Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Amendment 20B, 64728-64740 [2014-25855]

Download as PDF 64728 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 131211999–4854–01] RIN 0648–BD86 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Amendment 20B National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes regulations to implement Amendment 20B to the Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources (CMP) in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region (FMP) (Amendment 20B), as prepared and submitted by the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils (Councils). If implemented, Amendment 20B and this proposed rule would modify Gulf migratory group king mackerel trip limits and fishing years, allow transit through areas closed to king mackerel fishing, create zones and quotas for Atlantic migratory group king and Spanish mackerel, modify the framework procedures for the FMP, increase annual catch limits (ACLs) for cobia, and create an east coast zone and quotas for Gulf migratory group cobia. In addition, this rule proposes to reorganize the description of CMP zones in the regulations and clarify that spearguns and powerheads are allowable gear for cobia in Federal waters of the South Atlantic and MidAtlantic regions. The purpose of this rule is to help achieve optimum yield (OY) for the CMP fishery while ensuring allocations are fair and equitable and fishery resources are utilized efficiently. DATES: Written comments must be received on or before December 1, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2013–0176’’ 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-20130176, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Susan Gerhart, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. 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). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Electronic copies of Amendment 20B, which includes an environmental assessment, a Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, and a regulatory impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_ fisheries/gulf_sa/cmp/index.html. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Gerhart, telephone: 727–824– 5305, or email: Susan.Gerhart@ noaa.gov. The CMP fishery in the Gulf and Atlantic is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Councils and implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The current management regime for CMP species (king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia) includes two migratory groups for each species, the Gulf migratory group and the Atlantic migratory group. Each migratory group is managed separately. Amendment 20B and this rule propose changes and additions to fishing regulations for each migratory group to allow for more targeted management of CMP species. Management Measures Contained in Amendment 20B and This Proposed Rule Amendment 20B and this rule would modify Gulf migratory group king mackerel trip limits and fishing years, allow transit through areas closed to PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 king mackerel fishing, create zones and quotas for Atlantic migratory group king and Spanish mackerel, modify the framework procedures for the FMP, increase ACLs for cobia, and create an east coast zone and quotas for Gulf migratory group cobia. The purpose of this rule is to help achieve OY for the CMP fishery while ensuring allocations are fair and equitable and fishery resources are utilized efficiently. Gulf Migratory Group King Mackerel Commercial Hook-and-Line Trip Limits The Gulf eastern zone’s Florida west coast subzone is comprised of two subzones, northern and southern. Currently, from July 1, each fishing year, until 75 percent of the respective northern or southern subzone’s hookand-line gear king mackerel quota has been harvested, the commercial trip limit is 1,250 lb (567 kg) per day. From the date that 75 percent of the respective northern or southern subzone’s hookand-line gear quota has been harvested, the trip limit is reduced to 500 lb (227 kg) per day. This trip limit would remain in effect for a subzone until that subzone’s quota is reached or projected to be reached and that subzone is closed by Federal Register notice. This rule proposes to remove the trip limit reduction, which would allow the harvest of 1,250 lb (567 kg) per day until the quota for the subzone has been met or projected to be met and the respective subzone is closed to king mackerel harvest. Originally, the trip limit reductions were intended to extend the fishing seasons; however, NMFS has not always been able to implement the reductions in a timely manner before the entire quota is landed. Also, many vessels cannot make a profit when the trip limit is reduced to 500 lb (227 kg), so the extended season did not benefit them. The western zone hook-and-line trip limit remains 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) per day until the western zone’s quota has been harvested and the zone is closed to king mackerel harvest. Gulf Migratory Group Eastern Zone Northern and Southern Subzone King Mackerel Fishing Years Currently the Florida west coast northern subzone fishing year begins July 1 and ends on June 30, or when the quota is reached or projected to be reached. This rule proposes to change the Florida west coast northern subzone fishing year to October 1 through September 30. Some fishers have indicated that a later opening would allow them to harvest king mackerel more efficiently because fish are present in larger numbers closer to shore in the E:\FR\FM\31OCP1.SGM 31OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Proposed Rules fall, as opposed to the summer. They also claim that fish can be kept in better condition due to cooler weather. A later opening might also discourage movement of fishers from the Atlantic coast of Florida into the Florida Panhandle, as has been the case for several years. Such a change could extend the fishing season. Because the Councils did not select a preferred alternative for the southern subzone, the fishing year in that zone will remain July through June. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Transit Through Areas Closed to King Mackerel Currently, persons who fish with a commercial vessel permit for king mackerel may not fish for or possess king mackerel in a closed zone. This rule proposes to allow a vessel with a valid commercial vessel permit for king mackerel that has onboard king mackerel harvested in an open area of the EEZ to transit through areas closed to the harvest of king mackerel due to a quota closure, if fishing gear is appropriately stowed. For the purpose of this provision, transit means a direct and non-stop continuous course through the area. Fishing gear appropriately stowed means that: (1) A gillnet must be left on the drum (any additional gillnets not attached to the drum must be stowed below deck), (2) a rod and reel must be removed from the rod holder and stowed securely on or below deck, (3) terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) must be disconnected and stowed separately from the rod and reel, and (4) sinkers must be disconnected from the down rigger and stowed separately. Many fishermen live and work near a boundary between two zones, and may wish to fish in one zone, but land in another. When the fisherman’s home port is located in a closed zone, the fisherman must travel to another port within the open zone to land their catch. This transit provision would allow fishermen to operate their businesses more economically, and would promote greater safety at sea through decreased transit times. Atlantic Migratory Group King and Spanish Mackerel Zones Currently, one commercial quota applies to Atlantic migratory group king mackerel and one commercial quota applies to Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel. This rule proposes to create northern and southern zones for Atlantic migratory group king and Spanish mackerel, each with separate commercial quotas. The South Atlantic Council expressed concern that the commercial quota for king mackerel VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 could be harvested by fishermen in one state before fish migrate to another state. The boundary between the zones would be a line extending from the South Carolina/North Carolina state line. The commercial ACL would be split between the zones based on landings from the 2002/2003–2011/2012 fishing years. The northern zone allocation would be calculated using combined commercial landings from North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. The southern zone allocation would be calculated using combined commercial landings from South Carolina, Georgia, the Florida east coast, and Florida Keys on the Atlantic side. For king mackerel, applying this formula results in an allocation of 33.3 percent for the northern zone and 66.7 percent for the southern zone. For Spanish mackerel, the formula results in an allocation of 19.9 percent for the northern zone and 80.1 percent for the southern zone. NMFS would monitor the commercial quotas, and close Federal waters in each zone when the respective quota is reached or projected to be reached. Transfer of quota between zones would be allowed through a request to NMFS initiated by either North Carolina (northern Zone) or Florida (southern Zone). The recreational ACLs for Atlantic migratory group king and Spanish mackerel will remain unchanged. Modifications to the FMP Framework Procedures Currently, any changes to acceptable biological catches (ABCs) and ABC control rules, ACLs and ACL control rules, and accountability measures must be established through a plan amendment. This rule proposes changes that would allow modification to these management measures under the standard documentation process of the open framework procedure. Adding the items described above to the framework procedure would be consistent with the frameworks of other South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico FMPs and would expedite changes needed after a new stock assessment. The standard open framework procedure involves the development of a framework amendment, with appropriate environmental analyses, which receives Council review and public comment. This rule also proposes to modify the framework procedures to the FMP to designate responsibility to each council (Gulf or South Atlantic) for setting specified management measures for the migratory groups of each species. This change will allow the appropriate Council to establish or modify the PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 64729 specified management measures without approval from the other council. Additionally, ‘‘sale and purchase restrictions’’ and ‘‘transfer at sea provisions’’ were previously erroneously included in the final rule implementing Amendment 18 to the FMP for modifications that are allowed through the framework process (76 FR 82058, December 29, 2011). Thus, NMFS proposes to remove these two items from the list in § 622.389. Cobia Zones, ACLs, and Annual Catch Targets (ACTs) This rule also proposes to address the results of the most recent stock assessment for Gulf and South Atlantic cobia. In Amendment 18 to the FMP, the Councils established separate migratory groups of cobia using the Councils’ boundary in Monroe County. However, the determination in the most recent stock assessment is that the biological boundary should be at the Florida/ Georgia line. The stock assessment results define Georgia north through the Mid-Atlantic area for the Atlantic migratory group, and the entire east coast of Florida through Texas for the Gulf migratory group. To adjust for this difference between the Councils’ jurisdictional areas for cobia and the areas used by the stock assessment, Gulf migratory group cobia would be divided into a Gulf zone (Texas through the Gulf side of the Florida Keys) and a Florida east coast zone (east coast of Florida and Atlantic side of the Florida Keys, i.e., the area within the South Atlantic Council’s jurisdiction). The Gulf ACL would be allocated between the zones based on landings from the 1998–2012 fishing years. The South Atlantic Council would be responsible for regulations for the Florida east coast zone, similar to management of the Florida east coast subzone for king mackerel. The Councils and NMFS have determined allocating cobia between these zones would result in a fair and equitable distribution of the resource. This rule also proposes increases in the ACLs for both migratory groups, the recreational ACT for the Atlantic migratory group, and the stock ACT for the Gulf zone. Additional Management Measures Contained in This Proposed Rule This rule proposes to reorganize the description of the CMP zones and subzones so they are all contained in one place in the regulations and are easier for the public to find and understand (see the addition of § 622.369 in the codified text below). Currently, the zone descriptions are E:\FR\FM\31OCP1.SGM 31OCP1 64730 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS found in multiple locations in the regulations, and NMFS determined that consolidating these descriptions would be useful. Additionally, NMFS proposes to include figures of these zones in the regulations to provide visual guides for the descriptions of these zones (see Appendix G to part 622 in the codified text below). In addition, this rule would clarify that spearguns and powerheads are allowable gear for cobia in Federal waters of the South Atlantic and MidAtlantic regions. In 1998, the Councils approved Amendment 8 to the FMP, which included lists of allowable gear for each CMP species by Council jurisdictional area. The implementing regulations for Atlantic cobia listed automatic reel, bandit gear, handline, rod and reel, and pelagic longline as allowable gear in the directed fishery. Unauthorized gear (with the exception of some gillnets) was subject to the possession limit for cobia (2 fish per person per day). The final rule implementing Amendment 8 clarified that spearguns and powerheads would be allowed for take of cobia under the 2-fish possession limit. In 2002, FWC enforcement questioned the use of this gear based on the regulations. During its June 2002 meeting, the South Atlantic Council discussed its intent to allow this gear for cobia. NMFS released a Southeast Fishery Bulletin in July of that year clarifying that spearguns and powerheads are allowable gear for cobia, and that the regulations would be revised to more clearly express that determination. However, the regulations were not modified at that time. In 2013, FWC enforcement again asked NMFS to clarify this issue. Based on the history mentioned above, NMFS is now proposing to update the regulations to clarify that spearguns and powerheads are allowable gear for cobia in Federal waters of the South Atlantic and MidAtlantic regions. CMP Framework Amendment 1 The Councils developed Framework Amendment 1 to the FMP, which would, in part, increase the ACLs for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel, based on the results of the most recent stock assessments for Atlantic and Gulf migratory group Spanish mackerel. A proposed rule for Framework Amendment 1 published on July 31, 2014 (79 FR 44369) and the comment period ended on September 2, 2014. Implementation of the increased ACL for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel through the final rule for Framework Amendment 1 would increase the ACL for Atlantic migratory VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 group Spanish mackerel. Therefore, if a final rule implementing Framework Amendment 1 is published before this rule becomes effective, the values for the northern and southern zone quotas for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel contained in this proposed rule for Amendment 20B would increase in the final rule. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with Amendment 20B, the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has 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 Small Business Administration (SBA) that this proposed rule, if implemented, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this determination is as follows: The objective of the proposed actions is to achieve OY while ensuring allocations are fair and equitable and fishery resources are utilized efficiently. The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the statutory basis for this proposed rule. This proposed rule, if implemented, would be expected to directly affect all commercial and for-hire fishing vessels that harvest CMP species managed in the Gulf and Atlantic regions. A Federal commercial permit is required to harvest king mackerel or Spanish mackerel in the Gulf or Atlantic EEZ in excess of the bag limit and to sell these species. On November 7, 2013, 1,479 vessels possessed a valid (non-expired) or renewable commercial king mackerel permit, and 1,813 vessels possessed a valid commercial Spanish mackerel permit. A renewable permit is an expired permit that may not be actively fished, but is renewable for up to 1 year after expiration. Because the Federal commercial Spanish mackerel permit is an open access permit, expired permits are not renewed; if a permit expires before renewal, a new permit will be issued (if applied for) instead of renewal of the expired permit. A Federal commercial permit is not required to harvest cobia. However, over the period 2008–2012, an average of 432 commercial vessels harvested cobia in the Atlantic and 266 commercial vessels harvested cobia in the Gulf each year. Many vessels possess both the king mackerel and Spanish mackerel permits PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 and harvest each of the three CMP species. As a result, many, if not most, of the vessels harvesting cobia are expected to be included in the counts of vessels having the individual king or Spanish mackerel commercial permits. The number of unique vessels across all three species is unknown. The estimated average annual gross revenue from all fishing activity by commercial vessels in these fleets ranges from an average of approximately $31,000 (2011 dollars) for vessels with recorded harvests of Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel to approximately $114,000 (2011 dollars) for vessels with recorded harvests of Gulf migratory group cobia. The average annual gross revenue by vessels with recorded harvests of the other species encompassed by this proposed rule falls within this range. A Federal for-hire (charter/headboat) vessel permit is required for for-hire vessels to harvest CMP species in the Gulf or Atlantic EEZ. On November 7, 2013, 1,360 vessels had a valid or renewable Federal Gulf for-hire CMP permit and 1,427 vessels had a valid Federal Atlantic for-hire CMP permit. Similar to the Spanish mackerel commercial permit, the Atlantic for-hire CMP permit is an open access permit and expired permits are not renewed. The Gulf for-hire permit is limited access. The for-hire fleet is comprised of charterboats, which charge a fee on a vessel basis, and headboats, which charge a fee on an individual angler (head) basis. Although the for-hire permit application collects information on the primary method of operation, the resultant permit itself does not identify the permitted vessel as either a headboat or a charter vessel, operation as either a headboat or charter vessel is not restricted by the permitting regulations, and vessels may operate in both capacities. However, only federally permitted headboats are required to submit harvest and effort information to NMFS Southeast Region Headboat Survey (HBS). Participation in the HBS is based on determination by the Southeast Fisheries Science Center that the vessel primarily operates as a headboat. On March 1, 2013, the HBS included 70 vessels in the Gulf and 75 vessels in the Atlantic. As a result, 1,290 of the vessels with a valid or renewable Gulf for-hire CMP permit and 1,400 of the vessels with a valid Atlantic for-hire CMP permit are expected to primarily operate as charterboats. In the Gulf, the average charterboat is estimated to earn approximately $80,000 (2011 dollars) in annual revenue and the average headboat is estimated to earn E:\FR\FM\31OCP1.SGM 31OCP1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Proposed Rules approximately $242,000. For the Atlantic, the comparable estimates are approximately $111,000 (2011 dollars) and $197,000 for charterboats and headboats, respectively. NMFS has not identified any other small entities that would be expected to be directly affected by this proposed rule. The SBA has established size criteria for all major industry sectors in the U.S., including fish harvesters. A business involved in fish harvesting is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $19.0 million (NAICS code 114111, finfish fishing) for all its affiliated operations worldwide. The receipts threshold for a business involved in the for-hire fishing industry is $7.0 million (NAICS code 487210, fishing boat charter operation). Because the average annual revenue estimates provided above are significantly less than the SBA revenue thresholds for the appropriate sectors, all commercial and for-hire vessels expected to be directly affected by this proposed rule are believed to be small business entities. This proposed rule would not require any new reporting, record-keeping, or other compliance requirements associated with reporting or recordkeeping that may require professional skills. This proposed rule contains seven separate actions. The first action would eliminate the commercial trip limit reduction provisions that are currently required in two Gulf subzones when 75 percent of the subzone quota is harvested. Trip limit reductions are intended to extend the time before the quota is harvested and, because quota monitoring is not instantaneous, reduce the likelihood and amount of quota overages. However, trip limit reductions lower the profitability of trips, as fewer pounds can be harvested. Even when other species can be substituted, which may not routinely be possible, trip profits would be expected to decline when trip limit reductions are imposed; otherwise fishermen would have shifted to more profitable species or fishing practices in the absence of the trip limit reductions. In the case of Gulf migratory group king mackerel, the reduced trip revenue and profits under the current trip limit reductions are believed to exceed the economic benefits associated with prolonging the season or addressing quota issues. As a result, the proposed elimination of the commercial trip limit reduction for Gulf migratory group king mackerel in the two subzones would be expected to result in VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 increased revenue and profits to affected entities. The second action would change the fishing year for the Gulf group king mackerel eastern zone northern subzone to begin October 1. This proposed action would be expected to affect commercial vessels that harvest king mackerel. The economic effects of these proposed changes on these small entities are unknown. Participation and financial success in king mackerel commercial fishing is affected by the migratory behavior of the species, regional quotas, transient and part-time participation by fishermen that homeport in each respective zone or travel from ports in other zones, and the ability to participate in other fisheries. Although king mackerel may be present throughout the Gulf year-round, migration patterns cause stock densities in a given area to vary independent of fishing pressure. Regional quotas result in zone and subzone closures when quotas are met, although king mackerel remain present and stock densities may remain high. Many fishermen travel throughout the Gulf to take advantage of migratory stock pulses (surges in the stock in an area because fish have migrated into that area) or in reaction to fishing restrictions, such as a king mackerel quota closure or restriction on alternative species, near their homeport. Other fishermen may harvest king mackerel on a part-time basis, which can cause wide fluctuation in the amount of fishing effort applied. Finally, some fishermen possess permits to participate in other fisheries, as a commercial or for-hire vessel, while other fishermen do not have these permits and, as a result, have more limited options. These factors have contributed to the current distribution of fishing effort, harvest patterns, dockside prices, closure patterns, and potentially variable year-to-year financial success of individual businesses and the commercial king mackerel fleet as a whole. Changing the fishing year in the northern subzone would be expected to alter these patterns, improving the economic situation for some fishermen, but worsening the situation for others. Identifying the entities that would be expected to financially gain, lose, or not be affected as a result of changing the fishing year, as