Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 51529-51531 [E6-14486]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 168 / Wednesday, August 30, 2006 / Rules and Regulations List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571 Motor vehicle safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Tires. I In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA is amending 49 CFR Part 571 as follows: PART 571—FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS 1. The authority citation for part 571 continues to read as follows: I Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, and 30166; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50. oriented at angles of 45, 90, 135, and 180 degrees from the angle at which it is installed in the vehicle and measure webbing payout. (B) * * * (2) The retractor drum’s central axis is oriented at angles of 45, 90, 135, and 180 degrees to the horizontal plane. Accelerate the retractor in the direction of the webbing retraction and measure the webbing payout. * * * * * Issued: August 23, 2006. Nicole R. Nason, Administrator. [FR Doc. E6–14479 Filed 8–29–06; 8:45 am] 2. Section 571.209 is amended by revising S4.3(j)(2)(ii), S5.2(j)(2)(iii)(A)(2), and S5.2(j)(2)(iii)(B)(2) to read as follows: I BILLING CODE 4910–59–P § 571.209 Standard No. 209; Seat belt assemblies. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE * National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration * * * * S4.3 Requirements for hardware. * * * * * (j) * * * (2) * * * (ii) Shall lock before the webbing payout exceeds the maximum limit of 25 mm when the retractor is subjected to an acceleration of 0.7 g under the applicable test conditions of S5.2(j)(2)(iii)(A) or (B). The retractor is determined to be locked when the webbing belt load tension is at least 35 N. * * * * * S5.2 Hardware. * * * * * (j) * * * (2) * * * (iii) * * * (A) * * * (2) If the retractor does not meet the 45-degree tilt-lock requirement of S4.3(j)(2)(i)(D), accelerate the retractor in three directions normal to each other while the retractor drum’s central axis is 50 CFR Part 635 [I.D. 081006A] Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason retention limit adjustment. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS has determined that the daily Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) retention limits for the Atlantic tunas General category should be adjusted to allow for a reasonable opportunity to harvest the General category September time-period subquota. Therefore, NMFS increases the daily BFT retention limits to provide enhanced commercial General category fishing opportunities 51529 in all areas while minimizing the risk of an overharvest of the General category BFT quota. The effective dates for the BFT daily retention limits are provided in Table 1 under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. DATES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Murray-Brown, 978–281–9260. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. The 2006 BFT fishing year began on June 1, 2006, and ends May 31, 2007. The final initial 2006 BFT specifications and General category effort controls were published on May 30, 2006 (71 FR 30619). These final specifications divided the General category quota among three subperiods (June through August, September, and October through January) in accordance with the Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (1999 FMP) published in 1999 (May 29,1999; 64 FR 29090), and implementing regulations at § 635.27. A three-fish general category retention limit was set for the first subperiod (June through August) due to the large amount of available quota and the low catch rate at the opening of the season. Daily Retention Limits Pursuant to this action and the final initial 2006 BFT specifications, noted above, the daily BFT retention limits for Atlantic tunas General category are as follows: TABLE 1. EFFECTIVE DATES FOR RETENTION LIMIT ADJUSTMENTS Permit Category Effective Dates jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:32 Aug 29, 2006 Jkt 208001 *COM041*Three BFT per vessel per day/ trip, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) curved fork length (CFL) or larger All Three BFT per vessel per day/trip, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) curved fork length (CFL) or larger October 1, 2006, through January 31, 2007, inclusive Under 50 CFR 635.23(a)(4), NMFS may increase or decrease the General All September 1, 2006, through September 30, 2006, inclusive Adjustment of General Category Daily Retention Limits BFT Size Class Limit June 1, 2006, through August 31, 2006, inclusive General Areas All One BFT per vessel per day/trip, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) CFL or larger category daily retention limit of large medium and giant BFT over a range from zero (on Restricted Fishing Days) to a maximum of three per vessel to PO 00000 Frm 00109 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 allow for a reasonable opportunity to harvest the quota for BFT. As part of the final specifications on May 30, 2006 (71 FR 30619), NMFS adjusted the E:\FR\FM\30AUR1.SGM 30AUR1 jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES 51530 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 168 / Wednesday, August 30, 2006 / Rules and Regulations commercial daily BFT retention limit, in all areas, for those vessels fishing under the General category quota, to three large medium or giant BFT, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) or greater curved fork length (CFL), per vessel per day/ trip. This retention limit was to remain in effect through August 31, 2006, inclusive. From September 1, 2006, through January 31, 2007, inclusive, the General category daily BFT retention limit was scheduled to revert to one large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day/trip. The June through August time-period subquota allocation for the 2006 fishing year totaled approximately 692 metric tons (mt). As of August 17, 2006, 34.6 mt have been landed in the General category and catch rates are less than 1.0 mt per day. If catch rates remain at current levels, approximately 14 mt would be landed during the remainder of August. This projection would bring the June though August time-period subquota landings to approximately 49 mt, resulting in an