Fisheries Off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Species Fisheries, 4225-4226 [E7-1450]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 19 / Tuesday, January 30, 2007 / Proposed Rules List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 721 Environmental protection, Chemicals, Hazardous substances, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: January 24, 2007. Charles M. Auer, Director, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. [FR Doc. E7–1413 Filed 1–29–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 224 and 660 [Docket Number 070110003–7003–01;I.D. 112006A] RIN 0648–AS89 Fisheries Off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Species Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. ycherry on PROD1PC64 with PROPOSALS AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS issues a proposed rule to amend text in the regulations governing closures of the drift gillnet fishery in the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area during El Nino events under the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (HMS FMP). The regulation is necessary to avoid jeopardizing loggerhead sea turtles, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, by clarifying the time period in which the area is to be closed and the methods that NMFS will use to determine if an El Nino event is occurring or forecast to occur. NMFS also proposes to correct an inaccurate cross-reference in the regulations governing special requirements for fishing activities to protect endangered sea turtles under the HMS FMP. DATES: Comments must be received by March 1, 2007. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this notice, identified by I.D. 112006A, by any of the following methods: • E-mail: 0648–AS89.SWR@noaa.gov. Include the I.D. number in the subject line of the message. • Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Rodney R. McInnis, Regional Administrator, Southwest Region, VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Jan 29, 2007 Jkt 211001 NMFS, 501 West Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802 4213. • Fax: (562) 980 4047. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Heberer, Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS, 760–431–9440, ext. 303. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On April 7, 2004, NMFS published a final rule to implement the HMS FMP (69 FR 18444) that included incorrect regulatory text in 50 CFR 660.713(c)(2) pertaining to the timing of a closure for the California/Oregon swordfish/thresher shark drift gillnet fishery during declared El Nino events and methods for determination and notification concerning an El Nino event. This proposed rule would amend that regulatory text. The timing of the closure and methods for determining an El Nino event were published on December 16, 2003, as part of the Pacific loggerhead conservation area final rule (68 FR 69962) and codified at 50 CFR 223.206(d)(6)(ii) and (iii). The closure is necessary to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of threatened loggerhead sea turtles. The final rule described the area of the closure, the time period in which the area is to be closed, the methods that NMFS will use to determine if an El Nino event is occurring or is going to occur, and how the Assistant Administrator will provide notification that an El Nino is occurring. Less than 4 months after the correct language was codified, the HMS FMP final rule removed and reserved the regulation at 50 CFR 223.206(d)(6) and moved the text from that regulation to 50 CFR 660.713(c). Due to an oversight in drafting, § 223.206(d)(6)(iii), which detailed the process for the AA to make a determination that an El Nino is occurring or scheduled to occur, was not included in the HMS FMP final rule. Also, text at 660.713(c)(2)(ii) of the draft rule was mistakenly included in the HMS FMP final rule. This proposed rule would remove paragraph the text at 660.713(c)(2)(ii) and replace it with two paragraphs that are substantively identical to the original § 223.206(d)(6)(iii). the text of 223.206(d)(6)(iii) as originally intended with non-substantive revisions to the text for clarification. Furthermore, the corrections would make clear that any closure as a result of an El Nino event would occur from June 1 – August 31 only, as currently specified in 50 CFR 660.713(c)(2), rather than during the time periods of January 1 – January 15 and August 15 – August 31, as currently specified inconsistently in § 660.713 (c)(2)(ii). NMFS also proposes to amend PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 4225 regulatory text at 50 CFR 224.104(c) that describes special requirements for fishing activities to protect endangered sea turtles. The existing text refers to special prohibitions relating to sea turtles at § 223.206(d)(2)(iv). However, paragraph (d)(2)(iv) no longer exists in 50 CFR 223.206. The reference should be to § 223.206(d). Classification NMFS has determined that the proposed rule is consistent with the HMS FMP and preliminarily determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and other applicable laws. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Approximately 90 vessels were permitted under the HMS FMP to operate in the swordfish/thresher shark drift gillnet fishery off the U.S. West Coast in 2005. Of these 90 vessels, 42 actively fished in 2005. These vessels are considered small business entities and there should be no economic impact to them as a result of this action. The proposed action is a correction measure that will clarify conflicting regulatory instructions and provide U.S. fishermen with clear instructions on how to comply with Federal law. As described earlier, the corrections would make clear that any closure as a result of an El Nino event would occur from June 1 - August 31, as currently specified in 50 CFR 660.713(c)(2), rather than during the time periods of January 1 – January 15 and August 15 – August 31, as currently specified inconsistently in § (c)(2)(ii). The corrections would also include additional information describing how NOAA will determine whether an El Nino event is occurring and when El Nino conditions have ceased. As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. List of Subjects 50 CFR Part 224 Administrative practice and procedure, Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting andrecordkeeping requirements. 