Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 50885-50887 [E8-20181]

Download as PDF ebenthall on PRODPC60 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 169 / Friday, August 29, 2008 / Rules and Regulations usefulness.’’ 56 FR at 28249. FRA intended that the listing be updated whenever it does not accurately identify the person(s) certified and qualified (i.e., when the listing’s usefulness is diminished). Ideally, the listing should be updated each time a person is newly certified and qualified, and each time a person is no longer considered certified or qualified. With regard to updating the listing of foreign locomotive engineers in joint operation territories, it should be noted that FRA considers it more important to remove the name of any foreign engineer who is no longer considered certified or qualified for joint operations territory then to fail to add a person who has recently become certified and qualified. When a controlling railroad questions a foreign engineer’s certification or qualifications and the engineer’s name is not found on the list, the controlling railroad would be expected to immediately contact the foreign railroad in order to confirm the person’s status before allowing the foreign engineer to proceed into the joint operations territory. Alternatively, if a controlling railroad were to question a foreign engineer’s certification or qualifications and the engineer’s name is found on the list, the controlling railroad would likely be expected to rely on the list and would be exercising due diligence in doing so. If the list is incorrect and the person’s name should have been removed, the controlling railroad cannot be expected to prevent an unqualified person from operating in the joint operations territory. Several major railroads have voiced concern that because the listing is in such a constant state of flux, it would be extremely difficult to maintain an accurate listing at all times. In the joint operation context, a major railroad may face the challenge of coordinating a listing that includes separate lists submitted by more than 100 foreign railroads. Although FRA agrees that it will be challenging for some railroads that allow extensive joint operations to maintain an accurate written list, such railroads may find it easier to comply by maintaining the listing electronically. Maintaining the listing electronically has always been an option pursuant to § 240.221(f), but it has not been extensively utilized. There is no question that modern technology has greatly improved since the rule’s issuance in 1991, and thus the ability and desire to electronically maintain the listing should be much greater. For example, it is possible to maintain a secure Web site where a controlling railroad can search a foreign railroad’s uploaded list of locomotive engineers to VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:42 Aug 28, 2008 Jkt 214001 check: (1) Whether the person is certified and qualified for the joint operations territory; (2) the person’s class of service; and, (3) the date of the railroad’s certification decision. Another option may be for a foreign railroad to tap into its railroad crew management tracking system to produce a more detailed written or electronic list of its engineers to controlling railroads than what is currently being made available. Other electronically maintained options may be available and FRA encourages railroads controlling joint operations to consider options that would improve the usefulness of the required listing. Any railroad that would like to maintain the listing electronically is required to obtain approval from FRA pursuant to the requirements in § 240.221(f). While FRA recognizes that recent changes in status to any particular engineer might not be reflected in the listing immediately, FRA expects the listing to be updated with enough regularity so that it retains its usefulness. FRA believes that this notice provides sufficient information to guide parties that may have been confused by the requirements of § 240.221. However, FRA seeks comments on this notice from interested parties including any suggestions for providing more clarity, if necessary. Please refer to the Addresses section for additional information regarding the submission of comments. Issued in Washington DC on August 21, 2008. Jo Strang, Associate Administrator for Safety. [FR Doc. E8–20032 Filed 8–28–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–06–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 541 [Docket No. NHTSA–2008–0049] RIN 2127–AK31 Federal Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Final Listing of 2009 Light Duty Truck Lines Subject to the Requirements of This Standard and Exempted Vehicle Lines for Model Year 2009 Correction In rule document E8–18890 beginning on page 47847 in the issue of Friday, August 15, 2008, make the following correction: PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 50885 Appendix A–I to Part 541 [Corrected] On page 47849, in Appendix A–I to Part 541, in the second column of the table, in the 44th line entry, ‘‘Genesis3’’ should read‘‘Genesis1’’. [FR Doc. Z8–18890 Filed 8–28–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505–01–D DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 RIN 0648–XJ69 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason retention limit adjustment. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS has determined that the Atlantic tunas General category daily Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) retention limit should be adjusted for the September, October-November, and December time periods of the 2008 fishing year, based on consideration of the determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments. DATES: The effective dates for the adjusted BFT daily retention limits are September 1, 2008, through December 31, 2008. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin or Brad McHale, 978–281–9260. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in the Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (Consolidated HMS FMP). The latest (2006) ICCAT recommendation for western Atlantic BFT included a U.S. quota of 1,190.12 mt, effective beginning in 2007, through 2008, and thereafter until changed (i.e., via a new ICCAT E:\FR\FM\29AUR1.SGM 29AUR1 50886 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 169 / Friday, August 29, 2008 / Rules and Regulations ebenthall on PRODPC60 with RULES recommendation). It is possible that additional changes to the daily retention limit (i.e., for the January 2009 General category fishery) may be necessary following ICCAT’s annual meeting in November 2008. The 2008 fishing year began on January 1, 2008, and ends December 31, 2008. NMFS published final specifications on December 31, 2007 (72 FR 74193) and increased the default General category retention limit of one large medium or giant BFT (measuring 73 inches (185 cm) curved fork length (CFL) or greater) per vessel per day/trip to three large medium or giant BFT, measuring 73 inches CFL or greater, per vessel per day/trip for June 1 through August 31, 2008. Regardless of the duration of a fishing trip, no more than the daily retention limit may be on board a vessel. In addition, NMFS stated that it would consider adjustment of retention limits for future time periods, if warranted. In 2007, NMFS followed a similar course of action and raised General category retention limits via inseason actions to allow for a continuous three BFT retention limit, including for the January 2008 time period (72 FR 50257, August 31, 2007 and 72 FR 61565, October 31, 2007) . Adjustment of General Category Daily Retention Limits Under 50 CFR 635.23(a)(4), NMFS may increase or decrease the daily retention limit of large medium and giant BFT over a range of zero to a maximum of three per vessel based on consideration of the criteria provided under § 635.27(a)(8), which include: the usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock; the catches of the particular category quota to date and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made; the projected ability of the vessels fishing under the particular category quota to harvest the additional amount of BFT before the end of the fishing year; the estimated amounts by which quotas for other gear categories of the fishery might be exceeded; effects of the adjustment on BFT rebuilding and overfishing; effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the fishery management plan; variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migration patterns of BFT; effects of catch rates in one area precluding vessels in another area from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the category’s quota; and a review of dealer reports, daily landing trends, and the availability of the BFT on the fishing grounds. VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:42 Aug 28, 2008 Jkt 214001 As of August 1, 2008, the coastwide General category has landed 50.8 metric tons (mt) out of a possible 740 mt, and landings rates remain less that 1.0 mt per day even though the General category retention limit was increased to three BFT per vessel per trip, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) CFL or greater for January and for June through August 2008. Starting on September 1, 2008, the General category daily retention limit, located at 50 CFR 635.23(a)(2), is scheduled to revert back to the default retention limit of one large medium or giant BFT (measuring 73 inches (185 cm) CFL) or greater per vessel per day/ trip. This scheduled retention limit applies to General category permitted vessels and HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels (when fishing commercially for BFT). Each of the General category time periods (January, June-August, September, October-November, and December) is allocated a portion of the annual General category quota, thereby ensuring extended fishing opportunities in years when catch rates are high. In consideration of the rollover of unused quota from the January and June-August time periods, current catch rates, and the daily retention limit reverting to one large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day on September 1, 2008, NMFS anticipates the full 2008 fishing year General category quota will not be harvested. Adding an excessive amount of unused quota from one time-period subquota to the subsequent time-period subquota is undesirable because it effectively changes the time-period subquota allocation percentages established in the Consolidated HMS FMP and may contribute to excessive carryovers to subsequent fishing years. NMFS has considered the set of criteria cited above and their applicability to the commercial BFT retention limit for the remainder of the 2008 fishing year. Based on these considerations, NMFS has determined that the General category retention should be adjusted to allow for retention of the established General category quota. Therefore, NMFS increases the General category retention limit from the default limits effective September 1, 2008, through December 31, 2008. This adjustment increases the General category daily retention limit to three large medium or giant BFT, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) CFL or greater, per vessel per day/trip. This General category retention limit is effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, and applies to those vessel permitted in the General category as well as to those HMS Charter/Headboat permitted vessels fishing commercially for BFT. PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 This adjustment is intended to provide a reasonable opportunity to harvest the U.S. landings quota of BFT while maintaining an equitable distribution of fishing opportunities, to help achieve optimum yield in the General category BFT fishery, to collect a broad range of data for stock monitoring purposes, and to be consistent with the objectives of the Consolidated HMS FMP. Monitoring and Reporting NMFS selected the daily retention limit and the duration after examining an array of data as it pertains to the determination criteria. These data included, but were not limited to, current and previous catch and effort rates, quota availability, previous public comments on inseason management measures, stock status, etc. NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely through the mandatory dealer landing reports, which NMFS requires to be submitted within 24 hours of a dealer receiving BFT. Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional retention limit adjustments are necessary to ensure available quota is not exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas. Closures or subsequent adjustments to the daily retention limits, if any, will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (888) 872–8862 or (978) 281–9260, or access the internet at www.hmspermits.gov, for updates on quota monitoring and retention limit adjustments. Classification The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA), finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons: NMFS continues to receive information refining its understanding of the commercial sector’s specific needs regarding retention limits through the latter portions of the 2008 season. NMFS assessments and analyses show catch rates to date have been low and that there is sufficient quota for an increase to the General category retention limit during the months of September through December 2008. The regulations implementing the Consolidated HMS FMP provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT E:\FR\FM\29AUR1.SGM 29AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 169 / Friday, August 29, 2008 / Rules and Regulations fishery. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment to implement these retention limits is impracticable as it would preclude NMFS from acting promptly to allow harvest of BFT that are available on the fishing grounds. Analysis of available data shows that the General category BFT retention limits may be increased with minimal risks of exceeding the ICCAT-allocated quota. Delays in increasing these retention limits would adversely affect those General and Charter/Headboat category vessels that would otherwise have an opportunity to harvest more than the default retention limit of one BFT per day and may exacerbate the problem of low catch rates and quota rollovers. Limited opportunities to harvest the respective quotas may have negative social and economic impacts to U.S. fishermen that either depend upon catching the available quota within the time periods designated in the Consolidated HMS FMP. Adjustment to the retention limit needs to be effective September 1, 2008, to minimize any unnecessary disruption in fishing patterns and for the impacted sectors to benefit from the adjustments so as to not preclude fishing opportunities from fishermen who only have access to the fishery during this time period. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For all of the above reasons, and because this action relieves a restriction (i.e., current default retention limit is one fish per vessel/trip but this action increases that limit and allows retention of more fish), there is also good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under 50 CFR 635.23(a)(4) and (b)(3) and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: August 26, 2008. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E8–20181 Filed 8–28–08; 8:45 am] ebenthall on PRODPC60 with RULES BILLING CODE 3510–22–S VerDate Aug<31>2005 14:42 Aug 28, 2008 Jkt 214001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 071106671–8010–02] RIN 0648–XK11 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 630 in the Gulf of Alaska National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; closure. AGENCY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the C season allowance of the 2008 total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock for Statistical Area 630 in the GOA. DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), August 26, 2008, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., October 1, 2008. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Hogan, 907–586–7228. NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679. The C season allowance of the 2008 TAC of pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA is 4,431 metric tons (mt) as established by the 2008 and 2009 harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (73 FR 10562, February 27, 2008). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(5)(iv)(B) the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), hereby decreases the C season pollock allowance by 753 mt, the amount of the B season allowance of the pollock TAC that was exceeded in Statistical Area 630. Therefore, the revised C season allowance of the pollock TAC in Statistical Area 630 is 3,678 mt (4,431 mt minus 753 mt). In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(i), the Regional Administrator has determined that the C season allowance of the 2008 TAC of pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA will soon be reached. Therefore, the Regional SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 50887 Administrator is establishing a directed fishing allowance of 3,518 mt, and is setting aside the remaining 160 mt as bycatch to support other anticipated groundfish fisheries. In accordance with § 679.20(d)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator finds that this directed fishing allowance has been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA. After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable amounts at § 679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip. Classification This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the closure of pollock in Statistical Area 630 of the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of August 25, 2008. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment. This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: August 26, 2008. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E8–20156 Filed 8–26–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\29AUR1.SGM 29AUR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 169 (Friday, August 29, 2008)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 50885-50887]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-20181]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

