Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan, 45268-45270 [2012-18667]

Download as PDF 45268 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 147 / Tuesday, July 31, 2012 / Rules and Regulations * Elevation in feet (NGVD) + Elevation in feet (NAVD) # Depth in feet above ground ∧ Elevation in meters (MSL) Modified Flooding source(s) Location of referenced elevation Little Kanawha River ................. Approximately 1.4 miles downstream of State Route 5 ..... +623 Tucker Creek ............................ Approximately 650 feet downstream of State Route 5 ....... At the Little Kanawha River confluence .............................. +625 +623 Approximately 1.1 miles upstream of the Little Kanawha River confluence. Communities affected +623 Unincorporated Areas of Wirt County. Unincorporated Areas of Wirt County. * National Geodetic Vertical Datum. + North American Vertical Datum. # Depth in feet above ground. ∧ Mean Sea Level, rounded to the nearest 0.1 meter. ADDRESSES Unincorporated Areas of Wirt County Maps are available for inspection at the Wirt County Courthouse, Corner Court of Washington Street, Elizabeth, WV 26143. (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 97.022, ‘‘Flood Insurance.’’) Dated: July 19, 2012. Sandra K. Knight, Deputy Associate Administrator for Mitigation, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency. [FR Doc. 2012–18668 Filed 7–30–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–12–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 229 [Docket No. 110202088–2252–02] RIN 0648–BA34 Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing Operations; Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issues this final rule amending the Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan (BDTRP) and its implementing regulations by permanently continuing nighttime fishing restrictions of medium mesh gillnets operating in North Carolina coastal state waters from November 1 through April 30. Members of the Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:01 Jul 30, 2012 Jkt 226001 Team (Team) recommended these regulations be continued permanently, without modification, to ensure that BDTRP goals are met through continued conservation of strategic bottlenose dolphin stocks in North Carolina, which have historically high serious injury and mortality rates associated with medium mesh gillnets. NMFS also amends the BDTRP with updates, including updates recommended by the Team for nonregulatory conservation measures. DATES: This final rule is effective August 30, 2012. ADDRESSES: The proposed rule, BDTRP, 2008 BDTRP amendment, Team meeting summaries with consensus recommendations, and other background documents are available at the Take Reduction Team Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/ interactions/trt/bdtrp.htm, or by submitting a request to Stacey Horstman (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stacey Horstman, NMFS Southeast Region, Stacey.Horstman@noaa.gov, 727–824–5312; or Kristy Long, NMFS Office of Protected Resources, Kristy.Long@noaa.gov, 301–427–8402. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: of the proposed rule (77 FR 21946; April 12, 2012) and are not repeated here. Nighttime Medium Mesh Gillnet Fishing Restrictions in North Carolina This final rule removes the sunset date to permanently continue, without modification, nighttime medium mesh fishing restrictions in North Carolina coastal state waters. Specifically, prohibitions of nighttime medium mesh (greater than 5-inch (12.7 cm) to less than 7-inch (17.8 cm)) gillnets in North Carolina coastal state waters from November 1 through April 30 will continue annually. Comments on the Proposed Rule and Responses NMFS received four comment letters on the proposed rule via mail, fax, or www.regulations.gov. Comments were received from The Humane Society of the United States and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, the Marine Mammal Commission, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and one citizen. The comments are summarized below under regulatory or non-Regulatory changes to the BDTRP. NMFS’ response follows each comment. Background Comments on Regulatory Changes to the BDTRP In accordance with section 118(f)(7)(F) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), this final rule implements an amendment to the BDTRP (71 FR 24776). The BDTRP was originally published on April 26, 2006, and amended on December 19, 2008 (73 FR 77531). Details regarding the development and justification of this final rule were provided in the preamble Comment 1: Three commenters expressed support for permanently