Western Pacific Fisheries; 2013 Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures, 6798-6802 [2013-02010]

Download as PDF 6798 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 21 / Thursday, January 31, 2013 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 665 [Docket No. 121107617–3050–01] RIN 0648–XC351 Western Pacific Fisheries; 2013 Annual Catch Limits and Accountability Measures National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce. ACTION: Proposed specification; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes annual catch limits for western Pacific bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem fisheries, and accountability measures to correct or mitigate any overages of catch limits. The proposed catch limits and accountability measures support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of the U.S. Pacific Islands DATES: Comments must be received by February 15, 2013. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2012–0226, by either of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA–NMFS–2012– 0226, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1601 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1110, Honolulu, HI 96814–4700. Instructions: 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 by NMFS. 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.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous), and will accept attachments to electronic sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:21 Jan 30, 2013 Jkt 229001 comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. NMFS prepared three environmental assessments that describe the potential impacts on the human environment that would result from the proposed annual catch limits and accountability measures. Additional background information was also provided in the 2012 proposed and final specifications (77 FR 66, January 3, 2012, and 77 FR 6019, February 7, 2012). Copies of these documents are available from www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jarad Makaiau, NMFS PIR Sustainable Fisheries, 808–944–2108. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Fisheries in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ, or Federal waters) around the U.S. Pacific Islands are managed under four archipelagic-based fishery ecosystem plans (FEP), including the American Samoa FEP, the Hawaii FEP, the Pacific Remote Islands FEP, and the Mariana FEP (covering Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)), and one FEP for pelagic fisheries. The FEPs were developed by the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and implemented by NMFS under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Each FEP contains a process for the Council and NMFS to specify annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs); that process is codified at 50 CFR 665.4 (76 FR 37285, June 27, 2011). The regulations require NMFS to specify, every fishing year, an ACL for each stock and stock complex of management unit species (MUS) included in an FEP, as recommended by the Council and in consideration of the best available scientific, commercial, and other information about the fishery. If an ACL is exceeded, the regulations require the Council to take action to reduce the ACL for the subsequent fishing year by the amount of the overage, or take other actions, as appropriate. Specification of ACLs NMFS proposes to specify ACLs for bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem fishery MUS in American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI, and Hawaii. NMFS based the proposed specifications on recommendations from the Council at its 155th meeting held on October 29 to November 1, 2012. A total of 101 ACLs are proposed: 22 in American Samoa, 27 in Guam, 22 in the CNMI, and 30 in Hawaii. The ACLs would be specified for the 2013 PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 fishing year (January 1 through December 31, 2013, except for precious coral fisheries, July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013). The proposed ACLs are identical to those NMFS specified for these fisheries in 2012, except for the bottomfish fisheries where the proposed catch limits are slightly higher compared to 2012. NMFS is not proposing ACLs for bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral, or coral reef ecosystem MUS in the PRIA because commercial fishing is prohibited out to 50 nautical miles by Presidential Proclamation 8336, which established the Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument (74 FR 1565, January 12, 2009), and because there is no habitat to support such fisheries in the EEZ beyond the monument boundaries. The Council is separately working on an amendment to the PRIA FEP containing management measures to permit non-commercial fishing within the Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument (as well as the Rose Atoll and Marianas Trench Marine National Monuments), and ensure non-commercial fishing, if allowed, is managed as a sustainable activity in accordance with provisions of Proclamation 8336. Additionally, NMFS is not proposing ACLs for MUS that are currently subject to Federal fishing moratoria or prohibitions. This includes all species of gold coral (73 FR 47098, August 13, 2008), all species of deepwater precious corals at the Westpac Bed Refugia (75 FR 2198, January 14, 2010), and the three Hawaii seamount groundfish: pelagic armorhead, alfonsin, and raftfish (75 FR 69015, November 10, 2010). The current prohibitions on fishing for these MUS serve as a functional equivalent of an ACL of zero. NMFS is also not proposing ACLs for pelagic MUS at this time because it previously determined that pelagic species are subject to international fishery agreements or have a life cycle of approximately one year and, therefore, have statutory exceptions to the ACL requirements. NMFS and the Council developed the proposed ACLs in accordance with the FEPs and Federal regulations. For Pacific Island crustacean, precious coral and coral reef ecosystem MUS, the Council, at its 155th meeting, recommended specifying the 