Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Regulatory Amendment 21, 60379-60381 [2014-23912]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 194 / Tuesday, October 7, 2014 / Rules and Regulations exemptions of § 17.32 apply to this subspecies. (2) What are the criteria under which a personal sport-hunted trophy may qualify for import without a permit under § 17.32? The Director may, consistent with the purposes of the Act, authorize by publication of a notice in the Federal Register the importation, without a threatened species permit issued under § 17.32, of personal sporthunted straight-horned markhor from an established conservation program that meets the following criteria: (i) The markhor was taken legally from the established program after the date of the Federal Register notice; (ii) The applicable provisions of 50 CFR parts 13, 14, 17, and 23 have been met; and (iii) The Director has received the following information regarding the established conservation program for straight-horned markhor: (A) Populations of straight-horned markhor within the conservation program’s areas can be shown to be sufficiently large to sustain sport hunting and are stable or increasing. (B) Regulatory authorities have the capacity to obtain sound data on populations. (C) The conservation program can demonstrate a benefit to both the communities surrounding or within the area managed by the conservation program and the species, and the funds derived from sport hunting are applied toward benefits to the community and the species. (D) Regulatory authorities have the legal and practical capacity to provide for the long-term survival of the populations. (E) Regulatory authorities can determine that the sport-hunted trophies have in fact been legally taken from the populations under an established conservation program. * * * * * Dated: September 22, 2014. Stephen Guertin, Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with RULES [FR Doc. 2014–23671 Filed 10–6–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:08 Oct 06, 2014 Jkt 235001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 140214139–4799–02] RIN 0648–BD91 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; SnapperGrouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Regulatory Amendment 21 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final changes to management measures. AGENCY: NMFS issues these final changes to management measures to implement Regulatory Amendment 21 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP) (Regulatory Amendment 21), as prepared and submitted by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council). Regulatory Amendment 21 modifies the definition of the overfished threshold for red snapper, blueline tilefish, gag, black grouper, yellowtail snapper, vermilion snapper, red porgy, and greater amberjack. The purpose of Regulatory Amendment 21 is to prevent snapper-grouper stocks with low natural mortality rates from frequently alternating between overfished and rebuilt conditions due to natural variation in recruitment and other environmental factors. DATES: These final changes to management measures are effective November 6, 2014. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of Regulatory Amendment 21, which includes an environmental assessment and a regulatory impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http:// sero.nmfs.noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kate Michie, telephone: 727–824–5305, or email: kate.michie@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The snapper-grouper fishery of the South Atlantic Region is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). On August 1, 2014, NMFS published the proposed changes to management SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 60379 measures for Regulatory Amendment 21 and requested public comment (79 FR 44735). The proposed changes to management measures and Regulatory Amendment 21 outline the rationale for the actions contained herein. A summary of the actions implemented by Regulatory Amendment 21 is provided below. Regulatory Amendment 21 redefines the minimum stock size threshold (MSST) for red snapper, blueline tilefish, gag, black grouper, yellowtail snapper, vermilion snapper, red porgy, and greater amberjack as 75 percent of spawning stock biomass at maximum sustainable yield (SSBMSY). The MSST is used to determine if a species is overfished. Redefining the MSST for these species will help prevent species from being designated as overfished when small drops in biomass are due to natural variation in recruitment or other environmental variables such as storms, and extreme water temperatures, and will ensure that rebuilding plans are applied to stocks only when truly appropriate. Comments and Responses NMFS received eight unique comment submissions on the Regulatory Amendment 21 proposed rule. The comments were submitted by six individuals and two fishing organizations. One individual and two fishing organizations expressed general support for the action in the amendment. Two individuals recommended fishery management techniques other than modifying the MSST. Three comments were not related to the actions in the rule. A summary of the comments and NMFS’ responses to comments related to the rule appears below. Comment 1: Two commenters generally agree with the action in Regulatory Amendment 21. One commenter wrote that abundance may vary for certain species at different times, and the action may help reduce regulatory discards that are created when restrictive regulations are implemented. Response: NMFS agrees that redefining the overfished threshold for red snapper, blueline tilefish, gag, black grouper, yellowtail snapper, vermilion snapper, red porgy, and greater amberjack is likely to prevent these species from frequently fluctuating between overfished and not overfished conditions. This will help ensure that rebuilding plans and subsequent