Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish Fisheries; 2007 Atlantic Bluefish Specifications; 2007 Research Set-Aside Project, 68524-68528 [E6-20005]

Download as PDF hsrobinson on PROD1PC61 with PROPOSALS 68524 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 227 / Monday, November 27, 2006 / Proposed Rules previous calendar year for a supplier or non cost-report provider. Extreme hardship exists when a provider or supplier qualifies as being in ‘‘hardship’’ as defined in this paragraph and the provider’s or supplier’s request for an extended repayment schedule (ERS) is approved under paragraph (c)(3) of this section. (ii) CMS or its contractor reviews a provider’s or supplier’s request for an ERS. For a provider or a supplier not paid by Medicare during the previous year or paid only during a portion of that year, the contractor or CMS will use the last 12 months of Medicare payments. If less than a 12-month payment history exists, the number of months available is annualized to equal an approximate yearly Medicare payment level for the provider or supplier. (iii) For a provider or supplier requesting an ERS, CMS or its contractor evaluates the request based on the definitions and information submitted under this paragraph (c)(2). For a provider or supplier whose situation does not meet the definitions in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section, CMS or its contractor evaluates the ERS request using the information in paragraph (c)(3) of this section in deciding to grant an ERS. (iv) CMS or its contractor is not required to grant an ERS to a provider or supplier if there is reason to suspect the provider or supplier may file for bankruptcy, cease to do business, discontinue participation in the Medicare program, or there is an indication of fraud or abuse committed against the Medicare program. (v) CMS or its contractor may grant a provider or a supplier an ERS of at least 6 months if repaying an overpayment within 30 days would constitute a ‘‘hardship’’ as defined in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section. If a provider or supplier is granted an ERS for 6 months under paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section, missing one installment payment constitutes a default and the total balance of the overpayment will be recovered immediately. (vi) CMS or its contractor may grant a provider or a supplier an ERS of 36 months and up to 60 months if repaying an overpayment would constitute an ‘‘extreme hardship’’ as defined in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section. * * * * * (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program No. 93.773, Medicare-Hospital Insurance; and Program No. 93.774, Medicare-Supplementary Medical Insurance Program) VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:05 Nov 24, 2006 Jkt 211001 Dated: April 5, 2006. Mark B. McClellan, Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Approved: May 17, 2006. Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary. Editorial Note: This document was received at the Office of the Federal Register on November 20, 2006. [FR Doc. E6–19960 Filed 11–24–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4120–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 RIN 0648–AT67 [Docket No.061109296–6296–01; I.D. 110606A] Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish Fisheries; 2007 Atlantic Bluefish Specifications; 2007 Research Set-Aside Project National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS proposes 2007 specifications for the Atlantic bluefish fishery, including state-by-state commercial quotas, a recreational harvest limit, and recreational possession limits for Atlantic bluefish off the east coast of the United States. The intent of these specifications is to establish the allowable 2007 harvest levels and possession limits to attain the target fishing mortality rate (F), consistent with the stock rebuilding program in Amendment 1 to the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). DATES: Written comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. eastern standard time, on December 27, 2006. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods: • E-mail: Bluespecs2007@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line the following identifier: ‘‘Comments on 2007 Bluefish Specifications.’’ • Federal e-Rulemaking portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. • Mail: Patricia A. Kurkul, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Northeast Regional Office, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope: ‘‘Comments on 2007 Bluefish Specifications.’’ PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 • Fax: (978) 281–9135. Copies of the specifications document, including the Environmental Assessment and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/IRFA) and other supporting documents for the specifications are available from Daniel Furlong, Executive Director, MidAtlantic Fishery Management Council, Room 2115, Federal Building, 300 South Street, Dover, DE 19901–6790. The specifications document is also accessible via the Internet at http:// www.nero.noaa.gov. The Northeast Fisheries Science Center (Center) 41st Stock Assessment Review Committee (SARC) Bluefish Assessment Report (updated for 2006) is available at: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/ nefsc/publications/crd/crd0514/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Allison Ferreira, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9103, or Michael Pentony, Senior Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9283. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The regulations implementing the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) are prepared by the MidAtlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and appear at 50 CFR part 648, subparts A and J. Regulations requiring annual specifications are found at § 648.160. The management unit for bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) is U.S. waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. The FMP requires that the Council recommend, on an annual basis, total allowable landings (TAL) for the fishery, consisting of a commercial quota and recreational harvest limit (RHL). A research set aside (RSA) quota is deducted from the bluefish TAL (after any applicable transfer) in an amount proportional to the percentage of the overall TAL as allocated to the commercial and recreational sectors. The annual review process for bluefish requires that the Council’s Bluefish Monitoring Committee (Monitoring Committee) review and make recommendations based on the best available data including, but not limited to, commercial and recreational catch/ landing statistics, current estimates of fishing mortality, stock abundance, discards for the recreational fishery, and juvenile recruitment. Based on the recommendations of the Monitoring Committee, the Council makes a recommendation to the Northeast Regional Administrator (RA). This FMP is a joint plan with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission); therefore, the E:\FR\FM\27NOP1.SGM 27NOP1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 227 / Monday, November 27, 2006 / Proposed Rules Commission