50 CFR Part 660 Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. E:\FR\FM\30JAP1.SGM 30JAP1 4226 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 19 / Tuesday, January 30, 2007 / Proposed Rules Dated: January 24, 2007. William T. Hogarth, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR parts 224 and 660 are proposed to be amended as follows: PART 224—ENDANGERED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES 1. The authority citation for part 224 continues to read as follows: Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531–1543 and 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq. 2. In § 224.104, paragraph (c) is revised to read as follows: § 224.104 Special requirements for fishing activities to protect endangered sea turtles. * * * * * (c) Special prohibitions relating to sea turtles are provided at § 223.206(d). PART 660—FISHERIES OFF THE WEST COAST STATES 3. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 4. In § 660.713, paragraph (c)(2) is revised to read as follows: § 660.713 ycherry on PROD1PC64 with PROPOSALS * * * * (c)(2) Pacific loggerhead conservation area. No person may fish with, set, or haul back drift gillnet gear in U.S. waters of the Pacific Ocean east of the 120° W. meridian from June 1 through August 31 during a forecasted, or occurring, El Nino event off the coast of southern California. (i) Notification of an El Nino event. The Assistant Administrator will publish in the Federal Register a notification that an El Nino event is occurring, or is forecast to occur, off the coast of southern California and the requirement of a closure under this paragraph (c)(2). Furthermore, the Assistant Administrator will announce the requirement of such a closure by other methods as are necessary and appropriate to provide actual notice to the participants in the California/ Oregon drift gillnet fishery. (ii) Determination of El Nino conditions. The Assistant Administrator will rely on information developed by NOAA offices which monitor El Nino events, such as NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and the West Coast Office of NOAA’s Coast Watch program, in order to determine whether an El Nino is forecasted or occurring for the coast of southern California. The Assistant Administrator will use the monthly sea surface temperature anomaly charts to determine whether VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:44 Jan 29, 2007 Jkt 211001 [FR Doc. E7–1450 Filed 1–29–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Drift gillnet fishery. * there are warmer than normal sea surface temperatures present off of southern California during the months prior to the closure month for years in which an El Nino event has been declared by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center. Specifically, the Assistant Administrator, will use sea surface temperature data from the third and second months prior to the month of the closure for determining whether El Nino conditions are present off of southern California. (iii) Reopening. If, during a closure as described within this paragraph (c)(2), sea surface temperatures return to normal or below normal, the Assistant Administrator may publish a Federal Register notice announcing that El Nino conditions are no longer present off the coast of southern California and may terminate the closure prior to August 31. * * * * * 50 CFR Part 600 RIN 0648–AU46 [Docket No. 070118011–7011–01; I.D. 062906A] Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Observer Health and Safety National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This proposed rule would enhance the safety of observers and the efficiency of their deployment. The proposed rule would clarify prohibited actions regarding observers, reinforce that an observer may not be deployed or stay aboard an unsafe vessel, clarify when a fishing vessel is inadequate for observer deployment and how an owner or operator can resolve discrepancies, improve communications between observer programs and fishing vessel owners and operators, and provide for an alternate safety equipment examination of certain small fishing vessels. This proposed rule is necessary to maintain and improve the safety and effectiveness of fishing vessel observers in carrying out their duties as authorized by the Magnuson-Stevens PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) and the fishery management plans and regulations adopted under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. DATES: Comments must be received by 5 p.m., EST, on March 1, 2007. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this proposed rule or its Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), identified by 0648–AU46, by any of the following methods: • E mail: 0648–AU46@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line of the e mail comment the following document identifier: ‘‘Observer Safety Measures.’’ Comments sent via e mail, including all attachments, must not exceed a 10 megabyte file size. • Federal e Rulemaking portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Lisa Desfosse, Team Leader, National Observer Program, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 EastWest Highway, Rm 12525, Silver Spring, MD 20910 • Fax: 301–713–4137. Copies of the Regulatory Impact Review prepared for this action may be obtained from Lisa Desfosse. Requests should indicate whether paper copies or electronic copies on CD-ROM are preferred. These documents are also available at the following website: http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st4/nop/ index.html. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa Desfosse at 301–713–2328. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The Magnuson-Stevens Act, as amended; (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), the Marine Mammal Protection Act, as amended (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), the Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act, as amended (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) authorize the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to station observers aboard commercial fishing vessels to collect scientific data required for fishery and protected species conservation and management, to monitor incidental mortality and serious injury of marine mammals and other species listed under the ESA, and to monitor compliance with existing Federal regulations. In addition, under the South Pacific Tuna Act of 1988 (SPTA, 16 U.S.C. 973 et seq.), NMFS may require observers in the South Pacific Tuna Fishery. Regulations governing health and safety of observers are codified at 50 CFR 600.725 and 600.746. These E:\FR\FM\30JAP1.SGM 30JAP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 19 (Tuesday, January 30, 2007)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 4225-4226]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-1450]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 224 and 660