management measures to rebuild a stock are only implemented when they are biologically necessary. E:\FR\FM\07OCR1.SGM 07OCR1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with RULES 60380 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 194 / Tuesday, October 7, 2014 / Rules and Regulations Comment 2: One commenter suggested that NMFS reexamine how fisheries data on deep-water species are determined. The commenter used snowy grouper as an example of mismanagement of deep-water snappergrouper species, stating there are many snowy grouper in southern Florida and the bag limit should be one snowy grouper per person per day rather than one per vessel per day. Response: Snowy grouper has a low natural mortality rate (M = 0.12). Thus, similar to the species affected by the action in Regulatory Amendment 21, the MSST for snowy grouper was changed in 2009 to 75 percent of SSBMSY (spawning stock biomass of the stock at the maximum sustainable yield) through Amendment 15B to the SnapperGrouper FMP. A new Southeast Data Assessment and Review (SEDAR) stock assessment was completed for snowy grouper in 2014 (SEDAR 32), which indicates that the stock is still overfished according to the MSST definition established in 2009, and that the stock is rebuilding and is no longer undergoing overfishing. The Council is developing an amendment which could change the recreational bag limit for snowy grouper. Similar to snowy grouper, the species included in Regulatory Amendment 21 were selected because they have a natural mortality rate at or below 0.25, with an MSST defined as a function of the natural mortality rate (M) where MSST = SSBMSY*(1¥M or 0.5, whichever is greater). When the natural mortality rate is small (less than 0.25) there is little difference between the biomass threshold for determining when a stock is overfished (MSST) and when the stock is rebuilt (SSBMSY). Thus, for species which have a low rate of natural mortality, even small fluctuations in biomass due to natural conditions rather than fishing mortality may unnecessarily cause a stock to be classified as overfished. To prevent red snapper, blueline tilefish, gag, black grouper, yellowtail snapper, vermilion snapper, red porgy, and greater amberjack from unnecessarily being considered overfished, NMFS is modifying the definition of MSST for those species as 75 percent of SSBMSY, which would help prevent overfished designations when small drops in biomass are due to natural variation in recruitment or other environmental variables such as extreme water temperatures, and would ensure that rebuilding plans are applied to stocks when truly appropriate. Comment 3: One commenter disagrees with the current overfished determination for red snapper, and VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:08 Oct 06, 2014 Jkt 235001 recommends that NMFS take into account anecdotal information when assessing whether or not red snapper is overfished. Additionally, the commenter suggests different times to harvest red snapper, but those comments are beyond the scope of this amendment. Response: The overfished determination for red snapper is based on a stock assessment (SEDAR 24) completed in October 2010 using the previous overfished definition of MSST = SSBMSY*(1¥M or 0.5, whichever is greater). Modifying the overfished definition will make a species less likely to be categorized as overfished when reductions in biomass are actually due to natural variations in recruitment or environmental variables rather than fishing-related mortality. However, modifying the overfished definition for red snapper does not change the current overfished determination made during the last completed stock assessment (SEDAR 24) in October 2010 because the assessment indicates that biomass is below 75 percent of SSBMSY. Anecdotal information is not used in Southeast Data Assessment and Review (SEDAR) stock assessments. SEDAR is a quantitative assessment process that uses data from fishery-dependent and fishery-independent sources to determine the health of a stock. SEDAR is organized around three workshops. First is the Data Workshop, during which fisheries monitoring and life history data are reviewed and compiled. Second is the Assessment Workshop, which may be conducted via a workshop and several webinars, during which assessment models are developed and population parameters are estimated using the information provided from the Data Workshop. Third and final is the Review Workshop, during which independent experts review the input data, assessment methods, and assessment products. The completed assessment, including the reports of all three workshops and all supporting documentation, is then forwarded to the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC). The SSC considers whether the assessment represents the best scientific information available and develops fishing level recommendations for Council consideration. SEDAR workshops are public meetings organized by SEDAR. Workshop participants appointed by the lead Council are drawn from state and Federal agencies, non-government organizations, Council members, Council advisors, and the fishing industry with a goal of including a PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 broad range of disciplines and perspectives. A new stock assessment for red snapper is currently under way (SEDAR 41) and is expected to be completed in spring 2015. The new overfished definition of 75 percent of SSBMSY contained in Regulatory Amendment 21 will be used to determine the overfished status of the stock in the new assessment. Comment 4: One commenter states that Regulatory Amendment 21 does not define the overfished criteria. Additionally, the commenter suggests other management actions that are beyond the scope of this amendment. Response: Regulatory Amendment 21 defines criteria used for determining if a stock is overfished, and lists the MSST values established by the new overfished definition for