Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Total Allowable Catches for Georges Bank Cod, Haddock, and Yellowtail Flounder in the U.S./Canada Management Area for Fishing Year 2005, 19724-19726 [05-7514]

Download as PDF 19724 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 71 / Thursday, April 14, 2005 / Proposed Rules submittal and anticipates no adverse comments. A detailed rationale for the approval is set forth in the direct final rule. If no adverse comments are received in response to this action rule, no further activity is contemplated. If EPA receives relevant adverse comments, the direct final rule will be withdrawn and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. The EPA will not institute a second comment period. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time. Please note that if EPA receives relevant adverse comment on an amendment, paragraph, or section of this rule and if that provision may be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those provisions of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment. For additional information, see the direct final rule which is located in the rules section of this Federal Register. Dated: March 31, 2005. Richard Greene, Regional Administrator, Region 6. [FR Doc. 05–7335 Filed 4–13–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No.050331089–5089–01; I.D. 031005A] RIN 0648–AS74 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Total Allowable Catches for Georges Bank Cod, Haddock, and Yellowtail Flounder in the U.S./Canada Management Area for Fishing Year 2005 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS proposes 2005 fishing year (FY) Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for Georges Bank (GB) cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder in the U.S./Canada Management Area, and provides notice that these TACs may be adjusted during FY 2005, if NMFS determines that the harvest of these stocks in FY 2004 exceeded the TACs specified for FY 2004. The intent of this VerDate jul<14>2003 14:16 Apr 13, 2005 Jkt 205001 action is to provide for the conservation and management of those three stocks of fish. DATES: Comments must be received by May 16, 2005. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by any of the following methods: • E-mail: USCATAC@NOAA.gov. Include in the subject line the following: Comments on the proposed TACs for the U.S./Canada Management Area. • Federal e-rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. • Mail: Paper, disk, or CD ROM comments should be sent to Patricia A. Kurkul, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, ‘‘Comments on the proposed TACs for the U.S./Canada Management Area.’’ • Fax: (978) 281–9135. Copies of the Transboundary Management Guidance Committee’s 2004 Guidance Document and copies of the Environmental Assessment of the 2005 TACs (including the Regulatory Impact Review and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) may be obtained from the National Marine Fisheries Service at the mailing address specified above; telephone (978) 281– 9315. NMFS prepared a summary of the IRFA, which is contained in the Classification section of this proposed rule. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Warren, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9347, fax (978) 281–9135, email Thomas.Warren@NOAA.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) specifies a procedure for setting annual hard (i.e., the fishery or area closes when a TAC is reached) TAC levels for GB cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder. The regulations governing the annual development of TACs (§ 648.85(a)(2)) were implemented by Amendment 13 to the FMP (69 FR 22906; April 27, 2004) in order to be consistent with the U.S./ Canada Resource Sharing Understanding (Understanding), which is an informal understanding between the United States and Canada that outlines a process for the management of the shared GB groundfish resources. The Understanding specifies an allocation of TAC for these three stocks for each country, based on a formula that considers historical catch percentages and current resource distribution. Annual TACs are determined through a process involving the New England Fishery Management Council (Council), PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 the Transboundary Management Guidance Committee (TMGC), and the U.S./Canada Transboundary Resources Steering Committee (§ 648.85(a)(2)(i)). On August 31, 2004, the TMGC approved the 2004 Guidance Document for GB cod, GB haddock, and GB yellowtail flounder, which included recommended U.S. TACs for these stocks. The recommended 2005 TACs were based upon the most recent stock assessments (Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee (TRAC) Status Reports for 2004), and the fishing mortality strategy shared by both the United States and Canada. The strategy is to maintain a low to neutral risk of exceeding the fishing mortality limit reference (Fref = 0.18, 0.26, and 0.25 for cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder, respectively). When stock conditions are poor, fishing mortality rates (F) should be further reduced to promote rebuilding. For GB cod, the TMGC concluded that the most appropriate combined U.S./ Canada TAC for FY 2005 is 1,000 mt. This corresponds to an F less than the Fref of 0.18 in 2005 and represents a low risk of exceeding the Fref. At this level of harvest there is a neutral or 50 percent chance, that stock biomass will decrease from 2005 to 2006. The annual allocation shares for FY 2005 between the U.S. and Canada are based on a combination of historical catches (35 percent weighting) and resource distribution based on trawl surveys (65 percent weighting). Combining these factors entitles the United States to 26 percent and Canada to 74 percent, resulting in a national quota of 260 mt for the United States and 740 mt for Canada. For GB haddock, the TMGC concluded that the most appropriate combined U.S./Canada TAC for FY 2005 is 23,000 mt. This corresponds to an F of less than the Fref of 0.26 in 2005 and represents a low risk of exceeding the Fref. Adult biomass will increase substantially from 2005 to 2006 due to recruitment of the exceptional 2003 year class. The annual allocation shares for 2005 between countries are based on a combination of historical catches (35 percent weighting) and resource distribution based on trawl surveys (65 percent weighting). Combining these factors entitles the United States to 33 percent and Canada to 67 percent, resulting in a national quota of 7,590 mt for the United States and 15,410 mt for Canada. For GB yellowtail flounder, the TMGC concluded that the most appropriate combined U.S./Canada TAC for FY 2005 is 6,000 mt. A catch of about 4,000 mt in 2005 corresponds to an F equal to the E:\FR\FM\14APP1.SGM 14APP1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 71 / Thursday, April 14, 2005 / Proposed Rules Fref of 0.25. Alternative analyses, which make different assumptions about selectivity, indicate higher projected catch at Fref in 2005, but still lower than the 2004 quota of 7,900 mt. The trend in stock biomass is increasing and recent recruitment has improved, but fishing mortality remains substantially above Fref. A reduced catch of 6,000 mt in 2005 should result in moving toward Fref. The annual allocation shares for 2005 between countries are based on a combination of historical catches (35 percent weighting) and resource distribution based on trawl surveys (65 percent weighting). Combining these factors entitles the United States to 71 percent and Canada to 29 percent, resulting in a national quota of 4,260 mt for the United States and 1,740 mt for Canada. On September 1, 2004, the 2004 Guidance Document was presented to the U.S./Canada Transboundary 19725 Resources Steering Committee. On September 16, 2004, the Council approved the following U.S. TACs recommended by the TMGC: 260 mt of GB cod, 7,590 mt of GB haddock, and 4,260 mt of GB yellowtail flounder. The 2005 cod and yellowtail flounder TACs represent a decrease from 2004 TAC levels, and the 2005 haddock TAC represents an increase from the 2004 TAC. 2005 U.S./CANADA TACS (MT) AND PERCENTAGE SHARES (IN PARENTHESES) GB Cod Total Shared TAC U.S. TAC Canada TAC GB Haddock 1,000 260 (26) 740 (74) 23,000 7,590 (33) 15,410 (67) GB Yellowtail flounder 6,00 4,260 (71) 1,740 (29) 2004 U.S./CANADA TACS (MT) AND PERCENTAGE SHARES (IN PARENTHESES) GB Cod Total Shared TAC U.S. TAC Canada TAC 1,300 300 (23) 1,000 (77) The 2005 TACs are based upon stock assessments conducted in June 2004 by the TRAC. The proposed TACs are consistent with the results of the TRAC and the TMGC’s harvest strategy. The regulations implemented by Amendment 13, at § 648.85(a)(2)(ii), state the following: ‘‘Any overages of the GB cod, haddock, or yellowtail flounder TACs that occur in a given fishing year will be subtracted from the respective TAC in the following fishing year.≥ Therefore, should an analysis of the catch of the shared stocks by U.S. vessels indicate that an overage occurred during FY 2004 the pertinent TACs will be adjusted downward in order to be consistent with the FMP and the Understanding. Although it is very unlikely, it is possible that a very large overage could result in an adjusted TAC of zero. If an adjustment to one of the 2005 TACs for cod, haddock, or yellowtail flounder is necessary, the public will be notified through a Federal Register notice and through a letter to permit holders. Classification This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. NMFS prepared an IRFA that describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. The specification of hard TACs is necessary in order to ensure that the VerDate jul<14>2003 14:16 Apr 13, 2005 GB Haddock Jkt 205001 15,000 5,100 (34) 9,900 (66) agreed upon U.S./Canada fishing mortality levels for these shared stocks of fish are achieved in the U.S./Canada Management Area (the geographic area on GB defined to facilitate management of stocks of cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder that are shared with Canada). A description of the objectives and legal basis for the proposed TACs is contained in the SUMMARY of this proposed rule. Under the Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards for small fishing entities ($3.5 million), all permitted and participating vessels in the groundfish fishery are considered to be small entities. Gross sales by any one entity (vessel) do not exceed this threshold. The maximum number of small entities that could be affected by the proposed TACs are approximately 1,000 vessels, i.e., those with limited access Northeast multispecies days-atsea permits, that have an allocation of Category A or B days-at-sea. Realistically, however, the number of vessels that choose to fish in the U.S./ Canada Management Area, and that therefore would be subject to the associated restrictions, including hard TACs, would be substantially less. From May 2004, through February 2005, 141 individual vessels fished in the U.S./Canada Management Area. Because the regulatory regime in FY 2005 will be similar to that in place in FY 2004, it is likely that the number of vessels that choose to fish in the area during FY 2005 will be similar to the PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 GB Yellowtail flounder 7,900 6,000 (76) 1,900 (24) number of vessels that fished in the area during FY 2004 (141 vessels). The economic impacts of the proposed TACs are difficult to predict due to several factors that affect the amount of catch, as well as the price of the fish. Furthermore, the economic impacts are difficult to predict due to the newness of these regulations (May 2004; Amendment 13 to the FMP). Therefore, there is relatively little historic data, and little is known about the specific fishing patterns or market impacts that may be caused by this hard TAC management system. The amount of GB cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder landed and sold will not be equal to the sum of the TACs, but will be reduced as a result of discards (discards are counted against the hard TAC), and may be further reduced by limitations on access to stocks that may result from the associated rules. Reductions to the value of the fish may result from fishing derby behavior and the potential impact on markets. The overall economic impact of the proposed 2005 U.S./Canada TACs will likely be similar to the economic impacts of the TACs specified for the 2004 fishing year. Although unlikely, a downward adjustment to the TACs specified for FY 2005 fishing year could occur after the start of the fishing year, if it is determined that the U.S. catch of one or more of the shared stocks during the 2004 fishing year exceeded the relevant TACs specified for FY 2004. E:\FR\FM\14APP1.SGM 14APP1 19726 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 71 / Thursday, April 14, 2005 / Proposed Rules Three alternatives were considered for FY 2005: the proposed TACs, the status quo TACs, and the no action alternative. No additional set of TACs are proposed because the process involving the TMGC and NEFMC yields only one proposed set of TACs. The proposed TACs would have a similar economic impact as the status quo TACs. Adoption of the status quo TACs, however, would not be consistent with the FMP because the status quo TACs do not represent the best available scientific information. Although the no action alternative (no TACs) would not constrain catch in the U.S./Canada Area, VerDate jul<14>2003 14:16 Apr 13, 2005 Jkt 205001 and therefore would likely provide some additional fishing opportunity, the no action alternative is not a reasonable alternative because it is inconsistent with the FMP in both the short and long term. The FMP requires specification of hard TACs in order to limit catch of shared stocks to the appropriate level (i.e., consistent with the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding and the FMP). As such, the no action alternative would likely provide less economic benefits to the industry in the long term than the proposed alternative. Two of the three proposed TACs would be reduced (cod and yellowtail PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 flounder), and could, under certain circumstances, constrain fishing opportunity on haddock (for which the TAC is increasing). The proposed TACs do not modify any collection of information, reporting, or recordkeeping requirements. The proposed TACs do not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any other Federal rules. Dated:April 8, 2005. John Oliver, Deputy Assisitant Administrator for Operations, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 05–7514 Filed 4–13–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\14APP1.SGM 14APP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 71 (Thursday, April 14, 2005)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 19724-19726]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-7514]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No.050331089-5089-01; I.D. 031005A]
RIN 0648-AS74