2013 ACLs identical to the ACLs NMFS specified for these fisheries in 2012 (77 FR 6019, February 7, 2012). The data, methods, and procedures considered by the Council and its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) in developing their respective fishing level recommendations for Pacific Island E:\FR\FM\31JAP1.SGM 31JAP1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 21 / Thursday, January 31, 2013 / Proposed Rules crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem MUS are described in the EAs for the 2012 ACLs, and in the proposed specifications (77 FR 66, January 3, 2012) and final specifications (77 FR 6019, February 7, 2012) for that action. For Pacific Island bottomfish MUS, the Council recommended specifying the 2013 ACLs equal to the acceptable biological catch as established by its SSC at the 111th SSC meeting held October 24–26, 2012. The data, methods, and procedures considered by the SSC and the Council in developing their respective fishing level recommendations for Pacific Island bottomfish MUS are described in detail in the EA that supports this action. Proposed Annual Catch Limit Specifications TABLE 1—AMERICAN SAMOA Fishery Bottomfish multi-species stock complex .......... Deepwater Shrimp ............................................ Spiny Lobster ................................................... Slipper Lobster ................................................. Kona Crab ........................................................ Black Coral ....................................................... Precious Corals in the American Samoa Exploratory Area. Acanthuridae—surgeonfish .............................. Lutjanidae—snappers ....................................... Selar crumenophthalmus—atule or bigeye scad. Mollusks—turbo snail; octopus; giant clams .... Carangidae—jacks ........................................... Lethrinidae—emperors ..................................... Scaridae—parrotfish ......................................... Serranidae—groupers ...................................... Holocentridae—squirrelfish .............................. Mugilidae—mullets ........................................... Crustaceans—crabs ......................................... Bolbometopon muricatum—bumphead parrotfish. Cheilinus undulatus—Humphead (Napoleon) wrasse. Carcharhinidae—Reef Sharks .......................... All Other CREMUS combined .......................... Proposed ACL specification Management unit species Bottomfish .......................................................... Crustacean ........................................................ Precious Coral ................................................... Coral Reef Ecosystem ....................................... 101,000 lb (45,813 kg). 80,000 lb (36,287 kg). 2,300 lb (1,043 kg). 30 lb (14 kg). 3,200 lb (1,451 kg). 790 lb (358 kg). 2,205 lb (1,000 kg). 19,516 lb (8,852 kg). 18,839 lb (8,545 kg). 8,396 lb (3,808 kg). 16,694 lb (7,572 kg). 9,490 lb (4,305 kg). 7,350 lb (3,334 kg). 8,145 lb (3,695 kg). 5,600 lb (2,540 kg). 2,585 lb (1,173 kg). 2,857 lb (1,296 kg). 2,248 lb (1,020 kg). 235 lb (107 kg). 1,743 lb (791 kg). 1,309 lb (594 kg). 18,910 lb (8,577 kg). TABLE 2—MARIANA ARCHIPELAGO—GUAM Fishery Bottomfish multi-species stock complex .......... Deepwater Shrimp ............................................ Spiny Lobster ................................................... Slipper Lobster ................................................. Kona Crab ........................................................ Black Coral ....................................................... Precious Corals in the Guam Exploratory Area Acanthuridae—surgeonfish .............................. Carangidae—jacks ........................................... Selar crumenophthalmus—atulai or bigeye scad. Lethrinidae—emperors ..................................... Scaridae—parrotfish ......................................... Mullidae—goatfish ............................................ Mollusks—turbo snail; octopus; giant clams .... Siganidae—rabbitfish ....................................... Lutjanidae—snappers ....................................... Serranidae—groupers ...................................... Mugilidae—mullets ........................................... Kyphosidae—chubs/rudderfish ......................... Crustaceans—crabs ......................................... Holocentridae—squirrelfish .............................. Algae ................................................................ Labridae—wrasses ........................................... Bolbometopon muricatum—bumphead parrotfish. Cheilinus undulatus—Humphead (Napoleon) wrasse. Carcharhinidae—Reef Sharks .......................... Precious Coral ................................................... Cora Reef Ecosystem ....................................... sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with Proposed ACL specification Management unit species Bottomfish .......................................................... Crustaceans ....................................................... VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:21 Jan 30, 2013 Jkt 229001 PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 6799 66,800 lb (30,300 kg). 48,488 lb (21,994 kg). 2,700 lb (1,225 kg). 20 lb (9 kg). 1,900 lb (862 kg). 700 lb (318 kg). 2,205 lb (1,000 kg). 70,702 lb (32,070 kg). 45,377 lb (20,583 kg). 56,514 lb (25,634 kg). 38,720 lb (17,563 kg). 28,649 lb (12,995 kg). 25,367 lb (11,506 kg). 21,941 lb (9,952 kg). 26,120 lb (11,848 kg). 17,726 lb (8,040 kg). 17,958 lb (8,146 kg). 15,032 lb (6,818 kg). 13,247 lb (6,009 kg). 5,523 lb (2,505 kg). 8,300 lb (3,765 kg). 5,329 lb (2,417 kg). 5,195 lb (2,356 kg). 797 lb (362 kg) (CNMI and Guam combined). 1,960 lb (889 kg). 6,942 lb (3,149 kg). E:\FR\FM\31JAP1.SGM 31JAP1 6800 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 21 / Thursday, January 31, 2013 / Proposed Rules TABLE 2—MARIANA ARCHIPELAGO—GUAM—Continued Fishery Proposed ACL specification Management unit species All Other CREMUS combined .......................... 