Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; 2006 Specifications, 10611-10614 [06-1963]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 41 / Thursday, March 2, 2006 / Rules and Regulations RMAJETTE on PROD1PC67 with RULES1 excess of the maximum allowable living allowance may apply for State competitive funds through a State commission, or directly to the Corporation as part of a National Direct or National Professional Corps program, or any other National program, including Direct programs for States or Territories without a State commission. Such a professional corps may not apply for funds through a State commission’s formula application process. When the Corporation published regulations implementing the AmeriCorps program in 1994, the regulatory provision implementing this statutory exception went further than the statute requires by requiring professional corps programs seeking an exemption from the maximum living allowance to apply only directly to the Corporation. This excluded those professional corps programs wishing to provide a living allowance in excess of the maximum from applying for State competitive funding. In July 2005, the Corporation published a final AmeriCorps rule which, among other things, reinforced the Corporation’s commitment to professional corps and low-cost AmeriCorps programs, and encouraged States to include them in their portfolios as a way to reduce costs. At the time we issued that rule, we did not include an amendment to this pre-existing regulatory provision. This amendment brings the Corporation’s regulations into alignment with the authorizing statute and the Corporation’s support for professional corps programs. II. Final Action and Comments The Corporation is issuing the amendment as a direct final rule, without prior proposal, under the good cause exception for notice and public procedure under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B)), because we view the revision as noncontroversial and anticipate no adverse comments. However, in the Proposed Rules section of this Federal Register, we are publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposal to amend 45 CFR 2522.240(b)(2) if adverse comments are filed. This direct final rule will be effective May 1, 2006, without further notice, unless the Corporation receives adverse comments by April 3, 2006. If the Corporation receives adverse comments, the Corporation will publish a document withdrawing the final rule and informing the public that the rule will not take effect. The Corporation will then address public comments received in a subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule. The VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:10 Mar 01, 2006 Jkt 208001 Corporation will not institute a second comment period. Any one interested in commenting should do so at this time. If the Corporation receives no adverse comments, this rule will be effective on May 1, 2006, and no further action will be taken on the proposed rule. III. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews Executive Order 12866 The Corporation has determined that this direct final rule, while a significant regulatory action, is not an ‘‘economically significant’’ rule within the meaning of E.O. 12866 because it is not likely to result in: (1) An annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, or an adverse and material effect on a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal government or communities; (2) the creation of a serious inconsistency or interference with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) a material alteration in the budgetary impacts of entitlement, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) the raising of novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President’s priorities, or the principles set forth in E.O. 12866. As a ‘‘significant’’ regulatory action, this rule was reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 10611 not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in Executive 13132. The direct final rule does not have tribal implications as specified in Executive Order 13175. The rule will not have a substantial direct effect on tribal governments, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. List of Subjects in 45 CFR Part 2522 Grant programs-social programs, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Volunteers. For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Corporation for National and Community Service amends chapter XXV, title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows: I PART 2522—AMERICORPS PARTICIPANTS, PROGRAMS, AND APPLICANTS 1. The authority citation for part 2522 continues to read as follows: I Authority: 42 U.S.C. 12571–12595. 