Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 21015-21017 [2012-8474]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 68 / Monday, April 9, 2012 / Rules and Regulations Ordering Clauses 93. Accordingly, it is ordered that the Petitions for Reconsideration filed by Robert A. Lynch on July 28, 2009, and Edward A. Schober on July 28, 2009, are granted in part to extent set forth above. 94. It is further ordered that the Petitions for Reconsideration filed by CSN International on February 4, 2008; National Religious Broadcasters on February 15, 2008; and Positive Alternative Radio, Inc. and Educational Media Foundation on February 19, 2008, are dismissed as moot. 95. It is further ordered that pursuant to the authority contained in sections 4(i), 301, 302, 303(e), 303(f) and 303(r) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C, 154(i), 301, 302, 303(e), 303(f) and 303(r), and the Local Community Radio Act of 2010, Public Law 111–371, 124 Stat. 4072 (2011), this Fourth Report and Order is hereby adopted and Part 74 of the Commission’s rules are amended as set forth in Appendix D, effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. 96. It is further ordered that the rules adopted herein will become effective thirty (30) days after publication in the Federal Register, except for any rules or requirements involving Paperwork Reduction Act burdens, which shall become effective upon announcement in the Federal Register of OMB approval and an effective date of the rule(s). 97. It is further ordered that the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this Fourth Report and Order, including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 74 Radio. Federal Communications Commission. Sheryl D. Todd, Deputy Secretary. Rule changes pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with RULES For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends 47 CFR part 74 to read as follows: PART 74—EXPERIMENTAL RADIO, AUXILIARY, SPECIAL BROADCAST AND OTHER PROGRAM DISTRIBUTIONAL SERVICES 1. The authority citation for part 74 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 47 U.S.C. 154, 303, 307, 309, 336, and 554. VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:49 Apr 06, 2012 2. Section 74.1232(d) is revised to read as follows: ■ Jkt 226001 § 74.1232 Eligibility and licensing requirements. * * * * * (d) An authorization for an FM translator whose coverage contour extends beyond the protected contour of the commercial primary station will not be granted to the licensee or permittee of a commercial FM radio broadcast station. Similarly, such authorization will not be granted to any person or entity having any interest whatsoever, or any connection with a primary FM station. Interested and connected parties extend to group owners, corporate parents, shareholders, officers, directors, employees, general and limited partners, family members and business associates. For the purposes of this paragraph, the protected contour of the primary station shall be defined as follows: the predicted 0.5mV/m contour for commercial Class B stations, the predicted 0.7 mV/m contour for commercial Class B1 stations and the predicted 1 mV/m field strength contour for all other FM radio broadcast stations. The contours shall be as predicted in accordance with § 73.313(a) through (d) of this chapter. In the case of an FM radio broadcast station authorized with facilities in excess of those specified by § 73.211 of this chapter, a co-owned commercial FM translator will only be authorized within the protected contour of the class of station being rebroadcast, as predicted on the basis of the maximum powers and heights set forth in that section for the applicable class of FM broadcast station concerned. An FM translator station in operation prior to March 1, 1991, which is owned by a commercial FM (primary) station and whose coverage contour extends beyond the protected contour of the primary station, may continue to be owned by such primary station until March 1, 1994. Thereafter, any such FM translator station must be owned by independent parties. An FM translator station in operation prior to June 1, 1991, which is owned by a commercial FM radio broadcast station and whose coverage contour extends beyond the protected contour of the primary station, may continue to be owned by a commercial FM radio broadcast station until June 1, 1994. Thereafter, any such FM translator station must be owned by independent parties. An FM translator providing service to an AM fill-in area will be authorized only to the permittee or licensee of the AM radio broadcast station being rebroadcast, or, in the case of an FM translator authorized to operate on an unreserved channel, to a PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 21015 party with a valid rebroadcast consent agreement with such a permittee or licensee to rebroadcast that station as the translator’s primary station. In addition, any FM translator providing service to an AM fill-in area must have been authorized by a license or construction permit in effect as of May 1, 2009, or pursuant to an application that was pending as of May 1, 2009. A subsequent modification of any such FM translator will not affect its eligibility to rebroadcast an AM signal. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2012–8404 Filed 4–6–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 110210132–1275–02] RIN 0648–XB116 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason Angling category retention limit adjustment; southern area trophy fishery closure. AGENCY: NMFS has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) daily retention limit that applies to vessels permitted in the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally for BFT) should be adjusted for the remainder of 2012, based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria regarding inseason adjustments and based on preliminary 2012 landings data. NMFS also closes the southern area Angling category fishery for large medium and giant (‘‘trophy’’) BFT. These actions are being taken consistent with the BFT fishery management objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan (Consolidated HMS FMP) and to prevent overharvest of the 2012 Angling category quota. DATES: Effective April 7, 2012, through December 31, 2012. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sarah McLaughlin or Brad McHale, 978–281–9260. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\09APR1.SGM 09APR1 21016 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 68 / Monday, April 9, 2012 / Rules and Regulations authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota allocated by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the allocations established in the Consolidated HMS FMP (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006) and in accordance with implementing regulations. The 2012 BFT fishing year, which is managed on a calendar-year basis and subject to an annual calendar-year quota, began January 1, 2012. The Angling category season opened January 1, 2012, and continues through December 31, 2012. Currently, the default Angling category daily retention limit of one school, large school, or small medium BFT (measuring 27 to less than 73 inches (68.5 to less than 185 cm)) applies (§ 635.23(b)(2)). An annual limit of one large medium or giant BFT (73 inches or greater) per vessel also applies (§ 635.23(b)(1)). These retention limits apply to HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels (when fishing recreationally for BFT). The currently codified Angling category quota is 182 mt (94.9 mt for school BFT, 82.9 mt for large school/ small medium BFT, and 4.2 mt for large medium/giant BFT). pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with RULES Adjustment of Angling Category Daily Retention Limit Under § 635.23(b)(3), NMFS may increase or decrease the retention limit for any size class of BFT based on consideration of the criteria provided under § 635.27(a)(8), which include: • The usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock; • The catches of the particular category quota to date and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made; • The projected ability of the vessels fishing under the particular category quota to harvest the additional amount of BFT before the end of the fishing year; • The estimated amounts by which quotas for other gear categories of the fishery might be exceeded; effects of the adjustment on BFT rebuilding and overfishing; VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:49 Apr 06, 2012 Jkt 226001 • Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the fishery management plan; • Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migration patterns of BFT; • Effects of catch rates in one area precluding vessels in another area from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the category’s quota; and • Review of dealer reports, daily landing trends, and the availability of the BFT on the fishing grounds. Retention limits may be adjusted separately for specific vessel type, such as private vessels, headboats, or charterboats. NMFS has considered the set of criteria cited above and their applicability to the Angling category BFT retention limit for the 2012 Angling category fishery. NMFS examined the results of the 2008 through 2011 fishing seasons under the applicable daily retention limits, as well as the observed trend in the recreational fishery over that time period toward heavier fish, particularly in the small medium size range (59 to less than 73 inches). Data and dockside observations from 2008 through 2011 indicated a shift in availability to the large school/small medium size class (47 to less than 73 inches (119 to less than 185 cm)), particularly to large school BFT (47 to less than 59 inches (119 to less than 150 cm)) in 2008 and to small medium BFT in 2009 through 2011. Large school and small medium BFT traditionally have been managed as one size class (47 to less than 73 inches). Over the last 5 years, NMFS has found that as this cohort of fish aged and grew in weight but remained under 73 inches (i.e., the upper range of the large school/small medium size class), the large school/ small medium subquota was attained with fewer fish landed. In 2010 and in 2011, based on considerations of the available quota, fishery performance in recent years, and the availability of BFT on the fishing grounds, NMFS adjusted the Angling category retention limit from the default level to prohibit the retention of small medium BFT for the remainder of the respective fishing years (75 FR 33531, June 14, 2010, and 76 FR 18416, April 4, 2011). Recognizing the different nature, socio-economic needs, and recent landings results of private and charter/headboat vessels, NMFS implemented separate limits for each. Effective June 12 through December 31, 2010, and effective April 2 through December 31, 2011, the limit was one school or large school BFT per vessel per day/trip for private vessels (i.e., PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 those with HMS Angling category permits), and was one school BFT and one large school BFT per vessel per day/ trip for charter vessels (i.e., those with HMS Charter/Headboat permits, when fishing recreationally for BFT). It is important that NMFS constrain landings to BFT subquotas both to adhere to the current FMP quota allocations and to ensure that landings are as consistent as possible with the pattern of fishing mortality (e.g., fish caught at each age) that was assumed in the projections of stock rebuilding. However, based on the annual growth rate of BFT and preliminary 2012 recreational catch information, it is reasonable to assume that the cohort of fish described above largely has grown to greater than 73 inches, i.e., has moved through the recreational large school/small medium size class. Based on current considerations of the available quota, fishery performance in recent years, and the availability of BFT on the fishing grounds, NMFS has determined that the Angling category retention limit applicable to HMS Charter/Headboat category participants (when fishing recreationally) should be adjusted from the default level, and that implementation of separate limits for private and charter/headboat vessels is appropriate, recognizing the different nature, socio-economic needs, and recent landings results of the two components of the recreational BFT fishery. For example, charter operators historically have indicated that a multifish retention limit is vital to their ability to attract customers. In addition, 2011 Large Pelagics Survey estimates indicate that charter/headboat BFT landings constitute approximately 35 percent of recent recreational landings, with the remaining 65 percent landed by private vessels. Therefore, for private vessels (i.e., those with HMS Angling category permits), the limit is maintained at one school, large school, or small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip (i.e., one BFT measuring 27 to less than 73 