Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery; Proposed 2011-2013 Fishing Quotas for Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog, 65442-65445 [2010-26940]

Download as PDF 65442 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 75, No. 205 Monday, October 25, 2010 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules. On page 62736, in the first column, eight lines from the bottom; On page 62736, in the first column, three lines from the bottom; On page 62736, in the second column, two lines from the top; and On page 62736, in the second column, six lines from the top. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION Dated: October 19, 2010. Elizabeth M. Murphy, Secretary. 17 CFR Parts 229, 240, and 249 [FR Doc. 2010–26810 Filed 10–22–10; 8:45 am] [Release Nos. 33–9148A; 34–63029A; File No. S7–24–10] RIN 3235–AK75 Disclosure for Asset-Backed Securities Required by Section 943 of the DoddFrank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act Securities and Exchange Commission. ACTION: Proposed rule; correction. AGENCY: The Securities and Exchange Commission published a document in the Federal Register of October 13, 2010, concerning Disclosure for AssetBacked Securities Required by Section 943 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The document contained an incorrect reference to § 249.1300. This correction is being published to correct the reference. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rolaine Bancroft, Attorney-Advisor, in the Office of Rulemaking, at (202) 551– 3430, Division of Corporation Finance, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549–3628 or, with respect to proposed Rule 17g–7, Joseph I. Levinson, Special Counsel, at (202) 551–5598; Division of Trading and Markets, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE., Washington, DC 20549–3628. WReier-Aviles on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with PROPOSALS Correction In the Federal Register of October 13, 2010, in FR Doc. 2010–25361, the reference ‘‘249.1300’’ is corrected to read ‘‘249.1400’’ in the following places: On page 62719, in footnote 7 in the first column, two lines from the bottom; On page 62735, in the first column, two lines from the top; On page 62736, in the first column, thirty-one lines from the top; 14:15 Oct 22, 2010 Jkt 223001 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 271 [EPA–R06–RCRA–2009–0343; FRL–9217–1] New Mexico: Final Authorization of State Hazardous Waste Management Program Revisions SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 BILLING CODE 8011–01–P Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: The State of New Mexico has applied to EPA for Final authorization of the changes to its hazardous waste program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). EPA proposes to grant Final Authorization to the State of New Mexico. In the ‘‘Rules and Regulations’’ section of this Federal Register, EPA is authorizing the changes by an immediate final rule. EPA did not make a proposal prior to the immediate final rule because we believe this action is not controversial and do not expect comments that oppose it. We have explained the reasons for this authorization in the preamble to the immediate final rule. Unless we get written comments which oppose this authorization during the comment period, the immediate final rule will become effective on the date it establishes, and we will not take further action on this proposal. If we receive comments that oppose this action, we will withdraw the immediate final rule and it will not take effect. We will then respond to public comments in a later final rule based on this proposal. You may not have another opportunity for comment. If you want to comment on this action, you must do so at this time. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Send your written comments by November 24, 2010. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Alima Patterson, Region 6, Regional Authorization Coordinator, (6PD–O), Multimedia Planning and Permitting Division, at the address shown below. You can examine copies of the materials submitted by the State of New Mexico during normal business hours at the following locations: New Mexico Environment Department, 2905 Rodeo Park Drive East, Building 1, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505–6303, phone number (505) 476–6035 and EPA, Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202–2733, phone number (214) 665–8533, comments may also be submitted electronically or through hand delivery/courier; please follow the detailed instructions in the ADDRESSES section of the immediate final rule which is located in the Rules section of this Federal Register. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alima Patterson (214) 665–8533. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: For additional information, please see the immediate final rule published in the ‘‘Rules and Regulations’’ section of this Federal Register. DATES: Dated: October 12, 2010. Al Armendariz, Regional Administrator, Region 6. [FR Doc. 2010–26961 Filed 10–22–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 101013504–0504–02] RIN 0648–XY27 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery; Proposed 2011–2013 Fishing Quotas for Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\25OCP1.SGM 25OCP1 65443 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 205 / Monday, October 25, 2010 / Proposed Rules Proposed rule; request for comments. ACTION: NMFS proposes quotas for the Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries for 2011, 2012, and 2013. Regulations governing these fisheries require NMFS to publish the proposed quota specifications for the 2011–2013 fishing years and seek public comment on such proposed measures. The intent of this action is to propose allowable harvest levels of Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs from the Exclusive Economic Zone to prevent overfishing and to allow harvesting of optimum yield (OY). DATES: Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., eastern standard time, on November 24, 2010. ADDRESSES: Copies of supporting documents, including the Environmental Assessment, Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) are available from Christopher Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Suite 201, 800 N. State St., Dover, DE 19901. A copy of the EA/RIR/IRFA is accessible via the Internet at http:// www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/regs/ com.html. You may submit comments, identified by RIN 0648–XY27, by any one of the following methods: Mail: Patricia A. Kurkul, Regional Administrator, Northeast Region, NMFS, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark on the outside of the envelope, ‘‘Comments on 2011–2013 SC/OQ Proposed Specifications.’’ Fax: (978) 281–9135. Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal, http:// www.regulations.gov. SUMMARY: Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and generally will 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. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anna Macan, Fishery Management Specialist, 978–281–9165. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The fishery management plan (FMP) for Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs requires that NMFS, in consultation with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council), specify quotas for surfclam and ocean quahog for a 3-year period, with an annual review, from a range that represents the OY for each fishery. It is the policy of the Council that the levels selected allow sustainable fishing to continue at that level for at least 10 years for surfclams, and 30 years for ocean quahogs. In addition to this constraint, the Council policy also considers the economic impacts of the quotas. Regulations implementing Amendment 10 to the FMP (63 FR 27481, May 19, 1998) added Maine ocean quahogs (locally known as Maine mahogany quahogs) to the management unit, and provided for a small artisanal fishery for ocean quahogs in the waters north of 43°50′ N. lat., with an annual quota within a range of 17,000 to 100,000 Maine bu (5,991 to 35,240 hL). As specified in Amendment 10, the Maine mahogany ocean quahog quota is allocated separately from the quota specified for the ocean quahog fishery. Regulations implementing Amendment 13 to the FMP (68 FR 69970, December 16, 2003) established the ability to set multi-year quotas. An evaluation, in the form of an annual quota recommendation, is conducted by the Council every year to determine if the multi-year quota specifications remains appropriate. The fishing quotas must be in compliance with overfishing definitions for each species. In recommending these quotas, the Council considered the most recent stock assessments, data reported by harvesters and processors, and other relevant information concerning exploitable biomass and spawning biomass, fishing mortality rates, stock recruitment, projected fishing effort and catches, and areas closed to fishing. In June 2010, the Council voted to recommend maintaining the 2010 quota levels of 5.333 million bu (284 million L) for the ocean quahog fishery, 3.400 million bu (181 million L) for the Atlantic surfclam fishery, and 100,000 Maine bu (35,240 hL) for the Maine ocean quahog fishery for 2011–2013. The proposed quotas for the 2011–2013 Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog fishery are shown in the table below. The Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog quotas are specified in ‘‘industry’’ bu of 53.24 L per bu, while the Maine ocean quahog quota is specified in ‘‘Maine’’ bu of 35.24 L per bu. Because Maine ocean quahogs are the same species as ocean quahogs, both fisheries are assessed under the same ocean quahog overfishing definition. When the two quota amounts (ocean quahog and Maine ocean quahog) are added, the total allowable harvest is still lower than the level that would result in overfishing for the entire stock. PROPOSED 2011–2013 ATLANTIC SURFCLAM AND OCEAN QUAHOG1 QUOTAS 2011 bu Surfclams 2 ............................................... Ocean Quahogs 2 ..................................... Maine Ocean Quahogs 3 .......................... 