Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Regulatory Amendment to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, 44209-44213 [2010-18537]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 144 / Wednesday, July 28, 2010 / Proposed Rules subscriber the signal of a significantly viewed station only if that subscriber receives local-into-local service, pursuant to § 76.66. (2) Receipt in HD format. A satellite carrier may retransmit to a subscriber in high definition (HD) format the signal of a significantly viewed station only if such carrier also retransmits in HD format the signal of a station located in the local market of such subscriber and affiliated with the same network whenever such format is available from such station. This condition does not apply to, nor prohibit, the retransmission to a subscriber of a significantly viewed station in standard definition (SD) format. (3) Exception if no network affiliate in local market. The limitations in paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of this section will not prohibit a satellite carrier from retransmitting a significantly viewed network station to a subscriber located in a local market in which there are no network stations affiliated with the same television network as the significantly viewed station. (4) Exception if waiver granted by local station. The limitations in paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of this section will not apply if, and to the extent that, the local network station affiliated with the same television network as the significantly viewed station has granted a waiver in accordance with 47 U.S.C. 340(b)(4). * * * * * [FR Doc. 2010–18538 Filed 7–27–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 600 and 622 [Docket No. 0907201152–91188–01] RIN 0648–AY05 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Regulatory Amendment to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS AGENCY: NMFS issues this proposed rule that would implement a regulatory SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:46 Jul 27, 2010 Jkt 220001 amendment to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (FMP) prepared by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council (Council). This proposed rule would modify the Bajo de Sico seasonal closure from a 3-month closure to a 6-month closure, and prohibit fishing for and possession of Caribbean reef fish in or from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) portion of Bajo de Sico during the closure. The proposed rule would also prohibit anchoring in the EEZ portion of Bajo de Sico year-round. In addition to the measures contained in the regulatory amendment, this proposed rule would also add spear to the list of allowable gears in the commercial sector of the Caribbean reef fish fishery. The intended effect of this proposed rule is to provide further protection for red hind spawning aggregations and large snappers and groupers, and better protect the essential fish habitat (EFH) where these species reside. DATES: Written comments must be received on or before August 27, 2010. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule identified by 0648–AY05, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Britni Tokotch, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. • Fax: 727–824–5308; Attention: Britni Tokotch. Instructions: No comments will be posted for public viewing until after the comment period has closed. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://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. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Copies of the regulatory amendment-which includes an Environmental Assessment (EA), an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA), and a regulatory impact review (RIR)--may be obtained from Britni Tokotch, Southeast PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 44209 Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 or may be downloaded from the Southeast Regional Office website at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Britni Tokotch, 727–824–5305. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Caribbean reef fish fishery is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and is implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Background The Bajo de Sico area closure was first implemented in 1996 to protect spawning aggregations of red hind. Currently, the EEZ portion of Bajo de Sico is closed to all fishing activities from December 1 through the end of February, each year. Within the EEZ portion of the Bajo de Sico closed area, the use of bottom-tending gear, including traps, pots, gillnets, trammel nets, and bottom longlines, is prohibited year-round. Recently, Bajo de Sico has been identified as an important spawning site, especially for red hind, and possibly for other resident groupers, including Nassau and yellowfin groupers. Bajo de Sico is also an important foraging site for these and other Caribbean reef fish. The Bajo de Sico closed area has been described as a well developed and diverse coral and sponge habitat, which provides EFH for Caribbean reef fish within Bajo de Sico. The purpose of this proposed rule is to protect red hind spawning aggregations and large snappers and groupers from directed fishing mortality to achieve a more natural sex ratio, age, and size structure, and to protect associated EFH, while minimizing adverse social and economic effects. Management Measures Contained in this Proposed Rule Within the EEZ portion of Bajo de Sico, this proposed rule would establish a seasonal closure from October 1 through March 31, each year, during which fishing for and possession of Caribbean reef fish in or from the area would be prohibited. The proposed revision of the Bajo de Sico closure would provide additional protection for Caribbean reef fish inhabiting Bajo de Sico. This proposed rule would also prohibit anchoring by fishing vessels year-round while in the EEZ portion of the Bajo de Sico closed area. Prohibiting E:\FR\FM\28JYP1.SGM 28JYP1 44210 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 144 / Wednesday, July 28, 2010 / Proposed Rules anchoring will provide added protection to the EFH utilized by Caribbean reef fish. This measure will minimize potential damage to coral reef populations and will protect reef fish and habitat important to the overall health of Bajo de Sico. erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS Additional Measures Contained in this Proposed Rule This rule proposes to add spear to the list of allowable gears in § 600.725 for the commercial sector of the Caribbean reef fish fishery. At its March 2009 Caribbean Council meeting, the Council voted to add spear to the list of allowable gears for this fishery, and in a letter dated May 27, 2009, the Council requested that NMFS implement this measure. Spear is currently on the list of allowable gears for the recreational sector, and this rule would implement the same measure for the commercial sector. NMFS proposes to revise the title for the FMP in the list of authorized fisheries and gears. In § 600.725, the FMP is incorrectly named the ‘‘Shallow Water Reef Fish Fishery FMP.’’ Amendment 2 to the FMP renamed the FMP, from the ‘‘Shallow Water Reef Fish Fishery FMP’’ to the ‘‘Reef Fish Fishery FMP,’’ however, this title was not revised in the part 600 regulations. This rule corrects the FMP title. These minor revisions are unrelated to the actions contained in the Bajo de Sico regulatory amendment. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the regulatory amendment, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. NMFS prepared an IRFA, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, for this proposed rule. The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A description of the action, why it is being considered, and the objectives of, and legal basis for this action are contained at the beginning of this section in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble. A copy of the full analysis is available from the NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows. The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the statutory basis for the proposed rule. The proposed rule would modify the VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:46 Jul 27, 2010 Jkt 220001 Bajo de Sico seasonal closure by extending it from a 3-month closure to a 6-month closure, and prohibit fishing for and possession of Caribbean reef fish in or from the EEZ portion of Bajo de Sico during the closure. The proposed rule would also prohibit anchoring by fishing vessels in the EEZ portion of Bajo de Sico year-round. This rule also proposes minor revisions to the codified text, including adding spear to the list of allowable gears in the commercial sector of the reef fish fishery, and revising the title of the FMP in the list of authorized fisheries and gears in § 600.725. The purposes of this proposed rule are to provide further protection for red hind spawning aggregations and large snappers and groupers from directed fishing mortality to achieve a more natural sex ratio, age, and size structure, and to better protect the EFH where these species reside. No duplicative, overlapping or conflicting Federal rules have been identified. At present, Federal permits are not required to participate in Councilmanaged fisheries on Puerto Rico’s west coast, and, therefore, it is unknown how many fishermen or vessels participate in the Federal component of these fisheries. However, landings data from Puerto Rico’s trip ticket program indicate that 294 fishermen had commercial landings on Puerto Rico’s west coast in 2007. Some of these fishermen do not possess commercial fishing licenses, and the vessels used by these fishermen are not identified in the landings data. Preliminary fisherman Census data for 2008 indicates that 95 percent of commercial fishermen own one vessel, and thus it is assumed for current purposes that each commercial fisherman represents a single commercial fishing vessel. Further, all charter and headboat vessels used to fish for, take, retain, or possess Atlantic billfish, tunas, swordfish, or sharks must possess an Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) charter/ headboat permit. In 2008, eight charter vessels on Puerto Rico’s west coast held HMS charter/headboat permits. In Puerto Rico’s west coast fisheries, commercial fishing vessels average 20 ft (6.3 m) in length, but range between 12 to 51 ft (3.8–15.9 m), with the vast majority being between 15 and 25 ft (4.7–7.8 m). These vessels have an average horsepower (HP) of approximately 77, though considerable variability exists within the fleet, even among vessels of comparable length. The age of these vessels is approximately 19 years on average. The majority of vessels are made of fiberglass (63 percent), though wood PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 hulls and wood and fiberglass composite hulls are relatively common, accounting for 19 percent and 18 percent of the fleet, respectively. On average, each vessel carries two individuals, the captain and one crewman. According to the 2008 fisherman Census, 72 percent of Puerto Rico’s west coast commercial fishermen possess some type of commercial fishing license while 28 percent do not. Of those fishermen who hold a commercial fishing license, the vast majority (78 percent) possess a full-time license, while the others possess either a beginner’s license (18 percent) or a parttime license (4 percent). These fishermen are approximately 47 years old on average and have nearly 27 years of commercial fishing experience. Each fisherman supports approximately three dependents on average, which translates to an average household family size of four persons. Each fisherman spends an average of approximately 51 hours per week on commercial fishing related activities. These individuals are highly dependent on income from commercial fishing, which represents more than 85 percent of their household income on average. More than half of these fishermen (54 percent) have less than a high school level of education, 35 percent have a high school level of education, and 11 percent have some additional education beyond high school. As a result of non-reporting, reported landings and, thus, revenue for Puerto Rico’s commercial fisheries underestimate actual landings and revenue. Therefore, landings and revenue must be adjusted in order to generate more accurate estimates. Based on corrected landings estimates, average gross revenue per commercial fisherman was $5,431 and $9,168 in 2006 and 2007 respectively, or $7,076 across both years. The maximum gross revenue for a single commercial fisherman in either year was approximately $138,000. Commercial fishermen are mainly dependent on revenue from spiny lobster, queen conch, and reef fish, particularly queen snapper and silk snapper. However, harvest of queen conch is prohibited in the EEZ around Puerto Rico and bottom-tending gear (e.g, fish traps, lobster traps, and bottom longline) is prohibited in Bajo de Sico. Scuba diving and bottom line are the predominant gears used by commercial fishermen. The bottom line fishery for reef fish is most relevant for the actions in this proposed rule. In 2008, eight vessels on Puerto Rico’s west coast possessed HMS charter/ headboat permits. All eight charter E:\FR\FM\28JYP1.SGM 28JYP1 erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 144 / Wednesday, July 28, 2010 / Proposed Rules vessels are made of fiberglass. The majority of the HMS charter vessels (seven) use rod and reel gear, while one vessel uses handline gear. Furthermore, these vessels are 27 ft (8.4 m) in length and have 358 HP on average and thus are slightly longer and considerably more powerful on average than commercial fishing vessels. These vessels are approximately 8 years old on average and are thus also much newer on average than commercial fishing vessels. Charter vessels also typically carry more individuals in terms of crew and passengers (approximately seven on average) than commercial vessels. Charter vessels most frequently target dolphin, blue marlin, wahoo, and yellowfin tuna. Charter fishermen have approximately 25 years of fishing experience on average. Charter vessels in Puerto Rico take approximately 190 trips per year, though recent survey data suggest that charter vessels on the west coast may average only 150–160 trips per year. These data also suggest that west coast charter vessels specialize in half-day trips rather than full-day trips, the latter of which was reported to cost $526 on average in 2005. Annual landings and revenue data for west coast charter vessels are not presently available. However, the available information regarding number of trips per year and cost per trip indicates that these charter operations are similar to those in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic regions. Therefore, it is assumed that these vessels’ maximum and