83,214 lb (37,745 kg). TABLE 3—MARIANA ARCHIPELAGO—CNMI Fishery Bottomfish .......................................................... Crustacean ........................................................ Bottomfish multi-species stock complex .......... Deepwater Shrimp ............................................ Spiny Lobster ................................................... Slipper Lobster ................................................. Kona Crab ........................................................ Black Coral ....................................................... Precious Corals in the CNMI Exploratory Area Lethrinidae—emperors ..................................... Carangidae—jacks ........................................... Acanthuridae—surgeonfish .............................. Selar crumenophthalmus—atulai or bigeye scad. Serranidae—groupers ...................................... Lutjanidae—snappers ....................................... Mullidae—goatfish ............................................ Scaridae—parrotfish ......................................... Mollusks—turbo snail; octopus; giant clams .... Mugilidae—mullets ........................................... Siganidae—rabbitfish ....................................... Bolbometopon muricatum—bumphead parrotfish. Cheilinus undulatus—Humphead (Napoleon) wrasse. Carcharhinidae—Reef Sharks .......................... All Other CREMUS combined .......................... Proposed ACL specification Management unit species Precious Coral ................................................... Coral Reef Ecosystem ....................................... 228,000 lb (103,419 kg). 275,570 lb (124,996 kg). 5,500 lb (2,495 kg). 60 lb (27 kg). 6,300 lb (2,858 kg). 2,100 lb (953 kg). 2,205 lb (1,000 kg). 27,466 lb (12,458 kg). 21,512 lb (9,758 kg). 6,884 lb (3,123 kg). 7,459 lb (3,383 kg). 5,519 lb (2,503 kg). 3,905 lb (1,771 kg). 3,670 lb (1,665 kg). 3,784 lb (1,716 kg). 4,446 lb (2,017 kg). 3,308 lb (1,500 kg). 2,537 lb (1,151 kg). 797 lb (362 kg) (CNMI and Guam combined). 2,009 lb (911 kg). 5,600 lb (2,540 kg). 9,820 lb (4,454 kg). TABLE 4—HAWAII Fishery Bottomfish .......................................................... Crustacean ........................................................ Non-Deep 7 Bottomfish .................................... Deepwater Shrimp ............................................ Spiny Lobster ................................................... Slipper Lobster ................................................. Kona Crab ........................................................ Auau Channel Black Coral ............................... Makapuu Bed—Pink Coral ............................... Makapuu Bed—Bamboo Coral ........................ 180 Fathom Bank—Pink Coral ........................ 180 Fathom Bank—Bamboo Coral .................. Brooks Bank—Pink Coral ................................. Brooks Bank—Bamboo Coral .......................... Kaena Point Bed—Pink Coral .......................... Kaena Point Bed—Bamboo Coral ................... Keahole Bed—Pink Coral ................................ Keahole Bed—Bamboo Coral .......................... Precious Corals in the Hawaii Exploratory Area. Selar crumenophthalmus—akule or bigeye scad. Decapterus macarellus—opelu or mackerel scad. Carangidae—jacks ........................................... Mullidae—goatfish ............................................ Acanthuridae—surgeonfish .............................. Lutjanidae—snappers ....................................... Holocentridae—squirrelfish .............................. Mugilidae—mullets ........................................... Mollusks—turbo snails; octopus ....................... Scaridae—parrotfish ......................................... Crustaceans—crabs ......................................... Precious Coral ................................................... Coral Reef Ecosystem ....................................... sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with Proposed ACL specification Management unit species VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:21 Jan 30, 2013 Jkt 229001 PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 145,000 (65,771 kg). 250,773 lb (113,749 kg). 10,000 lb (4,536 kg). 280 lb (127 kg). 27,600 lb (12,519 kg). 5,512 lb (2,500 kg). 2,205 lb (1,000 kg). 551 lb (250 kg). 489 lb (222 kg). 123 lb (56 kg). 979 lb (444 kg). 245 lb (111 kg). 148 lb (67 kg). 37 lb (17 kg). 148 lb (67 kg). 37 lb (17 kg). 2,205 lb (1,000 kg). 651,292 lb (295,421 kg). 393,563 lb (178,517 kg). 193,423 lb (87,735 kg). 125,813 lb (57,068 kg). 80,545 lb (36,535 kg). 65,102 lb (29,530 kg). 44,122 lb (20,013 kg). 41,112 lb (18,648 kg). 28,765 lb (13,048 kg). 33,326 lb (15,116 kg). 20,686 lb (9,383 kg). E:\FR\FM\31JAP1.SGM 31JAP1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 21 / Thursday, January 31, 2013 / Proposed Rules 6801 TABLE 4—HAWAII—Continued Fishery Proposed ACL specification Management unit species Carcharhinidae—Reef Sharks .......................... All Other CREMUS combined .......................... sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with Proposed Accountability Measures Each fishing year, NMFS and local resource management agencies in American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI, and Hawaii collect information about MUS catches and apply them toward the appropriate ACLs. Pursuant to 50 CFR 665.4, when the ACL for a stock or stock complex is projected to be reached, based on available information, NMFS must notify permit holders that fishing for that stock or stock complex will be restricted in Federal waters on a specified date. The restriction serves as the AM to prevent an ACL from being exceeded, and may include, but is not limited to, closure of the fishery, closure of specific areas, changes to bag limits, or restrictions in effort. However, fisheries statistics are generally not available to NMFS until at least six months after the data has been collected. While the State of Hawaii has the capability to monitor and track the catch of seven preferentially-targeted bottomfish species in near-real time