Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits, 23940-23941 [2014-09742]

Download as PDF 23940 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 82 / Tuesday, April 29, 2014 / Notices Referrals from political organizations and any documents containing references to partisan political activities (including political contributions) will be removed from an applicant’s submission and not considered during the selection process. Timeline For Recruitment and Applications Mission recruitment will be conducted in an open and public manner, including publication in the Federal Register, posting on the Commerce Department trade mission calendar (http://export.gov/ trademissions) and other Internet Web sites, press releases to general and trade media, direct mail, notices by industry trade associations and other multiplier groups, and publicity at industry meetings, symposia, conferences, and trade shows. Recruitment for the mission will begin immediately and conclude no later than September 12, 2014. The U.S. Department of Commerce will review applications and make selection decisions on a rolling basis beginning June 16, 2014. Applications received after September 12, 2014, will be considered only if space and scheduling constraints permit. Contacts: Gemal Brangman, International Trade Specialist, Trade Missions, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230, Tel: 202–482– 3773, Fax: 202–482–9000, Gemal.Brangman@trade.gov. Ann Bacher, Regional Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. Commercial Service, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya and Jordan, Tel: +20 2 2797–2298, Fax: +20 2 2797–2255, Ann.Bacher@trade.gov. Assad Barsoum, Senior Commercial Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service— Jerusalem, Tel: +972–2–625–4742, Assad.Barsoum@trade.gov. Elnora Moye, Trade Program Assistant. [FR Doc. 2014–09774 Filed 4–28–14; 8:45 am] sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES BILLING CODE 3510–DR–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XD259 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. AGENCY: The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS (Assistant Regional Administrator), has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) application contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. This EFP would allow up to three commercial fishing vessels to conduct exploratory fishing in yearround groundfish closed areas (Closed Areas (CAs) I and II) for the purposes of obtaining fisheries dependent catch information. This research is being conducted by Atlantic Trawlers Fishing, Inc. 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 EFPs. DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 14, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by any of the following methods: • Email: nmfs.gar.efp@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line ‘‘Comments on Exploratory Closed Area Fishing EFP.’’ • Mail: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, NE Regional Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ‘‘Comments on Closed Area Exploratory Fishing EFP.’’ • Fax: (978) 281–9135. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brett Alger, Fisheries Management Specialist, 978–675–2153, brett.alger@ noaa.gov. SUMMARY: In a proposed rule for Northeast Multispecies Sector vessels that would allow vessels using selective trawl gear into portions of year-round Georges Bank (GB) groundfish CAs I and II in fishing year (FY) 2014, NMFS announced interest in gathering catch SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:56 Apr 28, 2014 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 data from these areas through EFPs (79 FR 14639, March 17, 2014). This would provide NMFS with fisheries dependent data from these areas, which have been closed to groundfish bottom trawling for nearly 20 years, to help inform whether to allow conditional access to CAs I and II to sector vessels through the sector exemption process. Data from vessels operating under an EFP would be used to characterize catch rates of target and non-target species in the CAs, as well as help inform industry on the economic feasibility of industry-funded monitoring for trips into CAs I and II in FY 2014. Atlantic Trawlers Fishing, Inc. submitted a complete application for an EFP to conduct commercial fishing activities that the regulations would otherwise restrict. The EFP would authorize three vessels to fish during the entire fishing year, and inside portions of groundfish CA I and CA II during specified times of the fishing year. Under this EFP, vessels would be allowed to use nets with codend mesh as small as 5.1-inch (13 cm) square mesh when fishing with a haddock separator or Ruhle trawl. In addition, for sampling purposes, vessels would be authorized to temporarily retain sublegal fish, and fish in excess of possession limits. All under-size fish and fish in excess of possession limits would be discarded as soon as practicable following data collection. The GB haddock fishery has historically been a specialized fishery where a sub-subset of groundfish fishery participants accounted for a large proportion of the landings. GB haddock are found across a wide range of depths, substrates and sub-areas of GB. The applicant notes that haddock behavior and movement patterns are highly variable; and that catchability is dictated by many environmental factors, including tide, current, moon phase, and diurnal cycles. These highly variable haddock catch rates pose a relatively high economic risk for vessels