International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Restrictions for 2006 Longline Fisheries in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean; Fishery Closure, 38297 [06-6015]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 129 / Thursday, July 6, 2006 / Rules and Regulations [FR Doc. 06–6014 Filed 6–30–06; 1:05 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 300 [Docket No. 050719189–5286–03; I.D. 062706A] RIN 0648–AT33 International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Restrictions for 2006 Longline Fisheries in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean; Fishery Closure National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. wwhite on PROD1PC61 with RULES AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS is closing the U.S. longline fishery for bigeye tuna in the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) Convention Area for the remainder of 2006, because the bigeye tuna catch in the Convention Area has reached the 150–metric ton (mt) limit for 2006. This action, implemented under the regulations for the Pacific Tuna Fisheries will contribute to efforts to end overfishing of bigeye tuna in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP), consistent with recommendations by the IATTC that have been approved by the Department of State (DOS) under the Tuna Conventions Act. This action is intended to limit fishing mortality on the bigeye tuna stock caused by longline fishing in the Convention Area and contribute to the long-term conservation of the bigeye tuna stock at levels that support healthy fisheries. DATES: Effective 12:01 a.m. (0001 hrs) Hawaii Standard Time (HST) on July 6, 2006, through 12:01 a.m. (0001 hrs) HST on January 1, 2007. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: J. Allison Routt, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Southwest Region, NMFS, (562) 980–4030. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The United States is a member of the IATTC, which was established under the Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission signed in 1949 (Convention). The IATTC was established to provide an international arrangement to ensure the effective international conservation and management of highly migratory species VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:25 Jul 05, 2006 Jkt 208001 of fish in the Convention Area. The Convention Area for this purpose is defined to include the waters of the ETP bounded by the coast of the Americas, the 40° N. and 40° S. parallels, and the 150° W. meridian. The IATTC has maintained a scientific research and fishery monitoring program for many years and annually assesses the status of stocks of tuna and the fisheries to determine appropriate harvest limits or other measures to prevent overexploitation of tuna stocks and promote viable fisheries. Under the Tuna Conventions Act, 16 U.S.C. 951– 962, NMFS must publish regulations to carry out IATTC recommendations and resolutions that have been approved by DOS. The Southwest Regional Administrator also is required by regulations at 50 CFR 300.25(b)(3) to issue a direct notice to the owners or agents of U.S. vessels that operate in the ETP of actions recommended by the IATTC and approved by the DOS. A notice to the fleet was sent May 31, 2005, advising the U.S. bigeye tuna longline fleet of the bigeye tuna quota in the ETP for the 2005 and 2006 fishing years. The 150–mt quota and procedure to close the U.S. longline bigeye fishery upon reaching the quota in 2006 was established by a final rule published on November 22, 2005 (70 FR 70549). The IATTC recommended and the DOS approved a measure whereby the U.S. longline fishery for bigeye tuna in the Convention Area will close for the remainder of calendar year 2006 if the catch of bigeye tuna by U.S. longline vessels in the Convention Area reaches 150 mt (the amount estimated to have been caught by the U.S. longline fishery in the Convention Area in 2001). The measure recommended by the IATTC and approved by DOS states that no bigeye tuna may be caught and retained by a nation’s longline bigeye tuna vessels in the Convention Area during the remainder of the calendar year 2006 once the nation’s longline harvest of bigeye in the Convention Area has reached the nation’s catch level for bigeye tuna harvested in the Convention Area by longline in 2001. NMFS has determined that the 150– mt catch level has been reached, and hereby closes the U.S. longline fishery for bigeye tuna in the Convention Area for the remainder of the year 2006. It is, therefore, prohibited for a U.S. longline bigeye tuna vessel to catch and retain bigeye tuna in the Convention Area from the effective date of this action through December 31, 2006. for the Pacific Tuna Fisheries found at 50 CFR 300.25. This action responds to the best available information obtained from the fishery. For the reasons set forth below, the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries (AA) finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. § 553(b)(B) to waive the requirement for prior notice and opportunity for public for this action, which closes the U.S. bigeye tuna longline fishery in the IATTC Convention Area for the remainder of the 2006 fishing season. Similarly, the AA finds good cause to waive the 30day delay in the effective date for this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). Providing prior notice and opportunity for public comment is impracticable and contrary to the public interest because it would take time to effectuate, resulting in continued harvest of bigeye tuna by the U.S. longline fleet over the 2001 catch levels. Exceeding the quota violates US obligations to conserve bigeye tuna under the Convention. In 2003, 2004, and 2005, IATTC stock assessment scientists concluded that the bigeye tuna stock is at a level below that which would produce the average maximum sustainable yield. Furthermore, NOAA has determined that bigeye tuna in the Pacific are subject to overfishing, using the standards for ‘‘overfishing’’ in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1801 et seq. At this time, the public’s interests are best served by immediately closing this fishery. Closing this fishery now will ensure that the U.S. does not exceed the U.S. longline bigeye tuna quota, and will contribute to maintaining the bigeye tuna stocks at levels that will sustain the stocks at maximum sustainable yield for the future. For the same reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. § 553(d)(3). This action is authorized by 50 CFR 300.25(b), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 951–961 et seq. Dated: June 29, 2006. James P. Burgess, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 06–6015 Filed 6–30–06; 1:19 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S Classification This action is consistent with the Tuna Conventions Act and regulations PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 38297 E:\FR\FM\06JYR1.SGM 06JYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 129 (Thursday, July 6, 2006)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 38297]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-6015]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 300