in comparison with NMFS specified ACLs (77 FR 56791, September 14, 2012), additional resources would be required to extend these capabilities to other bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem MUS. Significant resources would also be required to support the establishment of in-season monitoring and tracking capabilities in American Samoa, Guam, and the CNMI. Additionally, reliance on Federal logbook and reporting from Federal waters will not be sufficient to accurately monitor and track catches towards the proposed ACL specifications as the majority of fishing for bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem fishery MUS occurs primarily in non-Federal waters, generally 0–3 nautical miles from shore. For these reasons, NMFS proposes to implement the Council’s recommended AM, which requires the Council to conduct a post-season accounting of the annual catch for each stock and stock complex of MUS immediately after the end of the fishing year. If an ACL is exceeded, the Council would take action in accordance with 50 CFR 600.310(g), which may include a recommendation that NMFS reduce the ACL for the subsequent fishing year by VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:21 Jan 30, 2013 Jkt 229001 111,566 lb (50,605 kg). 142,282 lb (64,538 kg). the amount of the overage, or other measures, as appropriate. NMFS will consider public comments on the proposed ACLs and AMs and will announce the final specifications as soon as possible. Comments on these proposed specifications must be received by February 15, 2013, not postmarked or otherwise transmitted by that date. Regardless of the final ACL specifications and AMs, all other management measures will continue to apply in the fisheries. (deepwater shrimp and Kona crab) and all precious coral fisheries outside Hawaii. Fishermen should not face any adverse economic impacts as a direct result of the proposed ACLs and AMs. The Council and NMFS are not considering in-season closures in any of the fisheries to which these ACLs apply, due to the current inability of fishery management entities to conduct inseason tracking of catch in relation to the ACLs. As a result, fishermen would be able to fish throughout the entire season. In addition, the ACLs, as proposed, would not change the gear types, areas fished, effort, or participation of the fishery during the 2013 fishing season. A post-season review of the catch data would be required to determine whether any fishery exceeded its ACL. If an ACL is exceeded, the Council and NMFS would take action to correct the operational issue that caused the ACL overage. The environmental and socio-economic impacts of future actions, such as changes to future ACLs or AMs, would need to be evaluated separately once the required data are available. For Pacific Island bottomfish, other alternatives that were considered but not selected called for alternative specifications lower than those that are proposed. However, because in-season tracking of catch data cannot be achieved in these fisheries, in-season AMs (such as a fishery closure) are not possible, and fishermen would be able to fish throughout the entire season under all alternatives considered. Therefore, the direct economic impacts to small entities during the 2013 fishing season would not likely differ among the alternatives. As described earlier, the proposed action of specifying ACLs and AMs is expected to have little, if any, direct adverse economic impact. For active fisheries, the ACLs are generally in line with or greater than the current annual yields and there should be no disproportionate economic impacts between large and small entities. Furthermore, there is likely to be no disproportionate economic impacts among the universe of vessels based on gear, home port, or vessel length. Because the proposed action would have little to no direct economic impact, Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries has determined that this proposed specification is consistent with the applicable western Pacific FEPs, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws, subject to further consideration after public comment. Certification of Finding of No Significant Impact on Substantial Number of Small Entities The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that these proposed specifications, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. A description of the action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for it are contained in the preamble to this proposed specification. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) based the proposed specifications on recommendations from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) at its 155th meeting held on October 29– November 1, 2012. A total of 101 ACLs are proposed: 22 in American Samoa, 27 in Guam, 22 in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and 30 in Hawaii. NMFS would specify the ACLs for the 2013 fishing year, which begins on January 1 and ends on December 31, except for precious coral fisheries which already began on July 1, 2012 and will end June 30, 2013. NMFS would apply some ACLs to fisheries for which there are no participants. These include certain crustacean fisheries PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\31JAP1.SGM 31JAP1 6802 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 21 / Thursday, January 31, 2013 / Proposed Rules NMFS has determined that this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b). As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. This action is exempt from review under the procedures of E.O. 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: January 24, 2013. 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. [FR Doc. 2013–02010 Filed 1–30–13; 8:45 am] sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:21 Jan 30, 2013 Jkt 229001 PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\31JAP1.SGM 31JAP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 21 (Thursday, January 31, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 6798-6802]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-02010]