inches). For charter vessels (i.e., those with HMS Charter/Headboat permits), the limit is one school BFT and one large school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip when fishing recreationally for BFT (i.e., one BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). These retention limits are effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of Mexico, where NMFS prohibits targeted fishing for BFT. Regardless of the duration of a fishing trip, the daily retention limit applies upon landing. NMFS anticipates that the BFT daily retention limits in this action will result E:\FR\FM\09APR1.SGM 09APR1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 68 / Monday, April 9, 2012 / Rules and Regulations in landings during 2012 that would not exceed the available subquotas as codified in 2011. However, NMFS will monitor 2012 landings closely and will adjust the daily retention limit further through additional inseason actions if warranted. The determination to adjust the daily retention limit is based primarily on: the usefulness of information obtained from recreational BFT catches for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock (§ 635.27(a)(8)(i)); catch to date and the likelihood of closure of the Angling category if no adjustment is made (§ 635.27(a)(8)(ii)); the effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the Consolidated HMS FMP (§ 635.27(a)(8)(vi)); variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migration patterns of BFT (§ 635.27(a)(8)(vii)); and the anticipated availability of school, large school, and small medium BFT on the fishing grounds (§ 635.27(a)(8)(ix)). pmangrum on DSK3VPTVN1PROD with RULES Angling Category Large Medium and Giant ‘‘Trophy’’ Fishery Closure The codified BFT quotas provide for 4.2 mt of large medium and giant (trophy) BFT (measuring greater than 73 inches) to be harvested from the regulatory area by vessels fishing under the Angling category quota, with 1.4 mt for the area north of 39°18′ N. lat. (off Great Egg Inlet, NJ) and 2.8 mt for the area south of 39°18′ N. lat. Based on information from the NMFS Automated Landings Reporting System and the North Carolina Tagging Program, NMFS has determined that the codified Angling category trophy BFT subquota has been taken and that a closure of the southern area trophy BFT fishery is warranted at this time. Therefore, fishing for, retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or giant (‘‘trophy’’) BFT south of 39°18′ N. lat. by persons aboard vessels permitted in the HMS Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally) must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time on April 7, 2012. This action is taken consistent with the regulations at § 635.28(a)(1). These Angling category actions are intended to provide a reasonable VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:49 Apr 06, 2012 Jkt 226001 opportunity to harvest the U.S. quota of BFT without exceeding it, while maintaining an equitable distribution of fishing opportunities; and to be consistent with the objectives of the Consolidated HMS FMP. HMS Angling and HMS Charter/ Headboat category permit holders may catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all sizes, subject to the requirements of the catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs at § 635.26. Anglers are also reminded that all BFT that are released must be handled in a manner that will maximize survivability, and without removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements at § 635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see the Careful Catch and Release brochure available at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/. If needed, subsequent Angling category adjustments will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (888) 872–8862 or (978) 281–9260, or access www.hmspermits.gov, for updates. Classification The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons: The regulations implementing the Consolidated HMS FMP provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Based on available BFT quotas, fishery performance in recent years, the availability of BFT on the fishing grounds, among other considerations, an adjustment to the recreational BFT daily retention limit is warranted. Analysis of available data shows that adjustment to the BFT daily retention limit from the default level would result in minimal risks of exceeding the ICCAT-allocated quota. Furthermore, closure of the southern area Angling category trophy fishery is PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 21017 necessary to ensure sufficient quota remains available to ensure overall 2012 fishing year landings are consistent with ICCAT recommendations and the Consolidated HMS FMP. NMFS provides notification of closures and retention limit adjustments by publishing the notice in the Federal Register, emailing individuals who have subscribed to the Atlantic HMS News electronic newsletter, and updating the information posted on the Atlantic Tunas Information Line and on www.hmspermits.gov. These fisheries are currently underway and delaying this action would be contrary to the public interest as it could result in excessive trophy BFT landings that potentially could result in future quota reductions for the Angling category and other BFT quota categories, depending on the magnitude of any Angling category overharvest. NMFS must close the southern area trophy BFT fishery before additional landings of these sizes of BFT accumulate. Delays in increasing the daily recreational BFT retention limits would adversely affect those Charter/ Headboat category vessels that would otherwise have an opportunity to harvest more than the default retention limit of one school, large school, or small medium BFT per day/trip and may exacerbate the problem of low catch rates and quota rollovers. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For all of the above reasons, there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under §§ 635.23(b)(3) and 635.28(a)(1), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: April 3, 2012. Carrie Selberg, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2012–8474 Filed 4–4–12; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\09APR1.SGM 09APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 68 (Monday, April 9, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 21015-21017]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-8474]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 635