well as quantifying the respective changes, is not possible because of the complexity of the situation, the wide range of potential outcomes, and the absence of definitive information on how fishermen may change their fishing patterns. However, supporting comments provided by the industry during the amendment PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 64731 development process suggest the proposed change would be economically beneficial because it would allow dually permitted vessels (vessels that possess a commercial permit and a charter/headboat permit) to commercially harvest king mackerel during a period when charter activity typically declines. This commercial activity by these vessels could not occur in the absence of this proposed action because the quota has normally already been harvested by October. The third action would allow vessels with king mackerel legally harvested in open areas of the EEZ to travel through areas closed to king mackerel fishing if the transit is continuous and fishing gear is stowed. This proposed action would be expected to result in an unquantifiable increase in economic benefits to commercial fishermen by allowing greater flexibility in port selection and a reduction in travel costs. Although separate actions, the fourth and fifth actions are similar because they would establish northern and southern zones for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel and Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel, establish quotas for each zone, and allow transfer of quota between zones. The proposed action for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel would not be expected to have a significant adverse economic effect on commercial fishing businesses. The proposed northern zone quota, 1,292,988 lb (586,489 kg), would be higher than the average landings in this zone during the 3 most recent fishing years for which final data are available, 2009–2010 through 2011–2012, by approximately 790,000 lb (358,338 kg). As a result, if the proposed northern zone quota is harvested, commercial fishermen in this zone who harvest king mackerel would be expected to increase their vessel revenue by approximately $6,300 (2011 dollars) per vessel (270 vessels), or approximately 17.9 percent of the average annual gross revenue per vessel (approximately $35,100 for vessels operating in either the northern or southern zone; average annual revenue estimates per zone are not available). For the southern zone, the proposed quota, 2,587,012 lb (1,173,449 kg), would be approximately 83,000 lb (37,648 kg) higher than the average landings for the three most recent fishing years. As a result, if the quota in the southern zone is harvested, the commercial fishermen who harvest king mackerel in this zone would be expected to increase their vessel revenue by approximately $211 (2011 dollars) per vessel (846 vessels), or E:\FR\FM\31OCP1.SGM 31OCP1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 64732 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Proposed Rules approximately 0.6 percent of the average annual gross revenue per vessel. The total Atlantic migratory group king mackerel quota, 3.71 million lb (1.68 million kg), has not been harvested since before the 2002–2003 fishing year. However, and the average amount of unharvested quota per fishing year during this period has been approximately 29 percent of the quota. This circumstance drives the outcome, as described in the previous paragraph, that fishermen in both zones can experience an increase in revenue under the proposed quotas if the quotas are harvested, rather than fishermen in one zone gaining at the expense of fishermen in the other zone. However, because this result depends on the quota being completely harvested, which would be an anomaly, the full projected increases in revenue may not occur. Further, for the southern zone, although an increase in revenue is forecast based on the average harvest for the most recent three fishing years (and would increase to approximately $2,000 per vessel, or approximately 6 percent of the average annual revenue if compared to average annual harvest from the 2002– 2003 through 2011–2012 fishing years, which represent the most recent 9 fishing years for which final data are available), harvest in the 2009–2010 (approximately 2.776 million lb (1.259 million kg)) and 2010–2011 (approximately 3.113 million lb (1.412 million kg)) fishing years exceeded the proposed quota for the southern zone. The net increase in revenue relative to the three-year period previously discussed (2009–2010 through 2011– 2012) is an artifact of the decline in harvest in the 2011–2012 fishing year (to approximately 1.623 million lb (0.736 million kg)). The king mackerel harvest in 2011–2012 was more similar to the average harvest over the 2002– 2003 through 2011–2012 fishing years, approximately 1.787 million lb (0.811 million kg). As a result, the proposed southern zone king mackerel quota may result in a decline in revenue for some fishermen if fishing conditions in coming years more closely mirror those of 2009–2010 or 2010–2011 than either the most recent 3-year average, the longer 9-year average, or other fishing years when lower harvests occurred. Compared to the average harvest of the 2009–2010 and 2010–2011 fishing years, the proposed southern zone king mackerel quota would be expected to reduce the revenue per commercial vessel by approximately $900 per vessel, or approximately 2.6 percent of the average annual gross revenue per vessel. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 For Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel, the proposed northern and southern zone quotas would be expected to have minor to no economic effects on the revenue of commercial vessels. The proposed quotas equal the average distribution of Spanish mackerel harvest across the northern and southern zones over the 2002–2003 through 2011–2012 fishing years. As a result, if harvest patterns in future years are consistent with the prior average harvest, no economic effects would be expected to occur. If future Spanish mackerel harvests without the proposed zone quotas follow the more recent 2009–2010 through 2011–2012 harvest patterns, then the proposed northern zone quota would be expected to result in a minor reduction in revenue per vessel (300 vessels), of approximately $173 (2011 dollars), or approximately 0.6 percent of the average annual gross revenue per vessel ($31,000 for vessels operating in either the northern or southern zone; average annual revenue estimates per zone are not available). For vessels in the southern zone, the proposed quota would be expected to result in a minor increase in average revenue per vessel (1,251 vessels), of approximately $41, or approximately 0.1 percent of the average annual gross revenue per vessel. The sixth action would expand the range of actions that could be modified through a streamlined framework procedure instead of the plan amendment process. This proposed action would also designate Council responsibility for setting regulations for the migratory groups of each species. Collectively, these changes would be expected to allow regulatory changes to occur in a more timely and efficient manner. Although future regulatory changes may have direct adverse economic consequences, this proposed action would not make any regulatory changes but would, rather, simply change the administrative environment to allow these changes to be made in the future. As a result, this action would not be expected to have any direct economic effect on any small entities. The seventh action would modify the Gulf and Atlantic migratory group cobia ACLs and ACTs. For the commercial sector, the proposed changes would be expected to increase the total ex-vessel revenue received by all vessels in the Atlantic zone by approximately $31,000 (2011 dollars), reduce total ex-vessel revenue by approximately $56,000 (2011 dollars) across all commercial vessels in the Florida east coast zone, and not have any effect on the ex-vessel revenue for vessels in the Gulf. For the Atlantic and Florida east coast zones, PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 the net reduction in ex-vessel revenue for all vessels is expected to be approximately $25,000. The total expected reduction in ex-vessel revenue would equate to approximately $58 per vessel (432 vessels), or approximately 0.1 percent of the average annual gross revenue for these vessels ($41,600; 2011 dollars). For the recreational sector, the proposed changes would be expected to increase the total net operating revenue (NOR; NOR equals revenue minus nonlabor operating expenses) received by all for-hire vessels in the Florida east coast zone by approximately $118,000 (2011 dollars), reduce the total NOR received by all for-hire vessels in the Atlantic zone by approximately $3,000 (2011 dollars), and not have any direct economic effect on for-hire vessels in the Gulf. The net expected increase in NOR for the for-hire vessels in the Atlantic and Florida east coast zones would be approximately $115,000 (2011 dollars), spread across all vessels. This increase is expected to all accrue to charterboats. Additional increases in NOR may accrue to headboats that operate in the Atlantic. However, the estimated changes in NOR are calculated based on expected increases in fishermen target trips, and target information is not collected from headboat fishermen. As a result, an estimate of the expected increase in NOR to Atlantic headboats is not available. The expected increase in NOR to charterboats would equate to approximately $80 per vessel (1,400 vessels), or a minor increase relative to average annual revenue ($111,000). The proposed changes in the ACLs and ACTs would not be expected to have any direct economic effect on any small entities in the Gulf because, although the new harvest limits would be higher than current limits, fishermen in the Gulf have not harvested the current lower harvest limit. As a result, the proposed changes for the Gulf migratory group would not be expected to result in increased harvest or associated revenue in the near term. However, the proposed changes in the ACLs and ACTs for the Gulf migratory group would allow an increase in ex-vessel revenue and profit to small business fishing entities in the Gulf if fishing behavior and harvest patterns change. Finally, this rule proposes two administrative changes. First, this rule proposes to reorganize the description of CMP zones in the regulations so they are easier for the public to find and understand. Second, this rule proposes to clarify that spearguns and powerheads are allowable gear for cobia in Federal waters of the South Atlantic E:\FR\FM\31OCP1.SGM 31OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Proposed Rules and Mid-Atlantic regions. Because these are administrative changes, neither change would be expected to have any direct economic effect on any small business entities. In summary, most of the actions in this proposed rule, if implemented, would be expected to either have no direct economic effect on any small business entities or result in an increase in economic benefits. The two proposed actions that would be expected to adversely impact small entities would only be expected to result in minor reductions in revenue. As a result, this proposed rule, if implemented, would not be expected to have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities. As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622 Atlantic, Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources, Cobia, Fisheries, Fishing, Gulf, King mackerel, Spanish mackerel. Dated: October 24, 2014. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 622.2, the definition of migratory group is revised to read as follows: ■ § 622.2 Definitions and acronyms. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS * * * * * Migratory group, for king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia, means a group of fish that may or may not be a separate genetic stock, but that is treated as a separate stock for management purposes. King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia are divided into migratory groups—the boundaries between these groups are specified in § 622.369. * * * * * ■ 3. In § 622.7, paragraph (b)(1) is revised to read as follows: § 622.7 Fishing years. * * * * * (b) * * * (1) Gulf migratory group king mackerel—(i) Eastern Zone—July 1 through June 30, except the northern VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 subzone of the Florida west coast subzone, which has a fishing year of October 1 through September 30. (ii) Western Zone—July 1 through June 30. * * * * * ■ 4. Add § 622.369 to subpart Q to read as follows: § 622.369 Description of zones and subzones. (a) Migratory groups of king mackerel. In the EEZ, king mackerel are divided into the Gulf migratory group and the Atlantic migratory group. The Gulf migratory group is bound by a line extending east of the U.S./Mexico border and the summer/winter jurisdictional boundary. The Atlantic migratory group is bound by the summer/winter jurisdictional boundary and a line from the intersection point of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York (as described in § 600.105(a) of this chapter). From April 1 through October 31, the summer jurisdictional boundary separates the Gulf and Atlantic migratory groups of king mackerel by a line extending due west from the Monroe/Collier County, FL, boundary. From November 1 through March 31, the winter jurisdictional boundary separates the Gulf and Atlantic migratory groups of king mackerel by a line extending due east from the Volusia/Flagler County, FL, boundary. See Table 1 of this section for the boundary coordinates. See Figures 1 and 2 in Appendix G of this part for illustration. (1) Gulf migratory group. The Gulf migratory group is divided into western and eastern zones separated by a line extending due south from the Alabama/ Florida border. See Table 1 of this section for the boundary coordinates. See Figures 1 and 2 in Appendix G of this part for illustration. (i) Western zone. The western zone encompasses an area of the EEZ north of a line extending east of the US/ Mexico border, and west of a line extending due south of the Alabama/ Florida border, including the EEZ off Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. This zone remains the same year round. (ii) Eastern zone. The eastern zone is divided into the Florida west coast subzone and the Florida east coast subzone. (A) Florida west coast subzone. The Florida west coast subzone is further divided into the northern and southern subzones by a line extending due west from the Lee/Collier County, FL, boundary. (1) Northern subzone. The northern subzone encompasses an area of the EEZ PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 64733 east of a line extending due south of the Florida/Alabama border, and north of a line extending due west of the Lee/ Collier County, FL, boundary, and remains the same area year round. (2) Southern subzone. From November 1 through March 31, the southern subzone encompasses an area of the EEZ south of a line extending due west of the Lee/Collier County, FL, boundary on the Florida west coast, and south of a line extending due east of the Monroe/Miami-Dade County, FL, boundary on the Florida east coast, which includes the EEZ off Collier and Monroe Counties, FL. From April 1 through October 31, the southern subzone is reduced to the EEZ off Collier County, and the EEZ off Monroe County becomes part of the Atlantic migratory group area. (B) Florida east coast subzone. From November 1 through March 31, the Florida east coast subzone encompasses an area of the EEZ south of a line extending due east of the Flagler/ Volusia County, FL, boundary, and north of a line extending due east of the Miami-Dade/Monroe County, FL, boundary. From April 1 through October 31, the Florida east coast subzone is not part of the Gulf migratory group king mackerel area; it is part of the Atlantic migratory group king mackerel area. (2) Atlantic migratory group. The Atlantic migratory group is divided into the northern and southern zones separated by a line extending from the North Carolina/South Carolina border, as specified in § 622.2. See Table 1 of this section for the boundary coordinates. See Figures 1 and 2 in Appendix G of this part for illustration. See § 622.385(a)(1) for a description of the areas for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel commercial trip limits. (i) Northern zone. The northern zone encompasses an area of the EEZ south of a line extending from the intersection point of New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island (as described in § 600.105(a) of this chapter), and north of a line extending from the North Carolina/South Carolina border, as specified in § 622.2, including the EEZ off each state from North Carolina to New York. This zone remains the same year round. (ii) Southern zone. From April 1 through October 31, the southern zone encompasses an area of the EEZ south of a line extending from the North Carolina/South Carolina border, as specified in § 622.2, and south of a line extending due west of the Lee/Collier County, FL, boundary. From November 1 through March 31, the southern zone encompasses an area of the EEZ south E:\FR\FM\31OCP1.SGM 31OCP1 64734 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Proposed Rules of a line extending from the North Carolina/South Carolina border, as specified in § 622.2, and north of a line extending due east of the Flagler/ Volusia County, FL, boundary. TABLE 1 TO § 622.369—KING MACKEREL DESCRIPTION OF ZONES [For illustration, see Figures 1 and 2 in Appendix G of this part] Boundary 2 Area Boundary 1 Summer Winter Gulf Migratory Group—Western Zone ............. U.S./Mexico A line east of the intersection of 25°58′30.57″ N lat. and 96°55′27.37″ W long. AL/FL 87°31′6″ W long. Gulf Migratory Group—Eastern Zone: Florida West Coast Northern Subzone. AL/FL 87°31′6″ W long ................................... Lee/Collier, 26°19′48″ N lat. Gulf Migratory Group—Eastern Zone: Florida West Coast Southern Subzone. Gulf Migratory Group—Eastern Zone: Florida East Coast Subzone. Lee/Collier 26°19′48″ N lat ............................. Atlantic Migratory Group—Northern Zone ....... NY/CT/RI, 41°18′16.249″ N lat. and NC/SC, a line extending in a direction of 71°54′28.477″ W long. southeast to 135°34′55″ from true north beginning at 37°22′32.75″ N lat. and the intersection 33°51′07.9″ N lat. and 78°32′32.6″ W long. to point with the outward boundary of the EEZ. the intersection point with the outward boundary of the EEZ. Atlantic Migratory Group—Southern Zone ....... NC/SC, a line extending in a direction of 135°34′55″ from true north beginning at 33°51′07.9″ N lat. and 78°32′32.6″ W long. to the intersection point with the outward boundary of the EEZ. (b) Migratory groups of Spanish mackerel—(1) Gulf migratory group. In the EEZ, the Gulf migratory group is bounded by a line extending east of the US/Mexico border and a line extending due east of the Monroe/Miami-Dade County, FL, boundary. See Table 2 of this section for the boundary coordinates. See Figure 3 in Appendix G of this part for illustration. (2) Atlantic migratory group. In the EEZ, the Atlantic migratory group is bounded by a line extending due east of the Monroe/Miami-Dade County, FL, boundary and a line extending from the intersection point of New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island (as described in § 600.105(a) of this chapter). The Atlantic migratory group is divided into the northern and southern zones. See Table 2 of this section for the boundary coordinates. See Figure 3 in Appendix G of this part for illustration. See § 622.385(b)(1) for a description of the areas for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel commercial trip limits. (i) Northern zone. The northern zone encompasses an area of the EEZ south of a line extending from the intersection point of New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island (as described in Monroe/Miami-Dade 25°20′24″ N lat .............. Collier/Monroe 25°48′ N lat. NA .............................. Collier/Monroe, 25°48′ N lat. Monroe/Miami-Dade, 25°20′24″ N lat. Volusia/Flagler, 29°25′ N lat. Volusia/Flagler, 29°25′ N lat. § 600.105(a) of this chapter), and north of a line extending from the North Carolina/South Carolina border, as specified in § 622.2, including the EEZ off each state from North Carolina to New York. (ii) Southern zone. The southern zone encompasses an area of the EEZ south of a line extending from the North Carolina/South Carolina border, as specified in § 622.2, and north of a line extending due east of the Monroe/ Miami-Dade County, FL, boundary, including the EEZ off South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. TABLE 2 TO § 622.369—SPANISH MACKEREL DESCRIPTION OF ZONES [For illustration, see Figure 3 in Appendix G of this part] Area Boundary 1 Gulf Migratory Group ......................................... US/Mexico A line east of the intersection of 25°58′30.57″ N lat. and 96°55′27.37″ W long. NY/CT/RI, 41°18′16.249″ N lat. and 71°54′28.477″ W long. southeast to 37°22′32.75″ N lat. and the intersection point with the outward boundary of the EEZ. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Atlantic Migratory Group—Northern Zone ......... Atlantic Migratory Group—Southern Zone ........ VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 Boundary 2 NC/SC, a line extending in a direction of 135°34′55″ from true north beginning at 33°51′07.9″ N lat. and 78°32′32.6″ W long. to the intersection point with the outward boundary of the EEZ. PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Monroe/Miami-Dade 25°20′24″ N lat. NC/SC, a line extending in a direction of 135°34′55″ from true north beginning at 33°51′07.9″ N lat. and 78°32′32.6″ W long. to the intersection point with the outward boundary of the EEZ. Monroe/Miami-Dade 25°20′24″ N lat. E:\FR\FM\31OCP1.SGM 31OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Proposed Rules (c) Migratory groups of cobia—(1) Gulf migratory group. In the EEZ, the Gulf migratory group is bounded by a line extending east from the U.S./Mexico border and a line extending due east from the Florida/Georgia border. See Table 3 of this section for the boundary coordinates. (See Figure 4 in Appendix G of this part for illustration.) (i) Gulf zone. The Gulf zone encompasses an area of the EEZ north of a line extending east of the U.S./ Mexico border, and north and west of the line of demarcation between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico (the Council boundary, as described in § 600.105(c) of this chapter). (ii) Florida east coast zone. The Florida east coast zone encompasses an area of the EEZ south and east of the line of demarcation between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico (as described in § 600.105(c) of this chapter), and south of a line extending 64735 due east from the Florida/Georgia border. (2) Atlantic migratory group. In the EEZ, the Atlantic migratory group is bounded by a line extending from the intersection point of New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island (as described in § 600.105(a) of this chapter) and a line extending due east of the Florida/Georgia border. See Table 3 of this section for the boundary coordinates. TABLE 3 TO § 622.369—COBIA DESCRIPTION OF ZONES [For illustration, see Figure 4 in Appendix G of this part] Area Boundary 1 Boundary 2 Gulf Migratory Group—Gulf Zone ..................... US/Mexico—A line east of the intersection of 25°58′30.57″ N lat. and 96°55′27.37″ W long. Gulf Migratory Group—Florida East Coast Zone. Council Boundary—the intersection of the outer boundary of the EEZ and 83°00′ W long., north to 24°35′ N lat., (near the Dry Tortugas Islands), then east to the mainland. FL/GA, 30°42′45.6″ N lat. Council Boundary—the intersection of the outer boundary of the EEZ and 83°00′ W long., north to 24°35′ N lat., (near the Dry Tortugas Islands), then east to the mainland. NY/CT/RI, 41°18′16.249″ N lat. and FL/GA, 30°42′45.6″ N lat. 71°54′28.477″ W long. southeast to 37°22′32.75″ N lat. and the intersection point with the outward boundary of the EEZ. Atlantic Migratory Group .................................... 5. In § 622.375, paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows: ■ asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS § 622.375 gear. Authorized and unauthorized (a) Authorized gear—(1) King and Spanish mackerel. Subject to the prohibitions on gear/methods specified in § 622.9, the following are the only fishing gears that may be used in the Gulf, Mid-Atlantic, and South Atlantic EEZ in directed fisheries for king and Spanish mackerel: (i) King mackerel, Atlantic migratory group— (A) North of 34°37.3′ N. lat., the latitude of Cape Lookout Light, NC—all gear except drift gillnet and long gillnet. (B) South of 34°37.3′ N. lat.