meets during the annual specification process to adopt complimentary measures. The Council’s recommendations must include supporting documentation, concerning the environmental, economic, and social impacts of the recommendations. NMFS is responsible for reviewing these recommendations to assure they achieve the FMP objectives, and may modify them if they do not. NMFS then publishes proposed specifications in the Federal Register. After considering public comment, NMFS will publish final specifications in the Federal Register. In July 2006, the Monitoring Committee met to discuss the updated estimates of bluefish stock biomass and project fishery yields for 2007. In August 2006, the Council approved the Monitoring Committee’s recommendations and the Commission’s Bluefish Board (Board) adopted complementary management measures. Proposed Specifications hsrobinson on PROD1PC61 with PROPOSALS Updated Model Estimates According to Amendment 1 to the FMP (Amendment 1), overfishing for bluefish occurs when F exceeds the fishing mortality rate that allows maximum sustainable yield (FMSY), or the maximum F threshold to be achieved. The stock is considered overfished if the biomass (B) falls below the minimum biomass threshold, which is defined as 1/2BMSY. The Amendment also established that the long term target F (F0.1) is 90 percent of FMSY, and the long term target B is BMSY. The rebuilding plan established through Amendment 1 stipulates that the target fishing mortality rate (Ftarget) in 2007 be set at F = 0.31, or the status quo fishing mortality rate (Fyear), whichever is less. An age-structured assessment program (ASAP) model presented by the bluefish SARC in 2005 estimated annual biomass and F through the 2004 fishing year, as well as associated biological reference points. The original ASAP model output was revised in 2006. The corrected values were made available by the Center in August of 2006 as follows: B2004 = 230 million lb (104,136 mt), which was greater than the minimum biomass threshold, 1/2BMSY = 162 million lb (73,526 mt), and F2004 = 0.15, which was less than the maximum F threshold, FMSY = 0.19. These revisions indicated that the bluefish stock was not overfished and that overfishing was not occurring (see ADDRESSES for link to revised report). The ASAP model was updated for the purpose of estimating the current status of the bluefish stock; i.e., 2005 biomass VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:05 Nov 24, 2006 Jkt 211001 and F estimates were compared to the corrected ASAP model output, in order to enable the Monitoring Committee to recommend 2007 specifications using landing information through the 2005 fishing year. Additionally, a projection of biomass through 2010 was done using Ftarget = F2005 = 0.15. This projection identified a target yield for 2007 and also indicated that biomass is likely to reach the target by the rebuilding deadline; i.e., the year 2010. The Monitoring Committee supported the model updates that derived the following new estimates of biomass and projected fishery yields based on the corrected biological reference points for 2004: (1) An estimated stock biomass for 2005, B2005 = 310 million lb (140,614 mt); and (2) projected yields for 2007 using Ftarget = F2005 = 0.15. Based on the updated biological reference points, and the 2005 estimate of bluefish stock biomass, the bluefish stock is not considered overfished: B2005 = 310 million lb (140,614 mt) is greater than the minimum biomass threshold, 1/2 BMSY = 162 million lb (73,526 mt). Estimates of fishing mortality have declined from 0.41 in 1991 to 0.15 in 2005. The new model results also conclude that the Atlantic stock of bluefish is not experiencing overfishing; i.e., the most recent F (F2005 = 0.15) is less than the maximum F overfishing threshold (FMSY = 0.19). 2007 TAL The FMP specifies that the bluefish stock is to be rebuilt to BMSY over a 9– year period. The FMP requires the Council to recommend, on an annual basis, a level of total allowable catch (TAC) consistent with the rebuilding program in the FMP. An estimate of annual discards is deducted from the TAC to calculate the total allowable landings (TAL) that can be made during the year by the commercial and recreational fishing sectors combined. The TAL is composed of a commercial quota and a RHL. The FMP rebuilding program requires the TAC for any given year to be set based either on the target F resulting from the stock rebuilding schedule specified in the FMP (0.31 for 2007), or the F estimated in the most recent fishing year (F2005 = 0.15), whichever is lower. Therefore, the 2007 recommendation is based on an estimated F of 0.15. An overall TAC of 32.033 million lb (14,530 mt) was recommended as the coast-wide TAC by the Council at its August 2006 meeting to achieve the target fishing mortality rate, (F = 0.15) in 2007, and to ensure that the bluefish stock continues toward the long term biomass target, BMSY = 324 million lb (147,052 mt), consistent with PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 68525 the rebuilding schedule specified in Amendment 1. Based on the 2005 biomass estimate (310 million lb (140,614 mt)) the bluefish stock is well above the minimum biomass threshold (1/2 BMSY = 162 million lb (73,526 mt)), but is still slightly below the long-term biomass target (BMSY = 324 million lb (147,052 mt)). The TAL for 2007 is derived by subtracting an estimate of discards of 4.271 million lb (1,937 mt), the average discard level from 2001–2005, from the TAC. After subtracting estimated discards, the 2007 TAL would be approximately 12 percent greater than the 2006 TAL, or 27.762 million lb (12,593 mt). Based strictly on the percentages specified in the FMP (17 percent commercial, 83 percent recreational), the commercial quota for 2007 would be 4.720 million lb (2,141 mt), and the RHL would be 23.043 million lb (10,452 mt) in 2007. In addition, up to 3 percent of the TAL may be allocated as RSA quota. The discussion below describes the recommended allocation of TAL between the commercial and recreational sectors, and its proportional adjustment downward to account for the recommended bluefish RSA quota. Proposed Commercial Quota and Recreational Harvest Limit The FMP stipulates that in any year in which 17 percent of the TAL is less than 10.500 million lb (4,763 mt), the commercial quota may be increased up to 10.500 million lb (4,763 mt) as long as the recreational fishery is not projected to land more than 83 percent of the TAL in the upcoming fishing year, and the combined projected recreational landings and commercial quota would not exceed the TAL. At the Monitoring Committee meeting, Council staff presented a new mechanism for estimating projected recreational landings (simple linear regression of the recent (2000–2005) temporal trend in recreational landings) for the 2007 fishing year. The rationale provided for why this method was preferred was that the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey (MRFSS) sampling coverage in wave 1 increased dramatically in 2005 compared to previous years, and to extrapolate this wave 1 landing level to the upcoming year would result in a higher estimate of projected landings than would likely be achieved. The Monitoring Committee, which met in