[Docket No. 110210132-1275-02]
RIN 0648-XB116


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna 
Fisheries

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

ACTION: Temporary rule; inseason Angling category retention limit 
adjustment; southern area trophy fishery closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS has determined that the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) daily 
retention limit that applies to vessels permitted in the Highly 
Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/Headboat category (when fishing 
recreationally for BFT) should be adjusted for the remainder of 2012, 
based on consideration of the regulatory determination criteria 
regarding inseason adjustments and based on preliminary 2012 landings 
data. NMFS also closes the southern area Angling category fishery for 
large medium and giant (``trophy'') BFT. These actions are being taken 
consistent with the BFT fishery management objectives of the 2006 
Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan (Consolidated HMS FMP) and to 
prevent overharvest of the 2012 Angling category quota.

DATES: Effective April 7, 2012, through December 31, 2012.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations implemented under the

[[Page 21016]]

authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) 
and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
(Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of 
BFT by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction are found at 50 
CFR part 635. Section 635.27 subdivides the U.S. BFT quota allocated by 
the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
(ICCAT) among the various domestic fishing categories, per the 
allocations established in the Consolidated HMS FMP (71 FR 58058, 
October 2, 2006) and in accordance with implementing regulations.
    The 2012 BFT fishing year, which is managed on a calendar-year 
basis and subject to an annual calendar-year quota, began January 1, 
2012. The Angling category season opened January 1, 2012, and continues 
through December 31, 2012. Currently, the default Angling category 
daily retention limit of one school, large school, or small medium BFT 
(measuring 27 to less than 73 inches (68.5 to less than 185 cm)) 
applies (Sec.  635.23(b)(2)). An annual limit of one large medium or 
giant BFT (73 inches or greater) per vessel also applies (Sec.  
635.23(b)(1)). These retention limits apply to HMS Angling and HMS 
Charter/Headboat category permitted vessels (when fishing 
recreationally for BFT).
    The currently codified Angling category quota is 182 mt (94.9 mt 
for school BFT, 82.9 mt for large school/small medium BFT, and 4.2 mt 
for large medium/giant BFT).

