New England Fishery Management Council; Atlantic Sea Scallop; Scoping Process, 11888-11889 [E8-4283]

Download as PDF 11888 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 44 / Wednesday, March 5, 2008 / Notices 3. Review and approve draft scoping document for Amendment 4. 4. Review and discuss timeline for Amendment 4 and upcoming fishery specifications. 5. Provide opportunity for public comment on Amendment 4 scoping document. 6. Identify priority tasks for Herring Plan Development Team. Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before this group for discussion, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council’s intent to take final action to address the emergency. Special Accommodations This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Paul J. Howard (see ADDRESSES) at least 5 days prior to the meeting date. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: February 29, 2008. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E8–4182 Filed 3–4–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XG02 New England Fishery Management Council; Atlantic Sea Scallop; Scoping Process National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) and notice of re-initiation of scoping process; request for comments. jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) announces its intent to prepare an amendment to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus ((Gmelin)) and to prepare an EIS to analyze the impacts of any proposed management VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:03 Mar 04, 2008 Jkt 214001 measures. The Council is also formally re-initiating a public process to determine the scope of alternatives to be addressed in the amendment and EIS. The purpose of this notification is to alert the interested public of the recommencement of the scoping process and to provide for public participation in compliance with environmental documentation requirements. DATES: The Council will discuss and take scoping comments at public meetings in April 2008. For specific dates and times of the scoping meetings, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Written scoping comments must be received on or before 5 p.m. EST, April 4, 2008. ADDRESSES: The Council will take scoping comments at public meetings in Virginia, New Jersey, Maine and Massachusetts. For specific locations, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Written comments on Amendment 15 may be sent by any of the following methods: • E-mail to the following address scallop.fifteen@noaa.gov; • Mail to Patricia A. Kurkul, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Northeast Regional Office, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ‘‘Comments on Scallop Amendment 15’’; or • Fax to Patricia A. Kurkul, 978–281– 9135. Requests for copies of the scoping document and other information should be directed to Paul J. Howard, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950, telephone (978) 465–0492. The scoping document is accessible electronically via the Internet at http:// www.nefmc.org. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul J. Howard, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council (978) 465–0492. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The U.S. Atlantic Sea scallop fishery is managed as one stock complex along the east coast from Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The Federal Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan (FMP) became effective on May 15, 1982. The FMP has been amended a number of times since then. In 1994 Amendment 4 began a limited access program for the directed scallop fleet with day-at-sea (DAS) limits and other measures to manage the scallop resource more effectively. Limited access vessels were assigned to different DAS permit categories (full- PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 time, part-time or occasional) according to their 1985–1990 fishing activity. A ‘‘general category’’ permit was created for vessels that did not qualify for limited access. These vessels could apply for a general category permit and land up to 400 pounds of scallops a day. In 2004 Amendment 10 introduced rotational area management and changed the way that the FMP allocates fishing effort for the limited access fishery. Rather than an annual pool of DAS, vessels are now allocated a certain number of trips in controlled access areas as well as a specific number of open area DAS. Numerous other actions have been implemented over the years, including modifications to gear and other input controls to further reduce effort and impacts on essential fish habitat (EFH) and bycatch. More recently, the Council approved an action to control capacity in the general category fishery (Amendment 11), which was approved by the Council in June 2007 and is currently under review by NMFS. If approved, Amendment 11 would allocate a specific portion of the projected scallop catch to the general category fishery and includes a limited access program for this permit type with an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program, as well as other measures. Additional measures for the Atlantic Sea Scallop FMP are being considered for several primary reasons: 1) the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2007 (MSRA) includes new requirements for annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) to be in place for all FMPs that are not subject to overfishing by 2011; 2) there is excess capacity in the limited access scallop fishery and rationalization of this fishery would reduce costs, increase profits, and increase overall economic efficiency in the fishery; and 3) the current overfishing definition does not protect the stock from growth overfishing and consideration of a more area-based approach is justified since this resource is primarily managed by area rotation. Other issues under consideration are adjustments to various alternatives developed under Amendment 11, measures to address EFH areas closed to the scallop fishery if Phase II of the EFH Omnibus Amendment is delayed, alternatives to improve the scallop research set-aside program, and moving the fishing year from March 1 to May 1. Measures Under Consideration The Council may consider a host of management measures to address the three primary issues including, but not limited to, the following: identification of ACLs and AMs for various E:\FR\FM\05MRN1.SGM 05MRN1 jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 44 / Wednesday, March 5, 2008 / Notices components of the scallop fishery; measures to reduce capacity in the limited access fishery including DAS leasing, permits or DAS transfers, and individual fishing quotas (IFQs); and consideration of an overfishing definition that would average fishing mortality for a