targeting this species, which would be further compounded by having to pay for an at-sea monitor. Due to the variable catch rates, the applicant states that a large portion of catch from a trip is often caught in one or two very large tows, and that successful haddock fishermen must spend significant time trying to locate haddock concentrations. Consequently, the applicant has stated that vessels must have consistent access to CAs I and II to effectively characterize target and non-target catch rates. The EFP applicant seeks to address five objectives in this EFP as follows: (1) Generate data on the composition of catch, including presence and absence of target (e.g., GB haddock) and non- E:\FR\FM\29APN1.SGM 29APN1 sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 82 / Tuesday, April 29, 2014 / Notices target species; (2) test the effectiveness of utilizing gear comparable to the Canadian haddock fishery on Georges Bank (e.g., haddock separator trawl with 5.1 inch (13 cm) square mesh codend) to improve haddock selectivity, catch ratios, and improved annual catch limit (ACL) utilization rates; (3) collect data to examine the economic feasibility of an industry funded monitoring program for CA trips; (4) test the effectiveness of providing access to portions of the existing CAs for improving utilization rates of GB haddock; and (5) collect information from CAs I and II so that NMFS may conduct analyses to determine whether fishing can be allowed at a level of observer coverage of less than 100 percent, should an exemption be approved. To fulfill these objectives, vessels would be accompanied by a technician with an at-sea-monitor certification, and would be required to fish with either a haddock separator trawl or a Ruhle trawl, fitted with either a 6-inch (15.2 cm) diamond mesh codend (currently allowed in the fishery) or a 5.1-inch (13cm) square mesh codend. The applicant claims that the 5.1-inch (13-cm) square mesh codend will improve their ability to target legal-size haddock while maintaining the ability to filter out small non-target catch, including sublegal haddock. All three vessels will be equipped with echo sounders that operate on multiple frequencies, which provide the capability of revealing fish size distribution and bottom hardness. For CA I, vessels would be given access to all areas within CA1 that are not existing Habitat Management Areas or contained in the New England Fisheries Management Council’s (Council) draft Omnibus Habitat Amendment as Habitat Management Area alternatives as of April 30, 2014, from the date that the EFP is issued, through February 15, 2015. NMFS has raised concerns about spawning in CA I from January 1 to February 15, but the applicant has requested access for this period to collect information to address questions about spawning fish. In CA II, vessels would be given access to all areas within CA II that are not existing Habitat Management Areas or contained in the Council’s draft Omnibus Habitat Amendment as Habitat Management Area alternatives as of April 30, 2014. Vessels would have access from the date that the EFP is issued, through June 15, 2014, and then from November 1, 2014 through February 15, 2015. Similar to CA I, NMFS has raised concerns about spawning in CA II from January 1 to February 15, but the applicant has requested access for this period to VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:56 Apr 28, 2014 Jkt 232001 collect information to address questions about spawning fish. The dates for CA II access reflect an agreement between sector trawl fishermen and the lobster industry, which was developed in anticipation of sectors being granted CA II access through an exemption in FY 2013. The agreement was established to avoid gear conflicts between lobster and groundfish vessels. The applicant and members of the lobster industry remain concerned about gear conflicts that could arise from this, or any other EFP, that are accessing CA II. Therefore, the applicant would not access portions of CA II from June 15 through November 1, the time period that the lobster industry is allowed access. The applicant requests issuance of the EFP for the entire fishing year in order to use a smaller mesh codend throughout the year, but access to the closed areas would be for only portions of the year. Fishing effort under the EFP would be heavily dependent upon operational decisions dictating whether to fish within CAs I and II, as compared to outside the areas. As previously described, the applicant has stated that the directed haddock fishery is highly dynamic and requires a high degree of mobility. If approved, the applicant has stated that the three participating vessels would focus on the directed haddock fishery throughout the study period, and makes tows both inside and outside the CAs on the same trip. Vessel tow duration would vary from 30 minutes to 3 hours and trawling would occur up to 18 hours per fishing day. An average trip duration would be seven days, consisting of five days fishing and two days steaming, and there would be an average of three trips total, per month. All legal sized fish will be landed and sold with all proceeds retained by the vessel owner. All three vessels are members of the Sustainable Harvest Sector (SHS) and all catch of allocated stocks (e.g., haddock, cod) would be accounted for under the annual catch entitlements (ACEs) of the SHS. If the SHS exceeds its ACE for an allocated stock, it would need to lease in additional ACE in order to continue fishing. 