International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; 2014 Commercial Fishing for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; Commercial Retention Limit, 68133-68135 [2014-26988]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 220 / Friday, November 14, 2014 / Rules and Regulations service. The Second Report and Order also provides that covered text providers then have a six-month implementation period—they must begin routing all 911 text messages to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) by June 30, 2015 or within six months of a valid PSAP request for text-to-911 service, whichever is later. To implement these requirements, the Commission seeks to collect information primarily for a database in which PSAPs will voluntarily register that they are technically ready to receive text messages to 911. As PSAPs become textready, they may either register in the PSAP database (or, if the database is not yet available, submit a notification to PS Docket Nos. 10–255 and 11–153), or provide other written notification reasonably acceptable to a covered text messaging provider. Either measure taken by the PSAP shall constitute sufficient notification pursuant to the adopted rules in the Second Report and Order. PSAPs and covered text providers may mutually agree to an alternative implementation timeframe (other than six months). Covered text providers must notify the FCC of the dates and terms of the alternate timeframe that they have mutually agreed on with PSAPs within 30 days of the parties’ agreement. Additionally, the rules adopted by the Second Report and Order also include other information collections for third party notifications that need to be effective in order to implement text-to911, including necessary notifications to consumers, covered text providers, and the Commission. These notifications are essential to ensure that all of the affected parties are aware of the limitations, capabilities, and status of text-to-911 services. These information collections will enable the Commission to meet objectives to commence the implementation of text-to-911 service as of December 31, 2014 in furtherance of its core mission to ensure the public’s safety. Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison. [FR Doc. 2014–26544 Filed 11–13–14; 8:45 am] mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES BILLING CODE 6712–01–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:41 Nov 13, 2014 Jkt 235001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 300 and 660 [Docket No. 141103918–4918–01] RIN 0648–BE58 International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; 2014 Commercial Fishing for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; Commercial Retention Limit National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule for an emergency action. AGENCY: NMFS is reopening the U.S. commercial fishery for Pacific bluefin tuna (PBF) in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) until the 500 metric ton (mt) catch limit is reached. If the 500-metric ton limit, which was established under the Tuna Conventions Act (TCA) and regulations implementing Resolution C– 13–02 of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in the EPO, is not met, the fishery will close on December 31, 2014. This reopening of the fishery vacates the closure made by NMFS on September 5, 2014. Following the closure, NMFS received updated information indicating that only 404 mt of the 500 mt catch limit was caught. Thus, the closure was imposed prematurely. This rule also imposes a 1 mt trip limit on retention of PBF in the EPO by commercial vessels as an emergency action under the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). DATES: Effective November 13, 2014, through December 31, 2014. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Helvey, NMFS West Coast Region, 562–980–4040, Mark,Helvey@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS takes this action in accordance with the TCA, 16 U.S.C. 951 et seq., and under section 305(c) of the MSA, 16 U.S.C. 1855(c). NMFS published a final rule in the Federal Register (79 FR 28448, May 16, 2014) implementing Resolution C– 13–02, (‘‘Measures for the Conservation and Management of Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean’’) adopted by the IATTC at its 85th Meeting in June 2013. Resolution C–13–02 provided for an IATTC-wide (applicable to all members and cooperating non-members of the IATTC fishing in the EPO) commercial catch limit of 5,000 mt and up to 500 mt set aside for IATTC members having SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 68133 a historical catch record of PBF in the EPO. Because the United States has a historical record of PBF catch in the EPO, the U.S. commercial fishing fleet qualifies for the 500 mt catch limit of PBF in the Convention Area for 2014, as explained in the final rule. The final rule further explains that when the IATTC-wide 5,000 mt catch limit is reached, the