particular area over a period of time rather than an overall average for the entire resource per fishing year. As for modifications to Amendment 11 measures if approved by NMFS, this action may consider a rollover allowance for general category IFQ permit owners; allocation of IFQ by area for general category IFQ permit owners; alternative methods for calculating the hard TAC in the Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) in future years; and consideration of individual sector applications for general category vessels interested in forming a voluntary sector. This action is also considering alternatives to address the inconsistent EFH areas currently closed to the scallop fishery under both the Scallop and Multispecies FMPs. Specifically, this action may consider making the EFH closed areas consistent under both FMPs if Phase II of the EFH Omnibus Amendment timeline is delayed. Rather than both EFH areas being closed to the scallop fishery, just the EFH areas implemented under the Multispecies FMP would apply to the scallop fishery. Additionally, this action is considering alternatives to improve the overall effectiveness of the research set-aside program. Specifically, alternatives to streamline the process may be considered as well as specific alternatives to maximize use of the resource for direct benefits to scallop management. Lastly, the amendment may consider a range of dates for the start of the fishing year, in addition to the status quo of March 1, to address that the scallop fishing year is out of sync with the framework adjustment process and the timing of when the scallop survey data become available for analysis. As a result, actions have not been implemented at the start of the fishing year, TACs have been misestimated due to reliance on older data, and extra actions have been required to compensate. Therefore, May 1 has been suggested as a possible start date to address some of these issues. It is possible that during the scoping process other issues will be raised related to the stated purposes of this amendment, and if appropriate, those issues will be considered by the Council as well. On the other hand, some issues may be dropped after completion of the scoping process if the Council determines that the scope of this action VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:03 Mar 04, 2008 Jkt 214001 is too broad and, due to limited resources, needs to reduce the number of issues considered in this action. Scoping Process All persons affected by or otherwise interested in scallop management are invited to participate in determining the scope and significance of issues to be analyzed by submitting written comments (see ADDRESSES) or by attending one of the scoping meetings. Scope consists of the range of actions, alternatives, and impacts to be considered. Alternatives include the following: not amending the management plan (taking no action), developing an amendment that contains management measures such as those discussed in this notice, or other reasonable courses of action. Impacts may be direct, individual or cumulative. This scoping process will also identify and eliminate issues that are not significant from detailed analysis. When, after the scoping process is completed, the Council proceeds with the development of an amendment to the Scallop FMP, the Council will prepare an EIS to analyze the impacts of a range of alternatives under consideration. The Council will hold public hearings to receive comments on the draft amendment and on the analysis of its impacts presented in the EIS. Scoping Hearing Schedule The Council will discuss and take scoping comments at the following public meetings: 1.Tuesday, April 1, 7 p.m., Omni Newport News Hotel, 1000 Omni Boulevard, Newport News, VA. 23606; telephone (757) 873–6664. 2.Wednesday, April 2, 7 p.m., Congress Hall, 251 Beach Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204; telephone (609) 884– 8421. 3.Monday, April 7, 7 p.m., Holiday Inn by the Bay, 88 Spring Street, Portland, ME 04101; telephone (207) 775–2311. 4.Tuesday, April 8, 7 p.m., Holiday Inn Express, 110 Middle Street, Fairhaven, MA 02719; telephone: (508) 997–1281. Special Accommodations These meetings are accessible to people with physical disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Paul J. Howard (see ADDRESSES) at least 5 days prior to the meeting date. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 11889 Dated: February 28, 2008 James P. Burgess, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E8–4283 Filed 3–4–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 0648-XG07 [I.D. 050107K] Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training (AFAST) Activities National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; receipt of application for letter of authorization; request for comments and information. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) for authorization for the take of marine mammals incidental to Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training (AFAST) activities conducted off the Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of Mexico for the period beginning January 2009 and ending January 2014. Pursuant to the implementing regulations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is announcing our receipt of the Navy’s request for the development and implementation of regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals and inviting information, suggestions, and comments on the Navy’s application and request. DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than April 4, 2008. ADDRESSES: Comments on the application should be addressed to Michael Payne, Chief, Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 EastWest Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910–3225. The mailbox address for providing email comments is PR1.050107K@noaa.gov. NMFS is not responsible for e-mail comments sent to addresses other than the one provided here. Comments sent via e-mail, including all attachments, must not exceed a 10–megabyte file size. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jolie Harrison, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 713–2289, ext. 166. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\05MRN1.SGM 05MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 44 (Wednesday, March 5, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 11888-11889]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-4283]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XG02


New England Fishery Management Council; Atlantic Sea Scallop; 
Scoping Process

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

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement 
(EIS) and notice of re-initiation of scoping process; request for 
comments.