July 2006, reviewed and recommended using the linear projection approach for projecting 2007 recreational landings. Recreational landings are projected to reach 17.813 million lb (8,080 mt) in 2007. If the E:\FR\FM\27NOP1.SGM 27NOP1 68526 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 227 / Monday, November 27, 2006 / Proposed Rules maximum commercial quota of 10.500 million lb (4,763 mt) is established within a TAL of 27.762 million lb (12,593 mt) this would leave 17.262 million lb (7,830 mt) for the recreational fishery. This amount is less than the projected 2007 recreational landings (17.813 million lb (7,830 mt)) which when added to the maximum allowable commercial quota of 10.500 million lb (4,763 mt) would exceed the overall TAL. Therefore, because the FMP and regulations governing the bluefish fishery do not allow for this maximum allowable commercial quota, the Monitoring Committee and the Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, to transfer 4.780 million lb (2,168 mt) from the initial recreational allocation of 23.043 million lb (10,452 mt) resulting in a proposed 2007 commercial quota of 9.500 million lb (4,309 mt) and a RHL of 18.262 million lb (8,284 mt). These allocations were also recommended by the Commission to be implemented by the states for fisheries within state waters. RSA A request for proposals was published to solicit research proposals to utilize RSA in 2006 based on research priorities identified by the Council (December 23, 2005; 70 FR 76253). One research project that would utilize bluefish RSA has been approved by the RA and forwarded to the NOAA Grants Office. Therefore, a 363,677–lb (164,961–kg) RSA quota is proposed. Consistent with the allocation of the bluefish RSA, the proposed commercial quota for 2007 would be reduced to 9.376 million lb (4,253 mt) and the proposed RHL is reduced to 18.023 million lb (8,175 mt). Proposed Recreational Possession Limit The Council recommends, and NMFS proposes, to maintain the current recreational possession limit of up to 15 fish per person to achieve the RHL. Proposed State Commercial Allocations The proposed state commercial allocations for the recommended 2007 commercial quota are shown in Table 1 below, based on the percentages specified in the FMP. The table shows the allocations both before and after the deduction made to reflect the proposed RSA allocation. TABLE 1. PROPOSED BLUEFISH COMMERCIAL STATE-BY-STATE ALLOCATIONS FOR 2007 Quota 2007 Commercial Quota 2007 Commercial Quota (lb) 2007 Commercial Quota (kg) With Research SetAside With Research SetAside States Percent Share (lb) (kg) ME 0.6685 63,508 28,807 62,676 28,429 NH 0.4145 39,378 17,862 38,862 17,628 MA 6.7167 638,087 289,434 629,728 285,643 RI 6.8081 646,770 293,373 638,297 289,530 CT 1.2663 120,299 54,567 118,723 53,852 NY 10.3851 986,585 447,512 973,661 441,650 NJ 14.8162 1,407,539 638,456 1,389,101 630,092 DE 1.8782 178,429 80,935 176,092 79,875 MD 3.0018 285,171 129,353 281,435 127,658 VA 11.8795 1,128,553 511,908 1,113,769 505,202 NC 32.0608 3,045,776 1,381,555 3,005,877 1,363,457 SC 0.0352 3,344 1,517 3,300 1,497 GA 0.0095 903 409 891 404 FL 10.0597 955,672 433,490 943,153 427,811 100.0001 9,500,000 4,309,172 9,375,562 4,252,727 Total hsrobinson on PROD1PC61 with PROPOSALS Classification NMFS has determined that the proposed rule is consistent with the FMP and preliminarily determined that the rule is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and other applicable laws. This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:05 Nov 24, 2006 Jkt 211001 An initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) was prepared, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A copy of the IRFA can be obtained from the Council or NMFS (see ADDRESSES) or via the Internet at http://www.nero.noaa.gov. A PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 summary of the economic analysis follows. There were no large entities that participated in this fishery, as defined in section 601 of the RFA. Because there are no large entities participating in this fishery, there are no disproportionate effects on small versus large entities. Information on costs in the fishery are not readily available and vessel profitability cannot be determined E:\FR\FM\27NOP1.SGM 27NOP1 hsrobinson on PROD1PC61 with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 227 / Monday, November 27, 2006 / Proposed Rules directly. Therefore, changes in gross revenues were used as a proxy for profitability. In the absence of quantitative data, qualitative analyses were conducted. The participants in the commercial sector were defined using two sets of data. First, the Northeast dealer reports were used to identify any vessel that reported having landed 1 or more pounds of bluefish during calendar year 2005 (the last year for which there is complete data). These dealer reports identify 745 vessels that landed bluefish in states from Maine to North Carolina. However, this database does not provide information about fishery participation in South Carolina, Georgia, or Florida. To identify those commercial bluefish vessels, South Atlantic Trip Ticket reports were used to identify 882 vessels that landed bluefish in North Carolina and 620 vessels that landed bluefish on Florida’s east coast. The bluefish landings in South Carolina and Georgia represented less than 1/10 of 1 percent of total landings, a negligible proportion of the total bluefish landings along the Atlantic coast in 2005. In recent years, approximately 2,063 party/charter vessels may have been active and/or caught bluefish. The IRFA analyzed three alternatives (including the no action/status quo alternative) for allocating the TAL between the commercial and recreational sectors of the fishery. Consistent with FMP’s rebuilding schedule and the status of the resource as assessed by the revised SARC–41 report and the updated model projections, alternatives one and two were based on an overall TAL of 27.762 million lb (12,593 mt) and included an RSA quota of 363,677 lb (164,961 kg). The no action alternative includes an overall TAL of 24.799 million lb (11,249 mt) and an RSA quota of 363,677 lb (164,961 kg). Outside of the difference in the overall TAL specification, the alternatives differed only in the manner in which the TAL was allocated between the commercial and recreational sectors. The recommended alternative, before RSA deduction, would allocate 9.500 million lb (4,309 mt) to the commercial sector and 18.262 million lb (8,284 mt) to the recreational sector. Alternative 2, the most restrictive alternative, would have allocated 4.720 million lb (2,141 mt) to the commercial sector and 23.043 million lb (10,452 mt) to the recreational sector, reflecting the percentage allocations specified in the FMP (i.e., the 17–percent commercial/83–percent recreational sector split). Alternative 3 would have allocated 8.082 million lb (3,666 mt) to the commercial sector and VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:05 Nov 24, 2006 Jkt 211001 16.718 million lb (7,583 mt) to the recreational sector, reflecting the commercial level that was place in 2006 (i.e., status quo/no action alternative). For the commercial sector, the recommended coast-wide quota is approximately 35 percent higher