average annual revenues are also similar to those operating in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic regions. The Small Business Administration defines a small business in the commercial fishing industry as an entity that is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $4.0 million annually (NAICS codes 114111 and 114112, finfish and shellfish fishing). For charter vessels, the other qualifiers apply and the annual receipts threshold is $6.5 million (NAICS code 713990, recreational industries). Based on the annual revenue and related information for the fisheries provided above, all vessels expected to be directly impacted by this proposed rule are determined, for the purpose of this analysis, to be small entities. The action to modify the Bajo de Sico closure is expected to directly benefit all eight charter vessels on Puerto Rico’s west coast by giving them access to Bajo de Sico’s HMS and pelagic resources during the 3 months (December, January, and February) the area is VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:46 Jul 27, 2010 Jkt 220001 currently closed to all fishing. The magnitude of these economic benefits depends on the extent to which these vessels take additional trips to Bajo de Sico as opposed to reallocating current trips from other areas. An estimate of how many additional trips these charter vessels might take is not currently available. However, additional trips would be expected to result in higher revenue and thus higher profit. Conversely, 64 of the 294 (22 percent) commercial fishing vessels actively participating in Puerto Rico’s west coast fisheries in 2007 are expected to experience direct, adverse economic effects as a result of the action to modify the Bajo de Sico closure. Specifically, since these vessels will experience additional loss of access to Bajo de Sico’s fisheries resources, particularly reef fish, during the months of October, November, and March under this action, their landings, revenue, and, therefore, profit are expected to decrease. Based on an extrapolation of landings data from Puerto Rico’s trip ticket data, the 64 directly affected vessels averaged approximately 6,400 lb (2,303 kg) in landings and $17,300 in gross revenue in 2007. Detailed cost data and, therefore, profit estimates are not currently available for these commercial vessels. Therefore, the reduction in profit arising from this action cannot be directly estimated for the directly affected vessels. However, surveys of the directly affected commercial fishermen indicate that these vessels are expected to experience a 48–percent reduction in landings and a 47–percent reduction in gross revenue, or approximately $8,130 per vessel. Most of these losses are due to reductions in the harvest of reef fish, particularly deepwater snappers. However, the harvest of other species (e.g. baitfish) caught on trips that target reef fish are also expected to be foregone. Since these relatively small vessels will not be able to transit through Bajo de Sico with reef fish on board and may have to travel to more distant fishing grounds in order to harvest deepwater snappers, operating costs are expected to increase by 57 percent. Further, the affected fishermen are expected to experience a 55–percent reduction in household income. Since the fisherman’s household income is generally indicative of net revenue or profit to the vessel, this figure represents the best available estimate of the expected percentage reduction in profit for these entities. On the other hand, since October and November are off-season for many commercial vessels due to poor weather and sea conditions, and given that the PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 44211 harvest of their primary target species, silk snapper, is already prohibited during these months, the reductions in landings, revenue, household income and, therefore, profit are likely overestimated. Furthermore, vessels with the appropriate gear, the number of which cannot be determined with available data, may be able to partially mitigate these losses by reallocating some of their fishing effort out of the bottom line fishery for reef fish into the troll line fishery for HMS and pelagic species during the months that Bajo de Sico will be closed to fishing for Caribbean reef fish. The action to prohibit anchoring by fishing vessels in Bajo de Sico yearround is not expected to generate adverse economic impacts on the eight charter vessels because they use troll or handline gear and do not drop anchor when fishing. It is possible, though not likely, that a few of the commercial vessels expected to be affected by the proposed action to modify the Bajo de Sico closure may experience additional minimal adverse economic effects as a result of the proposed anchoring prohibition. Though it is not necessary for vessels using bottom line gear to drop anchor when fishing, such behavior may occur on occasion. Since dropping anchor in Bajo de Sico would no longer be permissible under the proposed action, vessels would be required to move out of the area, and thereby expend additional fuel, if they want to drop anchor. The effects resulting from the occasional need for a few vessels to expend additional fuel would likely be imperceptible and, therefore, probably have no impact on these vessels’ profitability. The action to add spear to the list of allowable gears in the commercial sector of the reef fish fishery is not expected to generate any adverse economic effects on commercial reef fish vessels. This action is administrative in nature, the purpose of which is to correct an oversight with respect to the current list of allowable gears for the commercial reef fish fishery. Since spear is and has been an historically used gear in the commercial reef fish fishery, the Council intended for it to be included in the list of allowable gears. This action would formally legalize its use in the fishery but have no effect on its current or expected future use in the fishery and thus, in turn, have no effect on the operations of commercial reef fish vessels. Four alternatives, including the status quo, were considered for the action to modify the Bajo de Sico seasonal closure. Three of the alternatives include multiple options that determine E:\FR\FM\28JYP1.SGM 28JYP1 erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS 44212 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 144 / Wednesday, July 28, 2010 / Proposed Rules which species and specific activities are covered by the closure. The first alternative, the status quo, would not have modified the seasonal closure for Bajo de Sico or prohibited possession of reef fish onboard when transiting through the area during the closure. Further, the seasonal closure would have continued to apply to all fishing, including fishing for non-reef fish species such as HMS and pelagics. The status quo alternative is inconsistent with the Council’s objective of providing greater protection for spawning aggregations of reef fish in the area as well as well developed coral that provide critical habitat for these species. The second alternative, which would extend the seasonal closure by 3 months to the months of October, November, and March, had three options other than the proposed action. The first option would have prohibited fishing for all species, including those not managed by the Council, during the closure. The second option would have prohibited fishing for and possession of all species, including those