[Docket Number 070110003-7003-01;I.D. 112006A]
RIN 0648-AS89


Fisheries Off West Coast States; Highly Migratory Species 
Fisheries

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS issues a proposed rule to amend text in the regulations 
governing closures of the drift gillnet fishery in the Pacific 
Loggerhead Conservation Area during El Nino events under the Fishery 
Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory 
Species (HMS FMP). The regulation is necessary to avoid jeopardizing 
loggerhead sea turtles, which are listed as threatened under the 
Endangered Species Act, by clarifying the time period in which the area 
is to be closed and the methods that NMFS will use to determine if an 
El Nino event is occurring or forecast to occur. NMFS also proposes to 
correct an inaccurate cross-reference in the regulations governing 
special requirements for fishing activities to protect endangered sea 
turtles under the HMS FMP.

DATES: Comments must be received by March 1, 2007.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this notice, identified by I.D. 
112006A, by any of the following methods:
     E-mail: 0648-AS89.SWR@noaa.gov. Include the I.D. number in 
the subject line of the message.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Rodney R. McInnis, Regional Administrator, Southwest 
Region, NMFS, 501 West Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802 
4213.
     Fax: (562) 980 4047.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Heberer, Sustainable Fisheries 
Division, NMFS, 760-431-9440, ext. 303.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On April 7, 2004, NMFS published a final 
rule to implement the HMS FMP (69 FR 18444) that included incorrect 
regulatory text in 50 CFR 660.713(c)(2) pertaining to the timing of a 
closure for the California/Oregon swordfish/thresher shark drift 
gillnet fishery during declared El Nino events and methods for 
determination and notification concerning an El Nino event. This 
proposed rule would amend that regulatory text.
    The timing of the closure and methods for determining an El Nino 
event were published on December 16, 2003, as part of the Pacific 
loggerhead conservation area final rule (68 FR 69962) and codified at 
50 CFR 223.206(d)(6)(ii) and (iii). The closure is necessary to avoid 
jeopardizing the continued existence of threatened loggerhead sea 
turtles. The final rule described the area of the closure, the time 
period in which the area is to be closed, the methods that NMFS will 
use to determine if an El Nino event is occurring or is going to occur, 
and how the Assistant Administrator will provide notification that an 
El Nino is occurring.
    Less than 4 months after the correct language was codified, the HMS 
FMP final rule removed and reserved the regulation at 50 CFR 
223.206(d)(6) and moved the text from that regulation to 50 CFR 
660.713(c). Due to an oversight in drafting, Sec.  223.206(d)(6)(iii), 
which detailed the process for the AA to make a determination that an 
El Nino is occurring or scheduled to occur, was not included in the HMS 
FMP final rule. Also, text at 660.713(c)(2)(ii) of the draft rule was 
mistakenly included in the HMS FMP final rule. This proposed rule would 
remove paragraph the text at 660.713(c)(2)(ii) and replace it with two 
paragraphs that are substantively identical to the original Sec.  
223.206(d)(6)(iii). the text of 223.206(d)(6)(iii) as originally 
intended with non-substantive revisions to the text for clarification. 
Furthermore, the corrections would make clear that any closure as a 
result of an El Nino event would occur from June 1 - August 31 only, as 
currently specified in 50 CFR 660.713(c)(2), rather than during the 
time periods of January 1 - January 15 and August 15 - August 31, as 
currently specified inconsistently in Sec.  660.713 (c)(2)(ii). NMFS 
also proposes to amend regulatory text at 50 CFR 224.104(c) that 
describes special requirements for fishing activities to protect 
endangered sea turtles. The existing text refers to special 
prohibitions relating to sea turtles at Sec.  223.206(d)(2)(iv). 
However, paragraph (d)(2)(iv) no longer exists in 50 CFR 223.206. The 
reference should be to Sec.  223.206(d).