than 2005 commercial landings. Impacts on individual commercial vessels were assessed by conducting a threshold analysis using the dealer reports for the 745 vessels that landed bluefish from Maine through North Carolina. The analysis projected that there would be no revenue change for 638 out of 745 vessels, while 104 vessels could incur slight revenue losses of less than 5 percent. Another three vessels could incur revenue losses of between 5 percent and 39 percent; all these vessels identified home ports in New York. According to a threshold impact analysis that compared 2005 landings from the Northeast dealer reports to the recommended 2007 adjusted commercial quota allocation, New York could experience decreases in landings up to 14 percent, while overall coast wide landings would increase by approximately 33 percent. This is due to the fact that New York’s proposed 2007 quota is smaller than actual 2005 landings. The impacts of the proposed alternative on commercial vessels in the South Atlantic were assessed using trip ticket data. The analysis concluded that as a consequence of the 2007 recommended allocation compared to 2005 landings, there would be no decreased landings in North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. On average, the potential increase in landings in North Carolina is expected to be minimal (approximately 7 percent); whereby, no projected revenue losses are expected for vessels that landed in Florida. While the potential percentage increase in bluefish landings from Georgia appears high (136 percent), bluefish landed in Georgia represent a very small proportion of the overall coast wide landings (less than 1/10 of 1 percent), so this would represent a very small increase in absolute terms. The provision that allows commercial quota to be transferred from one state to another may result in transfers of quota to New York and possibly North Carolina, from other states, thus mitigating the potential negative revenue impacts. While not assured, such transfers have been made annually in recent years, including 2004 and 2006. The analysis of Alternative 2 concluded that, for the commercial sector, there would be a 33–percent decrease in total potential commercial PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 68527 landings in 2007 compared to 2005 landings. The analysis of impacts on individual commercial vessels projected that there would be no revenue change for 93 of the 745 vessels that landed bluefish in 2005, while 585 vessels could incur slight revenue losses (less than 5 percent). Another 52 vessels could incur revenue losses between 5 percent and 39 percent, while 15 vessels could incur revenue losses of greater than 39 percent. Nearly all of the vessels projected to incur revenue losses of greater than 5 percent had home ports in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or North Carolina. Again, the commercial quota transfer provision could be expected to mitigate some or all of these impacts, although to a lesser extent than in the other alternatives, as all states would have less quota to transfer. The impacts of Alternative 2 on commercial vessels in the south Atlantic area were assessed using trip ticket data. The analysis concluded that these impacts would result in revenue reductions associated with allowable landings of approximately 47 percent for vessels that landed in North Carolina. However, on average, reductions in landings would be expected to approximate 6 percent for vessels that land in North Carolina. No projected revenue losses are expected for vessels that land in Florida. The analysis of Alternative 3 concluded that, for the commercial sector, there would be a 15–percent increase in total potential commercial landings in 2007 compared to actual landings in 2005. The analysis of impacts on individual commercial vessels projected that there would be no revenue change for 324 of the 745 vessels that landed bluefish in 2005, while 411 could incur slight revenue losses (less than 5 percent). Another 14 vessels could incur revenue losses between 5 percent and 39 percent. The vessels projected to incur revenue losses of greater than 5 percent had home ports in New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Similar to the other alternatives, the commercial quota transfer provision could be utilized to mitigate revenue losses, the extent to which would be dependent on a state’s willingness and ability to partake in the transfer. The impacts of Alternative 3 on commercial vessels in the south Atlantic area were assessed using trip ticket data. The analysis concludes that these impacts would result in revenue reductions associated with allowable landings of approximately 9 percent for 882 vessels identified as landing in North Carolina and no revenue E:\FR\FM\27NOP1.SGM 27NOP1 68528 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 227 / Monday, November 27, 2006 / Proposed Rules hsrobinson on PROD1PC61 with PROPOSALS reductions for vessels landing in Florida. For the recreational sector of the fishery, there were no negative revenue impacts projected to occur with regard the recommended RHLs because this level would be close to the recreational landings in 2005 (16.162 million lb (7,331 mt)), and above the recreational landings projected for 2007 through the linear projection approach (17.813 million lb (8,080 mt). The recommended RHL is higher than the other two other alternatives, to account for this increase in expected landings. The recreational fishery impacts may be greater under Alternatives 3, compared to the recommended measures under Alternative 1, because the RHL under VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:51 Nov 24, 2006 Jkt 211001 this alternative is less than the projected landings for 2007. Although there is very little empirical evidence regarding the sensitivity of charter/party anglers to regulation, it is anticipated that the proposed harvest levels will not affect the demand for charter/party boat trips. The IRFA also analyzed the impacts on revenues of the proposed RSA amount and found that the social and economic impacts are minimal. Assuming that the full RSA of 363,677 lb (164,961 kg) is landed and sold to support the proposed research project (a supplemental finfish survey in the MidAtlantic) then all of the participants in the fishery would benefit from the anticipated improvements in the data underlying the stock assessments. PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Because the recommended overall commercial quota is higher than 2005 landings, no overall negative impacts are expected in the commercial sector. Based on recent trends in the recreational fishery, recreational landings will more than likely remain below the recommended harvest level in 2007. A full analysis is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: November 20, 2006. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E6–20005 Filed 11–24–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\27NOP1.SGM 27NOP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 227 (Monday, November 27, 2006)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 68524-68528]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-20005]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