not managed by the Council, during the closure. The third option would have prohibited fishing for reef fish during the closure. The first two options were not selected because fishing for HMS and pelagic species using troll, rod and reel, and handline gear near the surface is not expected to result in the incidental harvest of reef fish or damage to coral. As such, prohibiting fishing for and possession of these species would generate unnecessary economic and social impacts on charter, private recreational, and commercial vessels. The third option was not selected because it would still effectively allow transit through Bajo de Sico during the closure with reef fish onboard. Allowing possession of reef fish onboard would make it difficult to prove where they were harvested from, which would in turn cause enforcement of the closure to be more difficult and thereby less effective. The third alternative, which would extend the seasonal closure by 3 months to the months of March, April, and May, had four options. Although this alternative would close Bajo de Sico for 6 months, and thereby generate comparable biological benefits in terms of protecting red hind spawning aggregations and larger individuals of snapper and grouper, as well as protecting well developed coral and sponge habitat (EFH), it would create greater adverse social and economic impacts on commercial vessels and associated onshore businesses since commercial fishing activity is considerably greater in March, April, VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:46 Jul 27, 2010 Jkt 220001 and May than in October, November, and March. Thus, this alternative would result in lower net benefits to society compared to the proposed action. The fourth alternative, which would implement a year-round closure of Bajo de Sico, had four options. This alternative would have generated greater biological benefits with respect to protecting coral and reef fish populations. However, the additional benefits of a year-round closure to reef fish spawning aggregations were not believed to be significantly greater compared to a 6-month closure, and additional protections to coral habitat are being accomplished by the proposed anchoring prohibition. Further, by completely prohibiting access to Bajo de Sico’s reef fish and, in effect, baitfish resources, this alternative would have generated much greater adverse social and economic impacts on commercial and charter vessels and associated onshore businesses. Given the proposed rule’s objectives, the Council concluded these considerably larger social and economic costs outweighed the additional biological benefits and, thus, would have resulted in lower net benefits to society compared to the proposed action. Three alternatives, including the status quo, were considered for the action to prohibit anchoring in Bajo de Sico. The first alternative, the status quo, would not have implemented any restrictions on anchoring in Bajo de Sico. Anchoring is thought to cause substantial and long lasting damage to coral populations. Anchoring can also indirectly impact the long-term growth of coral populations. Coral populations are an essential part of the ecology of reef environments. If coral populations are decreased, reef fish populations could also be indirectly impacted by lack of essential habitat. Thus, this alternative is contrary to the Council’s objective of providing additional protections to important coral habitat. The second alternative would have prohibited anchoring for 6 months. Anchoring has a high probability of damaging essential coral reef populations. These coral populations are very vulnerable and slow growing, and even slight damage can require years of recovery. Anchoring during the open season could damage coral beyond recovery. Coral populations are an essential part of the ecology of reef environments. If coral populations are decreased, reef fish populations could also be indirectly impacted by lack of essential habitat. Thus, this alternative is contrary to the Council’s objective of providing additional protections to important coral habitat. PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Copies of the RIR and IRFA are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). List of Subjects 50 CFR Part 600 Administrative practice and procedures, Confidential business information, Fisheries, Fishing, Fishing vessels, Foreign relations, Intergovernmental relations, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Statistics. 50 CFR Part 622 Fisheries, Fishing, Puerto Rico, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Virgin Islands. Dated: July 23, 2010. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR parts 600 and 622 are proposed to be amended as follows: PART 600—MAGNUSON–STEVENS ACT PROVISIONS 1. The authority citations for part 600 continue to read as follows: Authority: 5 U.S.C. 561 and 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 600.725, in paragraph (v), in the table under heading ‘‘V. Caribbean Fishery Management Council,’’ the heading for entry 2. is revised, and a new entry 2.D. is added to read as follows: § 600.725 * General prohibitions. * * (v) * * * * * Authorized gear types Fishery * * * * * * V. Caribbean Fishery Management Council * * * * 2. Caribbean Reef Fish Fishery (FMP) * * * * * D. Other commercial fishery. * * * * D. Spear. * PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC 3. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 4. In § 622.33, paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(A) is removed and reserved, introductory E:\FR\FM\28JYP1.SGM 28JYP1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 144 / Wednesday, July 28, 2010 / Proposed Rules paragraph (a) is revised and paragraph (a)(8) is added to read as follows: § 622.33 Caribbean EEZ seasonal and/or area closures. erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS (a) Seasonal closures. In addition to the other restrictions specified in this paragraph (a), fishing with pots, traps, bottom longlines, gillnets or trammel nets is prohibited year-round in the closed areas specified in paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(8) of this section. * * * * * VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:46 Jul 27, 2010 Jkt 220001 (8) Bajo de Sico closed area. The Bajo de Sico closed area is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order the following points: Point A West long. 18°15.7′ 18°15.7′ 18°12.7′ 18°12.7′ 18°15.7′ A B C D A North lat. 67°26.4′ 67°23.2′ 67°23.2′ 67°26.4′ 67°26.4′ (ii) From October 1 through March 31, each year, no person may fish for or possess any Caribbean reef fish, as listed PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 44213 in Table 2 of Appendix A to part 622, in or from those parts of the Bajo de Sico closed area that are in the EEZ. The prohibition on possession does not apply to such Caribbean reef fish harvested and landed ashore prior to the closure. (iii) Anchoring, by fishing vessels, is prohibited in those parts of the Bajo de Sico closed area that are in the EEZ year-round. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2010–18537 Filed 7–27–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\28JYP1.SGM 28JYP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 144 (Wednesday, July 28, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 44209-44213]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-18537]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 600 and 622