[[Page 6798]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 665

[Docket No. 121107617-3050-01]
RIN 0648-XC351


Western Pacific Fisheries; 2013 Annual Catch Limits and 
Accountability Measures

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

ACTION: Proposed specification; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes annual catch limits for western Pacific 
bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem 
fisheries, and accountability measures to correct or mitigate any 
overages of catch limits. The proposed catch limits and accountability 
measures support the long-term sustainability of fishery resources of 
the U.S. Pacific Islands

DATES: Comments must be received by February 15, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2012-0226, by either of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0226, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, 
Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1601 
Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 1110, Honolulu, HI 96814-4700.
    Instructions: 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 by NMFS. 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.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous), and will accept attachments to electronic comments in 
Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    NMFS prepared three environmental assessments that describe the 
potential impacts on the human environment that would result from the 
proposed annual catch limits and accountability measures. Additional 
background information was also provided in the 2012 proposed and final 
specifications (77 FR 66, January 3, 2012, and 77 FR 6019, February 7, 
2012). Copies of these documents are available from 
www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jarad Makaiau, NMFS PIR Sustainable 
Fisheries, 808-944-2108.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Fisheries in the U.S. Exclusive Economic 
Zone (EEZ, or Federal waters) around the U.S. Pacific Islands are 
managed under four archipelagic-based fishery ecosystem plans (FEP), 
including the American Samoa FEP, the Hawaii FEP, the Pacific Remote 
Islands FEP, and the Mariana FEP (covering Guam and the Commonwealth of 
the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)), and one FEP for pelagic 
fisheries. The FEPs were developed by the Western Pacific Fishery 
Management Council (Council) and implemented by NMFS under the 
authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management 
Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
    Each FEP contains a process for the Council and NMFS to specify 
annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs); that 
process is codified at 50 CFR 665.4 (76 FR 37285, June 27, 2011). The 
regulations require NMFS to specify, every fishing year, an ACL for 
each stock and stock complex of management unit species (MUS) included 
in an FEP, as recommended by the Council and in consideration of the 
best available scientific, commercial, and other information about the 
fishery. If an ACL is exceeded, the regulations require the Council to 
take action to reduce the ACL for the subsequent fishing year by the 
amount of the overage, or take other actions, as appropriate.

Specification of ACLs

    NMFS proposes to specify ACLs for bottomfish, crustacean, precious 
coral, and coral reef ecosystem fishery MUS in American Samoa, Guam, 
the CNMI, and Hawaii. NMFS based the proposed specifications on 
recommendations from the Council at its 155th meeting held on October 
29 to November 1, 2012. A total of 101 ACLs are proposed: 22 in 
American Samoa, 27 in Guam, 22 in the CNMI, and 30 in Hawaii. The ACLs 
would be specified for the 2013 fishing year (January 1 through 
December 31, 2013, except for precious coral fisheries, July 1, 2012, 
through June 30, 2013). The proposed ACLs are identical to those NMFS 
specified for these fisheries in 2012, except for the bottomfish 
fisheries where the proposed catch limits are slightly higher compared 
to 2012.
    NMFS is not proposing ACLs for bottomfish, crustacean, precious 
coral, or coral reef ecosystem MUS in the PRIA because commercial 
fishing is prohibited out to 50 nautical miles by Presidential 
Proclamation 8336, which established the Pacific Remote Island Marine 
National Monument (74 FR 1565, January 12, 2009), and because there is 
no habitat to support such fisheries in the EEZ beyond the monument 
boundaries. The Council is separately working on an amendment to the 
PRIA FEP containing management measures to permit non-commercial 
fishing within the Pacific Remote Island Marine National Monument (as 
well as the Rose Atoll and Marianas Trench Marine National Monuments), 
and ensure non-commercial fishing, if allowed, is managed as a 
sustainable activity in accordance with provisions of Proclamation 
8336. Additionally, NMFS is not proposing ACLs for MUS that are 
currently subject to Federal fishing moratoria or prohibitions. This 
includes all species of gold coral (73 FR 47098, August 13, 2008), all 
species of deepwater precious corals at the Westpac Bed Refugia (75 FR 
2198, January 14, 2010), and the three Hawaii seamount groundfish: 
pelagic armorhead, alfonsin, and raftfish (75 FR 69015, November 10, 
2010). The current prohibitions on fishing for these MUS serve as a 
functional equivalent of an ACL of zero.
    NMFS is also not proposing ACLs for pelagic MUS at this time 
because it previously determined that pelagic species are subject to 
international fishery agreements or have a life cycle of approximately 
one year and, therefore, have statutory exceptions to the ACL 
requirements.
    NMFS and the Council developed the proposed ACLs in accordance with 
the FEPs and Federal regulations. For Pacific Island crustacean, 
precious coral and coral reef ecosystem MUS, the Council, at its 155th 
meeting, recommended specifying the 2013 ACLs identical to the ACLs 
NMFS specified for these fisheries in 2012 (77 FR 6019, February 7, 
2012). The data, methods, and procedures considered by the Council and 
its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) in developing their 
respective fishing level recommendations for Pacific Island

[[Page 6799]]

crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem MUS are described 
in the EAs for the 2012 ACLs, and in the proposed specifications (77 FR 
66, January 3, 2012) and final specifications (77 FR 6019, February 7, 
2012) for that action.
    For Pacific Island bottomfish MUS, the Council recommended 
specifying the 2013 ACLs equal to the acceptable biological catch as 
established by its SSC at the 111th SSC meeting held October 24-26, 
2012. The data, methods, and procedures considered by the SSC and the 
Council in developing their respective fishing level recommendations 
for Pacific Island bottomfish MUS are described in detail in the EA 
that supports this action.

