Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual Specifications, 21958-21960 [2012-8857]

Download as PDF 21958 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 71 / Thursday, April 12, 2012 / Proposed Rules The 2011 season lasted 48 days, but the recreational quota was exceeded, and thus, the 2012 season is expected to be shorter. As a result, absent a reduction in the bag limit or other extreme circumstances that changes the effort, harvest rate, or availability of fish, the likelihood of the season extending to October 1 is not precisely known, but considered unlikely. Therefore, this action is not likely to have any direct economic effect on any small entities in the foreseeable future. This proposed rule would also increase the combined commercial and recreational red snapper quotas in 2012 by 895,000 lb (405,965 kg) and by an additional 610,000 lb (276,691 kg) in 2013 (or a total increase of 1.505 million lb (0.683 million kg) over the 2011 combined commercial and recreational quotas), if the 2012 combined quota is not exceeded. These increases would be expected to result in an increase in revenue and profits to the affected commercial and for-hire fishing businesses. In summary, this proposed rule, if implemented, would be expected to increase profits to all directly affected small entities. Because this proposed rule, if implemented, would not be expected to have any direct adverse economic impact on any small entities, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622 Fisheries, Fishing, Puerto Rico, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Virgin Islands. Dated: April 6, 2012. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. (3) Pink shrimp, Farfantepenaeus duorarum. (4) Royal red shrimp, Hymenopenaeus robustus. (5) Rock shrimp, Sicyonia brevirostris. * * * * * 3. In § 622.34, paragraph (m) is revised to read as follows: § 622.34 Gulf EEZ seasonal and/or area closures. * * * * * (m) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for red snapper. The recreational sector for red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ is closed from January 1 through May 31, each year. During the closure, the bag and possession limit for red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero. * * * * * 4. In § 622.42, paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (a)(2)(i) are revised to read as follows: § 622.42 Quotas. * * * * * (a) * * * (1) * * * (i) Red snapper. (A) For fishing year 2012—4.121 million lb (1.869 million kg), round weight. (B) For fishing year 2013—4.432 million lb (2.010 million kg), round weight. * * * * * (2) * * * (i) Recreational quota for red snapper. (A) For fishing year 2012, the recreational quota for red snapper is 3.959 million lb (1.796 million kg), round weight. (B) For fishing year 2013, the recreational quota for red snapper is 4.258 million lb (1.931 million kg), round weight. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2012–8756 Filed 4–11–12; 8:45 am] For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is proposed to be amended as follows: BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: 50 CFR Part 660 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 622.2, the definition for ‘‘shrimp’’ is revised to read as follows: § 622.2 Definitions and acronyms. * * * * * Shrimp means one or more of the following species, or a part thereof: (1) Brown shrimp, Farfantepenaeus aztecus. (2) White shrimp, Litopenaeus setiferus. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:11 Apr 11, 2012 Jkt 226001 [Docket No. 120403254–2255–01] RIN 0648–XB045 Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual Specifications National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 NMFS proposes to implement the annual catch limit (ACL), harvest guideline (HG), annual catch target (ACT) and associated annual reference points for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the Pacific coast for the fishing season of July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012. This rule is proposed according to the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The proposed 2011/2012 ACL or maximum HG for Pacific mackerel is 40,514 metric tons (mt). The proposed ACT, which will be the directed fishing harvest target, is 30,386 mt. If the fishery attains the ACT, the directed fishery will close, reserving the difference between the ACL and ACT (10,128 mt) as a set aside for incidental landings in other CPS fisheries and other sources of mortality. This rule is intended to conserve and manage the Pacific mackerel stock off the U.S. West Coast. DATES: Comments must be received by April 30, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document identified by NOAA– NMFS–2012–0072 by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http:// www.regulations.gov. To submit comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the ‘‘submit a comment’’ icon, then enter NOAA–NMFS–2012–0072 in the keyword search. Locate the document you wish to comment on from the resulting list and click on the ‘‘Submit a Comment’’ icon on the right of that line. • Mail: Submit written comments to Rodney R. McInnis, Regional Administrator, Southwest Region, NMFS, 501 West Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802. • Fax: (562) 980–4047 Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\12APP1.SGM 12APP1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 71 / Thursday, April 12, 2012 / Proposed Rules the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Copies of the report ‘‘Pacific Mackerel (Scomber japonicus) Stock Assessment for USA Management in the 2011–12 Fishing Year’’ and the Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review for this action may be obtained from the Southwest Regional Office (see ADDRESSES). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joshua Lindsay, Southwest Region, NMFS, (562) 980–4034. During public meetings each year, the estimated biomass for Pacific mackerel is presented to the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (Council) Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Management Team (Team), the Council’s CPS Advisory Subpanel (Subpanel) and the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), and the biomass and the status of the fisheries are reviewed and discussed. The biomass estimate is then presented to the Council along with the calculated overfishing limit (OFL) and available biological catch (ABC), annual catch limit (ACL) and harvest guideline (HG) and/or annual catch target (ACT) recommendations and comments from the Team, Subpanel and SSC. Following review by the Council and after hearing public comment, the Council adopts a biomass estimate and makes its catch level recommendations to NMFS. This proposed rule would implement the 2011/2012 ACL, HG, ACT and other annual catch reference points, including OFL and an ABC that takes into consideration uncertainty surrounding the current estimate of biomass, for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific coast. (The EEZ off the Pacific Coast encompasses ocean waters seaward of the outer boundary of state waters, which is 3 nautical miles off the coast, out to a line 200 nautical miles from the coast.) The CPS FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS to set these annual catch levels for the Pacific mackerel fishery based on the annual specification framework in the FMP. This framework includes a harvest control rule that determines the maximum HG, the primary management target for the fishery, for the current fishing season. The HG is based, in large part, on the current estimate of stock biomass. The harvest control rule in the CPS FMP is HG = [(Biomass-Cutoff) * Fraction * Distribution] with the parameters described as follows: mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:11 Apr 11, 2012 Jkt 226001 1. Biomass. The estimated stock biomass of Pacific mackerel age for the 2011/2012 management season is 211,126 mt. 2. Cutoff. This is the biomass level below which no commercial fishery is allowed. The FMP established this level at 18,200 mt. 3. Fraction. The harvest fraction is the percentage of the biomass above 18,200 mt that may be harvested. 4. Distribution. The average portion (currently 70%) of the total Pacific mackerel biomass that is estimated to be in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific coast, based on the average historical larval distribution obtained from scientific cruises and the distribution of the resource according to the logbooks of aerial fish-spotters. At the June 2011 Council meeting, the Council adopted the 2011–12 Pacific mackerel assessment and a Pacific mackerel biomass estimate of 211,126 metric tons (mt). Based on recommendations from its SSC and other advisory bodies, the Council recommended and NOAA Fisheries (NMFS) is proposing, an OFL of 44,336 mt, an ABC of 42,375 mt, an ACL and maximum harvest guideline (HG) of 40,514 mt, and an ACT of 30,386 mt for the 2011/2012 Pacific mackerel fishing year. These catch specifications are based on the most recent stock assessment and the control rules established in the CPS FMP. If the ACT is attained, the directed fishery will close, and the difference between the ACL and ACT (10,128 mt) will be reserved as a set aside for incidental landings in other CPS fisheries and other sources of mortality. In that event, for the remainder of the fishing year, incidental harvest measures will be in place, including a 45 percent incidental catch allowance when Pacific mackerel are landed with other CPS (in other words, no more than 45% by weight of the CPS landed per trip may be Pacific mackerel), except that up to 1 mt of Pacific mackerel could be landed without landing any other CPS. Upon the fishery attaining the ACL/HG (40,514 mt), no vessels in CPS fisheries may retain Pacific mackerel. The purpose of the incidental set-aside and allowance of an incidental fishery is to allow for the restricted incidental landings of Pacific mackerel in other fisheries, particularly other CPS fisheries, when the directed fishery is closed to reduce bycatch and allow for continued prosecution of other important CPS fisheries. The NMFS Southwest Regional Administrator will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 21959 date of any closure to either directed or incidental fishing. Detailed information on the fishery and the stock assessment are found in the report ‘‘Pacific Mackerel (Scomber japonicus) Stock Assessment for USA Management in the 2011–12 Fishing Year’’ (see ADDRESSES). Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the CPS FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. These proposed specifications are exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 605(b), the Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, for the reasons as follows: The purpose of this proposed rule is to implement the 2011/2012 annual specifications for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific coast. The CPS FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS to set an OFL, ABC, ACL and HG or ACT for the Pacific mackerel fishery based on the harvest control rules in the FMP. The specific harvest control rule is applied to the current stock biomass estimate to derive the annual HG, which is used to manage the commercial take of Pacific mackerel. The U.S. Small Business Administration defines small businesses engaged in fishing as those vessels with annual