Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; Exempted Fishing Permit, 37208 [2013-14750]

Download as PDF 37208 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 119 / Thursday, June 20, 2013 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XC549 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; Exempted Fishing Permit National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of receipt of an application for an exempted fishing permit; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS announces the receipt of an application for an exempted fishing permit (EFP) from Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (PR DNER). If granted, the EFP would authorize the PR DNER to harvest reef fish by hook-andline gear at 10 stations off the west coast and 1 station off the east coast of Puerto Rico in Federal waters. All reef fish caught during the duration of the EFP, including undersized and seasonally prohibited reef fish species, would be retained, except for goliath grouper, Nassau grouper, and any parrotfish species. The purpose of the exempted fishing activities is to obtain additional life history information for the Caribbean Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS to use when making future management decisions for Caribbean reef fish. DATES: Comments must be received no later than July 22, 2013. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the application, identified by RIN 0648–XC549, by any of the following methods: • Email: Britni.Tokotch@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line of the email comment the following document identifier: ‘‘PR DNER_EFP 2013’’. • Mail: Britni Tokotch, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. The application and related documents are available for review upon written request to any of the above addresses. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Britni Tokotch, 727–824–5305; email: Britni.Tokotch@noaa.gov. TKELLEY on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: The EFP is requested under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), and regulations at SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:01 Jun 19, 2013 Jkt 229001 50 CFR 600.745(b) concerning exempted fishing. The proposed collection for scientific research involves activities that would otherwise be prohibited by regulations at 50 CFR part 622, as they pertain to Caribbean reef fish managed by the Council and NMFS. The EFP would exempt this research activity from Federal regulations at § 622.435(a) (Seasonal and area closures), § 622.436 (Size limits), and § 622.437 (Bag limits). This action involves activities covered by regulations implementing the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (FMP). Specimens would be collected in Federal waters off the west and east coasts of Puerto Rico aboard research vessels owned by the PR DNER and operated by two commercial fishermen under contract with PR DNER. Each research vessel’s home port is located in Puerto Rico. Samples would be collected from the issuance of the EFP through December 31, 2015. The purpose of the exempted fishing activities is to determine the spatial and temporal variations in stock abundance of Caribbean reef fish resources off Puerto Rico. Currently, fisheriesdependent data in the Caribbean are limited; therefore, additional fisheriesindependent data are needed to more accurately describe the status of the Caribbean reef fish fishery. Additional life history information would be provided to the Council and NMFS to use when making future management decisions for Caribbean reef fish. Samples would be collected from the issuance of the EFP through December 31, 2015. The study would consist of harvesting reef fish at 10 stations off the west coast and 1 station off the east coast of Puerto Rico in Federal waters. The majority of sampling would occur in depths to 50 fathoms. During sampling trips, the survey vessels would be drifting and would not be required to anchor. All reef fish caught during the duration of the EFP, including undersized and seasonally prohibited species, would be retained except goliath grouper, Nassau grouper, and any parrotfish species. The EFP would allow the following estimated number of reef fish to be harvested from Puerto Rico’s Federal waters: Vermilion snapper (in Snapper Unit 1)—40 lb, (18 kg), round weight; gray, lane, mutton, dog, and schoolmaster snappers (in Snapper Unit 3)—8,030 lb (3,642 kg), round weight; yellowtail snapper (in Snapper Unit 4)—480 lb (218 kg), round weight; red hind, coney, and graysby (in Grouper Unit 3)—240 lb (109 kg), round weight; PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 yellowfin, red, tiger, and black groupers (in Grouper Unit 4)—100 lb (45 kg), round weight. The sampling area would be divided into quadrats measuring two square nautical miles. Each quadrat would be sampled twice during the period of the EFP. Sampling station and date of sample would be randomly selected and may also vary according to weather and sampling logistics. Within each sampling quadrat, fishing would be conducted using hook-and-line gear with fish hooks #06, sinker units (weights), and squid as bait. Three lines would be used for sampling, with each line having three hooks. The quadrats would be sampled for up to 4 hours during each trip with each fishing line having a soak time of approximately 10 to 15 minutes. For each trip, the following data would be recorded: Date; time of vessel departure and arrival at dock; quadrat code (latitude and longitude); fishing time (soak time) for hook-and-line gear to the nearest 15 minutes; weather conditions; water depth; total number of fish caught per vessel; identification, number, weight, length, and reproductive condition of fish; and substrate type (when possible). After sampling is complete, the fish collected would be donated to the Puerto Rico Zoo to be used as animal feed. NMFS finds this application warrants further consideration. Possible conditions the agency may impose on this permit, if it is indeed granted, include but are not limited to, a prohibition of conducting research within marine protected areas or marine sanctuaries, without additional authorization. A report on the research would be due at the end of the collection period, to be submitted to NMFS and reviewed by the Council. A final decision on issuance of the EFP will depend on NMFS’ review of public comments received on the application, consultations with appropriate fishery management agencies of the affected states, the Council, and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as a determination that it is consistent with all applicable laws. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: June 17, 2013. Kelly Denit, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2013–14750 Filed 6–19–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\20JNN1.SGM 20JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 119 (Thursday, June 20, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Page 37208]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-14750]