— automatic reel, bandit gear, handline, and rod and reel. (ii) King mackerel, Gulf migratory group—hook-and-line gear and, in the southern Florida west coast subzone only, run-around gillnet. (See § 622.369(a)(1)(ii)(A)(2) for a description of the Florida west coast southern subzone.) (iii) Spanish mackerel, Atlantic migratory group—automatic reel, bandit gear, handline, rod and reel, cast net, run-around gillnet, and stab net. (iv) Spanish mackerel, Gulf migratory group—all gear except drift gillnet, long gillnet, and purse seine. (2) Cobia. Subject to the prohibitions on gear/methods specified in § 622.9, VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:49 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 the following are the only fishing gears that may be used in the Gulf, MidAtlantic, and South Atlantic EEZ for cobia. (i) Cobia in the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic EEZ—automatic reel, bandit gear, handline, rod and reel, pelagic longline, and spear (including powerheads). (ii) Cobia in the Gulf EEZ—all gear except drift gillnet and long gillnet. * * * * * ■ 6. Section 622.378 is revised to read as follows: person aboard a vessel using or possessing a gillnet with a stretchedmesh size of 4.75 inches (12.1 cm) or larger in the southern Florida west coast subzone may not fish for or possess Gulf migratory group king mackerel. (See § 622.369(a)(1)(ii)(A)(2) for a description of the Florida west coast southern subzone.) (b) [Reserved] ■ 7. In § 622.384, the introductory text, and paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d) are revised to read as follows: § 622.378 See § 622.8 for general provisions regarding quota applicability and closure and reopening procedures. See § 622.369 for the descriptions of the zones. This section provides quotas and specific quota closure restrictions for coastal migratory pelagic fish. All weights are in round and eviscerated weight combined, unless specified otherwise. (a) King and Spanish mackerel quotas apply to persons who fish under commercial vessel permits for king or Spanish mackerel, as required under § 622.370(a)(1) or (3). A fish is counted against the quota for the area where it is caught, not where it is landed. (b) King mackerel—(1) Gulf migratory group. The Gulf migratory group is divided into zones and subzones. The descriptions of the zones and subzones are specified in § 622.369(a). Quotas for Area and seasonal closures. (a) Seasonal closures of the gillnet component for Gulf migratory group king mackerel. The gillnet component for Gulf group king mackerel in or from the Florida west coast southern subzone is closed each fishing year from July 1 until 6 a.m. on the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal holiday. The gillnet component is open on the first weekend following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, provided a notification of closure has not been filed under § 622.8(b). The gillnet component is closed all subsequent weekends and observed Federal holidays. Weekend closures are effective from 6 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Monday. Holiday closures are effective from 6 a.m. on the observed Federal holiday to 6 a.m. the following day. All times are eastern standard time. During these closures, a PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 § 622.384 E:\FR\FM\31OCP1.SGM Quotas. 31OCP1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 64736 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Proposed Rules the eastern and western zones are as follows: (i) Eastern zone. The eastern zone is divided into subzones with quotas as follows: (A) Florida east coast subzone— 1,102,896 lb (500,265 kg). (B) Florida west coast subzone—(1) Southern subzone. The hook-and-line quota is 551,448 lb (250,133 kg) and the run-around gillnet quota is 551,448 lb (250,133 kg). (2) Northern subzone—178,848 lb (81,124 kg). (ii) Western zone—1,071,360 lb (485,961 kg). (2) Atlantic migratory group. The Atlantic migratory group is divided into northern and southern zones. The descriptions of the zones are specified in § 622.369(a). Quotas for the northern and southern zones for the 2015–2016 fishing year and subsequent years are as follows: (i) Northern zone—1,292,040 lb (586,059 kg). No more than 0.40 million lb (0.18 million kg) may be harvested by purse seines. (ii) Southern zone—2,587,960 lb (1,173,879 kg). (iii) Quota transfers. North Carolina or Florida, in consultation with the other states in their respective zones, may request approval from the RA to transfer part or all of their respective zone’s annual commercial quota to the other zone. Requests for transfer of commercial quota for king mackerel must be made by a letter signed by the principal state official with marine fishery management responsibility and expertise of the state requesting the transfer, or his/her previously named designee. The letter must certify that all pertinent state requirements have been met and identify the states involved and the amount of quota to be transferred. For the purposes of quota closures as described in § 622.8, the receiving zone’s quota will be the original quota plus any transferred amount, for that fishing season only. Landings associated with any transferred quota will be included in the total landings for the Atlantic migratory group, which will be evaluated relative to the total ACL. (A) Within 10 working days following the receipt of the letter from the state requesting the transfer, the RA shall notify the appropriate state officials of the disposition of the request. In evaluating requests to transfer a quota, the RA shall consider whether: (1) The transfer would allow the overall annual quota to be fully harvested; and (2) The transfer is consistent with the objectives of the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 (B) The transfer of quota will be valid only for the fishing year for which the request was made and does not permanently alter the quotas specified in paragraphs (b)(2)(i) and (b)(2)(ii) of this section. (3) Transit provisions applicable in areas closed due to a quota closure for king mackerel. A vessel with a valid commercial vessel permit for king mackerel that has onboard king mackerel harvested in an open area of the EEZ may transit through areas closed to the harvest of king mackerel due to a quota closure, if fishing gear is appropriately stowed. For the purpose of paragraph (b) of this section, transit means direct and non-stop continuous course through the area. To be appropriately stowed fishing gear means— (i) A gillnet must be left on the drum. Any additional gillnets not attached to the drum must be stowed below deck. (ii) A rod and reel must be removed from the rod holder and stowed securely on or below deck. Terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) must be disconnected and stowed separately from the rod and reel. Sinkers must be disconnected from the down rigger and stowed separately. (c) Spanish mackerel—(1) Gulf migratory group. [Reserved] (2) Atlantic migratory group. The Atlantic migratory group is divided into northern and southern zones. The descriptions of the zones are specified in § 622.369(b). The quota for the Atlantic migratory group of Spanish mackerel is 3,130,000 lb (1,419,744 kg). Quotas for the northern and southern zones are as follows: (i) Northern zone—622,870 lb (282,529 kg). (ii) Southern zone—2,507,130 lb (1,137,215 kg). (iii) Quota transfers. North Carolina or Florida, in consultation with the other states in their respective zones, may request approval from the RA to transfer part or all of their respective zone’s annual commercial quota to the other zone. Requests for transfer of commercial quota for Spanish mackerel must be made by a letter signed by the principal state official with marine fishery management responsibility and expertise, or his/her previously named designee, for each state involved. The letter must certify that all pertinent state requirements have been met and identify the states involved and the amount of quota to be transferred. For the purposes of quota closures as described in § 622.8, the receiving zone’s quota will be the original quota plus any transferred amount, for that fishing season only. Landings associated PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 with any transferred quota will be included in the total landings for the Atlantic migratory group, which will be evaluated relative to the total ACL. (A) Within 10 working days following the receipt of the letter from the states involved, the RA shall notify the appropriate state officials of the disposition of the request. In evaluating requests to transfer a quota, the RA shall consider whether: (1) The transfer would allow the overall annual quota to be fully harvested; and (2) The transfer is consistent with the objectives of the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act. (B) The transfer of quota will be valid only for the fishing year for which the request was made and does not permanently alter any zone’s quota specified in paragraph (c)(2)(i) or (c)(2)(ii) of this section. (d) Cobia—(1) Gulf migratory group— (i) Gulf zone. For the 2014 fishing year, the stock quota for the Gulf migratory group of cobia in the Gulf zone is 1,420,000 lb (644,101 kg). For the 2015 fishing year, the stock quota is 1,450,000 lb (657,709 kg). For the 2016 fishing year and subsequent fishing years, the stock quota is 1,500,000 lb (680,389 kg). (ii) Florida east coast zone. The following quota applies to persons who fish for cobia and sell their catch. The quota for the Gulf migratory group of cobia in the Florida east coast zone is 70,000 lb (31,751 kg). (2) Atlantic migratory group. The following quotas apply to persons who fish for cobia and sell their catch. For the 2014 and 2015 fishing years, the quota for the Atlantic migratory group of cobia is 60,000 lb (27,216 kg). The quota for the 2016 fishing year and subsequent fishing years is 50,000 lb (22,680 kg). * * * * * ■ 8. In § 622.385, the heading for paragraph (a)(1), the heading for paragraph (a)(2), the second sentence in paragraph (a)(2), and paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(B) are revised; paragraph (a)(2)(iii) is removed; paragraph (a)(2)(iv) is redesignated as paragraph (a)(2)(iii) and revised; and a heading is added to paragraph (b)(1) to read as follows: § 622.385 Commercial trip limits. * * * * * (a) * * * (1) Atlantic migratory group. * * * (2) Gulf migratory group. * * * (See § 622.369(a)(2) for descriptions of the eastern and western zones and § 622.369(a)(2)(ii) for descriptions of the subzones in the eastern zone.) * * * * * E:\FR\FM\31OCP1.SGM 31OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Proposed Rules (ii) * * * (B) Hook-and-line gear. In the Florida west coast subzone, king mackerel in or from the EEZ may be possessed on board or landed from a vessel with a commercial permit for king mackerel, as required by § 622.370(a)(1), and operating under the hook-and-line gear quotas in § 622.384(b)(1)(i)(B)(1) or (b)(1)(i)(B)(2): (1) Northern subzone. From October 1, each fishing year, until the northern subzone’s hook-and-line gear quota has been harvested—in amounts not exceeding 1,250 lb (567 kg) per day. (2) Southern subzone. From July 1, each fishing year, until the southern subzone’s hook-and-line gear quota has been harvested—in amounts not exceeding 1,250 lb (567 kg) per day. (iii) Western zone. In the western zone, king mackerel in or from the EEZ may be possessed on board or landed from a vessel for which a commercial permit for king mackerel has been issued, as required under § 622.370(a)(1), from July 1, each fishing year, until a closure of the western zone has been effected under § 622.8(b)—in amounts not exceeding 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) per day. (b) * * * (1) Atlantic migratory group. * * * * * * * * ■ 9. In § 622.388, paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(3), (b)(1), (d)(1), (e), and (f) are revised to read as follows: asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS § 622.388 Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), and accountability measures (AMs). (a) Gulf migratory group king mackerel—(1) Commercial sector—(i) If commercial landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the applicable quota specified in § 622.384(b)(1), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial sector for that zone, subzone, or gear type for the remainder of the fishing year. (ii) The commercial ACL for the Gulf migratory group of king mackerel is 3.456 million lb (1.568 million kg). This ACL is further divided into a commercial ACL for vessels fishing with hook-and-line and a commercial ACL for vessels fishing with run-around gillnets. The hook-and-line ACL (which applies to the entire Gulf) is 2,904,552 lb (1,317,483 kg) and the run-around gillnet ACL (which applies to the Gulf eastern zone Florida west coast southern subzone) is 551,448 lb (250,133 kg). * * * * * VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 (3) For purposes of tracking the ACL, recreational landings will be monitored based on the commercial fishing year. * * * * * (b) Atlantic migratory group king mackerel—(1) Commercial sector—(i) If commercial landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the applicable quota specified in § 622.384(b)(2), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial sector for that zone for the remainder of the fishing year. (ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, if the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, and Atlantic migratory group king mackerel are overfished, based on the most recent status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the commercial quota for that zone for that following year by the amount of any commercial sector overage in the prior fishing year for that zone. (iii) The commercial ACL for the Atlantic migratory group of king mackerel is 3.88 million lb (1.76 million kg). * * * * * (d) Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel—(1) Commercial sector. (i) If commercial landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the applicable quota specified in § 622.384(c)(2), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial sector for that zone for the remainder of the fishing year. (ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section, if the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, and Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel are overfished, based on the most recent status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the commercial quota for that zone for that following year by the amount of any commercial sector overage in the prior fishing year for that zone. (iii) The commercial ACL for the Atlantic migratory group Spanish PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 64737 mackerel is 3.13 million lb (1.42 million kg). * * * * * (e) Gulf migratory group cobia—(1) Gulf zone. (i) If the sum of all cobia landings, as estimated by the SRD, reaches or is projected to reach the stock quota (stock ACT), specified in § 622.384(d)(1), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to prohibit the harvest of Gulf migratory group cobia in the Gulf zone for the remainder of the fishing year. On and after the effective date of such a notification, all sale and purchase of Gulf migratory group cobia in the Gulf zone is prohibited and the possession limit of this species in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero. This possession limit also applies in the Gulf on board a vessel for which a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for coastal migratory pelagic fish has been issued, without regard to where such species were harvested, i.e. in state or Federal water. (ii) The stock ACLs for Gulf migratory group cobia in the Gulf zone are 1,570,000 lb (712,140 kg) for 2014, 1,610,000 lb (730,284 kg) for 2015, and 1,660,000 lb (752,963 kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing years. (2) Florida east coast zone—(i) The following ACLs and AMs apply to cobia that are sold. (A) If the sum of cobia landings that are sold, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the quota specified in § 622.384(d)(1)(ii) (ACL), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to prohibit the sale and purchase of cobia in or from the Florida east coast zone for the remainder of the fishing year. (B) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (e)(2)(i)(A) of this section, if the sum of cobia landings that are sold and not sold in or from the Florida east coast zone, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL for the Florida east coast zone, as specified in paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section, and Gulf migratory group cobia are overfished, based on the most recent status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the quota (ACL) for the Florida east coast zone cobia that are sold for that following year by the amount of any overage in the prior fishing year. (ii) The following ACLs and AMs apply to cobia that are not sold. (A) If the sum of cobia landings that are sold and not sold, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in E:\FR\FM\31OCP1.SGM 31OCP1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 64738 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Proposed Rules paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the length of the following fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure landings may achieve the applicable ACT, but do not exceed the applicable ACL in the following fishing year. Further, during that following year, if necessary, the AA may file additional notification with the Office of the Federal Register to readjust the reduced fishing season to ensure harvest achieves the ACT but does not exceed the ACL. The applicable ACTs for the Florida east coast zone of cobia are 670,000 lb (303,907 kg) for 2014, 680,000 lb (308,443 kg) for 2015, and 710,000 lb (322,051 kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing years. The applicable ACLs for the Florida east coast zone of cobia are 810,000 lb (367,410 kg) for 2014, 830,000 lb (376,482 kg) for 2015, and 860,000 lb (390,089 kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing years. (B) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (e)(2)(ii)(A) of this section, if the sum of the cobia landings that are sold and not sold in or from the Florida east coast zone, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section, and Gulf migratory group cobia are overfished, based on the most recent status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the applicable ACL and applicable ACT for the Florida east coast zone for that following year by the amount of any ACL overage in the prior fishing year. (C) Landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. (iii) The stock ACLs for Florida east coast zone cobia are 880,000 lb (399,161 kg) for 2014, 900,000 lb (408,233 kg) for 2015, and 930,000 lb (421,841 kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing years. (f) Atlantic migratory group cobia—(1) The following ACLs and AMs apply to cobia that are sold— (i) If the sum of the cobia landings that are sold, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the quota specified in § 622.384(d)(2) (ACL), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to prohibit VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 the sale and purchase of cobia for the remainder of the fishing year. (ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section, if the sum of the cobia landings that are sold and not sold in or from the Atlantic migratory group, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in paragraph (f)(3) of this section, and Atlantic migratory group cobia are overfished, based on the most recent status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the applicable quota (ACL), as specified in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section, for that following year by the amount of any applicable sector-specific ACL overage in the prior fishing year. (2) The following ACLs and AMs apply to cobia that are not sold. (i) If the sum of the cobia landings that are sold and not sold, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in paragraph (f)(3) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the length of the following fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure landings may achieve the applicable ACT, but do not exceed the applicable ACL in the following fishing year. Further, during that following year, if necessary, the AA may file additional notification with the Office of the Federal Register to readjust the reduced fishing season to ensure harvest achieves the ACT but does not exceed the ACL. The applicable ACTs for the Atlantic migratory group of cobia are 550,000 lb (249,476 kg) for 2014, 520,000 lb (235,868 kg) for 2015, and 500,000 lb (226,796 kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing years. The applicable ACLs for the Atlantic migratory group of cobia are 670,000 lb (303,907 kg) for 2014, 630,000 lb (285,763 kg) for 2015, and 620,000 lb (281,227 kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing years. (ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (f)(2)(i) of this section, if the sum of cobia landings that are sold and not sold, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in paragraph (f)(3) of this section, and Atlantic migratory group cobia are overfished, based on the most recent status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the applicable ACL and ACT, as specified in paragraph (f)(2)(i) of this section, for that following year by the amount of any applicable sector-specific overage in the prior fishing year. (iii) Landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. (3) The stock ACLs for Atlantic migratory group cobia are 730,000 lb (331,122 kg) for 2014, 690,000 lb (312,979 kg) for 2015, and 670,000 lb (303,907 kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing years. ■ 10. Section 622.389 is revised to read as follows: § 622.389 Adjustment of management measures. In accordance with the framework procedures of the FMP for Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources, the RA may establish or modify, and the applicable council is required to approve, the following items specified in paragraph (a) of this section for coastal migratory pelagic fish. (Note: The applicable council refers to the council whose jurisdiction applies to the management measures.) (a) For a species or species group: Reporting and monitoring requirements, permitting requirements, bag and possession limits (including a bag limit of zero), size limits, vessel trip limits, closed seasons or areas and reopenings, acceptable biological catches (ABCs) and ABC control rules, annual catch limits (ACLs) and ACL control rules, accountability measures (AMs), annual catch targets (ACTs), quotas (including a quota of zero), MSY (or proxy), OY, management parameters such as overfished and overfishing definitions, gear restrictions (ranging from regulation to complete prohibition), gear markings and identification, vessel markings and identification, rebuilding plans, and restrictions relative to conditions of harvested fish (maintaining fish in whole condition, use as bait). (b) [Reserved] ■ 11. Appendix G to part 622 is added to read as follows: Appendix G to Part 622—Coastal Migratory Pelagics Zone Illustrations E:\FR\FM\31OCP1.SGM 31OCP1 64739 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Proposed Rules King Mackerel Migratory Group/Zone/Subzone Summer (April1 -October 31) 40'N Gulf/Atlantic Group Boundary t:Z2l Eastern Zone Northern Zone 35'N N A 100 85'W 200 300 Miles 400 500 7'W 80'W Figure 1 of Appendix G to Part 622--King Mackerel (Summer) 95'W 90'W 85'W King Mackerel Migratory Group/Zone/Subzone Winter (November 1 - March 31) 40'N Gulf/Atlantic Group Boundary t:Z2l Eastern Zone Zone 35'N 30'N N A 95'W 90'W 85'W 80'W Figure 2 of Appendix G to Part 622 VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4702 100 200 300 Miles 25'N 400 500 75'W King Mackerel (Winter) Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\31OCP1.SGM 31OCP1 EP31OC14.068</GPH> EP31OC14.069</GPH> asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 0 64740 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Proposed Rules 95'W 85'W Spanish Mackerel Migratory Group/Zone 40'N 40'N Gulf/Atlantic Group Boundary 35'N N A 0 90'W 100 200 300 Miles 25'N 400 500 85'W Figure 3 of Appendix G to Part 622 95'W Spanish Mackerel 85'W Cobia Migratory Group/Zone k2ZJ Florida East Coast Zone Gulf/Atlantic Group Boundary 35'N N A 100 200 300 Miles 25'N 400 500 95'W Figure 4 of Appendix G to Part 622 Cobia [FR Doc. 2014–25855 Filed 10–30–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\31OCP1.SGM 31OCP1 EP31OC14.070</GPH> EP31OC14.071</GPH> asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 0

