAF 
and transferred to the IFQ permit holder's account from which it 
derived cannot exceed the total number of net pounds NMFS transferred 
from the IFQ permit holder's account to the GAF permit holder's account 
for that area in the current year.
    (iii) Guided Angler Fish (GAF) permit--(A) General. (1) A GAF 
permit authorizes a charter vessel angler to catch and retain GAF in 
that area, subject to the limits in paragraphs (c)(6)(iv)(A) through 
(I) of this section, during a charter vessel fishing trip authorized by 
the charter halibut permit, community charter halibut permit, or 
military charter halibut permit that is assigned to the GAF permit.
    (2) A GAF permit authorizes a charter vessel angler to catch and 
retain GAF in that area from the time of permit issuance until any of 
the following occurs:
    (i) The amount of GAF in the GAF permit holder's account is zero;
    (ii) The permit expires at 11:59 pm on the day prior to the 
automatic GAF return date. The automatic GAF return date is 15 days 
prior to the end of the commercial halibut fishing season for that 
year, Alaska local time;
    (iii) NMFS replaces the GAF permit with a modified GAF permit 
following a NMFS-approved transfer; or
    (iv) The GAF permit is revoked or suspended under 15 CFR part 904.
    (3) A GAF permit is issued for use in a Commission area (2C or 3A) 
to the person who holds a valid charter halibut permit, community 
charter halibut permit, or military charter halibut permit in the 
corresponding Commission area. Regulations governing issuance, 
transfer, and use of charter halibut permits are located in Sec.  
300.67.
    (4) A GAF permit is assigned to only one charter halibut permit, 
community charter halibut permit, or military charter halibut permit 
held by the GAF permit holder in the corresponding Commission area (2C 
or 3A).
    (5) A legible copy of a GAF permit and the assigned charter halibut 
permit, community charter halibut permit, or military charter halibut 
permit appropriate for the Commission area (2C or 3A) must be carried 
on board the vessel used to harvest GAF at all times that such fish are 
retained on board and must be presented for inspection on request of 
any authorized officer.
    (6) No person may alter, erase, mutilate, or forge a GAF permit or 
document issued under this section (Sec.  300.65(c)(6)(iii)). Any such 
permit or document that has been intentionally altered, erased, 
mutilated, or forged is invalid.
    (7) GAF permit holders must allow an employee of the Alaska 
Department of Fish and Game or the Commission to enter any area of 
custody (i.e., any vessel, building, vehicle, live car, pound, pier, or 
dock facility where fish might be found) subject to such person's 
control, for the purpose of scientific data collection.
    (B) Issuance. The Regional Administrator will issue GAF permits 
upon approval of an Application to Transfer Between IFQ and GAF.
    (C) Transfer. GAF authorized by a GAF permit under this section 
(Sec.  300.65(c)(6)(iii)) are not transferable to another GAF permit, 
except as provided under paragraph (c)(6)(ii) of this section.
    (iv) GAF use restrictions--(A) A charter vessel angler may harvest 
GAF only on board a vessel on which the operator has on board a valid 
GAF permit and the valid charter halibut permit, community charter 
halibut permit, or military charter halibut permit assigned to the GAF 
permit for the area of harvest.
    (B) The total number of GAF on board a vessel cannot exceed the 
number of unharvested GAF in the GAF permit holder's GAF account at the 
time of harvest.
    (C) The total number of halibut retained by a charter vessel angler 
harvesting GAF cannot exceed the sport fishing daily bag limit in 
effect for unguided sport anglers at the time of harvest as promulgated 
by the Commission's annual management measures and published in the 
Federal Register as required in Sec.  300.62.
    (D) Retained GAF are not subject to the maximum length limit 
implemented by the CSP restriction implemented pursuant to paragraph 
(c)(5)(iii) of this section, if applicable.
    (E) Each charter vessel angler retaining GAF must comply with the 
halibut possession requirements as promulgated by the Commission's 
annual management measures and published in the Federal Register as 
required in Sec.  300.62.
    (F) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(6)(iv)(I) of this section, 
during the halibut sport fishing season promulgated by the Commission's 
annual management measures and published in the Federal Register as 
required in Sec.  300.62, no more than:
    (1) 400 GAF may be assigned to a GAF permit that is assigned to a 
charter halibut permit or community charter halibut permit endorsed for 
six (6) or fewer charter vessel anglers,
    (2) 600 GAF may be assigned to a GAF permit issued that is assigned 
to a charter halibut permit endorsed for more than six (6) charter 
vessel anglers; and
    (3) 1,500 pounds or ten (10) percent, whichever is greater, of the 
start year fishable IFQ pounds for an IFQ permit, may be transferred 
from IFQ to GAF. Start year fishable pounds is the sum of IFQ 
equivalent pounds, as defined in Sec.  679.2 of this title, for an 
area, derived from QS held, plus or minus adjustments pursuant to Sec.  
679.40(d) and (e) of this title.
    (G) For a person who transfers IFQ to GAF, the halibut QS 
equivalent, issued as net pounds of halibut IFQ and transferred to GAF, 
is included in the computation of halibut QS and use caps in Sec.  
679.42(f)(1)(i) and (ii) of this title.
    (H) A person receiving GAF from a CQE is subject to Sec.  
679.42(f)(6) of this title. For a person who receives GAF from a CQE, 
the net poundage equivalent of all halibut IFQ received as GAF is 
included in the computation of that person's IFQ halibut holdings in 
Sec.  679.42(f)(6) of this title.
    (I) Restrictions on GAF use for CQEs. The GAF use restrictions in 
paragraph (c)(6)(iv)(F) of this section do not apply if:
    (1) A CQE transfers IFQ as GAF to a CQE holding one or more charter 
halibut permits or community charter halibut permits; or

[[Page 44187]]