each of the affected species. Currently the stocks addressed by Regulatory Amendment 21 would be overfished if MSST = SSBMSY*(1¥M or 0.5, whichever is greater). Regulatory Amendment 21 modifies the overfished definition to be 75 percent of SSBMSY. Classification The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined that these final changes to management measures are necessary for the conservation and management of the South Atlantic snapper-grouper species contained in Regulatory Amendment 21 and are consistent with the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable law. The final changes to the management measures have been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding the certification and NMFS has not received any new information that would affect its determination. No changes to the final rule were made in response to public comments. As a result, a final regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. E:\FR\FM\07OCR1.SGM 07OCR1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 194 / Tuesday, October 7, 2014 / Rules and Regulations Dated: October 2, 2014. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2014–23912 Filed 10–6–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 131021878–4158–02] RIN 0648–XD535 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Several Groundfish Species in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; apportionment of reserves; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS apportions amounts of the non-specified reserve to the initial total allowable catch of Bering Sea (BS) Greenland turbot, BS Pacific ocean perch, Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Kamchatka flounder, and BSAI squids and the total allowable catch of BSAI sharks in the BSAI management area. This action is necessary to allow the fisheries to continue operating. It is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan for the BSAI management area. DATES: Effective October 3, 2014, through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time, December 31, 2014. Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., Alaska local time, October 20, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2013–0152, by any 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-20130152, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:08 Oct 06, 2014 Jkt 235001 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). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907–586–7269. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the (BSAI) exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679. The 2014 initial total allowable catch (ITAC) of BS Greenland turbot in the BSAI was established as 1,410 metric tons (mt), the 2014 ITAC of BS Pacific ocean perch was established as 6,531 mt, the 2014 ITAC of BSAI Kamchatka flounder was established as 6,035 mt, the 2014 ITAC of BSAI squids was established as 264 mt, and the 2014 total allowable catch (TAC) of BSAI sharks was established as 125 mt by the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for groundfish of the BSAI (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014). In accordance with § 679.20(a)(3) the Regional Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has reviewed the most current available data and finds that the ITACs for BS Greenland turbot, BS Pacific ocean perch, BSAI Kamchatka flounder, BSAI squids and the total allowable catch of BSAI sharks need to be supplemented from the non-specified reserve to promote efficiency in the utilization of fishery resources in the BSAI and allow fishing operations to continue. Therefore, in accordance with § 679.20(b)(3), NMFS apportions from the non-specified reserve of groundfish 71 mt to the BS Greenland turbot ITAC, 1,153 mt to the BS Pacific ocean perch ITAC, 1,065 mt to the BSAI Kamchatka flounder ITAC, 1,500 mt to the BSAI squids ITAC, and 100 mt to the BSAI PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 60381 sharks TAC in the BSAI. These apportionments are consistent with § 679.20(b)(1)(i) and do not result in overfishing of any target species because the revised ITACs and TAC are equal to or less than the specifications of the acceptable biological catch in the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (79 FR 12108, March 4, 2014). The harvest specification for the 2014 ITACs included in the harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI are revised as follows: 1,481 mt for BS Greenland turbot, 7,684 mt for BS Pacific ocean perch, 7,100 mt for BSAI Kamchatka flounder, 1,764 mt for BSAI squids, and 225 mt for BSAI sharks. Classification This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, (AA) finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and § 679.20(b)(3)(iii)(A) as such a requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would delay the apportionment of the non-specified reserves of groundfish to the BS Greenland turbot, BS Pacific ocean perch, BSAI Kamchatka flounder, BSAI squids, and BSAI sharks fisheries in the BSAI. Immediate notification is necessary to allow for the orderly conduct and efficient operation of this fishery, to allow the industry to plan for the fishing season, and to avoid potential disruption to the fishing fleet and processors. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of September 30, 2014. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment. Under § 679.20(b)(3)(iii), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action (see ADDRESSES) until October 20, 2014. This action is required by § 679.20 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801, et seq. E:\FR\FM\07OCR1.SGM 07OCR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 194 (Tuesday, October 7, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 60379-60381]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-23912]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 140214139-4799-02]
RIN 0648-BD91