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

SUMMARY: The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) announces 
its intent to prepare an amendment to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) 
for Atlantic Sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus ((Gmelin)) and to 
prepare an EIS to analyze the impacts of any proposed management 
measures. The Council is also formally re-initiating a public process 
to determine the scope of alternatives to be addressed in the amendment 
and EIS. The purpose of this notification is to alert the interested 
public of the re-commencement of the scoping process and to provide for 
public participation in compliance with environmental documentation 
requirements.

DATES: The Council will discuss and take scoping comments at public 
meetings in April 2008. For specific dates and times of the scoping 
meetings, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Written scoping comments must 
be received on or before 5 p.m. EST, April 4, 2008.

ADDRESSES: The Council will take scoping comments at public meetings in 
Virginia, New Jersey, Maine and Massachusetts. For specific locations, 
see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Written comments on Amendment 15 may be 
sent by any of the following methods:
     E-mail to the following address scallop.fifteen@noaa.gov;
     Mail to Patricia A. Kurkul, Regional Administrator, NMFS, 
Northeast Regional Office, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. 
Mark the outside of the envelope ``Comments on Scallop Amendment 15''; 
or
     Fax to Patricia A. Kurkul, 978-281-9135.
    Requests for copies of the scoping document and other information 
should be directed to Paul J. Howard, Executive Director, New England 
Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 
01950, telephone (978) 465-0492. The scoping document is accessible 
electronically via the Internet at http://www.nefmc.org.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul J. Howard, Executive Director, 
New England Fishery Management Council (978) 465-0492.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The U.S. Atlantic Sea scallop fishery is managed as one stock 
complex along the east coast from Maine to Cape Hatteras, North 
Carolina. The Federal Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan 
(FMP) became effective on May 15, 1982. The FMP has been amended a 
number of times since then. In 1994 Amendment 4 began a limited access 
program for the directed scallop fleet with day-at-sea (DAS) limits and 
other measures to manage the scallop resource more effectively. Limited 
access vessels were assigned to different DAS permit categories (full-
time, part-time or occasional) according to their 1985-1990 fishing 
activity. A ``general category'' permit was created for vessels that 
did not qualify for limited access. These vessels could apply for a 
general category permit and land up to 400 pounds of scallops a day.
    In 2004 Amendment 10 introduced rotational area management and 
changed the way that the FMP allocates fishing effort for the limited 
access fishery. Rather than an annual pool of DAS, vessels are now 
allocated a certain number of trips in controlled access areas as well 
as a specific number of open area DAS. Numerous other actions have been 
implemented over the years, including modifications to gear and other 
input controls to further reduce effort and impacts on essential fish 
habitat (EFH) and bycatch. More recently, the Council approved an 
action to control capacity in the general category fishery (Amendment 
11), which was approved by the Council in June 2007 and is currently 
under review by NMFS. If approved, Amendment 11 would allocate a 
specific portion of the projected scallop catch to the general category 
fishery and includes a limited access program for this permit type with 
an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program, as well as other measures.
    Additional measures for the Atlantic Sea Scallop FMP are being 
considered for several primary reasons: 1) the Magnuson-Stevens 
Reauthorization Act of 2007 (MSRA) includes new requirements for annual 
catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) to be in place 
for all FMPs that are not subject to overfishing by 2011; 2) there is 
excess capacity in the limited access scallop fishery and 
rationalization of this fishery would reduce costs, increase profits, 
and increase overall economic efficiency in the fishery; and 3) the 
current overfishing definition does not protect the stock from growth 
overfishing and consideration of a more area-based approach is 
justified since this resource is primarily managed by area rotation. 
Other issues under consideration are adjustments to various 
alternatives developed under Amendment 11, measures to address EFH 
areas closed to the scallop fishery if Phase II of the EFH Omnibus 
Amendment is delayed, alternatives to improve the scallop research set-
aside program, and moving the fishing year from March 1 to May 1.

