Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Shark Management Measures; 2015 Research Fishery, 64750-64752 [2014-25957]

Download as PDF 64750 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Notices the Department subsequently determines, based on information collected, that a new shipper review for any applicant is not warranted, the Department may rescind the review or apply facts available pursuant to section 776 of the Act, as appropriate. We will instruct CBP to allow, at the option of the importer, the posting, until the completion of the review, of a bond or security in lieu of a cash deposit for each entry of the subject merchandise from each new shipper applicant in accordance with section 751(a)(2)(B)(iii) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.214(e). Because each new shipper applicant certified that it produced and exported subject merchandise, the sale of which is the basis for the request for a new shipper review, we will apply the bonding privilege to each new shipper applicant only for subject merchandise which was produced and exported by each new shipper applicant. To assist in its analysis of the bona fides of each new shipper applicant’s sales, upon initiation of this new shipper review, the Department will require each new shipper applicant to submit on an ongoing basis complete transaction information concerning any sales of subject merchandise to the United States that were made subsequent to the POR. Interested parties requiring access to proprietary information in the new shipper review should submit applications for disclosure under administrative protective order in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305 and 351.306. This initiation and notice are published in accordance with section 751(a)(2)(B) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.214 and 351.221(c)(1)(i). Dated: October 24, 2014. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations. [FR Doc. 2014–25958 Filed 10–30–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XD457 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Shark Management Measures; 2015 Research Fishery National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:51 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 has allowed for: The collection of fishery dependent data for current and future stock assessments; the operation SUMMARY: NMFS announces its request of cooperative research to meet NMFS’ for applications for the 2015 shark ongoing research objectives; the research fishery from commercial shark collection of updated life-history fishermen with directed or incidental information used in the sandbar shark shark limited access permits. The shark (and other species) stock assessment; research fishery allows for the collection the collection of data on habitat of fishery-dependent and biological data preferences that might help reduce for future stock assessments to meet the fishery interactions through bycatch shark research objectives of the Agency. mitigation; and the evaluation of the The only commercial vessels authorized utility of the mid-Atlantic closed area to land sandbar sharks are those on the recovery of dusky sharks and participating in the shark research collection of hook-timer and pop-up fishery. Shark research fishery satellite archival tag (PSAT) information permittees may also land other large to determine at-vessel and post-release coastal sharks (LCS), small coastal mortality of dusky sharks. sharks (SCS), and pelagic sharks. The shark research fishery allows Commercial shark fishermen who are selected commercial fishermen the interested in participating in the shark opportunity to earn revenue from selling research fishery need to submit a additional sharks, including sandbar completed Shark Research Fishery sharks. Only the commercial shark Permit Application in order to be fishermen selected to participate in the considered. shark research fishery are authorized to land sandbar sharks subject to the DATES: Shark Research Fishery sandbar quota available each year. The Applications must be received no later base quota is 116.6 metric (mt) dressed than 5 p.m., local time, on December 1, weight (dw) per year, although this 2014. number may be reduced in the event of ADDRESSES: Please submit completed overharvests, if any. The selected shark applications to the HMS Management research fishery permittees will also be Division at: allowed to land other LCS, SCS, and ´ • Mail: Attn: Guy DuBeck, HMS pelagic sharks per any restrictions Management Division (F/SF1), NMFS, established on their shark research 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, fishery permit. Generally, the shark MD 20910. research fishery permits are valid only • Fax: (301) 713–1917. for the calendar year for which they are For copies of the Shark Research Fishery Permit Application, please write issued. The specific 2015 trip limits and to the HMS Management Division at the number of trips per month will depend address listed above, call (301) 427– on the availability of funding, number of 8503 (phone), or fax a request to (301) selected vessels, the availability of 713–1917. Copies of the Shark Research observers, the available quota, and the Fishery Application are also available at objectives of the research fishery and the HMS Web site at http:// will be included in the permit terms at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/index.htm. time of issuance. The number of Additionally, please be advised that participants in the research fishery your application may be released under change each year. In 2014, five the Freedom of Information Act. fishermen were chosen to participate. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: From 2008 through 2014, there has been ´ Karyl Brewster-Geisz or Guy DuBeck, at an average of seven participants each (301) 427–8503 (phone) or (301) 713– year with the range from five to eleven. 1917 (fax). The trip limits and the number of trips SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The taken per month have changed each Atlantic shark fisheries are managed year the research fishery has been under the authority of the Magnusonactive. Participants may also be limited Stevens Fishery Conservation and on the amount of gear they can deploy Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens on a given set (e.g., number of hooks Act). The Consolidated HMS Fishery and sets, soak times, length of longline). In 2014, NMFS split the sandbar and Management Plan (FMP) is LCS research fishery quotas equally implemented by regulations at 50 CFR among selected participants, with each part 635. vessel allocated 18.6 mt dw of sandbar The shark research fishery was shark research fishery quota and 8.0 mt established, in part, to maintain time dw of other LCS research fishery quota. series data for stock assessments and to NMFS also established a regional dusky meet NMFS’ research objectives. Since bycatch limit where once three or more the shark research fishery was established in 2008, the research fishery dusky sharks were caught dead in any Notice of intent; request for applications. ACTION: PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\31OCN1.SGM 31OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Notices asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES of five designated regions across the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic through the entire year, any shark research fishery permit holder in that region was not able to soak their gear for longer than 3 hours. If there were three or more additional dusky shark interactions (alive or dead) observed, shark research fishery permit holders were not able to make a trip in that region for the remainder of the year, unless otherwise permitted by NMFS. There were slightly different measures established for shark research fishery participants in the midAtlantic shark closed area in order to allow NMFS observers to place satellite archival tags on dusky sharks and collect other scientific information on dusky sharks while also minimizing any dusky shark mortality. Participants were also required to keep any dead sharks, unless they were a prohibited species, in which case they were required to release them. If the regional non-blacknose SCS, blacknose, and/or pelagic shark management group quotas were closed, then the shark research fishery permit holder fishing in the closed region had to discard all of the species from the closed management groups regardless of condition. Any sharks, except prohibited species or closed management groups (i.e., SCS or pelagic sharks), caught and brought to the vessel alive could have been released alive or landed. In addition, participants were restricted by the number of longline sets as well as the number of hooks they could deploy and have on board the vessel. The vessels participating in the shark research fishery fished an average of one trip per month. In order to participate in the shark research fishery, commercial shark fishermen need to submit a completed Shark Research Fishery Application by the deadline noted above (see DATES) showing that the vessel and owner(s) meet the specific criteria outlined below. Research Objectives Each year, the research objectives are developed by a shark board, which is comprised of representatives within NMFS, including representatives from the Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) Panama City Laboratory, Northeast Fisheries Science Center Narragansett Laboratory, the Southeast Regional Office, Protected Resources Division, and the HMS Management Division. The research objectives for 2015 are based on various documents, including the 2012 Biological Opinion for the Continued Authorization of the Atlantic Shark Fisheries and the Federal Authorization of a Smoothhound VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:51 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 Fishery, 2010/2011 U.S. South Atlantic blacknose, U.S. Gulf of Mexico blacknose, sandbar, and dusky sharks stock assessment and the 2012 U.S. Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark stock assessment. The 2015 research objectives are: • Collect reproductive, length, sex, and age data from sandbar and other sharks throughout the calendar year for species-specific stock assessments; • Monitor the size distribution of sandbar sharks and other species captured in the fishery; • Continue on-going tagging shark programs for identification of migration corridors and stock structure using dart and/or spaghetti tags; • Maintain time-series of abundance from previously derived indices for the shark bottom longline observer program; • Sample fin sets (e.g. dorsal, pectoral) from prioritized species to further develop fin identification guides; • Acquire fin-clip samples of all shark and other species for genetic analysis; • Attach satellite archival tags to endangered smalltooth sawfish to provide information on critical habitat and preferred depth, consistent with the requirements listed in the take permit