revenues of or below $4 million. The small entities that would be affected by the proposed action are the vessels that compose the West Coast CPS finfish fleet. Pacific mackerel harvest is one component of CPS fisheries off the U.S. West Coast, which primarily includes the fisheries for Pacific sardine, northern anchovy and market squid. Pacific mackerel are principally caught off southern California within the limited entry portion (south of 39 degrees N. latitude; Point Arena, California) of the fishery. Sixty-four vessels are currently permitted in the Federal CPS limited entry fishery off California. The average annual per vessel revenue in 2010 for the West Coast CPS finfish fleet was E:\FR\FM\12APP1.SGM 12APP1 21960 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 71 / Thursday, April 12, 2012 / Proposed Rules mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS well below $4 million; therefore, all of these vessels therefore are considered small businesses under the RFA. Because each affected vessel is a small business, this proposed rule has an equal effect on all of these small entities, and therefore will impact a substantial number of these small entities in the same manner. Accordingly, there would be no economic impacts resulting from disproportionally between small and large business entities under the proposed action. The profitability of these vessels as a result of this proposed rule is based on the average Pacific mackerel ex-vessel price per mt. NMFS used average Pacific mackerel ex-vessel price per metric ton (mt) to conduct a profitability analysis because cost data for the harvesting operations of CPS finfish vessels was limited or unavailable. For the 2010/2011 fishing year the HG was 11,000 metric tons (mt) and was divided into a directed fishery of 8,000 mt and an incidental fishery of 3,000 mt. Approximately 2,100 mt of this HG was harvested in 2010/2011 fishing season with an estimated ex-vessel value of $414,256 mt. Using these figures, the average 2010/2011 ex-vessel price per mt of Pacific mackerel was approximately $200. The proposed ACL/HG for the 2011/ 2012 Pacific mackerel fishing season is 40,514 mt, with a directed fishing harvest target or ACT of 30,386 mt. This season’s directed fishing target is more than 3 times higher than that of the previous year. If the fleet were to take the entire 2011/2012 ACT, and VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:11 Apr 11, 2012 Jkt 226001 assuming a coastwide average ex-vessel price per mt of $206 (average of 2009 and 2010 ex-vessel), the potential revenue to the fleet would be approximately $6.3 million. However, this result will depend greatly on market forces within the fishery, and on the regional availability of the resource to the fleet and the fleets’ ability to find schools of Pacific mackerel. Over recent years, the profitability from fishing Pacific mackerel has depended less on the catch level, and more on market forces within the fishery as well as the other CPS fisheries, and on the regional availability of the species to the fleet and the fleets’ ability to easily find schools relatively close to port. If there is no change in market conditions (i.e., an increase demand for Pacific mackerel product) or proximity of the fish to the fleet, it is not likely that the full ACT will be taken during the 2011–2012 fishing year, in which case profits will be lower than if the entire ACT were taken. The annual average U.S. Pacific mackerel harvest from 2001 to 2010 is approximately 4,500 mt, and over the last 10 years landings have averaged approximately 6,000 mt without exceeding 10,000 mt. As a result, it is unlikely that the ACT proposed in this rule will limit the potential profitability of the fleet from Pacific mackerel. However, the revenue derived from harvesting Pacific mackerel is only one factor determining the overall revenue for a majority of the vessels in the CPS fleet, and, therefore, the economic impact to the fleet from the proposed action cannot be viewed in isolation. PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 CPS vessels typically harvest a number of other species, including Pacific sardine, market squid, northern anchovy, and tuna, but focus on Pacific sardine, which had an estimated exvessel of $12.5 million in 2010, and market squid, which had an estimated ex-vessel of $71 million in 2010. Therefore, Pacific mackerel is only a small component of this multi-species CPS fishery and with the incidental catch provisions in this rule, the fleet will continue to be able to catch these other profitable species if the ACT is reached and directed mackerel fishing is closed. Based on the disproportionality and profitability analysis above, this rule, if adopted, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of these small entities. As a result, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required, and none has been prepared. There are no reporting, recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements required by this proposed rule. Additionally, no other Federal rules duplicate, overlap or conflict with this proposed rule. This action does not contain a collection-of-information requirement for purposes of the Paper Reduction Act. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: April 6, 2012. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2012–8857 Filed 4–11–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\12APP1.SGM 12APP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 71 (Thursday, April 12, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 21958-21960]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-8857]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 120403254-2255-01]
RIN 0648-XB045


Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species 
Fisheries; Annual Specifications

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

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to implement the annual catch limit (ACL), 
harvest guideline (HG), annual catch target (ACT) and associated annual 
reference points for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. exclusive economic 
zone (EEZ) off the Pacific coast for the fishing season of July 1, 
2011, through June 30, 2012. This rule is proposed according to the 
Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The 
proposed 2011/2012 ACL or maximum HG for Pacific mackerel is 40,514 
metric tons (mt). The proposed ACT, which will be the directed fishing 
harvest target, is 30,386 mt. If the fishery attains the ACT, the 
directed fishery will close, reserving the difference between the ACL 
and ACT (10,128 mt) as a set aside for incidental landings in other CPS 
fisheries and other sources of mortality. This rule is intended to 
conserve and manage the Pacific mackerel stock off the U.S. West Coast.

DATES: Comments must be received by April 30, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document identified by NOAA-
NMFS-2012-0072 by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov. 
To submit comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the 
``submit a comment'' icon, then enter NOAA-NMFS-2012-0072 in the 
keyword search. Locate the document you wish to comment on from the 
resulting list and click on the ``Submit a Comment'' icon on the right 
of that line.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Rodney R. McInnis, 
Regional Administrator, Southwest Region, NMFS, 501 West Ocean Blvd., 
Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802.
     Fax: (562) 980-4047
    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 
methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and 
considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public 
record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.) submitted voluntarily by the 
sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will 
accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in

[[Page 21959]]

