Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Aquaculture, 26829-26830 [E9-13090]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 106 / Thursday, June 4, 2009 / Proposed Rules additional shareholders would be limited to immediate family members. The Council has submitted Amendment 15B for Secretarial review, approval, and implementation. NMFS’ decision to approve, partially approve, or disapprove Amendment 15B will be based, in part, on consideration of comments, recommendations, and information received during the comment period on this notice of availability. After consideration of these factors, and consistency with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws, NMFS will publish a final rule in the Federal Register announcing the Agency’s decision to approve, partially approve, or disapprove Amendment 15B, and the associated rationale. If approved, the provisions of Amendment 15B would be specified in regulations. Public comments received by 5 p.m. eastern time, on August 3, 2009, will be considered by NMFS in the approval/ disapproval decision regarding Amendment 15B. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: May 29, 2009. Kristen C. Koch, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E9–13089 Filed 6–3–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 RIN 0648–AS65 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Aquaculture AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of Availability of the Fishery Management Plan for Regulating Offshore Marine Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico (FMP); request for comments. SUMMARY: The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted the FMP for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. The FMP is intended to establish a comprehensive permitting and regulatory framework to manage the development of an environmentally sound and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the Gulf of VerDate Nov<24>2008 14:50 Jun 03, 2009 Jkt 217001 Mexico exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The FMP would establish application and permit requirements, aquaculture operational requirements and restrictions, siting requirements and conditions, and recordkeeping and reporting requirements; specify allowable aquaculture species; provide for evaluation and approval/disapproval of proposed aquaculture systems (e.g., cages or net pens); establish restricted access zones around aquaculture facilities; and establish a regulatory framework for modifying certain aquaculture-related management measures consistent with the provisions of the FMP. In addition, the FMP would establish biological reference points and status determination criteria specific to aquaculture in the EEZ. DATES: Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., eastern time, on August 3, 2009. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by ‘‘0648–AS65’’, by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal https:// www.regulations.gov. • Mail: Jess Beck, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to https:// www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. To submit comments through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: https:// www.regulations.gov, enter ‘‘NOAANMFS–2008–0233’’ in the keyword search, then check the box labeled ‘‘Select to find documents accepting comments or submissions’’, then select ‘‘Send a Comment or Submission.’’ NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Copies of the FMP may be obtained from the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 2203 North Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, Tampa, FL 33607; telephone 813–348–1630; fax 813–348– 1711; e-mail: gulfcouncil@gulfcouncil.org; or may be downloaded from the Council’s website PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 26829 at https://www.gulfcouncil.org/. The FMP includes a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, a Regulatory Impact Review, and a Social Impact Assessment/Fishery Impact Statement. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jess Beck, telephone: 727–824–5301; fax: 727–824–5320; e-mail: Jess.Beck@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FMP was prepared by the Council and is implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Background Demand for protein is increasing in the United States. Today imports account for over 80 percent of the U.S. seafood consumption. As demand for seafood as protein continues to increase many commercial wild-capture fisheries are being fished at or above sustainable levels and are likely unable to meet such growing demand. Aquaculture of commercially and recreationally important species has been suggested as one method to meet the current and future demands for seafood. Currently, there is no process for accommodating commercial scale offshore aquaculture in Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone, other than live rock aquaculture which is authorized under Amendments 2 and 3 to the Coral and Coral Reefs FMP. NOAA Fisheries Service may issue an exempted fishing permit (EFP) to conduct offshore aquaculture in federal waters; however, an EFP is of limited duration and is not intended for commercial production of fish and shellfish. The Council has submitted the FMP to NMFS for agency review under procedures of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The purpose of this FMP is to establish a comprehensive permitting and regulatory framework to manage the development of an environmentally sound and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the EEZ. The Council chose alternatives that would: establish application and permit requirements, aquaculture operational requirements and restrictions, siting requirements and conditions, and recordkeeping and reporting requirements; specify allowable aquaculture species; provide for evaluation and approval/disapproval of proposed aquaculture systems (e.g., cages or net pens); establish restricted access zones around aquaculture facilities; establish a regulatory E:\FR\FM\04JNP1.SGM 04JNP1 26830 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 106 / Thursday, June 4, 2009 / Proposed Rules framework for modifying certain aquaculture-related management measures consistent with the provisions of the FMP; and establish biological reference points and status determination criteria specific to aquaculture in the EEZ. The FMP, including the PEIS, would serve as the basis for evaluating the potential effects of issuing permits to Gulf aquaculture operations. Potential effects falling outside the scope of the actions proposed would be further analyzed through additional National Environmental Policy Act analyses conducted by the Council and NMFS. VerDate Nov<24>2008 14:50 Jun 03, 2009 Jkt 217001 The Council has submitted the FMP for Secretarial review, approval, and implementation. NMFS’ decision to approve, partially approve, or disapprove the FMP will be based, in part, on consideration of comments, recommendations, and information received during the comment period on this notice of availability. After consideration of these factors, and consistency with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws, NMFS will publish a notice of agency action in the Federal Register announcing the Agency’s decision to approve, partially PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 approve, or disapprove the FMP, and the associated rationale. Consideration of Public Comments Public comments received by 5 p.m. eastern time, on August 3, 2009, will be considered by NMFS in the approval/ disapproval decision regarding the FMP. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: May 29, 2009. Kristen C. Koch, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E9–13090 Filed 6–3–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\04JNP1.SGM 04JNP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 106 (Thursday, June 4, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 26829-26830]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-13090]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

