Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 64165-64167 [06-9007]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 211 / Wednesday, November 1, 2006 / Rules and Regulations (ii) On-air third-party advertisements with Web site references to third-party Web sites; or (iii) Pages that are primarily devoted to multiple characters from multiple programs. Note 1: Commercial matter means air time sold for purposes of selling a product or service and promotions of television programs or video programming services other than children’s or other age-appropriate programming appearing on the same channel or promotions for children’s educational and informational programming on any channel. * * * * * 3. Section 73.671 is amended by revising paragraph (e)(3) and by removing paragraph (f) to read as follows: I § 73.671 Educational and informational programming for children. * * * * * (e) * * * (3) For purposes of the guideline described in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, at least 50 percent of the core programming counted toward meeting the additional programming guideline cannot consist of program episodes that had already aired within the previous seven days on either the station’s main program stream or on another of the station’s free digital program streams. This requirement does not apply to any program stream that merely time shifts the entire programming line-up of another program stream and, during the digital transition, to core programs aired on both the analog station and a digital program stream. * * * * * PART 76—MULTICHANNEL VIDEO AND CABLE TELEVISION SERVICE 4. The authority citation for part 76 continues to read as follows: I Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 153, 154, 301, 302, 303, 303a, 307, 308, 309, 312, 317, 325, 338, 339, 503, 521, 522, 531, 532, 533, 534, 535, 536, 537, 543, 544, 544a, 545, 548, 549, 552, 554, 556, 558, 560, 561, 571, 572, and 573. 5. Section 76.225 is amended by revising paragraphs (b) introductory text, (c), and (d), by adding paragraph (e), and by revising Note 1 to § 76.225 to read as follows: hsrobinson on PROD1PC76 with RULES I commercial time is permitted only if the Web site: * * * * * (c) If an Internet address for a Web site that does not meet the test in paragraph (b) of this section is displayed during a promotion in a children’s program, in addition to counting against the commercial time limits in paragraph (a) of this section the promotion must be clearly separated from program material. (d)(1) Entities subject to commercial time limits under the Children’s Television Act shall not display a Web site address during or adjacent to a program if, at that time, on pages that are primarily devoted to free noncommercial content regarding that specific program or a character appearing in that program: (i) Products are sold that feature a character appearing in that program; or (ii) A character appearing in that program is used to actively sell products. (2) The requirements of this paragraph do not apply to: (i) Third-party sites linked from the companies’ Web pages; (ii) On-air third-party advertisements with Web site references to third-party Web sites; or (iii) Pages that are primarily devoted to multiple characters from multiple programs. (e) The requirements of this section shall not apply to programs aired on a broadcast television channel which the cable operator passively carries, or to access channels over which the cable operator may not exercise editorial control, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. 531(e) and 532(c)(2). Note 1 to § 76.225: Commercial matter means air time sold for purposes of selling a product or service and promotions of television programs or video programming services other than children’s or other ageappropriate programming appearing on the same channel or promotions for children’s educational and informational programming on any channel. * * * * * [FR Doc. E6–18401 Filed 10–31–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P § 76.225 Commercial limits in children’s programs. * * * * * (b) The display of Internet Web site addresses during program material or promotional material not counted as VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:00 Oct 31, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 64165 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [I.D. 102606C] 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 provide reasonable opportunity to harvest the General category November through January time-period subquota. Therefore, NMFS increases the daily BFT retention limits for the entire month of November, including previous scheduled Restricted Fishing Days (RFDs), 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: Brad McHale, 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, the month of 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. The final initial 2006 BFT specifications increased the General category retention limit to three fish for the June though August time-period, as E:\FR\FM\01NOR1.SGM 01NOR1 64166 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 211 / Wednesday, November 1, 2006 / Rules and Regulations well as established the following General category Restricted Fishing Day (RFD) schedule: all Saturday and Sundays from November 18, 