[Docket No. 050719189-5286-03; I.D. 062706A]
RIN 0648-AT33


International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Restrictions for 
2006 Longline Fisheries in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean; Fishery 
Closure

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

Action: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is closing the U.S. longline fishery for bigeye tuna in 
the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) Convention Area for 
the remainder of 2006, because the bigeye tuna catch in the Convention 
Area has reached the 150-metric ton (mt) limit for 2006. This action, 
implemented under the regulations for the Pacific Tuna Fisheries will 
contribute to efforts to end overfishing of bigeye tuna in the eastern 
tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP), consistent with recommendations by the 
IATTC that have been approved by the Department of State (DOS) under 
the Tuna Conventions Act. This action is intended to limit fishing 
mortality on the bigeye tuna stock caused by longline fishing in the 
Convention Area and contribute to the long-term conservation of the 
bigeye tuna stock at levels that support healthy fisheries.

DATES: Effective 12:01 a.m. (0001 hrs) Hawaii Standard Time (HST) on 
July 6, 2006, through 12:01 a.m. (0001 hrs) HST on January 1, 2007.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: J. Allison Routt, Sustainable 
Fisheries Division, Southwest Region, NMFS, (562) 980-4030.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The United States is a member of the IATTC, 
which was established under the Convention for the Establishment of an 
Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission signed in 1949 (Convention). 
The IATTC was established to provide an international arrangement to 
ensure the effective international conservation and management of 
highly migratory species of fish in the Convention Area. The Convention 
Area for this purpose is defined to include the waters of the ETP 
bounded by the coast of the Americas, the 40[deg] N. and 40[deg] S. 
parallels, and the 150[deg] W. meridian. The IATTC has maintained a 
scientific research and fishery monitoring program for many years and 
annually assesses the status of stocks of tuna and the fisheries to 
determine appropriate harvest limits or other measures to prevent 
overexploitation of tuna stocks and promote viable fisheries. Under the 
Tuna Conventions Act, 16 U.S.C. 951-962, NMFS must publish regulations 
to carry out IATTC recommendations and resolutions that have been 
approved by DOS. The Southwest Regional Administrator also is required 
by regulations at 50 CFR 300.25(b)(3) to issue a direct notice to the 
owners or agents of U.S. vessels that operate in the ETP of actions 
recommended by the IATTC and approved by the DOS. A notice to the fleet 
was sent May 31, 2005, advising the U.S. bigeye tuna longline fleet of 
the bigeye tuna quota in the ETP for the 2005 and 2006 fishing years. 
The 150-mt quota and procedure to close the U.S. longline bigeye 
fishery upon reaching the quota in 2006 was established by a final rule 
published on November 22, 2005 (70 FR 70549).
    The IATTC recommended and the DOS approved a measure whereby the 
U.S. longline fishery for bigeye tuna in the Convention Area will close 
for the remainder of calendar year 2006 if the catch of bigeye tuna by 
U.S. longline vessels in the Convention Area reaches 150 mt (the amount 
estimated to have been caught by the U.S. longline fishery in the 
Convention Area in 2001). The measure recommended by the IATTC and 
approved by DOS states that no bigeye tuna may be caught and retained 
by a nation's longline bigeye tuna vessels in the Convention Area 
during the remainder of the calendar year 2006 once the nation's 
longline harvest of bigeye in the Convention Area has reached the 
nation's catch level for bigeye tuna harvested in the Convention Area 
by longline in 2001.
    NMFS has determined that the 150-mt catch level has been reached, 
and hereby closes the U.S. longline fishery for bigeye tuna in the 
Convention Area for the remainder of the year 2006. It is, therefore, 
prohibited for a U.S. longline bigeye tuna vessel to catch and retain 
bigeye tuna in the Convention Area from the effective date of this 
action through December 31, 2006.

Classification

    This action is consistent with the Tuna Conventions Act and 
regulations for the Pacific Tuna Fisheries found at 50 CFR 300.25.
    This action responds to the best available information obtained 
from the fishery. For the reasons set forth below, the Assistant 
Administrator for Fisheries (AA) finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. Sec.  
553(b)(B) to waive the requirement for prior notice and opportunity for 
public for this action, which closes the U.S. bigeye tuna longline 
fishery in the IATTC Convention Area for the remainder of the 2006 
fishing season. Similarly, the AA finds good cause to waive the 30-day 
delay in the effective date for this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). 
Providing prior notice and opportunity for public comment is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest because it would take 
time to effectuate, resulting in continued harvest of bigeye tuna by 
the U.S. longline fleet over the 2001 catch levels. Exceeding the quota 
violates US obligations to conserve bigeye tuna under the Convention. 
In 2003, 2004, and 2005, IATTC stock assessment scientists concluded 
that the bigeye tuna stock is at a level below that which would produce 
the average maximum sustainable yield. Furthermore, NOAA has determined 
that bigeye tuna in the Pacific are subject to overfishing, using the 
standards for ``overfishing'' in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C. Sec.  1801 et seq. At this 
time, the public's interests are best served by immediately closing 
this fishery. Closing this fishery now will ensure that the U.S. does 
not exceed the U.S. longline bigeye tuna quota, and will contribute to 
maintaining the bigeye tuna stocks at levels that will sustain the 
stocks at maximum sustainable yield for the future. For the same 
reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the 
effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. Sec.  553(d)(3).
    This action is authorized by 50 CFR 300.25(b), and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 951-961 et seq.

    Dated: June 29, 2006.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 06-6015 Filed 6-30-06; 1:19 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S