[Docket No. 0907201152-91188-01]
RIN 0648-AY05


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Regulatory Amendment to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish 
Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS issues this proposed rule that would implement a 
regulatory amendment to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish 
Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (FMP) prepared by 
the Caribbean Fishery Management Council (Council). This proposed rule 
would modify the Bajo de Sico seasonal closure from a 3-month closure 
to a 6-month closure, and prohibit fishing for and possession of 
Caribbean reef fish in or from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) 
portion of Bajo de Sico during the closure. The proposed rule would 
also prohibit anchoring in the EEZ portion of Bajo de Sico year-round. 
In addition to the measures contained in the regulatory amendment, this 
proposed rule would also add spear to the list of allowable gears in 
the commercial sector of the Caribbean reef fish fishery. The intended 
effect of this proposed rule is to provide further protection for red 
hind spawning aggregations and large snappers and groupers, and better 
protect the essential fish habitat (EFH) where these species reside.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before August 27, 2010.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule identified by 
0648-AY05, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Britni Tokotch, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 
13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
     Fax: 727-824-5308; Attention: Britni Tokotch.
    Instructions: No comments will be posted for public viewing until 
after the comment period has closed. All comments received are a part 
of the public record and will generally be posted to http://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.
    NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required 
fields if you wish to remain anonymous). You may submit attachments to 
electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF 
file formats only.
    Copies of the regulatory amendment--which includes an Environmental 
Assessment (EA), an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA), and 
a regulatory impact review (RIR)--may be obtained from Britni Tokotch, 
Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, 
FL 33701 or may be downloaded from the Southeast Regional Office 
website at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Britni Tokotch, 727-824-5305.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Caribbean reef fish fishery is managed 
under the FMP. 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

    The Bajo de Sico area closure was first implemented in 1996 to 
protect spawning aggregations of red hind. Currently, the EEZ portion 
of Bajo de Sico is closed to all fishing activities from December 1 
through the end of February, each year. Within the EEZ portion of the 
Bajo de Sico closed area, the use of bottom-tending gear, including 
traps, pots, gillnets, trammel nets, and bottom longlines, is 
prohibited year-round.
    Recently, Bajo de Sico has been identified as an important spawning 
site, especially for red hind, and possibly for other resident 
groupers, including Nassau and yellowfin groupers. Bajo de Sico is also 
an important foraging site for these and other Caribbean reef fish. The 
Bajo de Sico closed area has been described as a well developed and 
diverse coral and sponge habitat, which provides EFH for Caribbean reef 
fish within Bajo de Sico. The purpose of this proposed rule is to 
protect red hind spawning aggregations and large snappers and groupers 
from directed fishing mortality to achieve a more natural sex ratio, 
age, and size structure, and to protect associated EFH, while 
minimizing adverse social and economic effects.

Management Measures Contained in this Proposed Rule

    Within the EEZ portion of Bajo de Sico, this proposed rule would 
establish a seasonal closure from October 1 through March 31, each 
year, during which fishing for and possession of Caribbean reef fish in 
or from the area would be prohibited. The proposed revision of the Bajo 
de Sico closure would provide additional protection for Caribbean reef 
fish inhabiting Bajo de Sico.
    This proposed rule would also prohibit anchoring by fishing vessels 
year-round while in the EEZ portion of the Bajo de Sico closed area. 
Prohibiting

[[Page 44210]]

anchoring will provide added protection to the EFH utilized by 
Caribbean reef fish. This measure will minimize potential damage to 
coral reef populations and will protect reef fish and habitat important 
to the overall health of Bajo de Sico.