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. PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 23941 Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: April 24, 2014. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2014–09742 Filed 4–28–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XD258 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permit National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; request for comments. AGENCY: The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Northeast Region, NMFS (Assistant Regional Administrator), has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit application submitted by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. The Exempted Fishing Permit would exempt participating vessels from the following types of fishery regulations: Minimum fish size restrictions; fish possession limits; prohibited fish species, not including species protected under the Endangered Species Act; gear-specific fish possession restrictions for the purpose of collecting fishery dependent catch data and biological samples; and the prohibition from fishing in yearround groundfish closed areas. Regulations under the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on Exempted Fishing Permit applications. DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 14, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by any of the following methods: • Email: nmfs.gar.efp@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line ‘‘Comments on NEFSC Study Fleet EFP.’’ • Mail: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional FIsheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ‘‘Comments on NEFSC Study Fleet EFP.’’ SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\29APN1.SGM 29APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 82 (Tuesday, April 29, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 23940-23941]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-09742]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XD259


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, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS (Assistant Regional 
Administrator), has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted 
Fishing Permit (EFP) application contains all of the required 
information and warrants further consideration. This EFP would allow up 
to three commercial fishing vessels to conduct exploratory fishing in 
year-round groundfish closed areas (Closed Areas (CAs) I and II) for 
the purposes of obtaining fisheries dependent catch information. This 
research is being conducted by Atlantic Trawlers Fishing, Inc.
    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 EFPs.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 14, 2014.

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brett Alger, Fisheries Management 
Specialist, 978-675-2153, brett.alger@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a proposed rule for Northeast 
Multispecies Sector vessels that would allow vessels using selective 
trawl gear into portions of year-round Georges Bank (GB) groundfish CAs 
I and II in fishing year (FY) 2014, NMFS announced interest in 
gathering catch data from these areas through EFPs (79 FR 14639, March 
17, 2014). This would provide NMFS with fisheries dependent data from 
these areas, which have been closed to groundfish bottom trawling for 
nearly 20 years, to help inform whether to allow conditional access to 
CAs I and II to sector vessels through the sector exemption process. 
Data from vessels operating under an EFP would be used to characterize 
catch rates of target and non-target species in the CAs, as well as 
help inform industry on the economic feasibility of industry-funded 
monitoring for trips into CAs I and II in FY 2014. Atlantic Trawlers 
Fishing, Inc. submitted a complete application for an EFP to conduct 
commercial fishing activities that the regulations would otherwise 
restrict. The EFP would authorize three vessels to fish during the 
entire fishing year, and inside portions of groundfish CA I and CA II 
during specified times of the fishing year. Under this EFP, vessels 
would be allowed to use nets with codend mesh as small as 5.1-inch (13 
cm) square mesh when fishing with a haddock separator or Ruhle trawl. 
In addition, for sampling purposes, vessels would be authorized to 
temporarily retain sub-legal fish, and fish in excess of possession 
limits. All under-size fish and fish in excess of possession limits 
would be discarded as soon as practicable following data collection.
    The GB haddock fishery has historically been a specialized fishery 
where a sub-subset of groundfish fishery participants accounted for a 
large proportion of the landings. GB haddock are found across a wide 
range of depths, substrates and sub-areas of GB. The applicant notes 
that haddock behavior and movement patterns are highly variable; and 
that catchability is dictated by many environmental factors, including 
tide, current, moon phase, and diurnal cycles. These highly variable 
haddock catch rates pose a relatively high economic risk for vessels 
targeting this species, which would be further compounded by having to 
pay for an at-sea monitor. Due to the variable catch rates, the 
applicant states that a large portion of catch from a trip is often 
caught in one or two very large tows, and that successful haddock 
fishermen must spend significant time trying to locate haddock 
concentrations. Consequently, the applicant has stated that vessels 
must have consistent access to CAs I and II to effectively characterize 
target and non-target catch rates.