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Snapper-Grouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Regulatory 
Amendment 21

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

ACTION: Final changes to management measures.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS issues these final changes to management measures to 
implement Regulatory Amendment 21 to the Fishery Management Plan for 
the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP) 
(Regulatory Amendment 21), as prepared and submitted by the South 
Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council). Regulatory Amendment 21 
modifies the definition of the overfished threshold for red snapper, 
blueline tilefish, gag, black grouper, yellowtail snapper, vermilion 
snapper, red porgy, and greater amberjack. The purpose of Regulatory 
Amendment 21 is to prevent snapper-grouper stocks with low natural 
mortality rates from frequently alternating between overfished and 
rebuilt conditions due to natural variation in recruitment and other 
environmental factors.

DATES: These final changes to management measures are effective 
November 6, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of Regulatory Amendment 21, which includes 
an environmental assessment and a regulatory impact review, may be 
obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kate Michie, telephone: 727-824-5305, 
or email: kate.michie@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The snapper-grouper fishery of the South 
Atlantic Region is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the 
Council and implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under 
the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
    On August 1, 2014, NMFS published the proposed changes to 
management measures for Regulatory Amendment 21 and requested public 
comment (79 FR 44735). The proposed changes to management measures and 
Regulatory Amendment 21 outline the rationale for the actions contained 
herein. A summary of the actions implemented by Regulatory Amendment 21 
is provided below.
    Regulatory Amendment 21 redefines the minimum stock size threshold 
(MSST) for red snapper, blueline tilefish, gag, black grouper, 
yellowtail snapper, vermilion snapper, red porgy, and greater amberjack 
as 75 percent of spawning stock biomass at maximum sustainable yield 
(SSBMSY). The MSST is used to determine if a species is 
overfished. Redefining the MSST for these species will help prevent 
species from being designated as overfished when small drops in biomass 
are due to natural variation in recruitment or other environmental 
variables such as storms, and extreme water temperatures, and will 
ensure that rebuilding plans are applied to stocks only when truly 
appropriate.

Comments and Responses

    NMFS received eight unique comment submissions on the Regulatory 
Amendment 21 proposed rule. The comments were submitted by six 
individuals and two fishing organizations. One individual and two 
fishing organizations expressed general support for the action in the 
amendment. Two individuals recommended fishery management techniques 
other than modifying the MSST. Three comments were not related to the 
actions in the rule. A summary of the comments and NMFS' responses to 
comments related to the rule appears below.
    Comment 1: Two commenters generally agree with the action in 
Regulatory Amendment 21. One commenter wrote that abundance may vary 
for certain species at different times, and the action may help reduce 
regulatory discards that are created when restrictive regulations are 
implemented.
    Response: NMFS agrees that redefining the overfished threshold for 
red snapper, blueline tilefish, gag, black grouper, yellowtail snapper, 
vermilion snapper, red porgy, and greater amberjack is likely to 
prevent these species from frequently fluctuating between overfished 
and not overfished conditions. This will help ensure that rebuilding 
plans and subsequent management measures to rebuild a stock are only 
implemented when they are biologically necessary.

[[Page 60380]]