    (2) A CQE transfers IFQ as GAF to an eligible community resident of 
that CQE community, as defined for purposes of the Area 2C and Area 3A 
Catch Sharing Plan in Sec.  679.2 of this title, holding one or more 
charter halibut permits.
    (d) Charter vessels in Area 2C and Area 3A--(1) General 
requirements--
    (i) Logbook submission. For a charter vessel fishing trip during 
which halibut were caught and retained on or after the first Monday in 
April and on or before December 31, Alaska Department of Fish and Game 
(ADF&G) Saltwater Sport Fishing Charter Trip Logbook data sheets must 
be submitted to the ADF&G and postmarked or received no later than 14 
calendar days after the Monday of the fishing week (as defined in 50 
CFR 300.61) in which the halibut were caught and retained. Logbook 
sheets for a charter vessel fishing trip during which halibut were 
caught and retained on January 1 through the first Sunday in April, 
must be submitted to the ADF&G and postmarked or received no later than 
the second Monday in April.
    (ii) The charter vessel guide is responsible for complying with the 
reporting requirements of this paragraph (d). The person to whom the 
Alaska Department of Fish and Game issues the Saltwater Sport Fishing 
Charter Trip Logbook is responsible for ensuring that the charter 
vessel guide complies with the reporting requirements of this paragraph 
(d).
    (2) Retention and inspection of logbook. The person to whom the 
Alaska Department of Fish and Game issues the Saltwater Sport Fishing 
Charter Trip Logbook is required to:
    (i) Retain the logbook for 2 years after the end of the fishing 
year for which the logbook was issued, and
    (ii) Make the logbook available for inspection upon the request of 
an authorized officer.
    (3) Charter vessel guide and crew restriction in Area 2C and Area 
3A. A charter vessel guide, charter vessel operator, or crew member in 
Area 2C or in Area 3A on a vessel with charter vessel anglers on board 
that are catching and retaining halibut must not catch and retain 
halibut during a charter vessel fishing trip.
    (4) Recordkeeping and reporting requirements in Area 2C and Area 
3A--(i) General requirements. Each charter vessel angler and charter 
vessel guide on board a vessel in Area 2C or in Area 3A must comply 
with the following recordkeeping and reporting requirements (see 
paragraphs (d)(4)(i) and (ii) of this section), except as specified in 
paragraph (d)(4)(ii)(C), by the end of the day or by the end of the 
charter vessel fishing trip, whichever comes first:
    (ii) Logbook reporting requirements--(A) Charter vessel angler 
signature requirement. Each charter vessel angler who retains halibut 
caught in Area 2C or in Area 3A must acknowledge that his or her 
information and the number of halibut retained (kept) are recorded 
correctly by signing the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Saltwater 
Sport Fishing Charter Trip Logbook data sheet on the line that 
corresponds to the angler's information.
    (B) Charter vessel guide requirements. If halibut were caught and 
retained in Area 2C or in Area 3A, the charter vessel guide must record 
the following information (see paragraphs (d)(4)(ii)(B)(1) through (10) 
of this section) in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Saltwater 
Sport Fishing Charter Trip Logbook:
    (1) Guide license number. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game 
sport fishing guide license number held by the charter vessel guide who 
certified the logbook data sheet.
    (2) Date. Month and day for each charter vessel fishing trip taken. 
A separate logbook data sheet is required for each charter vessel 
fishing trip if two or more trips were taken on the same day. A 
separate logbook data sheet is required for each calendar day that 
halibut are caught and retained during a multi-day trip.
    (3) Charter halibut permit (CHP) number. The NMFS CHP number(s) 
authorizing charter vessel anglers on board the vessel to catch and 
retain halibut.
    (4) Guided Angler Fish (GAF) permit number. The NMFS GAF permit 
number(s) authorizing charter vessel anglers on board the vessel to 
harvest GAF.
    (5) Statistical area. The primary Alaska Department of Fish and 
Game six-digit statistical area code in which halibut were caught and 
retained.
    (6) Angler sport fishing license number and printed name. Before a 
charter vessel fishing trip begins, record for each charter vessel 
angler the Alaska Sport Fishing License number for the current year, 
resident permanent license number, or disabled veteran license number, 
and print the name of each paying and nonpaying charter vessel angler 
on board that will fish for halibut. Record the name of each angler not 
required to have an Alaska Sport Fishing License or its equivalent.
    (7) Number of halibut retained. For each charter vessel angler, 
record the total number of halibut caught and retained.
    (8) Number of GAF retained. For each charter vessel angler, record 
the total number of GAF retained.
    (9) Signature. Acknowledge that the recorded information is correct 
by signing the logbook data sheet.
    (10) Angler signature. The charter vessel guide is responsible for 
ensuring that charter vessel anglers comply with the signature 
requirements at paragraph (d)(4)(ii)(A) of this section.
    (C) GAF electronic reporting confirmation number. The GAF permit 
holder is responsible for ensuring that by 2359 hours on the day GAF 
were retained, the confirmation number issued for a properly reported 
GAF landings report, as described in paragraph (d)(4)(iii) of this 
section, is entered on the logbook sheet on which those GAF were 
recorded.
    (iii) GAF reporting requirements--(A) General--(1) In addition to 
the recordkeeping and reporting requirements in paragraphs (d)(4)(i) 
and (ii) of this section, a GAF permit holder must use the NMFS-
approved electronic reporting system on the Alaska Region Web site at 
http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/ to submit a GAF landings report.
    (2) A GAF permit holder must submit a GAF landings report by 2359 
hours for each day on which a charter vessel angler retained GAF 
authorized by the GAF permit held by that permit holder.
    (3) If a GAF permit holder is unable to submit a GAF landings 
report due to hardware, software, or Internet failure for a period 
longer than the required reporting time, or a correction must be made 
to information already submitted, the GAF permit holder must contact 
OLE, Juneau, AK, at 800-304-4846 (Select Option 1).
    (B) Electronic Reporting of GAF. A GAF permit holder must obtain, 
at his or her own expense, the technology that they will use for 
submitting GAF landing reports to the NMFS-approved reporting system 
for GAF landings.
    (C) NMFS-Approved Electronic Reporting System. The GAF permit 
holder agrees to the following terms (see paragraphs (d)(4)(iii)(C)(1) 
through (3) of this section):
    (1) To use any NMFS online service or reporting system only for 
authorized purposes;
    (2) To safeguard the NMFS Person Identification Number and password 
to prevent their use by unauthorized persons; and
    (3) To accept the responsibility of and acknowledge compliance with 
Sec.  300.4(a) and (b), Sec.  300.65(d), and Sec.  300.66(p) and (q).
    (D) Information entered for each GAF caught and retained. The GAF 
permit

[[Page 44188]]

holder must enter the following information for each GAF retained under 
the authorization of the permit holder's GAF permit into the NMFS-
approved electronic reporting system (see paragraphs (d)(4)(iii)(D)(1) 
through (7) of this section) for each day on which a charter vessel 
angler retained GAF:
    (1) Logbook number from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game 
Saltwater Charter Logbook.
    (2) Vessel identification number for vessel on which GAF were 
caught and retained:
    (i) State of Alaska issued boat registration (AK number), or
    (ii) U.S. Coast Guard documentation number.
    (3) GAF permit number under which GAF were caught and retained.
    (4) Alaska Department of Fish and Game sport fishing guide license 
number held by the charter vessel guide who certified the logbook data 
sheet.
    (5) Number of GAF caught and retained under the GAF permit holder's 
permit number.
    (6) Community charter halibut permit only: Community or Port where 
charter vessel fishing trip began (charter vessel anglers boarded the 
vessel).
    (7) Community charter halibut permit only: Community or Port where 
charter vessel fishing trip ended (charter vessel anglers or fish were 
offloaded from the vessel).
    (E) Properly reported landing--(1) All GAF harvested on board a 
vessel must be debited from the GAF permit holder's account under which 
the GAF were retained.
    (2) A GAF landing confirmation number issued by the NMFS-approved 
electronic reporting system and recorded on the logbook sheet used to 
record the retained GAF, as required in paragraph (d)(4)(ii)(C) of this 
section, constitutes confirmation that the GAF permit holder's GAF 
landing is properly reported and the GAF permit holder's account is 
properly debited.
* * * * *
    4. In Sec.  300.66:
    a. Redesignate paragraphs (i) through (v) as paragraphs (j) through 
(w), respectively;
    b. Revise paragraph (h) introductory text and newly redesignated 
paragraphs (s), (t), (u), and (v); and
    c. Add paragraphs (i), (x), (y), and (z) to read as follows:


Sec.  300.66  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (h) Conduct subsistence fishing for halibut while commercial 
fishing or sport fishing for halibut, as defined in Sec.  300.61, from 
the same vessel on the same calendar day, except that persons 
authorized to conduct subsistence fishing under Sec.  300.65(g), and 
who land their total annual harvest of halibut:
* * * * *
    (i) Conduct commercial and sport fishing for halibut, as defined in 
Sec.  300.61, from the same vessel on the same calendar day.
* * * * *
    (s) Be an operator of a vessel in Area 2C or Area 3A with one or 
more charter vessel anglers on board that are catching and retaining 
halibut without an original valid charter halibut permit for the 
regulatory area in which the vessel is operating.
    (t) Be an operator of a vessel in Area 2C or Area 3A with more 
charter vessel anglers on board catching and retaining halibut than the 
total angler endorsement number specified on the charter halibut permit 
or permits on board the vessel.
    (u) Be an operator of a vessel in Area 2C or Area 3A with more 
charter vessel anglers on board catching and retaining halibut than the 
angler endorsement number specified on the community charter halibut 
permit or permits on board the vessel.
    (v) Be an operator of a vessel on which one or more charter vessel 
anglers on board are catching and retaining halibut in Area 2C and Area 
3A during one charter vessel fishing trip.
* * * * *
    (x) Be an operator of a vessel in Area 2C or Area 3A with one or 
more charter vessel anglers on board that are exceeding the daily bag 
limits specified in Sec.  300.65(c)(5).
    (y) Be an operator of a vessel in Area 2C or Area 3A with one or 
more charter vessel anglers on board that possess halibut that has been 
mutilated or otherwise disfigured in a manner that prevents the 
determination of size or number of fish, except that each halibut may 
be cut into no more than two ventral pieces, two dorsal pieces, and two 
cheek pieces, with skin on all pieces.
    (z) Be an operator of a vessel in Area 2C or Area 3A with one or 
more charter vessel anglers on board that possess halibut that are 
required to have a head-on length of no more than the maximum length 
specified under Sec.  300.65(c)(5) and are cut into more than one piece 
without possessing the entire carcass, with the head and tail connected 
as a single piece.
    5. In Sec.  300.67:
    a. Redesignate paragraphs (i)(2)(v) and (i)(2)(vi) as paragraphs 
(i)(2)(vi) and (i)(2)(vii), respectively; and
    b. Add paragraph (i)(2)(v) to read as follows:


Sec.  300.67  Charter halibut limited access program.

* * * * *
    (i) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (v) The charter halibut permit is not assigned to a GAF permit for 
which the GAF account contains unharvested GAF, pursuant to Sec.  
300.65 (c)(6)(iii)(A)(3) and (4);
* * * * *
    6. Add Tables 1 through 8 to subpart E of Part 300 to read as 
follows:

    Table 1 to Subpart E of Part 300--Determination of Area 2C Annual
                         Commercial Catch Limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      then the Area 2C
                                                     annual commercial
    If the Area 2C annual                            catch limit in net
   combined catch limit for         and . . .        pounds is equal to
 halibut in net pounds (lbs)                        the annual combined
             is:                                        catch limit
                                                       multiplied by:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
between 0 lbs................  4,999,999 lbs                      82.7%
------------------------------------------------------------------------
5,000,000 lbs and greater                                         84.9%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 44189]]


    Table 2 to Subpart E of Part 300--Determination of Area 3A Annual
                         Commercial Catch Limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      then the Area 3A
                                                     annual commercial
    If the Area 3A annual                            catch limit in net
   combined catch limit for         and . . .        pounds is equal to
 halibut in net pounds (lbs)                        the annual combined
             is:                                        catch limit
                                                       multiplied by:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
between 0 lbs................  9,999,999 lbs                      84.6%
------------------------------------------------------------------------
10,000,000 lbs and greater                                        86.0%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


Table 3 to Subpart E of Part 300--Determination of Area 2C Annual Guided
                            Sport Catch Limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      then the Area 2C
                                                    annual guided sport
    If the Area 2C annual                            catch limit in net
   combined catch limit for         and . . .        pounds is equal to
 halibut in net pounds (lbs)                        the annual combined
             is:                                        catch limit
                                                       multiplied by:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
between 0 lbs................  4,999,999 lbs                      17.3%
------------------------------------------------------------------------
5,000,000 lbs and greater                                         15.1%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


Table 4 to Subpart E of Part 300--Determination of Area 3A Annual Guided
                            Sport Catch Limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      then the Area 3A
                                                    annual guided sport
    If the Area 3A annual                            catch limit in net
   combined catch limit for         and . . .        pounds is equal to
 halibut in net pounds (lbs)                        the annual combined
             is:                                        catch limit
                                                       multiplied by:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
between 0 lbs................  9,999,999 lbs                      15.4%
------------------------------------------------------------------------
10,000,000 lbs and greater                                        14.0%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                            Table 5 to Subpart E of Part 300--Determination of Area 2C Charter Vessel Angler CSP Restrictions
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          (Column 1)                 (Column 2)         (Column 3)                        (Column 4)             (Column(Column 6)         (Column 7)
 
If the Area 2C annual combined  and:                 then the default    Under the default CSP                and:   If the projected  then the annual
 catch limit for halibut in                           CSP restriction  restriction (table 5,                          harvest by        CSP restriction
 net pounds (lbs) is between:                         is that the            column 3), the                           charter vessel    in effect is
                                                      number of        projected harvest by                           anglers using     that the number
                                                      halibut caught         charter vessel                           the default CSP   of halibut
                                                      and retained             anglers as a                           restriction       caught and
                                                      per calendar        percentage of the                           (table 5,         retained per
                                                      day by each      annual combined catch                          column 3) is:     calendar day by
                                                      charter vessel   limit is intended to                                             each charter
                                                      angler is                 be between:                                             vessel angler
                                                      limited to no                                                                     is:
                                                      more than:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0 lbs.........................  4,999,999 lbs        one halibut of                   13.8%                  20.8%   less than 13.8%   limited to no
                                                      any size.                                                       of the annual     more than one
                                                                                                                      combined catch    halibut of any
                                                                                                                      limit.            size.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than or   limited to no
                                                                                                                      equal to 13.8%    more than one
                                                                                                                      and less than     halibut of any
                                                                                                                      or equal to       size.
                                                                                                                      20.8% of the
                                                                                                                      annual combined
                                                                                                                      catch limit.

[[Page 44190]]

 
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than      limited to no
                                                                                                                      20.8% of the      more than one
                                                                                                                      annual combined   halibut with a
                                                                                                                      catch limit.      head-on length
                                                                                                                                        of no more than
                                                                                                                                        Lin as
                                                                                                                                        determined in
                                                                                                                                        Sec.
                                                                                                                                        300.65(c)(5)(iii
                                                                                                                                        )(C).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5,000,000 lbs.................  8,999,999 lbs        one halibut of                   11.6%                  18.6%   less than 11.6%   determined in
                                                      any size.                                                       of the annual     Table 7 of this
                                                                                                                      combined catch    subpart E.
                                                                                                                      limit.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than or   limited to no
                                                                                                                      equal to 11.6%    more than one
                                                                                                                      and less than     halibut of any
                                                                                                                      or equal to       size.
                                                                                                                      18.6% of the
                                                                                                                      annual combined
                                                                                                                      catch limit.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than      limited to no
                                                                                                                      18.6% of the      more than one
                                                                                                                      annual combined   halibut with a
                                                                                                                      catch limit.      head-on length
                                                                                                                                        of no more than
                                                                                                                                        Lin as
                                                                                                                                        determined in
                                                                                                                                        Sec.
                                                                                                                                        300.65(c)(5)(iii
                                                                                                                                        )(C).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
9,000,000 lbs.................  13,999,999 lbs       two halibut, but                 11.6%                  18.6%   less than 11.6%   determined in
                                                      at least one                                                    of the annual     Table 7 of this
                                                      halibut must                                                    combined catch    subpart E.
                                                      have a head-on                                                  limit.
                                                      length of no
                                                      more than 32
                                                      inches (81.3
                                                      cm). If a
                                                      charter vessel
                                                      angler retains
                                                      only one
                                                      halibut in a
                                                      calendar day,
                                                      that halibut
                                                      may be of any
                                                      length.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than or   limited to no
                                                                                                                      equal to 11.6%    more than two
                                                                                                                      and less than     halibut, but at
                                                                                                                      or equal to       least one
                                                                                                                      18.6% of the      halibut must
                                                                                                                      annual combined   have a head-on
                                                                                                                      catch limit.      length of no
                                                                                                                                        more than 32
                                                                                                                                        inches (81.3
                                                                                                                                        cm). If a
                                                                                                                                        charter vessel
                                                                                                                                        angler retains
                                                                                                                                        only one halibut
                                                                                                                                        in a calendar
                                                                                                                                        day, that
                                                                                                                                        halibut may be
                                                                                                                                        of any length.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than      limited to no
                                                                                                                      18.6% of the      more than one
                                                                                                                      annual combined   halibut of any
                                                                                                                      catch limit.      size.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
14,000,000 lbs and greater                           two halibut of                   11.6%                  18.6%   less than 11.6%   limited to no
                                                      any size.                                                       of the annual     more than two
                                                                                                                      combined catch    halibut of any
                                                                                                                      limit.            size.