underharvest of approximately 643 mt. This carryover combined with the September timeperiod subquota allocation of 346 mt would allow for 989 mt to be harvested in the month of September. In combination with an expected subquota rollover from the June through August time-period, the September time-period subquota allocation, current catch rates, and the daily retention limit reverting to one large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day on September 1, 2006, NMFS anticipates the full September time-period subquota will not be harvested. This could result in a potential excessive rollover into the October through January time-period. Adding an excessive amount of unused quota from one time-period subquota to the subsequent time period subquota is undesirable because it effectively changes the time-period subquota allocation percentages established in the 1999 FMP. Therefore, based on a review of dealer reports, daily landing trends, available quota, and the availability of BFT on the fishing grounds, NMFS has determined that an increase in the General category daily BFT retention limit effective from September 1, 2006, through September 30, 2006, inclusive, is warranted. Thus, the General category daily retention limit of three large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day/trip (see Table 1) is extended through September 30, 2006. From October 1, 2006, through January 31, 2007, inclusive, the General category default daily BFT retention limit will be one large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day/trip. It is highly likely that with a combination of the default VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:32 Aug 29, 2006 Jkt 208001 retention limit starting on October 1, 2006, and the large amount of General category quota available, there will be sufficient quota for the coastwide General category season to extend into the winter months and allow for a southern Atlantic fishery to take place on an order of magnitude of prior years with minimal risk of landings exceeding available quota. In addition, one of the preferred alternatives in the proposed Consolidated Highly Migratory Species FMP (August 19, 2005; 70 FR 48804) would formally allocate General category sub-quota to the December and January individual time-frames to provide for a late-season south Atlantic fishery. The intent of this adjustment is to allow for a reasonable opportunity to harvest the U.S. landings quota of BFT while maintaining an equitable distribution of fishing opportunities, to help achieve optimum yield in the General category BFT fishery, to collect a broad range of data for stock monitoring purposes, and to be consistent with the objectives of the 1999 FMP. Monitoring and Reporting NMFS selected the daily retention limits and their duration after examining current and previous fishing year catch and effort rates, taking into consideration public comment on the annual specifications and inseason management measures for the General category received during the 2006 BFT quota specifications rulemaking process, and analyzing the available quota for the 2006 fishing year. NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely through dealer landing reports, the Automated Landings Reporting System, state harvest tagging programs in North Carolina and Maryland, and the Large Pelagics Survey. Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional retention limit adjustments are necessary to ensure available quota is not exceeded or, to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. Closures or subsequent adjustments to the daily retention limits, if any, will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (888) 872–8862 or (978) 281–9260, or access the internet at www.hmspermits.gov, for updates on quota monitoring and retention limit adjustments. Classification The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA), finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public PO 00000 Frm 00110 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons: NMFS has recently become aware of increased availability of large medium and giant BFT on the New England fishing grounds from fishing reports and conversations with fishermen. This increase in abundance provides the potential to increase General category landings rates for the New England fishery if participants are authorized to harvest three large medium or giant BFT per day. Also, since the end of the 2006 BFT specification comment period, NMFS has continued to receive more information refining its understanding of the commercial and charter/headboat sectors’ specific needs regarding BFT retention limits. The regulations implementing the 1999 FMP provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Adjustment of retention limits is also necessary to avoid excessive quota rollovers to subsequent General category time-period subquotas. NMFS needs to act promptly to enhance fishing opportunities for northern area fishermen while the BFT are still available on northern New England fishing grounds. Analysis of available data shows that the General category BFT retention limit may be increased for the Atlantic tuna General and HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders with minimal risks of exceeding the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna allocated quota. Delays in increasing the retention limits would be contrary to the public interest. Such delays would adversely affect those General and HMS Charter/ Headboat category vessels that could otherwise harvest more than one BFT per day and would further exacerbate the problem of quota rollovers, and/or lack of booked charters. Limited opportunities to harvest the respective quotas may have negative social and economic impacts to U.S. fishermen that either depend on catching the available quota within the time-periods designated in the 1999 FMP, or depend on multiple BFT retention limits to attract individuals to book charters. For both the General and the HMS Charter/ Headboat sectors, the retention limits must be adjusted as expeditiously as possible so the impacted sectors can benefit from the adjustment. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For all of the above reasons, E:\FR\FM\30AUR1.SGM 30AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 168 / Wednesday, August 30, 2006 / Rules and Regulations and because this action relieves a restriction (i.e., current default retention limit is one fish per vessel/trip but this action increases that limit and allows retention of more fish), there is also good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under 50 CFR 635.23(a)(4) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: August 24, 2006. James P. Burgess, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E6–14486 Filed 8–29–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Dated: August 24, 2006. James P. Burgess, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E6–14482 Filed 8–29–06; 8:45 am] 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 051128313–6029–02; I.D. 081506B] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish Fishery; Quota Transfer DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason quota transfer. jlentini on PROD1PC65 with RULES AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS announces that the State of Florida is transferring commercial bluefish quota to the State of New York from its 2006 quota. By this action, NMFS adjusts the quotas and announces the revised commercial quota for New York and Florida. DATES: Effective August 29, 2006 through December 31, 2006, unless NMFS publishes a superseding document in the Federal Register. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Douglas Potts, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 281–9341, fax (978) 281–9135. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the Atlantic bluefish fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require annual specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned among the coastal states from Florida through Maine. The process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to each state as described in § 648.160. Two or more states, under mutual agreement and with the concurrence of the Administrator, Northeast Region, 16:32 Aug 29, 2006 Jkt 208001 Classification This action is taken under 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE VerDate Aug<31>2005 NMFS (Regional Administrator), can transfer or combine bluefish commercial quota under § 648.160(f). The Regional Administrator is required to consider the criteria set forth in § 648.160(f)(1) in the evaluation of requests for quota transfers or combinations. Florida has agreed to transfer 125,000 lb (56,699 kg) of its 2006 commercial quota to New York. The Regional Administrator has determined that the criteria set forth in § 648.160(f)(1) have been met. The revised bluefish quotas for calendar year 2006 are: New York, 1,025,526 lb (465,171 kg); and Florida, 476,012 lb (215,915 kg). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 051104293–5344–02; I.D. 082406A] Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Summer Flounder Fishery; Commercial Quota Harvested for Maine National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Closure of commercial fishery. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS announces that the summer flounder commercial quota available to Maine has been harvested. Vessels issued a commercial Federal fisheries permit for the summer flounder fishery may not land summer flounder in Maine for the remainder of calendar year 2006, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer. Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery require publication of this notification to advise Maine that the quota has been harvested and to advise vessel permit holders and dealer permit holders that no commercial quota is available for landing summer flounder in Maine. PO 00000 Frm 00111 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 51531 Effective 0001 hours, August 31, 2006, through 2400 hours, December 31, 2006. DATES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Douglas Potts, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 281–9341 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the summer flounder fishery are found at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require annual specification of a commercial quota that is apportioned on a percentage basis among the coastal states from North Carolina through Maine. The process to set the annual commercial quota and the percent allocated to each state is described in § 648.100. The initial total commercial quota for summer flounder for the 2006 calendar year was set equal to 14,154,000 lb (6,420 mt) (70 FR 77061, December 29, 2005). The percent allocated to vessels landing summer flounder in Maine is 0.04756 percent, resulting in a commercial quota of 6,732 lb (3,054 kg). The 2006 allocation was reduced to 6,630 lb (3,007 kg) due to research setaside. Section 648.101(b) requires the Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) to monitor state commercial quotas and to determine when a state’s commercial quota has been harvested. NMFS then publishes a notification in the Federal Register to advise the state and to notify Federal vessel and dealer permit holders that, effective upon a specific date, the state’s commercial quota has been harvested and no commercial quota is available for landing summer flounder in that state. The Regional Administrator has determined, based upon dealer reports and other available information, that Maine has harvested its quota for 2006. The regulations at § 648.4(b) provide that Federal permit holders agree, as a condition of the permit, not to land summer flounder in any state that the Regional Administrator has determined no longer has commercial quota available. Therefore, effective 0001 hours, August 31, 2006, further landings of summer flounder in Maine by vessels holding summer flounder commercial Federal fisheries permits are prohibited for the remainder of the 2006 calendar year, unless additional quota becomes available through a transfer and is announced in the Federal Register. Effective 0001 hours, August 31, 2006, federally permitted dealers are also notified that they may not purchase summer flounder from federally permitted vessels that land in Maine for the remainder of the calendar year, or E:\FR\FM\30AUR1.SGM 30AUR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 168 (Wednesday, August 30, 2006)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 51529-51531]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-14486]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[I.D. 081006A]