2. Amend § 2522.240 by revising paragraph (b)(2)(ii) to read as follows: I Regulatory Flexibility Act The Corporation has determined that this regulatory action, if promulgated, will not result in a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. Therefore, the Corporation has not performed the initial regulatory flexibility analysis that is required under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) for major rules that are expected to have such results. § 2522.240 What financial benefits do AmeriCorps participants serving in approved AmeriCorps positions receive? Other Impact Analyses This action does not impose any new information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. For purposes of Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1531–1538, as well as Executive Order 12875, this regulatory action does not contain any Federal mandate that may result in increased expenditures in either Federal, State, local, or tribal governments in the aggregate, or impose an annual burden exceeding $100 million on the private sector. The direct final rule amendment does not have federalism implications. It will * * * * (b) * * * (2) * * * (ii) The program must be operated directly by the applicant, selected on a competitive basis by submitting an application to the Corporation, and may not be included in a State’s application for AmeriCorps program funds distributed by formula under § 2521.30(a)(2) of this chapter. * * * * * Dated: February 24, 2006. Frank R. Trinity, General Counsel. [FR Doc. 06–1934 Filed 3–1–06; 8:45 am] PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 * BILLING CODE 6050–$$–P E:\FR\FM\02MRR1.SGM 02MRR1 10612 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 41 / Thursday, March 2, 2006 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 600 and 648 [Docket No. 051209329–6046–02; I.D. 120205A] RIN 0648–AT19 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; 2006 Specifications National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; 2006 Atlantic mackerel, squid and butterfish specifications. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS announces final specifications for the 2006 Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish (MSB) fisheries. The intent of this final rule is to promote the development and conservation of the MSB resources. DATES: Effective April 3, 2006, through December 31, 2006. ADDRESSES: Copies of supporting documents used by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council), including the Environmental Assessment (EA) and Regulatory Impact Review (RIR)/Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA), are available from: Daniel Furlong, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Room 2115, Federal Building, 300 South New Street, Dover, DE 19904–6790. The specifications document is also accessible via the Internet at http:// www.nero.noaa.gov. The FRFA consists of the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA)and the summary of impacts and alternatives contained in this final rule. No comments were received on the IRFA or the economic impacts of the rule. Copies of the small entity compliance guide are available from Patricia A. Kurkul, Regional Administrator, Northeast Region, National Marine Fisheries Service, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930 2298. Eric Jay Dolin, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9259, fax (978) 281–9135. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Proposed 2006 specifications for the MSB fisheries were published on December 27, 2005 (70 FR 76436), with public comment accepted through January 11, 2006. These final specifications are unchanged from those that were proposed (see Table 1). A complete discussion of the development of the specifications appears in the preamble to the proposed rule and is not repeated here. Regulations implementing the Fishery Management Plan for the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries (FMP) appear at 50 CFR part 648, subpart B. Regulations governing foreign fishing appear at 50 CFR part 600, subpart F. These regulations, at § 648.21 and § 600.516(c), require that NMFS, based on the maximum optimum yield (Max OY) of each fishery as established by the regulations, annually publish a proposed rule specifying the amounts of the initial optimum yield (IOY), allowable biological catch (ABC), domestic annual harvest (DAH), and domestic annual processing (DAP), as well as, where applicable, the amounts for total allowable level of foreign fishing (TALFF) and joint venture processing (JVP) for the affected species managed under the FMP. In addition, these regulations allow Loligo squid specifications to be specified for up to 3 years, subject to annual review. The regulations found in § 648.21 also specify that IOY for squid is equal to the combination of research quota and DAH, with no TALFF specified for squid. For butterfish, the regulations specify that a butterfish bycatch TALFF will be specified only if TALFF is specified for Atlantic mackerel. In addition, the regulations at § 648.21(g) allow the specification of research quotas (RQ) to be used for research purposes. TABLE 1. FINAL INITIAL ANNUAL SPECIFICATIONS, IN METRIC TONS (MT), FOR ATLANTIC MACKEREL, SQUID, AND BUTTERFISH FOR THE FISHING YEAR JANUARY 1 THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2006. Specifications Loligo Max OY ABC IOY DAH DAP JVP TALFF 1 2 3 26,000 17,000 1 16,872.5 16,872.5 16,872.5 0 0 