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DOC/NOAA RIN: 0648-BM28 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: Amendment 32 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan - Modifications to Non-Trawl Area Management Measures 

With the rebuilt status of several groundfish stocks, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has for several years been prioritizing increased access to the Non-Trawl Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) and Cowcod Conservation Area (CCA), which are groundfish closed areas initially enacted to protect overfished rockfish species. This action was included on the Council’s list of priority actions under E.O. 13921. Currently, all but one species of rockfish has been declared rebuilt, and the remaining species (yelloweye rockfish) is projected to rebuild ahead of schedule. In accordance with a recommendation from the Council at their March 2023 meeting, and under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) West Coast Region proposes to implement a suite of changes to non-trawl area management measures seaward of California and Oregon. Specifically, NMFS proposes to: 1) allow increased fishing access to the Non-Trawl RCA for the commercial groundfish limited entry fixed gear sector and vessels that gear switch under the Trawl Individual Fishing Quota program; 2) modify gear restrictions in the Non-Trawl RCA for all non-trawl commercial groundfish sectors; 3) open a portion of the Non-Trawl RCA for all non-trawl commercial groundfish sectors and the directed halibut fishery; 3) open the CCA seaward of California for all groundfish commercial and recreational non-trawl sectors, and 4) enable the use of Block Area Closures to mitigate groundfish catch for all non-trawl sectors. The purpose of this action to provide fishing access to healthy groundfish stocks for non-trawl groundfish fisheries and the directed halibut fishery while still meeting the conservation objectives of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan.

Agency: Department of Commerce(DOC)  Priority: Substantive, Nonsignificant 
RIN Status: Previously 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.    16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.    16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq.   
Legal Deadline:  None
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  08/30/2023  88 FR 59838   
NPRM Comment Period End  09/29/2023 
Final Action  11/00/2023 
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:
Jennifer Quan
Regional Administrator - West Coast Region
Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
DC 20230
Phone:562 980-4001