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Multispecies Fishery; Total Allowable Catches for Georges Bank Cod, 
Haddock, and Yellowtail Flounder in the U.S./Canada Management Area for 
Fishing Year 2005

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes 2005 fishing year (FY) Total Allowable Catches 
(TACs) for Georges Bank (GB) cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder in 
the U.S./Canada Management Area, and provides notice that these TACs 
may be adjusted during FY 2005, if NMFS determines that the harvest of 
these stocks in FY 2004 exceeded the TACs specified for FY 2004. The 
intent of this action is to provide for the conservation and management 
of those three stocks of fish.

DATES: Comments must be received by May 16, 2005.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by any of the following 
methods:
     E-mail: USCATAC@NOAA.gov. Include in the subject line the 
following: Comments on the proposed TACs for the U.S./Canada Management 
Area.
     Federal e-rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Mail: Paper, disk, or CD ROM comments should be sent to 
Patricia A. Kurkul, Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries 
Service, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of 
the envelope, ``Comments on the proposed TACs for the U.S./Canada 
Management Area.''
     Fax: (978) 281-9135.
    Copies of the Transboundary Management Guidance Committee's 2004 
Guidance Document and copies of the Environmental Assessment of the 
2005 TACs (including the Regulatory Impact Review and Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) may be obtained from the National Marine 
Fisheries Service at the mailing address specified above; telephone 
(978) 281-9315. NMFS prepared a summary of the IRFA, which is contained 
in the Classification section of this proposed rule.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Warren, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
(978) 281-9347, fax (978) 281-9135, e-mail Thomas.Warren@NOAA.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Northeast Multispecies Fishery 
Management Plan (FMP) specifies a procedure for setting annual hard 
(i.e., the fishery or area closes when a TAC is reached) TAC levels for 
GB cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder. The regulations governing the 
annual development of TACs (Sec.  648.85(a)(2)) were implemented by 
Amendment 13 to the FMP (69 FR 22906; April 27, 2004) in order to be 
consistent with the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding 
(Understanding), which is an informal understanding between the United 
States and Canada that outlines a process for the management of the 
shared GB groundfish resources. The Understanding specifies an 
allocation of TAC for these three stocks for each country, based on a 
formula that considers historical catch percentages and current 
resource distribution.
    Annual TACs are determined through a process involving the New 
England Fishery Management Council (Council), the Transboundary 
Management Guidance Committee (TMGC), and the U.S./Canada Transboundary 
Resources Steering Committee (Sec.  648.85(a)(2)(i)). On August 31, 
2004, the TMGC approved the 2004 Guidance Document for GB cod, GB 
haddock, and GB yellowtail flounder, which included recommended U.S. 
TACs for these stocks. The recommended 2005 TACs were based upon the 
most recent stock assessments (Transboundary Resource Assessment 
Committee (TRAC) Status Reports for 2004), and the fishing mortality 
strategy shared by both the United States and Canada. The strategy is 
to maintain a low to neutral risk of exceeding the fishing mortality 
limit reference (Fref = 0.18, 0.26, and 0.25 for cod, 
haddock, and yellowtail flounder, respectively). When stock conditions 
are poor, fishing mortality rates (F) should be further reduced to 
promote rebuilding.
    For GB cod, the TMGC concluded that the most appropriate combined 
U.S./Canada TAC for FY 2005 is 1,000 mt. This corresponds to an F less 
than the Fref of 0.18 in 2005 and represents a low risk of exceeding 
the Fref. At this level of harvest there is a neutral or 50 
percent chance, that stock biomass will decrease from 2005 to 2006. The 
annual allocation shares for FY 2005 between the U.S. and Canada are 
based on a combination of historical catches (35 percent weighting) and 
resource distribution based on trawl surveys (65 percent weighting). 
Combining these factors entitles the United States to 26 percent and 
Canada to 74 percent, resulting in a national quota of 260 mt for the 
United States and 740 mt for Canada.
    For GB haddock, the TMGC concluded that the most appropriate 
combined U.S./Canada TAC for FY 2005 is 23,000 mt. This corresponds to 
an F of less than the Fref of 0.26 in 2005 and represents a low risk of 
exceeding the Fref. Adult biomass will increase substantially from 2005 
to 2006 due to recruitment of the exceptional 2003 year class. The 
annual allocation shares for 2005 between countries are based on a 
combination of historical catches (35 percent weighting) and resource 
distribution based on trawl surveys (65 percent weighting). Combining 
these factors entitles the United States to 33 percent and Canada to 67 
percent, resulting in a national quota of 7,590 mt for the United 
States and 15,410 mt for Canada.
    For GB yellowtail flounder, the TMGC concluded that the most 
appropriate combined U.S./Canada TAC for FY 2005 is 6,000 mt. A catch 
of about 4,000 mt in 2005 corresponds to an F equal to the