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 211 (Friday, October 31, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 64728-64740]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-25855]



[[Page 64728]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 131211999-4854-01]
RIN 0648-BD86


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic 
Region; Amendment 20B

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS proposes regulations to implement Amendment 20B to the 
Fishery Management Plan for the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources 
(CMP) in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Gulf of Mexico and 
Atlantic Region (FMP) (Amendment 20B), as prepared and submitted by the 
Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils 
(Councils). If implemented, Amendment 20B and this proposed rule would 
modify Gulf migratory group king mackerel trip limits and fishing 
years, allow transit through areas closed to king mackerel fishing, 
create zones and quotas for Atlantic migratory group king and Spanish 
mackerel, modify the framework procedures for the FMP, increase annual 
catch limits (ACLs) for cobia, and create an east coast zone and quotas 
for Gulf migratory group cobia. In addition, this rule proposes to 
reorganize the description of CMP zones in the regulations and clarify 
that spearguns and powerheads are allowable gear for cobia in Federal 
waters of the South Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic regions. The purpose of 
this rule is to help achieve optimum yield (OY) for the CMP fishery 
while ensuring allocations are fair and equitable and fishery resources 
are utilized efficiently.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before December 1, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by 
``NOAA-NMFS-2013-0176'' 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-2013-0176, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Susan Gerhart, Southeast 
Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
    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). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in 
Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Electronic copies of Amendment 20B, which includes an environmental 
assessment, a Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, and a regulatory 
impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web 
site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_sa/cmp/index.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Gerhart, telephone: 727-824-
5305, or email: Susan.Gerhart@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The CMP fishery in the Gulf and Atlantic is 
managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Councils and 
implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority 
of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
(Magnuson-Stevens Act).

Background

    The current management regime for CMP species (king mackerel, 
Spanish mackerel, and cobia) includes two migratory groups for each 
species, the Gulf migratory group and the Atlantic migratory group. 
Each migratory group is managed separately. Amendment 20B and this rule 
propose changes and additions to fishing regulations for each migratory 
group to allow for more targeted management of CMP species.

Management Measures Contained in Amendment 20B and This Proposed Rule

    Amendment 20B and this rule would modify Gulf migratory group king 
mackerel trip limits and fishing years, allow transit through areas 
closed to king mackerel fishing, create zones and quotas for Atlantic 
migratory group king and Spanish mackerel, modify the framework 
procedures for the FMP, increase ACLs for cobia, and create an east 
coast zone and quotas for Gulf migratory group cobia. The purpose of 
this rule is to help achieve OY for the CMP fishery while ensuring 
allocations are fair and equitable and fishery resources are utilized 
efficiently.

