Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Amendment 29 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico, 46607-46608 [E7-16359]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 161 / Tuesday, August 21, 2007 / Notices International Trade Commission Notification DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE The Department will contact the International Trade Commission (‘‘ITC’’) and will make this extension notice available to the ITC. Dated: August 15, 2007. Gary Taverman, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Import Administration. [FR Doc. E7–16448 Filed 8–20–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration The President’s Export Council: Meeting of the President’s Export Council; Correction International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. AGENCY: Notice of a time change for an open meeting via teleconference. ACTION: SUMMARY: The President’s Export Council will hold a meeting via teleconference to deliberate a draft letter of recommendation to the President. This meeting was announced in a Federal Register document published on August 13, 2007 (72 FR 45224). This notice corrects the time of that meeting. Date: August 23, 2007. Time: 1 p.m. (EDT); Correction. For the Conference Call-In Number and Further Information, Contact: The President’s Export Council Executive Secretariat, Room 4043, Washington, DC 20230 (Phone: 202–482–1124), or visit the PEC Web site, https:// www.ita.doc.gov/td/pec. Dated: August 16, 2007. J. Marc Chittum, Executive Secretary and Staff Director, President’s Export Council. [FR Doc. 07–4111 Filed 8–17–07; 9:33 am] rmajette on PROD1PC64 with NOTICES BILLING CODE 3510–DR–P the appropriate deadline is the next business day. See Notice of Clarification: Application of ‘‘Next Business Day’’ Rule for Administrative Determination Deadlines Pursuant to the Act, 70 FR 24533 (May 10, 2005). VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:08 Aug 20, 2007 Jkt 211001 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XC04 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Amendment 29 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; intent to prepare a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS); scoping meetings; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS, Southeast Region, in collaboration with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) intends to prepare a DEIS to describe and analyze management alternatives to be included in an amendment to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico. These alternatives will consider measures to rationalize effort and reduce overcapacity in the commercial grouper fishery to achieve and maintain optimum yield in the multi-species grouper fishery. The purpose of this notice of intent is to solicit public comments on the scope of issues to be addressed in the DEIS. DATES: Written comments on the scope of issues to be addressed in the DEIS must be received by NMFS by September 20, 2007. Nine scoping meetings will be held in September 2007. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for specific dates and times. ADDRESSES: Written comments on the scope of the DEIS, suggested alternatives and potential impacts, and requests for additional information on the amendment should be sent to Sarah DeVido, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701–5511; telephone (727) 824–5305; fax (727) 824–5308. Comments may also be sent by email to Sarah.DeVido@noaa.gov. Requests for information packets and for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 2203 North Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, Tampa, FL 33607; telephone: 813– 348–1630; fax: 813–348–1711. Requests may also be sent by email to steven.atran@gulfcouncil.org. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah DeVido; phone: (727) 824–5305; PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 46607 fax: (727) 824–5308; email: Sarah.DeVido@noaa.gov. Current regulatory measures used in the management of the grouper complex include a license limitation system, quotas, trip limits, minimum size limits, area/gear restrictions, and season closures. Nonetheless, the commercial grouper fishery has become overcapitalized which means the collective harvest capacity of participants is in excess of that required to efficiently harvest the commercial share of the total allowable catch. The overcapitalization observed in the fishery has caused commercial grouper regulations