RIN 0648-AS65


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Aquaculture

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

ACTION: Notice of Availability of the Fishery Management Plan for 
Regulating Offshore Marine Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico (FMP); 
request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) has 
submitted the FMP for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. The 
FMP is intended to establish a comprehensive permitting and regulatory 
framework to manage the development of an environmentally sound and 
economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the Gulf of Mexico 
exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The FMP would establish application and 
permit requirements, aquaculture operational requirements and 
restrictions, siting requirements and conditions, and recordkeeping and 
reporting requirements; specify allowable aquaculture species; provide 
for evaluation and approval/disapproval of proposed aquaculture systems 
(e.g., cages or net pens); establish restricted access zones around 
aquaculture facilities; and establish a regulatory framework for 
modifying certain aquaculture-related management measures consistent 
with the provisions of the FMP. In addition, the FMP would establish 
biological reference points and status determination criteria specific 
to aquaculture in the EEZ.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., eastern time, on 
August 3, 2009.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by 
``0648-AS65'', by any one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal https://www.regulations.gov.
     Mail: Jess Beck, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th 
Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
    Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record 
and will generally be posted to https://www.regulations.gov without 
change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, 
address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly 
accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information.
    To submit comments through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov, enter ``NOAA-NMFS-2008-0233'' in the keyword 
search, then check the box labeled ``Select to find documents accepting 
comments or submissions'', then select ``Send a Comment or 
Submission.'' NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the 
required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to 
electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, 
WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Copies of the FMP may be obtained from the Gulf of Mexico Fishery 
Management Council, 2203 North Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, Tampa, FL 
33607; telephone 813-348-1630; fax 813-348-1711; e-mail: 
gulfcouncil@gulfcouncil.org; or may be downloaded from the Council's 
website at https://www.gulfcouncil.org/. The FMP includes a Programmatic 
Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), an Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis, a Regulatory Impact Review, and a Social Impact 
Assessment/Fishery Impact Statement.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jess Beck, telephone: 727-824-5301; 
fax: 727-824-5320; e-mail: Jess.Beck@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FMP was prepared by the Council and is 
implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority 
of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
(Magnuson-Stevens Act).

Background

     Demand for protein is increasing in the United States. Today 
imports account for over 80 percent of the U.S. seafood consumption. As 
demand for seafood as protein continues to increase many commercial 
wild-capture fisheries are being fished at or above sustainable levels 
and are likely unable to meet such growing demand. Aquaculture of 
commercially and recreationally important species has been suggested as 
one method to meet the current and future demands for seafood.
     Currently, there is no process for accommodating commercial scale 
offshore aquaculture in Gulf of Mexico exclusive economic zone, other 
than live rock aquaculture which is authorized under Amendments 2 and 3 
to the Coral and Coral Reefs FMP. NOAA Fisheries Service may issue an 
exempted fishing permit (EFP) to conduct offshore aquaculture in 
federal waters; however, an EFP is of limited duration and is not 
intended for commercial production of fish and shellfish. The Council 
has submitted the FMP to NMFS for agency review under procedures of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act. The purpose of this FMP is to establish a 
comprehensive permitting and regulatory framework to manage the 
development of an environmentally sound and economically sustainable 
aquaculture industry in the EEZ.
     The Council chose alternatives that would: establish application 
and permit requirements, aquaculture operational requirements and 
restrictions, siting requirements and conditions, and recordkeeping and 
reporting requirements; specify allowable aquaculture species; provide 
for evaluation and approval/disapproval of proposed aquaculture systems 
(e.g., cages or net pens); establish restricted access zones around 
aquaculture facilities; establish a regulatory

[[Page 26830]]

framework for modifying certain aquaculture-related management measures 
consistent with the provisions of the FMP; and establish biological 
reference points and status determination criteria specific to 
aquaculture in the EEZ.
     The FMP, including the PEIS, would serve as the basis for 
evaluating the potential effects of issuing permits to Gulf aquaculture 
operations. Potential effects falling outside the scope of the actions 
proposed would be further analyzed through additional National 
Environmental Policy Act analyses conducted by the Council and NMFS.
    The Council has submitted the FMP for Secretarial review, approval, 
and implementation. NMFS' decision to approve, partially approve, or 
disapprove the FMP will be based, in part, on consideration of 
comments, recommendations, and information received during the comment 
period on this notice of availability. After consideration of these 
factors, and consistency with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other 
applicable laws, NMFS will publish a notice of agency action in the 
Federal Register announcing the Agency's decision to approve, partially 
approve, or disapprove the FMP, and the associated rationale.

Consideration of Public Comments

    Public comments received by 5 p.m. eastern time, on August 3, 2009, 
will be considered by NMFS in the approval/disapproval decision 
regarding the FMP.

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

    Dated: May 29, 2009.
Kristen C. Koch,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E9-13090 Filed 6-3-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S