Measures Under Consideration

    The Council may consider a host of management measures to address 
the three primary issues including, but not limited to, the following: 
identification of ACLs and AMs for various

[[Page 11889]]

components of the scallop fishery; measures to reduce capacity in the 
limited access fishery including DAS leasing, permits or DAS transfers, 
and individual fishing quotas (IFQs); and consideration of an 
overfishing definition that would average fishing mortality for a 
particular area over a period of time rather than an overall average 
for the entire resource per fishing year. As for modifications to 
Amendment 11 measures if approved by NMFS, this action may consider a 
rollover allowance for general category IFQ permit owners; allocation 
of IFQ by area for general category IFQ permit owners; alternative 
methods for calculating the hard TAC in the Northern Gulf of Maine 
(NGOM) in future years; and consideration of individual sector 
applications for general category vessels interested in forming a 
voluntary sector.
    This action is also considering alternatives to address the 
inconsistent EFH areas currently closed to the scallop fishery under 
both the Scallop and Multispecies FMPs. Specifically, this action may 
consider making the EFH closed areas consistent under both FMPs if 
Phase II of the EFH Omnibus Amendment timeline is delayed. Rather than 
both EFH areas being closed to the scallop fishery, just the EFH areas 
implemented under the Multispecies FMP would apply to the scallop 
fishery. Additionally, this action is considering alternatives to 
improve the overall effectiveness of the research set-aside program. 
Specifically, alternatives to streamline the process may be considered 
as well as specific alternatives to maximize use of the resource for 
direct benefits to scallop management. Lastly, the amendment may 
consider a range of dates for the start of the fishing year, in 
addition to the status quo of March 1, to address that the scallop 
fishing year is out of sync with the framework adjustment process and 
the timing of when the scallop survey data become available for 
analysis. As a result, actions have not been implemented at the start 
of the fishing year, TACs have been misestimated due to reliance on 
older data, and extra actions have been required to compensate. 
Therefore, May 1 has been suggested as a possible start date to address 
some of these issues.
    It is possible that during the scoping process other issues will be 
raised related to the stated purposes of this amendment, and if 
appropriate, those issues will be considered by the Council as well. On 
the other hand, some issues may be dropped after completion of the 
scoping process if the Council determines that the scope of this action 
is too broad and, due to limited resources, needs to reduce the number 
of issues considered in this action.

Scoping Process

    All persons affected by or otherwise interested in scallop 
management are invited to participate in determining the scope and 
significance of issues to be analyzed by submitting written comments 
(see ADDRESSES) or by attending one of the scoping meetings. Scope 
consists of the range of actions, alternatives, and impacts to be 
considered. Alternatives include the following: not amending the 
management plan (taking no action), developing an amendment that 
contains management measures such as those discussed in this notice, or 
other reasonable courses of action. Impacts may be direct, individual 
or cumulative.
    This scoping process will also identify and eliminate issues that 
are not significant from detailed analysis. When, after the scoping 
process is completed, the Council proceeds with the development of an 
amendment to the Scallop FMP, the Council will prepare an EIS to 
analyze the impacts of a range of alternatives under consideration. The 
Council will hold public hearings to receive comments on the draft 
amendment and on the analysis of its impacts presented in the EIS.

Scoping Hearing Schedule

    The Council will discuss and take scoping comments at the following 
public meetings:
    1.Tuesday, April 1, 7 p.m., Omni Newport News Hotel, 1000 Omni 
Boulevard, Newport News, VA. 23606; telephone (757) 873-6664.
    2.Wednesday, April 2, 7 p.m., Congress Hall, 251 Beach Avenue, Cape 
May, NJ 08204; telephone (609) 884-8421.
    3.Monday, April 7, 7 p.m., Holiday Inn by the Bay, 88 Spring 
Street, Portland, ME 04101; telephone (207) 775-2311.
    4.Tuesday, April 8, 7 p.m., Holiday Inn Express, 110 Middle Street, 
Fairhaven, MA 02719; telephone: (508) 997-1281.

Special Accommodations

    These meetings are accessible to people with physical disabilities. 
Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids 
should be directed to Paul J. Howard (see ADDRESSES) at least 5 days 
prior to the meeting date.

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

    Dated: February 28, 2008
James P. Burgess,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E8-4283 Filed 3-4-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S