    The EFP applicant seeks to address five objectives in this EFP as 
follows: (1) Generate data on the composition of catch, including 
presence and absence of target (e.g., GB haddock) and non-

[[Page 23941]]

target species; (2) test the effectiveness of utilizing gear comparable 
to the Canadian haddock fishery on Georges Bank (e.g., haddock 
separator trawl with 5.1 inch (13 cm) square mesh codend) to improve 
haddock selectivity, catch ratios, and improved annual catch limit 
(ACL) utilization rates; (3) collect data to examine the economic 
feasibility of an industry funded monitoring program for CA trips; (4) 
test the effectiveness of providing access to portions of the existing 
CAs for improving utilization rates of GB haddock; and (5) collect 
information from CAs I and II so that NMFS may conduct analyses to 
determine whether fishing can be allowed at a level of observer 
coverage of less than 100 percent, should an exemption be approved.
    To fulfill these objectives, vessels would be accompanied by a 
technician with an at-sea-monitor certification, and would be required 
to fish with either a haddock separator trawl or a Ruhle trawl, fitted 
with either a 6-inch (15.2 cm) diamond mesh codend (currently allowed 
in the fishery) or a 5.1-inch (13-cm) square mesh codend. The applicant 
claims that the 5.1-inch (13-cm) square mesh codend will improve their 
ability to target legal-size haddock while maintaining the ability to 
filter out small non-target catch, including sub-legal haddock. All 
three vessels will be equipped with echo sounders that operate on 
multiple frequencies, which provide the capability of revealing fish 
size distribution and bottom hardness.
    For CA I, vessels would be given access to all areas within CA1 
that are not existing Habitat Management Areas or contained in the New 
England Fisheries Management Council's (Council) draft Omnibus Habitat 
Amendment as Habitat Management Area alternatives as of April 30, 2014, 
from the date that the EFP is issued, through February 15, 2015. NMFS 
has raised concerns about spawning in CA I from January 1 to February 
15, but the applicant has requested access for this period to collect 
information to address questions about spawning fish.
    In CA II, vessels would be given access to all areas within CA II 
that are not existing Habitat Management Areas or contained in the 
Council's draft Omnibus Habitat Amendment as Habitat Management Area 
alternatives as of April 30, 2014. Vessels would have access from the 
date that the EFP is issued, through June 15, 2014, and then from 
November 1, 2014 through February 15, 2015. Similar to CA I, NMFS has 
raised concerns about spawning in CA II from January 1 to February 15, 
but the applicant has requested access for this period to collect 
information to address questions about spawning fish. The dates for CA 
II access reflect an agreement between sector trawl fishermen and the 
lobster industry, which was developed in anticipation of sectors being 
granted CA II access through an exemption in FY 2013. The agreement was 
established to avoid gear conflicts between lobster and groundfish 
vessels. The applicant and members of the lobster industry remain 
concerned about gear conflicts that could arise from this, or any other 
EFP, that are accessing CA II. Therefore, the applicant would not 
access portions of CA II from June 15 through November 1, the time 
period that the lobster industry is allowed access.
    The applicant requests issuance of the EFP for the entire fishing 
year in order to use a smaller mesh codend throughout the year, but 
access to the closed areas would be for only portions of the year. 
Fishing effort under the EFP would be heavily dependent upon 
operational decisions dictating whether to fish within CAs I and II, as 
compared to outside the areas. As previously described, the applicant 
has stated that the directed haddock fishery is highly dynamic and 
requires a high degree of mobility. If approved, the applicant has 
stated that the three participating vessels would focus on the directed 
haddock fishery throughout the study period, and makes tows both inside 
and outside the CAs on the same trip. Vessel tow duration would vary 
from 30 minutes to 3 hours and trawling would occur up to 18 hours per 
fishing day. An average trip duration would be seven days, consisting 
of five days fishing and two days steaming, and there would be an 
average of three trips total, per month. All legal sized fish will be 
landed and sold with all proceeds retained by the vessel owner. All 
three vessels are members of the Sustainable Harvest Sector (SHS) and 
all catch of allocated stocks (e.g., haddock, cod) would be accounted 
for under the annual catch entitlements (ACEs) of the SHS. If the SHS 
exceeds its ACE for an allocated stock, it would need to lease in 
additional ACE in order to continue fishing.
    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 24, 2014.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-09742 Filed 4-28-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P