Gulf Migratory Group King Mackerel Commercial Hook-and-Line Trip Limits

    The Gulf eastern zone's Florida west coast subzone is comprised of 
two subzones, northern and southern. Currently, from July 1, each 
fishing year, until 75 percent of the respective northern or southern 
subzone's hook-and-line gear king mackerel quota has been harvested, 
the commercial trip limit is 1,250 lb (567 kg) per day. From the date 
that 75 percent of the respective northern or southern subzone's hook-
and-line gear quota has been harvested, the trip limit is reduced to 
500 lb (227 kg) per day. This trip limit would remain in effect for a 
subzone until that subzone's quota is reached or projected to be 
reached and that subzone is closed by Federal Register notice. This 
rule proposes to remove the trip limit reduction, which would allow the 
harvest of 1,250 lb (567 kg) per day until the quota for the subzone 
has been met or projected to be met and the respective subzone is 
closed to king mackerel harvest. Originally, the trip limit reductions 
were intended to extend the fishing seasons; however, NMFS has not 
always been able to implement the reductions in a timely manner before 
the entire quota is landed. Also, many vessels cannot make a profit 
when the trip limit is reduced to 500 lb (227 kg), so the extended 
season did not benefit them.
    The western zone hook-and-line trip limit remains 3,000 lb (1,361 
kg) per day until the western zone's quota has been harvested and the 
zone is closed to king mackerel harvest.

Gulf Migratory Group Eastern Zone Northern and Southern Subzone King 
Mackerel Fishing Years

    Currently the Florida west coast northern subzone fishing year 
begins July 1 and ends on June 30, or when the quota is reached or 
projected to be reached. This rule proposes to change the Florida west 
coast northern subzone fishing year to October 1 through September 30. 
Some fishers have indicated that a later opening would allow them to 
harvest king mackerel more efficiently because fish are present in 
larger numbers closer to shore in the

[[Page 64729]]

fall, as opposed to the summer. They also claim that fish can be kept 
in better condition due to cooler weather. A later opening might also 
discourage movement of fishers from the Atlantic coast of Florida into 
the Florida Panhandle, as has been the case for several years. Such a 
change could extend the fishing season. Because the Councils did not 
select a preferred alternative for the southern subzone, the fishing 
year in that zone will remain July through June.

Transit Through Areas Closed to King Mackerel

    Currently, persons who fish with a commercial vessel permit for 
king mackerel may not fish for or possess king mackerel in a closed 
zone. This rule proposes to allow a vessel with a valid commercial 
vessel permit for king mackerel that has onboard king mackerel 
harvested in an open area of the EEZ to transit through areas closed to 
the harvest of king mackerel due to a quota closure, if fishing gear is 
appropriately stowed. For the purpose of this provision, transit means 
a direct and non-stop continuous course through the area. Fishing gear 
appropriately stowed means that: (1) A gillnet must be left on the drum 
(any additional gillnets not attached to the drum must be stowed below 
deck), (2) a rod and reel must be removed from the rod holder and 
stowed securely on or below deck, (3) terminal gear (i.e., hook, 
leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) must be disconnected and stowed 
separately from the rod and reel, and (4) sinkers must be disconnected 
from the down rigger and stowed separately.
    Many fishermen live and work near a boundary between two zones, and 
may wish to fish in one zone, but land in another. When the fisherman's 
home port is located in a closed zone, the fisherman must travel to 
another port within the open zone to land their catch. This transit 
provision would allow fishermen to operate their businesses more 
economically, and would promote greater safety at sea through decreased 
transit times.

Atlantic Migratory Group King and Spanish Mackerel Zones

    Currently, one commercial quota applies to Atlantic migratory group 
king mackerel and one commercial quota applies to Atlantic migratory 
group Spanish mackerel. This rule proposes to create northern and 
southern zones for Atlantic migratory group king and Spanish mackerel, 
each with separate commercial quotas. The South Atlantic Council 
expressed concern that the commercial quota for king mackerel could be 
harvested by fishermen in one state before fish migrate to another 
state. The boundary between the zones would be a line extending from 
the South Carolina/North Carolina state line. The commercial ACL would 
be split between the zones based on landings from the 2002/2003-2011/
2012 fishing years. The northern zone allocation would be calculated 
using combined commercial landings from North Carolina, Virginia, 
Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. The 
southern zone allocation would be calculated using combined commercial 
landings from South Carolina, Georgia, the Florida east coast, and 
Florida Keys on the Atlantic side.
    For king mackerel, applying this formula results in an allocation 
of 33.3 percent for the northern zone and 66.7 percent for the southern 
zone. For Spanish mackerel, the formula results in an allocation of 
19.9 percent for the northern zone and 80.1 percent for the southern 
zone. NMFS would monitor the commercial quotas, and close Federal 
waters in each zone when the respective quota is reached or projected 
to be reached. Transfer of quota between zones would be allowed through 
a request to NMFS initiated by either North Carolina (northern Zone) or 
Florida (southern Zone). The recreational ACLs for Atlantic migratory 
group king and Spanish mackerel will remain unchanged.

Modifications to the FMP Framework Procedures

    Currently, any changes to acceptable biological catches (ABCs) and 
ABC control rules, ACLs and ACL control rules, and accountability 
measures must be established through a plan amendment. This rule 
proposes changes that would allow modification to these management 
measures under the standard documentation process of the open framework 
procedure. Adding the items described above to the framework procedure 
would be consistent with the frameworks of other South Atlantic and 
Gulf of Mexico FMPs and would expedite changes needed after a new stock 
assessment. The standard open framework procedure involves the 
development of a framework amendment, with appropriate environmental 
analyses, which receives Council review and public comment. This rule 
also proposes to modify the framework procedures to the FMP to 
designate responsibility to each council (Gulf or South Atlantic) for 
setting specified management measures for the migratory groups of each 
species. This change will allow the appropriate Council to establish or 
modify the specified management measures without approval from the 
other council.
    Additionally, ``sale and purchase restrictions'' and ``transfer at 
sea provisions'' were previously erroneously included in the final rule 
implementing Amendment 18 to the FMP for modifications that are allowed 
through the framework process (76 FR 82058, December 29, 2011). Thus, 
NMFS proposes to remove these two items from the list in Sec.  622.389.

Cobia Zones, ACLs, and Annual Catch Targets (ACTs)

    This rule also proposes to address the results of the most recent 
stock assessment for Gulf and South Atlantic cobia. In Amendment 18 to 
the FMP, the Councils established separate migratory groups of cobia 
using the Councils' boundary in Monroe County. However, the 
determination in the most recent stock assessment is that the 
biological boundary should be at the Florida/Georgia line. The stock 
assessment results define Georgia north through the Mid-Atlantic area 
for the Atlantic migratory group, and the entire east coast of Florida 
through Texas for the Gulf migratory group. To adjust for this 
difference between the Councils' jurisdictional areas for cobia and the 
areas used by the stock assessment, Gulf migratory group cobia would be 
divided into a Gulf zone (Texas through the Gulf side of the Florida 
Keys) and a Florida east coast zone (east coast of Florida and Atlantic 
side of the Florida Keys, i.e., the area within the South Atlantic 
Council's jurisdiction). The Gulf ACL would be allocated between the 
zones based on landings from the 1998-2012 fishing years. The South 
Atlantic Council would be responsible for regulations for the Florida 
east coast zone, similar to management of the Florida east coast 
subzone for king mackerel. The Councils and NMFS have determined 
allocating cobia between these zones would result in a fair and 
equitable distribution of the resource. This rule also proposes 
increases in the ACLs for both migratory groups, the recreational ACT 
for the Atlantic migratory group, and the stock ACT for the Gulf zone.

Additional Management Measures Contained in This Proposed Rule

    This rule proposes to reorganize the description of the CMP zones 
and subzones so they are all contained in one place in the regulations 
and are easier for the public to find and understand (see the addition 
of Sec.  622.369 in the codified text below). Currently, the zone 
descriptions are

[[Page 64730]]

found in multiple locations in the regulations, and NMFS determined 
that consolidating these descriptions would be useful. Additionally, 
NMFS proposes to include figures of these zones in the regulations to 
provide visual guides for the descriptions of these zones (see Appendix 
G to part 622 in the codified text below).
    In addition, this rule would clarify that spearguns and powerheads 
are allowable gear for cobia in Federal waters of the South Atlantic 
and Mid-Atlantic regions. In 1998, the Councils approved Amendment 8 to 
the FMP, which included lists of allowable gear for each CMP species by 
Council jurisdictional area. The implementing regulations for Atlantic 
cobia listed automatic reel, bandit gear, handline, rod and reel, and 
pelagic longline as allowable gear in the directed fishery. 
Unauthorized gear (with the exception of some gillnets) was subject to 
the possession limit for cobia (2 fish per person per day). The final 
rule implementing Amendment 8 clarified that spearguns and powerheads 
would be allowed for take of cobia under the 2-fish possession limit.
    In 2002, FWC enforcement questioned the use of this gear based on 
the regulations. During its June 2002 meeting, the South Atlantic 
Council discussed its intent to allow this gear for cobia. NMFS 
released a Southeast Fishery Bulletin in July of that year clarifying 
that spearguns and powerheads are allowable gear for cobia, and that 
the regulations would be revised to more clearly express that 
determination. However, the regulations were not modified at that time. 
In 2013, FWC enforcement again asked NMFS to clarify this issue. Based 
on the history mentioned above, NMFS is now proposing to update the 
regulations to clarify that spearguns and powerheads are allowable gear 
for cobia in Federal waters of the South Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic 
regions.

CMP Framework Amendment 1

    The Councils developed Framework Amendment 1 to the FMP, which 
would, in part, increase the ACLs for Atlantic migratory group Spanish 
mackerel, based on the results of the most recent stock assessments for 
Atlantic and Gulf migratory group Spanish mackerel. A proposed rule for 
Framework Amendment 1 published on July 31, 2014 (79 FR 44369) and the 
comment period ended on September 2, 2014. Implementation of the 
increased ACL for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel through the 
final rule for Framework Amendment 1 would increase the ACL for 
Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel. Therefore, if a final rule 
implementing Framework Amendment 1 is published before this rule 
becomes effective, the values for the northern and southern zone quotas 
for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel contained in this 
proposed rule for Amendment 20B would increase in the final rule.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is 
consistent with Amendment 20B, the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act and 
other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public 
comment.
    This proposed rule has 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 Small Business 
Administration (SBA) that this proposed rule, if implemented, would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The factual basis for this determination is as follows:
    The objective of the proposed actions is to achieve OY while 
ensuring allocations are fair and equitable and fishery resources are 
utilized efficiently. The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the statutory 
basis for this proposed rule.
    This proposed rule, if implemented, would be expected to directly 
affect all commercial and for-hire fishing vessels that harvest CMP 
species managed in the Gulf and Atlantic regions. A Federal commercial 
permit is required to harvest king mackerel or Spanish mackerel in the 
Gulf or Atlantic EEZ in excess of the bag limit and to sell these 
species. On November 7, 2013, 1,479 vessels possessed a valid (non-
expired) or renewable commercial king mackerel permit, and 1,813 
vessels possessed a valid commercial Spanish mackerel permit. A 
renewable permit is an expired permit that may not be actively fished, 
but is renewable for up to 1 year after expiration. Because the Federal 
commercial Spanish mackerel permit is an open access permit, expired 
permits are not renewed; if a permit expires before renewal, a new 
permit will be issued (if applied for) instead of renewal of the 
expired permit. A Federal commercial permit is not required to harvest 
cobia. However, over the period 2008-2012, an average of 432 commercial 
vessels harvested cobia in the Atlantic and 266 commercial vessels 
harvested cobia in the Gulf each year. Many vessels possess both the 
king mackerel and Spanish mackerel permits and harvest each of the 
three CMP species. As a result, many, if not most, of the vessels 
harvesting cobia are expected to be included in the counts of vessels 
having the individual king or Spanish mackerel commercial permits. The 
number of unique vessels across all three species is unknown. The 
estimated average annual gross revenue from all fishing activity by 
commercial vessels in these fleets ranges from an average of 
approximately $31,000 (2011 dollars) for vessels with recorded harvests 
of Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel to approximately $114,000 
(2011 dollars) for vessels with recorded harvests of Gulf migratory 
group cobia. The average annual gross revenue by vessels with recorded 
harvests of the other species encompassed by this proposed rule falls 
within this range.
    A Federal for-hire (charter/headboat) vessel permit is required for 
for-hire vessels to harvest CMP species in the Gulf or Atlantic EEZ. On 
November 7, 2013, 1,360 vessels had a valid or renewable Federal Gulf 
for-hire CMP permit and 1,427 vessels had a valid Federal Atlantic for-
hire CMP permit. Similar to the Spanish mackerel commercial permit, the 
Atlantic for-hire CMP permit is an open access permit and expired 
permits are not renewed. The Gulf for-hire permit is limited access. 
The for-hire fleet is comprised of charterboats, which charge a fee on 
a vessel basis, and headboats, which charge a fee on an individual 
angler (head) basis. Although the for-hire permit application collects 
information on the primary method of operation, the resultant permit 
itself does not identify the permitted vessel as either a headboat or a 
charter vessel, operation as either a headboat or charter vessel is not 
restricted by the permitting regulations, and vessels may operate in 
both capacities. However, only federally permitted headboats are 
required to submit harvest and effort information to NMFS Southeast 
Region Headboat Survey (HBS). Participation in the HBS is based on 
determination by the Southeast Fisheries Science Center that the vessel 
primarily operates as a headboat. On March 1, 2013, the HBS included 70 
vessels in the Gulf and 75 vessels in the Atlantic. As a result, 1,290 
of the vessels with a valid or renewable Gulf for-hire CMP permit and 
1,400 of the vessels with a valid Atlantic for-hire CMP permit are 
expected to primarily operate as charterboats. In the Gulf, the average 
charterboat is estimated to earn approximately $80,000 (2011 dollars) 
in annual revenue and the average headboat is estimated to earn