[[Page 44191]]

 
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than or   limited to no
                                                                                                                      equal to 11.6%    more than two
                                                                                                                      and less than     halibut of any
                                                                                                                      or equal to       size.
                                                                                                                      18.6% of the
                                                                                                                      annual combined
                                                                                                                      catch limit.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than      limited to no
                                                                                                                      18.6% of the      more than two
                                                                                                                      annual combined   halibut, but at
                                                                                                                      catch limit.      least one
                                                                                                                                        halibut must
                                                                                                                                        have a head-on
                                                                                                                                        length of no
                                                                                                                                        more than 32
                                                                                                                                        inches (81.3
                                                                                                                                        cm). If a
                                                                                                                                        charter vessel
                                                                                                                                        angler retains
                                                                                                                                        only one halibut
                                                                                                                                        in a calendar
                                                                                                                                        day, that
                                                                                                                                        halibut may be
                                                                                                                                        of any length.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                            Table 6 to Subpart E of Part 300--Determination of Area 3A Charter Vessel Angler CSP Restrictions
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          (Column 1)                 (Column 2)         (Column 3)           (Column 4)             (Column 5)          (Column 6)         (Column 7)
 
If the Area 3A annual combined  and:                 then the default    Under the default CSP                and:   If the projected  then the annual
 catch limit for halibut in                           CSP restriction  restriction (table 6,                          harvest by        CSP restriction
 net pounds (lbs) is between:                         is that the            column 3), the                           charter vessel    in effect is
                                                      number of        projected harvest by                           anglers using     that the number
                                                      halibut caught         charter vessel                           the default CSP   of halibut
                                                      and retained             anglers as a                           restriction       caught and
                                                      per calendar        percentage of the                           (table 6,         retained per
                                                      day by each      annual combined catch                          column 3) is:     calendar day by
                                                      charter vessel   limit is intended to                                             each charter
                                                      angler is                 be between:                                             vessel angler
                                                      limited to no                                                                     is:
                                                      more than:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
0 lbs.........................  9,999,999 lbs        one halibut of                   11.9%                  18.9%   less than 11.9%   limited to no
                                                      any size.                                                       of the annual     more than one
                                                                                                                      combined catch    halibut of any
                                                                                                                      limit.            size.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than or   limited to no
                                                                                                                      equal to 11.9%    more than one
                                                                                                                      and less than     halibut of any
                                                                                                                      or equal to       size.
                                                                                                                      18.9% of the
                                                                                                                      annual combined
                                                                                                                      catch limit.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than      limited to no
                                                                                                                      18.9% of the      more than one
                                                                                                                      annual combined   halibut with a
                                                                                                                      catch limit.      head-on length
                                                                                                                                        of no more than
                                                                                                                                        Lin as
                                                                                                                                        determined in
                                                                                                                                        Sec.
                                                                                                                                        300.65(c)(5)(iii
                                                                                                                                        )(C).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10,000,000 lbs................  19,999,999 lbs       one halibut of                   10.5%                  17.5%   less than 10.5%   determined in
                                                      any size.                                                       of the annual     Table 8 of this
                                                                                                                      combined catch    subpart E.
                                                                                                                      limit.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than or   limited to no
                                                                                                                      equal to 10.5%    more than one
                                                                                                                      and less than     halibut of any
                                                                                                                      or equal to       size.
                                                                                                                      17.5% of the
                                                                                                                      annual combined
                                                                                                                      catch limit.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than      limited to no
                                                                                                                      17.5%.            more than one
                                                                                                                                        halibut with a
                                                                                                                                        head-on length
                                                                                                                                        of no more than
                                                                                                                                        Lin as
                                                                                                                                        determined in
                                                                                                                                        Sec.
                                                                                                                                        300.65(c)(5)(iii
                                                                                                                                        )(C).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 44192]]

 
20,000,000 lbs................  26,999,999 lbs       two halibut, but                 10.5%                  17.5%   less than 10.5%   determined in
                                                      at least one                                                    of the annual     Table 8 of this
                                                      halibut must                                                    combined catch    subpart E.
                                                      have a head-on                                                  limit.
                                                      length of no
                                                      more than 32
                                                      inches (81.3
                                                      cm). If a
                                                      charter vessel
                                                      angler retains
                                                      only one
                                                      halibut in a
                                                      calendar day,
                                                      that halibut
                                                      may be of any
                                                      length.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than or   limited to no
                                                                                                                      equal to 10.5%    more than two
                                                                                                                      and less than     halibut, but at
                                                                                                                      or equal to       least one
                                                                                                                      17.5% of the      halibut must
                                                                                                                      annual combined   have a head-on
                                                                                                                      catch limit.      length of no
                                                                                                                                        more than 32
                                                                                                                                        inches (81.3
                                                                                                                                        cm). If a
                                                                                                                                        charter vessel
                                                                                                                                        angler retains
                                                                                                                                        only one halibut
                                                                                                                                        in a calendar
                                                                                                                                        day, that
                                                                                                                                        halibut may be
                                                                                                                                        of any length.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than      limited to no
                                                                                                                      17.5% of the      more than one
                                                                                                                      annual combined   halibut of any
                                                                                                                      catch limit.      size.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
27,000,000 lbs and greater.........................  two halibut of                   10.5%                 17.5%.   less than 10.5%   limited to no
                                                      any size.                                                       of the annual     more than two
                                                                                                                      combined catch    halibut of any
                                                                                                                      limit.            size.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than or   limited to no
                                                                                                                      equal to 10.5%    more than two
                                                                                                                      and less than     halibut of any
                                                                                                                      or equal to       size.
                                                                                                                      17.5% of the
                                                                                                                      annual combined
                                                                                                                      catch limit.
                                                                       .....................  .....................  greater than      limited to no
                                                                                                                      17.5% of the      more than two
                                                                                                                      annual combined   halibut, but at
                                                                                                                      catch limit.      least one
                                                                                                                                        halibut must
                                                                                                                                        have a head-on
                                                                                                                                        length of no
                                                                                                                                        more than 32
                                                                                                                                        inches (81.3
                                                                                                                                        cm). If a
                                                                                                                                        charter vessel
                                                                                                                                        angler retains
                                                                                                                                        only one halibut
                                                                                                                                        in a calendar
                                                                                                                                        day, that
                                                                                                                                        halibut may be
                                                                                                                                        of any length.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                               Table 7 to Subpart E of Part 300--Determination of Area 2C Charter Vessel Angler CSP Restrictions if a Second Projection Is Needed
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            (Column 1)                    (Column 2)             (Column 3)            (Column 4)             (Column 5)             (Column 6)            (Column 7)            (Column 8)
If the Area 2C annual combined     and:                     and the projected     then the second           Under the second                   and:   If the projected      then the annual CSP
 catch limit for halibut in net                              harvest by charter    default CSP                      default CSP                        harvest by charter    restriction in
 pounds (lbs) is between:                                    vessel anglers        restriction is that  restriction (table 7,                          vessel anglers        effect is that the
                                                             using the default     the number of              column 4), the                           using the second      number of halibut
                                                             CSP restriction       halibut caught and   projected harvest by                           default CSP           caught and retained
                                                             (table 5, column 3)   retained per               charter vessel                           restriction (table    per calendar day by
                                                             is:                   calendar day by              anglers as a                           7, column 4) is:      each charter vessel
                                                                                   each charter vessel     percentage of the                                                 angler is:
                                                                                   angler is limited    annual combined catch
                                                                                   to no more than:     limit is intended to
                                                                                                                 be between:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 44193]]

