Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Hagfish Fishery; Reaffirmation of Control Date, 42794 [E6-12128]

Download as PDF 42794 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 145 / Friday, July 28, 2006 / Proposed Rules process of retrieving, reviewing, or amending records. [FR Doc. E6–12124 Filed 7–27–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7600–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 060712190–6190–01; I.D. 070606B] RIN 0648–AU55 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Hagfish Fishery; Reaffirmation of Control Date National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR); reaffirmation of a control date for the Atlantic hagfish fishery; request for comments. sroberts on PROD1PC70 with PROPOSALS AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS announces consideration of proposed rulemaking to control future access to the Atlantic hagfish fishery. The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) has indicated that limiting access to the hagfish fishery may be necessary to control participation in the fishery at a level that reduces capitalization and constrains fishing to sustainable levels, while ensuring that the fishery does not become overfished, as defined by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). DATES: Written comments must be received by 5 p.m., local time, August 28, 2006. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods: • Mail: Paul J. Howard, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950. Mark the outside of the envelope, ‘‘Comments on Reaffirmation of Atlantic Hagfish Control Date.’’ • Facsimile (fax): (978) 465–3116. • Email: HagfishControlDate@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line of the e-mail comment the following document identifier: ‘‘Comments-Hagfish Control Date.’’ • Federal e-Rulemaking portal http:// www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bonnie Van Pelt, Fishery Policy VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:17 Jul 27, 2006 Jkt 208001 Analyst, 978–281–9244; fax 978–281– 9135. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic hagfish (Myxine glutinosa) fishery in New England was developed in the early 1990s, with the first reported landings of around 1 million lb (454 mt) in 1993. Korean buyers quickly recognized that a fishery in the New England area could provide the highquality hagfish skins used in making leather, as well as hagfish meat for human consumption. Reported hagfish landings in New England quadrupled during the first 4 years of the fishery (1993–1996), exceeding the highest reported landings in other North American hagfish fisheries (including British Columbia, Oregon, Washington, California, and Nova Scotia) by 1994. Since there is currently no management program for this fishery, and consequently no permitting or reporting requirements, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the actual level of hagfish landings. Moreover, the level of discards and discard mortality of hagfish culled at sea or rejected by the dealer or processor in port is unknown. In 2003, a working group comprised of scientists, fishery analysts, fishermen, and administrators met to review biological and fishery information for hagfish. The group identified important information gaps, as well as a number of potential approaches to acquiring the data needed to fill them. Hagfish have been collected in limited numbers throughout the 40 years of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) groundfish trawl survey. These NEFSC surveys provide the best available stock abundance information, but none of the surveys cover the entire range of hagfish habitat, which extends from depths of 25 m to greater than 1,000 m. The results of this working group effort were reviewed by the 37th Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Workshop (37th SAW), and the Stock Assessment Review Committee’s Consensus Summary can be found at: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/ nefsc/publications/crd/crd0316/ index.htm. The Council initially considered limiting entry into the hagfish fishery by establishing August 28, 2002 (67 FR 55191), as the date for determining eligibility criteria (i.e., a control date). In a letter dated June 21, 2006, the Council requested that NMFS publish an ANPR to reaffirm the August 28, 2002, hagfish control date and to notify the public of the potential development of a limited access program for hagfish. This reaffirmation of the control date is to inform interested parties of potential PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 limitations on future access, commonly referred to as limited access, and to discourage speculative entry into the hagfish fishery while the Council considers how access to the fishery can and should be controlled during the proposed development of the Atlantic Hagfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). By this notification, NMFS reaffirms, on behalf of the Council, that August 28, 2002, may be used as the ‘‘control date’’ to establish eligibility criteria for determining future levels of access to the hagfish fishery. Fishermen who have not participated in the hagfish fishery or who change their level of participation in this fishery are notified that entering this fishery or changing their level of participation after August 28, 2002, may not qualify them as previous participants, should such a criterion be the basis for future access to the hagfish resource. This notification also gives the public notice that interested participants should locate and save records that substantiate their participation in the hagfish fishery in Federal waters. Fishermen are not guaranteed future participation in the fishery, regardless of their entry dates or intensity of participation in this fishery before or after the control date. In addition, the Council and NMFS may choose to give variably weighted consideration to participants active in the fishery before and after the control date. In order to be approved and implemented, any measures proposed by the Council to limit entry into the hagfish fishery must be found consistent with the requirements of the MagnusonStevens Act and other applicable law. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the measures and alternatives being considered for inclusion to the FMP by the Council. Various forums exist to allow opportunities for input, including public meetings and public comment periods as required by the National Environmental Policy Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and as provided for by the Administrative Procedure Act. Classification This ANPR has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: July 25, 2006. John Oliver, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E6–12128 Filed 7–27–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\28JYP1.SGM 28JYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 145 (Friday, July 28, 2006)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 42794]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-12128]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 060712190-6190-01; I.D. 070606B]
RIN 0648-AU55


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Hagfish 
Fishery; Reaffirmation of Control Date

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

ACTION:  Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR); reaffirmation of 
a control date for the Atlantic hagfish fishery; request for comments.