RIN 0648-AT67
[Docket No.061109296-6296-01; I.D. 110606A]


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Bluefish 
Fisheries; 2007 Atlantic Bluefish Specifications; 2007 Research Set-
Aside Project

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

ACTION:  Proposed rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY:  NMFS proposes 2007 specifications for the Atlantic bluefish 
fishery, including state-by-state commercial quotas, a recreational 
harvest limit, and recreational possession limits for Atlantic bluefish 
off the east coast of the United States. The intent of these 
specifications is to establish the allowable 2007 harvest levels and 
possession limits to attain the target fishing mortality rate (F), 
consistent with the stock rebuilding program in Amendment 1 to the 
Atlantic Bluefish Fishery Management Plan (FMP).

DATES:  Written comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. eastern 
standard time, on December 27, 2006.

ADDRESSES:  You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: Bluespecs2007@noaa.gov. Include in the subject 
line the following identifier: ``Comments on 2007 Bluefish 
Specifications.''
     Federal e-Rulemaking portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Mail: Patricia A. Kurkul, Regional Administrator, NMFS, 
Northeast Regional Office, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. 
Mark the outside of the envelope: ``Comments on 2007 Bluefish 
Specifications.''
     Fax: (978) 281-9135.
    Copies of the specifications document, including the Environmental 
Assessment and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/IRFA) and 
other supporting documents for the specifications are available from 
Daniel Furlong, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management 
Council, Room 2115, Federal Building, 300 South Street, Dover, DE 
19901-6790. The specifications document is also accessible via the 
Internet at http://www.nero.noaa.gov.
    The Northeast Fisheries Science Center (Center) 41st Stock 
Assessment Review Committee (SARC) Bluefish Assessment Report (updated 
for 2006) is available at: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/nefsc/
publications/crd/crd0514/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Allison Ferreira, Fishery Policy 
Analyst, (978) 281-9103, or Michael Pentony, Senior Fishery Policy 
Analyst, (978) 281-9283.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The regulations implementing the Atlantic Bluefish Fishery 
Management Plan (FMP) are prepared by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery 
Management Council (Council) and appear at 50 CFR part 648, subparts A 
and J. Regulations requiring annual specifications are found at Sec.  
648.160. The management unit for bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) is U.S. 
waters of the western Atlantic Ocean.
    The FMP requires that the Council recommend, on an annual basis, 
total allowable landings (TAL) for the fishery, consisting of a 
commercial quota and recreational harvest limit (RHL). A research set 
aside (RSA) quota is deducted from the bluefish TAL (after any 
applicable transfer) in an amount proportional to the percentage of the 
overall TAL as allocated to the commercial and recreational sectors. 
The annual review process for bluefish requires that the Council's 
Bluefish Monitoring Committee (Monitoring Committee) review and make 
recommendations based on the best available data including, but not 
limited to, commercial and recreational catch/landing statistics, 
current estimates of fishing mortality, stock abundance, discards for 
the recreational fishery, and juvenile recruitment. Based on the 
recommendations of the Monitoring Committee, the Council makes a 
recommendation to the Northeast Regional Administrator (RA). This FMP 
is a joint plan with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission 
(Commission); therefore, the

[[Page 68525]]

Commission meets during the annual specification process to adopt 
complimentary measures.
    The Council's recommendations must include supporting 
documentation, concerning the environmental, economic, and social 
impacts of the recommendations. NMFS is responsible for reviewing these 
recommendations to assure they achieve the FMP objectives, and may 
modify them if they do not. NMFS then publishes proposed specifications 
in the Federal Register. After considering public comment, NMFS will 
publish final specifications in the Federal Register.
    In July 2006, the Monitoring Committee met to discuss the updated 
estimates of bluefish stock biomass and project fishery yields for 
2007. In August 2006, the Council approved the Monitoring Committee's 
recommendations and the Commission's Bluefish Board (Board) adopted 
complementary management measures.