24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000 0 0 Mackerel N/A 335,000 2 115,000 3 115,000 100,000 0 0 Butterfish 12,175 4,545 1,681 1,681 1,681 0 0 Excludes 127.5 mt for RQ. IOY may be increased during the year, but the total ABC will not exceed 335,000 mt Includes 15,000 mt of Atlantic mackerel recreational allocation. Loligo squid The Loligo squid quota is divided into quarterly allocations (See Table 2). RMAJETTE on PROD1PC67 with RULES1 Illex Quarter I (Jan-Mar) II (Apr-Jun) III (Jul-Sep) IV (Oct-Dec) Total Percent 33.23 17.61 17.30 31.86 100 1 Quarterly allocations deduction. VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:10 Mar 01, 2006 Jkt 208001 The 2006 directed fishery for Loligo will be closed in Quarters I-III when 80 percent of the period allocation is harvested, with vessels thereafter Metric RQ Tons 1 restricted to a 2,500–lb (1,134–kg) Loligo squid trip limit per single 5,606.70 N/A calender day until the end of the 2,971.30 N/A respective quarter. The directed fishery 2,918.90 N/A 5,375.60 N/A will close when 95 percent of the total 16,872.50 127.5 annual DAH has been harvested, with vessels thereafter restricted to a 2,500– after 127.5 mt RQ lb (1,134–kg) Loligo squid trip limit per single calender day for the remainder of TABLE 2. PERCENT ALLOCATIONS OF Loligo QUOTA PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\02MRR1.SGM 02MRR1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 41 / Thursday, March 2, 2006 / Rules and Regulations RMAJETTE on PROD1PC67 with RULES1 the year. Quota overages from Quarter I will be deducted from the allocation in Quarter III, and any overage from Quarter II will be deducted from Quarter IV. By default, quarterly underages from Quarters II and III carry over into Quarter IV, because Quarter IV does not close until 95 percent of the total annual quota has been harvested. Additionally, if the Quarter I landings for Loligo squid are less than 80 percent of the Quarter I allocation, the underage below 80 percent will be applied to Quarter III. Comments and Responses There were five sets of comments received. Four were from industry members and associations: Garden State Seafood Association; the American Pelagic Association; the East Coast Pelagic Association, and Atlantic Pelagic Seafood. The fifth was from a private citizen. Comment 1: Four commenters supported setting JVP and TALFF at zero. Response: This action sets JVP and TALFF for mackerel at zero. Comment 2: Four commenters were concerned about NMFS’s ability to use the FMP’s in-season adjustment mechanism, should it become necessary to raise mackerel OY, DAH, and DAP based on industry performance, and two of them requested that the final 2006 specifications include a provision that would enable NMFS to implement a speedier in-season adjustment. Response: NMFS will keep close watch on mackerel catch throughout 2006 so that, should an in-season adjustment become necessary, NMFS can get one in place as quickly as possible. The in-season adjustment procedure is the only regulatory mechanism available for making such a modification to the specifications outside of the annual specifications process. This procedure is specified in the FMP, and Council action would be required to enact a modification. NMFS will use all available data sources and projection techniques to identify the need for such an adjustment as early as possible. Comment 3: One commenter stated that the proposed Atlantic mackerel DAH was too low, and should be set at 165,000 mt. Response: The Atlantic mackerel DAH is set at 100,000 mt to take into account the actual performance of the fishery in recent years, which has never exceeded 60,000 mt, and often has fallen well below 50,000 mt; and the industry’s expectation of increased harvests in 2006 as a result of recent investments in vessels and shoreside processing facilities. This figure represents a VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:10 Mar 01, 2006 Jkt 208001 balance between actual past harvest and reasonably expected increases in harvests for 2006. Classification This action is authorized by 50 CFR part 648 and has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. This final rule contains the FRFA prepared pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 604(a). The FRFA consists of the IRFA and the summary of impacts and alternatives contained in this final rule. No comments were received on the IRFA or the economic impacts of the rule. A copy of the IRFA is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the analysis follows: Statement of Objective and Need A statement of the need for and objectives of the rule is contained in the preamble to the proposed rule and is not repeated here. Description and Estimate of Number of Small Entities to Which the Rule Will Apply The number of potential fishing vessels in the 2006 fisheries are 406 for Loligo squid/butterfish, 80 for Illex squid, 2,414 for Atlantic mackerel, and 2,016 vessels with incidental catch permits for squid/butterfish, based on vessel permit issuance. Because all entities participating in this fishery are small entities, as defined in Section 601 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, there are no disproportionate economic impacts on small entities. Many vessels participate in more than one of these fisheries; therefore, the numbers are not additive. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements This action does not contain any new collection-of-information, reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements. It does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any other Federal rules. Minimizing Significant Economic Impacts on Small Entities The IOY specification under the action for Atlantic mackerel (115,000 mt, with 15,000 mt allocated to recreational catch) represents no constraint on vessels in this fishery. This level of landings has not been achieved by vessels in this fishery in recent years. Mackerel landings for 2001–2003 averaged 24,294 mt; in 2003 they were 30,738 mt; and for 2004 they were 53,781 mt. Therefore, no reductions in revenues for the mackerel PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 10613 fishery are expected as a result of this action. However, there is the potential for an increase in revenues as a result of this action. Based on 2004 data, the mackerel fishery could increase its landings by 46,219 mt in 2006, if it takes the entire IOY. In 2003, the last year for which there are complete financial data, the average value for mackerel was $234 per mt. Using this value, the mackerel fishery could see an increase in revenues of $10,815,246 as a result of this action. The IOY specification for Illex (24,000 mt) represents a slight constraint on revenues in this fishery, as compared to the landings in 2004. Illex landings for 2001–2003 averaged 4,350 mt; in 2003 they were 6,389 mt; and in 2004 they were 25,059 mt. Therefore, the proposed action represents a reduction in landings, from 2004, of 1,059 mt. In 2003, the last year for which there are complete financial data, the average value for Illex was $626 per mt. Using this value, the Illex fishery could see a decrease in revenues of $662,934 as a result of the proposed action. But, the Illex landings for 2004 were 4.4 percent higher than the approved quota for that year. Thus, the better comparison to use in evaluating the impact of the action is how that action compares to what would have happened had the 2004 landings reached, but not exceeded the quota. If the quota had not been exceeded in 2004, then this action would not represent a potential reduction in Illex landings. This action thus represents no constraint on the fishery in 2006. Under the final specifications for butterfish (IOY = 1,681 mt), landings will not be constrained relative to the 2001–2004 fisheries. During the period 2001–2004, annual butterfish landings averaged 1,535 mt. Compared to the most recent 2 years for which complete information is available, 2003 and 2004, when landings were 473 mt and 422 mt, respectively, the action is not expected to reduce revenues in this fishery, but could increase those revenues. Based on 2003 data, the value of butterfish was $1,269 per mt. The Council analysis evaluated two additional alternatives for mackerel. One of these alternatives would have set the ABC at 347,000 mt. This was rejected on biological grounds because that level of ABC is not consistent with preventing overfishing, as defined in the FMP (the overfishing threshold, F=0.25, results in a yield estimate of 369,000 mt, minus the estimated Canadian catch of 34,000 mt, that is less than 347,000 mt). Both of the alternatives would have set IOY at 165,000 mt. This IOY would not represent a constraint on vessels in this E:\FR\FM\02MRR1.SGM 02MRR1 10614 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 41 / Thursday, March 2, 2006 / Rules and Regulations fishery, so no impacts on revenues in this fishery would be expected as a result of either of these alternatives. However, an IOY of 165,000 mt was rejected by the Council because it was too high in light of social and economic concerns relating to TALFF. The specification of TALFF would have limited the opportunities for the domestic fishery to expand, and therefore would have resulted in negative social and economic impacts to both U.S. harvesters and processors. For Illex, one alternative considered would have set Max OY, ABC, IOY, DAH, and DAP at 30,000 mt. This alternative would allow harvest far in excess of recent landings in this fishery. Therefore, there would be no constraints and, thus, no revenue reductions, associated with that alternative. However, the Council considered this alternative unacceptable because an ABC specification of 30,000 mt may not prevent overfishing in years of moderate to low abundance of Illex squid. For butterfish, one alternative considered would have set IOY at 5,900 mt, while another would have set it at 9,131 mt. Both of these amounts exceed the landings of this species in recent years. Therefore, neither alternative would represent a constraint on vessels in this fishery or would reduce revenues in the fishery. However, both of these alternatives were rejected by the Council because they would likely result in overfishing and the additional depletion of the spawning stock biomass of butterfish. RMAJETTE on PROD1PC67 with RULES1 Small Entity Compliance Guide Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 states that, for each rule, or group of related rules for which an agency is required to prepare a FRFA, the agency shall publish one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule and shall designate such publications as ‘‘small entity compliance guides.’’ The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. As part of this rulemaking process, a small entity compliance guide will be sent to all holders of permits issued for the Atlantic mackerel, squid and butterfish fisheries. In addition, copies of this final rule and guide (i.e., permit holder letter) are available from the Regional Administrator (see ADDRESSES) and may be found at the following Web site: http://www.nero.noaa.gov. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:10 Mar 01, 2006 Jkt 208001 Dated: February 24, 2006. John Oliver, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 06–1963 Filed 3–1–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [Docket No. 050921244–6049–02; I.D. 091305A] RIN 0648–AP38 Fisheries Off West Coast States and in the Western Pacific; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Limited Entry Fixed Gear Sablefish Fishery Permit Stacking Program National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS is implementing portions of Amendment 14 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for 2007 and beyond. Amendment 14, approved by NOAA in August 2001, created a permit stacking program for limited entry permits with sablefish endorsements. Amendment 14 was intended to provide greater season flexibility for sablefish fishery participants and to improve safety in the primary sablefish fishery. DATES: Effective April 3, 2006. ADDRESSES: Copies of Amendment 14 and its Environmental Assessment/ Regulatory Impact Review (EA/RIR) are available from Donald McIsaac, Executive Director, Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Portland, OR 97220, phone: 866–806–7204. Copies of the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), Supplemental Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), Supplemental Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA), and the Small Entity Compliance Guide (SECG) are available from D. Robert Lohn, Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115–0070, phone: 206– 526–6150. Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule may be submitted to D. Robert Lohn, Frm 00010 Fmt 4700 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Electronic Access 50 CFR Part 660 PO 00000 Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115–0070, and by e-mail to DavidRostker@omb.eop.gov, or by fax to (202) 395–7285. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jamie Goen or Kevin Ford (Northwest Region, NMFS), phone: 206–526–4646 or 206–526–6115; fax: 206–526–6736 and; e-mail: jamie.goen@noaa.gov or kevin.ford@noaa.gov. Sfmt 4700 This Federal Register document is also accessible via the internet at the website of the Office of the Federal Register: www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/ index.html. Background Amendment 14 introduced a permit stacking program to the limited entry, fixed gear primary sablefish fishery. Under this permit stacking program, a vessel owner may register up to three sablefish-endorsed permits for use with their vessel to harvest each of the primary season sablefish cumulative limits associated with the stacked permits. Amendment 14 also allows a season up to 7 months long, from April 1 through October 31, which allows an ample period for vessels to pursue their primary season sablefish cumulative limits. This final rule is based on recommendations of the Council, under the authority of the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP and the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). The portions of Amendment 14 that were implemented for the 2001 primary sablefish season allowed individual fishery participants to more fully use their existing vessel capacity, reduced overall capacity in the primary fixed gear sablefish fishery, and significantly increased safety in the fishery. This rule does not change any of those benefits, but further completes the implementation of Amendment 14 by preventing excessive fleet consolidation, ensuring processor access to sablefish landings from the primary season, and maintaining the character of the fleet through owner-on-board requirements. The background and rationale for the Council’s recommendations, as well as an explanation of why NMFS will not be implementing the Council’s recommendation for a hail-in requirement and some modifications to the permit stacking program that the Council is considering for future implementation are summarized in the E:\FR\FM\02MRR1.SGM 02MRR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 41 (Thursday, March 2, 2006)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 10611-10614]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-1963]