to become increasingly restrictive over time, intensifying derby conditions under which fishermen race to harvest as many fish as possible before the quota is reached. The intensification of derby conditions has, in some years, led to premature closures of the fishery. Incentives for overcapitalization and derby fishery conditions are expected to be maintained as long as the current management structure persists. Under this management structure, the commercial grouper fishery is expected to continue to be characterized by higher than necessary levels of capital investment, increased operating costs, increased likelihood of shortened seasons, reduced safety at-sea, wide fluctuations in grouper supply and depressed ex vessel prices. These conditions lead to deteriorating working conditions and profitability for participants. Therefore, NMFS, in collaboration with the Council will develop a DEIS to describe and analyze management alternatives to rationalize effort and reduce overcapacity in the commercial grouper fishery in order to achieve and maintain optimum yield in this multispecies fishery. These alternatives include, but are not limited to: elimination of latent permits, a buyback or buyout program, permit endorsements, an individual fishing quota program, or an individual transferable effort quota program. In accordance with NOAA’s Administrative Order 216–6, Section 5.02(c), Scoping Process, NMFS in collaboration with the Council has identified preliminary environmental issues as a means to initiate discussion for scoping purposes only. These preliminary issues may not represent the full range of issues that eventually will be evaluated in the EIS. NMFS, in collaboration with the Council, has scheduled the following nine scoping meetings to provide the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\21AUN1.SGM 21AUN1 rmajette on PROD1PC64 with NOTICES 46608 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 161 / Tuesday, August 21, 2007 / Notices opportunity for additional public input: Biloxi, MS, on September 10, 2007; New Orleans, LA, on September 10, 2007; Orange Beach, AL, on September 11, 2007; Galveston, TX, on September 11, 2007; Panama City, FL, on September 12, 2007; Palacios, TX, on September 12, 2007; Corpus Christi, TX, on September 13, 2007; Madeira Beach, FL, on September 17, 2007; and Fort Myers Beach, FL, on September 18, 2007. Copies of an information packet will be available at the meetings and are available prior to the meetings from the Council (see ADDRESSES). All scoping meetings will begin at 7 p.m. The meetings will be physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Council (see ADDRESSES). Once the DEIS associated with Amendment 29 is completed, it will be filed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA will publish a notice of availability of the DEIS for public comment in the Federal Register. The DEIS will have a 45-day comment period. This procedure is pursuant to regulations issued by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) for implementing the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 40 CFR parts 1500–1508) and to NOAA’s Administrative Order 216–6 regarding NOAA’s compliance with NEPA and the CEQ regulations. NMFS will consider public comments received on the DEIS in developing the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) and before adopting final management measures for the amendment. NMFS will submit both the final amendment and the supporting FEIS to the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) for review as per the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. NMFS will announce, through a notice published in the Federal Register, the availability of the final amendment for public review during the Secretarial review period. During Secretarial review, NMFS will also file the FEIS with the EPA and the EPA will publish a notice of availability for the FEIS in the Federal Register. This comment period will be concurrent with the Secretarial review period and will end prior to final agency action to approve, disapprove, or partially approve the amendment. NMFS will announce, through a notice published in the Federal Register, all public comment periods on the final amendment, its proposed implementing regulations, and the availability of its associated FEIS. NMFS VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:08 Aug 20, 2007 Jkt 211001 will consider all public comments received during the Secretarial review period, whether they are on the final amendment, the proposed regulations, or the FEIS, prior to final agency action. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: August 14, 2007. James P. Burgess, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E7–16359 Filed 8–20–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XC10 Western Pacific Pelagic Fisheries, Hawaii-based Longline Swordfish Fishery; Scoping Process National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement and notice of initiation of scoping process; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (WPFMC) and NMFS announce their intent to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) on the federal management of the Hawaii-based shallow-set pelagic longline fishery in the western Pacific. The SEIS will supplement the March 30, 2001, Final EIS on the Fishery Management Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region as well as the March 5, 2004, Final SEIS on Management Measures to Implement New Technologies for the Western Pacific Longline Fisheries. DATES: The WPFMC and NMFS will discuss alternatives and take scoping comments at a public meeting on August 30, 2007, from 6–9 p.m. Written scoping comments must be received by September 20, 2007. ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the Ala Moana Hotel, 410 Atkinson Dr., Honolulu, HI 96815. Written comments may be submitted by any of the following methods: • Mail: William L. Robinson, Regional Administrator, Pacific Islands Region, NMFS, 1601 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1110, Honolulu, HI 96814. Please write on the envelope: ‘‘Scoping Comments on HI Swordfish SEIS’’; or PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • E-mail: HILonglineScoping@noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kitty Simonds, Executive Director, WPFMC, (808) 522–8220, or William L. Robinson, Regional Administrator, NMFS, (808) 944–2200. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The SEIS will consider alternatives for modifying the current regulatory structure for the Hawaii-based shallow-set pelagic longline fishery (‘‘the fishery’’) to provide increased opportunities to harvest swordfish while continuing to avoid, to the extent practicable, the incidental catch of seabirds, marine mammals, and threatened and endangered sea turtles. Potential regulatory changes to be analyzed in the SEIS include: modifying or eliminating the existing limit on fishing effort; maintaining or eliminating longline ‘‘set certificates’’ that limit the amount of fishing effort in the fishery; retaining or eliminating hard ‘‘caps’’ (limits) on the incidental take of sea turtles which, if reached, close the fishery for the remainder of the year; the use of time and/or area restrictions in combination with caps on interactions with loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles; modifications to assessment methodologies; changes in observer coverage; and other management alternatives designed to increase incentives to avoid interactions with sea turtles and other protected resources. The SEIS will analyze the impacts of the range of reasonable alternatives on the affected human environment, including the No Action alternative, and the potential impacts on affected populations of sea turtles. The SEIS will include an update on the status of the biological and economic factors affecting the fishery, analysis of the impacts of regulatory measures currently in effect in the shallow-set fishery since 2004, summary of information on international conservation efforts, and a discussion of the potential transferred effects on both target- and incidentally-caught species to other national fishing fleets from regulatory restrictions in the domestic fishery. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), the United States has exclusive management authority over all living marine resources found within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Management of these marine resources, with the exception of seabirds and some marine mammals, is vested in the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). Eight Regional Fishery Management Councils prepare fishery E:\FR\FM\21AUN1.SGM 21AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 161 (Tuesday, August 21, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 46607-46608]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-16359]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XC04