U.S. commercial fleet may continue to target, retain, transship, or land PBF until the 500 mt limit is reached. In late August 2014, NMFS received information that the PBF catch by U.S. purse seine vessels was 454 mt. As a result, on September 5, 2014, NMFS closed the fishery, believing that the United States was close to reaching the 500 mt limit (79 FR 53631, September 10, 2014). Following the closure, NMFS received updated landings data indicating that the total U.S. commercial catch in 2014 was 403.5 mt, not 454 mt. Since then, NMFS informed the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) of the early closure at their meeting in Spokane, Washington on September 13, 2014, and the Council recommended that NMFS reopen the commercial fishery and establish a 1 mt trip limit until the 500 mt catch limit is reached. NMFS finds the Council’s request consistent with several of the MSA national standards for fishery conservation and management within the context of the Council’s Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species. While PBF are in an overfished and overfishing condition, the stock is being managed under IATTC Resolution C– 13–02 in efforts to curtail catches in the EPO. The Council’s recommendation ensures that the remainder of the 500 mt will be available to the U.S. commercial fisheries and harvested in measured increments of 1 mt or smaller, which substantially reduces the risk of exceeding the limit while allowing for resource utilization. Its recommendation adheres to National Standard 1 of the MSA—‘‘conservation and management measures shall prevent overfishing while achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from each fishery for the United States fishing industry.’’ NMFS also recognizes that the number of U.S. vessels able to catch PBF is small because interacting with PBF is not a common event and that their catch can be readily monitored because some vessels capable of efficiently catching PBF in 1 mt increments or less (e.g., drift gillnet) will already have federally trained observers onboard to monitor the catch. In addition, NMFS plans to work with fish buyers and State of E:\FR\FM\14NOR1.SGM 14NOR1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES 68134 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 220 / Friday, November 14, 2014 / Rules and Regulations California authorities to monitor PBF landings. The Council’s recommendation also supports National Standard 5—‘‘conservation and management measures shall, where practicable, consider efficiency in the utilization of fishery resources; except that no such measure shall have economic allocation as its sole purpose.’’ The 1 mt trip limit allows for the final 96 mt of the 500 mt overall limit to be harvested in a calculated and efficient way rather than taking the risk that the 500 mt limit will be exceeded within one or two trips (i.e., by purse seine gear). The trip limit also comports with MSA National Standard 8— ‘‘conservation and management measures shall, consistent with the conservation requirements of this Act (including the prevention of overfishing and rebuilding of overfished stocks), take into account the importance of fishery resources to fishing communities by utilizing economic and social data that meet the requirement of paragraph (2), in order to (a) provide for the sustained participation of such communities, and (b) to the extent practicable, minimize adverse economic impacts on such communities.’’ Allowance for the retention of PBF in 1 mt increments can add to U.S. harvesters’ portfolios of marketable species and minimizes lost economic opportunity until the 500 mt limit is reached, thereby benefiting West Coast fishing communities. NMFS recognizes that there are situations where commercial fishermen may inadvertently catch PBF during their fishing operations while targeting other species. The 1 mt trip allowance avoids the requirement to discard PBF catches until the 500 mt catch limit is reached and serves to minimize bycatch. The Council’s request comports with National Standard 9—‘‘conservation and management measures shall, to the extent practicable, (a) minimize bycatch and (b) to the extent bycatch cannot be avoided, minimize the mortality of such bycatch.’’ Lastly, the 1 mt limit ensures that National Standard 10—‘‘conservation and management measures shall, to the extent practicable, promote the safety of human life at sea’’—is met. Correcting the error by reopening this fishery without a trip limit could create a derby-style fishery; that is, a fishery of brief duration during which harvesters race, regardless of weather or ocean conditions, to catch as much as they can before the fishery closes again. Specifically, fishermen able to catch PBF in large quantities might risk the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:41 Nov 13, 2014 Jkt 235001 dangers of unsafe sea conditions just to ensure a last catch opportunity. This emergency trip limit will be effective only through the end of 2014, which is less than the maximum 180 days allowed for emergency rules issued under section 305(c) of the MSA. NMFS acknowledges the petition received from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) requesting NMFS to undertake several actions pertaining to PBF, including prohibiting fishing or, as an alternative, establishing annual catch limits and a permanent minimum size requirement to protect age classes 1 to 2 from fishing mortality. This action to reopen the fishery does not pertain to the petition. Rather, the action corrects an error and sets trip limits under an emergency action to ensure that the 2014 catch limit adopted by the IATTC is not exceeded. The comment period for the petition ended on September 22, 2014. Based on NMFS’ current review of those comments, as well as the outcome of the resumed 87th Meeting of the IATTC in late-October, and the Council’s scheduled action in November to establish a more restrictive bag limit for the recreational PBF fishery, NMFS will determine the need to proceed with regulations requested by the CBD to prohibit PBF fishing or establish size limits. NMFS’ policy guidelines for the use of emergency rules (62 FR 44421, August 21, 1997) specify the following three criteria that define an emergency situation and justification for final rulemaking: (1) The emergency results from recent, unforeseen events or recently discovered circumstances; (2) the emergency presents serious conservation or management problems in the fishery; and (3) the emergency can be addressed through emergency regulations for which the immediate benefits outweigh the value of advance notice, public comment, and deliberative consideration of the impacts on participants to the same extent as would be expected under the normal rulemaking process. NMFS’ policy guidelines further provide that an emergency action is justified for situations, in which it would prevent significant direct economic loss, or to preserve a significant economic opportunity that otherwise might be foregone. NMFS has determined that setting a 1 mt trip limit on PBF catches meets all three criteria. The temporary rule results from recent, unforeseen events or recently discovered circumstances pertaining to an update on preliminary catch data. The best available information at the time of the closure indicated that the catch limit was less PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 than 50 mt from being reached. The use of purse seine gear is an efficient method for capturing schooling fish and the purse seine vessels that had been harvesting PBF had the capacity to catch more than 50 mt in a single trip. Consequently, NMFS responded by closing the fishery on September 5, 2014, only to later learn that the actual catch was 403.5 mt, not 454 mt. The Council’s recommendation for a 1 mt trip limit allows for reopening the fishery while establishing a precautionary management measure designed to prevent exceeding the 500 mt limit. For the reasons explained below in the ‘‘Classification’’ section, the benefits of emergency action outweigh the value of the normally applicable notice and comment procedures. Classification The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA) has determined that this emergency action to promulgate temporary regulations for setting a 1 mt trip limit under the authority of section 305(c) of the MSA is necessary to prevent bycatch, in the form of regulatory discards, of a species in an overfished and overfishing condition. The Council’s request to reopen the fishery with a per trip retention limit will provide limited economic opportunities to harvesters and fishing communities, while maintaining catch levels within limits to meet U.S. obligations as a member of the IATTC. This request is consistent with the TCA, MSA, and other applicable laws. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the AA finds good cause to waive prior notice and opportunity for advanced public comment. The benefits of implementing this action immediately outweigh the value of advance notice and public comment. Reopening the fishery corrects an error. Failure to correct that error would cause confusion and undermine the purpose of the underlying regulation. Imposition of the 1 mt retention limit is an emergency action and prior notice and opportunity for advanced public comment would be contrary to the public interest. Delaying action intended to allow for the retention of PBF in increments of up to 1 mt would increase the likelihood of waste and economic loss. There is no other action that NMFS can take through the normal rulemaking process that would enable the agency to allow for the commercial retention in fisheries interacting with PBF in time before the end of the year when the availability of the 500 mt catch limit expires. The urgency to issue a final rule that E:\FR\FM\14NOR1.SGM 14NOR1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 220 / Friday, November 14, 2014 / Rules and Regulations