Additional Measures Contained in this Proposed Rule

    This rule proposes to add spear to the list of allowable gears in 
Sec.  600.725 for the commercial sector of the Caribbean reef fish 
fishery. At its March 2009 Caribbean Council meeting, the Council voted 
to add spear to the list of allowable gears for this fishery, and in a 
letter dated May 27, 2009, the Council requested that NMFS implement 
this measure. Spear is currently on the list of allowable gears for the 
recreational sector, and this rule would implement the same measure for 
the commercial sector.
    NMFS proposes to revise the title for the FMP in the list of 
authorized fisheries and gears. In Sec.  600.725, the FMP is 
incorrectly named the ``Shallow Water Reef Fish Fishery FMP.'' 
Amendment 2 to the FMP renamed the FMP, from the ``Shallow Water Reef 
Fish Fishery FMP'' to the ``Reef Fish Fishery FMP,'' however, this 
title was not revised in the part 600 regulations. This rule corrects 
the FMP title. These minor revisions are unrelated to the actions 
contained in the Bajo de Sico regulatory amendment.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is 
consistent with the regulatory amendment, other provisions of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further 
consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    NMFS prepared an IRFA, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act, for this proposed rule. The IRFA describes the 
economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small 
entities. A description of the action, why it is being considered, and 
the objectives of, and legal basis for this action are contained at the 
beginning of this section in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of 
the preamble. A copy of the full analysis is available from the NMFS 
(see ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows.
    The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the statutory basis for the 
proposed rule. The proposed rule would modify the Bajo de Sico seasonal 
closure by extending it from a 3-month closure to a 6-month closure, 
and prohibit fishing for and possession of Caribbean reef fish in or 
from the EEZ portion of Bajo de Sico during the closure. The proposed 
rule would also prohibit anchoring by fishing vessels in the EEZ 
portion of Bajo de Sico year-round. This rule also proposes minor 
revisions to the codified text, including adding spear to the list of 
allowable gears in the commercial sector of the reef fish fishery, and 
revising the title of the FMP in the list of authorized fisheries and 
gears in Sec.  600.725. The purposes of this proposed rule are to 
provide further protection for red hind spawning aggregations and large 
snappers and groupers from directed fishing mortality to achieve a more 
natural sex ratio, age, and size structure, and to better protect the 
EFH where these species reside.
    No duplicative, overlapping or conflicting Federal rules have been 
identified.
    At present, Federal permits are not required to participate in 
Council-managed fisheries on Puerto Rico's west coast, and, therefore, 
it is unknown how many fishermen or vessels participate in the Federal 
component of these fisheries. However, landings data from Puerto Rico's 
trip ticket program indicate that 294 fishermen had commercial landings 
on Puerto Rico's west coast in 2007. Some of these fishermen do not 
possess commercial fishing licenses, and the vessels used by these 
fishermen are not identified in the landings data. Preliminary 
fisherman Census data for 2008 indicates that 95 percent of commercial 
fishermen own one vessel, and thus it is assumed for current purposes 
that each commercial fisherman represents a single commercial fishing 
vessel. Further, all charter and headboat vessels used to fish for, 
take, retain, or possess Atlantic billfish, tunas, swordfish, or sharks 
must possess an Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) charter/
headboat permit. In 2008, eight charter vessels on Puerto Rico's west 
coast held HMS charter/headboat permits.
    In Puerto Rico's west coast fisheries, commercial fishing vessels 
average 20 ft (6.3 m) in length, but range between 12 to 51 ft (3.8-
15.9 m), with the vast majority being between 15 and 25 ft (4.7-7.8 m). 
These vessels have an average horsepower (HP) of approximately 77, 
though considerable variability exists within the fleet, even among 
vessels of comparable length. The age of these vessels is approximately 
19 years on average. The majority of vessels are made of fiberglass (63 
percent), though wood hulls and wood and fiberglass composite hulls are 
relatively common, accounting for 19 percent and 18 percent of the 
fleet, respectively. On average, each vessel carries two individuals, 
the captain and one crewman.
    According to the 2008 fisherman Census, 72 percent of Puerto Rico's 
west coast commercial fishermen possess some type of commercial fishing 
license while 28 percent do not. Of those fishermen who hold a 
commercial fishing license, the vast majority (78 percent) possess a 
full-time license, while the others possess either a beginner's license 
(18 percent) or a part-time license (4 percent). These fishermen are 
approximately 47 years old on average and have nearly 27 years of 
commercial fishing experience. Each fisherman supports approximately 
three dependents on average, which translates to an average household 
family size of four persons. Each fisherman spends an average of 
approximately 51 hours per week on commercial fishing related 
activities. These individuals are highly dependent on income from 
commercial fishing, which represents more than 85 percent of their 
household income on average. More than half of these fishermen (54 
percent) have less than a high school level of education, 35 percent 
have a high school level of education, and 11 percent have some 
additional education beyond high school.
    As a result of non-reporting, reported landings and, thus, revenue 
for Puerto Rico's commercial fisheries underestimate actual landings 
and revenue. Therefore, landings and revenue must be adjusted in order 
to generate more accurate estimates. Based on corrected landings 
estimates, average gross revenue per commercial fisherman was $5,431 
and $9,168 in 2006 and 2007 respectively, or $7,076 across both years. 
The maximum gross revenue for a single commercial fisherman in either 
year was approximately $138,000. Commercial fishermen are mainly 
dependent on revenue from spiny lobster, queen conch, and reef fish, 
particularly queen snapper and silk snapper. However, harvest of queen 
conch is prohibited in the EEZ around Puerto Rico and bottom-tending 
gear (e.g, fish traps, lobster traps, and bottom longline) is 
prohibited in Bajo de Sico. Scuba diving and bottom line are the 
predominant gears used by commercial fishermen. The bottom line fishery 
for reef fish is most relevant for the actions in this proposed rule.
    In 2008, eight vessels on Puerto Rico's west coast possessed HMS 
charter/headboat permits. All eight charter

[[Page 44211]]

