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DOC/NOAA RIN: 0648-BK92 Publication ID: Fall 2021 
Title: ●Emergency Action to Extend the 2021 Limited Entry Fixed Gear Primary Sablefish Tier Fishery 

On September 14, 2021, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) recommended that NMFS initiate an emergency action to extend the 2021 season for the Limited Entry Fixed Gear (LEFG) Primary Sablefish Tier Fishery in the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery, which would otherwise close on October 31. Emergency action is needed to extend the season because more than half of the vessels in the sablefish tier fishery are below 50 percent of normal attainment levels for this time of year. Many vessels in the West Coast sablefish tier fishery also participate in Fisheries in Alaska, where they encountered fishery delays due to difficulties related to restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of these delays, it is unlikely that tier fishery participants will be able to harvest their full tier allocations before the end of the season. Delayed vessels and crew would be unable to harvest the remaining volume of catch worth an estimated $2.76 million, which would have additional impacts to communities in Washington, Oregon, and California if emergency action did not occur. Under 305(c)(2)(B) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS will take emergency action to extend the season until December 31, 2021. The Council also recommended that as part of the emergency action NMFS include an extension of the incidental halibut retention allowance for the sablefish tier fishery, which closes on October 31 in conjunction with the tier season. NMFS will extend the retention allowance to December 7, 2021; the latest date allowed by the International Pacific Halibut Commission. Because the sablefish tier fishery incidentally catches halibut in its normal operation, this action is necessary to allow additional economic benefits and reduce regulatory discards. This action will be taken under the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982. NMFS has considered all provisions of E.O. 12866 and analyzed this action’s impact.  Based on that review, this action is not expected to have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, or have an adverse effect in a material way on the economy. Furthermore, this action would not create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; or materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or raise novel or policy issues.

Agency: Department of Commerce(DOC)  Priority: Substantive, Nonsignificant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 50 CFR 660   
Legal Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.   
Legal Deadline:  None
Action Date FR Cite
Interim Final Rule  11/00/2021 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Barry Thom
Regional Administrator, West Coast Region
Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
1201 NE Lloyd Boulevard, Suite 1100,
Portland, OR 97232
Phone:503 231-6266