Adjustment of Angling Category Daily Retention Limit

    Under Sec.  635.23(b)(3), NMFS may increase or decrease the 
retention limit for any size class of BFT based on consideration of the 
criteria provided under Sec.  635.27(a)(8), which include:
     The usefulness of information obtained from catches in the 
particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the 
status of the stock;
     The catches of the particular category quota to date and 
the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no 
adjustment is made;
     The projected ability of the vessels fishing under the 
particular category quota to harvest the additional amount of BFT 
before the end of the fishing year;
     The estimated amounts by which quotas for other gear 
categories of the fishery might be exceeded; effects of the adjustment 
on BFT rebuilding and overfishing;
     Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives 
of the fishery management plan;
     Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or 
migration patterns of BFT;
     Effects of catch rates in one area precluding vessels in 
another area from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion 
of the category's quota; and
     Review of dealer reports, daily landing trends, and the 
availability of the BFT on the fishing grounds.
    Retention limits may be adjusted separately for specific vessel 
type, such as private vessels, headboats, or charterboats.
    NMFS has considered the set of criteria cited above and their 
applicability to the Angling category BFT retention limit for the 2012 
Angling category fishery. NMFS examined the results of the 2008 through 
2011 fishing seasons under the applicable daily retention limits, as 
well as the observed trend in the recreational fishery over that time 
period toward heavier fish, particularly in the small medium size range 
(59 to less than 73 inches). Data and dockside observations from 2008 
through 2011 indicated a shift in availability to the large school/
small medium size class (47 to less than 73 inches (119 to less than 
185 cm)), particularly to large school BFT (47 to less than 59 inches 
(119 to less than 150 cm)) in 2008 and to small medium BFT in 2009 
through 2011. Large school and small medium BFT traditionally have been 
managed as one size class (47 to less than 73 inches). Over the last 5 
years, NMFS has found that as this cohort of fish aged and grew in 
weight but remained under 73 inches (i.e., the upper range of the large 
school/small medium size class), the large school/small medium subquota 
was attained with fewer fish landed.
    In 2010 and in 2011, based on considerations of the available 
quota, fishery performance in recent years, and the availability of BFT 
on the fishing grounds, NMFS adjusted the Angling category retention 
limit from the default level to prohibit the retention of small medium 
BFT for the remainder of the respective fishing years (75 FR 33531, 
June 14, 2010, and 76 FR 18416, April 4, 2011). Recognizing the 
different nature, socio-economic needs, and recent landings results of 
private and charter/headboat vessels, NMFS implemented separate limits 
for each. Effective June 12 through December 31, 2010, and effective 
April 2 through December 31, 2011, the limit was one school or large 
school BFT per vessel per day/trip for private vessels (i.e., those 
with HMS Angling category permits), and was one school BFT and one 
large school BFT per vessel per day/trip for charter vessels (i.e., 
those with HMS Charter/Headboat permits, when fishing recreationally 
for BFT).
    It is important that NMFS constrain landings to BFT subquotas both 
to adhere to the current FMP quota allocations and to ensure that 
landings are as consistent as possible with the pattern of fishing 
mortality (e.g., fish caught at each age) that was assumed in the 
projections of stock rebuilding. However, based on the annual growth 
rate of BFT and preliminary 2012 recreational catch information, it is 
reasonable to assume that the cohort of fish described above largely 
has grown to greater than 73 inches, i.e., has moved through the 
recreational large school/small medium size class.
    Based on current considerations of the available quota, fishery 
performance in recent years, and the availability of BFT on the fishing 
grounds, NMFS has determined that the Angling category retention limit 
applicable to HMS Charter/Headboat category participants (when fishing 
recreationally) should be adjusted from the default level, and that 
implementation of separate limits for private and charter/headboat 
vessels is appropriate, recognizing the different nature, socio-
economic needs, and recent landings results of the two components of 
the recreational BFT fishery. For example, charter operators 
historically have indicated that a multi-fish retention limit is vital 
to their ability to attract customers. In addition, 2011 Large Pelagics 
Survey estimates indicate that charter/headboat BFT landings constitute 
approximately 35 percent of recent recreational landings, with the 
remaining 65 percent landed by private vessels.
    Therefore, for private vessels (i.e., those with HMS Angling 
category permits), the limit is maintained at one school, large school, 
or small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip (i.e., one BFT measuring 27 
to less than 73 inches). For charter vessels (i.e., those with HMS 
Charter/Headboat permits), the limit is one school BFT and one large 
school/small medium BFT per vessel per day/trip when fishing 
recreationally for BFT (i.e., one BFT measuring 27 to less than 47 
inches, and one BFT measuring 47 to less than 73 inches). These 
retention limits are effective in all areas, except for the Gulf of 
Mexico, where NMFS prohibits targeted fishing for BFT. Regardless of 
the duration of a fishing trip, the daily retention limit applies upon 
landing.
    NMFS anticipates that the BFT daily retention limits in this action 
will result

[[Page 21017]]

in landings during 2012 that would not exceed the available subquotas 
as codified in 2011. However, NMFS will monitor 2012 landings closely 
and will adjust the daily retention limit further through additional 
inseason actions if warranted.
    The determination to adjust the daily retention limit is based 
primarily on: the usefulness of information obtained from recreational 
BFT catches for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the 
stock (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(i)); catch to date and the likelihood of 
closure of the Angling category if no adjustment is made (Sec.  
635.27(a)(8)(ii)); the effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the 
objectives of the Consolidated HMS FMP (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(vi)); 
variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migration patterns 
of BFT (Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(vii)); and the anticipated availability of 
school, large school, and small medium BFT on the fishing grounds 
(Sec.  635.27(a)(8)(ix)).