vessels are made of fiberglass. The majority of the HMS charter vessels 
(seven) use rod and reel gear, while one vessel uses handline gear. 
Furthermore, these vessels are 27 ft (8.4 m) in length and have 358 HP 
on average and thus are slightly longer and considerably more powerful 
on average than commercial fishing vessels. These vessels are 
approximately 8 years old on average and are thus also much newer on 
average than commercial fishing vessels. Charter vessels also typically 
carry more individuals in terms of crew and passengers (approximately 
seven on average) than commercial vessels. Charter vessels most 
frequently target dolphin, blue marlin, wahoo, and yellowfin tuna. 
Charter fishermen have approximately 25 years of fishing experience on 
average. Charter vessels in Puerto Rico take approximately 190 trips 
per year, though recent survey data suggest that charter vessels on the 
west coast may average only 150-160 trips per year. These data also 
suggest that west coast charter vessels specialize in half-day trips 
rather than full-day trips, the latter of which was reported to cost 
$526 on average in 2005. Annual landings and revenue data for west 
coast charter vessels are not presently available. However, the 
available information regarding number of trips per year and cost per 
trip indicates that these charter operations are similar to those in 
the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic regions. Therefore, it is assumed 
that these vessels' maximum and average annual revenues are also 
similar to those operating in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic 
regions.
    The Small Business Administration defines a small business in the 
commercial fishing industry as an entity that is independently owned 
and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its 
affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $4.0 
million annually (NAICS codes 114111 and 114112, finfish and shellfish 
fishing). For charter vessels, the other qualifiers apply and the 
annual receipts threshold is $6.5 million (NAICS code 713990, 
recreational industries). Based on the annual revenue and related 
information for the fisheries provided above, all vessels expected to 
be directly impacted by this proposed rule are determined, for the 
purpose of this analysis, to be small entities.
    The action to modify the Bajo de Sico closure is expected to 
directly benefit all eight charter vessels on Puerto Rico's west coast 
by giving them access to Bajo de Sico's HMS and pelagic resources 
during the 3 months (December, January, and February) the area is 
currently closed to all fishing. The magnitude of these economic 
benefits depends on the extent to which these vessels take additional 
trips to Bajo de Sico as opposed to reallocating current trips from 
other areas. An estimate of how many additional trips these charter 
vessels might take is not currently available. However, additional 
trips would be expected to result in higher revenue and thus higher 
profit.
    Conversely, 64 of the 294 (22 percent) commercial fishing vessels 
actively participating in Puerto Rico's west coast fisheries in 2007 
are expected to experience direct, adverse economic effects as a result 
of the action to modify the Bajo de Sico closure. Specifically, since 
these vessels will experience additional loss of access to Bajo de 
Sico's fisheries resources, particularly reef fish, during the months 
of October, November, and March under this action, their landings, 
revenue, and, therefore, profit are expected to decrease. Based on an 
extrapolation of landings data from Puerto Rico's trip ticket data, the 
64 directly affected vessels averaged approximately 6,400 lb (2,303 kg) 
in landings and $17,300 in gross revenue in 2007. Detailed cost data 
and, therefore, profit estimates are not currently available for these 
commercial vessels. Therefore, the reduction in profit arising from 
this action cannot be directly estimated for the directly affected 
vessels.
    However, surveys of the directly affected commercial fishermen 
indicate that these vessels are expected to experience a 48-percent 
reduction in landings and a 47-percent reduction in gross revenue, or 
approximately $8,130 per vessel. Most of these losses are due to 
reductions in the harvest of reef fish, particularly deepwater 
snappers. However, the harvest of other species (e.g. baitfish) caught 
on trips that target reef fish are also expected to be foregone. Since 
these relatively small vessels will not be able to transit through Bajo 
de Sico with reef fish on board and may have to travel to more distant 
fishing grounds in order to harvest deepwater snappers, operating costs 
are expected to increase by 57 percent. Further, the affected fishermen 
are expected to experience a 55-percent reduction in household income. 
Since the fisherman's household income is generally indicative of net 
revenue or profit to the vessel, this figure represents the best 
available estimate of the expected percentage reduction in profit for 
these entities.
    On the other hand, since October and November are off-season for 
many commercial vessels due to poor weather and sea conditions, and 
given that the harvest of their primary target species, silk snapper, 
is already prohibited during these months, the reductions in landings, 
revenue, household income and, therefore, profit are likely 
overestimated. Furthermore, vessels with the appropriate gear, the 
number of which cannot be determined with available data, may be able 
to partially mitigate these losses by reallocating some of their 
fishing effort out of the bottom line fishery for reef fish into the 
troll line fishery for HMS and pelagic species during the months that 
Bajo de Sico will be closed to fishing for Caribbean reef fish.
    The action to prohibit anchoring by fishing vessels in Bajo de Sico 
year-round is not expected to generate adverse economic impacts on the 
eight charter vessels because they use troll or handline gear and do 
not drop anchor when fishing. It is possible, though not likely, that a 
few of the commercial vessels expected to be affected by the proposed 
action to modify the Bajo de Sico closure may experience additional 
minimal adverse economic effects as a result of the proposed anchoring 
prohibition. Though it is not necessary for vessels using bottom line 
gear to drop anchor when fishing, such behavior may occur on occasion. 
Since dropping anchor in Bajo de Sico would no longer be permissible 
under the proposed action, vessels would be required to move out of the 
area, and thereby expend additional fuel, if they want to drop anchor. 
The effects resulting from the occasional need for a few vessels to 
expend additional fuel would likely be imperceptible and, therefore, 
probably have no impact on these vessels' profitability.
    The action to add spear to the list of allowable gears in the 
commercial sector of the reef fish fishery is not expected to generate 
any adverse economic effects on commercial reef fish vessels. This 
action is administrative in nature, the purpose of which is to correct 
an oversight with respect to the current list of allowable gears for 
the commercial reef fish fishery. Since spear is and has been an 
historically used gear in the commercial reef fish fishery, the Council 
intended for it to be included in the list of allowable gears. This 
action would formally legalize its use in the fishery but have no 
effect on its current or expected future use in the fishery and thus, 
in turn, have no effect on the operations of commercial reef fish 
vessels.
    Four alternatives, including the status quo, were considered for 
the action to modify the Bajo de Sico seasonal closure. Three of the 
alternatives include multiple options that determine

[[Page 44212]]