[[Page 64731]]

approximately $242,000. For the Atlantic, the comparable estimates are 
approximately $111,000 (2011 dollars) and $197,000 for charterboats and 
headboats, respectively.
    NMFS has not identified any other small entities that would be 
expected to be directly affected by this proposed rule.
    The SBA has established size criteria for all major industry 
sectors in the U.S., including fish harvesters. A business involved in 
fish harvesting is classified as a small business if it is 
independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of 
operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts 
not in excess of $19.0 million (NAICS code 114111, finfish fishing) for 
all its affiliated operations worldwide. The receipts threshold for a 
business involved in the for-hire fishing industry is $7.0 million 
(NAICS code 487210, fishing boat charter operation). Because the 
average annual revenue estimates provided above are significantly less 
than the SBA revenue thresholds for the appropriate sectors, all 
commercial and for-hire vessels expected to be directly affected by 
this proposed rule are believed to be small business entities.
    This proposed rule would not require any new reporting, record-
keeping, or other compliance requirements associated with reporting or 
record-keeping that may require professional skills.
    This proposed rule contains seven separate actions. The first 
action would eliminate the commercial trip limit reduction provisions 
that are currently required in two Gulf subzones when 75 percent of the 
subzone quota is harvested. Trip limit reductions are intended to 
extend the time before the quota is harvested and, because quota 
monitoring is not instantaneous, reduce the likelihood and amount of 
quota overages. However, trip limit reductions lower the profitability 
of trips, as fewer pounds can be harvested. Even when other species can 
be substituted, which may not routinely be possible, trip profits would 
be expected to decline when trip limit reductions are imposed; 
otherwise fishermen would have shifted to more profitable species or 
fishing practices in the absence of the trip limit reductions. In the 
case of Gulf migratory group king mackerel, the reduced trip revenue 
and profits under the current trip limit reductions are believed to 
exceed the economic benefits associated with prolonging the season or 
addressing quota issues. As a result, the proposed elimination of the 
commercial trip limit reduction for Gulf migratory group king mackerel 
in the two subzones would be expected to result in increased revenue 
and profits to affected entities.
    The second action would change the fishing year for the Gulf group 
king mackerel eastern zone northern subzone to begin October 1. This 
proposed action would be expected to affect commercial vessels that 
harvest king mackerel. The economic effects of these proposed changes 
on these small entities are unknown. Participation and financial 
success in king mackerel commercial fishing is affected by the 
migratory behavior of the species, regional quotas, transient and part-
time participation by fishermen that homeport in each respective zone 
or travel from ports in other zones, and the ability to participate in 
other fisheries. Although king mackerel may be present throughout the 
Gulf year-round, migration patterns cause stock densities in a given 
area to vary independent of fishing pressure. Regional quotas result in 
zone and subzone closures when quotas are met, although king mackerel 
remain present and stock densities may remain high. Many fishermen 
travel throughout the Gulf to take advantage of migratory stock pulses 
(surges in the stock in an area because fish have migrated into that 
area) or in reaction to fishing restrictions, such as a king mackerel 
quota closure or restriction on alternative species, near their 
homeport. Other fishermen may harvest king mackerel on a part-time 
basis, which can cause wide fluctuation in the amount of fishing effort 
applied. Finally, some fishermen possess permits to participate in 
other fisheries, as a commercial or for-hire vessel, while other 
fishermen do not have these permits and, as a result, have more limited 
options.
    These factors have contributed to the current distribution of 
fishing effort, harvest patterns, dockside prices, closure patterns, 
and potentially variable year-to-year financial success of individual 
businesses and the commercial king mackerel fleet as a whole. Changing 
the fishing year in the northern subzone would be expected to alter 
these patterns, improving the economic situation for some fishermen, 
but worsening the situation for others. Identifying the entities that 
would be expected to financially gain, lose, or not be affected as a 
result of changing the fishing year, as well as quantifying the 
respective changes, is not possible because of the complexity of the 
situation, the wide range of potential outcomes, and the absence of 
definitive information on how fishermen may change their fishing 
patterns. However, supporting comments provided by the industry during 
the amendment development process suggest the proposed change would be 
economically beneficial because it would allow dually permitted vessels 
(vessels that possess a commercial permit and a charter/headboat 
permit) to commercially harvest king mackerel during a period when 
charter activity typically declines. This commercial activity by these 
vessels could not occur in the absence of this proposed action because 
the quota has normally already been harvested by October.
    The third action would allow vessels with king mackerel legally 
harvested in open areas of the EEZ to travel through areas closed to 
king mackerel fishing if the transit is continuous and fishing gear is 
stowed. This proposed action would be expected to result in an 
unquantifiable increase in economic benefits to commercial fishermen by 
allowing greater flexibility in port selection and a reduction in 
travel costs.
    Although separate actions, the fourth and fifth actions are similar 
because they would establish northern and southern zones for Atlantic 
migratory group king mackerel and Atlantic migratory group Spanish 
mackerel, establish quotas for each zone, and allow transfer of quota 
between zones. The proposed action for Atlantic migratory group king 
mackerel would not be expected to have a significant adverse economic 
effect on commercial fishing businesses. The proposed northern zone 
quota, 1,292,988 lb (586,489 kg), would be higher than the average 
landings in this zone during the 3 most recent fishing years for which 
final data are available, 2009-2010 through 2011-2012, by approximately 
790,000 lb (358,338 kg). As a result, if the proposed northern zone 
quota is harvested, commercial fishermen in this zone who harvest king 
mackerel would be expected to increase their vessel revenue by 
approximately $6,300 (2011 dollars) per vessel (270 vessels), or 
approximately 17.9 percent of the average annual gross revenue per 
vessel (approximately $35,100 for vessels operating in either the 
northern or southern zone; average annual revenue estimates per zone 
are not available). For the southern zone, the proposed quota, 
2,587,012 lb (1,173,449 kg), would be approximately 83,000 lb (37,648 
kg) higher than the average landings for the three most recent fishing 
years. As a result, if the quota in the southern zone is harvested, the 
commercial fishermen who harvest king mackerel in this zone would be 
expected to increase their vessel revenue by approximately $211 (2011 
dollars) per vessel (846 vessels), or

[[Page 64732]]

approximately 0.6 percent of the average annual gross revenue per 
vessel.
    The total Atlantic migratory group king mackerel quota, 3.71 
million lb (1.68 million kg), has not been harvested since before the 
2002-2003 fishing year. However, and the average amount of unharvested 
quota per fishing year during this period has been approximately 29 
percent of the quota. This circumstance drives the outcome, as 
described in the previous paragraph, that fishermen in both zones can 
experience an increase in revenue under the proposed quotas if the 
quotas are harvested, rather than fishermen in one zone gaining at the 
expense of fishermen in the other zone. However, because this result 
depends on the quota being completely harvested, which would be an 
anomaly, the full projected increases in revenue may not occur. 
Further, for the southern zone, although an increase in revenue is 
forecast based on the average harvest for the most recent three fishing 
years (and would increase to approximately $2,000 per vessel, or 
approximately 6 percent of the average annual revenue if compared to 
average annual harvest from the 2002-2003 through 2011-2012 fishing 
years, which represent the most recent 9 fishing years for which final 
data are available), harvest in the 2009-2010 (approximately 2.776 
million lb (1.259 million kg)) and 2010-2011 (approximately 3.113 
million lb (1.412 million kg)) fishing years exceeded the proposed 
quota for the southern zone. The net increase in revenue relative to 
the three-year period previously discussed (2009-2010 through 2011-
2012) is an artifact of the decline in harvest in the 2011-2012 fishing 
year (to approximately 1.623 million lb (0.736 million kg)). The king 
mackerel harvest in 2011-2012 was more similar to the average harvest 
over the 2002-2003 through 2011-2012 fishing years, approximately 1.787 
million lb (0.811 million kg). As a result, the proposed southern zone 
king mackerel quota may result in a decline in revenue for some 
fishermen if fishing conditions in coming years more closely mirror 
those of 2009-2010 or 2010-2011 than either the most recent 3-year 
average, the longer 9-year average, or other fishing years when lower 
harvests occurred. Compared to the average harvest of the 2009-2010 and 
2010-2011 fishing years, the proposed southern zone king mackerel quota 
would be expected to reduce the revenue per commercial vessel by 
approximately $900 per vessel, or approximately 2.6 percent of the 
average annual gross revenue per vessel.
    For Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel, the proposed 
northern and southern zone quotas would be expected to have minor to no 
economic effects on the revenue of commercial vessels. The proposed 
quotas equal the average distribution of Spanish mackerel harvest 
across the northern and southern zones over the 2002-2003 through 2011-
2012 fishing years. As a result, if harvest patterns in future years 
are consistent with the prior average harvest, no economic effects 
would be expected to occur. If future Spanish mackerel harvests without 
the proposed zone quotas follow the more recent 2009-2010 through 2011-
2012 harvest patterns, then the proposed northern zone quota would be 
expected to result in a minor reduction in revenue per vessel (300 
vessels), of approximately $173 (2011 dollars), or approximately 0.6 
percent of the average annual gross revenue per vessel ($31,000 for 
vessels operating in either the northern or southern zone; average 
annual revenue estimates per zone are not available). For vessels in 
the southern zone, the proposed quota would be expected to result in a 
minor increase in average revenue per vessel (1,251 vessels), of 
approximately $41, or approximately 0.1 percent of the average annual 
gross revenue per vessel.
    The sixth action would expand the range of actions that could be 
modified through a streamlined framework procedure instead of the plan 
amendment process. This proposed action would also designate Council 
responsibility for setting regulations for the migratory groups of each 
species. Collectively, these changes would be expected to allow 
regulatory changes to occur in a more timely and efficient manner. 
Although future regulatory changes may have direct adverse economic 
consequences, this proposed action would not make any regulatory 
changes but would, rather, simply change the administrative environment 
to allow these changes to be made in the future. As a result, this 
action would not be expected to have any direct economic effect on any 
small entities.
    The seventh action would modify the Gulf and Atlantic migratory 
group cobia ACLs and ACTs. For the commercial sector, the proposed 
changes would be expected to increase the total ex-vessel revenue 
received by all vessels in the Atlantic zone by approximately $31,000 
(2011 dollars), reduce total ex-vessel revenue by approximately $56,000 
(2011 dollars) across all commercial vessels in the Florida east coast 
zone, and not have any effect on the ex-vessel revenue for vessels in 
the Gulf. For the Atlantic and Florida east coast zones, the net 
reduction in ex-vessel revenue for all vessels is expected to be 
approximately $25,000. The total expected reduction in ex-vessel 
revenue would equate to approximately $58 per vessel (432 vessels), or 
approximately 0.1 percent of the average annual gross revenue for these 
vessels ($41,600; 2011 dollars). For the recreational sector, the 
proposed changes would be expected to increase the total net operating 
revenue (NOR; NOR equals revenue minus non-labor operating expenses) 
received by all for-hire vessels in the Florida east coast zone by 
approximately $118,000 (2011 dollars), reduce the total NOR received by 
all for-hire vessels in the Atlantic zone by approximately $3,000 (2011 
dollars), and not have any direct economic effect on for-hire vessels 
in the Gulf. The net expected increase in NOR for the for-hire vessels 
in the Atlantic and Florida east coast zones would be approximately 
$115,000 (2011 dollars), spread across all vessels. This increase is 
expected to all accrue to charterboats. Additional increases in NOR may 
accrue to headboats that operate in the Atlantic. However, the 
estimated changes in NOR are calculated based on expected increases in 
fishermen target trips, and target information is not collected from 
headboat fishermen. As a result, an estimate of the expected increase 
in NOR to Atlantic headboats is not available. The expected increase in 
NOR to charterboats would equate to approximately $80 per vessel (1,400 
vessels), or a minor increase relative to average annual revenue 
($111,000). The proposed changes in the ACLs and ACTs would not be 
expected to have any direct economic effect on any small entities in 
the Gulf because, although the new harvest limits would be higher than 
current limits, fishermen in the Gulf have not harvested the current 
lower harvest limit. As a result, the proposed changes for the Gulf 
migratory group would not be expected to result in increased harvest or 
associated revenue in the near term. However, the proposed changes in 
the ACLs and ACTs for the Gulf migratory group would allow an increase 
in ex-vessel revenue and profit to small business fishing entities in 
the Gulf if fishing behavior and harvest patterns change.
    Finally, this rule proposes two administrative changes. First, this 
rule proposes to reorganize the description of CMP zones in the 
regulations so they are easier for the public to find and understand. 
Second, this rule proposes to clarify that spearguns and powerheads are 
allowable gear for cobia in Federal waters of the South Atlantic

[[Page 64733]]

and Mid-Atlantic regions. Because these are administrative changes, 
neither change would be expected to have any direct economic effect on 
any small business entities.
    In summary, most of the actions in this proposed rule, if 
implemented, would be expected to either have no direct economic effect 
on any small business entities or result in an increase in economic 
benefits. The two proposed actions that would be expected to adversely 
impact small entities would only be expected to result in minor 
reductions in revenue. As a result, this proposed rule, if implemented, 
would not be expected to have a significant economic effect on a 
substantial number of small entities. As a result, an initial 
regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been 
prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Atlantic, Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources, Cobia, Fisheries, 
Fishing, Gulf, King mackerel, Spanish mackerel.

    Dated: October 24, 2014.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 622--FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH 
ATLANTIC

0
1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows:

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

0
2. In Sec.  622.2, the definition of migratory group is revised to read 
as follows:


Sec.  622.2  Definitions and acronyms.

* * * * *
    Migratory group, for king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia, 
means a group of fish that may or may not be a separate genetic stock, 
but that is treated as a separate stock for management purposes. King 
mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia are divided into migratory 
groups--the boundaries between these groups are specified in Sec.  
622.369.
* * * * *
0
3. In Sec.  622.7, paragraph (b)(1) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  622.7  Fishing years.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) Gulf migratory group king mackerel--(i) Eastern Zone--July 1 
through June 30, except the northern subzone of the Florida west coast 
subzone, which has a fishing year of October 1 through September 30.
    (ii) Western Zone--July 1 through June 30.
* * * * *
0
4. Add Sec.  622.369 to subpart Q to read as follows:


Sec.  622.369  Description of zones and subzones.

    (a) Migratory groups of king mackerel. In the EEZ, king mackerel 
are divided into the Gulf migratory group and the Atlantic migratory 
group. The Gulf migratory group is bound by a line extending east of 
the U.S./Mexico border and the summer/winter jurisdictional boundary. 
The Atlantic migratory group is bound by the summer/winter 
jurisdictional boundary and a line from the intersection point of 
Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York (as described in Sec.  
600.105(a) of this chapter). From April 1 through October 31, the 
summer jurisdictional boundary separates the Gulf and Atlantic 
migratory groups of king mackerel by a line extending due west from the 
Monroe/Collier County, FL, boundary. From November 1 through March 31, 
the winter jurisdictional boundary separates the Gulf and Atlantic 
migratory groups of king mackerel by a line extending due east from the 
Volusia/Flagler County, FL, boundary. See Table 1 of this section for 
the boundary coordinates. See Figures 1 and 2 in Appendix G of this 
part for illustration.
    (1) Gulf migratory group. The Gulf migratory group is divided into 
western and eastern zones separated by a line extending due south from 
the Alabama/Florida border. See Table 1 of this section for the 
boundary coordinates. See Figures 1 and 2 in Appendix G of this part 
for illustration.
    (i) Western zone. The western zone encompasses an area of the EEZ 
north of a line extending east of the US/Mexico border, and west of a 
line extending due south of the Alabama/Florida border, including the 
EEZ off Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. This zone remains 
the same year round.
    (ii) Eastern zone. The eastern zone is divided into the Florida 
west coast subzone and the Florida east coast subzone.
    (A) Florida west coast subzone. The Florida west coast subzone is 
further divided into the northern and southern subzones by a line 
extending due west from the Lee/Collier County, FL, boundary.
    (1) Northern subzone. The northern subzone encompasses an area of 
the EEZ east of a line extending due south of the Florida/Alabama 
border, and north of a line extending due west of the Lee/Collier 
County, FL, boundary, and remains the same area year round.
    (2) Southern subzone. From November 1 through March 31, the 
southern subzone encompasses an area of the EEZ south of a line 
extending due west of the Lee/Collier County, FL, boundary on the 
Florida west coast, and south of a line extending due east of the 
Monroe/Miami-Dade County, FL, boundary on the Florida east coast, which 
includes the EEZ off Collier and Monroe Counties, FL. From April 1 
through October 31, the southern subzone is reduced to the EEZ off 
Collier County, and the EEZ off Monroe County becomes part of the 
Atlantic migratory group area.
    (B) Florida east coast subzone. From November 1 through March 31, 
the Florida east coast subzone encompasses an area of the EEZ south of 
a line extending due east of the Flagler/Volusia County, FL, boundary, 
and north of a line extending due east of the Miami-Dade/Monroe County, 
FL, boundary. From April 1 through October 31, the Florida east coast 
subzone is not part of the Gulf migratory group king mackerel area; it 
is part of the Atlantic migratory group king mackerel area.
    (2) Atlantic migratory group. The Atlantic migratory group is 
divided into the northern and southern zones separated by a line 
extending from the North Carolina/South Carolina border, as specified 
in Sec.  622.2. See Table 1 of this section for the boundary 
coordinates. See Figures 1 and 2 in Appendix G of this part for 
illustration. See Sec.  622.385(a)(1) for a description of the areas 
for Atlantic migratory group king mackerel commercial trip limits.
    (i) Northern zone. The northern zone encompasses an area of the EEZ 
south of a line extending from the intersection point of New York, 
Connecticut, and Rhode Island (as described in Sec.  600.105(a) of this 
chapter), and north of a line extending from the North Carolina/South 
Carolina border, as specified in Sec.  622.2, including the EEZ off 
each state from North Carolina to New York. This zone remains the same 
year round.
    (ii) Southern zone. From April 1 through October 31, the southern 
zone encompasses an area of the EEZ south of a line extending from the 
North Carolina/South Carolina border, as specified in Sec.  622.2, and 
south of a line extending due west of the Lee/Collier County, FL, 
boundary. From November 1 through March 31, the southern zone 
encompasses an area of the EEZ south

[[Page 64734]]

of a line extending from the North Carolina/South Carolina border, as 
specified in Sec.  622.2, and north of a line extending due east of the 
Flagler/Volusia County, FL, boundary.