the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to 
electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel, 
WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Copies of the report ``Pacific Mackerel (Scomber japonicus) Stock 
Assessment for USA Management in the 2011-12 Fishing Year'' and the 
Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review for this action may 
be obtained from the Southwest Regional Office (see ADDRESSES).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joshua Lindsay, Southwest Region, 
NMFS, (562) 980-4034.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: During public meetings each year, the 
estimated biomass for Pacific mackerel is presented to the Pacific 
Fishery Management Council's (Council) Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) 
Management Team (Team), the Council's CPS Advisory Subpanel (Subpanel) 
and the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), and the 
biomass and the status of the fisheries are reviewed and discussed. The 
biomass estimate is then presented to the Council along with the 
calculated overfishing limit (OFL) and available biological catch 
(ABC), annual catch limit (ACL) and harvest guideline (HG) and/or 
annual catch target (ACT) recommendations and comments from the Team, 
Subpanel and SSC. Following review by the Council and after hearing 
public comment, the Council adopts a biomass estimate and makes its 
catch level recommendations to NMFS.
    This proposed rule would implement the 2011/2012 ACL, HG, ACT and 
other annual catch reference points, including OFL and an ABC that 
takes into consideration uncertainty surrounding the current estimate 
of biomass, for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific coast. 
(The EEZ off the Pacific Coast encompasses ocean waters seaward of the 
outer boundary of state waters, which is 3 nautical miles off the 
coast, out to a line 200 nautical miles from the coast.) The CPS FMP 
and its implementing regulations require NMFS to set these annual catch 
levels for the Pacific mackerel fishery based on the annual 
specification framework in the FMP. This framework includes a harvest 
control rule that determines the maximum HG, the primary management 
target for the fishery, for the current fishing season. The HG is 
based, in large part, on the current estimate of stock biomass. The 
harvest control rule in the CPS FMP is HG = [(Biomass-Cutoff) * 
Fraction * Distribution] with the parameters described as follows:
    1. Biomass. The estimated stock biomass of Pacific mackerel age for 
the 2011/2012 management season is 211,126 mt.
    2. Cutoff. This is the biomass level below which no commercial 
fishery is allowed. The FMP established this level at 18,200 mt.
    3. Fraction. The harvest fraction is the percentage of the biomass 
above 18,200 mt that may be harvested.
    4. Distribution. The average portion (currently 70%) of the total 
Pacific mackerel biomass that is estimated to be in the U.S. EEZ off 
the Pacific coast, based on the average historical larval distribution 
obtained from scientific cruises and the distribution of the resource 
according to the logbooks of aerial fish-spotters.
    At the June 2011 Council meeting, the Council adopted the 2011-12 
Pacific mackerel assessment and a Pacific mackerel biomass estimate of 
211,126 metric tons (mt). Based on recommendations from its SSC and 
other advisory bodies, the Council recommended and NOAA Fisheries 
(NMFS) is proposing, an OFL of 44,336 mt, an ABC of 42,375 mt, an ACL 
and maximum harvest guideline (HG) of 40,514 mt, and an ACT of 30,386 
mt for the 2011/2012 Pacific mackerel fishing year. These catch 
specifications are based on the most recent stock assessment and the 
control rules established in the CPS FMP.
    If the ACT is attained, the directed fishery will close, and the 
difference between the ACL and ACT (10,128 mt) will be reserved as a 
set aside for incidental landings in other CPS fisheries and other 
sources of mortality. In that event, for the remainder of the fishing 
year, incidental harvest measures will be in place, including a 45 
percent incidental catch allowance when Pacific mackerel are landed 
with other CPS (in other words, no more than 45% by weight of the CPS 
landed per trip may be Pacific mackerel), except that up to 1 mt of 
Pacific mackerel could be landed without landing any other CPS. Upon 
the fishery attaining the ACL/HG (40,514 mt), no vessels in CPS 
fisheries may retain Pacific mackerel. The purpose of the incidental 
set-aside and allowance of an incidental fishery is to allow for the 
restricted incidental landings of Pacific mackerel in other fisheries, 
particularly other CPS fisheries, when the directed fishery is closed 
to reduce bycatch and allow for continued prosecution of other 
important CPS fisheries.
    The NMFS Southwest Regional Administrator will publish a notice in 
the Federal Register announcing the date of any closure to either 
directed or incidental fishing.
    Detailed information on the fishery and the stock assessment are 
found in the report ``Pacific Mackerel (Scomber japonicus) Stock 
Assessment for USA Management in the 2011-12 Fishing Year'' (see 
ADDRESSES).

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has 
determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the CPS FMP, 
other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act, and other applicable law, subject to further 
consideration after public comment.
    These proposed specifications are exempt from review under 
Executive Order 12866.
    Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 605(b), 
the Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, 
for the reasons as follows:
    The purpose of this proposed rule is to implement the 2011/2012 
annual specifications for Pacific mackerel in the U.S. EEZ off the 
Pacific coast. The CPS FMP and its implementing regulations require 
NMFS to set an OFL, ABC, ACL and HG or ACT for the Pacific mackerel 
fishery based on the harvest control rules in the FMP. The specific 
harvest control rule is applied to the current stock biomass estimate 
to derive the annual HG, which is used to manage the commercial take of 
Pacific mackerel.
    The U.S. Small Business Administration defines small businesses 
engaged in fishing as those vessels with annual revenues of or below $4 
million. The small entities that would be affected by the proposed 
action are the vessels that compose the West Coast CPS finfish fleet. 
Pacific mackerel harvest is one component of CPS fisheries off the U.S. 
West Coast, which primarily includes the fisheries for Pacific sardine, 
northern anchovy and market squid. Pacific mackerel are principally 
caught off southern California within the limited entry portion (south 
of 39 degrees N. latitude; Point Arena, California) of the fishery. 
Sixty-four vessels are currently permitted in the Federal CPS limited 
entry fishery off California. The average annual per vessel revenue in 
2010 for the West Coast CPS finfish fleet was