[[Page 37208]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XC549


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; Exempted 
Fishing Permit

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

ACTION: Notice of receipt of an application for an exempted fishing 
permit; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces the receipt of an application for an exempted 
fishing permit (EFP) from Puerto Rico's Department of Natural and 
Environmental Resources (PR DNER). If granted, the EFP would authorize 
the PR DNER to harvest reef fish by hook-and-line gear at 10 stations 
off the west coast and 1 station off the east coast of Puerto Rico in 
Federal waters. All reef fish caught during the duration of the EFP, 
including undersized and seasonally prohibited reef fish species, would 
be retained, except for goliath grouper, Nassau grouper, and any 
parrotfish species. The purpose of the exempted fishing activities is 
to obtain additional life history information for the Caribbean Fishery 
Management Council (Council) and NMFS to use when making future 
management decisions for Caribbean reef fish.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than July 22, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the application, identified by 
RIN 0648-XC549, by any of the following methods:
     Email: Britni.Tokotch@noaa.gov. Include in the subject 
line of the email comment the following document identifier: ``PR 
DNER--EFP 2013''.
     Mail: Britni Tokotch, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 
13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
    The application and related documents are available for review upon 
written request to any of the above addresses.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Britni Tokotch, 727-824-5305; email: 
Britni.Tokotch@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The EFP is requested under the authority of 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 
1801 et seq.), and regulations at 50 CFR 600.745(b) concerning exempted 
fishing.
    The proposed collection for scientific research involves activities 
that would otherwise be prohibited by regulations at 50 CFR part 622, 
as they pertain to Caribbean reef fish managed by the Council and NMFS. 
The EFP would exempt this research activity from Federal regulations at 
Sec.  622.435(a) (Seasonal and area closures), Sec.  622.436 (Size 
limits), and Sec.  622.437 (Bag limits).
    This action involves activities covered by regulations implementing 
the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico 
and the U.S. Virgin Islands (FMP). Specimens would be collected in 
Federal waters off the west and east coasts of Puerto Rico aboard 
research vessels owned by the PR DNER and operated by two commercial 
fishermen under contract with PR DNER. Each research vessel's home port 
is located in Puerto Rico. Samples would be collected from the issuance 
of the EFP through December 31, 2015.
    The purpose of the exempted fishing activities is to determine the 
spatial and temporal variations in stock abundance of Caribbean reef 
fish resources off Puerto Rico. Currently, fisheries-dependent data in 
the Caribbean are limited; therefore, additional fisheries-independent 
data are needed to more accurately describe the status of the Caribbean 
reef fish fishery. Additional life history information would be 
provided to the Council and NMFS to use when making future management 
decisions for Caribbean reef fish. Samples would be collected from the 
issuance of the EFP through December 31, 2015.
    The study would consist of harvesting reef fish at 10 stations off 
the west coast and 1 station off the east coast of Puerto Rico in 
Federal waters. The majority of sampling would occur in depths to 50 
fathoms. During sampling trips, the survey vessels would be drifting 
and would not be required to anchor. All reef fish caught during the 
duration of the EFP, including undersized and seasonally prohibited 
species, would be retained except goliath grouper, Nassau grouper, and 
any parrotfish species.
    The EFP would allow the following estimated number of reef fish to 
be harvested from Puerto Rico's Federal waters: Vermilion snapper (in 
Snapper Unit 1)--40 lb, (18 kg), round weight; gray, lane, mutton, dog, 
and schoolmaster snappers (in Snapper Unit 3)--8,030 lb (3,642 kg), 
round weight; yellowtail snapper (in Snapper Unit 4)--480 lb (218 kg), 
round weight; red hind, coney, and graysby (in Grouper Unit 3)--240 lb 
(109 kg), round weight; yellowfin, red, tiger, and black groupers (in 
Grouper Unit 4)--100 lb (45 kg), round weight.
    The sampling area would be divided into quadrats measuring two 
square nautical miles. Each quadrat would be sampled twice during the 
period of the EFP. Sampling station and date of sample would be 
randomly selected and may also vary according to weather and sampling 
logistics. Within each sampling quadrat, fishing would be conducted 
using hook-and-line gear with fish hooks 06, sinker units 
(weights), and squid as bait. Three lines would be used for sampling, 
with each line having three hooks. The quadrats would be sampled for up 
to 4 hours during each trip with each fishing line having a soak time 
of approximately 10 to 15 minutes. For each trip, the following data 
would be recorded: Date; time of vessel departure and arrival at dock; 
quadrat code (latitude and longitude); fishing time (soak time) for 
hook-and-line gear to the nearest 15 minutes; weather conditions; water 
depth; total number of fish caught per vessel; identification, number, 
weight, length, and reproductive condition of fish; and substrate type 
(when possible). After sampling is complete, the fish collected would 
be donated to the Puerto Rico Zoo to be used as animal feed.
    NMFS finds this application warrants further consideration. 
Possible conditions the agency may impose on this permit, if it is 
indeed granted, include but are not limited to, a prohibition of 
conducting research within marine protected areas or marine 
sanctuaries, without additional authorization. A report on the research 
would be due at the end of the collection period, to be submitted to 
NMFS and reviewed by the Council.
    A final decision on issuance of the EFP will depend on NMFS' review 
of public comments received on the application, consultations with 
appropriate fishery management agencies of the affected states, the 
Council, and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as a determination that it 
is consistent with all applicable laws.

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

    Dated: June 17, 2013.
Kelly Denit,
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-14750 Filed 6-19-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P