adopting the nighttime seasonal medium mesh gillnet restrictions in North Carolina coastal state waters and recommended NMFS adopt these measures as proposed. Response: NMFS appreciates the commenters’ support and is finalizing these measures as proposed. PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\31JYR1.SGM 31JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 147 / Tuesday, July 31, 2012 / Rules and Regulations emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with RULES Comment 2: One commenter said nighttime fishing should not be allowed anytime in the entire area. Response: NMFS believes this is more restrictive than currently necessary for bottlenose dolphin conservation efforts. In North Carolina, there are currently no observed serious injuries or mortalities of bottlenose dolphins in gillnets with long soak durations outside of the currently regulated November 1 through April 30 timeframe. Comment 3: One commenter said NMFS should ban gillnet fishing in the entire area. Response: NMFS previously considered this option in the final Environmental Assessment implementing the BDTRP. Although this would provide additional conservation benefits to bottlenose dolphins in North Carolina, it would be at great expense to the fisheries and fishing community. It is also not a consensus recommendation by the Team. NMFS plans to reconvene the Team in 2013 to evaluate the need for possible additional conservation measures for fisheries interacting with strategic stocks of bottlenose dolphins in North Carolina. See also comment 6 and response. Comments on Non-Regulatory Changes to the BDTRP and Updates Comment 4: Two commenters expressed support for updating the BDTRP with the non-regulatory consensus recommendations made by the Team and discussed in the proposed rule. Specifically, continuing research to better understand bottlenose dolphin stock structure and determine if/how fishing gear modifications may reduce serious injury and mortality of bottlenose dolphins. Response: NMFS agrees and is updating the BDTRP as proposed. NMFS will continue stock structure and gear research efforts, as feasible. Comment 5: One commenter expressed concern that observer coverage is not robust enough to determine patterns of mortality for fisheries known to interact with bottlenose dolphins. NMFS therefore needs to allocate observer coverage effort to ensure more accurate and precise estimates of mortality for bay, sound, and estuary stocks of bottlenose dolphins. Response: NMFS agrees augmented and expanded observer coverage would help achieve representative coverage and improve precision and accuracy of mortality estimates. The Team has repeatedly provided consensus recommendations to NMFS on the importance of more and broader observer coverage in various fisheries VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:39 Jul 30, 2012 Jkt 226001 and areas in North Carolina. NMFS has also made multiple recent efforts to increase observer coverage in North Carolina, including: (1) Implementation of a North Carolina Alternative Platform Program from 2006–2009 to observe vessels too small to safely carry onboard observers; (2) a ‘‘pulsed’’ observer effort in fall 2008 to augment monitoring of bottlenose dolphin serious injuries and mortalities in times and areas with known fishery interactions; (3) increased federal observer coverage in inshore and nearshore coastal state waters in 2006/2007, 2010/2011, and 2011/2012; (4) coordination between NMFS’ Northeast and Southeast Observer Programs to facilitate combined data use; and (5) continued coordination with North Carolina on federal and state observer data collection and transferability. Comment 6: One commenter suggested NMFS reconvene the Team to evaluate if additional measures are necessary to ensure fishery-related serious injury and mortality is not exceeding Potential Biological Removal (PBR) for affected bottlenose dolphin stocks. Response: NMFS plans to reconvene the Team in 2013 to evaluate the effectiveness of the BDTRP and determine if additional conservation measures are necessary to meet MMPA mandated goals, including assurance that PBR levels are not exceeded. Changes From the Proposed Rule NMFS is making one minor change from the proposed rule to this final rule. In the proposed rule, NMFS corrected the boundary for the North Carolina/ South Carolina border as currently described in two BDTRP definitions. NMFS proposed to modify the border latitude from 33°52′ N. to the latitude corresponding with 33°51′07.9″ N. as described by ‘‘Off South Carolina’’ in 50 CFR 622.2. Specifically, in the definitions of Southern North Carolina state waters