2006, through January 31, 2007, and Thursday November 23, 2006, and Monday December 25, 2006, inclusive. Due to the large amount of available quota and the low catch rates, NMFS extended the three-fish retention limit through September (71 FR 51529, August 30, 2006) and October (71 FR 58287, October 3, 2006) respectively to enhance fishing opportunities while minimizing the risk of exceeding available quota. On October 2, 2006, NMFS published a final rule implementing the Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (HMS FMP) (71 FR 58058). Contained in the HMS FMP is a revised General category timeperiod subquota allocation scheme that has divided the coastwide General category into the following five distinct time-periods; June through August, September, October and November, December, and January of the following year. The effective date of these timeperiods and their associated subquota is November 1, 2006. 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 BFT Size Class Limit October 1, 2006, through October 31, 2006, inclusive All Three BFT per vessel per day/trip, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) curved fork length (CFL) or larger November 1, 2006, through November 30, 2006, inclusive All Three BFT per vessel per day/trip, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) curved fork length (CFL) or larger December 1, 2006, through January 31, 2007, inclusive General Areas All One BFT per vessel per day/trip, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) CFL or larger hsrobinson on PROD1PC76 with RULES Adjustment of General Category Daily Retention Limits Under § 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 RFDs) 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 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, which was to remain in effect through August 31, 2006, inclusive, was extended through September and October through separate actions filed with the Federal Register. From November 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, September, and soon to be effective October and November time-period subquota allocations for the 2006 fishing year total approximately 1,041.2 metric tons (mt). As of October 23, 2006, 94.5 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 and RFDs remain as scheduled, approximately 29 mt would VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:00 Oct 31, 2006 Jkt 211001 be landed through November 30, 2006. This projection would bring June though November landings to approximately 123.5 mt, resulting in an underharvest of approximately 917.7 mt. The October 2, 2006, final rule established stand-alone General category time-periods for the months of December and January. Each of these time-periods are allocated a portion of the coastwide General category, thereby ensuring fishing opportunities are provided in years where high catch rates are experienced. The quota carryover from the previous time-period subquotas, combined with the newly established December and January timeperiod subquota allocations, would allow for approximately 1,039.8 mt to be harvested through January 31, 2007. In combination with the subquota rollover from previous time-periods, scheduled RFDs, current catch rates, and the daily retention limit reverting to one large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day on November 1, 2006, NMFS anticipates the full October and November timeperiod subquota will not be harvested. 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 HMS FMP and may contribute to excessive carry-overs to subsequent fishing years. In the past, however, the fishery has had the capability of increasing landings rates dramatically in PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 the latter Fall and Winter months, particularly off southern states. If the fishery was to perform at these past levels with high landings rates (although not witnessed during the winter of 2005/2006), it may alleviate concern of excessive roll-overs from one fishing year to the next, but raises the possibility of unprecedented, and potentially unsustainable, catch rates during the winter fishery. The final initial 2006 BFT specifications scheduled a number of RFDs for the month of November, including all Saturdays and Sundays, as well as Thursday November 23, 2006. These RFDs were designed to provide for an extended late season, south Atlantic BFT fishery for the commercial handgear fishermen in the General category. For the reasons referred to above, NMFS has determined that the scheduled November RFDs are no longer required to meet their original purpose, and may in fact exacerbate low catch rates. Therefore, NMFS determined an increase in the General category daily BFT retention limit on those previously established RFDs for the month of November is warranted. NMFS has selected these days in order to give adequate advance notice to fishery participants. While catch rates have continued to be low so far this season, NMFS recognizes that they may increase at any time late in the season. In order to ensure equitable fishing opportunities in all areas, NMFS has not waived the RFDs scheduled in December and January at this time. If E:\FR\FM\01NOR1.SGM 01NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 211 / Wednesday, November 1, 2006 / Rules and Regulations hsrobinson on PROD1PC76 with RULES catch rates continue to be low, some or all of the remaining previously scheduled RFDs may be waived as well. Therefore, based on a review of dealer reports, daily landing trends, available quota, revised time-periods, 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 November 1, 2006, through November 30, 2006, inclusive of previously scheduled RFDs for the month of November, 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 November 30, 2006, including all Saturdays and Sundays of November as well as Thursday November 23, 2006. From December 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 will apply, unless further action is taken. NMFS anticipates that with a combination of the default retention limit starting on December 1, 2006, and the large amount of General category quota available, there will be sufficient quota for the coastwide General category season to extend through the winter months and allow for a southern Atlantic fishery to take place with minimal risk of landings exceeding available quota. However, to reduce the risks of excessive landings rates throughout December and January, NMFS has determined it necessary to only extend the three BFT daily retention limit for the one month of November and will re-examine the need to further extend the increased bag limit prior to newly established December and January time-periods based on landings rates and other fishery information. This adjustment is intended to provide 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 HMS FMP. VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:00 Oct 31, 2006 Jkt 211001 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 off southern New England and southern Atlantic fishing grounds from fishing reports and landings data from dealers. This increase in abundance provides the potential to increase General category landings rates if fishery participants are authorized to harvest three large medium or giant BFT per day. Although landings to date have been low (i.e., less than one mt per day) there is the potential for increased availability of BFT during the Fall to allow for an increase in fishery landing rates. The regulations implementing the HMS FMP provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 64167 on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Adjustment of retention limits, including waiving previously scheduled RFDs in the month of November, is also necessary to avoid excessive quota rollovers to subsequent General category time-period subquotas. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment to implement these retention limits is impracticable as it would preclude NMFS from acting promptly to allow harvest of BFT that are still available on the 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 Tunas allocated quota. Delays in increasing the retention limits would be contrary to the public interest. 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 HMS 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, 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: October 26, 2006. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 06–9007 Filed 10–27–06; 2:36 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\01NOR1.SGM 01NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 211 (Wednesday, November 1, 2006)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 64165-64167]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-9007]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[I.D. 102606C]


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 provide reasonable opportunity to harvest the General 
category November through January time-period subquota. Therefore, NMFS 
increases the daily BFT retention limits for the entire month of 
November, including previous scheduled Restricted Fishing Days (RFDs), 
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: Brad McHale, 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, the month of 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. The 
final initial 2006 BFT specifications increased the General category 
retention limit to three fish for the June though August time-period, 
as

[[Page 64166]]

well as established the following General category Restricted Fishing 
Day (RFD) schedule: all Saturday and Sundays from November 18, 2006, 
through January 31, 2007, and Thursday November 23, 2006, and Monday 
December 25, 2006, inclusive. Due to the large amount of available 
quota and the low catch rates, NMFS extended the three-fish retention 
limit through September (71 FR 51529, August 30, 2006) and October (71 
FR 58287, October 3, 2006) respectively to enhance fishing 
opportunities while minimizing the risk of exceeding available quota. 
On October 2, 2006, NMFS published a final rule implementing the 
Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (HMS FMP) 
(71 FR 58058). Contained in the HMS FMP is a revised General category 
time-period subquota allocation scheme that has divided the coastwide 
General category into the following five distinct time-periods; June 
through August, September, October and November, December, and January 
of the following year. The effective date of these time-periods and 
their associated subquota is November 1, 2006.