2012 hL 3.400 5.333 100,000 bu 1.810 2.840 35,240 2013 hL 3.400 5.333 100,000 bu 1.810 2.840 35,240 3.400 5.333 100,000 hL 1.810 2.840 35,240 WReier-Aviles on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with PROPOSALS 1 Numerical values are in millions except for Maine ocean quahogs. bu = 1.88 cubic ft. = 53.24 liters. 3 1 bu = 1.2445 cubic ft. = 35.24 liters. 21 Surfclams The proposed 2011–2013 status quo surfclam quota was developed after reviewing the results of the Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Workshop (SAW) 49 for Atlantic surfclam, released VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:15 Oct 22, 2010 Jkt 223001 to the public in February 2010. The surfclam quota recommendation is consistent with the SAW 49 finding that the Atlantic surfclam stock is not overfished, nor is overfishing occurring. Estimated fishable stock biomass in PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 2008 was above the management target, and fishing mortality was below the management threshold. Although recruitment, growth rate, and biomass have continued to decline in the southern region (NJ and Delmarva), E:\FR\FM\25OCP1.SGM 25OCP1 65444 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 205 / Monday, October 25, 2010 / Proposed Rules relative to historic conditions, these declines are offset by an increase in biomass and recruitment on Georges Bank and off Long Island, NY. Based on this information, the Council recommended, and NMFS is proposing, to maintain the status quo surfclam quota of 3.4 million bu (181 million L) for 2011–2013. This quota represents the maximum allowable quota under the FMP. Ocean Quahogs The proposed 2011–2013 quota for ocean quahogs also reflects the status quo quota of 5.333 million bu (284 million L) in 2010. SAW 48, released to the public in August 2009, found that the ocean quahog stock is not overfished, nor is overfishing occurring. Estimated fishable biomass in 2008 was above the management target, and estimated fishing mortality was significantly below the target level. Fishing mortality is not expected to reach the threshold if the proposed quota is harvested each of the 3 years. Ocean quahog is an unproductive stock that is being fished down from its prefishery level; however, after several decades of relatively low fishing mortality, the stock is still above the biomass target reference points. In fact, the stock biomass is still at 81 percent of the pre-fishing level. Based on this information, the Council recommended, and NMFS is proposing, to maintain the status quo quota of 5.333 million bu (284 million L) for 2011–2013. This quota level may be above current market demand, but allows for market growth, should conditions change. The proposed 2011–2013 quota for Maine ocean quahogs is the status quo level of 100,000 Maine bu (35,240 hL). In 2008, the State of Maine completed a stock assessment of the resource within the Maine Mahogany Quahog Zone. This assessment was peerreviewed as part of SAW 48. The findings of the Maine quahog survey did not change the status of the entire ocean quahog resource. The proposed quota represents the maximum allowable quota under the FMP. WReier-Aviles on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with PROPOSALS Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the FMP, other provisions of the MSA, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This action is authorized by 50 CFR part 648 and has been determined to be not VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:15 Oct 22, 2010 Jkt 223001 significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 603, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) has been prepared, which describes the economic impacts that this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A summary of the IRFA is included in this section. The complete IRFA and regulatory impact review is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). A description of the reasons why this action is being considered, as well as the objectives of and legal basis for this proposed rule is found in the preamble of this proposed rule. There are no Federal rules that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this proposed rule. This action proposes fishing quotas for Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs for 2011–2013. The Council analyzed four quota alternatives for the Atlantic surfclam fishery, five alternatives for the ocean quahog fishery, and four alternatives for the Maine ocean quahog fishery. Each of the alternative sets included the proposed alternative and a ‘‘no action’’ alternative. The three proposed quotas for 2011– 2013 are 5.333 million bu (284 million L) for the ocean quahog fishery, 3.400 million bu (181 million L) for the Atlantic surfclam fishery, and 100,000 Maine bu (35,240 hL) for the Maine ocean quahog fishery. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which This Proposed Rule Would Apply The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a small commercial fishing entity as a firm with gross annual receipts not exceeding $4 million. In 2009, a total of 43 vessels reported harvesting surfclams and/or ocean quahogs from Federal waters under the Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) system. In addition, 19 vessels participated in the limited access Maine ocean quahog fishery, for a total of 62 participants in the 2009 fisheries. Average 2009 gross income from surfclam IFQ trips was $833,333 per vessel, and from ocean quahog IFQ trips was $1,533,333 per vessel. The Maine ocean quahog fishery reported an average value of $105,263 per vessel. Each vessel in this analysis is treated as a single entity for purposes of size determination and impact assessment. All 62 commercial fishing entities fall below the SBA size threshold for small commercial fishing entities. In addition to the active vessels that participate in the fishery there are 45 ocean quahog quota IFQ allocation holders, 57 surfclam allocation holders, and 40 Federal limited access Maine PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 mahogany quahog permit holders. An allocation holder may choose to fish or lease his or her quota allocation. Economic Impacts of This Proposed Action The proposed quotas for 2011–2013 reflect the same quota levels set for 2008–2010. Therefore, it is not expected that there will be any different economic impacts beyond status quo resulting from the proposed quota level. Leaving the ocean quahog quota at the harvest level of 5.333 million bu (284 million L) is not expected to constrain the fishery. In fact, actual ocean quahog landings for 2008 and 2009 were approximately 65 percent of the available quota. The total 2010 harvest is expected to be similar to recent years (as of September 30, 2010, only 47.6 percent of the quota had been harvested, a level slightly less than on this date in 2009). The surfclam quota is proposed to be set to the maximum allowed under the FMP. In contrast to the ocean quahog harvest, the surfclam fishery has harvested over 80 percent of the available quota each year since 2005, except for 2009, where 69 percent of the quota was landed. As of September 30, 2010, only 47.7 percent of the quota has been harvested for FY 2010, a level slightly less than on this date in 2009. The Maine ocean quahog quota is proposed to be set at the maximum allowed under the FMP (100,000 Maine bu; 35,240 hL). It is anticipated that by maintaining the status quo quota level for the next 3 years, the fishing industry will benefit from the stability of product demand from the seafood processors and being able to predict future fishery performance based on past performance from the last 3 years. Economic Impacts of Alternatives to the Proposed Action The Council analyzed four alternatives for the Atlantic surfclam fishery, five alternatives for the ocean quahog fishery, and four alternatives for the Maine ocean quahog fishery. Each of the alternative sets included the proposed alternative and a ‘‘no action’’ alternative. The selection of ‘‘no action’’ alternative would result in no quotas being established, a closure of the fishery, and is contrary to the FMP. Based on 2009 ex-vessel prices, the result of no Federal surfclam or ocean quahog harvests in 2011 would be a loss of $30 million to the Federal surfclam fishery, $23 million to the ocean quahog fishery, and $2 million to the Maine ocean quahog fishery, for a total loss of $55 million. The viable alternatives to the proposed quotas for ocean quahog E:\FR\FM\25OCP1.SGM 25OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 205 / Monday, October 25, 2010 / Proposed Rules WReier-Aviles on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with PROPOSALS that are permissible under the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act include a 20-percent decrease from the status quo, a 6.2-percent decrease from the status quo, and a 20-percent increase from the status quo; therefore, there are no significant alternatives that would reduce economic impacts on the regulated entities. The alternatives to the proposed surfclam quotas that are permissible under the FMP and the MagnusonStevens Act include a 45.6-percent decrease from the status quo and a 4.4-percent decrease from the status quo; therefore, there are no significant VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:15 Oct 22, 2010 Jkt 223001 alternatives that would reduce economic impacts on the regulated entities. The alternatives to the proposed Maine ocean quahog quota that are permissible under the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act include a 50percent decrease from the status quo and a 10-percent decrease from the status quo; therefore, there are no significant alternatives that would reduce economic impacts on the regulated entities. PO 00000 65445 Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements This proposed rule would not impose any new reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements. Therefore, the costs of compliance would remain unchanged. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: October 20, 2010. John Oliver, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2010–26940 Filed 10–22–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\25OCP1.SGM 25OCP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 205 (Monday, October 25, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 65442-65445]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-26940]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 101013504-0504-02]
RIN 0648-XY27


Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic 
Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery; Proposed 2011-2013 Fishing Quotas 
for Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog

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

[[Page 65443]]


ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes quotas for the Atlantic surfclam and ocean 
quahog fisheries for 2011, 2012, and 2013. Regulations governing these 
fisheries require NMFS to publish the proposed quota specifications for 
the 2011-2013 fishing years and seek public comment on such proposed 
measures. The intent of this action is to propose allowable harvest 
levels of Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs from the Exclusive 
Economic Zone to prevent overfishing and to allow harvesting of optimum 
yield (OY).

DATES: Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., eastern standard 
time, on November 24, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Copies of supporting documents, including the Environmental 
Assessment, Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), and Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) are available from Christopher Moore, 
Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Suite 201, 
800 N. State St., Dover, DE 19901. A copy of the EA/RIR/IRFA is 
accessible via the Internet at http://www.nero.noaa.gov/nero/regs/com.html.
    You may submit comments, identified by RIN 0648-XY27, by any one of 
the following methods:
    Mail: Patricia A. Kurkul, Regional Administrator, Northeast Region, 
NMFS, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark on the 
outside of the envelope, ``Comments on 2011-2013 SC/OQ Proposed 
Specifications.''
    Fax: (978) 281-9135.
    Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via 
the Federal eRulemaking Portal, http://www.regulations.gov.
    Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record 
and generally will 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. Attachments to electronic 
comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or 
Adobe PDF file formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anna Macan, Fishery Management 
Specialist, 978-281-9165.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The fishery management plan (FMP) for 
Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs requires that NMFS, in 
consultation with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council 
(Council), specify quotas for surfclam and ocean quahog for a 3-year 
period, with an annual review, from a range that represents the OY for 
each fishery. It is the policy of the Council that the levels selected 
allow sustainable fishing to continue at that level for at least 10 
years for surfclams, and 30 years for ocean quahogs. In addition to 
this constraint, the Council policy also considers the economic impacts 
of the quotas. Regulations implementing Amendment 10 to the FMP (63 FR 
27481, May 19, 1998) added Maine ocean quahogs (locally known as Maine 
mahogany quahogs) to the management unit, and provided for a small 
artisanal fishery for ocean quahogs in the waters north of 43[deg]50' 
N. lat., with an annual quota within a range of 17,000 to 100,000 Maine 
bu (5,991 to 35,240 hL). As specified in Amendment 10, the Maine 
mahogany ocean quahog quota is allocated separately from the quota 
specified for the ocean quahog fishery. Regulations implementing 
Amendment 13 to the FMP (68 FR 69970, December 16, 2003) established 
the ability to set multi-year quotas. An evaluation, in the form of an 
annual quota recommendation, is conducted by the Council every year to 
determine if the multi-year quota specifications remains appropriate. 
The fishing quotas must be in compliance with overfishing definitions 
for each species. In recommending these quotas, the Council considered 
the most recent stock assessments, data reported by harvesters and 
processors, and other relevant information concerning exploitable 
biomass and spawning biomass, fishing mortality rates, stock 
recruitment, projected fishing effort and catches, and areas closed to 
fishing.
    In June 2010, the Council voted to recommend maintaining the 2010 
quota levels of 5.333 million bu (284 million L) for the ocean quahog 
fishery, 3.400 million bu (181 million L) for the Atlantic surfclam 
fishery, and 100,000 Maine bu (35,240 hL) for the Maine ocean quahog 
fishery for 2011-2013. The proposed quotas for the 2011-2013 Atlantic 
surfclam and ocean quahog fishery are shown in the table below. The 
Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog quotas are specified in ``industry'' 
bu of 53.24 L per bu, while the Maine ocean quahog quota is specified 
in ``Maine'' bu of 35.24 L per bu. Because Maine ocean quahogs are the 
same species as ocean quahogs, both fisheries are assessed under the 
same ocean quahog overfishing definition. When the two quota amounts 
(ocean quahog and Maine ocean quahog) are added, the total allowable 
harvest is still lower than the level that would result in overfishing 
for the entire stock.

                                             Proposed 2011-2013 Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog\1\ Quotas
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       2011                            2012                            2013
                                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                bu              hL              bu              hL              bu              hL
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Surfclams \2\...........................................           3.400           1.810           3.400           1.810           3.400           1.810
Ocean Quahogs \2\.......................................           5.333           2.840           5.333           2.840           5.333           2.840
Maine Ocean Quahogs \3\.................................         100,000          35,240         100,000          35,240         100,000          35,240
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Numerical values are in millions except for Maine ocean quahogs.
\2\ 1 bu = 1.88 cubic ft. = 53.24 liters.
\3\ 1 bu = 1.2445 cubic ft. = 35.24 liters.

