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DOC/NOAA RIN: 0648-BI65 Publication ID: Fall 2019 
Title: Amendment 118 to Allow Halibut Retention in BSAI IFQ Pot Gear in the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the BSAI 
Abstract: In response to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council's recommendation, this action would allow retention of halibut in pot gear in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI), provided the operator holds sufficient halibut Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) or Community Development Quota (CDQ) for that IFQ regulatory area. The purpose of this action is to improve efficient harvest of the halibut resource by 1) decreasing wastage of legal-size halibut discarded in the existing BSAI sablefish pot fishery, and 2) potentially reducing whale depredation of halibut from hook-and-line gear by authorizing the use of pot gear in the halibut IFQ and CDQ fisheries. Currently, halibut are only permitted to be harvested with hook-and-line gear. As part of this action, NMFS would require vessels interested in retaining halibut in pot gear in the BSAI to install and operate Vessel Monitoring Systems and daily fishing logbooks and close the Pribilof Island Habitat Conservation Zone to all fishing with pot gear. In the event that there is a conservation concern for bycatch of shellfish or groundfish species, NMFS would have the authority to close the directed longline and pot halibut fisheries in both the BSAI and the Gulf of Alaska. 
Agency: Department of Commerce(DOC)  Priority: Substantive, Nonsignificant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Deregulatory 
CFR Citation: 50 CFR 679   
Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.    16 U.S.C. 773   
Legal Deadline:  None
Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
Notice of Availability  08/21/2019  84 FR 43570   
NPRM  10/03/2019  84 FR 52852   
NPRM Comment Period End  11/04/2019 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Undetermined 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Organizations  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
James Balsiger
Regional Administrator, Alaska Region
Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
709 West Ninth Street,
Juneau, AK 99801
Phone:907 586-7221
Fax:907 586-7465
Email: jim.balsiger@noaa.gov