Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 13C, 28841-28842 [E6-7586]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 96 / Thursday, May 18, 2006 / Proposed Rules unless authorized by the Captain of the Port, Hampton Roads or his designated representatives. (2) The operator of any vessel in the immediate vicinity of this safety zone shall: (i) Stop the vessel immediately upon being directed to do so by any commissioned, warrant or petty officer on shore or on board a vessel that is displaying a U.S. Coast Guard Ensign. (ii) Proceed as directed by any commissioned, warrant or petty officer on shore or on board a vessel that is displaying a U.S. Coast Guard Ensign. (A) The Captain of the Port, Hampton Roads and the Sector Duty Officer at Sector Hampton Roads in Portsmouth, Virginia can be contacted at telephone Number (757) 668–5555 or (757) 484– 8192. (B) The Coast Guard Representatives enforcing the safety zone can be contacted on VHF–FM 13 and 16. (d) Effective date: This regulation is effective from 8:45 p.m. to 10 p.m. on July 1, 2006. porgy consistent with an updated stock assessment. DATES: Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., eastern time, on July 17, 2006. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods: • E-mail: 0648–AT75.NOA@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line the following document identifier: 0648–AT75. • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Julie Weeder, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. • Fax: 727–824–5308; Attention: Julie Weeder. Copies of Amendment 13C, which includes a Final Environmental Impact Statement, a Regulatory Impact Review, and an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, are available from the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 1 Southpark Circle, Suite 306, Charleston, SC 29407–4699; e-mail: safmc@safmc.net. Dated: May 2, 2006. Patrick B. Trapp, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, Hampton Roads. [FR Doc. E6–7532 Filed 5–17–06; 8:45 am] Julie Weeder, 727–551–5753; fax: 727–824– 5308; e-mail: julie.weeder@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The snapper-grouper fishery off the southern Atlantic states is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and is implemented under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622. The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires a regional fishery management council to submit any amendment to a fishery management plan to NMFS for review, approval, disapproval, or partial approval. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving an amendment, publish a notice in the Federal Register stating that the amendment is available for public review and comment. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: BILLING CODE 4910–15–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [I.D. 051106B] RIN 0648–AT75 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; SnapperGrouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 13C National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Announcement of availability of an amendment to a fishery management plan; request for comments. wwhite on PROD1PC61 with PROPOSALS AGENCY: SUMMARY: The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 13C to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. The amendment would end overfishing of snowy grouper, golden tilefish, vermilion snapper, and black sea bass, and increase the catch of red VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:24 May 17, 2006 Jkt 208001 Background The Council began developing the actions in Amendment 13C in 2003 to eliminate or phase out overfishing of snowy grouper, golden tilefish, vermilion snapper, and black sea bass, as mandated by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The amendment will also allow an increase in the catch of red porgy, consistent with an updated stock assessment. Proposed Actions Amendment 13C, if implemented, would reduce and phase in the snowy grouper quota and trip limit over 3 years and limit possession to one per person PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 28841 per day within the 5–grouper per person per day aggregate recreational bag limit. For golden tilefish, the annual commercial quota and trip limit would be reduced. The golden tilefish commercial trip limit would be further reduced each year if 75 percent of the quota was taken by September 1, in an attempt to achieve a year-round fishery. For the recreational sector, possession would be limited to one per person per day within the 5–grouper per person per day aggregate bag limit. An annual commercial quota would be established for vermilion snapper, and the recreational minimum size limit would increase from 11 inches (27.9 cm) total length (TL) to 12 inches (30.5 cm) TL. For black sea bass, an annual commercial quota would be established and phased in over 3 years; fishermen would be required to use at least 2–inch (5.1–cm) mesh for the entire back panel of black sea bass pots; the commercial and recreational fishing year would change from the calendar year to June 1 through May 31; and black sea bass pots would be required to be removed from the water once the commercial quota is met. A black sea bass recreational allocation would also be established and would be phased in over 3 years; the recreational size limit would increase from 10 inches (25.4 cm) TL to 12 inches (30.5 cm) TL and be phased in over 2 years; and the recreational bag limit would be reduced from 20 to 15 per person per day. For red porgy, a commercial quota would be established, the commercial trip limit would be increased, and the recreational bag limit would increase from 1 to 3 red porgy per person per day. The Council believes these actions provide the most biological, social, and economic benefits while allowing for adaptive management. The MagnusonStevens Act requires the regional fishery management councils and NMFS to implement measures to end overfishing. Recent stock assessments indicated snowy grouper, golden tilefish, vermilion snapper, and black sea bass are undergoing overfishing, and that red porgy is rebuilding from an overfished status and is not undergoing overfishing. This action proposes measures to reduce harvests and end overfishing of these species. Additional background and rationale for the measures discussed above are contained in Amendment 13C. Proposed Rule A proposed rule that would implement the measures in Amendment 13C has been received from the Council. In accordance with the MagnusonStevens Act, NMFS is evaluating the E:\FR\FM\18MYP1.SGM 18MYP1 28842 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 96 / Thursday, May 18, 2006 / Proposed Rules proposed rule to determine whether it is consistent with the FMP, the MagnusonStevens Act, and other applicable law. If that determination is affirmative, NMFS will publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register for public review and comment. Consideration of Public Comments Comments received by the end of the comment period on the notice of availability of the FMP, whether specifically directed to the FMP or the proposed rule, will be considered by NMFS in its decision to approve, disapprove, or partially approve Amendment 13C. Comments received after that date will not be considered by NMFS in this decision. All comments received by NMFS on Amendment 13C or the proposed rule during their respective comment periods will be addressed in the preamble of the final rule. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: May 12, 2006. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E6–7586 Filed 5–17–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 622 and 635 RIN 0648–AN09 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 18A National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. wwhite on PROD1PC61 with PROPOSALS AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS issues this proposed rule to implement Amendment 18A to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Amendment 18A) prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). This proposed rule would prohibit vessels from retaining reef fish caught under the recreational size and bag/possession limits when commercial quantities of Gulf reef fish are on board; adjust the number of persons allowed onboard when a vessel 17:24 May 17, 2006 Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., eastern time, on July 3, 2006. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule by any of the following methods: • E-mail: 0648– AN09.Proposed@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line the following document identifier: 0648–AN09. • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Peter Hood, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. • Fax: 727–824–5308; Attention: Peter Hood. Copies of the Amendment 18A, which includes a Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), and an Environmental Assessment, may be obtained from the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, Tampa, FL 33607; telephone: 813– 348–1630; fax: 813–348–1711; e-mail: gulfcouncil@gulfcouncil.org. Copies of the amendments may also be DATES: [Docket No. 060425111–6111–01; I.D. 041906B] VerDate Aug<31>2005 with both commercial and charter vessel/headboat reef fish permits and a Certificate of Inspection (COI) is fishing commercially; prohibit use of Gulf reef fish, except sand perch or dwarf sand perch, as bait in any commercial or recreational fishery in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Gulf of Mexico, with a limited exception for crustacean trap fisheries; require a NMFS-approved vessel monitoring system (VMS) on board vessels with Federal commercial permits for Gulf reef fish, including charter vessels/ headboats with such commercial permits; and require owners and operators of vessels with Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permits for Gulf reef fish to comply with sea turtle and smalltooth sawfish release protocols, possess on board specific gear to ensure proper release of such species, and comply with guidelines for proper care and release of incidentally caught sawfish and sea turtles. NMFS is also proposing to require annual permit application rather than application every 2 years (biennial). In addition, Amendment 18A would revise the total allowable catch (TAC) framework procedure to reflect current practices and terminology. The intended effects of this proposed rule are to improve enforceability and monitoring in the reef fish fishery in the Gulf of Mexico and to reduce mortality of incidentally caught sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish. Jkt 208001 PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 downloaded from the Council’s Web site at www.gulfcouncil.org. Comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this proposed rule may be submitted in writing to Jason Rueter at the Southeast Regional Office address and to David Rostker, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), by email at DavidlRostker@omb.eop.gov, or by fax to 202–395–7285. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Hood, telephone: 727–824–5305; fax: 727–824–5308; e-mail: Peter.Hood@noaa.gov. The fishery for reef fish is managed under the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP) that was prepared by the Council. The FMP was approved by NMFS and implemented under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background This proposed rule is intended to resolve several issues related to monitoring and enforcement of existing regulations and to reduce bycatch mortality of incidentally caught endangered sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish. In addition, Amendment 18A would update the framework procedure for setting TAC to reflect current terminology and stock assessment procedures. Simultaneous Commercial and Recreational Harvest on a Vessel This proposed rule would improve enforceability of the prohibition on sale of reef fish caught under the recreational bag limit by prohibiting persons aboard a vessel with a commercial reef fish permit from retaining reef fish species caught under recreational size and possession limits when the vessel has commercial quantities, i.e., fish in excess of applicable bag/possession limits, of any Gulf reef fish species aboard. By prohibiting retention of recreational reef fish catches on a commercial fishing trip, this alternative adds an at-sea component to enforcement of the prohibition on sale of recreationally caught reef fish. This measure also makes consistent across all reef fish the rules regarding retention of recreationally harvested fish on a commercial fishing vessel. Regulations for red grouper, gag, and black grouper specifically prohibit commercial reef fish vessels from possessing those species during the February 15 to March E:\FR\FM\18MYP1.SGM 18MYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 96 (Thursday, May 18, 2006)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 28841-28842]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-7586]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[I.D. 051106B]
RIN 0648-AT75