[[Page 19725]]

Fref of 0.25. Alternative analyses, which make different 
assumptions about selectivity, indicate higher projected catch at 
Fref in 2005, but still lower than the 2004 quota of 7,900 
mt. The trend in stock biomass is increasing and recent recruitment has 
improved, but fishing mortality remains substantially above 
Fref. A reduced catch of 6,000 mt in 2005 should result in 
moving toward Fref. The annual allocation shares for 2005 
between countries are based on a combination of historical catches (35 
percent weighting) and resource distribution based on trawl surveys (65 
percent weighting). Combining these factors entitles the United States 
to 71 percent and Canada to 29 percent, resulting in a national quota 
of 4,260 mt for the United States and 1,740 mt for Canada.
    On September 1, 2004, the 2004 Guidance Document was presented to 
the U.S./Canada Transboundary Resources Steering Committee. On 
September 16, 2004, the Council approved the following U.S. TACs 
recommended by the TMGC: 260 mt of GB cod, 7,590 mt of GB haddock, and 
4,260 mt of GB yellowtail flounder. The 2005 cod and yellowtail 
flounder TACs represent a decrease from 2004 TAC levels, and the 2005 
haddock TAC represents an increase from the 2004 TAC.

                                            2005 U.S./Canada TACs (mt) and percentage shares (in parentheses)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              GB Cod                     GB Haddock             GB Yellowtail flounder
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Shared TAC                                                                         1,000                       23,000                         6,00
U.S. TAC                                                                              260 (26)                   7,590 (33)                   4,260 (71)
Canada TAC                                                                            740 (74)                  15,410 (67)                   1,740 (29)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                            2004 U.S./Canada TACs (mt) and percentage shares (in parentheses)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              GB Cod                     GB Haddock             GB Yellowtail flounder
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Shared TAC                                                                         1,300                       15,000                        7,900
U.S. TAC                                                                              300 (23)                   5,100 (34)                   6,000 (76)
Canada TAC                                                                          1,000 (77)                   9,900 (66)                   1,900 (24)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The 2005 TACs are based upon stock assessments conducted in June 
2004 by the TRAC. The proposed TACs are consistent with the results of 
the TRAC and the TMGC's harvest strategy.
    The regulations implemented by Amendment 13, at Sec.  
648.85(a)(2)(ii), state the following: ``Any overages of the GB cod, 
haddock, or yellowtail flounder TACs that occur in a given fishing year 
will be subtracted from the respective TAC in the following fishing 
year.
    Therefore, should an analysis of the catch of the shared stocks by 
U.S. vessels indicate that an overage occurred during FY 2004 the 
pertinent TACs will be adjusted downward in order to be consistent with 
the FMP and the Understanding. Although it is very unlikely, it is 
possible that a very large overage could result in an adjusted TAC of 
zero. If an adjustment to one of the 2005 TACs for cod, haddock, or 
yellowtail flounder is necessary, the public will be notified through a 
Federal Register notice and through a letter to permit holders.