provides an opportunity for harvesters to retain up to 1 mt in the event they catch PBF reduces the likelihood that the species would be targeted while allowing for economic opportunities to persist. Correcting the premature closure by reopening the fishery relieves a restriction, and, therefore, is not subject to the 30-day delay in effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). For the same reasons provided above, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the AA finds good cause to waive the full 30-day delay in effectiveness for imposition of the 1 mt retention limit. It would be contrary to the public interest if the retention limit does not become effective immediately and concurrently with the reopening of the fishery because an incentive would remain for harvesters to target PBF with gear capable of exceeding the catch limit in one or two trips, thus undermining the purpose of the regulations. Because notice and opportunity for comment are not required pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) are inapplicable. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and has not been prepared. This rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. A Regulatory Impact Review was completed and is available upon request from the NMFS, West Coast Region (see ADDRESSES). Authority: 16 U.S.C. 951 et seq. and 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: November 7, 2014. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2014–26988 Filed 11–13–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 140930815–4916–01] mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES RIN 0648–BE54 Highly Migratory Species; Technical Amendment to Regulations National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule; technical amendments. AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:41 Nov 13, 2014 Jkt 235001 NMFS is hereby making technical amendments to our regulations without altering the substance of the regulations. These changes will make our rules more internally consistent and easier to use. As a result of reorganizing 50 CFR part 622 in a previously published final rule (September 19, 2013), two crossreferences in 50 CFR part 635 are no longer accurate. This final rule only corrects the outdated cross-references. The rule does not make any substantive change to the regulations governing Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) or to species managed by NMFS’ Southeast Regional Office (SERO). DATES: This final rule is effective on November 14, 2014. ADDRESSES: Copies of other documents relevant to this rule are available from the Highly Migratory Species Management Division Web site at http:// www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/ or upon request from the Atlantic HMS Management Division at 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rick Pearson at 727–824–5399. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Atlantic HMS are managed under the dual authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) and the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA). The authority to issue regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and ATCA has been delegated from the Secretary of Commerce to the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA). On May 28, 1999, NMFS published in the Federal Register (64 FR 29090) regulations implementing the Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish, and Sharks (1999 FMP). On October 2, 2006, NMFS published in the Federal Register (71 FR 58058) regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species (HMS) FMP, which details the management measures for Atlantic HMS fisheries. The implementing regulations for Atlantic HMS are at 50 CFR part 635. SUMMARY: Background These technical amendments are issued under 50 CFR part 635, entitled ‘‘Atlantic Highly Migratory Species.’’ Currently, the regulations at 50 CFR part 635 contain cross-references to several restricted fishing areas that are described in 50 CFR part 622, entitled ‘‘Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf, and South Atlantic.’’ The cross-references in 50 CFR part 635 ensure consistency with the regulations at 50 CFR part 622 to protect certain reef species and/or habitat managed by the Caribbean, PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 68135 South Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils. For example, some areas have been closed to bottom longline gear for reef fish permit holders through the 50 CFR part 622 regulations for the Caribbean, Gulf, and South Atlantic. NMFS through rulemaking enacted complementary regulations to prohibit bottom longline gear in these same areas by HMS permit holders to implement the closures more effectively. On April 17, 2013, NMFS published an interim final rule (78 FR 22950) to reorganize the regulations implementing fishery management plans developed by the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils. The interim