Surfclams

    The proposed 2011-2013 status quo surfclam quota was developed 
after reviewing the results of the Northeast Regional Stock Assessment 
Workshop (SAW) 49 for Atlantic surfclam, released to the public in 
February 2010. The surfclam quota recommendation is consistent with the 
SAW 49 finding that the Atlantic surfclam stock is not overfished, nor 
is overfishing occurring. Estimated fishable stock biomass in 2008 was 
above the management target, and fishing mortality was below the 
management threshold. Although recruitment, growth rate, and biomass 
have continued to decline in the southern region (NJ and Delmarva),

[[Page 65444]]

relative to historic conditions, these declines are offset by an 
increase in biomass and recruitment on Georges Bank and off Long 
Island, NY. Based on this information, the Council recommended, and 
NMFS is proposing, to maintain the status quo surfclam quota of 3.4 
million bu (181 million L) for 2011-2013. This quota represents the 
maximum allowable quota under the FMP.

Ocean Quahogs

    The proposed 2011-2013 quota for ocean quahogs also reflects the 
status quo quota of 5.333 million bu (284 million L) in 2010. SAW 48, 
released to the public in August 2009, found that the ocean quahog 
stock is not overfished, nor is overfishing occurring. Estimated 
fishable biomass in 2008 was above the management target, and estimated 
fishing mortality was significantly below the target level. Fishing 
mortality is not expected to reach the threshold if the proposed quota 
is harvested each of the 3 years. Ocean quahog is an unproductive stock 
that is being fished down from its pre-fishery level; however, after 
several decades of relatively low fishing mortality, the stock is still 
above the biomass target reference points. In fact, the stock biomass 
is still at 81 percent of the pre-fishing level. Based on this 
information, the Council recommended, and NMFS is proposing, to 
maintain the status quo quota of 5.333 million bu (284 million L) for 
2011-2013. This quota level may be above current market demand, but 
allows for market growth, should conditions change.
    The proposed 2011-2013 quota for Maine ocean quahogs is the status 
quo level of 100,000 Maine bu (35,240 hL). In 2008, the State of Maine 
completed a stock assessment of the resource within the Maine Mahogany 
Quahog Zone. This assessment was peer-reviewed as part of SAW 48. The 
findings of the Maine quahog survey did not change the status of the 
entire ocean quahog resource. The proposed quota represents the maximum 
allowable quota under the FMP.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the NMFS Assistant Administrator 
has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the FMP, 
other provisions of the MSA, and other applicable law, subject to 
further consideration after public comment. This action is authorized 
by 50 CFR part 648 and has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 603, an initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis (IRFA) has been prepared, which describes the economic impacts 
that this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A 
summary of the IRFA is included in this section. The complete IRFA and 
regulatory impact review is available from the Council (see ADDRESSES). 
A description of the reasons why this action is being considered, as 
well as the objectives of and legal basis for this proposed rule is 
found in the preamble of this proposed rule. There are no Federal rules 
that duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this proposed rule.
    This action proposes fishing quotas for Atlantic surfclams and 
ocean quahogs for 2011-2013. The Council analyzed four quota 
alternatives for the Atlantic surfclam fishery, five alternatives for 
the ocean quahog fishery, and four alternatives for the Maine ocean 
quahog fishery. Each of the alternative sets included the proposed 
alternative and a ``no action'' alternative. The three proposed quotas 
for 2011-2013 are 5.333 million bu (284 million L) for the ocean quahog 
fishery, 3.400 million bu (181 million L) for the Atlantic surfclam 
fishery, and 100,000 Maine bu (35,240 hL) for the Maine ocean quahog 
fishery.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which This 
Proposed Rule Would Apply