and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida waters, NMFS changed the latitude to 33°51′07.9″ N. and referred to the ‘‘Off South Carolina’’ definition. In this final rule, NMFS maintains the corrected latitude but removes the references to ‘‘Off South Carolina’’ in both definitions and replaces it with relevant text. Removing the reference to ‘‘Off South Carolina’’ reduces potential confusion over which part of the definition is being referenced and eliminates the need for readers to refer to a separate regulatory section. PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 45269 Classification This final rule was determined to be not significant under Executive Order 12866. NMFS determined this action is consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the enforceable policies of the approved coastal management program of North Carolina. This determination was submitted for review by the responsible state agencies under section 307 of the Coastal Zone Management Act on December 22, 2011. North Carolina concurred with the consistency determination in a letter dated January 23, 2012. This action contains policies with federalism implications that were sufficient to warrant preparation of a federalism summary impact statement under Executive Order 13132 and a federalism consultation with officials in the state of North Carolina. Accordingly, the Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs provided notice of the proposed action to the appropriate officials in North Carolina. North Carolina did not respond. NMFS determined this action is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) in accordance with sections 5.05b and 6.03c.3(i) of NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216–6 for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act. Specifically, this action permanently continues, without modification, a regulation that would not substantially change the regulation or have a significant impact on the environment. NMFS prepared an EA on the final rule (71 FR 24776, April 19, 2006) to implement the BDTRP, which included an analysis of the action without time constraints. The EA analyzed all regulations in the final BDTRP of which the regulations addressed in this rule were a component. The EA resulted in a finding of no significant impact. In accordance with section 5.05b of NAO 216–6, the regulations finalized here were determined to not likely result in significant impacts as defined in 40 CFR 1508.27. This action does not trigger the exceptions to categorical exclusions listed in NAO 216–6, Section 5.05c. A categorical exclusion memorandum to the file was prepared. This final rule does not contain collection-of-information requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic E:\FR\FM\31JYR1.SGM 31JYR1 45270 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 147 / Tuesday, July 31, 2012 / Rules and Regulations impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this determination was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding the certification. As a result, a final regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 229 Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business information, Fisheries, Marine mammals, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: June 23, 2012. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 229 is amended as follows: PART 229—AUTHORIZATION FOR COMMERCIAL FISHERIES UNDER THE MARINE MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT OF 1972 1. The authority citation for part 229 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16. U.S.C. 1361 et seq.; 50 CFR 229.32(f) also issued under 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq. 2. In § 229.35 paragraph (a), the definitions of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida waters and Southern North Carolina State waters in paragraph (b), and paragraphs (d)(1)(i), (d)(2)(i), (d)(4)(ii), and (d)(5)(i) are revised to read as follows: ■ emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with RULES § 229.35 Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan. (a) Purpose and scope. The purpose of this section is to implement the Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan (BDTRP) to reduce incidental mortality and serious injury of stocks of bottlenose dolphins within the Western North Atlantic coastal morphotype in specific Category I and II commercial fisheries from New Jersey through Florida. Specific Category I and II commercial fisheries within the scope of the BDTRP are indentified and updated in the annual List of Fisheries. Gear restricted by this section includes