Classification

    This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and has been determined 
to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    NMFS prepared an IRFA that describes the economic impact this 
proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities.
    The specification of hard TACs is necessary in order to ensure that 
the agreed upon U.S./Canada fishing mortality levels for these shared 
stocks of fish are achieved in the U.S./Canada Management Area (the 
geographic area on GB defined to facilitate management of stocks of 
cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder that are shared with Canada). A 
description of the objectives and legal basis for the proposed TACs is 
contained in the SUMMARY of this proposed rule.
    Under the Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards for 
small fishing entities ($3.5 million), all permitted and participating 
vessels in the groundfish fishery are considered to be small entities. 
Gross sales by any one entity (vessel) do not exceed this threshold. 
The maximum number of small entities that could be affected by the 
proposed TACs are approximately 1,000 vessels, i.e., those with limited 
access Northeast multispecies days-at-sea permits, that have an 
allocation of Category A or B days-at-sea. Realistically, however, the 
number of vessels that choose to fish in the U.S./Canada Management 
Area, and that therefore would be subject to the associated 
restrictions, including hard TACs, would be substantially less.
    From May 2004, through February 2005, 141 individual vessels fished 
in the U.S./Canada Management Area. Because the regulatory regime in FY 
2005 will be similar to that in place in FY 2004, it is likely that the 
number of vessels that choose to fish in the area during FY 2005 will 
be similar to the number of vessels that fished in the area during FY 
2004 (141 vessels).
    The economic impacts of the proposed TACs are difficult to predict 
due to several factors that affect the amount of catch, as well as the 
price of the fish. Furthermore, the economic impacts are difficult to 
predict due to the newness of these regulations (May 2004; Amendment 13 
to the FMP). Therefore, there is relatively little historic data, and 
little is known about the specific fishing patterns or market impacts 
that may be caused by this hard TAC management system.
    The amount of GB cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder landed and 
sold will not be equal to the sum of the TACs, but will be reduced as a 
result of discards (discards are counted against the hard TAC), and may 
be further reduced by limitations on access to stocks that may result 
from the associated rules. Reductions to the value of the fish may 
result from fishing derby behavior and the potential impact on markets. 
The overall economic impact of the proposed 2005 U.S./Canada TACs will 
likely be similar to the economic impacts of the TACs specified for the 
2004 fishing year.
    Although unlikely, a downward adjustment to the TACs specified for 
FY 2005 fishing year could occur after the start of the fishing year, 
if it is determined that the U.S. catch of one or more of the shared 
stocks during the 2004 fishing year exceeded the relevant TACs 
specified for FY 2004.

[[Page 19726]]

    Three alternatives were considered for FY 2005: the proposed TACs, 
the status quo TACs, and the no action alternative. No additional set 
of TACs are proposed because the process involving the TMGC and NEFMC 
yields only one proposed set of TACs. The proposed TACs would have a 
similar economic impact as the status quo TACs. Adoption of the status 
quo TACs, however, would not be consistent with the FMP because the 
status quo TACs do not represent the best available scientific 
information. Although the no action alternative (no TACs) would not 
constrain catch in the U.S./Canada Area, and therefore would likely 
provide some additional fishing opportunity, the no action alternative 
is not a reasonable alternative because it is inconsistent with the FMP 
in both the short and long term. The FMP requires specification of hard 
TACs in order to limit catch of shared stocks to the appropriate level 
(i.e., consistent with the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding 
and the FMP). As such, the no action alternative would likely provide 
less economic benefits to the industry in the long term than the 
proposed alternative.
    Two of the three proposed TACs would be reduced (cod and yellowtail 
flounder), and could, under certain circumstances, constrain fishing 
opportunity on haddock (for which the TAC is increasing). The proposed 
TACs do not modify any collection of information, reporting, or 
recordkeeping requirements. The proposed TACs do not duplicate, 
overlap, or conflict with any other Federal rules.

    Dated:April 8, 2005.
John Oliver,
Deputy Assisitant Administrator for Operations, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 05-7514 Filed 4-13-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S