Proposed Annual Catch Limit Specifications

                         Table 1--American Samoa
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Management unit      Proposed ACL
             Fishery                    species          specification
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bottomfish......................  Bottomfish multi-   101,000 lb (45,813
                                   species stock       kg).
                                   complex.
Crustacean......................  Deepwater Shrimp..  80,000 lb (36,287
                                                       kg).
                                  Spiny Lobster.....  2,300 lb (1,043
                                                       kg).
                                  Slipper Lobster...  30 lb (14 kg).
                                  Kona Crab.........  3,200 lb (1,451
                                                       kg).
Precious Coral..................  Black Coral.......  790 lb (358 kg).
                                  Precious Corals in  2,205 lb (1,000
                                   the American        kg).
                                   Samoa Exploratory
                                   Area.
Coral Reef Ecosystem............  Acanthuridae--surg  19,516 lb (8,852
                                   eonfish.            kg).
                                  Lutjanidae--snappe  18,839 lb (8,545
                                   rs.                 kg).
                                  Selar               8,396 lb (3,808
                                   crumenophthalmus-   kg).
                                   -atule or bigeye
                                   scad.
                                  Mollusks--turbo     16,694 lb (7,572
                                   snail; octopus;     kg).
                                   giant clams.
                                  Carangidae--jacks.  9,490 lb (4,305
                                                       kg).
                                  Lethrinidae--emper  7,350 lb (3,334
                                   ors.                kg).
                                  Scaridae--parrotfi  8,145 lb (3,695
                                   sh.                 kg).
                                  Serranidae--groupe  5,600 lb (2,540
                                   rs.                 kg).
                                  Holocentridae--squ  2,585 lb (1,173
                                   irrelfish.          kg).
                                  Mugilidae--mullets  2,857 lb (1,296
                                                       kg).
                                  Crustaceans--crabs  2,248 lb (1,020
                                                       kg).
                                  Bolbometopon        235 lb (107 kg).
                                   muricatum--bumphe
                                   ad parrotfish.
                                  Cheilinus           1,743 lb (791 kg).
                                   undulatus--Humphe
                                   ad (Napoleon)
                                   wrasse.
                                  Carcharhinidae--Re  1,309 lb (594 kg).
                                   ef Sharks.
                                  All Other CREMUS    18,910 lb (8,577
                                   combined.           kg).
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                   Table 2--Mariana Archipelago--Guam
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Management unit      Proposed ACL
             Fishery                    species          specification
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bottomfish......................  Bottomfish multi-   66,800 lb (30,300
                                   species stock       kg).
                                   complex.
Crustaceans.....................  Deepwater Shrimp..  48,488 lb (21,994
                                                       kg).
                                  Spiny Lobster.....  2,700 lb (1,225
                                                       kg).
                                  Slipper Lobster...  20 lb (9 kg).
                                  Kona Crab.........  1,900 lb (862 kg).
Precious Coral..................  Black Coral.......  700 lb (318 kg).
                                  Precious Corals in  2,205 lb (1,000
                                   the Guam            kg).
                                   Exploratory Area.
Cora Reef Ecosystem.............  Acanthuridae--surg  70,702 lb (32,070
                                   eonfish.            kg).
                                  Carangidae--jacks.  45,377 lb (20,583
                                                       kg).
                                  Selar               56,514 lb (25,634
                                   crumenophthalmus-   kg).
                                   -atulai or bigeye
                                   scad.
                                  Lethrinidae--emper  38,720 lb (17,563
                                   ors.                kg).
                                  Scaridae--parrotfi  28,649 lb (12,995
                                   sh.                 kg).
                                  Mullidae--goatfish  25,367 lb (11,506
                                                       kg).
                                  Mollusks--turbo     21,941 lb (9,952
                                   snail; octopus;     kg).
                                   giant clams.
                                  Siganidae--rabbitf  26,120 lb (11,848
                                   ish.                kg).
                                  Lutjanidae--snappe  17,726 lb (8,040
                                   rs.                 kg).
                                  Serranidae--groupe  17,958 lb (8,146
                                   rs.                 kg).
                                  Mugilidae--mullets  15,032 lb (6,818
                                                       kg).
                                  Kyphosidae--chubs/  13,247 lb (6,009
                                   rudderfish.         kg).
                                  Crustaceans--crabs  5,523 lb (2,505
                                                       kg).
                                  Holocentridae--squ  8,300 lb (3,765
                                   irrelfish.          kg).
                                  Algae.............  5,329 lb (2,417
                                                       kg).
                                  Labridae--wrasses.  5,195 lb (2,356
                                                       kg).
                                  Bolbometopon        797 lb (362 kg)
                                   muricatum--bumphe  (CNMI and Guam
                                   ad parrotfish.      combined).
                                  Cheilinus           1,960 lb (889 kg).
                                   undulatus--Humphe
                                   ad (Napoleon)
                                   wrasse.
                                  Carcharhinidae--Re  6,942 lb (3,149
                                   ef Sharks.          kg).