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 
Fisheries

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason retention limit adjustment.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS has determined that the daily Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) 
retention limits for the Atlantic tunas General category should be 
adjusted to allow for a reasonable opportunity to harvest the General 
category September time-period subquota. Therefore, NMFS increases the 
daily BFT retention limits to provide enhanced commercial General 
category fishing opportunities in all areas while minimizing the risk 
of an overharvest of the General category BFT quota.

DATES: The effective dates for the BFT daily retention limits are 
provided in Table 1 under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Murray-Brown, 978-281-9260.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority 
of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by 
persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR 
part 635. The 2006 BFT fishing year began on June 1, 2006, and ends May 
31, 2007. The final initial 2006 BFT specifications and General 
category effort controls were published on May 30, 2006 (71 FR 30619). 
These final specifications divided the General category quota among 
three subperiods (June through August, September, and October through 
January) in accordance with the Highly Migratory Species Fishery 
Management Plan (1999 FMP) published in 1999 (May 29,1999; 64 FR 
29090), and implementing regulations at Sec.  635.27. A three-fish 
general category retention limit was set for the first subperiod (June 
through August) due to the large amount of available quota and the low 
catch rate at the opening of the season.

Daily Retention Limits

    Pursuant to this action and the final initial 2006 BFT 
specifications, noted above, the daily BFT retention limits for 
Atlantic tunas General category are as follows:

        Table 1. Effective dates for retention limit adjustments
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        BFT Size Class
   Permit Category      Effective Dates      Areas          Limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
General               June 1, 2006,        All       *COM041*Three BFT
                       through August 31,             per vessel per day/
                       2006, inclusive                trip, measuring 73
                                                      inches (185 cm)
                                                      curved fork length
                                                      (CFL) or larger
                     ---------------------------------------------------
                      September 1, 2006,   All       Three BFT per
                       through September              vessel per day/
                       30, 2006,                      trip, measuring 73
                       inclusive                      inches (185 cm)
                                                      curved fork length
                                                      (CFL) or larger
                     ---------------------------------------------------
                      October 1, 2006,     All       One BFT per vessel
                       through January                per day/trip,
                       31, 2007,                      measuring 73
                       inclusive                      inches (185 cm)
                                                      CFL or larger
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adjustment of General Category Daily Retention Limits

    Under 50 CFR 635.23(a)(4), NMFS may increase or decrease the 
General category daily retention limit of large medium and giant BFT 
over a range from zero (on Restricted Fishing Days) to a maximum of 
three per vessel to allow for a reasonable opportunity to harvest the 
quota for BFT. As part of the final specifications on May 30, 2006 (71 
FR 30619), NMFS adjusted the

[[Page 51530]]

commercial daily BFT retention limit, in all areas, for those vessels 
fishing under the General category quota, to three large medium or 
giant BFT, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) or greater curved fork length 
(CFL), per vessel per day/trip. This retention limit was to remain in 
effect through August 31, 2006, inclusive. From September 1, 2006, 
through January 31, 2007, inclusive, the General category daily BFT 
retention limit was scheduled to revert to one large medium or giant 
BFT per vessel per day/trip.
    The June through August time-period subquota allocation for the 
2006 fishing year totaled approximately 692 metric tons (mt). As of 
August 17, 2006, 34.6 mt have been landed in the General category and 
catch rates are less than 1.0 mt per day. If catch rates remain at 
current levels, approximately 14 mt would be landed during the 
remainder of August. This projection would bring the June though August 
time-period subquota landings to approximately 49 mt, resulting in an 
underharvest of approximately 643 mt. This carryover combined with the 
September time-period subquota allocation of 346 mt would allow for 989 
mt to be harvested in the month of September. In combination with an 
expected subquota rollover from the June through August time-period, 
the September time-period subquota allocation, current catch rates, and 
the daily retention limit reverting to one large medium or giant BFT 
per vessel per day on September 1, 2006, NMFS anticipates the full 
September time-period subquota will not be harvested. This could result 
in a potential excessive rollover into the October through January 
time-period. Adding an excessive amount of unused quota from one time-
period subquota to the subsequent time period subquota is undesirable 
because it effectively changes the time-period subquota allocation 
percentages established in the 1999 FMP.
    Therefore, based on a review of dealer reports, daily landing 
trends, available quota, and the availability of BFT on the fishing 
grounds, NMFS has determined that an increase in the General category 
daily BFT retention limit effective from September 1, 2006, through 
September 30, 2006, inclusive, is warranted. Thus, the General category 
daily retention limit of three large medium or giant BFT per vessel per 
day/trip (see Table 1) is extended through September 30, 2006. From 
October 1, 2006, through January 31, 2007, inclusive, the General 
category default daily BFT retention limit will be one large medium or 
giant BFT per vessel per day/trip. It is highly likely that with a 
combination of the default retention limit starting on October 1, 2006, 
and the large amount of General category quota available, there will be 
sufficient quota for the coastwide General category season to extend 
into the winter months and allow for a southern Atlantic fishery to 
take place on an order of magnitude of prior years with minimal risk of 
landings exceeding available quota. In addition, one of the preferred 
alternatives in the proposed Consolidated Highly Migratory Species FMP 
(August 19, 2005; 70 FR 48804) would formally allocate General category 
sub-quota to the December and January individual time-frames to provide 
for a late-season south Atlantic fishery.
    The intent of this adjustment is to allow for a reasonable 
opportunity to harvest the U.S. landings quota of BFT while maintaining 
an equitable distribution of fishing opportunities, to help achieve 
optimum yield in the General category BFT fishery, to collect a broad 
range of data for stock monitoring purposes, and to be consistent with 
the objectives of the 1999 FMP.