final rule did not create any new obligations, but reorganized the existing regulatory requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations in a more logical format; i.e., by fishery, so that the public could locate regulatory requirements more easily. The final rule was published on September 19, 2013 (78 FR 57534). As a result of reorganizing 50 CFR part 622, two cross-references in 50 CFR part 635 are no longer accurate. With reorganization and changes in references to the 50 CFR part 622 regulations, parallel changes are now needed in the HMS regulations at 50 CFR part 635. This technical amendment would only correct the outdated cross-references. No other changes are being considered or implemented. Corrections Currently, the regulations at § 635.21(a)(4)(i) contain a crossreference to areas designated at § 622.34(d), the Tortugas marine reserves habitat area of particular concern (HAPC). This final rule corrects the cross-reference to indicate the same areas, which are now designated at § 622.74(c), and specifies the name of the areas as the ‘‘Tortugas marine reserves HAPC.’’ The regulations at § 635.21(d)(1)(ii) currently contain a cross-reference to areas designated at § 622.33(a)(1) through (3), the Mutton snapper spawning aggregation area, the Red hind spawning aggregation areas, and the Grammanik Bank closed area. This final rule corrects the cross-reference to indicate the same areas, which are now designated at § 622.435(a)(2)(i) through (iii). Classification The NMFS Assistant Administrator (AA) has determined that this final rule is necessary for the conservation and management of U.S. Caribbean and Gulf E:\FR\FM\14NOR1.SGM 14NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 220 (Friday, November 14, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 68133-68135]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-26988]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 300 and 660

[Docket No. 141103918-4918-01]
RIN 0648-BE58


International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; 2014 Commercial 
Fishing for Pacific Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean; 
Commercial Retention Limit

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

ACTION: Temporary rule for an emergency action.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is reopening the U.S. commercial fishery for Pacific 
bluefin tuna (PBF) in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) until the 500 
metric ton (mt) catch limit is reached. If the 500-metric ton limit, 
which was established under the Tuna Conventions Act (TCA) and 
regulations implementing Resolution C-13-02 of the Inter-American 
Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in the EPO, is not met, the fishery 
will close on December 31, 2014. This reopening of the fishery vacates 
the closure made by NMFS on September 5, 2014. Following the closure, 
NMFS received updated information indicating that only 404 mt of the 
500 mt catch limit was caught. Thus, the closure was imposed 
prematurely. This rule also imposes a 1 mt trip limit on retention of 
PBF in the EPO by commercial vessels as an emergency action under the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).

DATES: Effective November 13, 2014, through December 31, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Helvey, NMFS West Coast Region, 
562-980-4040, Mark,Helvey@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS takes this action in accordance with 
the TCA, 16 U.S.C. 951 et seq., and under section 305(c) of the MSA, 16 
U.S.C. 1855(c). NMFS published a final rule in the Federal Register (79 
FR 28448, May 16, 2014) implementing Resolution C-13-02, (``Measures 
for the Conservation and Management of Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern 
Pacific Ocean'') adopted by the IATTC at its 85th Meeting in June 2013. 
Resolution C-13-02 provided for an IATTC-wide (applicable to all 
members and cooperating non-members of the IATTC fishing in the EPO) 
commercial catch limit of 5,000 mt and up to 500 mt set aside for IATTC 
members having a historical catch record of PBF in the EPO. Because the 
United States has a historical record of PBF catch in the EPO, the U.S. 
commercial fishing fleet qualifies for the 500 mt catch limit of PBF in 
the Convention Area for 2014, as explained in the final rule. The final 
rule further explains that when the IATTC-wide 5,000 mt catch limit is 
reached, the U.S. commercial fleet may continue to target, retain, 
transship, or land PBF until the 500 mt limit is reached.
    In late August 2014, NMFS received information that the PBF catch 
by U.S. purse seine vessels was 454 mt. As a result, on September 5, 
2014, NMFS closed the fishery, believing that the United States was 
close to reaching the 500 mt limit (79 FR 53631, September 10, 2014). 
Following the closure, NMFS received updated landings data indicating 
that the total U.S. commercial catch in 2014 was 403.5 mt, not 454 mt. 
