Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Modification of the Yellowtail Flounder Landing Limit for the U.S./Canada Management Area, 27252 [E9-13347]

Download as PDF 27252 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 109 / Tuesday, June 9, 2009 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 080521698–9067–02] RIN 0648–XP50 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Modification of the Yellowtail Flounder Landing Limit for the U.S./ Canada Management Area AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary Rule; decrease of landing limit. SUMMARY: This action decreases the Georges Bank (GB) yellowtail flounder trip limit to 2,500 lb (1,134 kg) for Northeast (NE) multispecies days-at-sea (DAS) vessels fishing in the U.S./Canada Management Area. This action is authorized by the regulations implementing Amendment 13 to the NE Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and is intended to decrease the likelihood of harvest exceeding the total allowable catch (TAC) for GB yellowtail flounder during the 2009 fishing year (FY). This action is being taken to optimize the harvest of transboundary stocks of GB yellowtail flounder, haddock, and cod under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). DATES: Effective June 5, 2009, through April 30, 2010. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Douglas Potts, Fishery Policy Analyst, (978) 281–9341, fax (978) 281–9135. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the GB yellowtail flounder landing limit within the U.S./ Canada Management Area are found at 50 CFR 648.85(a)(3)(iv)(C) and (D). The regulations authorize vessels issued a valid limited access NE multispecies permit and fishing under a NE multispecies DAS to fish in the U.S./ Canada Management Area, as defined at § 648.85(a)(1), under specified conditions. The TAC for GB yellowtail flounder for the 2009 fishing year (May 1, 2009 —April 30, 2010) was set at 1,617 mt (3,564,774 lb) (74 FR 17030; April 13, 2009), a 17–percent decrease from the TAC for FY 2008. The same regulatory action for FY 2009 implemented a trip limit of 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) for GB yellowtail flounder, less than the default initial trip limit of VerDate Nov<24>2008 13:39 Jun 08, 2009 Jkt 217001 10,000 lb (4,536 kg). A 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) trip limit was implemented based on data from FY 2008, in order to allow harvesting of the TAC, and to minimize the likelihood that further restriction of catch rate through additional trip limits would be necessary. The regulations at § 648.85(a)(3)(iv)(D) authorize the Administrator, Northeast (NE) Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) to increase or decrease the trip limits in the U.S./Canada Management Area to prevent overharvesting or under-harvesting the TAC allocation. According to the most recent Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) reports and other available information, the cumulative GB yellowtail flounder catch is approximately 16 percent of the TAC as of May 21, 2009. Of this total, approximately half is , I sattributed to fish that have been discarded at sea. A previous analysis of fishing behaviour in fishing year 2007, found that vessels that fished in the U.S./Canada Management Area were more likely to direct effort onto species other than yellowtail flounder when the yellowtail flounder possession limit dropped below 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) per trip. Therefore, decreasing the trip limit from 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) to 2,500 lb (1,134 kg) is expected to reduce the number of trips made to the Western U.S./Canada Area to target yellowtail flounder, decrease landings of yellowtail flounder without increasing discards, and result in the achievement of the TAC during the fishing year without exceeding it. Attainment of the TAC prior to the end of the fishing year results in the loss of yield of other stocks caught concurrently with yellowtail flounder. Based on this information, the Regional Administrator is decreasing the current 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) yellowtail flounder trip limit in the U.S./Canada Management Area to 2,500 lb (1,134 kg) per trip, through April 30, 2010. GB yellowtail flounder landings will continue to be closely monitored. Further inseason adjustment to increase or decrease the trip limit may be considered, based on updated catch data and projections. Should 100 percent of the TAC allocation for GB yellowtail flounder by projected to be caught, all vessels would be prohibited from harvesting, possessing, or landing yellowtail flounder from the entire U.S./ Canada Management Area, and the Eastern U.S./Canada Area would be closed to limited access NE multispecies DAS vessels for the remainder of the fishing year. Classification This action is authorized by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 under Executive Order 12866. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C 553(b)(3)(B) and (d)(3), there is good cause to waive prior notice and comment for public comment; as well as the delayed effectiveness for this action, because prior notice and comment, and a delayed effectiveness, would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The regulations under § 648.85(a)(3)(iv)(D) grant the Regional Administrator the authority to adjust the GB yellowtail flounder trip limit to prevent over-harvesting or underharvesting the TAC allocation. This action will implement a more restrictive trip limit for yellowtail flounder in order to ensure that the TAC is not overharvested, and the biological and economic objectives of the FMP are met. It is important to take this action immediately because, based on current data and a projection, continuation of the status quo trip limit of 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) will result reaching the GB yellowtail flounder TAC prior to the end of the fishing year. Attainment of the TAC prior to the end of the fishing year on April 30, 2010 (and closure of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area) would result in the loss of yield of other valuable species caught in the Eastern U.S./ Canada Area. The information that is the basis for this action is recent catch data. The time necessary to provide for prior notice and comment, and delayed effectiveness for this action would prevent NMFS from implementing a reduced trip limit in a timely manner. A resulting delay in the curtailment of catch rate of GB yellowtail flounder may cause closure of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area early in FY 2009. Such a closure would result in less revenue for the fishing industry and be counter to the objective of optimal yield. The Regional Administrator’s authority to decrease trip limits for GB yellowtail flounder in the U.S./Canada Management Area to help ensure that the shared U.S./Canada stocks of fish are harvested, but not exceeded, was considered and open to public comment during the development of Amendment 13 to the FMP and Framework Adjustment 42 to the FMP. Therefore, any negative effect the waiving of public comment and delayed effectiveness may have on the public is mitigated by these factors. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: June 3, 2009. Kristen C. Koch, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E9–13347 Filed 6–3–09; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\09JNR1.SGM 09JNR1

