Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits, 21115 [2013-08125]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 68 / Tuesday, April 9, 2013 / Notices Dated: April 3, 2013. James P. Burgess, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2013–08128 Filed 4–8–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XC551 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; request for comments. sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Northeast Region, NMFS (Assistant Regional Administrator), has made a preliminary determination that an exempted fishing permit application contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. This exempted fishing permit would facilitate compensation fishing under the monkfish Research Set-Aside Program by exempting vessels from monkfish days-at-sea possession limits. The compensation fishing is in support of a 2012 Monkfish Research Set-Aside project that is attempting to determine if monkfish constitute one or more stocks over their coast-wide distribution. The project is being conducted by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County Marine Program. Regulations under the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for proposed exempted fishing permits. DATES: Comments must be received on or before April 24, 2013. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by any of the following methods: • Email: nero.efp@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line ‘‘Comments on CCE Monkfish RSA EFP.’’ • Mail: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Northeast Regional Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ‘‘Comments on CCE monkfish RSA EFP.’’ • Fax: (978) 281–9135. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:19 Apr 08, 2013 Jkt 229001 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason Berthiaume, Fishery Management Specialist, 978–281–9177. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) is conducting a study that was selected under the 2012 Monkfish Research SetAside (RSA) Program. The primary goal of the study is to determine if monkfish constitute one or more stocks over their coast-wide distribution. CCE is using a genetic approach utilizing a microsatellite DNA analysis. Biological samples are being collected throughout the monkfish range. The vessels are using standard commercial gear and land monkfish for sale, but the sampling locations are determined by CCE. To conduct compensation fishing in support of the project, CCE submitted an application for an exempted fishing permit (EFP) on April 17, 2012, requesting exemptions from the monkfish days-at-sea (DAS) possession limits. However, due to the complications resulting from the Endangered Species Act listing of Atlantic sturgeon, NMFS did not issue an EFP. The applicant has since modified the EFP application and submitted a revised application on March 5, 2013. The EFP would exempt vessels fishing in depths greater than 50 fathoms (91 m) in the Southern Monkfish Fishery Management Area (SFMA) from applicable monkfish possession limits. Seventeen vessels have been identified by the applicant to conduct monkfish compensation fishing under the requested EFP. Monkfish EFPs that waive possession limits were first issued in 2007, and each year thereafter through 2011. The EFPs were approved to increase operational efficiency and to optimize research funds generated from RSA DAS. To ensure that the amount of monkfish harvested by vessels operating under the EFPs was similar to the amount of monkfish that was anticipated to be harvested under the 500 RSA DAS set-aside by the New England Fishery Management Council, NMFS has used 3,600 lb (1,633 kg) of whole monkfish per RSA DAS. This amount of monkfish was the equivalent of a double possession limit of Permit Category A and C vessels fishing in the SFMA. This was deemed a reasonable approximation because it was reflective of how the standard monkfish commercial fishery operates. Further, it is likely that RSA grant recipients would optimize their RSA DAS award by utilizing this possession limit. Prior to the submission of CCE’s RSA proposal, NMFS implemented Amendment 5 to the Monkfish FMP. PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 21115 Amendment 5 adjusted the tail-towhole-weight conversion factor from 3.32 to 2.91, which essentially reduced the whole weight possession limits. However, CCE has noted that because its RSA proposal and budget were developed in a manner that was consistent with previously approved EFPs, the request is justified. Therefore, if approved, participating vessels could use up to 250 DAS, or up to 900,000 lb (408,233.3 kg) of whole monkfish, under the EFP, whichever comes first. Waiving the possession limit is not expected to increase monkfish fishing effort, but could alter the time and place where fishing occurs. Consequently, there is some uncertainty as to how the waiver could influence fishing behavior, and if it could increase the likelihood of an Atlantic sturgeon interaction. To mitigate this uncertainty, the applicant has proposed that all vessels operating under the EFP would only fish seaward of 50 fathoms (91 m), where Atlantic sturgeon interactions are extremely rare. When applicable or as required by the regulations, participating vessels may also concurrently use Northeast multispecies DAS while conducting monkfish compensation fishing. Northeast multispecies catch is not expected to be high within the defined area and would likely consist primarily of white hake and witch flounder, which would be landed for commercial sale. All catch of Northeast multispecies would be accounted for under applicable Northeast multispecies quotas. If approved, the applicant may request minor modifications and extensions to the EFP throughout the year. EFP modifications and extensions may be granted without further notice if they are deemed essential to facilitate completion of the proposed research and have minimal impacts that do not change the scope or impact of the initially approved EFP request. Any fishing activity conducted outside the scope of the exempted fishing activity would be prohibited. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: April 3, 2013. James P. Burgess, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2013–08125 Filed 4–8–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\09APN1.SGM 09APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 68 (Tuesday, April 9, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Page 21115]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-08125]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XC551


Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic 
Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits

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

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable 
Fisheries, Northeast Region, NMFS (Assistant Regional Administrator), 
has made a preliminary determination that an exempted fishing permit 
application contains all of the required information and warrants 
further consideration. This exempted fishing permit would facilitate 
compensation fishing under the monkfish Research Set-Aside Program by 
exempting vessels from monkfish days-at-sea possession limits. The 
compensation fishing is in support of a 2012 Monkfish Research Set-
Aside project that is attempting to determine if monkfish constitute 
one or more stocks over their coast-wide distribution. The project is 
being conducted by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County 
Marine Program.
    Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act require publication of this notification to provide 
interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for 
proposed exempted fishing permits.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before April 24, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by any of the following 
methods:
     Email: nero.efp@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line 
``Comments on CCE Monkfish RSA EFP.''
     Mail: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, 
Northeast Regional Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 
01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ``Comments on CCE monkfish RSA 
EFP.''
     Fax: (978) 281-9135.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason Berthiaume, Fishery Management 
Specialist, 978-281-9177.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) is 
conducting a study that was selected under the 2012 Monkfish Research 
Set-Aside (RSA) Program. The primary goal of the study is to determine 
if monkfish constitute one or more stocks over their coast-wide 
distribution. CCE is using a genetic approach utilizing a 
microsatellite DNA analysis. Biological samples are being collected 
throughout the monkfish range. The vessels are using standard 
commercial gear and land monkfish for sale, but the sampling locations 
are determined by CCE.
    To conduct compensation fishing in support of the project, CCE 
submitted an application for an exempted fishing permit (EFP) on April 
17, 2012, requesting exemptions from the monkfish days-at-sea (DAS) 
possession limits. However, due to the complications resulting from the 
Endangered Species Act listing of Atlantic sturgeon, NMFS did not issue 
an EFP. The applicant has since modified the EFP application and 
submitted a revised application on March 5, 2013. The EFP would exempt 
vessels fishing in depths greater than 50 fathoms (91 m) in the 
Southern Monkfish Fishery Management Area (SFMA) from applicable 
monkfish possession limits. Seventeen vessels have been identified by 
the applicant to conduct monkfish compensation fishing under the 
requested EFP.
    Monkfish EFPs that waive possession limits were first issued in 
2007, and each year thereafter through 2011. The EFPs were approved to 
increase operational efficiency and to optimize research funds 
generated from RSA DAS. To ensure that the amount of monkfish harvested 
by vessels operating under the EFPs was similar to the amount of 
monkfish that was anticipated to be harvested under the 500 RSA DAS 
set-aside by the New England Fishery Management Council, NMFS has used 
3,600 lb (1,633 kg) of whole monkfish per RSA DAS. This amount of 
monkfish was the equivalent of a double possession limit of Permit 
Category A and C vessels fishing in the SFMA. This was deemed a 
reasonable approximation because it was reflective of how the standard 
monkfish commercial fishery operates. Further, it is likely that RSA 
grant recipients would optimize their RSA DAS award by utilizing this 
possession limit.
    Prior to the submission of CCE's RSA proposal, NMFS implemented 
Amendment 5 to the Monkfish FMP. Amendment 5 adjusted the tail-to-
whole-weight conversion factor from 3.32 to 2.91, which essentially 
reduced the whole weight possession limits. However, CCE has noted that 
because its RSA proposal and budget were developed in a manner that was 
consistent with previously approved EFPs, the request is justified. 
Therefore, if approved, participating vessels could use up to 250 DAS, 
or up to 900,000 lb (408,233.3 kg) of whole monkfish, under the EFP, 
whichever comes first.
    Waiving the possession limit is not expected to increase monkfish 
fishing effort, but could alter the time and place where fishing 
occurs. Consequently, there is some uncertainty as to how the waiver 
could influence fishing behavior, and if it could increase the 
likelihood of an Atlantic sturgeon interaction. To mitigate this 
uncertainty, the applicant has proposed that all vessels operating 
under the EFP would only fish seaward of 50 fathoms (91 m), where 
Atlantic sturgeon interactions are extremely rare.
    When applicable or as required by the regulations, participating 
vessels may also concurrently use Northeast multispecies DAS while 
conducting monkfish compensation fishing. Northeast multispecies catch 
is not expected to be high within the defined area and would likely 
consist primarily of white hake and witch flounder, which would be 
landed for commercial sale. All catch of Northeast multispecies would 
be accounted for under applicable Northeast multispecies quotas.
    If approved, the applicant may request minor modifications and 
extensions to the EFP throughout the year. EFP modifications and 
extensions may be granted without further notice if they are deemed 
essential to facilitate completion of the proposed research and have 
minimal impacts that do not change the scope or impact of the initially 
approved EFP request. Any fishing activity conducted outside the scope 
of the exempted fishing activity would be prohibited.

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

    Dated: April 3, 2013.
James P. Burgess,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-08125 Filed 4-8-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P