Since then, NMFS informed the Pacific Fishery Management Council 
(Council) of the early closure at their meeting in Spokane, Washington 
on September 13, 2014, and the Council recommended that NMFS reopen the 
commercial fishery and establish a 1 mt trip limit until the 500 mt 
catch limit is reached. NMFS finds the Council's request consistent 
with several of the MSA national standards for fishery conservation and 
management within the context of the Council's Fishery Management Plan 
for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species. While PBF 
are in an overfished and overfishing condition, the stock is being 
managed under IATTC Resolution C-13-02 in efforts to curtail catches in 
the EPO. The Council's recommendation ensures that the remainder of the 
500 mt will be available to the U.S. commercial fisheries and harvested 
in measured increments of 1 mt or smaller, which substantially reduces 
the risk of exceeding the limit while allowing for resource 
utilization. Its recommendation adheres to National Standard 1 of the 
MSA--``conservation and management measures shall prevent overfishing 
while achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from each 
fishery for the United States fishing industry.'' NMFS also recognizes 
that the number of U.S. vessels able to catch PBF is small because 
interacting with PBF is not a common event and that their catch can be 
readily monitored because some vessels capable of efficiently catching 
PBF in 1 mt increments or less (e.g., drift gillnet) will already have 
federally trained observers onboard to monitor the catch. In addition, 
NMFS plans to work with fish buyers and State of

[[Page 68134]]

California authorities to monitor PBF landings. The Council's 
recommendation also supports National Standard 5--``conservation and 
management measures shall, where practicable, consider efficiency in 
the utilization of fishery resources; except that no such measure shall 
have economic allocation as its sole purpose.'' The 1 mt trip limit 
allows for the final 96 mt of the 500 mt overall limit to be harvested 
in a calculated and efficient way rather than taking the risk that the 
500 mt limit will be exceeded within one or two trips (i.e., by purse 
seine gear).
    The trip limit also comports with MSA National Standard 8--
``conservation and management measures shall, consistent with the 
conservation requirements of this Act (including the prevention of 
overfishing and rebuilding of overfished stocks), take into account the 
importance of fishery resources to fishing communities by utilizing 
economic and social data that meet the requirement of paragraph (2), in 
order to (a) provide for the sustained participation of such 
communities, and (b) to the extent practicable, minimize adverse 
economic impacts on such communities.'' Allowance for the retention of 
PBF in 1 mt increments can add to U.S. harvesters' portfolios of 
marketable species and minimizes lost economic opportunity until the 
500 mt limit is reached, thereby benefiting West Coast fishing 
communities.
    NMFS recognizes that there are situations where commercial 
fishermen may inadvertently catch PBF during their fishing operations 
while targeting other species. The 1 mt trip allowance avoids the 
requirement to discard PBF catches until the 500 mt catch limit is 
reached and serves to minimize bycatch. The Council's request comports 
with National Standard 9--``conservation and management measures shall, 
to the extent practicable, (a) minimize bycatch and (b) to the extent 
bycatch cannot be avoided, minimize the mortality of such bycatch.''
    Lastly, the 1 mt limit ensures that National Standard 10--
``conservation and management measures shall, to the extent 
practicable, promote the safety of human life at sea''--is met. 
Correcting the error by reopening this fishery without a trip limit 
could create a derby-style fishery; that is, a fishery of brief 
duration during which harvesters race, regardless of weather or ocean 
conditions, to catch as much as they can before the fishery closes 
again. Specifically, fishermen able to catch PBF in large quantities 
might risk the dangers of unsafe sea conditions just to ensure a last 
catch opportunity.
    This emergency trip limit will be effective only through the end of 
2014, which is less than the maximum 180 days allowed for emergency 
rules issued under section 305(c) of the MSA.
    NMFS acknowledges the petition received from the Center for 
Biological Diversity (CBD) requesting NMFS to undertake several actions 
pertaining to PBF, including prohibiting fishing or, as an alternative, 
establishing annual catch limits and a permanent minimum size 
requirement to protect age classes 1 to 2 from fishing mortality. This 
action to reopen the fishery does not pertain to the petition. Rather, 
the action corrects an error and sets trip limits under an emergency 
action to ensure that the 2014 catch limit adopted by the IATTC is not 
exceeded. The comment period for the petition ended on September 22, 
2014. Based on NMFS' current review of those comments, as well as the 
outcome of the resumed 87th Meeting of the IATTC in late-October, and 
the Council's scheduled action in November to establish a more 
restrictive bag limit for the recreational PBF fishery, NMFS will 
determine the need to proceed with regulations requested by the CBD to 
prohibit PBF fishing or establish size limits.