small, medium, and large mesh gillnets. The geographic scope of the BDTRP is all tidal and marine waters within 6.5 nautical miles (12 km) of shore from the New York-New Jersey border southward to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and within 14.6 nautical miles (27 km) of shore from Cape Hatteras, southward to, VerDate Mar<15>2010 13:39 Jul 30, 2012 Jkt 226001 and including the east coast of Florida down to the fishery management council demarcation line between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico (as described in § 600.105 of this title). (b) * * * South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida waters means the area consisting of all marine and tidal waters, within 14.6 nautical miles (27 km) of shore, bounded on the north by a line extending in a direction of 135°34′55″ from true north from the North Carolina/South Carolina border at 33°51′07.9″ N. and 78°32′32.6″ W., and on the south by the fishery management council demarcation line between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico (as described in § 600.105 of this title). Southern North Carolina State waters means the area consisting of all marine and tidal waters, within 3 nautical miles (5.56 km) of shore, bounded on the north by 34°35.4′ N. (Cape Lookout, North Carolina), and on the south by a line extending in a direction of 135°34′55″ from true north from the North Carolina/South Carolina border at 33°51′07.9″ N. and 78°32′32.6″ W. * * * * * (d) * * * (1) * * * (i) Medium and large mesh gillnets. From June 1 through October 31, in New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland state waters, no person may fish with any medium or large mesh anchored gillnet gear at night unless such person remains within 0.5 nautical mile (0.93 km) of the closest portion of each gillnet and removes all such gear from the water and stows it on board the vessel before the vessel returns to port. * * * * * (2) * * * (i) Medium and large mesh gillnets. From June 1 through October 31, in Southern Virginia State waters and Northern Virginia State waters, no person may fish with any medium or large mesh anchored gillnet gear at night unless such person remains within 0.5 nautical mile (0.93 km) of the closest portion of each gillnet and removes all such gear from the water and stows it on board the vessel before the vessel returns to port. * * * * * (4) * * * (ii) Medium mesh gillnets. From November 1 through April 30 of the following year, in Northern North Carolina State waters, no person may fish with any medium mesh gillnet at night. * * * * * (5) * * * PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (i) Medium mesh gillnets. From November 1 through April 30 of the following year, in Southern North Carolina State waters, no person may fish with any medium mesh gillnet at night. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2012–18667 Filed 7–30–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 100217095–2258–06] RIN 0648–AY56 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 32 Supplement National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: NMFS issues this supplement to the regulations that implemented management measures described in Amendment 32 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (Amendment 32) prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). After the February 10, 2012, publication of the final rule for Amendment 32, NMFS identified inconsistencies in the regulatory text regarding the quotas and annual catch limits (ACLs) for ‘‘other shallow-water grouper’’ (Other SWG) that needed correction. This final rule revises the regulatory text regarding the quotas and ACLs for Other SWG. In addition, this final rule implements some minor revisions to the regulatory text to improve the clarity of the regulations. DATES: This rule is effective August 30, 2012. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of Amendment 32, which includes a final environmental impact statement, a regulatory flexibility analysis, and a regulatory impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web Site at http:// sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/ GrouperSnapperandReefFish.htm. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Hood, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, telephone 727–824–5305; email: Peter.Hood@noaa.gov. E:\FR\FM\31JYR1.SGM 31JYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 147 (Tuesday, July 31, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 45268-45270]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-18667]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 229