Proposed Specifications

Updated Model Estimates

    According to Amendment 1 to the FMP (Amendment 1), overfishing for 
bluefish occurs when F exceeds the fishing mortality rate that allows 
maximum sustainable yield (FMSY), or the maximum F threshold 
to be achieved. The stock is considered overfished if the biomass (B) 
falls below the minimum biomass threshold, which is defined as 1/
2BMSY. The Amendment also established that the long term 
target F (F0.1) is 90 percent of FMSY, and the 
long term target B is BMSY. The rebuilding plan established 
through Amendment 1 stipulates that the target fishing mortality rate 
(Ftarget) in 2007 be set at F = 0.31, or the status quo 
fishing mortality rate (Fyear), whichever is less.
    An age-structured assessment program (ASAP) model presented by the 
bluefish SARC in 2005 estimated annual biomass and F through the 2004 
fishing year, as well as associated biological reference points. The 
original ASAP model output was revised in 2006. The corrected values 
were made available by the Center in August of 2006 as follows: 
B2004 = 230 million lb (104,136 mt), which was greater than 
the minimum biomass threshold, 1/2BMSY = 162 million lb 
(73,526 mt), and F2004 = 0.15, which was less than the 
maximum F threshold, FMSY = 0.19. These revisions indicated 
that the bluefish stock was not overfished and that overfishing was not 
occurring (see ADDRESSES for link to revised report).
     The ASAP model was updated for the purpose of estimating the 
current status of the bluefish stock; i.e., 2005 biomass and F 
estimates were compared to the corrected ASAP model output, in order to 
enable the Monitoring Committee to recommend 2007 specifications using 
landing information through the 2005 fishing year. Additionally, a 
projection of biomass through 2010 was done using Ftarget = 
F2005 = 0.15. This projection identified a target yield for 
2007 and also indicated that biomass is likely to reach the target by 
the rebuilding deadline; i.e., the year 2010. The Monitoring Committee 
supported the model updates that derived the following new estimates of 
biomass and projected fishery yields based on the corrected biological 
reference points for 2004: (1) An estimated stock biomass for 2005, 
B2005 = 310 million lb (140,614 mt); and (2) projected 
yields for 2007 using Ftarget = F2005 = 0.15. 
Based on the updated biological reference points, and the 2005 estimate 
of bluefish stock biomass, the bluefish stock is not considered 
overfished: B2005 = 310 million lb (140,614 mt) is greater 
than the minimum biomass threshold, 1/2 BMSY = 162 million 
lb (73,526 mt). Estimates of fishing mortality have declined from 0.41 
in 1991 to 0.15 in 2005. The new model results also conclude that the 
Atlantic stock of bluefish is not experiencing overfishing; i.e., the 
most recent F (F2005 = 0.15) is less than the maximum F 
overfishing threshold (FMSY = 0.19).

2007 TAL

    The FMP specifies that the bluefish stock is to be rebuilt to BMSY 
over a 9-year period. The FMP requires the Council to recommend, on an 
annual basis, a level of total allowable catch (TAC) consistent with 
the rebuilding program in the FMP. An estimate of annual discards is 
deducted from the TAC to calculate the total allowable landings (TAL) 
that can be made during the year by the commercial and recreational 
fishing sectors combined. The TAL is composed of a commercial quota and 
a RHL. The FMP rebuilding program requires the TAC for any given year 
to be set based either on the target F resulting from the stock 
rebuilding schedule specified in the FMP (0.31 for 2007), or the F 
estimated in the most recent fishing year (F2005 = 0.15), 
whichever is lower. Therefore, the 2007 recommendation is based on an 
estimated F of 0.15. An overall TAC of 32.033 million lb (14,530 mt) 
was recommended as the coast-wide TAC by the Council at its August 2006 
meeting to achieve the target fishing mortality rate, (F = 0.15) in 
2007, and to ensure that the bluefish stock continues toward the long 
term biomass target, BMSY = 324 million lb (147,052 mt), 
consistent with the rebuilding schedule specified in Amendment 1. Based 
on the 2005 biomass estimate (310 million lb (140,614 mt)) the bluefish 
stock is well above the minimum biomass threshold (1/2 BMSY 
= 162 million lb (73,526 mt)), but is still slightly below the long-
term biomass target (BMSY = 324 million lb (147,052 mt)).
    The TAL for 2007 is derived by subtracting an estimate of discards 
of 4.271 million lb (1,937 mt), the average discard level from 2001-
2005, from the TAC. After subtracting estimated discards, the 2007 TAL 
would be approximately 12 percent greater than the 2006 TAL, or 27.762 
million lb (12,593 mt). Based strictly on the percentages specified in 
the FMP (17 percent commercial, 83 percent recreational), the 
commercial quota for 2007 would be 4.720 million lb (2,141 mt), and the 
RHL would be 23.043 million lb (10,452 mt) in 2007. In addition, up to 
3 percent of the TAL may be allocated as RSA quota. The discussion 
below describes the recommended allocation of TAL between the 
commercial and recreational sectors, and its proportional adjustment 
downward to account for the recommended bluefish RSA quota.

Proposed Commercial Quota and Recreational Harvest Limit

    The FMP stipulates that in any year in which 17 percent of the TAL 
is less than 10.500 million lb (4,763 mt), the commercial quota may be 
increased up to 10.500 million lb (4,763 mt) as long as the 
recreational fishery is not projected to land more than 83 percent of 
the TAL in the upcoming fishing year, and the combined projected 
recreational landings and commercial quota would not exceed the TAL. At 
the Monitoring Committee meeting, Council staff presented a new 
mechanism for estimating projected recreational landings (simple linear 
regression of the recent (2000-2005) temporal trend in recreational 
landings) for the 2007 fishing year. The rationale provided for why 
this method was preferred was that the Marine Recreational Fisheries 
Statistics Survey (MRFSS) sampling coverage in wave 1 increased 
dramatically in 2005 compared to previous years, and to extrapolate 
this wave 1 landing level to the upcoming year would result in a higher 
estimate of projected landings than would likely be achieved. The 
Monitoring Committee, which met in July 2006, reviewed and recommended 
using the linear projection approach for projecting 2007 recreational 
landings. Recreational landings are projected to reach 17.813 million 
lb (8,080 mt) in 2007. If the

[[Page 68526]]

maximum commercial quota of 10.500 million lb (4,763 mt) is established 
within a TAL of 27.762 million lb (12,593 mt) this would leave 17.262 
million lb (7,830 mt) for the recreational fishery. This amount is less 
than the projected 2007 recreational landings (17.813 million lb (7,830 
mt)) which when added to the maximum allowable commercial quota of 
10.500 million lb (4,763 mt) would exceed the overall TAL. Therefore, 
because the FMP and regulations governing the bluefish fishery do not 
allow for this maximum allowable commercial quota, the Monitoring 
Committee and the Council recommended, and NMFS proposes, to transfer 
4.780 million lb (2,168 mt) from the initial recreational allocation of 
23.043 million lb (10,452 mt) resulting in a proposed 2007 commercial 
quota of 9.500 million lb (4,309 mt) and a RHL of 18.262 million lb 
(8,284 mt). These allocations were also recommended by the Commission 
to be implemented by the states for fisheries within state waters.