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a small commercial 
fishing entity as a firm with gross annual receipts not exceeding $4 
million. In 2009, a total of 43 vessels reported harvesting surfclams 
and/or ocean quahogs from Federal waters under the Individual Fishing 
Quota (IFQ) system. In addition, 19 vessels participated in the limited 
access Maine ocean quahog fishery, for a total of 62 participants in 
the 2009 fisheries. Average 2009 gross income from surfclam IFQ trips 
was $833,333 per vessel, and from ocean quahog IFQ trips was $1,533,333 
per vessel. The Maine ocean quahog fishery reported an average value of 
$105,263 per vessel. Each vessel in this analysis is treated as a 
single entity for purposes of size determination and impact assessment. 
All 62 commercial fishing entities fall below the SBA size threshold 
for small commercial fishing entities.
    In addition to the active vessels that participate in the fishery 
there are 45 ocean quahog quota IFQ allocation holders, 57 surfclam 
allocation holders, and 40 Federal limited access Maine mahogany quahog 
permit holders. An allocation holder may choose to fish or lease his or 
her quota allocation.

Economic Impacts of This Proposed Action

    The proposed quotas for 2011-2013 reflect the same quota levels set 
for 2008-2010. Therefore, it is not expected that there will be any 
different economic impacts beyond status quo resulting from the 
proposed quota level. Leaving the ocean quahog quota at the harvest 
level of 5.333 million bu (284 million L) is not expected to constrain 
the fishery. In fact, actual ocean quahog landings for 2008 and 2009 
were approximately 65 percent of the available quota. The total 2010 
harvest is expected to be similar to recent years (as of September 30, 
2010, only 47.6 percent of the quota had been harvested, a level 
slightly less than on this date in 2009). The surfclam quota is 
proposed to be set to the maximum allowed under the FMP.
    In contrast to the ocean quahog harvest, the surfclam fishery has 
harvested over 80 percent of the available quota each year since 2005, 
except for 2009, where 69 percent of the quota was landed. As of 
September 30, 2010, only 47.7 percent of the quota has been harvested 
for FY 2010, a level slightly less than on this date in 2009.
    The Maine ocean quahog quota is proposed to be set at the maximum 
allowed under the FMP (100,000 Maine bu; 35,240 hL). It is anticipated 
that by maintaining the status quo quota level for the next 3 years, 
the fishing industry will benefit from the stability of product demand 
from the seafood processors and being able to predict future fishery 
performance based on past performance from the last 3 years.

Economic Impacts of Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    The Council analyzed four alternatives for the Atlantic surfclam 
fishery, five alternatives for the ocean quahog fishery, and four 
alternatives for the Maine ocean quahog fishery. Each of the 
alternative sets included the proposed alternative and a ``no action'' 
alternative. The selection of ``no action'' alternative would result in 
no quotas being established, a closure of the fishery, and is contrary 
to the FMP. Based on 2009 ex-vessel prices, the result of no Federal 
surfclam or ocean quahog harvests in 2011 would be a loss of $30 
million to the Federal surfclam fishery, $23 million to the ocean 
quahog fishery, and $2 million to the Maine ocean quahog fishery, for a 
total loss of $55 million. The viable alternatives to the proposed 
quotas for ocean quahog

[[Page 65445]]

that are permissible under the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act include 
a 20-percent decrease from the status quo, a 6.2-percent decrease from 
the status quo, and a 20-percent increase from the status quo; 
therefore, there are no significant alternatives that would reduce 
economic impacts on the regulated entities.
    The alternatives to the proposed surfclam quotas that are 
permissible under the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act include a 45.6-
percent decrease from the status quo and a 4.4-percent decrease from 
the status quo; therefore, there are no significant alternatives that 
would reduce economic impacts on the regulated entities.
    The alternatives to the proposed Maine ocean quahog quota that are 
permissible under the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act include a 50-
percent decrease from the status quo and a 10-percent decrease from the 
status quo; therefore, there are no significant alternatives that would 
reduce economic impacts on the regulated entities.

Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements

    This proposed rule would not impose any new reporting, 
recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements. Therefore, the costs 
of compliance would remain unchanged.

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

    Dated: October 20, 2010.
John Oliver,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-26940 Filed 10-22-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P