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 13C

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

ACTION: Announcement of availability of an amendment to a fishery 
management plan; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has 
submitted Amendment 13C to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-
Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP) for review, 
approval, and implementation by NMFS. The amendment would end 
overfishing of snowy grouper, golden tilefish, vermilion snapper, and 
black sea bass, and increase the catch of red porgy consistent with an 
updated stock assessment.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., eastern time, on 
July 17, 2006.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: 0648-AT75.NOA@noaa.gov. Include in the subject 
line the following document identifier: 0648-AT75.
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Julie Weeder, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 
13\th\ Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
     Fax: 727-824-5308; Attention: Julie Weeder.
    Copies of Amendment 13C, which includes a Final Environmental 
Impact Statement, a Regulatory Impact Review, and an Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis, are available from the South Atlantic Fishery 
Management Council, 1 Southpark Circle, Suite 306, Charleston, SC 
29407-4699; e-mail: safmc@safmc.net.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Julie Weeder, 727-551-5753; fax: 727-
824-5308; e-mail: julie.weeder@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The snapper-grouper fishery off the southern 
Atlantic states is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the 
Council and is implemented under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by 
regulations at 50 CFR part 622.
    The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires a regional fishery management 
council to submit any amendment to a fishery management plan to NMFS 
for review, approval, disapproval, or partial approval. The Magnuson-
Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving an amendment, 
publish a notice in the Federal Register stating that the amendment is 
available for public review and comment.

Background

    The Council began developing the actions in Amendment 13C in 2003 
to eliminate or phase out overfishing of snowy grouper, golden 
tilefish, vermilion snapper, and black sea bass, as mandated by the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act. The amendment will also allow an increase in the 
catch of red porgy, consistent with an updated stock assessment.

Proposed Actions

    Amendment 13C, if implemented, would reduce and phase in the snowy 
grouper quota and trip limit over 3 years and limit possession to one 
per person per day within the 5-grouper per person per day aggregate 
recreational bag limit. For golden tilefish, the annual commercial 
quota and trip limit would be reduced. The golden tilefish commercial 
trip limit would be further reduced each year if 75 percent of the 
quota was taken by September 1, in an attempt to achieve a year-round 
fishery. For the recreational sector, possession would be limited to 
one per person per day within the 5-grouper per person per day 
aggregate bag limit. An annual commercial quota would be established 
for vermilion snapper, and the recreational minimum size limit would 
increase from 11 inches (27.9 cm) total length (TL) to 12 inches (30.5 
cm) TL. For black sea bass, an annual commercial quota would be 
established and phased in over 3 years; fishermen would be required to 
use at least 2-inch (5.1-cm) mesh for the entire back panel of black 
sea bass pots; the commercial and recreational fishing year would 
change from the calendar year to June 1 through May 31; and black sea 
bass pots would be required to be removed from the water once the 
commercial quota is met. A black sea bass recreational allocation would 
also be established and would be phased in over 3 years; the 
recreational size limit would increase from 10 inches (25.4 cm) TL to 
12 inches (30.5 cm) TL and be phased in over 2 years; and the 
recreational bag limit would be reduced from 20 to 15 per person per 
day. For red porgy, a commercial quota would be established, the 
commercial trip limit would be increased, and the recreational bag 
limit would increase from 1 to 3 red porgy per person per day.
    The Council believes these actions provide the most biological, 
social, and economic benefits while allowing for adaptive management. 
The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires the regional fishery management 
councils and NMFS to implement measures to end overfishing. Recent 
stock assessments indicated snowy grouper, golden tilefish, vermilion 
snapper, and black sea bass are undergoing overfishing, and that red 
porgy is rebuilding from an overfished status and is not undergoing 
overfishing. This action proposes measures to reduce harvests and end 
overfishing of these species. Additional background and rationale for 
the measures discussed above are contained in Amendment 13C.

Proposed Rule

    A proposed rule that would implement the measures in Amendment 13C 
has been received from the Council. In accordance with the Magnuson-
Stevens Act, NMFS is evaluating the

[[Page 28842]]

proposed rule to determine whether it is consistent with the FMP, the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. If that determination 
is affirmative, NMFS will publish the proposed rule in the Federal 
Register for public review and comment.

Consideration of Public Comments

    Comments received by the end of the comment period on the notice of 
availability of the FMP, whether specifically directed to the FMP or 
the proposed rule, will be considered by NMFS in its decision to 
approve, disapprove, or partially approve Amendment 13C. Comments 
received after that date will not be considered by NMFS in this 
decision. All comments received by NMFS on Amendment 13C or the 
proposed rule during their respective comment periods will be addressed 
in the preamble of the final rule.

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

    Dated: May 12, 2006.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E6-7586 Filed 5-17-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S