NMFS provides notice of the 2013 Pacific halibut guideline harvest levels (GHLs) for the guided sport fishery in International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Regulatory Areas 2C
(Southeast Alaska) and 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska). This notice is necessary to meet the regulatory requirement to publish notice announcing the GHLs and to inform the public about the 2013 GHLs for the guided sport fishery for halibut. The GHLs are benchmark harvest levels for participants in the guided sport fishery. The Area 2C GHL is 788,000 lb (357.4 mt); and the Area 3A GHL is 2,734,000 lb (1,240.1 mt). These GHLs revise and supersede those published in the 2013 IPHC annual management measures (78 FR 16423, March 15, 2013).
The GHLs are effective February 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013. This period is specified by IPHC as the sport fishing season in all waters in and off Alaska.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Julie Scheurer, (907) 586-7228.
In 2003, NMFS implemented a final rule (68 FR 47256, August 8,
2003) to establish GHLs for Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis)
harvested by the guided sport fishery in IPHC Areas 2C and 3A.
Regulations implementing the GHLs have been amended twice. In 2008, the
GHL table was corrected at 50 CFR 300.65(c)(1) (73 FR 30504, May 28,
2008). In 2009, regulatory provisions were amended for NMFS' annual
publication of the GHL notice and to clarify NMFS' authority to take
action at any time to limit the guided sport angler catch to the GHL
(74 FR 21194, May 6, 2009). Regulations at Sec. 300.65(c)(1) require
that NMFS annually publish a notice in the Federal Register to announce
the GHLs for Area 2C and Area 3A.
Consistent with Sec. 300.65(c), this notice announces the 2013
GHLs for the guided sport fishery for Pacific halibut in IPHC Areas 2C
and 3A. Regulations at Sec. 300.65(c)(1) specify the GHLs based on the
total constant exploitation yield (CEY) that is established annually by
the IPHC. The total CEYs and resulting GHLs were incorrect as published
in the final rule announcing the 2013 IPHC annual management measures
for the Pacific halibut fisheries (78 FR 16423, March 15, 2013). This
notice announces revised total CEYs and corresponding GHLs for 2013.
For Area 2C, the total CEY is 5,020,000 lb (2,277.0 mt) and the
corresponding GHL is 788,000 lb (357.4 mt). For Area 3A, the total CEY
is 17,070,000 lb (7,742.8 mt) and the corresponding GHL is 2,734,000 lb
(1,240.1 mt). The GHLs in Areas 2C and 3A each dropped one step from
2012 levels. NMFS may take action at any time to limit the guided sport
halibut harvest to as close to the GHL as practicable (50 CFR