 
5,000,000 lbs....................  8,999,999 lbs            less than 11.6% of    two halibut, but at                  11.6%                  18.6%   less than or equal    two halibut, but at
                                                             the annual combined   least one halibut                                                   to 18.6% of the       least one halibut
                                                             catch limit.          must have a head-on                                                 annual combined       must have a head-on
                                                                                   length of no more                                                   catch limit.          length of no more
                                                                                   than 32 inches                                                                            than 32 inches
                                                                                   (81.3 cm). If a                                                                           (81.3 cm). If a
                                                                                   charter vessel                                                                            charter vessel
                                                                                   angler retains only                                                                       angler retains only
                                                                                   one halibut in a                                                                          one halibut in a
                                                                                   calendar day, that                                                                        calendar day, that
                                                                                   halibut may be of                                                                         halibut may be of
                                                                                   any length.                                                                               any length.
                                                                                                        .....................  .....................  greater than 18.6%    one halibut of any
                                                                                                                                                       of the annual         size.
                                                                                                                                                       combined catch
                                                                                                                                                       limit.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
9,000,000 lbs....................  13,999,999 lbs           less than 11.6% of    two halibut of any                   11.6%                  18.6%   less than or equal    two halibut of any
                                                             the annual combined   size.                                                               to 18.6% of the       size.
                                                             catch limit.                                                                              annual combined
                                                                                                                                                       catch limit.
                                                                                                        .....................  .....................  greater than 18.6%    two halibut, but at
                                                                                                                                                       of the annual         least one halibut
                                                                                                                                                       combined catch        must have a head-on
                                                                                                                                                       limit.                length of no more
                                                                                                                                                                             than 32 inches
                                                                                                                                                                             (81.3 cm). If a
                                                                                                                                                                             charter vessel
                                                                                                                                                                             angler retains only
                                                                                                                                                                             one halibut in a
                                                                                                                                                                             calendar day, that
                                                                                                                                                                             halibut may be of
                                                                                                                                                                             any length.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                Table 8 to Subpart E of Part 300--Determination of Area 3A Charter Vessel Angler CSP Restrictions if a Second Projection is Needed
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            (Column 1)                    (Column 2)             (Column 3)            (Column 4)             (Column 5)             (Column 6)            (Column 7)            (Column 8)
If the Area 3A annual combined     and:                       and the projected      then the second       Under the second                    and:     If the projected     then the annual CSP
 catch limit for halibut in net                               harvest by charter       default CSP           default CSP                                harvest by charter      restriction in
 pounds (lbs) is between:                                       vessel anglers     restriction is that  restriction (table 8,                             vessel anglers      effect is that the
                                                              using the default       the number of         column 4), the                               using the second     number of halibut
                                                               CSP restriction      halibut caught and   projected harvest by                              default CSP       caught and retained
                                                             (table 6, column 4)       retained per         charter vessel                              restriction (table   per calendar day by
                                                                     is:             calendar day by         anglers as a                                8, column 4) is:    each charter vessel
                                                                                   each charter vessel    percentage of the                                                       angler is:
                                                                                    angler is limited   annual combined catch
                                                                                     to no more than:    limit is intended to
                                                                                                             be between:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10,000,000 lbs...................  19,999,999 lbs           less than 10.5% of    two halibut, but at                  10.5%                  17.5%   less than or equal    two halibut, but at
                                                             the annual combined   least one halibut                                                   to 17.5% of the       least one halibut
                                                             catch limit.          must have a head-on                                                 annual combined       must have a head-on
                                                                                   length of no more                                                   catch limit.          length of no more
                                                                                   than 32 inches                                                                            than 32 inches
                                                                                   (81.3 cm). If a                                                                           (81.3 cm). If a
                                                                                   charter vessel                                                                            charter vessel
                                                                                   angler retains only                                                                       angler retains only
                                                                                   one halibut in a                                                                          one halibut in a
                                                                                   calendar day, that                                                                        calendar day, that
                                                                                   halibut may be of                                                                         halibut may be of
                                                                                   any length.                                                                               any length.

[[Page 44194]]

 
                                                                                                        .....................  .....................  greater than 17.5%    one halibut of any
                                                                                                                                                       of the annual         size.
                                                                                                                                                       combined catch
                                                                                                                                                       limit.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
20,000,000 lbs...................  26,999,999 lbs           less than 10.5% of    two halibut of any                   10.5%                  17.5%   less than or equal    two halibut of any
                                                             the annual combined   size.                                                               to 17.5% of the       size.
                                                             catch limit.                                                                              annual combined
                                                                                                                                                       catch limit.
                                                                                                        .....................  .....................  greater than 17.5%    two halibut, but at
                                                                                                                                                       of the annual         least one halibut
                                                                                                                                                       combined catch        must have a head-on
                                                                                                                                                       limit.                length of no more
                                                                                                                                                                             than 32 inches
                                                                                                                                                                             (81.3 cm). If a
                                                                                                                                                                             charter vessel
                                                                                                                                                                             angler retains only
                                                                                                                                                                             one halibut in a
                                                                                                                                                                             calendar day, that
                                                                                                                                                                             halibut may be of
                                                                                                                                                                             any length.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

50 CFR Chapter VI

PART 679--FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA

    7. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; 
Pub. L. 108-447.

    8. In Sec.  679.2, revise the definitions of ``Eligible community 
resident'', ``IFQ equivalent pound(s)'', ``IFQ fee liability'', and 
``IFQ standard ex-vessel value'' to read as follows:


Sec.  679.2  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Eligible community resident means:
    (1) For purposes of the IFQ Program, any individual who:
    (i) Is a citizen of the United States;
    (ii) Has maintained a domicile in a rural community listed in Table 
21 to this part for the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the 
time when the assertion of residence is made, and who is not claiming 
residency in another community, state, territory, or country, except 
that residents of the Village of Seldovia shall be considered to be 
eligible community residents of the City of Seldovia for the purposes 
of eligibility to lease IFQ from a CQE; and
    (iii) Is an IFQ crew member.
    (2) For purposes of the Area 2C and Area 3A catch sharing plan 
(CSP) in Sec.  300.65(c) of this title, means any individual or non-
individual entity who:
    (i) Holds a charter halibut permit as defined in Sec.  300.61 of 
this title;
    (ii) Has been approved by the Regional Administrator to receive 
GAF, as defined in Sec.  300.61 of this title, from a CQE in a transfer 
between IFQ and GAF pursuant to Sec.  300.65(c)(6)(ii) of this title; 
and
    (iii) Begins or ends every charter vessel fishing trip, as defined 
in Sec.  300.61 of this title, authorized by the charter halibut permit 
issued to that person, and on which halibut are retained, at a 
location(s) within the boundaries of the community represented by the 
CQE from which the GAF were received. The geographic boundaries of the 
eligible community will be those defined by the United States Census 
Bureau.
* * * * *
    IFQ equivalent pound(s) means the weight amount, recorded in pounds 
and calculated as round weight for sablefish and headed and gutted 
weight for halibut for an IFQ landing or for estimation of the fee 
liability of halibut landed as guided angler fish (GAF), as defined in 
Sec.  300.61 of this title. Landed GAF are converted to IFQ equivalent 
pounds as specified in Sec.  300.65(c) of this title.
    IFQ fee liability means that amount of money for IFQ cost recovery, 
in U.S. dollars, owed to NMFS by an IFQ permit holder as determined by 
multiplying the appropriate standard ex-vessel value or, for non-GAF 
landings, the actual ex-vessel value of his or her IFQ halibut or IFQ 
sablefish landing(s), by the appropriate IFQ fee percentage and the 
appropriate standard ex-vessel value of landed GAF derived from his or 
her IFQ by the appropriate IFQ fee percentage.
* * * * *
    IFQ standard ex-vessel value means the total U.S. dollar amount of 
IFQ halibut or IFQ sablefish landings as calculated by multiplying the 
number of landed IFQ equivalent pounds plus landed GAF in IFQ 
equivalent pounds by the appropriate IFQ standard price determined by 
the Regional Administrator.
* * * * *
    9. In Sec.  679.4:
    a. Add paragraph (a)(1)(xv); and
    b. Revise paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows:


Sec.  679.4  Permits.

    (a) * * *
    (1) * * *

[[Page 44195]]



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Permit is in effect from
    If program permit or card type is:      issue date through the end       For more information, see . . .
                                                       of:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
(xv) Permits for guided sport halibut
 fishery:
    (A) Charter halibut permit...........  Indefinite.................  Sec.   300.67 of this title.
    (B) Community charter halibut permit.  Indefinite.................  Sec.   300.67 of this title.
    (C) Military charter halibut permit..  Indefinite.................  Sec.   300.67 of this title.
    (D) Guided Angler Fish (GAF) permit..  Until expiration date shown  Sec.   300.65 of this title.
                                            on permit.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (2) Permit and logbook required by participant and fishery. For 
the various types of permits issued, refer to Sec.  679.5 for 
recordkeeping and reporting requirements. For subsistence and GAF 
permits, refer to Sec.  300.65 of this title for recordkeeping and 
reporting requirements.
* * * * *
    10. In Sec.  679.5, revise paragraph (l)(7) to read as follows:


Sec.  679.5  Recordkeeping and reporting (R&R).

* * * * *
    (l) * * *
    (7) IFQ cost recovery program--(i) IFQ Registered Buyer Ex-vessel 
Value and Volume Report--(A) Requirement. An IFQ Registered Buyer that 
also operates as a shoreside processor and receives and purchases IFQ 
landings of sablefish or halibut must submit annually to NMFS a 
complete IFQ Registered Buyer Ex-vessel Value and Volume Report as 
described in this paragraph (l) and as provided by NMFS for each 
reporting period, as described at paragraph (1)(7)(i)(E), in which the 
Registered Buyer receives IFQ fish.
    (B) Due date. A complete IFQ Registered Buyer Ex-vessel Value and 
Volume Report must be postmarked or received by the Regional 
Administrator by October 15 following the reporting period in which the 
IFQ Registered Buyer receives the IFQ fish.
    (C) Completed application. NMFS will process a Registered Buyer Ex-
vessel Value and Volume Report provided that a paper or electronic 
report is completed by the Registered Buyer, with all applicable fields 
accurately filled in, and all required additional documentation is 
attached.
    (1) Certification, Electronic submittal. NMFS ID and password of 
the IFQ Registered Buyer; or
    (2) Certification, Non-electronic submittal. Printed name and 
signature of the individual submitting the Registered Buyer Ex-vessel 
Value and Volume Report on behalf of the Registered Buyer, and date of 
signature.
    (D) Submission address. The Registered Buyer must complete a 
Registered Buyer Ex-vessel Value and Volume Report and submit by mail 
to: Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: RAM Program, P.O. Box 
21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668; by FAX to: (907) 586-7354; or 
electronically at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Report forms are 
available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov, or by contacting NMFS at 800-304-4846, Option 
2.
    (E) Reporting period. The reporting period of the Registered Buyer 
Ex-vessel Value and Volume Report shall extend from October 1 through 
September 30 of the following year, inclusive.
    (ii) IFQ permit holder Fee Submission Form--(A) Applicability. An 
IFQ permit holder who holds an IFQ permit against which a landing was 
made must submit to NMFS a complete IFQ permit holder Fee Submission 
Form provided by NMFS.
    (B) Due date and submittal. A complete IFQ permit holder Fee 
Submission Form must be postmarked or received by the Regional 
Administrator not later than January 31 following the calendar year in 
which any IFQ landing was made.
    (C) Completed application. NMFS will process an IFQ Fee Submission 
Form provided that a paper or electronic form is completed by the 
permit holder, with all applicable fields accurately filled in, and all 
required additional documentation is attached.
    (D) IFQ landing summary and estimated fee liability. NMFS will 
provide to an IFQ permit holder an IFQ Landing Summary and Estimated 
Fee Liability page as required by Sec.  679.45(a)(2). The IFQ permit 
holder must either accept the accuracy of the NMFS estimated fee 
liability associated with his or her IFQ landings for each IFQ permit, 
or calculate a revised IFQ fee liability in accordance with paragraph 
(l)(7)(ii)(C)(2)(i) of this section. The IFQ permit holder may 
calculate a revised fee liability for all or part of his or her IFQ 
landings.
    (E) Revised fee liability calculation. To calculate a revised fee 
liability, an IFQ permit holder must multiply the IFQ percentage in 
effect by either the IFQ actual ex-vessel value or the IFQ standard ex-
vessel of the IFQ landing. If parts of the landing have different 
values, the permit holder must apply the appropriate values to the 
different parts of the landings.
    (F) Documentation. If NMFS requests in writing that a permit holder 
submit documentation establishing the factual basis for a revised IFQ 
fee liability, the permit holder must submit adequate documentation by 
the 30th day after the date of such request. Examples of such 
documentation regarding initial sales transactions of IFQ landings 
include valid fish tickets, sales receipts, or check stubs that clearly 
identify the IFQ landing amount, species, date, time, and ex-vessel 
value or price.
    (G) Reporting Period. The reporting period of the IFQ Fee 
Submission Form shall extend from January 1 to December 31 of the year 
prior to the January 31 due date.
* * * * *
    11. In Sec.  679.40, revise the introductory text and paragraph 
(c)(1) to read as follows:


Sec.  679.40  Sablefish and halibut QS.