[[Page 10612]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 600 and 648

[Docket No. 051209329-6046-02; I.D. 120205A]
RIN 0648-AT19


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, 
Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; 2006 Specifications

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

ACTION: Final rule; 2006 Atlantic mackerel, squid and butterfish 
specifications.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS announces final specifications for the 2006 Atlantic 
mackerel, squid, and butterfish (MSB) fisheries. The intent of this 
final rule is to promote the development and conservation of the MSB 
resources.

DATES: Effective April 3, 2006, through December 31, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Copies of supporting documents used by the Mid-Atlantic 
Fishery Management Council (Council), including the Environmental 
Assessment (EA) and Regulatory Impact Review (RIR)/Final Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (FRFA), are available from: Daniel Furlong, 
Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Room 2115, 
Federal Building, 300 South New Street, Dover, DE 19904-6790. The 
specifications document is also accessible via the Internet at http://
www.nero.noaa.gov. The FRFA consists of the Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (IRFA)and the summary of impacts and alternatives 
contained in this final rule. No comments were received on the IRFA or 
the economic impacts of the rule. Copies of the small entity compliance 
guide are available from Patricia A. Kurkul, Regional Administrator, 
Northeast Region, National Marine Fisheries Service, One Blackburn 
Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930 2298.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Eric Jay Dolin, Fishery Policy 
Analyst, (978) 281-9259, fax (978) 281-9135.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Proposed 2006 specifications for the MSB fisheries were published 
on December 27, 2005 (70 FR 76436), with public comment accepted 
through January 11, 2006. These final specifications are unchanged from 
those that were proposed (see Table 1). A complete discussion of the 
development of the specifications appears in the preamble to the 
proposed rule and is not repeated here.
    Regulations implementing the Fishery Management Plan for the 
Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries (FMP) appear at 50 
CFR part 648, subpart B. Regulations governing foreign fishing appear 
at 50 CFR part 600, subpart F. These regulations, at Sec.  648.21 and 
Sec.  600.516(c), require that NMFS, based on the maximum optimum yield 
(Max OY) of each fishery as established by the regulations, annually 
publish a proposed rule specifying the amounts of the initial optimum 
yield (IOY), allowable biological catch (ABC), domestic annual harvest 
(DAH), and domestic annual processing (DAP), as well as, where 
applicable, the amounts for total allowable level of foreign fishing 
(TALFF) and joint venture processing (JVP) for the affected species 
managed under the FMP. In addition, these regulations allow Loligo 
squid specifications to be specified for up to 3 years, subject to 
annual review. The regulations found in Sec.  648.21 also specify that 
IOY for squid is equal to the combination of research quota and DAH, 
with no TALFF specified for squid. For butterfish, the regulations 
specify that a butterfish bycatch TALFF will be specified only if TALFF 
is specified for Atlantic mackerel. In addition, the regulations at 
Sec.  648.21(g) allow the specification of research quotas (RQ) to be 
used for research purposes.

 Table 1. Final Initial Annual Specifications, in Metric Tons (mt), for Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish
                            for the Fishing Year January 1 through December 31, 2006.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Specifications                            Loligo       Illex       Mackerel    Butterfish
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Max OY                                           26,000       24,000          N/A       12,175
                  ABC                                              17,000       24,000      335,000        4,545
                  IOY                                                 \1\       24,000  \2\ 115,000        1,681
                                                                 16,872.5
                  DAH                                            16,872.5       24,000  \3\ 115,000        1,681
                  DAP                                            16,872.5       24,000      100,000        1,681
                  JVP                                                   0            0            0            0
                  TALFF                                                 0            0            0            0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Excludes 127.5 mt for RQ.
\2\ IOY may be increased during the year, but the total ABC will not exceed 335,000 mt
\3\ Includes 15,000 mt of Atlantic mackerel recreational allocation.

Loligo squid

    The Loligo squid quota is divided into quarterly allocations (See 
Table 2).

              Table 2. Percent Allocations of Loligo Quota
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Metric
                  Quarter                    Percent   Tons \1\     RQ
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  I (Jan-Mar)                  33.23   5,606.70      N/A
                  II (Apr-Jun)                 17.61   2,971.30      N/A
                  III (Jul-Sep)                17.30   2,918.90      N/A
                  IV (Oct-Dec)                 31.86   5,375.60      N/A
                  Total                          100  16,872.50    127.5
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Quarterly allocations after 127.5 mt RQ deduction.

    The 2006 directed fishery for Loligo will be closed in Quarters I-
III when 80 percent of the period allocation is harvested, with vessels 
thereafter restricted to a 2,500-lb (1,134-kg) Loligo squid trip limit 
per single calender day until the end of the respective quarter. The 
directed fishery will close when 95 percent of the total annual DAH has 
been harvested, with vessels thereafter restricted to a 2,500-lb 
(1,134-kg) Loligo squid trip limit per single calender day for the 
remainder of

[[Page 10613]]

the year. Quota overages from Quarter I will be deducted from the 
allocation in Quarter III, and any overage from Quarter II will be 
deducted from Quarter IV. By default, quarterly underages from Quarters 
II and III carry over into Quarter IV, because Quarter IV does not 
close until 95 percent of the total annual quota has been harvested. 
Additionally, if the Quarter I landings for Loligo squid are less than 
80 percent of the Quarter I allocation, the underage below 80 percent 
will be applied to Quarter III.