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[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 109 (Tuesday, June 9, 2009)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 27252]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-13347]



[[Page 27252]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 080521698-9067-02]
RIN 0648-XP50


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Multispecies Fishery; Modification of the Yellowtail Flounder Landing 
Limit for the U.S./Canada Management Area

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

ACTION: Temporary Rule; decrease of landing limit.

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

SUMMARY: This action decreases the Georges Bank (GB) yellowtail 
flounder trip limit to 2,500 lb (1,134 kg) for Northeast (NE) 
multispecies days-at-sea (DAS) vessels fishing in the U.S./Canada 
Management Area. This action is authorized by the regulations 
implementing Amendment 13 to the NE Multispecies Fishery Management 
Plan (FMP) and is intended to decrease the likelihood of harvest 
exceeding the total allowable catch (TAC) for GB yellowtail flounder 
during the 2009 fishing year (FY). This action is being taken to 
optimize the harvest of transboundary stocks of GB yellowtail flounder, 
haddock, and cod under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

DATES: Effective June 5, 2009, through April 30, 2010.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Douglas Potts, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
(978) 281-9341, fax (978) 281-9135.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations governing the GB yellowtail 
flounder landing limit within the U.S./Canada Management Area are found 
at 50 CFR 648.85(a)(3)(iv)(C) and (D). The regulations authorize 
vessels issued a valid limited access NE multispecies permit and 
fishing under a NE multispecies DAS to fish in the U.S./Canada 
Management Area, as defined at Sec.  648.85(a)(1), under specified 
conditions. The TAC for GB yellowtail flounder for the 2009 fishing 
year (May 1, 2009 --April 30, 2010) was set at 1,617 mt (3,564,774 lb) 
(74 FR 17030; April 13, 2009), a 17-percent decrease from the TAC for 
FY 2008. The same regulatory action for FY 2009 implemented a trip 
limit of 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) for GB yellowtail flounder, less than the 
default initial trip limit of 10,000 lb (4,536 kg). A 5,000 lb (2,268 
kg) trip limit was implemented based on data from FY 2008, in order to 
allow harvesting of the TAC, and to minimize the likelihood that 
further restriction of catch rate through additional trip limits would 
be necessary.
    The regulations at Sec.  648.85(a)(3)(iv)(D) authorize the 
Administrator, Northeast (NE) Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator) to 
increase or decrease the trip limits in the U.S./Canada Management Area 
to prevent over-harvesting or under-harvesting the TAC allocation. 
According to the most recent Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) reports and 
other available information, the cumulative GB yellowtail flounder 
catch is approximately 16 percent of the TAC as of May 21, 2009. Of 
this total, approximately half is , I sattributed to fish that have 
been discarded at sea. A previous analysis of fishing behaviour in 
fishing year 2007, found that vessels that fished in the U.S./Canada 
Management Area were more likely to direct effort onto species other 
than yellowtail flounder when the yellowtail flounder possession limit 
dropped below 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) per trip. Therefore, decreasing the 
trip limit from 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) to 2,500 lb (1,134 kg) is expected 
to reduce the number of trips made to the Western U.S./Canada Area to 