                          Table 1 to Sec.   622.369--King Mackerel Description of Zones
                       [For illustration, see Figures 1 and 2 in Appendix G of this part]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                   Boundary 2
                 Area                         Boundary 1       -------------------------------------------------
                                                                         Summer                   Winter
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gulf Migratory Group--Western Zone...  U.S./Mexico A line east             AL/FL 87[deg]31'6'' W long.
                                        of the intersection of
                                        25[deg]58'30.57'' N
                                        lat. and
                                        96[deg]55'27.37'' W
                                        long.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gulf Migratory Group--Eastern Zone:    AL/FL 87[deg]31'6'' W           Lee/Collier, 26[deg]19'48'' N lat.
 Florida West Coast Northern Subzone.   long.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gulf Migratory Group--Eastern Zone:    Lee/Collier              Collier/Monroe           Monroe/Miami-Dade,
 Florida West Coast Southern Subzone.   26[deg]19'48'' N lat.    25[deg]48' N lat.        25[deg]20'24'' N lat.
Gulf Migratory Group--Eastern Zone:    Monroe/Miami-Dade        NA.....................  Volusia/Flagler,
 Florida East Coast Subzone.            25[deg]20'24'' N lat.                             29[deg]25' N lat.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atlantic Migratory Group--Northern     NY/CT/RI,                    NC/SC, a line extending in a direction of
 Zone.                                  41[deg]18'16.249'' N       135[deg]34'55'' from true north beginning at
                                        lat. and                  33[deg]51'07.9'' N lat. and 78[deg]32'32.6'' W
                                        71[deg]54'28.477'' W         long. to the intersection point with the
                                        long. southeast to                 outward boundary of the EEZ.
                                        37[deg]22'32.75'' N
                                        lat. and the
                                        intersection point
                                        with the outward
                                        boundary of the EEZ.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atlantic Migratory Group--Southern     NC/SC, a line extending  Collier/Monroe,          Volusia/Flagler,
 Zone.                                  in a direction of        25[deg]48' N lat.        29[deg]25' N lat.
                                        135[deg]34'55'' from
                                        true north beginning
                                        at 33[deg]51'07.9'' N
                                        lat. and
                                        78[deg]32'32.6'' W
                                        long. to the
                                        intersection point
                                        with the outward
                                        boundary of the EEZ.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (b) Migratory groups of Spanish mackerel--(1) Gulf migratory group. 
In the EEZ, the Gulf migratory group is bounded by a line extending 
east of the US/Mexico border and a line extending due east of the 
Monroe/Miami-Dade County, FL, boundary. See Table 2 of this section for 
the boundary coordinates. See Figure 3 in Appendix G of this part for 
illustration.
    (2) Atlantic migratory group. In the EEZ, the Atlantic migratory 
group is bounded by a line extending due east of the Monroe/Miami-Dade 
County, FL, boundary and a line extending from the intersection point 
of New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island (as described in Sec.  
600.105(a) of this chapter). The Atlantic migratory group is divided 
into the northern and southern zones. See Table 2 of this section for 
the boundary coordinates. See Figure 3 in Appendix G of this part for 
illustration. See Sec.  622.385(b)(1) for a description of the areas 
for Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel commercial trip limits.
    (i) Northern zone. The northern zone encompasses an area of the EEZ 
south of a line extending from the intersection point of New York, 
Connecticut, and Rhode Island (as described in Sec.  600.105(a) of this 
chapter), and north of a line extending from the North Carolina/South 
Carolina border, as specified in Sec.  622.2, including the EEZ off 
each state from North Carolina to New York.
    (ii) Southern zone. The southern zone encompasses an area of the 
EEZ south of a line extending from the North Carolina/South Carolina 
border, as specified in Sec.  622.2, and north of a line extending due 
east of the Monroe/Miami-Dade County, FL, boundary, including the EEZ 
off South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

    Table 2 to Sec.   622.369--Spanish Mackerel Description of Zones
       [For illustration, see Figure 3 in Appendix G of this part]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Area                    Boundary 1          Boundary 2
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gulf Migratory Group............  US/Mexico A line    Monroe/Miami-Dade
                                   east of the         25[deg]20'24'' N
                                   intersection of     lat.
                                   25[deg]58'30.57''
                                   N lat. and
                                   96[deg]55'27.37''
                                   W long.
Atlantic Migratory Group--        NY/CT/RI,           NC/SC, a line
 Northern Zone.                    41[deg]18'16.249'   extending in a
                                   ' N lat. and        direction of
                                   71[deg]54'28.477'   135[deg]34'55''
                                   ' W long.           from true north
                                   southeast to        beginning at
                                   37[deg]22'32.75''   33[deg]51'07.9''
                                   N lat. and the      N lat. and
                                   intersection        78[deg]32'32.6''
                                   point with the      W long. to the
                                   outward boundary    intersection
                                   of the EEZ.         point with the
                                                       outward boundary
                                                       of the EEZ.
Atlantic Migratory Group--        NC/SC, a line       Monroe/Miami-Dade
 Southern Zone.                    extending in a      25[deg]20'24'' N
                                   direction of        lat.
                                   135[deg]34'55''
                                   from true north
                                   beginning at
                                   33[deg]51'07.9''
                                   N lat. and
                                   78[deg]32'32.6''
                                   W long. to the
                                   intersection
                                   point with the
                                   outward boundary
                                   of the EEZ.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 64735]]

    (c) Migratory groups of cobia--(1) Gulf migratory group. In the 
EEZ, the Gulf migratory group is bounded by a line extending east from 
the U.S./Mexico border and a line extending due east from the Florida/
Georgia border. See Table 3 of this section for the boundary 
coordinates. (See Figure 4 in Appendix G of this part for 
illustration.)
    (i) Gulf zone. The Gulf zone encompasses an area of the EEZ north 
of a line extending east of the U.S./Mexico border, and north and west 
of the line of demarcation between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of 
Mexico (the Council boundary, as described in Sec.  600.105(c) of this 
chapter).
    (ii) Florida east coast zone. The Florida east coast zone 
encompasses an area of the EEZ south and east of the line of 
demarcation between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico (as 
described in Sec.  600.105(c) of this chapter), and south of a line 
extending due east from the Florida/Georgia border.
    (2) Atlantic migratory group. In the EEZ, the Atlantic migratory 
group is bounded by a line extending from the intersection point of New 
York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island (as described in Sec.  600.105(a) 
of this chapter) and a line extending due east of the Florida/Georgia 
border. See Table 3 of this section for the boundary coordinates.

          Table 3 to Sec.   622.369--Cobia Description of Zones
       [For illustration, see Figure 4 in Appendix G of this part]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Area                    Boundary 1          Boundary 2
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gulf Migratory Group--Gulf Zone.  US/Mexico--A line   Council Boundary--
                                   east of the         the intersection
                                   intersection of     of the outer
                                   25[deg]58'30.57''   boundary of the
                                   N lat. and          EEZ and
                                   96[deg]55'27.37''   83[deg]00' W
                                   W long.             long., north to
                                                       24[deg]35' N
                                                       lat., (near the
                                                       Dry Tortugas
                                                       Islands), then
                                                       east to the
                                                       mainland.
Gulf Migratory Group--Florida     Council Boundary--  FL/GA,
 East Coast Zone.                  the intersection    30[deg]42'45.6''
                                   of the outer        N lat.
                                   boundary of the
                                   EEZ and
                                   83[deg]00' W
                                   long., north to
                                   24[deg]35' N
                                   lat., (near the
                                   Dry Tortugas
                                   Islands), then
                                   east to the
                                   mainland.
Atlantic Migratory Group........  NY/CT/RI,           FL/GA,
                                   41[deg]18'16.249'   30[deg]42'45.6''
                                   ' N lat. and        N lat.
                                   71[deg]54'28.477'
                                   ' W long.
                                   southeast to
                                   37[deg]22'32.75''
                                   N lat. and the
                                   intersection
                                   point with the
                                   outward boundary
                                   of the EEZ.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

0
5. In Sec.  622.375, paragraph (a) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  622.375  Authorized and unauthorized gear.

    (a) Authorized gear--(1) King and Spanish mackerel. Subject to the 
prohibitions on gear/methods specified in Sec.  622.9, the following 
are the only fishing gears that may be used in the Gulf, Mid-Atlantic, 
and South Atlantic EEZ in directed fisheries for king and Spanish 
mackerel:
    (i) King mackerel, Atlantic migratory group--
    (A) North of 34[deg]37.3' N. lat., the latitude of Cape Lookout 
Light, NC--all gear except drift gillnet and long gillnet.
    (B) South of 34[deg]37.3' N. lat.--automatic reel, bandit gear, 
handline, and rod and reel.
    (ii) King mackerel, Gulf migratory group--hook-and-line gear and, 
in the southern Florida west coast subzone only, run-around gillnet. 
(See Sec.  622.369(a)(1)(ii)(A)(2) for a description of the Florida 
west coast southern subzone.)
    (iii) Spanish mackerel, Atlantic migratory group--automatic reel, 
bandit gear, handline, rod and reel, cast net, run-around gillnet, and 
stab net.
    (iv) Spanish mackerel, Gulf migratory group--all gear except drift 
gillnet, long gillnet, and purse seine.
    (2) Cobia. Subject to the prohibitions on gear/methods specified in 
Sec.  622.9, the following are the only fishing gears that may be used 
in the Gulf, Mid-Atlantic, and South Atlantic EEZ for cobia.
    (i) Cobia in the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic EEZ--automatic 
reel, bandit gear, handline, rod and reel, pelagic longline, and spear 
(including powerheads).
    (ii) Cobia in the Gulf EEZ--all gear except drift gillnet and long 
gillnet.
* * * * *
0
6. Section 622.378 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  622.378  Area and seasonal closures.

    (a) Seasonal closures of the gillnet component for Gulf migratory 
group king mackerel. The gillnet component for Gulf group king mackerel 
in or from the Florida west coast southern subzone is closed each 
fishing year from July 1 until 6 a.m. on the day after the Martin 
Luther King Jr. Federal holiday. The gillnet component is open on the 
first weekend following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, provided a 
notification of closure has not been filed under Sec.  622.8(b). The 
gillnet component is closed all subsequent weekends and observed 
Federal holidays. Weekend closures are effective from 6 a.m. Saturday 
to 6 a.m. Monday. Holiday closures are effective from 6 a.m. on the 
observed Federal holiday to 6 a.m. the following day. All times are 
eastern standard time. During these closures, a person aboard a vessel 
using or possessing a gillnet with a stretched-mesh size of 4.75 inches 
(12.1 cm) or larger in the southern Florida west coast subzone may not 
fish for or possess Gulf migratory group king mackerel. (See Sec.  
622.369(a)(1)(ii)(A)(2) for a description of the Florida west coast 
southern subzone.)
    (b) [Reserved]
0
7. In Sec.  622.384, the introductory text, and paragraphs (a), (b), 
(c), and (d) are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  622.384  Quotas.

    See Sec.  622.8 for general provisions regarding quota 
applicability and closure and reopening procedures. See Sec.  622.369 
for the descriptions of the zones. This section provides quotas and 
specific quota closure restrictions for coastal migratory pelagic fish. 
All weights are in round and eviscerated weight combined, unless 
specified otherwise.
    (a) King and Spanish mackerel quotas apply to persons who fish 
under commercial vessel permits for king or Spanish mackerel, as 
required under Sec.  622.370(a)(1) or (3). A fish is counted against 
the quota for the area where it is caught, not where it is landed.
    (b) King mackerel--(1) Gulf migratory group. The Gulf migratory 
group is divided into zones and subzones. The descriptions of the zones 
and subzones are specified in Sec.  622.369(a). Quotas for

[[Page 64736]]