RSA

    A request for proposals was published to solicit research proposals 
to utilize RSA in 2006 based on research priorities identified by the 
Council (December 23, 2005; 70 FR 76253). One research project that 
would utilize bluefish RSA has been approved by the RA and forwarded to 
the NOAA Grants Office. Therefore, a 363,677-lb (164,961-kg) RSA quota 
is proposed. Consistent with the allocation of the bluefish RSA, the 
proposed commercial quota for 2007 would be reduced to 9.376 million lb 
(4,253 mt) and the proposed RHL is reduced to 18.023 million lb (8,175 
mt).

Proposed Recreational Possession Limit

    The Council recommends, and NMFS proposes, to maintain the current 
recreational possession limit of up to 15 fish per person to achieve 
the RHL.

Proposed State Commercial Allocations

    The proposed state commercial allocations for the recommended 2007 
commercial quota are shown in Table 1 below, based on the percentages 
specified in the FMP. The table shows the allocations both before and 
after the deduction made to reflect the proposed RSA allocation.

                    Table 1. Proposed Bluefish Commercial State-by-State Allocations for 2007
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Quota           2007 Commercial Quota       2007 Commercial  2007 Commercial
                                -----------------------------------------------    Quota (lb)       Quota (kg)
             States                                                            ---------------------------------
                                   Percent          (lb)             (kg)        With Research    With Research
                                    Share                                          Set-Aside        Set-Aside
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ME                               0.6685       63,508           28,807           62,676           28,429
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NH                               0.4145       39,378           17,862           38,862           17,628
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MA                               6.7167       638,087          289,434          629,728          285,643
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
RI                               6.8081       646,770          293,373          638,297          289,530
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CT                               1.2663       120,299          54,567           118,723          53,852
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NY                               10.3851      986,585          447,512          973,661          441,650
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NJ                               14.8162      1,407,539        638,456          1,389,101        630,092
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DE                               1.8782       178,429          80,935           176,092          79,875
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MD                               3.0018       285,171          129,353          281,435          127,658
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VA                               11.8795      1,128,553        511,908          1,113,769        505,202
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NC                               32.0608      3,045,776        1,381,555        3,005,877        1,363,457
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SC                               0.0352       3,344            1,517            3,300            1,497
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GA                               0.0095       903              409              891              404
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FL                               10.0597      955,672          433,490          943,153          427,811
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total                            100.0001     9,500,000        4,309,172        9,375,562        4,252,727
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Classification

    NMFS has determined that the proposed rule is consistent with the 
FMP and preliminarily determined that the rule is consistent with the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and other 
applicable laws.
    This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866.
    An initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) was prepared, as 
required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The 
IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, 
would have on small entities. A copy of the IRFA can be obtained from 
the Council or NMFS (see ADDRESSES) or via the Internet at http://
www.nero.noaa.gov. A summary of the economic analysis follows.
    There were no large entities that participated in this fishery, as 
defined in section 601 of the RFA. Because there are no large entities 
participating in this fishery, there are no disproportionate effects on 
small versus large entities. Information on costs in the fishery are 
not readily available and vessel profitability cannot be determined

[[Page 68527]]

