Final Rule for 2019 Pacific Whiting Harvest Specifications Tribal Allocation and Reapportionment Provision
NMFS issues this final rule for the 2019 Pacific whiting fishery under the authority of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006. This final rule announces the 2019 U.S. Total Allowable Catch of 441,433 metric tons (mt) of Pacific whiting, establishes a tribal allocation of 77,251 mt, establishes a set-aside for research and bycatch of 1,500 mt, and announces the allocations of Pacific whiting to the non-tribal fishery for 2019. This final rule also amends the provisions regarding reapportionment of the treaty tribes' whiting allocation to the non-treaty sectors to require that NMFS consider the level of Chinook salmon bycatch before reapportioning whiting. This rule is necessary to manage the Pacific whiting stock to Optimal Yield, ensure that the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan is implemented in a manner consistent with treaty rights of four treaty tribes to fish for Pacific whiting in their “usual and accustomed grounds and stations” in common with non-tribal citizens, and to protect salmon stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act. The catch limits in this rule are intended to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Pacific whiting stock.