the eastern and western zones are as follows:
    (i) Eastern zone. The eastern zone is divided into subzones with 
quotas as follows:
    (A) Florida east coast subzone--1,102,896 lb (500,265 kg).
    (B) Florida west coast subzone--(1) Southern subzone. The hook-and-
line quota is 551,448 lb (250,133 kg) and the run-around gillnet quota 
is 551,448 lb (250,133 kg).
    (2) Northern subzone--178,848 lb (81,124 kg).
    (ii) Western zone--1,071,360 lb (485,961 kg).
    (2) Atlantic migratory group. The Atlantic migratory group is 
divided into northern and southern zones. The descriptions of the zones 
are specified in Sec.  622.369(a). Quotas for the northern and southern 
zones for the 2015-2016 fishing year and subsequent years are as 
follows:
    (i) Northern zone--1,292,040 lb (586,059 kg). No more than 0.40 
million lb (0.18 million kg) may be harvested by purse seines.
    (ii) Southern zone--2,587,960 lb (1,173,879 kg).
    (iii) Quota transfers. North Carolina or Florida, in consultation 
with the other states in their respective zones, may request approval 
from the RA to transfer part or all of their respective zone's annual 
commercial quota to the other zone. Requests for transfer of commercial 
quota for king mackerel must be made by a letter signed by the 
principal state official with marine fishery management responsibility 
and expertise of the state requesting the transfer, or his/her 
previously named designee. The letter must certify that all pertinent 
state requirements have been met and identify the states involved and 
the amount of quota to be transferred. For the purposes of quota 
closures as described in Sec.  622.8, the receiving zone's quota will 
be the original quota plus any transferred amount, for that fishing 
season only. Landings associated with any transferred quota will be 
included in the total landings for the Atlantic migratory group, which 
will be evaluated relative to the total ACL.
    (A) Within 10 working days following the receipt of the letter from 
the state requesting the transfer, the RA shall notify the appropriate 
state officials of the disposition of the request. In evaluating 
requests to transfer a quota, the RA shall consider whether:
    (1) The transfer would allow the overall annual quota to be fully 
harvested; and
    (2) The transfer is consistent with the objectives of the FMP and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    (B) The transfer of quota will be valid only for the fishing year 
for which the request was made and does not permanently alter the 
quotas specified in paragraphs (b)(2)(i) and (b)(2)(ii) of this 
section.
    (3) Transit provisions applicable in areas closed due to a quota 
closure for king mackerel. A vessel with a valid commercial vessel 
permit for king mackerel that has onboard king mackerel harvested in an 
open area of the EEZ may transit through areas closed to the harvest of 
king mackerel due to a quota closure, if fishing gear is appropriately 
stowed. For the purpose of paragraph (b) of this section, transit means 
direct and non-stop continuous course through the area. To be 
appropriately stowed fishing gear means--
    (i) A gillnet must be left on the drum. Any additional gillnets not 
attached to the drum must be stowed below deck.
    (ii) A rod and reel must be removed from the rod holder and stowed 
securely on or below deck. Terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, 
flasher, or bait) must be disconnected and stowed separately from the 
rod and reel. Sinkers must be disconnected from the down rigger and 
stowed separately.
    (c) Spanish mackerel--(1) Gulf migratory group. [Reserved]
    (2) Atlantic migratory group. The Atlantic migratory group is 
divided into northern and southern zones. The descriptions of the zones 
are specified in Sec.  622.369(b). The quota for the Atlantic migratory 
group of Spanish mackerel is 3,130,000 lb (1,419,744 kg). Quotas for 
the northern and southern zones are as follows:
    (i) Northern zone--622,870 lb (282,529 kg).
    (ii) Southern zone--2,507,130 lb (1,137,215 kg).
    (iii) Quota transfers. North Carolina or Florida, in consultation 
with the other states in their respective zones, may request approval 
from the RA to transfer part or all of their respective zone's annual 
commercial quota to the other zone. Requests for transfer of commercial 
quota for Spanish mackerel must be made by a letter signed by the 
principal state official with marine fishery management responsibility 
and expertise, or his/her previously named designee, for each state 
involved. The letter must certify that all pertinent state requirements 
have been met and identify the states involved and the amount of quota 
to be transferred. For the purposes of quota closures as described in 
Sec.  622.8, the receiving zone's quota will be the original quota plus 
any transferred amount, for that fishing season only. Landings 
associated with any transferred quota will be included in the total 
landings for the Atlantic migratory group, which will be evaluated 
relative to the total ACL.
    (A) Within 10 working days following the receipt of the letter from 
the states involved, the RA shall notify the appropriate state 
officials of the disposition of the request. In evaluating requests to 
transfer a quota, the RA shall consider whether:
    (1) The transfer would allow the overall annual quota to be fully 
harvested; and
    (2) The transfer is consistent with the objectives of the FMP and 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
    (B) The transfer of quota will be valid only for the fishing year 
for which the request was made and does not permanently alter any 
zone's quota specified in paragraph (c)(2)(i) or (c)(2)(ii) of this 
section.
    (d) Cobia--(1) Gulf migratory group--(i) Gulf zone. For the 2014 
fishing year, the stock quota for the Gulf migratory group of cobia in 
the Gulf zone is 1,420,000 lb (644,101 kg). For the 2015 fishing year, 
the stock quota is 1,450,000 lb (657,709 kg). For the 2016 fishing year 
and subsequent fishing years, the stock quota is 1,500,000 lb (680,389 
kg).
    (ii) Florida east coast zone. The following quota applies to 
persons who fish for cobia and sell their catch. The quota for the Gulf 
migratory group of cobia in the Florida east coast zone is 70,000 lb 
(31,751 kg).
    (2) Atlantic migratory group. The following quotas apply to persons 
who fish for cobia and sell their catch. For the 2014 and 2015 fishing 
years, the quota for the Atlantic migratory group of cobia is 60,000 lb 
(27,216 kg). The quota for the 2016 fishing year and subsequent fishing 
years is 50,000 lb (22,680 kg).
* * * * *
0
8. In Sec.  622.385, the heading for paragraph (a)(1), the heading for 
paragraph (a)(2), the second sentence in paragraph (a)(2), and 
paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(B) are revised; paragraph (a)(2)(iii) is removed; 
paragraph (a)(2)(iv) is redesignated as paragraph (a)(2)(iii) and 
revised; and a heading is added to paragraph (b)(1) to read as follows:


Sec.  622.385  Commercial trip limits.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (1) Atlantic migratory group. * * *
    (2) Gulf migratory group. * * * (See Sec.  622.369(a)(2) for 
descriptions of the eastern and western zones and Sec.  
622.369(a)(2)(ii) for descriptions of the subzones in the eastern 
zone.)
* * * * *

[[Page 64737]]

    (ii) * * *
    (B) Hook-and-line gear. In the Florida west coast subzone, king 
mackerel in or from the EEZ may be possessed on board or landed from a 
vessel with a commercial permit for king mackerel, as required by Sec.  
622.370(a)(1), and operating under the hook-and-line gear quotas in 
Sec.  622.384(b)(1)(i)(B)(1) or (b)(1)(i)(B)(2):
    (1) Northern subzone. From October 1, each fishing year, until the 
northern subzone's hook-and-line gear quota has been harvested--in 
amounts not exceeding 1,250 lb (567 kg) per day.
    (2) Southern subzone. From July 1, each fishing year, until the 
southern subzone's hook-and-line gear quota has been harvested--in 
amounts not exceeding 1,250 lb (567 kg) per day.
    (iii) Western zone. In the western zone, king mackerel in or from 
the EEZ may be possessed on board or landed from a vessel for which a 
commercial permit for king mackerel has been issued, as required under 
Sec.  622.370(a)(1), from July 1, each fishing year, until a closure of 
the western zone has been effected under Sec.  622.8(b)--in amounts not 
exceeding 3,000 lb (1,361 kg) per day.
    (b) * * *
    (1) Atlantic migratory group. * * *
* * * * *
0
9. In Sec.  622.388, paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(3), (b)(1), (d)(1), (e), 
and (f) are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  622.388  Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), 
and accountability measures (AMs).

    (a) Gulf migratory group king mackerel--(1) Commercial sector--(i) 
If commercial landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected 
to reach the applicable quota specified in Sec.  622.384(b)(1), the AA 
will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to 
close the commercial sector for that zone, subzone, or gear type for 
the remainder of the fishing year.
    (ii) The commercial ACL for the Gulf migratory group of king 
mackerel is 3.456 million lb (1.568 million kg). This ACL is further 
divided into a commercial ACL for vessels fishing with hook-and-line 
and a commercial ACL for vessels fishing with run-around gillnets. The 
hook-and-line ACL (which applies to the entire Gulf) is 2,904,552 lb 
(1,317,483 kg) and the run-around gillnet ACL (which applies to the 
Gulf eastern zone Florida west coast southern subzone) is 551,448 lb 
(250,133 kg).
* * * * *
    (3) For purposes of tracking the ACL, recreational landings will be 
monitored based on the commercial fishing year.
* * * * *
    (b) Atlantic migratory group king mackerel--(1) Commercial sector--
(i) If commercial landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are 
projected to reach the applicable quota specified in Sec.  
622.384(b)(2), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the 
Federal Register to close the commercial sector for that zone for the 
remainder of the fishing year.
    (ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (b)(1)(i) 
of this section, if the sum of the commercial and recreational 
landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified 
in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, and Atlantic migratory group king 
mackerel are overfished, based on the most recent status of U.S. 
Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the 
Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the 
following fishing year to reduce the commercial quota for that zone for 
that following year by the amount of any commercial sector overage in 
the prior fishing year for that zone.
    (iii) The commercial ACL for the Atlantic migratory group of king 
mackerel is 3.88 million lb (1.76 million kg).
* * * * *
    (d) Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel--(1) Commercial 
sector. (i) If commercial landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or 
are projected to reach the applicable quota specified in Sec.  
622.384(c)(2), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the 
Federal Register to close the commercial sector for that zone for the 
remainder of the fishing year.
    (ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (d)(1)(i) 
of this section, if the sum of the commercial and recreational 
landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified 
in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, and Atlantic migratory group 
Spanish mackerel are overfished, based on the most recent status of 
U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with 
the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the 
following fishing year to reduce the commercial quota for that zone for 
that following year by the amount of any commercial sector overage in 
the prior fishing year for that zone.
    (iii) The commercial ACL for the Atlantic migratory group Spanish 
mackerel is 3.13 million lb (1.42 million kg).
* * * * *
    (e) Gulf migratory group cobia--(1) Gulf zone. (i) If the sum of 
all cobia landings, as estimated by the SRD, reaches or is projected to 
reach the stock quota (stock ACT), specified in Sec.  622.384(d)(1), 
the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register 
to prohibit the harvest of Gulf migratory group cobia in the Gulf zone 
for the remainder of the fishing year. On and after the effective date 
of such a notification, all sale and purchase of Gulf migratory group 
cobia in the Gulf zone is prohibited and the possession limit of this 
species in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero. This possession limit also 
applies in the Gulf on board a vessel for which a valid Federal charter 
vessel/headboat permit for coastal migratory pelagic fish has been 
issued, without regard to where such species were harvested, i.e. in 
state or Federal water.
    (ii) The stock ACLs for Gulf migratory group cobia in the Gulf zone 
are 1,570,000 lb (712,140 kg) for 2014, 1,610,000 lb (730,284 kg) for 
2015, and 1,660,000 lb (752,963 kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing 
years.
    (2) Florida east coast zone--(i) The following ACLs and AMs apply 
to cobia that are sold. (A) If the sum of cobia landings that are sold, 
as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the quota 
specified in Sec.  622.384(d)(1)(ii) (ACL), the AA will file a 
notification with the Office of the Federal Register to prohibit the 
sale and purchase of cobia in or from the Florida east coast zone for 
the remainder of the fishing year.
    (B) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (e)(2)(i)(A) 
of this section, if the sum of cobia landings that are sold and not 
sold in or from the Florida east coast zone, as estimated by the SRD, 
exceeds the stock ACL for the Florida east coast zone, as specified in 
paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section, and Gulf migratory group cobia 
are overfished, based on the most recent status of U.S. Fisheries 
Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of 
the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing 
year to reduce the quota (ACL) for the Florida east coast zone cobia 
that are sold for that following year by the amount of any overage in 
the prior fishing year.
    (ii) The following ACLs and AMs apply to cobia that are not sold. 
(A) If the sum of cobia landings that are sold and not sold, as 
estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in

[[Page 64738]]

paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section, the AA will file a notification 
with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of 
the following fishing year to reduce the length of the following 
fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure landings may achieve 
the applicable ACT, but do not exceed the applicable ACL in the 
following fishing year. Further, during that following year, if 
necessary, the AA may file additional notification with the Office of 
the Federal Register to readjust the reduced fishing season to ensure 
harvest achieves the ACT but does not exceed the ACL. The applicable 
ACTs for the Florida east coast zone of cobia are 670,000 lb (303,907 
kg) for 2014, 680,000 lb (308,443 kg) for 2015, and 710,000 lb (322,051 
kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing years. The applicable ACLs for the 
Florida east coast zone of cobia are 810,000 lb (367,410 kg) for 2014, 
830,000 lb (376,482 kg) for 2015, and 860,000 lb (390,089 kg) for 2016 
and subsequent fishing years.
    (B) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph 
(e)(2)(ii)(A) of this section, if the sum of the cobia landings that 
are sold and not sold in or from the Florida east coast zone, as 
estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in paragraph 
(e)(2)(iii) of this section, and Gulf migratory group cobia are 
overfished, based on the most recent status of U.S. Fisheries Report to 
Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the 
Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing 
year to reduce the applicable ACL and applicable ACT for the Florida 
east coast zone for that following year by the amount of any ACL 
overage in the prior fishing year.
    (C) Landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a 
moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP.
    (iii) The stock ACLs for Florida east coast zone cobia are 880,000 
lb (399,161 kg) for 2014, 900,000 lb (408,233 kg) for 2015, and 930,000 
lb (421,841 kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing years.
    (f) Atlantic migratory group cobia--(1) The following ACLs and AMs 
apply to cobia that are sold--
    (i) If the sum of the cobia landings that are sold, as estimated by 
the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the quota specified in Sec.  
622.384(d)(2) (ACL), the AA will file a notification with the Office of 
the Federal Register to prohibit the sale and purchase of cobia for the 
remainder of the fishing year.
    (ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (f)(1)(i) 
of this section, if the sum of the cobia landings that are sold and not 
sold in or from the Atlantic migratory group, as estimated by the SRD, 
exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in paragraph (f)(3) of this 
section, and Atlantic migratory group cobia are overfished, based on 
the most recent status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA 
will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or 
near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the 
applicable quota (ACL), as specified in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this 
section, for that following year by the amount of any applicable 
sector-specific ACL overage in the prior fishing year.
    (2) The following ACLs and AMs apply to cobia that are not sold.
    (i) If the sum of the cobia landings that are sold and not sold, as 
estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in paragraph 
(f)(3) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office 
of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following 
fishing year to reduce the length of the following fishing season by 
the amount necessary to ensure landings may achieve the applicable ACT, 
but do not exceed the applicable ACL in the following fishing year. 
Further, during that following year, if necessary, the AA may file 
additional notification with the Office of the Federal Register to 
readjust the reduced fishing season to ensure harvest achieves the ACT 
but does not exceed the ACL. The applicable ACTs for the Atlantic 
migratory group of cobia are 550,000 lb (249,476 kg) for 2014, 520,000 
lb (235,868 kg) for 2015, and 500,000 lb (226,796 kg) for 2016 and 
subsequent fishing years. The applicable ACLs for the Atlantic 
migratory group of cobia are 670,000 lb (303,907 kg) for 2014, 630,000 
lb (285,763 kg) for 2015, and 620,000 lb (281,227 kg) for 2016 and 
subsequent fishing years.
    (ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (f)(2)(i) 
of this section, if the sum of cobia landings that are sold and not 
sold, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, as specified in 
paragraph (f)(3) of this section, and Atlantic migratory group cobia 
are overfished, based on the most recent status of U.S. Fisheries 
Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of 
the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing 
year to reduce the applicable ACL and ACT, as specified in paragraph 
(f)(2)(i) of this section, for that following year by the amount of any 
applicable sector-specific overage in the prior fishing year.
    (iii) Landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a 
moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP.
    (3) The stock ACLs for Atlantic migratory group cobia are 730,000 
lb (331,122 kg) for 2014, 690,000 lb (312,979 kg) for 2015, and 670,000 
lb (303,907 kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing years.
0
10. Section 622.389 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  622.389  Adjustment of management measures.

    In accordance with the framework procedures of the FMP for Coastal 
Migratory Pelagic Resources, the RA may establish or modify, and the 
applicable council is required to approve, the following items 
specified in paragraph (a) of this section for coastal migratory 
pelagic fish. (Note: The applicable council refers to the council whose 
jurisdiction applies to the management measures.)
    (a) For a species or species group: Reporting and monitoring 
requirements, permitting requirements, bag and possession limits 
(including a bag limit of zero), size limits, vessel trip limits, 
closed seasons or areas and reopenings, acceptable biological catches 
(ABCs) and ABC control rules, annual catch limits (ACLs) and ACL 
control rules, accountability measures (AMs), annual catch targets 
(ACTs), quotas (including a quota of zero), MSY (or proxy), OY, 
management parameters such as overfished and overfishing definitions, 
gear restrictions (ranging from regulation to complete prohibition), 
gear markings and identification, vessel markings and identification, 
rebuilding plans, and restrictions relative to conditions of harvested 
fish (maintaining fish in whole condition, use as bait).
    (b) [Reserved]
0
11. Appendix G to part 622 is added to read as follows:

Appendix G to Part 622--Coastal Migratory Pelagics Zone Illustrations

[[Page 64739]]

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[FR Doc. 2014-25855 Filed 10-30-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P