Angling Category Large Medium and Giant ``Trophy'' Fishery Closure

    The codified BFT quotas provide for 4.2 mt of large medium and 
giant (trophy) BFT (measuring greater than 73 inches) to be harvested 
from the regulatory area by vessels fishing under the Angling category 
quota, with 1.4 mt for the area north of 39[deg]18' N. lat. (off Great 
Egg Inlet, NJ) and 2.8 mt for the area south of 39[deg]18' N. lat.
    Based on information from the NMFS Automated Landings Reporting 
System and the North Carolina Tagging Program, NMFS has determined that 
the codified Angling category trophy BFT subquota has been taken and 
that a closure of the southern area trophy BFT fishery is warranted at 
this time. Therefore, fishing for, retaining, possessing, or landing 
large medium or giant (``trophy'') BFT south of 39[deg]18' N. lat. by 
persons aboard vessels permitted in the HMS Angling category and the 
HMS Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally) must cease 
at 11:30 p.m. local time on April 7, 2012. This action is taken 
consistent with the regulations at Sec.  635.28(a)(1).
    These Angling category actions are intended to provide a reasonable 
opportunity to harvest the U.S. quota of BFT without exceeding it, 
while maintaining an equitable distribution of fishing opportunities; 
and to be consistent with the objectives of the Consolidated HMS FMP.
    HMS Angling and HMS Charter/Headboat category permit holders may 
catch and release (or tag and release) BFT of all sizes, subject to the 
requirements of the catch-and-release and tag-and-release programs at 
Sec.  635.26. Anglers are also reminded that all BFT that are released 
must be handled in a manner that will maximize survivability, and 
without removing the fish from the water, consistent with requirements 
at Sec.  635.21(a)(1). For additional information on safe handling, see 
the Careful Catch and Release brochure available at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/.
    If needed, subsequent Angling category adjustments will be 
published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the 
Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (888) 872-8862 or (978) 281-9260, or 
access www.hmspermits.gov, for updates.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) finds that it is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior 
notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for 
the following reasons:
    The regulations implementing the Consolidated HMS FMP provide for 
inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable 
nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature 
of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Based 
on available BFT quotas, fishery performance in recent years, the 
availability of BFT on the fishing grounds, among other considerations, 
an adjustment to the recreational BFT daily retention limit is 
warranted. Analysis of available data shows that adjustment to the BFT 
daily retention limit from the default level would result in minimal 
risks of exceeding the ICCAT-allocated quota.
    Furthermore, closure of the southern area Angling category trophy 
fishery is necessary to ensure sufficient quota remains available to 
ensure overall 2012 fishing year landings are consistent with ICCAT 
recommendations and the Consolidated HMS FMP. NMFS provides 
notification of closures and retention limit adjustments by publishing 
the notice in the Federal Register, emailing individuals who have 
subscribed to the Atlantic HMS News electronic newsletter, and updating 
the information posted on the Atlantic Tunas Information Line and on 
www.hmspermits.gov.
    These fisheries are currently underway and delaying this action 
would be contrary to the public interest as it could result in 
excessive trophy BFT landings that potentially could result in future 
quota reductions for the Angling category and other BFT quota 
categories, depending on the magnitude of any Angling category 
overharvest. NMFS must close the southern area trophy BFT fishery 
before additional landings of these sizes of BFT accumulate. Delays in 
increasing the daily recreational BFT retention limits would adversely 
affect those Charter/Headboat category vessels that would otherwise 
have an opportunity to harvest more than the default retention limit of 
one school, large school, or small medium BFT per day/trip and may 
exacerbate the problem of low catch rates and quota rollovers. 
Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive 
prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For all of the 
above reasons, there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 
30-day delay in effectiveness.
    This action is being taken under Sec. Sec.  635.23(b)(3) and 
635.28(a)(1), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

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

    Dated: April 3, 2012.
Carrie Selberg,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-8474 Filed 4-4-12; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P