    Comment 2: One commenter suggested that NMFS reexamine how 
fisheries data on deep-water species are determined. The commenter used 
snowy grouper as an example of mismanagement of deep-water snapper-
grouper species, stating there are many snowy grouper in southern 
Florida and the bag limit should be one snowy grouper per person per 
day rather than one per vessel per day.
    Response: Snowy grouper has a low natural mortality rate (M = 
0.12). Thus, similar to the species affected by the action in 
Regulatory Amendment 21, the MSST for snowy grouper was changed in 2009 
to 75 percent of SSBMSY (spawning stock biomass of the stock 
at the maximum sustainable yield) through Amendment 15B to the Snapper-
Grouper FMP. A new Southeast Data Assessment and Review (SEDAR) stock 
assessment was completed for snowy grouper in 2014 (SEDAR 32), which 
indicates that the stock is still overfished according to the MSST 
definition established in 2009, and that the stock is rebuilding and is 
no longer undergoing overfishing. The Council is developing an 
amendment which could change the recreational bag limit for snowy 
grouper.
    Similar to snowy grouper, the species included in Regulatory 
Amendment 21 were selected because they have a natural mortality rate 
at or below 0.25, with an MSST defined as a function of the natural 
mortality rate (M) where MSST = SSBMSY*(1-M or 0.5, 
whichever is greater). When the natural mortality rate is small (less 
than 0.25) there is little difference between the biomass threshold for 
determining when a stock is overfished (MSST) and when the stock is 
rebuilt (SSBMSY). Thus, for species which have a low rate of 
natural mortality, even small fluctuations in biomass due to natural 
conditions rather than fishing mortality may unnecessarily cause a 
stock to be classified as overfished.
    To prevent red snapper, blueline tilefish, gag, black grouper, 
yellowtail snapper, vermilion snapper, red porgy, and greater amberjack 
from unnecessarily being considered overfished, NMFS is modifying the 
definition of MSST for those species as 75 percent of 
SSBMSY, which would help prevent overfished designations 
when small drops in biomass are due to natural variation in recruitment 
or other environmental variables such as extreme water temperatures, 
and would ensure that rebuilding plans are applied to stocks when truly 
appropriate.
    Comment 3: One commenter disagrees with the current overfished 
determination for red snapper, and recommends that NMFS take into 
account anecdotal information when assessing whether or not red snapper 
is overfished. Additionally, the commenter suggests different times to 
harvest red snapper, but those comments are beyond the scope of this 
amendment.
    Response: The overfished determination for red snapper is based on 
a stock assessment (SEDAR 24) completed in October 2010 using the 
previous overfished definition of MSST = SSBMSY*(1-M or 0.5, 
whichever is greater). Modifying the overfished definition will make a 
species less likely to be categorized as overfished when reductions in 
biomass are actually due to natural variations in recruitment or 
environmental variables rather than fishing-related mortality. However, 
modifying the overfished definition for red snapper does not change the 
current overfished determination made during the last completed stock 
assessment (SEDAR 24) in October 2010 because the assessment indicates 
that biomass is below 75 percent of SSBMSY.
    Anecdotal information is not used in Southeast Data Assessment and 
Review (SEDAR) stock assessments. SEDAR is a quantitative assessment 
process that uses data from fishery-dependent and fishery-independent 
sources to determine the health of a stock. SEDAR is organized around 
three workshops. First is the Data Workshop, during which fisheries 
monitoring and life history data are reviewed and compiled. Second is 
the Assessment Workshop, which may be conducted via a workshop and 
several webinars, during which assessment models are developed and 
population parameters are estimated using the information provided from 
the Data Workshop. Third and final is the Review Workshop, during which 
independent experts review the input data, assessment methods, and 
assessment products. The completed assessment, including the reports of 
all three workshops and all supporting documentation, is then forwarded 
to the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC). The SSC 
considers whether the assessment represents the best scientific 
information available and develops fishing level recommendations for 
Council consideration. SEDAR workshops are public meetings organized by 
SEDAR. Workshop participants appointed by the lead Council are drawn 
from state and Federal agencies, non-government organizations, Council 
members, Council advisors, and the fishing industry with a goal of 
including a broad range of disciplines and perspectives.
    A new stock assessment for red snapper is currently under way 
(SEDAR 41) and is expected to be completed in spring 2015. The new 
overfished definition of 75 percent of SSBMSY contained in 
Regulatory Amendment 21 will be used to determine the overfished status 
of the stock in the new assessment.
    Comment 4: One commenter states that Regulatory Amendment 21 does 
not define the overfished criteria. Additionally, the commenter 
suggests other management actions that are beyond the scope of this 
amendment.
    Response: Regulatory Amendment 21 defines criteria used for 
determining if a stock is overfished, and lists the MSST values 
established by the new overfished definition for each of the affected 
species. Currently the stocks addressed by Regulatory Amendment 21 
would be overfished if MSST = SSBMSY*(1-M or 0.5, whichever 
is greater). Regulatory Amendment 21 modifies the overfished definition 
to be 75 percent of SSBMSY.

Classification

    The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, has determined 
that these final changes to management measures are necessary for the 
conservation and management of the South Atlantic snapper-grouper 
species contained in Regulatory Amendment 21 and are consistent with 
the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable law.
    The final changes to the management measures have been determined 
to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA during the 
proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual 
basis for this certification was published in the proposed rule and is 
not repeated here. No comments were received regarding the 
certification and NMFS has not received any new information that would 
affect its determination. No changes to the final rule were made in 
response to public comments. As a result, a final regulatory 
flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared.

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


[[Page 60381]]


    Dated: October 2, 2014.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-23912 Filed 10-6-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P