issued under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act to the SEFSC observer program; • Attach satellite archival tags to prohibited dusky and other sharks, as needed, to provide information on daily and seasonal movement patterns, and preferred depth; • Evaluate hooking mortality and post-release survivorship of dusky, hammerhead, blacktip, and other sharks using hook-timers and temperaturedepth recorders; • Evaluate the effects of controlled gear experiments in order to determine the effects of potential hook changes to prohibited species interactions and fishery yields; • Examine the size distribution of sandbar and other sharks captured throughout the fishery including in the Mid-Atlantic shark time/area closure off the coast of North Carolina from January 1 through July 31; and • Develop allometric and weight relationships of selected species of sharks (e.g. hammerhead, sandbar, blacktip shark). Selection Criteria Shark Research Fishery Permit Applications will be accepted only from commercial shark fishermen who hold a current directed or incidental shark limited access permit. While incidental permit holders are welcome to submit PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 64751 an application, to ensure that an appropriate number of sharks are landed to meet the research objectives for this year, NMFS will give priority to directed permit holders as recommended by the shark board. As such, qualified incidental permit holders will be selected only if there are not enough qualified directed permit holders to meet research objectives. The Shark Research Fishery Permit Application includes, but is not limited to, a request for the following information: Type of commercial shark permit possessed; past participation in the commercial shark fishery (not including sharks caught for display); past involvement and compliance with HMS observer programs per 50 CFR 635.7; past compliance with HMS regulations at 50 CFR part 635; availability to participate in the shark research fishery; ability to fish in the regions and season requested; ability to attend necessary meetings regarding the objectives and research protocols of the shark research fishery; and ability to carry out the research objectives of the Agency. An applicant who has been charged criminally or civilly (e.g., issued a Notice of Violation and Assessment (NOVA) or Notice of Permit Sanction) for any HMS-related violation will not be considered for participation in the shark research fishery. In addition, applicants who were selected to carry an observer in the previous 2 years for any HMS fishery, but failed to contact NMFS to arrange the placement of an observer as required per 50 CFR 635.7, will not be considered for participation in the 2015 shark research fishery. Applicants who were selected to carry an observer in the previous 2 years for any HMS fishery and failed to comply with all the observer regulations per 50 CFR 635.7 will also not be considered. Exceptions will be made for vessels that were selected for HMS observer coverage but did not fish in the quarter when selected and thus did not require an observer. Applicants who do not possess a valid USCG safety inspection decal when the application is submitted will not be considered. Applicants who have been noncompliant with any of the HMS observer program regulations in the previous 2 years, as described above, may be eligible for future participation in shark research fishery activities by demonstrating 2 subsequent years of compliance with observer regulations at 50 CFR 635.7. Selection Process The HMS Management Division will review all submitted applications and develop a list of qualified applicants E:\FR\FM\31OCN1.SGM 31OCN1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 64752 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 211 / Friday, October 31, 2014 / Notices from those applications that are deemed complete. A qualified applicant is an applicant that has submitted a complete application by the deadline (see DATES) and has met the selection criteria listed above. Qualified applicants are eligible to be selected to participate in the shark research fishery for 2015. The HMS Management Division will provide the list of qualified applicants without identifying information to the SEFSC. The SEFSC will then evaluate the list of qualified applicants and, based on the temporal and spatial needs of the research objectives, the availability of observers, the availability of qualified applicants, and the available quota for a given year, will randomly select qualified applicants to conduct the prescribed research. Where there are multiple qualified applicants that meet the criteria, permittees will be randomly selected through a lottery system. If a public meeting is deemed necessary, NMFS will announce details of a public selection meeting in a subsequent Federal Register notice. Once the selection process is complete, NMFS will notify the selected applicants and issue the shark research fishery permits. The shark research fishery permits will be valid only in calendar year 2015. If needed, NMFS will communicate with the shark research fishery permit holders to arrange a captain’s meeting to discuss the research objectives and protocols. NMFS held mandatory captain’s meetings before observers were placed on vessels in both 2013 (78 FR 14515; March 6, 2013) and 2014 (79 FR 12155; March 4, 2014) and expects to hold one again in 2015. Once the fishery starts, the shark research fishery permit holders must contact