    The Regional Administrator shall annually divide the annual 
commercial fishing catch limit of halibut as defined in Sec.  300.61 of 
this title and published in the Federal Register pursuant to Sec.  
300.62 of this title, among qualified halibut quota share holders. The 
Regional Administrator shall annually divide the TAC of sablefish that 
is apportioned to the fixed gear fishery pursuant to Sec.  679.20, 
minus the CDQ reserve, among qualified sablefish quota share holders.
* * * * *
    (c) Calculation of annual IFQ allocation--(1) General--(i) The 
annual allocation of halibut IFQ to any person (person p) in any IFQ 
regulatory area (area a) will be equal to the product of the annual 
commercial catch limit as defined in Sec.  300.61 of this title, after 
adjustment for purposes of the Western Alaska CDQ Program, and that 
person's QS divided by the QS pool for that area. Overage adjustments 
will be subtracted from a person's IFQ pursuant to paragraph (d) of 
this section; underage adjustments will be added to a person's IFQ 
pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section. Expressed algebraically, the

[[Page 44196]]

annual halibut IFQ allocation formula is as follows:

IFQpa = [(annual commercial catch limita) x 
(QSpa/QS poola)] - overage adjustment of 
IFQpa + underage adjustment of IFQpa.

    (ii) The annual allocation of sablefish IFQ to any person (person 
p) in any IFQ regulatory area (area a) will be equal to the product of 
the TAC of sablefish by fixed gear for that area (after adjustment for 
purposes of the Western Alaska CDQ Program) and that person's QS 
divided by the QS pool for that area. Overage adjustments will be 
subtracted from a person's IFQ pursuant to paragraph (d) of this 
section; underage adjustments will be added to a person's IFQ pursuant 
to paragraph (e) of this section. Expressed algebraically, the annual 
IFQ allocation formula is as follows:

IFQpa = [(fixed gear TACa- CDQ 
reservea) x (QSpa/QS poola)] - overage 
adjustment of IFQpa + underage adjustment of 
IFQpa.
* * * * *
    12. In Sec.  679.41, add paragraph (a)(3) to read as follows:


Sec.  679.41  Transfer of quota shares and IFQ.

    (a) * * *
    (3) A transfer between IFQ and guided angler fish (GAF), as defined 
in Sec.  300.61 of this title, is governed by regulations in Sec.  
300.65(c) of this title.
* * * * *
    13. In Sec.  679.42 revise paragraphs (f)(1)(i), (f)(1)(ii), and 
(f)(6) to read as follows:


Sec.  679.42  Limitations on use of QS and IFQ.

* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (i) IFQ regulatory Area 2C. 599,799 units of halibut QS, including 
halibut QS issued as IFQ and transferred to GAF, as defined in Sec.  
300.61 of this title.
    (ii) IFQ regulatory area 2C, 3A, and 3B. 1,502,823 units of halibut 
QS, including halibut QS issued as IFQ and transferred to GAF, as 
defined in Sec.  300.61 of this title.
* * * * *
    (6) No individual that receives IFQ derived from halibut QS held by 
a CQE, including GAF as defined in Sec.  300.61 of this title, may 
hold, individually or collectively, more than 50,000 pounds (22.7 mt) 
of IFQ halibut, including IFQ halibut received as GAF, derived from any 
halibut QS source.
* * * * *
    14. In Sec.  679.45:
    a. Remove and reserve paragraph (c); and
    b. Revise paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3), (a)(4)(i), (a)(4)(ii), 
(a)(4)(iii), (b), (d)(2) heading, (d)(2)(i)(A), (d)(2)(i)(B), 
(d)(2)(i)(C), (d)(2)(ii), (d)(3)(i), (d)(4), (e), and (f) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  679.45  IFQ cost recovery program.

    (a) * * *
    (1) Responsibility. An IFQ permit holder is responsible for cost 
recovery fees for landings of his or her IFQ halibut and sablefish, 
including any halibut landed as guided angler fish (GAF), as defined in 
Sec.  300.61 of this title, derived from his or her IFQ accounts. An 
IFQ permit holder must comply with the requirements of this section.
    (2) IFQ Fee Liability Determination--(i) General. IFQ fee liability 
means a cost recovery liability based on the value of all landed IFQ 
and GAF derived from his or her IFQ permit(s).
    (A) Each year, the Regional Administrator will issue each IFQ 
permit holder a summary of his or her IFQ equivalent pounds landed as 
IFQ and GAF as part of the IFQ Landing and Estimated Fee Liability page 
described at Sec.  679.5(l)(7)(ii)(C)(2).
    (B) The summary will include information on IFQ and GAF landings 
and an estimated IFQ fee liability using the IFQ standard ex-vessel 
value for IFQ and GAF landings. For fee purposes:
    (1) Landings of GAF in IPHC Regulatory Area 2C or Area 3A are 
converted to IFQ equivalent pounds and assessed at the Area 2C or Area 
3A IFQ standard ex-vessel value.
    (2) GAF that is returned to the IFQ permit holder's account 
pursuant to Sec.  300.65(c) of this title, and subsequently landed as 
IFQ during the IFQ fishing year, is included in the IFQ fee liability 
and subject to fee assessment as IFQ equivalent pounds.
    (C) The IFQ permit holder must either accept NMFS' estimate of the 
IFQ fee liability or revise NMFS' estimate of the IFQ fee liability 
using the Fee Submission Form described at Sec.  679.5(l)(7)(ii), 
except that the standard ex-vessel value used to determine the fee 
liability for GAF is not subject to challenge. If the IFQ permit holder 
revises NMFS' estimate of his or her IFQ fee liability, NMFS may 
request in writing that the permit holder submit documentation 
establishing the factual basis for the revised calculation. If the IFQ 
permit holder fails to provide adequate documentation on or by the 30th 
day after the date of such request, NMFS will determine the IFQ permit 
holder's IFQ fee liability based on standard ex-vessel values.
    (ii) Value assigned to GAF. The IFQ fee liability is computed from 
all net pounds allocated to the IFQ permit holder that are landed, 
including IFQ landed as GAF.
    (A) NMFS will determine the IFQ equivalent pounds of GAF landed in 
Area 2C or Area 3A that are derived from the IFQ permit holder's 
account.
    (B) The IFQ equivalent pounds of GAF landed in Area 2C or Area 3A 
are multiplied by the standard ex-vessel value computed for that area 
to determine the value of IFQ landed as GAF.
    (iii) The value of IFQ landed as GAF is added to the value of the 
IFQ permit holder's landed IFQ, and the sum is multiplied by the annual 
IFQ fee percentage to estimate the IFQ permit holder's IFQ fee 
liability.
    (3) Fee Collection. An IFQ permit holder with IFQ and/or GAF 
landings is responsible for self-collecting his or her own fee during 
the calendar year in which the IFQ fish and/or GAF is landed.
    (4) * * *
    (i) Payment due date. An IFQ permit holder must submit his or her 
IFQ fee liability payment(s) to NMFS at the address provided at 
paragraph (a)(4)(iii) of this section not later than January 31 of the 
year following the calendar year in which the IFQ and/or GAF landings 
were made.
    (ii) Payment recipient. Make payment payable to IFQ Fee 
Coordinator, OMI.
    (iii) Payment address. Mail payment and related documents to: 
Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: IFQ Fee Coordinator, Office 
of Operations, Management and Information (OMI), P.O. Box 21668, 
Juneau, AK 99802 1668; submit by fax to (907) 586-7354; or submit 
electronically through the NMFS Alaska Region Home Page at http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. If paying by credit card, ensure that all 
requested card information is provided.
* * * * *
    (b) IFQ ex-vessel value determination and use--(1) General. An IFQ 
permit holder must use either the IFQ actual ex-vessel value or the IFQ 
standard ex-vessel value when determining the IFQ fee liability based 
on ex-vessel value, except that landed GAF are assessed at the standard 
values derived by NMFS. An IFQ permit holder must base all IFQ fee 
liability calculations on the ex-vessel value that correlates to the 
landed IFQ in IFQ equivalent pounds.
    (2) IFQ actual ex-vessel value. An IFQ permit holder that uses 
actual ex-vessel value, as defined in Sec.  679.2, to determine IFQ fee 
liability for landed IFQ must document actual ex-vessel value for each 
IFQ permit. The actual ex-vessel value cannot be used to assign value 
to halibut landed as GAF.