RIN 0648-XJ69


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 
Fisheries

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason retention limit adjustment.

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SUMMARY: NMFS has determined that the Atlantic tunas General category 
daily Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) retention limit should be adjusted 
for the September, October-November, and December time periods of the 
2008 fishing year, based on consideration of the determination criteria 
regarding inseason adjustments.

DATES: The effective dates for the adjusted BFT daily retention limits 
are September 1, 2008, through December 31, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin or Brad McHale, 978-
281-9260.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the authority 
of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by 
persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR 
part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota recommended by 
the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
(ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the 
allocations established in the Consolidated Highly Migratory Species 
Fishery Management Plan (Consolidated HMS FMP). The latest (2006) ICCAT 
recommendation for western Atlantic BFT included a U.S. quota of 
1,190.12 mt, effective beginning in 2007, through 2008, and thereafter 
until changed (i.e., via a new ICCAT

[[Page 50886]]

recommendation). It is possible that additional changes to the daily 
retention limit (i.e., for the January 2009 General category fishery) 
may be necessary following ICCAT's annual meeting in November 2008.
    The 2008 fishing year began on January 1, 2008, and ends December 
31, 2008. NMFS published final specifications on December 31, 2007 (72 
FR 74193) and increased the default General category retention limit of 
one large medium or giant BFT (measuring 73 inches (185 cm) curved fork 
length (CFL) or greater) per vessel per day/trip to three large medium 
or giant BFT, measuring 73 inches CFL or greater, per vessel per day/
trip for June 1 through August 31, 2008. Regardless of the duration of 
a fishing trip, no more than the daily retention limit may be on board 
a vessel. In addition, NMFS stated that it would consider adjustment of 
retention limits for future time periods, if warranted. In 2007, NMFS 
followed a similar course of action and raised General category 
retention limits via inseason actions to allow for a continuous three 
BFT retention limit, including for the January 2008 time period (72 FR 
50257, August 31, 2007 and 72 FR 61565, October 31, 2007) .

Adjustment of General Category Daily Retention Limits

    Under 50 CFR 635.23(a)(4), NMFS may increase or decrease the daily 
retention limit of large medium and giant BFT over a range of zero to a 
maximum of three per vessel based on consideration of the criteria 
provided under Sec.  635.27(a)(8), which include: the usefulness of 
information obtained from catches in the particular category for 
biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock; the 
catches of the particular category quota to date and the likelihood of 
closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made; the 
projected ability of the vessels fishing under the particular category 
quota to harvest the additional amount of BFT before the end of the 
fishing year; the estimated amounts by which quotas for other gear 
categories of the fishery might be exceeded; effects of the adjustment 
on BFT rebuilding and overfishing; effects of the adjustment on 
accomplishing the objectives of the fishery management plan; variations 
in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migration patterns of BFT; 
effects of catch rates in one area precluding vessels in another area 
from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the 
category's quota; and a review of dealer reports, daily landing trends, 
and the availability of the BFT on the fishing grounds.
    As of August 1, 2008, the coastwide General category has landed 
50.8 metric tons (mt) out of a possible 740 mt, and landings rates 
remain less that 1.0 mt per day even though the General category 
retention limit was increased to three BFT per vessel per trip, 
measuring 73 inches (185 cm) CFL or greater for January and for June 
through August 2008. Starting on September 1, 2008, the General 
category daily retention limit, located at 50 CFR 635.23(a)(2), is 
scheduled to revert back to the default retention limit of one large 
medium or giant BFT (measuring 73 inches (185 cm) CFL) or greater per 
vessel per day/trip. This scheduled retention limit applies to General 
category permitted vessels and HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted 
vessels (when fishing commercially for BFT).
    Each of the General category time periods (January, June-August, 
September, October-November, and December) is allocated a portion of 
the annual General category quota, thereby ensuring extended fishing 
opportunities in years when catch rates are high. In consideration of 
the rollover of unused quota from the January and June-August time 
periods, current catch rates, and the daily retention limit reverting 
to one large medium or giant BFT per vessel per day on September 1, 
2008, NMFS anticipates the full 2008 fishing year General category 
quota will not be harvested. Adding an excessive amount of unused quota 
from one time-period subquota to the subsequent time-period subquota is 
undesirable because it effectively changes the time-period subquota 
allocation percentages established in the Consolidated HMS FMP and may 
contribute to excessive carryovers to subsequent fishing years.
    NMFS has considered the set of criteria cited above and their 
applicability to the commercial BFT retention limit for the remainder 
of the 2008 fishing year. Based on these considerations, NMFS has 
determined that the General category retention should be adjusted to 
allow for retention of the established General category quota. 
Therefore, NMFS increases the General category retention limit from the 
default limits effective September 1, 2008, through December 31, 2008. 
This adjustment increases the General category daily retention limit to 
three large medium or giant BFT, measuring 73 inches (185 cm) CFL or 
greater, per vessel per day/trip. This General category retention limit 
is effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, and applies 
to those vessel permitted in the General category as well as to those 
HMS Charter/Headboat permitted vessels fishing commercially for BFT.
    This adjustment is intended to provide a reasonable opportunity to 
harvest the U.S. landings quota of BFT while maintaining an equitable 
distribution of fishing opportunities, to help achieve optimum yield in 
the General category BFT fishery, to collect a broad range of data for 
stock monitoring purposes, and to be consistent with the objectives of 
the Consolidated HMS FMP.