[[Page 6800]]

 
                                  All Other CREMUS    83,214 lb (37,745
                                   combined.           kg).
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                   Table 3--Mariana Archipelago--CNMI
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Management unit      Proposed ACL
             Fishery                    species          specification
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bottomfish......................  Bottomfish multi-   228,000 lb
                                   species stock       (103,419 kg).
                                   complex.
Crustacean......................  Deepwater Shrimp..  275,570 lb
                                                       (124,996 kg).
                                  Spiny Lobster.....  5,500 lb (2,495
                                                       kg).
                                  Slipper Lobster...  60 lb (27 kg).
                                  Kona Crab.........  6,300 lb (2,858
                                                       kg).
Precious Coral..................  Black Coral.......  2,100 lb (953 kg).
                                  Precious Corals in  2,205 lb (1,000
                                   the CNMI            kg).
                                   Exploratory Area.
Coral Reef Ecosystem............  Lethrinidae--emper  27,466 lb (12,458
                                   ors.                kg).
                                  Carangidae--jacks.  21,512 lb (9,758
                                                       kg).
                                  Acanthuridae--surg  6,884 lb (3,123
                                   eonfish.            kg).
                                  Selar               7,459 lb (3,383
                                   crumenophthalmus-   kg).
                                   -atulai or bigeye
                                   scad.
                                  Serranidae--groupe  5,519 lb (2,503
                                   rs.                 kg).
                                  Lutjanidae--snappe  3,905 lb (1,771
                                   rs.                 kg).
                                  Mullidae--goatfish  3,670 lb (1,665
                                                       kg).
                                  Scaridae--parrotfi  3,784 lb (1,716
                                   sh.                 kg).
                                  Mollusks--turbo     4,446 lb (2,017
                                   snail; octopus;     kg).
                                   giant clams.
                                  Mugilidae--mullets  3,308 lb (1,500
                                                       kg).
                                  Siganidae--rabbitf  2,537 lb (1,151
                                   ish.                kg).
                                  Bolbometopon        797 lb (362 kg)
                                   muricatum--bumphe   (CNMI and Guam
                                   ad parrotfish.      combined).
                                  Cheilinus           2,009 lb (911 kg).
                                   undulatus--Humphe
                                   ad (Napoleon)
                                   wrasse.
                                  Carcharhinidae--Re  5,600 lb (2,540
                                   ef Sharks.          kg).
                                  All Other CREMUS    9,820 lb (4,454
                                   combined.           kg).
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                             Table 4--Hawaii
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Management unit      Proposed ACL
             Fishery                    species          specification
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bottomfish......................  Non-Deep 7          145,000 (65,771
                                   Bottomfish.         kg).
Crustacean......................  Deepwater Shrimp..  250,773 lb
                                                       (113,749 kg).
                                  Spiny Lobster.....  10,000 lb (4,536
                                                       kg).
                                  Slipper Lobster...  280 lb (127 kg).
                                  Kona Crab.........  27,600 lb (12,519
                                                       kg).
Precious Coral..................  Auau Channel Black  5,512 lb (2,500
                                   Coral.              kg).
                                  Makapuu Bed--Pink   2,205 lb (1,000
                                   Coral.              kg).
                                  Makapuu Bed--       551 lb (250 kg).
                                   Bamboo Coral.
                                  180 Fathom Bank--   489 lb (222 kg).
                                   Pink Coral.
                                  180 Fathom Bank--   123 lb (56 kg).
                                   Bamboo Coral.
                                  Brooks Bank--Pink   979 lb (444 kg).
                                   Coral.
                                  Brooks Bank--       245 lb (111 kg).
                                   Bamboo Coral.
                                  Kaena Point Bed--   148 lb (67 kg).
                                   Pink Coral.
                                  Kaena Point Bed--   37 lb (17 kg).
                                   Bamboo Coral.
                                  Keahole Bed--Pink   148 lb (67 kg).
                                   Coral.
                                  Keahole Bed--       37 lb (17 kg).
                                   Bamboo Coral.
                                  Precious Corals in  2,205 lb (1,000
                                   the Hawaii          kg).
                                   Exploratory Area.
Coral Reef Ecosystem............  Selar               651,292 lb
                                   crumenophthalmus-   (295,421 kg).
                                   -akule or bigeye
                                   scad.
                                  Decapterus          393,563 lb
                                   macarellus--opelu   (178,517 kg).
                                   or mackerel scad.
                                  Carangidae--jacks.  193,423 lb (87,735
                                                       kg).
                                  Mullidae--goatfish  125,813 lb (57,068
                                                       kg).
                                  Acanthuridae--surg  80,545 lb (36,535
                                   eonfish.            kg).
                                  Lutjanidae--snappe  65,102 lb (29,530
                                   rs.                 kg).
                                  Holocentridae--squ  44,122 lb (20,013
                                   irrelfish.          kg).
                                  Mugilidae--mullets  41,112 lb (18,648
                                                       kg).
                                  Mollusks--turbo     28,765 lb (13,048
                                   snails; octopus.    kg).
                                  Scaridae--parrotfi  33,326 lb (15,116
                                   sh.                 kg).
                                  Crustaceans--crabs  20,686 lb (9,383
                                                       kg).