the NMFS observer coordinator to arrange the placement of a NMFS-approved observer for each shark research trip. A shark research fishery permit will only be valid for the vessel and owner(s) and terms and conditions listed on the permit, and, thus, cannot be transferred to another vessel or owner(s). Issuance of a shark research permit does not guarantee that the permit holder will be assigned a NMFS-approved observer on any particular trip. Rather, issuance indicates that a vessel may be issued a NMFS-approved observer for a particular trip, and on such trips, may be allowed to harvest Atlantic sharks, including sandbar sharks, in excess of the retention limits described in 50 CFR 635.24(a). These retention limits will be based on available quota, number of vessels participating in the 2015 shark research fishery, the research objectives set forth by the shark board, the extent of other restrictions placed on the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:51 Oct 30, 2014 Jkt 235001 vessel, and may vary by vessel and/or location. When not operating under the auspices of the shark research fishery, the vessel would still be able to land LCS, SCS, and pelagic sharks subject to existing retention limits on trips without a NMFS-approved observer. NMFS annually invites commercial shark permit holders (directed and incidental) to submit an application to participate in the shark research fishery. Permit applications can be found on the HMS Management Division’s Web site at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/ index.htm or by calling (301) 427–8503. Final decisions on the issuance of a shark research fishery permit will depend on the submission of all required information by the deadline (see DATES), and NMFS’ review of applicant information as outlined above. The 2015 shark research fishery will start after the opening of the shark fishery and under available quotas as published in a separate Federal Register final rule. Dated: October 28, 2014. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2014–25957 Filed 10–30–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XD597 New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC); Public Meeting National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of a public meeting. AGENCY: The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a 4-day meeting to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). DATES: The meeting will be held Monday through Thursday, November 17–20, 2014. The Monday session will begin at 1 p.m., while the next three days will start at 8:30 a.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Marriott Hotel, 25 America’s Cup Avenue, Newport, RI 02840; telephone: (401) 849–1000 and fax: (401) 849–3422. For online information about the venue www.marriott.com/hotels/hotelinformation/travel/pvdlw-newportmarriott/. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Council address: New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950; telephone: (978) 465–0492. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Counci; telephone: (978) 465–0492. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Monday, November 17, 2014 The Council meeting will begin with introductions, and brief reports from the NEFMC Chairman and Executive Director, the NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator, Northeast Fisheries Science Center and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council liaisons, NOAA General Counsel and NOAA Law Enforcement, and representatives of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and U.S. Coast Guard. Immediately after these reports, the Council will provide an opportunity for the public to present brief comments on items that are relevant to Council business but are otherwise not listed on the published agenda. The Monkfish Committee will update members on the development of alternatives for inclusion in Amendment 6 to the Monkfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) and possibly the necessity of initiating a framework adjustment to expedite the implementation of several measures previously included in Amendment 6. The Council staff will present the annual monitoring report on the Northeast Skate Complex FMP and the day will end with a report from the Small Mesh Multispecies (Whiting) Committee. The committee will recommend approval of the 2015–17 specifications for the small-mesh multispecies (whiting) fishery. Although the formal Council meeting will adjourn, staff from the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office will present an overview and discuss the office’s Strategic Plan at 5:45 p.m. or immediately following the conclusion of the Council’s meeting. Tuesday, November 18, 2014 The day will begin with an overview and summary of public comments on a NOAA/NMFS-led action that will affect all federally managed fisheries in the Northeast. The Council then intends to take final action on what is called the Vessel Baseline Omnibus Amendment. During this same morning session, the Council also expects to approve alternatives to be considered for inclusion in Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies or Groundfish FMP. The discussion will focus on accumulation limits and an inshore/ E:\FR\FM\31OCN1.SGM 31OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 211 (Friday, October 31, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 64750-64752]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-25957]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XD457


Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Shark Management 
Measures; 2015 Research Fishery

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

ACTION: Notice of intent; request for applications.

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SUMMARY: NMFS announces its request for applications for the 2015 shark 
research fishery from commercial shark fishermen with directed or 
incidental shark limited access permits. The shark research fishery 
allows for the collection of fishery-dependent and biological data for 
future stock assessments to meet the shark research objectives of the 
Agency. The only commercial vessels authorized to land sandbar sharks 
are those participating in the shark research fishery. Shark research 
fishery permittees may also land other large coastal sharks (LCS), 
small coastal sharks (SCS), and pelagic sharks. Commercial shark 
fishermen who are interested in participating in the shark research 
fishery need to submit a completed Shark Research Fishery Permit 
Application in order to be considered.

DATES: Shark Research Fishery Applications must be received no later 
than 5 p.m., local time, on December 1, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Please submit completed applications to the HMS Management 
Division at:
     Mail: Attn: Gu[yacute] DuBeck, HMS Management Division (F/
SF1), NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
     Fax: (301) 713-1917.
    For copies of the Shark Research Fishery Permit Application, please 
write to the HMS Management Division at the address listed above, call 
(301) 427-8503 (phone), or fax a request to (301) 713-1917. Copies of 
the Shark Research Fishery Application are also available at the HMS 
Web site at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/index.htm. Additionally, 
please be advised that your application may be released under the 
Freedom of Information Act.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karyl Brewster-Geisz or Gu[yacute] 
DuBeck, at (301) 427-8503 (phone) or (301) 713-1917 (fax).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic shark fisheries are managed 
under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). The Consolidated HMS Fishery 
Management Plan (FMP) is implemented by regulations at 50 CFR part 635.
    The shark research fishery was established, in part, to maintain 
time series data for stock assessments and to meet NMFS' research 
objectives. Since the shark research fishery was established in 2008, 
the research fishery has allowed for: The collection of fishery 
dependent data for current and future stock assessments; the operation 
of cooperative research to meet NMFS' ongoing research objectives; the 
collection of updated life-history information used in the sandbar 
shark (and other species) stock assessment; the collection of data on 
habitat preferences that might help reduce fishery interactions through 
bycatch mitigation; and the evaluation of the utility of the mid-
Atlantic closed area on the recovery of dusky sharks and collection of 
hook-timer and pop-up satellite archival tag (PSAT) information to 
determine at-vessel and post-release mortality of dusky sharks.
    The shark research fishery allows selected commercial fishermen the 
opportunity to earn revenue from selling additional sharks, including 
sandbar sharks. Only the commercial shark fishermen selected to 
participate in the shark research fishery are authorized to land 
sandbar sharks subject to the sandbar quota available each year. The 
base quota is 116.6 metric (mt) dressed weight (dw) per year, although 
this number may be reduced in the event of overharvests, if any. The 
selected shark research fishery permittees will also be allowed to land 
other LCS, SCS, and pelagic sharks per any restrictions established on 
their shark research fishery permit. Generally, the shark research 
fishery permits are valid only for the calendar year for which they are 
issued.
    The specific 2015 trip limits and number of trips per month will 
depend on the availability of funding, number of selected vessels, the 
availability of observers, the available quota, and the objectives of 
the research fishery and will be included in the permit terms at time 
of issuance. The number of participants in the research fishery change 
each year. In 2014, five fishermen were chosen to participate. From 
2008 through 2014, there has been an average of seven participants each 
year with the range from five to eleven. The trip limits and the number 
of trips taken per month have changed each year the research fishery 
has been active. Participants may also be limited on the amount of gear 
they can deploy on a given set (e.g., number of hooks and sets, soak 
times, length of longline).
    In 2014, NMFS split the sandbar and LCS research fishery quotas 
equally among selected participants, with each vessel allocated 18.6 mt 
dw of sandbar shark research fishery quota and 8.0 mt dw of other LCS 
research fishery quota. NMFS also established a regional dusky bycatch 
limit where once three or more dusky sharks were caught dead in any

[[Page 64751]]

of five designated regions across the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic 
through the entire year, any shark research fishery permit holder in 
that region was not able to soak their gear for longer than 3 hours. If 
there were three or more additional dusky shark interactions (alive or 
dead) observed, shark research fishery permit holders were not able to 
make a trip in that region for the remainder of the year, unless 
otherwise permitted by NMFS. There were slightly different measures 
established for shark research fishery participants in the mid-Atlantic 
shark closed area in order to allow NMFS observers to place satellite 
archival tags on dusky sharks and collect other scientific information 
on dusky sharks while also minimizing any dusky shark mortality.
    Participants were also required to keep any dead sharks, unless 
they were a prohibited species, in which case they were required to 
release them. If the regional non-blacknose SCS, blacknose, and/or 
pelagic shark management group quotas were closed, then the shark 
research fishery permit holder fishing in the closed region had to 
discard all of the species from the closed management groups regardless 
of condition. Any sharks, except prohibited species or closed 
management groups (i.e., SCS or pelagic sharks), caught and brought to 
the vessel alive could have been released alive or landed. In addition, 
participants were restricted by the number of longline sets as well as 
the number of hooks they could deploy and have on board the vessel. The 
vessels participating in the shark research fishery fished an average 
of one trip per month.
    In order to participate in the shark research fishery, commercial 
shark fishermen need to submit a completed Shark Research Fishery 
Application by the deadline noted above (see DATES) showing that the 
vessel and owner(s) meet the specific criteria outlined below.