Monitoring and Reporting

    NMFS selected the daily retention limit and the duration after 
examining an array of data as it pertains to the determination 
criteria. These data included, but were not limited to, current and 
previous catch and effort rates, quota availability, previous public 
comments on inseason management measures, stock status, etc. NMFS will 
continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely through the mandatory 
dealer landing reports, which NMFS requires to be submitted within 24 
hours of a dealer receiving BFT. Depending on the level of fishing 
effort and catch rates of BFT, NMFS may determine that additional 
retention limit adjustments are necessary to ensure available quota is 
not exceeded or to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing 
opportunities in, all geographic areas.
    Closures or subsequent adjustments to the daily retention limits, 
if any, will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, 
fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (888) 872-
8862 or (978) 281-9260, or access the internet at www.hmspermits.gov, 
for updates on quota monitoring and retention limit adjustments.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA), finds that it is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior 
notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for 
the following reasons:
    NMFS continues to receive information refining its understanding of 
the commercial sector's specific needs regarding retention limits 
through the latter portions of the 2008 season. NMFS assessments and 
analyses show catch rates to date have been low and that there is 
sufficient quota for an increase to the General category retention 
limit during the months of September through December 2008.
    The regulations implementing the Consolidated HMS FMP provide for 
inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable 
nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature 
of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT

[[Page 50887]]

fishery. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment to 
implement these retention limits is impracticable as it would preclude 
NMFS from acting promptly to allow harvest of BFT that are available on 
the fishing grounds. Analysis of available data shows that the General 
category BFT retention limits may be increased with minimal risks of 
exceeding the ICCAT-allocated quota.
    Delays in increasing these retention limits would adversely affect 
those General and Charter/Headboat category vessels that would 
otherwise have an opportunity to harvest more than the default 
retention limit of one BFT per day and may exacerbate the problem of 
low catch rates and quota rollovers. Limited opportunities to harvest 
the respective quotas may have negative social and economic impacts to 
U.S. fishermen that either depend upon catching the available quota 
within the time periods designated in the Consolidated HMS FMP. 
Adjustment to the retention limit needs to be effective September 1, 
2008, to minimize any unnecessary disruption in fishing patterns and 
for the impacted sectors to benefit from the adjustments so as to not 
preclude fishing opportunities from fishermen who only have access to 
the fishery during this time period.
    Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to 
waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For all of 
the above reasons, and because this action relieves a restriction 
(i.e., current default retention limit is one fish per vessel/trip but 
this action increases that limit and allows retention of more fish), 
there is also good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day 
delay in effectiveness.
    This action is being taken under 50 CFR 635.23(a)(4) and (b)(3) and 
is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq.

    Dated: August 26, 2008.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E8-20181 Filed 8-28-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S