Comments and Responses

    There were five sets of comments received. Four were from industry 
members and associations: Garden State Seafood Association; the 
American Pelagic Association; the East Coast Pelagic Association, and 
Atlantic Pelagic Seafood. The fifth was from a private citizen.
    Comment 1: Four commenters supported setting JVP and TALFF at zero.
    Response: This action sets JVP and TALFF for mackerel at zero.
    Comment 2: Four commenters were concerned about NMFS's ability to 
use the FMP's in-season adjustment mechanism, should it become 
necessary to raise mackerel OY, DAH, and DAP based on industry 
performance, and two of them requested that the final 2006 
specifications include a provision that would enable NMFS to implement 
a speedier in-season adjustment.
    Response: NMFS will keep close watch on mackerel catch throughout 
2006 so that, should an in-season adjustment become necessary, NMFS can 
get one in place as quickly as possible. The in-season adjustment 
procedure is the only regulatory mechanism available for making such a 
modification to the specifications outside of the annual specifications 
process. This procedure is specified in the FMP, and Council action 
would be required to enact a modification. NMFS will use all available 
data sources and projection techniques to identify the need for such an 
adjustment as early as possible.
    Comment 3: One commenter stated that the proposed Atlantic mackerel 
DAH was too low, and should be set at 165,000 mt.
    Response: The Atlantic mackerel DAH is set at 100,000 mt to take 
into account the actual performance of the fishery in recent years, 
which has never exceeded 60,000 mt, and often has fallen well below 
50,000 mt; and the industry's expectation of increased harvests in 2006 
as a result of recent investments in vessels and shoreside processing 
facilities. This figure represents a balance between actual past 
harvest and reasonably expected increases in harvests for 2006.

Classification

    This action is authorized by 50 CFR part 648 and has been 
determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    This final rule contains the FRFA prepared pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 
604(a). The FRFA consists of the IRFA and the summary of impacts and 
alternatives contained in this final rule. No comments were received on 
the IRFA or the economic impacts of the rule. A copy of the IRFA is 
available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the analysis 
follows:

Statement of Objective and Need

    A statement of the need for and objectives of the rule is contained 
in the preamble to the proposed rule and is not repeated here.

Description and Estimate of Number of Small Entities to Which the Rule 
Will Apply

    The number of potential fishing vessels in the 2006 fisheries are 
406 for Loligo squid/butterfish, 80 for Illex squid, 2,414 for Atlantic 
mackerel, and 2,016 vessels with incidental catch permits for squid/
butterfish, based on vessel permit issuance. Because all entities 
participating in this fishery are small entities, as defined in Section 
601 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, there are no disproportionate 
economic impacts on small entities. Many vessels participate in more 
than one of these fisheries; therefore, the numbers are not additive.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance 
Requirements

    This action does not contain any new collection-of-information, 
reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements. It does not 
duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any other Federal rules.

