Proposed Rule for 2019 Pacific Whiting Harvest Specifications Tribal Allocation and Reapportionment Provision
NMFS issues this proposed 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 proposed rule would allocate 17.5 percent of the U.S. Total Allowable Catch of Pacific whiting for 2019 to Pacific Coast Indian tribes that have a treaty right to harvest groundfish. It would also amend 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 when determining whether to reapportion whiting. This rule is necessary to manage the Pacific whiting stock to Optimal Yield, ensure that the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) 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.