target yellowtail flounder, decrease landings of yellowtail flounder 
without increasing discards, and result in the achievement of the TAC 
during the fishing year without exceeding it. Attainment of the TAC 
prior to the end of the fishing year results in the loss of yield of 
other stocks caught concurrently with yellowtail flounder. Based on 
this information, the Regional Administrator is decreasing the current 
5,000 lb (2,268 kg) yellowtail flounder trip limit in the U.S./Canada 
Management Area to 2,500 lb (1,134 kg) per trip, through April 30, 
2010.
    GB yellowtail flounder landings will continue to be closely 
monitored. Further inseason adjustment to increase or decrease the trip 
limit may be considered, based on updated catch data and projections. 
Should 100 percent of the TAC allocation for GB yellowtail flounder by 
projected to be caught, all vessels would be prohibited from 
harvesting, possessing, or landing yellowtail flounder from the entire 
U.S./Canada Management Area, and the Eastern U.S./Canada Area would be 
closed to limited access NE multispecies DAS vessels for the remainder 
of the fishing year.

Classification

    This action is authorized by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from 
review under Executive Order 12866. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C 553(b)(3)(B) 
and (d)(3), there is good cause to waive prior notice and comment for 
public comment; as well as the delayed effectiveness for this action, 
because prior notice and comment, and a delayed effectiveness, would be 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest. The regulations 
under Sec.  648.85(a)(3)(iv)(D) grant the Regional Administrator the 
authority to adjust the GB yellowtail flounder trip limit to prevent 
over-harvesting or underharvesting the TAC allocation. This action will 
implement a more restrictive trip limit for yellowtail flounder in 
order to ensure that the TAC is not overharvested, and the biological 
and economic objectives of the FMP are met.
    It is important to take this action immediately because, based on 
current data and a projection, continuation of the status quo trip 
limit of 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) will result reaching the GB yellowtail 
flounder TAC prior to the end of the fishing year. Attainment of the 
TAC prior to the end of the fishing year on April 30, 2010 (and closure 
of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area) would result in the loss of yield of 
other valuable species caught in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area.
    The information that is the basis for this action is recent catch 
data. The time necessary to provide for prior notice and comment, and 
delayed effectiveness for this action would prevent NMFS from 
implementing a reduced trip limit in a timely manner. A resulting delay 
in the curtailment of catch rate of GB yellowtail flounder may cause 
closure of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area early in FY 2009. Such a 
closure would result in less revenue for the fishing industry and be 
counter to the objective of optimal yield.
    The Regional Administrator's authority to decrease trip limits for 
GB yellowtail flounder in the U.S./Canada Management Area to help 
ensure that the shared U.S./Canada stocks of fish are harvested, but 
not exceeded, was considered and open to public comment during the 
development of Amendment 13 to the FMP and Framework Adjustment 42 to 
the FMP. Therefore, any negative effect the waiving of public comment 
and delayed effectiveness may have on the public is mitigated by these 
factors.

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

    Dated: June 3, 2009.
Kristen C. Koch,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E9-13347 Filed 6-3-09; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S