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Amendment 29 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources 
of the Gulf of Mexico

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

ACTION: Notice; intent to prepare a draft environmental impact 
statement (DEIS); scoping meetings; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS, Southeast Region, in collaboration with the Gulf of 
Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) intends to prepare a DEIS 
to describe and analyze management alternatives to be included in an 
amendment to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of 
the Gulf of Mexico. These alternatives will consider measures to 
rationalize effort and reduce overcapacity in the commercial grouper 
fishery to achieve and maintain optimum yield in the multi-species 
grouper fishery. The purpose of this notice of intent is to solicit 
public comments on the scope of issues to be addressed in the DEIS.

DATES: Written comments on the scope of issues to be addressed in the 
DEIS must be received by NMFS by September 20, 2007. Nine scoping 
meetings will be held in September 2007. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
for specific dates and times.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the scope of the DEIS, suggested 
alternatives and potential impacts, and requests for additional 
information on the amendment should be sent to Sarah DeVido, National 
Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue 
South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701-5511; telephone (727) 824-5305; fax 
(727) 824-5308. Comments may also be sent by email to 
Sarah.DeVido@noaa.gov.
    Requests for information packets and for sign language 
interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to the Gulf 
of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 2203 North Lois Avenue, Suite 
1100, Tampa, FL 33607; telephone: 813-348-1630; fax: 813-348-1711. 
Requests may also be sent by email to steven.atran@gulfcouncil.org.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah DeVido; phone: (727) 824-5305; 
fax: (727) 824-5308; email: Sarah.DeVido@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Current regulatory measures used in the 
management of the grouper complex include a license limitation system, 
quotas, trip limits, minimum size limits, area/gear restrictions, and 
season closures. Nonetheless, the commercial grouper fishery has become 
overcapitalized which means the collective harvest capacity of 
participants is in excess of that required to efficiently harvest the 
commercial share of the total allowable catch. The overcapitalization 
observed in the fishery has caused commercial grouper regulations to 
become increasingly restrictive over time, intensifying derby 
conditions under which fishermen race to harvest as many fish as 
possible before the quota is reached. The intensification of derby 
conditions has, in some years, led to premature closures of the 
fishery.
    Incentives for overcapitalization and derby fishery conditions are 
expected to be maintained as long as the current management structure 
persists. Under this management structure, the commercial grouper 
fishery is expected to continue to be characterized by higher than 
necessary levels of capital investment, increased operating costs, 
increased likelihood of shortened seasons, reduced safety at-sea, wide 
fluctuations in grouper supply and depressed ex vessel prices. These 
conditions lead to deteriorating working conditions and profitability 
for participants.
    Therefore, NMFS, in collaboration with the Council will develop a 
DEIS to describe and analyze management alternatives to rationalize 
effort and reduce overcapacity in the commercial grouper fishery in 
order to achieve and maintain optimum yield in this multi-species 
fishery. These alternatives include, but are not limited to: 
elimination of latent permits, a buyback or buyout program, permit 
endorsements, an individual fishing quota program, or an individual 
transferable effort quota program.
    In accordance with NOAA's Administrative Order 216-6, Section 
5.02(c), Scoping Process, NMFS in collaboration with the Council has 
identified preliminary environmental issues as a means to initiate 
discussion for scoping purposes only. These preliminary issues may not 
represent the full range of issues that eventually will be evaluated in 
the EIS.
    NMFS, in collaboration with the Council, has scheduled the 
following nine scoping meetings to provide the

[[Page 46608]]

opportunity for additional public input: Biloxi, MS, on September 10, 
2007; New Orleans, LA, on September 10, 2007; Orange Beach, AL, on 
September 11, 2007; Galveston, TX, on September 11, 2007; Panama City, 
FL, on September 12, 2007; Palacios, TX, on September 12, 2007; Corpus 
Christi, TX, on September 13, 2007; Madeira Beach, FL, on September 17, 
2007; and Fort Myers Beach, FL, on September 18, 2007.
    Copies of an information packet will be available at the meetings 
and are available prior to the meetings from the Council (see 
ADDRESSES).
    All scoping meetings will begin at 7 p.m. The meetings will be 
physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign 
language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to 
the Council (see ADDRESSES).
    Once the DEIS associated with Amendment 29 is completed, it will be 
filed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA will 
publish a notice of availability of the DEIS for public comment in the 
Federal Register. The DEIS will have a 45-day comment period. This 
procedure is pursuant to regulations issued by the Council on 
Environmental Quality (CEQ) for implementing the procedural provisions 
of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 40 CFR parts 1500-1508) 
and to NOAA's Administrative Order 216-6 regarding NOAA's compliance 
with NEPA and the CEQ regulations.
    NMFS will consider public comments received on the DEIS in 
developing the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) and before 
adopting final management measures for the amendment. NMFS will submit 
both the final amendment and the supporting FEIS to the Secretary of 
Commerce (Secretary) for review as per the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act.
    NMFS will announce, through a notice published in the Federal 
Register, the availability of the final amendment for public review 
during the Secretarial review period. During Secretarial review, NMFS 
will also file the FEIS with the EPA and the EPA will publish a notice 
of availability for the FEIS in the Federal Register. This comment 
period will be concurrent with the Secretarial review period and will 
end prior to final agency action to approve, disapprove, or partially 
approve the amendment.
    NMFS will announce, through a notice published in the Federal 
Register, all public comment periods on the final amendment, its 
proposed implementing regulations, and the availability of its 
associated FEIS. NMFS will consider all public comments received during 
the Secretarial review period, whether they are on the final amendment, 
the proposed regulations, or the FEIS, prior to final agency action.

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

    Dated: August 14, 2007.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E7-16359 Filed 8-20-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S