[Docket No. 110202088-2252-02]
RIN 0648-BA34


Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Commercial Fishing 
Operations; Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issues this final 
rule amending the Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan (BDTRP) and 
its implementing regulations by permanently continuing nighttime 
fishing restrictions of medium mesh gillnets operating in North 
Carolina coastal state waters from November 1 through April 30. Members 
of the Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Team (Team) recommended these 
regulations be continued permanently, without modification, to ensure 
that BDTRP goals are met through continued conservation of strategic 
bottlenose dolphin stocks in North Carolina, which have historically 
high serious injury and mortality rates associated with medium mesh 
gillnets. NMFS also amends the BDTRP with updates, including updates 
recommended by the Team for non-regulatory conservation measures.

DATES: This final rule is effective August 30, 2012.

ADDRESSES: The proposed rule, BDTRP, 2008 BDTRP amendment, Team meeting 
summaries with consensus recommendations, and other background 
documents are available at the Take Reduction Team Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/interactions/trt/bdtrp.htm, or by submitting a 
request to Stacey Horstman (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stacey Horstman, NMFS Southeast 
Region, Stacey.Horstman@noaa.gov, 727-824-5312; or Kristy Long, NMFS 
Office of Protected Resources, Kristy.Long@noaa.gov, 301-427-8402.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    In accordance with section 118(f)(7)(F) of the Marine Mammal 
Protection Act (MMPA), this final rule implements an amendment to the 
BDTRP (71 FR 24776). The BDTRP was originally published on April 26, 
2006, and amended on December 19, 2008 (73 FR 77531). Details regarding 
the development and justification of this final rule were provided in 
the preamble of the proposed rule (77 FR 21946; April 12, 2012) and are 
not repeated here.

Nighttime Medium Mesh Gillnet Fishing Restrictions in North Carolina

    This final rule removes the sunset date to permanently continue, 
without modification, nighttime medium mesh fishing restrictions in 
North Carolina coastal state waters. Specifically, prohibitions of 
nighttime medium mesh (greater than 5-inch (12.7 cm) to less than 7-
inch (17.8 cm)) gillnets in North Carolina coastal state waters from 
November 1 through April 30 will continue annually.

Comments on the Proposed Rule and Responses

    NMFS received four comment letters on the proposed rule via mail, 
fax, or www.regulations.gov. Comments were received from The Humane 
Society of the United States and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation 
Society, the Marine Mammal Commission, the United States Fish and 
Wildlife Service, and one citizen. The comments are summarized below 
under regulatory or non-Regulatory changes to the BDTRP. NMFS' response 
follows each comment.

Comments on Regulatory Changes to the BDTRP

    Comment 1: Three commenters expressed support for permanently 
adopting the nighttime seasonal medium mesh gillnet restrictions in 
North Carolina coastal state waters and recommended NMFS adopt these 
measures as proposed.
    Response: NMFS appreciates the commenters' support and is 
finalizing these measures as proposed.

[[Page 45269]]

    Comment 2: One commenter said nighttime fishing should not be 
allowed anytime in the entire area.
    Response: NMFS believes this is more restrictive than currently 
necessary for bottlenose dolphin conservation efforts. In North 
Carolina, there are currently no observed serious injuries or 
mortalities of bottlenose dolphins in gillnets with long soak durations 
outside of the currently regulated November 1 through April 30 
timeframe.
    Comment 3: One commenter said NMFS should ban gillnet fishing in 
the entire area.
    Response: NMFS previously considered this option in the final 
Environmental Assessment implementing the BDTRP. Although this would 
provide additional conservation benefits to bottlenose dolphins in 
North Carolina, it would be at great expense to the fisheries and 
fishing community. It is also not a consensus recommendation by the 
Team. NMFS plans to reconvene the Team in 2013 to evaluate the need for 
possible additional conservation measures for fisheries interacting 
with strategic stocks of bottlenose dolphins in North Carolina. See 
also comment 6 and response.