[[Page 21960]]

well below $4 million; therefore, all of these vessels therefore are 
considered small businesses under the RFA. Because each affected vessel 
is a small business, this proposed rule has an equal effect on all of 
these small entities, and therefore will impact a substantial number of 
these small entities in the same manner. Accordingly, there would be no 
economic impacts resulting from disproportionally between small and 
large business entities under the proposed action.
    The profitability of these vessels as a result of this proposed 
rule is based on the average Pacific mackerel ex-vessel price per mt. 
NMFS used average Pacific mackerel ex-vessel price per metric ton (mt) 
to conduct a profitability analysis because cost data for the 
harvesting operations of CPS finfish vessels was limited or 
unavailable.
    For the 2010/2011 fishing year the HG was 11,000 metric tons (mt) 
and was divided into a directed fishery of 8,000 mt and an incidental 
fishery of 3,000 mt. Approximately 2,100 mt of this HG was harvested in 
2010/2011 fishing season with an estimated ex-vessel value of $414,256 
mt. Using these figures, the average 2010/2011 ex-vessel price per mt 
of Pacific mackerel was approximately $200.
    The proposed ACL/HG for the 2011/2012 Pacific mackerel fishing 
season is 40,514 mt, with a directed fishing harvest target or ACT of 
30,386 mt. This season's directed fishing target is more than 3 times 
higher than that of the previous year. If the fleet were to take the 
entire 2011/2012 ACT, and assuming a coastwide average ex-vessel price 
per mt of $206 (average of 2009 and 2010 ex-vessel), the potential 
revenue to the fleet would be approximately $6.3 million. However, this 
result will depend greatly on market forces within the fishery, and on 
the regional availability of the resource to the fleet and the fleets' 
ability to find schools of Pacific mackerel.
    Over recent years, the profitability from fishing Pacific mackerel 
has depended less on the catch level, and more on market forces within 
the fishery as well as the other CPS fisheries, and on the regional 
availability of the species to the fleet and the fleets' ability to 
easily find schools relatively close to port. If there is no change in 
market conditions (i.e., an increase demand for Pacific mackerel 
product) or proximity of the fish to the fleet, it is not likely that 
the full ACT will be taken during the 2011-2012 fishing year, in which 
case profits will be lower than if the entire ACT were taken. The 
annual average U.S. Pacific mackerel harvest from 2001 to 2010 is 
approximately 4,500 mt, and over the last 10 years landings have 
averaged approximately 6,000 mt without exceeding 10,000 mt. As a 
result, it is unlikely that the ACT proposed in this rule will limit 
the potential profitability of the fleet from Pacific mackerel.
    However, the revenue derived from harvesting Pacific mackerel is 
only one factor determining the overall revenue for a majority of the 
vessels in the CPS fleet, and, therefore, the economic impact to the 
fleet from the proposed action cannot be viewed in isolation. CPS 
vessels typically harvest a number of other species, including Pacific 
sardine, market squid, northern anchovy, and tuna, but focus on Pacific 
sardine, which had an estimated ex-vessel of $12.5 million in 2010, and 
market squid, which had an estimated ex-vessel of $71 million in 2010. 
Therefore, Pacific mackerel is only a small component of this multi-
species CPS fishery and with the incidental catch provisions in this 
rule, the fleet will continue to be able to catch these other 
profitable species if the ACT is reached and directed mackerel fishing 
is closed.
    Based on the disproportionality and profitability analysis above, 
this rule, if adopted, will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of these small entities. As a result, an Initial 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required, and none has been 
prepared.
    There are no reporting, record-keeping, or other compliance 
requirements required by this proposed rule. Additionally, no other 
Federal rules duplicate, overlap or conflict with this proposed rule.
    This action does not contain a collection-of-information 
requirement for purposes of the Paper Reduction Act.

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

    Dated: April 6, 2012.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-8857 Filed 4-11-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P