[[Page 6801]]

 
                                  Carcharhinidae--Re  111,566 lb (50,605
                                   ef Sharks.          kg).
                                  All Other CREMUS    142,282 lb (64,538
                                   combined.           kg).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Proposed Accountability Measures

    Each fishing year, NMFS and local resource management agencies in 
American Samoa, Guam, the CNMI, and Hawaii collect information about 
MUS catches and apply them toward the appropriate ACLs. Pursuant to 50 
CFR 665.4, when the ACL for a stock or stock complex is projected to be 
reached, based on available information, NMFS must notify permit 
holders that fishing for that stock or stock complex will be restricted 
in Federal waters on a specified date. The restriction serves as the AM 
to prevent an ACL from being exceeded, and may include, but is not 
limited to, closure of the fishery, closure of specific areas, changes 
to bag limits, or restrictions in effort. However, fisheries statistics 
are generally not available to NMFS until at least six months after the 
data has been collected. While the State of Hawaii has the capability 
to monitor and track the catch of seven preferentially-targeted 
bottomfish species in near-real time in comparison with NMFS specified 
ACLs (77 FR 56791, September 14, 2012), additional resources would be 
required to extend these capabilities to other bottomfish, crustacean, 
precious coral, and coral reef ecosystem MUS. Significant resources 
would also be required to support the establishment of in-season 
monitoring and tracking capabilities in American Samoa, Guam, and the 
CNMI.
    Additionally, reliance on Federal logbook and reporting from 
Federal waters will not be sufficient to accurately monitor and track 
catches towards the proposed ACL specifications as the majority of 
fishing for bottomfish, crustacean, precious coral, and coral reef 
ecosystem fishery MUS occurs primarily in non-Federal waters, generally 
0-3 nautical miles from shore. For these reasons, NMFS proposes to 
implement the Council's recommended AM, which requires the Council to 
conduct a post-season accounting of the annual catch for each stock and 
stock complex of MUS immediately after the end of the fishing year. If 
an ACL is exceeded, the Council would take action in accordance with 50 
CFR 600.310(g), which may include a recommendation that NMFS reduce the 
ACL for the subsequent fishing year by the amount of the overage, or 
other measures, as appropriate.
    NMFS will consider public comments on the proposed ACLs and AMs and 
will announce the final specifications as soon as possible. Comments on 
these proposed specifications must be received by February 15, 2013, 
not postmarked or otherwise transmitted by that date. Regardless of the 
final ACL specifications and AMs, all other management measures will 
continue to apply in the fisheries.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries has determined that this 
proposed specification is consistent with the applicable western 
Pacific FEPs, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other 
applicable laws, subject to further consideration after public comment.

Certification of Finding of No Significant Impact on Substantial Number 
of Small Entities

    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that these proposed specifications, if adopted, would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. A description of the action, why it is being considered, and 
the legal basis for it are contained in the preamble to this proposed 
specification.
    The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) based the proposed 
specifications on recommendations from the Western Pacific Fishery 
Management Council (Council) at its 155th meeting held on October 29-
November 1, 2012. A total of 101 ACLs are proposed: 22 in American 
Samoa, 27 in Guam, 22 in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana 
Islands (CNMI), and 30 in Hawaii. NMFS would specify the ACLs for the 
2013 fishing year, which begins on January 1 and ends on December 31, 
except for precious coral fisheries which already began on July 1, 2012 
and will end June 30, 2013. NMFS would apply some ACLs to fisheries for 
which there are no participants. These include certain crustacean 
fisheries (deepwater shrimp and Kona crab) and all precious coral 
fisheries outside Hawaii.
    Fishermen should not face any adverse economic impacts as a direct 
result of the proposed ACLs and AMs. The Council and NMFS are not 
considering in-season closures in any of the fisheries to which these 
ACLs apply, due to the current inability of fishery management entities 
to conduct in-season tracking of catch in relation to the ACLs. As a 
result, fishermen would be able to fish throughout the entire season. 
In addition, the ACLs, as proposed, would not change the gear types, 
areas fished, effort, or participation of the fishery during the 2013 
fishing season. A post-season review of the catch data would be 
required to determine whether any fishery exceeded its ACL. If an ACL 
is exceeded, the Council and NMFS would take action to correct the 
operational issue that caused the ACL overage. The environmental and 
socio-economic impacts of future actions, such as changes to future 
ACLs or AMs, would need to be evaluated separately once the required 
data are available.
    For Pacific Island bottomfish, other alternatives that were 
considered but not selected called for alternative specifications lower 
than those that are proposed. However, because in-season tracking of 
catch data cannot be achieved in these fisheries, in-season AMs (such 
as a fishery closure) are not possible, and fishermen would be able to 
fish throughout the entire season under all alternatives considered. 
Therefore, the direct economic impacts to small entities during the 
2013 fishing season would not likely differ among the alternatives.
    As described earlier, the proposed action of specifying ACLs and 
AMs is expected to have little, if any, direct adverse economic impact. 
For active fisheries, the ACLs are generally in line with or greater 
than the current annual yields and there should be no disproportionate 
economic impacts between large and small entities. Furthermore, there 
is likely to be no disproportionate economic impacts among the universe 
of vessels based on gear, home port, or vessel length. Because the 
proposed action would have little to no direct economic impact,

[[Page 6802]]

NMFS has determined that this proposed rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, pursuant to 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b).
    As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required and none has been prepared.
    This action is exempt from review under the procedures of E.O. 
12866.

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


    Dated: January 24, 2013.
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.
[FR Doc. 2013-02010 Filed 1-30-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P