which species and specific activities are covered by the closure. The 
first alternative, the status quo, would not have modified the seasonal 
closure for Bajo de Sico or prohibited possession of reef fish onboard 
when transiting through the area during the closure. Further, the 
seasonal closure would have continued to apply to all fishing, 
including fishing for non-reef fish species such as HMS and pelagics. 
The status quo alternative is inconsistent with the Council's objective 
of providing greater protection for spawning aggregations of reef fish 
in the area as well as well developed coral that provide critical 
habitat for these species.
    The second alternative, which would extend the seasonal closure by 
3 months to the months of October, November, and March, had three 
options other than the proposed action. The first option would have 
prohibited fishing for all species, including those not managed by the 
Council, during the closure. The second option would have prohibited 
fishing for and possession of all species, including those not managed 
by the Council, during the closure. The third option would have 
prohibited fishing for reef fish during the closure. The first two 
options were not selected because fishing for HMS and pelagic species 
using troll, rod and reel, and handline gear near the surface is not 
expected to result in the incidental harvest of reef fish or damage to 
coral. As such, prohibiting fishing for and possession of these species 
would generate unnecessary economic and social impacts on charter, 
private recreational, and commercial vessels. The third option was not 
selected because it would still effectively allow transit through Bajo 
de Sico during the closure with reef fish onboard. Allowing possession 
of reef fish onboard would make it difficult to prove where they were 
harvested from, which would in turn cause enforcement of the closure to 
be more difficult and thereby less effective.
    The third alternative, which would extend the seasonal closure by 3 
months to the months of March, April, and May, had four options. 
Although this alternative would close Bajo de Sico for 6 months, and 
thereby generate comparable biological benefits in terms of protecting 
red hind spawning aggregations and larger individuals of snapper and 
grouper, as well as protecting well developed coral and sponge habitat 
(EFH), it would create greater adverse social and economic impacts on 
commercial vessels and associated onshore businesses since commercial 
fishing activity is considerably greater in March, April, and May than 
in October, November, and March. Thus, this alternative would result in 
lower net benefits to society compared to the proposed action.
    The fourth alternative, which would implement a year-round closure 
of Bajo de Sico, had four options. This alternative would have 
generated greater biological benefits with respect to protecting coral 
and reef fish populations. However, the additional benefits of a year-
round closure to reef fish spawning aggregations were not believed to 
be significantly greater compared to a 6-month closure, and additional 
protections to coral habitat are being accomplished by the proposed 
anchoring prohibition. Further, by completely prohibiting access to 
Bajo de Sico's reef fish and, in effect, baitfish resources, this 
alternative would have generated much greater adverse social and 
economic impacts on commercial and charter vessels and associated 
onshore businesses. Given the proposed rule's objectives, the Council 
concluded these considerably larger social and economic costs 
outweighed the additional biological benefits and, thus, would have 
resulted in lower net benefits to society compared to the proposed 
action.
    Three alternatives, including the status quo, were considered for 
the action to prohibit anchoring in Bajo de Sico. The first 
alternative, the status quo, would not have implemented any 
restrictions on anchoring in Bajo de Sico. Anchoring is thought to 
cause substantial and long lasting damage to coral populations. 
Anchoring can also indirectly impact the long-term growth of coral 
populations. Coral populations are an essential part of the ecology of 
reef environments. If coral populations are decreased, reef fish 
populations could also be indirectly impacted by lack of essential 
habitat. Thus, this alternative is contrary to the Council's objective 
of providing additional protections to important coral habitat.
    The second alternative would have prohibited anchoring for 6 
months. Anchoring has a high probability of damaging essential coral 
reef populations. These coral populations are very vulnerable and slow 
growing, and even slight damage can require years of recovery. 
Anchoring during the open season could damage coral beyond recovery. 
Coral populations are an essential part of the ecology of reef 
environments. If coral populations are decreased, reef fish populations 
could also be indirectly impacted by lack of essential habitat. Thus, 
this alternative is contrary to the Council's objective of providing 
additional protections to important coral habitat.
    Copies of the RIR and IRFA are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES).

List of Subjects

50 CFR Part 600
    Administrative practice and procedures, Confidential business 
information, Fisheries, Fishing, Fishing vessels, Foreign relations, 
Intergovernmental relations, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Statistics.
50 CFR Part 622
    Fisheries, Fishing, Puerto Rico, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Virgin Islands.

    Dated: July 23, 2010.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR parts 600 and 622 
are proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 600--MAGNUSON-STEVENS ACT PROVISIONS

    1. The authority citations for part 600 continue to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 561 and 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.
    2. In Sec.  600.725, in paragraph (v), in the table under heading 
``V. Caribbean Fishery Management Council,'' the heading for entry 2. 
is revised, and a new entry 2.D. is added to read as follows:


Sec.  600.725  General prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (v) * * *

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Fishery                       Authorized gear types
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                * * * * *
 
 V. Caribbean Fishery Management Council
                                * * * * *
2. Caribbean Reef Fish Fishery (FMP)         ...........................
                                * * * * *
 
 D. Other commercial fishery.                D. Spear.
                                * * * * *
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------

PART 622--FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC

    3. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.
    4. In Sec.  622.33, paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(A) is removed and 
reserved, introductory

[[Page 44213]]

paragraph (a) is revised and paragraph (a)(8) is added to read as 
follows:


Sec.  622.33  Caribbean EEZ seasonal and/or area closures.

    (a) Seasonal closures. In addition to the other restrictions 
specified in this paragraph (a), fishing with pots, traps, bottom 
longlines, gillnets or trammel nets is prohibited year-round in the 
closed areas specified in paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(8) 
of this section.
* * * * *
    (8) Bajo de Sico closed area. The Bajo de Sico closed area is 
bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order the following points:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Point A                     North lat.      West long.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A                                         18[deg]15.7'      67[deg]26.4'
B                                         18[deg]15.7'      67[deg]23.2'
C                                         18[deg]12.7'      67[deg]23.2'
D                                         18[deg]12.7'      67[deg]26.4'
A                                         18[deg]15.7'      67[deg]26.4'
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (ii) From October 1 through March 31, each year, no person may fish 
for or possess any Caribbean reef fish, as listed in Table 2 of 
Appendix A to part 622, in or from those parts of the Bajo de Sico 
closed area that are in the EEZ. The prohibition on possession does not 
apply to such Caribbean reef fish harvested and landed ashore prior to 
the closure.
    (iii) Anchoring, by fishing vessels, is prohibited in those parts 
of the Bajo de Sico closed area that are in the EEZ year-round.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2010-18537 Filed 7-27-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S