Research Objectives

    Each year, the research objectives are developed by a shark board, 
which is comprised of representatives within NMFS, including 
representatives from the Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) 
Panama City Laboratory, Northeast Fisheries Science Center Narragansett 
Laboratory, the Southeast Regional Office, Protected Resources 
Division, and the HMS Management Division. The research objectives for 
2015 are based on various documents, including the 2012 Biological 
Opinion for the Continued Authorization of the Atlantic Shark Fisheries 
and the Federal Authorization of a Smoothhound Fishery, 2010/2011 U.S. 
South Atlantic blacknose, U.S. Gulf of Mexico blacknose, sandbar, and 
dusky sharks stock assessment and the 2012 U.S. Gulf of Mexico blacktip 
shark stock assessment. The 2015 research objectives are:
     Collect reproductive, length, sex, and age data from 
sandbar and other sharks throughout the calendar year for species-
specific stock assessments;
     Monitor the size distribution of sandbar sharks and other 
species captured in the fishery;
     Continue on-going tagging shark programs for 
identification of migration corridors and stock structure using dart 
and/or spaghetti tags;
     Maintain time-series of abundance from previously derived 
indices for the shark bottom longline observer program;
     Sample fin sets (e.g. dorsal, pectoral) from prioritized 
species to further develop fin identification guides;
     Acquire fin-clip samples of all shark and other species 
for genetic analysis;
     Attach satellite archival tags to endangered smalltooth 
sawfish to provide information on critical habitat and preferred depth, 
consistent with the requirements listed in the take permit issued under 
Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act to the SEFSC observer program;
     Attach satellite archival tags to prohibited dusky and 
other sharks, as needed, to provide information on daily and seasonal 
movement patterns, and preferred depth;
     Evaluate hooking mortality and post-release survivorship 
of dusky, hammerhead, blacktip, and other sharks using hook-timers and 
temperature-depth recorders;
     Evaluate the effects of controlled gear experiments in 
order to determine the effects of potential hook changes to prohibited 
species interactions and fishery yields;
     Examine the size distribution of sandbar and other sharks 
captured throughout the fishery including in the Mid-Atlantic shark 
time/area closure off the coast of North Carolina from January 1 
through July 31; and
     Develop allometric and weight relationships of selected 
species of sharks (e.g. hammerhead, sandbar, blacktip shark).

Selection Criteria

    Shark Research Fishery Permit Applications will be accepted only 
from commercial shark fishermen who hold a current directed or 
incidental shark limited access permit. While incidental permit holders 
are welcome to submit an application, to ensure that an appropriate 
number of sharks are landed to meet the research objectives for this 
year, NMFS will give priority to directed permit holders as recommended 
by the shark board. As such, qualified incidental permit holders will 
be selected only if there are not enough qualified directed permit 
holders to meet research objectives.
    The Shark Research Fishery Permit Application includes, but is not 
limited to, a request for the following information: Type of commercial 
shark permit possessed; past participation in the commercial shark 
fishery (not including sharks caught for display); past involvement and 
compliance with HMS observer programs per 50 CFR 635.7; past compliance 
with HMS regulations at 50 CFR part 635; availability to participate in 
the shark research fishery; ability to fish in the regions and season 
requested; ability to attend necessary meetings regarding the 
objectives and research protocols of the shark research fishery; and 
ability to carry out the research objectives of the Agency. An 
applicant who has been charged criminally or civilly (e.g., issued a 
Notice of Violation and Assessment (NOVA) or Notice of Permit Sanction) 
for any HMS-related violation will not be considered for participation 
in the shark research fishery. In addition, applicants who were 
selected to carry an observer in the previous 2 years for any HMS 
fishery, but failed to contact NMFS to arrange the placement of an 
observer as required per 50 CFR 635.7, will not be considered for 
participation in the 2015 shark research fishery. Applicants who were 
selected to carry an observer in the previous 2 years for any HMS 
fishery and failed to comply with all the observer regulations per 50 
CFR 635.7 will also not be considered. Exceptions will be made for 
vessels that were selected for HMS observer coverage but did not fish 
in the quarter when selected and thus did not require an observer. 
Applicants who do not possess a valid USCG safety inspection decal when 
the application is submitted will not be considered. Applicants who 
have been non-compliant with any of the HMS observer program 
regulations in the previous 2 years, as described above, may be 
eligible for future participation in shark research fishery activities 
by demonstrating 2 subsequent years of compliance with observer 
regulations at 50 CFR 635.7.