    NMFS' policy guidelines for the use of emergency rules (62 FR 
44421, August 21, 1997) specify the following three criteria that 
define an emergency situation and justification for final rulemaking: 
(1) The emergency results from recent, unforeseen events or recently 
discovered circumstances; (2) the emergency presents serious 
conservation or management problems in the fishery; and (3) the 
emergency can be addressed through emergency regulations for which the 
immediate benefits outweigh the value of advance notice, public 
comment, and deliberative consideration of the impacts on participants 
to the same extent as would be expected under the normal rulemaking 
process. NMFS' policy guidelines further provide that an emergency 
action is justified for situations, in which it would prevent 
significant direct economic loss, or to preserve a significant economic 
opportunity that otherwise might be foregone.
    NMFS has determined that setting a 1 mt trip limit on PBF catches 
meets all three criteria. The temporary rule results from recent, 
unforeseen events or recently discovered circumstances pertaining to an 
update on preliminary catch data. The best available information at the 
time of the closure indicated that the catch limit was less than 50 mt 
from being reached. The use of purse seine gear is an efficient method 
for capturing schooling fish and the purse seine vessels that had been 
harvesting PBF had the capacity to catch more than 50 mt in a single 
trip. Consequently, NMFS responded by closing the fishery on September 
5, 2014, only to later learn that the actual catch was 403.5 mt, not 
454 mt. The Council's recommendation for a 1 mt trip limit allows for 
reopening the fishery while establishing a precautionary management 
measure designed to prevent exceeding the 500 mt limit. For the reasons 
explained below in the ``Classification'' section, the benefits of 
emergency action outweigh the value of the normally applicable notice 
and comment procedures.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA) has determined 
that this emergency action to promulgate temporary regulations for 
setting a 1 mt trip limit under the authority of section 305(c) of the 
MSA is necessary to prevent bycatch, in the form of regulatory 
discards, of a species in an overfished and overfishing condition. The 
Council's request to reopen the fishery with a per trip retention limit 
will provide limited economic opportunities to harvesters and fishing 
communities, while maintaining catch levels within limits to meet U.S. 
obligations as a member of the IATTC. This request is consistent with 
the TCA, MSA, and other applicable laws.
    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the AA finds good cause to waive 
prior notice and opportunity for advanced public comment. The benefits 
of implementing this action immediately outweigh the value of advance 
notice and public comment. Reopening the fishery corrects an error. 
Failure to correct that error would cause confusion and undermine the 
purpose of the underlying regulation. Imposition of the 1 mt retention 
limit is an emergency action and prior notice and opportunity for 
advanced public comment would be contrary to the public interest. 
Delaying action intended to allow for the retention of PBF in 
increments of up to 1 mt would increase the likelihood of waste and 
economic loss. There is no other action that NMFS can take through the 
normal rulemaking process that would enable the agency to allow for the 
commercial retention in fisheries interacting with PBF in time before 
the end of the year when the availability of the 500 mt catch limit 
expires. The urgency to issue a final rule that

[[Page 68135]]

provides an opportunity for harvesters to retain up to 1 mt in the 
event they catch PBF reduces the likelihood that the species would be 
targeted while allowing for economic opportunities to persist.
    Correcting the premature closure by reopening the fishery relieves 
a restriction, and, therefore, is not subject to the 30-day delay in 
effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). For the same reasons provided 
above, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the AA finds good cause to waive 
the full 30-day delay in effectiveness for imposition of the 1 mt 
retention limit. It would be contrary to the public interest if the 
retention limit does not become effective immediately and concurrently 
with the reopening of the fishery because an incentive would remain for 
harvesters to target PBF with gear capable of exceeding the catch limit 
in one or two trips, thus undermining the purpose of the regulations.
    Because notice and opportunity for comment are not required 
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law, the analytical requirements 
of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) are 
inapplicable. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required and has not been prepared.
    This rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of 
Executive Order 12866. A Regulatory Impact Review was completed and is 
available upon request from the NMFS, West Coast Region (see 
ADDRESSES).

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 951 et seq. and 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: November 7, 2014.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-26988 Filed 11-13-14; 8:45 am]
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