Classification

    NMFS has determined that the proposed rule is consistent with the 
HMS FMP and preliminarily determined that this proposed rule is 
consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act and other applicable laws.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Approximately 90 vessels were permitted under the HMS FMP to operate in 
the swordfish/thresher shark drift gillnet fishery off the U.S. West 
Coast in 2005. Of these 90 vessels, 42 actively fished in 2005. These 
vessels are considered small business entities and there should be no 
economic impact to them as a result of this action. The proposed action 
is a correction measure that will clarify conflicting regulatory 
instructions and provide U.S. fishermen with clear instructions on how 
to comply with Federal law. As described earlier, the corrections would 
make clear that any closure as a result of an El Nino event would occur 
from June 1 - August 31, as currently specified in 50 CFR 
660.713(c)(2), rather than during the time periods of January 1 - 
January 15 and August 15 - August 31, as currently specified 
inconsistently in Sec.  (c)(2)(ii). The corrections would also include 
additional information describing how NOAA will determine whether an El 
Nino event is occurring and when El Nino conditions have ceased. As a 
result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and 
none has been prepared.

List of Subjects

50 CFR Part 224

    Administrative practice and procedure, Endangered and threatened 
species, Exports, Imports, Reporting andrecordkeeping requirements.

50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.


[[Page 4226]]


    Dated: January 24, 2007.
William T. Hogarth,
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR parts 224 and 660 
are proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 224--ENDANGERED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES

    1. The authority citation for part 224 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531-1543 and 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.
    2. In Sec.  224.104, paragraph (c) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  224.104  Special requirements for fishing activities to protect 
endangered sea turtles.

* * * * *
    (c) Special prohibitions relating to sea turtles are provided at 
Sec.  223.206(d).

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF THE WEST COAST STATES

    3. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.
    4. In Sec.  660.713, paragraph (c)(2) is revised to read as 
follows:


Sec.  660.713  Drift gillnet fishery.

* * * * *
    (c)(2) Pacific loggerhead conservation area. No person may fish 
with, set, or haul back drift gillnet gear in U.S. waters of the 
Pacific Ocean east of the 120[deg] W. meridian from June 1 through 
August 31 during a forecasted, or occurring, El Nino event off the 
coast of southern California.
    (i) Notification of an El Nino event. The Assistant Administrator 
will publish in the Federal Register a notification that an El Nino 
event is occurring, or is forecast to occur, off the coast of southern 
California and the requirement of a closure under this paragraph 
(c)(2). Furthermore, the Assistant Administrator will announce the 
requirement of such a closure by other methods as are necessary and 
appropriate to provide actual notice to the participants in the 
California/Oregon drift gillnet fishery.
    (ii) Determination of El Nino conditions. The Assistant 
Administrator will rely on information developed by NOAA offices which 
monitor El Nino events, such as NOAA's Climate Prediction Center and 
the West Coast Office of NOAA's Coast Watch program, in order to 
determine whether an El Nino is forecasted or occurring for the coast 
of southern California. The Assistant Administrator will use the 
monthly sea surface temperature anomaly charts to determine whether 
there are warmer than normal sea surface temperatures present off of 
southern California during the months prior to the closure month for 
years in which an El Nino event has been declared by the NOAA Climate 
Prediction Center. Specifically, the Assistant Administrator, will use 
sea surface temperature data from the third and second months prior to 
the month of the closure for determining whether El Nino conditions are 
present off of southern California.
    (iii) Reopening. If, during a closure as described within this 
paragraph (c)(2), sea surface temperatures return to normal or below 
normal, the Assistant Administrator may publish a Federal Register 
notice announcing that El Nino conditions are no longer present off the 
coast of southern California and may terminate the closure prior to 
August 31.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. E7-1450 Filed 1-29-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S