Monitoring and Reporting

    NMFS selected the daily retention limits and their duration after 
examining current and previous fishing year catch and effort rates, 
taking into consideration public comment on the annual specifications 
and inseason management measures for the General category received 
during the 2006 BFT quota specifications rulemaking process, and 
analyzing the available quota for the 2006 fishing year. NMFS will 
continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely through dealer landing 
reports, the Automated Landings Reporting System, state harvest tagging 
programs in North Carolina and Maryland, and the Large Pelagics Survey. 
Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS 
may determine that additional retention limit adjustments are necessary 
to ensure available quota is not exceeded or, to enhance scientific 
data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic 
areas.
    Closures or subsequent adjustments to the daily retention limits, 
if any, will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, 
fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (888) 872-
8862 or (978) 281-9260, or access the internet at www.hmspermits.gov, 
for updates on quota monitoring and retention limit adjustments.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA), finds that it is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior 
notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for 
the following reasons:
    NMFS has recently become aware of increased availability of large 
medium and giant BFT on the New England fishing grounds from fishing 
reports and conversations with fishermen. This increase in abundance 
provides the potential to increase General category landings rates for 
the New England fishery if participants are authorized to harvest three 
large medium or giant BFT per day. Also, since the end of the 2006 BFT 
specification comment period, NMFS has continued to receive more 
information refining its understanding of the commercial and charter/
headboat sectors' specific needs regarding BFT retention limits. The 
regulations implementing the 1999 FMP provide for inseason retention 
limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT 
availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this 
species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Adjustment of 
retention limits is also necessary to avoid excessive quota rollovers 
to subsequent General category time-period subquotas. NMFS needs to act 
promptly to enhance fishing opportunities for northern area fishermen 
while the BFT are still available on northern New England fishing 
grounds. Analysis of available data shows that the General category BFT 
retention limit may be increased for the Atlantic tuna General and HMS 
Charter/Headboat permit holders with minimal risks of exceeding the 
International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna 
allocated quota.
    Delays in increasing the retention limits would be contrary to the 
public interest. Such delays would adversely affect those General and 
HMS Charter/Headboat category vessels that could otherwise harvest more 
than one BFT per day and would further exacerbate the problem of quota 
rollovers, and/or lack of booked charters. Limited opportunities to 
harvest the respective quotas may have negative social and economic 
impacts to U.S. fishermen that either depend on catching the available 
quota within the time-periods designated in the 1999 FMP, or depend on 
multiple BFT retention limits to attract individuals to book charters. 
For both the General and the HMS Charter/Headboat sectors, the 
retention limits must be adjusted as expeditiously as possible so the 
impacted sectors can benefit from the adjustment.
    Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to 
waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For all of 
the above reasons,

[[Page 51531]]

and because this action relieves a restriction (i.e., current default 
retention limit is one fish per vessel/trip but this action increases 
that limit and allows retention of more fish), there is also good cause 
under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness.
    This action is being taken under 50 CFR 635.23(a)(4) and is exempt 
from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq.

    Dated: August 24, 2006.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E6-14486 Filed 8-29-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S