[[Page 44197]]

    (3) IFQ standard ex-vessel value--(i) Use of standard price. An IFQ 
permit holder that uses standard ex-vessel value to determine the IFQ 
fee liability, as part of a revised IFQ fee liability submission, must 
use the corresponding standard price(s) as published in the Federal 
Register.
    (ii) All landed GAF must be valued using the standard ex-vessel 
value for the year and for the management area of harvest--Area 2C or 
Area 3A.
    (iii) Duty to publish list. Each year the Regional Administrator 
will publish a list of IFQ standard prices in the Federal Register 
during the last quarter of the calendar year. The IFQ standard prices 
will be described in U.S. dollars per IFQ equivalent pound, for IFQ 
halibut and sablefish landings made during the current calendar year.
    (iv) Effective duration. The IFQ standard prices will remain in 
effect until revised by the Regional Administrator by notification in 
the Federal Register based upon new information of the type set forth 
in this section. IFQ standard prices published in the Federal Register 
by NMFS shall apply to all landings made in the same calendar year as 
the IFQ standard price publication and shall replace any IFQ standard 
prices previously provided by NMFS that may have been in effect for 
that same calendar year.
    (v) Determination. NMFS will apply the standard price, aggregated 
to management Area 2C or Area 3A, to GAF landings. NMFS will calculate 
the IFQ standard prices to reflect, as closely as possible by month and 
port or port-group, the variations in the actual ex-vessel values of 
IFQ halibut and IFQ sablefish landings based on information provided in 
the IFQ Registered Buyer Ex-Vessel Value and Volume Report as described 
in Sec.  679.5(l)(7)(i). The Regional Administrator will base IFQ 
standard prices on the following types of information:
    (A) Landed net pounds by IFQ species, port-group, and month;
    (B) Total ex-vessel value by IFQ species, port-group, and month; 
and
    (C) Price adjustments, including IFQ retro-payments.
    (c) [Reserved]
    (d) * * *
    (2) Calculating the fee percentage. * * *
    (i) * * *
    (A) The IFQ and GAF landings to which the IFQ fee will apply;
    (B) The ex-vessel value of that landed IFQ and GAF; and
    (C) The costs directly related to the management and enforcement of 
the IFQ program, which include GAF costs.
    (ii) Methodology. NMFS must use the following equation to determine 
the fee percentage:

100 x (DPC/V)

where:

``DPC'' is the direct program costs for the IFQ fishery for the 
previous fiscal year, and
``V'' is the ex-vessel value determined for IFQ landed as commercial 
catch or as GAF subject to the IFQ fee liability for the current 
year.

    (3) * * *
    (i) General. During or before the last quarter of each calendar 
year, NMFS shall publish the IFQ fee percentage in the Federal 
Register. NMFS shall base any IFQ fee liability calculations on the 
factors and methodology in paragraph (d)(2) of this section.
* * * * *
    (4) Applicable percentage. The IFQ permit holder must use the IFQ 
fee percentage in effect for the year in which the IFQ and GAF landings 
are made to calculate his or her fee liability for such landed IFQ and 
GAF. The IFQ permit holder must use the IFQ fee percentage in effect at 
the time an IFQ retro-payment is received by the IFQ permit holder to 
calculate his or her IFQ fee liability for the IFQ retro-payment.
    (e) Non-payment of fee. (1) If an IFQ permit holder does not submit 
a complete Fee Submission Form and corresponding payment by the due 
date described in Sec.  679.45(a)(4), the Regional Administrator will:
    (i) Send IAD. Send an IAD to the IFQ permit holder stating that the 
IFQ permit holder's estimated fee liability, as calculated by the 
Regional Administrator and sent to the IFQ permit holder pursuant to 
Sec.  679.45(a)(2), is the amount of IFQ fee liability due from the IFQ 
permit holder. An IFQ permit holder who receives an IAD may appeal the 
IAD, as described in paragraph (h) of this section.
    (ii) Disapprove transfer. Disapprove any transfer of GAF, IFQ, or 
QS to or from the IFQ permit holder in accordance with Sec.  300.65(c) 
of this title and Sec.  679.41(c), until the IFQ fee liability is 
reconciled, except that NMFS may return unused GAF to the IFQ permit 
account from which it was derived on or after the automatic GAF return 
date.
    (2) Upon final agency action determining that an IFQ permit holder 
has not paid his or her IFQ fee liability, as described in paragraph 
(f) of this section, any IFQ fishing permit held by the IFQ permit 
holder is not valid until all IFQ fee liabilities are paid.
    (3) If payment is not received on or before the 30th day after the 
final agency action, the matter will be referred to the appropriate 
authorities for purposes of collection.
    (f) Underpayment of IFQ fee. (1) When an IFQ permit holder has 
incurred a fee liability and made a timely payment to NMFS of an amount 
less than the NMFS estimated IFQ fee liability, the Regional 
Administrator will review the IFQ Fee Submission Form and related 
documentation submitted by the IFQ permit holder. If the Regional 
Administrator determines that the IFQ permit holder has not paid a 
sufficient amount, the Regional Administrator will:
    (i) Disapprove transfer. Disapprove any transfer of GAF, IFQ, or QS 
to or from the IFQ permit holder in accordance with Sec.  300.65(c) of 
this title and Sec.  679.41(c), until the IFQ fee liability is 
reconciled, except that NMFS may return unused GAF to the IFQ permit 
account from which it was derived on or after the automatic GAF return 
date.
    (ii) Notify permit holder. Notify the IFQ permit holder by letter 
that an insufficient amount has been paid and that the IFQ permit 
holder has 30 days from the date of the letter to either pay the amount 
determined to be due or provide additional documentation to prove that 
the amount paid was the correct amount.
    (2) After the expiration of the 30-day period, the Regional 
Administrator will evaluate any additional documentation submitted by 
an IFQ permit holder in support of his or her payment. If the Regional 
Administrator determines that the additional documentation does not 
meet the IFQ permit holder's burden of proving his or her payment is 
correct, the Regional Administrator will send the permit holder an IAD 
indicating that the permit holder did not meet the burden of proof to 
change the IFQ fee liability as calculated by the Regional 
Administrator based upon the IFQ standard ex-vessel value. The IAD will 
set out the facts and indicate the deficiencies in the documentation 
submitted by the permit holder. An IFQ permit holder who receives an 
IAD may appeal the IAD, as described in paragraph (h) of this section.
    (3) If the permit holder fails to file an appeal of the IAD 
pursuant to Sec.  679.43, the IAD will become the final agency action.
    (4) If the IAD is appealed and the final agency action is a 
determination that additional sums are due from the IFQ permit holder, 
the IFQ permit holder must pay any IFQ fee amount determined to be due 
not later than 30 days from the issuance of the final agency action.

[[Page 44198]]

    (5) Upon final agency action determining that an IFQ permit holder 
has not paid his or her IFQ fee liability, any IFQ fishing permit held 
by the IFQ permit holder is not valid until all IFQ fee liabilities are 
paid.
    (6) If payment is not received on or before the 30th day after the 
final agency action, the matter will be referred to the appropriate 
authorities for purposes of collection.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2011-18321 Filed 7-21-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P