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               October 1, 2006,     All       Three BFT per
                       through October                vessel per day/
                       31, 2006,                      trip, measuring 73
                       inclusive                      inches (185 cm)
                                                      curved fork length
                                                      (CFL) or larger
                     ---------------------------------------------------
                      November 1, 2006,    All       Three BFT per
                       through November               vessel per day/
                       30, 2006,                      trip, measuring 73
                       inclusive                      inches (185 cm)
                                                      curved fork length
                                                      (CFL) or larger
                     ---------------------------------------------------
                      December 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 Sec.  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 RFDs) 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 
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, which was to 
remain in effect through August 31, 2006, inclusive, was extended 
through September and October through separate actions filed with the 
Federal Register. From November 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, September, and soon to be effective 
October and November time-period subquota allocations for the 2006 
fishing year total approximately 1,041.2 metric tons (mt). As of 
October 23, 2006, 94.5 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 and RFDs remain as scheduled, approximately 29 mt would 
be landed through November 30, 2006. This projection would bring June 
though November landings to approximately 123.5 mt, resulting in an 
underharvest of approximately 917.7 mt. The October 2, 2006, final rule 
established stand-alone General category time-periods for the months of 
December and January. Each of these time-periods are allocated a 
portion of the coastwide General category, thereby ensuring fishing 
opportunities are provided in years where high catch rates are 
experienced. The quota carryover from the previous time-period 
subquotas, combined with the newly established December and January 
time-period subquota allocations, would allow for approximately 1,039.8 
mt to be harvested through January 31, 2007. In combination with the 
subquota rollover from previous time-periods, scheduled RFDs, current 
catch rates, and the daily retention limit reverting to one large 
medium or giant BFT per vessel per day on November 1, 2006, NMFS 
anticipates the full October and November time-period subquota will not 
be harvested. 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 HMS FMP and may contribute to excessive 
carry-overs to subsequent fishing years. In the past, however, the 
fishery has had the capability of increasing landings rates 
dramatically in the latter Fall and Winter months, particularly off 
southern states. If the fishery was to perform at these past levels 
with high landings rates (although not witnessed during the winter of 
2005/2006), it may alleviate concern of excessive roll-overs from one 
fishing year to the next, but raises the possibility of unprecedented, 
and potentially unsustainable, catch rates during the winter fishery.
    The final initial 2006 BFT specifications scheduled a number of 
RFDs for the month of November, including all Saturdays and Sundays, as 
well as Thursday November 23, 2006. These RFDs were designed to provide 
for an extended late season, south Atlantic BFT fishery for the 
commercial handgear fishermen in the General category. For the reasons 
referred to above, NMFS has determined that the scheduled November RFDs 
are no longer required to meet their original purpose, and may in fact 
exacerbate low catch rates. Therefore, NMFS determined an increase in 
the General category daily BFT retention limit on those previously 
established RFDs for the month of November is warranted. NMFS has 
selected these days in order to give adequate advance notice to fishery 
participants. While catch rates have continued to be low so far this 
season, NMFS recognizes that they may increase at any time late in the 
season. In order to ensure equitable fishing opportunities in all 
areas, NMFS has not waived the RFDs scheduled in December and January 
at this time. If

[[Page 64167]]

 catch rates continue to be low, some or all of the remaining 
previously scheduled RFDs may be waived as well.
    Therefore, based on a review of dealer reports, daily landing 
trends, available quota, revised time-periods, 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 November 1, 
2006, through November 30, 2006, inclusive of previously scheduled RFDs 
for the month of November, 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 November 30, 2006, including 
all Saturdays and Sundays of November as well as Thursday November 23, 
2006. From December 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 will apply, unless further 
action is taken.
    NMFS anticipates that with a combination of the default retention 
limit starting on December 1, 2006, and the large amount of General 
category quota available, there will be sufficient quota for the 
coastwide General category season to extend through the winter months 
and allow for a southern Atlantic fishery to take place with minimal 
risk of landings exceeding available quota. However, to reduce the 
risks of excessive landings rates throughout December and January, NMFS 
has determined it necessary to only extend the three BFT daily 
retention limit for the one month of November and will re-examine the 
need to further extend the increased bag limit prior to newly 
established December and January time-periods based on landings rates 
and other fishery information.
    This adjustment is intended to provide 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 HMS 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 off southern New England and southern Atlantic 
fishing grounds from fishing reports and landings data from dealers. 
This increase in abundance provides the potential to increase General 
category landings rates if fishery participants are authorized to 
harvest three large medium or giant BFT per day. Although landings to 
date have been low (i.e., less than one mt per day) there is the 
potential for increased availability of BFT during the Fall to allow 
for an increase in fishery landing rates. The regulations implementing 
the HMS 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, including waiving 
previously scheduled RFDs in the month of November, is also necessary 
to avoid excessive quota rollovers to subsequent General category time-
period subquotas. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public 
comment to implement these retention limits is impracticable as it 
would preclude NMFS from acting promptly to allow harvest of BFT that 
are still available on the 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 Tunas allocated quota.
    Delays in increasing the retention limits would be contrary to the 
public interest. 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 HMS 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, 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: October 26, 2006.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 06-9007 Filed 10-27-06; 2:36 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S