Minimizing Significant Economic Impacts on Small Entities

    The IOY specification under the action for Atlantic mackerel 
(115,000 mt, with 15,000 mt allocated to recreational catch) represents 
no constraint on vessels in this fishery. This level of landings has 
not been achieved by vessels in this fishery in recent years. Mackerel 
landings for 2001-2003 averaged 24,294 mt; in 2003 they were 30,738 mt; 
and for 2004 they were 53,781 mt. Therefore, no reductions in revenues 
for the mackerel fishery are expected as a result of this action. 
However, there is the potential for an increase in revenues as a result 
of this action. Based on 2004 data, the mackerel fishery could increase 
its landings by 46,219 mt in 2006, if it takes the entire IOY. In 2003, 
the last year for which there are complete financial data, the average 
value for mackerel was $234 per mt. Using this value, the mackerel 
fishery could see an increase in revenues of $10,815,246 as a result of 
this action.
    The IOY specification for Illex (24,000 mt) represents a slight 
constraint on revenues in this fishery, as compared to the landings in 
2004. Illex landings for 2001-2003 averaged 4,350 mt; in 2003 they were 
6,389 mt; and in 2004 they were 25,059 mt. Therefore, the proposed 
action represents a reduction in landings, from 2004, of 1,059 mt. In 
2003, the last year for which there are complete financial data, the 
average value for Illex was $626 per mt. Using this value, the Illex 
fishery could see a decrease in revenues of $662,934 as a result of the 
proposed action. But, the Illex landings for 2004 were 4.4 percent 
higher than the approved quota for that year. Thus, the better 
comparison to use in evaluating the impact of the action is how that 
action compares to what would have happened had the 2004 landings 
reached, but not exceeded the quota. If the quota had not been exceeded 
in 2004, then this action would not represent a potential reduction in 
Illex landings. This action thus represents no constraint on the 
fishery in 2006.
    Under the final specifications for butterfish (IOY = 1,681 mt), 
landings will not be constrained relative to the 2001-2004 fisheries. 
During the period 2001-2004, annual butterfish landings averaged 1,535 
mt. Compared to the most recent 2 years for which complete information 
is available, 2003 and 2004, when landings were 473 mt and 422 mt, 
respectively, the action is not expected to reduce revenues in this 
fishery, but could increase those revenues. Based on 2003 data, the 
value of butterfish was $1,269 per mt.
    The Council analysis evaluated two additional alternatives for 
mackerel. One of these alternatives would have set the ABC at 347,000 
mt. This was rejected on biological grounds because that level of ABC 
is not consistent with preventing overfishing, as defined in the FMP 
(the overfishing threshold, F=0.25, results in a yield estimate of 
369,000 mt, minus the estimated Canadian catch of 34,000 mt, that is 
less than 347,000 mt). Both of the alternatives would have set IOY at 
165,000 mt. This IOY would not represent a constraint on vessels in 
this

[[Page 10614]]

fishery, so no impacts on revenues in this fishery would be expected as 
a result of either of these alternatives. However, an IOY of 165,000 mt 
was rejected by the Council because it was too high in light of social 
and economic concerns relating to TALFF. The specification of TALFF 
would have limited the opportunities for the domestic fishery to 
expand, and therefore would have resulted in negative social and 
economic impacts to both U.S. harvesters and processors.
    For Illex, one alternative considered would have set Max OY, ABC, 
IOY, DAH, and DAP at 30,000 mt. This alternative would allow harvest 
far in excess of recent landings in this fishery. Therefore, there 
would be no constraints and, thus, no revenue reductions, associated 
with that alternative. However, the Council considered this alternative 
unacceptable because an ABC specification of 30,000 mt may not prevent 
overfishing in years of moderate to low abundance of Illex squid.
    For butterfish, one alternative considered would have set IOY at 
5,900 mt, while another would have set it at 9,131 mt. Both of these 
amounts exceed the landings of this species in recent years. Therefore, 
neither alternative would represent a constraint on vessels in this 
fishery or would reduce revenues in the fishery. However, both of these 
alternatives were rejected by the Council because they would likely 
result in overfishing and the additional depletion of the spawning 
stock biomass of butterfish.

Small Entity Compliance Guide

    Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness 
Act of 1996 states that, for each rule, or group of related rules for 
which an agency is required to prepare a FRFA, the agency shall publish 
one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule 
and shall designate such publications as ``small entity compliance 
guides.'' The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is 
required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. As part of 
this rulemaking process, a small entity compliance guide will be sent 
to all holders of permits issued for the Atlantic mackerel, squid and 
butterfish fisheries. In addition, copies of this final rule and guide 
(i.e., permit holder letter) are available from the Regional 
Administrator (see ADDRESSES) and may be found at the following Web 
site: http://www.nero.noaa.gov.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: February 24, 2006.
John Oliver,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 06-1963 Filed 3-1-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S