Comments on Non-Regulatory Changes to the BDTRP and Updates

    Comment 4: Two commenters expressed support for updating the BDTRP 
with the non-regulatory consensus recommendations made by the Team and 
discussed in the proposed rule. Specifically, continuing research to 
better understand bottlenose dolphin stock structure and determine if/
how fishing gear modifications may reduce serious injury and mortality 
of bottlenose dolphins.
    Response: NMFS agrees and is updating the BDTRP as proposed. NMFS 
will continue stock structure and gear research efforts, as feasible.
    Comment 5: One commenter expressed concern that observer coverage 
is not robust enough to determine patterns of mortality for fisheries 
known to interact with bottlenose dolphins. NMFS therefore needs to 
allocate observer coverage effort to ensure more accurate and precise 
estimates of mortality for bay, sound, and estuary stocks of bottlenose 
dolphins.
    Response: NMFS agrees augmented and expanded observer coverage 
would help achieve representative coverage and improve precision and 
accuracy of mortality estimates. The Team has repeatedly provided 
consensus recommendations to NMFS on the importance of more and broader 
observer coverage in various fisheries and areas in North Carolina. 
NMFS has also made multiple recent efforts to increase observer 
coverage in North Carolina, including: (1) Implementation of a North 
Carolina Alternative Platform Program from 2006-2009 to observe vessels 
too small to safely carry onboard observers; (2) a ``pulsed'' observer 
effort in fall 2008 to augment monitoring of bottlenose dolphin serious 
injuries and mortalities in times and areas with known fishery 
interactions; (3) increased federal observer coverage in inshore and 
nearshore coastal state waters in 2006/2007, 2010/2011, and 2011/2012; 
(4) coordination between NMFS' Northeast and Southeast Observer 
Programs to facilitate combined data use; and (5) continued 
coordination with North Carolina on federal and state observer data 
collection and transferability.
    Comment 6: One commenter suggested NMFS reconvene the Team to 
evaluate if additional measures are necessary to ensure fishery-related 
serious injury and mortality is not exceeding Potential Biological 
Removal (PBR) for affected bottlenose dolphin stocks.
    Response: NMFS plans to reconvene the Team in 2013 to evaluate the 
effectiveness of the BDTRP and determine if additional conservation 
measures are necessary to meet MMPA mandated goals, including assurance 
that PBR levels are not exceeded.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    NMFS is making one minor change from the proposed rule to this 
final rule. In the proposed rule, NMFS corrected the boundary for the 
North Carolina/South Carolina border as currently described in two 
BDTRP definitions. NMFS proposed to modify the border latitude from 
33[deg]52' N. to the latitude corresponding with 33[deg]51'07.9'' N. as 
described by ``Off South Carolina'' in 50 CFR 622.2. Specifically, in 
the definitions of Southern North Carolina state waters and South 
Carolina, Georgia, and Florida waters, NMFS changed the latitude to 
33[deg]51'07.9'' N. and referred to the ``Off South Carolina'' 
definition. In this final rule, NMFS maintains the corrected latitude 
but removes the references to ``Off South Carolina'' in both 
definitions and replaces it with relevant text. Removing the reference 
to ``Off South Carolina'' reduces potential confusion over which part 
of the definition is being referenced and eliminates the need for 
readers to refer to a separate regulatory section.

Classification

    This final rule was determined to be not significant under 
Executive Order 12866.
    NMFS determined this action is consistent to the maximum extent 
practicable with the enforceable policies of the approved coastal 
management program of North Carolina. This determination was submitted 
for review by the responsible state agencies under section 307 of the 
Coastal Zone Management Act on December 22, 2011. North Carolina 
concurred with the consistency determination in a letter dated January 
23, 2012.
    This action contains policies with federalism implications that 
were sufficient to warrant preparation of a federalism summary impact 
statement under Executive Order 13132 and a federalism consultation 
with officials in the state of North Carolina. Accordingly, the 
Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs 
provided notice of the proposed action to the appropriate officials in 
North Carolina. North Carolina did not respond.
    NMFS determined this action is categorically excluded from the 
requirement to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) in accordance 
with sections 5.05b and 6.03c.3(i) of NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 
216-6 for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act. 
Specifically, this action permanently continues, without modification, 
a regulation that would not substantially change the regulation or have 
a significant impact on the environment. NMFS prepared an EA on the 
final rule (71 FR 24776, April 19, 2006) to implement the BDTRP, which 
included an analysis of the action without time constraints. The EA 
analyzed all regulations in the final BDTRP of which the regulations 
addressed in this rule were a component. The EA resulted in a finding 
of no significant impact. In accordance with section 5.05b of NAO 216-
6, the regulations finalized here were determined to not likely result 
in significant impacts as defined in 40 CFR 1508.27. This action does 
not trigger the exceptions to categorical exclusions listed in NAO 216-
6, Section 5.05c. A categorical exclusion memorandum to the file was 
prepared.
    This final rule does not contain collection-of-information 
requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would 
not have a significant economic