directly. Therefore, changes in gross revenues were used as a proxy for 
profitability. In the absence of quantitative data, qualitative 
analyses were conducted.
    The participants in the commercial sector were defined using two 
sets of data. First, the Northeast dealer reports were used to identify 
any vessel that reported having landed 1 or more pounds of bluefish 
during calendar year 2005 (the last year for which there is complete 
data). These dealer reports identify 745 vessels that landed bluefish 
in states from Maine to North Carolina. However, this database does not 
provide information about fishery participation in South Carolina, 
Georgia, or Florida. To identify those commercial bluefish vessels, 
South Atlantic Trip Ticket reports were used to identify 882 vessels 
that landed bluefish in North Carolina and 620 vessels that landed 
bluefish on Florida's east coast. The bluefish landings in South 
Carolina and Georgia represented less than 1/10 of 1 percent of total 
landings, a negligible proportion of the total bluefish landings along 
the Atlantic coast in 2005. In recent years, approximately 2,063 party/
charter vessels may have been active and/or caught bluefish.
    The IRFA analyzed three alternatives (including the no action/
status quo alternative) for allocating the TAL between the commercial 
and recreational sectors of the fishery. Consistent with FMP's 
rebuilding schedule and the status of the resource as assessed by the 
revised SARC-41 report and the updated model projections, alternatives 
one and two were based on an overall TAL of 27.762 million lb (12,593 
mt) and included an RSA quota of 363,677 lb (164,961 kg). The no action 
alternative includes an overall TAL of 24.799 million lb (11,249 mt) 
and an RSA quota of 363,677 lb (164,961 kg). Outside of the difference 
in the overall TAL specification, the alternatives differed only in the 
manner in which the TAL was allocated between the commercial and 
recreational sectors.
    The recommended alternative, before RSA deduction, would allocate 
9.500 million lb (4,309 mt) to the commercial sector and 18.262 million 
lb (8,284 mt) to the recreational sector. Alternative 2, the most 
restrictive alternative, would have allocated 4.720 million lb (2,141 
mt) to the commercial sector and 23.043 million lb (10,452 mt) to the 
recreational sector, reflecting the percentage allocations specified in 
the FMP (i.e., the 17-percent commercial/83-percent recreational sector 
split). Alternative 3 would have allocated 8.082 million lb (3,666 mt) 
to the commercial sector and 16.718 million lb (7,583 mt) to the 
recreational sector, reflecting the commercial level that was place in 
2006 (i.e., status quo/no action alternative).
    For the commercial sector, the recommended coast-wide quota is 
approximately 35 percent higher than 2005 commercial landings. Impacts 
on individual commercial vessels were assessed by conducting a 
threshold analysis using the dealer reports for the 745 vessels that 
landed bluefish from Maine through North Carolina. The analysis 
projected that there would be no revenue change for 638 out of 745 
vessels, while 104 vessels could incur slight revenue losses of less 
than 5 percent. Another three vessels could incur revenue losses of 
between 5 percent and 39 percent; all these vessels identified home 
ports in New York. According to a threshold impact analysis that 
compared 2005 landings from the Northeast dealer reports to the 
recommended 2007 adjusted commercial quota allocation, New York could 
experience decreases in landings up to 14 percent, while overall coast 
wide landings would increase by approximately 33 percent. This is due 
to the fact that New York's proposed 2007 quota is smaller than actual 
2005 landings.
    The impacts of the proposed alternative on commercial vessels in 
the South Atlantic were assessed using trip ticket data. The analysis 
concluded that as a consequence of the 2007 recommended allocation 
compared to 2005 landings, there would be no decreased landings in 
North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. On average, the potential 
increase in landings in North Carolina is expected to be minimal 
(approximately 7 percent); whereby, no projected revenue losses are 
expected for vessels that landed in Florida. While the potential 
percentage increase in bluefish landings from Georgia appears high (136 
percent), bluefish landed in Georgia represent a very small proportion 
of the overall coast wide landings (less than 1/10 of 1 percent), so 
this would represent a very small increase in absolute terms. The 
provision that allows commercial quota to be transferred from one state 
to another may result in transfers of quota to New York and possibly 
North Carolina, from other states, thus mitigating the potential 
negative revenue impacts. While not assured, such transfers have been 
made annually in recent years, including 2004 and 2006.
    The analysis of Alternative 2 concluded that, for the commercial 
sector, there would be a 33-percent decrease in total potential 
commercial landings in 2007 compared to 2005 landings. The analysis of 
impacts on individual commercial vessels projected that there would be 
no revenue change for 93 of the 745 vessels that landed bluefish in 
2005, while 585 vessels could incur slight revenue losses (less than 5 
percent). Another 52 vessels could incur revenue losses between 5 
percent and 39 percent, while 15 vessels could incur revenue losses of 
greater than 39 percent. Nearly all of the vessels projected to incur 
revenue losses of greater than 5 percent had home ports in 
Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or North Carolina. 
Again, the commercial quota transfer provision could be expected to 
mitigate some or all of these impacts, although to a lesser extent than 
in the other alternatives, as all states would have less quota to 
transfer.
    The impacts of Alternative 2 on commercial vessels in the south 
Atlantic area were assessed using trip ticket data. The analysis 
concluded that these impacts would result in revenue reductions 
associated with allowable landings of approximately 47 percent for 
vessels that landed in North Carolina. However, on average, reductions 
in landings would be expected to approximate 6 percent for vessels that 
land in North Carolina. No projected revenue losses are expected for 
vessels that land in Florida.
    The analysis of Alternative 3 concluded that, for the commercial 
sector, there would be a 15-percent increase in total potential 
commercial landings in 2007 compared to actual landings in 2005. The 
analysis of impacts on individual commercial vessels projected that 
there would be no revenue change for 324 of the 745 vessels that landed 
bluefish in 2005, while 411 could incur slight revenue losses (less 
than 5 percent). Another 14 vessels could incur revenue losses between 
5 percent and 39 percent. The vessels projected to incur revenue losses 
of greater than 5 percent had home ports in New York, New Jersey, and 
North Carolina. Similar to the other alternatives, the commercial quota 
transfer provision could be utilized to mitigate revenue losses, the 
extent to which would be dependent on a state's willingness and ability 
to partake in the transfer.
    The impacts of Alternative 3 on commercial vessels in the south 
Atlantic area were assessed using trip ticket data. The analysis 
concludes that these impacts would result in revenue reductions 
associated with allowable landings of approximately 9 percent for 882 
vessels identified as landing in North Carolina and no revenue

[[Page 68528]]

reductions for vessels landing in Florida.
    For the recreational sector of the fishery, there were no negative 
revenue impacts projected to occur with regard the recommended RHLs 
because this level would be close to the recreational landings in 2005 
(16.162 million lb (7,331 mt)), and above the recreational landings 
projected for 2007 through the linear projection approach (17.813 
million lb (8,080 mt). The recommended RHL is higher than the other two 
other alternatives, to account for this increase in expected landings. 
The recreational fishery impacts may be greater under Alternatives 3, 
compared to the recommended measures under Alternative 1, because the 
RHL under this alternative is less than the projected landings for 
2007. Although there is very little empirical evidence regarding the 
sensitivity of charter/party anglers to regulation, it is anticipated 
that the proposed harvest levels will not affect the demand for 
charter/party boat trips.
    The IRFA also analyzed the impacts on revenues of the proposed RSA 
amount and found that the social and economic impacts are minimal. 
Assuming that the full RSA of 363,677
    lb (164,961 kg) is landed and sold to support the proposed research 
project (a supplemental finfish survey in the Mid-Atlantic) then all of 
the participants in the fishery would benefit from the anticipated 
improvements in the data underlying the stock assessments. Because the 
recommended overall commercial quota is higher than 2005 landings, no 
overall negative impacts are expected in the commercial sector. Based 
on recent trends in the recreational fishery, recreational landings 
will more than likely remain below the recommended harvest level in 
2007. A full analysis is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES).

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

    Dated: November 20, 2006.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E6-20005 Filed 11-24-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S