Selection Process

    The HMS Management Division will review all submitted applications 
and develop a list of qualified applicants

[[Page 64752]]

from those applications that are deemed complete. A qualified applicant 
is an applicant that has submitted a complete application by the 
deadline (see DATES) and has met the selection criteria listed above. 
Qualified applicants are eligible to be selected to participate in the 
shark research fishery for 2015. The HMS Management Division will 
provide the list of qualified applicants without identifying 
information to the SEFSC. The SEFSC will then evaluate the list of 
qualified applicants and, based on the temporal and spatial needs of 
the research objectives, the availability of observers, the 
availability of qualified applicants, and the available quota for a 
given year, will randomly select qualified applicants to conduct the 
prescribed research. Where there are multiple qualified applicants that 
meet the criteria, permittees will be randomly selected through a 
lottery system. If a public meeting is deemed necessary, NMFS will 
announce details of a public selection meeting in a subsequent Federal 
Register notice.
    Once the selection process is complete, NMFS will notify the 
selected applicants and issue the shark research fishery permits. The 
shark research fishery permits will be valid only in calendar year 
2015. If needed, NMFS will communicate with the shark research fishery 
permit holders to arrange a captain's meeting to discuss the research 
objectives and protocols. NMFS held mandatory captain's meetings before 
observers were placed on vessels in both 2013 (78 FR 14515; March 6, 
2013) and 2014 (79 FR 12155; March 4, 2014) and expects to hold one 
again in 2015. Once the fishery starts, the shark research fishery 
permit holders must contact the NMFS observer coordinator to arrange 
the placement of a NMFS-approved observer for each shark research trip.
    A shark research fishery permit will only be valid for the vessel 
and owner(s) and terms and conditions listed on the permit, and, thus, 
cannot be transferred to another vessel or owner(s). Issuance of a 
shark research permit does not guarantee that the permit holder will be 
assigned a NMFS-approved observer on any particular trip. Rather, 
issuance indicates that a vessel may be issued a NMFS-approved observer 
for a particular trip, and on such trips, may be allowed to harvest 
Atlantic sharks, including sandbar sharks, in excess of the retention 
limits described in 50 CFR 635.24(a). These retention limits will be 
based on available quota, number of vessels participating in the 2015 
shark research fishery, the research objectives set forth by the shark 
board, the extent of other restrictions placed on the vessel, and may 
vary by vessel and/or location. When not operating under the auspices 
of the shark research fishery, the vessel would still be able to land 
LCS, SCS, and pelagic sharks subject to existing retention limits on 
trips without a NMFS-approved observer.
    NMFS annually invites commercial shark permit holders (directed and 
incidental) to submit an application to participate in the shark 
research fishery. Permit applications can be found on the HMS 
Management Division's Web site at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/index.htm or by calling (301) 427-8503. Final decisions on the issuance 
of a shark research fishery permit will depend on the submission of all 
required information by the deadline (see DATES), and NMFS' review of 
applicant information as outlined above. The 2015 shark research 
fishery will start after the opening of the shark fishery and under 
available quotas as published in a separate Federal Register final 
rule.

    Dated: October 28, 2014.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-25957 Filed 10-30-14; 8:45 am]
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