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SUMMARY:  NMFS announces consideration of proposed rulemaking to 
control future access to the Atlantic hagfish fishery. The New England 
Fishery Management Council (Council) has indicated that limiting access 
to the hagfish fishery may be necessary to control participation in the 
fishery at a level that reduces capitalization and constrains fishing 
to sustainable levels, while ensuring that the fishery does not become 
overfished, as defined by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

DATES:  Written comments must be received by 5 p.m., local time, August 
28, 2006.

ADDRESSES:  You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Mail: Paul J. Howard, Executive Director, New England 
Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 
01950. Mark the outside of the envelope, ``Comments on Reaffirmation of 
Atlantic Hagfish Control Date.''
     Facsimile (fax): (978) 465-3116.
     Email: HagfishControlDate@noaa.gov. Include in the subject 
line of the e-mail comment the following document identifier: 
``Comments-Hagfish Control Date.''
     Federal e-Rulemaking portal http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Bonnie Van Pelt, Fishery Policy 
Analyst, 978-281-9244; fax 978-281-9135.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic hagfish (Myxine glutinosa) 
fishery in New England was developed in the early 1990s, with the first 
reported landings of around 1 million lb (454 mt) in 1993. Korean 
buyers quickly recognized that a fishery in the New England area could 
provide the high-quality hagfish skins used in making leather, as well 
as hagfish meat for human consumption. Reported hagfish landings in New 
England quadrupled during the first 4 years of the fishery (1993-1996), 
exceeding the highest reported landings in other North American hagfish 
fisheries (including British Columbia, Oregon, Washington, California, 
and Nova Scotia) by 1994.
    Since there is currently no management program for this fishery, 
and consequently no permitting or reporting requirements, there is 
considerable uncertainty regarding the actual level of hagfish 
landings. Moreover, the level of discards and discard mortality of 
hagfish culled at sea or rejected by the dealer or processor in port is 
unknown. In 2003, a working group comprised of scientists, fishery 
analysts, fishermen, and administrators met to review biological and 
fishery information for hagfish. The group identified important 
information gaps, as well as a number of potential approaches to 
acquiring the data needed to fill them. Hagfish have been collected in 
limited numbers throughout the 40 years of the Northeast Fisheries 
Science Center (NEFSC) groundfish trawl survey. These NEFSC surveys 
provide the best available stock abundance information, but none of the 
surveys cover the entire range of hagfish habitat, which extends from 
depths of 25 m to greater than 1,000 m. The results of this working 
group effort were reviewed by the 37th Northeast Regional Stock 
Assessment Workshop (37th SAW), and the Stock Assessment Review 
Committee's Consensus Summary can be found at: http://
www.nefsc.noaa.gov/nefsc/publications/crd/crd0316/index.htm.
    The Council initially considered limiting entry into the hagfish 
fishery by establishing August 28, 2002 (67 FR 55191), as the date for 
determining eligibility criteria (i.e., a control date). In a letter 
dated June 21, 2006, the Council requested that NMFS publish an ANPR to 
reaffirm the August 28, 2002, hagfish control date and to notify the 
public of the potential development of a limited access program for 
hagfish. This reaffirmation of the control date is to inform interested 
parties of potential limitations on future access, commonly referred to 
as limited access, and to discourage speculative entry into the hagfish 
fishery while the Council considers how access to the fishery can and 
should be controlled during the proposed development of the Atlantic 
Hagfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). By this notification, NMFS 
reaffirms, on behalf of the Council, that August 28, 2002, may be used 
as the ``control date'' to establish eligibility criteria for 
determining future levels of access to the hagfish fishery. Fishermen 
who have not participated in the hagfish fishery or who change their 
level of participation in this fishery are notified that entering this 
fishery or changing their level of participation after August 28, 2002, 
may not qualify them as previous participants, should such a criterion 
be the basis for future access to the hagfish resource. This 
notification also gives the public notice that interested participants 
should locate and save records that substantiate their participation in 
the hagfish fishery in Federal waters. Fishermen are not guaranteed 
future participation in the fishery, regardless of their entry dates or 
intensity of participation in this fishery before or after the control 
date. In addition, the Council and NMFS may choose to give variably 
weighted consideration to participants active in the fishery before and 
after the control date. In order to be approved and implemented, any 
measures proposed by the Council to limit entry into the hagfish 
fishery must be found consistent with the requirements of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act and other applicable law. The public will have the 
opportunity to comment on the measures and alternatives being 
considered for inclusion to the FMP by the Council. Various forums 
exist to allow opportunities for input, including public meetings and 
public comment periods as required by the National Environmental Policy 
Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and as provided for by the 
Administrative Procedure Act.

Classification

    This ANPR has been determined to be not significant for purposes of 
Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: July 25, 2006.
John Oliver,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E6-12128 Filed 7-27-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S