[[Page 45270]]

impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for 
this determination was published in the proposed rule and is not 
repeated here. No comments were received regarding the certification. 
As a result, a final regulatory flexibility analysis was not required 
and none was prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 229

    Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business 
information, Fisheries, Marine mammals, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    Dated: June 23, 2012.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and 
duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 229 is amended 
as follows:

PART 229--AUTHORIZATION FOR COMMERCIAL FISHERIES UNDER THE MARINE 
MAMMAL PROTECTION ACT OF 1972

0
1. The authority citation for part 229 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16. U.S.C. 1361 et seq.; 50 CFR 229.32(f) also issued 
under 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.


0
2. In Sec.  229.35 paragraph (a), the definitions of South Carolina, 
Georgia, and Florida waters and Southern North Carolina State waters in 
paragraph (b), and paragraphs (d)(1)(i), (d)(2)(i), (d)(4)(ii), and 
(d)(5)(i) are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  229.35  Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan.

    (a) Purpose and scope. The purpose of this section is to implement 
the Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan (BDTRP) to reduce incidental 
mortality and serious injury of stocks of bottlenose dolphins within 
the Western North Atlantic coastal morphotype in specific Category I 
and II commercial fisheries from New Jersey through Florida. Specific 
Category I and II commercial fisheries within the scope of the BDTRP 
are indentified and updated in the annual List of Fisheries. Gear 
restricted by this section includes small, medium, and large mesh 
gillnets. The geographic scope of the BDTRP is all tidal and marine 
waters within 6.5 nautical miles (12 km) of shore from the New York-New 
Jersey border southward to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and within 
14.6 nautical miles (27 km) of shore from Cape Hatteras, southward to, 
and including the east coast of Florida down to the fishery management 
council demarcation line between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of 
Mexico (as described in Sec.  600.105 of this title).
    (b) * * *
    South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida waters means the area 
consisting of all marine and tidal waters, within 14.6 nautical miles 
(27 km) of shore, bounded on the north by a line extending in a 
direction of 135[deg]34'55'' from true north from the North Carolina/
South Carolina border at 33[deg]51'07.9'' N. and 78[deg]32'32.6'' W., 
and on the south by the fishery management council demarcation line 
between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico (as described in 
Sec.  600.105 of this title).
    Southern North Carolina State waters means the area consisting of 
all marine and tidal waters, within 3 nautical miles (5.56 km) of 
shore, bounded on the north by 34[deg]35.4' N. (Cape Lookout, North 
Carolina), and on the south by a line extending in a direction of 
135[deg]34'55'' from true north from the North Carolina/South Carolina 
border at 33[deg]51'07.9'' N. and 78[deg]32'32.6'' W.
* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (i) Medium and large mesh gillnets. From June 1 through October 31, 
in New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland state waters, no person may fish 
with any medium or large mesh anchored gillnet gear at night unless 
such person remains within 0.5 nautical mile (0.93 km) of the closest 
portion of each gillnet and removes all such gear from the water and 
stows it on board the vessel before the vessel returns to port.
* * * * *
    (2) * * *
    (i) Medium and large mesh gillnets. From June 1 through October 31, 
in Southern Virginia State waters and Northern Virginia State waters, 
no person may fish with any medium or large mesh anchored gillnet gear 
at night unless such person remains within 0.5 nautical mile (0.93 km) 
of the closest portion of each gillnet and removes all such gear from 
the water and stows it on board the vessel before the vessel returns to 
port.
* * * * *
    (4) * * *
    (ii) Medium mesh gillnets. From November 1 through April 30 of the 
following year, in Northern North Carolina State waters, no person may 
fish with any medium mesh gillnet at night.
* * * * *
    (5) * * *
    (i) Medium mesh gillnets. From November 1 through April 30 of the 
following year, in Southern North Carolina State waters, no person may 
fish with any medium mesh gillnet at night.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2012-18667 Filed 7-30-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P